Friday evening, Charlie at Union 206 hosted a small portfolio review, which I was lucky enough to attend. 4 photographers brought 5 images for feedback and deconstruction. I'm very glad I attended, I got to meet some talented artists and share some of my favorite works with them.
The hardest part for me was picking just 5 images for review. To help narrow it down, I first limited myself to images I'd created in the last year. I've learned so much about my style, editing and lighting in the last 12 months, it seemed silly to showcase work from farther back then that. From there, I struggled, hemmed, hawed, huffed and puffed..... and got some great advice from some friends of mine (Thanks, Jon, Becky, Abbi, and Sara!), which left me with a pool of 12. From there I picked two and asked my FB Hivemind to help me pick the remaining 3.
Click the link to see what I submitted and what people said. ----------------->
(Click on any image for a larger look)
First up was this fantastic image of Asala. We shot this right after a Sucker Punched shoot and it's one of my favorite shots of her. I immediately admit I wish I'd gotten the whole scarf, but those things can be unpredictable. Editing on this photo is pretty minimal. Asala always looks fantastic and I didn't need to mess with perfection. A little tone mapping to improve contrast and a light vignetting was all we needed to get this image where it is now. I'm particularly fond of the level of transparency in the scarf. The group really liked this one, the only suggestions I got were to contrast brush to draw out her abs and to balance the light in the top two corners a little more. It was absolutely a great photo to start with.
This one got a big reaction right away. As a "man on fire" photo should. I ended up not getting much feedback on this one. I spent most of the time explaining where it was from (The Virginia Beach Bash Stage Combat Workshop) and exactly what we were up to (demonstrating a film fire stunt for the students). Also I fielded a lot of questions about setting a model on fire, most of which I answered with "Please don't. This is a highly trained stunt professional, not a model". I did get complemented on my composition and framing. I do agree there isn't a lot of complaining you can do when your subject is a man on fire.
Third was this image from my Masque shoot with the incredible Bernadette Bentley. I think this is one of my strongest portrait images, it's very artsy and it shows off a lot of detail and use of a shallow depth of field. I was again praised for my composition and use of negative space. The group was also really impressed with the still natural-looking image of my model. Which I'm very glad for, because I always try to keep my models looking very real and lifelike. It's easy to slip into a world of over-processed, dolphin smooth skin. Charlie also was very impressed with the details in her eyes, which I give more credit to Bernadette than to any photography magic on my part. This image also side tracked us into a short conversation about Sucker Punched, as I explained I had just wrapped a project that was incredibly complex and wanted to switch gears on Masque.
This photo immediately got a "wow" from the whole group. Which made me feel super awesome. The preview shot from our Red Dress shoot with Emily just last Tuesday, in Crystal City. Just a quick couple of edits and adjustments to this one; some contrast adjustments, pop the red and put a watermark on it. Emily is gorgeous and those legs are a work of art, no need for Photoshop on this fabulous lady. There are two small adjustments (that I'll actually be making in the near future to this image) that were requested; the first being that you can see a wee little hint of the flash stand on the left side of the image and the second being the shadow that connects her foot to the bench. Easy adjustments that I'm more than happy to make and keep an eye out for in the future.
And last but certainly not least, I have this image of Abbi, shot in Bethesda last fall. We had a few hours to kill before shooting a surprise engagement, so we grabbed a parasol and wandered. This is all done with available light, no sneaky strobes in this image. Another big, positive reaction when this shot came up. People liked the questions it raises and the clever composition. And I got bonus points for making it look like my watermark was painted on the ground.
All in all, it was a fun event, I'm really glad I went. My only criticism is that I felt that the set up lacked structure. I would have appreciated a little more in terms of what questions we're asking, what the format for feedback is...that sort of thing.
A big thank you to Charlie and the Union 206 crew for hosting, a thanks to the photographers to joined me and shared their insight and a super special thank you to all the models and people who made these images possible.
As always, for more images from any of these shoots, check out my Flickr Portfolio
A picture is worth a thousand words. Here are a thousand words about my pictures.