The Vancouver Photography Meetup Group Message Board Messages from the Organizer › Help develop a group policy to "critique" each others' photos

Help develop a group policy to "critique" each others' photos

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Trish
VanPhoto
Group Organizer
Vancouver, BC
Hi everyone!

Our beloved group member, Jack Simpson, has inadvertently spawned an idea about how we can help each other on the photo albums by providing each other with critiques rather than compliments about the photos posted there.

What started out as a result of a late night sugar binge, Jack posted some helpful (and funny) critiques on the Looking Up photo album. We all started to look at these comments, first of all to help Jack figure out whether or not the comments were appropriate (and we agree they were), but we ended up starting to question how useful it is to only compliment the photos we view on the Albums.

By virtue of this email sent out to all members, I invite you all to participate in a conversation about what we might do differently on our photo albums to provide each other with ideas to improve, rather than just post our compliments.

The questions we want to ask ourselves and answer in this thread are:

1. Do we want to receive ideas for how to improve from other members -- rather than just receive their compliments?
2. What is the difference between a critique and criticism, and do we want to encourage critiques and/or criticisms of our photos?
3. What "codes of conduct" should we consider for providing others with critiques and constructive criticisms of photos posted to the Albums?
4. What are the most important 3 or 4 things that we want to ensure so that critiques and criticisms are providing good instruction to the receiver and to ensure the comments are not taken personally?
5. And, finally, how to we detect, discern and field any complaints about critiques being "too harsh" or unwarranted, or against (a future) policy? Should we have an organizer assigned (or rotating responsibility) to moderate -- and if yes, what is fair to both members and to the organizers assigned such responsibility?

Thanks everyone -- looking forward to your participation in this discussion!

Trish
Trish
VanPhoto
Group Organizer
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 408
Hi again,

To read the background on this question, see the original thread:

My critiques on the "Looking Up" photo comp ....

Trish
Donna C.
user 11271465
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 9
I like this idea very much - nothing is more daunting and eventually 'boring' as putting up pictures and getting short complimentary comments. Although that strokes my ego, it doesn't help me learn what I could have done better or what else I could have tried to get a different perspective on it etc. One idea would be to have an area/album where the pictures we want critiqued are uploaded to, and where we are particularly invited to give constructive criticism. That way, if we don't really want another's opinion, we like the photo the way it is, we can upload it elsewhere. The ones we do wish to hear comments on in detail we can post to the critiquing album...?
Trish
VanPhoto
Group Organizer
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 409
Hi everyone!

I encourage everyone to participate and add their comments personally. If you're not comfortable with that, feel free to email me and I will post your comments anonymously on this thread so that they can be considered as part of the conversation.

Thanks!

Trish
--------------------

One member emailed to say:

I think a critique is as good as a compliment, and we should have both. Compliments give due encouragement and critiques help us improve. Critiques are fine as long as they are not rude, and should be given with courtesy.


And another member emailed to say:

This is a very good idea, and one of which I know something about from [another] group [sic]...

[In this other group,] the critiques are welcomed, but never criticism. We have rules/guidelines in regards to ...[sic] ...critiques. And the administrators are quite on their toes to keep the ship steering a straight course. There have been the very rarest of participants who have stepped over the line, and we refer to this item from our guidelines to decide on that offender's fate:

- DON'T Leave personally disparaging... [sic]... or insulting comments about the photographer. If the photo you're doing a critique on is [bad]... give some constructive advice.
Trish
VanPhoto
Group Organizer
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 410
I like this idea very much - nothing is more daunting and eventually 'boring' as putting up pictures and getting short complimentary comments. Although that strokes my ego, it doesn't help me learn what I could have done better or what else I could have tried to get a different perspective on it etc. One idea would be to have an area/album where the pictures we want critiqued are uploaded to, and where we are particularly invited to give constructive criticism. That way, if we don't really want another's opinion, we like the photo the way it is, we can upload it elsewhere. The ones we do wish to hear comments on in detail we can post to the critiquing album...?

Thanks Donna! The idea of an album that welcomes critiques is really good! It would certainly reduce the amount of moderating by organizers -- and create a centralized place where one could go to request critiques, provide a critique, and read/learn from critiques!
Trish
VanPhoto
Group Organizer
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 411
Again, I encourage everyone to participate and add their comments personally in this thread on the Message Boards. However, if you email me with your comments, I will post them here so they can form part of the conversation.
-Trish
--------------------

A member emailed me to say:

I agree with critiques, they can be very constructive, we post our best shots, so we believe they are good enough to share, now if someone can include some insight into making it perhaps better, I'm all ears, and lenses to learn.


And, another member emailed to say:

Yes I totally agree. Because this is what it's all about,improving our abilities and we can't do that without listening to other point of views.
Scott
user 9653599
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 3
Critiques are merely suggestions for doing something differently than before. It's the nature of photography to be subjective and open to personal interpretation. Hence, critiques are not supposed to be taken personally. So I have no issues with being critiqued or critiquing. It really boils down to a matter of aesthetics. What makes a pretty picture even prettier?

But that too is just one mindset! Why do all pictures have to be pretty? As I've always said, rules are meant to be broken. Who says that the Golden Rule (rule of thirds), has to be the law? So whoever wants to critique me, I'll just either accept or reject the suggestion! No harm done. (I may even be motivated to post a rebuttal!)

Scott
Trish
VanPhoto
Group Organizer
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 412
Just to be clear, we are in the midst of discussing how we would like to approach critiques of photos on the site.

Everyone, please refrain from actually performing and posting your critiques -- unless requested -- until we have this all sorted out.

Thanks!
detlef
user 7727303
Langley, BC
Post #: 4
All good points
and because most of the members are beginner photographers good critique is a good learning tool.
...but also a hair raising experience for a moderator.
...remember when you put your image out there for people to see, you put your heart and soul out there.

if I can help in any way !!!


...cheers !

...detlef

www.paintwithlight.net
Russ K.
user 3929906
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 292
I'm happy to answer any specific questions anyone has about their picture. For instance, yesterday, Bruce and I had a very lively exchange when he asked, "What do think, too much contrast and/or saturation?"

But, I feel an Open Season for critique just opens the door to hurt feelings, and nobody wants to be the referee for something like that. Personally, I'm not so keen to offer open-ended advice without knowing the photographer's intentions for a picture.

So, I propose that if a person wants critique on a given picture, they simply add a comment with their questions. The more specific the questions, the better - that way, those responding have an immediate context for their response.

I also agree with Scott's attitude of taking critique lightly and with a grain of salt - when offering advice, don't make it personal, and when receiving advice, don't take it personally.

cheers,
Russ
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