Photo Critique

Tonight is my local Photo Club’s first critique Meetup. I have some great info as to how to critique someone else’s work for you to browse over and thought it might be of a benefit to everyone even if you are not planning on attending tonight. It is my opinion that the last two are the most important when it comes to critiquing in a corporate setting.

How to critique another photographer?

Use a system so that you’ll critique photographs the same way each time you do. The system I use includes the following specific steps:

Take It In: View the photo as a whole. Take in each detail of the photograph. If something good or bad stands out take note of it, but keep quiet at this point.

Interpret: This is your first response to the picture. It’s a chance to talk about how the photograph makes you feel, what it says to you. Remember, photography is art, not something with a “right or wrong” answer, if you see things the artist didn’t intend, or feel things about the work that are unexpected it’s OK! (and can be extremely helpful for the photographer)

Technical Here you’ll address the technical side. How is the focus?  How is the contrast? Would the picture have worked better with a different aperture?

Artistic The artistic side can be more important than the technical sometimes. How’s the cropping? Is the photo well composed? If it is in color would it have been better in black and white (or vice-versa)?

Good Points It is so important to find good in the photograph. This is easy when you like the picture, and can be difficult when you don’t. The truth is that every photo has some redeemable quality, even if it is hard to see it, you need to find it! “I like the bridge” isn’t helpful. “I like the way the lines of the bridge draws my eye and pulls me more into the frame” is much better. Put some real thought into this part, especially if you have a lot of things to say in “areas for improvement”.

Areas for Improvement It’s important to remember that for the most part it is difficult to “go back and do it again’”. This means that it is not very very helpful and frustrating to give criticism that can’t be acted upon (“I sure wish the building was on the right side instead of the left”) Try to provide things the photographer can do something about such as; cropping differently, or black and white would be better than color.

Having your work critiqued is an important step to becoming the photographer that you want to be, if all you want is praise then have your mother look at your pictures.

One Response to “Photo Critique”

  1. Glenn Jones says:

    Great critique guidelines, Mark. Thanks for sharing them. I’ve had many photos critiqued at “Print Night” at Viewpoint Gallery and have found it to be a very useful exercise which has helped me to improve my photography. It’s not always comfortable, and sometimes the discussion becomes, um, spirited, but it’s a critical tool for us to grow as photographers.

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