How to appreciate images

When one looks at an image it is easy to say “I like that or I don’t like that“. What is more challenging is to be able to say why you like or dislike an image. What strategies might you use to look at an image, to appreciate the image? In commenting on an image how can you ensure that you are being supportive of your fellow photographers?

“90% of learning comes through encouragement.”
― Kevin Thoman

Key ideas

When you make a subjective comment its is based on your personal preferences or opinion. This opinion is comes from your moods, attitudes, and experience.

It is easy to criticise!  Finding fault, passing judgement or simply saying you dislike something does not help with the improvement.


When you take an appreciative approach you always looking;

  • to encourage
  • for the positive
  • to build on the positive
  •  recognising quality
  • to positively point out possible areas for improvement with supportive comments
  • to assist in improving photographs

The following statements or questions are a guide to assist you in providing positive feedback

Adelaide, International Horse Trials

I like this because…..
If I were to have taken this image I would …
The colours of this image are…
I see clearly the compositional rule …. you have applied to this image
What other compositional rules did you consider?
The message of this image is strong because …
Your use of light is ….
The challenge for me if I were to take this image would be…
I appreciate this image because …
This image creates the following emotions in me …
I am surprised by …
If you took the image again what might you do differently …

Feel free to make up your own.

Of course you could apply these statements to your own work.