Wedding Critique of the Week 6/6/11

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by picturesque, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. This week's image was taken by Maira Sharron.
    This is Part 2 of Wedding Photo of the Week. You can see all submissions in the thread with that title. In your critiques - include what you would do to improve the shot or why the shot is perfect as it is.
    Remember that this is not a contest. Sometimes an image will be a winning image and sometimes an image that needs some help. Try not to just say "great shot" but explain why it works. Or - "Doesn't do it for me" without explaining why.
    The photographer up for critique for this week should remember that the comments expressed each week are simply "opinions" and the effort and focus of these threads are to learn and to take images to another level. There will be times where the critique is simply members pointing out why the shot works which is also a way for others to learn about what aspects contribute to a good wedding photo. In reading all critiques -- you may agree or disagree with some points of view - but remember that there are varying approaches and often no right or wrong answer.
  2. Sorry, here's the image.
  3. Sorry.....this looks like a lady hanging up an old sheet, or a dustcover, or preparing a donation to a thrift shop. Wedding? What sign of a wedding here.....just some dust bunnys.....Robert
  4. I agree with Robert that this isn't your typical wedding shot, but since this photo was obviously presented to the Bride (I assume that the bride is pictured), then the client knows that it's the bride laying out her dress before getting dressed.
    I'd have liked to see the bride a bit more clearly.
    The Dress is out of focus or there is a bit of motion blur near the Bride's hand.
    I would have liked to see a bit more of the details in the dress.
    I know this isn't a PS the POW thread, but here's what I would have done:
  5. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I like the concept and I like the image – it has a good feel and a nice emotion, quite personal, private and contemplative – a nice counterpoint to the more common “getting ready” shots with thirty-thousand Bridesmaids.
    As the symmetry and geometry (of the windows) is vital in the composition they should be straight: they are not too much off straight - but enough to be annoying, well to my eye, anyway.
    As the rim-light on the Bride is so descriptive and depictive, I would look at retouching the area above her thigh.
    As the Black is so important in the composition, I would eliminate the few spots of light which are creeping through – centre top and a few at the bottom.
    I would like the dress a bit sharper - that would better balance the soft light and the bride in darkness and make the Dress more dominate and keep the Bride less dominate.
    An indicative of this reworking is here, showing all mentioned aspects, except making the dress sharp (the straightening - Vert. Perspective -1: Horiz. Perspective-1: Rotation 359.50°):

    I would like to know the shooting specs - I think you might be a bit to slow on the Tv - or you didn't use a tripod or monopod and maybe should have
  6. Stats: Canon 40D, 70-200mm L IS, F/2.8, SS 125, no flash, ISO 640.
    Yes, WW, my shutter speed was too low for this shot - I was hoping the image stabilization would kick in more than it did, but for some reason I don't mind the softness on this shot. It makes me think of film (don't crucify me for saying this haha -- I know film doesn't mean photos should not be sharp) Richard, thank you for suggesting that perhaps a "different type" of dress shot like this can be presented to a bride in addition to typical shots. I have several "normal" shots. Robert - thank you for your wisdom.
    This was taken in an old church - and the bride was getting dressed in a curtained off section of it - dark and musty. Not like the pretty bridal prep rooms we love to shoot in. I thought this was a good "mood" shot. Contemplative. Quiet. Solitary.
    Thank you again for your critique -- it is much appreciated. Would love more. Even those of the hanging old linen variety :)
  7. P.S. WW -- you are dead on with the straightening of the photo -- I usually try to be very careful with that. In fact, it bothers me too when I see a photo that isn't I can't believe I didn't notice it in my own photo. Argh.
  8. I think that you tend to look less critically at a shot that has good "feeling" and for me, this definitely has that.
    I love the shot... it's the calm before the storm!
  9. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for the reply to my question.
    my shutter speed was too low for this shot - I was hoping the image stabilization would kick in more than it did, but for some reason I don't mind the softness on this shot.”​
    Well, IMO “too slow” for the Subject Movement: I do believe the IS kicked in properly.
    If we look closely at the window frames there is NO movement – the Dress is softish because of the ripple effect from the hand movement. I retract my comment about using a monopod or tripod. On closer scrutiny, I believe the soft dress is attributable to the Subject Movement, as “eagle eye” Richard has already noted.
    The Bride will probably remember that she dressed in an Annex of the Church - she will probably remember the smell and the lighting and the dust for many years to come.
    Knowing that she was getting changed in the Church, if I were the Photographer, I would have been keen to make the most of all the Photo Opportunities presented to me . . . shooting ASA1600 B&W Film in Available Light would be most appropriate, IMO . . . and I would be keen to do that.
  10. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "you are dead on with the straightening of the photo -- I usually try to be very careful with that. In fact, it bothers me too when I see a photo that isn't I can't believe I didn't notice it in my own photo. Argh."​

    It drives me nuts - well "more nuts" than my normal condition
    The worst ones are the Family Formals, outside the Church, which were quite a common request of me - and something which I typically used to set / pose and my Assistant used to shoot . . . and then often, I used to straighten . . .
    "Argh" indeed!

