Engagement Critique Part 1
We're going to run a slide show of all of the images that were submitted by all of you for all of the categories were going to run a slide show and you can kind of review and look at all of the photos and then we're going to break it down in the twenty selections for this category, so the first category we're doing is engagement and then after that we're gonna do bride and groom and I believe after that it is going to be a group portrait it's so let's get started. Well, run the slide show everybody all right, gang. Well, are you ready for some fun critiquing today? I have to tell you, when I had an opportunity to look at some of these pictures there, there are some images that just gave me goose bumps and and in a good way, andi, I don't if you felt that same way, scott, but I think that one of the things that we want to make sure that all of you out there are aware of is that in the event that there are some areas of weakness, you know don't feel bad about that embrace that critique b...
ecause the critique is not meant to hurt your feelings on believe me, I've had my prints critiqued, and I hate my prints scored a sixty five in competition one time, so it's not like I don't know how it feels to be there but one of the things that's great about that is rather than having somebody blow smoke up your backside and tell you oh, this is amazing I am so grateful that a judge was had the courage to say you know you have some areas of weakness so hope that all of you whether you're out in the audience or whether you're here in our live audience that you will you will take those critiques in a very positive way that there are men and know that we sincerely want you to be better photographers because at the end of the day we want those clicks of that shutter to be something that that that when you take that picture something that you could be really proud of and something more importantly that your clients are going to go absolutely crazy for so let's look at our first image and see what we've got here oh I loved this picture I think this is absolutely spectacular and let me tell you the things I liked about the image first of all the the way that they're interacting with one another is very real looking I'm usually not a fan of people that do the hdr kind of think is quite often it looks very gimmicky and it and most of the time for me I look at it becomes such a distraction this is one of the rare exceptions when I feel that the treatment actually works with the photograph. Well, why does it work? Well, one of the reasons that works is look at the tattoos that the gentleman has on the way that they're engaging with on one another it it has a very playful look to the feel of the photograph and because of that, I think that the hdr element doesn't caused me to go and feel that that is a distraction. I think it works it's very much in harmony. I am nuts about the composition and I love love love the way the maker shot through this open area because it draws you right into the scene. It's beautifully, beautifully done. I have a very hard time finding something that I would probably critique in and maybe lessen positive way. What about you, robert? Yeah, I love the I think the reason why I like this particular hdr is because the tone is not super crazy. And so when you look at the subjects and she's wearing a purple, she pops out. Sometimes when you do hdr and they really a saturate the colors it gets so busy, the subject's kind of get lost in this particular situation see how the tones air muted and so the way this person post process, the image I thought was very good and the angle is amazing it's a very intriguing angle and when you're using a wide angle lens like this it's very important to put the subjects in the middle because if he had the subjects out to the side and you're using a wide angle like this what's going to happen distortion yeah and so that this person was very careful about that and has great expression in it I like the fact that they're smiling and they're not there usually a lot of times when you do a pose like this and they're kissing their their faces air so pressed together that it distorts the kind of the face but in this case they're just kind of smiling at each other so you can see the beauty of each of their faces and very well done yes erica have been as just a strong if it wasn't hdr I don't see that that would have been you know that I don't think that that would have harmed it to be less you know, I don't think that would be taken away from it and I think that's to me the key is that when you've done the hdr and it would look great with or without that's when maybe it works and it's appropriate you know one of the other rules the general rules and photography is that when you see fingers they don't like you to curl the fingers like this generally that's a big no, no. Now, in this photograph, you see that the guy is basically doing just that, but because this photograph is very editorial in nature it's not supposed to be so perfect not all the traditional rules of perfection apply, so it actually means more, and it looks more believable that he's got his arm wrapped around her the way that a guy would generally do it. There is one area that I think I would like to maybe have just a little bit of a critique for, and that is where the lighting is place. It looks like the flash is actually coming from they probably put a flash in the back seat because it's it's aimed up at them from the standpoint of what looks really, it doesn't quite look riel, and it isn't, you know, it's not really the where it were like would appear, however, because again going back to the editorial nature, it's one of those things that you can forgive him for because the overall image is so strong that you don't notice it right away and it's not a distraction, I, you know, that's an interesting question that you brought up about black and white I probably would have done this in black and white myself, because whenever I I like to kind of feature emotion then a lot of times, I turn it to black and white, so you're just looking at the emotion and that kind of comes out with that, and I probably would have done the lighting as strong as mentioned a probably just would have hit it with a little video life, because what it gave it a little bit more