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Image Reviews

Lesson 31 from: Mastering the Art of Photography

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

31. Image Reviews

In a series of image reviews, Chris deconstructs (mostly) TCP students’ images, posing the question, “Does the image tell the story the photographer wanted to tell?” Where it does, he explains how, and where it doesn’t he reveals what could be changed to better match final image and creative intent. The sequence starts with a herd of zebra and frame format.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction - Three Steps To Creative Photography


Firing The Creative Mind - Part 1: The Camera Points Both Ways


Firing The Creative Mind - Part 2: Letting Go Of Judgement


Firing The Creative Mind - Part 3: Detaching From Outcomes


Practicing Mindfulness In Photography


Finding The Visual Narrative


Behind-the-scenes: Naples


Seeing Beneath The Surface Of Things


Lesson Info

Image Reviews

before I kick off this module, let me set the scene and some ground rules for me. Image reviews are not about making judgments on other photographers work. There is no intention to say this image is good or this one's bad. Every critique sets out to answer a simple question. Does the photograph tell the story? The photographer wanted to tell. If it does, I'll explain how. And if it doesn't, I'll make suggestions about what I would change to get a closer match between image and intent. And remember, they're just ideas, and you may have a different view. So I encourage you to participate, give it your own thought and come up with your own suggestions. What comes out of sessions like these is always positive. So that said, Let's kick off with the very first image. So this is a portrait of a zebra. We have a loan face staring to camera saw an obvious main subject, and the herd provides context in a sense of place. It's a good observation and important. I think there's only one pair of eyes...

visible. It makes it clear, unambiguous visual statement now technically well executed, well exposed and the focus point is in the right place on the I. Now, while there's an exception to every rule, focusing on the eye is one rule that should rarely be broken. We are visual creatures at heart. We communicate through eye contact, and so if the eyes are blurred, you lose that connection with the subject. Also, nice catch lights, which add life to what would otherwise be a bit of a black hole. Now there are some tweaks I would suggest, firstly, the positioning. Now the subject has been placed using the rule of thirds, but I don't think it works here. When the subject is placed on an intersection of the thirds lines, what we call the polar point, it forces the eye to radiate away from the subject in this instance, towards the bottom right corner, where we find the butt of another zebra. Because this is a portrait, really, we want the subject to hold our attention so I would go with a square crop to center the main subject. Then there's the obtrusive body of the zebra in the foreground, which is so imposing and it's acting as a barrier. Visually, you get to the broadside, and you're visually blocked from going beyond it now. A simple solution would be to reframe the image as part of the crop that would also have the advantage of getting rid of this distracting twig, which is a small point I know. But often it's the little details that can make or break an image. So here's my suggested crop, and I'm going to add one small post capture tweak, which is to add a dark vignette. Now this is going to help lead the eye into the center of the frame and hold it there on the subject before and after you decide.

Ratings and Reviews

Gary Hook

Wow, what a wonderful journey. I love the concept of telling a story with one's photos and as I go through past images, I'm seeing them in a much different perspective. That's the good news, The bad? The lost opportunities I never 'saw' before; however that is a good thing. There is so much to internalize with the material so that it can get out of the head and into the 'heart'. I also found the concept really helps me with composition, both in camera and post. Biggest take away, as Chris underscored in his closing, is to slooooow down, take the time and feel it. Don't be so quick to leave one scene as there remain other aspects, yet to be discovered. A great experience that I truly enjoyed Thank you


I loved this course - in particular the latter part of it in which he demonstrated how post processing lets you really tell the story of the image. Another fabulous course. Thanks Chris & thanks Creative Live.

Abdullah Alahmari

Thanks a lot to mr. Chris Weston This course is great and It is a 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 course for me. Beside the other course ( mastering photographic composition and visual storytelling) both courses are Complementing to each other and highly recommended.

Student Work