If you’re looking for ways to improve as a photographer, one of your best options involves looking to your fellow photographers for feedback on the images you’re capturing. Although opening up your work to criticism might feel uncomfortable, doing so will help you learn from your mistakes and find ways to create better imagery. A parade of compliments might boost our ego, but the flattery alone won’t lead us to becoming better photographers. The more we absorb honest critique and use it to improve our skills, the better off we’ll be down the line.

It can also be beneficial to watch other photographers’ work get critiqued, especially if those giving the critique are renowned photographers. In a recent episode of FStoppers‘ “Critique the Community,” a YouTube series designed to provide the photography community an opportunity to have their work critiqued, our very own Pye Jirsa joined Fstoppers co-founder Lee Morris to critique wedding portrait submissions.

You can watch the episode here on YouTube:

Based on the title of the episode, one would assume that “harsh” critiques were given; however, “harsh” should actually read “honest” or “thoughtful.” Each critique touches on several elements to justify the score given.

To illustrate this point, consider the critique offered to the community’s highest scoring image. After scoring it on the lower end (much to Lee’s surprise), Pye justifies his score by discussing posing issues and other notes regarding creativity and attention to detail (or lack thereof) in the scene. The added benefit of the critique unfolding as a discussion between Lee and Pye is that each of them offers a unique, subjective perspective that does not always align with the other. Through this discussion, then, we are given further insight into how one might approach and capture a similar scene.

Throughout the episode, we’re given tips on matching lighting with mood, posing intentionally, and framing & composing an image for maximum effect, all through Lee and Pye’s critiques of the images. Photographers tend to hold on tight to the images they capture and many struggle to let go of those that aren’t necessarily portfolio worthy. However, to put our best foot forward and continue to grow, sometimes we need an outside perspective, even if it might seem harsh at first. This series is a perfect go-to for getting that perspective.