Critique the Community

Submit Your Most Unique Photo

  • Submission Deadline: Sun, 05 Jan 20 18:00:00 +0000

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We've all taken a photo of a pet, a landscape, a flower, or a girl walking on train tracks. We don't want to see any of that, unless of course you've figured out a way to do one of these cliche shots in a different way. We want to see something unique. Maybe you came up with a really unique concept, photographed a totally different subject, or used some sort of different lighting or post-processing. 

We want to see images that are different from what casual photographers around the world are producing. 

  • Submission Deadline: Sun, 05 Jan 20 18:00:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • 640 people have cast a total of 49,685 votes on 668 submissions from 437 contestants.
  • Congratulations to the winners!

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I'm really digging the variety so far, some beautiful shots! ...but I'm grading harsh and knocking off a star for anything that's not surprisingly different or refreshing... Don't take it personal

In this case I think that's perfectly reasonable and given the contest subject matter, if this is supposed to be for a portfolio of "unique"... anything not actually unique should be 2 star regardless of how good the image is.

Well, do remember the ratings persist beyond this specific competition as well though.

I'm new here so I might be wrong but it doesn't appear the ratings are the same. I have separate ratings for the contest and my portfolio.

Interesting - I'm surprised at that, but I'll look at it more.

The contest ratings and portfolio ratings are separate, even if you submit one directly from your portfolio. They do a lot "wrong" with these contests, but that is one thing they undoubtedly do "right". On top of that, it's proof that the rating system here doesn't reflect the actual quality of the work, so there's no point in getting too upset over it.

I don't know about everyone else, but I'd never submit a portfolio image if they were connected. It would be portfolio rating suicide.

Foto Toad Same here. I'm grading hard too. My aim for my own photo was 3 stars. It's now at 2.5 and I think it's a fair assessment. Its my first time I'm submitting a photo here and in general for the sole purpose of criticism and feedback. Its great and I'm glad you are grading harsh too.

"We want to see something unique" does not mean 'hey just post all your average iPhone shots'.
Come on, there are so many shoots we all have seen thousands of times, even if they are technically good - you should see they do not belong here.
Look at all those 1-2 star ratings and guess why you got them.
I would be very glad if people actually read and follow the rules.

They should have added the rule that you have to state in the description what makes it unique.

That's why I mentioned my landscape photo white balance was changed to tungsten...otherwise it's just another swamp.

I like the rules; it's going to be an interesting contest for sure! Good luck to everybody and let's play! :-)

I entered a shot that on screen isn't a thriller. I don't boast about my photos, but this shot, while on screen will not garner much praise, in print form (I printed it on metallic based paper) is stunning.

I've been selling prints for about 4 years now. I've never picked a shot that I've numbered to make it a 'limited edition', but this is the first one that I've numbered.

The processing has a lot to do with it, but had I printed it on a satin paper or some sort of cotton rag, it wouldn't have taken on the unique 'personality' that the metallic paper gives it.

Next critique: Mail your best print to Puerto Rico to be critiqued 😄

I don't imagine that you have too many birch trees in Puerto Rico!

Now that I entered and rated some shots, the theme that has been pervasive in these contests is still in play; rate shots lower to help my shot. I'm not a certified judge, but some of these shots, considering the theme, are terrific yet get less than a '2' rating. It's a shame.

At any rate, a lot of really talented people here. :-)

Terrific doesn't mean unique though and given the criteria for this contest I can see a terrific shot getting 2 stars.

That worm photo was already in a critique and highlighted in the YT video.

Oh, I watched them back to back. Must have gotten the specific channels confused.

Please leave a comment on images, especially if you are going to rate them low. My images tend to be rated between 1.5 and 2.9, which I am ok with I just wish people would give feedback on how I can improve.

I joined Fstoppers, and submit to the critiques for feedback, but rarely do I get any. I feel that this has become an unfortunate reality for most people now.

It seems like that will be the case, but hopefully some people will.

Would be nice for at least one contest to require a comment along with your vote to explain why it fits that rating level. Having just read the rating levels, I think they're well thought out. I wonder how many people actually read the rating descriptions. It would be interesting to see people explain their rating. Would probably also help the photographer learn.

Voting takes much less time than writing a comment. It'd take hours to comment on every low rated image. Unfortunately, most people can't spend so much time on this.

I don't put any stock what so ever in the rating system for contest. There's so many disingenuous people down rating to i guess push themselves up somehow. You can take an image on a profile that those who voted considered it world class then submit it to a contest then you get nothing but needs work from every vote. Of course no comments stating what could be done to improve it. It's kind of a joke really.

I tend to vote higher than the average voter because I try to follow the official Star Rating system.

Same here. Often i'm probably more generous than i should be.

Having just read the rating levels, I wonder how many people even know what they are.

this is my first ever photo that i have posted. i'm looking for honest critique and feedback. i now see that my photo is not really unique. well, that is a good reality test so far. the photos so far are really impressive. i see that i'm playing with the big boy's now. good luck to all. it has been a learning process so far.

