Be nice, but be honest

Started Jun 4, 2012 | Discussions
drummerman Regular Member • Posts: 297
Re: Be nice, but be honest

Jere Landis wrote:

Boris wrote:

You should lead by example and show every one how a proper photo is done!....otherwise it sounds like self serving drivel.
Boris
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This is one of my favorites, pick away.

No fish?

regards

tedolf
tedolf Forum Pro • Posts: 26,648
Bingo.....

Jere Landis wrote:

T cameron wrote:

I agree I see a LOT of horrible photos on here. I think this forum actually has some of the worst actually. And I'm so surprised when I see only people praise the photos. Although they don't get to many comments really so that says something.

I don't want to be a jerk though and crush their enthusiasm. I guess if they are enjoying it then that's really all that matters. I think micro 4/3 has a lot more casual photographers than most formats.

When I first came here I cringed at the photos of micro 4/3 cameras. It really made me afraid to try the format. I now realize that it's not the camera it's just a lot of horrible photographers.

(I do see a few fantastic photos to though)

It's not so much the photogs themselves as those who lavish them with undeserved praise, instead of making suggestions and giving CC.

and that is a very deep rooted problem in an "arteeest" community.

TEdolph, RIP

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tedolf
tedolf Forum Pro • Posts: 26,648
He has.....

Boris wrote:

You should lead by example and show every one how a proper photo is done!....otherwise it sounds like self serving drivel.

and then he was attacked for doing so!

Boris
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Tedolph, RIP

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OP Jere Landis Senior Member • Posts: 1,933
Re: Be nice, but be honest

Boris wrote:

You are correct, if you post a photo you should expect criticism...and/or praise. But to start a tread to criticize peoples because they praise a photo that the OP (the almighty arbitrator of photography?) doesn't think deserves praise is self serving drivel!
Boris
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If you don't like the thread, move on, I don't care if you read it.

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gmac68
gmac68 Regular Member • Posts: 115
Re: Be nice, but be honest

Oh dear god, seriously? DOF is just horrible. Get yourself a nice .0005 aperture lens so you can focus only on the boy's smile. The skin tone is dreadful, does he not go in the sun ever? You should of waited for a fish on the rod, to give some action to the shot. You took it with a Cannon dSLR? Don't you realize dSLRs are dinosaurs?! Get yourself the EM-5 post haste! And never user AWB that's just asking for trouble. Oh I give up, just stop taking photos... trying to mimic some of the typical "suggestions" some like to post. All the above is sarcasm.

Its usually never the "suggestions" but how the suggestions are offered. More often then not, in condescending tone and more often then not the suggestions just aren't practical or in line with what the photo was intended to do by the author.

Nice photo, the sun and reflections are interesting. For someone who knows the boy, it probably evokes a nice memory. I would crop a little more in, to remove some of the empty area on the right. Also seems to me the boy is looking slight to the left of the camera and has no neck. But then that is real, and not posed. But none of that is necessary to make a pleasant picture and is just what I see.

Jere Landis wrote:

Boris wrote:

You should lead by example and show every one how a proper photo is done!....otherwise it sounds like self serving drivel.
Boris
--

http://public.fotki.com/borysd/

This is one of my favorites, pick away.

OP Jere Landis Senior Member • Posts: 1,933
Re: Be nice, but be honest

Here are a few odds and ends, pick away, but those who pick must post pics of their own or be quiet. You people have established that rule.

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SirSeth
SirSeth Veteran Member • Posts: 9,962
Your post sucks.

It's bigoted snobbery with a heavy overtone of judgementalism.

Awwww... just kidding. I was compensating because I didn't want to give you any undeserved praise. I do actually have some serious comments about this though. I think that criticism isn't as constructive as we think it is. I'm an educator and student of leadership and have given this a lot of thought. There is a book called Strengthfinder that really hacks at the pervasive idea that we must work on our weak areas in order to be fully successful. Many leaders feel it's their job description to evaluate for weaknesses so that they can help their people grow professionally. They believe their position dictates that they must oversee this growth in order to be a good leader. The problem is, it really doesn't work. If you focus on improving your weaknesses, you'll just be a well rounded mediocre performer. Strengthfinder is about leading from strengths, evaluating in order to build other's strengths, and discovering new strengths. And strengths are not always what you are good at, but what makes you feel amazing while doing them. Some people say they believe this, but in the end they simply try to give a positive spin on working on other's weaknesses. They start referring to weaknesses as "growth potentials" or other such nonsense.

Anyhow, on DPReview, some photos stink, but I don't feel a need to make the photographer feel good or to fix them. The type of feedback is heavily dependent on the relationship and level of permission given. People come here for lots of reasons. Some people really want to learn and be pushed. They solicit advice. I've done this quite a bit and have received really good feedback. But sometimes I just want to share and I don't care if you like the picture or not.

