photo by ImprovePhotography

There is a classic article that I have had saved for a long time, and that I refer back to every once in a while when I’m wondering whether I’ve hit a plateau in my work. It’s about how to “Give Yourself an Honest Portfolio Review”, and it contains valuable, if humbling, information.

One of the toughest things that we have to learn as photographers is to look critically at our own work. It’s much easier to approach others’ photographs with a critical eye. Even before we understand much about principles of composition or lighting, we immediately have a reaction to artwork. “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like” about sums it up.

But even after learning some critical skills, culling and evaluating our own work is wildly difficult. We’re so attuned to what we intended to portray, or what we were feeling in the moment of taking the picture, that it’s hard to take a detached view of our own work.

But there is also probably no other kind of exercise that will improve your skills so quickly as sitting down and putting together a portfolio of the best work you’ve done to date. This article gives a short but reasonably in-depth guide to grading our overall abilities, which will let us know what to shoot for next.

About The Author

Heather Nilson was editor of from August 2012 until November 2014. She has a background as an academic geek, with a degree in biology and work history in biology research. This was followed in 2010 by a complete career switch from laboratory research to writing, photography, and travel. She specializes in travel and fine art photography, and loves spending her computer time continually learning more about photography and creativity. Heather lives in Denver, Colorado, when she is not traveling. Like her Facebook page at:

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