Upload & Sell: On
The more environmental portraits I make, the more often I have to ask myself, "Why is my subject in this spot? What's the story I'm trying to tell here?" With that as a constant refrain in my head, I look at these images and ask, "Why is the subject here, at this specific location, doing this particular thing?" Lots of these images have a plausible story to tell. Images 4-10 fall into this category for me. Others, not so much. Specifically, image 3: why is she actually leaning into the ivy? Who would under normal circumstances do that? Wouldn't a shallow depth of field on the face with the ivy as a blurred background have made more sense? Image 11: why would she choose this alley location to sit, and why would she be looking through the staircase railing at me? Some of my favorite dance photographs (esp. those of Joe McNally) use the juxtaposition of costumed dancers in decidedly untypical locations, and the stark contrast between the two is the story. Here, I'm not so sure; the contrast just isn't stark enough to convey that same feeling. Now, put her in a wedding dress or something else, or maybe a different pose, and maybe it works. And most clearly, number 12: why is she sitting, alone, in the middle of the sidewalk at the beach?
A few other, random observations/comments: She's obviously a very attractive subject, a "target rich environment" for portraiture. I love number 2 for her pose, expression and light, although the environment doesn't help in this particular frame. I like images 4-10, although the composition in number 5, especially her distance and expression, evoke loneliness for me, unlike number 4, where it's more contemplative. I also like number 15, not so much for the story it might tell, but because it's a bit more "fashiony". I might have even asked her to shake her hair more, since the wind is obviously an issue here.
Thanks for asking pointedly for criticism. I think we too often gloss over this, to our own detriment. Unless we are challenged to actively examine our own and each others' images, we tend to look at them only superficially, and thus, do not grow and improve ourselves.