How to Give Awesome Feedback

As a photographer, being able to articulate your impression of a photo is invaluable helping out others. Feedback can be positive or constructive, however not all of us may know how to deliver that all-important news without causing offence. This is why we’ve made the perfect guide on how to give awesome photography feedback!

The iPhotography gallery is the beating heart of our community. We have over 2,000 photographs uploaded every month from brand new beginners to seasoned pros.

All this experience and knowledge can be used for good when helping your fellow photographer. After all, everyone joins iPhotography to improve their skills; we’re not chasing likes and thumbs ups! To back that up, in a recent blog, we revealed how keen our course students are on sharing photo tips and tricks with others.

“Giving awesome feedback is not simply saying ‘well done’, ‘oh wow’ or ‘incredible shot’.”

male and female giving feedback around laptop Feedback
male and female giving feedback around laptop 2 Feedback

What’s the Point of Feedback?

male and female giving feedback around laptop Feedback

Firstly, without feedback on your photography you’d still be making basic mistakes. The point of comments is to improve ourselves as artists, overcome errors and learn what others like – which is especially useful when making money out of your camera.

Sometimes this feedback maybe hard to hear but delivering it concisely and professionally won’t upset the recipient. It’ll also make you look like a trusted mentor with a valued voice.

Now giving awesome feedback is not simply saying ‘well done’, ‘oh wow’ or ‘incredible shot’.

Of course, those remarks are lovely to hear but to make it fantastic (and helpful) feedback then you’ve got to spice it up a little!

The best type of feedback gives the original photographer insight or understanding of what you see in the picture. Every picture we see we either like, or dislike for a particular reason.

It’s that reason we need to express in order for the photographer figure out what they did right or where they could improve.

male and female giving feedback around laptop 2 Feedback

Giving it (More Than) a Thumbs Up

Like we said anyone can drop a vaguewell done Barbara’ on your photo. It’ll give you a warm fuzzy feeling for a second which quickly disappears.

But to actually make someone’s day you need to drop a detailed love bomb!

Shall we look at some examples? Without being bland and robotic, what positive feedback could we give about this picture? Firstly, think about what’s catching your eye…

Top Tip – Elaborate in your feedback on your original reason. Use any experience you have as a photographer and explain how it honestly makes you feel.

white rose overhead Feedback

Is it the colours?

The composition?

The angle?

The expression? 

(if there is one)

The background? 

Don’t just say:

‘Oh I love the colours’

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Instead, try;

‘I love the rich colours. They caught my attention straight away. It really brings the picture to life which is essential for floral photography.’

The response explains what you liked, how it made you feel/react and how you think it benefits the photograph. This is much more valuable to the original photographer as they now understand what the good points are. You don’t have to have years of photography experience to leave awesome feedback – just a little bit of knowledge and talking from your heart is enough. Try a couple more examples…

Don’t just say:

‘Nice angle’

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Instead, try;

‘The high angle is a great choice. It puts all the attention on the petals as they are so beautiful.’

Again, the response says what you liked, how it made you feel and why it’s a benefit for the subject. We’ll show you one more…

Don’t just say:

‘Love the blurry background’

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Instead, try;

‘The depth of field is perfect. It helps the flower become the obvious subject. You obviously know how to control your aperture.’

This time the comment praises the photographer on their skills but using technical terminology. It’s great for other people reading the comments too, as they know what to concentrate on to get results like these.

two males talking over a laptop

Remember these simple tips:

  • Speak from your heart
  • Write more than 2-3 words
  • Explain your feelings
  • Add in technical terms
two males talking over a laptop

Delivering Sh*t Sandwich (aka constructive criticism)

No one really wants to be negative, unless you’re a real internet troll. But sometimes telling people where they can improve their photography is vital, even if it’s hard to listen to. However, we’ve all got be big enough and open to constructive criticism, otherwise, what’s the point in learning.  

There is no such thing as a perfect photographer. Your photography will never be perfect, nor will ours. That’s the thing that keeps us learning and trying new things.

There is no such thing as a perfect photographer. Your photography will never be perfect, nor will ours. That’s the thing that keeps us learning and trying new things.

Now as long as you write the feedback concisely, you won’t offend. But there is a certain way of offering that review. Therefore, we need to teach ourselves how to deliver, in corporate-speak, a sh*t sandwich.

This gross sounding packed lunch is how business managers structure feedback to employees, by layering good and bad news in one conversation.

