Stop asking for ‘constructive criticism’ – how to solicit good critique
Have you ever seen that “CC Welcome” caption on photos uploaded to Facebook, Flickr and 500px? Basically it stands for Creative Critique or Constructive Criticism, and it is probably the worse way possible to ask for feedback.
Photographer Joe Edelman notes that one of two will probably happen: you either get a bunch of ego flattering, one worded, “awesome” comments. Or real criticism happen and the photographer starts defending their choices. Neither is really helpful. To combat this Joe suggests several tips that will solicit good feedback right from the start:
First off, share some background info: camera settings (ISO, shutter, apertures, lighting data and so on). This will help with understanding the technical side of the photo. Next don’t be shy sharing your level. Advice suited for a 10 years veteran may not be helpful to a starting padawan. (and vice versa).
Next, explain your motivation and what did you want to do with the photo. Are you generally happy with the photo? Would you take it differently in hindsight?
And finally, you would always get better feedback when asking specific questions. Are you seeking lighting advice? styling? posing? color-work? If you know how to focus your questions, there is a better chance you will get relevant feedback on where you want to improve. This also points the replies on how they can best help you.
Of course, this means that actually asking for criticism involves some work. definitely harder than simply slapping a “CC welcomed” caption on a photo. But as Joe says, if you really want to grow, isn’t the hard effort worth it?
P.S. if you want to learn how to provide good criticism, Mark Bowers has a great piece of that over at fStoppers.
Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.