of a photo journalistic feel to it, but, well, then, that's, great image, and just one thing about the black and white c. I would not have made this image in black and white, because, and I think that it was very smart of them to keep it in color and here's. Why? Because the front seat of that car is black to me. If we keep that. If there is just if it becomes a monochrome image, where it's all black and white, I think they get lost, and because she's wearing that pop of color, you noticed that pop of color, by the way, is an opposite on the color wheel to kind of the awkward tone that's in the front seat of the car, as well as that awkward tone that's on the back wall. So it really to me, draws your eye even more powerfully towards the subjects in the back seat, and I think if it was all monochrome, just black and white, we might it might lose a bit of its impact, so just my for whatever worth but create image yes, look, I think it was about to lose a lot of its death, so but very well done maker. Okay, um, I'll tell you the things I like about this particular image. First, I love the playful nature of this photograph. I think the maker, you can tell that the that the subjects really liked the maker, and I think that's really important, you know, if the subject doesn't like you, if there's no connection between you and your subject, you haven't got anything, you could take the best technical photograph, but if they're doing their laundry in their head because there's like, get me out of here, you've got a big fat zero, so I really would like tio commend the maker for engaging with their subject. I think they did a nice job on that. I also liked the playful pose of this photograph, it's in keeping with what they're wearing, and so many times we have a tendency to to feel like, you know, we learned a particular pose, and we feel that we want to put everybody into that particular pose, because maybe we learned that's a technically perfect way to do it, but if you look at the way that their clothing the kind of gown that she's wearing it's very casual it's very playful you know it doesn't have that traditional feel to it so I think that pose is really, really important when it comes to the way that you interpret a story for particular client. There are a couple of areas of weakness though, and the area that to me stands out is the direction off light if you look at the light on their faces, the light the main light is coming more from up above their heads. It's not coming in from you know about forty five degrees this way towards the mask of the face and what happens when the main lights coming from two high you get dark circles in the eye sockets and they get they look like we call them raccoon eyes, so that would be something that you would need to change that direction of lightness a variety of different ways to do that, and I'm sure you will probably address well, the easiest way without bringing in any additional light is is if you my general rule is putting the nose towards the light. Ok, so in this particular case because you're getting the raccoon eyes where's the light coming from above, okay, I always liked to s so that means that their nose should be upward this way and that would take out some of the raccoon eyes okay, this shadow stamp, but the problem is I'm short, okay, and if I had my subjects looking up, I don't really necessarily like shooting up a person's nose. So how could I solve that? If I get around lower than the light will be coming from above, and you could shoot down on them this way? And in my experience, I've never known anybody to be taller than me all they're sitting down, and I'm not a super tall person, so you could always kind of use that technique and get some of that lighting where it needs to be, and I always kind of remember that general rule is kind of put the nose towards where the light is, and then if if they're looking up in their higher than you, then you have to get them down in some way, you know, one of the other things that could have been done in this, addressing that lighting is if they had turned it, if she had just brought her face towards him, because whenever you have two people, if the light is coming from directly up above it's been my experience if I can't, if I don't, if I can't get them both looking towards the light that might look a little bit artificial, what can I do with what I've got? Well there's two answers to me the first one is that maybe instead of her them live here stamp scott on going to take my shoes off so that I could be short in the scott thank you there you go okay so yeah and you'll don't faint because my feet smell because ok so now let's let me just address this the second I'm going to demonstrate you guys how we might do this ok well the first thing I tried to do is I need to get his body energy leaning towards her so scott you see how you can you can rock back and forth on your feet you go this way and you could go that way well that's what I need him to do I'm going to have him rock towards me this way because that's going to bring this shoulder towards towards the young lady now in her case you noticed that she's kind of standing behind him would you agree that's kind of like me like this is this is kind of the way the pose is done and now she's kind of looking out like this like hi mom but instead notice how beautiful it would be is if turn your face towards me this way live it actually turn your shoulders this way a little bit this way and now with your chin lean towards me see now by having her look towards him you see how that could become more believable with the two of them? It kind of draws them and connects them together one of the other things that I dio as a always on a routine basis I bring a stepladder with me wherever I go. I'm only five foot one and I love having my stepladder wherever I go because it gives me a chance to change the perspective so that, for instance, in a wedding gown it might be difficult for her to get down on the ground in her down. So then what can I do with what I've got? So in that case, then having my stepladder with me would be a really great element to bring along. One of the other things that you could do when it comes to lighting your photographs is bring a reflector with you because you can change the direction of light by using a reflector