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09/20/2002 09:37:34 AM · #1
When you critique a photo and suggest that a photographer do something differently, do you ever consider the overall impact that your request will have on the photo?

If you ask for a different perspective, do you not wonder what that may introduce into the image that is not already there?

If you ask for different lighting, do you consider what that would do to the existing lighting?

If you ask for more depth of field, do you consider what that will do to the current part of the image that is blurred?

:)
09/20/2002 10:08:11 AM · #2
Yep.



* This message has been edited by the author on 9/20/2002 10:06:30 AM.
09/20/2002 10:10:38 AM · #3
And when you do this, are you still sure that it would make the photo better?
09/20/2002 10:20:11 AM · #4
How can one be sure?
Of course I am not sure.
That's why they are suggestions which I put forward for the photographer to think about.
And sometimes they come back to me and say "That viewpoint was chosen because there was an ugly XYZ to the left" or "I tried it with a different DOF and the background began to distract the foreground object" and other times they come back to me and say "I hadn't though of cropping this picture as portrait, I am going to try it right now" or some other such comment.
The point is that comments are about suggesting other possibilities. Of course every suggestion for change means the result will be a different photo, but for many photographers the whole point of coming here is to get ideas about what changes they could have made to turn a mediocre photo into a great one or a great one into something truly astounding.
There will be many times when there are good reasons for the photographers' choices. But equally there are entries where the photographer may not have thought of some of the suggestions they receive, and may themselves find that these ideas interest them.
And of course, there is the whole thing about learning what different audiences like and dislike in the shots, even if a photographer doesn't personally want to change a photo, it's interesting to learn about all the different preferences and tastes out there.
Lastly, even if the image has turned out just exactly as the photographer envisages, that doesn't make an opinion from any individual about the photo less valid. The fact that the photographer meant the XYZ to be ABC doesn't mean all viewers have to like that aspect and comments are about passing on those viewpoints.
Kavey




* This message has been edited by the author on 9/20/2002 10:21:34 AM.
09/20/2002 10:22:40 AM · #5
I totally agree with kavey on this one.
09/20/2002 10:22:57 AM · #6
I'm considering posting some examples of what I am talking about here :) I need to get permission from the owners of the photgraphs though...
09/20/2002 10:23:03 AM · #7
Originally posted by jmsetzler:
And when you do this, are you still sure that it would make the photo better?


They are, after all, only suggestions. As in, "this might work" or "here's an idea" or "perhaps, if you were lpanning to reshoot anyway".

Yes, I do consider those things that you mentioned, but in the end, only the photographer knows how the suggestions will TRULY imact the photo because only the photographer is aware of the lighting choices made, the compositional distractions hidden by his framing, the details of the subject matter itself, etc.

I have started adding to my comments "Take what you can use, disregard the rest", but I wish that everyone would just adopt that attitude; it makes for much friendlier, much more open dialogue on photos.

My two cents.
Dawn

09/20/2002 10:26:44 AM · #8
Originally posted by just-married:

I have started adding to my comments "Take what you can use, disregard the rest", but I wish that everyone would just adopt that attitude; it makes for much friendlier, much more open dialogue on photos.


I had always, naively, assumed this went without saying. Perhaps from now on I will include something similar. But it rankles to be thinking about including a disclaimer with every comment.
"I the aforementioned commenter, appreciate your photo may be exactly as you intended and therefore accept that this comment may be of no interest you whatsoever but make it in the spirit of helpfulness, in the hope that it might help you."

;)
09/20/2002 10:29:03 AM · #9
Kavey, that disclaimer should be automatically implied :) Some suggestions I see don't really come across as suggestions however... "You should have done this" is not really a suggestion... "Mabye if you had tried this" is a suggestion :)
09/20/2002 10:32:11 AM · #10
it's a fine line to walk ..

09/20/2002 10:33:03 AM · #11
Oh, okay, John. Now you get to a different topic. I think that is simply a matter of TACT. Some people never learned it or else don't care to exercise it. Generally I try to view their "suggestions" in the context of the other comments I got that week and my own feelings about the aspect in questions.

