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Thread: (NTP) : How to Critique : 2011

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    (NTP) : How to Critique : 2011

    Now comes an interesting challenge for those New To Photography, an updated version of our "How to Critique" thread. Last years thread is HERE, if you want to read through it to get an idea of how others have responded to the critique challenge.

    It is great to learn new skills from the challenges here and improve your photography. Along with the challenges, other members also contribute by giving you constructive criticism (CC) of your photos to help you improve. To contribute on Ausphotography, you also need to learn how to give constructive criticism to other members. So this challenge doesn’t require you to go out and take photos, but rather look at a particular photo and give some constructive criticism about it.

    I don’t want to see comments like “I like it, great photo, wow, that’s great…etc”. I want to see well thought out responses. There is a guide below, which might help you along your way.

    Now to be fair, this photo is one of mine, in fact it won Photo of the Week #251, I have a thick skin and won’t take offence to anything a New To Photography participant says about it. Just take some time look at the photo, use the guide to help you. Remember you do not have to agree with what others have said, Say what YOU think.

    I look forward to seeing your responses.

    Photo of the Week #251 : Advanced :
    Entry: 6943 - Voting Token: V141_0008 - ricktas

    Title: Autumnal Tree
    141 - Photo of the Week #251 : Advanced : --- Entry: 6943 - Voting Token: V141_0008 - ricktas


    The concept
    * A photo is presented for a full on critique.
    * Members are invited to critique the photo in full, and also learn from others critiques, and apply what they learn to critiquing other member photos on Ausphotography.

    Critique - how to guide

    Things to consider
    * Subject
    * Composition
    * Emotive response/connection
    * Visual impact
    * Lighting
    * Posing (when applicable)
    * Technical details (exposure, colour balance, contrast)
    * Treatment (mono conversion, sharpening, dust spot removal etc)

    Critique the composition/subject choice

    Is the main subject in the centre of the frame? Is it on a third? Somewhere else? Does the chosen composition work, or would you have done something differently? Look at the composition or content in the photograph. What is the centre 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? Would the photo have been improved if the photographer had taken it after changing location (ie moved 2 steps to the left) Is the main subject in focus? Is it sharp focus, or a "soft" focus? Is the focus appropriate for the situation?

    Emotional Impact
    How does the photo connect with you on an emotional level? Does it remind you of happy times, sad times, traumatic experiences, a sense of excitement or acheivement? Why does it invoke these emotions? Do experiences from your past influence how you perceive the photo? Maybe the subject is your favourite sporting star, or a tropical island reminiscent of your honeymoon or a much remembered holiday. All these things impact the way you see the photo you are critiquing. Comment on this, cause your emotive connection will be different to the next person's.

    Fore, Middle, and Backgrounds.
    Does the photo contain all three? If not, do you think it would be better if it did? Next, observe the areas outside the main subject in the photograph. How did the photographer represent these areas in regards to focus and depth of field? Is the DOF shallow or deep? Does the DOF work in this shot, or should more (or less) of the photo be in focus? How do these areas of the photograph add or distract from the message of the photo? If there is an horizon, is it straight and level?

    Cropping/Framing.
    Is there wasted empty space is the photo? Should the crop have been tighter? Is it cropped so tightly that important parts of the photo have been cut off?

    Colour / Tonal Range.
    What type of colours do you see? Did the photographer use a lot of primary colours? Secondary? Complementary? Are the colours too vivid? Not vivid enough? Is the light soft or harsh? Does the type of lighting enhance or detract from the things in the photo? Is the white balance set correctly? Is there a yellowish, orangish, blueish or greenish cast to the photo?If you are looking at a B&W photo, is there a true black, true white, with a large tonal range in between, or is the photo too "grey"?

    Leading lines.
    Do the lines and overall composition make you want to look deeper into the photo? Is your eye drawn into the photo, or out of it?

    Balance.
    Is the photo "balanced"? Would it be better if there were other objects or other light/dark areas in the frame to improve the balance? If the photo is off balance, is there a reason for it?

    Exposure.
    Is any area overexposed or underexposed? If so, can you say why you think that happened? How could the photographer prevent this problem in the future?

    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?

