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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> What does one look in photos when voting?
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07/02/2003 12:32:14 AM · #1
What do I look for in photos when I’m voting?

1. Does it fit the challenge?
- Will it fit the challenge before I look at the title, or do I have to look at the title to know it fits. I think it is negative to have to look to the title to see how something fits in a challenge.

2. Border… whether it was used or not?
- Does the border improve the photo, is there a reason it is there?
- Does the border take your eye away from the subject, or does it draw you to it? Does it take away from the picture?
- If the border has a color, why did the photographer decide to make it that color, does it work with the photo, or does it draw your attention away?
- Is it small and not the most important part of what your seeing?

3. The photo’s interest
- Is it interesting? Or just shot to put specifically in the challenge?
- Is it something I’ve seen a million times? If it is, then it has to be very well done, because I automatically have higher expectations for that photo. Is there something special added to that “cliché” photo?
- Does the photo make me want to spend more time looking at it. Does it make me curious, sad, happy, does it make me smile?
- Do I want to spend my time on this photo, looking at it in detail? Some of the best photos are ones that catch my eye with the main subject, and then that makes me want to look at the details… I often don’t spend much time on crowded photos without a specific subject
- Does it stand out from the others… if we’re looking at self portraits, and all of them are situated in a studio setting with perfect lighting etc. Is there something more interesting, or different, something with more pizzaz and is special.

4. How it is done
- I’m very into looking at the difficulty of the photo. Is it done with a certain technique and not just a straight on photo.
- Did the photographer get a different view of the subject to make it more interesting, and not just straight on
- Is the lighting used add to the photo? Does it make the photo mysterious, happy or whatever, and do what it’s supposed to do.
- Does it look like something everyone has in their travel photograph albums? A straight on shot that practically anyone could take, perfect daylight just taken quickly? Or did the photographer add interest of their own Ex. Taking a beautiful landscape, but waiting until early morning mist to shoot it.

5. Does it give me some type of an emotion?
- Do I feel happy when something looks extremely happy?
- Do I feel sad when I see something that is sad
- Is there emotion in the photo?
- Is it just a snapshot of some event that might be of interest for the photographer personally but not for everyone else.

6. Does the photo make me think?
- Do I wonder who the person is, and what they are doing in the situation?
- Do I care about the subject and what is happening
- Does the photo give you everything… and make it obvious what’s happening, or does it let you use your imagination for some things.
- Can I infer a story from the photo, so that it makes you want to go back and read the story behind it.
- Do I wonder things about it, or is it just simple, and there’s nothing to think about.

7. Production of the photo
- Is the photo straight on, without anything of interest?
- Are there interesting aspects to the photo? Some incredible lighting that really gives more emotion to the photo
- Was it done well, if a tripod was needed was one used? Is this how I would have done this particular photo?
- Should this photo have been taken from higher or lower of the subject, maybe from the side? Etc.

8. Artsiness
- is this a photo that could maybe be just a snapshot, or something that would be in a family photo album?
- Is there something to it that makes it different from every other flower photo?
- Is the photo set up, if it is why was it set up this way?
- What technique was used in the photo… some that can be used for a more interesting photo are
i. Blur
ii. Panning
iii. Lighting
iv. Zooming
v. Focus
Was the technique helpful in making a better photo, a more interesting one?

9. The basics
- Rule of thirds, is the photo straight on dead center, or does it follow the rule of thirds?
- If it is dead center, does it help the photo?
- Are there some things in the photo that catch my eye?
- Focus, is it sharp and clear, if not, is there a reason it isn’t?
- Does it appeal to me… do I want to look at it, or is it so boring I just vote and move on?
- Use of black and white or color, do I think it was good doing it this way?

Most important things in my voting are
1. Does this photo intrigue me (this often gets you higher points even if it isn’t a great photo)
2. Does it appeal to me, Do I like the photo?
3. Is it interesting, or one I’ve seen over and over again, almost exactly like it?
4. Is it a photo anyone could take, or was it done artfully
5. Border on a photo can cause me to take away points, though it rarely causes me to add. I feel that most pictures should be without borders, though tastefully done they can be ok. I often get distracted by borders and will definitely lower the photo’s rating quite a bit because of it.


These are just some things I think about when I’m voting. My scale goes something like this…
10 – Awesome photo, it appeals to me, catches my eye, I want to spend more time looking at it, or it causes me to have an emotion. It is very well done, and probably taken the way I would hope it would be taken in that situation pretty much flawless
9 – Really great photo, with maybe a few flaws, but still totally catches my eye or causes me an emotion
8- Really great photo, with some bigger flaws, still catches my eye or causes me an emotion.
7 – Awesome photo, it appeals to me, but it has flaws that could have totally be avoidable either during shooting the photo or in post processing (cropping a different way etc.)
6 – Nice photo, clean, clear, perfect lighting etc. no flaws, but just not interesting, and doesn’t really appeal to me.
5 – Nice photo, pretty clean, clear, maybe a few flaws, nothing really interesting, but it’s a well done photo technically
4 – a photo with a lot of flaws, or one that in my opinion really doesn’t fit the challenge even though it’s very good.
3 – A photo that is unappealing, has way too much going on, is needlessly blurry, or out of focus, and is just not well done
2 – A photo that has no appeal whatsoever, has a lot of flaws, and in my opinion probably shouldn’t have been entered, as it is not high quality enough for us to even judge it, and it is a waste of our time. It looks to me like a snapshot, that might be important to you, but doesn’t matter to us.
1 – A photo that is really badly done, boring, and a waste of time. It should not have been entered…

