Critique the Community

Black and White Portraits

Your Best Monochrome Portraits
  • Submission Deadline: Sun, 16 May 21 14:00:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • Congratulations to the winners!

    View Results

Some people say that black and white images can look classic and timeless. In this critique, we want to see your best portrait photos that you converted into black and white. 

The contest/critique is open to anyone but now that we are doing these critiques live, we want to share more of the backstory behind each image.  Therefore, only images that include details about how the image was shot or the concept behind the image will be featured. The more information the better as we will be reading these stories during our critique. 

Each photographer can submit up to 3 images. The highest-rated, and one random image will win a free tutorial from Fstoppers.com/store.

Featured Image by community member Kerry Moore

  • Submission Deadline: Sun, 16 May 21 14:00:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • 200 people have cast a total of 11,546 votes on 332 submissions from 165 contestants.
  • Congratulations to the winners!

    View Results

45 Comments

Cristian Perotti's picture

When will this Critique's results go live?

Przemek Lodej's picture

I'm looking at these photos and how they are rated. It's a joke. Another one of these critique session and another senseless judging contest without a single comment why they are rated a single or 2 stars at best. Seriously this is pointless.

David Pavlich's picture

It's unfortunate that we have members that give low ratings in an attempt to push their shots up. Pathetic.

Przemek Lodej's picture

That's expected, not the first time. I can live with childlike behavior. What's pathetic, unprofessional and utterly discouraging and with huge detriment to the community is that the F-stoppers staff are ignorant and deaf when we mention this problem over and over again. Because of this contests like this are utterly pointless. This isn't facebook or instagram. You shouldn't be able to judge a photo without saying why you like or dislike it. In my mind, some of the FStoppers staff should perhaps run a lemonade stand not what they claim a professional web based photo community. It's truly pathetic.

Lee Morris's picture

We've discussed this a million times. If you make people write about what they don't like about your photo, they just won't rate at all. If people keep complaining about the ratings we will simply hide them from you. The best images are always rated the highest and that is all that matters and the best images usually make the video.

Graham Taylor's picture

Out of interest, why bother with the ratings at all? If they're only serving to demotivate the people who enter (given that the selection for the video isn't based on the rating) then why not just get rid of them?

Lee Morris's picture

The ratings help us sort the images and we always give a free tutorial to the highest rated by the community.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

I really think you guys need to hide the ratings until the voting is closed (or maybe until the critique video). Of all the suggestions I've seen, this is the best option. These whinings will never stop. They're are just going to continue to clutter the comment section.

James Hammick's picture

Isn't a compromise that you can't give a 1 or 2 star rating without a comment.

The aim of this is to get constructive feedback on our photography.

Maybe give a list of reasons for giving a 1 or 2 that the reviewer must select at least one from

Gary Sidebotham's picture

Be interesting to see the average rating given by each photographer. Highlighting who’s just trolling people by giving out 1’s

Tommy Gofiger's picture

I'm not sure what they can do about people being assholes. That's just the nature of participating in contests where the voting system is based on subjective insight and personal preference. Not to mention a lot of people are in it for their own gain and the easiest way to get ahead is to bring others down. It's sad and very much high school behavior but if there's anything I've learned from my 30 years on Earth it's that high school behavior evolves into bad adult habits. lol

Greg Desiatov's picture

Sure, lots of people downvote but they do on every entry so even though the ratings may be low, the best to worse are still accurately represented.

I don't enter every competition and I look at the entries as a great archive for that particular subject.

At the end of the comp. I click on the highest rated and have a good look at their images and also sometimes their portfolio.

David Pavlich's picture

You're correct. I point this out because some have concerns that their images are not good for some reason. When I first joined, I got caught up in the numbers game. My 'epiphany' came when I saw a shot I entered ended up with a 1.8, yet on my page, the same shot was voted a 3.3. It happened a second time, so I got the drift. Just want other members to realize that rating numbers for contest images here are erroneous because of a few wankers that will do anything to make others look as bad as they are.

Robert Nurse's picture

I'm looking at some stellar entries with totals that grossly underrate the effort put forward. Sad!

Chris Manning's picture

Yeah, it's pretty much a joke at this point.

Robert Nurse's picture

I just need concrete feedback. If my work sucks tell me why? I won't be hurt, LOL.

Chris Manning's picture

Too many people are worried about "winning" by trying to down vote their competition. Unfortunately there's not any real advantage to these any longer. I still like looking at the pretty pictures.

Lee Morris's picture

I can guarantee you, not a single person has ever won by downvoting someone else. The highest-rated image is ALWAYS one of the best images in the critique.

