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Thread started 03 Mar 2010 (Wednesday) 14:49
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I give up trying to understand this forum...

 
int2str
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Mar 03, 2010 14:49 |  #1

I've been trying very hard to understand what makes a good photo based on the massive amounts of feedback provided on this forum. I've learned a ton and feel like I'm on a great journey improving my photography and looking at images in new ways.

However, I just completely don't "get" this forum... When I first got here and read many of the threads I felt that the feedback was "harsh" and "nit-picky" in many threads. But I felt that the feedback was appropriate and helped the people who started the thread. Personally, I also got a lot of harsh-but-true feedback on my threads. And I valued it a lot.

But more and more I see a disparage in feedback that I just don't understand. With some threads on here I see pictures which I would personally describe as "nice" or "well done" and then the thread only contains a few post with minor criticisms and ideas. Helpful for sure, but discouraging as well. On the other hand, I see a lot of threads with pictures that are, well, bad receive lots of praise. I just don't understand this.

Of course photography is subjective but why is there such a double standard here sometimes on things that most people usually seem to agree on?
I've seen many criticisms regarding white balance or color rendition when other photos get praised despite horrible color casts etc. I've seen shots that were obviously set up and planned be criticized as "snapshots" when other shots that are obvious snapshots get praised as great photos.

Honestly, to me personally that is very discouraging. I always perceived this forum as having a high quality threshold and honesty when it comes to feedback. But now I feel like I can't tell anymore if I'm taking nice pictures anymore or not.

And getting feedback from "outsiders" (non-photographers) is kind of hard some time because it sometimes seems a bit too easy to impress people.

As I said, I just don't get it...




  
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tonylong
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Mar 03, 2010 15:41 |  #2

Heh! Hey, it's a public forum and the Moderators take a pretty light approach to things. So, with a high volume of people on here at any time anything can go.

If a person is specifically asking to be critiqued or is in a thread that is geared toward critique, giving helpful may seem like "harsh" simly because of the forum format -- it's often not conversational so much and you don't pick up the "friendly tone" that you would if you were sharing your stuff in the living room with friends who care.

There's also the baby fans, kids-in-general fans and pet fans who will likely get effusive about the shot of your newborn/kids playing/dogs and cats doing what they do no matter if it is a faulty shot, just because a lot of people are responding to favored subject matter rather than photographic quality.

There are some threads here who have some good photographers offering good critique in respectful ways, but one thing that you see is it takes time for people to get familiar with you and your work and so you may have to post and contribute to a thread repeatedly before you get and solid critique. And, by nature, the critique may be short and to the point -- a White Balance problem, a hot spot problem, a composition improvement needed, etc, which are aimed to be helpful but can be short and maybe not feel so sweet on the surface.


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hsmoscout
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Mar 03, 2010 16:20 |  #3

tonylong wrote in post #9722322 (external link)
Heh! Hey, it's a public forum and the Moderators take a pretty light approach to things. So, with a high volume of people on here at any time anything can go.

If a person is specifically asking to be critiqued or is in a thread that is geared toward critique, giving helpful may seem like "harsh" simly because of the forum format -- it's often not conversational so much and you don't pick up the "friendly tone" that you would if you were sharing your stuff in the living room with friends who care.

There's also the baby fans, kids-in-general fans and pet fans who will likely get effusive about the shot of your newborn/kids playing/dogs and cats doing what they do no matter if it is a faulty shot, just because a lot of people are responding to favored subject matter rather than photographic quality.

There are some threads here who have some good photographers offering good critique in respectful ways, but one thing that you see is it takes time for people to get familiar with you and your work and so you may have to post and contribute to a thread repeatedly before you get and solid critique. And, by nature, the critique may be short and to the point -- a White Balance problem, a hot spot problem, a composition improvement needed, etc, which are aimed to be helpful but can be short and maybe not feel so sweet on the surface.

+1
Though I haven't been here long, I have noticed what the OP has pointed out. I just learn to accept it and I think it all depends on the individual situation.


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MikeMcL
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Mar 03, 2010 16:31 |  #4

Really though, what are most critiques worth? Many times it is just some knucklehead like me that has not received much formal training, and really has no place calling themselves a critic at all. I try to be specific about items that could have been done better, but sometimes the picture just misses the "awesome" mark and it is hard to identify.

Take the disparaging remarks with a grain of salt and the constructive ones to heart. I quit putting pics up here for critiques because most of the time the critiques were of no help to me. Unless you have some specific question like "how do i fix this" or "I need help saving this RAW", most of the time you get a "ooh that is a nice puppy"... of course i am being facetious, some folks here can really dig in and be analytical and thoughtful.

all in all, forums are filled with fools. there are a few diamonds in the rough, but don't get bent out of shape.


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mathogre
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Mar 03, 2010 16:53 as a reply to  @ MikeMcL's post |  #5

int2str, I fully grok. I don't put much up for c&c, mainly because I'm not particularly up for guidance by just anyone. I have posted some in the "Show Us your RAW Conversions" thread and have gotten some very good feedback. I've also entered the SMWYG (Show Me What You've Got) contests and have gotten good feedback from that when the folks have the time to provide it.

