Why do you skip criticism?


TPF Noob!
Mar 8, 2008
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Austin, Texas
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Here's something that's interested me for a while because I read nearly every thread that's posted here. Obviously no one can comment on every image and not everyone likes giving critiques, and many of us are compelled to comment on the heinously bad or the mind-blowing-ly good photos, but I imagine there's a good chunk like me who offer criticism somewhat frequently for a range of images. I skip a lot of C&C that I could probably lend now and again, and I've got my reasons (I'll add them later in the thread if this takes off).

What is it about an image or image post that makes you likely to skip commenting on it?

I'd be interested to hear your perspectives.
No, I just don't if I feel apathy to the image. It really has to make me feel like doing anything, criticizing or complementing for me to do it.
Well, one obvious answer for me is: if a thread already has some good C&C in it, I usually will let it be instead of "me too!"-ing.

Also, I will sometimes skip critiquing an image if it really doesn't inspire anything in me. You know, an image that isn't amazing, but also isn't particularly bad: it's just OK in most ways. I could nitpick, or say "well... this doesn't do much for me either way", but I don't think either of those are particularly useful.

Those are my initial thoughts.
I usually don't comment on a image that is not good enough to get a complement or not bad enough to give advise. Usually these images have good exposure and all the technical stuff but just not a great composition or I find the subject boring, usually flower shots and things like that for me.
Not commenting can be a comment in and of itself.

I rarely comment here because there are so many 'atta' boys/girls that pointing out failings too often leads to hurt feelings and missing the original point. If I see something that I can help with I'll say something though.

I also tend to go to places where the photography is seriously better than mine when I look at other peoples' work (who doesn't want to be better than they are?). Before anyone takes offense go over to 1x.com and look around. There are some great photographers here -no doubt about it, but the popularity of this site make them a little hard to find sometimes.
I also don't like to critique because I shouldn't... it's not my place, I'm still very much a beginner to photography. If something is blatantly obvious like exposure problems, DOF too shallow or not shallow enough, distracting background, etc, maybe I'll say something. Otherwise, I leave it to the good photographers to help.
I wish I would get more critique on my images, but I know that it can be too much to ask for sometimes. There are just so many images out there, it's impossible for every one of them to be commented on.
If I think that the OP has an image that is a couple steps away from being a really proper good looking image I will try and relay what I think those steps may be.
If the OP is lets say... FIVE steps away from a proper good looking image I might save my breath.. yknow?
Something in my post count (can't quite put my finger on exactly WHAT it is... ;)) should tell you that I have not been too afraid to comment on photos in the past (and my post count does not derive from active participation in topics in the Off Topics from times back when they still counted), and I still like to pass comments to people's submissions here. When time allows for it, I look at many photos and like to comment on quite a few.

There are images that don't activate any desire inside me to comment. Some are simply too snapshotty and too boring to really inspire me to anything. And if to speak the much dreaded word "snapshot", explaining then WHY this particular photo seems to be no more than that, would do said photo too much honour already, I much rather don't say anything at all. Some photos that get 50 replies and no comments should tell the poster something for THAT fact alone...

Sometimes the subject matter doesn't speak to me. Same as flowers don't speak to Schumionbike, cars don't speak to me ever. Nor do photos of guns or other weapons.

One kind of photography that I know NOTHING about and therefore can NOT comment on, other than expressing personal feelings, are studio photos. I know next to nothing about proper lighting nor studio set-ups or posing people. That is when I feel I best not say anything.

Sometimes, however (time permitting), I go on 0-reply sprees. I go to the forums, and back to the latest page still showing, scan it for all 0-reply pics, and try to think of something to say. Often I wrap my comments/critiquing into questions to the OP about the why they did it in the way they did. I find asking questions is a lot more communicative and a lot less hurting - even those who are very delicately "skinned" should come out of being asked a question unhurt.

There have been photos that even passed my 0-reply sprees uncommented. They were then those that I described earlier.

Other than that: photos that already have 17 replies no longer need my saying "I think the same!", or my adding another "Wow, marvellous!", though such positive remarks usually feel good, of course. The more, the better? Oh well...
Well I am another who generally has no problem opening his mouth - even though I am new to this game! I tend to stick to browsing the threads of the site that interst me and are closest to my photographic interests - babies - portrates - these things hold no interest to me so I gernerally avoid them (and also would have little to say to such shots). Only in the case where basic errors are being made would I really be able to comment on such photos.

When a shot is in my interest area there are then 2 things that will lead me not to comment - one is time, infinate time would be nice, but sometimes we just don't have it - the second is, again, that lack of inspiration in a shot. Sometimes a shot is saying something I can't get my head round so I just don't know what to say.
I also tend to avoid commenting on "highclass" shots sometimes - "its great nothing wrong" just feels a little empty to me sometimes so I try to make things more constructive and/or descriptive if I can
Why do you skip criticisim?

I tend, I guess, more to post my opinion of a shot rather than actually critique it because I have a number of recently awful shots under my belt as I've tried to get back into photography after a long absence and learn the ins ands outs of a digital camera that I allowed to imtimidate me a few months ago.

If I see a shot that I really like, but it has obvious problems, I usually offer the OP my opinions of what I would do to make the photo better and if a shot is really bad and I can't find a tactful way to say its really bad, I usually walk away and allow someone else the duty. I also am a person who doesn't take criticisim well, so I don't always feel comfortable dishing out what I can't always take myself.

When i first joined TPF I posted photos for C&C and took what was said with a grain of salt. Returning to TPF after a year's absence, I have hesitated to post photos based on the many new members and the fact that a select few do at times get needlessly rude or blunt in their C&C. Regardless of their photographic expertise there is rudness and tactful critique and some people don't seem to know the difference anymore. If this I'm sure unintended rudeness comes from a seasoned photographer its one thing, but when it comes from an admittedly "newbie" its hard for many to take I'm sure.

I'm not exempt at rudeness, I have done it a few times here recently, sometimes its hard not to, but its usually in a discussion of a question someone has asked and their seemingly denseness to understand the replies they get. I try to be tactful and tread lightly in the C&C of a photo because afterall, that person took a photo and felt proud enough of it to post it here, why get rude and rip it to shreds? With many people, that apporach will only discourage them from trying to get better. So as I said earlier - if I can't find a tactful or nice way to give C&C of a photo - I walk away.
If my comment would be something along the lines of "find something interesting to photograph" then I usually don't comment. If it's an interesting shot, but has something that could make it better, then I'll commment. I also frequently comment on amazing images.
Good, bad or indifferent, the way I see things is the way I see things. The way someone else sees things is what makes them different from me. There's no sense in trying to cause my vision on anyone else.
Good, bad or indifferent, the way I see things is the way I see things. The way someone else sees things is what makes them different from me. There's no sense in trying to cause my vision on anyone else.

good point, but it only explains half the story - what about those who have failed to achive their vision on shot - is not the fact that many who ask for critique are infact looking for such assistance since they have either failed or feel that they have failed?

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