Since I ventured into the the Fine Art of Photography, I recognized that there is subtle technique properly critiquing one's own work as well as others.Although a critique can be extremely subjective, It should be based upon evaluation of key objective elements in a photograph, as well as subjective nuances that appeal will appeal to the viewer. A comment of, " I love that," or "It's great," are not enough of an observation. A critique should include reasons for liking or disliking a photograph.
I use the following criteria when evaluating photographs and whether I believe an image is "great" or not:
1)When I first look at a photograph,I observe technical criteria. Is the image sharp and "in-focus?" Is the image exposed correctly? If soft focus used, bokeh, was it used properly? Is negative space used properly? Should there be more or less negative space? Does the image need more or less detail in the shadows? Is the print itself correct? Is there too much contrast or does the photograph appear "muddy."
2) The second observation make involves a point of interest. I start to ask myself a few questions. Does my "eye" travel through the image? Do I get "stuck" any where? Is the image balanced? Is the "rule of thirds" being used? Is the horizon at the midpoint of the image? Is the center of interest placed in the proper position? Are leading lines detracting from the images? Do leading lines fall off the image? Is the Contrast and Color correct? Is there enough space between the center of interest and other elements? Is there any negative space that detracts from the center of interest?
2)The third observation when looking at photographs involves the foreground and background. I ask myself many questions about it. Is the background too busy? Does the foreground lead the viewer into the image? Is the foreground distracting? Does the background help the image or hurt it?
4)Finally, I critique the photograph as a genre. Does it tell a story? Do i get a sense of placement? Do I have an emotional response to the image? Do I "feel" anything while looking at it?
I have found that some people are better at receiving critiques better than others. I try I give constructive ideas to make the image more complete and suggest ideas that will improve an image, if it is needed. Once again, this is a very subjective thing. I always start with positive observations and items that I like about a piece. Then, after discussing those issues, I discuss areas that could be improved. Nobody really likes critiques because they tend to be personalized more than not. The object is the make them about the photograph and not about the individual.