With every year that passes, the wedding photography industry changes and it becomes necessary for you to improve or optimize your shooting techniques. One of the best ways to do this is to take images from the past year and critique each and every one based on their technical, emotional, and storytelling qualities. You are your harshest critic, and with proper instruction on how to make productive critiques to your photos, you have the ability to advance your skills for the next wedding season. So you can grow more as a photographer this year, we’ve put together 8 ways to constructively critique your images.
1. Analyze Lighting
In photography, lighting can be challenging to master. Looking at your images from last year should include paying attention to how you used the light. Did you work with the natural lighting or was off-camera lighting necessary to overcome the harsh lighting? Also check to see if you utilized the best type of light for the situation you were in. Analyze all of the images which utilize your lighting skills; were there hot spots on certain areas of the photo which took your attention away from the bride and groom? The light should draw your attention to a certain part of the image, so you want to make sure you were intentional with how the light was used.
2. Critique Poses
Because there are many aspects of posing which you should pay attention to, look at your images to see if your couple is slouching, unengaged, or stiff. If so, these are things you may have missed as you were working with the couple. Take the time to look at every part of the pose, from the bride and groom’s posture, arm placement, and how they interact with one another. Learn other areas to critique in regard to posing with our Top 5 Tips for Posing with Roberto Valenzuela.
3. Observe Chosen Angles
Whether you are shooting the ceremony, the first dance, or the couple’s exit, switching up angles can improve your photos immensely. If you only shoot straight on, you may be missing opportunities to capture stunning photos for your couple. Also pay attention to where the angle you shot at directs attention to in the photo. Remember, the focus should be on your couple and eyes should draw directly to them.
4. Identify Composition and Framing
Before you shoot the wedding day, you spend time getting to know your couple and what they want their wedding to represent. When you look for proper composition and framing in your photos, it can make a large difference in how you improve your images for the future. Also, did you use the rule of thirds in your images to ensure the lines are correct? Paying attention to these small details can help your images avoid falling flat.
5. Determine “Wow” Images
When you shoot the wedding day, how many photos are considered “Wow” images? “Wow” images are the ones you feature on your blog, website, and social media. As you examine your past photos, count how many of your images are in this category. By doing this, it will give you a goal of how many you should aim to have for every wedding, and will provide you with what constitutes as this type of image (meaning you can always shoot for the “Wow” photos!).
6. Evaluate Facial Expressions
Shooting various brides and grooms during their wedding day requires you to pay attention to small details in your images. One of the small details includes paying attention to facial expressions. If you master the pose between the bride and groom, but their expressions are lacking, your images may not make as much of an impact. When you look at your past images, and your couples are missing facial expressions to match their pose, think about how you can coach your couples in future shoots.
7. Recognize Genuine Interaction
After checking to see if your images feature couples with facial expressions which enhance their pose, look to see if your couples also display genuine interaction with one another. They are getting married! Their excitement, love, or emotion should be present in the images. Examine your photo to see if their interaction is natural and not forced by a pose. If they are not interacting in a way which shows their love during this time, the photo does not contribute to their wedding story.
8. Examine Storytelling
When you are booked by a new couple, why do you think they desire to hire a photographer? They want someone with them to document their journey together. As your browse through your photos, are they telling a story of the wedding day? Do you have every shot, from getting ready, first look, ceremony, couple portraits, details, reception, and exit? If you are missing any of those major details of the wedding day, discover why you did not include them. Those are parts of the wedding day which tell an accurate story your couple can look at for years to come.
While slow season is in effect, take the time to look at your past work. Regardless of your skill level, your brand can always use some revamping to stay fresh and relevant. Also, decide whether you would benefit from sending your photos to a wedding photography editing company, like ShootDotEdit. For you to learn additional ways to create gorgeous photos during your shoots, download our Pro Photographer Lighting and Posing Guide!