Best,
Seth

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OP Jere Landis Senior Member • Posts: 1,933
Re: Be nice, but be honest

gmac68 wrote:

Oh dear god, seriously? DOF is just horrible. Get yourself a nice .0005 aperture lens so you can focus only on the boy's smile. The skin tone is dreadful, does he not go in the sun ever? You should of waited for a fish on the rod, to give some action to the shot. You took it with a Cannon dSLR? Don't you realize dSLRs are dinosaurs?! Get yourself the EM-5 post haste! And never user AWB that's just asking for trouble. Oh I give up, just stop taking photos... trying to mimic some of the typical "suggestions" some like to post. All the above is sarcasm.

Its usually never the "suggestions" but how the suggestions are offered. More often then not, in condescending tone and more often then not the suggestions just aren't practical or in line with what the photo was intended to do by the author.

Nice photo, the sun and reflections are interesting. For someone who knows the boy, it probably evokes a nice memory. I would crop a little more in, to remove some of the empty area on the right. Also seems to me the boy is looking slight to the left of the camera and has no neck. But then that is real, and not posed. But none of that is necessary to make a pleasant picture and is just what I see.

Jere Landis wrote:

Boris wrote:

You should lead by example and show every one how a proper photo is done!....otherwise it sounds like self serving drivel.
Boris
--

http://public.fotki.com/borysd/

This is one of my favorites, pick away.

The area on the right is a part of the scene, as this is not a close portrait, nor meant to be. It has a painterly effect to it because of the golden hour sun and the beautiful color reflections in the dark water. The position of the subject fulfills the rule of thirds. The boy was relaxed an hunkered down and just looked my way when I spoke to him. He was previously really endulged in watching for a fish to bite. If it had been cropped more the rule of thirds would not have been fuldilled. The photo is a great one and involved a lot of luck. I have a 16x24 hanging on my family room wall. He is my grandson and there is not enough money to buy that photo.

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Crimguy Contributing Member • Posts: 506
Re: Be nice, but be honest

Sometimes the problem with criticism is that, as presented here, is nothing but negativity.

There is something to be said about balancing the negatives with the positives. I used to train new attorneys in trial practice. If I only told them what sucked they would probably all be contract attorneys now.

Also, heaping on criticism, one complaint after another, is never a good path. One problem at a time, right?

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Bob Tullis
Bob Tullis Forum Pro • Posts: 36,131
Re: Be nice, but be honest

Crimguy wrote:

Sometimes the problem with criticism is that, as presented here, is nothing but negativity.

There is something to be said about balancing the negatives with the positives. I used to train new attorneys in trial practice. If I only told them what sucked they would probably all be contract attorneys now.

Also, heaping on criticism, one complaint after another, is never a good path. One problem at a time, right?

Right.

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Detail Man
Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 16,807
Re: Be nice, but be honest

Bob Tullis wrote:

Crimguy wrote:

Sometimes the problem with criticism is that, as presented here, is nothing but negativity.

There is something to be said about balancing the negatives with the positives. I used to train new attorneys in trial practice. If I only told them what sucked they would probably all be contract attorneys now.

Also, heaping on criticism, one complaint after another, is never a good path. One problem at a time, right?

Right.

I will compliment an image posted when I sincerely do like it as it is. Many of my criticisms would not seem to really have constructive result. The subject-matter and/or the perspective is dull and boring - not much to be done about that after the fact. The lighting sucked - but if the photographer was not cognizant about the importance of lighting, it seems perhaps unlikely that they would change their ways just on account of my tastes. The highlight-detail is horrendously blown-out - again, it must have pleased their own eyes. The color saturation levels are egredious and look wretched on my monitor - the problem is that one has no idea what it looks like on their monitor. The image-noise is oppressive to the enjoyment of the content - once again, subjective.

When people strive to "get better at what they" do, they ought to refine their own self-criticism first - as it seems pointless to try to revolve around the (often quite subjective) preferences and personal tastes of other viewers. At that point, who cares about what others may judge, anyway?

DM ...

itairom Regular Member • Posts: 436
Re: Be nice, but be honest

Jere Landis wrote:

If they've posted it on the internet, they think for some reason it is exceptional. You don't post family snaps on the internet, it would be flooded. It is also usually posted to demonstrate how their new expensive camera or lens has done. If it isn't done well, what then? Are you honest or just try and make them feel good.

Plenty of people post snapshots on the Internet. Not everyone is striving for fine art or professional results. Some people are just excited about the snapshots that their MFT gear can make and want to share them, nothing wrong with that. The value of photography is different for everyone.

