How To Critique
I found a useful link for those of you who feel unsure about how to go about critiquing a photograph. The article also gives some good examples
The Art of Critiquing....
Thank you for a link to an interesting article. Although it is quite informative, I don't think that it really adds all that very much to what most of the conscientious critiquers do here already. For those here who limit the extent of their critiques to remarks like "Great capture" or "Good shot", they are unlikely to change their tactics after reading it and, as I say, most who take their critiquing seriously will probably not need to change their method of critiquing either.
I have long thought that people on TE (and TL and TN for that matter) are, by and large, extremely polite and at pains never to cause offence which, of course, are good qualities but I think, by shying away from giving truly critical critiques, this can promote the "backslapping" culture in which, for instance, I might give you a glowing critique for a very inferior picture in the knowledge that I shall be guaranteed of receiving a similarly favourable critique in return when I next post my fuzzy, oversaturated and squint image.
I think most of us here really do try to present the very best of pictures that we are capable of taking but we do occasionally see the odd individual who constantly uploads pictures of very poor quality, not because he/she has an inexpensive camera but because he/she appears to have put no effort whatsoever into the upload: nor have they put any effort whatsoever into their notes which are usually written in the form of "pic taken somewhere nr london not sure hope u like cos it was sunny" or something equally uninformative. That sort of thing infuriates me but it infuriates me to the extent that I just will not comment upon such a picture: were I of a more aggressive disposition, I should probably write what I thought but I would almost certainly be banned from TE. And yet people who upload such stuff still seem to get great critiques - but from whom? From others who seek approval for their own dismal images?
I hope this doesn't sound elitist, because it's not meant to be so. I love it when people start off here and really struggle and try hard to produce images which are good, no matter what camera they might have. It's nothing to do with the quality or expense of your camera but more to do with the efforts to which a person is prepared to go. And when I see such people starting off on TE, I try to give them as much encouragement as I possibly can, as I am sure you and most others do too.
Anyway, Rosemary, this is a "general" thread you have started here so I best
let others have a chance to put in a word or two. Those are my thoughts and I did enjoy reading your linked article.
Incidentally, did you get my message about small apertures and "diffraction"?
I didn't read the article and really don't think anyone should read any article on how to critique. My reasoning is ...if you don't know what your own mind is thinking than you probably should not be on the internet critiqueing photos because you have other things that are much more important.
...as for me, I say, write your first thoughts, as evidenced by the line above. If you don't like a photo, say it, explain yourself, and give a reason why. Don't hold back, say what you are thinking. Reading an article about what you should say is almost like cheating, yourself and the poster, in my opinion. If you think the photo sucks, say it. If the photo poster gets mad, well, he/she shouldn't be posting than. An article can't tell you how to critique ...thats insane. It's all opinion. Post a photo on the internet on a site that has critiques and you open yourself up for critiques. If all the critiques are bad, who cares ...it's what you think. A photo is a memory. Only a memory for the person who took it. It has different meaning from the poster to the viewer. Who cares.
Now I never, ever, ever, berate or talk down to the photo poster no matter how bad the photo is. Realize that constructive criticism can actually help the poster ...people who do berate or just plain make fun of a photo or just say it's plain shit without a reason ...well, worthless critiques and people.
...and so I say, hey, thanks for the link, and it may help some people critiqueing (not sure about that spelling either), but, again, just write what you think. As for the whole "points issue" that has been going on for what ...at least five years now? ...don't post a photo for points. I give points to horrible photos that I think deserve my points because I want to give them ...sometimes because I have a realtionship with the poster helps ...if people don't like it ...too bad ...ok, I probably shouldn't have went there ...I have some really, really bad photos in my favs and such too ...I love em. ...and the day I have to read an article to tell me what my thoughts are ...ha ...just as bad as giving points for points. ...and I have some really bad photos that I posted with way too many points too and good critiques too, but I also realize that people are just being nice.
