Skip to main content

Image Critique Part 2

Lesson 25 from: SLR Lounge Live Q and A and Image Critique

Pye Jirsa

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

25. Image Critique Part 2

Lesson Info

Image Critique Part 2

take a look at this cinematic self cinematic style. Self portrait, General portrait. Focus of critique Is lighting a soon as he says, lighting it. Doesn't that kind of shift where eyes air going now? Like, what are we looking at? D 772 100 F 2 870 millimeters. So look, great decision on focal length You're gonna have a really nice portrait without any depth or any distortion right after you eight. Great. Lets us focus on him. I want to be a second. I saw 200 was totally fine. Okay? Many challenges. Getting my getting equipment out to the location by myself and getting focused on the eye and a very load that the field portrait also. Holy crap. He did this by yourself and Self Portrait. Also getting my flash to Amin exposure said it was a challenge the first time I kept getting confused in addition to three stop nd filter. All right, that's straight up. Impressive that you could do that all by yourself. Now, from aligning standpoint, I'd say it's pretty much nailed. For the most part, th...

e Onley areas that I would fix a little bit is the eyes are a little bit lost because we don't have enough light coming into them, right? So rather than the eyes popping, they sink into the head a little bit. Doesn't it look like that? Because look at how bright the skin is right here. How about the skin is right here. The highlights right here. And then his eyes sunk back. Okay, So getting that light down and a little bit more pushed forward is going to get that light right into the eyes and give him much stronger whites. More, more people action and kick up the highlights as well. That's the main thing. Look at this beautiful kicker right here. Let's see this. That's so great. That's probably if you did this by yourself, I'd imagine that you position yourself with the sun off to that side or something on that side, reflecting and kicking a little bit of light into this side of the face. And it looks fantastic. It creates really a lot of dementia on this side of side of the face. Um, this side looks great to just left in shadow like that. I really like the main thing that I would focus on is the eyes. I would also say like it always helps to. It's really difficult if you're shooting it yourself, but there's a lot of things that we can do. Peter Hurley has made the switch known by everybody, but that's soft, like kind of squint that you could do with the eyes gives an image a little more interest than just an open, wide eyed stare right on open, wide eyed stare can. For this case, it looks fine. It doesn't look, it doesn't look bad. But if I were to do it, you'd see the whites above my eye a little bit and we get the confused Look, this is like I look confused, right? Like, uh huh Did you ask me a question? But all the time I'll see that in head shots were like they take a shot in the guys like I'm like, Oh, they had question. I gotta answer the question before you take a photograph. So just just have them do a little bit of a squint like an easy switch. But I like the expression on this is great. Okay, let's look at this one. I like this image a lot There's a lot of things that I think are working for it and a couple things that might not be. Let's take a look. This is by Siggy Kirkpatrick and focus of critique is General. It's street photography. Great shot. A friend's daughter in a visit to us in the UK would like to receive critique. Didn't have reflect with me. So no catch lights. Does that matter? OK, great. So it looks like the person that was asking the critique actually identified kind of one of the issues with the shot. Right? That's fantastic. So here's what I would say. Should you have had a reflector, it helps. But even if we didn't, we probably could have positioned her. It looks like you're in a metropolitan area, right? So what I would say is find a position where you have a natural kicker, Okay? Again, it could be anything like it could be just a semi when we're shooting street photography and you're looking for stuff. Look for things that are anything neutrally toned and fairly bright. All we have to like earth tones like tans and soft, yellowish kind of colors are great. Soon as it becomes yellow or orange or red. Don't don't use those reflectors because they're sending that color of light, right? But if you found a nicely toned wall, you just go on, move them next to it and get that Get your catch lights that way rather than carrying around reflectors and stuff. It's a really great way of doing Street Portrait's because what happens with this kind of a shot is the face is once again a little bit lost in the image, right? We have highlights, highlights, highlights, highlights and the face is a little bit lost. There's another easy way of fixing this with me. Okay, I'm gonna go ahead and pull it. Photoshopped. One of the reasons why people love I can spell it right? Why people love to go really bright on images is because it takes away from stuff like that. So I'm just gonna grab my snipping tool so I can show this. Let's flip over to that and let's nip this. It's OK that we have the icons in there and I can agree with that, OK, it's good. A photo shop. If there