Critiques

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by KevinR, May 19, 2005.

  1. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    It is really an interesting study on watching the way people critique on the TPF. JonMikal brought that up in the Why Phase thread. I understand that overall, people want to be encouraging. But just being nice and forsaking any constructive criticism really doesn't help anybody. I know that I go after the shots that have 0 replies, but plenty of looks. Yes, that in itself probably says alot, but it isn't helpful.

    So I was wondering how some of you go about your critique? Does feelings play a bigger role than probably should?

    Just something I've been thinking about for a few days.
     
  2. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    What I've noticed is that a lot of people seem to reserve their *best* stuff for the critique thread....it sometimes seems more like an "attaboy" place than a place to really give a thoughtful review ("I like this but really don't like that, because...."). When you can tell someone has put a lot of effort into an image and they're not prefacing it with any disclaimer ("How could I have done this or that better?") it almost seems boorish to say anything negative...whatever your thoughts might be. I know I have stayed away from some images that were presented like that.

    It can be a dilemma, though, I hear ya Kev. :thumbup:

    :aside to JonMikal: Your comments about the way some of your stuff has been received was very refreshing. Your frankness was wonderful. I didn't really know how to tell you I agreed with what you were saying, without sounding like I was belittling your body of work....so I said nothing. ;) So hopefully you'll know it now. :)
     
  3. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have had the same thing happen to my post and nobody replies, I not sure if it mean any thing. Also, I look at a lot post myself and do not replay. Mostly because I do not thing anything is wrong with the image, it just not my style, or it’s really bad.

    Does “Feeling” play to big a roll? NO, for me a lot about art it is a gut felling or lower.


    Jon some people's bad pics are pretty good
     
  4. Nikon Fan

    Nikon Fan TPF Noob!

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    Good topic Kevin :)

    For me personally I try to be as helpful as possible. In the general photo gallery it seems most aren't looking for critique, so I personally try to say what I really like about the pic and leave out the bad. However in the critique I try to be as honest and helpful as I can be. Still listing what I like, but also trying to kindly point out the things that make the image not up to par in my mind.

    What's interesting is the broad taste that the people that come here share. Look through posts that have loads of pics in them...and then read the replies. You'll notice that many times, especially when the person has lots of quality pics that the variation of favorites spreads across the table. So even though someone (such as Jon and the sly devil that he is ;) ) could intentionally post a bad pic, someone may actually enjoy it b/c artists have different tastes. And yes sometimes it's for pure suck up purposes only :lol:

    One thing I know for sure is that there are very few posts that do get passed up. I was at a few other forums before finding this one, and you were lucky to get a response...so even if the critiques are just mushy crap...at least someones looking and taking the time to respond :) Also it seems that the times that posts go w/o replies are sometimes the ones that have been posted at the same time with a plethora of other pics and get lost in the mix.

    Kevin, I used to try and reply to threads with 0 replies, especially in the critique section, but I kind of burned myself out on it too quickly. But it's a good habit to pick up, even if you don't like the shot ;)

    One things for sure...at least people here make comments because you don't get that everywhere :)
     
  5. JohnMF

    JohnMF TPF Noob!

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    i havent been on this forum very long but i've found generally that the longer standing members seem to give a more honest/constructive critique in as much as theyre not afraid to tell you your picture is a bit crap or what you could do to improve it. I think one of my first posts in the critique was labelled "boring" :) (and it was) . But it must be a bit annoying for the likes of jonmikal, he never gets anything but praise for everything he posts, Id find that a bit frustrating myself.

    Also, I prefare it when people give a little explanation or idea of what they where trying to acheive when they took the photograph rather than just plonking it there! This helps when trying to critique something i think.
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I agree. I'm much more likely to give a critique to a photo where I know a little about what is going on: assignment, equipment, photog's ideas, etc...

    There are so many images posted here. Many go past before I get a chance to see them. Something in the subject, or the technique, or the possibilities has got to grab me for me to critique an image. On the other hand, when all I say is "Nice pic" or "Good job", I really mean it! ;)

    I also find it hard to critique from a low res file. I always wonder what an actual print would look like.

    I think that the way we communicate via text posts makes the act of critique take a lot more energy than if we were all hanging out in a room together. I can be blunt with a person face to face. When it's text only I try to be more careful; words can read more negative than it's meant to be.
     
