Photo Critique with Ian Shive


One Hour Photo Featuring Ian Shive


Lesson Info

Photo Critique with Ian Shive

So let's switch gears here, and I'm gonna pull up our Lightroom program and were gonna take a look at some of our viewers. So this is Barbara-- Polignano. Polignano, very nice. Okay, so we can, now we've got the credit out there. So, I'm thinking kind of urban Route 66. Yeah, right! One of the things I've noticed about you is you use a really good cloud filter in all your pictures, you seem to attract good clouds. Yeah, I wish, yeah. I think we got some here, what do you think? I'm a conjuror of clouds, uh, yeah, I love it, I mean, great skies they change the shot instantly. And, being able to recognize that, you know, you can always tell an outdoor photographer because they're always looking up. They're always looking at the weather, what's happening, what's shifting, what's changing, you know, you become sort of a meteorologist of sorts. So for me, I love that, I love the color and texture that's going on, definitely getting the Route 66 vibe. It looks like there may be...

a little too bright of a spot on the camper itself, but the eye is drawn to it anyway, so I don't know that it's necessary. Yeah, I was wondering how they lit that, either it was flashlight long way off, but it kind of looks, if you look right around the edge of the trailer, it looks like they just went in and posted light, the whole thing in. Yeah. And they accidentally light some of the clouds up a little too much. Yeah. And so I think maybe that could be backed off just a smidgen there. Yeah, I agree with you on that. Good, good shot, where it is in the frame, the composition works, ya know, it's got the rule of thirds going, so (mumbles) a good job. Yeah, the one minor little thing is over on the left hand side there's like a pile of stuff there. Yeah, I see that. I might've tried to shoot closer, with a wider lens, to get the same composition, same clouds basically, And avoid that or just shift position a little bit because it just doesn't look right. Yeah, I agree, yeah. That'd be one area of minor improvement, but in general, I like the image a lot. Great catch, yeah. All right, so, good thinking going vertical on this Who's this guy? Oh, let's, thank you very much Pattie! Pattie Look!. All right, and so, I like when people remember to turn their camera vertical. Yes. I like when I remember to turn my camera vertically. Any idea where this is? 'Cause those look like, that's mighty unusual. Ya know, It almost looks like California. Okay. In a way, um, it could be, it's hard to say. I'll tell ya, the one thing I like about this right out of the gate, straight horizon line. Yeah! They did a good job. I like when you're paying attention to your horizon lines. Good job! Ya know, if they're crooked, they should be embraced as crooked, (laughter) Ya know, It really should move the composition forward. And, it's easy to get something like this wrong. It is, it is. It becomes very, very obvious very quickly. Yeah, that's true. I'm feeling that maybe they could've got a little closer to that one rock group in the front because there's that one little thing off on the left hand side that kind of half runs out Yeah, I agree. And if they got closer to the main one, they might've been able to avoid that and even have more impact. Yeah. Having that fill, rather than a third of the frame, almost half of the frame. Yeah, that's true, I do like that the lines move up through the frame. Right. I think that works, but I do think that because that one rock is different from the rest, too, your eye goes to it, and it is a little distracting, but at the same time, generally speaking, I think it's the right idea, for sure. Yeah. And it's a good composition. So if you saw this out in the field, how many photos would you take in order to kinda fine tune your composition? To get it right? How long do you think? As many as it takes. (laughter from both) Good answer! And with digital, there's no cost to that. That's true, except for your hard drives. Yeah. So we threw in something non-nature and landscape on this. I like that. And so, I love symmetrical photos. Me too. This kinda fits into that, what are your thoughts? Symmetry. Beautiful symmetry. I like the shot a lot. I think, hm, interesting. I mean, it's almost a little... The actual aspect ratio of the frame, looks like maybe it's been cropped, or shot in a different format potentially. I love the feel, emotionally, I get a very strong reaction to it. It looks like it could be a movie set, it could be a historic photo, it could be a modern photo when you start to look at it, so it gets the mind and the eye wandering around a little bit, Right. You know, I'm on the fence on whether how high in the frame the bridge is, I almost wanna see more of the street, I almost just wanna see more, all the way around. Right, I was having the same feeling. It kind of felt like it naturally should be a vertical image. Yeah. And, part of me, ya know, your eye goes to color, and all of that is kinda that center, bottom, and I kinda wanna see more. Right. So part of me wants to see more of that, part of me says oh well, you're hiding it from me, it's a bit of mystery so I kind of accept that to some degree. Right. I think there's some other nice versions of this, but I think this is really nice without really any specific faults. Yeah, I would agree with that, who's image was it? Terrie K! Thank you very much. All right, and let's get the name out of the way on this one right way, Melissa Brookmire. Uh huh. All right, so we're shootin' sunset, and, uh, looks like we got some really nice clouds and it is hard to resist when you get cloud lighting like that. Yes, it is. I mean you just find something to put in front