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Tuesday Image Critique Learnshop

From: Jack M.
Sent on: Monday, March 27, 2017 4:04 PM

Harriet, John and I are certainly looking forward to this month's Tuesday Learn Shop. We will be doing an exercise meant to help you to develop a sense of how to critique your own images. Understanding the many aspects of what makes an image good/better/best is a valuable tool in improving your photographic skills.  The following is the script of a handout I made for a critique presentation for another group a couple of years ago. I hope that it helps you to understand our purpose.

"Your are your own best critique.

Why do we love photography?

Is it to document memorable moments in our lives.

To create a record of people and places that have special meanings to us.

Is it because it satisfies our need to be creative, to share our vision of life and the world around us through compelling images?

What ever the reason, we should want to constantly improve our skills to better express our intensions.

A vital tool in improving our skills is learning to critique our own work.

The most important opinion of your work is your own, but to develop your skills in critiquing your work you must learn what makes an image successful.

We are naturally drawn to images that feature certain qualities of composition, contrast, color, subjects of personal interest, all of which create emotional response. The better we understand and learn to use these qualities, the better our images will be.

Great images don't just happen, we have to create them!

It is easy to get to a point when all of your images seem “pretty good”. This is a wonderful place to be – so long as it doesn’t keep you from working to make them better.

Skill is something that is developed over time.  The more deliberate you are in the art you create, the more your images will improve.

So how do you work to improve your skills as a photographer?

We are all “Critiquing” when we look at images. In the first few seconds, we make an emotional judgement that causes us to either pass quickly along, or to stop and look more closely at what about the image engages us.

The better we understand what qualities in an image creates the response we desire, the more pleasing our images will be. You will learn to see new artistic possibilities.

How to CRITIQUE your own images.

Here is a challenge, take a group of your images, a wide verity of subjects, and conduct an official “critique”.

Take several minutes to review each image. Remove yourself from the experience you had taking the picture, and look at the photo from an outsiders perspective.

As you are reviewing, consider a few technical and emotional points:

Exposure – Is the image over or under exposed? Do you tend to overexpose your images or underexpose them? Be sure that you are competent in using our cameras exposure settings and operating modes?

Focus – Is the picture sharp and clear, or is it soft – or worse, blurry?

Color- Are the colors in the image correct for the colors of the subject?

Depth of field- are the areas in the images sharp where you intend them to be?

Composition – Do all the elements of the frame support the subject, or are there distractions that take away from the strength of the image? Often images have too much in them causing them to look cluttered. Make sure that the viewer understands what the subject of the image is. Are the elements of the image in the right place in the frame? (Rule of thirds).

Story telling quality – Can you tell your subject is a part of something larger, strengthening the interest of the picture?

Emotional Impact – How well do you and others identify with the picture? What emotions captured in your image will cause the audience to respond positively?

While learning to Critique your own image is a vital part of improving your craft as a photographer, it is also very important to have other photographers provide encouraging and helpful input on what you are doing well and how to make your images better. Club gatherings are terrific opportunities to learn by hearing comments about yours and other people’s images."


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