Guide to curate photo portfolio into top 15 best?

Started Apr 19, 2012 | Discussions thread
yvind Strm
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,127
Re: Some advice
In reply to lostearstudio, Apr 20, 2012


If he wants to see what kind of photos YOU consider the best, then you should pick.

But, since you ask, I sense that you too is insecure on how to recognise a good image. Many are. And it gets even harder when it is about one owns pictures.
The problem is twofold.

1. You (and most of other photographers) lack a language to describe/judge photos, and apply a systematic approach to the task.

2. You are too attached to your images. You was there, and all other sensings are programmed into your brain, and invoked when you judge it. It is like the state of mind where someone has a view on something, and will overlook or argue against any opinion that does not support that view.

A systematic approach helps overcoming the last problem. And training.

Lets go:

1. Find what to photograph with your heart. If you do not feel anything when you find a subject; don't expect anyone else to either.

2. Use your creative part of the brain to find an interesting approach. Decide angle/pov, lighting etc, but do not touch the camera before all creative decisions are made. Make sure to decide your main object. Do not overload.

3. Grab the camera and switch to the other half of the brain. Suppress your emotions, and consentrate on the handwork. This step is about composition, and executing the ideas from 2. Composition is nothing but geometry. Colours, areas, shapes, lines, objects relations. Right? But also exposure, lighting and focus is (or should be) part of the composition to me.

The secret of #3 is to use any trick in the book to EMPHASIZE the main subject, and suppress all objects that have no function in the picture. If a object does not support the composition, it HAS to be elliminated. Change position, lens, angle, or remove it physically. If neither is possible, use focus or lighting to minimize the influence. A very important advice is to force your eye to examine every part of the viewfinder/LCD for disturbing objects, because otherwise, your brain/eye will overlook them. I find all these steps so much easier with the camera on a tripod.

Well, how does this help you judge images?

Ask the same questions:

  • Does the picture affect you in any way? (This is dangerous when judging own pictures, because there will always be a emotional attachment to one owns pictures)

  • Does the picture have a clear main subject/story? Is it interesting, or a

  • Is the picture conducted in a creative way, that supports the main subject?

  • Are there disturbing objects? Nothing must steal the attention, but it is ok to guide the eye around in the image. Again, force your eye to scan all of the image.

  • Does the composition works? (Turn the picture upside/down, to distract the brain from being focused on "What it sees") Use of lines, raport, fibonacci, etc.

  • Is the lighting pleasant, and does it supports the main subject?

  • Is the focus well placed? (Including DOF) So that it highlights the main subject?

  • Does the exposure fits the subject?

Hope this helps you.

lostearstudio wrote:

Hi, everyone. I currently have way too many photo in my portfolio. I had met with a photographer who is helping me and a few other students with feedback and one of the specific tip he gave me is to curate my photo collection into the best 15 photos so that he can critically analyze these 15 photos this Tuesday. (And to see what kind of photo that I consider the best).

He remarked that I had potentials (especially considering that I'm starting to get frustrated by my camera's limitation) and that he was rather impressed with a few specific photo. He just could not analyze my photo in the limited time we had together because I simply had too many photos for him to look through.

I am hoping to impress him enough to maybe possibly get an internship under him as there are very few deaf photographer with their own photographing business. (I don't mind working for the hearing but he could give me a lot of workplace education on how to communicate with clients and how to deal with the communication barrier).


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