Critiquing Photography Anyone?

Randomly, I see something and just want to take a picture of it.  I’d like to deconstruct some of these random images just to show, it is all about the light.

So many photographers get stuck on photogshop, lightroom, presets, actions, etc., and miss the main ingredient to photography – LIGHT.

Regardless of what you photograph, ask yourself….

  • What is the light going to highlight?
  • Where will the shadows fall?
  • Is it pretty light?  Why?
  • Is it harsh light?  Why?
  • Do I want drama?  Do I want softness?  What mood am I setting?  Is there a mood at all?

The Photo

Here’s the scene….Ceramic mug, incense, and a stool in my office – light was coming from both the left and right windows.  I figured it would highlight the cup and cause the smoke to stand out.  Yup.  Super easy.

Many new photographers become easily offended after asking for a critique of their images.  I encourage every photographer to be honest with themselves and critique their own image first…..

When you are done producing your image, take a step back and look at it.  Do you like it?  Where could you have improved?  Is this a portfolio worthy shot?  Be HONEST!

My assessment of my image above.  It’s okay.  It’s nothing special.  I like the smoke, that’s about it.  The mug itself is too distracting for me and I would have preferred something a bit more simple because it was supposed to be about the smoke.  I don’t hate the image, but I definitely know it could have been improved.

I like the two light sources though, but could have blocked a little of the light on the right especially from the mug.  I like the crop as I wanted an exaggeration of the smoke, so the eye travels left to right and lands on the mug.

It’s so good to critique your own images and realize, there is always room for improvement, but the more you are able to spot what can be improved, the better your photography will be overall.

I am going to do the photography challenge

I have been feeling uninspried lately. Shooting mostly in my studio, it is getting monotonous. Its the same portrait images and headshots over and over again and I feel like I am in an artistic rut. I miss the days when I first got into photography where I would just go out and shoot whatever I wanted without caring too much about the results.

I have seen my photographer friends do various photography challenges over the years and I always thought them to be pointless. Why would you restrict your creativity? Even though they all tell me that it was beneficial to go through the challenge, I was never truly sold. That is until I took a step back and realised that there is something to be said about working under artistic constraints. Sometimes, too much freedon can be a bad thing. It can cause confusion and make you hesitant. Focusing on one thing at a time is better than being a scatter brain.

So I have gone into my drawer and pulled out my dusty Fujifilm X-Pro 3 to go back to the basics. I don't want to be boggled down with heavy expensive camera equipment. My main camera is the Canon 5D IV with the 24-70 f2.8 lens which is just too cumbersome to walk around with. I want to keep it simple and enjoy photography. I want the freedom to quickly take photos with a set goal in mind. As such, I am going to be doing the Dogwood Photography Challenge which is 52 weeks of challenges where you have to take a specific photo every week. Every week is different and there is all kinds of styles that I will have to explore. The full list is on the website and I will also join their facebook group to talk to fellow photographers who have taken the challenge. The best part about the challenge is that although there are explicit photography themes every week, they are not too rigid and leave enough room to explore and express your photo style. I will post my photos and updates on this blog every week.

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