Critique, tips and tricks to get a better portfolio 500px


Hi everybody! Today I am going to go through some 500px portfolios and critique them to explain you what works and what doesn’t from my point of view, yours could be totally different from mine and I totally understand that. My goal here is for you to improve and to get better at what you like to do, Photography! Not to bring anyone down, I am also going to share with you the people that I found inspiring on 500px. So let’s get started!

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Here is the first artist I want to talk about named, Parashiv Dragos, he is a great photographer and has 19,580 affections, which is pretty good:

Now I want to talk about this specific photo:

When you take a photo of a landscape you need several things for it to work, you need a great subject, which this photo has, I think this is a really nice view. For me to have a nice composition in Photography you need to have a foreground element, a middle ground element and a background element. On this photo the foreground would be the tree, the middle ground is the village and the background is the sky. Also the other thing you need is a great light, and he has a great light. There is only one thing that I don’t like about this photo, I mean I really like this photo I just think there is a couple of things that could be improve. The way he retouched the sky is too contrasty, that is my opinion but I think that the clouds are too dark, too much shadows in the clouds, to make the clouds puffier maybe less clarity would give it justice. Maybe I would have use brushes and radial filter to make the lighting more interesting on the village. Basically the main thing that could be improved is the light but otherwise it is a really nice shot with a nice composition.

The next artist his; Vivek Chumun, he has about 42,000 views on his portfolio.

He has a black and white photo that attract my attention, he called it alone:

I like this photo, but there is not an interesting foreground element but the water is not bad, we have a great middle ground with the boat and the background is pretty nice as well. The thing that is missing for me in this photo is, when you do black and white it is important to have good values in the black and good values in the white. I think the lower part of the sky should be brighter, because it is all grey with a little bit of black. And he did that much better on another photo he took:

I like the white he added in the sky, but unfortunately I think this shot is more boring because the foreground element is a high frequency texture and I talked a lot about that and personally I don’t think that it is very pleasing for the eyes. But if he added the white on the first photo like he did on the second one it would be even better.

Now here are the photos of Lubos Balazovic, he has interesting photos that I want to talk about:

For example I love this photo:

Look at this foreground element, it is beautiful, the middle ground is amazing and the background is amazing too. Maybe I would have added a bit more white but this is a really interesting photo, I really like it.

I also love the photo he is using on his home page:

Very nice shot, I think he has too much clarity in the sky because you have different gradient in your photos, you see one gradient is contrast VS non-contrast and this photo is well contrasted everywhere. If the background (clouds) would be less contrasted, it would have given more depth to the photo. Just adding a bit of minus clarity can do the trick.

I love this photo:

There is a beautiful light, very interesting. The only thing I don’t like is once again the high frequency texture in the foreground; the grass is really not pleasant to the eyes.

One of the hardest things for me in landscape photography is the foreground element. For example if you want to shoot Notre-Dame in Paris:

This is a classic shot taken from a bridge; you have thousands of people taking this shot everyday. But I wanted to get an interesting foreground element so I put on an ND filter and did a long exposure of 1 or 2 seconds until I got the water really flat because I feel like the foreground element is suppose to lead into the photo.

For example this is a good foreground element:

Or this one is pretty cool with a good foreground element and also a nice light:

When I take photos the foreground element is the first thing I look for. Because when you get this shot of the Machu Pichu like this:

It is a beautiful subject and that is important too but you see the foreground element is a high frequency element and that is something I see very often in photography.

But otherwise the middle ground is amazing and the background is really nice too, maybe the light would look better at sunrise or sunset.

This is another good example:

The subject is interesting but look at the foreground element; it is pretty boring and a high frequency texture.

Now this is a photo that I really like, the foreground element is a high frequency texture but because it was shot from far it is still pleasing to the eyes.

This photo is interesting, I would have like one of the flower to be a bit bigger, but it is still an interesting foreground element even if it is a bit too high frequency texture for me.

So that was my critiques and I don’t mean to offend anyone, it is just to show you how to bring your photo to the next level and once again this is only my viewpoint.

Now for inspiration, here are the people that I found amazing; Michael T. Lim, he really has amazing photos, I mean check this out:

There is a very interesting composition with a very nice light, it is just amazing.

Here is another beautiful shot and a good example of a good foreground element. Also the middleground and background are really cool:

You see how the foreground is fuzzy and the background is contrasty, that is a beautiful composition.

Another one is a photo of Paris:

I like this shot with the nice effect on the Eiffel Tower. Check him out on 500px because he is a great source of inspiration.

Anyway so this is it for this article I hope that you liked my advices and that it will be useful to improve your photography skills!

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