Critique the Community: Submit your Landscape Photos to be Critiqued by Elia Locardi

Over the next two days, you have a chance to submit your landscape photos to be critiqued by Elia Locardi and Fstoppers in a new episode of "Critique the Community." Our last Critique the Community with Elia Locardi included some great thoughts and advice on improving your images. If you would like another chance to have your picture reviewed by Elia, upload your landscape image of choice to your Fstoppers account, then paste the URL of the image in the comments below. 

The internet can be a cruel and cut throat place for photographers. For some reason photographers are often extremely negative and cynical when looking at the work of their peers.  Most photographers overwhelmingly say that they would like others to "C&C" their work, yet the conversation can often times become less than inspiring and often down right depressing.  Our hope with this segment called Critique the Community is that Lee and I can offer a fair yet encouraging commentary on some of the images found in the Fstoppers Community.


The Fstoppers Community Rating System

If you have an Fstoppers account, you are able to create your own profile and portfolio directly within the Fstoppers Community.  Once you have a portfolio uploaded, you can browse images in the community and rate the photos of your peers.  Even though art is usually a fairly subjective matter, we wanted to create a rating system that was as objective and unbiased as possible.  This way if one of your images has been rated 50 times and has received an average rating of 2 stars, you could feel confident that maybe that particular image is not up to par.  Below is a simple chart explaining the Fstoppers Community Rating System. 

1 Star - The Snapshot

1 Star ratings are limited to snap shots only. Snap shots are usually taken to document a time or location but little to no thought has gone into the creation of the image. If an image has been "lit" with external light (besides a direct on camera flash) it is at least a 2 star picture. The majority of 1 star images have had no post production work done to them but do often have an "instagram style" filter added to them. The average person these days snaps 1 star images every single day with their smart phones. Most 1 star images that pop up on sites like ours are images of flowers, pets, landscapes, sunsets, objects around a house, etc. If you read Fstoppers, you should not be sharing 1 star images for any reason. 

2 Stars - Needs Work:

All images, besides maybe 5 star images, always have room for improvement but 2 star images "need work" before they should be included in your portfolio. As photographers we are snapping thousands of images per year but only a few of those images should ever be shared or put into our portfolio. A photographer who has taken a 2 star image has put some thought into the composition, exposure, and post production but for some reason has missed the mark. 2 star images should not be in the portfolio of a full time professional photographer, and amateur photographers should strive for something better. Even complete amateurs who don't understand photography at all are capable of taking 2 star images from time to time. 

3 Stars - Solid:

A 3 star image is an all around good image. The photographer has a solid understanding of the basics; composition, color, focus, subject matter, and post production. A 3 star image is "good" but it's not great. Most part-time professional photographers have mostly 3 star images in their portfolios. Usually a level 3 image would have been rated 4 stars if it had been shot in a better location, or with a better model showing a better expressions, or there was better post production. A photographer capable of taking a 3 star image is capable of taking 4 and 5 star images if they would simply pay more attention to the details. 

4 Stars - Excellent:

4 star images are fantastic. In most cases, 4 star images have a certain style to them that links them directly to their creator. 4 star images usually require planning and attention to extreme detail. It's almost impossible to shoot a 4 star image by getting lucky. 4 star images have almost flawless conception, composition, lighting, subject matter, and post production. If you have any 4 star images in your portfolio you should be very proud of yourself.

5 Stars - World Class:

5 star images are flawless and unforgettable. The amount of time, energy, and talent that goes into the average 5 star image is staggering. In many cases these pictures require a team to produce including a professional retoucher. The concept, lighting, subject, location, and post production on these images has to be perfect. In some cases the jump from 4 to 5 stars may be as simple as changing the unknown model in the picture with a celebrity or bringing in a set designer or stylist to make the image slightly better. Although there are always exceptions, most 5 star images take days, if not weeks or months to produce.


