A Good Round of Picture Critiquing


I have had the privilege to offer feedback to a range of fine photos over the last couple of months on my page Picture Critique. It’s the second instalment of this offer to critique photos that readers of my blog wish to have a second opinion about from a professional photographer. It’s been fun and it’s been an honour to be trusted by all who submitted a picture on the page. The photos show a wide range of themes from landscape to interior to street photography to people to documentary photography. I would sincerely assert that all the pictures show talented photographers behind the camera. Some of course are stronger and coming from a more matured photographic vision than others but generally I have been impressed by the level of all photographers.

If there is one thing I would like to point out in general – which is what I often have to do in my workshops, too – it’s for photographers to try to figure their intent behind taking a picture. Why do you take a certain picture? That is a question all who takes photographs will benefit to answer. What is it that triggers your finger and what is it about the subject that you want to convey for others. We all have different reasons for taking pictures. For most people it’s probably for pure memory or for the family album and the photos don’t need to be anything but that – which of course is just fine. But if you aim to have others to view your photos you will want to make them be amazed, engaged, humoured, interested, delighted or at least attracted to it in some way or another. If you figure out the intent, what it is you want to say with the picture, it automatically becomes so much easier to catch the interest of the viewer.

I hope – and believe – it’s been valuable picture critique for everyone participating. I will still keep the offer open a couple of more weeks, so if you have a picture you would like to have a second opinion about and still haven’t done it yet, just post a link to it on my page Picture Critique and I will get back with my feedback as soon as possible. Just before Christmas time, though I will close the page (so I may have some holiday, too…). So go ahead; bring it on!

With this, I wish you all a wonderful weekend.


57 thoughts on “A Good Round of Picture Critiquing

  1. Sicuramente una bella esperienza, le foto sono molto belle e non credo sia facile giudicare e criticare foto altrui restando imparziale!!
    Buon fine settimana, Patrizia

    1. Grazie per un bel retroazione tale. E hai assolutamente ragione, è impossibile giudicare imparzialmente le immagini. Pertanto, una tale critica un’immagine sempre essere preso per quello che è, che è un giudizio personale. Avere un grande fine settimana da soli!

  2. I’m very grateful to you Otto for giving me the value of your experience and knowledge in critiquing one of my photos. This really is very generous of you and I would urge any photographer to take advantage of this quite unique opportunity. I am currently in the first stage of earning my licentiate distinction as a member of the Royal Photographic Society here in the UK and your critique has given me the confidence to move this forward and to present a panel of my work to the board in the next few weeks. I will be very mindful of the pictures that you have commented on in choosing which pictures I will present. 🙂

  3. I’m not quite ready for a critique, but what a nice service you are offering. When things/people/places speak to me, I just want to try and capture that moment for others to share and for me to remember. I recently got obsessed with a mushroom. It was growing on the side of a tree and I think I must have taken a dozen snaps of it. How many shots do you take of one image?

    1. There is really no telling how many pictures I take. It really depends on the situation. But if I were to photograph a mushroom? Anything between 5 and 50 picture – and that is only a qualified guess. If a do a portrait it might be anything between 100 and 500 photos. Just to give you an idea. As for picture critique, don’t be intimidated. Just post anything – it’s not a competition.

  4. thank you Otto – such a generous person you are. i like the question you suggest we ask ourselves when we take a picture. for me it is the usual, oh, such a great moment…let me try hold on to it longer…so, pure memory. 🙂

  5. why do i take pictures? to cryogenically freeze my life, to prepare for my death, to have a dowry when i meet Jesus 🙂 but my pictures cannot stand up to a critique, only Jesus’ love and understanding of my heart

  6. “… try to figure their intent behind taking a picture. Why do you take a certain picture? ”
    i think of this often now, thanks to you (!) and i also note how many people (tourists) waste lots of time and possibly miss opportunities while they’re looking down at their screen instead of watching the subject matter. when i see that, i smile and think of you and your wisdom…
    thanks for the amazing amount of time that you spend mentoring others.

    after three months away, i returned home yesterday and will slowly be catching up..

