Growing as a Leader

The Significant Difference Between Critique and Criticism

Over the last year I’ve attempted through trial and error to improve my photography. I’ve been using a Canon Rebel mostly on auto focus because I didn’t know a thing about the camera nor very little about shooting a quality photograph.

I’ve read the camera’s manual as well as a photography book in an attempt to improve. As a result I knew just enough to be dangerous but not enough to be better.

What’s worse the reading and practice had given me a false sense of confidence in what I thought I knew and could do. So in hopes of making some improvement I decided to sit in on a training session for our summer photographers and videographers facilitated by Chris duMond from our marketing firm DesignVox.

The key learning element required us to shoot photos of people at camp, picking our best ones and sharing them with the group. The group then critiqued our photos by having each person provide something they liked and something to improve.

As the team reviewed my photo (the one above) I realized critique was the missing piece in my attempts to become a better photographer. If I was going to improve I needed input and perspective from others, especially those experienced in photography.

I also thought about the positive impact critique can have in other areas of my work and personal life. Critique, as Chris pointed out, is different from criticism. Critique builds up where criticism tears down. Criticism comes from people who’ve never done the work (think film critic) while critique comes from people who’ve been in the same place doing the same kind of work. Critique’s helpful criticism’s judgmental.

So if your desire’s to improve some aspect of your work or personal life, find others who’ve accomplished what you’re attempting to accomplish and ask them to provide you some critique. It may be just what you need to become better.  Click here to see some of the other photos I shot.


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