Sunday, August 21, 2011

Building Better Photographs

A few years ago I was asked to judge a Newfoundland photo contest. Happy as a pig in mud, I spent a couple hours pawing through images of people's beloved dogs. A great number of the photos went into a thumbs down pile. A couple went into a WOW! pile, and then there were the images in the middle. The "Oh, nuts!" pile.

This pile was the stack of images that had something special going for them but didn't quite make it. Perhaps they caught an amazing expression on their dog, but the background was wrong. Or, the background was beautiful but the dog wasn't positioned well.

"What a great learning experience!" I thought, as I went through this middle pile, mentally removing distractions, exposing better, or changing the light of the image.

"Let's do a quarterly photography article. People learn best by seeing, so what if we took a photo or two every quarter, explain what its strengths are and give a few thoughts on what could take this image from okay, to WOW!" I suggested to those in charge of the competition.

That idea didn't set well with the powers that be, but I still think there is a need for this service within the Newfoundland community.

So, I'm starting this blog. Let's learn how to improve those images. I'll offer up a few tips and then I'm asking readers to contact me and let me know if you have an image you think is good but could use some help. I'll select an image a week or so to critique, with the focus NOT on tearing down the work but offering a couple suggestions to improve it. I'll also point out what I think are the strengths, because that is important to remember, too.

Please don't e-mail me a ton of images as I will not open an e-mail with an attachment, but direct me to a link where I can see the photo you would like me to see. As the process goes along, I'll also post some of my photos and critique them, too!

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