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Senior Critic's review on Breeze II by Mike Kreiten

Published by Yvette Depaepe  in collaboration with Mike Kreiten, Head of the Senior Critics

1x has a unique feature the founders are very proud of: the photo critique.
Members can submit pictures to a team of knowledgeable senior critics. Their feedback and different suggestions are useful, interesting and enriching even for the best of us.

Critique on the photo ”Breeze II” by Mike Kreiten


Nikon D750  .  Nikkor 85mmf/1.8  .  1/200s  .  f/2.8  .  Flash Beauty disk on AD200

This is Bavarian's new karate champion, she got the title the day after our shooting... Beautiful and dangerous, funny and a very pleasant model to work with.
I struggle with two things:
- Passing curation with my portraits, there you can't help me, ha-ha!
- And believe it or not, cropping this photo. What ever I do, it always looks good to me. But the too many empty space on the left, I simply miss it as soon as I choose a different layout. In 5x7, 4x3, she always moves too central when crops make sense. There is a asymmetry in her posture, which could cope for it, but I'm never happy with a centric position (too standard to me).
Help me out, what do you think?  Cut it in pieces! ;-)


Senior Critics Darlene Hewson 
Hi Mike.... I'll try to help you with curation, if you'll help me! LOL
I love the mood of your model - great facial expression! As a woman, I especially love the neck piece - it's very intriguing. Personally, I wish there were a little more light and detail on the neck piece. Because it is so interesting and unusual, it does become a portion of the portrait that the viewer is interested in, so it would be nice to be able to see more of the detail.

With regards to your crop, I do feel that it has too much space on the left, and I feel it's missing space on the right. I know she has her eyes closed, so you don't need the space on the right for her to "view into", but it just feels unbalanced. Perhaps if her hair was blowing to the left instead of the right, it would fill some of that space and then having her so close to the right side would be sufficient.

I like the light and shadows on her face and shoulders, but feel a little more light on the left side of her hair would benefit.

One little nit-pick about the hair....See the strands leaving the frame on the right? If this were my image, I'd clone some of that out, replacing it with background, so it's not "out of the frame". It feels acceptable on the top of the frame, but not so much on the right side.

Well done with getting such a moody pose and look from her!!  I hope I have been of some help, Mike.

Mike Kreiten 
Lovely Darlene, you got "The Eye" I trust in portraits, lovely feedback. Many thanks for having a close look. The neck piece is slightly out of focus, and I don't want it to distract. But I took your advice and increased structure a bit so the middle part and the one right from it become slightly more present. I also worked out a bit more contrasts and structure in the hair on (our) left, a brilliant idea. I still find the other layout a bit too simple, and changing the wind direction is quite impossible now. In fact I did shots with space on the other side (in my portfolio there is one), here I went for the unusual empty space, by instinct. I will figure out what my master of composition, Theo, wants me to change and see if that's a better option.
Awesome feedback, thank you so much again. Will post a next version soon...


Senior Critic Theo Luycx 
Mike, as you know portrait is not my first priority. But I made a screenshot and played a little bit with your composition. I have read the comment of Darlene and was surprised.
I had changed two of the remarks Darlene made. The neck-piece lighter and also the hair on the left side of her head.

And about the composition. This composition is good but not my first choice. We read images from the left to the right and her hair and face is going to the right.
My choice should be to move in this composition the model a little bit to the left. In a way that the space below besides her arm is on the right 2/3 of the space on the left.

I also agree with the remark of Darlene about your model's hair:
“See the strands leaving the frame on the right? If this were my image, I'd clone some of that out, replacing it with background, so it's not "out of the frame". It feels acceptable on the top of the frame, but not so much on the right side.

But follow your own taste if you don't have the same vision.
This was my two cents. But my compliments for the nice image.

Mike Kreiten 
Hello Theo, of course I know composition is your excellence, and to be honest, I was hoping for your advice. In fact I knew you would try some layouts when I ask for an alternative. You just made it a mathematical challenge, dear friend! :-)
Thank you very much, Theo! I'm, glad I understood your suggestion. And yes, it feels like a good compromise of a bit more harmony and the headstrong approach I took in recording. Your advice is priceless, I'm happy to know where to ask for it.


Senior Critic  Johanes Januar
Hi Mike, I want to say that this photo is pretty good, I would not dare say the opposite especially after I learned that this beautiful woman ... a Bayern karate champion can be very dangerous ;-)
Thank you so much for posting this beauty in the Critique Forum.  You already got good feedback from Darlene and Theo.

