BrickHouse Photo School

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Archive for the ‘Photo Critiques’ Category

Photo Critique 8: ‘Texture 1,’ by Andres L.

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I love critiquing photos. It’s the best way to learn and get new ideas for photo shoots. Today, we’re going to critique an image made by Andres, my friend in Miami, Florida.

'Texture 1,' by Andres of Miami.

'Texture 1,' by Andres of Miami.

General Overview:
Andy, you have a great eye for finding beauty in the ordinary. You have a great ability to present ordinary objects in a new light. That’s a talent that will help you in photography or any other artistic endeavors you choose to pursue. You also have an incredible amount of patience working in post production. This is an important aspect to digital photography and you’re learning post-production techniques quite well.

Like most images submitted for critique, I like the concept of this image because of its simplicity. You present the viewer with an attractive, pleasing look at an otherwise normal scene. You give the viewer plenty of room to roam around the scene, yet stay focused on the message you’re trying to convey. As a viewer, I feel “at home” and comfortable in your scene and want to explore it more. I want to walk down the road and see where it leads. You did a great job of convincing your viewer to look at the image and wonder “where does that go?”

Good job.

Improvements
There are just a few improvements I want to suggest. First, the object (it looks like a box) about mid-way down the road needs to be removed. You could have either moved it prior to shooting or walked past it and shot further down the path. In post production, you could easily edit the box out. Either way, it’s a little distracting to the viewer.

Secondly, I think a little more detail in the sky would have helped separate it some from the ground.

Finally, I think a little more vignetting on the top and bottom would have achieved a better look. This is a matter of opinion, though, so it’s really up to you to decide.

I would also recommend playing around with the ISO sensitivity. Perhaps a grainy look would help make the image “pop” a little more.

A quick edit removes the box and the distraction. (Photo Credit: Andres L. with edit by Jeremy Schneider)

A quick edit removes the box and the distraction. (Photo Credit: Andres L. with edit by Jeremy Schneider)

Andy, you always do a great job. Keep up the good work.

Thanks for the submission, good luck and keep shooting!

If you would like to submit a photo for critique, e-mail us at submissions@brickhousephotoschool.com.

Written by jeremyparce

March 9, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Photo Critique 7: ‘Diego II,’ by Carla B.

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I love critiquing photos. It’s the best way to learn and get new ideas for photo shoots. Today, we’re going to critique an image made by Carla, my friend in Miami, Florida.

'Diego II,' by Carla of Miami

'Diego II,' by Carla of Miami

General Overview:
Carla, I love your portrait work because you always seem to capture an interesting aspect of your subject. Portrait work is tough because you have to find new and interesting ways to make an image, which is something you do quite well. Portraits involve finding a way to express a concept or emotion while making a visually-appealing image for your audience. This is something you do quite well.
I like the concept of this image because of its simplicity. You’re forcing the viewer to explore the subject but you’re not being “pushy” about it. Although the subject is right in your face, as a viewer, you feel a connection to the subject and not a sense of overpowering.

Great job.

Improvements
There are a few improvements I want to suggest. First, you need to work on getting the model to give you more expression. Give your model a theme or topic and let him try different facial expressions and body language to communicate the emotion. Secondly, I’m not sure about the greenish cast you gave the image, I’m assuming, in post production. This is more of a personal preference than anything and I could say I don’t like the greenish cast and 20 other people will say they do like it. But I would recommend experimenting with different looks. Finally, I would suggest experimenting with different lighting. I think directional lighting would have helped make this image “pop” a little more.

One more tip: Trying playing around with the ISO sensitivity. Perhaps a grainy look would help make a portrait like this standout a little more.

Carla, you always do a great job and I always look forward to seeing images you’ve produced.

Thanks for the submission, good luck and keep shooting!

If you would like to submit a photo for critique, e-mail us at submissions@brickhousephotoschool.com.

Written by jeremyparce

March 8, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Photo Critique 6: ‘Untitled,’ by Renier DP.

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I love critiquing photos. It’s the best way to learn and get new ideas for photo shoots. Today, we’re going to critique an image made by Renier, a former student of mine in Miami, Florida.

