Taylor Miller, Lawrence, KS
We thought that the real subject in this photo was the angled beam of light, slicing through the frame diagonally. A few too many picture elements distracted from it, as did the overly bright floor and altar railing.
What now? We cropped out much of the floor, but kept much of the columns and ropes because they provide a good framing element. We yanked Curves around in Photoshop to boost the contrast in the church interior, emphasizing the shaft of light. We then burned down bright highlights in the background and the altar rail, to further increase the sense of light breaking into dark shadow. Last, we straightened the picture-it was shot slightly off-kilter.
Next Time: Try different framings (read, in-camera cropping) whenever you have a distinct type of lighting in the scene, and try to avoid clashing bright spots. We thought the decision to make the picture monochrome was a good one, but it never hurts to try different contrast levels or selective dodging and burning-in other words, darkroom experimentation.
Tech info: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Canon EF-S lens. Exposure at ISO 800 not recorded. Monochrome conversion made in Adobe Photoshop 5.5.