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Image Critique Part 1

Lesson 24 from: SLR Lounge Live Q and A and Image Critique

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

24. Image Critique Part 1

Lesson Info

Image Critique Part 1

So why critique? And the second question is how? But first, regarding why should you be a part of critique? The big thing is, is that as photographers, when you dive into the world of photography, your ability to see an image and the size of an image is gonna improve over time. Okay, it's gonna It's gonna go from seeing one thing at a time to seeing five think the time seeing hundreds of things at one time. Now you can take advantage of this because guess what? A lot of your peers might have been doing this a little bit longer than you have. And even if they haven't been, they might be seeing things that you aren't in your images. And so submitting for Sisi is one of the best ways to improve and also looking and giving Sisi is one of the best ways to improve your own work. Because as you see a photograph, you're gonna start asking yourself questions that you would want to ask this person things like What is the again, the overriding question. What is this story? What is the purpose of ...

the shot? How are you lighting it? All these types of questions you're gonna be asking. That person is gonna make you remind yourself maybe before you take a photo to answer those questions as well. So that's why we'll talk about how I like. Have you seen the critique sandwich? Some. Some have some haven't. All right, well, I like burgers. Draw me a burger. So in the burger. Got some sesame seeds on it. Here's my lettuce. Tomatoes. Don't forget the special sauce, Big Macs. Okay, here's the button. So the meat and all this kind of stuff, this is what we refer to as our critique. It's always nice to kind of give a little bit of praise when you start in some praise when you finish. Okay, Um, it's kind of goofy and cheesy, but in terms of giving critique, at least for our own team and our staff, it's much nicer doing this. Then going eso What were you thinking when you took that? That doesn't really help, Right? But going Hey, you know, this is a really great idea. I like where you're going with that. Now, here's what I have to say about it all done. Great. Keep on going. I can't wait to see what you do next, OK? The main reason is is because we were actually stay pretty stringent on. And this is a good little Segway. I want you guys to do two things. We have critique on s r lounge dot com. Also, I'm gonna hop over to the screen right now if you want to flip to the screen. We also have a really cool community over here on Facebook. Under the estrangement are great community, almost 10,000 people in this community. We stay very strict on making sure that the stuff that submitted is like when you're giving critique, making sure that people aren't like being mean about it. You know, like there's nothing that shuts down an educational environment than the meetings. So we were pretty active and making sure that it stays with solid people that are really just into helping each other. They post their work, you can ask for CC and so forth, so join up there completely free to be a part of. And then we also have the actual critique section on the site. What types of critique doesn't really help is I don't like that image or that's not very good. Or, you know, things that are just very ambiguous. That don't Okay, it's obvious that there might be a problem here, but help me to identify where it is, as opposed to just saying something's wrong so that we're gonna dio when it comes to the critique. We want to identify things and and then move to the next thing. So let's get started. I'm excited. So we have a lot of different submissions. Let's do this one first. This is Senior Fence by Ethan Simonson. Lovely. All right, So the first thing I was gonna make a joke that this is from Simon here, but it's not. The first thing I would say is that these types of watermarks are generally a little bit Ah, doctors like when you see them online, it makes you forget everything about the photo, and you're thinking only about this. Now. I understand the purpose of it to make sure people aren't stealing your photographs. But most of us aren't a silly creating images that people are gonna go out and steal like they're not necessarily to that caliber. And even if they wanted to, they could still probably do it anyway, so I have to say his first. Bring that thing down to something in the bottom corner and have it on there. But let it be a little bit less intrusive. The next thing, let's take a look. It always helps to look at the exit data, and you stripped out the exit data. We're not able to do too much in terms of talking about how your settings are or what you've done with the image here. So let's just talk about the photograph itself. I'm looking at the lighting on this. It's a very if we look at the light, it's a very flat light that's landing on him. So off the top, it kind of feels a little bit soft. And it's not necessarily super interesting of, Ah, light that we're adding to it. But it's