Light. And hence, photographic lighting. It can make a picture completely different from any other picture. Photos are about light, composition, and moment. Light is a differentiator as large as the other two.

And it is a matter of taste. De gustibus non est disputandum.

So, to see what others think, let me ask. Which of the two pictures below (taken on Sunday during the all-day workshop) do you prefer?

I was going to go into the differences, but I should not do that. Just a simple question: which one do you like better? View both large to see the detail.

Please let me know, in email or by commenting below.

Number one:

Girl in rain. Evanna Mills; photo by Michael Willems

Girl in rain. Evanna Mills; photo by Michael Willems

And number two:

Girl in rain. Evanna Mills; photo by Michael Willems

Girl in rain. Evanna Mills; photo by Michael Willems

I am curious. I suppose I have a preference, but I will not tell you which one it is.

0 thoughts on “Choose

  1. Overall, I like number one better, but I’m not fond of the rounded shoulder pose in either. She doesn’t look to me like she’s enjoying the moment.

  2. I prefer the first one – the back lighting on her hair and the sparkle of the rain drops: a more animated look than the second one. You may wish to take out the car though.The second one is rather flat.

  3. The second photo is just as it said” Girl in the rain” not very exciting, no back ground. Her head is under the Umbrella that blends with her hair.

    The first photo, the rain more dramatic. Your eyes move around the photo car in the background. My preference would be #1.

  4. I actually like #2 better. It’s more natural looking and there’s no car in the background. The first one is indeed dramatic, but I feel like the girl should be soaking wet and she isn’t, as if the rain is falling behind her but not on her.

  5. I vote for 1, too. I like the hair light, and think the car helps create a story.(Was she driving back from the beach and had a flat? In the rain? Etc.) Second pic is cleaner, but far less dramatic.

  6. Yeah, being one with a penchant for the dramatic shots I’d have to go with the dramatic lighting of the first.

  7. I prefer #1 primarily because her facial expression is so much more engaging than in #2. I like the crispness of #1 with the ‘rain drops’ illuminated around her head. In #2, her face is too hidden with shadows from umbrella around the top and some drops falling in front.

  8. The light is more dramatic in the first one, and I don’t actually mind the car in the background. It looks to me that the girl is contemplating whether go back inside the house or run to the car with her umbrella. However, the model looks a little out of place with her pose. I vote goes to #1 for more dramatic lighting and better composition (it tells a story), although it is lacking something in the “moment” department in my opinion.

  9. I prefer number 2. Number 2 would be better still with the umbrella from number 1, the lighter colour would contrast with her hair so you could see all of her head more clearly . The “rain” in 1 looks like noise, or bugs, if the umbrella were up, it would be clearer it was rain.
    I like the background in 2. It gives context and you ask why is a girl in a bikini holding an umbrella in the forest? Of course the “rain” would be more believable if the road were wet, which is not a problem in 1. Without the car, 1 would look like it was done in a studio.

  10. I like the second one best! It looks more natural. I really don’t like the light (backlight?) in her hair on Nr. 1. It looks more like a collage or something, like she’s cut out…

  11. Number 1 for me BUT:

    Heels and a swimsuit on a dirt road? I know there are limitations to location, to help tell the story of the image, but this one doesn’t work for me. I feel she over-posed the shrugged shoulders, her expression doesn’t match the supposed glumness of the rain, and her skin is bone dry. If her hair and skin was wet then I wouldn’t get the impression that this was a glamour photo mixed with contrasting elements. Get her wet and miserable (sounds so wrong…) to complete the image?

    What I do like:

    Excellent lighting effect with the rain, sharp image, pretty model.

  12. If you had the girl in the same pose (and no car in the back ground) the first photo would be the best hands down, especially if she was under the rain like the second one. The light is more impacting in the first one, but the pose is a lot more engaging in the second one. I like photo 2 better.

  13. Number 1 is more interesting. Gets and holds my attention faster, longer. Didn’t ‘really’ notice the car until my eyes left the model.

