Photo Essay Evaluation

For my photo essay, I chose to do gig photography to show the music scene in Hull. These types of images are likely to be used in magazines with reviews. Due to this theme, I went to a lot of different gigs at different venues in Hull.

When I looked into Kevin Westenberg’s photography, I noticed he used colours to represent the musicians genres. For example, indie artists have very soft, dark colours and lighting. Which is what inspired me to take the below image, because I thought the colours worked well together to present the indie band.


Ami Barwell, the other photographer I researched, presents her images in a different way to Westenberg because they are all very dark with no use of colour at all. To me, this presents all the musicians as very rock and roll and makes them seem like iconic figures. Due to this, I used a black and white filter on most of my photographs because I thought it presented the bands and musicians better. I also felt that when some images were transformed to black and white, they made you focus on what’s happening more. For example, one of the best black and white image I took was:


I think this photograph is more significant in black and white because it makes the audience focus on what the band are actually doing, in terms of facial expression, body language and movement. Whereas if I kept the photograph as it was with all of the colour, I think it would have just looked like a plain photograph of a band and there wouldn’t be as much focus on the individuals.

The positive feedback I received from my classmates included:

  • the use of black and white
  • framing, angles and cropping
  • depth
  • rule of thirds
  • golden triangle
  • balancing elements
  • clear and sharpness of images (good and fast shutter speeds)

In the best compositional photograph I took, you can see the golden triangle. This was created with the light and the angle of the mans guitar (as seen below).


To improve my photographs, it was suggested that I could have used a slower shutter speed to show more movement at the gigs. I did try this, but I thought they didn’t look good and I didn’t like them because everything was blurry.

From the different feedback, it was also suggested I could have shown the atmospheres within the music venues. This would have drawn away from the focus on the musicians and more onto what was happening around them. In the future, when I do gig photography I will keep this in mind to get a variety of images.

When capturing my photographs, I realised it was quite difficult to go to different venues and take pictures. This is because each venue has different lighting and so I had to change my settings to suit each place so the quality remained good. It’s also difficult to judge how bands are going to move around and perform, which makes it harder to get the right angles. From this I learnt it was best to take as many photographs as possible from different angles, to ensure I get good images. I also noticed that a lot of my photographs were from a low angle, so I now know in the future to keep on trying to get higher up to take more flattering images of musicians.

Overall, I think I did really well doing gig photography and I enjoyed it. I now know for in the future to keep on thinking about composition, colours and angles.



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