still a great portrait. I think that the person that's being photographed is still gonna like this. The pose in and of itself is pretty decent. I would probably have him straighten his back a little bit, but I like the posing on the arm. I like the leg. We have a couple different natural triangles, like so if you notice this right here, if you notice this right here, it's good. It would be really great if there was a little bit more of an interesting light on him to help chiseling out of the background. Because what's happening right now is that our subject is falling into this scene, and he's just he's not really any brighter than anything else. Like the brightest thing in this image is the sky we know that were naturally drawn to bright things. Given that those bright things air all around in away from its face are, I tends to kind of wander and look around the image in different areas. And so this is one of those cases where I would really say would benefit from adding another light onto him, and you can even use that light to make the photograph a little more interesting. We could use a Rembrandt light to give him some shadow and actually give it some pop, so that probably would go. I'd also say when it comes to the toning, the image, it looks like by the way that we might not be quite sharp. Maybe this is just the that could just be the fact that has blown up so large that the low resolution. But I would say in terms of the post production technique, I'm not a huge fan of like this. IPI atoned black and whites. I feel like this kind of a style is one of those things that could easily go out of date. A regular black and white or a duo tone black and white with just a tiny bit of tone. It looks a little more clean. It'll have a little bit more staying power in terms of looking back on it. Okay, I'm going to go back to critique each time too, so I can kind of jump. We're getting lots of submissions all at once. Wow, Let's look at this one. Okay, This is powerful beyond measure by Anthony Benussi. And we also include up here. So if you look way, we ask everybody when you're somebody an image to tell us what is the area of focus that you want for your critique? You want to be general? Do you want to focus on the lighting? Because there's so many different things in an image giving people that want to critique a place to focus is really helpful. So there's a really cool fitness image. I love fitness photography. I think this is fantastic. So what do we have? Analyzing these types of images is a great way to understand lighting. We have two looks like strip boxes that are placed on the outsides there, lighting up the shoulder there, spilling a little bit towards the head and coming over the shoulder a little bit so you can tell that those strip boxes aren't placed behind him. Otherwise, they'd have no rap on the side right there. Probably place a little more forward. Looks like we have a reflector or something that bouncing up and creating some Phil looks really good. Let's scroll down a little bit. Looks cool. The pose with hands is great. This is opposed that you'd use Teoh. I like doing a lot of fitness work. Do quite a bit of commercial stuff, finish commercial stuff, that there's one thing that I'm noticing here. And there's a few things that we do pose wise when it comes to fitness. Pose makes such a massive difference in person, and so when you're doing fitness stuff, the tweak imposing what really helped me is studying how you know when a when someone goes up on the stage and they're doing an actual competition, you know that they actually have, like, all the poses that they do, right? They do all the flex. I don't really do it because, you know I'm not there yet. I'm still working this their mind anyway, So they do always poses, right? Those poses their tweet to the point where, like, for example, a wrist in like this. Watch the bicep as soon as I turn a little bit more like, literally. It's one twist, and you can see the muscle open up a little more, right? I can't believe I'm doing this is ridiculous. But look at that little bend, right? Thanks, buddy. We wanted that in the mike. Thanks. Thank you. So what I see right here is that the wrist didn't get turned out enough. So you did this pose to get the arms to open up, But the risk didn't quite get turned out enough. Which means that the bicep is a little bit flat. So that's probably the only thing I would say right here is for a dramatic fitness posts are dramatic. Finish shot. I'd say you pretty much nailed it. I like the fact that he's looking down. Remember, there's some general rules, like, if you're not lighting the face, don't have the eyes going to the camera. If he were looking into the camera, you'd go. Oh, that's a bad photograph because his light, his face and nose and eyes that all be dark and kind of unlit. But when he's looking down, it takes your attention away from that. And you focus on where he's looking, which is his body. So it's a fantastic pose. A really great job in the post production as well. Lighting shot. Really great. All right, let's go back. Oh, you know what? But we're gonna have, like, a bunch more hit. We