CRITIQUE SESSIONS• There are three basic questions you should ask yourself before analyzing a photograph. 1) What is good about it? 2)What is not good? 3) How could it be better?• Most people find it easier to critique someone elses picture because you won’t have a connection to it, that’s why group critique sessions are always a good idea.
EVALUATING A PRINT• Start by asking yourself the three questions.• Most people would start by deciding if they like the photo or not.• Your goal is to go behind the likes and dislikes and evaluate the style and standards.• Each photograph has a individual style, however, liking the style is a personal matter and it doesnt’t decipher if the picture has skill or not.• Next, look at the standards. Standards include value, clarity, composition, and presentation. If a photographer scores well in all of these, then it must be a great photo.
VALUE• Value in a photograph concerns the a amount and range of light it has from black through shades of gray to white.• The more contrast or range of dark to light a photo has, the more visual impact it will have on the viewer.
IMPROVING VALUE• There are many reasons why a photo could be improved. They are… 1)Incorrect exposure 2)Too little light, which causes a “muddy’ print 3)Too much light, which causes white highlights. 4)How the film is processed: Make sure it doesn’tstay in the developer too long.• In order to keep these mistakes from happening consistent dark room habits are the fix.
CLARITY• Clarity is the second key factor in a photograph.• Three questions to ask: 1)Whats in focus? 2)What should be in focus? 3) Then look whats not in focus, why is it not?• If a photo is correctly in focus, then it will have either sharp or soft edges.• Sharp edges are clearly defined and soft edges blur more with the photo.
IMPROVING CLARITY• Focus is the most common problem, generally caused by failure to correctly set the distance on the focusing ring.• The photographer can make up for this lack of light by decreasing the shutter speed or increasing the aperture.• Another problem could be if your object is moving or “camera shake”.• A photographer cannot do much if th object they are shooting moves, however, they can place the camera on a surface to help prevent “camera shake”.
PRESENTATION• A photographer should always examine the final copy.• Look for white flecks, glitches, scuzz, hickies, or glop. Also look or, finger prints, scratches, or dark circles caused by poor agitation while developing.• Overall, follow the instructions, use cleaning tools, and keep the darkroom dust-free.
COMPOSITION• Point of Interest: 1) Does it stand out or is it lost in the surrounding confusion? -There should be one clear point of interest and it should be near the middleof the frame, but not right in the center.• Cropping: 1) is it “tight” –is the frame filled with important elements, or is there wastedspace?” -Always try to keep a clean, simple idea.• Lines: -Even the smallest, single line can draw the viewers eye to or away from thepoint of interest, causing it to increase or decrease the photographers mainidea.• Aesthetics: -Aesthetics is similar to style. -Sometimes, a photographer could have all the right elements but still have itnot work. Other times, the right elements combine and create a greatphotographer. -To proper way to start is to master the techniques of consantely producinggood photos.
SAMPLE CRITIQUE• The photo I chose from the book is the black and white photo with the window and the starfish in it.• The first thing I noticed about this photo is the good value it holds. The more of a range it has from dark to light, the more impact it will have on the viewer and this photo has just enough light. However, I do think it could use some more light in the top right corner. This photo also has good clarity. I can tell that the starfish is the focus and its placed well in the photo because its not completely centered, its shifted a little over to the side. Another thing about the clarity is that it has sharp edges, which means everything, especially the starfish, is clearly defined. Overall, looking at the presentation I think the photo is a goo presentation because there are no marks or anything that leaves signs of agitation.
This photo was taken by Michael Potts. He is a wildlife and landscape photographer and travels all over the world to get great pictures. I like this picture because its main focus is a beautiful bird. The value of the photo is good and I like how its dark around the bird because it makes it easier to see whats in focus. Also, the clarity in this photo is good because the viewer can clearly tell whats in focus and the photo also has soft edges. Overall, the final presentation looks good, however, since we are looking at it on the computer it makes it harder because we cant see the final copy. Because of that dilemma, we cant tell if there are white spots, scratches, or anything else that shouldnt be there. Therefore, we go by what we see and I think the presentation look good.HTTP://WWW.MICHAELPOTTSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM/GALLERY/
This photo is by Marco Ryan called “ Captive hand”. The firstthing I noticed that I think is goof about this photo is how itsperfectly focused on the hand. Its shifted off to the side andthat makes it more interesting. With that said, this photo hasgood clarity. The photo also has good value because it hasa good ray of dark to light lighting effects. Also, thepresentation looks good as well. Even though this photo is ona computer, it doesnt’t seem to effect the presentation verymuch, which is a great thing. Finally, the composition isperfect because the point of interest sands out and is not lostin the black mesh.