The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Photo Critique

It is hard to believe that it is after 11 a.m. and the temperature is still below 80º! In fact – it is only 73º in Peachtree City! Can fall be far behind? Is it time to put away the white shoes and pants? Can it be time to think about a nice cup of hot cider?

There is a contest coming up that I have entered the last two years: The Georgia National Fair, fine arts division – photography. Last year I entered a couple paintings – one made it past the jury! This year – my little painting that I love so much did not make it past the jury. That's all I have to say about that. They send me pamphlets detailing the guidelines for entering: category descriptions – size and matting instructions. The postmark deadline was yesterday. I spent the past week or so printing photos, spreading them out, looking them over and asking my husband for his top picks in the categories. Choosing photos for a contest can be an easy thing to do if you remember some basics on critiquing – and in this case – you are the critic – of your own work.

What do you like about the photo? What do you not like? Did the photographer make the best choice?
Is the photo properly exposed? Are there any blown out highlighted areas or too dark shadow areas? Not all blown out areas are wrong – some lend an artistic touch to a photo. See what works in the photo and what does not.
What is in focus? Is anything in focus? Is the main subject as sharp as it should be? As with exposure – sometimes a soft focus is a desired effect and is more artistic. What works in the photo? Does any lack of focus detract from the subject?
Is the color in the photo good? If the photographer chose color over black and white – was this a good choice? Does the choice to use color contribute to the look of the photo? If black & white, is used – was this the best choice? Does lack of color add to the visual appeal of the photo?
Does the photo draw your attention to the subject? Is there a clear subject? Are there elements of the photo that are distracting and should be cropped out? Did the photographer use the "rule of thirds" properly – if that was the goal? If the photographer did not use the "rule of thirds," does the photo work well? Are there are open spaces or gaps in the photo? Think about the letters S, O, L & Z. Can you spot those letters in the photo? Maybe you see an "S" in a winding road? Is there an "O" hiding in the bloom of a flower? Having those letters as "hidden pictures" in a photo gives it interest to the eye. Interest draws the viewer in.
Did the photographer use everything to get the proper photo? Does the photo draw you in? Is there a direction of attention, or path, through the photo? Is the photo commonplace and trite or fresh?

The last thing to think about when choosing a photo for a contest or a show is again to choose one with the "wow factor." Try to pick the photo that you feel will cause someone to stop and take notice. Try to imagine your photo sticking out (in a good way) among hundreds in the same group!

No comments:

Blog Top Sites

Arts Blogs