Portfolio Critique needed!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by hudsora, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. hudsora Suspended

    Feb 24, 2008
    Hello all,
    I am putting together my college entrance portfolio and would like you help and critique so I can make it really good!

    The link to the portfolio is:

    I'd appreciate any critique. Don't mind to be gentle, or I'll never learn. :)

  2. art gardiner macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2007
    Cairo, Egypt
    What college are you applying to? (Each school has their own requirements for prospective student portfolios.) What field/discipline? (Again, each have their own requirements.)

    Start by looking at what you want to do in photography; fine art, photojournalism, editorial, documentary, etc. Then, look at those schools that offer programs in the area of interest, and see what they are looking for in prospective portfolios.

    Ask yourself if you want to go to an Art School, or do you want to go to a university with a strong photography program? If you give people a little more information as to where you are trying to go with both your photography, and higher education - we could give a little more useful input.
  3. Nicholie macrumors regular

    Jul 6, 2008
    Huntsville, Al
  4. thr33face macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2006
    First of all: you shouldn't listen to me, as I applied 2 times for a photography class at uni and failed miserably (didn't even get into the 2nd round)

    With that in mind, here's what I have to say:

    What I miss in your portfolio is a theme, or something like that.
    I think when you decide on a theme it should be one that is easily "visible".
    I'm sure all those photographs tie into each other somehow, but the viewer (or I) cannot get what it is.

    Some general thoughts:
    Partial desaturation (like on Jay's hand) can look really out of place.
    Some need more separation of the tones (like the leaf on dock or "time to think") to maximise impact.
    Maybe it's my tired eyes, but most of them look a bit (say half stop or more?) underexposed.
    The "fall colors" are just a brown soup to me, and only after a while it starts to get coloury.
    I think "forgotten ruins" has potential. it gives a feeling of sizes and such.
    Some have obviously nothing going on, like "always moving". I mean it's what? nothing interesting atop and then some leaves? and WB not to my liking.

    The people looking at the portfolios have probably hundreds infront of them. Therefore they can only spend minimum time on each one.
    Sooo I guess it's important that your photos get right into their eyes in the first 1 or so second.

    Again, keep in mind I failed with my application 2 times. ...:rolleyes:
  5. GotMyOrangeCrus macrumors regular

    To be honest a lot of those images are not portfolio quality. Since this is for admittance to a college program you have to really filter out the shots that are weak.

    I would get rid of

    Alex Lin senior photo
    Leaf on wood deck
    Jay Chang Senior photo
    hoping for a goal
    soccer fans
    farm house
    night time cross
    fall colors
    birds of hamburg
    time to think
    forgotten ruins

    You strongest shots are

    Moonlit River
    Antique Man
    Storms out at sea
    Sunset with flag

    and the one that sticks out the most is Morning Sun. That is a great image and its that sort of quality that you should be striving for with a portfolio. In all honesty if I were you I would do a lot more shooting. Once I decided I was going to college for photography, I actually took a full year to shoot for my admittance portfolio. I worked a crappy little deli job and with that money I purchased some gear and took a couple road trips out west and down south.

    It does make a huge difference what school your applying too. The requirement differences between a prestigious program and a not so well known program will be huge. Is it a 2 year or 4 year program? Without knowing more in regards to the school I really cant say much more.

    If your serious about a career in photography then you should definitely give this portfolio everything you have. If I were you I would focus more in regards to subject matter and realy try and find some sort of theme. Try and really get some shots that scream "Portfolio" quality. I would look at as many portfolios on the web as you can find and see what images strike a chord with you and then go out and try and make similar pictures. Believe it or not but I actually had assignments in college where we had to find some images we really liked in some magazines and we got graded on how well we were able to duplicate them. Its actually a very good exercise.

    What school are you applying too?
  6. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    The whole portfolio screams snapshot.

    You should have a theme within any portfolio, this just seems a random collection of what you think are cool shots, and those that are not as cool have had their colours messed with so they look interesting. This just seems like a person with a digital camera with no understanding of the camera conventions.

    "If your photos are not good enough, it's because you don't read enough."

    What you could have done as an idea was just photograph the people in 'Go Fish' and used all those shots for your portfolio. All I see at the moment is a long distance shot of some guys playing a game, 3 of them with their backs to me. You're not engaging with the subject matter. I could have filled my portfolio with pictures just from those men.

    Don't bother with titles by the way otherwise you end up limiting the interpretation of your work. I would start again take an idea and work with it and get 20 shots for your portfolio.

    I've been doing a street project since June 2008 and I photograph youths on the street, my portfolio for my Masters degree will soley be made up of this 1 project. Sticking with something over a long term shows you're dedicated to what you're doing, not just running around taking snaps.

    Some of my images can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/crackedbutter/

    I started on the street and got to know the youths and now I go home with them and photograph them at home.

    Out of interest what are you shooting with? Camera and Kit details wanted please.
  7. hudsora thread starter Suspended

    Feb 24, 2008
    Hey guys,
    Wow, well I have some work to do, and always more things to learn!
    Okay to answer some of your questions, I am planning on applying to these two schools:
    University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Art Department
    Minneapolis College of Art and Design

    Basically they are they only ones in my area. But I am planning on doing 2 years at a community college first, so I still have time to work on my portfolio.

    The camera that I am using (in my tag) is a Rebel XT with a Tamron 18-200mm lens.

    So what I am getting as a common theme from all of your posts is that I need to set one theme for the portfolio and work on that?
  8. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    With regard to photography as an art form, you have to remember you're trying to say something visually. All I read into your images is you like sporting events and you like the outdoors and travel around the world.

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