sometimes I know folks use it. Bring a video light along. I love the jerky onus ice light that's my favorite light modifier also there's a new like all the the lowell g l one that is also really good for giving you to change the direction of light as well. So there's a variety of different kinds of tools, you know, I'm sure scott, you could probably talk a bit about how you could incorporate a bit of flash in a very nice way to yeah, this is there a lot of flat lighting? So sometimes if you bring in flashing and if you're not careful about it, you're going to make it look too artificial so you try to have to match the lighting so if you're in a soft light situation, you want to use soft light now how do you know whether or not you're in a soft light or a hard light? Well, you look at the shadows if their saddles are very soft and diffused, then you're in a soft like situation so if you come and use flash, which is hard light because it's light coming from a small source it may not match the situation and it's gonna look artificial is going through it all off, so in this particular case, if you want to use soft light, then maybe just throw it through a simple shoot through umbrella and make the light larger in you're going get a better it's gonna look a lot better so just something to think about yes, we subtracted playing something overhead work to have the exposure on their face open I guess it could yeah, definitely as long as you're taking that shadow away and you're creating some sort of even lighting situation so ok, so let's look at from a practical standpoint, what could we use that is already there that could mimic the something to subtract the light from overhead so you can use the black side of a reflector over their heads, but what's right there that we can use frayed and their shape, right get under a tree, because then that's a natural goebel, which causes the light it has to go, you know, under that or around that tree you that you could alter that that angle right there it would be, I think, would really make it for a very nice make it better. Good job. This was one of my favorite images. I think this is really well done. There's a variety of things about this photograph that I think the maker did very well. First of all, look at the position of the young lady. Do you notice how her legs were separated? That's an important element in this picture? Because when you're doing a silhouette, if you have those legs too close together, they're going to appear like one large blob. But do you notice how her body energy it doesn't she's not just sticking her arm out with her feet flat, like she's not doing this with her feet planted flat. It looks very that that would not look very believable, it would look very fake to me. And so I love the fact that she's kind of leaning back on her back leg a little bit and then bring your hand out towards the groom I love the fact that he's leaning towards her slightly and you know, it's funny because even the horse's legs are are separated just a little bit, so I think the maker did a very, very nice job of composing and exposing of this image. I love this image on my like this silhouette the way that it's post process with that blue hue behind it and I love the concept where, you know, they got it's like a his and her moment and coming together, right she's a horse girl and he's a motorcycle guy, they're different, yet they're coming together and you really feel that kind of dramatic feeling of coming together, so I thought it was an excellent, you know, one of the other things I liked about this and I think the maker did a really nice job when it came to the composition of this photograph. Do you notice how from the motorcycle to the groom to the bride to the horse that there is a strong diagonal line that creates a beautiful triangular shape composition so you can tell that the maker knows what they're doing and composing and exposing their image properly? And, you know, I think that's really an important element for us photographers to keep in mind it's not just spray and praying we don't want to just you know just take a brazilian pictures and hope you get a good one by accident I think that the photographer who learned to compose who learned to expose properly and who learns to pose the image properly is going to be someone that still sought out after broad you know by brides and grooms long after this the spray and paid to play the spray and pray people are gone because a client may not know why they like a particular image but they know that they like it and this is orderly and elegant and the maker has done a nice job and you could really tell that they know what they're doing and that they took skill for them to get there he's got why don't you talk about this one? This is a very popular kind of technique that a lot of photographers they're doing in wedding photography where they you know have a flash behind um and light it it's very effective when you're shooting when you're photographing rain or smoke if you want to see it you've got to hit that rain either the light has to come from behind or on the side to see the rain if you're trying to photograph rain and you have the say of flash on your camera and you fire that yourself, you're not going to see it and it creates that kind of, you know, romantic feel with the rain and then you get that rim lighting around I love the way that they pose the's subjects where the I like the almost kind of kissing right and he's kind of going in front of her she's leaning forward he's leaning in and then you have the umbrella and you've been this person exposed for the background so he's got that trail of light coming in towards them you know, on I love that one little thing is it may be if they just had the subject's move over a little bit they would have been more in the center of those type of lives coming down but that's not a big thing um b I would say, you know, when I look at an image and you kind of squint at it you get to see what is the brightest point of this image so if you're swimming at the image what do you see? First the veil you see the bail, right? Well, I see the umbrella so that's actually taking my own my eye away from them. So during post processing I would cut that down a little bit so I would see them what do you think about this image? I actually