Taking posts seriously

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by The_Traveler, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Messages:
    18,109
    Likes Received:
    7,457
    Location:
    Mid-Atlantic US
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    People make postings all over the spectrum from 'I really want to know what you honestly think about this picture' to 'This is a picture of my child/grandchild/pet/car.... and I want you to tell me how cute/handsome/macho the subject is."

    I try to be thoughtful and honest when I give any comments on pictures. When a picture is posted without any comments that indicate how attached the photographer is to the subject, I feel much more comfortable about giving honest criticism.

    Conversely, when the OP is emotionally invested in the subject or the picture and indicates this by her/his comments, I just lay off, figuring that what they really want is unqualified approval - and I'm just not good at that.

    My advice to new photographers who want to be better photographers.
    • Don't take your 'good' pictures of people or things that you love. You won't/can't be objective about the absolute quality of what you are doing.
    • Don't take pictures of things that are inherently beautiful - like flowers - because their beauty will overshadow the technical details of the image - and one's mind will remember the beauty of the original subject.
    My advice to people who want to get honest, unembellished critique
    • Don't identify the picture as 'My son', 'my dog, 'my' ..... This just arouses the natural urge in your colleagues to be supportive of your attachment and say nice things that may be unwarranted.
    • Don't explain the picture - either in the title or in accompanying text - that tells the viewer how to look at the picture. E.g.'this is a picture of the mass murderer , Sylvester Klein.' Your picture then becomes an illustration to an idea.
    • Don't editorialize about your picture. E.g.'Everyone I know thinks that this is the best photograph they have ever seen. What do you think?" or "I know this is out of focus but I really like it." Let the picture stand on its own.
    • One positive thing that can be done is to ask a question about what you see as a possible point of contention. E.g.'I was concerned about the contrast being a little heavy.' This signals that the poster is concerned about the picture as a picture.
    • Another positive action is to post the EXIF data. This is sometimes useful for viewers but is more a signal that the OP takes this seriously enough to monitor what she/he is doing.
    The most difficult challenge facing a photo community, beyond attracting an active group of users, is to maintain the balance between new and experienced and sharing vs critique.

    new
    vs experienced - too many newbies and th quality of pictures posted declines enormously and the experienced people get tired answering basic questions and just migrate somewhere else. Too few newbies and the group gets in a rut.

    sharing vs critique - IMO, this is the more potentially dangerous to the quality of a photo site. If few good (in the accepted photographic sense) pictures are posted and most pictures that are posted receive floods of 'attaboys' then the better photographers, who want good critique, will go elsewhere to get it. The site will devolve into a 'Mommy' site where every baby is gorgeous and the quality of the picture is irrelevant.

    For my part, I will try to adhere to my own rules and those of Curmudgeons Anonymous.
     
  2. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    14,491
    Likes Received:
    206
    Location:
    Europe 67.51°N
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I partially agree to what is said above.

    I live in both worlds though, I like to share images and I like serious critique. It is different things, but often they go well with each other even in the same image.

    Of course it is easy to get awws and ohhhs when the subject is cute or sexy or just very interesting. And a lot of what is said there only refelcts the subject of the image, and not the photographic quality of the image at all.

    Therefore, if someone wants to technically improve, taking images of boring things might help to get proper critique ;)

    But when it comes to composition, this does not always work anymore, since the subject cannot be separated from the compositional aspect often, and the beauty of the subject might play an important role. Then one can only hope that not every person commenting on that image will look at the boobs only... nothing more one can do I suppose ;)

    As for myself, I am happy if someone technically critizises an image where I depicted things I love ... but I agree, I would not expect the same from others! I would never tell mommy that the image she took of her baby looks horrible or that baby's socks don't go well with the skin tone ... :p .. too dangerous ;)
     
  3. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,484
    Likes Received:
    0
    "Dear Mr. Steichen,..." :wink:

    Though I'm not so sure about the bit above, for the most part I hear what you're saying regarding the need for the right balance between critique and sharing, but I don't really see what could be done about it - those who want honest and detailed critique can post in the critique section, those who just want some general thoughts and encouragement or simply to share their photos can post in one of the galleries. It's mostly just a case of trusting that the post and its responses are appropriate to the area of the forum where it's posted, and if not an admin can always move it or advise the poster.
     
  4. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Messages:
    18,109
    Likes Received:
    7,457
    Location:
    Mid-Atlantic US
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    On this forum, the critique section is, according to the FAQ,



    So, if the picture is OK with me and all I want is honest, insightful comment - if the picture deserves it - it goes in the gallery.

    My typical behavior is to go quickly through the galleries, specifically searching for little or un-commented upon posts and write something.
    I think that this supports new people and keeps them encouraged. I generally don't bother with heavily commented posts in the galleries because there area lot of good people here and all the necessary comments have probably been made already.



