Looking From Outside In | A Photography Critique

Hey there! Have you ever had a photo critiqued? Does the idea make you get weak in the knees? No worries! In this video I share a quick critique of Michele Barbera’s photo for the August 16th prompt. You’ll see just how not scary it can be!

I’d love to hear your comments about the photo (and reaction to my critique) in the comments below!


  1. I have to agree with Rhadonda. The right window is really bugging me. I see the building in the left window that angles up to the upper right corner and expect it to continue in the right window. Instead it appears the entire scene is repeated in the right window, but at a different angle of reflection. I suspect the two doors/windows were not flat (on the same plane)so the angle of reflection is different. So this puzzle is what caught my eye first. Otherwise, I like the photo. I would have physically adjusted the doors or just limited the photo to the left door.

  2. Rhadonda Sedgwick

    It’s always so cool to hear and read critique. It only makes us better and helps us to see. Thanks Katrina and Michele. I think it would be cool then for Michele to “redo” the photo perhaps with a few of the changes suggested just to see the difference. My thoughts, i was immediately drawn to the spider web crack, even before the tower. I wonder if the right side window even is necessary? Just crop to the window on the left side, leave the lock in maybe. I love all the textures and focus!!! Great photo Michele!!!

  3. Simone Ruf

    What a great image. the distressed frame and shattered window and then the beautiful reflection. For me, I feel more hopeful when looking at this – despite the fact that the doors are locked and peeling/distressed, the beautiful reflection still shows the beauty that these old and forgotten doors have to offer.

    As far as the centering, not sure about that. I think if Michele had shifted this, then we would have lost some of the space between the tower and the frame which may have crowded the tower, and how would that have impacted where Michele was standing? It can be quite tricky to get a reflection without capturing yourself and slight adjustments can have a big impact on how much or little of the reflection is picked up.

    I really like the critiques and to see everyone’s thoughts on them.

    • That’s a great point Simone! It’s always easy for me to say, step two steps, move back, or whatever. Much harder when on location with the limitations that present themselves.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective! I love how much we are able to learn from each other through a critique.

  4. Wow! Love this image from Michele! The colors, the focus, the details in the textures of the wood, peeling paint, shattered glass, smooth reflections, it’s all eye candy!

    As for the emotion, my mind went straight to the shattered glass and the reflection… a sense of shattered dreams, lost freedom to let your wings fly and go where the wind takes you. The shatter is on the upper left thirds line intersection and to me, it’s spot on with that storyline. As my eye and mind wanders through the image, I keep coming back to the shatter just above the tower – the light on the tower adds to the yearning of the unattainable.

    Great job, Michele and wonderful critique, Katrina!

  5. Georgia

    LOVE this photo! Interestingly, my eye goes first to the spider web crack in the window above the tower, and when I first looked I thought of a ferris wheel, an image quite in contrast to the seriousness of the prison. The lighting on the tower and buildings is lovely. Love the hole in the window and the idea of, “breaking in/breaking out.” Love the beauty of the peeling paint and image of the lock. I think it’s such a busy scene that cropping a little off the left side and getting the distraction of the door frame out of there would allow the eye to travel better over the details named above. Beautiful photo! Thank you.

  6. Katrina’s comment is interesting, that centering the window frame might draw attention to the tower. Kinda of counterintuitive for me. To me the reflection is the beauty of the photo. Not easy to do and you did it well, Michele. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Michele Barbera'

    Katrina, I struggled the most with composition in this shot. I wanted the reflection of the tower to be the focus in this photo but I also wanted to use the rusty peeling window frame in the doorway to frame it and give it context. It might have worked better if I stepped back and got all of the frame in the photo but would that make it too centered? I had to use the lens distortion panel in LR to straighten it because of keystoning created by shooting at the wide end of my lens and it still isn’t quite right.
    Thanks for the critique, it gives me some good ideas to think about next time I try to capture a window reflection.

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