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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Critiques: Lessons Learned
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09/18/2002 12:52:11 PM · #1
I have been thinking about critiques a lot lately. I am looking for new inspiriation to do more critiques and share my opinions on photos. I have spent some time looking at comments on photos here in the last few days. I have learned a few things that may be beneficial to my critiques:

Assume that what you see is what the photographer intended you to see. If something is out of focus, framed in a strange way, off center, centered, too dark, too bright, too sharp, too soft, or whatever it may be, assume that it's intentional. The photographer is the artist. His canvas is what you see before you. Do not assume that what you see is a mistake. If it looks like a mistake, ask yourself why it is the way it is. It doesn't mean you have to like it. Just try to understand it.

When you do see something that looks strange or out of place, is it a major element of the image or a minor one? I see lots of elements in photos that I don't particularly like, but I am finding myself not deducting points if the element is minor and does not play an important role in the image. Do you find yourself dwelling on minor issues? Maybe a minor issue to me is a major issue to someone else.. Does the minor issue change the way you feel about the overall impact or message of the image?

Does the photo have any emotional value to you? Emotional value can be good or bad. If a photo makes you feel bad, do you score it lower? If it makes you feel good, do you score it higher? All artwork is not designed to create positive emotional responses. (recently submitted a photo that did both ;)

For each photograph you vote on here, give it the same amount of viewing time that you would expect to receive on your own photo :)
09/18/2002 12:57:50 PM · #2
Good points made here.

If i see something in the photo (eg blurring) i do think to myself "is it intentional" but even if it is, I state in my comment that I think it could look better sharp. I never say it WILL (at least I try not to) because to others it may look perfect how it is.

Just my 0.5 cents.
09/18/2002 01:29:54 PM · #3
Now all we have to do is get people to stop posting crap that they don't even like themselves because its "out of focus, framed in a strange way, off center, centered, too dark, too bright, too sharp, too soft, or whatever it may be". It just feels to me that people are posting pictures just because they are bored instead of actually trying to take the best photo they can and learn from critiques. Hey I'll admit it, my very first picture I posted was posted because I didn't want to feel left out. I think before you post a picture you should look at it and just decide if you like it, or if you think your photo has some sort of quality that others might appreciate. But hey, that's just me.


Originally posted by jmsetzler:
I have been thinking about critiques a lot lately. I am looking for new inspiriation to do more critiques and share my opinions on photos. I have spent some time looking at comments on photos here in the last few days. I have learned a few things that may be beneficial to my critiques:

Assume that what you see is what the photographer intended you to see. If something is out of focus, framed in a strange way, off center, centered, too dark, too bright, too sharp, too soft, or whatever it may be, assume that it's intentional. The photographer is the artist. His canvas is what you see before you. Do not assume that what you see is a mistake. If it looks like a mistake, ask yourself why it is the way it is. It doesn't mean you have to like it. Just try to understand it.

When you do see something that looks strange or out of place, is it a major element of the image or a minor one? I see lots of elements in photos that I don't particularly like, but I am finding myself not deducting points if the element is minor and does not play an important role in the image. Do you find yourself dwelling on minor issues? Maybe a minor issue to me is a major issue to someone else.. Does the minor issue change the way you feel about the overall impact or message of the image?

Does the photo have any emotional value to you? Emotional value can be good or bad. If a photo makes you feel bad, do you score it lower? If it makes you feel good, do you score it higher? All artwork is not designed to create positive emotional responses. (recently submitted a photo that did both ;)

For each photograph you vote on here, give it the same amount of viewing time that you would expect to receive on your own photo :)



09/18/2002 01:45:42 PM · #4
Originally posted by jmsetzler:
...
For each photograph you vote on here, give it the same amount of viewing time that you would expect to receive on your own photo :)


John, I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said, but especially this. I always try to view the submissions from the standpoint of viewing them as if they were in a gallery, and fully intended to look the way they do; then I decide how the photo appeals to me.

I see too many comments on too many submissions from voters that seem to spend all of their time trying desperately to find something wrong with the photos.

Linda
09/18/2002 01:59:01 PM · #5
Originally posted by lhall:
I see too many comments on too many submissions from voters that seem to spend all of their time trying desperately to find something wrong with the photos.

