Photo Review - Busy Bee by Rose Watemburg

Another bee very busy with the Roses

Shot at the Botanic Gardens, Wellington, NZ on a phone camera.

Initial Thoughts and Plus Points

Firstly, I love the whole idea behind the image, the bee flying above the rose and the whole Spring/Summer theme and feel of the image. You nailed the focus on the flower and it is perfectly sharp, the colour palette in the image is also really nice, the yellows/oranges with the greens and the earthy brown compliment each other beautifully. Lastly, the exposure also seems on point, which is a big accomplishment since it seems like this photo was taken around noon, with hard light hitting the bright flower.

Now let’s move on to making improvements.


The first thing that stuck out to me was the way the flower was cut off in the left side of the frame. This gives the image an unfinished feel, almost like a work in progress. Next time try to capture the whole subject in the frame.

I see you chose a square crop. Square crops are a good option with symmetrical photos, or with isolated subjects, it would work very well with your picture if you framed it with the same distance from both sides.

The bee also looks weirdly placed in the picture but there’s nothing you could’ve done since you can’t control its position

Shutter speed

Since you were using your phone camera the following isn't applicable, but for future reference and for use of people reading this who can change their shutter speed...

If you zoom in on the bee you can see that half of its wings are missing. This is due to a slower shutter speed used to photograph the bee. Basically what shutter speed is, it’s the time your camera sensor is exposed to light, the shorter the shutter speed, the better you can freeze a movement without getting motion blur. In this case, with some googling, I found that the frequency of a bee’s wings is 190-250Hz, that means that the bee moves it wings between 190 to 250 times a second. Knowing that information, the next time you decide to photograph a bee, set your shutter speed above 1/250 of a second (if you're able to) and in theory you will see its wings frozen and sharp on the final image.

Be aware that faster shutter speed let in less light resulting in darker images but judging by the position of the light and the shadows I suspect this photo was taken around noon so there would have been plenty of light to compensate for it.

Post processing

Another thing I noticed when I saw the image for the first time is that it could be so much better if you did a bit more post processing to it.

To start off, I’d add a bit more contrast between the rose petals, to see the separation better. I’d also suggest taking down the highlights a bit and lifting the shadows inside the rose a tiny amount to make the centre pop out more. I’d also brighten the background of the picture to bring out the greens in the leaves even more. Even though the flower is already really colourful, a little bit of vibrancy would bring it just a little bit further. Lastly I’d also lift some of the shadows on the bee. I made these changes as you can see in the before/after images.

The recap

All in all, a beautiful idea and a very nice looking picture with just a few technical errors that are easy to fix the next time you go out shooting. Remember, the first half of the job is taking the picture and the other one is editing it afterwards. Both are equally important.

If you love photographing flowers and nature, check out our Fresh Shoots competition - Autumn season is just around the corner! If you want to get feedback or advice on your photos to make sure you enter the best shots into the competition check out Excio membership options.

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