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August 4, 2020
Ohh, I am so so happy my bi-monthly Lexi Critiques are BACK!! I missed doing these so much during our blog hiatus that I knew I wanted to throw in a few extra the month we brought the blog back. Which is totally happening!!
In case this is your first time here, Lexi Critiques is a little series where I will be looking at a real session from a real photographer in our industry and pointing out strengths and leaving tips that would have made the session stronger. Over the last 8 years I have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of sessions from being a publisher and running my own photography business. I have learned a lot about what makes a session stand out among the rest and I am here to help you achieve just that!
Today we have the talented Chelsey & Jordan who have shared this gorgeous engagement session with us!
So with out further ado go grab a pen and paper (for notes) and dive on in below.
* Keep in mind this is a little series and I will not be showing the full gallery that was provided. Each post will include a handful of tips and tricks but know there is a lot more that goes into perfecting a session. I hope these posts help you reach this goal and you are more then welcome (encouraged even) to leave questions in the comments below.
If you are looking to dive more into perfecting your sessions and telling a cohesive story with your images that grab the attention of editors as well as your clients, then check out our guide Shooting With Intention. And use code LEXICRITIQUES to save 30% off for visiting this post!
Well let’s jump in!!
One of the things I ALWAYS talk about when it comes to any session is detail shots. Whether it’s a wedding, a newborn shoot, or a senior session, details should never be left out. This is because they play a huge part in telling the story you are capturing, which can not be told with just portraits. So when it comes to engagement sessions obviously the very first detail shot that comes to mind is the ring, which is why this is a perfect place to start in with this critique. And voila, Chelsey & Jordan captured a gorgeous shot of the lucky ladie’s new ring. The only thing that threw me off is the location that the ring was captured.
In the few images I saw from this location there was nothing that tied the stone the ring that was captured on into the other images, or as I view it, into the story line. You always want to make sure all your images are tied together in some way (this allows them, or the story, to flow) and this includes detail shots. For example, if the ring was captured on the brick path behind the couple, vs the stone, that would tie into the story line. Or if some greenery from the bush behind the couple was included with the ring on the stone. The greenery would tie that image into the other. Again the idea is to have every image tied together in some way to create a smooth flow and story line.
The other thing that instantly stood out to me was the ring not being shown on the girls finger. Obviously it’s the wrong hand, but with this type of session my eyes instantly when to her hand looking for the ring. I would have switched the side the girl is on in these pictures. Not only to be able to see her new beautiful ring, but also because from the other side of her face, where her part is, her hair would naturally frame her face a little bit more.
* Please note this is not saying you can’t photograph a subject from the opposite side of their hair part. This is to point out two reasons I would have switched the side she is on in these pictures, mainly because of the ring. Now most of the images from this session the girl is on the left side. This could have been intentional, maybe that was the side she wanted to be photographed from. My comment is just a tip showing what I see from an editors point of view and you should always put your client’s wishes before an editor’s opinion.
One more comment about the images above, specifically the first one. I would have edited out the blue sign by the door and the crack in the arch. That image is stunning, but the first place my eyes go to every time I look at it is the blue paper. A quick click of the clone tool in Photoshop should get rid of that and it will make all the difference.
One of the other things that stood out drastically to me, and that I absolutely loved from this session, is the body language and posing Chelsey & Jordan used. It’s welcoming, genuine, and intimate. This is so important and necessary to keep the overall feeling of the session completely natural and not forced at all. If you can see awkwardness and stiffness in your images, the viewer is going to feel that.
Here is a great example of the detail shot that is tied into the rest of the story. In the image of the left, I can see peonies in the background. This easily ties in the detail shot of the Peony on the left side and makes it feel like part of the story. If I didn’t see peonies in any of the images it would feel out of place, like we talked about with the rock the ring was photographed on. Ask yourself and compare how you view these two images in this story line.
Lastly, I am going to leave you with this. As I brought up in the very beginning, details are something you will always here me talking about and something every single session needs. And in case you didn’t know, there are actually a few different types of detail shots. And one of those is portrait details. This is a shot where your subject is seen in the image, but not their eyes. Just like the image on the right. When creating a story with your images there is a balance you must have between the 5 types of portraits and the different types of detail shots. This not only allows you to fully tell the story, but it also always you to capture diversity in your images. So you, or the viewer, doesn’t feel like any of the images are too similar. I love how Chelsey & Jordan did a great job not only capturing the different types of detail shots but also a wide range in their portraits. Too many times I have seen photographers get stuck capturing only 3/4th body shots when I know, having just a little more diversity, would have made all the difference.
If you would like to have Lexi critique one of your session you can also submit a session for consideration HERE. Until next time … happy shooting!