How to deal with critique

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Overread, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,947
    Likes Received:
    4,126
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    So if you've read my earlier writing here How to structure your posts to get critiques on your work (C&C) | Photography Forum you already know how to do your best to get feedback on your photos. You know how to present yourself and even start the process of self critique.

    However there is another side of the coin that we all need to learn, its simple, but a few tricks and tips can really help get the best out of it - and that is how to respond to feedback that you've gotten on your photography. So below are a few pointers that you can use which should help you deal with critique and also improve your chances of getting more in the future.


    1) Be polite and take the time to say thank you. Yes that sounds really very very basic; but we've all been guilty of coming onto the site (maybe at work or browsing without logging in) and reading our thread, reading the comments and then not saying anything.
    Whilst it is not expected, the very least we can do is pause for a moment and post to say thank you to those who have offered up their time and ideas t post and give their feedback - even if its something as short as "Great shot" or "bad shot". Yes we thank those who even don't like our photography because each viewpoint is a valid critique.
    This is the first and easiest thing we can do, this simple act of politeness.

    2) Don't get upset.
    Ok so some people might not like your photos. You might like them - you might have put lots of effort into them. Other people that you know might like them - but all that doesn't matter.
    You've posted your photos and asked for peoples honest opinions. In that light a positive or a negative feedback is both equally valid.

    3) Learn to separate opinion from reason.
    When a person says they like or dislike something that is good, it gives you a base line to work from. When you get critique and comments you'll also likely get not only an opinion, but also a reasoning for that opinion. So put the opinion to one side for now and read the reasoning behind it. This is the gold mine; this is the key information you really want and will really benefit from. The WHY of an opinion. It's what you came here and posted for.

    Now the reasoning will be varied, some of it you might understand and some not. When a person stats a theory or concept as the reason for their like or dislike use that term - ask them about it and also do some research of your own (search the forum/google/books). It's unlikely that in a forum reply you will get a fully detailed outline of a theory or concept; so do some research and you can find articles in various sources which will go into much more depth. Now you've got some structure to your self teaching!

    4) Accept that sometimes people will argue.
    Yep sometimes people forget themselves and suddenly your photo has generated a mini-argument or disagreement between other members.
    Don't panic!

    What this means is that you've another gold-mine right in your thread! Yep you really have and you don't even have to take sides or get into the fight.

    Because what you have is two strongly opposing viewpoints. So the best thing you can do is to ask for clarification from both parties. Ask them to go into more detail about their viewpoints - get them to explain things - chances are if they are already passionate about their viewpoint and facts that you will get an answer. Now you can gather together those viewpoints - gather up the facts behind them and now you've got some information from which you can make your choice.

    5) Always ask for clarification on something you don't understand.
    Yep sometimes people will say things that are just going right over your head; that's not a problem not in the least. Simply take a moment to ask them to clarify - or elaborate upon their point more so. It helps to also ask if they could provide a reference or link to further information on their viewpoint (if its based upon a theory).


    6) Remember that you don't have to agree with everyone.
    You are your own person and its up to you to make your own choices in things. However even if you don't agree, remember the first point and remain polite. If you must reject an opinion or feedback do so in a polite manner. If there are reasons why you reject it then state them honestly and openly. Best result is that you might generate some discussion which could further your learning.


    7) Learn that debate and disagreement need not nor should ever be a fight.
    Keep personal comments out of things, even if the other side slings the first insult. Ack professional and stick to the facts and the reasoning. You're here to learn not get drawn into petty arguments so be the leader in your thread and stick to the facts.


    But wait wait a sec overread I haven't got any replies yet and I did everything you've suggested too! Do people hate me?

    Nope chances are they don't but there are a few tricks that can help matters;

    1) Weekends - if you post on a weekend things are slower; people are off doing other things and forum activity dwindles. A bit tip if you want feedback is to not post on weekends - post on weekdays.

    2) Wrong time - each site has peek periods where its more active; you can get a rough idea just being around and seeing when the site is most active and when its most dead. So time your threads to match that. That way you've got the most chance of people seeing and responding.

    3) Bump the post - if tis been a few days or the post has fallen onto page two of the subsection its in then give it a bump. So long as you're not abusing it mods won't bite you (really we won't - promise). But don't just say "bump". Be specific - ask if there is something wrong or something right - ask again if any have any feed back, no matter how small.






    So after all that it sounds like there's a fair bit of work in things; but there isn't. Not really.

    Most of it is remaining polite - being respectful and also asking questions. You can also debate and discuss things and when you're learning and talking to other photographers you'll find it a joy to get a little deeper into the subject. Even some of the more dry maths and physics is information you can stash away which might come in handy or at least help you better understand what is going on and why.

