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Looking for Photo Critique

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by dwrz, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. dwrz

    dwrz Guest

    I'm looking for some help: I need some criticism/advice/input/insight for my photographs. Some of my picks are on my site: dwrz|foto. I still need to add/edit/remove photographs there, but what's there is a start. I'm sharing the link but the site is not really "public" yet.

    While I've been shooting since 2002, I've mostly photographed for documentation, and not with the aim of getting a good photograph. I've only started to do the latter seriously in the last 6 months. Up until 2007 I only had point and shoots, from 2007 to 2010 I had Pentax dSLRS with the default zoom. From 2010 (most of the photographs) I had an Olympus E-P2 with just the 20mm f/1.7 lens. In the last 6 months I added lenses, then recently sold them to fund a purchase of an M6 TTL (very few photographs so far).

    I'm looking for useful advice and feedback. I've got thick skin. If you want to say "your photographs suck and you should never pick up a camera again"-- it's fine. I will keep shooting because I love this game. Even if I'll never score a touchdown I'm going to keep playing. I would appreciate more hearing about technique, choice of subject, so on. Things that will help me become a better photographer. Feel free to recommend books, articles, courses, whatever. Similarly, if you think there is something that works-- I would love to hear!

    My own judgement varies a lot. Sometimes I think the photographs are OK, sometimes I can't stand any of them. It would be very useful for me to get another perspective on them.
  2. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    There is nothing that stands out as bad. For the most part the images are interesting nor did I find them too repetative. Your portrait section could be renamed as there aren't many photographs of people--I know you can take animal portraits, but then they are described as "animal portraits." But beyond that, I would just be making personal comments--it is your work, your vision. It is a good start.

    You can start looking for photographers that you like. But photography is really a personal journey and the only way to move forward is to do work.
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  3. SMaturin

    SMaturin Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 30, 2011
    New York's Backyard
    You have a good eye for composition, especially in the architectural/structural series. I like the B&W night streets. They capture a mood that communicates to me.

    Think about what story the picture tells, and you will continue to grow. Many of the images work well as abstractions of line and space, but are a bit too stark and empty to tell a tangible story. That may be your preferred style, which is fine. But if you are trying to draw an audience in, they will be looking for a picture to tell them some sort of story or carry a clear message, even if the message cannot be put into words.

    What I mean is, when I look at a picture, I think "what was the photographer seeing that they wanted to share with me?" When I look at urbanscapes or human constructions, as opposed to pastoral landscapes, I want them to tell me a story about the people who inhabit them. If I do not see a story that sparks my imagination, I will not keep looking.

    I hope this is helpful to your creative growth.
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  4. dwrz

    dwrz Guest

    Both your comments are very helpful. I really appreciate the insight. I know there is a lot of work to do, and I cannot wait to do it. :)  Sometimes it is rough going, though...
  5. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    the photos are a good mixed bag. Some good, some great and some that need work. Almost all are better than I can do, but you asked. I think your weakest link is the website. It's slow....not end-of -the-world-slow..but slow enough it might scare some potential clients off. And you need to find a new way to break down your galleries. Portraits -- with 5 photos (some of which are more like facebook pet photos (coming from an unabashed pet portrait fan)) -- and structures..... and then a huge compositional gap/////// I mean this page.... dwrz|foto : Portfolio ..... just looks unfinisihed
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  6. dwrz

    dwrz Guest

    I definitely asked. I will see what I can do about the site, but I will probably, as you suggest, have to figure out a better way to organize the galleries (and their contents). Are there any images (besides the pet ones) that stick out to you as needing work? If so, why?
  7. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    I'm too tired to articulate, but I thin you know anyway.....the presentation and breakdown of your shots needs as much consideration as the shots themselves. I think there's a few SERIOUS winners here.

    Good night and good luck.... you're VERY much on the right path.
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  8. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi dwrz,

    The portrait section really has no content that would qualify in its category. In naming it as such you set the visitor up for some confusion or disappointment on arrival.

    I enjoyed several of the architectural and urban images. Composition in this genre seems to be something you're suited to quite nicely with some pleasant results.

    Keep shooting. Find a photographer who makes portraits that suit your style and vision, there are many to choose from.

