Critique the Community


Submit your best Winter themed photos for a chance to win a free Fstoppers tutorial
  • Submission Deadline: Wed, 23 Jan 19 04:45:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • Congratulations to the winners!

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This week's Critique the Community theme will be "Winter." Submit your best images now to receive feedback from the community and a chance to be critiqued by Lee and Patrick.

Between now and January 22nd at 11:45 PM EST, you can submit up to two of your best Winter themed images. We will be selecting a total of 20 images from the community to provide feedback to and will also be choosing two winners to receive a free Fstoppers original tutorial. The first winner will be decided by the highest community rated photo and the second will be chosen at random. 

Once you've submitted your photos, scroll through the rest of the submissions to give honest ratings and feedback. The easiest way to rate the pictures is to use your keyboard's arrow and number keys. We also encourage you to leave helpful and positive feedback when you see an area where an image could be improved. 

  • Submission Deadline: Wed, 23 Jan 19 04:45:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • 807 people have cast a total of 56,668 votes on 707 submissions from 439 contestants.
  • Congratulations to the winners!

    View Results


Is it normal to always get bad ratings on your photos on here? I'm trying to figure out if people don't like my photos or they're just very harsh critics...

I think the community is just harsh. In the last contest forexample the highest rated image got only 3 stars.

Yes it's normal. A good solid image usually gets around 2.5 stars. Some images that should be at the top because of a strong composition can get only 2 stars because it's not flashy enough. Ratings are biased towards overedited colorful stuff. If you've got a silky waterfall with a swapped sky mixing sunset and the milky way, you're golden.

Yeah its normal...some images you could consider to be 3 or 4 stars usually get a 2.3-2.8 like, if your image is 1.8-2.2 its probably more like 3🤷‍♂️....the community is just really demanding i guess

I think it has less to do with being "demanding" and more to do with the competitors also voting for photos they are technically competing against.

(I know I've already posted this in just about every contest thread ever, but it's worth informing any newcomers)

Unless there is a nearly naked woman. That gets you at least a three.

Its not the low scores that puzzle me, it is the inconsistency. Some images that are utter crap do very well, and some that are well thought out and wonderfully executed get very meh ratings. Overdoing the HDR seems to be worth an extra point or so. So does too much saturation. And two very similar images can get very different scores as well.

I, for one, am not enamored when the rating system. 1, 3, 4 & 5 stars I get(tho others don't). I wish 2 star rating was split............2a for those that need a lot of work.........2b for those that just need a couple of changes to be eligible for a 3 rating............There have those that are just on the edge but not quite there for me to give it a 3

Yep. Exactly what I am supposed to take away from the rating of "needs a little work"when the image is spot-on in the first place. Bogus rating system.

We all know that's a rabbit hole. Is it spot on in a technical sense, or is it spot on from a content standpoint. Is it spot on from both of those standpoints but still, just not that interesting. I hate the system too, I think we should try what YouTube has, a thumbs up system. If you're meh, then don't rate it, if it truly needs work, thumbs down (missed focus or another technical breakdown, maybe we could just leave out thumbs down actually), then have thumbs up, and whoever has the most thumbs up wins.

Don't worry about the ratings. People enjoy being dicks about it. I've submitted a few of my profile images and based on ratings, I know I got several 1 star votes. I'm not saying my work is 5 stars, but I 100% believe none of my profile images are "snapshots".

I totally agree, aside from a select few images, i dont think i have seen any actual snapshots here....

I've never gotten over a 2.3, but I've been paid for those same prints and it was equal to a month of my banking salary. So who knows, I sometimes think there are trolls, but I also imagine that with these ratings, it's tough because there are a tons of shots that look great but I think need a touch of work. So that makes it a 2 or 3 and I have to decide how much work I think is needed. Photographers are toxic, there are a lot of egos, so even if your shot is better there may be someone rating it low out of jealousy. I'm not going to just say be happy with your work...but I will say there's usually a balance, so for all the people who hate it, there's someone who loves it.

Is it possible to view the images in order of current score?

