How to Critique

I think one of the best ways to improve your photography is learning how to critique a photo. I have taken enough workshops to know that the key to training your eye is examining and critiquing other photos.

I have learned just as much from critiquing in my workshops as I have from the instruction provided. By stopping and really looking at an image you are able to figure out what you like and don’t like about the photo. When you figure out what you like about photos you can internalize it to try and achieve the same thing in your own photos.

You are not only learning but you are helping others learn. I love “So You Think You Can Dance”. Have you noticed how after they dance they stand in front of the judges for critiques? I know the dancers love all the warm fuzzy’s the judges give but you know the grow they most when the judges give them specific things to work on and improve. The same goes with photography. I love when people have nice things to say about my images. It makes my day! However, I grow the most when someone takes the time to give me a tip on how to improve my photo.

A great critique should list at least one thing the viewer would change. You want to make sure you say specific kind things you like but take the time and figure out what you would have done differently. Be constructive on how you go about saying that.

Bad: Great photo! Cute kid!!
Good: I like the composition. Good lighting.
Great: I like the way you placed the subject in the right third so it draws the viewer’s eye in. The way you used the light to backlight this image and make it soft and hazy is wonderful! I may have placed the subject a little more towards the light so you would have been able to capture catchlights.

Bad: I don’t like this. It’s too dark.
Good: Your photo is a little underexposed.
Great: Your photo is a little underexposed. I would have changed my aperture from f/5 to f/3 which would have let in a little more light.

Do you see the difference? If you give suggestions you will help the photographer figure out how to improve their photo next go around. You have also spent the time to figure out what you need to do which forces you to really think about photography.

Things to think about during your critique:

  • Exposure
  • Composition
  • White Balance
  • Black and white conversion
  • How the image make you feel?
  • Does it have a clear subject?
  • Are there anything distracting in the image?

If you are ready to hear the good and not so good about your photos please read Submit Your Photo for Critique.

****The list for submitting images for critiques is currently closed. It opens up about every 3 months and fills up quickly. Keep an eye on the blog and Facebook page if you are interested in submitting an image to find out when it will open again.****