of it when you get a sunset like this. Ya know, you just find a foreground, find something, I don't care what it is, just get in frame! Let's go! We're gonna do this. Ya know, but, that's the challenge because it's so easy to get excited by great conditions, that you might not always be in a place to make a great image. I probably, if this were me, I probably would've changed this composition significantly. I like that she's recognizing the opportunity, and now I think the composition itself would need to be more addressed, probably approach it more from an artistic perspective, get lower, get down in those rocks, probably shoot a vertical, bring the clouds, the rocks, slow exposure, the waves, the sunset, might even wait for the sun to go behind the horizon to get more of that approach to it. It misses the mark a little bit for me, but I do like a lot of the elements of knowing the right time are already there, it just needs to be worked a little more. Yeah, I think the top half of the frame is quite nice. It's not a lot of your doing, but it's your timing, and being in the right place at the right time. Absolutely. The bottom half is kind of muddy and dark, and we would like something interesting beyond just the sunset because sunsets attract a lot of cameras but I don't know a lot of photographers that kind of like "I'm a professional sunset photographer." Right. It's just an added element on top of everything else. It's in my bio, actually, I'm a professional sunset photographer. Oh, that's a magazine, I think. (laughter from both) Nice. All right, so we're gonna look at some close up work here from Louis Kendy Etienne. We've got a bumblebee on some sort of flower here. Macro-photography is challenging, do you do much macro? I love it, yeah. I do it whenever I have the patience for it, it's so challenging and time consuming, and this is, you know that it took probably a lot of tries to get this. Yeah, yeah. And, so having the macro lens that can focus really close, probably like a 100 or 200 millimeter macro lens. They've got some nice lighting on this. They did. I don't know if it's artificially lit, or they have nice cloudy day but they got good light on this one. Yeah, definitely good light. I like that there's an eye light on the bee itself. Yeah. Nice, even light, yeah, could be overcast, could be artificially lit, it's hard to to tell, because we don't have enough information about that, but generally, I like that the flower is completely in frame. Yes. It's not over-cropped and so it gives you a sense of place even though that place is very small. Yeah, I'm not sure about the bright, out of focus thing right behind the bee, and so possibly, if that was like in your backyard, like, "Ooh, we forgot to move the lawn mower." Right. (laughs) Didn't move the lawn mower out of the way, that one thing, but they nailed the sharpness, they nailed the exposure, I think they got good composition on it so well-rounded photo, I think. Yeah, nice job, nice work. Who's was that? Uh, did we get that one? Yeah. Louis. So, let's jump in, Annher. Looks like somebody got a picture of me in the field; (laughs) So, this feels like Arizona, Utah area. Yeah, it does, um, it's tough because our subject is in the shade and back lit and that's always a challenge, unless you're silhouetting something and using it as a compositional element, I think it really is tough, it takes away from it, and also the eye contact, usually I try to avoid that with anything wildlife wise, even with people unless you're intending to do that and create portraiture. I think that it's just too jarring. It's like this goat's looking through my soul. It's a very interesting environment. Sheep, it's a sheep. It feels to me like somebody was on a hiking trip and they had a great encounter with a wild animal It's generally a clean shot, which is nice. That's true. The bullseye treatment doesn't work so much for me. Just the positioning of the body, I probably would've put it over on the bottom right hand side of the frame. Right. But, I would've also kind of moved left and right a little bit to see if I could find that dark background behind it Yep. Which you may or may not have, it might've just been walking through, stopped there for two seconds, got that photo, and that was the best that there was gonna be. Yeah, it's true. In that situation. So if you are given the time to move around a little bit, if you can move up a little bit higher to get that dark bush behind it a little bit more behind it so it stands out. It's just that bright area right behind it, It's distracting for the eye, it's hard on the eyes I agree, I agree completely. Yeah, that's absolutely true. Bullseye way of putting it, I like that. Yeah. It's true. All right, thank you for submitting that. I think this may be our last one here. All right. And so this one just kinda has some funky colors. Yep. I'm looking at a slow shutter speed so we've got some cloud movement and a sun just kind of peaking out behind a little island of some sort so you're a bit of an island expert now with all your Atoll work. What do you think is going on here? This looks like American-- Let's bring up the name, Jike Z. Um, you know, again, good approach, shooting in the evening, long exposure, recognizing the sunset, the texture, but for me, compositionally, I think that there's just a lot of challenges as well as potentially in post production. I'm seeing a range of colors in here that are almost taking me out of the world, they're too surreal. So I think just being really careful about your post processing is important. And then, compositionally, where you have this island happening over on the left hand side of the frame, but there's also, looks like a path or a wall or something that's kind of cutting