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    I started photography about a year ago and I’ve also struggled to find honest opinions on my photos. I was just wondering if I would get some feedback on my images. I’m not entirely sure what to call my photos, but since they are mostly photos with people in them, lets call them portraits.

    http://www.davidvote.com – My side is still under development, but its mostly usable at this point. If it doesn’t display or work on your browser, please let me know.


    I think these look very interesting. I think you have some really strong pieces and others that are fine, but not as strong, I would take the ones that are only ok out.
    Also there are some pieces which are similar and again, really good next to ok, alongside one another, for example, ‘oceans’ is very nice, but immediately after is ‘looming’ which is very similar in composition, scale and subject matter, but not as strong (IMO). Your work is good, make decisions and have confidence in the strongest pieces to stand alone, omitting the ones that aren’t AS strong.

    ‘Fly’ is great!


    I can’t speak intelligently about the artsiness of the works – that’s subjective.

    OBJECTIVELY, however, when doing portrait work it’s a good idea to have your subject in the foreground – almost all of yours are clearly not. Some portrait photogs will even tell you to fill the frame with the subject’s face. I had a difficult time trying to decide where you INTENDED the focal point of the shots to be – it should be obvious to the viewer – instead of “ok, there’s a flag with a grey sky & tilted horizon line and the girl is looking down, on her knees, and it’s way underexposed. What’s the point here?”

    The one real portrait-ish (red hair and blue eyes) seems a stop underexposed and too much saturation / vibrance on the right eye.



    I’m a dad first, a husband second, a doctor third, and a hobbyist photographer VERY distant forth. In the spirit of ‘take everything with a grain of salt,’ please don’t google me and launch into a diatribe of unpleasantness on twitter or FB with “who are you to tell me?!” or perhaps “let’s see you do better work, bozo.” I’ll go on record now that I’m no one, and I can’t.


    @emf  which one would you think I should omit? Each of the photos I have on my featured page has a reason for being there. The message between “looming” and “oceans” is different. Not too long ago, I went to the coast for the first time, and I was just overwhelm about the vastness of the ocean and the scale of it. It was so violent and yet it’s so majestic at the same time. That was what I wanted to capture when I took the picture. Looming, while its the same composition as Oceans,  I wanted to show how minute you are compared to the world. How insignificant.

    Thanks for your feedback! But portraiture is not what I’m going for in my photos. I just call them portraits because they are pictures with people in them. But people were and never the aim of my photos, the message, the mood, or the concept is the main subject of my photos. However, I really appreciate your feedback. There is no need for your disclaimer. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and their opinions is what I’m looking for in this thread. I just want some honest feedback from various people; which is what you did.


    P.S. I’m also a hobbyist photographer


    David, you have some powerful images which I like. My critique is as follows…

    Red hair…one of the few that is most like a portrait, I find the crop a little distracting. The rule of thirds is a rule that can be broken but in this case might be better if it wasn’t. Probably just me but having her not plunked dead center doesn’t work for me. Otherwise, nice expression.

    Oceans…almost the same critique. With the lady facing slightly to her right, I would have cropped the left of the photo more to have the viewer follow her gaze out into the ocean.

    Looming…same. Unlike Oceans, I’m not sure why she is there. Is the focus her or the scene? With Oceans, I get the mood but here there is little in the way of provocation of thought other than I wonder what she is thinking. I then need more of her to follow through with that or more of the scene to make her a speck in the world. As is, not the best of your bunch, to me.

    Wasting…for me it’s the same. It’s about the crop. I’m left unsure as to the focus of the photo, the scene or man. I know it’s both but you should have a dominant idea and complimentary parts of the image. Is it a field with a man or a man in a field. They are not the same thing. And yes, everyone crops their photos differently however, cropping is about ensuring that people immediately are drawn to the part of the image that matters most, the idea, and then explore the rest which hopefully expands upon it.

    A sky…this is just about it. Although I’m not a fan of the low contrast, this is the shot. A boy full of wonder looking to the sky. The crop is good, the leading lines, the empty space…it’s all good. The only other one that appeals to me like this one is “can’t refuse” and maybe “hunted”. The rest are pretty much the same critique wherein the crops are less than ideal to my eyes. I are pretty sure your main focus is the landscape but you have to realize that in these photos, placing a person there is a point of interest in an otherwise singly idea-ed photo. Imagine you had a ship on that dramatic sea. You would naturally look to it. No matter how wonderful that sea and sky, you will look at that person and wonder why she is there. What I’m getting at is that if you are going to put a person in that photo, there needs to be a reason for it. That person isn’t just a rock or wave. We will wonder the purpose of that person and if it isn’t clear, the photo suffers. If that person is not placed well, the photo suffers. The only photo that appeals to me where you have a lady dead center is “point”. This breaks rules but it works because of the light, the lady and the vignetting. However, try to crop off about half of the foliage to the right of her and tell me if you think that makes her stand out even more. I don’t mind it as is but losing some of the photo on the right (and even some the the trees at the top), makes me walk right to her.

    I hope this helped a little and remember, these are just one person’s opinions.


    Personally i’d take out looming. I get that each piece is significant to you of course. But to objective eyes, they are very similar and again, IMO, oceans is stronger. Placing them alongside one another I think detracts and creates a sense of repetition. Include what you like in your portfolio, it’s your call, often, work that is deeply personal and meaningful to the creator is missed by it’s viewers – that’s art for you, my favourite photo on flickr has never even had one hit lol 🙂
    Another suggestion is to separate it from oceans, which would allow the viewer to interpret it on it’s own ground, rather than connecting it to ‘oceans’, consciously or not. Only my thoughts.