That said, it's pretty easy to tell the difference between someone posting a snapshot and someone posting more serious work for which they want C&C. And even in the latter case, while I do not advocate false praise, remember that good criticism is as much about the work's strengths as it is about its weaknesses. Even an unsuccessful photograph usually has some redeeming qualities, so posting a bunch of negative thoughts is just trolling.

gmac68
gmac68 Regular Member • Posts: 115
Re: Be nice, but be honest

The area on the right is a part of the scene, as this is not a close portrait, nor meant to be. It has a painterly effect to it because of the golden hour sun and the beautiful color reflections in the dark water. The position of the subject fulfills the rule of thirds. The boy was relaxed an hunkered down and just looked my way when I spoke to him. He was previously really endulged in watching for a fish to bite. If it had been cropped more the rule of thirds would not have been fuldilled. The photo is a great one and involved a lot of luck. I have a 16x24 hanging on my family room wall. He is my grandson and there is not enough money to buy that photo.

And that, really is why we take photos. You got the photo you want and cherish. All else is personal preference.

misolo Contributing Member • Posts: 945
Re: Be nice, but be honest

Jere Landis wrote:

The area on the right is a part of the scene, as this is not a close portrait, nor meant to be. It has a painterly effect to it because of the golden hour sun and the beautiful color reflections in the dark water. The position of the subject fulfills the rule of thirds. The boy was relaxed an hunkered down and just looked my way when I spoke to him. He was previously really endulged in watching for a fish to bite. If it had been cropped more the rule of thirds would not have been fuldilled. The photo is a great one and involved a lot of luck. I have a 16x24 hanging on my family room wall. He is my grandson and there is not enough money to buy that photo.

It feels to me like you just invalidated your own original post at the start of the thread.

In my judgment, this is not a great photo at all. It's an ok snapshot. Composition is ok-ish, but not particularly striking. The "model" is not interesting in any way. The body posture is really awkward, looks like a detached head that was photoshoped on a body. My preference would be for a different crop (square-ish, tighter on both sides; the rule of thirds is a guideline that sometimes make a photo look better, but it's not a legal requirement: sometimes there are better choices).

And here's the thing: there's no point in me telling you any of this, and I wouldn't have other than in the context of this thread you started. Because it was clear the moment you posted a so-so photo as being a prime example of your best work that this photo was very, very special to you. All your superlatives ("great photo", "a lot of luck", "not enough money to buy") will sound ridiculous (and even pathetic, in both senses of the word) to some others, but are absolutely true, valid and appropriate for you (and even endearing).

This is why people who are not a**holes (defective human beings with a broken sense of empathy) usually tread with care when providing criticism of other people's photos. Criticism is good, but encouraging negativity without being mindful of context just provides cover for people who enjoy being trolling a**holes to hurt others under the cover of the impersonality of online forums.

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Raven15 Contributing Member • Posts: 806
Re: Be nice, but be honest

Since you ask, I'd prefer if the color cast of the boy was a little more in line with the rest of the scene. He has the "neutral gray" look, which doesn't seem to reflect the greens and golds of his surroundings. Normally I don't comment...

Jere Landis wrote:

Boris wrote:

You should lead by example and show every one how a proper photo is done!....otherwise it sounds like self serving drivel.
Boris
--

http://public.fotki.com/borysd/

This is one of my favorites, pick away.

3DrJ Senior Member • Posts: 1,027
Re: constructive critique...

Of these shots, the most interesting was the last. The postures, and expressions, of the couple (presumably bride and groom), communicate their emotions, maybe anxiety, irritation, etc. It tells, at least hints at, their "stories", and evokes a response in the viewer of the photo. A "good" photograph depicts reality in some way that resonates with the viewer's experience.

The image might be improved by burning in the yellowish wooden frame of that first pew--it's a little distracting as it is. I might also "play" a bit with cropping to strengthen composition, place more emphasis on the couple.

While some regard it as heresy, to me it's perfectly OK to tinker with factors like "keystoning", the angular effect on linear forms in the photograph resulting from non-right angle point of view. (In this case, lens pointing downward.)

It could be useful to use "perspective control" in post-processing to "straighten" lines, as in the left side of the shot. Again, the point is not "perfection" or satisfying some theoretical idea of what things should look like, but to improve composition, and enhance the story you are trying to tell.

The other shots appear to be "studio" portraits, all "OK", but not revealing much about the subjects' individuality, therefore, are rather bland and not particularly compelling. Maybe that was the intention in making these shots; in any case, they lack emotional resonance, at least with this viewer, despite their fine technical merit.

JRA

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Amin Sabet
Amin Sabet Veteran Member • Posts: 6,763
If someone isn't asking for C&C, it's best not to offer any.