    For me, number 2 is a dud. Need to bring down the luminosity of the background road. Competes with skin tones.

  14. I like the lighting in #1 and the rain droplets but I find the car distracting. I was surprised not to see wet hair since her umbrella closed. I think the lighter umbrella could have been used in #2 to add some more contrast but I prefer her facial expression in this second shot. So I am torn…I think a combination of both would be great, but if I have to vote I will choose photo #2.

  15. Tough choice because I don’t particularly like either shot. But if I have a preference for #1 because, lighting-wise, it works.

    – lighting effects cool, dramatic, interesting
    – nice and sharp
    – strongly dislike the shoulders (enough that I almost chose #2 without looking at it)
    – model seems disconnected from the rain i.e. not realistic
    – car in background seems messy

    – head looks disconnected from her body
    – photo is soft
    – rain not illuminated as much, so you have to look closely to see that she really needs an umbrella
    – more natural/realistic, but blah

  16. Hello Michael,
    I think the first image is a more powerful image, but I find the car distracting and the fact that the rain looks like it is falling behind the model. My vote would go for the second image, even though the presence of the rain is not as dramatic as in the first.

  17. First one.

    Background horrible in both, at least in photo no2, there’s no car.

    First one because there’s at least a good idea of back-lighting the rain. Beware though, back-lighting hair can be tricky, if you don’t have a hairdresser on set, don’t attempted, it’ll look horrible (exhibit A). Just put the strobe lower.

    The lady is obviously not comfortable in either shot. When photographing “real people” as opposed to models, the photographer has to find tricks to make people look the way they want.

    Models, and by that I mean models that put food on the table only by modelling – not just a pretty girl or guy – are aware of their body, and the way it looks in various positions. They’ll need directions, but they’ll be a pleasure to work with. Modelling is a craft in itself.

    When you deal with non-models it’s on you to make them comfortable and get what you need out of them. And that’s really tough to do.

    The rest of the light is flat. Many people don’t know what lighting is.

    Remember, lighting a scene doesn’t mean illuminating it. The point isn’t just to be able to see the subject.

    (Shadows are not your enemy)

    Oh, and a stylist wouldn’t have matched that bikini with the blue shoes…

    I hope photo #3 will save the day because that seems like a missed opportunity.

    Here’s how it should look. Since you have no (good) background, make it go all dark, and play with the rain drops only. Obviously a none awkward pose. She doesn’t need to look at you, you don’t necessarily need to see the whole body. And an umbrella as a prop isn’t super original, could do some great stuff without it.

    My anonymous two cents.

  18. Oh, hey, just saw another one that’s better than the two here on a previous post.

    Same comments apply, but the pose is less – but still very – awkward.

    And the light is less – but still fairly – boring.

    And the background is a bit better too. No trunk of a car.

    That image gets my vote over the two posted here. I like it. I know it was in a lighting workshop, but it’s getting closer to something you could keep in a portfolio.

    (This is not me bashing your photos; I just always thought we learn more when people tell what’s wrong, rather than getting pads on the back. It’s the way I’d wish my stuff be criticized)

  19. Indeed, I was still waiting. There is indeed a third photo, and I do have a preference myself. And something to say about it. I’ll wait one more day to give anyone who wants to weigh in the chance to do it.. stay tuned 🙂

  20. So. Which one do I prefer?

    I asked the question mainly to point out that there is no “right” or “wrong” in most questions about art. Or taste. De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum: no arguing over taste.

    So there can be legitimate disagreement over “better”. For what it is worth, I strongly prefer the first image. That’s why I shot it that way. Another photographer there felt number 2 was clearly the way to shoot it. All fine, we can disagree.

    I felt the unreal look of the first image was more interesting. Even with the “she’s not wet”, and the unreal-looking drops. No – because of that.

    Though there are things to be done differently: I’ll post the “better version”, if you will, and that is according only to me, on the main page. Your mileage may vary!

  21. Pingback: Another version « Michael Willems Daily Photography Blog

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