The Purpose . . .

. . . of critiquing  photographs should be to help photographers to improve their work  through a better understanding and proficiency in the technical aspects  of photography and the theory of visual literacy, and this while helping  the photographer maintain his or her individuality and way of seeing.
 The critique should attempt to open the photographer's own thought  process; it should not be an attempt to change the photographer into a  clone of the assessor - the very curse to creativity.
  It is essential to determine the photographer's purpose for making the  image: Was it to be a clinical study, story illustration, social  documentary, fine art piece or perhaps an entry for a competition? Only  then can the critique be properly focused to assist the photographer  along an effective learning path. 

Critique Guidelines

 1. TECHNICAL QUALITY Editors, judges and evaluators all agree: a successful photographic image must have good technical quality to start with.  

  • FOCUS: Is the image sharp? If not, is it intentionally soft and successful? 
  • CLEANLINESS: Is it free of scratches, dust spots, stains, lens flare, etc? 
  • EXPOSURE: Is it too light, too dark or just right? 
  • LIGHTING: Does the lighting have too much contrast, is it flat or just right? 
  • COLORS: Does it have neutral colors or a color cast that degrades the image? 

2. COMPOSITION Affected by the camera viewpoint and focal length of the lens. It can raise an image from a technical success to an artistic success!  

  • BALANCE: Is the image aligned correctly or is it crooked? 
  • LOGIC: Is the arrangement of the visual elements effective? 
  • PURPOSE: Is there a strong centre of interest, pattern or design? 
  • CLARITY: Is it simple, yet complete and without distracting elements? 

3. EMOTIONAL APPEAL The vital element for a truly great image, making it unique and memorable.  

  • DYNAMIC: Does it grab and keep your attention?   Does it have the "wow" factor? 
  • PROVOCATIVE: Does it excite your imagination, or create a strong emotion in you? 
  • CREATIVE: Does it show a familiar subject in a new, unusual and yet effective way? 
  • UNUSUAL: Does it show a very unusual subject in an effective way?