How to critique photos - Page 3
PhotoCamel: Your friendly photo community, with free discussion forums, digital photography reviews, photo sharing, galleries, downloads, blogs, photography contests, and prizes.
Photos of the Week Photos of the Week
 

Go Back   PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Tools Of the Trade > Tutorials

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-07-2014   #21
F1 Camel
 
Tat2Duck's Avatar
 
Location: CT, USA
Posts: 2,505
CamelKarma: 6617978
Editing OK?: No
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: How to critique photos

Some really great points have been made, specially for those who do want those in depth critiques. I tend to agree with the Admin in that a 'specialized' board would be redundant when there are other tools available. For one, a standardized method of critique request would be easier to implement rather than creating a whole board.

I noticed that some people will put "C&C welcomed" or some similar wording, but I think that something a little more clear and to the point may better serve the poster. Maybe something along the line of "full and honest critique appreciated". Not that it will deter the "nice pic" people from commenting, but it opens the door to those who are unsure how far they can go with a critique.

As Bobby mentioned earlier, he will give fuller critiques to those he knows need it and can handle it. That says a lot about Bobby as he has put in the time to get to know many of our members. Unfortunately he is one of a limited number of members who do so. If we can create a system that is easily implementable and free of ambiguity it would serve all our members well.

Like Jeff said, and I agree 100%, you can learn just as much reading someone elses critique as you would your own. Van said it best about the "nice pic" comments, "I would love to know why [they] feel this way". But what if people are giving these short complimentary critiques simply because they are unsure if a fuller critique would be appreciated, or even wanted. There really is too much ambiguity in the current posting language.

Having a set rule also helps clarify the type of post too. Sometimes I'll post a photo just because I want to share something I feel is worth sharing and not because I'm looking for a critique. In those cases I don't mind the "nice pic" comment or the shorter "I don't like such and such" critique. I'm just not interested in a full critique as I may be aware of the various problems already. Those of us who have been doing this long enough can often self critique quite well (though I am a victim of too easily dismissing my own critiques) and I've been self critiquing my own artwork for many, many years now.

As I move further into photography I find I need more of the nitpicking type of criticism than the general rules critiques. For me, those are of greater value and I'm sure there are other more advanced photographers that feel the same way.

There is a large core group of members that have been around long enough that I'm sure if we put our heads together we can come up with some rule or code or verbiage that can be implemented. To start, I think we can begin by categorizing the kinds of critiques people could hope to receive (without going overboard). Here are my thoughts from easy to harsh;

1. No critique wanted
2. A gentle opinion
3. Basic bullet points
4. Beginner's critique
5. Advanced critique

One system that may be easy to implement is to create an icon that is selectable from the 'smilies' panel for each level of critique. A quick click on the appropriate icon let's everyone know where the poster stands to receiving critique and people won't have to guess whether they should give a critique and to what level.

Thoughts?
Tat2Duck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2014   #22
Photocamel Master
 
Bobby Deal's Avatar
 
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 8,442
CamelKarma: 19116378
Editing OK?: No
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: How to critique photos

I believe a software update is in the not to distant future of the Camel. When that happens there should be a built in ability to annotate the reason for posting right on the post title line
__________________
"The only photographer we ought compare ourselves to is the one we used to be"
Bobby Deal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2014   #23
F1 Camel
 
Tat2Duck's Avatar
 
Location: CT, USA
Posts: 2,505
CamelKarma: 6617978
Editing OK?: No
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: How to critique photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Pickles View Post
How to critique has been discussed many times, and some like to rub lotion on ya over it. If you want to critique, and if people post an image and ask for it, you should, and you should be honest. If it stinks, kind of say that, but back it down a notch. But, if it does, say why and how to go about correcting it. Lots of times, it can't be corrected because it can't be re-shot like it was. But recommend. And for heavens sake, don't write a damn book about your reasons.

If the poster doesn't like it, then they aren't will to learn, aren't willing to accept, aren't interested in your opinion, or you're wrong. And if they reply to the critiquer, and critiquer reads it and doesn't like it, chill. Why argue? You aren't the one with crappy images, in your opinion.
You're right, the topic of critiquing does come up a lot. I think the reason for this is because members, especially new ones, don't have the answers or know where to get these answers. That was one of the reasons I posted this article on critiquing. But I feel this is only a start. Forums, in general, lack a singular location for learning the rules of the forum. Posts get buried with time and while you may remember that a particular topic was addressed x number of months ago, a new member won't. Think on how many times you have to answer the question on how to post images, what does 'Karma' mean and what are those green blocks for?

You are also correct that if a poster wants a critique they should ask for it, but many either don't know how to ask or what to ask. There is a difference between a, "what do you think?" comment from a, "C&C welcomed," or a "I'm not crazy about 'this' how can I correct it?" request. Since the majority of the boards here are for getting a critique, we are half way there. We shouldn't drop the ball half way but rather spell out exactly what the rules are. That way everyone playing knows where they stand.

