Home Forums Main YANAP Discussion Forum Some Concerns of Mine

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    Eye doc,

    why not step in and give your 2 cents when you feel others are being caustic and unfair? Or when you feel encouragement needs to be given? Then maybe their critique will feel more balanced to you, and to them.

    I get what you are trying to say, but the only reason why your bedside manner worked, is because she had already been told the truth about her condition. If she had been your patient first, then you would have been the barer of the bad news. Of course, you wouldn’t have said there’s nothing to be done and instead, given her her shot/treatments, while saying something like “let’s try to prolong this as long as possible” but the “critique” would be the same.

    I have to say though, I would have hated if my doctors hadn’t been straight forward and no nonsense with me, and gave me a false sense of “everything will be alright, we’ll make you 20/20 again”. I did much better hearing the truth “your left eye is a goner, it’s all about trying to save your right eye at this point, and it won’t be as straight forward as we originally thought”. Honesty without fluff. It’s what I like, and want for myself and so, I do my best to be honest as I can to others as well. Ebi is my favorite contributor on the forum. Straight, and to the point, and what we all thought/think at first glance, but try to reword a different way, or elaborate on when we post. If I could pick just one person to critique my work online from here on out, it would be Ebi. Yes, it’d be more work on my part to ask questions and pull more out of them, but I know I wouldn’t be bullshitted, and I wouldn’t have to sift through pleasantries to get the help/information I needed.

    Interested in a good no bull crap critique, and haven’t got the time to make nice, and rather hear things straight up? YANAP is pretty ok for that, but here might be even better if it’s an individual shot you need help/critique on.

    How to Get Genuine Feedback On Your Photographs

    That’s right. There are so many “nice” forums and Facebook groups and “oohing and ahhing” friends and family, that people felt the need to cut the crap, and start a “negative only” critique forum. Need encouragement? Post a couple pictures on Facebook, by the end of the day you’ll feel like the next best thing. I feel it’s just unnecessary and maybe even detrimental to add more ego boosting to what we are all exposed to every time we share.

    The first time I sought out critique/help with a photograph it took me weeks to find the help I needed. All I got was empty praise “great shot! Beautiful! You did a fabulous job! Great capture!” Uurrrrgh! I wanted to pull my hair out and scream! “No! I need your help! Why did this happen, why did that happen? I made a good shot, but it wasn’t what I was after, and I have no understanding of my lighting at all, and not only would I never be able to duplicate it if I tried, I still don’t know how to get what I really wanted! Help me understand it!”

    Look truth is. If you received a more positive critique, it’s because your photography is better than someone who didn’t, or due to the fact that you aren’t selling your services. Pros get harsher more critical feedback, than amateurs do. Rightfully so.


    And I feel I should add, that I have never seen ebi’s work.  It’s irrelevant to my own.  I also feel it’s up to the person receiving critique to direct by asking for elaboration, and asking questions.  We shouldn’t expect to be spoon fed.  Our photography calls for our effort, no one else’s.  It’s a gift when someone gives their time to criticize.


    EyeDocPhotog – I’m not mad at you and I understand the reasoning. Trust me I take nothing on here personally.
    I guess myself and IHF were thinking the same thing at the same time. I too value Ebi’s word and comment while never seeing his work, well except 1. Now Ebi has lately become a little more tactful and not as rough as he was before, but I find his approach to be very insightful as it is direct.

    I’m not sure how the other’s approach is, but mine is that I try to find some positive within a set of photos then address any issues that I see. I try to always state my take on the CC and leave it open for more or less by others.
    I think it is imperative to have a thick skin in this industry, not matter if you are a hobbyist, amateur or seasoned pro. You can’t please everyone all the time, especially in a very subjective world like photography. But no matter what the photography subject is, the fundamentals do not change.

    I don’t like to just look at someone’s work and just tear it down and tell them they suck, but at the same time I don’t want to give them false hope if they really do suck. I think it is better to get real world and honest feedback than just fluff.
    I tell my students this all the time, never trust the opinions of friends and family. Take a chance, do your best and present your work to the masses and build upon the feedback you receive. Of course not all of it is going to be glowing reviews, so this is why I tell my students, to be prepared and don’t take it to heart but use it for the next photo that you take.
    I tell them my rendition of an old saying I heard, “If you perform the same procedure each time and expect different results, then your freaking crazy!”

    What I think really bothers a lot of people on here is the fact that many of these so-called “pro’s” are charging for their services and offering sub-standard photos with bad compositions, out-of-focus shots, tasteless poses, and more. All while using an entry level point-n-shoot camera or using decent cameras in full auto mode and having no clue what any of the laws of photography are or what good composition is. These are the signs that tell “us” that you may not know what your doing, but they continue to charge people while using them for their learning curve.

