Photo Review - Dubrovnik by Frank Stoks

Visiting historic Dubrovnik is mass tourism. So we picked a day with the fewest cruise ships in port and after a storm. Looking down from the perimeter wall we were taken by the extent of new roofing that was repaired after the conflict and the narrowness of the lanes.

Initial Thoughts

Patterns. The first thing that I noticed in this photo were loads and loads of different patterns of tiles on the rooftops. Photographing rooftops is almost always a good idea as it utilises repetition, which is key in pattern photography. Pattern photography is more often than not going to appeal viewers because of its simplicity but also its character at the same time.

Colour tones. Something that really stands out in this photo are its colour tones. The orange tone of the tiles on the rooftops are so nicely featured and make the rooftops really appealing as the main objects in this scene, which is something that is always needed when making something from still life as interesting to the viewers as it can be. With all this said, good colour tone of the tiles are kept with good colour tones of the other objects in the photo which is sometimes hard to achieve.

Contrast. Something that is well respected in photography is having colour contrasts in the photo. For this particular photo, we have 3 colour contrasts, take a look at the image explanation below:

As we can see, this photo includes a great variety of colour contrasts with three areas dominating with a certain colour group. These three colour contrasts work really well to make objects in the scene stand out.

Exposure and dynamic range. Another great thing about this photo is having dynamic ranges within the limits to keep well exposed (and at the same time, highly detailed) highlight areas (the sky) while also keeping well exposed midtones and shadowed areas. Sometimes, depending on many factors, this is hard to achieve, and it also requires the usage of additional techniques to blend all the exposures in one shot.

What can be improved:

  • Asymmetry. Something we should always be aware of in our photos is symmetry. Symmetry is something that makes our photo look harmonised. Let's take a look at the image explanation below:

We should base our symmetry around the imagined line that is set in the middle of the passage between the parallel buildings. In explanation, that means that this line should go through the centre of our scene so it slices it into two identical (to an extent) halves. The idea is to recreate what is on the left side of the line to what it's on the right side of the line. As always, it's up to the photographer to make a decision whether the scene is worthy for applying the symmetry rule, which depends on the scene set up. This particular photo with a passage dividing the group of buildings is a great case for applying the rule.

For our photo, there are two main ways we can achieve symmetry:

  1. First and the best option, the one I always advise, is to adjust the scene setup before the shot is even taken. What does that mean? That means that for this photo, we should move a few steps to the right, just enough until our imaginary symmetry reference line starts slicing the passage in half. This way of achieving symmetry isn't always possible because of various factors, sometimes solely because of environment and space we're in. For cases when we're unable to use this method, there's an alternative.

  2. Cropping. In those situations when the photo is already taken and we don't have any other ones that are shot better, our best way to achieve symmery is to crop the photo according to our reference line. To explain this, that means that we should crop the photo until our imaginary symmetrical reference line gets to the middle of our now cropped photo. Let's take a look at the photo explanation:

After the cropping, this is how the final photo looks:

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