    Examples
    You could just say "Great photo", but why not add that bit more "Great photo, I really like the colours of the sunset, the clouds grab my attention"

    'I like this", why not add "I like this cause its not an insect I have seen so close before, I didn't realise they had incandescent wings"

    Summary
    Constructive critiquing is a learned skill, start off easily, and just add a sentence to your comment. Do not try and write whole paragraphs to start with. Read others critiques, look at the points they raise and look at the photo. Learn from what you read. Not only will the skill of critiquing well, help the photographers you critique, but it will help your own photography as you take on board what you learn reading others critiques.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

    Constructive Critique of my photographs is always appreciated
    Nikon, etc!

    RICK
    My Photography

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    Really like the photo but.
    I find my eye drawn to the center for some unknown reason, being just a dark spot.
    I would crop the right side off which I find to be a bit of nothing on the end.
    That would change the center of the photo and my attraction hopefully.
    Perhaps try to reduce the highlights on the bridge.
    Your welcome to critique my critique.

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    thanks for giving this a go, now to apply this sort of critique on the main member photo forums.

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    Ok Rick here goes my attempt ..
    I really like the red tree and its reflection in the water the colours stay very true, the more I look I am constantly drawn back here and would like to set up a picnic under that tree.
    I do find some of the bricks in the upper left side a bit too bright for my eyes when looking at the image as a whole.
    My final comment on your photo is that it leaves me wondering what more is on the right hand side on the opposite side of the lake and yearning to find out
    Kassy
    Nikon D700
    CC Welcome and Appreciated

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    Ausphotography Regular agb's Avatar
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    The subject of the photo and the time of day are good, I like the stillness of the water and the reflection, and the red tree. However the composition does not work for me. I would have preferred a slight turn to the left so that there was more bridge and less space to the right of the tree, otherwise crop of the blank space.Saying that though I am aware that the tree then becomes more of the focus than the bridge, although I still think it a better composition.
    I rather suspect that the photographer has made an adjustment on the sky to darken it and that has left an unusual white patch on the horizon and around the tree, and the top of the bridge is overexposed.
    I would also have cloned or selected out some the the reeds from the water, I know thats where they are and they grow there, but removing some especially those closest to the bridge would help remove a distracting element.
    Wish I could do one as good though.

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    I find the photo very well put togehter, the composition is very well thought out. I agree with 'agb' on the reeds in the water though, i feel they distract a little too much from the overall scene. As i find my eyes drawn there. Also, a bit more light on the curve in the bridge would have been nice.
    Great photo, i hope to take some as good one day........
    Last edited by Davidtodd85; 24-05-2011 at 8:24am.

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    Personally as the title is supposed to conjure up a mental image associated with autumn I would have liked more red in the bricks and i agree with the comments above the green in the reeds takes away from the autumn feel. Perhaps if the picture had been taken much later in the day or earlier the bricks would taken on a more autumn hue and more than likely reflected warmer colours in the direction of the reeds. It may have messed with your lovely tree reflection that said if you could find away to keep the reflection then you would have a royal flush instead of a four aces.
    Last edited by porsche 911; 29-05-2011 at 9:36pm.

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    Hi Rick
    This is an attractive scene & the red leaves on the tree gives the pix some pop
    The bridge is an excellent leading line & takes the eye over to the other bank & the red tree.
    I feel the light under the first arch is distracting as well as the weed in the water are degrading the picture
    A crop from the top RH corner to the bridge arch removing the light & weeds would improve this presentation.
    Can I post this cropped version Please ?
    Cheers
    Col

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    Quote Originally Posted by colinbm View Post
    Hi Rick
    This is an attractive scene & the red leaves on the tree gives the pix some pop
    The bridge is an excellent leading line & takes the eye over to the other bank & the red tree.
    I feel the light under the first arch is distracting as well as the weed in the water are degrading the picture
    A crop from the top RH corner to the bridge arch removing the light & weeds would improve this presentation.
    Can I post this cropped version Please ?
    Cheers
    Col
    Sure you can, but remember that this thread is about critiquing the photo presented, to learn more about critiquing, rather than doing some tweaks to the photo.