I don't think we're going to really repair those people who are just plain rude.

:-D Sorry if you're getting crummy comments.
Chin up,
Dawn

Can't type

* This message has been edited by the author on 9/20/2002 10:40:48 AM.
09/20/2002 10:33:26 AM · #12
Originally posted by jmsetzler:
Kavey, that disclaimer should be automatically implied :) Some suggestions I see don't really come across as suggestions however... "You should have done this" is not really a suggestion... "Mabye if you had tried this" is a suggestion :)


That's a fair point.
I can't say with definite knowledge that I haven't framed comments that way, especially when tired and in those challenges where I commented every single image ;)
My preference though is to highlight those aspects of the photo I do like and then to add that my preference would be for XYZ or that I don't like the composition and would personally prefer it if it were ABC.

Interesting question.




Sheesh with the typos today.



* This message has been edited by the author on 9/20/2002 10:33:02 AM.
09/20/2002 10:42:37 AM · #13
I don't think there is a problem with suggesting a change, but I think the form of the suggestion can make a tremendous difference in how it is received. Consider these two comments...

"To my taste, the lighting is a little harsh. Did you consider bouncing your light source off of a wall? But that's just me :) Nice image!"

or...

"Lighting harsh, use a larger source"

Both say essentially the same thing... Which comment would you rather get? Which comment would you be most likely to take to heart? Which comment would you leave?

...But that's just me :)
09/20/2002 10:48:11 AM · #14
I believe that lighting is a particularly difficult subject. Subtle changes in lighting can create a major change in the photograph.
09/20/2002 10:57:10 AM · #15
Originally posted by jmsetzler:
I believe that lighting is a particularly difficult subject. Subtle changes in lighting can create a major change in the photograph.


After a re-read of the thread I think I missed the point, huh? It's not how it's worded, it's have we considered what our change would look like...

I have been told I should have moved more to the left on a shot where moving more to the left would have given a far worse background and also would have sent me plummeting to my death. I'm not sure which affect the commenter thought would have made the most improvement, but I had to discount the suggestion. Personnally, where I am in my skills and vision, I can use all the suggestions I can get. I've often gone back and revisited shots, making changes that were suggested here. Some of them have helped me tremendously. Others, well...

Personnally, I would rather get 9 suggestions that would worsen the shot and 1 suggestion that might just help, then to get no suggestion. I feel it's my job to weed through the "change this, change that" comments to find any that might just help.

But that's just me :)

* This message has been edited by the author on 9/20/2002 10:57:03 AM.
09/20/2002 01:15:52 PM · #16
John, We could start with this one. There were a few comments that people wanted me to change things that were intentional. Like the flowers. Someone thought it would look better with a stuffed animal. I did'nt get stuffed animals for Easter. Just candy and a fun hunt for eggs. The flowers are to show spring time. That is when East is. And the lighting, I liked the look of the lighting. It made it look like a dream or memory. And the title, why would I change the title? hmmmm...
09/20/2002 01:19:06 PM · #17
Those are examples of asking for a totally different photo than what you submitted...
09/20/2002 01:19:25 PM · #18
Originally posted by Sonifo:
John, We could start with this one. There were a few comments that people wanted me to change things that were intentional. Like the flowers. Someone thought it would look better with a stuffed animal. I did'nt get stuffed animals for Easter. Just candy and a fun hunt for eggs. The flowers are to show spring time. That is when East is. And the lighting, I liked the look of the lighting. It made it look like a dream or memory. And the title, why would I change the title? hmmmm...

Early Morning Hunt
This is a bad link. Click on the link in the next relpy. I feel like a dork. lol

* This message has been edited by the author on 9/20/2002 1:59:07 PM.
09/20/2002 01:59:09 PM · #19
[Early Morning Hunt
Sorry about that. I hope this is right.
09/20/2002 02:48:13 PM · #20
If the photographer has to shoot in awkward light or use an awkward/unflattering angle, use a DOF that does not flatter the subject. Perhaps that photographer needs to wait/find better conditions to shoot. Recognizing good backgrounds, and good lighting are important parts of photography.