got a bunch more. Okay, let's take a look at this guy. Yeah, Question that actually came in from Kaz Mob. Who said, How can anybody critique when they don't understand my vision? So can you talk a little bit about what people have sort of put in there or how important it is to say, Here's what I want you to look at or critique So If you look at this, we've added the photography type fashion focus of critique. So the person is saying that they want us to focus on lighting. And if you scroll down, we also include. And here's a reminder. If you're uploading this section, don't strip the metadata out of your files because the sites designed to read the metadata so we can actually see what the shutter speed. What the Apertura What the is So did you fire? Flash? All those things are built in, so when you strip it out, it removes it. And that's a big part of kind of had a critique of photos we can identify. You know what? This is soft because it was shot in this setting, so you can also see how they shot it. They didn't write too much in here, but they said, I'm not sure from a big parabolic former Uh oh, uh, we'll see. Diffused was the right choice for a beauty shot so you can see, like in the limitations and challenges and how I shot it. That's their place to kind of fill in their vision of what they're going for on granted, even when you Sometimes when someone explains their vision for something that might not align upto what the viewers are seeing, I would always like, Take that in consideration, you know, like we, of course, shoot for own vision. But there's so many times I upload something and I don't get the reaction that I want. When I go back and I look the photo, I see why. And it helps me to understand and to better learn there's a There's a very common thing that when we get critique that I want to encourage everybody to not dio. When somebody comes and critique something, the easiest way to turn other people away from giving you critique is going, Oh, I did that on purpose. That was what I wanted, you know, like that we all have that, like we want to say that I did it on purpose. That's what I wanted. But the thing is that a lot of times, that's kind of a defensive mechanism that we use. We don't want to be critiqued and something that will prevent you from learning. So get around it, avoid it. But this is really nice shop. The main thing here that draws me. Um, I love Think of our hamburger sesame But I love the catch lights. I love the skin toning. I love the look of the lighting. It looks fantastic. The poses great. The expression is good. She has a nice amount of white of the eyes showing without being too much. It looks really fantastic. And I'm not looking straight on. I think the the head tilt might be a tiny bit strong, but it looks still pretty good. She's tilting towards the upper side of the shoulder. Whenever you tilt towards the upper side, it has a strengthening look. Don't you guys like? So if I bring my shoulder up until towards this side, it's a strengthening look if I tilt towards the side of the softening look, so I guess to see how I can kind of be more feminine if I, you know. I mean, all right. So that I did back the main area, though, that I have an issue with Is this right here? Okay, I'm gonna try not to touch the screen. Um, but the shadow that's landing right on the wall right here is on Lee. That's the only thing that's really kind of pulling me out of the image. I like the way it's produced. I like everything about it, but it almost kind of screams direct flash Because of that shadow, The simple way of fixing it is to pull her off the wall a little bit more. And if you're saying well, my wall is too small to do this with, then just go to a tighter lens. So puller off the wall and switch to 100 millimeter or 100 50 millimeter, 200 millimeters. Use a tighter lens and you can still pull out the same shot. What'll happen is as soon as you bring her 56 feet off the wall. That shadow now drops behind and onto the ground, not onto the wall itself. Okay, let's go back. I think I just hit the mouse button. Look at that new school newfangled devices here like a mouse. We have some submissions from some people in class. I wanted to do like this one from Tatiana and Natalia. We're sitting right here is a lovely photograph. I love this shot. OK, so yea, we have meta data. Thanks for not stripping it out. So finding mark 3 24 to 1 of 54 And it isn't so great as a if you're starting out to sea what kind of lenses and gear and settings other people are doing like it's a really great way. Toe toe. Learn 5 24 millimeters 100 seconds. So 200 we love playing with flares. This was very hard to focus on our couple. Our clients love this photo here. We think it might be something missing, maybe editing, maybe something else I love this photo to. I think it's fantastic. I love playing with flares as well. I'm really into it. There are a couple things that I would identify in this photograph. So one is the placement of the flare in the scene. It's a little bit close, in my opinion, to the subject, so I, if you can, there's not too much you can do about that from this angle. But what you