Photo Critique with Daniel Gregory


One Hour Photo featuring Daniel Gregory


Lesson Info

Photo Critique with Daniel Gregory

So let's go ahead and bring up my Lightroom catalog, and this first one is from Andrea, and boy I'm trying to think of what country this is in. Yeah. So this is obviously in Paris, I have not been there myself, have you been there? I have not. So I have not had a chance to photograph it. And so, I think the first thing that you've done right is you've chosen a good time of day to photograph this. That blue hour, which is totally not an hour, it's like 10 minutes where the blue is at its peak, is a really good time, and so you gotta get yourself in the right position, what do you think? I really like the color, is absolutely wonderful in that juxtaposition of the blue and the yellow I think really works for the contrast. I also love the reflection that comes along the front edge. Yeah that little sheen on the water, nice. What would you say to improve? What would you have done after you have shot this picture? I would have probably opened my shadows up just a little more t...

o get a little more detail back in behind the water that's coming up. Mmhm. And then I might have brightened that water that's shooting up just a tiny bit. Because it's an interesting organic element against the man-made natural structure, but they're similar enough to me that they have that juxtaposition between a naturally occurring, and if the brightness, the luminosity value came up there just a tiny bit I would make that relationship a little bit stronger. What about you? I'm thinkin, I, the area over over on the right, the brighter blue, is kind of a lesser area and I'm thinking either I need to move left to get the pyramid to block a little bit of it or move the camera to the left and get more building in there, so I would just play around with the composition. I think they're there right at the right time of day. Oh absolutely. 'Cause you know where the light levels have got in the right light levels there, and so it's just a little bit of playing around with the composition. Yeah, and the orientation on the right's got more cyan in the sky versus the left and that tells you from the sunset to west. That cyan is holding off. Another two minutes there, she probably would have had that blue across the whole sky, as well. Right, right, good point, good point. Alright, well, thank you, Andrea, for that. Next up we have Ben Thompson, and I'm gonna say this looks like kind of heavy processing on this. That sky doesn't look natural, but then right now in Seattle we have these forest fires, and this is kinda what the sky looks like right now. What are your thoughts? I love the, kinda the person sitting there, looking out over the ocean, kinda lost in their thoughts. But it feels a little a little over-sharpened to me. And so what's happening with that is my eye is trying to grab about three or four different areas at the same time, and I'm losing that contemplative nature of a person in front of the ocean. And so I think if it wasn't quite as sharp, I would figure out what was going on and then I would be able to come back into the story element there. Now, one of the things that I don't know is, did he tell this guy to sit there? Does this guy just was sitting on the beach? 'Cause if it was his friend, I would say sit up a little bit higher so we can get more of a profile, rather than a slightly broken image there. I mean, I like the triangle through his arm and his leg, that's kinda nice, but having them a little bit higher up might be a little bit better. Good timing with the wave. I like that curtain of splash, of the mist there. I think that is good. And the sky, it looks strange. It looks a little bit on the strange side. Alright, thank you Ben. Do you do much nighttime photography? I do, I do a lot of nighttime. It's one of my absolute favorite times to photograph. And so it's, it's got the basics down. You know, it's properly exposed for the most part, it's in focus. I dunno, I'm lookin' for something, I would like something extra like, if there was water, which I'm pretty sure. Maybe seeing some more of that water. Yeah I think that uh, the reflection of the city back in that water, even if it was broken waves 'cause it was a little windy or something, would add I think an interesting element there. One of the things is, even with the cityscape or a landscape, I still want some element of a story there. Like, what is my eye, what is my interest there? What am I captivated by? And so that's the part for me, I feel like I just need a little more help in figuring out what is my compelling reason. Because yeah, I think from a straight-up exposure, technical standpoint, that's nailed. And so now it's just a matter of figuring out what is the, what is the signer element that you wanna find. And for me, I always tell myself every time I'm out photographing, I'm gonna photograph that. So I'm gonna get that, I'm gonna nail that, and then what's the next thing? If I'm gonna now give myself a little more freedom, would I focus in and make an abstraction, or would I play with the reflection only? 