I rarely give 1’s only in a blue moon, I give a few 2’s in each challenge. I usually give 2-10 10’s every challenge to those I think are most deserving. My average vote given is around 5.4 which is pretty high compared to others….

I just wanted to post this cause I’m interested in knowing what others base their votes on? I think it would be nice to let the photographers on here know what people are looking for… so what do you guys think! Thanks!


07/02/2003 12:39:46 AM · #2
Damn gal thats probably the longest post I havent read yet. Its 1230 and im soo tired. Cant stay awake. Must get to bed. Try to read tommorow. lol
07/02/2003 12:45:08 AM · #3
Yes I wonder how many people follow number one, it is hard cause you see great pictures, but they really don't convey the challenge, yet they are good photos and you want to give them a good rating for that.
07/02/2003 02:06:52 AM · #4
Diversq yup definitely a long post... LOL... but I think it's an important one... I wonder how many people follow number one also... anyway... hope more people answer!
07/02/2003 03:59:38 AM · #5
This is one of the most informative posts I've ever read here, I'm printing it out for reference. I also like to see creativity in photos and I will add to the score if I feel the person has dared to try something different, even if the technique is not so perfect.
07/02/2003 06:10:26 AM · #6
for me it's simple. I dont care too much on the technical aspect.
If I click with the photo and like it, it's 7-10.
If I dont click with it, or it sucks, then 1-3.
those that fall in between, giving me neutral feeling, 4-6.
07/02/2003 06:35:21 AM · #7
(1) composition
(2) light
(3) focus (use of it- not necessarily IN focus)
(4) the subject- basically if I find it appealing
(5) does it fit the challenge?
(6) obvious flaws? an intruding object, a careless background, something that doesn't belong--

BUT of course, its basically how I feel, these things probably just shift my initially score, which is completely subjective
07/02/2003 06:46:06 AM · #8
Originally posted by shadow:

for me it's simple. I dont care too much on the technical aspect.
If I click with the photo and like it, it's 7-10.
If I dont click with it, or it sucks, then 1-3.
those that fall in between, giving me neutral feeling, 4-6.


Yeah, that's my way of voting too. I'll try to care the technics, but I'm a novice, so....
07/02/2003 07:25:46 AM · #9
Originally posted by KissakiMan:

Yeah, that's my way of voting too. I'll try to care the technics, but I'm a novice, so....


So how would you rate a photo that you do not like, but technically perfect? I would still give it very low scores.
07/02/2003 07:49:12 AM · #10
I will give it a 2 - 3.
07/02/2003 01:28:54 PM · #11
Originally posted by briphoto:

This is one of the most informative posts I've ever read here, I'm printing it out for reference. I also like to see creativity in photos and I will add to the score if I feel the person has dared to try something different, even if the technique is not so perfect.


glad it's helpful briphoto :-) I hope others will spend the time and put what they are truly looking for when they look at photos.. it would be nice to see how others think and what they are looking for. I know my post is long guys... but I think it will be helpful in many ways! I hope you all can share your thoughts as well, this idea to write this down just hit me! Thanks!
07/02/2003 01:47:58 PM · #12
Originally posted by shadow:

Originally posted by KissakiMan:

Yeah, that's my way of voting too. I'll try to care the technics, but I'm a novice, so....

So how would you rate a photo that you do not like, but technically perfect? I would still give it very low scores.


If it fits the challenge decently, doesn't knock my socks off, doesn't have any particular piece of interest to me, but isn't obviously 'flawed' - I give it a 5. If the same things apply, but I *don't* feel it fits the topic, 3 or below. If it's gorgeous but doesn't seem to me to fit the topic at all, the highest I will grade it is 5, more often 4. If it fits the topic and kind of interests me, but doesn't knock my socks off, 6-7. If it fits the topic, has some technical brilliance to it that makes me wish I'd shot it, AND the subject evokes an emotion in me or makes me smile or feel an immediate connection to the shot, 9-10. 8 is sort of intermediate for me.
07/02/2003 03:14:17 PM · #13
Just wanted to mention just as an example the numbers of each level of vote I gave out for the B challenge. These are pretty typical of the distribution I give out for each challenge.

