Critiquing is not Criticizing• In a good critique all aspects of the photograph are evaluated, good, bad or any part of the photo is looked at closely and judged.• Criticizing is only when you are pointing out the flaws, and a true critique is when both the positive and negative comments are equally balanced.• There are three basic questions to ask yourself about each photograph critique: What is good about it? What is not good? How could it be better?
Where do you Start?Most people, when asked to judge a photo will start bysaying whether they like it or not. People often like aphotograph when they like what’s in it, and to dislike aphotograph when they don’t like what’s in it.The first thing you should do is put aside your obviouslikes and dislikes and go into it with an open opinion,,find the key factors in each picture that stand out toyou and define what exactly they are.The main difference is between the Style and theStandards
Four Basic StandardsThe four basic factors determine a photographsstandards: value, clarity, composition, andpresentation.In a close to perfect picture a photograph will becritiqued positively on each of these factors, but one oranother factor may be better represented than theother, or still looked at as a solid picture when it lacksone subject and stands out greatly in another .
Value Value in a photograph means to the range in the lighting that the photograph has, the black that turns into shades of grey and white. The more contrast the photo has or the wider the range in the dark and light colors the more of an effect it gives the eye. If everything in the photo is either black or white, without any gray it may have a lot of impact but will most likely lack in interest. It is important to evaluate between good and bad grays.• When you have determined that the value of the photograph is weak the next question is : How could it be better?• Too much light will cause a dark looking “muddy” print, and too much will cause white areas to be “ washed out” or “burned out” which makes the photograph so white that you can’t see the details
Value ContinuedHow the film is processed will also affect the values. The longer the filmstays in the developer, the more contrasty the photograph becomes. Grayareas are caused from being developed for to long, get blacker and blackeron the negative and the lighter and lighter on the print, all caused fromthe improper use of the developer.If the film is removed from the developer too soon its contrast will be lowand will be cause the picture to look weak in color and become gray.It is also very useful that you are being careful and consistent while thedeveloping process and you have a solid darkroom to use whiledeveloping.
Clarity & PresentationThis is the second key factor, the key to clarity is focus not just whether or not thephotograph is in focus, but also whether or not it is correctly focused.In correctly a correctly focused photograph the subject will either be soft or sharp.When something is out of focus, the edges blur more than they are supposed to.The questions to ask are: What’s in focus? What should be in focus? What is not infocus, and why is it not?The third factor is to look for is the care and skill that the photograph resembles.Look at how clean the picture looks , look for white spots, that can be known assatellites, glitches, scuzz, hickies or glop of stuff that shouldn’t be on the pictureOther things to look for are neatly trimmed edges, and squared corners.
CompositionPoint of Interest: You need to first find out is there a point of interest?Does it stand out or is it lost in the surrounding confusion? A photographmost likely should have one clear point of interest. Usually being nearthe middle of the frame.Cropping: Consider the cropping or the way it is framed. Ask is it “ tight”? Is the frame filled with important elements or is there wasted space?Look at the balance of shades and colors in the photograph , it can bebalanced in two ways: static or dynamic.Static just sits there but can be effective to the photograph. Dynamicbalance has a certain movement.
Composition continuedThe lines and curves in a photograph have a big impactwhen you are looking at it. You need to look closely tolocate the straight and curved lines.A single straight line in the picture that is pointed outcan draw the attention to that spot in the picture in apositive or negative way.All of these add a visual impact on the photograph thatcreates an appealing “ visual tension” to the eyes.
AestheticsStyle is makes a big difference in determining if thepicture is from a skilled photographer or is just aquality picture taken. Sometimes photographs will haveall the right elements but will still not work, and can belooked at negatively by the personal judging it.On the other hand, a photograph could lack extremelyimportant elements and still work.Sometimes the picture just works for people and thereis a certain spark in the picture that makes it stand out.
Observations: Starfish Picture• I think that the shades of blacks and grays are a good balance with a consistent amount of black and white within the picture, and it makes the center of interest stand out. All elements of the picture are clear and in focus
Observations: Sample 2The center of interest in the picture stands out andis different from the rest, because of the colorscheme. I like how there is a good balance of lightand shadow in the sky, and the colors all blend intogether perfectly. I dislike how the man iscompletely all black however, I do like how clear itmakes him look.
Observations: Sample 3• There is too much light in this picture because of the sun shinning through.• I like how there is the crop photography and you can only see certain parts of the forest.