can do is get a little bit lower to the grass or get up closer to them and shoot it a slightly different angle, because whenever flares entering, it's gonna tend to blow out anything that's right near it. And if you have faces and things like that near it, then that becomes a little bit of an issue. But the main issue that I see here is this right at the bottom of the frame. I believe this is a flare artifact that you're seeing in your lens. You see this little highlight right there? So the main issue that I'm seeing is that it looks like she's a floating ghost because we don't see her her feet, Really? We don't see anything down there of substance, and it looks also like she's probably sending flat footed like this. So if the camera were to be looking like this should be standing like this, what really helps out is first adjusting your positions of the flares not so close. This will come off and you can see the bottom, the dress so it won't look like she's floating. The next thing is to have her in step. So whenever you're doing this is to drag. Ato we're trying to do is when you have a scene like this you see how shadows areas of natural shadow or dark, and then you have these highlights that show through the dress. What we can do is buy staggering the feet and dropping a toe. You can actually use the dress, and it'll show her form. So when that light comes through, you'll get a shadow right here in a shadow where her other leg is and you'll be able to see through. And you can actually see that she has two legs and the dresses like nice and like goofy like poofy dresses like wedding dresses. Weddings are fun, so that's the main thing. The other thing is that the that we're shooting a profile type image. And so our faces are a little bit concealed right now in a way that when you think about the purpose of the story of this with right purpose story for this image, what I would identify as the story is our couple in an amazing environment portrait. It's kind of a landscape shot that happens to feature the couple. We want to be able to identify the couple. That purpose is able to see who they are without getting a clear vision of their profiles. We can't see that. So whenever we do a profile type shot, we try and clear obstruction. So like basically bring the veiled in the back so we can clearly see the face or shoot tighter. Get in closer where you can still see the profile, that face through the veil. The next thing is the back. So if you notice that when you have her tip forward like that, her back is actually bending from the hip right here. See how that hip is kind of bent in. So what that did was it eliminated the curve in the spine. And whenever we do that, we tend to have a less pleasing shape. So the easiest way to do that is to have her step in. They pull each other in from the hips. She lets an arm fall back. Or that she can hold a hand right there and then have them touch hips, open the chest and then lean the head forward. And then you get clear profiles with a good shape and everything like that in their bodies. But I love where you're going to that, and I think it's fantastic. And hopefully that helped do that. Help you guys have. Okay, let's look at another one. I love this set. You get submitted a set of three, which was awesome. I thought there was really cool. This is by Tanya, Tatiana and Natalia again. Um, okay of this set, we have three images, so there's 12 and three. Do you know which one? I'm in love with? This one. This one's awesome. This is that in a situation where you have to use fill flash, this is the amount of fill flash that you would use just so there's a tiny kiss on them and you can even back it off a little more. I like having a little bit of shadows that that, like we kind of as photographers, we we're afraid of two things we're afraid of. Highlights. Strong highlights were afraid of strong shadows. What we don't understand is that those were the exact two things that make your images interesting to look at. And when we eliminate pure highlights and when we eliminate pure shadows, we reduce that interest in the shop. So the fill flash about it is is perfect. I didn't say even tone it back a little bit. You can even choose whether you want to use their not the nice part about it is it's added to just the right level where you can retain a good amount of that sky. Coming off now was fill flash used on this. It looks like it wasn't when I'm looking at. Okay. So the only thing is is that it would be really tough in this kind of a photograph to do this, because to get directional light onto them in the way that I want to put it, I want to add it to her, right. To put directional light onto her. You need the flash to be coming in the water. Basically, there's not really a way that unless you guys swim. So you're saying it's a little cold. I'm gonna say, tough it out next time and just get in the water. I'm just getting don't do that. Comes back with frostbite. No. So, yeah, you don't really have any options, right? Um so the fill flash is good. The only thing here is that remember, when we're shooting those profiles, we want to be aware of the obstructions. Right? So