'Untitled,' by Renier of Miami, Florida

'Untitled,' by Renier of Miami, Florida

General Overview:
Renier, I really enjoy this image because of its simplicity and homage to documentary photography. It looks like an old photo from the days of Hunter S. Thompson and Jack Kerouac. I think your image finds great depth and beauty in an otherwise simple setting. I know a lot of your images follow in the documentary vein, as you document the lives of your friends. My one suggestion in this regards is this: start looking for a message or idea you want to express. Try some storytelling and see how that works.

Whether intentional or not, I like the contrast between the typewriter your subject is using and the computer in the background. By all accounts, the subject looks very modern: A flatscreen television, computer, etc. But here his, in his pearl-button shirt and typewriter working away. It makes us, the viewer, want to know more. Good job.

This is a very well done image.

Improvements
There are a few improvements I would like to suggest. First, the light coming from the window above the subject’s left shoulder is causing over-exposure. This is because the light in the room was much less than the light in the window, causing the meter to adjust for the room light and not factoring in the window light. Knowing that you use Adobe Photoshop, I would recommend you dodging the window light a bit in an effort to reduce the overexposure.

Secondly, I would lighten the area on the subject’s face to bring in just a tiny bit more detail. Burn in the face a little more and you’ll have it quite nice.

Finally, I would suggest that you use a larger aperture setting in order to make the depth of field a bit shallower. This is because there’s a going on in the room and it’s easy for the background to distract from the foreground. According to the information recorded in the image’s metadata, you used a shutter speed of 1/13 of a second with an aperture of f/3.5. If you could use f/2.8 or f/1.8, you would get both a faster shutter speed and a shallower depth of field, both of which could help you.

One more tip: Your ISO setting was recorded at ISO 100 equivalency. I would highly recommend using a higher ISO setting for this type of image for two reasons: One is a higher ISO will allow for more grain. More grain would give the image an “old” look by replicating the black-and-white film types used in early documentary photography. Second, a higher ISO would give you the ability to use a faster shutter speed.

Renier, you always do a great job. Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing some more images from you.

Thanks for the submission, good luck and keep shooting!

If you would like to submit a photo for critique, e-mail us at submissions@brickhousephotoschool.com.

Written by jeremyparce

February 27, 2009 at 12:23 am

Photo Critique 5: ‘Colombia’s Endless Mountains,’ by Gabriel M.

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I love critiquing photos. It’s the best way to learn and get new ideas for photo shoots. Today, we’re going to critique an image made by Gabriel, a friend of mine in Miami, Florida from his trip home to Colombia.

'Colombia's Endless Mountains,' by Gabriel of Miami, Florida.

'Colombia's Endless Mountains,' by Gabriel of Miami, Florida.

General Overview:
Gabriel, this is a great idea for a landscape image. You found a beautiful location and you waited until the right time to make the image. You have a great eye for natural beauty and it shines through in this image. I know landscapes are relatively new for you since most of your shots are portraits so it’s nice to see you branching out and trying other genres.

I like the idea of using the barbed-wire fence in the foreground. I think it helps set an interesting contrast. You have the fence, which depicts captivity and then the background of mountains that seem to never end. I think it’s a nice play on the theme.

Very well done.

Improvements
There are a few improvements I will suggest. First, the sun in the right corner is too distracting. In order to capture the dark background, you needed to use a slower shutter speed, thus causing the sun to appear overexposed. There’s a few ways around this. On camera, you could use a neutral density or a split density filter to help offset the overexposure or you could have selected an area where the sun was not so imposing. In post production, you could have cropped out the sun or used the dodge tool to help bring it back into proper exposure.

Second, the mid-ground is a little too underexposed. I think you should have dodged the sun, burned in the mid-ground and it would have made a better image.

For your reference, I did a quick edit. See if you like the difference or not.

A quick re-edit by Jeremy Schneider. (Photo Credit: Gabriel M. of Miami, Florida)

A quick re-edit by Jeremy Schneider. (Photo Credit: Gabriel M. of Miami, Florida)

You always do a great job. Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing some more images from you.

Thanks for the submission, good luck and keep shooting!

If you would like to submit a photo for critique, e-mail us at submissions@brickhousephotoschool.com.

Written by jeremyparce

February 24, 2009 at 11:46 pm

Photo Critique 4: ‘Barb,’ by Jona M.

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I love critiquing photos. It’s the best way to learn and get new ideas for photo shoots. Today, we’re going to critique an image made by Jona, a former student of mine in Miami, Florida.

