Chocolate Lily Gone to Seed

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


This is the same Chocolate Lily I photographed 11 days ago. It started developing seed pods so we’ve kept it on the table and fed and watered it to see how far it would go.

Specific Feedback

Is the background texture too much? Does the missing junction between the two stems bother you? Overall impression?

Technical Details

17 image stack at iso 400, 180 mm, f/5, 1/160. Sony A7R4, Canon 180 mm f/3.5 macro. Helicon Focus B stacking. The background is an ICM seascape with the more textured part cloned to fill the sky space and rotated to orient the texture more or less vertically. The plant was selected and duplicated on another layer so I could control it’s transparency independently of the blending mode between the plant image and the seascape. The original plant image was taken with a moderately dark gray background.

Critique Template

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  • Vision and Purpose:
  • Conceptual:
  • Emotional Impact and Mood:
  • Composition:
  • Balance and Visual Weight:
  • Depth and Dimension:
  • Color:
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I like this a lot. The continuation from the other photo is part of it, but as a standalone, this works really well. I like the vibrant colors in the seed pods as contrasted with the withered flower. Life in one, death in the other. The missing junction is fine as I can imagine them as separate stems. The stack looks good, too. Not having too many tiny and/or overlapping areas definitely helps. The background might be a touch strong for my taste, but that’s ok. If you’re going for a botanical illustration kind of vibe, I’d tone it down. For a more fluid impression, which is what I get, this works. Underpins the continuity of the plant’s life cycle quite well. I know practically zilch about plants so the fact that this seeded all by itself is a wonder.

@Kris_Smith I’m pretty sure the two blossoms were pollinated before I cut the plant for photography. It had been blooming for several days.

I love chocolate, Dennis, but I don’t think I have ever heard of a Chocolate Lily before. I guess it got it’s name from the color of the browns. Anyway, you sure captured nice details in the 3 seed heads at different stages as well. I like that there are 3, which seems to be a good number and how they are positioned. Nice composition.

I am enjoying seeing this lily as it moves into its next stage in life. The relationship of the stems is fine. I like the background but would prefer it if it were more subtle. Just a suggestion of the textures would be more to my liking, but as @Kris_Smith says, it depends on the look you wish to achieve.