First day of school

First day of school

This image was sent in by Erika from South Dakota.

“This was taken for the first day of school so middle of Aug 2013 about 7am. The camera I used was a Canon Powershot sx 40 hs.”

My feedback

Hi Erika, this is a gorgeous image. Your daughter is beautiful and you’ve captured a moment that every mum/mom wants to remember – that first day! I love that you’ve gone in nice and close so you can really see the expression on her face – maybe a bit scared and a bit excited at the same time. You’ve cropped nicely too so that her eyes are on the top third of the image and are a focal point. The image has nice focus and the eyes are sharp (most important in an image of a person). You’ve simplified the background too so that there is nothing much distracting from your daughter. In a perfect world you may have avoided the strip of road (grey) at the top that cuts into her head but it’s not a major problem.

My one suggestion is that it is a little bit underexposed (dark). If you have access to Photoshop or Photoshop Elements you could fix this in a second with a quick Levels adjustment layer (see below). If you don’t have these programs there are free alternatives like Picasa or PicMonkey that allow you to adjust the exposure, brightness, contrast etc very easily.


levels adjustment layer

adjust the exposure by simply dragging two sliders a little




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I'm a professional child photographer who loves to share my passion for photography. I am located in the beautiful Sydney, Australia and provide practical and inspirational photography workshops and online tips and tricks for anyone who want to take simply stunning photos of their kids. Come find me on Google+

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