We’re sorry that we were so late getting to the recap for June’s Plus Photo Critiques. We can only plead for some understanding: Rick was working on the User Guide update for ON1 360, and Hudson was busily finishing up his latest course for ON1 Plus members. July will be slightly off, timing wise, as well, which we’ll talk about at the bottom of the post.

June’s theme was Still Life, and we received quite a few interesting takes on the topic. There were a few traditional still-life shots, and many photos that used flowers or floral arrangements as a variation on the theme. (We also received a few non-themed shots, which was totally fine, by the way.) Check out the video above to get our takes on approximately 30 of the photos submitted in June.

Here are a few of our favorite entries from this month, some of which include a few Critiques newcomers. Enjoy!

Life Still?, by Andy Cakebread

Andy’s still life of wilted flowers in a vase struck us immediately, with its use of negative space, slightly off-center composition, and beautiful light. We thought that Andy might be able to crop a bit and still keep the ample white space, but overall, it’s a great shot.

Purple Reflection, by Pat Sanders

Pat’s gorgeous purple flower, complete with reflection and water droplets, was taken at midnight with a macro lens. It starts with a great composition: the lead-in to the flower is wonderful, and the out-of focus green element behind the flower is completely within the frame, acting as an anchor holding the scene together. And those water droplets just elevate the photo from something nice to something great.

Globes in the Window, Janet Pieper

An intriguing variation on the still-life concept, Janet’s shot of a group of glass globes on a windowsill is brilliant. Like the earlier shots, the composition is spot-on, with all the important elements in the frame. The reflections inside the globes adds interest and tension to the shot, and the background is soft, as it should be. I might go all the way on the black-and-white toning, but it’s a superb photo as is.

Japanese Style, by Litestep

Similar to Andy’s floral still life above, Litestep’s shot is as soft and lovely. The color and the light are superb, and we loved the background. The only thing we wished was that the entire vase was shown (to keep everything in the frame), but that’s a small point.

Chez Luciano, by Gyula Somogyi

An homage to André Kertétz’s seminal photo Fork, Gyula did a marvelous job of composing a simple still life while dining at “Luciano’s famous little restaurant in Rome.” The black-and-white toning works as part of the homage, as does the slightly off-kilter composition. It’s a fun, engaging snapshot.

Fascinating Fasteners, by Chris Taylor

Of the ‘classic’ still life photos we saw this month, Chris’s shot was the most successful. It had good elements, excellent sharpness, and a nice background, but it also had a subtle randomness that we liked.

Snowy Egret, by Steve Abley

One of our favorite shots this month that wasn’t tied to the theme, this high-key photo by Steve has a lovely minimalist feel to it. Yes, the egret is facing out of the frame, but it doesn’t matter here. The egret is sharp and captured at a perfect moment, with the single foot completely out of the water. There is a wonderful balance throughout this photo.

Next critiques open July 10
With the holiday weekend and all, we’ll start the July critiques a little bit later than usual: submissions will start on Friday, July 10, and will run through Sunday, July 19. There will be no theme this month; submit a photo that you’d like to share with us as work you’re proud of, or wish to have some critical commentary on. We do our best to pull out a group of newcomers and old hands, and great shots and those that need work. The goal here is always simple: to help all of us become better photographers through showcasing good work, and through gentle, critical commentary.

Starting this Friday, you can add your photos to the Plus Photo Critiques upload page.

Photo Requirements:

  • The long side of your photo should be cropped to 1920px for best results
  • JPEG format (must have .jpg extension)
  • Size: 2 MB file size limit
  • Quality: 7 (or medium)

Need help? →

Ideally, we’d like it if you uploaded a single photo, but please, no more than two.