was an easier way of doing this. I'm sorry. All right, Okay, So watch what happens if I add a little curve layer to this. Just gonna pump this up a little bit and bring the highlights a little bit down. Make the strong highlights kind of go a little bit more flat and and add a bit of shadow into the image. Okay, look at that. One simple adjustment before and after. That kind of did a lot of the trick for us. Didn't I mean, we could do that. And by the way, here's light room like, let's just say we're using light room. Well, like, room is the same thing as adobe camera. Right? And you can now access this camera filter from this menu so we could go into this side. We could do the exact same thing. We could pump this up. We could choose to kind of bring our highlights down a little bit, bring our blacks down a little bit, add a little contrast, and I watched this right there. I'm gonna go into I don't usually use, uh Let's find up. You know, I think they put it up on the menu there again. This is a radio filter I don't usually use a photo shop for this were usually in light room for this. So what we're gonna do is I want the effect to be on the outside, and I want to pull down the exposure a little bit. Okay? Is that not a pretty dramatic difference in the image? So just know that Hey, you know what? If I don't have these tools available to me on site Aiken do my best in positioning and that kind of stuff. And then there's certain things that I could do in post to make it much better. Also, there's a couple things in the flyways I love the way the general hair flyaways. They're going this way. There's a couple of them. I'd fix this little guy right there. This little guy right here and this little guy right here, those are ones that are kind of really brightened strong, that are going against the bright enough to be noticeable. And they're kind of going against the flow of her hair naturally. So I just kind of next. Those looks really good, though. I like that portrait. Let's go back. Okay. Find some or from Wait. This one's from I think we want to do this unless you this one. Okay, Pretty cool. Let's take this out. This Michelle standard for this is the focus of critique is the lighting. We don't have X if dream for 20 to photograph dancers stepped on my comfort zone and asked her new concession on the scene is beautiful. Lead in the subject of the trees along each side created lots of shadows on the ground. Okay, The shadows on the ground are actually one of the things that I feel like going for the image. It's really cool looking things that are going against it. So what's going for is I love, you know, like dancers and poses like this, they automatically add so much interest to ah frame. And by the way, when I look at an image for critique, there's a couple things that I look at. So number one is story and purpose. Number two is composition, and number three is lighting now. Purpose and story. This includes a couple different things. It's the narrative, but it's also the expressions, right? So And the reason I say that is because this always trumps these two things. Always because noticed that some of the most powerful and moving photographs in news and photojournalism. I have no lighting, no nothing. Compositionally there. Nothing special to look at. But they are all about the story, the narrative same thing about, you know, whether you're doing family photos or a wedding. A laugh, a genuine laugh of a child whose parents are watching him growing up every day is going to be more appreciated than a regular portrait that has beautiful lighting without a great expression, right, capturing those kind of moments and those story pieces are paramount. But if we can incorporate composition and lighting into that, that makes a good photograph even better, potentially make a great photograph. So what we have here is something really interesting. The narrative is cool. We see that she's a dancer. We see that you know, we have those pieces and it makes it interesting to look at. The thing that is drawing me back is that the dappled lighting coming through the trees is hitting her and kind of weird ways. And so we have strong highlights here on the arm. We have, like, kind of ah area shadow right here We have shadow in the arm over here and a lot of light on the face. Not necessarily. I'm a terrible thing, but, I mean, we can weaken, change that and modify that quite a bit by bringing another light and adding to the existing light. Okay, so we can actually bring in. You'd probably want, say, a pocket strobe or a larger stroke that you modify with, like a soft box or some like that. Bring that in, added that existing light and what that will do is open up the shadows. It'll still allow some of the highlights to kind of come through for that son to kind of come through, but it will bring a lot of natural pop to the image. The thing is her form on this side. It's a good thing that she's against a brighter background right here. If she weren't, her form would get lost. And this is where, like on an image like this and dancer type stuff, I think dance anything. Fitness. We generally use more than one light because we like to show up the form and figure the body. And by putting highlights on edges, that's when we can do that. So it really benefit if there it was possible to put something on that side, but