Not until after the contest, which is actually a good idea. If people could see which photos are higher rated than their own, then it would just cause some of them to 1 star anything ahead of theirs. Not everyone would do this, but a few would, and the scores are already tainted enough, if you ask me.

That makes sense, thanks.

Yeah, seems like over the top images do well here so pump that saturation and contrast.
Try teal and orange or pink and purple combinations, you’ll smash it out of the park 😁

Drinking game: every time you see a photo with snow, take a shot... annnnnnnd I'm dead.

I'm seeing some wonderful work here. Hopefully the comment section of this contest doesn't turn into a game of semantics. Remember, we're all here for fun, guys and girls!

I only joined here yesterday, and threw in an entry just to make an effort - I’m getting good scores, and everyone seems friendly.... I’m having fun and like it so far!!!

I saw two posts with a snow overlay. Looked and it was the same person and exactly the same overlay used exactly the same in both. Lol


Yes you. I'm not sure why you are adding a snow overlay when taking a photo in Alberta in the winter.

Honest reason i went to banff once in last 3 months and it was not snwoing im in highschool so i dont ha e freedom to always be out in banff

Damn some of the entries are amazing :O

No snow here in Florida... I don't think any of my photos taken in the winter time would have the look

Up here in Alberta we have two seasons. Winter and wildfire season.

It’s more or less the same in Tokyo/Kanagawa . Visually speaking, winter looks like summer does in most places, sunny skies and decent sunsets... even some surfers, haha.

I'm in LA and get what you're saying. However, it would still be interesting to see how "winter," in parts of the world that do not get snow / heavy rain can be captured in photos. The climate just forces us to be a little more creative.

it was about winter/cold pictures, you can also go for a cold edit of a portrait or something i guess!

I guess I can take a photo of what's in my freezer :/

There are so many amazing photos in this contest .... with 0 winter on them. I automatically vote them 2 ... what is so hard to undarstand the theme of the contest? It's like the last one, when people submited photoshoped images and were surprised with harsh votes.


I see a lot of snow, is that not winter?

It’s important to remember that not everywhere in the world gets snow. Winter in Tokyo means sunny skies and pretty good sunsets, not snow.

While true I think part of the reason they are doing a winter theme is so people that might not get to submit images for one theme can enter into this one. If someone that lives closer to the poles submitted an image of snow for a summer theme people would most likely be calling them out for submitting a "winter" photo for a summer theme.
It's not totally out of the question for me to see a snow fall at the end of May or in August.

Right now it's -31 celsius. Yesterday morning was down to -40. Lol

Apologies in advance for the novel.

I don't want to get into a battle of semantics of what "Winter themed image" means and I don't want to start a fight, but I'm afraid I have to kind of sort of point out the flaws in this argument as respectfully as possible.

1) " I think part of the reason they are doing a winter theme is so people that might not get to submit images for one theme can enter into this one"
- I'm not sure what you mean by this. None of the previous contests I've seen strictly forbid winter/snow based images. In fact 6 of the last 10 would easily support images taken in winter (Unedited/Street/Repetition/Black and white/landscape/adventure). In fact, my unedited, repetition, and landscape submissions were all taken in winter. If they wanted 800 pictures of snow, they would have titled the contest "snow" or they would have said "post your best photos with snow" but alas, the word snow is very purposefully absent. My guess is they are actually expecting to see a variety of climates, since they have photographed the world... at least I'd hope they would be, because I am... and like... who even am I? Just, some schlub on his sofa, haha.

2) " If someone that lives closer to the poles submitted an image of snow for a summer theme people would most likely be calling them out for submitting a "winter" photo for a summer theme "
- as long as the photographer leaves something in the description explaining the situation, then no one would have any right to question it. And anyone who did would be... well... for lack of a better word "simple minded". The theme of the contest isn't "winter in places with traditional looking winters" and it's also not "snow". So logic like this would mean any photographers based in places like Okinawa, Vancouver, and even Tokyo would have to sit it out because the winters those places experience don't typically conform to the preconception people have of what "winter" means. As photographers, I'd hope people would understand that the world is a little more complex than "winter means snow".