Linda



I tend to include in my comments things which I think could be improved not because I am trying desperately to find something wrong with the photo but because many photographers have said they'd rather receive a comment which tells them how the voter thinks they could have improved the shot in the voters eyes, than a comment which says, "Nice", "Like this" or "Dont really like this".

Of course there will be many times when other voters and the photographer will completely disagree with my ideas and suggestions but I am only putting my own opinion forward not stating a definitive judgement.

For example I'd rather say - I like the colours and lighting in this but the composition doesn't work for me. I think there is too much space at the left, perhaps it would work better in portrait orientation losing the xyz at the side. 6, Kavey - than This is quite nice, 6.

Sometimes the motivation behind mentioning the faults in a comment isn't to find fault but to try and help make a good shot even better.


* This message has been edited by the author on 9/18/2002 1:59:05 PM.
09/18/2002 02:14:04 PM · #6
Originally posted by chariot:
Now all we have to do is get people to stop posting crap that they don't even like themselves because its "out of focus, framed in a strange way, off center, centered, too dark, too bright, too sharp, too soft, or whatever it may be". It just feels to me that people are posting pictures just because they are bored instead of actually trying to take the best photo they can and learn from critiques. Hey I'll admit it, my very first picture I posted was posted because I didn't want to feel left out. I think before you post a picture you should look at it and just decide if you like it, or if you think your photo has some sort of quality that others might appreciate. But hey, that's just me.

Obviously this is intended for my photograph this week. When talking about critiques just let me add. If you dont understand some thing about the photo or the TITLE. Maybe you should refrain from critiqueing at all. My title this week was intended to include my PERSONAL feelings and struggle with this challenge. I think I succeeded in capturing "Negative Space" really well, but some people just cant get past the title. To each his own.

Originally posted by jmsetzler:
[i]I have been thinking about critiques a lot lately. I am looking for new inspiriation to do more critiques and share my opinions on photos. I have spent some time looking at comments on photos here in the last few days. I have learned a few things that may be beneficial to my critiques:

Assume that what you see is what the photographer intended you to see. If something is out of focus, framed in a strange way, off center, centered, too dark, too bright, too sharp, too soft, or whatever it may be, assume that it's intentional. The photographer is the artist. His canvas is what you see before you. Do not assume that what you see is a mistake. If it looks like a mistake, ask yourself why it is the way it is. It doesn't mean you have to like it. Just try to understand it.

When you do see something that looks strange or out of place, is it a major element of the image or a minor one? I see lots of elements in photos that I don't particularly like, but I am finding myself not deducting points if the element is minor and does not play an important role in the image. Do you find yourself dwelling on minor issues? Maybe a minor issue to me is a major issue to someone else.. Does the minor issue change the way you feel about the overall impact or message of the image?

Does the photo have any emotional value to you? Emotional value can be good or bad. If a photo makes you feel bad, do you score it lower? If it makes you feel good, do you score it higher? All artwork is not designed to create positive emotional responses. (recently submitted a photo that did both ;)

For each photograph you vote on here, give it the same amount of viewing time that you would expect to receive on your own photo :)



[/i]


09/18/2002 02:28:21 PM · #7
I agree with Kavey. We go around and around about this all of the time.

I don't necessarily try to find something wrong, rather, I point out why 'I' didn't like it or what "I" think would be better. For me, one very important aspect about DPC is the learning. I've been trying to pass on what I have learned so far...and if it's wrong or not appropriate, tell me - we can discuss it. I know I don't know everything and don't pretend that I do, but I do know enough to help out someone else who has just started. I do try to imagine what the photo is trying to convey, and I may get it, but perhaps it's still technically incorrect and was not intentional...how do we know? I've been called a "pushover" for voting. I think I'm more sympathetic than others. I take into account (now that I know more of what it takes to create these shots) what effort has been put into it - even if it's off. I had comments on my Kiwi that it was too dark. I intentionally did that in order to emphasis the illuminated material of the Kiwi. I don't get mad or insulted..that's what they saw..and they didn't 'get' my intention. I learned that, when I create a pic, I have a 'vision' of it in my mind and when I look at the result, that is what I see....but, what I 'see' may not be what others see. I didn't even realize that the pic was really that dark, but the comment made me look at it again...oh yeah, I see how someone might say that.

