Photo Review - Lily by Jaime Crawford

"Single white lily against a black background with the main focus lines" - Jaime Crawford

Initial Thoughts

The exposure is perfectly balanced even when shooting with a flash, good job! The composition is simple but beautiful nonetheless and there's a good use of symmetry. The focus is razor sharp on the front side of the flower and the colours are lively and vibrant but still look natural.

How This Photo Could Be Improved

Depth of field

This photo was most likely taken with a wide aperture and/or at a longer focal length. The front part of the flower is in focus but nothing else it which results in a slightly strange look, it taking the viewer a couple of seconds of looking to realise that the subject is a flower.

There are two options to fix this depth of field problem. The first one is to shoot with a narrower aperture and/or at a shorter focal length. This way the photo would be sharper overall.

The second option is focus stacking. This means taking photos with different focus points and then combining all of the shots in one final image. This does take more time but it yields better results.

Flash control

It is clear that there was a flash used in the process of taking this photo. One thing that you want to avoid while using a flash are hard shadows like the ones in this picture. It seems like you pointed the flash straight towards the flower and then pressed the shutter button – Something we all do in the beginning.

A better way is to try and bounce the flash off the ceiling, walls, objects, etc. If you’re in a room with high ceilings and dark walls another option is to try and soften up the light a little bit. You can use transparent plastics, white pieces of clothing or anything that is bright and spreads the light equally. Simply put your objects on top of the flash and search for a position that works. If you do it successfully you’ll end up taking a great photo with natural looking shadows.

Hard shadows outlined


Another thing that is extremely noticeable in the photo when zoomed in is the amount of noise. You can’t always avoid bumping up your ISO but when you’re shooting a stationary object in a controlled environment such as this you should pay close attention to the settings you’re using.

Since you were shooting with a flash you could’ve easily set your ISO to 100 and just increased the power of the flash. This would’ve given you a much smoother image without so much noise (grain) visible.

Thinking Outside The Box

Next time you take a shot similar to this consider shooting the flower from above. It would be so much easier to get it in focus and to light it properly while still being an awesome looking photo.

You could also create a striking shot using black and white as I've done below.

Black and white version with a softer look.

Final Thoughts

All in all an awesome photo with great artistic elements. Great focus, colours and composition with minor things to fix. Practise with the flash more as once you master that, you’re destined for even better photos judging by the great potential shown here.

#photocritique #photoreview #flowerphotography

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