How to Critique Photographs Constructively
by Alain Briot
"Critiquing is not criticizing"
"Personally, I see a difference between critiquing and criticizing a photograph, or any work of art for that matter. For me critiquing means looking at the work for the purpose of finding out the strong and weak points of the work. On the other hand criticizing means taking a critical look at the work for the purpose of expressing a personal opinion. While there is a gray area between the two, I view the former as constructive and the later as destructive."
"Critique technical and artistic aspects separately"
"Technical aspects include focus, sharpness, exposure, processing, optimizing, cropping, collaging, HDR, printing and other technical aspects."
"Artistic aspects includes composition, light quality, color palette, facture, presence or absence of a recognizable personal style across a collection of images, creativity, motivation and other artistic aspects."
"Be factual, not opinionated"
"The reviewer’s behavior is just as important as the reviewers’ knowledge. As the old adage says, no one cares about how much you know until they know how much you care."
"Make your critique factual, not opinionated. An example of a fact-based critique is: ‘this print is blurry because the camera was used handheld and the shutter speed was too slow.’ Sharpness is a verifiable fact and if the photographer wanted to create a sharp image there is something wrong with the resulting photograph. "
"An example of an opinion-based critique is: ‘I don’t like blue so I suggest you change the color of the image to a warm tone.’ Color choice is matter of personal taste and if the photographer chose that color intentionally there is nothing wrong with this decision."
"Keep your opinions about art to yourself"
:You don’t have to like a specific photograph in order to make meaningful comments about it. You may not want to hang this photograph in your living room, however that doesn’t mean it is devoid of qualities. Point to what works and what does not work in the photograph in regards to artistic and technical aspects and keep your personal taste in art private."
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Alain Briot. You can find more information about his work, writings and tutorials on his my website at http://www.beautiful-landscape.com.