Strengthening Your Own Portfolio

Even with our objective rating system, people are going to disagree with what they like because ultimately art is still a matter of opinion.  However, I believe once an image has been rated over 25 times it will have a rating that is pretty fair and honest (We hope to deter trolls by giving negative Karma points when a vote is more than 1 star away from the community average).  If one of your images in your own portfolio is rated lower than what you personally feel it should be rated, I'd urge you to try to look at the image from an unbiased angle.  Step back, erase your memory of the photoshoot itself, and try to imagine an art buyer, stock agency, potential client or local gallery as they decided if they wanted to invest in your services.  Would your image make the cut?

Lee and I are not the greatest photographers in the world.  There are many many genres of photography that we have not been successful in or in many cases have not even attempted in our careers.  However I believe we have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn't in terms of commercial viability.  Not every image is meant to sell or book you work, and that is okay!  Snapshots and sentimental images are great and most definitely have a purpose.  Hopefully our insight and critiques can help you decide what is and isn't worth putting in your own public portfolio.  I hope these video critiques can help you see beyond the technical and personal elements that make up an image and begin looking at your own work in a new light.    

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jeremyslayterphotography's picture

Here is two from me, I'm 18 years old and I just began photography about 3 years ago. Landscape photography is the photography that I enjoy the most and I am always trying to work to get better at it. I hope I can get some decent feedback because I've always wanted good critique on these images.

philippe chaunu's picture

This is an image of the moon rising over Miami Beach after dust. Thank you for your time and critiques, I had to wait for a long time to get all the conditions just right. Peace and Love - Philippe

Andy Luten's picture

I struggled with this one. I have a wider, panoramic look at it but I've never tried doing something like this vertically, would love Elia's feedback!

Jared Cook's picture

Here is my entry to be reviewed.

Christopher Ong's picture

Back in April was able to do an extended layover in Iceland. I was able to make it completely around the island in 2 days. I want to go back now and do it slower with more time to take photos.

Pranam Gurung's picture

Would love to get feedback from Elia!
Here's my entry:

Rob Nitsch's picture

This is Black Fish Creek on Cape Cod. I hope a pano is ok. Thanks!

Christoph Kopp's picture

Thank's for this effort of you guys, much appreciated! I have "rediscovered" black & white photography maybe a year ago and it starts to become a passion for me. This picture is taken on a rather stormy evening in Norway at the Preikestolen. I sat there with my dog about half an hour just staring at the Lysefjord below me. Maybe this is how our earth looked like at the beginning of its life - this was my only thought in that moment.

Kevin Head's picture

you need to past the url to the image :)

Andre Kayser's picture

Hey there,
here is my entry from Nazaré Portugal. I hope the picture speaks for itself!

Alexios Ntounas's picture

Hey everyone. Here is a shot from Lefkada, Greece.

Ciaran McGrenera's picture

Here's my photo. I'd love to get some feedback!

Dean Chambers's picture

Hello everyone!! I have uploaded 3 images. I recently moved to Miami and have had the opportunity to find some great places to shoot some landscape. I welcome everyones honest feedback!!

Gabe Border's picture

Took this image on a canyoneering trip to the Moab area of Utah!

Anonymous's picture

I live in swamps of Florida, so this isn't a traditional landscape. I'm planning to return to this area with my 11-24 lens for another take on this scene, so I'd certainly like to hear your thoughts. Thank you in advance.

Ryan Hoppal's picture

Would love some feedback. Thanks in advance!

Michael Wilby's picture

I hope Astrophotography can be included in this. I admire Elia's work and lifestyle and would love comments from someone who is living the life i am interested in. I would love a critique on this and how i can work to get better. I have just picked up photography in the last year or so and would love some direction. Thanks in advance!

Maximilian Mesch's picture

Hey what's up everybody (especially Elia Locardi),
I'm a 20 years old boy/man and from Germany, who spent the last year traveling through New Zealand. Here are two pictures I took while I was there: Sunset at Mount Cook and Pancake Rocks.
I hope you enjoy it :)
P.S.: Thanks alot for this opportunity! :)

Justin Adams's picture

I'm a complete amateur with cheap equipment. I know my photos aren't on the level of all the others I see here but would still appreciate some feedback.