    I like the way you see David.  I struggle with wide compositions myself and I’m very attracted to environmental portraiture (environmental portraiture is what I’d say the majority of your work is.  People more knowledgable go ahead and but in and call me wrong, and add your input please.  It’s just, how frustrating to not know what to call or categorize your work as, when describing it to people?  I had to try to help with that).  I try to go wider with my comps, and always fall short, and I almost instinctually go in close where I’m more comfortable, so your work is instantly appreciated by me.  I also like they way you process and the way you play with color in your compositions.  That desaturated filmy type look with a pop of saturation.  You do it well, because normally it doesn’t work well for me at all.

    There are a few pictures that I think may not print/finish well in your port, due to being quite dark and too muted in the shadows.  I think important detail may get lost.  This is just me going by my own personal experiments with different processing and exposures.  Maybe MY darker pictures don’t print/finish well because I suck.  We just don’t know this for certain hehehe

    Have you been finishing your work and making a real paper portfolio for yourself?  If not, that should be your very next step.  Keep an ongoing paper port, and you will be amazed at how much you learn about your photography, and how it will change and evolve and go forward because of actively finishing your photos that make the cut.  PLEASE if your not finishing, you must.  I think you have talent and tons of potential and these pictures need to get made and any confusion or uncertainties you may have would come to light much easier when you view them.

    emf said that they would like to see looming moved or cut because it is so similar to oceans.  I have to disagree with this (aren’t you glad you asked so you could be even more confused than when you started lol).  I think the color play alone makes for a striking difference of the two.  If I had to cut one, I’d pick rattlesnake, because I don’t like the muted black (It’s one I question would do well on paper), and I don’t like how the landscape goes through her head.  If her head was completely in the light area, clear from the landscape, she would have been beautifully and perfectly framed.  Do you see it?

    David, You have to keep going.  No matter how discouraged you may get in the future, keep going.  I think you have something beautiful to say



    environmental portraiture… Isn’t that more shooting people in their environments?  Like creating a piece of a blacksmith in his shop or a farmer in his field?  These models were placed.  I could be way off calling them environmental portraits.  I feel like doing a google search and seeing what pops up


    There’s a name for this kind of imagery, a large scale scene with a figure in it, who is part of the scene rather than it being a portrait. It’s a german word (those guys have words for everything!) – I think it comes from romanticism. Unfortunately I can’t for the life of me recall it and it’s been driving me crazy for years!



    It would be greatly appreciated if you could pull some images off my site and crop them as examples on how I could improve my images. When I first started photography, I followed the rules of thirds and the golden ratio a lot, but lately (these past few months) been liking center composition more and more. But that is subjective! Which is why I created this thread. I want to appeal to as many people as possible haha..

    emf, I’ll go with your suggestion and move looming to a different location on the page or even to another section, maybe misc.

    I hate fauxtography, really appreciate the kind words. Yes, if you are going to print them, you would have to raise the exposure on my images by ~.5-1-stop and raise the shadow values in camera raw by ~+75 to achieve the same brightness appearance when printed as it would appear on a monitor with a backlight. So its not just you who’s having problems.

    These were the two images that I printed out:

    View post on imgur.com

    View post on imgur.com

    These are the only images from me that I can see someone hanging on their walls 😛

    Based on your’s and elf’s input, I think the best middle ground would just to move looming somewhere where it wouldn’t be next to oceans.

    Rattlesnake was cool when I made it, but I guess it’s not anymore since it is just mediocre compared to some of my other images.

    My question is to you, where am I going? Photography is just something I do as a way to keep me from feeling apathetic — I think my tendency towards apathy is a major reason why my photos always come out so dark. I have zero desire to make money off of it.


    “Where am I going?”

    the million dollar question.

    Right now, I don’t think you need a concrete direction.  Just keep creating, and maybe your direction will become clearer and clearer as you go.  I could see your pictures selling as fine art.  I sell some of my pictures to help support my habit.  No profit made, because I take any money made and get more pictures finished, buy a new lens, new lights, materials, etc, but I’m not going in the hole.  I create when I feel like it without pressure, and only to please myself, and only share those that I think people (not just the ones that love me) may enjoy.  I’ve flirted with the idea of getting more serious about selling/marketing but it doesn’t appeal to me very much.  Maybe someday I’ll be up to the task.

    just remember that even though lay people (meaning those that don’t get into photography) don’t “get it” and kind of harp and nag you to put monetary gain ahead of anything else by saying things like “why do you do it?  What is it for?  You should be in business”, and my personal favorite “you should be doing more with your photography”… It doesn’t mean there is no value in shooting just for you.  I know that it’s complimentary when people push like this, and I’m proud that my hobby pays for itself, but why must a dollar sign be attached to something to make it worth creating In the first place?  I think this is what gets new photographers off track so quickly.  They are told over and over every time they share, by well meaning people in their lives that their photography isn’t worth anything unless they charge for portraits and events, even if they are far from ready to be for hire.  They are dead wrong.  Shooting for the pure love and joy of it, in my opinion, is way more fulfilling and the very best way to learn and improve how you convey with your camera.  Some things in life really can just be for ourselves, and not have any reason at all for it, other than, it feels right and good to us.

    so when I say “keep going” it just means, keep creating, I think this medium suits you


    It’s ruckenfigur 🙂 Kind of applies to some of your pieces.

    This may be interesting for you to look at too,


    I agree with IHF, just keep going, it’s very interesting.


    Thank you emf!  Yes, I was googling like a crazy woman hahahaha There’s no way I would have came up with ruckenfigur.  I wasn’t even close.  I found this thread in a flickr pool that also has some good info on this type of imagery




    I am so relieved, I have been trying to remember that word for years lol, baby brain has a lot to answer for! 🙂


    i can’t get to your site.

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