  7. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    I agree with Matt. There are so many pictures going up so quickly at times - and sometimes the pages load so slowly - that I just give up trying to look. Also a good and useful critique takes time because it tends to be a bit of a question and answer session - difficult when the other person is off line.
    I have started doing the occasional serious effort (one such effort started a thread in this forum) but to be honest I find that it is not only the pictures that can disappear without trace. It may sound arrogant, but I have done enough critiques over the years as a Photography lecturer to know what I am doing and how to give a useful crit. To try to say something useful and see it get swallowed up or be ignored tends to make me feel it isn't worth bothering.
    I also get the feeling a lot of the time that many of the people posting their work for 'critiqueing' want nothing of the sort - they just want to be told they are wonderful. But that's life.
     
  8. sillyphaunt

    sillyphaunt TPF Noob!

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    Good points everyone, but I totally agree with Hertz (except the part about being a photography lecturer.. I'm not. :lol: )

    I usually don't even look at the critique's section anymore because I got a bit disenchanted with it. I found the person that gave the best critiques was craig, simply becuase the times he critiqued my work, he told me exactly WHAT he liked about it, and did it in a way that helped me think about the shot differently.

    If I see a shot that is so so, and I have seen the person not take criticism well, or really don't think they're looking for an indepth critique, I will just skip over the photo. But if I see something that I feel like I can add to and they will recieve it, I will give my 2 cents.

    I also think that some people are intimidated (like me) because they feel very amateurish compared to many of the "giants" here. Its hard to critique someone that has their own photography business, etc etc, when you've only been "doing" this for 6 months and consider yourself a novice. That may be why people just ooh and ahh over some photos.

    Also, it may just be where they are at in their photography journey. Some of the pictures that 4 months ago I thought were amazing, I now think "ehhh that's okay", just because I know how to do it, and I realize that they're not all that hard to do. When I used to be amazed by the posing of a subject, now I pay more attention to DOF, lighting, composition, etc.

    I look back at my OWN photos and wonder why in the world I thought they were that great when I took them. So maybe a "crap" shot to JonMikal would be a huge acheivement to someone else. Heck, in the beginning, I was just amazed that people could take shots without camera shake, and saw anyone that could get decent lighting as a "pro". :lol:

    I have also appreciated the attitude of many people here that has been inviting to people of any skill level. I have tried to get involved in some other photo forums, and was put off by the attitude that if you're not shooting in your own studio with $1000 worth of lights, then you're not worth the time. I've never felt that here.
     
  9. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    Really good points all. :thumbup:

    I was hoping this would open up some dialogue on this subject. What I was hoping also, was that other people would at least read the thread and get an idea of what the critique gallery should be for.

    Alot of times, it turns out that people are just looking for compliments, not an honest critique.This isn't always a bad thing, I just think the focus just changes.
     
  10. tempra

    tempra TPF Noob!

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    I believe that I've only given my critique on a couple of photos and I am pretty much struggling to reach amateur status, nevermind pro - but sometimes I feel that I can contribute. Quite often my thoughts have already been covered, so what is the point in me repeating what is said, at other times I can find nothing to critique just saying wow doesn't improve anyones technique, and then there are the times that I'm completely uninterested in the subject matter, so to critique it or comment on it would be biased.

    I like to comment in the gallery, although I have hardly had time to do that lately, but I do try and give reasons behind my preferences or otherwise for certain shots.

    From the photos I post, getting some good constructive feedback helps me to improve myself, and perhaps one day be good enough to consider myself an amateur - although I learn a lot from reading the forum, and looking at the shots and thinking about lighting, angles, subjects etc, and from there, if there's anything I'd like to try, I'll experiment and research how to do it. Reading Wow Cool and Awesome in thread after thread is not what I take from this forum, it's the actual pictures themselves and a want to learn how on my behalf that is helping me.

    mind you, Wow, Cool and Awesome are very welcome and give me a short term happy spell when they're underneath my shots :mrgreen:
     
  11. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I agree that the critique section could use a kick in the pants. There does tend to be more 'Wow's and less constructive criticism. There could be many reasons for this, as Matt said, critique that is just read on the screen can come off as being harsh or mean when that is not the intention. This is just such a friendly place that it leads to friendly comments.

    Some people's photos get more comments than others. Some of that has to do with popularity, not much you can do about that. I think it's also a bit of give & take. People might be more inclined to return a critique for someone that has commented on their photos. I personally try to comment on photos that spark an immediate feeling...sometimes that's just a 'Wow'...but sometimes, flaws or nitpicks stand out and I try to point them out.

    Maybe people could start up small critique circles. I have participated in one before and it's quite helpful. A group, say less than 10 people, would pick a weekly topic and each submit a photo. The other members would each offer their critique and criticism. I guess that's pretty much what we have here but the idea is that all the members of the circle will participate with each photo.
     
  12. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    At the risk of getting swamped or ignored I can be tempted into a serious crit via PM. People just have to ask.
     

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