10's - 3 - 1.99%
9's - 4 - 2.65%
8's - 16 - 10.60%
7's - 21- 13.91%
6's - 28 - 18.54%
5's - 28 - 18.54%
4's - 25 - 16.56%
3's - 19 - 12.58%
2's - 6 - 3.97%
1's - 1 - 0.66%
total - 151

I didn't switch any scores while doing this, everything is exactly how I voted on it.
07/02/2003 03:15:56 PM · #14
RiderGal, your post is really good. I likely use similar ideas though I think technical excellence is a high priority for me and counts for 1/2 of the points.
I'm starting to drop points for photos that are simply repeats of ones entered previously.
07/02/2003 04:16:57 PM · #15
Of course the first thing I look for in a photo is whether or not it includes the element of a hot babe in a misty shower, but that only happens on rare occasions :)

Seriously, even though it is a bit long, that should be a good piece of reading material for people who are new to the site, particularly.
07/02/2003 04:28:42 PM · #16
I used to have a list of things I voted on, to see if they met certain criteria, NOW (as long as it meets the challenge) I vote on how I feel as I look at the shot! and WOW factor...
07/02/2003 04:31:39 PM · #17
My average score given is likely to fall after the Speed challenge - there are so many that miss the brief. I'm being really harsh with my votes from now on for good reason: anyone can take a technically sound picture of something aesthetic, but to meet the brief and STILL do this can take some doing. Any that DO fit the brief score more generously (say 3-5 points for this only).

From now on I'm awarding 1-2 if the brief is ignored - no matter how clean, skilled or beautiful the shot. It's harsh but it's fair if the standard and accuracy of the challenges is to remain high and those who make the effort are to be 'rewarded' with higher averages.

It's still fun though, honest! - and I do comment on most - good or bad...
07/02/2003 04:40:34 PM · #18
Wow, Talya! That's quite a list! It's amazing how fast we run through that list (or our own similar list) when looking at photos. I have a shorter version:

1. What is the photographer trying to do? (including approaching/interpreting the challenge, plus the overall objectives of the photograph and the rules it writes for itself)
2. How well did he/she do it?
3. Was it worth doing?

07/02/2003 04:42:44 PM · #19
Originally posted by alansfreed:

Of course the first thing I look for in a photo is whether or not it includes the element of a hot babe in a misty shower, but that only happens on rare occasions :)

Seriously, even though it is a bit long, that should be a good piece of reading material for people who are new to the site, particularly.


I hope you scored this highly then...
07/02/2003 04:44:20 PM · #20
Originally posted by Gordon:

I hope you scored this highly then...


One of my all-time favorite erotic images! :P
07/02/2003 05:31:35 PM · #21
Originally posted by alansfreed:

Originally posted by Gordon:

I hope you scored this highly then...


One of my all-time favorite erotic images! :P


Hey boys... can we stay on subject please? <GRIN>
07/02/2003 06:03:31 PM · #22
I'd like to see voters take about one tenth the time it takes to read your list evaluating each photo before they cast their vote. I don't believe most voters really take into considration the time and effort that a lot of photographrs invest in their entry.

Just forty minutes into the Speed challenge my entry had 4 votes, and that means that each of them had voted on at least 20% of the entries. Is that right? If it is, then those people just clicked away without much thought going into their decision.

I have just about given up on commenting in an effort to spend more time with each entry, and I am thinking about adjusting that. With so many pictures and so few comments I think I may start commenting on all that I vote on and only do the required 20%. At least this way those will get more of my attention. I think it would be a good idea if the first ten pictures to come up for voting were to stay up for about a minute each so everyone would have to spend at least 10 minutes voting. After that they could just go Click, Click, Click!
07/02/2003 09:31:11 PM · #23
Originally posted by RiderGal:

Hey boys... can we stay on subject please? <GRIN>


What subject? I'm extremely easily distracted...
07/02/2003 09:36:14 PM · #24
that's not how it works any more. you see them appear in real time now.

Originally posted by autool:

Just forty minutes into the Speed challenge my entry had 4 votes, and that means that each of them had voted on at least 20% of the entries. Is that right? If it is, then those people just clicked away without much thought going into their decision.

07/02/2003 09:56:49 PM · #25
Originally posted by Jon Lucas:

I'm being really harsh with my votes from now on for good reason: anyone can take a technically sound picture of something aesthetic, but to meet the brief and STILL do this can take some doing. ... From now on I'm awarding 1-2 if the brief is ignored - no matter how clean, skilled or beautiful the shot. It's harsh but it's fair if the standard and accuracy of the challenges is to remain high and those who make the effort are to be 'rewarded' with higher averages.


Preach it, brother! The first thing I evaluate about a picture is whether or not it "meets the challenge topic". While voting on the Country Life challenge (and I voted on every single one, with my goal to comment on at least 10% of the entries), I asked myself "could this image fit equally well in a challenge called 'A Walk In The Park'" or something along those lines. If the answer was yes, then to me it typically didn't "depict life in the country", which is what the challenge theme explicitly stated... and I scored it appropriately.

Hopefully others will start to do the same, since it is frustrating to see entries that don't / barely meet the challenge theme score higher than those entries that try hard to do so.
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