Critiquing Photographs

By Matthew Bamberg / Aug 16, 2011

Check out my article about how to critique your own and other people’s photographs.

Critiquing Tips

Suggest using the Rule of Thirds.

Note blown highlights and black shadows.

Point out lack of contrast.

Look for poor exposure (photo taken in shade where color tones are muted)

Suggest using sunlight as color enhancer.

Recommend the stimulation of the five senses in the photograph.

Okay, here’s a photograph to critique. Let me know what you think!

About the author

Matthew Bamberg

Matthew Bamberg has provided photographs and written articles for various Southern California newspapers and magazines, including The Desert Sun and The Press-Enterprise. More recently, Matt has been teaching at UC Riverside while also authoring several books like the Quick and Easy Secrets book series (Cengage), Killer Photos with Your iPhone (with Kris Krug and Greg Ketchum, Cengage), the 50 Greatest Photo Opportunities in San Francisco (Cengage) and Digital Art Photography For Dummies (Wiley).

  • You give suggestions for critiquing an image and say “Look for poor exposure (photo taken in shade where color tones are muted)”

    and “Suggest using sunlight as color enhancer.” Really? Never heard that one before.

    The shade is often preferred by many pros OVER shooting in bright sunlight. Depends what you are shoting of course but TIME of day and direction of the light have more to do with the success of an image than whether or not it’s in the shade or in the sunlight.

    Rule of thirds is a good rule – in your image I don’t see any use of it. I have no idea what your subject is in this image. I’m guessing it’s the red door but I’m distracted by the post sticking up in front of it and the reflections on the top part of the window.

    If you want an old door as the subject, or “old and weathered” as the subject – get in closer and use an interesting angle, lighting, and/or cropping to make it more dynamic. This so:

    or even like so:

    This is a more clear use of color to draw the eye.