Flickr “critique”: more useful than they say

There is a conventional wisdom rehearsed amongst “serious” photographers. I hear it a lot on photography podcasts: that the feedback you receive on flickr is next to useless.

You know the kind of thing: lots of  “great capture”, “wow!” etc. Now there’s value in treating such pithy praise for what it is. Nice to hear (we don’t delete them do we?) but not very useful for professional/amatuer development.

As I’ve spent more time with Flickr, especially in the company of a diverse but discrete community of landscape photographers, I’ve noticed people asking for, receiving and giving much more substantial critique.

Here’s a small example:

Yesterday, here on the blog, and to an inevitably wider audience over on my Flickr photosteam, I posted two images and asked which one people preferred and why. As well as the usual supportive encouragement, I’ve received some very useful feedback and suggestions. The image below is now a square crop because of this. (I should say that, when I processed it originally, I tried it square but parked that virtual copy because I was too attached to all of the, arguably, boring sky. (And thanks to Bill for couching that particular piece feedback in such a self-esteem maintaining way!)

With a little distance from the day that I set out to capture these images, I now realise that my pre-visualisation of a big sky above the Howgills from Fox’s Pulpit clouded (yes, clouded!) my judgement when it came to cropping in Lightroom. I kept it very DSLR 2×3-skinny because I was over-committed to my plan. (There’s another blog post in there about why pre-visualisation may not always be such a Good Thing, even though, since I started practicing and then preaching it, it has mostly been a Very Good Thing.)

Now, I happen to think that the somewhat darker sky that I’ve left above those golden clouds enhance the image below because they draw the eye to the main attraction; they prevent energy leaking out of the top of the frame. But there’s always the risk that I still haven’t shaken that big sky pre-visualisation. Feedback welcomed, of course!

All square now

3 thoughts on “Flickr “critique”: more useful than they say”

  1. Hi David For me this is much better. There is just enough sky to be interesting but not too much to become boring also love the bits of blue in the clouds.It is more balanced as in the original most of the interest was in the bottom half.I agree that “wow” and “lovely” are very nice and I keep looking for suchlike but coments and constructive criticism is just as important for amatures like me to learn more.
    No it was not me looking down on you from the pulpit as you shoild know by now that I will always look up to you and never down.

    1. Thanks Bill

      Do remember, though, that “amateur” can and should be a very positive word. Many amateurs produce outstanding work that inspires professionals.

      More of a soap box than a pulpit for me :-)

What do you think? Please leave a comment.