Three Rules of Critiques / by Algernon Parker

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Three Rules of Critiques

As a photographer, you will learn that critiques can be really harsh. Having thick skin is a must. I view critiques as a learning tool. I think they are as important as reading a book on photography. You can learn a lot from what someone says about your images. Some people take critiques the wrong way. The biggest reason critiques are taken the wrong way is because they are delivered the wrong way. Of course, some people are just naturally rude when giving critiques. And, there are always haters giving critiques.

Delivery is very important when giving a critique. You want to always be constructive and polite. Sometimes it's hard to sound polite when being critical. If you are talking to a friend, you are honest when providing advice. When critiquing a photo, you should always be honest. If your intentions are to be helpful, your honesty is very valuable. Critiques are meant to be positive. Many people make them harsh and negative. Think of how you would want someone to critique your work before giving a critique.

How you receive a critique is seriously important to your work, as well. You should always look at it as advice. The choice to take the advice or disregard it is yours. Sometimes hearing the truth about what you create is hard. When you hear the truth it is critical that you take it the right way. Try to see what the person giving the critique is seeing in your work. Never lash out after a critique. It may be valuable information that you need. If someone is rude, they are probably hating on your work. You give haters power by reacting, because this is what they want. They want to tear you down. Don't let that happen.

I have three simple rules I follow when giving a critique. This will help you remain polite and respectable. These three simple rules are as follows:

  1. Find something to compliment. I know that sometimes it may be hard to find a positive in an image. Starting with a compliment encourages the photographer you are critiquing. This compliment is to let them know they are doing something right.
  2. Comment on something that you find to be wrong with the image. This can be the hard part, because there may be many things wrong in the image. This is the critical part of the critique. Be gentle but be truthful! Be gentle because you don't want to destroy confidence. Be truthful in giving advice to help someone else excel at their craft.
  3. Finish up with encouraging comments. Okay... After you tear them down, you must pick them back up! This part can be done with more compliments. Try to trigger confidence by encouraging the photographer to never stop shooting.

These are rules that I use when I give critiques. You may use different rules or guidelines. What are some of your critique techniques?

Just sharing a recent photo of my son. Critique if you like...

Just sharing a recent photo of my son. Critique if you like...