Whether you are reviewing one of your own photographs or some one else’s, there are certain rules of thumb that should be followed. The steps below offer a step by step approach to reviewing photographs and possibly offering advice.
1. Categorize the piece to a particular type: portrait, landscape, nature, wildlife, action…etc. Yes there is a difference between nature and wildlife photography. The point is to narrow it down to a certain type. There are different expectations for different types.
2. Was lighting used effectively? Different lighting techniques are used for different types of photography. Is the shot too dark? Is there washout (whites are too bright)? Was indirect lighting used if it was a portrait? Direct lighting on portraits can flatten facial features.
3. Determine what the subject of the photograph is. Viewers should not have to guess what the subject is. If the subject is not clear then there is not much point in going very deep in the review.
4. Notice the techniques that were used to bring out the subject. Was a narrow depth of field used to blur the background and foreground while keeping the subject in focus? Was the subject moving during the shot? Were techniques used to show motion?
There are many techniques that can be used to bring attention to the subject. Are any particular techniques noticeable? Should a different technique have been used?
5. See if there is anything in the shot that unnecessarily distracts from the subject. Is there something in the background that draws your eye away from the subject? Photographers should make sure that there are no distractions in the viewfinder before releasing the shutter.
6. The final step in reviewing a photo is to develop a personal opinion. Do you like the picture? Why or why not? If it is your shot, what should you do differently next time… if anything? If it is someone else’s, would you have taken a different approach?
If someone wants you to review their photograph, do so. Give them your honest opinion, with constructive criticism if necessary.
The more photographs that you review the better prepared you will be for different photographic opportunities.