Critiquing3 Basic Questions to ask: What is good about it? What is not good? How could it be better? A 4th question that could be asked is where do you start? This is usually done in groups Critiquing can be both negative and positive comments Fact: It’s harder to critique your own work because you’re closer to it.
Style It’s a “stylistic theme that connects all the images of a photographers work together”, its “interpretation, mood personal matter”.
Standards It is skill, factual not opinionated. It includes 4 things: Value Clarity Composition Presentation
Value Value is the range of light from black to gray to white. The more contrast the longer you have to develop and “greater visual impact”. It is good to look for contrast though there are exceptions, for example if its all the same color then there is no interest in the photo. Having shades and defining shapes are good elements to have. Grays: clear grays are good, muddy grays aren’t so good.
Value A question to ask yourself would be “How could it be better?” To think about: if it looks muddy then there is not enough light exposure, if it has highlights then there is too much light exposure. To get more contrast you can leave it in the developer longer, if you leave it in shorter then it will be too low and look weak.
Clarity Clarity is the correct focus. There are two major kinds of focus: Sharp Focus Soft focus Sharp Focus- clearly defined, “less distracting”, accentuates. Soft Focus- edges blurred, though it can “obscure blemishes and enhance the mood, make it dreamy”. Questions to ask: What’s in focus? What should be in focus? What’s not in focus? Why not?
Clarity The Focal Point should be the center of interest. The shutter speed and “degree of contrast between the subject and background” will affect the clarity as well. Same with the light, value, and line of composition. Depth of field- range of distance that will be in focus at any time, it decreases when aperture increases. After you focus you shouldn’t move. Also, “camera shake” is very common when your focus is very low, to keep it from happening use a tripod or something that will keep your hand and camera steady.
Presentation Presentation is “how clean it is”. If there are white specks such as glitches, scuzz, etc…, fingerprints, scratch es, and/or dark circles(from poor agitation) then its not clean. What is clean is if there are neatly trimmed edges, squared corners, and “proper adhesion to the mat board”.
Composition Point if interest: Is there one? Does it stand out? The photo should have “a single dominant element” that should be near the middle. Cropping: The way it is framed. Is it tight? Filled or wasted space? “Negative space or blank areas can enhance a photo if it interacts with the central image”. Balance: top heavy, lopsided or boring? Two ways: Static- just sits there, weight the composition near center. Dynamic- movement, weighing composition away from the middle, in the corners.
Composition Lines: “Can “pull” or “point” viewers eye towards or away from the point of interest. Increasing or decreasing the photos drama. There should be “Visual Tension”.
Aesthetics “Style”- “elusive something that makes the difference between a skillful photograph and genuine art. Photos will have all the elements but they work together and other photos will be missing some of the elements and it will work very well. It’s like “magic”. A photo having something or not having something.
Practice: (This Photo is fromthe Developing a Critical EyeChapter in a book)
This photo was taken by JoePellicone, Called “On TheWaters Edge”