Photo Review "Wellington Icon" by Matthew Dawson

Initial Thoughts From The Reviewer

I like how well the idea has been executed, an industrial zone near the water, it gives plenty of context about the location. In terms of technicalities, the focus is spot on with everything in the foreground perfectly sharp and you also nailed the exposure which can be hard when you’re shooting up at the sky since the camera can either expose on the subject or on the sky which can result in photos that are either too dark or bright.

Things That Could Be Improved


When you look at the image as a whole you may notice that it lacks a bit of contrast between the sky and the crane. In post processing, a good thing to do is to select the crane and make it a little darker and then make the sky a little bit brighter whilst still show some detail in it.


Another thing that stands out in the picture is the overly dark shadows under the dock. The rest of the image is relatively bright, without much contrast, and then you have the almost completely dark area under the dock which gives the image an unbalanced optical weight.

Fortunately this is an easy thing to fix.

You can fix it either in Photoshop or Lightroom (or any other photo manipulation program). Just select the area under the dock either with a brush or any other selection tool and lift the shadows/exposure in that particular area.

Going One Step Further

Looking at this picture I think it would be interesting to try and capture a wider shot, either by using a wider lens or by stepping a little further away, if possible.

You could also try to make the shot have more of a “fine art” style by introducing a lot of contrast and even a little bit of artificial noise. A popular trend today is to put your photos on old film strips like Kodak and Agfa to give it a vintage look.

Here are some examples of what I mean...

Here I have lightened up the shadows underneath the dock and added a some contrast without

losing the details.

Here is a more “fine art” type of image. It is similar to the one above but with a lot more contrast and blown out highlights. This of course isn’t technically correct but it is aesthetically pleasing to most people.

Here I took the photo above and put it inside a Kodak Portra 400 film strip. This gives the picture the illusion that it was taken on film. To do this, find a template on Pinterest or anywhere on Google and make sure it’s copyright free (I believe this one is) and then paste it in Photoshop or any other similar program. Frame your picture in it and then cut out the middle part of the film strip to reveal your picture under it. One thing to pay attention to is to make sure you don’t put a coloured photo in a black and white film strip and vice versa. I believe Kodak Portra 400 is a colour film but I added it here for an example so make sure you don’t copy it and make the same mistake. The 400 refers to the ISO number so I added a little bit more of artificial noise to make it look more authentic.


All in all, a really technically solid image with good composition that could have been even better with some minor post processing adjustments.

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#photocritique #photoreview #blackandwhite #industrial

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