'Barb," by Jona M. of Miami, Florida

'Barb,' by Jona M. of Miami, Florida

General Overview:
Jona, as usual, when you put your mind to doing something, you do it well. This is a nice image and it’s good to see you flex your creativity. The staging on this shot is very nice and I’m glad you decided to do something a little more stylish – the hair over the eyes – than just a simple, head-on shot.
Again, this is a nice image due to its simplicity. You use a simple theme and let your creativity shine through without forcing the image.
Great job.

Improvements
There are a few improvements I would like to suggest. First, I’m not sure I like the graduated background. I would like to see the image with a solid background, especially the blue. If you are going to use a graduated background, work on the vignetting in the right corners so the brown stays relatively consistent. Also, there’s some vignetting going on in the left corners with the blue. If the vignetting is intentional, perhaps a little more would make it look so, versus now, which makes it look accidental.

Second, you need to work with the model on facial expression. I’m not particularly happy with the way the lips formed in this image. Don’t be afraid to tell the model what message you would like to convey in the image so she knows what to do. Give her a theme and see what she comes up with.

Third, spend some time in Adobe Photoshop and clean up some of the fly-away hair. Then, retouch the skin so it’s a little more smooth and consistent. Finally, there’s a hotspot on the right shoulder that you should try to tone down just a little bit.

As usual, you did a great job overall. Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing some more images from you.
Thanks for the submission, good luck and keep shooting!

If you would like to submit a photo for critique, e-mail us at submissions@brickhousephotoschool.com.

Written by jeremyparce

February 21, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Photo Critique 3: “Untitled,” by Adriana O.

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I love critiquing photos. It’s the best way to learn and get new ideas for photo shoots. Today, we’re going to critique an image made by Adriana, a friend of mine in Venezuela.

"Untitled," By Adriana O.

"Untitled," By Adriana O.

General Overview:
Adriana, you really have a gift for composition. If you staged this shot, then you did an outstanding job making it look “real.” If you just saw it and decided to make a photo, then you have a great eye for finding interesting subjects in an otherwise normal setting.
This is a nice image because it’s not forced. You’re using a simple theme and simple techniques to make a visually-compelling image. I especially like your use of depth-of-field. The image falls out of focus at just the right place.
Great job.

Improvements
There are only two improvements I can see that you need to make. First, a little front lighting on the stack of puzzle pieces would have made the image look better because it’s just a little underexposed. Second, the light coming through in the upper right corner is distracting from the scene. I would definitely edit that out and perhaps make the whole background – from the end of the table on – black. By doing that, I think you would have made a perfect shot.
Finally, there are some hotspots on the puzzle pieces that need to be toned down. A little selective dodging would help there.

Great job overall. Your portfolio has some great images on it too.

Thanks for the submission, good luck and keep shooting!

If you would like to submit a photo for critique, e-mail us at submissions@brickhousephotoschool.com.

Written by jeremyparce

February 20, 2009 at 1:00 am

Photo Critique 2: ‘Mauricio,’ by Daniel M.

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I love critiquing photos. It’s the best way to learn and get new ideas for photo shoots. Today, we’re going to critique an image made by Daniel, a former student of mine in Miami.

Mauricio, a portrait by Daniel of Miami, Florida

'Mauricio,' a portrait by Daniel of Miami, Florida

General Overview:
Daniel, you take great portraits and this is another example of your good work. You have a great eye for composition and lighting.

This is a nice portrait because, like Carla’s, of its relative simplicity. The viewer is drawn to the subject and you captured the subject’s mood very well. You did a great job showing emotion without using complex themes.
You can be very proud of this image.

Improvements
There are just a few things I would improve in this image. First, there are some hot spots on the nose, the right lower portion of the eye and the left upper corner of the eye. Those hotspots can easily be edited out of the image. Next, perhaps a little lighting under the subject would help give more definition between the chin and the neck. Also, I would use the healing brush (in Adobe Photoshop) and clean any areas of the skin that need a little touch up. Finally, I think I would have lit the hair just a little more to add some highlight and contrast.
If you would have used a low-powered light under the subject and a disc reflector above to bounce some light on the hair, the image would have looked better.

I like hard directional lighting and, as usual, you did an outstanding job.

Thanks for the submission, good luck and keep shooting!

If you would like to submit a photo for critique, e-mail us at submissions@brickhousephotoschool.com.

Written by jeremyparce

February 19, 2009 at 12:57 am