Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Critiquing Photos

I spend a lot of time on Pinterest these days. You can follow me here if your curious about what my dream home or fantasy wardrobe would look like. lol You will also notice that my disdain for cooking is quite evident as that folder is practically empty; not to mention I only started that folder a couple of weeks ago in effort to keep up appearances on Pinterest! lol  If you want an invite to Pinterest just leave your e-mail in a comment and I will send one out to you.  I think it's odd that Pinterest requires you to be invited to "join," but, whatev.

Anyways, what was the point of this post again...oh yeah, critiquing photos.  Boy, do I get distracted easily.  Anyways, one thing that I have done surprisingly little of as a photographer over the past few years, is to critique both the photos that catch my eye and those that don't.  Sure, I look at pictures all the time and my mind immediately registers whether or not it likes the image it is taking in but, I have never taken the extra time to become an avid studier of the images I am viewing.  I know that this is a shameful confession but, at least now I'm doing what I should have been a long time ago.  Baby steps!  Questions I am beginning to ask myself when I look at a picture that I love: What draws me to this picture?  What is the mood?  Where is the light coming from and what time of day might this have been taken at?  How was the photographer positioned to get this perspective?  Is this a rule of thirds shot?  What is the model/subject wearing and how are they posed?  What about the setting adds to the emotion of the shot?  What is it about the post processing that I love so much?

Then of course I ask the same questions but, with a different goal in mind when an image is not as striking to me.  I have found this exercise to be incredibly eye opening.  Now, instead of simply looking at a picture and thinking to myself, "oh wow, what a beautiful picture," and pinning it without another thought; I really study it and learn from it.  In the same way, when a picture doesn't impact me I study it and determine what I feel that it is lacking.  Do you make a habit of critiquing photos? 

This exercise has helped me to hone in what I want my own photography style to embody and what I aspire to achieve going forward.  The pictures above are some of my favorite engagement pics from my Pinterest folder.  I love different things about each shot (which I won't go into in this post) but, I also see some patterns.  Happiness.  Joy.  Love.  Sweetness.  Light.  Cozy. Warm.  Relaxed.

I critique my own pictures to death and I am well aware of all of the things that I need to work on but, this exercise is simply about learning from others and growing in the process.  In future posts I'll share pictures that I like and why vs. shots that I am not as moved by and why.  If you don't do this already already, you should give it a try.  It's fun! :-)


  1. Yeah! Loved this post. I have been doing the same thing, and I agree, it's incredibly helpful to finding my own style, and growing my skills. I'm still at a point where I'm trying to figure out what my style is.. the problem is that I like so many different styles and have a hard time pinning it down to one! haha.
    Thanks for posting! xoxo

  2. Well the photos that you've pinned are amazing! I am not a photog but if someone just captures the beauty of the moment then i'm happy.

  3. I am also a habitual critiquer. I learned early on that even though I can totally appreciate certain styles of photography, my own personal style is very specific to me, and I can't really replicate certain things in my portraiture because they don't come naturally to me. Pinterest is such a wealth of photography examples to study! I love finding photos which contain fantastic poses or that are beautifully edited...but I never thought to think about WHY they inspire me! I'm gonna go through my boards and look with new eyes!

  4. not sure how I m issed three posts of yours on your blog, but I love the photos you just posted! However, I do like YOURS much better than any three on this post:-) Good luck this weekend!

  5. I critique other's photos as well. It does really help. In doing this, I have found that I am not drawn into a photo unless there is a person in it. I'm not talking portraits either. I will look at an extraordinary landscape photo and appreciate it's beauty for a second, and move on. But just stick a tiny silhouette of a person into the same shot and I'll stare at it for a good long time. I guess I need "a story" for a photo to move me. And for myself to actually TAKE a decent photo, I have to have some portion of a person in it.

  6. Being a completely newbie- I do this all the time. I am studying everything I love about it to LEARN. Funny- we were researching a new town where we are applying for a job- I was checking out what my would-be competition is like there (in case I actually get to that point) and I saw a maternity photo. Gorgeous composition, light- all the technical stuff was there. But the woman's skirt- covered in pet hair- I mean covered. All I could think of was how on earth the photographer missed that. It was almost assaulting when looking at the photo because it was all that stood out. One of those things that was so distracting that I could no longer focus on all the beautiful things in the shot. Which was really surprising because all the wedding shots in his portfolio were perfect. I don't know- maybe I am overly critical- maybe they wanted it left there. There is no way for me to know.


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