up into it, it really just, it's not leading me through the right part of the frame. Everything is sort of happening on the left hand side and then there's a whole lot of nothing happening on the right hand side. It's not compositionally as appealing to me. Not to detract from it, 'cause I do think, again, a lot of elements are all there, I would just re-order them and then just be careful about the post process. Yeah, it feels a little like an Instagram filter in some ways. True, didn't think of that. The walkway, my thought if I was there, is either I wanna completely eliminate it, or I wanna include it-- Embrace it. With some sort of element, maybe there's a person sitting on the end of it, and I wanna have that to show, "Hey, you can walk out to this area there." And so, once again, it's, you're finding the locations, you're in the right time, you've just gotta keep working and finding different compositions, so I'm checking my camera going, "Is that really what I intended? "Is that what I think looks right for this place?" Right, and it could be an editing thing, maybe the frame exists, maybe go back and take another look. Because it is very much of a square image. It is. There's more to this image some place, and they probably cut it because it's not good so there may be garbage cans over there, Right. something that's going on, so yeah, you gotta keep working it. Yep, I agree with that. All right, well, thank you for sending that in. One last one, I threw this one 'cause I was up in Mount Rainier just 24 hours ago shooting. Right, how was it, good? Well, it was just like this, it was a sunny day with no clouds, and we've been talking a little bit about clouds and this is my first thought is, sunny day, okay, that's a base start, you're gonna get the sun as an added element there, but boy it's sure nice to have a few extra little texture elements in the sky Yeah, absolutely. I'm sure that you've been up in this area. Yes, I have, I have. I was there with Creative Live, actually. We went up there for our national park class, and it was actually, my first time at Rainier I climbed it. I didn't actually even get to photograph all the waterfalls and the flowers. And so that was a very interesting way to experience the national park for the first time. But, I finally did get to go back, and it's tough because it's either all cloud or no cloud up there. It's hard, yeah. Yeah, it can be really challenging to get the exact right timing on it. So, compositionally, I think this is really pretty, I don't know if there's a trail or something maybe going in the foreground there in the middle. Well, there's a bridge right here. Okay. And, during most of the year they have a fence up so you can't get any closer because in the past, photographers would go right up to the river, they'd put rocks in the foreground really close Oh, really, I didn't know that. You'd have all these other compositional opportunities, but now you're restricted because too many people were trampling over everything, and so compositionally, you really can't do better than this without breaking the law. Got it, yeah. Without breaking the rules. And that's a shame that that has been ruined for other people by doing those kinds of things. So, yeah, compositionally, great, obviously popular spot for photographers. I think just different conditions, and also different post processing, this to me is looking a little too HDR, which is taking me out of the world, and I say HDR meaning the HDR post processing of it. The shadows, the highlights, everything feel like they're the same level. Right, right. So I was up there yesterday because the wildflowers turn right about the beginning of August That's right. And, I've always gone up like the second week in August and it's been a little late so I wanted to go up there now, it's too early. Kinda looking at this photograph, wildflowers still aren't out. Yeah. And, so, timing it so when the wildflowers are right at their peak is just another way for you to take that photo to the next level. Timing is everything. This is a really good shot and there's nothing really wrong with it. Yeah. There's just a few little things to take it up a notch, and another notch and another notch. I agree. Ian, thanks a lot for being part of this. Thank you for having me. I think we ran over our 60 minutes, our one hour photo. And so, folks, tune in next time, I'm not sure who's gonna be here, but we're gonna have a great talk, and we'll look at some more great photos, and talk more about photography. So, thanks a lot, and see ya later.

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, industry knowledge, and participate in a photo critique of student images, and this month's guest is Ian Shive.

In this hour, John responds to questions about what type of camera to purchase for different types of photography, shutter speeds, and image clipping.

Ian Shive is a photographer, author, film and television producer, conservationist, and innovative businessman. He has worked with some of the most important outdoor organizations including the Nature Conservancy, the National Parks Conservation Association, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Sierra Club. In 2001, he was honored with the prestigious Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography. In addition to photography, Shive is a filmmaker and cinematographer whose work has appeared on television, in film festivals, and in multimedia campaigns throughout the United States. He is also the founder and CEO of Tandem Stills & Motion, a leading visual media company that provides premium photographs, film footage, and digital asset management for the nature, outdoor adventure, healthy living, and travel industries. Check out his CreativeLive classes here.