Critique the Community

Submit Your Best "Quirky" Image

Critique the Community "Quirky" Edition
  • Submission Deadline: Thu, 30 Jan 20 03:15:00 +0000

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We want to see your best images that capture "Quirky" for our next Critique the Community. 

Between now and January 29th, you may submit up to two of your best images that depict something "Quirky". We will be selecting a total of 20 images to give feedback to and two entrants will win a free Fstoppers original tutorial. The first winner will be decided by the highest average community rated image and the second will be chosen at random. Please note that we want to see high quality pictures and will probably overlook anything that looks like a snapshot. 

Once you've uploaded your submissions, we encourage you to scroll through everyone else's and give them ratings and comments of your own. Please keep feedback encouraging and helpful. 

  • Submission Deadline: Thu, 30 Jan 20 03:15:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • 432 people have cast a total of 20,044 votes on 289 submissions from 204 contestants.
  • Congratulations to the winners!

    View Results


I have a feeling this week's critique can get brutal here on the website.

I find it hard to place and determine "quirky" as a thing, without it dipping its toe into just being weird. It's very subjective.
harder still to see a "quirky" image in a portfolio without context especially as a single image or perhaps not knowing it might be part of a series.

Either way, I won't be joining in, it's not my style.
But looking forward to see what kind of images show up and vote where I can! :)

Agree, and I’m having difficulty associating “high quality” and not a “snapshot” while browsing “Quirky”. Should be an interesting subject though.

John Keatley is always one of my go to photographers when it comes to "quirky" themes. His stuff is near world class and much of it is very quirky:

To me quirky means something that takes an unexpected turn or has an ironic theme to it. It would be something riding on the line of comedy and slightly obscure. Most quirky images will make you stop and do a double take or try to make you question what is happening. A portrait of a beautiful girl smirking or winking at you probably won't cut it.

Ok, I was not familiar with him and admit his work is certainly high quality, avant-garde, and quirky. A good example to keep in mind as we rate this week. I guess I had a more street or spontaneous framework in mind; although one of mine is and one was posed :-). Thanks!

First I have to agree that I'm not the biggest fan of the ratings. Simply because it is a bit widely spread.

Either way, in my mind;

A snapshot is something that anyone (without any photography knowledge) would take. Things where you can clearly see that composition, lighting, editing, etc were all not really taken into consideration when taking the shot.

as an example in this weeks "quirky". Maybe you see a dog doing something funny and quirky, you get your phone out. grab a quick shot.
But you don't go down to the dogs' eye level, you don't take into account the crop and the dogs' tail is cut off in the crop, or looking at where the light is coming from, or the movement of the dog made it out of focus. no depth of field, Those kinds of things.
Something you'd quickly send to a friend on WhatsApp. with "haha, look what this dog is doing"

And no matter how much you edit or work it, it is never going to end up on your portfolio without really retaking the image again but better and with more thought going into it and taking different angles, different setups, better lighting, gear, etc into account.

In theory, there shouldn't be a lot of "1's" in critiques. As there usually is some sort of idea or thought behind an image. So usually that would automatically make most a "2" if they managed to capture that idea or thought in the image.

Now.... I do feel... that people are also rate lower or even 1's for images that don't fit within the contest criteria... which is a bit of an issue with this rating system.

"Needs more work" can be incredibly vague and wide spread.

Something like "great image, but I can see a dust spot or 2 that you need to get rid of before putting it in your portfolio", or the highlights are blown out, something that is over edited with too much colour saturation, too much clarity and sharpness, perspectives that are off (vertical and horizontal line), maybe it's slightly out of focus, it could even be something as simple as just the crop.

Basically it's looking at an image and deciding wether or not the photographer has managed to capture his/her idea and thought into the image and you can see the work that went into it and see the idea in the image. It might not be perfect, there might be things wrong with it, but with some additional edits or changes, it can make it onto your portfolio.
And yes, it might mean that the photo has to be taken again to do those edits and changes. But the idea can still work on a portfolio and that can still be worth the 2.

again.. 2's are incredibly wide and vague.. so I'm not sure this helps, but this is how I look at it.

I agree that the rating system is broad, but I'm also unsure why that alone would prevent anyone from entering these competitions. I'd recommend trying not to care so much what other people may rate your images, and just focus on improving. I've found so much inspiration and even advice on random images I've entered into these competitions. Has it been hard at times hearing critiques on work that I'm proud of? Absolutely. But if you close yourself off completely to criticism, how can you realistically expect to improve?