like the way they did it there's a lot of things I like about this photograph taken like first the first thing I'm like, as I love the fact that they're not quite kissing, but they look like they're gonna kiss and it looks really I think they did a really good job on making this very sexy, beautiful romantic moment look more believable. It drives me crazy when you see a bride and go when they kind of do the fish face thing where they're going to, like, kiss, like two guppies or something. And I think that the maker did a very nice job of directing their couple toe look believable. I agree with you. Maybe I might have changed and used a dark umbrella said that my I would go straight to the couple. I feel that it is a little bit of a distraction, but the real to me, the real thing that pulls my eye a bit away from and making it look less believable is the fact that her arm I feel that her arm, her elbow is up a bit too high and holding our skirt. It looks like the photographer told her, you know, pick up your skirt and then lean forward a little bit. I would like to have seen her that body energy. Leaning more towards the ground let me give demonstrate that what we're talking about so for instance, you have this couple he's actually I love the way he's supposed where he's tilted into her I think that's very beautiful but you see how that she's gotten because she's got this elbow leaning up like this, I think I would like to have seen her more maybe go like more like that need to see what did I do differently? You see now my elbow isn't up in my shoulder is not up and now my body energy is flowing. You see how that my body energy flows towards the groom so it doesn't look like it's competing. I feel I feel that it's like the bottom half of her body is saying no, but her face is saying yes, ok, so we want the whole body and say yes and to make as a general rule, you can always try to keep the hips together so looks like there's some sort of connection there, and whenever you're doing a romantic pose, you have to feel the connection either you know, like bam, alexis, put that hand and pull it to your face. There has to be a some kind of physical connection if you're going to do a romance tipos, but very nicely done, but it's great image okay um I really like this photograph all time we had some very strong images in this category I love the placement of the subject and it actually looks like the birds or really it doesn't make me think ah photoshopped work, you know, and sometimes when and to me that's the difference between something that has been done successfully and the work that has been done in post production that looks artificial this looks like it was really looks like it it really the birds were really there and the fact that the birds were kind of framing this subject I think works really nicely. The other thing that I love is I love the way that this young lady is posed I think she looks very elegant and she looks very relaxed the groom on the other hand I feel he's a bit too static and his feet are pretty much planted side by side so I feel that she's got she's got it going on his body is saying no, no, no she's saying yes, yes, yes and so I'm not feeling quite as much of a connection from his side as I would from her side I'd also like to see just a tad a whisper of space between the two of them what do you think if he had the groom just he's standing like this right? And my general rule is if weight is equally on both legs and the spine is perpendicular to the ground that's going to crawl cause a stiffness in your photo? What happens if he just maybe even took a step up a little bit forward like this into her? Um it might have made it a little bit better I love this image still it's great this person I mean have a lot of graphic design experience, I think because the composition is really great and with interesting is about this is that you usually see clouds up above, but this is opposite so that you could see the siegels or the birds or whatever the silhouettes of that so that was very creative on that part and if it it's something that you don't see it quite often so the creativity on that was great. Excellent oh, this photograph I think is really gorgeous. I love the composition and I love the mood of this picture and you know this this really is I think one of the important things that you know I have to think about when we are composing pictures and or when when we are exposing them, we have to think about what is the story about and how am I going to tell the best story with what I have the fact that he's shirtless and that she's wearing just a t shirt that is why I think that beautiful mood that kind of blew cast and the fact that they're in the shadows I think that works very very effectively because it all interprets that story very very well and for those of you that are out in the audience today want you to really think about the way that you light a photograph that sometimes the best way to light a picture is to subtract light from it to tell a better story that sometimes we think we have to over and over light things and that and this is a good example that if you were if they had over lit and exposed for the subject and perfectly illuminated hiss face I think it would lose its um it would lose its magic I love this photo when I first opened it up and solving whoa nice and I think that's that creativity of not making the lights so obvious on the subjects that really makes it have a cool look to it also it's kind of one of in this has the feeling of being in a hotel room because of the television on the wall it's kind of old school uh you know I'm not sure if it would work but I would almost like to see it almost in black and white too because the lighting is so strong and the silhouettes and then that red on the tv kind of distracts me just a tad it. And if I could get just the opposing, could just be a little bit more refined. I think this was just like the amazing picture, but I love the idea and the mood and the tone and the lighting coming through, uh, it's been really well done, see, and and I'm on the other side of the coin. I would not have made this a bridge in black and white, but only because, and I think, actually the tv to me really finishes off the story, and I'm thinking in my mind, if it were in black and white that we would