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Student Portfolio Review – 01

June 15, 2010

STRENGTHS: The lovely back-lighting and the shallow depth of field created a nice separation between the background and the man’s head in this image; skin tones are properly exposed.

IMPROVEMENTS: Be careful about detail in white shirts: when shooting darker skin tones, we sometimes need to over expose a half to a full stop from the camera’s meter. However, avoid white clothing that can easily get overexposed; the man’s expression looks a little blasé…it would have been nice to see an expression of pride or joy about his new-coming baby.

STRENGTHS: I like the girl in the foreground with the other peering over her shoulder, however…

IMPROVEMENTS: By using a shallower depth of field and zooming in slightly, the focus could have been stronger on the girl’s eyes. This could be achieved by cropping the bottom a few inches. Additionally, it would have been nice to see either more of the girl’s face or only her eyes behind the shoulder. I would also caution against competing design elements and let the image stand on its own.

STRENGTHS: The use of a soft focus filter works effectively for sweet images like this. Giving a child something to play with, like the bubbles, was also a creative way to get a natural look to the child.

IMPROVEMENTS: Would love to see other images from this shoot where, perhaps, the child’s face shows a bit more expression.

STRENGTHS: Great use of the baby’s blanket as a vignette around the face.

IMPROVEMENTS: The exposures between the three images are inconsistent. The skin tones in the image on the right are flat, while the skin tones on the left side are slightly overexposed. As a spread, it’s always good to have consistent tonal values.

STRENGTHS: The back-lighting, composition, exposure, and use of filters are all excellent.

IMPROVEMENTS: The image is lacking expression. The children look bored.

STRENGTHS: These are adorable. The expressions are great.

IMPROVEMENTS: Again, watch the use of white clothing when you’re considering your exposures. The exposures are a little hot (is this overexposed, or just over-processed?). This layout might be stronger by eliminating the central image.

STRENGTHS: Great prop. The blue chair and tan sand are great complementary colors to the baby’s olive skin tones.

IMPROVEMENTS: None. Great job.

STRENGTHS: Both images are well-exposed and composed.

IMPROVEMENTS: The window frame coming directly through the top of the woman’s head is distracting. You can create an action in Photoshop to keep sepia consistency throughout your images (especially within a specific layout).

STRENGTHS: Great variety of images in this spread. It’s fun to mix B+W and color.

IMPROVEMENTS: Again, keeping sepia tones consistent is important. The upper right image is very cold, while the lower left is ‘too sepia’. The lower right color images are a bit overexposed. The spread would benefit from including a stroke or frame around each image to help separate them.

STRENGTHS: Exposure and expressions are great. These are great examples of what could be used for a head shot or album cover.

IMPROVEMENTS: An image shouldn’t cut off right at the hand… You could show the hand or crop from the bottom above the elbow.

STRENGTHS: Everything about this image’s composition and exposure (and expression) is fantastic.

IMPROVEMENTS: The mark (is it part of a flower?) behind her back on the right should be edited out.

STRENGTHS: Composition is good.

IMPROVEMENTS: Both images are blown out. Again, it would be wonderful if there was more feeling in the face (perhaps a more mischievous look).


This photographer shows excellent use of composition, props, attire, and environmental settings.  Adjustments to exposure, expressions, and sepia tonal values will help transform this collection into a consistent, sleek, professional body of work.

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