otherwise that it looks like our focus was a little bit off. So it looks like this was our plane of focus, or maybe like, right here, and she's a little bit behind it, so it looks a tiny bit on the soft side. But I like compositionally what you're going for, and I like the fact to that. For the most part, she's actually I don't know if this is intentional or not, but I always try and frame people in the area of highlight on an image, and you can see that this strip of highlight is primarily where she sprained in the background, which is nice. If you can put people in those areas of highlight naturally in the frame, you'll draw attention into them. I just wanted to chime in and let you know that Michelle Ass is in the chat room and she says, Ik, thank you so much pie cool, Great to hear you're watching. I like the Eakes, All right, let's take another one. Who's Simon? I'm in fame in Okay, Wedding General. That's a lot of writing, but It's all right, you're inspired. Okay? I'd like to get their full reflection, the floor in the sense of the terminal. There's a long row of seats behind the bottom frame. I could have gotten up on that. So it's really nice to see the limitations and challenges because a lot of times you see this and like, first thing, like Go, Where's the reflection? And you're like, OK, I didn't see that I know is that I just couldn't do it so automatically. That kind of gives us a focus. I love this dude. Here is a couple things. First, I think it's fantastic. You pull out the dress. Simon's You've been in my class before, so you've done some so many awesome things with this shot, pulling out the dress and elongating it looks fantastic. Having the arm coming down like oppose looks great. One arms up so they're not marrying like all those kind of things are beautiful and fantastic stuff that we talked about a lot and incredible engagements is a lot of the posing and how not to mirror. Instead of something, it looks natural. We have good clean shots of the profile. I see one issue that you could have fixed by getting a little bit higher or a little bit lower. And that is the rail that makes it look like she has a really big nose. Um, so that that rail that's dropping right behind her is you could easily have framed that behind the arm or put them above and shot down. Or either way, just just see that in camera. And it's It's so easy to say right now because this is blown up big on a screen, right? And you're like, Yeah, as a 40 by 60. I can see that. But I want you guys to get used to taking a shot and going That is an awesome shot. While you're looking on your camera, zoom in and go around the frame and just do that. Anytime you create a shop, which is just noteworthy, move around the frame and I go, Oh, you know, I just noticed something. Let me do this again, and the best way to do is be like, Oh, you guys, eyes were closed. I got to do that again. I'm not really I Sometimes they're like could even see our eyes from there. I'm like, just don't worry about it. Just do it. The other thing is you're going for a symmetrical composition right here, Right, So beautiful. Look at this line that goes all the way up and down to the side that is, like, perfectly composed. And whether you did that in camera, whether you cropped it later on Fantastic, that's perfect. We know that you couldn't get lower to add the, you know, toe do whatever with the ground. So are sorry you couldn't get the reflection in the ground. But you notice how they're not true center Just a little bit. Right. So that's one of those things that would kind of bug me a little bit in terms of like, Hey, if if one of our shooters came back with, like, you know that perfect, you just needed them to scoot a tiny bit this way and then perfect that shop other that that was fantastic. It's a really beautiful shot. I love the black and white ing of this image really makes it work. And the whole reason why is because by black and white ing it, we get a focus on the detail and the emotion of the shot rather than the color. Because all bet, toe goodness, that if you have this in color, it's gonna be wonky. You have all sorts of weird tones all around here. You're gonna have green the background. You have a white sky, have all that kinda stuff going to black white lets this kind of hone in on what it is. So it's a really good choice. Otherwise, if you were intending to keep it as color, you would need to add Flash to pump down all the other crazy lights in the same really cool shot, though. What are their? Did you have another assignment? They had this one, This one terminal. Beautiful. Yes. Simon Mendiola. That's fantastic. Okay, let's take a look at this. All right, buddy? You're like me, except in the written form. Okay, good. I'm just glancing at it to make sure, So let me take a look with you, Simon. Your eyes are like just a little bit to the left because, like all your there just a little bit, I'm just getting It's beautiful. It looks amazing. But you had that same thing going on where they're just a tiny step to the left, so moving them a little bit would be fantastic. This rail, obviously there's nothing you can do about that in camera, Right? But in post, wouldn't that be a super easy thing just to grab and do a little replace inside a photo shop? So that's something where I see and I go, Hey, you know what I can just knocked out