Surprised by two things

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by the_traveler, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. the_traveler

    the_traveler Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 12, 2011
    Columbia, MD
    Lew Lorton
    As a new member, more used to other forums, I am surprised by two issues, actually.

    The first is the overwhelming number of threads dealing with the particulars of equipment. I guess that make sense in an area that is exploding technically.

    The second is the relative lack of actual critical discussion on images. I went through several threads and the comments were limited to only positive 'attaboys.'

    Perhaps I am missing a section but is there an area devoted to more intensive critique on images?
  2. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Overall, the site is more of a sharing community, IMO, than a critical one. That is, sharing in each other's ideas and vision, than being critical of it. I think also there are a large number of amateurs here, from what I can tell.

    Many folks have already done the analysis on pics vs. gear posting here on mu-43, and there are a lot more pic sharing here than you might think. I don't see there being more gear talk here than other forums I've been at -- FredMiranda alt forum, DPR (actually, less gear talk than DPR) as two examples.

    However, if you ask or invite critical comments, you will get them. One thing I've noticed here, though -- if your pics are good, and you ask for feedback, you'll get it. If your pics are really bad and ask for feedback, sometimes you don't get it.

    Curious -- what sites have you been to, that you'd recommend for good, solid photo critique with far less gear talk?
  3. red

    red Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 21, 2010

    let's do some practice:

    please write all the critical points of these three randomly chosen pictures...

    [ 1 ]

    [ 2 ]

    [ 3 ]

    looking forward for some inspiring comments!
  4. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Folks here will offer suggestions and advice, particularly when a poster requests feedback. Personally, unless I see something that really jumps out at me as a problem or something I don't care for (over-cooked HDR, etc.) I tend to focus on the positive. There are some extremely talented photographers sharing on the site. I'm really not qualified to critique their work beyond stating my own preferences. :smile:
  5. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 5, 2013
    I would agree that there really isn't the serious critique here that I have seen over at Fred Miranda. But, in many ways photography is so subjective that I don't often agree with the critique I see at FM anyway. Maybe that is just a defense mechanism from me for the lack of appreciation that I received for what I thought were some really good photos I posted over there though.

    There are some very helpful and nice people at FM, but I think some feel the need to criticize every shot unless it comes from certain long time members.

    But, if serious critique is what you are after, this isn't your site. If you want to discuss gear and get some help every now and then and post pictures without much risk of getting trashed, this is the place to be.
  6. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
  7. F/Stop

    F/Stop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 9, 2013
    West Virginia
    Brian Y.
    second this.. some not so good pics do not receive "thanks" or comments in their thread. so therefore i take that as , not many people like that picture if they dont take the time to comment or like.

    i like this site because if there is criticism, is constructive.. not someone who is jealous trying to make you look bad, or just a plain ol' dick!:drinks:
  8. Post an image/s, and ask for comment on how it/they could have been done better.
  9. daimos

    daimos Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 23, 2010
    how about a thread on criticisms only ? if you post there, you will get comments like "what I would do is..." .
  10. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    There's more gear threads than photo threads, but I think that's pretty common to any general photo forum. In any case, if you'd like to skip the gear threads you can click on Active Discussions -> Latest Image Threads on the top left and it will show only image sharing threads.

    Generally, unless you specifically ask for criticisms and areas for improvement, this forum seems to operate under the "if you don't have anything nice to say..." axiom. However, if you post an image (especially under the Image Works subforum) with a request for comments you will usually get some constructive feedback.

    I've actually spent some time looking for places that focus on constructive feedback for your photography. Eventually I came away feeling like your two choices are "nice capture" kind of places, or free-for-alls where "critique" is apparently inseparable from sarcasm, insults, and general rudeness. People here tend toward being polite and encouraging, and sometimes overly so... but I have yet to find an alternative that didn't involve the feeling like you have to "survive" your critics. My conclusion is that apparently, constructive feedback and the art of the 'compliment sandwich' is a difficult skill to master :wink:
  11. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    This is spot on. The forum is about sharing. Unlike some forums where members slam each others images without asking, this forum is more civil. We don't criticize unless asked. That's how its been I think since day one.
  12. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)

