Why Critique Photos?
To push yourself to the next level
To learn to analyze a photo
To learn do’s and don'ts
To change a snapshot into a photo
Develop a photographer’s eye
Prelude to competitions
Caution - Don’t Get Defensive
Getting people to talk to you about your photos is a rare
opportunity, so don’t waste it. Let people talk (even if
you don’t agree), it’s their opinion, and your target
audience should be important to you. Let them talk, and
if you really have to, defend yourself afterward, once it’s
all finished. Although — honestly — if you feel you have
to defend yourself, you might want to take a step back
and consider why.
There was a reason for taking the picture, but what is
important to one person may not be important to
others. Everyone sees something different. Remember
that there’s no right or wrong in photography, but also
remember your audience.
To distinguish a snapshot from a photo it must answer
Is the photo captivating?
Does it tell a story?
Does it create some feeling?
Is the composition good?
How to Critique
Critiquing a photo requires a critical eye looking at all
aspects of the photo.
Is the composition correct? Does it follow the rules of
composition? If not are they broken on purpose, is it
still aesthetically pleasing?
Are there distracters that draw your eye away from the
subject, or clutter the picture? If they were removed is it
obvious that they were removed?
Is the photo no longer a snapshot but a work of art?
How to Critique
Note what you liked and disliked about the photo.
Don’t just say you like the photo. If you like the sky in a
photo. Provide some insight why you like the sky. For
example, the deep blue of the sky goes so well with the
red and yellows of the flowers.
For negative comments explain why you did not like it
and how you would have taken the picture or corrected
the problem. Remember this is a learning experience.
The intent is to use the comments and improve the skills
of the person taking the photo as well as your own.
Rule of Thirds
The theory is that if you place points of
interest in the intersections or along
the lines that your photo becomes
more balanced and will enable a
viewer of the image to interact with it
more naturally. Studies have shown
that when viewing images that
people’s eyes usually go to one of the
intersection points most naturally
rather than the center of the shot –
using the rule of thirds works with this
natural way of viewing an image rather
than working against it.
A leading line can be almost anything: a road,
path, sidewalk, fence, river, hedge, tree line or
shadow. You will not find a strong leading line
around every subject, but you should look for
them if they are there and take advantage of
them. Lines in a picture should lead into, not
out of, the picture, and they should lead your
eye toward the main subject. Sometimes it is a
matter of choosing the right angle to make
leading lines lead into the picture. Starting a
leading line from the corner of your picture
will often improve composition.
Diagonal lines generally work well to
draw the eye of an image’s viewer
through the photograph. They create
points of interest as they intersect with
other lines and often give images depth
by suggesting perspective.
Fill the Frame
There's an old adage in photography that
says if you want to improve your
photographs 100 percent, move closer.
The one sure way to keep from including
too much extraneous information in a
photograph is to fill the frame with your
subject and nothing but your subject.
Filling the frame from edge to edge leaves
little doubt about what your intended
Framing 1s a technique by which the
subject is positioned inside a border. The
border, instead of becoming a distraction,
adds interest to the photo by drawing the
eyes to the subject. A frame also provides
perspective and, often, gives depth to a
Other Composition Techniques
Blurred Background Converging Lines Texture
Curves Color Space
Distracters are items or objects unrelated to
the subject of the picture. Or they can be lay
out problems that distract from the overall
Horizon Not Level
Remember water will seek the lowest level!
Even seasoned photographers in a rush to
take a picture will have this problem.
These are little distracting artifacts that are
in the picture. The eye is drawn first to the
subject then to any gremlins. This may be
trash or even people. Gremlins will ruin an
otherwise excellent picture.
Out of Focus
The subject must be sharp ! When
photographing wildlife the one item that
must be sharp are the eyes. It is also very
pleasing to have a glint in the eye. The
glint adds life to the subject.
Many times too much sharpening is
applied, This causes fringes around the
objects. This can occur in the camera by
having the sharpness setting to high or
during post processing.
Unlike gremlins these are more pervasive.
In the example sown the telephone pole
ruins the continuity of the picture. Your
eyes are drawn to the object.
An over processed photo occurs in the post
processing workflow. Over processing
tends to make the photo look unrealistic.
Color noise is from either too high an ISO
setting or too long an exposure of a darken
scene. Many times it is better to use the
high ISO setting than miss the picture.
Noise will be more noticeable in larger
Blown Highlights loose the detail in the
area affected. Unlike underexposure the
data in the blown area can not be retrieved.
Take pictures keeping in mind composition and
Critique your own work.
Critique other’s work
Read more on composition.
Several good sources
Review photos on line, see what others think and do
Several good sources