|from the critique club
This is a a very strong image. I think the overall composition, focus and exposure are all excellent. I love the rather muted colours which give it a unique look. There is certainly some apparent grain here, so it fits the challenge.
I think the one part which distracts me is the leaf which covers part of her face. It is extra concerning because it comes so close to her right eye, and in portraits everyone is drawn to make eye to eye contact with the subject. I notice that the shot was taken with an slr camera at an aperture of f5.6. The lens is not mentioned. If the lens is a fast (has a wide aperture such as f2.8 or so) one, it can cause some problems like this. When viewing the image in the viewfinder you always see it at the wide open aperture, which of course has a smaller depth of field. I have had a great landscape shot ruined because there turned out to be a piece of grass which was not visible in the wide open aperture, but was definately there when the lens stopped down to take the picture. What I mean is that when you composed the shot the leaf may not have been nearly as noticable as it ended up being. That is one of the nice things about digital is being able to review the photo right away to pick up on this like that. (or checking the DOF preview if your model offers tha option) Of course it may not have been possible for you to retake the photo, as I do not know the circumstances.
One other minor point is the stray hair which crosses her left eye. I am not sure off hand if the grain challenge allowed minor retouching or not. If it did it might have been a good idea to clone this hair out.
Her brown eyes are piercing and definately help make this image. If it were not for the leaf, I am sure this would have placed even higher than the respectable 5.39 that it did. Bottom line is that this is a winner of a photo...minus the leaf.
Thanks for sharing this image. Are there others from this shoot? I am sure many of us would love to see them. :)