not necessarily know what that was, it would not give context to what that is on that wall, and it might start looking a bit like a frame on the wall instead of a t v, and I think the warm tones of the tv kind of tie into his warm, the warmth of his of his chest in of his body. I do agree that there is a bit of finessing on the pose that needs to be done in the area. To me that I would that I find a bit distracting, is close to where her hair meets her shoulder. I feel that it's a little bit messy down here under her neck because of the way their hair is. But I'm not going I don't wanna go too crazy with that because I have to think about the context of the image and the fact that this is you know, kind of in a hotel room or in a bedroom scene and you can't sometimes you can kill a picture by making it too perfect and say well let's fix that hair under the under your neck and then it takes an image that had this sexy romance to it and makes it it makes it too antiseptic um but I especially liked the way that they have the light has skimmed across his chest I think that the placement of the subject in this photograph was done very, very masterfully and that it really showcased this young man's beautiful his beautiful body if there's for areas of critiquing there's two things that I would like to have seen done the first one is I want to have their faces just a whisper maura part said that their faces don't mesh together that that there is a bit of a different screen to his nose and hers and the second area that I find a little bit distracting is there's a strong vertical line that goes from the top of his head right see where his forehead is that goes up that dark area of that vertical line is a bit of a heavy line for me and whenever you have a strong vertical line and a photograph what it does is it splits a picture into two pieces and so I would like to see the maker go back and just take that down a little bit just pull it down in strength so that's not quite so so such a distinguishable vertical line and I think they're going to have just a really beautiful picture yes left shop like this the other way that they could fix that in the actual image making um, yeah, I think it would be super easy just to take it down into other shopping basically and photo shop you just create another layer in fact, what I would have done if this for me is I would have just taken and pulled a little bit of the area just to the right of that strong vertical on I would have grabbed a piece of that and then moved it on top of that and then just blended those two pieces together so that it doesn't remove it completely. I wouldn't want to get rid of it considered because I think it's just it just is just a little bit too strong but still a beautiful image. I realize this is an apartment because I thought because we saw the image is usually this big but now I feel big that's a refrigerator right there, okay, now I get it anyways, ok, ok um I love the way that the maker chose to interpret these two people I think that they did a very nice job they looked like there's a lot going on there it's a little bit busy for me on part of what's pulling it away from just from a competition or a critiquing thing I think I'd want them if you have a choice on clothing that's that plaid blanket I think it's just a little bit much and it sounds I know you're probably rolling your eyes right now going really bm but you know from the standpoint of critiquing I have to fight to see their faces because the blanket is there and the thing is is that you've got this beautiful harmony this this beautiful soft light that they've got going on and then it intersects with that hard plaid blanket and I think that that's a bit too much the other thing that I would have liked to have seen the maker do is I think this image would have benefited from a different camera angle ah higher camera angle would have changed that the horizon line that intersects with their shoulder and because I love those yellow tones of the flowers to me that's very harmonious with the feel of her blue jeans and his blue jeans and the feel of them as lovers I think all of that works in harmony but because we have those two intersecting lines of the dark shot in the dark areas that are right by the head and then the light areas that are with the yellow flowers are I think that creates against splits a picture into two pieces and I feel that that is a little bit of a distraction. I love lens flare and I think that you can use length, slur and that's when the sunlight is actually coming into the lens of the camera and I think it could be done very, very nicely and still look beautiful in this photograph. One of the other things that you could have done was lower your camera angle so that instead of having the subject have their heads right through that background, maybe their heads would have been in the white sky and then also you see in a girl that tall grass photograph from behind some of that grass so that you have that tall grass and then it's in front of your subject because that gives your image depth and dimensionality. All right, now I get to talk wait she's got no ok, I like the idea of the blanket and putting them together but maybe I would have thrown the blanket on the ground got them on the ground and like family said photograph with the weeds I mean that whatever the grass that's growing up because it's so much part of the image and what this particular photo let's say you know, you just wanted to shoot this and improve it just the way it is. I perhaps would have shot at landscape. I know a lot of times I know a lot of photographers who are a little bit inexperienced, always shoot portrait. Why is that it's? Because it's, easy to fill up the image with a portrait and not have to worry about composition, anything else, but once you turn the frame this way, our landscape, then you've got incorporate mohr to the images that sometime that's, hard for photographer to deal with. But in this particular situation, I think it would have looked better if you would have did it landscape and just kind of caught their interaction, because I don't really need to see down lower of their body, and just on the upper half would have been great and see scott that I saved that segment for you. Thank you. That was just amazing. I mean, she's like.