    Cheers, Alan
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    I am also new to photography so take my advice with a grain of salt. We are drawn to similar subject matter. Look through your "architectural" shots and see what separates some of them and what unifies others. Some clearly look like they are a "of a set" and some are like a different photographer altogther. If you want to present a "vision" you need to do hone it down it a bit more. my own problem is that I love so many styles. I need to find my own. I think you are well on your way...and thinking to ask for help mean you're getting closer to understanding that. But sometimes that last little bit is that hardest part.........................

    look for what YOU see in the photograph....and what do they all have in common.
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  10. dwrz

    dwrz Guest

    I think I understand. That was very helpful-- thanks. And I will definitely have to give the organization some thought. I will see what I can do about the portrait section-- I might take it off until I can evaluate it a bit better.
  11. I quite like your "Constructed Habitat" shots, they are similar in concept to the urban style of photgraphy that I prefer. In terms of the website, I understand that it is under construction so you may be in the process of adding some things. I don't know if it is to do with my browser, but I found that the large images in the slideshow on the front page didn't seem very crisp, as though the slideshow is reducing the quality of the images. They look look fine when you click through to the portfolio and view them on their own. Either way I think it might be better to make the slideshow images on the front page smaller and add a bit of text like a tagline or mission statement or a brief explanation of your website and it's content.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 2, 2010
    The urban landscape shots are really good, very mysterious. I would straighten them however. By doing this it takes them from being snapshots to being photographs. Your eye for this stuff is really good. But making them more "formal" adds to their power.

    Also why black and white, why sepia toning? The shot of the people on the loungers is really good, but I'd have loved to see a colour shot or a straight black and white. Are you actually shooting in black and white (presumably on film with your M6) or converting these? I'm also not sure about the soft focus ones and the cat pictures seem out of place with the rest.

    I think you have a real style, and a real eye for this and I looked at your images for a long time. Your profile says you are from New York and I'm presuming thats where some of the pictures are from?, if so this is a New York that I've never seen and its fascinating because of that. Remember that familiarity to you can be quite alien to other people. It would also be nice to caption the images, with some details as to where they are and when they were taken. Are some Shanghai?

    In terms of the construction of your website, I'd do the constructed habitat section and leave the other section until you have enough pictures. The two military images are excellent. Again a glimpse into a world I will never see. If you have more of these I'd love to see them.

    I really liked the pictures and my comments are about the presentation of them. It just strikes me that you are still experimenting somewhat, and the portfolio gives the impression that you haven't quite made up your mind as to what direction you want to go in.

    What are you happiest with? Black and white or colour? Go with what you want. Trust your instinct. Show us your world in the way you want us to see it. Its actually good that you can't make up your mind as to whether they are any good or not. Shows you care. Photographers who don't question what they produce and who don't experience self-doubt are often complacent and it shows in their work.

    My overall impression from looking at your images is that I want to see more. They do draw me in.

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  13. sixfootzero

    sixfootzero New to Mu-43

    May 6, 2011
    First, I really like your images. I think the other comments have that part covered.

    I'd like to focus more on the website. I'm confused about its purpose. Is it to sell art prints, to promote your services as a photographer, or both?

    Right now, all the images fit neatly into the art prints category. If that's your goal, I wonder if a more formal storefront, where visitors can add images to a shopping cart or in some other way select images they'd like to have printed, would serve you better.

    If you're promoting yourself as a portrait or architectural photographer, then you aren't showing a potential client much that they could use to evaluate your work as it relates to their needs. For example, I'd expect an architectural photographer to be hired by either a building owner, a builder or an architect to provide photos they can use in marketing. As fascinating as your Constructed Habitat photos are, I don't know if any would serve that purpose.

    Why am I confused about the fundamental purpose of your website? It could be that it's early on a Sunday morning and I've had no coffee. It could be that, either through a mission statement or the organization of your site, you could convey its purpose, and your intent, more clearly.

    Thanks for letting us have a look!
    • Like Like x 1
  14. dwrz

    dwrz Guest

    Thank you for all your responses, and for taking your time to look at the site!

    With regards to the mechanics of the site, I will see what I can do, as I think it has more to do with the host than the design. As for the confusion with its purpose, I think that the problem is that I am not myself really clear yet as to what I want to do. I considered selling prints, mostly because this is a very expensive hobby for me at the moment. But I have doubts and mixed feelings. I would like to take better photographs first. Otherwise, I am scheduled to attend law school this fall, so I can't say I'm really expecting myself to ever find commercial work, even if I could ever shoot good, appealing photographs. I guess I might go for the prints route but probably still offer free full downloads anyway.

    Soundimageplus, the only shot currently up there with the M6 is the bathroom shot. Everything else is mostly E-P2, with a few from a Pentax K-100d. So everything is usually in color and then I make a decision on which way to go. I probably need to look at a few shots again and then re-evaluate. I generally prefer undersaturated photographs but that might only be as a reaction to what the digital cameras produce (in my opinion oversaturated shots). I hesitated to put a location because I thought the photographs would stand best on their own, with no text preconditioning the viewer, but it is something I still need to think about. Most of the photographs are indeed New York City, a few plucked out from Italy-- the China shots are Chongqing, and then the ship elevators at the Three Gorges. I am very much experimenting and I still feel like I have a lot to learn and improve upon. There are some hard days. Otherwise, I really appreciate your words and your insight!
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