Expert Critique - Pinpointing What Is Missing From A Technically Correct Shot

Sand Art by Judith Bear

"During strong winds on the East Coast of Australia earlier this year, many areas witnessed thousands of Blue Bottle jellyfish washed up on the beaches. On this particular day, the seaweed captured many as this image denotes. I took several images on the same day but I am unable to pinpoint what is incorrect in this image but know something is just not right."

Handheld Nikon D7500 @ F5, 1/80s

Initial Thoughts

The colours in this image are very soft and soothing and the negative space both on the top and bottom of the image is equal and thus makes the image look very balanced. But I agree about something being 'not quite right', here are the things that could be improved.

The Composition

One problem with this image is that there’s really no main focus point. Because of that, the viewer doesn’t really know where to look and is lost while looking at the photo and searching for the point of interest – a viewer's eyes move constantly between the shell and the seaweed, unsure where to settle. A way to fix this is by changing up the composition. There are a hundred ways to do it but one cool way would be to take the camera and put it level with the sand looking at the seashell.

That would put the seashell into the main perspective and the seaweed would be in the background providing depth and texture. If you wanted to show the viewer the jellyfish caught in the seaweed, this being the main focal point, the image needed to be zoomed in more or taken closer to the subject since it really isn't very visible in the original photo, your description being the only way we know that jellyfish are involved.

The Contrast

Soft light can be both amazing and awful for photography. The upside is that there are no harsh shadows which is also sometimes the downside. Of course, lighting can’t always be controlled and that’s why you have to find ways to incorporate contrast. One of the many ways is to find colour contrast which can be done as explained previously or by putting the seashell onto the seaweed, for example, and creating the contrast yourself by changing up the scene.


This is a solid image with a few things that could be fixed to really make it pop! Concentrate on creating points of interest next time you're at the beach with your camera, being sure that the viewer will understand what the main focal point is. Although there are many ways of doing this, don't get overwhelmed - just find a composition you like!

© Excio