Upload & Sell: Off
I can tell this is one of those "I really like this image (and want others to like it, too)" types of images. I think we all have them - sometimes because our minds-eye fills in details that aren't actually in the pixels, because it invokes a memory of what was happening when you captured the photo, because you can feel that the image was really, really close to coming together, etc.. I saw your previous dark version and I kind of felt the same way.
Here is where I think this image struggles:
- As a portrait, I really want to see more of the child's face. The hat blocks the entire head and the eyelashes peaking out from the far eye makes me want to see that eye but I can't.
- As a sort of character study, I think it has the beginnings of one in that the light here was very nice. Where I think it doesn't quite come together is:
* The expression seems pretty neutral to me. Certainly not laughing or crying but I'm not really sure if it's serious, bored, or anything.
* For me there is a lack of context: something that would show perhaps what the child is looking at, a better hint of the relationship to the person behind, a contrast of the child's neutral expression vs. something else not neutral (like maybe if you had caught the complete top of the hat, the glowing heart vs. the neutral expression might have worked).
* The panel of the hat near the hidden eye interrupts the child's gaze that I want to follow.
Where I think it works:
- As I mentioned earlier, I think the light was nice here.
- I do get a bit of a somber/contemplative vibe.
Since I think you really want to do something with this one, I suggest you do a 10x8 crop to eliminate the fastener on the left and convert the image to B&W, doing the conversion carefully to retain a maximum range of tones in the child's face. It might not win any photo competitions but I think it could look nice on display at home.
Thank you very much, that is probably the best reply/critique I've gotten on the forum! You're pretty much spot on, the light was amazing but didn't last long at all, and we were at a dog park and she was intent on watching the dogs rather than the guy with the camera. (It's my niece, btw, her mom is holding her.) I got a few wider shots, but she didn't keep up the intense expression for those.
This is a much less processed version of this shot, I'd already posted the version below but hadn't gotten much criticism other than "I don't like it," so I thought I'd redo it and give it another shot.
What do you think about this version? It might be a bit more extreme than the changes you suggested, though. I'll have another look at it tonight.