Chris Manning's picture

Sure, I know that, you know that, but it doesn't change the behavior.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Where you expecting a bunch of 4's and 5's? This contest is actually doing pretty well, score wise. Back in the day, a good majority of the images were averaging 2 to 2.5. Now, 3's +/-.

Robert Nurse's picture

No, just if you vote "1" or "2" on an image, explaining why would be helpful.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

That's been discussed/argued over a million times from past contests. In short, it's not worth it. It leads to fighting and retribution.

steve gunn's picture

Fact is ALL photographers hate each other from a distance pretty much. .So of course we're going to be very harsh w/ anonymous ratings of other photographer's shots...because we hate you..unless of course your shot is undeniably amazing..then you're cool...you really should focus on selling your shots to publishers of magazines, rather than showing other photographers your work for not much of a reason at all..

Tommy Gofiger's picture

i'm passing out 3's like nobody's business on this one! great stuff everyone - so much variety in styles and looks its hard to come across one that's any lower than a 3 for me.

William Barman's picture

Really fun looking through the images. Extremely high quality of every single one and it gives me inspiration to do a lot more black and white portraits on the future.

George Popescu's picture

A few minutes after uploading my pics I got my first vote, all the pics got a 1 for Snapshot...lol.
Don't ever change Fstoppers...

Bryan Carleton's picture

Its sad when "professionals" in this industry get so ego driven that they don't want to give any help to others below them because they don't want those people to steal their clientele. I know my images aren't the best and not every image on any of these critiques are the best ever but its funny how they can't make it to where if you're going to leave a rating you have to leave a comment on the image. No one wants to admit this shit or even discuss it, so to those "professionals" shame on you for not helping people reach their full potential and for worrying about the money. A photo has more power than any amount of money. If you disagree then that's fine just go look in the mirror and ask yourself why your so egotistical and then make a realization that your the problem in the community and that your a coward.

Lee Morris's picture

Bryan, nobody is trying to hide their clients from you, they just don't have time to write out why bad images are bad.

Because you asked, I looked through your portfolio and I would rate every one of them 1 star because they are all snapshots. Almost no thought has been given to composition, lighting, or post-processing. They look very similar to my photos when I first got into photography. I would give your Lonely Horse shot 2 stars because some thought was given to the location and composition but it's not good enough to be in a professional's portfolio.

Przemek Lodej's picture

With all due respect Lee, I have looked over your portfolio and I find at least half of your photos in the 2 star category as well and only a few that could be a 3. Rating is very, very subjective. The photo of a Peruvian man I entered into this contest managed a mere 2 star rating. Honestly I could care less, and frankly I'm surprised it managed even that. I was expecting much lower, however what's interesting is that that very same photo was very warmly received by the local cell of the Peruvian Ministry of Tourism in Puno, Peru as it was at my work where I displayed my photos after returning from my trip. I am mentioning this not to put myself in some level of spotlight, but to show that this rating system of yours is as relevant and representative of the criteria you tie to the rating here as a roll of toilet paper in my basement.
A truly professional community helps others grow and if not, the system can be created as such that it forces, to a degree obviously, if you grade someone's work low to at least in few words explain why. The current rating system reflects your mindset, you guys don't care, you claim users don't have the time to write a few sentences why they practically spit on someone's work just because they can. To me as an amateur photographer your website has zero professional credibility in that regard. I can find others where members take a lot more time than you realize to comment on others work. You would be shockingly or perhaps pleasantly surprised on how willing people are to do just that, but you have to give them a chance.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

The rating system is fine. It's you people that expect to be coddled is the issue.

If you want a critique to grow, go the Groups section: https://fstoppers.com/groups . The contest section is just that, a contest first. If you get any comments, then more power to you.

I can almost guarantee, YOU don't leave comments on all submissions you've rated low. If you haven't rated low, you are lying to yourself, the submitter, and the contest.

Przemek Lodej's picture

You people? Buddy, I'm old school, I don't need a safe space to go cry about when someone rates my photos low or a trophy for participation. You are missing the point of our argument. Not sure what circles you hung around in, but in my industry (3D computer graphics) when people critique someone's work they actually care and tell them why? See it's called common courtesy.
I'll break your preconceived notion, I do leave a comment on EVERY photo I rate. Imagine that right? I only rated about 8 photos so far which caught my eye and every one of them was a 3.

