Thoughtful criticism vs compliments

March 8th, 2014
I know there are people who are delighted to get suggestions and critique- me amongst them. For me, it really helps me learn. And I know others really only want to hear what people like about their photos- another great way for learning. I wonder if there is any way that we could have those of us who want criticism identified so that people who visit our pictures know that would be greatly appreciated when they have time to offer it. Any suggestions?
March 8th, 2014
March 8th, 2014
That's a great idea! Maybe a phrase or symbol on our page?
March 8th, 2014
I thought you could tag critique me or something, but that never seems to work... Also there's the critique thread, but I don't think it gets used that often... It would be nice if the was a way we could just generally let others know if one us up for constructive criticism - I always am :)
March 9th, 2014
Agreed. There used to be a "critique-me" tag but it was rare that anyone ever stopped by because of it and left a comment. I used to add "critiques welcome" or some such at the end of each post, but it also didn't seem to make much of an impact.
March 9th, 2014
Well, if you do come up with a way, I would certainly be interested in joining in. And whilst it's very nice to have my tummy tickled, aren't we all here to get better at our chosen pastime?
March 9th, 2014
Maybe Ross will have a way to make it happen
March 9th, 2014
.. alternatively could just say - please give some (kind) but honest feedback... in the mean time. I'm always up for feedback
March 9th, 2014
@brigette it's hard for me to remember who wants it and who doesn't.
March 9th, 2014
@jgpittenger .. true... what to do what to do!!!
March 9th, 2014
Yes, I'd be interested, too!
March 9th, 2014
I agree with Brigette, that might be the best. I have seen pictures that ask for critique. Sometimes they point out why they took the shot the way they did, POV, DOF, framing, whatever, and ask how it could be improved. We may be struggling with a particular type of photo and only want critique on that one, not all of them LOL!
March 9th, 2014
Count me in also. Trying to improve is the main reason I started a 365 project and I would love to get honest feed back on my posts including what others like about them.
March 9th, 2014
Well, one way to invite critique is to use your narrative to provide guidance (rather than a general statement about critique being welcome). You might want to put below your photo what you wanted to achieve or what you might have found difficult in execution (either during or post). While like anyone, I love a nice comment, I love when someone else starts to offer me suggestions. Sometimes I make comments about things I think of when I see a shot (crop options, using filters in processing, etc.). I then tag another person who can help if I'm not really going in the right direction, but know someone on here who can advise. What it means in the end is making more comments on others shots that are critique or suggestion oriented and asking specific questions under our own photos soliciting specific advice and feedback. I'm not sure Ross would be able to arrange something, but if it can be, I'd be all for it.

This is the nicest place on the internet. Truly. I tell everyone. My year two has been committing to commentary that goes somewhere with learning about my lenses or processing or settings, so my comments are fewer because I already have an awesome collection of favs, etc. I love the learning part. My narratives ask people for advice when I need it, and I have had so many great conversations as a result. Less views these days, but never worries me because the commentary is much more critique/feedback oriented. Why just the other day I gave a suggestion to @luvmynynix and then asked @steampowered if he might have more input and we had a nice exchange regarding the photo and options.


Wow, that was long! But I hope it helps? Let me know! :)
March 9th, 2014
And I'd be very surprised if anyone would be offended if you offered a suggestion or feedback on a photo even if it was not solicited. At least, that has never been a problem with me when I did it. All in the approach I guess? :)
March 9th, 2014
Brilliant idea - perhaps for now we could put (CW) for critiques welcome at the end of the title of the photo or even as the first comment. That way it is quite obvious - I don't always look at tags - even just when looking at your home page.
March 9th, 2014
Great thread. I often wonder what to say about other's shots apart from "great shot" and how to ask for critique on my own!
@brigette I like the idea "please give some (kind) but honest feedback" and perhaps will also take some inspiration from Daryl @darylo.
I find asking for critique on the Critique me page a little scary and would rather it happen naturally.
Thanks everyone

