Portfolio Critique - Look to the future

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by TNcasual, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    I have had a cursory interest in photography since I was a child. I always enjoyed my father's slide shows of our family events. I shot a few rolls through my brother's consumer Minolta camera. I shot some for High School and College publications.

    After college I had the fortune to have a job where I was afforded the use of a Sony F717. That was the first digital camera I used regularly. I had some good results from it. I eventually purchased a Canon S3 IS, that still works. It was my family camera. I also have a Holga that I enjoy shooting rolls through now and again.

    I would not consider myself a highly skilled photographer, or a highly knowledgeable one. Something that I do have, I feel, is a good eye. I feel I have pretty strong composition and artistry through the lens. Of course, I could always become better at all aspects of photography.

    I purchased my E-M10 at last Christmas in order to expand my creativity and possibility through photography. I went back and forth on what compact system to buy into, they all have their advantages and disadvantages. I went with m4/3 for the IBIS, size, collection of lenses and ability to use legacy glass. It really has opened up a world of creativity, that I think I knew existed, but wasn't fully aware. I love photography, and wish to grow my hobby.

    By the end of this year I hope to have been able to grow in a way that might help sustain the hobby. I have hopes to be able to sell at least some of my images/art. I don't have any unrealistic goals that I will become a professional photographer. I just would like to sell an image here or there to help pay for GAS and/or travel. When I look at local gift shops/craft fairs, I see people selling photos. Frankly, I feel that some of my best work is at least equal to the best pieces that I see being sold at these places. I would like to reiterate, though, I DO NOT plan on photography being a major source of income. No way, no how. I don't want this thread to go off into the merits/problems with selling, either.

    All that being said, I would like some critique of my work. I want the bad with the good. What should I improve upon? What am I doing well? Where should I branch out? Does anything that I am doing really stand out (good or bad?) Whatever your thoughts are on my work.

    Here is a link to a Flickr Album with, what I think, my best shots from the past year.

    I would like to add. I have been very happy with this forum. There are great photographers here, but also just good people. This site has been a wonderful resource and just a great place to hang out online. Thank you for all of your encouragement, knowledge and sharing.

    -Greg Schweiger
     
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  2. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    USA
    Very nice photos. Those sprat fishes are delicious :) may I ask how you came across them?
     
  3. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    We have a local "Eastern European" market here in Knoxville, go figure. They have a small selection of imported canned goods, candies, coffees, teas, frozen items, and other things . Their canned fish selection is good. The smoked sprats are delicious. I just had some for lunch.
     
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  4. 50orsohours

    50orsohours Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 13, 2013
    Portland Oregon
    What genre are you thinking about selling? The picture of the chicken is weak, I'd delete it from the album. Otherwise your B&W stuff is very nice, but what ever one does, one needs to have substance. I wish you good luck making $$$ on some of your photos.
     
  5. rav

    rav Mu-43 Top Veteran

    644
    Jul 28, 2015
    Nice album man , I think you surely must try to sell your pics . All the best
     
  6. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    Thanks for the replies.

    If anyone else had some constructive criticism, I would very much appreciate it.
     
  7. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    641
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    I have no idea about what photos sell. I know I have exactly 0 of my own photos printed large hanging in my house and have sold the same amount. Some of my friends have wanted to purchase but just don't feel right with it, I just don't think they are good enough. My personal preference out of yours would be the more B&W abstracts. I think they hang on the wall the best with the proper matting and framing.
     
  8. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    I think my next step in critiquing my own work is to get some nice sized prints made. I have made a few prints, but nothing with any size or quality.

    Hmm... Now to pick which ones.
     
  9. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Hi,

    FWIW, I attended a presentation from a landscape photographer who travels and sells prints at various art shows, etc.
    He said what sells best at those shows are images of nearby locations.

    Barry
     
  10. Crdome

    Crdome Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 11, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Chrome
    Possible options are entering photos in local and regional juried exhibitions. The exhibitions need not be specific to photography. Most often exhibit works are for sale. Good luck in your endeavors!
     
