The Art of Photographic Critique (a.k.a. constructive criticism)

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Peeb, Aug 5, 2017.

  1. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I dunno. Seems to me that shot's on here get critiqued way more softly that they used to be, or maybe it's just me that's gotten used to it.

    I'll admit, I don't always have time to go in depth with some posts, especially with 4 or 5 or more shots so quite often with them I'm quite to the point. Same if I just say "nice shot", there's nothing in particular I feel I can add.

    The vast majority of the time on here I don't see the kind of throw away comments that are highlighted in the article, it's very seldom I've seen a post without advice on how to improve it for next time.


     
  2. Peeb

    Peeb Semi-automatic Mediocrity Generator Supporting Member

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    Interesting- yes, either hypothesis could be correct: either comments are now less harsh OR you've developed thicker skin. Maybe both- who knows? I think (hope) I've learned how to deal better with negative feedback. If shots are indeed critiqued 'way more softly' I don't see that as a necessarily bad thing as long as the critique is honest.

    This is definitely NOT a 'cheerleader' board where everybody pretends that every image is spot-on and that is a good thing. Thoughtful analysis is healthy and necessary. I don't think anybody wants to avoid that.

    I think we all get uncomfortable, however, when critique is given in a way that MIGHT be taken as a personal offense, then the original poster often DOES take offense and we're off to the races. Very rarely happens that way, fortunately. Again, I think the majority of time the comment that starts the trouble wasn't even INTENDED as anything but helpful. The interwebz can just be a tricky place to authentically connect sometimes.
     
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  3. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Yeah, I wouldn't say I've developed thicker skin (my skin has always been pretty thick) however I know I have become more self assured in my own shots, which does come from development anyway. What I meant was more like desensitization, I may have just become used to how shots are critiqued on here.

    You're right again, just because I think shots are critiqued more softly than they used to be it is not neceseraly (sorry I can never spell that word right!) a bad thing. In fact I would say it's a more positive move, as I think theres more constructive feedback by knowledgeable posters than there was in the past, though I do think that there are some things that slip through the net a bit more.

    Generally misunderstandings are sorted out or theres a new poster who has been told their shots are great and don't like it when we spot some flaws and point them out.

    I may also be looking at it that way though because I came here to get a very critical eye from experienced shooters whom I aspired to shoot like, and because it seemed to me that if there was any flaw in an image I posted someone here would point it out.

    being purely offensive to anyone is not good and I wouldn't condone that, but I very rarely see that here. Disagreements sure, but we don't tend to decend into name calling, or lone disparaging remarks. Usually.
     
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  4. dunfly

    dunfly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I thought it was a very good article and I try to write any critiques I have along those lines. On the other hand, I rarely put up images for critique because I already know "My exposure is crappy – My highlights are all blown out.” Most people already know what is wrong, they just want to know how to fix it. That is where constructive criticism is really effective.
     
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  5. AlanKlein

    AlanKlein No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I agree with your three points. That goes for any kind of "criticism" or advice, photo or otherwise. One thing I would add is to make recommendations of how to improve the picture. Good post. :)
     
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  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I agree with the three points you make! cThe C&C here is wayyyyyyyy more gentle than it used to be; we used to have some real d***s that seemed to relish just brutally ripping noobs...most of those guys (and yes, they are almost always 'guys') were banned, or left.

    With 4 and 5-shot posts, it's a monnumental effort to C&C all equally well.

    MOST posts here offering C&C DO offer a way to improve next time; that seems pretty standard here on TPF.
     
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  7. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yeah, I remember the 'brutal days' lol, trouble is society now can't stand the truth and so critique has been toned down to the stage where you need to be giving out mutley badges in case you offend anyone, personally I know when I've made a s**t shot, can see when somebody else has too and have said as much in the past but then again 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' so everything is personal really.

    I tend to stay away from critiquing others for those reasons, the subject matter is immaterial and I reckon all critique on photography forums should be limited to technical mistakes, exposure, colour, focus etc, if you're not getting those right then there should be plenty help at hand around here.
     
  8. dennybeall

    dennybeall No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I want to know what the photographer was trying to accomplish with the photo. If it was meant to be beautiful or just to document an event the CC would be different.
    Usually focus is critical BUT what if the photog wanted soft focus?
    The lightpole growing out of Aunt Joan's head may be on purpose.
     
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  9. BananaRepublic

    BananaRepublic No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think the number of members on here is gone down since I joined, only a few years ago. Has critique been watered down, yes it has or perhaps I'm getting better at taking images or I don't post up much anymore.

    Best advice on how to get critique on here is to only post between Monday and Thursday.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
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  10. bribrius

    bribrius Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have actually received some VERY knowledgeable and good critiques on here and very helpul ones that i was greatful they put the time and effort in. Been a couple years now but once people figured out my level of expertise, how i shot (maybe somewhat how i thought?) And a basic idea of my level of equipment a few individuals centered their critique easier by my past posts knowing what i might have missed or needed work on. Takes a lot of "getting to know" the person though
     
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  11. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I like zombiesniper's take on this subject. Asking for cc without giving an idea of what you're struggling with makes it more difficult for anyone to truly help and for the op to improve their skills. If you want genuine cc you need to think about what you're looking for advice on and provide your own input first.

    Sometimes though, you just want affirmation that the shot you like appeals to others as well. And I think that's ok too. In that case a simple request for comments/feedback is valid, IMO.

    I've seen the complaints and laments for the "good old days" when harsh criticism was the norm. I guess I don't understand why anyone would prefer that type of vibe to one where criticism is given but with a kinder voice. If only the best most technically correct perfectly composed photos are acceptable without harsh criticism and ugly attacks then the forum would be pretty toxic and more of a war zone than a supportive community.
     
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  12. DanOstergren

    DanOstergren Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Generally the only formula I try to follow for giving feedback is pointing out what the photographer did right and then pointing out what needs work and how to improve it. While I think it's important to tell someone what they are doing right, I sometimes just cut to the chase if the issue is overwhelmingly bad, and at the very least try to also explain why in my eyes I see it as something that ruins or takes away from an image.

    If the photographer is someone I know to be skilled, I will forego pointing out what was done right and just tell them what I think can be done better.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
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