How to critique your own photographs.

I found this blog post a few days ago, and decided I would like to add it to mine to share and to remember of course. It’s a pretty good outline of exactly what I think about when I look at other photos, including mine already. Having a good starting point is key.

Technical

Is it in focus?

No one likes an out of focused picture, it’s something everyone tries to avoid (with a few exceptions). Ask yourself if it’s sharp or soft focus and if that is appropriate for the photograph?

Notice the depth of field and see if more or less would add to the photograph.

Is it exposed properly?

In some situations you just can’t avoid underexposing or overexposing some parts of the picture, but what you always want is for the main subject to be exposed properly. Avoid making the subject very dark/light in comparison with the background (unless you’re doing a silhouette). Is there anything in the photograph that is too distracting because it was overexposed?

Is the lighting and white balance appropriate?

Is the lighting too hard or soft and would changing it enhance the photograph? Avoid taking pictures with direct sunlight, especially when taking pictures of people, because it creates harsh unwanted shadows on the subject.

Is there a green/orange tint to the photograph created by fluorescent lights, street lamps or other poor light sources? This can be fixed by using your camera’s white balance features.

Composition

Should anything be cropped?

Is there anything in the picture that should be cropped out? Is there too much wasted space that doesn’t add to the photo?

Does it follow the “Rule of Thirds”?

If it doesn’t, should it? Does the composition work to focus the attention on the subject or would something else be better? The Rule of Thirds is just like any other rule, it can be broken.

Is there any leading lines?

Is there any lines in the picture that draws your attention deeper into the photograph? There are a lot of situations where this just isn’t possible, so don’t sweat if you can’t answer this question with a “yes.”

Is the photo balanced?

Are color, light, and subjects arranged in the photograph such that there is balance? Is the picture dominated by one color, light, or subject and if so, would changing that help improve the image?

Appeal

What was your intentions and can it be easily seen?

If you had a message or theme you originally wanted to portray when taking the photograph, is it obvious? This can make your picture thought provoking and show a lot of planning went into it.

What do you feel?

Does it make you feel sad, mad, or happy? Is that what you wanted? What techniques do you think could be used to change the mood of the photograph to what you want?

Is it interesting and appealing?

If this is a picture of something that belongs to you or someone you know, it might only be appealing to a few people. What about it do you think would make others interested in it?

What Now?

After critiquing your own photograph, go out and reshoot! If possible, take a picture of the exact same thing, but this time use your own critiques to improve upon it.

Hopefully with time, all these questions will be in the back of your mind every time to take a picture. You’ll be more aware of what it takes to make a great picture and get

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