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Thread: Commenting on photographs

  1. #1

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    Commenting on photographs

    Having now "done the deed" and posted my first photograph for comment ... phew glad that's over with, I feel I should return the compliment and try to comment where it has been requested. However, I am finding it really hard. I start but end up looking at what I have written and think it to be contrived and unhelpful. I am sure I am not alone here.
    I would appreciate any help members can offer to us new people.
    Cheers
    john

  2. #2

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    Re: Commenting on photographs

    People who have understandably felt uneasy about posting comments for the same reasons as yours have been very successful by beginning or concluding their comment with the explanation that they are new at commenting, critiquing, aren't sure if their words are fully expressing their thoughts, or whatever. Invariably, their posts are quite helpful and their own misgivings otherwise would not be perceived by their readers.

  3. #3
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Commenting on photographs

    When posting up images for comment, people are encouraged to say what it is they are looking for feedback on - The composition; The Exposure, Something to do with Post-Processing, etc. It then makes it much easier (and likely to be more helpful) to give the sort of feedback that the person is seeking.

    However, not everyone does that.

    So, all we can do is ask ourselves, 'If this was my image, what sort of comments would I find helpful?'

    It's always nice to get a 'Wow' or a 'That's wonderful' or even both, but neither actually contributes very much to learning.

    All you can do is write down what you say to yourself about the image - 'I like this because ..........', 'I don't think it's as strong as it could be because .......', 'I wonder about ... (e.g.cropping, cloning, etc)...'
    Last edited by Donald; 12th March 2013 at 06:32 PM.

  4. #4

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    Re: Commenting on photographs

    By the way, once you have participated in a few discussions of photos, you might also feel more comfortable and experience less angst about posting your own photos. That would be a win-win situation for everyone!

  5. #5

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    Graham Heron

    Re: Commenting on photographs

    Hi John,
    Commenting (or evaluating) another persons images is a great way to learn. You are looking as a third party at the image and you can evaluate it on it's own merits without the emotional investment the photographer may have made in it.
    Go for first impressions, do you like it or not. Then ask yourself WHY (that wonderful question kids use and some adults get so frustrated with)? Does it flow nicely, or is there something within the image that blocks you? Are the colours nice? What about that speck of a person in the top right corner? All that sort of thing. Then think about what would be needed to improve the picture. Composition, framing, leading lines, post processing, DoF, sharpness and so on. Download a copy an practice your PP skills on it. You know what you would like, can you improve it using your current skill set. If not, ask if someone else can and so add to your own skillset.
    The greater detail you analyse an image, the greater the learning potential there is.
    That also means that you can learn from the most mediocre image, which makes that image of greater value.
    Graham

  6. #6

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    Re: Commenting on photographs

    Thanks Mike, Graham and Donald. Will certainly have a go as I found the comments I received encouraging.

  7. #7
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Commenting on photographs

    Normally when I post an image for C&C, I'm after aesthetic critique. Something of a double-edged sword, since every comment is valid (at least on CiC ). Speaking for myself, I'll be totally happy with hearing even a one-sentence gut reaction to my photo. The first thing that strikes you is often the most useful information.

    Technical critique is a muddier matter. Unlike aesthetic judgement, there are (to my mind) some right and wrong answers. Issues are easier to understand and sometimes easier to correct. Nevertheless, this is an area where beginners can have a little more trouble contributing, especially in artificial-light scenarios. Naturally, any comment is always welcome, and while your technical skills may be developing, your aesthetic input is as valid as anyone's. So comment away. We can take it.

  8. #8

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    Larry Saideman

    Re: Commenting on photographs

    Let the person who posted the image decide if your comments are helpful or not. So, set your words free and let them fly. Trusting your words is really trusting your own aesthetic sense. Developing confidence in your aesthetic point of view will be so helpful to your own photography.

  9. #9
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: Commenting on photographs

    I agree with Mike--If it makes you feel more comfortable, just say in your comment that you consider yourself a novice. Also, you can be choosy--save your comments for the images that really strike you in some way. I am an active participant in a local online forum that has a tradition of open and frank criticism. I would guess that I comment on about 5% of the images. Most often, I don't think I have anything particularly constructive to suggest. In addition, there are some types of images I intentionally never comment on. For example, I really dislike the distortions of lighting and color that HDR can create. However, lots of people like that kind of image. There would be nothing gained by my posting that I find the stuff garish. The people who do that just don't share my tastes.

    You can also post comments as questions. I often do that. E.g., recently, I thought a landscape was not tightly framed. I posted a comment saying that and asking what the photographer thought about a crop I suggested. You can get some interesting conversations that way.

    I usually don't follow Donald's advice on this point. I often just ask for C&C. the reason is that I often get very good comments that I did not anticipate at all.

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