Today’s photo for critique was sent in by Joe Saladino of Sarasota, Florida:

Here are my thoughts:

This image has great impact. On first glance it is very striking. Though tiny frogs are a popular subject, and I’ve seen lots of photos of them, this one is unique and visually interesting to me.

The exposure looks spot on; you did a good job processing this photo for both tone and color. And it’s very sharp, at least at the resolution I received it.

I’m torn about the depth of field you chose. On one hand, I like that the sharpness falling off towards the back of the frog helps really emphasize the face and eyes, which to me is clearly the center of interest.

On the other hand, the bumps (warts?) on the back do represent some potentially interesting detail that helps tell more of the “story”.

So I would have liked to see a version with more depth of field.

Now for the composition. I think the comp would be stronger with more room on the right side of the frame, for a couple of reasons. First, The Eyeball. Clearly, the frog’s right eye, in the center of the frame, is the main focal point of the shot. However, notice how the fact that it is nearly dead-center creates a “bullseye” effect that attracts the viewer’s eye and makes it somewhat difficult to scan the rest of the frame.

Second, notice the (invisible) directional lines created by the way the frog is looking to one side. When you have a subject that appears to be “pointing” one direction, you generally should leave room to balance the composition and allow the viewer’s eye to move around. In this comp, the directional lines may take the viewers eye toward the right side of the frame too quickly, which becomes a distraction. You’ll find that careful inclusion of negative or empty space can really balance a composition and give it a more “solid” feel.

One thing I really like about the comp is how the curve of the leaf mimics the much smaller curves inside the frogs eye. Incorporating graphic elements of similar characteristics like this can really strengthen a composition, as it does here. The downward curve, and the space at the bottom, adds some very nice visual weight that anchors the comp at the bottom.

Toward the top, a little more space between the hind end of the frog and the frame edge would also be nice. See how the large, bright triangular shape of the frog’s back looks like an arrow, pointing up to the frame edge? This is another example of directional cues that the viewer’s eye will follow, and in this case it draws too much attention to the top edge ofe the frame. The combination of the frog’s back and legs create a “pinching” effect that also draw the eye upward.

Overall, I think the shot works. The lighting is really nice and the color is fantastic. Your careful approach to getting the shot and processing it well shows.

Thank you for submitting your photo. Keep up the good work!