May 24, 2012

Andrew Fearman Portfolio Critique – Pt.1

Andrew Fearman Portfolio Critique

Andrew Fearman has placed himself in the lions den. A few weeks ago we created a form on Phlearn to volunteer your portfolio to be critiqued ,check it out HERE if you are interested. Andrew entered his portfolio and was chosen for this month’s critique.

The goal of these critiques is to give honest feedback on a portfolio, keeping in mind the photographer’s goals. These are just my opinions, so feel free to disagree, in fact your opinion will make the critique process even more valuable.

In this special 45 minute Phlearn episode, I will be going over 6 images and listing what I feel are the strong points and weak points of each. I will also be working on a  few images in Photoshop where I feel could be improved.

Episode Timeline

  • 0:30 Intro with Andrew Fearman
  • 6:25 plan for critique
  • 8:30 Image 1 – Girl with Tankers
  • 21:00 Image 2 – Booty Image
  • 26:00 Image 3 – Girl on Rocks
  • 30:00 Image 4 –  Studio
  • 37:00 Image 5 – Red Gels
  • 41:00 Image 6 – B&W Couple

Portfolio Images

Click on each image to make larger. Please leave a comment letting us know what you feel about these images.

[nggallery id=6]

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    James Brown

    As always, thank you to Andrew and Aaron for doing this. These critiques are extremely helpful to anyone who pics up a camera.

    I mostly agree with the images Aaron chose as portfolio worthy. I feel that the color images are far stronger than the black and white images for much of the same reasons Aaron gave. I will add that the b&w photos lack originality as well. I’m not sure which of these 6 is my favorite, but it is not the girl on the beach. I agree that the model looks great. But the background distracts me. I don’t really know exactly what is wrong with it other than it doesn’t fit with the model. It is very bright, the colors in the water are really saturated, but the colors in the cliffs and buildings seem bland. I guess if I think of it as a landscape image it reminds me of a tourist style snapshot in regards to post processing. Composition is great. Perhaps there is too much DOF as well. I do really like the image of the long haired model, especially after Aaron took out the sky.

    I took a look at your website Andrew, and I really like that it comes up with large images right away. It is overall very clean looking and easy to navigate. My only criticisms are that you need to edit your portfolio better. You have way too many photos in some of the categories. I don’t believe you are only showing your best work, which you should. And I think it would help to focus on one or two things, like fashion and beauty/glamor, and get rid of the other portfolios on this site. Make another site for those things and market them differently if you really want to pursue those things as well. You do have a lot of strong images, even better than what you had Aaron critique I think.

    Thanks again guys! Keep up the good work Andrew.

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      Thanks James, I appreciate all the feedback. When building my site I wanted to keep it clean and simple and let the images speak for themselves, so hopefully that comes across. I’ve actually put up more images then I would normally to get feedback in the next month or so giving me a better  idea of what people really like in terms of images to keep up and ones to take down. Eventually only keeping up the best of the best. Any feedback you have in terms of ones you think are the best I’d love to hear. I’ve thought about taking down the other categories recently and I think following this process I’ll do as you mentioned and take them to another site. Thanks for the feedback. All the best James. Cheers!

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        James Brown

         Andrew, I went back through you site and came up with this list of what I feel are your best images. Take it only as one person’s opinion.

        I honestly don’t see many of what I consider “beauty” images in your entire portfolio. I definitely think they are more on the fashion side than anything.

        Glamor 1

        Glamor 2


        left image on 6

        I hope this helps you out a bit when editing your portfolio. Thanks again for allowing Aaron to do this!

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          Thanks James, Im on the road right now but will definitely check out which images you liked when I get back home, Cheers!!

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    Mark ODo

    Arron I’m curious, on the first image you critiqued, how many of those changes you made in photoshop would you have corrected in camera if you had taken the photograph? (gobo, black cards, reflector, or fill lights)

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    Lukas Kuzma

    HI there, I really love what you’ve done and appreciate all daily episodes. On the first image I would do one thing different but similar I just wouldn’t paint sky in black or just lowered the opacity a bit to sky be a barely visible or changed hue to a bit warmer color still with the darkening. Thanks again for episodes and I’m thrilled for the part two.

