Critique the Community: Submit Your Telephoto Landscape or Cityscape Photos Now

Critique the Community: Submit Your Telephoto Landscape or Cityscape Photos Now

Our next episode of Critique the Community will offer a slightly different take on landscape photography as we will be focusing only on shots taken over 50mm. Submit your best telephoto landscape or cityscape shot below and receive a chance to win a free Fstoppers original tutorial.

Most photographers pull out their wide-angle lenses for a landscape or cityscape scene but some scenes demand you zoom in for a better composition. The featured image shot above taken by Elia Locardi for “Photographing the World 1” was taken at 120mm and is a perfect example. If you think you have a fantastic telephoto landscape or cityscape shot, submit it below for critique following our submission guidelines. We will be accepting images through Saturday, Feb 24th.

To submit your landscape images, you must:

  1. Have an active Fstoppers account.
  2. Upload your image to your Fstoppers profile page.
  3. Paste the URL of the image in the comments below.

The Internet can be a cruel and cutthroat 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 become less than inspiring and often downright depressing. Our hope with this segment, Critique the Community, is that the Fstoppers team can offer 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 two 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. 

One Star: The Snapshot

One-star ratings are limited to snapshots only. Snapshots 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  two-star picture. The majority of one-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 one-star images every single day with their smartphone. Most one-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 one-star images for any reason. 

Two Stars: Needs Work

All images, besides maybe five-star images, always have room for improvement, but two-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 two-star image has put some thought into the composition, exposure, and post production, but for some reason has missed the mark. Two-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 two-star images from time to time. 

Three Stars: Solid

A three-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 three-star image is good, but it's not great. Most part-time professional photographers have mostly three-star images in their portfolios. Usually, a level three image would have been rated four stars if it had been shot in a better location, or with a better model showing a better expression, or there had been better post-production. A photographer capable of taking a three-star image is capable of taking four and five-star images if they would simply pay more attention to the details. 

Four Stars: Excellent

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

Five Stars: World-Class

Five-star images are flawless and unforgettable. The amount of time, energy, and talent that goes into the average five-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 four to five 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 five-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 over 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 one star away from the community average).  If one of the 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 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.    

David Strauss's picture

David Strauss is a wedding photographer based in Charleston, SC.

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421 Comments 30mm crop factor 2 = 60 mm FF

Saint Andrew, Slovenia

I have to assume this sky is a composite added in right?

It is a blend of different exposures taken at that location, but at different times of the day (early evening until late at night). The stars were shot at iso 6400 to get a fast enough shutter speed and then blended into a frame taken at an earlier time to get it as clean as possible. The light in the sky coming from the left was enhanced with dodging and burning. So yeah, the image is definitely a composite and digitally enhanced, but if you were to stand in that location sometime in November you are able to see the stars in exactly that constellation.

Oh I'm not a novice to edits. I actually thought the stars were fake because they look too clean lol

Haha, I experimented a lot to get the sky/stars as clean as possible in this one. It seems as though sometimes a little more noise could help to make it look more realistic.

I create a lot of my work with long lenses. This one just sneaks in at 57mm

Here is my attempt to the critique. Shoot !

false start...sorry

You shouldn't upload the picture to the comment, instead you should upload it to your profile and then link it here in the comment, otherwise people aren't able to rate it.

I love the simplicity of this shot and the way the birds' wings are. Maybe just a tad too much vignette?

Great point - thanks for the feedback! :)

When is the cutoff for submission?

Saturday, Feb 24th.

Thank you!

This will be critiqued and they will compare it to the Peter Lik's composite :)

Haha! Thought about the same! I was like "is that cross casting a shadow on the moon, or what?" :D

No Andrzej it's not shadow. The lights of the cross are 1 meter lower than the cross.

On the Easter days the Mayor of the town with the offiver of the orthodox church put some lights to the Old Town, among those lights is the light of the Cross of the Old Fortress. But because of the hight and the weight they put it just a little lower than usual.
(I will find some close up picture from that day if you like)

Aaaah, now I get it! :) Though it looks little bit like a shadow - hence a collation to a recent debate on Lik's composite photos. :) Anyway - really nice capture, Bill! :)

Yeah, there’s no doubt where the inspiration came from. Feels too much for me, still a good photo though.
Shot with Canon 70-200mm at 100mm

Edit: I see it's getting really low numbers but I don't quite understand why, could some of you explain what they don't like about it? I guess because of the fact of how much work I put into it I'm biased to really liking the photo, but other people don't seem to be impreessed by it, not only here.

In my opinion, the buildings in the foreground aren't particularly interesting, yet they consume about 25-30% of the image. I think the Colosseum is hard to get a good shot of it with telephoto. Perhaps there would be a better vantage point somewhere in which you could get a different foreground, and more interesting light. In this scene, the sun seems to be positioned behind the camera, so maybe there would be a more interesting scene on the opposite side of Colosseum...
Simply said, I think the composition is too cluttered, and lacking interest in the foreground and background.

Interesting, I agree with all the things you say, thanks for te explanation!

For me it's a few things. There isn't a subject my eye leads to, no leading lines, nothing for me to focus on. Nothing dramatic in the image. Lighting suggest sunset but there isn't really any golden hour glow. You don't need to have all of these things to make a good photo, you can actually get away with a lot. However this photo, to me, doesn't have anything catching my eye.

Ill be honest and say I rated this as a snapshot because to me it looks like something you'd take on your phone to get an idea. If you want me to go more in depth, I gladly would. Hope these criticisms come lightly as I think with a few different circumstances this could be a cool image.

I see, interesting, thanks for the feedback. I do have a different photo of rome which would have at least some of this things, it's shot from the St Peter's dome but it's shot with a wide angle lense..

I like this image a bit better. It has symmetry, which helps my eye go somewhere. That said, theres a lot of room for improvement. The weather clearly wasn't cooperating as it looks grey and dull. You have quite a few dust spots on your sensor/lens. Overall it's a better composition than the photo you posted but still doesn't really stand out. You could try editing in a way that works with the conditions you were given. That's my personal preference when trying to edit certain weather conditions.

It takes some effort to realize that its the Colosseum there. As a matter of fact, if it weren't on the title, I could almost miss it. The problem is that it gets hidden amidst all those buildings with the same general earthen tone. I think you need to find a better angle.

When is the next episode?

Oops... I didn't read the requirements correctly. Sorry.

We'll accept submissions through Saturday. With WPPI the following week, we'll probably release the video two weeks from now.

Guessing the low rating is because the entire scene is already like someone else's artwork...However, I like the straight composition (although I think I'd prefer a lower angle), and it's interesting to see this popular place without crowds of people there. And, I think it's processed well. I gave it 3 stars for those reasons.

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