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Anyone Can Critique An Image!

conrad

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Anyone Can Critique An Image!

27 Jun 2008 8:22PM   Views : 559 Unique : 402

I decided to start this blog entry with a bold statement. as you can see. Smile

But I happen to be convinced it's true: You don't have to be an expert to evaluate an image, because that's basically what is is, writing a critique. You take a critical look at the image and write down your findings. And that's easier than it seems.

All you have to, is decide what you like in an image. It's fine to think "Nice pic", but it's better to think "I think this is a nice picture because...". And anything that comes after "because..." is the first part of your critique.

The next thing you do, is have another look and think: "What could have been better?" And bingo, you have the next part of your critique.

Essential is that you follow up on this by determining how it could have been improved. After all, if you're going to tell someone he could have done something better, he will want to know how.

The final stage is optional, but I almost always include this, because it's part of my favourite method, the "sandwich" method: End on a positive note. (Sandwiching means you start positive, move on to the suggestions for improvement, and end again on a positive note. It's usually the best way to spare people's feelings.) After having read about aspects of his image that weren't as they should or could have been, the photographer may be in need of some comfort. So you end your comments with something positive. And hey presto, your critique is done!

Now, I would like to stress again, you don't need to be an expert, a professional or even an experienced amateur to write critiques this way. Every member of ephotozine can do it.

In fact - let me tell you something I discovered: You don't even have to take amazing photos yourself in order to do it! I noticed a member who was giving wonderfully detailed and useful critiques. I had never come across this member before until I started looking at other people's critiques, so having become curious, I went to the member's portfolio to look at the photos. Being so impressed with his or her critiques, I was stunned when I realised I wasn't impressed with even just one of the photos in that portfolio! And then it hit me again: You really don't have to be a wonderful photographer in order to give helpful critiques!

So hit the galleries and start writing critiques!

Tags: Uploads Critique Gallery Photos Comments Reaction Motivation Images Evaluation Review Suggestions Improvement

Comments


helenlinda Plus
9 344 22 United Kingdom
27 Jun 2008 10:37PM
Well I find that rather encouraging!!
I wonder if I am alone in that
Helen

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dianah 10 24.5k 4 United Kingdom
27 Jun 2008 11:06PM
You are not alone Helen but I still I still have little confidence in being able to tell someone how to improve their image if I haven't the knowhow of what to do myself.
It is fine to say the composition would look better without the lamp post on the right maybe but I wouldn't be able to clone a lamp post effectively and still have little knowledge of what all the photoshop tools do anyway.
Now after Christmas maybe when I have more time , I will be able to settle down and learn these things but in the meantime I do tend to give critique on the things that I like about a photo..usually that is the reason I have clicked on it in the first place.
I do understand what you are saying Conrad but maybe you haven't reckoned on the computer illiterate like me Smile . Another interesting blog though so thank you.
Pete Plus
15 18.8k 96 England
27 Jun 2008 11:07PM
Too true. We can all critique a football referee or a footballer for doing a bad job, yet if we were actually in the same position we wouldn't really have a clue. Why is that no different to photography? I for example am not a good wildlife photographer, but I still feel I know what is a good wildlife photo and how any wildlife shot can be improved.
dianah 10 24.5k 4 United Kingdom
27 Jun 2008 11:34PM
But isn't that because you know the basics and far more of photography Pete.
I really don't..not yet ! Hence my lack of confidence.
This could be turning into a thread ! Smile
conrad 12 10.9k 116
28 Jun 2008 10:22AM
It's more about what you think the photo should look like than what someone with expertise would think it should look like, Dianah. If only those with expertise could do it, what are the rest of us doing on here, after all? And everyone knows it's just your opinion, and an opinion is never wrong because it is just that: your opinion!
dianah 10 24.5k 4 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2008 4:14PM
Thanks Conrad..you have made me smile.
It is what I am always telling the children at school, 'give an opinion , no-one can tell you that you are wrong' !
Perhaps I should practise what I preach ! Smile
28 Jun 2008 4:47PM

Quote:I noticed a member who was giving wonderfully detailed and useful critiques. I had never come across this member before until I started looking at other people's critiques, so having become curious, I went to the member's portfolio to look at the photos. Being so impressed with his or her critiques, I was stunned when I realised I wasn't impressed with even just one of the photos in that portfolio!