you want to look and say, Oh, the hair. I can have her pull the hair behind the back, But do you notice how this shot. You have her in the pose that were kind of mentioning in the last shot. And you see how you seek her figure in her curves. A toe has dropped back. She has a little bit of space making the arm that space automatically allows you to see curve as opposed me closing off. So that's fantastic. The way that you opened up this side of the frame where they're kind of walking towards this area and the area that they're walking towards left open is fantastic. Compositionally, I love the color. I love everything about it. I like that they're in step in action. It's a really cool shot, a really cool place. Where is it? It is rich Mountlake Navy slur in British Columbia so cool. I love it when clients start down to doing this kind of stuff, I'll give you a couple other quick things that I'm noticing a bit just in in the placement of the lines. So this line is beautiful, leads right down to him. This is where she gets a little bit lost in frame because there's rocks behind her. It would have been a tiny bit better if it was possible to get lower, to put them above, put her head above the mountain just a little bit. So she doesn't kind of get lost. But you can see how he has a little bit of a pop to him. She's a little bit lost in the frame. Um, really nice, though. Can I ask a question? Totally. Our question was like last image from this Syria. It didn't have any, like success and wow effect. Like we saw that. It's like would be beautiful image, like was the Glacier. But like almost nobody like this image. So our question was like, Why? What's wrong with lost image? Good question. So we'll do what Do this one first, Don't go back the second. Now, I don't know your settings, but I'm gonna tell you real quickly what it is. It's like what's happening right now is that you have this beautiful scene. It's dramatic. It's amazing, it's bright. It's all these things, right? The problem is, is that what you have in this in this shot isn't really what we're seeing with our eyes right when you're there. In present, it looks so amazing and grand and everything that when you put it into a little tiny camera frame, it loses the love that so we can bring that back by lighting the areas that we need to bring some pop to and by letting the other areas state darker and more dramatic. So it's reveals the color and tone. So what I would be doing here is I would first make sure that pose wise, she can get get a little bit of a kick to the hip, a little bit of drag to the toe. You know, she's holding onto his hand like a little bit more graceful and kind of her stance so that we have form put him in. Actually, he's in a pretty good stance right there. He's got his hand right there. Next thing is bringing a flash you're gonna probably need if you're using direct pockets robes, one or two is going to be fine and flash from right here into her face. Okay. You want this to be so if the camera is, let's say that the camera is placed here on the ground, you need to take this flash from here and move it all the way over to where the couple is. So it's coming off to the right side. A couple in the whole goal is we want to. The goal is I want to match the direction of light that already exists from how we talked about, the more we try to change a scene, the MAWR, it looks not as good, a little bit modified and so forth. So when I add flash, I try to add it to the directions that are already present in a scene, opposed them, and then I'll add flat from this side so it lands on her face. It gives him a little bit of a kick and edge to the side that's already lit, and it's coming from a direction where the shadows get filled just a little bit, too. That lets us drop our Amin exposure down. And when you do that, this scene that you're seeing so much color and visually will pop in camera. So you drop this all down, it'll pop and then you have this perfect shot going straight across of this frame. I'll show you kind of an example of like what? I mean with a couple environmental portrait's. So I have our side up here. I'm gonna go and show you. So this is if you look at this frame right here. This guy, this is a video frame. It's the exact same problem. We're shooting video right now. And this this is ah, think this video? Yeah, videography. So this is a frame taken from the video. And so you run in the same issue, right? Does this not look kind of mundane in plain and a little bit boring has the same exact issue It does, but watch Look at this frame. So when we do like a wide a dramatic environmental portrait scroll down so we drop everything down. So you get this rich blues and rich greens and we pump up one area the frame where we want that light to be basically. So what I'm saying is your light is gonna really make that difference the way that you like that scene. So look at let's here's Ah, here's another one. I'm showing you scenes that air shot extremely wide so that you can see when something the wider that you get, the more you need to chisel them out with light with light in the frame, So look at this. Okay, look what