Expert Critique: "Swan and Babies" by Angela Keating

Review by Matej Tandara

"Mother swan and her babies on the lake." by Angela Keating

Settings: Canon EOS600d, lens 50mm , ISO 125, 1/50 sec, f5/6

Let's start with the things that are done well in this image.

The composition and overall framing are perfectly balanced and give the image enough context, the focus is sharp, and most importantly, the moment that has been captured is beautiful – It is hard to get a shot where almost all of the animals are looking in the same direction!

Now onto the things that could be improved to make this shot even better...

Shutter Speed

Looking at this image, even though the focus is spot on, the swans are still blurry because of the slow shutter speed. Normally, a shutter speed of at least 1/60sec is recommended when shooting handheld but in this case even that would be too slow. A better rule of thumb when shooting with a crop sensor camera would be to calculate the shutter speed using this formula 1/(2*focal length) sec. In this case, the formula would look like this 1/(2*50mm) sec = 1/100 sec.

Post Processing

Even though the image looks good like it is, it has a lot of potential to look even better. The colour of the water could be saturated a bit more and the swans could be sharpened a bit to negate the motion blur.

The image after light retouching.


A stunning photo with a few small technical things to fix but overall a great example of the photographer's potential.

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