in photo shop. Or, better yet, if you could place him in a way where it might actually work, where if he was standing over a little bit and the dress was pulled back, you could get that rail in front of his pants and it would just darken out basically, and it wouldn't be really present. Make sure you get it right, cause then it would look up seeing if you didn't, you know, just saying all right. He's like, OK, the flash. This backlash is what makes this shot work because you have a very busy scene. And this is what creates that entire highlighting the shot. This is actually what's also making everything else more interesting. The light that's up here, you can actually see this. Look, let's identify the light sources. So look here. This is the metal that's actually reflecting right from that flash that we can see the flash right there. We can see the flash right here and in the reflections in the mirrors. We can see that flash going off right in each of those reflections. Sorry. People that are like Hosea gear, like, stop touching the screen. Okay, so it looks fantastic. The other kind of things that if this were to be a portfolio piece for me, I would knock out the logos. So just like the sign it down here that, like, you know, we don't really need to see They don't It doesn't really add any interest of the image. It also makes it feel a bit more commercially knocking out it would also be fantastic. Like there's nothing you know, when I when I see this image, there's not really anything down here of interest to me. My interest is all here. Here, here, here, right here. So would you Would you crop it then? Yeah, I'd go with a panoramic crop straight across this. Just just show the top piece of the image. It's really strong, Really strong. Awesome shot um, and I'm sure that it's actually attack sharp. But just make sure that you actually have the profile detail, the face. I can't see it cause it's wide and kind of pulled out, but looks really nice. So this is about Harrison Barden. Focus of critique is lighting to speed light clamshell test. Great. I love that you're testing. That is the way to go. Okay. I only have to speed light, so that's a downside. But I make it work. You're right. You made it work. Let's see here. Okay, so let's look at the lighting here. All right? So the first thing I notice is that this was most likely photographed with a 50 millimeter lens because his nose is a little bit large in proportion. Everything else you can see that like the chin, the job, everything is exaggerated. And so most likely it's a wide lens that's being shot up close. I'd recommend getting off that land. You can also see it because look at how small the years are in proportion. Everything. So we lose our proportions. We do that. The next thing I'm noticing is that check this out. You actually see this in the catch light. Do you notice how this light right here is brighter than that light? And this light right here is larger and brighter than that light. This is Ah, common. Go wrong in clamshell lighting is you need your top light clam shells when you set up, have a reflector overhead. You have a reflector underneath, so generally your and it could be anything. You could have a light and give a beauty dish up here with a reflector down here. You could do whatever you want with it, but it's light coming from above and from below. You need this light that's coming from above to be brighter than the light coming up from below. Because what happens is as soon as the light from below is more powerful. You get up lighting and you can see the up lighting right here. Look at the nose. Right here. You see up lighting right there. Up leading right here. See the shadows? Those shadows create from the light coming up, hitting the nose and creating a light right there. Look at the highlights underneath the eyebrows where you're supposed tohave shadow, right? We see up lighting right here and look at this. You can see it. Even on the chin. We see an area of shadow right here. Look at this right there. Look at the neck. See how odd this is. This area of highlight with shadow underneath it, that's the up light that's coming up. Whenever we up light, we create that campfire light look, and that's a great look when we want, you know, something looks scary and kind of dark and mysterious and that kind of stuff, like they do a lot in films when they need to have that up lit. Look, look, look, look, look, look, look, look, OK, but four general Portrait's That's not something that would necessarily want. So make sure that your light source coming up is brighter. The easy way to do this is instead of using a silver reflector below, have your light come from above from the primary light source that needs to be stronger. Use a white below. So if if your primary light source is coming from either a flash or a silver above and you're reflecting from a white below, your naturally gonna be bringing up less light. The other ways of doing it is if you want to use whites all around, play with your distance to make sure that you're getting even lighting. But great. I love it. I love the fact you play around their speed lights, something.

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

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!!

fbuser a48cf323

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!

Student Work