Photography Portfolio Review –What I learned, and have I developed in the last two years?

Photography Portfolio Review –What I learned, and have I developed in the last two years?

So the question in my last post was – “how do I feel about the fact that only two images have made it from 2014 to 2016”

Yes. Please read on.

Well I am really pleased!

No really I am.

It means all the time I have spent on taking new images, and the processing of them, has resulted in my work improving.

Image capture

I have learnt a lot about composition. I have spent a lot of time looking at photographs by other photographers. Better photographers than me. And I have put my work up on 500 PX for other photographers to critique my work.

I have also listened to lots and lots and lots of podcasts on photography. Now listening might not sound like he best way to improve your understanding of composition, but from all I have heard I have picked up on a few key things which I have assimilated into my work. I have consumed every relevant class on Kelby One. I even spent a great day in London last summer listening to Scott Kelby. I read about photography all the time.

So one key point is - photograph interesting things.

Now I am working primarily in architectural photography, commercial photography and industrial photography.

Construction refurbishment. Building sites. Construction products. Property refurbishments.

That sort of thing.

No night shots of a barn illuminated by light painting with the milky way in the background (the current vogue image). No Taj Mahal, or the Grand Canyon.

Real, normal life subjects such as

  1. A school in Hampshire that has been reclad.
  2. An internal refurbishment in a University.
  3. New houses.
  4. Refurbished office spaces.
  5. Car parks.
  6. Render used in a construction project.
  7. Scaffolding.
  8. Lintols.
  9. Private libraries (for balance)

So my subject matter presents different challenges. Sure I could put up lots of photos of Durdle Door with that fantastic sky (might post that one tomorrow) but that is not the commercial side of my photography work.

I have to take these subjects I am working on and, whilst capturing them accurately and faithfully, make them as interesting and appealing as I can.

So my headline learning points of the last two years are

  1. Photograph interesting things
  2. Photograph interesting things in great light
  3. Photograph things even more creatively where the light is not great but I have to get the shot there and then
  4. Shoot in blue hour
  5. Replace the sky in Photoshop (one for me to work on) when the weather is rubbish and you have to do the shoot regardless
  6. Photograph the same view from different angle. Move to the left, to the right, up, down.
  7. Take less photographs.
  8. Work more slowly, In a more considered way.
  9. Think before shooting
  10. Edit the shoot better – be more brutal and narrow down to great compositions only.

Image processing

Cull more efficiently. The first edit is for the picks. From a shoot now I aim for 10 images. If a client has asked for more then great, not a problem. But 10 seems to be a good number. 10-20 images covers I would say 75% of my work.

My processing is good. I am on the edge, which is where I want to be, I want my work to be distinctive but natural. I want my final images to be different to everyone else’s.

On construction projects everyone takes lots of photos all the way through the process. I want mine to stand out. I want people to look at my images and know straight away that I took them. To say “wow look what Rick took this time”.

I want my style to be unique, distinct, recognisable.

And a consistent workflow has helped me progress this aspect of my work hugely.

From how I set up my camera, how I approach the subject matter, how I shoot, how I import, how I sort, how I process, and how I output the files.

I have written down my current workflow. This is how I produce consistently styled images. I work in Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop in a very specific way. I use the Creative Cloud so I am always using the latest technology.

I have a workspace carefully designed to help me with this workflow.


I have worked very hard over the last two years.

My work is improving.

My photographic knowledge is improving.

My architectural photography is developing at a rate which I am delighted with.

My interior photography is also improving massively.

My landscape photography, and indeed my travel photography, my experimental areas, are moving me forward even quicker.

So yes I am happy with my progress.

The last two years have been great learning and development years for me. All in own time of course! All outside of the commitments of full-time working.

Which shows how much I enjoy this photography thing!!

Thank you for sticking with me as I go through this process with my portfolio. Over the Easter Break I will just be posting nice images. No words. I will give you all a break from me! After Easter I will get stuck into my new portfolio images, and by the end of April I will have set of 30 images. That is my aim.

So have a nice Easter, but make sure you come back to my blog every day at