PDA

View Full Version : Critiquing Images



ricktas
10-09-2007, 4:54pm
Following on from Magnus' thread www.ausphotography.net.au/forum/showthread.php?t=6262
about the amount of image critiquing that takes place. I have attended a 1/2 day seminar about judging and critiquing photographs about 6 months ago. Below is a quideline sheet we were given at the end of the session that has certainly helped me.

I hope members here find it useful. Some parts are related to judging "hard copy" photographs in a club competition setting, but the information is transferable to the web easily enough.

*****************************************************************************

My favourite method is to score on a percentile basis.
1-60 somewhat below professional or advanced amateur standards- needs a whole lot of re-thinking- would probably not hang in a professional level print show- one or two pointers would not fix things up.

61-74 getting there but no cigar.

75-8O Professional level work.

81-85 Pretty Good Stuff.

86-90 Kick butt work

91-100 Masterful exemplary photography.


Criteria (what to look for)- here’s the list:
Visual impact.
Composition
Lighting
Posing (when applicable)
Treatment
Printing quality- contrast, density, colour balance etc.
Finishing- spotting and retouching (where applicable)
Surface finishing and cleanliness.
Presentation- mounting.

First look at the composition or content in the photograph. What is the center of interest in the picture? Where did the photographer place it in the frame? Did the photographer get close enough to the subject to include only what is important, or are there wasted parts of the picture with elements that do not add to the message of the photo?

Next, observe the background in the photograph. How did the photographer represent the background in regards to focus and depth of field? How does the background add or distract from the message of the photo?

Now take a look at the technical camera work involved in the photograph. Is the subjects sharp and clearly in focus? Is the photo exposed properly? A properly exposed photo will have some texture in the shadows. Are details missing because of over or under exposure?

Then look at the craftsmanship the photographer exhibits. Does the physical photo have spots, stains, or scratches? Is it placed nicely in a frame or elaborately displayed? Is there evidence that the photograph was made with care in the process?

Finally, offer your own personal feelings on the photograph. What do you like about the selected subject? Is it an emotional shot, a story, a statement, a humorous photo? What would you do differently if you had the chance to take the same photograph?

**************************************************************************

mpot
10-09-2007, 6:09pm
Good info - can this thread be stickied?

Cheers,
Martin.

Fez
10-09-2007, 6:33pm
That's all great advice Rick but I would be interested to know if they gave any advice to the benchmark. Without this the judging could remain subjective and open to personal interpretation.

Just being the Devil's advocate:)

Craig Miller
10-09-2007, 6:46pm
Also see: http://www.ausphotography.net.au/forum/showthread.php?t=3477

ricktas
10-09-2007, 7:01pm
we got a lot of information in the 1/2 day course. finally we watched a panel of real judges work their way through about 20 images, and they verbalised what is normally done silently. We got to ask questions about the images and the judges comments. That reinforced what we learnt in the other parts of the session.

Unfortunately its difficult to put what we say and heard into text on a web page that makes it really worthwhile.

If anyone gets a chance to get along to a similar session i would highly recommend it. Some of the people i went along with are now judges at local clubs, and a couple are progressing to judging State level competitions.

For me it was about learning a bit more about how the judging and critiquing is done.

Seesee
10-09-2007, 7:04pm
Also see: http://www.ausphotography.net.au/forum/showthread.php?t=3477

Yep, this discussion is nothing new, bugga it's come up again it seems, Ill but out now.
It's sad, we seem to having the same thought or probs again, let's hope nobody spits the dummy this time and runs away.....let's keep it friendly eh :)

ricktas
10-09-2007, 7:19pm
T'is the nature of the Web, new people come along to a site and ask the same questions or want to know the same 'stuff' that has been asked before. Nothing wrong in that, and im guilty of not searching the forums before asking a question, as im sure many others are.

Therefore the same thread questions will repeat, but nothing like revisiting something to learn anew.

It is all good!

Craig Miller
10-09-2007, 7:44pm
I think it's good the questions get asked and answered again. At least this way the newer members know how everyone feels.

Fez
10-09-2007, 9:38pm
Please rest assured that I was interested in the learning - I hadn't even thought about the past and consequences. So LET'S NOT GO THERE:aaa:

thing
10-09-2007, 10:04pm
I think this should have been posted in the original thread rather than a new one?

Although Craigus has commented here with a link so I will leave it as is until futher notice.

I really think there has been "sticked" stuff posted here before in relation to both threads. I guess its not sticked in the right places or people just are not looking hard enough.

