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01-16-2011, 09:41 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Photo Critique responses

Thread starters in the Photo Critique section of the forum are posting to garner constructive criticism to improve on their photographic and PP techniques.
In this regard, comments such as "Great shot!" or "Very nice" are alone not appropriate for posting as a response.
Please consider the purpose of the subforum and limit your responses to critique that helps the OP better his/her skills.

01-16-2011, 09:55 PM   #2
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+1 for that! (well, +4 actually )

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01-17-2011, 12:35 AM   #3
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Cheers Adam.
I'll just add that praise is OK, but the place for praise on its own is the Post your photos subforum.
01-17-2011, 02:34 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Cheers Adam.
I'll just add that praise is OK, but the place for praise on its own is the Post your photos subforum.
Agreed. Its difficult to get good crit though, I think, because people either think they aren't in a position to make an appropriate comment, or they are afraid of upsetting the person who posts - that's not me BTW

I'm getting a bit over redbubble too, for all its sycophantic claptrap...

01-17-2011, 04:47 AM   #5
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All of the social networking/photo sharing site will be full of this, including the reward of the infamous golden unicorn for your fantastic images.

That's not what the Photo Critique section is all about. Anyone is welcome and even encouraged to critique, as we all judge and appeal to photographic art differently, and all have valid opinions, whether perceived to be authoritative or not. And since critique is offered for free, take it with the same value
01-22-2011, 11:27 PM   #6
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Let me please reiterate that C&C should be all about assisting the poster on methods/techniques that responders may know of to develop the poster's photographic and PP skills, and in so doing help the poster produce a better result for the image presented. It seems some responses in the forum are still being posted without providing any of this.

Without wishing to police this (and not even being a moderator, I don't want to make it look that way either) responders should consider having something tangibly useful to say about the image and how to improve it rather than one-line remarks not helpful in the purposes wished for by the OP in the first place.

Furthermore, initial posters in the forum should consider why they are posting their image in the forum. There should be a clear goal in requesting C&C - not just snapshots or family photos that are generally not appropriate unless the OP wants specific guidance on how to improve the results of their shots.
01-23-2011, 12:09 AM   #7
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All very good and apt points here Ash and kyteflyer.

I've been involved in online critique sites (for better or worse) for several years. I find it is the best use of everyone's time and talent if the artist posts their best work. Fuzzy definition sure, but this way it's been internally vetted to some degree.

What's frustrating is when people post results of lens tests and new camera purchases in the photo critique section.

In my experience there are commonly three levels of benefit to the critique interaction:
1. the OP artist gets direct feedback
2. other viewers get indirect feedback that can work for their shots one day
3. the critic has to articulate productive comments, which perhaps he or she hasn't had to think through before, and that very process can be beneficial in an upcoming situation.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Let me please reiterate that C&C should be all about assisting the poster on methods/techniques that responders may know of to develop the poster's photographic and PP skills
Indeed. I find that most issues with images are of an aesthetic nature more than a technical one. That's harder to critique, and to fix of course.

If an image tells a compelling story, or evokes strong emotion, then the technical flaws are overlooked easily. I've been involved in numerous photographic image art jury situations, especially with non-photographic artists serving as jurors. Backstage I've been surprised--a lot--by what gets the thumbs up. Later during the show, I listen to patrons' comments and see the red dots. They strongly confirm the strength of a picture and not a processing technique.

QuoteOriginally posted by kyteflyer Quote
Its difficult to get good crit though, I think, because people either think they aren't in a position to make an appropriate comment, or they are afraid of upsetting the person who posts
That is so true, especially in this feel-good age where to quote Garrison Keeler, "All the students are above average." It's rare to get any kind of true critique anywhere on your artwork. So it's our job to set examples. I try to say something positive as well, keep things objective, and keep my ego subdued--it's not easy. I also don't view the giving of a critique as an entitlement to be rude or mean.