Sure, some people may just be negative and condescending for the sake of it. But in this community (just like everywhere else in life), that number is a small percentage. It's just that that small percentage tends to be loud, and therefore gets more attention than the vast majority, who I've found to be much more thoughtful and helpful with their comments and suggestions.

Basically what I'm saying is that it's easy to try and find reasons to not do something. But if you take the plunge and open yourself up to feedback from others, you will get a much better and realistic idea of how "the masses" may view your work.

Yes, what does needs work mean exactly? who's saying it needs more work, if it's my work, and I believe it's complete, who has the right to say it needs work. If someone feels it needs work, then aren't they actually saying they would like to complete the work to their own ideas and standards

This isn't necessary. Let's tone it down a notch guys OK?

I'd love to see more technique-based topics and less subjective ones. "unique", "quirky", "moody", "styled",.... Ug. In order to grow as a photographer, I'd prefer something more technique or even equipment oriented. I understand there is a need to improve your ability to produce themed work if you are a pro, so I see the relevence in that regard.
Interspersing some less subjective topics would be appreciated though.

I love this idea. We will try to do more of these in the future.

Double exposure might be a fun start. In camera. A great challenge to learn this camera function and not rely on compositing. The creative people here would surely amaze!

Sad that I've been wanting to learn double exposure in camera for awhile now, but I own the Sony A7iii so......

I don't see how we could fairly judge it and know that the exposure was done in camera. Also, that is so specific that I feel like very few people would have images they created all in camera.

That does seem to be the consensus. 🤗. Too bad though. Learning how to do things like this, both from a less-common feature of your gear (of you have it) to the tricks for setting it up, help you learn about everything from composition to exposure. I still hope you consider the original suggestion. Regardless, I look forward to all future topics. Thank you for your consideration and efforts!

For any curious about this topic, an article was just posted by James Madison that is interesting. The images in the comments are great! Fun!

Only issue is, I think this might cause a gear and affordability battle. Might make alot of people feel like they cant participate.

Every challenge excludes some people and frankly, more people should probably not enter every challenge. There are far too many off topic entries. I'm not entering this one because I can't meet the theme. No biggie. I'll watch and learn from the bench this time. Besides, this isn't an equality-based social service. There is no reason why topics need to be so broad as to include everyone. I would also venture a guess that more than half those who think their camera don't have this feature actually have ones that do. Let's learn our gear better or, if we don't have the gear, let's learn by reading up on the topic and participating through observation. I shoot mostly fluids, abstracts and other less common subjects. These challenges force me to try new things and that is great. I appreciate the opportunity!

I do agree that "unique, moody, styled" can be quite subjective and dependant on the eyes of the beholder, so they can be difficult to judge and to take part in. But those topics haven't been showing up a lot. (only 3 out of many recent ones)

Looking at previous contests there are things like Panoramic, Long exposure, Macro, hot lights, black and white, night photography, etc.. So topics have been done before where the focus was more on techniques.

At the same time there are enough topics that, while not necessarily technique based, aren't that subjective. Landscape photography, it's either a landscape or it isn't. So I feel there is healthy mix already in the topics.

I would obviously agree that it would be nice to be encouraged to enhance techniques or learn about obscure techniques that I can perhaps use as inspiration for the future.
At the same time you might be stopping a lot of photographers to take part though if you go too specific with the techniques. So there is a reason to keep the topics somewhat open.

I am glad you are satisfied with the range in topics.
I generally am as well. My comment is a request for more technique-based topics interspersed with less subjective ones given to Patrick who acknowledged it. (Thanks!) It is just a request of what I'd like to see, not a commentary or critique of the processes. I recommend everyone make their own suggestions or requests. ;)

Definition: Quirky "characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits." One does not usually plan this kind of thing in advance, so it would seem random opportunities would be where many quirky photos come from. But random opportunities are quite often snapshots. Snapshots are excluded. I guess I am not completely clear on what the goal is for this contest.

I think you can plan quirky. Peculiar or unexpected traits doesn't mean the photographer has to find them unexpected. In fact he can direct someone into them. The viewer probably will find them unexpected though.

People complain about the scores/votes in these contests. I think that this is in large degree because people (like me) tend to heavily weigh the topic into the rating. If you submit a good 3 star image, but aren't a strong example of the theme, your votes are very likely downgraded a star. or perhaps even two if it is glaringly irrelevant. On the other hand, if your image strongly conforms to the theme, your image should be upgraded correspondingly.