  11. I like this shot alot - it elicits a feeling and as others have said, the bride will remember the setting. Seems to me you did the best thing you could do and created a moody silhouette shot using backlight to put the focus strictly on the dress and bride. I would have straightened, darkened the blacks and lightened the highlights a bit and cropped it to eliminate some of the unnecessary foreground. I am partial to high-contrast bw photography so it suit my eye fine.
  12. I too love the "feel" of this shot. I dont think I would bring back the face, I like the mystery and reduction to silhoutte and really like the rim light around the profile. The shadow often was used to represent the soul or spirit and here, are we seeing someone about to leave behind that soul/spirit to move to a new life and is gazing at the gown that is perhaps the symbol of that transition in this image? I want to believe that is what she is thinking. All the darkness surrounding windows, bride and dress keeps my eye there and in the frame. I love the dynamic v shape leading to the hanging dress on one side and to the bride on the other. I like the implied line of her gaze towards the v. I like the way the v is echoed in the patterns in the window. Glad cant see out the blown out window, I want to keep looking at bride and gown, not landscape. I like the placement of the dark head in front of the bright windows. I dont need more wedding information, the bride and mother already know, and I immediately recognized it as a variant of the "dress hanging from the curtain rod" shot. I like this treatment much better than what I usually see with that shot, it's way more than a "I recognize the bride and dress" shot. I dont mind the softness, as a fan of the soft focus work of the late 1800's and early 1900's and use a softar filter frequently. (Thanks to Bob Bernardo and Nadine). Bambi Cantrell said expression trumps perfection and for me that applies to impact as well and this one does for me, in a gentle, dreamy sort of way. Tilt, softness, minor compared to the impact. Had lots of reasons to like it. One of those moments when every thing comes together as HCB said. If you cant tell, I really like this image. I'm sure the most important person in your audience will as well, the bride.
  13. I tend to think that an image submitted for critique in the wedding forum, should look obviously like a wedding image.
    While I agree with many of the positive remarks made, I wonder how many of the posters would have been able to make such observations without the textual explanations and insights that were given.
    Generally I lean towards evaluating images on the image itself.....rather than how well it works after it has been explained to me. In most Salon judging, the image is judged on it's merits.....explanations, and often, titles are not allowed. Nice "moody" image tho' I know what it is....:) Robert
  14. I think this image really stands on its own merit first as a photograph, then as a wedding image. The lines of the dress provide a nice leading line to the bridesmaid. The placement of her head to form a silhouette against the window was also well seen. Aside from the ever-so-slight rotation already mentioned, I would apply no other changes to it. Very moody, very unique. Well done!
  15. I like this shot.
    While it may not be a super strong standalone image, I think it would be great as part of a bride/dress collage or album page. It's all about storytelling and this image tells part of that day's story. It's also something this bride will look back on and remember. There's definitely enough here to make me want to see more...
  16. Wedding photographs are made for the clients and not the general public. So long as the clients know what's going on in the shot, that's all that counts.
    This is a lovely, picture that not only captures the visual of the moment, but also the feel. About the only thing that, I think, would have made it better, would have been a shallower DOF so the window details would have been softer.
  17. My first impression of this shot was that it was of a bridesmaid straightening the bride's train. Then I read the explanation and comments. If the bride liked it, OK. Otherwise, I am simply confused.
  18. I want to thank you all very much for your critiques and comments about this photo. If only to be brave enough to shoot these moments on film, without needing the comfort and instant gratification of see how it turned out on the LCD. When all is said and done, I'm glad that I was able to see it and capture it in a way that I felt depicted "a" moment (at least for me).
    By the way, my name is Maria. When I registered for I typo'ed my own first name, and didn't notice it until weeks later. It doesn't bother me enough request that it be changed. So there you have it.
    Thank you again!
  19. Robert, I was wondering if you would share with me how would you have approached this shot in order to have it stand on it's own merit?
  20. Hi Maria.....I wouldn't have chosen this picture for critique in this forum, because the forum has a clear focus, namely weddings, and your image doesn't work well in that context without explanation....imo....
    i would have been delighted to see it submitted for crit in Fine Art, for example, because then it has a chance to speak for itself, rather than being limited to a contextual interpretation.......
    I have no problem with the image......just its suitablility for critique in a wedding forum.....Regards, Robert
  21. Ah, I see. I do have more standard images, however, I was interested in what people thought of this particular one. I felt a different connection to it than the other happy happy joy joy shots of the day.
    I am grateful for your insight, and for the insight of others who are much more experienced than I am -- for the time you and the others took to compose a critique for me to think about and chew on. It is much appreciated.
  22. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    The image does not need an explanation to state it is a Wedding Photograph; nor any justification; nor to speak for itself; nor any of those other elements mentioned.