March 9th, 2014
AC
It would be easy to identify with "CCW" (constructive criticism welcome) in you picture description/tag/first comment... Wouldn't it?!?!?
March 9th, 2014
I am easy both ways.. Like most people I love to hear that my capture has caught someones eye and made them smile, twinkle, think etc. But I am also very open to having people suggest I try other things and maybe play a bit more. Its how we learn from doing!
March 9th, 2014
Completely agree...there is no way better to learn and improve than through constructive criticism - there is so much people have to offer on this site. I think the idea of some indication such as suggested by @3rdxoff sounds good. I hope something can be found, cos I'd love to be part of it!!
March 9th, 2014
I wholeheartedly agree! I love all the comments praising a photo but I would really value suggestions of how to improve it! I would also like the opportunity to develop my ability to give meaningful and helpful comments - its a skill to give constructive feedback!
March 9th, 2014
Personally I never get offended if someone offers suggestions as to how I could alter a photo to improve it but I do have difficulty knowing how to approach it on others shots especially if they haven't asked for critique. I just don't want to upset anyone. I agree with @lisatargowska critiquing is an art as much as taking a great shot is!!
March 9th, 2014
I agree, love the comments of praise but I would really value suggestions of how to improve the image.
March 9th, 2014
I was once asked by a member of our camera club if I would review and critique her work as she valued my opinion. In her words she wanted honest critique and not "smoke blowing up my arse" I did this and she was really happy and we became quite regular reviewers of each others stuff. She then posted an image of a woman in a ball gown that had many flaws, it was badly post processed giving a really orange cast to the skin and clothes, the pose was awkward and there were scalloped edges to the bare shoulders where the dodge and burn used had been done poorly. I told her these things and she went a bit mad at me, we never spoke much after that. So be careful, even people who ask for honest critique may not really expect or want it .
March 9th, 2014
Critiquing is very subjective! Although you say may want it, those that are critiquing are giving THEIR thoughts on what they would do if it was theirs. The receiver may NOT have had the same ideas and take the "constructive words with negativity. On the positive side....Critiquing will let you know that perhaps what you have done could have been done another way to get better results. It gives you something to think about that you may not have done before, but gives you the option to “take or leave" the advice given!!!
March 9th, 2014
critique sandwiches are good, a constructive critisism in between a couple of good points.
March 9th, 2014
I'm sure we could make this easy. What if you put your name down in a list, everyone follows everyone else on the list, then put a tag as mentioned before and critique away?
I often find I want people to be brutally honest with my photos. I find the next time your taking photos, you remember that critique and think differently.

Please feel free to critique this paragraph :-)
March 9th, 2014
@darylo well said Daryl, best be specific then people know what you want to know,
March 9th, 2014
I hope we find away. I love to have positive critique on my photos so I can learn.
Maybe a tag or a mark could help.
March 9th, 2014
I agree, I'd love to get some advice on how to improve. Well, most of the time. There are some shots that I upload knowing they're not great and its more about the story.

There is one I uploaded this weekend that is a fuzzy shot with my phone that I took to show how long the line was to get out of the building because we were getting rerouted through the parking deck because large chunks of ice were falling onto the sidewalk.

I suppose if there were an identifying "thick skin let me have it" icon you could make it image specific.
March 9th, 2014
When I started my project after a friend told me about 365, I was under the impression that most of the comments would be constructive critiques. My goal was to learn through the help of experienced photographers. The comments and favs are encouraging, but most of the learning has been by osmosis from following those whose work inspires me for one reason or another. I'm still not comfortable using manual mode and have much to learn about post-processing, but I am trying to step out of my comfort zone. I'm definitely interested in receiving more specific critique, realizing that it will be both objective and subjective.
March 9th, 2014
I'd be interested in some honest criticism too but I am almost afraid to make critical comments on others photos since it is a slippery slope that can lead to hurt feelings, especially if everyone else is blowing smoke and you are the one poster who points out a flaw.

I find myself commenting less than I used to because of this. If I like a photo and it already has 20 "great shot" comments does the photographer really need my one more? But if there is something that could have been done better, I wonder if the poster really wants to have me say that. I agree a CW in the title might make it easier to make a constructively critical post.
March 9th, 2014
I'm in. I love getting a good suggestion, and it is fun presenting my own ideas on a photo. But, there have been a few occasions where people have replied that they don't want critiques of any kind. We need to try our best to remember who those people are, respect their wishes, and just enjoy their photos. I've been involved in various camera clubs since the 70's, and know there are people who can not take criticism at all, and they don't return to the club after getting negative comments from a judge.
I suggest a "critiques invited" field in our profiles where we could check Yes or No, and it would be displayed in the public stats of every photo. @scrivna
Great thread, Jane. BTW, I always enjoy your critiques.
March 9th, 2014
@kali66 Yes! It's like telling someone to inspect a building and to come back with a report. It's too overwhelming. But if we tell someone to inspect the building for structural damage suspected in the roof, well now, a report can be processed. I would only give "critique" to someone who asked for it specifically (otherwise, I will insert foot in mouth!). I often give "feedback" or my impression automatically. I'm giving up the "great shot" comment for forever, I think. ;)
March 9th, 2014
@gardencat I agree with everything that Joanne has already said. I think respectfully given constructive criticism would be much more helpful than the "great shot" comments given & received even on pictures that aren't that great but blowing smoke seems to be the norm and I'm guilty of it too on occasion. I mean, who wants to take the risk of pointing out someone else's flaws and make them feel discouraged but if they invite constructive criticism that opens the door to suggestions...not that I'm anywhere near qualified to give them but I would welcome them on my photos!
March 9th, 2014
@rvwalker Ross, so wise! I can vouch that I havelearned a great deal from your commentary and from watching your photography. I would add a suggestion that we use our profiles fully and specifically to communicate our goals, wishes, participation hopes, and finally what we welcome! Last year, I used my profile to update quarterly where I was in the project and how my goal posts shifted throughout the course of the year (being a newbie and all!). This year, I swiped that slate clean and started with very specific goals and rules for myself, and I'm very honest about what I can and cannot do. It may be too much in the end, but it really helped me with what I think this thread addresses.