     
  5. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    16,728
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Where am I now?
    I feel that I should raise a point about the level of criticism given.
    When giving a crit one should always try to tailor it to the level of the photographer. The crit I give on a beginners pictures is nothing like the one I would give to an experienced and able photographer.
    A beginner just needs encouragement and a little advice on how to move on to the next step. Someone only a little more advanced can do that with a bit of thought.
    Giving a crit to a good photographer can quickly get you out of your depth if you are not up to that level.
    A good crit - at any level - should start with the photographer explaining what they were trying to do. Without that information no-one can decide if the picture works or suggest ways in which the desired result might be obtained.
    The worst crit - and there an awful lot of them around - is when the person giving it tries to tell the photographer that he, the critic, would not have taken the picture in that way but would have done it differently.
    Photography should be about taking your own pictures, not someone else's.
     
  6. Spacy

    Spacy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Well for someone that is inexperienced (and new) like me, it's hard to critique when you don't even know what you are doing. Therefore, it's easier to just point out the good things that you saw in the photograph, rather than try to pick out the flaws.

    Oh and about the experienced people getting tired of answering basic questions, I don't really agree with that. First of all, they have to remember that they were also a beginner at one time and had a lot of questions about technique, etc. I don't think it runs any experienced people off. If it does, then I saw more power to them because they are probably too big for their britches anyways. :)
     
  7. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    16,728
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Where am I now?
    If people want to ask questions then I will keep answering. I often don't answer, though (I tend to stick to the obscure and difficult questions) because I don't want people to get sick of me always being in there.
    It also allows others to get a look in. I know I am not the only one here who is capable of answering a question - and trying to explain something to someone can often give you a better understanding of things than you would have if you never thought about it. So by all sharing the task we can all benefit.
     
  8. ChelseaG

    ChelseaG TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2007
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    near dallas, tx
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    i agree with Spacy to a point. But I do think you need to also mention what needs to improve with a "newbie's" photo along with what you see good. Since not all of them know exactly how to improve the photo, nice pointers are always great from experienced photogs.

    We all learn differently.. but the most common way is to ask questions!! Unless you are a complete DIY kind of person. But not all of us are and need some help to get on a path. If you are annoyed by the gazillion repeated (where is my ISO button? how do I get this look?) then just go on to the next one and keep your comments to yourself.

    If you post a personal photo (family member, son, etc...) I usually say "Cute kid " then go along with the critique. Instead of just falling under the subjects spell of cuteness and forgetting about the whole reason for posting. I'm not just going to say; Great photo of your child!!! I'll include why it's great and what can improve. There are ways to critique without offending people.....

    I don't photograph boring things. My interest is child photography. So I learn on my kids, my family members, and friends. I think it's important to learn what interests you. I'm not going to practice on landscapes if what I need to work on is getting a child to show more personality through a photo. You usually work better with the things you enjoy. I don't know about others, but when I photograph objects that are "boring" to me, I don't feel like I put in as much effort to it as I do taking pictures of children and babies.
    I think some need to realize, when you post a picture up for critique- it's GOING to be critiqued! no matter what, someone will probably always say something about a photo you post (even if you were just showing it off) because we all have our different styles and preferences. And for parents (I'm one too and I post pics of my kids), when a picture of your child is put up and you say c &c welcome, don't be so emotionally attached to the photo itself. If someone says "it doesn't do anything for me" doesn't mean your child is a bad model and you go to reply back with "well it's my child so of course I'm going to think it's the cutest picture!". You posted a picture in a photography forum!! People with many different styles and taste are going to see that picture and are probably going to throw you some hints and great tips on how to even make the picture better or just their opinoin on how they would do it. the most common critique reply i see is "this doesnt do anything for me..." Just means, the angle, colors or expression isn't telling "the story". Doesn't mean you stink! ;) Maybe just try a few different adjustments!

    I truely have learned everything from a Canon forum. (I just joined here! so I can't wait to meet everyone) It's definitely a wonderful place to stumble across with everyone's different levels and advice!
     
  9. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2004
    Messages:
    34,814
    Likes Received:
    814
    Location:
    Lower Saxony, Germany
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    What is wrong in saying "If this were mine, I might have considered a different crop"? For example?
     
  10. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    16,728
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Where am I now?
    Nothing at all providing you suggest the crop you have in mind and can explain why you would prefer it ;)
     
  11. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2004
    Messages:
    34,814
    Likes Received:
    814
    Location:
    Lower Saxony, Germany
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Ah. Ok then, I feel I always try to do that.
     
  12. PNA

    PNA TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Messages:
    2,771
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wave when you see me go by.....
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Here's my take .....

    So many lookers and not enough comments. I for one, appreciate comments no matter what's stated!

    This forum is platform to exchange ideas and experiences, not just critiques. I've viewed many posts which have brought back memories of my years of travel and picture taking.

    Example....a photo posted showed a beach shot from above. I recognized the beach, stated so and attempted to exchange experiences with the poster regarding the location of the shot. That was just as worthwhile for me and the poster as any critique I could have offered.

    It is meaningful when somone shares their experiences with my posts, maybe I can learn something new.

    Paul
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

critisisable pictures