  7. You are very generous offering to help other photographers! Many will benefit from your advice – and I believe you enjoy it too. That’s the optimal situation.

    I’m no photographer, but I enjoy taking pictures of things that interest me. Mainly nature and the play of light and shadow. I have read your words, and I try to think like you say – why do I take this picture? Not always I have an answer directly, but when I look at the photo later I usually find that I was in that special mood of amazement and gratefulness of having been there and seen that special light, or listened to that morning sound from the birds. Very seldom a photo can convey this to the full – but as I was there, I can remember the feeling when I look at the photo. I guess my aim must be to try to convey a tiny bit of this to other people who look at the photo too!

    Have a beautiful weekend

    1. I think your approach to and your aim for your photography is great – and yes sometimes we do the thinking after (or before as well) the actually shooting. Thanks for the lovely comment, Ann-Christine, and have a great weekend you, too!

  8. Some very good questions to reflect upon and to which I can’t seem to find answers yet. It is becoming a little more clear what I want to convey with my photos than when I started 1 ½ year ago, but it is not perfectly clear. I think I’m too shy to submit photos to your picture critique, it would be a first for me 🙂 but I know it’s very valuable to have critiques from professional photographers like you to help us progress.
    Thank you for bringing these questions, and I will continue to think about all this. Have a nice week-end 🙂

    1. With experience comes more understanding of the whole process – of course. And just trying to figure out the intent is in itself very helpful even if you don’t get a clear answer. Whenever you are ready, go ahead and post a picture for me. Thank you for sharing your thought, Jocelyne, and have a great weekend you, too!

  9. Please don’t hold back because you feel you do not have enough experience, Otto is gentle, giving positive feedback as well as suggestions for improvement, otherwise how would we learn? No one is too inexperienced to have a critique, nor for that matter, too experienced. Go for it! And thank you, Otto for the opportunity.

  10. A very nice collection of images here from the critiques, Otto, and how kind of you it is to offer the feedback you given on your critique page.

    Your point, “Why do you take a certain picture?”, is such a good starting point for anyone who wants to develop their photography further. When I review my own photos to decide what to keep and discard, I ask myself if I think the photo says anything, in any way.

    By the way, I’ve just been looking at your portfolio site again, and this time, especially at the New York images. What a wonderful variety you have there. And that leads me to say that as much as I enjoy this present type of post, Otto, I do hope you’ll show some more of your original work on this blog again in the future.

  11. It’s of the time, my photos are quick snapshots of where I happen to be, using my iPhone. And yes, they are usually to memorialize a scene, an image. One day I will buy a bonafide piece for good photography.

  12. I can imagine you’d be so great at conducting workshops – inspiring, and with sound direction. I enjoyed these photos. Particularly like that kitty’s head looking up – so well captured 🙂

  13. Jeg lærer mye av å lese tilbakemeldingene du gir disse bildene. Tusen takk for at du deler!
    Tenker at jeg må skaffe meg et redigerings værktøy, Photoshop eller Lightroom? Håper å kunne ta et kurs (om det finnes) da jeg flytter tilbake til Norge, er vel vanskelig å lære seg dette på egenhånd?

    Ønsker deg ei god ny uke : )

  14. I have written down on an index card, What is your intent?
    What do you want to convey to others?
    Otto Munchow
    Hummm I have a question to ask you. I’ll go to your other site.

  15. I went over to the Picture Critique blog and really enjoyed seeing the photos and reading your critiques and comments. I think you are so generous with your time and I think sometime in the future if you offer again I may have a photo to submit. You really do inspire me to think differently about my photographs and creativity. I really like the photos that others submitted!

  16. It looks like you had some wonderful photos to look at. It’s wonderful that you are able to critique them for so many people that admire your talent.
    It appears that I am very behind in my reading. Hopefully, I will catch up with you today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s