Before You BeginBefore you successfully begin your own work it is helpful tocritique the work of other photographersWhen critiquing a photo all the various components areevaluated: good, bad, or indifferentCriticizing is different than critiquing. Criticizing is pointingout the negatives while when critiquing it is a balance of bothnegative and positive
Critique SessionsCritique session- or “crit” A very valuable tool for photographers Involves a group of people who carefully examine a selection of photographs Primary purpose- group analysisWen critiquing ask yourself three basic questions: What is good about it? What isnot good? How could it be better?Want to train your eye and learn to see clearlyBenefits of group critique: You can more fairly judge someone elses work ratherthan your own because youre not as close to it
Evaluating a PrintWhen evaluating a photo most people don’t know where to start and begin by saying whether they like it ornot Tend to like a photograph if they like the subject that is being photographed or visa versaA photographer wants to move away from one’s personal likes and dislikes and move toward seeing thetechnical, objective factors and evaluate themEssential distinction is between Style and StandardsStyle: Largely a personal matter. Overtime a photographer develops a personal individual style Each photograph also has a style of its own, a mood or interpretation. In the best photographs the style is consistent, resulting in a clear imageSkill is the key in Standards and they can be judged objectively
Four Basic FactorsValue, Clarity, Composition and PresentationIdeally the photograph will score well on each of these factors or be overallsuccessful
ValueValue concerns light- specially the Range of light in the photograph: black toshades of white and grayThe more contrast a photo has (the wider range between its dark and lightelements) the greater its value impact will beAlthough don’t be blind to photos always having contrast. A photo with all graysand no whites or black could be effective.One must be able to distinguish between good and bad grays Muddy grays: can result from under exposing, under developing, using an incorrect paper grade, over- exposing the print or removing it from the developer too soon
Improving ValueOnce one has determined that the photograph is weak the next question is “Howcould it be better?”The most common mistakes are made when the photograph is being taken Too little light: a dark muddy print Too much light: highlights (while ares) to be “washed out” or “burned out”How the film was handled can also effect the value of the pictures- keeping thefilm in the developer for too long or too short of time can result in complicationswith lighting and contrastAnther factor is the paper one uses. Paper grades allow the opportunity to adjustthe contrast up or down when making a print
Clarity A key factory is clarity. But not just whether or not the photograph is in focus but whether it is correctly focused. A subject can be either soft or sharp Sharp: all edges are very clearly defined Soft: the edges blur a bit See how the smaller branch in the front of the A good way to treat this is to determine which picture is in clear focus and the tree in the objects will be sharp, leaving other in softer background is blurry focus- leads the viewers eye to a focal point and makes the photo resemble normal sight Clarity also depends on having an appropriate shutter speed and an appropriate contrast between the subject and the background
Clarity (cont.) The relationship between the subject and background in a photograph has something to do with light and value with line and with composition Common mistakes: Photographing a dark image with a dark background If a subject in a photo is clear enough is can provide a context or setting
Improving ClarityFocus is common cause of poor clarity Generally caused by a failure to set the correct distance on the focusing ringAs the amount of available light decreases the photographer can deal with this is two ways: The shutter speed can de decreased or the aperture can be increased Aperture is increased- the lens get larger and the depth of field, or range of distance that will be in focus at any time, decreased Something will always be in focus it just may not be in the frame of the camera. The trick is to carefully focus as you use larger aperturesThird cause of poor clarity: As the shutter speed decreases, the chances of blurring a pictureincreases May be caused my “camera shake”
PresentationThe third factor to look for is the care and skill in which thefinal print has been producedPay attention to how clean the picture looks Look for satellites, glitches, scuzz, hickies or glop (stuff on the negative that should not be there) Also include fingerprints, scratches and dark circles Neatly trimmed edges, squared corners and proper adhesion
CompositionPoint of Interest Is there a point of interest? Does something stand out? A photograph should have a clear point of interest- a dominant element Usually the point of interest should be close to the center although not directly in the middle of the frameCropping After identifying the structure of the photograph consider the way it is framed Is it “tight”- is the frame filled with important elements or is there wasted space Black areas or negative space can enhance the picture’s impact but should also interact with the central image in some way Keep the frame clean and simple. Narrow in on whats important
Composition (cont.)A photo also has to have overall balance Is it top heavy, lop sided, boring? Can be balanced in two ways: Static or dynamic Static balance just sits there but can be quite effective Common way if achieving static balance is to weight the composition or concentrate its point of interest near the center Dynamic balance suggests movement Achieved by weighting the composition away from the center, toward one side or the other, or toward the cornersLines The lines and curves within a composition often have a tremendous effect on its impact A single line can “pull” or “point” the viewers eye toward or away from the point of interest
AestheticsFinally “style”- the elusive something that makes thedifference between a skillful photograph and genuine artSometimes a photograph can lack elements but work or visaveraA good way to start is to master the techniques of producingconsistently good photographs, and to train your eye torecognize the great ones that will eventually come alone.
Sample CritThe picture of the boy on the right demonstrates anequal and good balance of light. I feel like the picturehas a medium size range and contrast of its whites,blacks and grays. Although it may contain more whiteseeing how the boys face, hair and upper right cornerare very white compared to the rest of the image When looking at the clarity one can see that this pictureis more soft, seeing how the edges blur a bit with thebackgroundThe presentation of the photo is well done overall.Although there is a mark going from the top of the lipdown to his jacket that may or may not have been ableto edit outI feel like there is a clear point of interest and thephotograph does not contain wasted spaceThe slight tilt and not having the boys face to becentered add a certain style that pulls the viewers eyesto him Photo credits to The Photographic Eye Book
Photo credits to Picture People family photography portfolioThis photo demonstrates a more white than black and gray contrastThe clarity of this photo is that it is more soft than sharp because the edges of the people blurinto the white background.The presentation of the photo is good overall seeing how there are no scratches or mark on thepicture that should not be thereI feel like there is a clear point of interest in the photo. Even though there are three people inthis picture the focus is on the baby. I feel like the way the father is holing the boy up drawsattention to the child.
This photo has a clear balance of contrast between the colors in the image I feel like this picture is more sharp because the flowers’ edges are clear and crisp. Even though the background is blurry it draws more attention to the clear edges of the leavesPhoto credits to Jennifer Angeloro wedding photography The presentation of the picture is good because there are no visible marks or imperfections The photo has a clear point of interest due to the blurry background and vibrate colors in the bouquet, drawing attention to the flowers.
WORKS CITIEDAngeloro, Jennifer. "Wedding Photography Gallery." Wedding Photography Gallery - JenniferAngeloro Photography. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2013."Family." Picture People. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2013.OBrien, Michael, and Norman Sibley. The Photographic Eye: Learning to See with a Camera.Worcester, MA: Davis Publications, 1995. Print