    As others have pointed out, the culture here is not to offer criticism unless it is requested. I've seen more than one forum dominated by someone who feels it is their right and calling to offer largely negative criticism on everyone else's images, and that is a really bad situation to have. On the other hand, those who have asked for criticism and feedback on a thread generally receive those. If you always want criticism, it's easy enough to add a line in your signature indicating this.
  13. emptysensor

    emptysensor Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 8, 2011
    There are some phenomenal photographers on this forum, most of whom are very supportive and polite, and a very small number not so much so. I think it would be useful for Amin or his designee to designate a very small group of the cream of the crop as "fellows" or something similar to provide useful feedback to those who ask. What is a problem is when an inexperienced person who never takes a picture feels qualified to criticize someone who is a much better photographer than them. Creation of the fellow designation or senior board or whatever makes the feedback mean a lot more. I've seen maybe 10 or so people who would fit this level, in my opinion.
  14. snkenai

    snkenai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    I too have been on other forums, and found myself actually rebuked, for no apparent reason, except I did not know how to fit in with the community's "something", that I could not grasp. I don't stay around where I'm not wanted.

    Thanks again Amin, for keeping this place and the others of the SC community, a good place to stop by for a cupa' and chat. :coffee:

    Post here without fear! :2thumbs:
  15. the_traveler

    the_traveler Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 12, 2011
    Columbia, MD
    Lew Lorton
    It has always been my pinion that looking at pictures and understanding why they 'work' or don't is the most valuable educational tool of an Internet Forum.
    If an experienced photographer tells the poster why an image works for the him/her, then there is a model for the newbie both in thought and activity.
    Without someone parsing the content and explaining what points are effective and what isn't, a newbie has no way to understand.
  16. abepak

    abepak Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2013
    SFV, CA
    I never really liked this format for critiquing images. By that assumption, only great painters can critique other paintings and only great singers can critique other singers.

    Photography is an art form more than it is science. I shouldn't have to be a great painter to say why I do and don't like a certain painting, nor should I have to be a great singer to say why I do or don't like a particular singer or a song.

    I feel that as long as one can articulate WHY they think that photograph is good or not, it should be good enough. It's more important to move away from criticizing to critiquing.

    One of the reasons why I don't like posting pictures on dpreview is because from my experience, most people who comment ends up being pixel peepers with broad comments like, "well, with a picture this size, anything will look good. Where's the full pciture?" and the like..
  17. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    I guess we're all just really polite?

    I have to admit I do see images sometimes that I feel could be better in one way or another. But criticism is so rare here I don't want to look like the odd duck out.

    On the other hand, there are plenty of times I see members seek out advice and criticism. In those instances everyone has bee very helpful.

    So here's my opinion: I like the general friendly atmosphere on this forum, and hate for it to devolve into something less civil. People are always welcome to ask for criticism, but I don't think that should be a priority for the image threads.
    Now gear threads, you'll find plenty of heated discussions there! lol. I try to refrain but as long as everyone stays civil, it's all good. :thumbup:
  18. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I'll agree with abepak but for slightly different reasons.

    First, implementing this kind of suggestion tends to lumber the designated people with the task of providing feedback. They may not want to in a particular case but the poster asking for feedback may actually expect them to provide it, and that starts putting a load on individuals that really shouldn't be put on them. No one should be expected to have to provide feedback on what is an enthusiast's forum.

    Second, just because someone is an inexperienced photographer does not mean that they are inexperienced with composition (other artists) or image assessment (lots of design people) or simply don't have a good eye or can't make a useful suggestion. I'd like to think that good photographs should have an appeal to people who aren't good photographers so comments from people who aren't good photographers can include useful points as well.
  19. the_traveler

    the_traveler Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 12, 2011
    Columbia, MD
    Lew Lorton
    IMO, learning to formulate why (or why not) a picture is successful is the most valuable experience a viewer can have (on an Internet photo forum, that it.)
  20. chonbhoy

    chonbhoy Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 23, 2013
    Scottish Highlands
    I have actually found a lot of forums in the past nasty places, especially for the casual member like me, so I don't read on because of the crap that spews from those types of discussions and don't explore the forum much as a result. EGO has a lot to answer for creating these monsters of the web.
    I'm happy to say I don't see this type of behaviour on here, it's a breath of fresh air, kudos to you all :)
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