'Cause I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna have to get that out, I gotta get that city shot, I'm only gonna be here once. And then what is the next thing that would come out. So to me it would be I wanna see the next five or six shots after this one on the contact sheet, of what was the experimentation afterwards. 'Cause it's, yeah technically really well done I think. Yeah, I think it's really good to, you know, hone in on your first idea, just do it as clean as you can, and then start just playing with it and find where those creative juices take you on that. It would be interesting to see this with the blue sky from Paris, and so that adds a little element. And so if you can be out there during that, those blue hours, that's a good time to be out there. Or if you get in a great cloud deck, you get this really kinda creepy, 'cause as you're collecting for the lights you get that glow and sometimes it ends up a weird purple-orange, and yeah. Yeah, with the strange city lights that they have. I gotta tell you, this is one of my favorite images that I have reviewed, I love patterns. That's kind of an easy gimme on a shot. And I don't know where this is, it feels like an Inuit village up in Alaska. Yeah, so same, like, that's above the Arctic Circle. What are your thoughts? I love the juxtaposition of the white on white, and the little kind of pits that have come about, and the texture in the snow I think is really great. I would've, I think tried to maybe play a little bit like, not all, and trying to make sure all the crosses get separated a little bit, there's a little collapse and what that does is it's just flattening out the image. And it's got such great separation where they are distinct. But where they just touch and overlap a little bit, I think just in this case a eight inch shift to the right would've separated all the crosses. Right, 'cause there's the third cross from the left which is really intersecting there. So when I see an environment like this, I love this. Because now it's up to my freedom of moving left and right, up and down, to figure out where the magic spot is. And I don't know that they nailed it. I'm not gonna say that you didn't, because I wasn't there and I don't know how things line up and change as you move left and right. Yeah and there was a huge wall right there, you couldn't actually move. Yeah, yeah, but definitely this is the type of area where you need to scout it out before you, don't be rushing to take your first photo. You need to walk back and forth and around. Be careful about footprints on the snow, 'cause you can't back that up. And so you maybe start shooting from a distance, left and right, and figuring out where those things are. But I think the lighting, the pattern, even the sky is quite nice in there. And the color-wise, I love the warmth of this light coming in, and then the coolness of the snow and the shadow is still well-preserved. And looks like it's pretty well color-corrected in that regard. And so I think it's a really nice, having that warm cool balance is subtly done, really nice. Very good job there, you shoulda put your name on there, 'cause then you coulda got credit for this. Good job 35. Yeah, and so this is coming in from Danya Kent. And this, this is feeling like Washington, but I have a feeling this could be almost any place. And we've got some really nice colors going on in here. Yeah. Got some good cloud action too. That's always good when you got cloud action for these nature shots. What do you think about this front hay bale being exactly the same height as the horizon? That's my only, I think thing that sticks out for me is that, again, like the one we just saw has caused a compression in the frame. So now my foreground and background horizon have collapsed because they're on top of each other. Yeah, you just, you can't tell where the separation is. Yeah, and if that had been just up or down a tiny bit where that line, the back horizon line had been on its own, I think would've really taken up to the next level 'cause yeah, overall it's nicely done where there's not, it doesn't feel like it's artificially bright. The quality of light, the time of day is well respected. The juxtaposition of the greens and the magentas is beautiful. But yeah that, that would be my one thing I would wanna do is just move that horizon line, yep. A little up and down, checking that tripod. And that's so accurate, it makes it, I can't, it feels like it was done on purpose. That's what I'm kinda wondering. But, at the same time I have photographs like that, where I was so excited at what the clouds and everything was doing, that it just, I looked through and I'm like everything's right where it needs to be and, it's just captured that way, yeah. Alright, well thank you Danya for that. Next up, Fernando Gabriel-Vega. And I'm not sure where this is, but it looks like some sort of museum or major installation. Looks like a very cool place to shoot. It's got some interesting elements here. This is hard to shoot really clean, 'cause there's gonna be city and stuff in the background. Any thoughts on how to deal with that? So, I think, I see kinda three things jump out at me. I've got the three balls in the front, then there's the three planters that have the single trees in the back. So that's a slight repetition