I think that would alleviate some of the animosity too. Taking the 'game' metaphor; If you came upon a game of basketball and had no clue how to play you could 'lurk' until you figured out the rules, but then you'd get bored before too long. You could also ask one of the players to explain it, but if they're in the middle of a game they'll only give you a cursory explanation. You could also jump in and figure out the rules as you play, but that would only piss off the other players (as we see too often here). It's easier if the rules to the game are prominently posted where they're easy to find, clearly spelled out and understood by all.

It would also encourage others to play, those who would otherwise be too shy to ask for direction or to unsure of who to ask. Case in point, a young kid from Indonesia, KelvinTang who keeps making a lot of beginner mistakes. I sympathize with him as I know what it was like to first arrive onto a forum not knowing the rules.

This would also help moderators as it would offer a central place to point to when someone does asks for help rather than to some sticky on some board someplace the member would never have thought to look.
Tat2Duck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2014   #24
F1 Camel
 
Tat2Duck's Avatar
 
Location: CT, USA
Posts: 2,505
CamelKarma: 6617978
Editing OK?: No
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: How to critique photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby Deal View Post
I believe a software update is in the not to distant future of the Camel. When that happens...
I'm sure when that happens it will offer us the opportunity to implement a lot of useful tools and many of the great suggestions offered up in the past. It's great to talk about these problems now so that when it comes time to implement a solution we'll be ready with one.
Tat2Duck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2014   #25
Alpaca
 
Codeblind's Avatar
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 43
CamelKarma: 14919
Editing OK?: No
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: How to critique photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tat2Duck View Post
For one, a standardized method of critique request would be easier to implement rather than creating a whole board.
To be fair, all you have to do to add a new forum is click a button, enter a name and description, then press the submit button.
Codeblind is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2014   #26
F1 Camel
 
Tat2Duck's Avatar
 
Location: CT, USA
Posts: 2,505
CamelKarma: 6617978
Editing OK?: No
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: How to critique photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by Codeblind View Post
To be fair, all you have to do to add a new forum is click a button, enter a name and description, then press the submit button.
...and it's just as easy to drive a car. Turn the key and press the pedal.

There is more to establishing boards than that. There is also support, moderation, visibility, and so on. If we were to start boards for all those who want something specific we'd get buried in a deluge of small boards that no one would find anything of importance.
Tat2Duck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2014   #27
Photocamel Master
 
Ed Shapiro's Avatar
 
Location: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
Posts: 6,718
CamelKarma: 5188665
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: How to critique photos

I think there are some misunderstandings regarding “professional” critique forums or sub forums. They are not restricted to use or the purpose of submitting images to professionals only; only the critics on the panel must be experienced professional photographers. This is not a form of elitism, ego or snobbery. It is simply a resource whereby any member can get a through and remedial critique by experienced photographers whose work is scrutinized on an ongoing basis by demanding and oftentimes discriminating clients. They know what it takes to satisfy their private clients, art directors and corporate entities. Many of theses pros have acted as print judges at professional print competitions and some of them are successful teachers and seminar/workshop provides. Many have earned their credentials by entering their images into numerous professional competitions and receiving hundreds of critical comments in the process. Some have formal training as well. Suffice it to say they know their onions! People can rest assured that they are not going to receive a harsh or insulting critique or an undeserved feel-good commentary. Both are a serious disservice to a photographer who wants a truthful assessment of his or her imagery.

Many of theses pros freely give of their time and experience to help other photographers here on the forum- there is no charges or fees involved. Good written critiquing is a form of technical writing that can consume lots of time and effort.

A comprehensive, accurate, concise, effective, constructive and encouraging critique can usually NOT be condensed in a couple of paragraphs. To try to mitigate the depth of the critique with a submission (in advance) is unwise because it is best to allow the critic to do his or her best work on your behalf and decide upon the depth, complexity and length of their analysis. Then it is up to the recipient to take what ever he or she wants to get out of it. It is equally unwise to assume that every technical and/or artistic issue can be explained in a short tip or quip.

My own “policy” if you will, on this matter is this: Since the submitter or questioner it not paying for exclusive services and since the critics are volunteering their time for the general good of the forum as a whole; I write not only for the benefit of the submitter but for everyone who is reading on even if they are not directly participating in the specific post or thread. Someone here has already stated that they learn a lot just by observing critiquing threads. Anyone who just wants a quick tip or a fast answer; they can do that in any regular (non-pro) board. The may be well accommodated or not! Then some folks complain that they did not receive a telling opinion and complain about those “hey- nice shot” responses. The ideal situation is where the submitter and the critic join in a philosophical harmony too the benefit of good photographic education. If photographers do not submit their work there is no critiquing and no one benefits- Both parties are very important to the process.