Gulp ...sorry man (I know, woman) ...had to say it. It's not a fight, photography is all opinion, and in the end it's a good link for some people and so a good thread. I do want to say though ...tell the truth, if you don't like a photo, say it ...and if you still give it a full smiley, thats your choice ...but don't just say a photo is good to appease the poster or try and get points in return. It's the internet people, and in the grand scheme of life ...you can't take points with you when you die.
PS Rosemary: I'm gonna read the article now so I'll warn you, I may be back to this thread...gulp.
Holy geez mother of friggin all that is piece of son of a mother...
Note: All my OPINION :)
"So, when youíre writing a photo critique, try to break away from the single photograph, and try to take a wider approach to the way you look at photos by a particular photographer."
NO, NO, NO ...if you want to be truly honest ...forget or don't even look at who took the photo. Critque the single photo for the photo it is. It's a photo and it doesn't matter who took it ...why does it matter who took it? So, say, Ansel Adams took a photo and than some 7 year old took the same photo from the same point ...your gonna say ANsel Adams is better if you know that right? Most people would even though the kids is better ...but he is a kid ...he can't take a picture like Ansel. It's a common trait of humanity. Go with the flow, follow the crowd, don't be different ...there isn't a better actor than Brad Pitt or George Clooney ...the iPhone IS the best phone ...crap, all crap. Don't let the photographer sway influence what you are truly critiqueing, the photograph.
"First of all, take a close look at the photograph. Let your eyes scan it closely: Make sure that youíve caught every possible detail of the photo. If something jumps out at you as being really good or really bad, note it, but donít say anything"
First of all, a good photo should have a good focal point and your eyes should instantly be drawn to it ...in my opinion, if you have to scan a photo, you start bringing a lot of "technical" data into the equation which really isn't pertinent if the photo is strong. Take a look at some of the greatest or most memorable photos you know ...you don't scan, you see and instantly say "wow" ...thats a great photo. It's the connection between viewer and photo with no interpretation that makes those photos so strong ...instant recognition. If you have to scan a photo, in general, it doesn't suck ...but it sucks ...and landscape photography I would give a little bit of leeway too, but still, not really :) ...Focal point, focal point, focal point. 1st rule of photography ...although I always did say there are no rules in photography ...damn.
OK ...4) ...his whole article just became useless because that is bullsh*t. Those aren't artistic points, they are technical points.
PS: not a nice photo
Answers to his questions:
"What do you think about the crop and aspect ratio?"
Whaaaattttt, who cares.
"If the photo is in black and white, should it have been in colour and vice-versa?"
" Is there a good balance between the foreground and the background? Would the photo have worked better with a different prop / model?"
...ummm, yeah, you don't notice the foreground or background because your eyes aren't scanning the photo because the focal point is STRONG. B&W, color ...are you really thinking about that looking at that photo.
Props/Models ...F you. Is this guy talking about studio work?
...ok, enough ...the reply may get deleted for foul language, not sure ...I'm going to ry and post it as a response to his site too ...screw that, say what you feel ...its all opinion. Hey ...told you I'd be back. I still think it's a good thread and thank you for pointing out the link ...honestly.
I don't know ...maybe you really can't teach an artist, your born with it. Thats probably why my photos suck so bad, ha. ...PS: good to see you still posting. Yes, I'm rash as ever :)
What a very strange reply..
How strange a reply you appear to have received to what I thought was such an innocent message and a very sensible suggestion.
That someone (happypoppeye) should have the indecency to reply to you in such terms and also admit to you that he has not actually even read the link to which you refer seems to me to be absolutely abominable.
Perhaps if he had actually taken the trouble to reply in coherent English we might have been able to understand quite what his grievances were. Unfortunately, the fact that he appears to be unable to communicate in English, together with his lack of common courtesy to yourself, suggests to me that the moderators might wish to delete this thread from the forum.
I thought that the link I posted would be helpful. Some of the new members have actually voiced the fact that they do not know how to critique and to my mind critiquing is about more than 'nice shot'. Some of the best critiques I have received are from people who will query something in a composition be it technical, visual or whatever. These queries and comments have worked as a spring board for me and I have improved both my eye and technical skills because of them. Yes aspects of photography are subjective and beauty is in the eye of the beholder but to my mind one can be so close to your own work that it is difficult sometimes to see the wood from the trees. That is why a well written critique is helpful. Why have an option to critique if a comment is all we write?
