Well ain't that a beautiful image! Haha, just kidding.. This Sunday, I spent some time learning about taking your Steemit account to the next level. And logically, one very important aspect in this is attracting more readers to your blog.
People usually quickly scan through their social media feeds and click only on the most prominent posts. This can be because of the perfect title, but another critical aspect in getting people to click content, is the thumbnail next to that title!
After having this realization, I started looking on the web for software to make thumbnails. I found a Steemit post on 'Snappa' and decided to give it a try. Snappa is super easy to use software and I can already recommend it to everyone!
After playing with it for a little while, this was the thumbnail I came up with. The idea is to quickly show people what episode we're at and whose photo I'll be reviewing. The background of the thumbnail will be in the theme of the reviewee's picture (in this case Paris).
I would really like to hear from you guys what you think about the new thumbnail and I'm very open to suggestions for improvement!
But, enough introduction for now.. Let's get to work!
I left a comment on an awesome post by @theaustrianguy. He went to Paris and wrote a series about his adventures there. Two days ago it was time for the third part in his series. He wrote a really cool article, accompanied by some very nice pictures.
Go check it out here and don't forget to upvote this beautiful piece of content:
The picture I chose for todays review was shot inside on of the most well-known buildings of France, and maybe even Europe: the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, better known as the Sacré-Cœur.
This beautiful Basilica was built in remembrance of the 58.000 people that died in the French-German war from 1870 till 1871.
Its location is mesmerizing, laying on top of a hill in the area of Paris called Montmartre. From the Basilica, the view of the rest of Paris is stunning. @theaustrianguy managed to capture this beautifully (with his iPhone) in todays picture:
Some first impressions:
My eye is immediately drawn to the horizon falling to the right. This is very easily fixed in post processing, but also at the moment of shooting the picture. A straight horizon is way calmer to look at and thus upgrades your photo instantly.
This is something very important in photography, so please always check the horizon before pressing the shutter button. In some cases though, a tilted camera is used on purpose. This is also called the 'Dutch angle'. It adds a certain playfulness to your picture, but in this particular photo it is very unwanted.
I really love how @theaustrianguy framed this picture. The subject (Paris and more specific: the Eiffel tower) is surrounded by the columns of the Sacré-Cœur. This adds a huge amount of context and depth to the picture. It emphasizes everything in this image: the size of the city and the Basilica, the distance to the Eiffeltower, and the height of the hill.
Framing is such a powerful tool in photography, and I think @theaustrianguy used it beautifully.
I like the overall composition a lot. The vertical lines of the columns give power to the entire image, and the amount of foreground is exactly enough to provide context, while giving maximum attention to the subject.
I also really like that a small part of the Basilica itself is visible. By looking at this picture, someone who's familiar with Paris, immediately knows that this was taken from inside the Basilica. It instantly adds to the story and mood of the picture. Beautiful!
The white balance seems a bit off. The temperature looks a little cold to me and the tint has a bit too much magenta in my opinion. I will adjust this in Lightroom.
I'm impressed by the amount of detail this iPhone is able to capture. There is a lot of detail in the buildings, but also in the shadows on the columns. I would like to bring these out a little more by upping the shadows. The camera adjusted its exposure to the bright background, which automatically made the shadows in the pillars a bit darker.
The left column is cut off the picture a little bit, but I don't mind too much. I think I like this more than having the whole column in the picture with just a millimetre space to its left.
Because the background is so extremely far away, there is some haze visible on the horizon, which makes the Eiffel tower less visible. I think I will artificially remove this a bit in my edit, to make the tower pop a little more.
There are some beautiful colors in this picture, but they seem a little pale or something. I think some vibrance will make them come to life!
I adjusted some things in Adobe Lightroom and this is my end result:
What did I do and why?
I straightened the horizon. The image looks a lot more pleasing and calm now.
I upped the shadows and the overall exposure a bit, to show more of the detail in the columns.
To enhance the detail a bit more, also of the houses in the city, I added some contrast to the entire image. This enlarges the difference between the dark and bright parts in the image, which visually seems to add more depth and detail.
I upped the whites and downed the blacks. This adds more contrast, by making the difference between white and black bigger. 'White' became more white and 'black' became more black.
I reduced the highlights, to make the sky more colorful and to adjust for the exposure increase.
The temperature seemed a bit too cold to me, so I increased it a little bit. This added some yellow tones, which make the image look more sunlit.
There were a bit too much magenta tones in my opinion, so I dragged the tint slider to the left to reduce these and at some greens.
By adding some vibrance, the colors really came to life!
A good old vignette made the framing appear more prominent and shifts the focus more to the city and the Eiffel tower.
That hazy sky makes the tower less visible, which isn't what we want. By adding some dehaze to the sky and the city-part of the horizon, it suddenly became more apparent and focused on.
To emphasize the sunshine in this picture, I gave the highlights some orange split tones. The entire picture has more orange in it now, oh sunny day!
What would I do differently?
I really think there isn't too much I would do differently here. I can only think of one thing actually: try to focus on a straight horizon more.
What's always nice to do, is to try some different angles while shooting a picture. But when you are visiting a city as a tourist and you're walking around all the time, it is a bit too much of a struggle to take more than a minute time for just one scene. I completely understand that!
I really enjoyed reviewing this picture for @theaustrianguy! He did a great job on his post and the pictures he added to his story are beautiful too. You should really check his post out and judge for yourself.
This picture was framed beautifully by one of the most iconic buildings in Paris, which added a whole lot to the story.
The Eiffel tower in the background really finished this picture off. Paris is a gorgeous city and the way @theaustrianguy portrayed these two icons really did the city justice.
I think my edit made the picture pop a little more and made it look more sunny and detailed. I really like the end result.
When I was younger, I traveled to Paris a few times and I remember the Sacré-Cœur and its surrounding neighbourhood as very artistic. There are a lot of painters in the streets making portraits and sketches of people.
Therefore, I made one final edit of this picture, with a painting in the back of my head. So here it is, my own painting of the Sacré-Cœur and the view over Paris:
Have a great week guys!