Home Forums Photography Showcase Brutal feedback needed. It's time for someone other than my mom to critique me.

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    Hi there!
    I recently stumbled across this website. As an amateur  photographer for many years (if I can even call myself a photographer), I find all of these posts and feedback to be very interesting. After 6 years, I’m looking into proper training to develop my possible potential as well as seeking out brutal feedback on my work. No pain, no gain! I won’t put out any disclaimers in my defense. I throw my art out to the world in hopes of brutal honesty. Please pick through and pull apart.

    You can stalk and critique my flickr here:

    Here are a few photos on my blog posts that I felt pretty good about recently.
    (Just a side note, some of the earlier posts on my blog were meh):



    I am not a pro and I know I am not qualified to truely critique, but I like a lot of your photos. They have a rather unique perspective. Some I personally wouldn’t have in a professional port, but you do have great potential I think.

    ETA: One thing I did see is try not to cut off at joints. Like if you are going to show a full body try not to cut off the feet.  There are a few white balance issues I also noticed but that is about as far as my critiques go.


    I have noticed the inconsistencies more than anything in your flickr stream. To help narrow down a particular style, I went to your sets only to find that you did not have a grouping for portraits. This made it harder for me to wade through the images looking for a particular style/feel that could be recognizable as what you would deliver consistantly.

    That being said, you have a good eye for photography. You set the scene very well and portray moods excellently. This is negated in some photos though by a lack of proper lighting or some white balance problems. There are a fair amount of shots that are not technically sound. Do you use a reflector? I would recommend it if you currently are not. It can help brighten a face while still maintaining the rim light.
    The images of people looking up were slightly awkward to me. If it’s a series of images that you did (or do) often, then it makes more sense.

    Overall I did enjoy looking through the images and you have some great images mixed in with some okay ones. I would advise you to narrow that down, or at least create “just for fun”, “events”, and “portraits” sets to help make wading through them easier.


    I’ll comment on broad categories as you have a lot of shots in there. Some things however I can say about all of them, don’t put blurry shots up there. A couple of random shots seem to be out of focus like this http://www.flickr.com/photos/annelisegrace/8412296265/sizes/k/in/photostream/ Just remove them as they drag down the rest of your shots and look at your shots much closer if they aren’t completely crisp. The next technical thing is your use of negative space that isn’t ideal, a number of your photos you have the negative space on the wrong side and often it ends up looking wrong. Also pulling off portraits where the subject is smack bang in the middle of the frame is difficult, a few of your shots it works but most it doesn’t. The rule of thirds works for a reason. There’s also a number of badly underexposed shots like this http://www.flickr.com/photos/annelisegrace/6118913174/ . There’s also a number of dismembered limbs floating about in your shots or you’ve chopped people off, either crop or clone stamp them out. I’m not sure what your aspirations are but from what looked like a business brochure I’m guessing you want to get paid for doing this.

    Your portraits don’t pop. One or two you can use the lens flare low contrast look but the rest you need to think about your lighting. You are not using the natural light well enough to make them stand out and since you aren’t making up for it with off camera lights either the portraits look arty enough but don’t look good. In fact the oof shot I linked shows this well. You aren’t getting your subjects to stand out particularly from the back ground and because of the sun looking like it is at high noon you have a lot of shadows which shouldn’t be there like raccoon eyes and under chins. Other portraits the faces of people are dark and there is no interesting light play. It is an interesting shot but the lighting simply doesn’t work. This one http://www.flickr.com/photos/annelisegrace/8182885088/ you have got half the light already in there from the setting (?) sun giving you a nice rim light in the hair. There is however nothing to bring the face out of the wall and background which a single speedlight off camera with a softbox would do. The branches is not a good touch either and the eyes aren’t completely sharp.

    I think the single thing that most will improve your portraits is a basic understanding of off camera lighting, a speedlight or two and some other accessories. Shots like this one http://www.flickr.com/photos/annelisegrace/8576946872/ you are having a light contest with the sun and unless you have enough oomph in your light setup it will look bad. This shot could indeed have been a good shot if the subject hadn’t been completely dark. Read through the strobist.com lighting 101, it will help you immensely.


    Your stage shots suffer a little bit from the same, when the subject or at least the face isn’t lit up the photo most likely won’t be a good one, this one should have gone into the bin straight away http://www.flickr.com/photos/annelisegrace/6808361940/. A little bit of flare in a shot may look good or if the flare works together with the subject but if the flare is so severe it overpowers the contrast in the shot (which is naturally very high contrast) it doesn’t look good like in this http://www.flickr.com/photos/annelisegrace/8575824807/ That shot you could have used the blue light in the background as a rim light if you’d taken a step or two to the left and let the light shining on his face act as a main light making him pop a lot. You could probably bump your ISO a bit to get a better shutter speed, 1/60 isn’t great for a moving subject.

    Your black and white shots suffer from a slightly too low contrast in general, when you convert a digital shot to b&w you generally need to add more contrast.

    You need to a be a little more selective in your selection of shots if you intend to use the flickr as a portfolio and put less of the random shots up.

    Keep shooting though, you have a good enough foundation to stand on but certain areas you are deficient, mainly in the use of light in your shots. I think it looks worse because you aren’t selective enough either bringing the average quality down. For $150 you could get yourself a yongnou flash, a pair of radio triggers, a light stand and a cheap softbox or umbrella. Build yourself a reflector from some tinfoil and cardboard and you have a great start for lighting up your subjects.






    I’d be repeating myself if I provided any criticism, you do have the eye for it though.  I’ll favourite the ones I like (same name on flickr as here.)



    To everyone who taken the time with feedback, thank you! The detail flaws you mentioned were eye opening and needed! I’ll be looking into everything all of you mentioned, and start to clean out my flickr page and work towards better techniques 🙂


    I love most of your work! I think you see things in a very creative way and an interesting perspective, and in many cases, you’ve portrayed that well technically. There were a handful that weren’t as technically-strong. Some exposure and white balance issues. Some of this could probably be fixed easily with some editing. Your subject matter and your composition is strong. A lot of the photographs made me think more than the average image. It makes me want to get a little more creative with my own work… sometimes I see things in a really creative way but can’t always capture it like you have in a photograph.


    I think you have a rather great career ahead of you. It seems you have mastered the art of background lighting, but I would suggest you work on lighting the skin of your subjects.


    I love a lot of your work. We both have smiliar styles, which is nice to see since most just care about pretty photographs and yours has more depth. With that being said, I believe you have a great career head of you. But, there are a few things you should work on.

    *To begin, some of your photos are very busy. I have a hard time finding your focal point. And when I do, sometimes the focal point is a tad blurry. Watch the eyes.

    *You sometimes cut off joints. Watch that. Look for framing.

    *Lastly, be careful with some of the coloring when doing effects from the photos. Some of the colors ruin the photos by being too much or not enough.

    Worst Case Scenario

    You’ve got some great work, but it’s mixed in with a lot of stuff that’s only good! I’d prune down the amount of shots A LOT. I didn’t actually get to the bottom of the page because there was so many. All the shots on stage could go. There’s not much wrong with them, but your quirky stuff is so much better. You have several shots with multiple images. Keep the best one of each. Some of your portraits are brilliant and mixed in some of the shots of junk and yard sales would make a great portfolio.
    Same thing goes for the blog posts. Take the best one or two and loose the rest. There’s just no need! Great work.

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