September 23, 2019

Dawn Till Dusk Richard Rawlings Photography Logo


You have sent off one of your photographs for a critique. To get other peoples opinions on the quality of your image.  let me ask you. What are they judging?

Peter Coulson

In one of his youtube videos, he says that he does not review other images. He qualifies this by saying that he was not there at the time the photographer pressed the button. This means he can not see what the photographer saw. He cannot understand what the image-maker was thinking. In fact, all he can judge is if the image is, what?

This is the thing, art, and yes I think photography is art, is highly subjective.


lets junk the opinions off others for a moment and consider some aspect that perhaps you might want to think about.

Is it in focus?

Always a difficult one to consider. There will be as many opinions about this as there are images. The question I always ask is whether the subject is sharp. Where do I want the viewer to look is that sharp.  The focal point in the image can vary depending on what you want the main subject to be. I know there are always people who say you should focus at x. X being hyperfocal or infinity, but it really depends on what you are looking at.

Depth Of Field.

How much do you want in focus?

Depth Of Field

This image would not have worked as well if I had a massive depth of field. As it is it makes me feel I can hold the flowers to the foreground and hints at the full story of the riverside. This is highly subjective. Disregarding opinions of others what do you want to say. A lot of images now are sharp front to back you know what is happening. Does this leave anything for the imagination? Does it leave space for the viewer to fill in the gaps?


What is right? Obviously blown highlights and blocky blacks are bad. What about a night. Your camera will try to make this 18% grey and brighten everything up. Put that out there it will look wrong but sometimes it could be right. (almost never but possible).


Where do you want the subject to be? How do the elements relate to each other? What is there that you have to leave out. There are some rules. Not so much rules as guidelines to what makes a good image. Really? Which opinions do you take into account? There are times when the “rules” are broken. However a word of caution. Knowing the rules enables you to break them and not get into trouble. But again it comes down to you behind the camera making a decision as to what where and how you use the camera.


Lets be blunt here. Gear does not matter. No really it doesn’t. Take a look at my instagram. Which of these was taken on my phone, my micro4/3rds, my full frame sensor. Gear makes you feel good, particularly with the opinions of gear philes. Really do you need all the flashy knobs and buttons. There are things on my cameras that I never use. I know they are there but never had to use them. More important is the following.


Practice with your camera so you know all the important controls you use daily.  Do you know where the cable release goes? How does a grad filter change things, how would you use the polariser. I can tell you what they do and you have probably read something about them but until you use them you don’t know.


Who’s opinion really matters. Yours or the person sat in an office looking and saying what they would change about your image even though they do not know anything about the conditions. What you were thinking. How you were feeling. The light, the subject. Most importantly what you wanted to say about it all. Good after all is only subjective and if you think it is good, then in the final analysis. Its good.


Enjoy your photography




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *