Smart Photography reader John Philips seems to have an eye for insects and creepy crawlies. Here is his excellent picture of two bugs. The image is very sharp; the lighting is great; the composition is, unusual. There is an expanse of negative space at the left, which, in this particular case, looks very nice.
So, could this picture be improved? What would I have done if I were you?
That’s a tough question. It’s not always easy to improve on a picture that is already good to begin with! But that won’t stop me from trying.
I tried various other compositions, but for want of space, am showing only one. After the crop, I felt that the light-tone left hand top corner was a little too overpowering. Hence, using Photoshop, I created a slight vignette, and because of this toning-down, the bug seems to gain prominence.
Next, I ‘opened up’ the very dark bodies of the bugs. Here I had to be extra careful. Too much detail in the dark areas would appear unnatural (when a subject is against the light, and is dark to start with, you don’t see much detail). I don’t know whether that slight increase in detail will show in the magazine printing, but I can see it on my computer monitor.
Finally, a touch of sharpening was added.
One more point worth mentioning. Unless I am very much wrong, this picture is shot using a non-macro lens (the EXIF data says 135mm). If my observation is correct, John has proved that it is the man behind the camera that’s responsible for the image quality, and careful focussing is the main key to image sharpness.
Good show, John Philips!