Photo Review: Kevin Mullins

Kevin Mullins

This marks our first edition of my new photo review series with a shot submitted by reader Kevin Mullins.

First, a little background info on the photo:

The image was taken using natural light of my sister-in-law and her 8 month old son.  The camera was an EOS 5D Mk II using an 85mm lens and f1/2 1/80 sec and ISO 500 (as it was late in the afternoon).

The first thing that really struck me with this photo is the tone and color. There is a great amount of range in the natural light which provides a really soft feel to the image and really helps define the fore, middle, and backgrounds, making them distinct plains of the photo. The eyes are naturally drawn to the lighter areas of an image first, so the fact that the little boy is the brightest subject in the photo really helps inform us that he’s the main subject.

The verticall lines in the doorway in the background divide the image into thirds, always a helpful thing to consider when composing a shot, and direct our gaze downward from the top of the frame to the eyes of the subjects. Likewise, Kevin’s sister-in-law is looking at the boy which makes us want to see what she is looking at too. Combine that with the boy locking his eyes with the camera really makes it a compelling shot.

After being drawn to the lightest areas first, the eyes are drawn to the sharpest areas before less sharp areas. The one criticism I have is that the boy’s face isn’t as sharp as it probably could be. However, with portraits of children, especially babies, a softness can really be an asset. Also, the softness can be excused somewhat because this image captures the sense of the moment very well and you can’t always have every element perfect during those fleeting moments. For me, it is almost always better for an image to tell a story and convey emotion than to be “spot on” everywhere else.

Overall, I really like this image. It’s is well composed, with a great use of natural light and depth of field, nicely processed, and it definitely has the added benefit of communicating with the viewer.

Well done, Kevin!

If you would like to submit one of your photos for review, get all the information you need on photo reviews post today!

  • Jason – thank you very much for taking time out to review my image. Its greatly appreciated and I’m certainly learning from this and all the other great stuff on the blog. Kevin

    February 19, 2009 at 4:21 am
  • Nice photo Kevin, I agree with Jason. One small thing, the top-right area around his head looks a bit “washed”, some postprocessing on the background?

    February 19, 2009 at 5:17 am
  • These photo reviews are awesome. Your review on Kevin’s photo is so detailed and accurate. It has me thinking further into the piece.

    February 22, 2009 at 8:20 pm

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