Tommy Gofiger's picture

I see your logic, if you rate an image then you leave a comment and that's respectable but that's not how everyone does things. Personally I try to rate every image in the critique so I can make sure everyone gets the same treatment since they took the time to enter the critique. If I were to leave a constructive comment on every photo I rated I'd be over 300 comments in. If i were to just rate the 1-2 stars I'd still be several comments deep. That's a lot of time and energy into something that would generally go underwhelmed. I left comments on a few photos I rated lower( spanning multiple critiques) and half the time I get back emotionally driven defenses as to the limitations of the photographers situation. While I can take that into account it still doesn't change the fact that the photos end-result was a 1 or a 2 star. I can understand your frustration with the rating system and taking it to heart, but in the end you have to take these ratings with a grain of sand and look at it more on the scale of the highest rated images vs the lowest, and where you fall in that. Even the highest rated images for all these critiques is never higher that a 3.5 ("solid" but not exceptional) so really you should look at a 2-star rating as more of a 3.5/5. You see what I mean? You know where you stand as far as your photos go and that should be enough. Photography is supposed to be something personal to everyone and other people don't have to "get it" for you to keep doing it. Photographers can be harsh but you have to understand that there's a lot of world-renowned photographers through generations that get hate for their efforts even though they know they did the best that they could and have even changed photography for future generations. You know how many times I've heard photographers say "I hate Ansel Adams photos, they're so boring!" or "Herb Ritts is just bad." when subjectively they are some of the best in their respective genres? Don't let the haters bring you down, man. Just keep doing what you're doing and take these critiques a little less seriously. No one's making serious cash by having the highest rated image here and the scale of rating is VERY arbitrary. Hell, my entries got ~2 stars and not a single person left a comment so all I can do is understand I could do better and so I try to go do it. At some point I might figure out how to make better images but for now I'm just gonna keep enjoying the ride!

Tommy Gofiger's picture

As far as leaving comments on only 3 star images, I don't really understand how that's helpful to the images you would've voted a 1 or a 2 star. Not really being constructive at that point more of just giving a pat on the back to those that are already solid. Respect to you for leaving comments, I don't want to discourage you from doing so, but the whole point of the original comment was you weren't getting the feedback you wanted from lower-rated images. I personally rated your photos 3 stars because they are solid, so I don't know how I would be helpful in a constructive critique if all I'd be saying is "great job!" you know what I'm saying?

Przemek Lodej's picture

I agree with pretty much everything you said. I rated only the photos I found interesting or appealing to me, not every single one, and the ones I did rate in my opinion were predominantly 3. I think I gave one 4. My only gripe is that if you do give a 2 or 1 justify it. Yes, if you give a 3, as you said, it makes no sense to really say anything. Cheers.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Therein lies the problem. You are adamant this is a critique session. It is not.

And, no, you didn't break my preconceived notion. If anything, you've enforced it.

Lastly, no, you didn't comment on 8. You commented on 3 ONLY AFTER you claimed 8. Not sure what circles you hang around in, but, in my group, we don't go around telling fibs. The comment history can work you, or against you. In this case, the latter.

https://i.imgur.com/KJgsSUD.jpg

Ignacio Espana's picture

Buddy, I don't even have clients yet, but I don't see how it's responsibility of anyone arround here to go and personally help you improve when we invest a lot of money and time to educate ourselves in the first place. I think it's sad how you would go arround and shame those of us who can't manage to leave a comment on every image we rate in a contest that we're probably entering just for fun. I love helping people improve their work, but a demand like this is just irrational.

P.S. No pro out there is afraid that a random fstopper will steal their job. Maybe you can invest in some education to inform yourself of exactly how much it takes to make it.

Bruce Grant's picture

How about this for a suggestion if it hasn't been done before:

Lee or Patrick pick a photo or two that you like but think was low balled and would personally give a higher rating. I'd be curious to see your picks.

Tommy Gofiger's picture

Oooo I like this idea, I'd like to add another suggestion along the same lines:

It'd be nice to implement a disclaimer that encourages leaving a comment if someone rates an image a 1 or a 2 star. Even go as far as a pop up after clicking 2-star that says "Please leave a comment with feedback on how they can get this photo to a 3 star" and even better HAVE TO leave a comment on an image you rate a 1 star, and if you don't then you can't rate it at all!

Would be a positive way to deter shady 1-star trains and a positive way to encourage constructive criticism for those that have good intentions.

Patrick Tenger's picture

Actually think the ratings weren't too bad for this one. The rating system is skewed low based on a 3 star being a portfolio image (which are supposed to be amazing photos).
As for commenting if you rate 1-2, its a lot of work to do. Yes, it can be helpful but when I did it the guy freaked out and got insulted for saying his cow photo looked like a snapshot.
Being completely objective on your own photos is hard but people aren't out to try to make your photos seem bad by rating them low.

Contest Submissions

Click on the thumbnails below to comment and vote on each image.

Click here to learn about the Fstoppers rating system and what each star value means.