It's a bit like my canvas prints sticky!!:D

sans2012
10-09-2007, 10:46pm
This could be good for POTW - as far as general threads, I'm not hear to judge:)

Just give advise if I can;)

Machew
10-09-2007, 10:53pm
I remember back in my university days my lecturers were quite harsh when they critiqued our works. One lecturer could even manage to bring adults to tears. It was a harsh reality but as we were being trained to be 'professionals' they wanted to see professional work from us (impossible when you're a first year student) but it at least showed us what we needed to aim for with our work.
Although I really like Ricktas' idea and critiquing style, not everyone on here is looking to be a professional (I'm assuming) but I'm sure we're all looking to improve (even the oldies ;) ).
If you want to critique photos with the guidelines Ricktas has provided then great! Not sure of the benchmark? My advice is to look through magazines and photo books for examples of the benchmark. As, generally if it's made it into print then it's got the goods.
If you don't feel up to critiquing like that or feel you're not that cold (joking) then you could try a much softer but effective critiquing style; the ol' ONE, TWO! That is, one negative feedback and two positive feedbacks (it's always a good idea to make the first and last comments the positive feedbacks). Example:

1. I really like the composition of the bla bla bla. Its position in the photo really strengthens the bla bla bla...
2. The photo is a little under exposed, a wider aperture would have helped.
3. The colours work really well in conveying the energy of the moment bla bla bla...

Try to cover artistic, technical and aesthetic areas during the critique.

This system doesn't always work as there are sometimes more bad than good but it might encourage more people to add comments and not all of the negative remarks would be coming from one person.

Just another idea.

Cheers
Matt.

jeffde
18-03-2008, 8:38pm
I'm with you Macheew

I've been in Toastmaster's (Public speaking group) for several years and one of the features of this group is Evaluation.
There is a golden rule in Evaluation (critiquing) and that is
Commend, Recommend, Commend.
That way people will know what you liked and where they can improve.
I'm only new but i've seen posts such as #1 is my pick #2 needs this this this.
Say what's good about the image you like because that is just as important (from my point of view) as where an image can be improved.
Question: nobody says or seems to critique POTW pictures. I would like to know sometimes why this one or the other one (sometimes it's just obvious there great shot's!!)
was better than the others.
Love the site, Love the honesty, love the diversity love the quality of pic's, and thanks for listening !!
:D

Seesee
20-03-2008, 12:44pm
I'm with you Macheew

I've been in Toastmaster's (Public speaking group) for several years and one of the features of this group is Evaluation.
There is a golden rule in Evaluation (critiquing) and that is
Commend, Recommend, Commend.
That way people will know what you liked and where they can improve.
I'm only new but i've seen posts such as #1 is my pick #2 needs this this this.
Say what's good about the image you like because that is just as important (from my point of view) as where an image can be improved.
Question: nobody says or seems to critique POTW pictures. I would like to know sometimes why this one or the other one (sometimes it's just obvious there great shot's!!)
was better than the others.
Love the site, Love the honesty, love the diversity love the quality of pic's, and thanks for listening !!
:D


My sentiments to a tee :D

ricktas
20-03-2008, 12:55pm
So you would like some critiquing on say the top five entries?

I am sure we can arrange something for after the poll is closed and winners announced. Or are you thinking that the critiques should go alongside the Poll?

ving
20-03-2008, 1:50pm
critiquing our weekly and monthyl comps might not be as easy as one might think. certainly having a one size fits all crit would be good if the winner was picked by one person... alas it is done by vote and not everyone would be comfortable or indeed be able even given training to crit a pic.

of course i have my own thoughts on the comps and the primary thought is that entries should be anon much like the monthly comps on ice in space (www.iceinspace.com.au/forum)... but thats beside the point.

I think that if someone puts an image up in the crit section it sould be critiqued as discussed here... or to the best of a persons ability including the fore mentioned "commend recommend commend" format. it easy to pick something to pieces but we like to hear the good points too.

Seesee
20-03-2008, 5:07pm
So you would like some critiquing on say the top five entries?

I am sure we can arrange something for after the poll is closed and winners announced. Or are you thinking that the critiques should go alongside the Poll?

Hmmmm, not sure really....maybe not at all, or if one wishes to then critique in the congratulations thread that's always present after a winner is announced. Which entries get the critique. just the winner or all five finalists...maybe it tends to become a critique only to justify to others why you chose that picture, most of us seem to vote different pix for various reasons, not just on technical aspects.

ricktas
20-03-2008, 6:41pm
making them anon is an interesting idea. would mean submissions would have to be sent to me or the mods, then the whole thread created and each image numbered for initial top 5 etc, so a lot more work involved for an administation of the comps side.

Not sure it would change the outcome as people chat away from AP and they would vote for friends etc if they vote that way now..just by asking 'what number are you'. I don't believe there is a true way to make it completely anonymous at all.

maybe the winners thread would be good for ppl to say why they voted for it (if they did)?