Ken and Buddy
by melissamp99Comment by HeiSch:
I'm struggling with the personification part in this shot. Technically: there is a lot of nois and blown out areas in your pic. The picture is very soft focused.
//////////// after your PM
in general these kind of pictures do not do well at DPC - as cute as they are. Even getting a squirel to pose does not help.
The noise you can primarily see in the grass of your background. This might have various reasons: high ISO or your crop is at 100%.
In PS these is a feature to reduce noise.
from your composition: your picture looks kind of squeezed into the frame. there is no room for the shadow of the car and the worst part: the front of the car is cut off.
With every shiny surface the reflections of the sky on these objects come out as too bright. See the surf board, the arms of the Ken and the top of the car (hood), the bottom of the entry into the car. There is only one good way to avoind this: use of a diffuser. It is a lot of effort, but the only safe way to avoid these blown out areas. THis will become even more critical if you start taking close up, macro photos or outdoor portraits.
A very simple and cheap diffuser can be a shower courtain that is semitransparent and is colorless. THis will diffuse the light enough to avoid direct sun light falling onto shiny surfaces. I know that it seems impossible to do sometimes but usually it is 'only' that you have to put in more effort to still do it. If you read up on the many-ribbon winners and the effort and time they put into each shot, I know, I understand why my pictures don't look like theirs.
Soft focus: look at the features of the dash board, look at the squirel, look at Ken's face: all of this is slightly blurred. THe sharpest part in focus seems to the the side of the car that's closest to the camera.
This tells me that your focus point was not on the squirel or Ken but somehwere on the wheels, making the rest of the pic - OOF out of focus.
You probably shot this picture handheld. AM I right? THat could be an other reason for soft focus as your hand is shaking while the camera exposes, blurring your picture. A very simple solution is a tripod, or a bean bag to stabilize your camera while you're shooting. Or lean against somthing strong like a tree or a table. All this will help to stabilize the camera. Believe it or not - breathing has an influence on sharpness. For a steady shot breath in and let about 2/3 of the air out, then hold the remaining 1/3 in and shoot. This is the most stable beathing technique.
Hope this gives you some ideas of how to improve your picture. Let me know if you need more help or have other questions.