6 Tips to Well Manage Criticism of Your Photos

Coyote in the snow in Yellowstone in winter.. Photograph in color by Amar Guillen, artist photographer.
Coyote in the snow in Yellowstone in winter.

Five Simple Criteria for Criticizing a Photograph

The purpose of these five criteria is:

  • To better analyze the criticisms, we are going to make about your work.
  • To teach you to criticize other photographers' photos.

These criteria are simple, precise and objective. They can be used for any photographic field.

  1. The technical criteria.

    It concerns sharpness, framing, composition, light management, print quality and presentation.

    You may be surprised by the last two elements, but I consider that a photograph only exists from the moment it is printed on paper and presented on a support or in a frame.

  2. The subject.

    For this criterion, you must analyze the choice of the subject, its interest, originality and treatment. You must look at how the staging of the photo was created. You must look at all the photographic elements chosen and their contribution to highlight the main subject. This is what I often call the main photographic element.

  3. The search for creativity.

    A person who criticizes must be open-minded to new things. Above all, he or she must not refuse a new technical approach because it can conceal treasures of creativity. If it is a technique that has already been used or known, the critic must take it into account but give it less importance than if the technique is innovative.

  4. The expressive and artistic value of the photo.

    A photograph that only aims to show the technical virtuosity of the photographer is of absolutely no interest. An artistic or illustrative photograph can sometimes speak for itself. But a title, a caption to put it in context can be remarkably interesting. In this case, the critic of the photograph must take it into account as an element in its own right. Personally, I give a lot of importance to these two elements. They allow me to better understand the author and the message he wanted to deliver.

  5. 5. Personal appreciation.

    We are all human beings with a system of thought, of emotions. We also have our personal tastes. A person who criticizes must integrate this criterion into his evaluation and judgment grid, but to a limited extent. We all have different ages, different tastes, different experiences. Personal appreciation is a highly fluctuating factor. It must appear in a criticism but with a small part.

Tip 1: Learn the Criteria Grid

If you have to criticize photographs or if you have to receive criticism, I advise you to memorize the five criteria I have just listed.

It will help you in your judgement but above all it will allow you to analyze the criticisms made by others about your photos.

If a judge or a person criticizes you and these criteria do not correspond to the previous grid, disregard the remarks. Forget them because they are not based on an objective framework is useful for you.

Tip 2: Find Out Who Is Criticizing You

This is an important point that you should not overlook. If you do not know physically or personally the people who are going to criticize your photos, try to get their names and an idea of what they do whether they are photographers or not.

I have already noticed that many people become judges or critics without any experience. They do not realize how devastating their halo minute judgments can be on novice photographers who need serious and well justified advice.

If you cannot get reference information about the judges who will give you reviews, do not submit your photos. You will learn nothing more than you already know about your photographic creativity

Tip 3: Define Your Photographic Why

I have already touched on this subject in other articles, but it is essential. Your photographic why and the reason why you create and make photos. You must define it precisely because, just like your photographic artistry, it allows you to create a shell behind which you will shelter when you get criticism.

It is possible that a criticism of your photographs may not be objective and may cause us pain. In this case, rethink your photographic why and take shelter behind it. You will quickly regain the upper hand.

Tip 4: Focus on a Goal, not On Popularity

Once you have built your photographic why and your photographic artistry, you will start to build a solid foundation that will support your photographic activity.

But that is not enough.

You must have a specific goal to achieve. For example, exhibit in a gallery, win an international competition. Anything you do with your photographs must serve only that purpose. You must do everything you can to achieve it.

I know that we live in an age where liking has become a measure of self-esteem. I think this is a profoundly serious mistake. It is a popularity mark that means absolutely nothing. It has no value. People make likes mindedness in a mechanical way. A comment is much more interesting and much more important because it brings value.

To learn how to handle reviews of your photos, do not pay attention to likes because they will give you the illusion of having produced interesting photos that will not stand up to a good review. Disillusionment could be terrible for you.

Tip 5: Set Goals Over Time

To reach a goal, time is not measured in weeks or months but in years. I am in a particularly good position to know this. It took me 10 years to reach the goal I had set for myself. I did not think it would take that long, but some gallery owners told me that I had been a quick success because of my persistence and self-sacrifice. For some photographers, success came after 20 years.

So, to achieve a goal, it takes time. You need to set yourself specific goals over time. So, when you have reached a goal, you feel like you have progressed and reached a milestone.

By proceeding in this way, you will better manage criticism because you will take it coldly and without emotions. Indeed, you will have your goal and objectives in mind. You will be focused on what you have to do without considering the opinions of others.

Tip 6: Be yourself

That is the last piece of advice I will ever give you. It is just as important as the others. Do not forget that first of all you create photos for yourself.

If the criticisms you receive do not help you, forget them. Ignore them. You are unique. You have your own personality. You are an exception. Be yourself and do what you want to do.

Personally, I submit my photographic work to many people because I love criticism. If I realize that the remarks that are made to me are unfounded or that they do not bring anything, I continue to move in the direction I have chosen.


I hope that this article will now help you to deal with the criticisms you had to face whether positive or negative.

A good review is always interesting. Do not forget that a criticism that is addressed to you must make you progress, but it must also help the one who gives it.

Not all reviews are interesting. Learn the five criteria I gave you in the evaluation grid. They will allow you to analyze whether a criticism about your photos is justified. They will also allow you to give your opinion on other photos. This is where you will progress when you are in a position to criticize your own photographic approach. Be constant, persevering and persistent because the road to excellence is long.

Be humble, patient, constant, persevering, and persistent because the road to excellence is long.


I Want to Help You to Create Interesting Photos