By this logic, if they had a summer theme and people uploaded photos of sunsets I'd have every right to say "uh, guys the theme is 'summer', so upload your photos of typhoons, downpours, thunderstorms, and fireworks because that's summer as I've come to understand it where I live. I'm seeing so many photos of sunsets, and those don't happen in summer because of all the cloud cover and humidity". This would be a ridiculous argument, and I'm sure everyone can agree with that. But it's very much the same as the "winter means snow" argument.

3) "It's not totally out of the question for me to see a snow fall at the end of May or in August.

Right now it's -31 celsius. Yesterday morning was down to -40."

- First of all, that's too cold, man, do you live in outer space or something? The coldest I've ever experienced was -14C, and I thought I was going to die, Haha. Secondly, this basically boils down the the issue of understanding the complexities of differing climates. I mean, for the first 24 years of my life, I thought winter meant 80 days of rain across 3 month and an average of 90% humidity, even when it's sunny. I was born and raised in Canada, and I can probably count the number of times I had more than a foot of snow on one hand. Now I live in Tokyo, and winter means that it's like 13C during the day, clear and sunny enough to see Fuji each and every day, and it's bone dry... oh and also lots of tulips and "illumination events", for some reason. We've had a total of, maybe, 5 days of snow since I moved here 5 years ago. But now that I've shared my irrelevant personal history, the point is that on an international website full of people who do a hobby/job that often involves traveling to different climates, I'd hope that people would be able to think outside the tiny speck of land they call home.

Once again, this wasn't meant as an attack, but oversimplified arguments always run the risk taking an otherwise complex world and well... oversimplifying it (sorry I'm rather bad with words today, haha) .
Personally, one reason I love photography is that it allows me to travel the world for free, through the images of others, so I'd actually be more than happy so see what "winter" looks like or “means” in other places and cultures.

Whoa............Jordan, I got half way through your post when my vision started to blur and I had this overwhelming desire to take a nap.........

That's a lie of course but truthfully, I had this need to tease you...................

Yeah, I tend to be verbose, haha.
I don’t like reading books, but apparently I like writing them!

I grew up in Vancouver. If you don't go during rush hour traffic it is a quick drive to get to a place where you can take winter shots. Just look at Adam Gibbs. I believe for most of his career he has been based out of New Westminster.

Doesn't look like he is having issues getting winter shots. You just can't expect that everyone will be able to submit a photo for every one of these videos. People can post what they want but if someone is posting palm trees and a beach in a winter contest they aren't gonna do as well. Lol

Edit so I just did a search for snow Japan. You say you are in Tokyo? In the time it takes me to drive from Calgary to Lake Louise you will find snow in Japan but you get to relax on a bullet train.

Apologies again for the long comment, I'm not trying to start any Canadian beef.

I know it snows in North Vancouver, but unfortunately when I was living outside of Vancouver, I was too poor to travel. That being said, I think you missed my point. I was saying that seasons can’t be defined by one kind of weather. Winter in Raincouver means rain. No one can say it's not winter because it doesn't snow. So my point still stands. People can't just define "winter" as "has snow" because some parts of the world have snow, the world is more complex than that. As I mentioned in a previous comment, winter is actually a very popular surfing season where I live (I always say Tokyo, but it's actually Kanagawa, I say Tokyo because most people have no idea where Kanagawa is). So I could technically upload a picture of people surfing with Fuji in the background and a palm tree in the foreground and that would still fit, because that's winter in Shonan, it's still freezing cold, we are still oriented away from the sun, it just doesn't happen to snow. If someone argues that it's not winter, they are 100% wrong. (see my previous "summer means typhoons" argument.)
I'm not sure if the picture you mentioned was actually taken in winter, maybe it was, maybe it wasn't, but it's important to remember that context matters. My argument wasn't "everyone should be able to post in every contest", it's more like "imagine the world complexly"

It snows in Northern Japan, but the Shinkansen isn't cheap. On top of that, I work a full time job and have family to take care of, so I can't just hop on the Shinkansen any old time I want. I went up north for a 2 day trip, and it cost me over 400 dollars (train, hotel, and rent-a-car). This is just a hobby at the moment, so that's not the easiest thing to justify to my wife. I'm going up to Yamanashi, in a week and a half, and despite the fact that it's about -7C it's not excepted to snow. However, I'll still be grabbing some winter photos, snow or no snow.