There will always be disagreements / different point of views...but that's what makes us and our work better.

True, there are many comments (ie...nice...) that don't help, but oh well, they did take a moment to write something.

It's a free site, it's world-wide, it's all levels, it's all personalities...etc.


OH, sorry, I went on and on...I just think commenting is important..and people will do what they will..no matter how much we complain. :-)

09/18/2002 02:32:10 PM · #8
Pointing out things you don't like is perfectly OK.

One of the critiques that I often see and don't like is the critique that tells me something should be left out or added to my photo... I should have shot from a different angle... I should have cropped it tighter... I should have been looser with the crop...

In my mind, this is asking for a new photograph.

Some aspects of critique are asking for minor adjustments to a photo to improve it. Other aspects are asking for a new photo... I try to avoid asking for a new photo...


09/18/2002 02:41:25 PM · #9
Originally posted by Kavey:

I see too many comments on too many submissions from voters that seem to spend all of their time trying desperately to find something wrong with the photos. .....

Kavey,
I am most definitely not talking about your comments ! ;-)
I love your comments, and in fact need to contact you by PM about one. You give wonderful constructive criticism, but you also point out the things that are good/pleasing/appealing in a photo.

I am talking about the people that point out every single thing in a photo (GOOD as well as bad) and completely tear the photo apart. We have all seen these kinds of comments. I'm talking "destructive" as opposed to the aforementioned "constructive".

I am most certainly not trying to start an issue, (or light a fire under an old one!). I just wish more people would do as John suggests - view each photo as though it were your own.

I think you already do that.

Linda

* This message has been edited by the author on 9/18/2002 2:40:49 PM.
09/18/2002 02:45:27 PM · #10
I agree 100% to what John said.

* This message has been edited by the author on 9/18/2002 2:44:40 PM.
09/18/2002 02:45:47 PM · #11
Originally posted by jmsetzler:
Pointing out things you don't like is perfectly OK.

One of the critiques that I often see and don't like is the critique that tells me something should be left out or added to my photo... I should have shot from a different angle... I should have cropped it tighter... I should have been looser with the crop...

In my mind, this is asking for a new photograph.

Some aspects of critique are asking for minor adjustments to a photo to improve it. Other aspects are asking for a new photo... I try to avoid asking for a new photo...




If you comment to someone that you don't like a particular aspect of a photo, and tell them that you believe you would prefer the photo without that particular aspect - would that not fall under the "category" of ... "Pointing out things you don't like is perfectly OK."

;) Linda
09/18/2002 02:48:41 PM · #12
Setz, I totally understand where you're coming from. I also think it's because you are more experienced. What about the people that are trying to improve and aren't really on the level of the "meaning" of the photo? and are just trying to get a good pic. Sometimes, there are pics that could use a different angle ....sometimes, that might not have even been thought of. Of course, for the most part, I can (I hope) usually tell when the pic is by a more experienced photographer and therefore try to refrain from making such comments. I usually look at the pic and think...ummm do I think this is from a more experienced photographer or not. and then proceed with comments. AND If I happen to think that a more experienced photographer's pic is that of a less experienced photography...then my apologies.

I just think it's hard when there is such a large range of talent. And what one may view a comment as asking for a new pic, may be viewed by another as being very helpful.

BTW - NOT trying to pick a fight - just dicussing. :-)
09/18/2002 02:54:50 PM · #13
Originally posted by RedRuthann:
Setz, I totally understand where you're coming from. I also think it's because you are more experienced. What about the people that are trying to improve and aren't really on the level of the "meaning" of the photo? and are just trying to get a good pic. Sometimes, there are pics that could use a different angle ....sometimes, that might not have even been thought of. Of course, for the most part, I can (I hope) usually tell when the pic is by a more experienced photographer and therefore try to refrain from making such comments. I usually look at the pic and think...ummm do I think this is from a more experienced photographer or not. and then proceed with comments. AND If I happen to think that a more experienced photographer's pic is that of a less experienced photography...then my apologies.

