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NCC Critique Sheet

NOTE: Some critique items do not apply to every photograph. 

Click on the PDF icon to download a printable copy of these guidelines.


1. Basic, initial impression


2. Technical components

a. Focus.

Is image focused?

If intentionally out-of-focus, does blurring enhance or distract?

b. Exposure:

Does it look appropriate?

Too dark/too light/blown out?

c. White balance (color):

Does it look correct?

d. Depth-of-field [DOF]:

Is there good use of DOF?

e. Contrast:

Too flat, muddy, or too much contrast?

f. Lighting:

Too much or too little?

Is light hard/harsh (e.g. blown highlights] or soft?

g. Colors:

i. Are colors accurate? Not all photos need to represent colors accurately, but the photographer's use of color should be intentional and relevant to the photo.

ii. Does editing enhance or detract from the image?

iii. Would a black & white treatment be more or less effective.

h. Perspective:

Is it unique?

i. Composition [both objective & subjective] is crucial.

i. Framing the subject is a powerful compositional tool.
ii. “Everything in the frame should be there for a reason.”–Quote from?

iii. Note the layout [e.g. subject positioning].

iii. Is use or lack of use of Rule of Thirds appropriate?

iv. Is there a leading line to or away from the subject?

v. Cropping: Did [or could] cropping enhance composition?

j. Are there technical distractions [e.g. dust, glare, etc.]?


3. Artistic elements & aesthetic qualities

a. Does the photograph grab & hold your attention?

b. Describe any artistic, emotional response [or lack there-of].

c. Does the photograph tell a story?

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