Improving Your Images by Compairing, Deconstructing and Practicing
We are told over and over to never compare ourselves to others. And I agree! But there is such a thing as a "healthy" comparison in photography. Comparing the images you are making to that of a more seasoned Photographer will help you learn and begin to see how to improve.
Find a photo you love, a painted piece of artwork, look in magazines, books, heck even in advertisements and deconstruct the photo while asking yourself these questions:
Where do you think the light is placed in relation to the subject (up high, to the side, directly above, etc)
What is the angle of the light?
What do you think the light source is (sun, studio strobes, reflector, bounced light, etc)
Is there more than one light source?
Is the light harsh or diffused?
Are there catchlights in the subject's eyes? Are there more than one catchlight?
What direction are the shadows falling?
Is the subject being posed in a way to emphasize the light in a certain way?
Is the photographer using a shallow depth of field to draw your attention to one area of the photo? Or a large depth of field, the photo is in focus from the front of the image to the back?
Is the Photographer using color to set a mood (blue=cold, yellow=warm, etc)?
This is a "healthy" comparison. It is not looking at your own image and saying how bad it is compared to another. It is looking at someone's work that is more experienced than yours and applying that knowledge to your own images to make them better! You aren't copying someone's work, you are teaching your brain to see light, shadows, depth of field, etc. As you get further along in your photography journey, you will be able to look at an ad in Subway and know what Aperture is used and where the light source is located. When that moment clicks in your mind, you will know how to replicate it. This is when comparison leads to improvement.
Mini-Class: healthy comparison for improving your photos
Deconstructing beautiful images to improve your own photos. Determining lighting patterns and angles, poses and shadows of images is a healthy comparison to improving your skills.