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Dash of Inspiration: Photo Critique

March 25, 2013

A Dash of Inspiration, A Cup of Creativity by Doreen

Photo Critique

I know this will sound like those commercials with the teenage kids telling the younger ones that ‘they’ve got it made’ being able to move the television anywhere through wireless feed, but it applies this week …

Amateur photographers today have it made. In the early 90’s, when I studied photography the internet was not ‘in every home’. Getting my photographs critiqued was something done through classes and through mailing prints made in my own darkroom to professionals in various groups run by the Photographic Society of America. Today, photographers can get great critiques online.

The amateur photographer absolutely must have constant critique of their work in order to grow. It’s simply impossible to see what areas you need to improve unless you have a trained eye. Any photographer that isn’t taking advantage of critique by professional photographers is effectively stunting their growth. With the internet today, there is a wealth of sites where the photographer can get critique online by a panel of professionals.

For any of you at GCU who are worried about your photographs meeting the submission guidelines, then you should be seeking critique somewhere by professional photographers. GCU offers the most variety of help and training I’ve ever seen and not only for utilizing their site, but professionals offer “how to” tips for improving card designs, marketing, and taking better photographs; including the Critique Clinic … ALL for FREE … yet sadly the Critique Clinic goes week after week with no entries.

Any photographer who can’t take constructive criticism about their photographs as a way to learn and improve their craft should choose a different field. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Blunt? Yes. Joining a group somewhere that is filled with photographers that tell you what you want to hear; “Oh it’s beautiful”, “Great shot”, therefore offering no constructive improvements is a waste of your time.

Find a site (or take advantage of the Critique Clinic here) that will offer honest opinions and specific ways to improve the photograph so you can learn something. If you never get criticized, just complemented then you aren’t learning. If you want to improve, you need to take a little beating. Did you know that in Photography classes they often teach that if you get ONE salable photograph out of every 36, then you’ve had a great photo shoot?

The idea of good critique is to help the photographer create better photographic images. Amateurs need to learn  how to “think” about their photography in a whole new light and how to notice potential problems before taking the shot.

When it comes to photography, you can not get away with saying “art is in the eye of the beholder”. Photography has some very basic technical areas which must be present to consider the piece worthy of submission (to any site). The one exception to some of these areas is Editorial Photography where content rates higher than quality for obvious reasons, which is why you see technically imperfect photos on and in the news. All other fields of photography have professionals trained to capture the subject by applying high-quality photographic standards. Equipment is not an excuse for photographs with poor technical aspects.

Of course the best critique will always come from someone whose skills you trust, such as; camera club members, photography teacher, or a professional photographer in your life who can become a mentor, but when none of these options are available seek online professional input.  Here are some places to check out in addition to GCU’s Critique Clinic (which is for all types of art and card design).

GuruShots is the premier site for professional quality Photo Critique. 130+ professional photographers provide amateurs with feedback. offers honest critique which is harsh, informed, and deep. As a community, they strive very hard to give very in depth reviews and suggestions. 

Digital Photography School – Photography Forums

So here’s hoping you’ve been inspired to use the Critique Clinic or find a way to get your photographs critiqued!  Till next week!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2013 1:52 pm

    Thank you for the info, Doreen. I have honestly learned more about photography from GCU and the photographers here than in every other place. I have much to learn still, but when I look back at my work over the past couple of years I can see the improvement because of the help I’ve received.

    • March 25, 2013 3:08 pm

      You’re welcome Tracie! I agree with you, I’ve seen how much you’ve grown at GCU. You are also one who seeks out constructive criticism on your work and I’m sure you’ve learned a great deal from that 🙂

  2. March 25, 2013 9:15 pm

    This is excellent advice and as always great tips. Great resources at your fingertips to learn & grow! Thank you for sharing Doreen.

    • May 21, 2013 2:37 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Mindy and you are welcome for the share!


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