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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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A former member
Post #: 333
How does everyone feel if we continue with the way we have been -- encouraging each other with inspiring comments and NO critiques for photos posted on the site -- with the only exception being the addition of a new photo album called "Critiques Requested" where members can post photos and ask for advice, others can answer questions, and where everyone can read and learn?

Thanks.

I like this idea. It's simple and easy to access. I think it'll be a popular and informative album.
A former member
Post #: 14
Whoa! I have been trying to find time to read all the entries, and to provide a quality respond to this thread. As usual, I am challenged to keep up.

I like the idea of constructive criticism, and I don't think the medium on which it is offered matters or differs. If this were a classroom setting, some of our photos would likely be critiqued by the instructor and fellow classmates, all of whom (I'm sure) would practice constructive criticism. We're all here to learn (i think). The additional benefit of our group site is that we (as individuals) have the option to seek open or private feedback, or no feedback at all whatsoever. If we ask openly for feedback (whether in person or online), we do have to be prepared for whatever comes our way. No different than any other life scenario. If we prefer private feedbacks, we can do that also -- emails, captions, chats, next round of meet-up, etc. etc. -- the options are endless. I guess my take is that we keep things as they are (as Trish had summarized above) and in perspective. There will never be one correct answer to any question; and, at the end of the day, we are just here to have fun.

One thing I think would be nice is to share shooting specifications every now and then. E.g. What shutter speed? Aperture or Shutter priority? What ISO? How was the lighting? etc. Sometimes, it baffles me how some people can get really, really clear/sharp well-lit photos, while I continually struggle with it. Shaky hands perhaps. Regardless, it would be nice to share this info. so we can determine for ourselves whether we need to improve technique, bulk up on muscle mass, rely on tripods more often, etc. etc.

My 2 cents. Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment.

Bonnie W
user 11713001
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 4
How does everyone feel if we continue with the way we have been -- encouraging each other with inspiring comments and NO critiques for photos posted on the site -- with the only exception being the addition of a new photo album called "Critiques Requested" where members can post photos and ask for advice, others can answer questions, and where everyone can read and learn?


There's an old saying... "if it's not broke don't fix it." I don't see what's wrong with the way it is. The change mentioned above is the best option IF we have to change. But then I will be forced to ask for a full-fledged critique rather than hope for a helpful suggestion. I'm not ready for a full fledged critique. The new method will block out the beginners and maybe even the intermediates. Inspiring comments are great but we also need helpful comments. Or am I missing the boat here... are we considering the helpful comment as a critique? I assume that we are. I do agree there should be another album especially for requested critiques.
A former member
Post #: 334
There's an old saying... "if it's not broke don't fix it." I don't see what's wrong with the way it is. The change mentioned above is the best option IF we have to change. But then I will be forced to ask for a full-fledged critique rather than hope for a helpful suggestion. I'm not ready for a full fledged critique. The new method will block out the beginners and maybe even the intermediates. Inspiring comments are great but we also need helpful comments. Or am I missing the boat here... are we considering the helpful comment as a critique? I assume that we are. I do agree there should be another album especially for requested critiques.

Bonnie, have you been getting the helpful suggestions that you have been hoping for? If so then I don't think that will change on the regular posting, or at least I hope not.

If I'm reading the suggestions in this thread right, you can either ask for help on a specific aspect of a photo without getting a general opinion, or you can ask for an honest response to the photo as a whole and take the good with the bad. I'm sure there will be problems to iron out at the beginning but I think it's worth a try. If it doesn't work then it can be reversed.
Bonnie W
user 11713001
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 5
Bonnie, have you been getting the helpful suggestions that you have been hoping for? If so then I don't think that will change on the regular posting, or at least I hope not.

If I'm reading the suggestions in this thread right, you can either ask for help on a specific aspect of a photo without getting a general opinion, or you can ask for an honest response to the photo as a whole and take the good with the bad. I'm sure there will be problems to iron out at the beginning but I think it's worth a try. If it doesn't work then it can be reversed.

Yes, the suggestions have been very helpful. But I didn't request them because I didn't know I needed help with those particular photos, and I think a lot of people fall into that category. That's what I'm worried about losing. I think many who want to make a helpful suggestion will worry that it's a critique. Maybe that should be defined so the users will not wonder if they are breaking the rules. But you are right... if it doesn't work then it can be reversed.
Jack S.
user 9198037
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 63
Hi everyone!

Ditto ...to Trish's salutation smile

Our beloved group member, Jack Simpson,

Ah ha, a rarity in context regarding term "beloved" and my name... Plus I've got it writing biggrin

has inadvertently spawned an idea

Back to normal, albeit another rarity in context and some may say an oxymoron term ... I, of course, speak about "spawned" and "good idea" but "inadvertently" does give it a sense of realism.

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.

a possible Albert Schweitzer moment and, to quote Mr. Schweitzer and this is very grandiose of me, but I think of my critiques as something similar to: "You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it's a little thing, do something for others - something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. ." As I mentioned, a bit...well ...a lot ..grandiose (for me) but you get the gist smile

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.

Whew, thanks Trish, I glad you included "helpful" there.

