January 2024 Critiques

So many topics covered again this month! Including:

  • camera settings and slow shutter speeds
  • focusing on the eye
  • light conditions
  • editing (generative fill/generative expand issues – no generative demonstrations this month!), editing light, adding light rays, white balance, some issues with warm highlights and blue shadows, making the dog pop/not get lost in the dark, some discussion on contrast, some things around editing eyes. 
  • composition, particularly composition/space issues with the dog straight on to the camera but looking to the side.
  • location, using a location, tunnels, frames, backgrounds, where the dog is looking, their expression in that location, etc. 

Apologies in advance, I started in the MIDDLE of these photos (number 33, where the squiggly line is)… got to about #36, then went to the start of the photos of part 2. Lilo (#32) ended up at the very END of part 1 (I think). 

February 2023 Critiques

As always, such a great variety of photos and topics covered! Let’s see if I can remember them:

  • the story we’re telling or what we’re showing/saying about the dog’s personality, and particularly how the location, pose, gazing direction etc can affect that (yes, this is a bit of a deep and abstract topic but it came up more than once!)
  • camera settings
  • small editing things
  • composition
  • light & location

I felt like my brain wasn’t cooperating quite as well as normal in these critiques so I hope you all find them useful still!

November 2022 Critiques

Part 2

This random text is here so that the video shows up properly otherwise it will be invisible. Have a lovely day.

October 2022 Critiques

Soooooo many topics covered this month!

But the main thing that stood out was our subjects getting lost in the dark.

This seems to be a common theme when people start learning with me, and something I need to reflect on in my teaching, as it means somewhere along the way I’m not explaining something well enough.

The fact of the matter is, we need to be able to see our subjects.

There are very few times that I would want my entire image so dark that my subject is blending in with its surroundings. 

This is one of the few images of mine I can think of where I really wanted EVERYTHING dark… and even then I made sure to photoshop enough “light” hitting Loki’s back that he was visible. 

As one of your final editing steps, you should be checking the histogram. Is everything bunched up down the shadows end? Or do you use the full spectrum of light? If your dog has a white face or white stripe, are those whites as white as they can be? Can you SEE your subject clearly??? 

Editing in dark/dim ambient light settings or with your screen brightness turned up can alter how you perceive the brightness of your images. It’s worth calibrating your screen and making sure the brightness is appropriate for the ambient light of the space you’re editing in.

The last step for pretty much ALL my photos is to add +.10 to +.30 exposure, because I know I tend to edit dark. This stretches the histogram so I’m using the full spectrum of light and despite the photo being “dark and moody”, still feels vibrant and clear.

Other things we covered include:

  • Adding a pop of brightness and vibrance to the face
  • Composition
    • Gazing direction
    • Content aware scale
    • Content aware crop
    • Content aware fill
    • Rule of thirds
  • Using natural light
  • Perspective
  • Colour casts
  • Camera settings
  • SHaping the light
  • Location
    • Story
    • distractions

And probably more that I’ve forgotten now.

September 2022 Critiques

As always, heaps of topics covered in this critique session, including:

  • using the histogram to help with editing
  • losing the dog in darkness
  • moderating light; fixing highlights, raising shadows, making light “in balance”
  • dodge and burn for depth
  • over-sharpening
  • colour casts
  • connection between multiple subjects
  • white balance
  • composition with subjects of different sizes/heights
  • exploring different photographic elements to show/tell more about the story or personality
  • fixing weird edges from Photoshop
  • side light
  • posing

August 2022 Critiques

Once again, a great range of topics covered in these critiques, including:

  • haze
  • shaping the light, vignettes and adding darkness in open spaces
  • keeping things a bit more natural
  • composition
  • the journey through an image
  • distractions

So actually, an interesting mix of what I would consider more “higher concept” topics, which is really cool to see! Means you guys are thinking of things, trying different editing techniques and styles, finding what works, getting your camera settings and lighting conditions sorted. Love it!

Sorry if there’s a bit of “lack of energy” in this video. I’ve had a rough few days.

June 2022 Critiques

Our first critiques after reopening the membership and boooyyyy was it a big one!!

We covered SO many topics here, from composition (give the dog space to look into!), to white balance, posing, shaping the light, camera settings, light and location, and soooo much more. 

Thank you to everyone who submitted an image for critique! I know it takes guts and bravery to put your work out there! If I didn’t say anything nice about your photo, please don’t take it personally, I had sooo many photos to get through that quite often I just wanted to dive into the “meat” of the critique and get to the important stuff. 

It’s not personal (I don’t even know who submitted most of the photos 😂), and it doesn’t mean there was nothing good about your photo. In fact often when I say something nice it’s because I’m stalling while I think of the feedback 😂

There’s SO much good stuff in here from everyone, no matter whether you’re a total beginner or more advanced, so take the information on board, use it to improve, and submit your next photo before the end of the month! You got this!

Part 1

Part 2