Graham’s Rules for Critiquing Images

It’s funny how in the last week I’ve had conversations with four different photographers about how much online critiquing sucks. Since I basically said the same thing every time I thought I’d write down the basic rules that I live by when critiquing others’ work.

  1. If you don’t like a piece of work and you haven’t been asked by its author to give a critique, keep your mouth shut. If people wanted your critique, they would have asked.
  2. If you like a piece of work, say so.
  3. Don’t, however, use the word “but.” “I like it but I wish…” is just a bait-and-switch from complement to criticism. Hearing that someone likes your work sucks you in; the sucker punch of the “but” is an unpleasant one.
  4. When you’re giving a critique, be honest – brutal if that’s what honesty leads to – but don’t be mean. Critique the work, not the artist.

I guess this boils down to Wheaton’s Law, but I thought it was worth saying anyway.