I read the link and replied in my second response Tyro. I even quoted exact lines of the article if you think I didn't read the link. Corresponding to my first post, I still have the opinion and belief that even reading an article like that may sway one's way of critiqueing. Say it how you see it ...be honest, say what you think. I don't need to read an article to tell me that.
I do agree with you that is a very innocent post and very well intentioned and I absolutely do not argue that. It will be helpful to many and the link is a good one to post but that doesn't mean I have to hold back my opinionand I think I made my reasoning very well stated. I did not berate or attack Rosemary at all but actually stated in the first response "It's not a fight, photography is all opinion, and in the end it's a good link for some people and so a good thread" and in the second response "I still think it's a good thread and thank you for pointing out the link ...honestly."
The first sentence in my first post is "I didn't read the article and really don't think anyone should read any article on how to critique." and the whole post is about my reasoning on that first sentence. My last sentence in my first post is "PS Rosemary: I'm gonna read the article now so I'll warn you, I may be back to this thread...gulp.
" ...at which point I pick up in my second post commenting on the article.
I think the problem I have with your reply is that you are attacking the poster, with my communication skills in English and lack of common courtesy, which I already replied to, even before you even wrote it. I am entitled to an opinion, sorry. I did not show any dis-courtesy to Rosemary, and did say multiple times that it's only my opinion and it IS a good link. So I have to ask, isn't putting comments up against the poster worse than commenting against the posters material? Again, all opinion...
It is fairly good english, maybe except for "critiqueing" which I did note on the spelling. It is all opinion which I did say also. But, even with that, is it in the TOS that english is the main language on TE. Should we make the site so any member who can't write english will be terminated from membership? Isn't TE a site about the earth and how many languages are there on earth? Doesn't diversification make the site a better place for learning?
If you wish TE to delete another members opinion, well, why? It's my opinion.
I also noted that the link was very useful to some. I definitely respect SnapRJW's opinion and post and hope she knows that but that doesn't mean I HAVE to agree, and that doesn't mean it is any better or less of a post or opinion.
Why is an opinion strange?
Why is my opinion indecent?
I cursed a few times and I am sorry if that offends you.
Isn't it better to tell the truth and say I didn't read than lie? ...but than go back and read the link and reply again? Why is that adominable?
Isn't your response worse than mine because your mentioning my skills at english whereas I attacked no one? It's my opinion on a link that was posted in a forum thread.
...and PS: I know your tring to defend Rosemary and I am sorry if this offends anyone but it really is't mean't too ...only opinion. ...and that said ...c'mon, it's a link explaining what your opinion should consist of.
Calm down children or it's early bed for all of you:D
I believe the link provided by Rosemary can be helpful to those who don't understand what critiquing should be about and I also agree with Happypoppeye that large parts of the content are at best questionable (I'm getting splinters in some delicate parts from sitting on the fence here:o) As long as people are able to filter the general advice from the specific guff there is potentially some value to be had.
Some of Happypoppeye's opinions are possibly expressed with excessive force but that doesn't make them any less valid. My reading of this thread is that the criticisms are of the article, not of the OP, and that is perfectly valid.
Please remember that disagreement with a point of view is perfectly acceptable, attacks on the person with an opposing point of view are not.
Well one thing is for sure, I set the cat among the pigeons! So if anything was achieved at all by my original post it has opened up a debate on the critiquing process. With luck somebody else will put in their half cents worth. Incidentally, what is the difference between a critique and a comment?
...sorry about the excessive force :) All criticims were totally intended against the article in case my english skills didn't convey that ;) , and I did try and put my response directly on the article but I would have to sign up ...so I didn't. Honestly, I really don't think the author of the article should be too upset about it either. His (or her) opinion is just as valid as mine ...it's opinion, that is the bottom line - for me at least. All in good fun, thats why we're here...
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