How much has my photography improved over my career? Critique of my images.
Oct 21, 2020 | By: Tracy Williams Photography (TWSP)
In researching my last blog post on my themed shoots, I got to look back over images from the last ten years. I have to be honest, some of the images would look a little different if I shot them now!
I set up as a photographer in 2005 after doing three years of a City & Guild evening course. Even back then I was always wanted to learn new things and go and study with other photographers etc. However, I was confident enough in my ability to get out there and sell my work. Looking back at some of the earlier images now all I can see is how I should have shot it slightly differently!
By 2010 I was creating my fairy shoots and I found these images shot from that day earlier this week.
So, with a deep breath I can now critique them for you and hopefully you can then see what my years of shooting images have taught me.
Positioning of subject
A snapshot is a photo where the main subject is slap bang right in the middle of the image. Score two out of three on this point as both the further away images are just that. In another blog I will talk about positioning your subject – the rule of thirds and leading lines – but let’s save that for another day.
Cally up in the air is a better creation as it has some context with her fairy wings and the sky.
I love natural light but to use it properly it needs to be a uniform light. Hot spots are where the sun is shining directly onto the subject and cause uneven lighting. Epic fail here as all three images have hot spots.
Ethan has light just under his nose and on his collar. My poor husband has lots of lines over his face from the shade of the tree branches and even my lovely fairy has some sun on her face. In addition, especially for the closer shot of Cally ideally, I would have captured catch lights in her eyes.
Hot spots detract from the subject and subconsciously your eyes will be drawn to them. By using a reflector or moving them very slightly I could have avoided this issue.
Depth of field – or blurring as I have had it described to me!
Now this is one of my favourite tools for my photography as you are basically attracting the viewer to how you see the image and emphasising this.
Two out of the three have used it as the trees and sky have a nice blur for my fairy shot which creates a background that is pleasant but does not detract from the subject – in this case Cally flying! My son is shown in a nice tree arch but there is a lot of space and I could have gone in closer and had even more depth of field. For the third shot the two of them it’s all nearly on one plane with very little blur of the background.
Straight out of camera (SOOC)
This is a term photographers use to explain how much manipulation they do to images once they get them back home for processing.
I aim to shoot now so that I create the right light and settings for my images so that I have minimal processing (apart from converting from RAW). This means that I am aiming for SOOC in my set ups and way I work rather than lightening and changing the image that much in post processing. It’s a skill I have learnt over the years as each time I shoot in different light situations I learn something new.
However back then I should have learnt more how to manipulate images in photoshop! As I am afraid these three seem very flat to me now. Here they are me doing some postproduction on them now so you can see the difference.
Hopefully you can now see some of the things that can make a big difference to your own images and also that I have improved somewhat over the years!!! I am always looking to learn new ways of shooting and exploring the light – it truly is an amazing thing!
Sometimes clients ask me which image is ‘technically best’ but I find that its abit like wall papering. If you have papered a wall and one tiny part is not quite correct that’s the bit you always see – no one else can see it but it’s all you see! So for photographs they may not be ‘perfect’ but it’s the enjoyment they give you that matters.
So, do you have any images that you saw a problem with after you have taken them? Or if you have any questions on improving your images please do contact me.