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    I’m so glad there’s a new critique episode because I really miss looking at other photographer’s images in a different way!
    overall I love most of those images!

    @89b6cc66fc84f7ee6e1fe895e5707e0f:disqus I think you’re colored images are outstanding! when I saw the first image I knew I was going to love the rest!
    I see how skilled you are in fashion/glamour portraits,
    girl on rock: I love everything about this image, I feel that the only thing it’s missing is a Louis Vuitton logo at the bottom because to me it reminded me of it!

    I disagree a little bit with Aaron about the Red Gels image because by looking at it I was able to make up a little story of my own! maybe it’s too red by her elbow but overall I think it’s a great image!

    I can’t wait to watch the next episode, I’m very happy we had the opportunity to take a look at your work!

    thank you Aaron for the episode 

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      Hey Reem, thanks so much for the compliments on my work, truly appreciate it. I’ve always loved color and really try to use it to enhance my images. The ‘Girl on Rock’ image is actually from one of my most recent shoots and I think that is the direction most of my new work will go. The “Red Gels’ were used because I wanted to give it a nightclub feel having the disco ball etc in the image as well. Thanks again for the feedback, all the best!!

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      Hey Reem, thanks so much for the compliments on my work, truly appreciate it. I’ve always loved color and really try to use it to enhance my images. The ‘Girl on Rock’ image is actually from one of my most recent shoots and I think that is the direction most of my new work will go. The “Red Gels’ were used because I wanted to give it a nightclub feel having the disco ball etc in the image as well. Thanks again for the feedback, all the best!!

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    Vitaliy Piltser

    I just started watching the first critique on the first image but as soon as the episode started I started clicking around Fearman’s website (great last name btw haha) But the one thing that immediately jumped out at me is the model’s eyes. And maybe this is coming from watching Phlearn on a daily basis, but they’re entirely too white. I’m sure Aaron will go into it also but I just wanted to let you know just browsing the images, they immediately drew my attention, and not exactly in a good way.  

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      Hey Vitaliy,
      The eyes actually aren’t enhanced in terms of making them white, however the images are sharpened for web and that could be giving them the pop your talking about. Either way, I’ll look into it. Cheers!

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    Christopher Odd

    Hey Andrew and Aaron,

    Awesome episode.  I’d like to make a few comments if possible 😉

    The first image is a fricken powerhouse image.  I love the blank look on here face.  The makeup is a bit weird, but at the end of the day I’m more drawn to this image because it’s slightly…odd.  There are also some great textures in there (the rust/bolts/etc).  Knocking down the sky in the back definitely helps.  Perhaps instead of blacking it out completely, you could just darken the sky a bit….

    I’m with Aaron 100% on the black and white shots.  You’re really calling on a certain type of audience with those and while technically good shots, I don’t think they are up to par with the rest of your images.

    The seamless shot seems a little out of place, and I’m wondering if you could composite that onto another background to have a better impact.  I think the model’s hair is bad ass.

    I’d like to check out the whole site but my workplace has flagged it as unsafe for viewing due to the nature of images or something 🙂  I’ll check it out when I get home.

    TL;DR, Stick with the odd, whimsical fashion stuff.  It’s awesome!

    Christopher Odd

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      Hey Christopher,
      I agree with you and Aaron the knocking back/out the sky helps to really draw your eye into the model. As for the black and white images, I was certainly calling on that audience for a certain time earlier in my career but I think you see in my current and future work its pushing much harder towards fashion. In terms of the seamless shot, I don’t think its worth compositing onto another background. I think the combination of the blue lips/hair speak loud enough and overall is really there to simply show I have the skill level to shoot crisp/clean shoots on seamless for lookbooks etc Thanks for all the feedback!

