The Life Cycle of an Asiatic Lily

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


Asiatic Lily just as it was starting to sprinkle, yet one more time for the day. I was intrigued by the differing layers that represented the coming birth, the emergence and in the end, death.

Specific Feedback

I increased the color sat and contrast on the flower and decreased same for BG. Does this work to give more focus to the flower?

Technical Details

Z7 II, Tokina 17-35 @35mm, f/7.1, 1/500, ISO 800

ACR for general adjustments, TK8 for contrast painting and frequency separation.

It is the lifecycle, isn’t it? From small buds to blossoms that have been snapped off. I like the raindrops - nice of you to head out in the sprinkle. And there’s a small bug visible, too on the right edge of the open flower’s right side petal. There’s some nice texture here, but is the palest yellow really that pale? There isn’t a ton of detail there, but it seems realistic to me. A nice study in the way of these flowers.

Oh, and what did you use Frequency separation to do? I’ve worked with it so little.

Thanks, Kristen. Definitely a very pale yellow. I use Frequency Separation in a number of ways, but mostly to smooth out blemishes or set up several different contrast ranges, each of which only act on the areas I choose, not the whole image. Photoshop has a great tutorial on building your own FS action. I use Tony Kuyper’s action because he did al the hard work for me but either or, it has many possibilities.

As to detail, go full screen then give it one more plus and I think you will see there is quite a bit of detail.

Yup, that’s what I needed to do. Almost a translucent quality to the petals.

And thanks for the info on F.S. - I think Dave Kelly did a video about it a year or two ago where he used it in a similar way, but I don’t think I’ve ever tried it. Could be a useful technique to know.

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Kristen: Here is a quick sampling of how Frequency Separation can heighten the detail on an image without having to make multiple layers. I like to keep things simple whenever possible. These examples use Tony Kuyper’s TK8 module because as I said earlier, he takes much of the guesswork out of the action. Note on the second image, the opacity level as it is the key (in this case to its success. I did nothing else to the raw files other than some minor ACR editing for highlights and contrast. Also, on the original posted image, I isolated the flower so I could knock down the value of the BG and diminish its sharpness…personal taste

To really see the difference (these are, after all, screenshots), increase the magnification.