I'm an amateur, and am actively striving to improve. I don't think I'll ever going pro, but if nothing else I'd like to get to the point where, if I say, "Hey, I've got some new photos. Wanna see 'em?", those family, friends, and coworkers won't go running away from me.

In the end, they're my photographs. As with other parts of my life, I respect and consider the judgement of folks whose judgement I respect and trust. I work to bring joy with my photography. If I'm not doing that to a given audience, such as the folks here at PotN, then I reconsider my work and my audience.


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Jon
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Mar 03, 2010 16:56 |  #6

We try to keep this a friendly place, but we can't be everywhere. If you see a comment that you think is rude and doesn't offer any constructive advice, report

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int2str
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Mar 03, 2010 17:47 as a reply to  @ Jon's post |  #7

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind criticism on images - especially my own. My point is almost the opposite, I've just seen so many threads with tons of "awesome shot" replies that to my opinion far from deserve it - mostly based on the fact that other nice shots get a lot of nit picks. I just don't get the disparity some times. It's very discouraging to me since I am trying to improve but can't gauge the feedback well anymore.

As I said, I just don't understand the crowd here...

And you guys were my only hope :p




  
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tonylong
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Mar 03, 2010 17:58 |  #8

I'll chip in again and say I don't spend much time in C&C threads, for one because the type of photography I do is not often geared toward that type of discussion. I am active, though, in a couple threads in which people are very helpful, one that has some very good portrait/glamor photographer who participate in the thread and show their stuff and critique each other, and one that is about post-processing and has a ton of helpful people on board, so I think that part of it is finding some thread(s) where you can feel "at home".

One area where you do tend to run into problems is when it comes to critiquing style -- whether a style of shooting or a style of post-processing or both (as in the Dave Hill look). Each of us has our own preference, and often a particular look/style that just doesn't appeal to us. The least helpful comment about another person's style is "I'm sorry but I just don't like that look. It does nothing for me." yada yada. One would think that a person would "get that" and just not say anything, but we see pretty often that type of comment come up and you just cringe.


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10megapixel
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Mar 03, 2010 17:59 as a reply to  @ int2str's post |  #9

Awesome thread ! Nice job. :D

But seriously...I see a lot of what your talking about there as well. I have seen what I consider to be awful pictures get page after page of praise, and would start to wonder if I'm the one who just doesn't "Get it". I have accepted the fact that you can't please everyone, I just do my very best...which seems to be working so far. What makes a good photo? well, for me it's when a girl or boys mom/dad say's to me " I LOVED so and so's senior pictures! Thank you so much." that's the person I'm trying to impress. I could probably post those photo's here and they would get picked apart ( I have actually...lol), but like I said...you can't please everyone.

What really drives me nuts are the horribly OOF or under/overexposed pics that are thrown up for critique, wanting everyone to point out the blatantly obvious I guess, or maybe they are just blind...who knows. I'm amazed that these people even found the power switch on the camera sometimes.



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snyderman
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Mar 03, 2010 18:34 |  #10

agree with tony long on the 'kids/pets' sections. Among the worst work I've seen posted here, but many times gets the most praise. And by the way int2str, who's going to call someone's baby UGLY? It just doesn't happen!

Look at the good stuff for what it is, pass by the not-so-good.

dave


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dlpasco
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Mar 03, 2010 18:46 |  #11

Good post and I agree. As Mathogre says, there are those whose opinion I respect.

mathogre wrote in post #9722790 (external link)
I'm an amateur, and am actively striving to improve. I don't think I'll ever going pro, but if nothing else I'd like to get to the point where, if I say, "Hey, I've got some new photos. Wanna see 'em?", those family, friends, and coworkers won't go running away from me.

This quote reminds me of an "in between tracks" conversation from one of my favorite albums - "Will the Circle be Unbroken". It is the warm-up for a song by John Denver. You hear a number of musicians tuning their instruments, limbering their fingers and so on. One musician asks John, "Is this practice?" To which John Denver replies, "Yes. They're all practice."

I apply this to photographers and the subjective distinction between amateur and professional. I know a great many amateurs in many walks of life whose quality of work surpasses a great many professionals. May we all be as humble as John Denver and strive to practice with every click of the shutter. More importantly, I hope I can continue to enjoy every click.


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Mar 03, 2010 22:32 |  #12

hmmmm just enjoy the forum hehe...

same here, I don't get much feedback when I need some on my photos whether harsh or construction crticisim... but then I learned to enjoy other threads while learning :)


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cdifoto
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Mar 03, 2010 22:35 |  #13

int2str wrote in post #9722007 (external link)
I've been trying very hard to understand what makes a good photo based on the massive amounts of feedback provided on this forum.

You think that's bad? Try getting feedback on a business card. ;) :lol:


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cdifoto
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Mar 03, 2010 22:42 |  #14

10megapixel wrote in post #9723150 (external link)
What makes a good photo? well, for me it's when a girl or boys mom/dad say's to me " I LOVED so and so's senior pictures! Thank you so much." that's the person I'm trying to impress.

Anytime I'm feeling down, I ask my clients what they think.


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Lazuka
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Mar 04, 2010 11:33 |  #15
bannedPermanent ban

Always consider the source when getting inappropriate feedback. The strengths of this forum by far outweigh the weaknesses.


I suck at Photoshop.

  
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