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    Ricks AP pix.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by colinbm View Post
    Hi Rick
    This is an attractive scene & the red leaves on the tree gives the pix some pop
    The bridge is an excellent leading line & takes the eye over to the other bank & the red tree.
    I feel the light under the first arch is distracting as well as the weed in the water are degrading the picture
    A crop from the top RH corner to the bridge arch removing the light & weeds would improve this presentation.
    Can I post this cropped version Please ?
    Cheers
    Col
    My version of the crop would be like this -
    I have Rick's permission to edit his pix.
    Col

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    Ausphotography Veteran Geoff79's Avatar
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    Ah, the woes of critiquing something I'd have been delighted to have taken myself.

    I personally really like the shot and think the reeds in the water at the bottom of the shot add to the image as a whole. Obviously it doesn't always work, but I'm a fan of fitting as many interesting things in one shot as possible, giving the viewer several places of interest, rather than just one. And this image has that - the tree, the reeds, the bridge and the reflections (of both the bridge, the red tree and the other smaller shrubs in the background) all speak to me.

    I guess the only tiny, tiny thing for me would be the clouds. If I was being really picky, a clear blue sky would probably do this image well and it might not hurt to patch out the little clouds. Would I personally do it - no. Definitely not.... but maybe just one thing for the perfectionist?
    Last edited by Geoff79; 30-05-2011 at 3:41pm.

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    To keep this challenge moving along, here is another photo for you to practice your critiquing skills on:

    Washed-Ashore.jpg

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    Ausphotography Veteran Geoff79's Avatar
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    Nice simple shot, ampliphying the boat as the focal point. I do wonder if the rocks in the background are maybe a little too dim? I'm also not 100% sure about the log in front of the boat either, though I can't put my finger on why.

    Only other thing would be that I also find myself wondering if this would have looked better in colour?The contrasts between the boat, log, rocks, water and reflections might have been a nice sight to behold.

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    Member Rats01's Avatar
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    Well I read your 'How To' guide, studied the photo, put some thought to it and then found Col's crop at the bottom which matched what I had in mind. I felt the reeds detracted from the main focus and too much waste on the right. I might have considered moving a few steps to the right to bring some of the sparse clouds in the scene and perhaps change the view of the bridge.
    Still be more than happy to achieve something similar.

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    As to the boat I am having a little trouble determining exactly where the focal point is. The centre seat area appears fine but the front side of the boat near the waterline becomes somewhat indistinct. Maybe soft with no sharp lines. I can't quite work it out but it seems like what I would expect from a canvas print. Sharp contrasts with no sharp lines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rats01 View Post
    As to the boat I am having a little trouble determining exactly where the focal point is. The centre seat area appears fine but the front side of the boat near the waterline becomes somewhat indistinct. Maybe soft with no sharp lines. I can't quite work it out but it seems like what I would expect from a canvas print. Sharp contrasts with no sharp lines.
    good work, not try applying this sort of critique to members photos.

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    Hi Ric I really like the composition of this photo it looks like a place I could spend quite some time just watching the world go by.
    I was wondering if the details under the bridge and at the far end curved section could be brought out by using some post production process involving multiple exposures.
    Not sure how all that smoke and mirrors stuff works but I have seen some great results using high dynamic range processes.
    Regards Gary

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    Hi Rictas,
    How do you critique something you see as faultless this a great thread and I'd like to critique a photo with faults. I have heaps if you can't find one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by porsche 911 View Post
    Hi Rictas,
    How do you critique something you see as faultless this a great thread and I'd like to critique a photo with faults. I have heaps if you can't find one.
    Critique is different to criticise! A Critique can be full of praise. You can state why you feel the photo is faultless and explain how it connected with you. You do not have to make comments about how a photo should have been taken differently or how it could have been processing differently. Comments like "Wow, this is one outstanding photograph. I love the colours and the composition. It reminds me so much of my childhood, growing up on a farm in rural NSW. I wish I could take something like this" is just as relevant and good as any other critique. Just remember that rather than say 'WOW' alone, add why you feel it is a WOW.

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    There is so much i like about this photo, on a technical level the contrast between the boat and the back ground is striking, the aging of the boat is amplified by the back ground and the branches laying over the rocks in the darkest corners. On a more mental level i feel relief, I love the way the dinghy is wedged up against the rocks and the log. To me the poor weather beating old thing has been on a huge journey and is grateful to have been washed in there to have some respite from the elements.
    Last edited by porsche 911; 06-06-2011 at 9:16pm.

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