How it works:

  • Firstly, it’s a positive general overview
  • Secondly, it’s a discussion about where to improve
  • Finally, it’s an encouraging remark for taking forward
group conversations

If you want to be more honest with your gallery comments, but not sure how, we think that this is a good approach.

By applying the sh*t sandwich approach to photography, you can really help out other students. Let us show you how, by using this photograph…

tree in the sunset

Your First Impression:

‘That looks really wonky’

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Try Saying;

‘This is a really strong image; I would possibly recommend straightening up the horizon and then it will be even better.’

See the sandwich at work?

‘This is a really strong image; I would possibly recommend straightening up the horizon and then it will be even better.’

It’s helpful but not rude. We’ll give it another go…

Your First Impression:

‘It looks totally out of focus’

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Try Saying;

‘This has got some really eye-catching colours. It could do with being a little sharper if you don’t mind me saying, that’ll make it a really engaging photo.’

Your First Impression:

‘Looks a bit boring.’

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arrow left to right

Try Saying;

‘I’m really drawn to your image. I think if you added a main subject in the middle of the frame it could help create a story to the fantastic background.’

Without being condescending or blunt, giving constructive feedback is actually quite easy. Use the sh*t sandwich approach and you won’t go wrong.

Use Our Resources

You can always help your fellow photographer out further even if you don’t have the time. The iPhotography blogs are packed with guides, tips, inspiration and videos on a whole range of photo topics.

Many of these blogs are written in response to issues we’ve spotted in the gallery, so a lot of the time we’ll already have the answers for you to rely on.

If you see a wonky picture in the future, how about saying:

‘This shot has got great potential. I would suggest a little tweak to the horizon though.

When I had the same issue, I found a really helpful iPhotography blog about how to do it, it helped me out.

Once you’ve got your horizon level then there’ll be no stopping you!’

iphotography horizon blog example Feedback
iphotography portrait blog example Feedback

Or if you spot a portrait that needs a sparkle…

‘I can see what you’re trying to do here, the subject could look even better if they had a prop involved too.

I think iPhotography has a blog about getting stunning portraits if you’re interested.

Keep up the great work.’

iphotography portrait blog example Feedback

Feel free to mention content you’ve seen in any of our courses too, it may be a simple case that a student hasn’t reached that stage yet. Ultimately, you are simply making suggestions, it’s up to the individual to listen to them. Don’t feel bad for helping.

Eating a Sh*t Sandwich

It’s one thing to give it, but to read criticism is a whole other ball game.

All we ask is that every student remembers we are all hear to help. There are no top dogs in the gallery, so constructive feedback doesn’t mean you ‘drop down a ranking’.

We can recall times we’ve given constructive feedback to students who have won our Photographer of the Year competitions. Just because they won an award doesn’t mean they have mastered photography.

A good photographer knows how to listen and understand nothing is personal.

If you ever receive some constructive feedback, see it as just that – Constructive.

Just think that someone has given their time, to tell you something helpful. They could have easily just skipped past your picture, but something compelled them enough to write to you. See that as a positive and make those changes.

female looking at back of camera with laptop on knees  Feedback

Top Tip – Re-upload your photographs with those changes made to the gallery and see if you get a different response.

Ask for Help

If you are actively seeking improvements and help, you’ll learn quicker than anyone. Use the description section of your upload to tell us what you struggled with in your photo. What do you want tips on? Are you looking for inspiration from others? If you are posing questions through your uploads it’s way more likely to get answers than if you don’t.

description field on iphotography feedback gallery Feedback

Let’s Grow Together

Currently there is lots of great feedback already going on, but these tips could just help and encourage more of us to engage in the comments. As an online training community, iPhotography is committed to ensuring you’re always improving your photography skills and we believe a more engaged gallery will benefit everyone, not just a select few.

So, we ask you from one group of photographers to another, help out your fellow creative. It doesn’t matter how good we think we are, there’s always improvements that could be made.

There is no end to photography, no summit to reach, so feedback can never stop.

Do you feel more confident about giving or receiving feedback now?
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Will it help you engage a little more with other students in the iPhotography gallery?
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Have we helped?

Do you feel more confident about giving or receiving feedback now?
Yes
No
Will it help you engage a little more with other students in the iPhotography gallery?
Yes
No
Discover More Helpful
iPhotography Guides Here

Find Us on Social Media for More