NEW Photo Critique Forum Rules *READ BEFORE POSTING*

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^ broke something
Staff member

The intent of the Critique Forum is for personal growth. This is a place of learning, which comes from putting your work out there for others to provide feedback, and for you to give that same feedback to others. We want to promote honest feedback here. Do not be afraid to state that you don't like something, but be sure to include reasons why.

That being said, by participating in this forum, you must have a certain degree of humility and have thick enough skin to accept that not everyone is going to like your submission. Photography is art, and is personal to all of us. If you are unable to accept criticism, please, do not post your work here. We want to promote an environment where members can provide honest and fair feedback without running the risk of hurting someone's feelings.


1. Only one photo submission per day (24 hours). We don't want the forum to be monopolized by a single member.

Upload one image in your post. If you have a set of images, just provide a text link, either to your member gallery here on or off-site. If you are unsure how to do this, please ask.

Include as much info as possible along with your image:
  • EXIF data
  • Artistic intent/summary of the photo
  • What specifically do you want feedback on?

Photo submissions will be moderated. If the above 3 items are not included along with your photo, your thread will be deleted.


When providing feedback, you must include a score based on the 12 Elements of a Merit Image
(re-posted below for quick reference). The maximum score for any photo submission is 12.

1. You must include a total score at the beginning of your critique. Something along the lines of TOTAL SCORE: 10/12.

2. Do not include partial points, such as 8.5 or 9.3. Consider the 12 Elements, and decide whether the image meets the criteria or not.

3. If you have deducted points, you must include reasons why. See example critique.

Critiques that do not include a total score will be deleted. In addition, you must provide some sort of written feedback that is more than a simple "good job" or "I like it".

Be honest and fair when providing feedback to others. The goal of this forum is not to coddle or handhold for fear of hurting someone's feelings. At the same time, try to be encouraging and provide suggestions for improvement rather than be overly critical.
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Senior Member


Camera: Nikon D300s
Exposure: 1/500 @ f/4.5
Focal length: 62mm
ISO: 200
Lens: Tamron 28-75 f/2.8
5 bracketed shots w/ Photomatix Pro HDR

This is a photo I took last year while on vacation of a rusty old tractor that had been abandoned by the roadside. There was some other equipment behind the tractor and I tried to hide all of it by taking the photo at this angle. Do you think the subject is visually interesting, or just a case study to toy around with HDR?



-1 Creativity
-1 Subject Matter
-1 Story Telling

I like the photo as HDR. The style is a bit overcooked for my tastes, but I think I understand that the whole point of this photo is to use HDR to bring out and showcase the age of this abandoned old tractor. There isn't much of a story here, or anything that evokes emotion. That's often the case with any inanimate objects though.

The composition and lighting are good, it's a fundamentally sound photo. Would make an interesting wall hanger in someone's den.

Suggestions for improvement: Was this the only angle you attempted? If there was some undesirable stuff in the background, maybe some closeup shots of the engine details or the busted headlight would have been more interesting.
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Senior Member
12 Elements of a Merit Image
Twelve elements have been defined as necessary for the success of an art piece or image. Any image, art piece or photograph will reveal some measure of all twelve elements, while a visually superior example will reveal obvious consideration of each one. They are:

1. Impact
is the sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling images evoke laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion. There can be impact in any of these twelve elements.

2. Creativity is the original, fresh, and external expression of the imagination of the maker by using the medium to convey an idea, message or thought.

3. Technical excellence is the print quality of the image itself as it is presented for viewing. Retouching, manipulation, sharpness, exposure, printing, mounting, and correct color are some items that speak to the qualities of the physical print.

4. Composition is important to the design of an image, bringing all of the visual elements together in concert to express the purpose of the image. Proper composition holds the viewer in the image and prompts the viewer to look where the creator intends. Effective composition can be pleasing or disturbing, depending on the intent of the image maker.

5. Lighting—the use and control of light—refers to how dimension, shape and roundness are defined in an image. Whether the light applied to an image is manmade or natural, proper use of it should enhance an image.

6. Style is defined in a number of ways as it applies to a creative image. It might be defined by a specific genre or simply be recognizable as the characteristics of how a specific artist applies light to a subject. It can impact an image in a positive manner when the subject matter and the style are appropriate for each other, or it can have a negative effect when they are at odds.

7. Print Presentation affects an image by giving it a finished look. The mats and borders used should support and enhance the image, not distract from it.

8. Center of Interest is the point or points on the image where the maker wants the viewer to stop as they view the image. There can be primary and secondary centers of interest. Occasionally there will be no specific center of interest, when the entire scene collectively serves as the center of interest.

9. Subject Matter should always be appropriate to the story being told in an image.

10. Color Balance supplies harmony to an image. An image in which the tones work together, effectively supporting the image, can enhance its emotional appeal. Color balance is not always harmonious and can be used to evoke diverse feelings for effect.

11. Technique is the approach used to create the image. Printing, lighting, posing, capture, presentation media, and more are part of the technique applied to an image.

12. Story Telling refers to the image’s ability to evoke imagination. One beautiful thing about art is that each viewer might collect his own message or read her own story in an image.

(excerpted from an article for PPA by Bob Hawkins)
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