So with that, to everyone here, I suggest really using your profiles to your advantage, and I love the tag suggestions too!
March 10th, 2014
@jgpittenger @tuya I too would like comments that include good points but also what I could have tried to make it better. However, even after asking directly for constructive criticism from more experienced photographers I still got 2 word comments eg nice capture!
March 10th, 2014
@happysnapper65 @darylo @bluemoon @rvwalker @gardencat @genealogygenie @aponi @tstb @kali66 @longexposure @tuya @unit8 @rustymonkey @psychographer @lisatargowska @angiec @silverhorn @3rdxoff @dibzgreasley @joeymc @mpratt @kimmer50 @kimshawball @brigette @vignouse @archaeofrog @northy @homeschoolmom thank you all for your thoughtful responses to the thread. I am sad to hear re those who have had painful experiences with offering critique and suggestions. Unless we come up with something else, I am going to put CW in my tags and put at the beginning of my description "critique welcome." When I have specific questions I will ask them and I will change my profile to say it more clearly...when I get a chance. I like the idea of those who want suggestions, thoughtful critique, to sign up and all follow each other but the logistics of it seems daunting given how many people I follow
March 10th, 2014
@rvwalker
I like Russ Walkers "critiques invited" field in our profiles where we could check Yes or No, and it would be displayed in the public stats of every photo. "
March 10th, 2014
Thank you Jane and everybody for this discussion - I too agree with @mpratt and @rvwalker that a 'critiques invited' field would be a good way to go if it can be done.
March 10th, 2014
My 2 cents worth, I think that some people dont really understand the difference between critique (constructive criticism), non constructive criticism and comments - both in terms of the people asking for it and the people giving it. Actually, just looking at the "critique" section here shows some people really have no idea about it :)

in my experience, as @unit8 mentioned, some people are ready for constructive criticism and some not - even when asked. But here's the thing, because critique is so subjective, what someone says is not necessarily the be all and end all - especially since the person shooting it may have wanted a totally different feel to what they're saying. I know that in the past, Ive shown images to other photographers and they've come back with things like like "use selective colour, add a heavy vigniette" which to me sounds awful. But then they're from the age where that was the done thing, so I have to remember my views on it and hold true to me.

For me, there's really only a handful of people that I will critique and thats because I know that they understand where i'm coming from and my opinion on things.
March 10th, 2014
I LOVE this idea. I feel CC only helps me to learn and is necessary for growth!
March 11th, 2014
Like the ' critiques invited ' on our profile and each photograph posted. Also would like to be tagged in a group who are willing to give CC and to receive it. @mpratt @jgpittenger Meanwhile I will follow Jane's idea of CW until the above is organised.
March 11th, 2014
@jgpittenger Thank you Jane for raising this subject as I have been lacking in motivation towards my 2nd year Project. I think CC would make me more enthusiastic as I would be able to identify better which skills I really need to improve. I started this project to learn as I am a novice. I have learned quite a lot from looking at other projects but feel I now need more specific comments.
March 11th, 2014
@toast I agree with your 2 cents worth...8-)

I think that everyone who "asks" for critique has to take it all with a grain of salt and remember that likes and dislikes are very subjective. In the end it is someone else's opinion but it may at the least spark a different way of thinking about it.

Ok, I guess I am up to 4 1/2 cents now....
March 11th, 2014
@jgpittenger if i think i can offer help on a photo, then i tend to offer gentle critiques to my friends and followers on here. That said, i only tend to offer it after i have been following for a while and i therefore know it will be accepted OK.
March 11th, 2014
Looks like the "critique me" tag is still fairly active. There is a photo posted there from several weeks ago... http://365project.org/tags/critique%20me
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