  11. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    I debated about putting the part in there about selling images. I really wish I hadn't. I appreciate other's opinions on that, but what I am looking for are thoughts on the images. I really want to become a better photographer. I think I have a decent start, but there is much I have to learn. That is why I spend the time on this forum - there is so much knowledge here. I also spend time on Flickr looking at images that I like and how they were captured.
     
  12. Crdome

    Crdome Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 11, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Chrome
    Did you read my post related to my thought process of a specific image? Bottom of the page.
     
  13. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    Yes. I found it interesting and it gave me a better understanding of the image.
     
  14. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    641
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    I don't like to give C&C because I have absolutely no credentials behind me. But here are my thoughts for what they are worth:

    Train - I like it
    boy on floor - I like it, contrast, reflections etc work well with B&W
    Paint tins? - I like this, but I'm not a huge fan of the cut off tins on the edges (crop or whatever)
    Cheery blossoms? - Again nice, maybe a little cliche but hey, who doesn't do this.
    Abstract curves - B&W, one of the stronger ones I feel. Just nice lines, tone and composition.
    Building B&W (last one) - I feel like there is too much negative space. Maybe it needed to go half way through the frame or more?
     
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  15. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    Thanks!

    Re: Paint tins? - They are actually colored sand from a Tibetan Sand Mandala exposition. I do wish that they were not cut off. That's part of the reason I would like something faster and wider (one of my other threads) This one was taken with an adapted Nikon 50 2. My kit 14-42 wasn't fast enough.

    Cherry Blossoms? - They are actually dogwood blossoms. I agree that it is a little cliche. Knoxville has an annual Dogwood arts festival, so I can't not take pictures of dogwoods.

    Building B&W - This is one that does need revisiting. I may have to reshoot it to get a better framing and exposure.
     
  16. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    641
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    Lol I knew I had the paint tins flowers wrong. But you got the point.
     
  17. NWright

    NWright Mu-43 Regular

    193
    Jan 13, 2014
    Michigan
    I really liked the set of B&W architecture shots and I wasn't really offended by the cut off bowls. I found that the main bowl in the center is strong enough to pull my eye back into the frame after it wanders away because the edges of others are cutoff. I find this visually appealing.

    Other than that I'd say a potentially good exercise would be trying to quantify the differences in quality within your image set. One thought would be to rank order this set for yourself - figuring out the top 10 - 20% that "rise up" and the bottom 10 - 20% that "fall off". As you get more "keepers" see if you can place them in with your ranked favorites - this could be a good way to understand how you are proceeding with your skills/quality of photos.

    After a while you could even have different categories of favorite images - these could then become a strong base for selling your work - you'd then have multiple options within each broad category - for instance - Color Nature Photographs vs B & W cityscape abstracts.

    Just some thoughts.
    Happy shooting!
     
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  18. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    It's subjective I know, but I've always liked that Bankman image, it stayed in my mind from the time you first posted it on this forum to the extent where when I saw it on your Flickr page, I thought to myself "oh yeah - I remember that". Hope that helps.
     
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  19. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    Australia
    I don't feel my photography is so great where I feel comfortable critising others work. I can definitely see where photography is allowing you to be more creative and artistic with your work.

    I like the photo of the bee the most out of what you have there. There some there that do not hold my interest very well. If you were to show your best 'portofolio' I would cull it down to the best of the best.
     
  20. snkenai

    snkenai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    523
    Sep 5, 2010
    Many tears ago, when I was just beginning welding, I ask a welder friend, "how do you get good at it"? His answer: "stay under the hood".
    After over 50 years of doing this, I still study my results and the work of others. I don't have the self discipline, to slow down and apply what I know. And, the results show!
    (I am not a pro photographer)
    Critique from others is very helpful, but, your own critical review is more important (in my opinion). I cull viciously. If I don't want to take a second look, why should it clog up my storage space?
    Failure is the most important part of learning. Oops, that didn't work! Do it differently!
    Keep shooting, culling, looking, questioning, and you will get there, if you know where you want to be.
     
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