The Art of Self-critique

As a photography instructor, one of the most common questions I am asked is whether a participant’s image is good?   As an instructor I am always ready to answer the question but as I have always said, a photography instructor should not be used as a crutch to validate or not-validate each of your images.

Here is a quick attempt to help you judge whether your images are good, or bad.

Does your image need a thousand words to support it, or can people just look at your image and appreciate it? To repeat the cliche, a picture is worth a thousand words. At most a caption should be used to support an image. Personally I prefer descriptive captions to conceptual ones but this choice is yours. (During my time I have seen more images of a lone person or animal captioned ‘Alone,’ than I would have cared to see).

Start by looking at websites that showcase good images. Sites I would recommend are and

Study good pictures, look at the colours, the concept (if any), the shapes, the textures, and the composition. Above all, study the light. After all, the word photography means ‘writing with light.’ Great light produces great pictures.

My final recommendation to judge your images is to ask yourself 3 questions:

will I hang this image in my house

will I be willing to pay Rs 5000/- for a print of this image to hang on my wall

will someone else be willing to pay Rs 5000/- for a print of this image to hang in his or her house

Chances are that if you answered ‘yes’ to all of these questions your image is great. If you answered ‘yes’ to even a single question chances are your image is good.

Comments are welcome!

Cheers and remember it's all about the light! Happy shooting!



Indian Elephant (Elephas maximus) | Corbett | India

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