Outside of pure ridiculous ideas, I do wish we could have a vote to come up with a new system of ratings. I think there are a fair amount of unnecessary 1 star ratings, and it'll be on an image averaging 2.9 at the time. I say we get Fstoppers to get all of their available pros together, and we all submit our images (4 or 5) and they give us a rating on our body of work. That rating then equals a point level, and that number is what is added to the score of an image you "like" or "thumbs up." Obviously, this isn't easy, and they may not have time to do this and maybe most people feel like this system has too many variables, or won't stay consistent and need too many updates as people's work change. But it's a start, and even though this isn't that important, I still feel like there are lots of people on here with warped opinions of their work (could be me as well, I'd be interested to find out) and this could somewhat put people in there place so they realize their image is the end all be all. Ok, now I'll wait to watch this torn apart lol

I think it would perhaps be a good idea to have a rating system where, if you give a rating, that you have to leave a comment. This way you don´t just go right arrow 1, right arrow 2, right arrow 1, right arrow 2, i.e. everyone would have to take a little time with the image and comment on why they gave this vote. Of course this might just lead to comments like "because I like it" or "because I don´t like it", but still -- the tendency to just flip over the images might be reduced. I think on amazon it´s like that?

It would be nice to make a comment but at present there are almost 600 images which tends to make commenting problematic. When you do make a comment the posters tend to get defensive or combative.

Yeah, the amount of entries would limit that, like you even said, but I also imagine there's someone who would say "well the rating is supposed to say something for me, so why do I have to say it twice, a 1 is a 1!" I really think there are people who see their photos rating, and then go through a 1 star everything else to improve their score. I don't want to sound like a conspiracy, but man it feels like that.

I really just think people have the rating system messed up, like they say 1 Star when an image has great composition, but messes up on the editing(meaning it should just get 2 stars) like no one understands what a snapshot definition is I feel. Also, I think that it’s important to realize that not everyone on here is a professional “myself included” and are just giving a limited experience opinion. It’s like the phone camera test on YouTube. The bad phones won because their images were brighter and more saturated, so more people voted for those. These communities are great for general ideas, but no one should take any of it to heart. I’d recommend trying to talk to people more on here and spread ideas and experiences rather than getting focused on how a photo is rated. Thank you for coming to my Ted talk😂

To me, the 5 star rating system is good but it seems that the problem within the contest rating is that the theme is overly broad.
For example, I am not sure how to rate a decent photo that was submitted but I feel it doesn't fit the theme! But if the theme was more precise or if they explained exactly what is expected (or not wanted) in the description (not just buried in the previous critique video) then maybe submissions wouldn't be so off-topic?
Or if there was a clarification of how exactly to vote on photos based on the theme. For example if it's a 3 star photo AND it nails the theme perfectly should I add a star? Or are we just supposed to rate each photo independently of the theme? Perhaps someone smarter than me can run the calculations to figure out how to give instructions for a rating process for contests that is more fairly balanced?

The best system for this should have a combo of actual views and the option of selecting a Like.
5-Star rating systems are fine for grading your images in your editor but it has no utility in a contest like this which is easily perverted by a small minority of trolls. A lot of the images I see here deserve a lot more credit than they are given.

Interesting, so would it be basically the total of 2 variables? Views+'likes'? Or 3 variables like Alexander Bryant mentioned earlier regarding the YouTube system?

I think an easy solve to the system would be to only show the ratings at the end of the contest. So no one can see any ratings until the contest is closed.

How many people here actually give out 5 star ratings? I feel like I give out a lot (maybe 2-3 per competition) but considering how getting to 4 stars seems nigh impossible this must not be very common.

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Contest Submissions

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