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      haha yes they do and that is exactly what I was thinking for the image 😉

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    Maria Dolgopolova

    Thank you! It was so interesting to watch! This new rublic  seems to be very thought-provoking.I’d like to say about 2 of the pictures.I liked ‘Girl with Tankers’ most of all. And I like  that you hid the background, Aaaron, as it really helped to look direct at the subject. And I like the thing they did with eyebrows. The model looks a little bit like alien. And she is near these tankers/mechanisms/whatever. For me it is the only picture out of these 6 which has the strongest concept and makes me want to know who/where/why.I also think that ‘Girl on Rooks’ is professionally done. Except that I think that the background has to much detail and the model kind of fights for the viewers’ eyes with the background.I wait for another episode. It is pleasure to watch.

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      Hey Maria, I agree getting rid of the background between the tankers did help. Although the eyebrows were ok, I think they could have been done a bit better, maybe even bleached them out etc. The “Girl on Rocks’ I can see your point but I don’t think she’s fighting to much for the viewers attention and Im ok with the depth of field. However, I do think its something to definitely keep in mind for future shoots. Thanks for all your feedback!

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    Andrew and Aaron
    Critique for artist in general is always a bit touchy.  As artist we have invested our effort, ideas, and exposed a bit of our inner self to the masses.  It hurts when the comments are negative and feels good when they are positive.  In my opinion both are nothing but a distraction.  My personal rules for critique are as follows.

    1.  A proper critique is always about a thing, ( image, feature, composition, lighting, …) it is not about the person, general skills, or anything else in general.

    2.  A critique is an opinion of a single person.  That person can be helpful, insightful, have different values, not get the concept, or just be wrong. 

    3. The “Artist” has ask his/her self is there truth in this opinion or comment and is it relevant to me. IMHO the real value is to help you see the thing through another set of eyes. Does the work communicate what you intended with the intensity you intended?  Is it technically weak? …

    4  What will I change if I decide to change anything based on the critique.  There is no state, federal, or natural law that says you have to change anything.  But it might be a good idea to be open minded.

    Most of us myself included need to change, need to work at the craft, and need to improve (in my case a lot).  However, as an artist a mastery of the craft and it’s techniques is essential but it is primarily about the message we want to convey and can it be done better. 

    Alternatively you may decide that you are so far ahead of your time that “they” don’t get it and you will keep doing it your way until they do because you have artistic integrity.  You can create a large body of work while living in poverty.  Die penniless. Only to be a rediscovered long after you are dead proclaimed a genus making some future relative rich beyond belief. Assuming they didn’t throw it in the dumpster at some point.  Hey,  it’s been done before.

    Andrew and Aaron,  thank you both,

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    seen the site, too many models with too much wax look of skins.
    aaron will – maybe – release a phlearn pro that deals with skin retouching using d&b so as not to destroy skin textures. hehehe!

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    Jenna Petrone

    Hello Andrew, here is my commentary/critique for this video:


    I really like that you appreciate and respect an honest
    opinion and critique.  As a photographer,
    that is a really important state of mind to have and unfortunately some people
    just don’t have it.  I’m glad to hear you


    For these images, I paused the video before Aaron went into
    detail about what he thought about each image so I can write down my thoughts
    before he gets me thinking about other aspects of the images.  Then, if I feel I need to express more of my
    opinion while Aaron is explaining his thoughts, I write it in.


    Image # 1: The location is a strong point in the image: you
    don’t quite know where it was taken but at the same time it gives us an
    abstract kind of feel.  It also really makes
    the viewer focus on what’s most important and that’s obviously the model.  I love the pose of the model; it’s simple yet


                Details:  The overall exposure of the image looks
    pretty decent but I think hair gets lost in the dark background towards the
    bottom of the image. I agree with Aaron about the background being filled
    in.  It was one of the first things I
    noticed while looking at the image.  I
    also agree with Aaron with the girl’s skin being really, really soft.  It is a look of the fashion photography
    industry, but it may be a bit too much. 
    Also, I think her neck gets a little lost in the shadow under her chin.


