How to Be Your Own Photo Critic

Your ability to critique your own photographs is limited by your experience so its good to get advice from those more experienced. Before submitting a photo for criticism I suggest you use the following list to edit your own work and be brutally honest in your answers. Doing so will probably cause you to throw a lot of photographs in the garbage (which is actually a good thing) and allow you to advance as a photographer.

 Is everything that needs to be in focus in focus? Did you get the right depth of field? If the background should be in focus but it is not then toss it. If you are photographing a group of people and the people in the back are out of focus then toss it. Does your photo have motion blur that should not be there?

 Do colors look like what they are supposed to?: Are your whites white? Are your vibrant reds really a vibrant red? Does your model’s skin look natural If the answer is no then try to readjust things in your favorite photo editor.

 Are all the details that need to be there, there? Did your photograph lose a lot of details in the shadows or highlights that you can not be saved? If the answer is yes then you should seriously consider tossing it

 Do your people actually look interesting? If you are shooting a posed shot then does the pose look interesting? Does the pose flatter the model? If the pose makes your model look boring or 20 pounds heavier then its a bad pose that no amount of photo editing is going to save so toss it.

 Does your photo tell a story? Can somebody with no insight into your vision or photographic style look at the photograph and see a story. If you are trying to tell a story about poverty a shot of a brand new sports car with happy rich people will probably poorly illustrate the concept of poverty.

 Does the photograph accurately represent your vision? Before you start shooting you should have an idea of what you want to represent in your photographs. If you want a photograph to illustrate a bright sunny day during the winter and all your shots are all of underexposed grey snow then your vision has failed.

 Be able to recognize your mistakes and what went wrong: If a photo is a throwaway then know what went wrong. If there is blur where there shouldn’t be then be able to say the shutter speed was too slow. If you are making mistakes and you have no idea what is going wrong ask fellow photographers to provide tips. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Be afraid of making the same mistakes continuously.

 These are all questions you should be asking yourself as you shoot. Take the time to do some in camera editing and if things are failing as you shoot then correct things right then and there. Don’t be afraid to delete photos in your camera. Once you get all the pictures into your computer ask yourself the same questions all over again as you review them. Do not be afraid to throw out photographs. 10 good photos is better to deal with then 10 good photos mixed in with 100 mediocre photos and screw ups.

 You may in the process of editing end up with absolutely nothing to show for your time and energy and if it happens then chalk it up to a learning experience and move on. You will fail as a photographer and being honest about your failures and learning from your failures is what will make you a better photographer


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