The Jungle Look

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How to Critique Photographs


  1. What is the Center of Interest in the photograph?
  2. Where does your eye come to rest in viewing the photo?
  3. If there is more than one focus point does that add to the photographs interest or distract from it?
  4. Where was the Center of Interest placed within the frame of the photo?
  5. Did they use the rule of thirds?
  6. What other eye control elements are in the photo (leading lines, contrast, diagonal lines, etc).
  7. Did the photographer get close enough to the subject to include only what is important? In other words, are there wasted parts of the frame that contain items not adding to the message of the photo?


  1. How did the photographer use the tools of selective focus or depth of field to deal with the background?
  2. Is the background simplified, included or a solid or is it nonexistent?
  3. How does the background add or distract from the message of the photo?

Camera Work - technical

  1. Exposure and focus begin in the camera.
  2. Is the subject sharp and clearly in focus?
  3. Are part of the photo that need to be clearly focused out of focus?
  4. Exposure is observed in the details of the shadow area. A properly exposed photo will have some texture in the shadows.
  5. Is the photo exposed properly and give some evidence of what you see?
  6. Contrast in processing the film or the contrast of the photo paper effects the highlights in a photo.
  7. Is there detail visible in the brightest parts of the print? If there are areas of the print that lack detail is that good or bad?


  1. Does the photo have stains, spots, dust and scratches?
  2. Is it nicely displayed in the frame or is it just slapped in?
  3. Does the photograph look like care was made in making it or is there evidence that the person just rushed it?

Opinion on the photo

  1. What do you like about the subject?
  2. Is it an emotional shot, a story, a statement, a humorous photo, or what?
  3. Is there anything about the photograph that you would do differently if you were the photographer and had the chance to do the same shot?

How this image makes you feel, what it says to you, how you relate to the image.

Now is the time to build the artists confidence by telling them exactly what you like about the photograph. Why do you love it? What caught your eye?

Find something that might help the artist with his or her future work. Or find something that can be easily changed. It is ok to point out the errors even if you do not know the artistic term for it. Just remember to be polite.

Learn from other artists. Is there something in the image that you don’t know how it was achieved? Ask about it! This expresses a genuine interest