As photographers, we gather our inspiration from a wide range of sources, so it’s somewhat ironic that so many of us forget to look to our own work!
In fact, consuming your own image archive may provide more inspiration than looking at someone else’s work, especially if you have a sizable collection of images.
Browsing through your images is a great reminder of just how much you’ve grown as a photographer, and, likewise, if you’ve hit a slump in your picture taking, this can be a great way to pull yourself out of it.
You’re also removing the risk of being overly influenced by the style of others and can help you to develop your own unique vision.
But how do you do this? How do you spot those visual hallmarks that are uniquely you and develop them into something more consistent?
How to critique your photos
Below we’ll explain how to organise and review your work and build on what you’ve done.
- Group your images into different collections: for example, one for portraits and one for architecture. See if you’ve developed different styles within these different genres of photography, or whether your style is consistent throughout.
- Sort your images by date, and search through them. Note how your style and technique have changed over the span of time.
- Review your unfinished images. What work do you want to complete to these photographs to produce the final image?
- Review your finished images. Are you happy with the final result?
- See if there are any ‘gaps’ in your archive. Are there any genres or photographic techniques you have yet to use? Try to fill those gaps with new work and compare these images along with your previous ones.
- Spend time looking at your earliest work. If you haven’t viewed these pictures for a while, you might find that this work will likely look completely new to you. Time and fresh eyes, and all that. Compare these images along with your latest work and ask yourself what you prefer. Hopefully you have progressed in the direction you wanted to take!
- Choose your favourite image from your collection. Think about why that is your favourite image. Is it the sharpness, the colours, the unusual angle? What is it that sets it apart, and can you replicate that?
- Choose a picture from your own collection that is your least favourite. Think about why that is your least favourite image. Why doesn’t it work? What could you have done differently – or what did you fail to do at all? Can you go try and shoot this image again? This can be a really valuable experience.
- Examine images you’ve taken where you’ve been more experimental with your photography. Did you experiment work? How could it have been better? Is there a subject or genre where you might be able to apply these experiments more successfully?
- When looking at your favourite images, think about what inspired you to shoot them in the first place. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a rut, so think about what inspired you when you took your favourite pictures. And if you’re still stuck… go shoot them again! Inspiration will surely strike.