• Cara Cilento

Reviewing Photography: Tips and Trick To Help Capture Great Pics

When it comes to photographers at any stage of their career, one of the most common challenges they face is picking which photographs to put in their portfolio or website. The wonderful thing about photography is that it is subjective, and every person will have a different manner of determining whether they like a photograph or not. When performing a photography review it is important to know what to look for.


What To Look For In Reviews


One of the things I always try to achieve when I embark on a photography review is I strive to picture what I would enjoy. I take a picture that I would like to see displayed somewhere. I realize that each photo would be in my own unique manner and have my vision, but I always review photography in terms of what I would like to see rather than what others think I should photograph. Afterall, I am inviting the viewer to share in my vision not showing the viewer theirs. However, sometimes, since I intend to make a living from my photographs, I need to take into consideration other people's preferences and requirements.


Where To Start


The first step I take when I start my photography review is decide where it would sit on a shelf. I don’t want my photography to have an identity crisis, so I group them into sets to determine where it would fit into a project. I organize my images into folders or categories as a means of analyzing them. On my computer you will find folders of landscapes, portraits, beaches, found objects and anything other kind of photography I can think of. I even make obscure photography folders such as “people sleeping”. I keep adding to these folders, slowly building them up of all the nice photographs then discarding all but the absolute best from each set with each addition to the piles. This process continues until all of the good images are collected.


Check Your Image Range


The next step I take when I engage in a photography review, is to ensure that my images are sharp, has adequate tonal range, has strong contrast between shadows and highlights. I make sure the images are properly focused on the appropriate section of the picture. It is possible that I use a photograph that is slightly out of focus but if I want to present it to a potential client, I make sure I have plenty of pictures that are in focus to show my mastery of the photography craft. It is imperative that I show that I have mastered a rule before I break it because and the first rule of photography review is that fuzzy photograph should be overlooked.


Tricks To Finding A Good Picture


Here’s a trick I do to help me find a good picture. After, I scan it to make sure it is technically correct, I turn it upside down. Turning your photo upside down will point out what the sharpest area, brightest area, the area with the most contrast, and bright colors. When you turn it upside down, it diverts attention away from the subject and lowers your vision to merely brightness and hues, which is less distracting. Then your eye naturally gravitates to the part of the image that will most likely catch the viewer's attention when the image is viewed right side up.


The Review Process


When it comes to the review process, I think the most important aspect is deciding if the image could be used. In other words, would someone hang it? If so, where? If not, does it have a different purpose like as a book cover, for example. Even if I am not planning on selling specific photos, I try to envision them being used in real life scenarios. If I can, then it usually means that it is a good photo, and I should keep it.


Sometimes, I think it is best to refer to photos as concepts. As I go through the review process, thinking in terms of loose ideas helps me get into the mindset that photos are stories I want to tell with my photographs. Like my writing, I constantly conjure up an increasing number of pictures in my imagination that link together into a story. I think that ability, to be able to see the sequence of shots in your head, distinguishes a professional photographer from a novice one.


Converting Ideas Into Projects


As I work, I convert my ideas into pictures and then convert the pictures into tangible photographic documentation of the story in my head. I must hold on to the creative insight about my subject and then precisely and consistently transform that vision into visual photos. In short, I am constantly thinking about the review process as I am shooting. Remember, the photographer makes a great shot, not the equipment. Your audience wants your perspective that technique makes a reality.


Lessons Learned From My First Show


I think the most accurate, yet informal review process comes from other people. When I did my first show, I noticed certain pictures received more attention than others. Some people walked by but other, people stopped and asked questions. They became engaged with the picture or its story. If the picture capable of producing an effect whereby people stop and ask you about it, then it an interesting photograph and worth keeping. I find that the pictures that draw people in are the ones that show true emotions, candid moments, or an action preserved in a split second. Capturing fleeting moments could mean the difference between a good photo and a great one.


The Bottom Line


So, what’s the bottom line? The bottom line is that the value judgment "good" is subjective because it relies on personal aesthetic preference. As a result, if you like a snapshot or anything else, you don't need to seek any additional confirmation. And if that photograph is for sale and you believe it is of sufficient quality to warrant a monetary exchange, that is sufficient. That is not to say that you should not master technique. Mastering technique separates a one-off lucky shot from consistently flawless pictures. The rest is intuition.


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