For Photographers of All Skill levels since 2005
Giving and receiving critique is an excellent way to grow and helps you to see what others see. When you are emotionally attached to an image, or subject, you get blinders on and don't see the obvious.
Take critiquing for what it's worth. Don't live or die by it but be open to it and try and see it from the other's view. Even if everyone else is wrong, you at least know how everyone else sees it which probably makes everyone else right ;)
When people think of critique, they usually think of negativity and fault finding. It doesn’t have to be. Even the worst of images have some redeeming quality.
Here are some guidelines you can use for critiquing-
Use the Oreo principle Sandwich the things you think could be improved upon between two positive attributes of the image. Something like 'I really like the composition of this shot, great use of the rule of thirds. I think the subject is a little too soft and there is a soda can in the background. Great color and post processing.'
Try and think with an open mind It's too easy to get caught up in our current way of thinking about photography and be less accepting of all of the different areas. We might be caught up in artistic type endeavors or we might lean more towards very formal portraiture and not open to more contemporary styles. This is just the way people are. Back up and see if you can see what the photographer saw in their original vision.
If known, take the photographer's skill level into account We are all at different levels and, unless you decide to stop progressing, this will always be. What may be a good and appropriate critique for a professional would neither be good or appropriate for a beginner. You may not always know what the photographer's skill level is but, you can sometimes get a feel by looking through their portfolio. Though refrain from pointing out there assumed skill level in the critique. For instance, I wouldn't say 'for a beginner, I think you did great on the lighting'