This is not to say that a knowledgeable amateur can not produce a smashingly great critique- I am sure there are folks here that can deliver fantastic advice. On the other side of the story; so many advanced amateurs and aspiring professionals complain (right here on the forum) that when the approach local pros for information, or mentorship, they are oftentimes turned away.

What do the say about looking a gift horse in the mouth? Not sure- I ain’t an equestrian guy! Have to ask my friend Steven.

It is kinda silly to ask for different degrees of criticism. A comprehensive critique should simply state what is good or great about an image, what needs improvement and what to do in order to achieve that improvement. Asking for a harsh critique is similarly silly- I have had people ask me to “rip apart” an image. Good thing I ain’t a surgeon! My general advice to anyone receiving an insulting, degrading, overly contentious critique should disregard such critiques as being invalid. Folks who do that just like to deride others in order to inflate their own egos- that a big BAD!

Sincerely, Ed
__________________
Ed Shapiro - Master Photographer
Ottawa, Canada
Ed Shapiro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2014   #28
Alpaca
 
Location: NE Florida
Posts: 26
CamelKarma: 394156
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: How to critique photos

May I be so bold as to offer an opinion as a rank beginner to the Camel?

I've lurked on & off here (mostly off til very recently) since 2010. I learned a lot just by reading critiques. I did discover the Pro critique board and found it very impressively informative and it's obvious that a good chunk of time and expertise goes into the advice given there.

When I posted my first photo (of a whopping two thus far <g>) I got exactly what I hoped for: some advice from differing levels of experienced people. In no way did I expect the level of the Pro board for advice. I think if I were asked to "rank" the level of critique I was hoping for, it might have put me off posting for a while longer. I'm old and thick-skinned enough to be able to take constructive criticism and advice well, but there was still a bit of a feeling of "hold your breath and push *post*" the first time.

It would seem to me that the current two-way method works well, perhaps with the explanation of the type of critique one will receive in both places. If no input is wanted a disclaimer (ie: Just Sharing!) could be used.

I think to "rank" the levels of help requested might put off those who have valid points to make if they don't have the time or inclination to go as far as the level requested and much good info could slip through the cracks. It might also put off someone who might otherwise offer helpful advice if they didn't feel "qualified" to comment at a greater level.

Anyway, just my .02
tropicmom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2014   #29
PhotoCamel Supporter DONATED
Administrator
 
Mr. Pickles's Avatar
 
Location: Old Folks Home
Posts: 22,581
CamelKarma: 6964085
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: How to critique photos

I think in the end, the real answer lies in doing NOTHING than what we are doing right now. If someone wants a "pro" critique, then post it in the "pro critique" board and get an opinion form someone who is a "pro" (wink wink, if you must). otherwise, post it in the 99% boards and take what you get. You will get some "nice shot" comments, and some will give some advice, some will give too harsh of advice or comments. If you want something, ask for it. And if you get stuff that hurts your feelings, take a nap and come back later. It is all opinions. Opinions don't buy much.
__________________
Olympus Full-time User
Idiot Savant AND trouble-maker...

PhotoCamel Helpful Info....
Posting Images Tutorial ... Posting and Critiquing? ... What's Camel Karma?
Mr. Pickles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2014   #30
Camel Breath
 
Rain Lily's Avatar
 
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 25,920
CamelKarma: 12368774
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: How to critique photos

Thoughtful and well written, Duck. Some great points and good discussion following.

Just some quick editing needed with these numbers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tat2Duck View Post

4 standard criteria for critique
Analyzing an image for criticism can follow a simple and fairly standardized format. This section explains five standard criteria for critiquing an image. These four are based on well documented standards and work to get the photographer to a more natural conclusion, advancing their ability. Each step progresses from the obvious to the more refined. To what level you take each section depends on your ability to see various aspects of a photograph; from technical to artistic aspects.

Too often I hear people say they can't offer a good critique because of one reason or another. “I'm just a beginner,” or, “I'm not a photographer,” tend to be the more common ones. Let me allay your fears. If you can formulate an opinion you can do a critique, so long as you are honest with yourself and the photographer whose work you are critiquing. To help you out here are the five criteria;
Also, one more thing - I think examples provided after each of the four (or is it five? Sounds like King Arthur math around here ) bullets would be perfect. Such as "Describe" - you post a pic with a friendly description; "Analyze" - you then analyze the picture; etc.

Just a thought - I tend to learn from examples even more than lists.

Thanks for posting this.


__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
__________________
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Critique and comments always welcome.
Rain Lily is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

« PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Tools Of the Trade > Tutorials »


Share this topic:


Tags
criticism, critique, critiquing, how to
Thread Tools
Display Modes