critiques for beginners

tmagee

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I'm also part of another forum called justlabradors.com and one time they had.... almost a class. The site isn't geared toward photography but rather Labrador dogs. But there were a couple of professionals on there that offered their services to help people capture pictures of their pets better. I think the way they structured it was very efficient and helpful:

*There were about three professionals who were allowed to give critiques.
*People were asked not to post critiques in between postings of the pictures. Even things like "I like this picture"
*No post-picture production was allowed, this included cropping the picture.
*You were asked to include as much detail as possible (i.e. camera, settings, and lighting)

1. A new thread was posted with the assignment of the week (i.e. swimming dogs, lazy dogs, or action dogs)
2. People would spend the week taking pictures and post only one picture by the deadline for the week.
3. The professionals would look at each picture and write comments on things like composition, exposure, and in some cases how the person could have changed their settings to get a better picture.
The critiques looked something like this (all in one post by the professional)
tam45rrr - the composition is good but you cut off the dogs tail. also why was your ISO so high in that sun light you could have gotten away with a lower ISO.
junior56t - good use of the rule of thirds. the background was a little distracting. try using a smaller DOF by decreasing your aperture.


This type of critique was very useful because we all had the same assignment and it was good to see all these pictures in one thread along with critiques by four professionals. it was very organized and I would like to participate in something like that again.
 

terri

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I think you're wonderful to suggest it. I've no idea at this stage what would fly around here.

For your information, here are the existing TPF guidelines for the Critique Forum which include the very heart of your suggestions.

However, it's a sticky issue for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, these guidelines are by and large ignored, and when moderated closely to keep the forum on target, people have become upset. When left alone, the forum quickly reverts to just another free-for-all as far as "offering critique", and it's become a thankless and impossible chore to enforce guidelines. It has been attempted more than once on TPF, at all times moderated by some excellent members with great photography-related credentials.

If a forum were to be created that "professionals only" were allowed to critique, again this raises problems. There are many people who refer to themselves as "pros" on TPF - we're not in the business of challenging these claims. ;) So who would be the chosen few? I smell napalm!

We also have a very informal "Biweekly Photo Assignments" sub-forum (located under "Themes"), which also mirrors some of your suggestions. Those guidelines are here.

If you'd like to come up with something that meshes the two, I'm all for listening. Keep in mind, it's never as easy as it first sounds.

All this said, I don't mean to come across as a complete downer - fresh ideas are always worth a look, so if you'd like to tackle some of these issues, by all means - have at it! :)
 

Hertz van Rental

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If a forum were to be created that "professionals only" were allowed to critique, again this raises problems. There are many people who refer to themselves as "pros" on TPF - we're not in the business of challenging these claims. So who would be the chosen few?

It might work if a panel were chosen by the members themselves. The people who perform the crits are nominated and voted for and re-elections are held every month. Panel members are either confirmed in their status or removed.
Such a system would have it's own problems but it would get get rid of a lot of arguments and moaning.
 

elsaspet

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There was something along those lines on another photo forum I visited.
The judges were set up like Hertz suggested.
Personally, I thought it was wonderful.
 

Alex_B

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It might work if a panel were chosen by the members themselves. The people who perform the crits are nominated and voted for and re-elections are held every month. Panel members are either confirmed in their status or removed.
Such a system would have it's own problems but it would get get rid of a lot of arguments and moaning.

the only problem i see is that this requires a lot of dedication to the forum by those on the panel. else that critique section will quickly become a desert.

Not that I would have a chance to be ever elected onto such a board, but if I was, I could not dedicated the time required constantly. And I think this will be a problem for many, not just for me.
 

wildmaven

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It would also be a moderation problem UNLESS those on the panel were given a specific "member group" in the admin panel and only those in that "member group" were able to post. That way someone not in that group wouldn't even be able to add their "nice picture."
 

elsaspet

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It was really cool on the forum I was on.
Only a small number of accredited photogs were judges. They all had judging responsibilities for pro associations in the past, so they really knew their stuff.
Not too many people bombed the forum with samples for crits though, as in most major judgings, it could get brutal. It was also something that couldn't be argued with.
I did it twice myself, and got lambasted both times, but I also learned a crapload from it.
I'd love to see something like that here, for people who are thinking about entering contests. It was a huge help to me.
 

Hertz van Rental

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There are problems that arise out of any system.
Of course if you set an elected panel up you will get them. But you will get just as many (though different) if you let it alone and do nothing.
It's all down to will and effort.
If you think something is worth doing then you do what it takes to make it happen.
In my experience problems are generally made by people as a way of getting out of doing things. If you look at any situation properly, work out everything that can go wrong and make contingencies then you will find you don't get problems because you have solved them all before they become problems.
But this requires effort and intelligence. Most people are happy to say 'it will cause too many problems' then go back to moaning about how the present situation is crap. They think that course is less effort than actually doing something positive.
 

elsaspet

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There are problems that arise out of any system.
Of course if you set an elected panel up you will get them. But you will get just as many (though different) if you let it alone and do nothing.
It's all down to will and effort.
If you think something is worth doing then you do what it takes to make it happen.
In my experience problems are generally made by people as a way of getting out of doing things. If you look at any situation properly, work out everything that can go wrong and make contingencies then you will find you don't get problems because you have solved them all before they become problems.
But this requires effort and intelligence. Most people are happy to say 'it will cause too many problems' then go back to moaning about how the present situation is crap. They think that course is less effort than actually doing something positive.

As always Hertz, you have gone to the root of the matter, and presented it beautifully and wisely. And I agree whole heartedly.
 

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