    Worst Case Scenario

    Please don’t pull any punches


    Eye Doc, What if a patient specifically asks you to give it to them straight and then starts complaining that you were too blunt?



    Wow, this is like a long winded response to one of my harsh critiques. Sorry I’m so late to the game.

    I’ve looked around this site at some of the (overwhelmingly negative) feedback that many (if not most) “fauxtographers” are receiving. Constructive criticism by definition should also point out what is working – i.e. apparent strengths that can be built upon.

    Uh, no it shouldn’t. It CAN contain positive feedback but it doesn’t have to. I mean, if you want to be a pussy about your critique, you can point out some good stuff. But you are typically addressing adults in a critique so they should be able to handle it. If they can’t, it’s a tell-tale sign that they aren’t cut out for this business.

    Now one thing that really strikes me is that many of these people giving out the criticism have years and decades of experience as professional photographers but since they hide behind avatars we don’t see any links to examples of any of their work as examples of what exceptional or bona fide photography is.

    Art critics are rarely artists themselves. Film critics don’t typically make films. Why do photo critics need to be photographers? Art is incredibly subjective and to judge ones critique based on their own work doesn’t help you. It only gives you a reason not to accept their critique. The critic’s work is irrelevant to what you need – an honest opinion. It is relevant to what you really want – a reason to feel good about yourself. I have no interest in making you feel good about yourself. I do want to help you, though. Pointing out the positive things you are doing, don’t really help you. Pointing out what is wrong does and then it is up to you to figure out how to fix it. I can provide some pointers but I think that just complicates the issue. As a photographer, my hardest job is solving problems while on the spot. Practice makes perfect.

    If Gordon Ramsay or Raymond Blanc for example were to write blogs lambasting the poor quality of food served in burger vans, greasy spoon cafes or pubs we could take every word they say practically as gospel. Everyone knows who they are – Michelin star awarded chefs, the elite of their profession but even they don’t get rave reviews from food critics 100% of the time.

    You could not pay me to eat at one of their restaurants, just as you couldn’t pay me to take critic from an accomplished photographer. I’ve listened and watched the critiques of some of these so-called professional photographers that charge big money to let them say nice things and be gentle about the bad things about your work. I see no value in that.

    Overall the impression I get is one of fear of and attempts to discourage competition from less experienced market entrants who can undercut prices in a tough economy. It’s the same train of thought as the long running rage against microstock . Yuri Arcurs for one has done very well out of microstock but any claim that he is not a professional photographer could not be taken seriously given the size of his business.

    I’d say we are trying to discourage faux’s from ripping off consumers. Personally, I could care less about people who are undercutting. That isn’t really how I operate. I don’t go into a project trying to “make a deal”. Client’s ask my rate, we negotiate a little bit but I don’t budge that much. If anything, they get less for less, not more for less. As for microstock – stock is typically the bottom of the barrel. And if stock is the bottom of the barrel, you can imagine what we think about microstock. Stock imagery, just like most photography, is expensive to produce. There is a lot of risk with very little reward. I’m less interested in volume and more interested in creating beautiful images. So I work less and make more per job. It pays off in the end. That dude most work like a dog. That sucks.

    The one from the list I find hilarious is that if you use selective colouring you are not a professional photographer. Now I can go into a place that sells wall posters and find an A1 size photograph of a yellow taxi in a New York street – only the taxi is in colour the rest is black and white. There are many versions – put “New York taxi poster” into Google images to see what I mean – most of the results are colour pops. It may be cliche and rather ubiquitous but I’m willing to bet it sells in significant volume.

    So, the objective here is to make a ton of money, not take beautiful and meaningful photographs? I’d rather do both, but if I had to choose just one, i’d take beautiful and meaningful photographs. Don’t get me wrong, I do jobs for the money too. Just as actors make bad films for the money and then do an artful film. But even those money jobs are done on my terms. I still am interested in doing the best I can with the resources I have.

    So come on all you seasoned pros – pick up the gauntlet and show the rest what to aspire to.

    No, I don’t want you to aspire to me. I want you to do your own thing, your way and I’ll let you know what I think. You can take it or leave it.


    IMHO, every response to the original post has been a “whole lot of who shot john,” with nothing substantive. In fact, Ebi goes the extra mile by contradicting himself not once but twice.

    What is so terribly cumbersome about posting your own work with a “here ya go.”?


    What is so terribly cumbersome about posting your own work with a “here ya go.”?

    As has been pointed out in this thread, most of us have put links to some of our photos somewhere on this site.  Some are in Photography Showcase and some are buried in one or more of the threads.  After the nonsense filled post you provided after I posted a link to a photo that was a gift to a restaurant that treated us well, and they liked enough to use on their Facebook page, it wouldn’t surprise me if no one else bothered to direct you to any of their work.  Your post was the best argument so far regarding why none of us should post our work for those receiving a critique to view.