Cédric Bloch's picture

here's mine! thanks for doing that again!

Patrick Shipstad's picture

Orcas Island, WA. 45 minutes in 40° and 65 mh winds, waiting for “the moment”. I loved every minute of it! Thanks for your time and critique :-)

Jeff Colburn's picture


Here are a couple of mine.

Watson Lake in the Granite Dells of Prescott, Arizona.

I do a lot of lightning photography. This is a single exposure about 20 miles West of Winslow, Arizona

Have Fun,

Ryan Mense's picture

Who took these photos?

Jeff Colburn's picture

Hi Ryan,

Several years ago I found out that one of my ebooks was being illegally download from several Torrent and similar type sites. These sites have counters on them, showing how many illegal downloads were done. The counters showed that over $1,000,000 worth of my ebook had been downloaded. That, combined with illegal downloads from sites I didn't find, and there were probably $1,500,000 of illegal downloads. Since then, I do everything I can with my ebooks and photographs to keep them from being used illegally. That includes big watermarks on my images.

Have Fun,

maryus's picture
Paul Ciura's picture

Here are two from me. Thank you for your consideration. I very much enjoy Elia's work and looking forward to getting his landscape tutorial sometime in the near future.

Shyama Prasad Mishra's picture

I am excited to get some critics on my most successful photo on 500px so far.

I personally feel the water is bit soft.
I shot the photo in Iceland on a extreme rainy day. Did not have a telephoto lens to compress distance.
So the photo was captured using Canon 100mm Macro Lens. :(

I would appreciate, if can get some expert opinion.
Thanks a lot Elia , Lee and the entire Fstopper Community for the opportunity.

Justin Goodson's picture

The red jacket provides beautiful contrast and scale -- great photo!

Shyama Prasad Mishra's picture

Thanks Justin!

pavankoya's picture

Image of the The Grand Tetons from Grand Tetons National Park.

pavankoya's picture

View of the Grand Tetons from lakeside viewpoint

Shang Cheung's picture
Stas Aleksandersson's picture

The colors are just awesome!
But if I may say, the subject is landscape...

Shang Cheung's picture

I think this counts since Elia also does cityscape. I guess

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

He sure does some incredible cityscapes! Yours is awesome too! Very similar to his style! I hope it will get picked, would like to hear what he has to say about it!

Shang Cheung's picture

Thanks so much:) I hope so!

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

You got lucky there, your shot got picked!

Rogan Templer's picture

So happy this has come back around - was bummed to have missed the first one so would love the feedback

Helder Caixinha's picture

Here is my photo.
During almost two hours I took more than 80 photos.
This extensive recording of the sunset allowed me to select 6 photos showing the whole process.
With the aid of luminosity masks in photoshop I was able to blend different parts of those photos. And get this final result.

Thank you for your time and critiques.
All the best

Tracy Anderson's picture

Isle of Skye, Inner Hebrides of Scotland
This image was taken on the ferry from Skye to the Isle of Lewis early in the morning as the sun was rising, it was so calm and quite. In this moment I was mindful of how each new day brings fresh hope, a clean slate to pursue your dreams.

John Bradford's picture

This image is one of a series documenting the endangered and disappearing scrub habitat that once dominated the east coast of central and southern Florida.

Anders Yttergård's picture

I was trying to get something new besides just the landscape into my pictures, the site I was at didn't offer much exciting possibilities for composition, but this was one of the few promising ideas. Thank you for your time.

Dat Nguyen's picture

This is my shot at Ba Na Hill - Da Nang, Viet Nam. Hoping to get some feedback from Elia.

Maxim Ostromogilsky's picture

Hi, is there a limit on the number of photos i can submit for this critique?

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