When is your photograph just plain wrong?

Opinions matter to most people, but when another photographer’s opinion goes against or deviates from what the original photographer intended for that image, does that make the image fake? ?

You’ve probably read “CC Welcome” on the forums. Genuine people will provide constructive criticism on elements of composition, technique, lighting, etc., and this is what we all strive for to enhance our images. Then you’ll have the folks who start with “In my opinion”, and for me, that’s where it all falls apart. Opinion was not solicited in the first place, constructive criticism was.

Now this whole article is based on my opinion, and good or bad we all have authoritative opinions. Whether we choose to keep them to ourselves or make them available for free is a choice we make, and most of the time I prefer to keep mine to myself. But, after noticing an ever-growing trend of bashing, laughing emojis, and real trollings, I wanted to know what you think of this destructive culture.

Constructive criticism versus opinion

The definitions of constructive criticism and opinion are as follows. I’m sure you’re aware of the differences, and no offense is intended, as they are for the purposes of the article.

Constructive criticism adjective

help to improve; promote development or advancement (as opposed to destructive)

Opinion name

1. a thought or belief about something or someone. 2. a judgment rendered by an expert.

When the above differences are clear, why do a minority take it upon themselves to berate what a photographer is trying to achieve with their images when all they have asked for is constructive criticism? I don’t get it, but maybe I’m just naive about it because we are all here to help each other improve and should be happy when others are successful at what they are trying to do.

Constructive criticism is quite clear in this regard, while opinion may cause a gray area for some, namely the keyboard warriors. A thought or belief about something does not make it a fact. That makes it a review, like this article. An expert’s opinion, on the other hand, covers both constructive criticism and opinions, and they know how to convey them effectively and should provide a positive result to the individual. Good or bad, it is a positive result for the person who receives, because it emanates from an expert in his field.

There are rules to follow

Photography practice starts with the basics, and then we move on from there to improve our photography. These rules are there for a reason, and that is to give you a good foundation in photography and the theory behind the practice. These are your fundamental building blocks, and when you understand them right, these rules can be broken. Try out different compositions. Changing shutter speeds for varying effects. Move the camera while shooting to see the final result. Change the iris to see how the resulting image differs from what you’re supposed to do when shooting certain subjects.

These varied practices are there for photographers to explore our medium, to create something new and perhaps create a stir with imagery in that it inspires other photographers to try something new with their own. images. I’m not saying it’s progress, I’m just implying that it’s actually healthy to do it because then you know what works for you and your photography and what doesn’t.

So, is this wrong?

As you experiment with your camera and move sideways from learned fundamentals, you discover techniques new to you and new ways to capture your images. So, is this wrong? Conventionals can say yes, when you capture what the scene represents, so you shouldn’t be dealing with the rough. Are they wrong? Others may say that it is their creative freedom as an individual to do whatever they want with the images they capture. Are they wrong then? Well, in fact both camps are right in their approach to their photography, simply because it is their photography.

If you’ve learned the basics of photography then it’s up to you to take whatever direction you want to take, whether it’s that very little post-processing or replacing the sky to create an image you’re proud of. I mention sky replacement simply because, if you’ve learned how light interacts with your subjects, you’ll be able to replace the sky pretty seamlessly, unlike the image below.

So, is this all wrong? The simple answer is “no”. If this is what you want to do with your images, go ahead, do it right, and then keep learning. Look at the light, look at the surrounding environment, the colors, the contrast, the time you took the image, whatever goes into putting the image together, and then, do it better. It is personal progress. It’s a photo ? No, it’s your creation, but it’s yours.

The worst culprits

In general, as photographers, we are more than happy to receive reviews and, in most cases, provide healthy review to our fellow practitioners. We provide information from any source that has helped us advance our photography and lessons that you think may help the person requesting a review. Now this information varies and what works for one may not work for the other. Again, this does not make the information wrong if it comes from an understanding of theory and practice. What is wrong, in my opinion, is when the person delivering the book laughs at the image and then explains how to do it correctly without considering where the photographer was trying to take the image visually. I even read on forums “just sell your camera” as a review. To me, it’s just totally disrespectful and downright cowardly. If you can’t provide anything constructive, say nothing at all. The flip side is that they may indeed have something useful and constructive to say that would genuinely help the individual. But unfortunately, they are too narcissistic to provide anything other than slander, or perhaps they feel threatened by the progress of others.

Takeaway meals

Your photograph is not fake. It might be rude to you and your trip right now, but it’s not wrong. Others may have their own direction and their own principles in what motivates their practice, and so much the better for them. Let them do it, do it right, and be successful. It may differ from you and your practice, so you go your own way and create what makes you happy. Learn the basics, enjoy what you do with what you have learned so far, share it, and don’t be the cowardly squad, the minority. Just ignore them, move on, and don’t let their negativity fester in you and put you off. It may sting at first, but you’ll quickly recognize the positive and constructive people out there. Listen to them, follow the advice and take your photography forward. Yes, my head may be filled with idealistic nonsense when it comes to things like this, but I’ve been taught that sharing knowledge in a positive way is good practice.

Wherever you are on your photographic journey, just starting out, or many years later, you will have information that someone else does not know. Share it constructively. You don’t know how much it can help the individual on their own journey.


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