Critiquing Photos

Critiquing a photo allows you to give genuine feedback on a photo.

There are 10 criteria for which you can give a score out of 100, as well as a section to comment on each criteria. The total score for a photo is known as the Collective Score.

You can invite a member of Shoot The Frame, or anyone in the world to critique your photos. If you are logged in, you can go to the Critiques section to see all of the Given and Received critiques.

We are creating a community of positivity and genuine feedback, so keep that in mind when you are critiquing someone’s work, this is not a place to be rude. Be honest, genuine and helpful, but always kind with your words.

There is enough bull$*@# in the world, let’s make this a safe place to share photography. 🙂


The 10 criteria with a description of each are listed below.

Please keep in mind that the criteria are open for interpretation. We have deliberately kept our descriptions simple, in reality, each criteria deserve a theses of their own, but sometimes simple is good. 

1. Overall impact

The overall impact of a photo relates to your reaction to the image. Does it hold your attention? Are you bored? Is it shocking, beautiful or sensational?

2. Composition

Composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements within the frame of the photograph. Is the composition pleasing to the eye? Has the photographer broken the composition rule, and if so, was it justified? The term composition means ‘putting together’.

3. Emotion

Emotion relates to the emotional impact the photography has on you. Positive and negative emotions should be considered, including; anger, contempt, fear, disgust, happiness, love, sadness and surprise. Does the photography stir any emotion in you?

4. Lighting / Exposure

Light is everything in photography, the way a photographer captures light is very important. Is the photo overexposed? Underexposed? Is the photo well balanced, or creative in exposure? Has the photographer used a special exposure technique and executed it well? Eg. Long exposure, studio lighting, high-key or low-key lighting.

5. Originality / Creativity

Originality and creativity go hand in hand, and they relate to the photographer’s ability to create an image that is not the same as every other photograph we see. Does this photo seem original and creative?

6. Difficulty

Difficulty relates to the effort, talent, skill, location and timing that went into capturing the image. The difficulty may relate to the nuances in the studio lighting of a portrait, the ability to capture a wild animal in their habitat, or the hike it takes to shoot a landscape from a mountain. How difficult was it to create this image?

7. Technical execution

Some photographs are easier to capture than others. Technical execution is an overall term which relates to attributes such as focus, lighting, depth of field and exposure. Has the photograph been captured with technical excellence?

8. Color / Tone

There are many ways to influence the color and tone of a photograph. Color and Tone can be influence by the light available when shooting, and the setting on a camera, it can also be manipulated in post production. Tone is also relevant when no color is present, such as monochrome or black and white photos. Are the colors and tones in this photo well balanced and pleasing to the eye?

9. Subject matter

The subject matter refers to the actual elements within the photo. Is the subject a person, a mountain, an animal, a tree or a building? Is the subject interesting, curious, difficult to find or rare?

10. Storytelling

Storytelling with photography helps us connect with a the subject and photographer. Photojournalism as a discipline is known for storytelling, however a story can be told in all sorts of photographs. Does this photo tell a story? Do you want to learn more?