What are you trying to get at here John?

Originally posted by jmsetzler:
And when you do this, are you still sure that it would make the photo better?



09/20/2002 02:57:01 PM · #21
I'm trying to decide if suggesting a different photo is appropriate or not... A lot of the suggestions I see would completely change the photo.

When I post a photo for critique, I look for critique about what IS in the photo... not necessarily what should be there or what could be there... I want to know what the viewer thinks about the photo as it is presented. I don't mind suggesions at all though. When I get and see other suggestions, I rarely get anything about what IS in the image and it makes me think that what I have presented is not what the viewer wants to see. If suggestions are made, that is ok, but I would love to know what you think about what you see as well. When I get nothing but suggestions for change, it leaves me with the impression that what I posted is undesirable.


09/20/2002 03:53:29 PM · #22
I understand now. Some people here are very good at expressing that. I am not one of those. I can rarely do it with my own photos. A lot of my appreciation of photography and other art comes from the surface. I am afraid I am not a deep thinker when it comes to art. Might be my math/engineering background.

There are times when I look at some photo and think they should not have been taken, or taken at a different time of day.

Do you try to convey a specific feeling with each image?

* This message has been edited by the author on 9/20/2002 3:53:02 PM.
09/20/2002 04:44:45 PM · #23
Originally posted by jmsetzler:
I'm trying to decide if suggesting a different photo is appropriate or not... A lot of the suggestions I see would completely change the photo.

When I post a photo for critique, I look for critique about what IS in the photo... not necessarily what should be there or what could be there... I want to know what the viewer thinks about the photo as it is presented...


1) All my suggestions are just that, and that's also how I try and phrase it.
2) I do try and consider the overall effect a suggestion would have, both visually, and whether the change detracts from or enhances any underlying effect, emotion, or message I believe the photographer is trying to convey.
3)
A. I can say: <I think> Your image would be stronger if you cropped some off the right and bottom.
or,
B. I can say: <I think> Your image is too cluttered with extraneous stuff at the bottom, and looks unbalanced with all that extra blank sky on the right.

I think that "A" implies "B", while also offering a possibly helpful alternative, and accentuating the positive aspects of their efforts rather than disparaging what might be the weaker parts.
09/20/2002 05:44:02 PM · #24
I think sometimes a photo IS undesirable or unsuccessful and that asking for a new photo altogether is not objectionable in the least, as long as the suggestions that move in that direction are tactful.

Remember that each comment/suggestion is just the opinion of one viewer. Decide whether you think there is any merit in the comment and move from there.

I see plenty of pics all the time that are built around a good concept, but which didn't result in strong photos IMO. I try to present suggestions in those cases as to what might make a stronger photo and that very often involves changing one or many aspects.

There's nothing wrong with this IMO.
Dawn
09/20/2002 06:18:15 PM · #25
John, when you commented on Corner Drugstore, you said :

"This is a nicely done image... I definitely like the subject matter... The top down view seems a bit strange to me though... I would have preferred to see a lower angle photo... this particular view removes the sense of depth from the image... it becomes more two dimensional in this perpsective... - jmsetzler"

... which suggests a drastically different picture. I want to thank you for this comment because it forced me to look through previous shots I've done (Stone Age Cuisinart for example) and rethink a habit of mine. Yes, you asked if I had thought of shooting it a completely different way, and No, I hadn't thought of it, but Yes, now I have and I like it :) I don't know how you could have helped me see things from a different angle without suggesting that it may have made it better.

Granted, not everyone words these suggestions very well... The phrasing you used assured me that it wasn't 'undesirable', just that it could have been more desirable :)

* This message has been edited by the author on 9/20/2002 6:21:08 PM.
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