Forums > Critique > Serious Critique > First Critique


Jeff Dixon

Posts: 6

Anchorage, Alaska, US

I'd appreciate some opinions of my port.  Strongest/weakest - suggestions.  Thanks!

Mar 28 13 12:47 pm Link


I Ference Photography

Posts: 1202

Brooklyn, New York, US

This is going to come off as harsh, but hopefully will help you improve your craft if you can understand that it is meant constructively, and work on some of the things I mention.

I think this is the only photo in your portfolio that is even salvageable as a starter image for a portfolio that will start getting you trade shoots with models that you'd want to be shooting with, although it is by no means great:

The rest suffer from a number of things, including terrible lighting, poor composition, no sense of model direction, no concept, and frankly, poor choices of models.

For lighting, perhaps invest in taking some classes, or offer to assist some local photographers who are producing quality work for free.  Unless it comes to you naturally, which it clearly doesn't, lighting is something that is generally learned through practice and through trial-and-error.  So maybe spend a lot of time studying the work of others, and see how you can incorporate lighting concepts you learn through practice and through study into your own work.

Look at some of the best model photography around, and study composition as well.  For the most part, it seems to be an afterthought in your work, if it was even a thought at all.  A random knee in the corner here, a hand hanging out of frame there, a shot taken with the camera held at some kooky angle - all point to a lack of thought in terms of composition.

Come up with concepts you want to shoot, and figure out well in advance of the shoot how to pull them off.  Random half-dressed woman in a dog crate wearing jewelry = bad concept, if any thought went into it at all.  Come up with something interesting and unique - perhaps that vintage car could be put to use!  And then figure out on set how to direct, dress, make-up, and so on your model so that they fit the concept, remembering lighting and composition, and perhaps start walking away from each shoot with better and better images.

And finally, it seems like you're going for a glamourous look with your photos.  Find models appropriate for glamour work.  The models you have are not age-appropriate, build-appropriate, or in any other way appropriate for the sort of work I vaguely get the feeling you're trying to create.  Of course, it's really hard to tell with such an amateurish sampling, but if you master the basics of lighting and composition, and practice, practice, practice, you'll get there!

Mar 28 13 02:00 pm Link


Jeff Dixon

Posts: 6

Anchorage, Alaska, US

Exactly what I was looking for.  Thank you so much for being honest and constructive!

Mar 28 13 02:51 pm Link

guide forum



Posts: 4254

Los Angeles, California, US

Maybe think about what draws you to your own images, and then try to detach yourself from that. For example, this image might say to you personally:

Nice girl, she was fun, easy to work with, pretty and adventurous, found a great location, photo is technically good, great angle...

But to me it might say:

Distracting background, wrong bra color, cliche pose, stiff jaw, tight lipped, etc.

True, only photographers or artists might notice those things, but working on those things can help convey your vision as you see it. The blue bra is the most distracting thing to me in the image.

The technical stuff isn't most important, it's all about intrigue and emotion. Get the models you work with to relax, pose more loosely, add some movement and all of a sudden you'll have more feeling conveyed through your images.

Keep on shooting!

Mar 29 13 12:52 am Link


Jeff Dixon

Posts: 6

Anchorage, Alaska, US

Great critique and advise!  Thanks for taking the time. 
As many times as I've looked at this photo, it's been the squinty eyes that bother me the most.  Now that you've brought it to my attention, my eyes go to the wrong colored and too bright bra right in the middle of the image.  Believe it or not, it never bothered me before like it does now! 
Critique your own images as if they are someone else's. 
Awesome advise, thanks again

Mar 29 13 01:37 pm Link


Thomas Lester Photo

Posts: 12

Jacksonville, Florida, US

As has already been mentioned, you need to get the photography part mastered.  Especially lighting. 

Photography skills aside, where you will get the most improvement in your work is in production.  The better you get at production, the better your work will become.  What do I mean by production?  Concept, styling, model selection, location, makeup, hair, props, etc.  None of your current images have the quality production you need for a good portfolio. 

Be pickier.  Be your own worst critic!  Shoot more.

Mar 31 13 11:17 am Link