Beach Things

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


This is a composite of beach things - kelp and a rock face weathered by the ocean.

Specific Feedback

Looking for technical input - does the quality look ok? Both photos are phone pix.

Also, any comments about the aesthetic quality would be welcome.

Technical Details

Both images made with iPhone 14 Pro. Processed in ACR & PS.
Screen Shot 2023-08-23 at 3.14.28 PM


Bonnie, there’s a lot I like here, but I don’t like the shape that’s coming into the photo from the lower left. I’m not sure what bothers me about it but when I mentally crop about half of it out, I like the image better–and even then what remains of the shape/object doesn’t do much for me. That’s just me.

I love the effect of this composite, Bonnie! You’ve done a great job with the colour. The kelp looks as if it were wrapped around the rocks, which almost prompted the question of you used a displacement mask, but if you did, I can’t see it in your layers panel. What blending mode did you use on the kelp image?
The image quality looks fine to me.

A very cool abstract, Bonnie. I like the kelp coming in on the lower left, so just a different opinion. I never would have guessed kelp from the shapes, but I’m sure I haven’t seen all the species. The integration of them with the rock face is excellent.

Fascinating!! It feels like the shapes (which are unidentifiable to me) are under ice. A surprising and delightful result for rocks and kelp!

Thanks @Don_Peters for your honest opinion. :slightly_smiling_face:

Thank you @Madeleine_Lenagh. I didn’t use a displacement mask (I’ve never heard of that kind of mask). The Darks 2 layer is difference blend mode and the kelp layer is screen blend.

Thanks @Dennis_Plank and @Diane_Miller. Dennis, you’ve undoubtedly seen this kind of kelp - it’s a closeup of bull kelp fronds. Diane, I’m glad you feel the transparency of this.

Bonnie, this one reminded me of the underside of a turtle for some reason. Perhaps it’s the way the shapes sort of interlock with one another. Terrific work on this composite!

I think there is a nice balance in the composition especially with the counterweight effect happening with that main “thumb” on the bottom right and the other “thumb” coming in from top center. The kelp layer adds a wonderful texture to the final image. You could try desaturating the green in the bottom center.

Have you considered rotating 90 degrees CCW? I think it will appear to be more dynamic. As it sits now the oblongs seem heavy, and seem to truncate movement in the frame. The horizontal line near the top adds to the feeling by weighing down the lower part of the frame.

Rotating CCW seems to open the movement up and lighten the weighty feeling I get.

Thanks @Alfredo_Mora and @Guy_Manning

Oh, but I loved that little bit of green! :sweat_smile: Maybe the two little stripes are too much, though.

I rotated this every which way and I think I originally had it vertical as you show. I do like that better. Thanks.

I think my reaction was an outlier and should be ignored.

@Don_Peters, no worries! I’ve shown this to several photo peeps locally and got pretty much “meh” from all of them, so you’re not alone.