From what is interesting or lesser interesting to me, I would suggest to crop the left side to eliminate the possible "upper arm base".  With this crop, you can reduce the 'hair look' that is close to the right ear.  Furthermore, if you use the 3x4 frame format (portrait format), reduce the top and left side.  Just my personal opinion, I'm not an expert.  But I think the portrait format would make the light on the model's face more interesting.

This is all I want to say, Mike!  

Mike Kreiten 
Hello Johanes!  Thank you very much for taking the time, I really appreciate your suggestions. Like many times, if not always, you're the man for drastic changes. I have to admit I often get that refusing feeling when reading them, but I also know they are worth to try. Because you really dive into the subject before you write.  Many thanks and best regards, my friend!


Senior Dominic Schroeyers 
Hey Mike, great portrait! I love the mood and the tones. You found yourself a beautiful model.

For composition, I like to laugh with the 'rules' too. I tried some different crops, but to me a “standard” version works the best in this case. Her eyes are closed, the whole pose radiates rest and relax, so the standard composition brings even more rest.

The necklace is intriguing indeed, but I would not give it more light or detail. Her face is mesmerizing and demands all attention, the necklace takes a good second focus but I will still go back to her face. So would keep that as it is.

My turn for a little nitpick. There is a small bunch of hairs crossing her right eye and passing her nose, and under her nose there are some thin hairs coming together. It is not a big deal but I know you go for perfection. ;)

Mike Kre
Hey Dominic,thank you for taking the time and the nit-picking! I'm a bit surprised you like the "too-standard" layout, but that's your choice... I think I'll go with Theo's proposal, the arithmetical problem, ha-ha!
In fact in the new version I'm working on, I gave the neck piece a slight bit more presence, but just a tiny bit. As well as her hair on the left, Darlene's suggestion. I did not mind the few wisps of hair, they're all flying around. But I might remove the one going more horizontal over her(!) right eye and upper nose, thanks for pointing me there.
I hope you enjoy writing critiques, missed your voice for quite a long time already. Best regards, dear friend!


Senior Critic Jose Hernan Cibils 
Hello, Mike!  Please don't cut this wonderful shot into pieces!
Be careful, your beautiful model should get angry ;-)

I think this version is better than a “too” standard version. Here we come to the model from the left and her presence is too abrupt. I don't think the left side is a simple empty space. She needs it. That's where the breeze comes from that makes her squint.

I wouldn't make any changes. The image is perfect as it is. Great face capture, great expression. I would just like to see it in a shot with open eyes to see what the look of a karate champion is like!
I wish you luck with the curator-ship! (Or was it rejected? No, it can not be!)
Thanks for sharing and all the best!

Mike Kreiten 
Hi José, that's interesting, you're the only one (apart from me) who likes this framing. Thanks for letting me know!  It was rejected, like most of my portraits.  If I have a look at the published portraits, it becomes obvious for me that many of them haven't much in common with the original sense of a portrait. A lot of those "artsy" works don't show a face at all, faces are covered partially or painted all over. Features like sprouts or feathers and flowers seem to be substantial to be  considered as good photography even if the focus was totally missed or the editing has strong flaws. Well, this "style" is not mine, and what I like to do doesn't seem to meet some preferences here.

Critique is also open to all members, and we learn together here. If you see an image you'd like to comment on, your words would be welcome.


I read this article with great pleasure ! I submitted my images several times for critique and regularly read critique of others. I know this team well who helped me and not only me ! I would like to say again big thanks for them , especially to Theo and Mike ! It's a great that 1x give this opportunity for photographers. Thank you, Yvette , as well !
Thank you very much for your nice compliment, Olga. Your work always gives me a challenge because it's so different from mine. But over time, I got familiar with your (abstract) style, so I hope I can help you out with suggestions fitting your preferences. Looking forward to your next shots, and I believe I can speak for the whole team! Always a pleasure...
A nice presentation Yvette thank you.
Fine critique review on a wonderful portrait, Mike! Thanks to all the senior critics involved. Cheers, Yvette.
Thank you so much for your constant support for our forum, picking one of my works, surprising me with this! I'm truly overwhelmed to see one of my portraits in the 1x magazine.
Unfortunately I deleted all alternative versions already, following every advice of the critics team. When I post for critique myself, I take up on every suggestion and upload the according modifications. So I had 4 versions in my portfolio. Since my portraits are rarely published I deleted the alternatives and kept the original only - to keep the critique for others as inspiration. As a passionate critic, it feels like wasting the efforts of my companions when deleting the photo.
Yvette, you're my star of 1x, thank you so much!