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),

Again, thanks love struck

but we ended up starting to question how useful it is to only compliment the photos we view on the Albums.

I had the same thoughts when, as per usual, my always 100% hindsight kicked in and sugar/caffeine wore off :o And, the other weird thing is that I would have swore that I had responded to/in this thread but after searching... nada ... so I guess this (the above) will have to suffice and, thanks again Trish for the kind words. I should probably cut and paste those words so I can send to family members to read, albeit in disbelief laughing Cheers, Jack (not quite Albert Schweitzer) Simpson PS: there was no caffeine nor sugar involved in this diatribe wink



Trish

Sheila
user 5695753
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 2
I have just been reading all the comments...A bit slow to get to it.... I wanted to say that I was one of the people that Jack critiqued and I must say he was right.I looked at my photo and could see it. I will use his advice when I take another photo. As a photographer I want as much help and advice as I can get, to help me improve when taking photos and make me a better photographer.
Chris K.
user 11021465
Coquitlam, BC
Post #: 1
Hello everyone !
I too felt the groups pictures were not getting enough critiques added to them.
Not that there is anything wrong with the positive compliments .
I too shall try my eye at some critiqueing wink once this is all sorted out.


Adding a monthly or yearly photo album only for pictures that one wants critiqued would be good ,
pictures added to this album could also be added to the regular virtual or real meetup photo albums.

Also in regular virtual or real meetup photo albums adding a comment requesting critique by the picture taker would be good or adding a check box that requests critique .

Also adding a section in a menbers profile might help , perhaps " Would Chris Kaufman like or not like critiqueing on his pictures' of course my answer would be YES !

Chris




Trish
TrishR
Vancouver, BC
Post #: 424
Thanks again to everyone for responding! I've really enjoyed your participation and this whole process. And, it's great to have so many of you interested in giving advice and receiving feedback about the pictures you're taking!

So, it seems there's a strong desire to have a single photo album for critiquing. And I really like the idea of this one place where members go to ask for advice, and give advice. As Chris mentions, I think there are a lot of members who feel they have enough experience that they'd like to be able to "give" advice and would like to try their hand at it -- and what better place than a specific forum where members who are seasoned amateurs and pros will also be giving advice?

So, with this in mind, here's the part of the DRAFT proposed policy with respect to the new photo album:
  • Members would be encouraged to add a photo to the Critique Requests album and in their comments may ask specific questions or generally ask for advice.
  • Members would be encouraged to post their photos, as before, to the respective albums for the challenges and events -- and, as desired, post the same photo to the new Critique Requests album.
  • A photo may NOT be posted to the Critique Requests album without an initial question or opening comment. A comment such as "I'm not sure what's wrong with this photo, but I think it could be better. What do you think?" would be an appropriate alternative to leaving the comment completely blank.
  • Any member may give advice in response to a comment on a photo posted to the Critique Requests album, as they see fit.
  • Discussions with the person who posted the photo in the Critique Requests album, and between those giving advice would be encouraged, but should be contained to be "in context" with the original question or opening comment.
  • The general tone in the Critique Requests album would be expected to be respectful between all members. Any concerns regarding disparaging remarks should be brought to the attention of the Organizer who will deal with the matter directly with the person who posted the disparaging remarks, and in order resolve the issue may communicate directly with any member involved in the thread where the disparaging remarks took place.


Now, regarding what sort of critiques we should allow on the rest of the site: as I mentioned, I'm not comfortable with the use of "C&C welcome" in comments on photos across the site (C&C=Comments & Critiques). I feel this is primarily because it will mean that anyone can provide a critique on the photo if they feel like it, and there's no way to moderate these comments across the site.

I'm thinking that it would work if we continue to keep comments positive and encouraging elsewhere on the site. Please note that I don't mean for it to be so restrictive that members feel they can't speak freely. Comments elsewhere on the site would continue to be UNmoderated. That would mean questions about how to make the photo better, and the giving of advice (whether solicited or unsolicited) would generally be discouraged. I'm thinking it would be best to say "discouraged" rather than "prohibited." What we really don't want is rogue critics going around providing advice outside of the Critique Requests album, and we don't want to create a scenario where we have to start reading all comments because there are rules that need policing.

So again, I propose that in albums elsewhere on the site, comments should be positive and encouraging. Bits of advice provided "in context" of the other comments on a single photo and other discussion would be allowed, but any other sort of advice or "critiquing" would be discouraged. We might encourage, for example: if a question emerges in the thread of comments that someone feels the member would benefit from asking the question, or obtaining advice, in the Critique Requests album -- a good response would be: "Gee, that's an excellent question! Why don't you post your photo with that question to the the Critique Requests album?"

Final thoughts please and thanks.
A former member
Post #: 335
Your final analysis sounds good Trish. Personally I'm more interested in the critique album because I'd like to see what people have to say. From my experience most often critiques relate to personal taste or style, but when you get enough saying the same thing then you can really learn from it.

One question would be if people can post images from their archives that were not taken in Meetup or during the time frames of the trips or challenges?

I would also like to suggest making it a 'sticky album' so it can be found easily.
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