Photo Critique: Portraits 2 (Part 2)

In the second part of this live critique show (you can watch part 1 here), Karl continues to review portrait images submitted by members.

Working alphabetically according to first names, Karl offers his feedback and advice on images submitted by those with first names K-Z.

Throughout the show, you’ll learn about important aspects relating to portrait photography, including the choice of background and how this impacts the shot, what to think about when it comes to including supporting elements (such as outfit choice, props, background etc) and simple retouching techniques that can quickly enhance any image.

Topics covered in this show include:

  • Portrait photography tips
  • What makes effective portrait imagery
  • Lighting tips for portrait photography
  • Posing models and positioning hands
  • The importance of separation between the subject and background
  • Post-production techniques for portrait photography

To learn more about portrait photography, visit our Portrait page, where you’ll find a wide selection of different lighting setups for portrait photography, ranging from simple one light setups to four light setups.

If you have any questions about this show, please use the comments section below.

Please note the live feed will start earlier than scheduled — this is to ensure the show starts on time. We will remove this section from the replay for viewing convenience within 24 hours of the broadcast, but if you’re watching it before then, please skip ahead.


  1. Absolutely one of the best classes! Your critiques have given me a number of invaluable ways to push my photography to a higher level. It also became obvious what skills I need to most improve, relative to lighting and post production. Very soon, I will send one of my portraits for your assessment.

    1. Thank you very much and glad you enjoyed it but I would definitely argue that you need to watch more classes as I can think of at least 20 that are far more important than this one!

  2. You mention extending the depth of field in a close-up 3/4 view portrait of a dark-skinned woman in a pink scarf. The purpose, you say, is to get both eyes in focus. Question is that I don’t know if I’ve ever succeeded at that in a 3/4 unless with a focus stack, but that is very hard to do with a portrait due to tiny movements made between exposures. I usually shoot studio portraits between f/9 and f/11 with a medium format camera. Enough, I would think, to get both eyes but it barely gets one. Is it simply a matter of going up to a very high aperture, like f/22?

    1. Hi, I shoot most of my portraits at f11 or f16 on MF with either an 80 or 100 lens and don’t seem to have any DOF problems.

      1. I just realized that this may be as much connected to my lights as about aperture. The reason is that, when I first bought lights, it was a ProFoto B1 two light kit. Each light could put out 500 w/s of power. At those levels, The optimal aperture to get a correctly exposed shot was f/9. I then upgraded by buying two Broncolor Siros L units, both of which put out 800 w/s of light. With those, I found I could go to f/11 fairly comfortably, assuming an ISO of 50. I think the reason I usually shoot at around f/11 these days is that I hit a natural illumination limit at that point with the lights I have. To get to f/16, I think I’d need a pack and head solution that provides 1200 w/s or more.

        Does that make sense to you?

  3. I have to say, I really enjoy the way you pronounce some of these names! When I taught in the Netherlands, I had a pretty hard time myself, so it’s good to know I’m not the only one.

    I also love these critiques. I want to do photography professionally one day but I’m a bit old to be going back to school for it, so it is great to get feedback here, not just on my own but everyone else’s work as well.

  4. DavidMorgan

    A great couple of sessions. I think these critiques are one of the best ways of learning – so many teaching points brought out. Must get a shot of my own in there!

  5. Prague, 5/3/2020

    Hello Karl,
    thank you for your opinion, I appreciate it a lot and it made me happy. You spoke about the theatrical aspect of the picture, which is quite understandable. It was actually the request from an author. He´s a blacksmith and just published his first fantasy book. It´s actually absolutely correct, that you had this perception and it made me even more happy.
    Thank you for your courses, they are excellent.
    PS: Yes, you got my name right!

    Petr Sapík

Leave a Comment