Nobody likes to be told that their photos suck. But, helpful criticism can really improve your photos and process. So how do you get helpful criticism and not get the self-defeating non-helpful criticism?
You need to find the right forum!
Where not to get good feedback on your photos:
- I never get good critiques from my photo submissions to iStockphoto, Fotolia, or any of the other stock photo agencies. It is basically a form response from them that says in effect that my photo is technically not right or is not what they are looking to sell (“not salable”). This is not the place to get constructive criticism.
- Neither are the comments that others on the stock photo sites make on approved photos for sale. For example, my photos on iStockphoto receive all kinds of awful comments claiming that my photos are fake or that there is film grain, or any number of mindless comments that can be false, accusatory, and simply not helpful to anyone.
- The free photo-sharing sites are not that good either (Flickr, etc.).
Where to get good feedback on your photos:
- There is no substitute for the extremely helpful criticism that I get from The Nature Photographers Network (NPN). On this site, my photo submissions get good, constructive criticism from other photographers. This is the type of forum you should be looking for! I am interested in nature photography, so it fits for me.
- If you are interested in a different type of photography, then you should seek out sites and forums where people who are experts in those fields are commenting on photos. Submit your photos there and get feedback from people who are qualified to give it!
- Another source of qualified criticism can be clubs with members who share your photographic interests.
You can’t go wrong when you seek out the best people in their fields and solicit their opinions on your photos. If you find these sites, clubs, and forums and ask these people for their honest opinions, you will get the constructive criticism you need to improve your photography!