Critique the Community Episode 6b: Un-posed Wedding Photographs

Yesterday, we posted Part 1 from our latest episode of "Critique the Community" on un-posed wedding photos. For this episode we promised to give feedback for every single image that was properly submitted. If you missed the last video, we went through a little over half the images and gave our thoughts. Today, we'll be giving feedback to the rest. Check them out below.

https://fstoppers.com/photo/85695

https://fstoppers.com/photo/85716

https://fstoppers.com/photo/85791

https://fstoppers.com/photo/83876

https://fstoppers.com/photo/32056

 

If you missed your chance to submit your images for critique, keep an eye out for future submission opportunities for "Critique the Community." 

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, we 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, we would 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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4 Comments

Landon Wise's picture

Just wanted to say thank you to Lee & David for taking the time to critique these photos and offer some of your insight.
I took the confetti send off picture which I guess I should have clarified was actually just the send off from the church after the ceremony (not the night time one). It was originally intended to happen outside, but miraculously the church agreed to let us do it in the church lobby because it was raining. So where I was positioned was right in front of the doors to try to capture the natural light coming through once they got close enough. The back of the lobby was all florescent lighting and there was also funky color coming through a stained glass window.
So David you were right. Wide open with ambient light. Super simple but appreciate the complexity you guys found. Thanks again!

Izedin Arnautovic's picture

Hi Guys

Thank you for your critique, there are some really good Points in the comments about my Pictures :-)
I have one Question left: I shot the Picture with the fireworks, where you said, that you didn't like the direct Flash. Well the Point is, there was no Flash involved at all, there is a fixed lamp, which is always there and lights at night, the light on the couple came from this light source.
What would you have done in that case, to improve the Quality of the lighting in that Picture?
And would you really go and distract the couple from the fireworks to let them look at each other, just to get a good shot?

Thanks for your suggestions :-)

Jose Miguel Stelluti's picture

Thank you Lee and David, I appreciate the critique ... a big hug from Venezuela

Kristi Woody's picture

Catching up on my blog reading, so I know it's been a while, but I noticed part one has an "access denied" message. Can't figure out why, but thought maybe y'all could fix it :)