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