This is likely to be true not only of themes like "quirky", but also true of merely technical themes, like composition.

Personally, I grade a little hard because this seems to be a site with high standards. I mean, for just a 3, it is supposed to be good enough to include in a professional photographer's portfolio. And of course, world class 5 stars should be of the calibre of Weston, Adams, Steiglitz, and other masters. That's an extremely high mark. On that basis, I think that even "snapshot" might reasonably be used more often for photos that would rate somewhat well on another well. A photo by a professional standard can be a snapshot even at a high level of technical quality. There has to be at least a little wow factor to score higher.

I took a quick spin through 10K+ of my photographs today, none of them are quirky :-( Lots of them are rubbish (could we have that as a category next time please?) but none remotely quirky. There are some super shots here for inspiration mind you, maybe I'll have an idea in the next couple of days ...

Should have been called Cringe photos lol. Some of the photos are really cool tho.

I dont really have any 'quirky' images but there are some awesome shots posted already, great work everyone.

It seems like the voting community thinks quirky only means “funny,” but it actually “characterized by unexpected traits.”

One of my images appears to be affected by the narrower interpretation of the word, seeing as how they’re both of my images are rated the same, but one of them is a much stronger image. It’s just not quirky in the funny sense. 🤷🏼‍♂️

What I’m saying is you probably do have a quirky image. Just don’t expect it to do well unless it’s overtly humorous.

If I was to choose it would be one where I’ve composed a shot of the transporter bridge in Middlesbrough following a line of burnt out scrap cars, it’s more interesting than quirky I’d say.

I like the unexpected angle too. Quirky doesn't mean it has to be funny or even unexpected to the photographer. I find a lot of Dan WInters images to be quirky (Brad Pitt wearing a bluetooth earpod) or Martin Schoeller's images of Michael Douglas and Jimmy Fallon are great examples. They are more portraits but they fit the theme well. The Greg Heisler Shaq in a huge chair photo also comes to mind. Most of Dave LaChapelle's portfolio is also pretty "quirky".

I didn’t mean “won’t do well in the selection process.” I meant “won’t do well against the community vote.”

You guys selecting tend to have a pretty liberal interpretation of the theme. But the community, on this one, seems to be rewarding humor, and penalizing anything outside of humor. Take for example the lamp-shade woman shot. It’s a really good photo, and in the context of a series I think it’d be very memorable. Not to mention it’s “quirky” in the vein of the photographers you mentioned. But it was rated 2.5, while (I didn’t go through the lot) a poorly composed image of a girl pulled by a dog is 3.15.

My point to Stuart was that he probably does have something quirky. Just not the style of quirk that the community is favoring this round.

The lamp shade image is good but the problem with that is, there are a number of images in the contest using the same idea with the lamp shade and that devalues the image on originality.

Well, two lampshade images are from the same guy. So that is something to apply in the calculus.

However I stand corrected. My problem was that the lampshade image was voted almost a point under the poorly composed dog, girl, mailman shot. This has since been corrected by the community, and the lampshade has a slight edge over the bad shot.

So while quirky humor might still be favored, the better image is barley beating it. Even with its handicap.

Out of interest, which of your images do you feel is the stronger?

I think the guy kneeling with craft supply blood is the stronger image.

Between the two, there’s more in the bloody image to dissect and unpack than the guy with the funny face.

I also agree that I have had a hard time going through and voting for anything above a 2. Quirky is a hard thing to judge, and even harder to judge it as portfolio worthy or above.

Do we know when the contest will officially end ?

New submissions are closed, voting generally just stays open... Forever I believe.

Yeah no, there is an End to it too. Just look at the other contest :)

I think you're asking when the review of this contest will be, which I'm wondering as well. Last contest I submitted on the final day submissions were allowed, and the review video came out that same day or the following day. This contest has obviously worked differently, but they've got a ton going on I'm sure so I'd guess that they try to hit it sometime close to every week, but that it can vary depending on their schedules and other obligations. Either way, I am really enjoying these contests, it's a lot of fun to check out other creators and their abilities.

I didn't get through many before I saw where most photographers went with this and decided I was not the right critic for this one. I was too late to enter, and now am glad because I interpreted "quirky" completely different than most. Interesting though, in seeing what other interpretations have been entered here.

Contest Submissions

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