of pattern. And then there's the shape of the building, which has kind of got that triangle pointed down. But for me, the subject of this was those three balls that are in the front, because that's the foreground element, that's the first thing I've gotta work through. And so I would probably work on my composition of those three and their reflection in that reflection pool, and get that positioned how I want it first. And then figure out how to build the relationship between how those lined up to the kinda spaceship-looking building in the background. Because I would wanna play the roundness of the balls in the front against the dome of the building in the back probably. And then use the lines as a compositional element to kinda play the squares against the circles. But I would wanna try to separate those front a little bit more, and play with those three balls there. But this is one where some of the, one we looked at with the crosses, I could also see being pinned pretty easily, and being yelled at for being in the wading pool. And, you know, where can you be on the edge and where can you not? And so, but that would be the piece I would wanna play with is just try to really get a distinct foreground, a distinct midground, a distinct background all relate to one another, but allow me to experience them as separate pieces. And right now I kinda feel like the two balls on the right, and the point of that building coming down, they're in a weird intersection. And so I'm struggling with that little spot. And that also hits almost on a rule of third junction point. So my eye is gonna kinda gravitate towards there and try to figure that piece out. A little separation there I think would really take it. This is a really a hard visual puzzle, and I'm gonna tell you, my mind is just going completely different right now. And I'm just thinking that there's gotta be some just fantastic abstracts coming down here, just with the color and the texture of the water. And obviously can't play around with position and stuff, but down in here there's gonna be some interesting things. And obviously I'm not doing it justice right now. But the color and the texture of that water has some, it's a completely different shot, it's not the same shot better, something like that. But I think that water, that pool of water has some really interesting elements in there. Yeah that's really nice. And so you're on your way. So very good, thank you Fernando. Next up, Franklin Roman. And so, we haven't done too much portrait photography in here, but I think it's, very nice use of black and white and lighting on this. Mmhm, yeah, beautiful tones. Her skin tones look great. How would you print this? I would brighten it about, probably not quite a quarter of a stop. That'll separate some mid tones a little bit more. And then I would wanna probably print that on a, I'll print it on Exhibition Fiber probably, an Epson paper. It's got one of the, it's got a really beautiful deep D-Max. The new legacy papers do as well. It would also look beautiful on Hahnemuhle's Photo Rag. The photo rag holds the tonality, structure of black and white really well. And the one thing I would probably do is bring a gradient in across that top left, and I would just darken those highlights back there. Even though they're kicked out of focus, I'm on here and then I'm up in the upper left corner. And if I start to get to the edge of the frame I can start to get out of the frame, so it's just darken that upper left corner a tiny bit. But yeah, then brighten the whole image 'bout a quarter of a stop, and then yeah. Photo rag paper would be beautiful. Good, thank you very much for that. Well I think we're gonna have to cut it short here. Great. Thanks a lot for being a part of this, it's always great getting everyone's opinion on different ideas for photos. So thanks a lot everybody for tuning in to One Hour Photo. We'll be having another episode every month, we're just gonna keep adding to the collection. So thanks a lot for tuning in, and check us out next time around.

Class Description

Click here to ask John Greengo your questions for future One Hour Photos!

Every month, John gives you an hour of expert guidance and immediate feedback with student questions and critiques in this exciting new series we're calling One Hour Photo. John will also sit down with one guest photographer who will offer insights, advice and industry knowledge, and participate in a photo critique of student images. This month's guest is Daniel Gregory.

Daniel Gregory started his career working in the high tech industry. Wanting to have a more creative and passionate life, he left all those zeros and ones behind and now works as a fine art photographer and photographic educator based on Whidbey Island, Washington. A huge fan of the importance of the creative process and the photographic object/print/thing you hold in your hand, Daniel spends a great deal of the time in both the analog and digital darkrooms. Working in a variety of mediums, his current focus is combining digital techniques and technologies and applying them to alternative and historical photographic processes such as platinum printing, wet-plate, and mixed media. Check out his CreativeLive classes here.