Jessica - Cold River (CC)


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Jun 28, 2014
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I took this picture back in 2014, I think, and has been one of my favorite images I've shot since. However, when I've shared it online I tend not to get much feedback on it, as if it isn't received well.

The picture required nothing more from the model than a look of vulnerability, which I think she portrayed well. She was a bit cold from the river water, and I attempted to capture that in the edit, but may have "missed the boat".

Why is this image so poorly received? What is it missing? General critique?


  • Jessica - Vizual Shoot-0480-Edit.jpg
    Jessica - Vizual Shoot-0480-Edit.jpg
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For me, the big thing is her expression. I don't get any sense of 'vulnerability', rather to me she seems angry, annoyed, etc. I think posing her a little less square to the camera (which is generally used to convey strength or dominance) and with a softer expression would have achieved your aim. I would also remove the tree or whatever those vertical lines 'growing' out of her head are.
Portraying any expression is difficult at best, the subtly involved is so slight that it's easy to interpret it differently. Like the above I don't see vulnerability, maybe irritation, mild confusion, or a slightly altered state. As to the image it's a decent job, so not sure why it wasn't received well, but sometimes for whatever reason it happens.
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It's a nice shot, but I don't see vulnerability. I see cold. The wet hair, the way she clutches the top, and the bare skin. Her expression is one of discomfort. The photo is tense.
Why is this image so poorly received? What is it missing? General critique?
Well, it's something of an "in between" shot. Almost cheesecake, but not quite, almost a 3/4 portrait, but not well done, almost technically correct, but not really, and the model's expression does not help.

Whenever I see such a shot, and get no particular impression of it, I find little to say, especially if the photographer has already stated his own opinion, which I might not completely agree with.

You like it, but others do not. Simple as that.
I like the subject separation and natural tones to the light, but your model looks cold and uncomfortable.

I've seen some amazing images with models in streams or snow where they look relaxed and glamorous - not easy to do, but it gives a surreal look.
- the posing is a bit too front on for me, I would have preferred it if her hips were turned away.
- the tree or landscape feature is bisecting her head.
- looks to me there is too much processing on her face, no natural lines, eyes too white, note the skin detail is lost vs her neck.
- agreed, for me the expression is not in keeping with being vulnerable.
Technically a good photo as far as I can tell but looks like promotional shot for "The Walking Dead".
Thanks for not holding back everyone. :black_eyed: jk

I think I probably had a lot of this in the back of my mind, but we are our own worst critics and sometimes find flaws in images that no one else will ever see. I guess I kept telling myself that was the problem. It can't be that I'm a horrible photographer...

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