Well thank you Conrad. Bummer that my photos can't impress you though
Grin
But I agree with you. As far as I know, both things (critiquing and photographing) have little or nothing to do with eachother. I'm always very disappointing to see someone snapping at a critiquer by having a go at the critiquers (inferior) photos. Some of the people who's photographs I am all but impressed with, are among the ones to whose critique or assesment I most look forward to.

Obviously I have my gripes with some critiques. One being that the site for me is too much about the form and not enough about the content. And I do think it sometimes (often) shows within the critiques. Many seem to be conditioned by this 'pretty box' syndrome. The facade is all that matters, and whether or not there is something behind that sugar coating often seems to have become completely irrelevant. It's very much related to the pixel peeping.... some people just keep on looking at the parts, and completely forget to view the sum of the parts. they don't look at photos anymore, they look at pixels. and again it shows in some critiques.
another one being that sites like flickr and epz condition/deform people to like photos that pop at this medium size format. and once again it shows in the critiques.
And when I get the slightest suspicion that a critique originates from these prejudices/deformations, my response can get pretty nasty.
So do I think anyone can critique an image ? Not really, but I do think he has the right to (just as I have the right to respond)... and I don't think it is in any way related to that persons photographic abilities.
conrad 12 10.9k 116
28 Jun 2008 5:37PM

Quote:Bummer that my photos can't impress you


LOL! Nice try, but it wasn't you...


Quote:I'm always very disappointing to see someone snapping at a critiquer by having a go at the critiquers (inferior) photos.


I hope you didn't think that's what I was doing - I was hoping to learn something from his/her photos as well, not just from the critiques.


Quote:I have my gripes with some critiques. One being that the site for me is too much about the form and not enough about the content


Fortunately not always, but I see what you mean.


Quote:So do I think anyone can critique an image ? Not really


I do, but only in principle, and in theory - if they really want to.


Quote:and I don't think it is in any way related to that persons photographic abilities


Ah, good, at least we agree on that point!

Thanks for your comments!
fotodayz 8 179 1 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2008 6:23PM
oh no it must be me Wink anyone CAN critique a photo but maybe not all want to or have to words to do so and that is good advice on how to do it

but there also is a great intolerance in the world today, in that if a certain way of saying/writing is not adhered to then it has no meaning

but it has

I think people who on various sites pedantically argue the rules need to been seen to set an example and lead the way and that way people learn and follow suit

it's not only technical aspects that can be critiqued, the image may be technically imperfect but has an abstract quality or an emotion that shines through to make you smile/frown etc

If there is not a glaring obvious fault ie dust spots I find myself asking did the tog do this deliberately and why - I then may ask questions to the tog

I sometimes feel we need to move away from pedantics and just do it - of course at first you stumble over words and ways of putting things but even so it can be done in a considered way

great blog Grin
fotodayz 8 179 1 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2008 6:41PM
sorry me again - I just realised I had something similar on one of my past blogs from a slightly different angle of what is a critique - it's not long so I hope you don't mind me putting it here - just my thoughts

It starts with trying to see what the original photographer saw. What caught their eye and did that transcribe into what they shot. Or the emotion they felt. It stems from them, did they convey something to you, did you pass it by, or smile, or frown, or think.

If it made you smile, frown or think - it worked. Maybe the technique wasn't perfect - does it have to be, in that case how can it be improved.

I have posted shots on the net that are good and bad. I never give a description as every shot means different things to different people and I don't want to influence the story. I could do, I could sell the picture but I don't want to do that as part of the process for me is - do you see it, what do you see.

If someone takes the time to see what I have done and 'is there', I have utmost respect. I don't care if they say nothing, a nod of the head is good. If they don't look but concentrate too much on technical details well

I would say - Wear the shoes first..............
conrad 12 10.9k 116
28 Jun 2008 6:51PM
Putting yourself in the place of the photographer - yes, good point, fotodayz, thanks for that!
28 Jun 2008 8:05PM

Quote:I hope you didn't think that's what I was doing - I was hoping to learn something from his/her photos as well, not just from the critiques.

Not at all Conrad. I often go look myself at pictures of people who critiqued. Not to learn though... just plain old-fashioned sneaky curiosity lol

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