Critique the Community Episode 5: Weddings with Lee and Patrick

Earlier this week, we asked the community to submit their wedding photographs to be critiqued by Lee and Patrick.  Thank you everyone for all for posting your pictures! Check out the images we've selected.

Feel free to include your thoughts and responses to Lee and Patrick in the comments below. To continue with more discussions and questions on wedding photography, check out the Wedding Community
 
 
 
 
 
https://fstoppers.com/photo/82953
https://fstoppers.com/photo/82847
Mustang Composite by Robert Zembrzycki
Mustang Composite
That Day by Vilmantas Lazickas
That Day
Landscape of love by Jose Miguel Stelluti
Landscape of love
Bride & Groom after the Ceremony by Vincent Dones
Bride & Groom after the Ceremony
https://fstoppers.com/photo/73128
Biltmore Couple by brian sumner
Biltmore Couple
https://fstoppers.com/photo/82877
Just a kiss by David Butler II
Just a kiss
The Tree II by Marie Fröhlich
The Tree II
Bride & Flower Girl by rahim ikram
Bride & Flower Girl
The skater bride by Thomas Mørkeberg
The skater bride
What's More Valuable? by Rick Denham
What's More Valuable?
https://fstoppers.com/photo/82791
Waiting to arrive by Tarik Browne
Waiting to arrive
After Shooting B&W by George Iliakis
After Shooting B&W
Bridal Portrait by Jared Cook
Bridal Portrait
https://fstoppers.com/photo/82905
Ray of light by Alejandro Sandoval
Ray of light
 

The Fstoppers Community Rating System

If you have an Fstoppers account, you are able to create your own profile and portfolio directly within the Fstoppers Community.  Once you have a portfolio uploaded, you can browse images in the community and rate the photos of your peers.  Even though art is usually a fairly subjective matter, we wanted to create a rating system that was as objective and unbiased as possible.  This way if one of your images has been rated 50 times and has received an average rating of 2 stars, you could feel confident that maybe that particular image is not up to par.  Below is a simple chart explaining the Fstoppers Community Rating System. 

1 Star - The Snapshot

1 Star ratings are limited to snap shots only. Snap shots are usually taken to document a time or location but little to no thought has gone into the creation of the image. If an image has been "lit" with external light (besides a direct on camera flash) it is at least a 2 star picture. The majority of 1 star images have had no post production work done to them but do often have an "Instagram style" filter added to them. The average person these days snaps 1 star images every single day with their smart phones. Most 1 star images that pop up on sites like ours are images of flowers, pets, landscapes, sunsets, objects around a house, etc. If you read Fstoppers, you should not be sharing 1 star images for any reason. 

2 Stars - Needs Work:

All images, besides maybe 5 star images, always have room for improvement but 2 star images "need work" before they should be included in your portfolio. As photographers we are snapping thousands of images per year but only a few of those images should ever be shared or put into our portfolio. A photographer who has taken a 2 star image has put some thought into the composition, exposure, and post production but for some reason has missed the mark. 2 star images should not be in the portfolio of a full time professional photographer, and amateur photographers should strive for something better. Even complete amateurs who don't understand photography at all are capable of taking 2 star images from time to time. 

3 Stars - Solid:

A 3 star image is an all around good image. The photographer has a solid understanding of the basics; composition, color, focus, subject matter, and post production. A 3 star image is "good" but it's not great. Most part-time professional photographers have mostly 3 star images in their portfolios. Usually a level 3 image would have been rated 4 stars if it had been shot in a better location, or with a better model showing a better expressions, or there was better post production. A photographer capable of taking a 3 star image is capable of taking 4 and 5 star images if they would simply pay more attention to the details. 

4 Stars - Excellent:

4 star images are fantastic. In most cases, 4 star images have a certain style to them that links them directly to their creator. 4 star images usually require planning and attention to extreme detail. It's almost impossible to shoot a 4 star image by getting lucky. 4 star images have almost flawless conception, composition, lighting, subject matter, and post production. If you have any 4 star images in your portfolio you should be very proud of yourself.

5 Stars - World Class:

5 star images are flawless and unforgettable. The amount of time, energy, and talent that goes into the average 5 star image is staggering. In many cases these pictures require a team to produce including a professional retoucher. The concept, lighting, subject, location, and post production on these images has to be perfect. In some cases the jump from 4 to 5 stars may be as simple as changing the unknown model in the picture with a celebrity or bringing in a set designer or stylist to make the image slightly better. Although there are always exceptions, most 5 star images take days, if not weeks or months to produce.

 

Strengthening Your Own Portfolio

Even with our objective rating system, people are going to disagree with what they like because ultimately art is still a matter of opinion.  However, I believe once an image has been rated over 25 times it will have a rating that is pretty fair and honest (We hope to deter trolls by giving negative Karma points when a vote is more than 1 star away from the community average).  If one of your images in your own portfolio is rated lower than what you personally feel it should be rated, I'd urge you to try to look at the image from an unbiased angle.  Step back, erase your memory of the photoshoot itself, and try to imagine an art buyer, stock agency, potential client or local gallery as they decided if they wanted to invest in your services.  Would your image make the cut?

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6 Comments

Fino Balanza's picture

great critique session, I feel this will definitely get more wedding photographers, specifically, to showcase more of their work. I think you should continue this once a month!

Christian Hartmann's picture

Hey Chelsey, Lee and Patrick. Thank you for taking your time and the critique. Very much appreciated! :)

Peter Georges's picture

This is great guys, much appreciated. Please do more of these!

Thanks for the critique guys, (Mine was bride in the limo) and you eventually got it nearly right, the sun is beaming in through the back window, and bouncing of dress and flowers causing that up light, I plan on printing large and before I do will give the face some attention in PS, but I am not well versed, more of a general adjustment in Lightroom person. The shot was as you supposed a opportunity grab as the limo was being repositioned so the groom would not see the bride as she got out, I jumped in next to the driver and fired off a few shots.

Jose Miguel Stelluti's picture

Patrick and Lee thank you very much, your opinion is very valuable to me, count on my participation to other reviews. I appreciate it, greetings from your friend from Venezuela

Joost van Baars's picture

Thank you for the kind words! Very fun (and sort of surreal) to see 2 other photographers talk about my photograph from a few thousand miles away.

Should you guys ever come to the Netherlands be sure to drop me a a message! :)