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01-23-2011, 12:20 AM   #8
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Appropriate comment, Ash.

I think this is the defining difference between the photo sharing and critique sections.

It's easy to say 'good', but it's not that hard to eplain why or why not. Alittle effort from all of us in the critique section goes far, and that is what the thread starters want from the first.

01-23-2011, 03:35 AM   #9
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Only problem I guess is that since this is a free forum, there aren't any 'enforceable' checks and balances that can bring these ideals into fruition. Nevertheless, I do hope for a good quality Critique section, such that posters can get (and even look forward to) some good value feedback for their images.

Miguel, you've made some great points - the artistic/aesthetic side of photography is a highly valuable aspect that may be difficult to advise on for improvements, though we can make our own interpretations and provide our own subjective feedback on its impact and areas of possible improvement.

MSD, it is difficult at times to articulate the feelings/suggestions that may improve an image according to our subjective views. We can at least try to provide more feedback than just 'looks fine' or 'you got it'.
01-23-2011, 05:29 AM   #10
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As photography is a hobby to me, I just wish to say that I agree with all of what was said above, and as I do not have any inclination of becoming a professional photographer, I have never bothered to ask for real critique. My suggestion is that only people with the necessary experience, ie. professional photographers, or people with the necessary provable experience, should be allowed to critique, if that is possible? I've looked at some photo's in the section but realize as a novice that I can't actually give critique other than expressing my own feeling of what I like in a photograph, but I do learn from the critique given on others photographs. As long as it is made very clear to everybody involved that if they do request critique on their photographs, that is what they will get, and that those doing the critique, that when giving it, they should substantiate their critique.
01-23-2011, 09:30 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by altopiet Quote
My suggestion is that only people with the necessary experience, ie. professional photographers, or people with the necessary provable experience, should be allowed to critique, if that is possible?
I disagree.
First, that's a tough requirement to satisfy anywhere--online or in real life. Secondly, I don't think anyone here needs to "prove" anything to anyone in this forum. Actually there may be little correlation between one's success at making a living at photography and one's ability to provide valuable feedback.

As I've noted, some of the best feedback I've received is from non-photographers. Since we are online here and bereft of some real-life tools like body language and adult beverages, we have some different limitations and opportunities.

Since words are much of our currency, excellent writing skills are as vital to critique as photographic skill. Plenty of folks can address aesthetics without using a camera.

Since some posters doctor an OP's original image to illustrate their improvements, then I would say that some post-processing skills also help. Do realize that focusing on "how" really gets us beyond the scope of classic critique--which is all about responding to "what" the image communicates.

I'm guilty of delving in the how-to as part of a critical response as well, but having things loose makes this forum pleasant. In my mind there are too many rules in the world (having younger kids reinforces this daily), and a true beauty of photography in 2011 is that it is democratic. The critique should be as well.

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01-23-2011, 09:54 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by altopiet Quote
My suggestion is that only people with the necessary experience, ie. professional photographers, or people with the necessary provable experience, should be allowed to critique, if that is possible?.
The purpose of a forum such as this is for people with common interests to share information and experiences. Limiting who would be allowed to provide information to professionals would totally defeat the purpose of the forum.
In addition, the fact that someone is a professional does not necessarily mean that he or she knows more, or even as much, about any given subject than someone who isn't. Amateur photographers have far more to contribute than you are giving them credit for.
01-23-2011, 11:15 AM   #13
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Christo, sorry but I also disagree that only pros should comment in the critique forum. Where are you going to find pros who will have the time and the inclination to provide feedback for free? We as amateurs can only give feedback to the extent of our own experience but that does not invalidate the feedback.
01-23-2011, 11:23 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
I'm guilty of delving in the how-to as part of a critical response as well, but having things loose makes this forum pleasant. In my mind there are too many rules in the world (having younger kids reinforces this daily), and a true beauty of photography in 2011 is that it is democratic. The critique should be as well.
Maybe you didn't see that my suggestion was put sort of as a question, because I am not sure myself that it would be possible to do it in practice.
QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
As I've noted, some of the best feedback I've received is from non-photographers.
I also like it when non-photographers tell me if and why they like or don't like my photos. Me knowing that it is completely subjective, I will take out of it what I think I need. This post was as far as I understand, started, to deal with unprofessional critique.
QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Photo Critique responses
Thread starters in the Photo Critique section of the forum are posting to garner constructive criticism to improve on their photographic and PP techniques.
In this regard, comments such as "Great shot!" or "Very nice" are alone not appropriate for posting as a response.
Please consider the purpose of the subforum and limit your responses to critique that helps the OP better his/her skills.
_______________
If there are no rules dealing with that, you might just as well stop this part of the forum and just keep the "post your photo's" section.
QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
In my mind there are too many rules in the world




