I came across this lioness while driving in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. She was walking towards my truck but then just lay down and gave me a long hard stare. She was part of a pride that were feeding on a hippo on the riverbank about 50 yards away.
She seems to have lost an eye which gives her a curious look but I think it adds impact to the picture.
Because of this I have cropped quite tight in on the face (this is about 40% of frame).

Specific Feedback Requested

I don’t mind the grass leaning to the right hand side of frame in the foreground but I am slightly unsure about the one on the left and the temperature and brightness of the background.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Lumix GX8 with Panasonic Leica 100-400mm
A little bit of Topaz Sharpen


Hi Ryan,

I like this portrait because it shows that even top predators are not safe from the hazards of daily life. The grass stems frame her nicely and I like the warmth in the BG. Well done…Jim

Wow, well done. The eye still looks like it’s there, judging by the reflection. It must have been injured. Very cool image.

In-spite of loosing an eye, there’s lot of attitude in the lioness, which is captured beautifully!
However if you have some more canvas, you may try different crops including more canvas on the LHS or you may go for tighter head shot.

Thanks for the comments, I have another edit which is a wider frame that I also like. This shows the whole of the lioness.


I like both shots a lot, the wider one and the cropped portrait. The grass doesn’t bother me at all, the head of the lioness is free and it is a natural surrounding. If I would change anything, it might be cloning out the small branch that comes out of the left edge in the wider shot at approx. 1/4 from the bottom of the frame.
The stare is intimidating and makes the portrait. The warmth and the brightness in the BG are fine to me. Very nice image.

It’s a wonderful pose for a dynamic looking subject. The two eyes really pop and obviously make the image quite captivating. I think your instinct to go with a vertical crop was right, so we can avoid the distractions of the darker vegetation on the right, and the viewer can really hone in on the lioness.

However, I think in that case she needs to be centered. In the current vertical presentation, there’s more space on the right of her than the left. Perhaps you were worried that the frame would be too “skinny” if you cropped more off the right(?), but I think it’s more important to line her up in the center of the frame and let the eyes be perfectly balanced. If you crop from the right, you could even lose a little off the top in order to “widen” the ratio a bit to compensate, without killing the image.

Thanks for the suggestion Max. You are right it does continue to focus your eye immediately on her face. I also brought the top down a bit to maintain the ratio.
Here’s the re-work.

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Ryan, I like the centered look. I will add the caveat that I think you could have left the space you had on the left side in the original, and just matched that on the right and top (sorry, should have clarified). That way, she still has breathing room.