Talking Critically About Images Helps Us All In Our Craft

August 21st, 2013

ArtHistoryI’d like publicly thank Scott Hargis for the time he puts into the judging and giving feedback comments on the PFRE Photographer of the month entries. If you look at the comments on this months contest contestants, you’ll see that he’s commented on almost all of the 32 entries this month. This takes a lot of time, and the comments are insightful

As I told Scott I’ve only met a few people that can talk as analytically about images as he can. One of the reasons I loved Art History class is that the professor I had talked about images like Scott does. She talked about space, a lines and composition and how the viewer’s attention moves through the image. I think to make strong effective images we need to know how images work and how the viewer interacts with the image. Strong images are not accidents.

The consistent strength of Scott’s images show that he has thought a lot about how images work and what makes images effective. This is what makes his feedback contest contestants so valuable. It’s valuable for the contestants, and it’s valuable to just go through and look at the entries and read his feedback.

I’d like to encourage others to participate this critical image discussion and feel free to say more than, “I like it”. Why does it work, or not work for you? This contest is a great educational opportunity.

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11 Responses to “Talking Critically About Images Helps Us All In Our Craft”

  • Peer critique is THE best free resource to improve your photography. The second best resource is your competition’s portfolios.

  • I can’t seem to find comments lol!
    Am I missing something?

  • @Cal- Comments are at the bottom of each photo. Depending on your screen size the comments may be off your screen to the bottom.

  • Good post. Agree about Scott’s comments. Having comments like his is an incentive to enter a photo.

  • Forgot about that Chromatic aberration button…

  • @John- Yea, as Scott pointed out, there are a lot of people that forgot about the CA button in LR. I’m working on a post to remind everyone that it’s there:)

  • I forgot about CA on a few images when starting off too, so I created an LR preset that included all the functions that I KNOW I need on every RE image (lens profile, CA, slight boost of vibrance & saturation, noise reduction). Just import, select all, apply preset. Pick just those few things you KNOW you will need corrected due to lens limitations or personal color tastes, and your workflow will speed up 10x.

  • In regards to what Jeff said LR presets are your FRIEND!! They help us standardize the edits on our files and save LOTS of time in Post!!

  • Larry,

    I a good way to ensure you check up CA and other basic editing like lens profiles is to apply that during importing into LR. For my import setting I created a preset called Basic Settings. That setting has the current process version which is the 2012 or current version, under lens corrections I have the under the basis setting and checked off the CA and Lens profile options. Lastly, I put the sharpening to zero. This Basic Setting gets applied whenever I import.

    Ethan

  • I would suggest being careful when considering the kind of criticism offered in an unsupervised public forum on the Internet. People offering criticism will have very different levels of skill, experience, etc., and tastes of the participants may vary considerably as well. The best advice will usually be that of the most experienced and skilled professionals, but even they can differ among themselves sometimes as to best business and technical practices, and their tastes and styles may be very different.

    Unlike painters, illustrators,, sculptors, graphic artists, etc., many professional photographers do not seek out formal training in their medium, where organized critiques of student work, as well as study of the history of the medium, are common. I think the experience of participating in group critiques supervised by an experienced teacher is very useful for learning how to give and receive criticism. Also, Art history classes can be very useful, to understand the broader tradition of image making, of which photography is a part.

  • David Eichler August 24th, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    “” I would suggest being careful when considering the kind of criticism offered in an unsupervised public forum on the Internet. People offering criticism will have very different levels of skill, experience, etc., and tastes of the participants may vary considerably as well. The best advice will usually be that of the most experienced and skilled professionals, but even they can differ among themselves sometimes as to best business and technical practices, and their tastes and styles may be very different.””

    My thoughts exactly! Thanks for posting this.

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