Democracy without rules that are enforced are a fallacy. I know because I stay in Africa, Where "democracy" has a different meaning than in the western world. It means a lot of rules on paper, that are either not enforced as it should be, or that are actually broken by those who made the rules without fear of any real consequence.
I do have kids. In my experience, if you have no rules, or have rules that they realize you don't enforce, they will start to ignore and sooner rather than later, you will have an unruly household, in the end producing undisciplined and uncontrollable kids that try to run the world.
QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
Originally posted by altopiet*
My suggestion is that only people with the necessary experience, ie. professional photographers, or people with the necessary provable experience, should be allowed to critique, if that is possible?.
The purpose of a forum such as this is for people with common interests to share information and experiences. Limiting who would be allowed to provide information to professionals would totally defeat the purpose of the forum.
In addition, the fact that someone is a professional does not necessarily mean that he or she knows more, or even as much, about any given subject than someone who isn't. Amateur photographers have far more to contribute than you are giving them credit for.
__________________
I highlighted some of my original post, as I did not say that critique should be limited to pro's only.
01-23-2011, 11:42 AM   #15
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Christo, yes it's a free forum, but there are guidelines and bounds that members are to abide by, and the forum has moderators to ensure that they are adhered to within reason. Now the guidelines on the photo critique forum are quite clear and probably worth restating here for reference:

This section is nothing more than a sub-category of the 'Post Your Photos' forum, and is intended only for use by those who wish to receive serious critique on their photographs.

Comments in this section should be along the lines of, "Changing x and y would make this photo much better, and z doesn't help much either" rather than "what a beautiful flower, thanks for sharing"

While harsh commenting is allowed in this section, we ask that all users act in the usual respectful manner when commenting on others' photos. Barely any photos are perfect, so please use this section to discover the weaknesses of your photographs and to improve them in the future.
(from https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photo-critique/14010-about-photo-critique-section.html)

Critiquing not only helps the person who's picture is being critiqued, it helps you produce better pictures. Please don't just say that you like a picture, it may make the photographer feel good but it doesn't help them take a better picture.

CRITIQUING GUIDELINES

Form and Narrative: This is how the image speaks to you. Is it just about shapes and lines or is it telling a story. What is the subject of the photograph? Where does your eye start and stop when viewing the photo? If there are multiple subjects, does that make the photograph more interesting or do they create a distraction? Did the photographer follow compositional conventions like using the rule of thirds? If not, were the rules broken successfully? Do the elements like contrast, leading lines and diagonals take the eye around the whole image, or is there wasted space?

The Background: Is selective focus or depth of field used in the photograph to blur the background, is it effective? Does the background work well with the subject of the photograph?

Technique: Are the elements that need to be in focus, in focus, is the focus sharp? Do the areas that are in an out of focus work together, should more, or less be in focus?

Attention to Detail: Are there dust spots? Is the horizon tilted? Are their elements around the edges of the framer that are cut off or distracting?

Response to the Image: How does it make you feel? Do you understand what the photographer is saying to you?
(from https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photo-critique/86356-example-guidelines-critiquing.html)
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