High Falls, Pigeon River

by Jakub

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Whats the best what to get constructive critique of your photographs? I'm thinking along what site or online community provides such things, but I'm open to all answers.

If I have a photograph that I think is nice, what's an effective way to get somebody (apart from friends and family) to offer "good" advice? Posting it to a site like this one with a general "what can I do better?" isn't helpful, and on sites like Flickr only the photographs that are already good get noticed.

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You can check our stackexchange chat room: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/14 and see if there are any upcoming photo-critique sessions, or otherwise if there are people chatting. I'm sure most there would be willing to offer their critique. –  chills42 Nov 7 '10 at 13:45

9 Answers 9

up vote 25 down vote accepted

I would like to recommend one exposure dot com. I recommend this for two reasons.

  1. The critique is honest, harsh, informed, and deep. As a community, they strive very hard to give very in depth reviews and suggestions. They also have the added benefits of extreme honesty, which is sometimes hard to get. One thing I dislike about flikr is precisely the fact that you never get criticized, just complements. If you want to improve, I think that you need to take a little beating, and one exp will dish it out.

  2. The photos are brilliant. This site has the absolute best gallery of any I have seen. Being a member of the community(free) will also provide you with wonderful inspiration, and help you improve in that way by giving you something to strive for.

Hope this helps!

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Thanks for the site recommendation, i will also looking for such a service. I will certainly register over there. –  Ibn Saeed Nov 7 '10 at 9:44
Before deciding that you want comments, you should decide who you want comments from. Photography is art and not all opinions will lead you to the path you seek. I did not know about this site but I saw some superb images but also ones that are so manipulated it is nauseating. Food for thought: Jay Maisel says 'if you are not your harshest critic, you are your own worst enemy'. No one should be able to trash you work more than yourself, that's how you're going to push your own limits beyond what everyone is willing to tell you. –  Itai Nov 8 '10 at 4:16
I'm going to accept this answer because its a pretty good site after looking around on it for a few days now, but I think 1x.com is a little post-processing heavy for my current tastes. –  rfusca Nov 8 '10 at 14:16
Ok, I guess I am bad at spotting post processing. But then again, I hang out in the Macro section. –  BBischof Nov 8 '10 at 14:46
holly cow! what an awesome site. Thanks for sharing –  Blake Apr 13 at 3:57

Well, for Flickr, I'd say that the photographs that get noticed are often by people that are group active rather than necessarily all that good. Not to say that there aren't great shots that don't get noticed otherwise, but if you look at "interesting" you'll find some that aren't really all that interesting at all, just that they got a lot of group hits.

In terms of getting critique, the offline option is camera clubs. Some are better than others, but being in one or, if needed, forming one, is a good way to get good advice. For example, just today, I was testing out the focus tracking and burst capabilities of my new Pentax K5 with a friend in our local camera group (both of us have the K5). I posted a swan in flight, but I over-sharpened it and he called to let me know. I realized it shortly after posting, but having a good shooter call me to minutes after posting was a good thing and I appreciated it. He was even spot on for the reason, I pushed the clarity slider in ACR too much.

In any case, in my opinion, I like the face-to-face or phone call better for this sort of thing. Critique is hard in an online context, it can come across very harsh. I do a lot of code reviews as a software architect and, when I reopen tasks with review comments as a result, I almost always go over to the developer for a chat after because I want them to know and feel that it wasn't personal and I want to explain certain things verbally that just are too hard to make clear in an email. I see that as a way to make them better coders and I think it works, at least results are bearing me out.

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I'm a software dev too, so I definitely understand the face-to-face or phone review being better. –  rfusca Nov 7 '10 at 3:43
Yes, camera clubs are a good way to get feedback. They also provide a powerful stimulus to take photos and are a great learning environment. –  labnut Nov 7 '10 at 10:36

For completeness sake, you can post a picture in the photo.stackexchange.com chat room and request feedback on it there.

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Also for completeness: Flickr has this group:


You can post a picture and ask for critique.

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I think the most important part of your question is who, not where. There are places all over the net that over critiques and most are amateurs (i.e. social media) and at best they are professionals (i.e. Flickr and industry forums). Even if you get a critique by professionals, most of them are industry specific and have expertise in a very narrow field (portraiture, landscape, commercial, food, lifestyle, etc.). You don't want a photographer who is a jack of all trades but a master of none critiquing your work.

I, along with other alumni from the Academy of Art University of San Francisco, began a site online that offers a critique by working professionals that also have academic experience. This isn't extremely important but it does combine a working knowledge of the craft with a knowledge of its history and critique standards and etiquette. When it comes to critiques, it's more important to be able to articulate your thoughts about a photograph - even more important than being able to create a good photograph. The site is http://www.professionalphotocritique.org. Submit a photo, or just take advantage of the in depth analysis that you won't find anywhere else.

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You should mention any affiliation you have with the website. –  MikeW Apr 13 at 3:38
Thanks for the heads up MikeW! Done :) –  Aaron Draper May 1 at 7:00
I'm voting this up because I think (especially given the nature of this question) that it's helpful and interesting even though it is self-promotion. Aaron, I hope you stay around and answer some other questions on this site that match your knowledge and interests. –  mattdm May 1 at 11:37
I'll definitely continue contributing if I have any expertise in anything that comes up! Sorry about the self promotion, I didn't know how else to suggest the site. Sincere apologies. –  Aaron Draper May 11 at 21:07

I would recommend you to try out Shutter Critic. It is a photography critique community that emphasizes honest and constructive critiques. It's free to use and has a scoring and reputation system to keep the quality high.

Disclaimer: I'm one of the co-founders at Shutter Critic but confident that through the site anyone can improve their photography skills and get honest critique.

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Nice to see someone following the disclaimer policy on this site. –  damned truths Feb 21 at 11:43

Digital Photography School has a critique section, too. I've found their critiques to be decent, though it seems like the pool of critics isn't huge.

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One possibility: usenet-groups (no, not dead yet).

At least in the german-speaking space, a post with a link to picture(s) and maybe some explanation in news://de.rec.fotografie with the tag "[BK]" (bitte kommentieren = please comment) will yield some comments and/or criticism from a smaller circle of interested photographers. In German, that is ;)

I really don't know if the english usenet-groups are worth it (alt.photographie, free.uk.photographic, ...)

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I run a Photography Club Critique and advice facebook group which gives honest critique everyone is welcome: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PhotographyClubOnline/

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