    Image # 2: This is a very sexualized image and it’s probably
    intentional but I don’t know what message you are trying to tell your audience
    and it’s kind of ambiguous.  I also think
    it’s dark for a b&w image and details get lost in some places.  The pose of the models is also kind of
    awkward.  I also agree with what Aaron
    said about the white line.  Watch out for
    distractions like that even if they are minor…my photo professor always points
    out the little things that bother him in the crits in class and after you see
    the distraction, you can’t ignore it.


    Image # 3: I love this image.  I think it stands out from the typical
    picture of a model because not only are we looking at a beautiful model, but
    the landscape is beautiful as well.  I’m
    also a fan of the composition, it’s off centered and I like to see that
    especially with this landscape. 


                Details:  The exposure looks pretty darn good. & I
    love the colors! The models arm pose also looks a bit awkward.  I don’t know if it’s me not being used to
    fashion poses or just the way I prefer to look at models so don’t take it personally.   I also like the bathing suit she’s wearing;
    it’s not too revealing and it also compliments well with the landscape.  & I like the way her feet are posed…it’s
    a tiny detail but they look really relaxed and not stiff.


    Image # 4:  The first
    thing I noticed from this image is the hairstyle and the blue lips…that’s also
    probably intentional.  They are basic
    fashion studio shots with the plain white background.  They looked like they could be used to sell
    the clothes she’s wearing.


    The exposures and colors are nice.  I
    prefer the second image because of her pose (like her elegant  right hand) and simply the way she’s looking
    at the camera.  I also agree with Aaron,
    the lips look so much better when they’re not blue!


    Image # 5: The first thing I noticed about this image is the
    color.  I think the tones give it an
    atmosphere that would have been lost of it was colored correctly.  The second thing I noticed was the image
    seems a bit cluttered and busy but at the same time that busyness kind of
    frames the image so I’m on the fence with that one.


    Her right eye is getting a bit lost in the shadows, I understand that that
    might be part of the lighting and such so it might just be my personal
    preference again.  Overall I don’t mind
    this image, but I don’t love it.


    Image #6:  I honestly
    don’t know how I feel about this image. 
    I agree with Aaron about it being really busy.  I’m kind of lost when I look at it because
    there’s a lot of shapes and at times they kind of clash into each other.


    Details:  There are
    some spots in the image that are lost in black and we are losing detail.  The background is also really distracting and
    it kind of looks like it was just placed there, maybe that needs some toning
    down.  I also don’t like their
    poses.  I feel like the girl would look
    better on her own.  The guy’s pose
    bothers me though…especially the way her hand is placed on her rib cage.


    Overall, you know what you’re doing and you have a great
    style developed.   Keep going! : ) You
    seem really passionate about what you do and it shows in your work! I’ll watch
    part two sometime within the next few days and give more feedback.  Sorry about the novel of a comment, I seem to
    ramble a lot during critiques but I do hope it helped.

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      Hi Jenna, wow, thanks for all the feedback! Its tough to know where to begin so I’ll respond more to the criticism the compliments, although of course I do appreciate both 🙂
      Image 1 ~ I do agree getting rid of the background improves the image. Im ok with the skin and think overall its appropriate. 
      Image 2 ~ The white could definitely go. The blacks actually do have detail in the high res version but I can understand where your coming from. 
      Image 4 ~ It was shot to sell those clothes so your right on point! I actually like the blue lips, but can appreciate its not for everyone. 
      Image 5 ~ The lighting I came up with was suppose to give it a nightclub atmosphere and I was trying to frame her with the objects. 
      Image 6 ~ I agree that the image is a bit to busy, I wouldn’t get rid of the background but maybe instead get rid of the black objects on the wall paper possibly. 
      Thanks again for the feedback and best of luck with your own photography!