I literally just quickly went through the entire submissions (to date) i saw 1 image to which i thought fit the competition.
I think people just upload randomly these days to promote their own work.
Naked lady (NOT UNIQUE)
Forest Fog (NOT UNIQUE)


I would love to know which one you did feel fit, would you mind sharing? One of my favorites from the critique so far is Bela Acs portrait which talks about global warming.

I think this is a real issue in this contest. I try to vote according to what the rating system is supposed to mean and also according to the rules of the contest. Very few others seem to do this. There are genuinely unique and interesting shots with sub 2 ratings and hugely cliche images with 3+ ratings. Nothing unique about standard landscapes, naked girls, and trees.

My hope is that the actual critique has those few unique images shown, but I have a feeling that when choosing images, the subject may go out the window and the critique may end up showcasing the top images, regardless of uniqueness. Hopefully I am proven wrong!

Are there really that many people who spend their time trying to 'cheat' this contest by downvoting and multiple accounts just to have a chance at winning a tutorial!?? Lame. They should put their energy into photography.
Tyler Mattas don't take it personally if people vote low for whatever reason, it's a very diverse crowd and photographers seem to be very harsh judges. In my opinion there are a majority of portfolio quality submissions but in my mind I might give a 2 star if it is not an outstanding example of the theme of the contest. I might add a star to a less technical photo if it's truly unique... Meanwhile both may be portfolio-worthy.
I must admit I liked it better when David(?) used to select the photos. He always had a more interesting variety of selection than Lee Morris

See Mark Ensbey’s comment above, he said it perfectly.

Think this is the line from the rules that should be a clue as to whether or not a photo fits:
"We want to see images that are different from what casual photographers around the world are producing."

There are many photos that are really nice, but they just don’t meet the “out of the ordinary” theme that was requested.

See Mark Ensbey’s comment above, he said it perfectly.

Wayne: Very easy to critique but I don't see you with any skin in the game. Where's you amazing work?

I’ve got one. I like the photo,, and it follows the “unique” theme... I believe anyway. My ego will not be torched if it doesn’t get a 3, or 2...or a 1 for that matter. I’ve been shooting since 1974 - event and portraits mainly, freelance and part of my marketing tasks the last 15 years. I like the process of shooting, so most of what I take is an experiment for me. The skill does help to pay the bills. - - It’s the flat layout of the SE5a model airplane kit.

I feel as if the community is too harsh of critiques. Almost seems like if you don't have professional lighting and if your photo wasn't shot in a studio then its automatically a crappy photo to "professionals". I get that it has to be unique but who are we to say how unique a photo is? Because a lot of the high rated photos look the same as a "regular" submission and not a unique one.

I agree with you, photos that do well here are good landscapes and anything lit with strobes... Anything spontaneous like street photography will be averaging 2.

I think that has more to do with the size of the audience for the genres and the amount of "noise" in each genre. There's a lot of people shooting "street" photos, as a result, you really have to sift through a lot of average or sub average photos to find the really good ones. Even then, the street genre seems to be considerably more subjective in what is good and what is not. When you move over to something lit in a studio, the number of contributions compared to street photography is likely going to be smaller because there's fewer people doing it. For one, there's going to be more of an investment in gear to shoot studio work. There's also another technical aspect to learn that seems to be challenging for some. These two things limit the number of images you sift through when compared to street photography. Just my opinion of course.

I don't know that I have much to add to what has already been said. It would seem if you combine all the comments here, that is what is "wrong" about this contest. It's much the same with the DP Review challenges. It seems "created photos" are rated higher than "found" photos.
The definition of "unique" is so broad that it is easily interpreted in a myriad of ways. And, it would seem obvious that there are a lot of photos that don't belong here- but who's to say what "unique" means. Maybe the contest theme should be more narrow? Then, if you do rate a photo low and leave constructive criticism it's taken personally. One of my photos here was graded one star within two minutes of being posted, a result I believe of having given constructive criticism. Or was it just coincidence?

Agree. An image in my portfolio is 3.57 and the same photo in this contest is a 2.19. 1928 Ford Tri-Motor. Not too many of those flying around these days.

I think the confusion is the interpretation of unique. Photos of cars abstractly isn't unique. A photo of a rare car might be considered unique. Guess it's up to the community to decide what their idea of unique in this instance is.

I personally am a unique individual...perhaps I should have posted a selfie 🤣

With little else to do last evening, I checked the ratings of newly added photos every half hour or so; all 1 or 2 stared right off the bat; every one, no acceptations.

The simple solution would be, if you rate an image (1 thru 5) then you must leave a comment with the rating you gave right next to the replied post. That would clear out a lot of the nonsensical ratings. Not going to happen, but hopes eternal.

I just removed my images, I'll sit this one out, and catch the next in a few weeks.

I agree. I think every rating should require a comment, and the comment should have the rating next to it so that there is more transparency with everything. Every live Judging that I have been to has required the judges to justify their scoring. Makes sense that we hold the community to the same standard.

I suggested this last contest. Lee and Patrick have zero intention of changing the system because it's still getting them tons of views.

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