I just think it's hard when there is such a large range of talent. And what one may view a comment as asking for a new pic, may be viewed by another as being very helpful.

BTW - NOT trying to pick a fight - just dicussing. :-)


I just think it's hard when there is such a large range of talent. And what one may view a comment as asking for a new pic, may be viewed by another as being very helpful.


I really agree with this. When I comment about things in a photo that I think I might have like better if done slightly differently, I feel (and hope) that it would be taken in the spirit of offering an alternative opinion.

I am grateful for a lot of the "alternative opinions" that have been made about my submissions because they enable me to look at things from a different viewpoint - and often, one that I had never thought of.
Linda

* This message has been edited by the author on 9/18/2002 2:54:01 PM.

* This message has been edited by the author on 9/18/2002 3:13:08 PM.
09/18/2002 03:04:59 PM · #14
Linda, Ruth can we consider for a moment that John's remarks may not be directed to any one person to an over all trend?

Please look at the coments on my Candid shot. Note: only Alan and Autool are regular forum posters. That first comment tells me he got what I was after (the only one who did) but then he says shoot from the other side. BUT THEN YOU WOULD NOT SEE WHAT HE SEE. It's a whole different picture!
Park Security

* This message has been edited by the author on 9/18/2002 3:05:00 PM.

* This message has been edited by an administrator (generale) on 9/18/2002 3:10:40 PM - Fixed Link.
09/18/2002 03:06:38 PM · #15
Originally posted by jmsetzler:
One of the critiques that I often see and don't like is the critique that tells me something should be left out or added to my photo... I should have shot from a different angle... I should have cropped it tighter... I should have been looser with the crop...

In my mind, this is asking for a new photograph.


I disagree with this entirely. If the cropping is bad and is clearly caused by inexperience or lack of talent (i.e., it is unlikely to be some form of artistic statement), then it should be pointed out as a way to improve the skill of the photographer in exactly the same way as a lack of focus or inadequate DOF should be noted.

In my opinion.
09/18/2002 03:17:08 PM · #16
Aelith...I didn't take setz's comment as being directed towards one person. I have looked at your pic...I'm being completely honest...I didn't even notice the 'pretty girl' you are referring to, I guess she is too far off in the distance. When I first viewed this, I thought the irony was that he was on the phone and not paying too much attention, so a slightly different angle wouldn't make it a completely different photo. But, now that you mention that your intention was to include the girl (I just see some people) and that is what it is about, the changing the angle would make a difference. Just remember, Sometimes we have a vision of our work and that vision may not be seen by others.

Just another way of looking at things.
09/18/2002 03:29:27 PM · #17
Originally posted by jakking:
I disagree with this entirely. If the cropping is bad and is clearly caused by inexperience or lack of talent (i.e., it is unlikely to be some form of artistic statement), then it should be pointed out as a way to improve the skill of the photographer in exactly the same way as a lack of focus or inadequate DOF should be noted.

In my opinion.


I think you have something here Jakking. Most of my comments with -space challenge are about where the subject should be. Most of you are in agreement as to which side even. I am not an experienced photographer. I do not always see the best way something should be displayed. I need the comments I'm getting to make me better. Maybe Setz is right and it does make a new picture, but not in every case. I know for me, I lost the subject to some degree in too much -space. I cropped it and noticed it was much better. Is it a different picture? No because I didn't lose anything significant from it but some of the darkness. I was going both ways on if I should crop it or no. If the title were anything but -space, I would have for sure. I wish I could take peoples advice and resubmit halfway thru voting. Maybe I'd get up to 4.8!!


09/18/2002 03:36:56 PM · #18
I wish I could take peoples advice and resubmit halfway thru voting. Maybe I'd get up to 4.8!!


[/i]

I concur, then we would truly have a learning site *grin*
09/18/2002 04:00:39 PM · #19
You can always re-do it and then post it in a thread after the challenge. Many people do that. I have too, and it does help. I had a very hard time with City Life..the resampling and sizing was just awful. I redid it and posted it and it did come out better (a little anyway). Also, you can email it to people. It is just sooo great that many people are willing to help out!!

This is truly an amazing, inspiring, friendly and learning site!!!
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