A critique is an analysis of the photograph, not the photographer. The goal is to improve the next version of the photograph. Sometimes a photograph is perfect just as presented. In either case, it is important to be clear about what you don’t or do like about the photograph and articulate WHY. Before saying anything let your eyes scan the photograph closely. Then use the systematic approach below to critique the photograph. The elements below are a guide; choose those elements that you believe would be most helpful to the photographer.


1. Emotional/Artistic

  • What is you first reaction to the photo?
  • What immediate mood or emotion do you feel?
  • What do you like and WHY?
  • What is the story? Does it need a story?
  • Would B&W be better? Would color be better?

2. Composition

  • Where do your eyes move within the frame?
  • What composition devices were used? (Rule of 3rds, leading lines, diagonals, curves, patterns, texture, patterns, Golden Spiral, selective focus, etc.)
  • How was color used? (Contrasting colors, tones, tint, monochrome, etc.)
  • Is it clear what the subject is?
  • How was lighting used in the image?
  • Would a different camera perspective improve the photo?
  • Are there too many elements in the photo? Too few?
  • Was the best focal length used for the scene?
  • Would different cropping or aspect ratio improve the image?

3. Technical

  • Is the focus sharp?
  • Is the exposure accurate?
  • What does the histogram reveal about exposure?
  • Are there dust or artifacts on the image?
  • Is the color accurate?
  • Is the depth of field appropriate?
  • Is there unintentional blur or motion?
  • Were post-production techniques used to the best advantage?

4. Discuss with the Photographer

  • Ask about the choices he/she made.
  • What does he/she like most about the image?
  • What do you like most about the Image?
  • What would he /she do differently?
  • What does he/she wish to communicate to the viewer?
  • Is there a style he/she is trying to achieve?
  • What is he/she trying to learn with this image?
  • Is there something innovative he/she is trying to achieve?
  • Collaborate for improvement.