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October 10, 2007



I agree with most of John's ideas, although there are at least two photos that are best both ways - as if they are two different images completely.

I've got to say I missed some of these in the gallery and I'm just amazed at how arresting they are. You should shoot live people more often (sounds kind of criminal but...).

One thing that I just have to say (don't tell John): I think every photographer likes what he/she likes - has that eye and sense of what they want to pull out of an image. John, to me, obviously loves it up close and personal in portrait photography. I know, because I'm the same way. But there is something to be said for a photo that makes the viewer feel as if he's standing back and taking in a scene which centers around a person. The second photo is an example of this to me. Both versions are superb but I especially like the one with more of the garage and grafitti showing.

Anyhow, I'm rambling. Excellent to have someone critique your work. I'm stunned that you can look at your people pics on this page and think they are your weakest photographic skill. I'm impressed with them.

stu egan

Hi Chuck.
I'm not sure if you're interested in feedback on a professional's feedback...or if I'm qualified to give it(!), but for what it's worth for me the one photo that is improved considerably happens to bt the one I think is the standout anyway; the second to last example. It seems to make sense, seeing as the face is out of focus, to go with the dramatic crop. Purely from a why-the-hell-not perspective. Interesting that the common thread with the advice and your re-workings is to fill more of the frame with the subject.

Craig Persel

I think the re-workings and feedback were fantastic. He really zeroed in on the strengths of the images and made them even stronger in my estimation. However, you/he had to start with great photos which they are. This sort of demonstration really helps me in thinking and processing these types of images. Thanks for sharing.


I agree with Stu, the one that is most dramatically improved with the most 'ruthless' of crops, is the one with the hand. It really becomes a photograph. The others are more obvious choices and spot on but it's easy to say that when the work's been done!
I actually prefer your grafitti version with more of the environment:the darker strip draws your eye to the 'business' area and so the grafitti is not a problem in my eyes. Great blog Chuck.
Take some more people shots willya!

Jeff Seltzer

Interesting. For the most part, I agree with his feedback. Glad to hear the event was worth it. I'll consider attending the next event.


Wonderful advice and examples.

I'm sharing the knowledge, linking to several of your insightful entries from my personal blog.

Tory Burch

Back in my film days, 90% of my photographs were shot in b&w. Over time, I came to think in b&w. Only now do I realize what a powerful mindset that was. When you remove the color information, your mind changes. Think about how your previsualization works when you know that the color you are seeing will not be part of the final image. You immediately begin to focus on things like texture, contrast, tonal range, shape, and form. All of the subtle things can turn a good image into a great image. Heck, I used to actually use the "zone system" to place the shadows or highlights right where I wanted them. Just thinking about the zone system before pressing the shutter is an exercise in good photography. It causes you to consider the elements in the photographs as elements and how they should work as part of the whole.

true religion

Back in my film days, 90% of my photographs were shot in b&w. Over time, I came to think in b&w. Only now do I realize what a powerful mindset that was. When you remove the color information, your mind changes.

Office 2010

Ah well your comment! I did you good!

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