happens with color. It gets so rich when we drop the ambient light down, it gets rich, becomes really bowled. Well, we said it's okay for there to be shadow, right? This John is interesting because there is shadow in it. If there wasn't again, we lose that interest. That little spot of highlight is what draws us right into them in this photograph. So as you do that, that's really what's gonna make the big difference. And I would say the same thing right here. You'd have a very big difference if you can get that light. This is a little bit tricky, because again the direction of light, you can see the shadow that's cast right on to him, which I would say, that's a little bit of Ah, no, no. You don't want that shadow to hit him in that kind of a way. Also keep in mind a couple different things when you're thinking about the story of this image. What is it exactly? Because clearly she's into whatever she's doing. And he saw a beautiful girl like walking by or something like he's got something going on over here. That's not her, right? So when you think back and you go and what are they doing in the frame? And what's their story that they're telling that will naturally help you to guide them into oppose? That makes sense, right? Because when we look at it, we go. He saw a really pretty boat. There's a boat summer. He's really digging. But the lighting wise on this kind of a frame, I'd have her lean back into a little more light from the right. We always try and light into the girl's side, leaving the drama on the guy leaving the girl with the flattering light makes sense. I really like this. This kind of a composition would look so cool, too. If you just stripped it across here and remove these rocks and post you have them on this little island look really cool. I like that. Perfecto. Let's go back. So, holy man, let's go ahead and look at this is General critique. Alex Qardaha, Cardassia, Catania. How do you say that? Kardashian. Okay. I happen to have two Russians here that can help you as our Russian. Right. Okay. Okay. Dean, 70 found 75 50 to the T 7 with 24. 70 f 4 24 millimeters. 11 25th of a second. And I saw 100 out with a friend practicing, trying to run things to impose, including bikes sitting generally an experience when photographing people cool. That's a great limitation to know because obviously, you know if if, if I know somebody's a working professional and they submit something, you critique it a little bit differently, right? You kind of have it different glasses on when you go into that image. I think it's a great shot. You did a lot of things right here. One is giving the person a presence of kind of dominance in the frame. We create that by shooting bottom up on them Great. It works really well here. If this were a commercial image, then that's a really good idea to, because it also allows the bike to essentially dominate the frame. We see the logos and stuff like that in the bike. We see all these kind of things, which is cool. First thing I noticed that when I actually opened up was there's some garbage on the ground so There's garbage right there and there's garbage right here. Those are really quick and easy things that weaken do, like just be no like present and noticing what's in the edges of the frame. It's usually the edge of the frame that we leave these kind of things in because our eyes not trained to go out to it. So when you're analyzing your frame and your looking, the back your camera, actually move your eye up to the left, the right and down and look at the corners of the frame because those air when you know there's a real problem areas now assigned from that, the only other things that we're really gonna be able to do to spice up this shot is again going back to the lighting side. And what I would do in this is you could use a reflector. You could use a flash. You can use whatever, but what I would do is I'd add another light coming down on him so that we can really pump up him and brighten him up while pulling the background and everything else down and getting a really cool and dramatic image out of it and also put him in action. So even if he has to come up with the foot on the pedal, put him in action into an action stance and you have already even that one thing alone is going to give it a much more dynamic looking image, then kind of the kickstand look.

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Pye is an awesome instructor! He explains everything in a way that you understand it. He is a wealth of information. Love all of his classes!! I love Creativelive and SLR Lounge! Continue doing the great work that you do!!

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Pye is an amazing teacher! I've learned so much from him over the years - both in person and through his tutorials. What's even more amazing is that he is able to do it LIVE! He is able to clearly explain complicated concepts through easy to understand lessons. I highly recommend his courses to learn everything from the basics to advanced topics!


Wow! Pye is an awesome instructor! I've learned SO many things - nuggets of gold!

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