Frequently Asked Questions - Critique Gallery

I'm thinking of posting photos to the critique gallery. How do I get maximum benefit?


We are here to help you

The Critique Gallery is your opportunity to learn about photography on a personal level.
It's a joint venture between you and the Critique Team.
We will assist with all aspects of photography, all the way from the basics, camera controls, composition, post processing, etc so that you can grow, become competent, and effectively graduate from the CG.
We will commit to work with you, as long as you work with us.

What we ask from you
What we ask from you is that you complete the Description Box with as much information as possible about your reasons for choosing to upload to the Critique Gallery (not just a description of where and when the image was taken):-
Briefly try to explain what you were trying to achieve.
Indicate any areas where you feel there is room for improvement.
Include your camera settings, known as Exif Data. If the site doesn't automatically pick it up, open the picture on your hard drive, right click on it, click on Properties, and then Details.
Because critique includes post processing suggestions, it's helpful if you state what editing software you use, and how competent you are with it.

Your original image
If your uploaded image has been significantly processed or manipulated, please say what you have changed.
Maybe you had a specific idea about how the image was supposed to look, eg you toned it a blue colour, you softened it to achieve a certain feel?
We would welcome seeing a copy of your unmanipulated original, because it will often allow us to give a more effective critique
You can easily upload the original as a Version or under Modifications.
We may prefer to use your original to do a modification for you.
You may want to upload Versions of your image, not just the original, and that's fine. All we ask is that you limit your Versions to Before & After, showing only versions that originate from the same exposure, not unrelated images.

Please communicate with us
Most importantly, we need your feedback on the information we give you.
The Critique Team like to feel that the Critique Gallery is an interactive area of the site, so reciprocal comments from you are important.
In the comments section under your picture, let us know if the critique you received was helpful, so we can tailor advice according to your needs and abilities.
Feel free to ask further questions, and please be kind enough to respond to questions from critiquers.

The critiques you will receive
There are always different ways to approach things, and different opinions as to how to achieve the best from your image.
Some members may make blunt statements. Remember they are not criticising you, but simply offering an opinion on your photo.
You may receive critique from members who are not in the Critique Team, but feel they have something helpful to offer you.
There may be conflicting suggestions for you to take on board. Consider them all and try not to dismiss any of them.
It's important not to get into debates or arguments over critique offered.
If you need to seek further clarification fom the critiquer, feel free to do so in a polite and friendly manner.

Our objective
Our objective is that the critique provided will encourage you to learn to become a better photographer.
We would love to see you using our advice to help you to progress, if you feel it's useful.
But if you are reluctant to act upon advice being offered, then perhaps the CG is not the appropriate place for you, and the main gallery may prove more beneficial, where you can receive comments, votes and awards.
If you do find critique helpful and constructive, you can nominate it as such by clicking on the green 'Nominate' button above the comment.

The Critique Team.
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Why when I upload a photo to the Critique Gallery is there the option for others to mark as constructive Critique?

Uploads to the Critique Gallery always are allowed to have comments marked as constructive critique.
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Is there a correct method for offering critique?


- Be polite and respectful in your comments. Insulting comments will be deleted.
- Remember: you are trying to help and encourage your fellow ePhotozine members
- Avoid misunderstanding: nuances of speech and facial expressions cannot come over in writing.
- Do not use the copy & paste technique to flood the gallery with meaningless comments.
- The original poster may contact you to seek clarification on your comments. Feel free to add any further comments or suggestions on the poster's photo.

Before you comment
Study the image and form an opinion of what does or does not appeal to you, both technically and aesthetically.

Identify technical qualities that appeal or do not appeal:

- focus
- camera shake
- contrast
- colour (including colour casts)
- lighting
- exposure
- digital 'noise', artefacts etc.
- depth of field
- background
- composition
- choice of lens

Do the same with the aesthetic qualities: assess any emotional response you get from the picture. Say what is your response and try to explain why the image evokes that response:

- Is the eye led in or around the pic?
- Is there a discernible subject?
- Good balance between subject and background?
- Any parts of the subject lost unintentionally?
- Could crop be better?
- If there's a horizon is it level?


- Begin your comments with what you like about the photo.
- Then go on to what you think needs improvement - offering suggestions as to how the photo can be improved. Give reasons as necessary.
- Do not argue the validity of another member's comments on the photo or get into a debate on the critique.
- There is nothing wrong with saying 'Nice pic' but say exactly why you think it is nice - be specific on the technical and aesthetic qualities which appeal.
- Upload a modification if you think it will help, stating what you have done and, if possible, pitching the modifications at uploader's experience.
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I'm a new member/new to photography, should I comment?

Yes, everyone is welcome and encouraged to comment, no matter what level of skill or experience. Your opinion is as valuable as the next.
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If I see a photo already critiqued should I still post my own comments?

Yes, the more comments the better, as this will allow the poster to get a general feel for opinion on their post. After all, a large part of critique on any photo is personal opinion.
It's important not just to go and critique photos that are currently uncritiqued (although this is, of course, valuable). The idea is to offer as much support, help and comment across the board.
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Who are the Critique Team?

This team comprises several ePHOTOzine members who have volunteered to contribute actively to the Critique Gallery. Their aim is to provide valuable feedback, with sensible constructive advice, to help new members improve and more experienced members develop further. A list of the members can be found here.
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What is the aim of the Critique Gallery?

It is, essentially, designed to allow members to receive more detailed and critical comments on uploads. This is to enable everyone to get maximum information on each post, and hopefully get pointers that will help them to improve their photography through member feedback.
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Do I need to be a member of the critique team to offer comment

Absolutely not. Although there is a critique team in place, to provide consistent comment, the whole idea of this gallery is to gain valuable insight and comment, from you, the member. The critique team will post alongside you with further comments and suggestions of their own of how to improve the photo.
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Are there any more advanced guidelines for critique?

Yes. You can consider Content, Form, Mood and Process.

Content - looking at the subject of the photograph

- What is it?
- What is it about?
- What is happening as you see it as a viewer of the image?
- What does the image represent to you as a viewer?
- Consider the title: what title does the photographer give the work, and does the it change the way we see the work?
- What is the theme of the work?
- What message does the photograph communicate to you?
- Is it a realistic depiction, fantasy or abstraction?
- Have any parts been exaggerated or distorted?
- If so, why, and does this improve the image?

Form - looking at the elements of the image

- What colours are in the image? Maybe itís black and white or toned.
- How is the colour enhancing the image or is it a distraction in the image?
- Could the image be improved as a black and white, or maybe if itís black and white would it be better as a colour image?
- What kind of shapes do the main elements of the image construct? E.g. does the image have a triangular composition, or is it divided into the Ďrule of thirdsí. Could the composition could be improved in some way.
- What is the format, i.e. the shape of the image? Is it portrait, landscape, panoramic etc? Does this improve the image?
- Does the image have a border or logo, and does this enhance the image or not?

Mood Ė How does the image make you feel, or what mood is captured in the image?

- Does colour/black and white enhance the mood in the particular image?
- Is mood expressed explicitly or implicitly? Is there an obvious mood, or perhaps a more subtle mood?
- Does the image give you a personal reaction? Does it make you laugh, think, smile, make you feel uncomfortable, or does it lack emotion or mood?

Process - how the work has been developed and made

- Consider the use of lenses, editing technique, shutter speeds, darkroom technique, use of tripod, use of a particular camera.
- Does the particular lens or editing technique make for a good image, or could recommendations be made as to a better use of them?
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