Some people want to show their photography just to show it. They may be interested in whether someone can appreciate their approach or intent. Often they aren't looking for kind of basic technical criticism people on internet forums offer in great abundance.

If you go around leaving unsolicited criticism, you stand a good chance of coming off like one of these critics: http://theonlinephotographer.blogspot.com/2006/06/great-photographers-on-internet.html

On the other hand, if someone asks for C&C, I absolutely agree that it is important to be honest (without being mean).

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Louis_Dobson
Louis_Dobson Forum Pro • Posts: 27,493
Re: Be nice, but be honest

It's a good shot. The light is excellent and it captures a mood very well: innocence of childhood, that sort of thing. I don't see that the rule of thirds adds anything, in fact it is damaging because there is quite a lot going on and having the boy off to the bottom left encourages the eye to select other subjects. So in my opinion if you wanted to crop it you could do so without worrying about the rule of thirds. However, I like the crop as it is, for other reasons.

I think it is rather better as a photo of record, of interest to those related to the subject, than as a general display photo.

Jere Landis wrote:

gmac68 wrote:

Oh dear god, seriously? DOF is just horrible. Get yourself a nice .0005 aperture lens so you can focus only on the boy's smile. The skin tone is dreadful, does he not go in the sun ever? You should of waited for a fish on the rod, to give some action to the shot. You took it with a Cannon dSLR? Don't you realize dSLRs are dinosaurs?! Get yourself the EM-5 post haste! And never user AWB that's just asking for trouble. Oh I give up, just stop taking photos... trying to mimic some of the typical "suggestions" some like to post. All the above is sarcasm.

Its usually never the "suggestions" but how the suggestions are offered. More often then not, in condescending tone and more often then not the suggestions just aren't practical or in line with what the photo was intended to do by the author.

Nice photo, the sun and reflections are interesting. For someone who knows the boy, it probably evokes a nice memory. I would crop a little more in, to remove some of the empty area on the right. Also seems to me the boy is looking slight to the left of the camera and has no neck. But then that is real, and not posed. But none of that is necessary to make a pleasant picture and is just what I see.

Jere Landis wrote:

Boris wrote:

You should lead by example and show every one how a proper photo is done!....otherwise it sounds like self serving drivel.
Boris
--

http://public.fotki.com/borysd/

This is one of my favorites, pick away.

The area on the right is a part of the scene, as this is not a close portrait, nor meant to be. It has a painterly effect to it because of the golden hour sun and the beautiful color reflections in the dark water. The position of the subject fulfills the rule of thirds. The boy was relaxed an hunkered down and just looked my way when I spoke to him. He was previously really endulged in watching for a fish to bite. If it had been cropped more the rule of thirds would not have been fuldilled. The photo is a great one and involved a lot of luck. I have a 16x24 hanging on my family room wall. He is my grandson and there is not enough money to buy that photo.

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Louis_Dobson
Louis_Dobson Forum Pro • Posts: 27,493
Re: Be nice, but be honest

Are these for the subjects, or for outsiders?

As shots for the subjects they are all fine. They are highly representative, and when the subject wants to look back in the future and see how she looked twenty years ago, she can.

As shots for outsiders, the girl on the railway track needs, in my opinion, a bit more light on the face - a reflector would have helped.

The girl leaning against the fence looking down a bit works really well, the other one, not.

If your purpose is to produce "art" of interest to people who have no idea who the subject is and don't care, then it might be worth studying those two shots and seeing how to reproduce the former. If your purposes is to produce pictures for the subject and her family then, inevitably, the shot I like best is the weak one.

Jere Landis wrote:

Here are a few odds and ends, pick away, but those who pick must post pics of their own or be quiet. You people have established that rule.

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OP Jere Landis Senior Member • Posts: 1,933
Re: Be nice, but be honest

itairom wrote:

Jere Landis wrote:

If they've posted it on the internet, they think for some reason it is exceptional. You don't post family snaps on the internet, it would be flooded. It is also usually posted to demonstrate how their new expensive camera or lens has done. If it isn't done well, what then? Are you honest or just try and make them feel good.

Plenty of people post snapshots on the Internet. Not everyone is striving for fine art or professional results. Some people are just excited about the snapshots that their MFT gear can make and want to share them, nothing wrong with that. The value of photography is different for everyone.

That said, it's pretty easy to tell the difference between someone posting a snapshot and someone posting more serious work for which they want C&C. And even in the latter case, while I do not advocate false praise, remember that good criticism is as much about the work's strengths as it is about its weaknesses. Even an unsuccessful photograph usually has some redeeming qualities, so posting a bunch of negative thoughts is just trolling.

Noone suggested posting a bunch of negative thoughts, truth is truth.

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