    The original post stated constructive criticism should be both positive and negative.  No.  It should be helpful.

    It stated the poster would like to see some photos, and we saw how well that worked out.

    It went on about some celebrity chefs and their critics.  I’m not a huge fan of celebrity chef’s food.

    It expressed the belief that we are fearful of and attempting to discourage fauxtographers who can undercut prices.  It continued on with something about microstock.  I think most of us are more annoyed than fearful.  I also think most of us believe a customer should receive value and would actively discourage anyone from attempting a wedding before they are competent.  This stems from wedding re-dos being horrendously expensive if they are possible at all and if you are hiring a “professional” photographer, you expect them to get it right on the first try.  We have seen photos from supposed professionals containing a featureless bride and/or groom!  That should be discouraged!  Microstock?  Whatever.

    It suggests selective colouring is acceptable because there is a picture of a yellow taxi at a poster store.  Once in a while selective colour works really well, we had a discussion here about it and there was a link to someone who did beautiful selective colour.  By itself, it won’t make you professional or not, it won’t even make you good or bad.  Poorly done selective colour, however, will make you look bad.

    And then we are back to “show us”


    So, who is John?  And, why was he shot?





    So because I said you should add your 2 cents to the critiques given here when you feel more of the positives should be pointed out, went on to explain why I critique the way I do, and why criticism is so important, linked to an article trying to explain why you shouldn’t get butt hurt or defensive when receiving criticism ( and more), and linked to my own work, I gave you nothing substantive? Or is it because I don’t photograph for money?
    I gave you my thoughts and opinions on the subject. An opinion that is quite largely shared among not only photographers, but all creative mediums. It’s ok that you don’t share the same opinions on this, but that doesn’t somehow make how we feel wrong, or the OP or yourself for that matter. We only explained that he will most likely not get what he’s looking for here, and why. Not unless YOU yourself, or someone who feels similarly as you is willing to offer it along side our more harsh/honest critiques. Step up or step off. Well… I suppose there’s no need to step off, but your attempts to try to change the way I feel and/or critique are futile.


    I’m confused, you ask for an opinion and then get upset when you get it? When I posted my work on here, I didn’t get upset when people pointed out where I could have done better. That was kind of the point. Someone saying “It’s fine” to spare someone’s feelings doesn’t really help anyone improve. Come to think about it, I may just take an image and process the life out of it and ask everyone what they think just to get a good laugh……..


    OK, here you go as promised. I don’t know, I think it just needs something. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Any ideas? I’m actually trying not to laugh while typing this……



    Another futile attempt on my part to try to help you understand where I’m coming from. One of my favorite blog posts http://kennethjarecke.typepad.com/mostly_true/2012/02/chances-are-you-suck.html
    I suck, and I love that I do, because the day that I don’t, is the day I quit learning.

    The harshest, most horrid thoughtless, and outright meanest critique given here was “nice family snap shots”. The tog left happy as heck saying “thank you” not knowing that what was said was negative. No one here had anything to add to help her see otherwise. Only that one response. I bet her photography hasn’t improved one bit since that day and she’s still charging people for her services and wondering why it’s not working well. That is unless someone finally gives her a proper critique, or she moves on to something else entirely because no one has given her their time and honest feedback.



    mind pointing out my contradictions? Aside from a cringeworthy “I could care less”, i didn’t see anything wrong with what I wrote.


    what is so cumbersome about sharing my work? This is about you and your work. You get nothing from seeing my work aside from an opportunity to judge my critique based on what you see. Instead of doing that, why don’t you spend the time that you would use looking through my website to instead think about what I say with an open mind. Use that time to think about what you might do differently based on that information. In the end if you don’t agree. Fine, you don’t agree. If you decide to make some changes and you think they work, then great!

    If you just stop being defensive, long enough to listen, you might find that we aren’t all full of shit.


    Eye Doc, why are our points insubstantial? Indicate where and how then we can have an actual discussion. Right now, you’re just saying ‘yeah yeah, you’re wrong!’.  However, without saying why, you are only further highlighting your own lack of understanding of creative critique.


    @ebi: may I ask you to post a link to your website? I cannot find it on here, sorry

    and you said “photography is an ART and SUBJECTIVE” and “I want to help you, though.” And critics neither have to be photographers nor artists, so…. what should we learn from those who are not experts? Hold on… you are an expert…. but…. “you couldn’t pay me to take critic from an accomplished photographer.”

    Distilled down, your comments say this “I’m an expert in my field who would not trust someone like me to critique my work.”

    I like the comment by Charles Schwab: “I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.”

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