Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Photo Critique 2 (Andrew Potter)

Andrew Potter sent me in an email with his 5 photos to be professionally critiqued, Ie not the usual friend critique of "Oh they are nice"
This was his email.

Dear Dom,
I would like to put a selection of images forward for you to critique, like the last person critiqued on you blog I want you to be honest, say what you see and give constructive critisisum.
I have been shooting seriously for a little over two years now, I am self taught and so rely on feedback such as yours to imporve my photography. 
I now shoot mainly portraits, I have a small home studio and have shot five of six weddings and different events, this has helped me sustain my hobby.
I use all Nikon equipment and I am a avid follower of the strobist movement.  
Thanks for you time and I hope to hear from you soon.


 Shots and written critque after the break

So here is his selection of photos that he has laid down for me to analyse and critique.

+Good colours, good lighting, good composition
- Light in cabin, hars reflection on bow


+good interaction, movement exposure
- background distractions, crop

+ soft lighting
- dark background exposure, models look out of picture, hand placement

+ location and lighting
- lighting reflection, no catchlights, too dark cant see purse,

+good natural looks of happiness, good crop and exposure
- focus/dof issue, tshirt, blonde hair

Andy potters reply

Hi Dom,

Thank you very much for posting the video. You have brought a lot of stuff to my attention that mad missed or simply not thought of.

I though I might answer some of the questions that were raised..?

The first image was shot with a SB900 speed light and yes I had noticed the strong lighting on the bow (i think its called) of the boat but with out having a large umbrella or soft box I was stuck with what I had. I hadn't noticed the light up in the cab!! I use some exposure brush tool in camera raw (CS5) to darken the foreground only needed a little though.

The second image was a softbox high camera left (SB600), and I was using a rim light up until a few frames before but only using the pop-up flash to trigger it, I wasn't getting a reliable flash so abandoned the idea, I have to say the dark leggings were bothering me. You hit the nail on the head we had tried the hand on the hip and always find it a tad 'obvious'! .. Also this was one of those where I had dragged my girlfriend along to model (she hates doing it).

The third image, was a singer so I think I obviously managed to get that across, this was one of those images that stood out because of the models expression. We had been shooting perfectly sensible shots of him looking very 'showbiz' - like and we started laughing about something and I droped a little (was holding the heavy 70-200 f/2.8!!) and the carpet and light stand bases came into the frame, shame! a cop would have been to close to the hands I thought, there was also another speedlight in the background, it became hidden in the moment. The motion blur was a bit of an after thought I must admit but I though it looked good too.

The libery image was shot with a 40inch softbox off the the right and her left hand was clutching a little handbag, this is not something I had noticed before so great to have that picked up on, along with the reflection on the bookcase behind and the broad lighting is something I would definitely I would look for next time.

The last image was not my strongest at all but one I wanted to include to get some pointers because it was taken in my home studio thing... I was using a 50mm f1.4 I remember being a little disapointed as I had asked that the perents were dressed in plain clothes with plain colours, when Dad turned up in the Jimmy Hendrix tshurt I didn't want to postpone the shoot so I went with it. I hadnt picked up on the hair on the shoulder so great to now see that and the focus issues were a little of a bummer too, I had been shooting the little boy alone on the floor using a shallow depth of filed (something like f/2.0) then he started playing up and so when the parents picked him up to settle him down I did adjust my aperture (D'OH!!)

I hope that wasn't too much info...

Thanks again for bringing lots of things to my attention, I have picked up some points both from yourself and other viewers of your work.

I look forward to the score and written critique..



  1. The boat one is really good. The portraits could use some improvement. I don't see how any of them are "creative" just average photos of people. Change things up. something a little more than a girl standing in a random forest somewhere. Also in studio work like the last one, make sure your shot is focused correctly. A major advantage to studio shots is being able to get the shot perfectly sharp. The guy on the right is slightly out of focus. Put the aperture up to about f/8 on portraits. Overall, not bad. You're ahead of the curve so just keep shooting and asking for feedback.

  2. The balance is off for me in the forest picture. It would feel better for me if she was either look left (into the open space), or if she were positioned in the left-hand side of the frame. I prefer when people are looking into space as opposed to looking right at the picture's edge.

    I love the picture of the boat. The colours are amazing!

  3. Hey dom, I'm really liking this critiquing section keep it up!

    I'm just wondering if you could explain (or anyone else) what you meant by long and short lighting in the library photo.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!