Critical comments on gallery photos

djh698 15 6.1k 6 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2016 3:00PM
Yesterday when looking at a photo I really felt I should put a critical comment but I refrained from doing so mainly on this occasion because the photo had a lot of comments, all positive, over 50 votes and some awards. It was in my opinion, an OK "record shot" but nothing more. On other occasions I have not put a comment at all rather than leave a critical one. Am I alone in doing this? As much as we like having complimentary comments, is this helping us to take better photos? Surely a few more critical, but helpful comments would be beneficial without starting some of the petty "wars" that start when a comment is made that the photographer takes the wrong way and gets defensive. Maybe people only give positive comments so that they get positive comments in return. I don't know.

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saltireblue Plus
9 10.1k 40 Norway
19 Jan 2016 3:19PM
What stopped you from leaving the comments you had in mind?
ade123 Plus
7 285 1 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2016 3:26PM
Hi djh,

I post images every day in the Galleries and would prefer people to give their honest opinion of my image whether constructive or not. I like to think i have learnt a great amount from various members on here and they have given me critique,praise,and advice regarding my images. I would prefer to not have a vote if it is not on the merit of the image and i will welcome advice with open arms.I don't give a vote on someones image because they are my "Friend" or because they have just Voted on my image.
Those are my views on the matter and other people will be obviously different.

mrswoolybill Plus
13 1.7k 2112 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2016 3:31PM
It's something that a lot of us have experienced, there's one upload today that I am longing to comment on but I suspect that it wouldn't actually make any difference...

In the Critique Gallery we try to:

Look at what the OP is actually trying to achieve;

Look for the strengths as well as the weaknesses;

Don't just say what's wrong, suggest how it could be improved.

Always, but always be polite and encouraging.

I would suggest that that's not a bad strategy in the main gallery too.
georgehopkins 11 112 England
19 Jan 2016 3:43PM
I suppose its how and what manner you present the critique, if its a forced opinion (the blight of social media) then it might appear to be a personal attack on the photographer. When I make comment in forums I usually more or less make the critique at the beginning of the comment, then finish off with the positives.
Everyone are at different standards, sometimes its worthwhile to take a look at the posters portfolio to get a feel of what level they are at and comment accordingly, I suppose encouragement and good positive advice is probably the objective across members.
Jasper87 Plus
9 2.3k 158 England
19 Jan 2016 3:50PM
I treat votes as just 'likes'. I'll 'like' an image taking many factors into account, not just how technically good it is. I'm also quite active on the site and may well get far more votes than my images deserve sometimes and I really do appreciate it when somebody actually puts a critique on one or even states why they don't like it so much. I'm also quite happy to be the odd one out when critiquing someone else's image which appears to be very popular but always bear in mind the points Moira makes above. Be brave.
SlowSong Plus
11 8.5k 30 England
19 Jan 2016 3:54PM
One image really stands out today as being very poor but the photographer has received lots of great comments. I would love to comment and perhaps offer some advice but I know what the reaction would be, so I desist. I often wonder what people really think, but our desire not to offend sometimes overrules objectivity.
ChrisV Plus
13 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2016 4:07PM
There's a fine line. If what you feel about a photo can be put down to 'a matter of opinion', it's probably wise to at times keep your mouth shut. If it's a question of 'fact' [if there's any such thing], then pointing out ways to improve - done diplomatically - can only be a good thing.

You might therefore say that a bit of negative exposure compensation could have preserved a bit more detail in the highlights [if it's important detail], or suggest that the white balance is a bit out and there's a [specific] colour cast [unless it's obviously intentional. I've on quite a few occasions suggested [mostly landscape] shots are a degree or two off true [surprising how often that happens on otherwise excellent shots].

I find that sort of thing is usually quite welcome...
pink Plus
16 6.2k 7 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2016 4:10PM
I personally dont think you need to offend the person. Good critique should be constructive, not destructive, I always try and find a positive in an image.
Being a photographic judge visiting over 30 camera clubs per year does help.
PhilT2 Plus
10 517 29 England
19 Jan 2016 4:11PM
I always try to give an honest view when I feel I have an idea which may not have occurred to the photographer and ensure that they know that it is just my own personal opinion.
I also value similar comments on my own portfolio.
Unfortunately you never know who is open to ideas unless they are in the critique gallery and that means forfeiting any votes they may otherwise have gained in the open gallery.
It is a shame if people think that any adverse comment is given in a derisory fashion and as pointed out above it is vital to be very polite. The written word can so often be misconstrued, as there is no inflection or tone in the way that a verbal comment can be given to indicate that there is no malicious intent.
We all put our work out there for others to see and by so doing leave ourselves open to criticism. The majority of us gain more from the odd critical comment than a pat on the back. But a pat on the back is very nice if it is genuinely given.
I came to this site from another one where it had become treacherous to leave any kind of comment beyond "super shot" and hope sincerely that EPZ does not degrade in the same manner.
I have learned much from the comments given over the years, and the volume of excellent images which I have viewed have inspired me to try harder and take more care over the final upload.
Please do not take the attitude of saying nothing rather than being honest and genuine. Just take heed of the points "mrswoolybill" made above.
bricurtis Plus
14 2.3k 50 England
19 Jan 2016 5:50PM

Quote:One image really stands out today as being very poor but the photographer has received lots of great comments. I would love to comment and perhaps offer some advice but I know what the reaction would be, so I desist. I often wonder what people really think, but our desire not to offend sometimes overrules objectivity.

Be who you are and say what you feel....
Because those that matter...
don't mind...
And those that mind... don't
SlowSong Plus
11 8.5k 30 England
19 Jan 2016 5:58PM
Wise words, but i'd feel rotten if I always spoke my mind. Sometimes I just prefer to keep quiet. Smile
cuffit Plus
13 342 5 England
19 Jan 2016 6:07PM
I do not comment often to give an opinion on how a photo might be improved but when I have made a comment it has always been well received - or ignored altogether; as can 'likes' and even positive comments!

I agree all the above and would only add that if we open a photo to look further then something good must have caught our eye and that would be the opening of any remarks - along with the helpful comments. I have seen one photographer who is 'professional' and have yet to see any professional quality so wouldn't comment. Another photographer who I tried to help is still taking blurred photos so it must be what he wants to do. We can only try and also be polite.
StrayCat 15 19.1k 3 Canada
19 Jan 2016 6:13PM
I try to find the positive, and in that way encourage a person. Critique is well taken care of in the Critique Gallery. I would prefer to see as many uploads per day when possible, so nobody feels left out. There are many more that do the same. If an image stands out, I usually try to say why, and in that way maybe a message is passed. To critique a photo takes time, and as you say, may not be welcome. It seems those who want it are posting that way, and asking for it. The choices are there for everyone. I'm enjoying the gallery my way; if you want to do it some other way, it's open to you.
mikehit 10 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2016 6:21PM
It is hard to comment on a photo that already had a lot of likes. In that situation I will frame my comments along the lines of how it could be improved 'even further' instead of 'it is poor because...'.

Quote:Wise words, but i'd feel rotten if I always spoke my mind. Sometimes I just prefer to keep quiet. Smile

It's a shame when it comes to that.
I recall one shot I commented on and I gave a full explanation as to why it did not quite click with me and the photographer replied to say I did not know what I was talking about. He then posted another shot the next day, with a title that was a petty aim at my critique of the first one and in fact the title ruined what was a very good shot - he also requested comments only from people who had any knowledge of photography. Later that day he removed all photos.
Some people take 'critique' to mean 'tell me it is a good shot'.

It put me off commenting for a while but I came to the conclusion the problem was him, not me so I have commented since.

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