    This is NOT about Salon Judging or a Fine Art Competition and it is erroneous and irrelevant to make any such comparisons.
    The forum does have a clear focus.
    And the request for an upload each week is just as clear.

    If one reads the text in that upload request thread, it is quite apparent that the subsequent action of uploading an image, defines that image of "Wedding Photography".
    Also the upload thread specifically requests that there be a caption for each image.
  23. If an image does not "speak for itself" then how does it communicate it's message/emotion/information? It is, after all, a visual medium that we work in.....not a written one.
    The image posted is fine. But not easily appreciated until contextual words are added to it, and at that point, it ceases to be an image only, and the critiques that follow are partially in need of the description to be meaningful.
    In context, a fine image. but the context is unclear in this case until words are used to "explain" it.......that's all i was saying.....Regards, all...Robert
  24. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    The context is NOT unlclear without the words to describe it.
    In this situation, the image was uploaded according to the terms of the upload thread.
    Hence there is no need for it to speak for itself as to what it is aboutit is about a Wedding, by definition – that’s my point.
    You might want to discuss Photographs “generally should speak for themselves” – and that’s fine . . .
    But we are discussing THIS image and by virtue of its inclusion in the upload it is defined as a Wedding Image.
  25. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    On the topic of images speaking for themselves - I really do think this is interesting point you have raised - if you are up for a bit of a rough experiment, show the image (without the caption) to different artists or artistically inclined people, in fact show it to anyone - and ask them "What is this picture about?"
    I'd be interested to know the results.
    Full disclosure: I showed the image, without a caption to a group of sixteen High School Art students, yesterday.
  26. Hi William....I did as you suggested but was not willing to copy the image for this purpose, so showed it to a few interested parties in my office....
    Most were of the "Oh, that's nice. What is it?" One lad stared blankly at it and said nothing. Most were of the "That's nice." opinion, but really had to have it explained before further comments....
    About what I would have expected.......Generally enthusism was quite high after explanation tho'...
  27. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Hi Robert
    I had the opposite result. The class is all Girls, 17 to 18yrs.
    Their comments varied but all mentioned the compound noun "Wedding Dress" in their answers - maybe our sample groups are way too diverse?
    I am interested in this.
  28. I'm not sure how you would make this image more obviously a wedding image, short of her wearing the dress and doing that all too common shot of the bride looking wistfully out of the window. That would be more obviously a wedding image, but this is so much more, it's a real moment, and like anything worthwhile it requires a little work from the viewer.
    I may be a wedding photographer but my personal goal at any wedding is to take lovely photos at a wedding, not to take lovely wedding photos. They're not widely different aims, but I think it does change the way you view a wedding, and makes your style yours, and not the generic shots that make up so much of what we see.
  29. Believe it or not, I figured the whole thing out almost immediately, even without a caption for help. There really is no mistaking a wedding gown if you've dealt with enough of them. I think the image is very nice, lovely, catches a fine moment, needs no explaining. Perhaps I would have liked another variation where she turns her head slightly to the light just to pick up some other lighting features on the shadow side of her face beside the rim light type.
  30. I’m with Robert. Not only is the dress not so clear … but
    those windows make think this is a copy of 15th century painting. Looks
    like somebody going through treasures in the attic.
    Good photo but I’m sorry, not a bride getting ready. Wedding
    photography is a subset of journalism. The photos must tell a story of a
  31. To those that say "this is not a wedding photo because it doesn't tell a story" Although there isn't some sort of indicator that screams wedding. She knows. She will always know. It's her wedding. It's her story. Isn't that my job -- to capture her story? I'm not ungrateful for the critiques that mention this, but I am really scratching my head over how you don't get it.
  32. Wedding photography is a subset of journalism. The photos must tell a story of a
    I must say I beg to differ with Robert and Rafi. Wedding photography is subject to the style of the photographer. Whereas some adopt a journalistic style, others pose their subjects more formally, etc. The "...story of a wedding" can be interpreted in as many ways as there are wedding photographers. Every wedding has myriad little sub-stories within it. The fact that one has been chosen which is considered less "traditional" or obvious should not detract from the fact that this was a storytelling image, nonetheless. And a powerful one.
  33. Isn't that my job -- to capture her story?​

    Yes, and keep your clients happy.

    Welcome to
  34. One sweet image. Very Jeff Ascough esq.

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