Courious about how others judge a photograph.

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Grandpa Ron, Jan 17, 2020.

  1. Grandpa Ron

    Grandpa Ron No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    When I folks post a photograph, I look at it and; I like it, do not like it or I am neutral about it. I am rarely concerned about the technical aspects of it.

    Still others seem to judge the photo by virtue of more tangible measurements such as focus, depth of field (bokeh), level horizon, contrast etc.

    Since I enjoy black and white photography, I have the same emotions about a photograph made in 2020, 1940's, 1920's, 1860's or even Daguerreotypes. Sure a pristine B&W looks better that an a faded old photo but my enjoyment is based on the subject content rather than the technology.

    I am curious how others judge a photograph.


     
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  2. Jeff15

    Jeff15 TPF junkie!

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    In my opinion, the image has to be in focus and have an appealing look, the subject matter is not important because it means something to the photographer. On this forum, we do see some great shots and long may that be so......
     
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  3. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ... with most pictures ... subjects, scene, content and the technical aspects is the image.
    This does not mean that all images have to be sharp as a tack, or be perfectly balanced in exposure ... everything adds up ... so yeah I think all those things you mention matter ... the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
     
  4. Soocom1

    Soocom1 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    My criteria is a bit different from others.

    I see patterns in nature and various shapes, styles, emotions and energy.
    It is extremely difficult to capture energy in a photograph. I am not talking lighting, but the life energy of something, regardless of what it is.

    Anyone familiar with the theory of quantum fluctuation and life forces know about this.

    Its not complicated, but a photo of a coke bottle can have that in it, if shot one way, whilst another completely misses it.

    to me my desires and opinion are based on the end result of what I am seeing and not if the rules of thirds are followed with a tack sharp image with perfect chroma representation at 5000K light.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Judging a photo is done on a case-by-case basis. if a photo was made under extremely difficult circumstances I might cut it some slack even if it has noticeable technical shortcomings.

    there is no single way to judge a photo... as I said judging of photos is done on a case-by-case basis. For example one of the most compelling photos I ever saw was made at a very early electrocution in a New York State Penitentiary . The photographer had one shot in the camera that he had hidden in his pants leg, strapped to his leg. Once inside the execution room and during the electrocution, he hiked up his pant leg and made the exposure which was grainy and blurry, and yet I can still see this photo clearly in my mind some forty years after my first viewing of it. I was probably 12 at the time.... I just turned 57 this week. even though that was a poorly done photo, I would say it was one of the best 15 news photos I have ever seen.
     
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  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    A spot news photo is evaluated differently than a posed carefully lighted Studio portrait
     
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  7. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Composition usually comes first, then technical achievement, then uniqueness. Occasionally the attributes will assume alternate priority, but those are the main three by which which I judge a photograph.
     
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  8. Original katomi

    Original katomi TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    This is a debate I have seen so many times in camera clubs
    And as a teen fall into the trap of photographing to please the comp judge
    One judge will see an image different to another
    Unless there are guide lines that the image must be within then it can be a matter of personal prospective.
    There have been pictures on this site that I have really liked and others that.
    Ok well it’s were good but not my thing. I know others feel the same way about my images
    In fact I am known for my Marmite photography #love it or hate it#
    As a fellow photographer all I can do is offer advice and suggestions when asked.
    It’s then up to others to decide if the like or want to listen to me.
    What I do try and remember is.
    I was that keen lad who had just started photography but had no money and what it was like when others often older said that I should get a #real# camera not my zenith or Pentax k1000
    Ok now I am a fossil and have better kit, but the young lad who used corn flake box’s to mount photos for a comp is still there.
    So like dislike a photo I think of the person who took that image liked it or knew it was not quite right and is asking how to improve .
    Long and wordy. Soz all
     
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  9. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My first criteria when examining an image are the circumstances under which it was created. Something done in the studio should be much more technically correct than an image created on the battlefield during an attack. My second criteria is the known or perceived skill of the photographer. I would judge an image by Annie Leibovitz much more critically than one by someone whom I know, or suspect has only just picked up their first camera.
     
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  10. TWX

    TWX No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For me, it's a matter of how well the photograph captures what the photographer intended to capture, combined with my own judgment on the value of what the photographer was trying to capture.

    Eddie Adams' Pulitzer-winning Execution of Nguyễn Văn Lém is an incredibly powerful photograph, and the nature of the subject excuses any faults in the image, most of which were beyond the photographer's control. Likewise, Rich Lam's photo of the couple kissing on the ground after having been knocked down during the 2011 Stanley Cup Riots in Vancouver is powerful, even if the riot policeman is partly blocking the view, and likewise, the photographer himself was in a risky situation. What they each captured is more powerful than any distractions or issues in their photographs.

    When the situation is more controlled, or entirely within the photographer's control, I expect far fewer issues with a photograph. Additionally the less time-sensitive the subject is, the fewer issues I expect. I'm more willing to overlook issues of say, a flying insect, than I am of something like a building.
     
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  11. Grandpa Ron

    Grandpa Ron No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Katomi's mentioned photo contest judging. That was part of the reason for my question.

    At our last photo club meeting a couple of the members were recalling their old film contesting day. The discussion turned to reasons for a photo to be scored low. It seemed the first cut was based on technical expertise, how sharp, how balanced, was the horizon level etc. Those that made the cut were than scored for content.

    It seemed backwards to me, so I was curious how others approached there view of photographs.

    I have seen so many pleasing shots of animals, scenery and people, it would be hard for me to pick a favorite.
     
  12. AlanKlein

    AlanKlein No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Street photos can get away with poor technical aspects because the people are the key. What they're doing etc. Even with landscapes, there's got to be something that catches your eye in the first two seconds. Otherwise the photo doesn;t work. Once caught, negative technical stuff takes away from it though. What's the expression about a sharp image of a fuzzy subject?
     

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