Critique the Community


Submit Your Best 'Emotional' Image

For this next critique, we want to see more than just a pretty picture. We want to see photographs that exude emotion. As with many of these genre-based critiques, "emotion" will be open to interpretation but try to upload uniquely powerful images. Keep in mind that we want to feel something when we see your submission, and no, a pretty sunset won't cut it. 

Each photographer is allowed to submit up to 3 images. Please write a quick paragraph about how you created your shot so that we can discuss it in the live critique. The highest-rated image and one random image will win a free tutorial from the Fstoppers Store.

Cover image by TJ Drysdale

  • Submission Deadline: Fri, 07 Aug 20 21:30:00 +0000

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  • 183 people have cast a total of 7,739 votes on 295 submissions from 175 contestants.
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Lukasz J's picture

Almost no landscape photography so far. Strange cause good landscape can generate much more emotions than posed portrait.

Simon King's picture

I think the voting on this is going to be very polarised - some will see emotion easier in a particular genre while not see it in others. Personally I don’t get much emotion from landscape photography so would rather see more people photos in this one.

James Allen Stewart's picture

Aye. Seems a tad subjective. It's like someone who really likes cars say that cars evoke much more emotion than a person showing emotions :p When I saw a landscape photo here I was honestly a bit like "..really? I mean, it's a nice photo, but..."

John Ellingson's picture

Emotion is totally subjective. The image should trigger that emotional response.

Simon King's picture

likewise - hence why I think voting could be really polarised. Additionally, if you have say a top landscape photographer voting on a genre they've not experienced shooting, like a wedding or sports, they may not appreciate the difficulty/challenge in capturing moments of genuine emotion that have a strong composition and vote pictures lower as a result (and vice-versa). I think the voting system on here really encourages what would be perceived as negative voting - a 1 or a 2 is a likely score for a lot of photos because people won't feel it could sell or is "portfolio" ready. Coming away with a 1 or 2 can feel quite discouraging.

Bodkin's Best Photography's picture

Yeah. I posted a picture of a northern lights seascape and it got hammered down to a 2/5 needs work.

So many bitter people on these sites.

Matthew Lacy's picture

I do hope that we get the "Stolen Scream" on this one. I know the guy is on Fstoppers, but I don't know if he does CTCs.

John Ellingson's picture

Many good images and portraits, but they seem to lack the emotional impact.

Chase Wilson's picture

An image that moves you emotionally is about as rare as a leprechaun. Expecting several to show up in a YouTube contest is unrealistic. If you’re looking for lightning to strike in order to hand out your three stars, I’d suggest re-evaluating your rubric.

The goal of art is to make an emotional impact. And a great artist is lucky to create one or two in their entire career. I’m hoping the folks here complaining about the lack of emotional impact in this set can appreciate where the individual artists sit on their personal journey towards their own one or two.

Edit: let me suggest an alternative rubric

1. Can this image be interpreted to meet the theme? Try not to judge against your personal interpretation. Resist the urge to grade on how well the images adheres to the theme. The theme is the threshold, not the scale.
If yes, start with a ‘3’
If no, start with a ‘1’, and stop.

2. Add or subtract a point based on technical competency. If the image is hard to look at do to glaring technical flaws go negative. If it’s interesting to view, and invites further discussion (technically, or in content) go positive.

3. Add a point based on how it personally impacts you. This is where you get to be subjective. Go balls to the wall with this category.

Simon King's picture

I agree with just about everything you’ve said here Chase, but do you think in this scenario, an image needs to connect with you emotionally in order to award it 3 stars? I’d say if it does hit you emotionally, it should be at least 4 stars (excellent) as it’s managed to convey that emotion despite you not knowing anything about the scene/people. I think 3 in this case would be a technically solid image that you would think would fit on a website/portfolio, but maybe hasn’t hit you emotionally. A 2 means “needs work”, I’d be interested to hear what work someone would suggests who rates an image a 2, as that’s going to be very difficult for them to say given they weren’t there in that moment.

Chase Wilson's picture

I outlined my suggested rubric.

Too often in these “contests” folks grade an image on how well it meets the theme. This is obviously the wrong way to grade any artistic Endeavor. It’s like grading a movie on how well it adheres to a particular genre.

Simon King's picture

Yeah I quite like the idea of what you’ve put above for rating images. It’s difficult, because photography being an art is always going to be subjective, and open to an element of interpretation. For me personally, I don’t see any benefit to the photographer in rating their image a 1 without giving some constructive critique- but unfortunately many people can’t be constructive in their critiques while others can’t accept constructive critique - that generally leaves me not rating images that I feel are less than a 2. I still feel a 6 point scale would work better, where 3 would be the “ok” category, 4 portfolio ready. A 2 needs work. Having that would allow people to feel they’re getting a bit of credit for their decent images and not constantly belittled by low ratings.

Coin Flip's picture

Chase I really like your grading rubric but this part hung me up.

“ Too often in these “contests” folks grade an image on how well it meets the theme”

Isn’t that the whole point though. Such in the previous contest that was swimwear and someone posts a landscape or architectural photo shouldn’t they receive a low score? Or why they get Mike Kelley for the architectural photos but people submit portraits.

I’m new here and still trying to figure it out but what’s the point of a themed contest or critique if someone is just post something completely different.

Chase Wilson's picture

The rubric handles it.

If the contest is swimwear, and someone posts an image that could be interpreted to fit the theme, then you start at a 3. Then continue to part two and three.

If it can’t be interpreted to fit the theme, it’s a 1. Period.

So if someone posts an architecture image in a swimwear contest, then that image is a 1. But if someone posts a picture of a woman wearing a fishing net on a boat, then that *could* be interpreted as swimwear, so you start at a 3. And you move on to judging technical merit, and then if the image has any kind of resonance with you personally.

What I don’t like seeing is people rating an image solely on how well it meets the topic. For instance if the theme is “drama” people will try and rate image based on how dramatic it is, rather than rating images that fit a dramatic category. I wish the these topics were treated more as a threshold, or bar to entry, and not as the singular metric on which to judge an image.

Emotion is the perfect example, that’s playing out now. And “design” last time. People are taking great images, but they’re being rated unfairly because of these very narrow definitions of a topic.

Coin Flip's picture

I can see where you are completely coming from. These last few contests have been quite subjective and can be so easily interpreted differently.

But in the end some topics are so specific there shouldn't be much of a question or need for interoperation. For swimwear to me at least, it's pretty cut and dry, Would the person go swimming in it? Simple as that.

So a girl wearing a fishing net to me would be basically be a 1 on your scale. The person is not actually going to use that as swimwear.

Once again this is just my opinion and I completely respect your opinion and your body fo work for that matter. I just see it differently.

I appreciate the friendly discussion.

Jerome Brill's picture

This is not something people want to hear but if you already have a lack of empathy and only care about yourself then you're not going to be moved by any of these photos. This content isn't for you to judge.

Chase Wilson's picture

This certainly pertains to me. I’ve been dead inside for too long.

Angela Perez's picture

If you rate someone needs work you should comment what needs work just saying.

kfl GALORE's picture

Really many great shots here. But not that much which really invoke emotions. Of course except the guy sitting naked on the plican ...

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