Assignment five feedback – Applying the techniques of illustration and narrative

What follows is my tutors feedback for my final assignment in The Art of Photography.

Overall Comments

The images for this assignment are technically challenging. I was under the impression that ordinary flash heads were not brief enough to freeze water droplets, but I can see at a quick glance that you have managed to get some excellent shots. I shall now look through in detail.

Feedback on assignment Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

The brief is to illustrate a magazine cover and several pages inside. You begin with your cover shot, which is a very good example of this type of picture. There is a strong symmetry in the image, though the shapes are undoubtably organic. Your stated intention was to mimic a magazine article on the technique of shooting frozen water droplets and your writing begins well. You give the reader good advice, clearly indicating the equipment (both photographic and non), You show set up images which illustrate your technique and there is even a droplet and ripple in the set up shot, which is a nice touch. There is a second droplet picture, which is simpler than the first image, but still a very good shot in its own right. You also show the back of the flash unit and I can see behind that there is daylight coming in through the window. How did you prevent this from affecting your exposure? Did you pull down the blinds, or shoot later in the evening?

Your advice about flash power, depth of field and speed are very informative, and you also advise on lens choice. This is all good for the article. 

I notice that your boom arm which is holding the bag of water is quite extended, and it would probably be wise to inform your readers to put a counter weight on the other end. The advice about giving a point to focus on is good and you helpfully suggest moving the drip to align with it once the hole is made.

The advice about aperture and power settings is good, but when explaining anything technical, it is worth bearing in mind that reading about it often makes it seem a lot more complicated than doing it and the explanation must be put over to the reader as simply as possible. So far you have explained everything well and not assumed any level of competence on the part of the reader (something which immediately diminishes your role as a teacher -which you are -if you engage in writing technical articles).

One thing that keeps cropping up is the odd typing error –this must be noticed and corrected if writing for a magazine. Always check and re check before sending.

One of the most important bits of advice you give is to check the images on the computer before dismantling the set. Seeing the images large and checking critical focus will immediately separate the good images from the bad, something which is much more difficult on the back of the camera, even when magnified.

You finish with a great shot of a crown shaped splash, which works really well. If the quality was up to it, I would like to see it larger in the frame, but even at this size it is good. The bands of dark ripple across the top give tone and interest to what would otherwise be a flat area of colour. 


A very realistic magazine article, with good, clear advice and illustrated with high quality images. With a bit of ‘tidying up’ of the text this could be submitted to an actual magazine for publication.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays Context

Your blog is well kept up and you have posted many interesting examples of your exercises and research.