Honest photography feedback is rare.

Look anywhere on social media and you will see millions of comments that are basically identical. “Nice photo. Cool. Great capture. Wow. 👏👏👏.” These comments are so bland and useless that a lot of these services have been handed over to bots that turn comments into a kind of self promotion.

I want to put a stop to this. Submit now for insightful photography advice.

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About me:

I’ve been practicing photography and other digital art for over 15 years. I’ve been writing fiction and non-fiction for 20. I have been published in regional magazines and popular photography blogs, as well as operating my own blog about the art of photography and being an active member of the reddit photography community for several years. I am an award-winning professional photographer, owner of Versa Photography located in Bellingham, Washington.

I enjoy looking at the work of others and communicating what I see in the language of design, without ego.

I am a person who loves art and photography. I am willing to put myself out there and put your opinion of me on the line in order to help you advance your skills. You won’t be able to find this randomly on social media. I started cheapcritique.com so I could provide photography advice straight to the people who want it the most.

Oh my gosh thank you so much. This is by far one of the best portfolio reviews I’ve gotten, and I can’t express how glad I am for it. I feel like a lot of millennial photographers shy away from giving criticism and it just makes it that much harder to progress, which means your advice is just that much more valuable. Thank you again

/u/jonasb907ak
Reddit

Fantastic, honest and detailed feedback. Thanks very much, I have a bit more thinking to do!

/u/typodoctor
Reddit

Thank you so much, I really appreciate the honest feedback. Processing and color is what I’ve been trying to improve the most for the past few months. I agree about those photos you linked – I was iffy about putting all of them up in the first place and now you’ve confirmed it. Thanks again for the great feedback.

/u/TritonTheDark
Reddit

Thank you so much! You really are a saint for contributing such in depth commentary and suggestions. I hugely appreciate it!!

/u/7tbear7
Reddit

Thank you, really happy with your critique, I appreciate the time you took to write this. Made me really satisfied with the work I do. Thank you

/u/Mendewesz
Reddit

I offer portfolio review.

For a small fee I will look over a selection of your images and tell you my impressions. I will tell you what I think is strong and should be enhanced and what is weak and needs to be rethought, using concrete terms and concepts from design and art that can be researched and practiced. Honest photography feedback and useful photography advice.

My fee is $20 for a minimum of 500 words of writing.

When it comes to a critique, what you agree with is just as important as what you don’t. It’s a hinge to understand what other people see when they look at your work. You need not take my suggestions, but hearing them will give you something to react towards and consider. It makes you more conscious of the directions you choose with your art. This is the value of a strong critique.

Here’s what you get for your $20:

Click here to see the submission.

Hey! I’m a high school senior, photography has been a hobby for the past four years, and this past summer I just got into film. Not really a coherent portfolio, but her are some of my favorites: https://flic.kr/s/aHskPtDdTo

Click here to see the review.

I like where you’re going with this. I can see you are fairly early in the process of mastering photography. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, we all start somewhere. This is good in that you are trying lots of things! That’s important to figuring out what you like.

I like many of these. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nickknudsen/26916813275/in/album-72157677062333676/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/nickknudsen/29427791501/in/album-72157677062333676/https://www.flickr.com/photos/nickknudsen/28878714834/in/album-72157677062333676/ The beekeeper’s hut has great emotional tone and I enjoy the sidelight for enhancing that. The star shot is well composed — the circle formed by the trails is placed on a good thirds line and the tree silhouettes enhance that, also being placed on a thirds. The night shot of the building is good because the branches frame the distant tower and there’s also a color contrast between the green/yellow branches and the purple lit tower.

You have a good understanding of basic concepts. I want to see fusion. You need to take all three of these strengths and combine them into single images. Awareness of composition, framing (the way the branches focus attention on the tower) and using color and tonal contrasts to draw attention, while covering the whole thing in a sauce of emotional tone. If you can fuse all these individual skills into single images, or into series of images, that will be mastery. What if you made an effort (not always possible, but always worth the effort) to shoot for creating strength in every image by combining these things inside a hierarchy (one thing supporting another in an order that creates a path for the eyes, centered and resting on the focal point)?

A critique might also be, be aware of what you can capture and what you cannot based on your surroundings and equipment. I don’t enjoy shots like https://www.flickr.com/photos/nickknudsen/22103633155/in/album-72157677062333676/ and https://www.flickr.com/photos/nickknudsen/20551627006/in/album-72157677062333676/ for a variety of reasons. The top one is clearly good light but the composition is muddled because you haven’t considered your foreground. In that shot you essentially want just the lit distant hillside. So you need to either discard the foreground by using a longer lens (something with a tight, 200mm type focal length) or find another composition that engages the viewer in the foreground as well as the distant hillside. The road isn’t enough, especially being on the edge of the frame, it’s unbalanced. The midday shot of the pond is just lacking in interest. The light isn’t spectacular — the reflection might be interesting, but it’s too far away and not a major element in the image. I would either get closer, or use a tighter lens.

Sometimes they get away from you. Find a way to disconnect your person connection to an image — maybe these were beautiful days that you really enjoyed, and that prevents you from critically viewing the image when you get home — and remember that others will not have that connection. They must stand on their own graphically.

Also, while I see you must be in Lightroom or some other processing software, I would encourage you to experiment with Photoshop, or some very focused processing software where you can make careful, layered adjustments. As you progress, try to create a workflow where you start to see the little details in the image, both while shooting and then later while processing, to refine your images down into a clear progression towards the focal point? There are many resources on the internet for tutorials and you can definitely teach yourself, or possibly take a class depending on your location. I would highly recommend it as a part of that next step towards fusing all these concepts together.

Keep it up, you’re doing well, I would say you’re certainly ahead of the curve but you need to stay committed to the art for a few more years before you’ll be a master. No worries about that — that’s life. Just keep working on your processing and your understanding of design. Read up on composition, but do it from the context of design. Photography composition blog articles tend to repeat the same basic information over and over. Design explains composition from the ground up in a way that is centered on geometry and tension, not muddled by the nature of photography as a possible documentary medium. Executing great compositions in a split second decision as you might as a documentary photographer will be a factor of practice alone — executing great compositions many many times before the critical moment — and are not sources in your method of understanding composition as it relates to the graphic image.

Also, get into film if you like, it might be fun. But all told, I don’t think it matters the format you capture images in very much. Film is nice, but in this era it is hard to work with and expensive. Easier to just use some variety of digital and simplify your workflow. Beyond technical concerns like sharpness, chromatic aberration and low light performance, your equipment is not as important as your vision — so consider cost and ease of processing. That’s why most people are into digital, because it’s simpler. The technical concerns largely favor digital in this era. Not to say there’s not things to learn from film, or that it’s not worth your time, it’s just that if I were you, early in my life and doing well, I’d spend my early days sticking to digital and not bother with film, as time will only make digital even better. Just my opinion.

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