    So good luck in getting critique and enjoy your talks on the site :)


     
    • Like Like x 9
    • Useful Useful x 3
    • Informative Informative x 2
  2. Rick58

    Rick58 Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2012
    Messages:
    4,218
    Likes Received:
    1,465
    Location:
    Reading, Pa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Good post!
     
  3. Fred Berg

    Fred Berg Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,802
    Likes Received:
    663
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Very good, however, regarding point 6: Very often people cannot bear to have their critique rejected and take this as a personal insult. Either they don't come back to your threads anymore, or they accuse you of being unable to handle criticism, or they put you on their ignore list, or all three.

    Perhaps some guidelines are needed for those offering the critique.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  4. EIngerson

    EIngerson Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Messages:
    3,542
    Likes Received:
    1,631
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Great post!
     
  5. EIngerson

    EIngerson Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Messages:
    3,542
    Likes Received:
    1,631
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Why would that require guidelines? Sometimes critiques are dead wrong. Some thick skin helps.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Fred Berg

    Fred Berg Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,802
    Likes Received:
    663
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    So that when, for instance, those who've given critique have it rejected by the OP they don't start throwing their toys out of the pram. If the OP is expected to accept critique with good grace, equally those who have offered it should accept that it might not be agreed with.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. EIngerson

    EIngerson Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Messages:
    3,542
    Likes Received:
    1,631
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Ummmm, that's what thick skin means? I don't need a regulation to tell me I disagree with someone.
     
  8. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,947
    Likes Received:
    4,126
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    It's not telling its just advising ;)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. mmaria

    mmaria Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    6,494
    Likes Received:
    2,989
    Location:
    Wonderland
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Over :icon_thumleft:


    I actually like to critique. Sometimes, when I don't have the time needed, I give short critiques/opinions whatever. I focus on what needs more work on a picture probably more than I say nice things. I'm trying to change that.

    anyway.... some time ago I said this
    It was my opinion on one of your pictures. Others liked them, I didn't. Others put more time to write you something, I didn't. I have all rights not to like your pictures, right? Simple as that, it's just my opinion... and yet, you found yourself offended somehow and hit "disagree" button - You didn't explain me why did you disagree with me.
    So, point taken, I won't say a thing in your threads, there are plenty of those who will c&c your pictures.

    There are so many people who c&c my pictures, said good and bad, and I'm very grateful to them because they took their time and spent it on my picture.


    I agree with E.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Dagwood56

    Dagwood56 No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Messages:
    2,944
    Likes Received:
    448
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I totally agree with this. I tried to remain polite in a recent thread I started where most did not like the photo I posted and when I stated art was subjective and tried to explain my reasons for not agreeing with them, I was told "if you don't want critique don't ask for it then" as well as one member saying I slighted them because I gave a rather bland response to them in trying to remain polite. Another member, who admitted they had never shot the style of photo I had posted, continued to come back time and time again to repeat how bad they thought the image was and to instruct me on how I should have taken it. So as the old saying goes " What's good for the goose is good for the gander" if the OP disagrees with the comments they receive, than the respondents should agree to disagree and move on just as politely!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    11,206
    Likes Received:
    4,329
    Location:
    NoVA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    you forgot: don't blame artist license for your mistakes/flaws
     
  12. Fred Berg

    Fred Berg Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,802
    Likes Received:
    663
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit


    Let's put this in context.

    Take the other thread you commented on at around the same time - you remember, the one entitled Vent.
    Not a very useful comment from you then since you didn't elaborate why you saw nothing in the shot. Also, ending the comment with "sorry" was unnecessary. Why sorry? Perhaps that was why I used the disagree button without saying anything else. If you don't say why you don't like something, it comes across as if you simply want to run somebody's work down - especially if you never leave any positive feedback where it might, just might have been earned.

    I am only human, and I apologise for the disagree. I will remove it (I had wanted to anyway).

    I hope you will comment again in future.

    Anyone who follows my work on TPF will know that I am certainly open to advice and suggestions and that I take this on board where I think it can help me improve. They also know that I will return to sender on occasion. No need to get upset about that - I don't hold grudges.

    Anyway back to an important point I wish to make here. It seems to be true that unless you are prepared to accept all and any comments on your work, however unfounded or wrong you might feel them to be, you run the risk of being sent to Coventry.

    It is difficult to find a way to answer or deal with critique you don't agree with without coming over as overly defensive or offended. All you can say is thank you and move on.

    However, people care about the photos they make and sometimes doing that is difficult. Therefore it should be clear to the people offering critique that they cannot comment with impunity, that they should always be prepared to back up what they say with valid points, and be prepared to have their thoughts rejected occasionally.

    Merry Christmas, all. We celebrate this evening here, so I have to get ready to drive to the Grandparents now and this will be my last post today.
     
    • Like Like x 2

Share This Page