Free Instagram photo critiques

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As of this month, I started offering free photo critiques through my Instagram account @fabienb.

The concept is really simple. I always try to find ways to give back and help the community and this is one more way for me to do so.
I ask my followers to send me their pictures to review and critique.

It’s the same kind of work an editor of a magazine could do, for example. They receive a bunch of photos for an article and go through several details to see whether they fit or need improvements.
Less than a decade ago, Magnum published their contact sheets book. It highlights this kind of editorial work done to choose some of their most iconic images.

photo critique or critiques | negative sheet
Josef Koudelka’s contact sheet from the Prague invasion, August 1968.
Photograph: Magnum Photos

In my photo critique, I go through composition, light, visual weight, balance and so on and so forth. I show how I look at a photo and the details I search for to find if the shot has potential.
It is, of course, my personal opinion. But it aims to provide as much help as possible to fellow photographers or aspiring ones.

I have done this for years as a Creative Director, and I do this in my photo workshops already. But these are paid (and you’re more than welcome to request a 1-1 session with me). And yes these can be more thorough because we have more time to spend together. But I also want to help those who cannot attend a session with me for whatever reason.

What to do to have your photo critiqued?

There are, of course, a few rules.
You need an Instagram account, as everything happens on this platform. And I need to ask you to look for the info in the Highlights on my profile. This is to make sure I get the requests through Instagram only.

But essentially, the rules are:

  • 1 photo per email: emails with multiple photos will be discarded;
  • 1 photo per person per week. If you send more than 1 photo per week, I’ll keep the first one and delete everything else without looking. I’m also limiting the critiques to a handful per week so there’s no point sending more than this;
  • Please include your Instagram handle in your email;
  • It’s easier to review something that shows all the fine details, so please send hi-res JPEG files;
  • Sending a photo does not necessarily entitle it to a critique. In the end, it is down to my judgement only;
  • Your photo will never be used for any other purpose than this critique. It will not be saved, stolen, reused, or any other unethical or unprofessional behaviour;
  • The critique will be published in my Instagram Stories. There’s no anonymity unless you want a private 1-1 session with me;
  • You must be able to handle criticism. I will always be respectful and never use your photo to name and shame you. But I will provide honest feedback; it may not be what you expect or you might disagree with it. Remember that my sole goal here is to help;
  • The photo must abide by the same rules active on Instagram at the moment of publishing. It will appear in my stories, so it needs to pass their review as well.

Any update on the rules will appear in my stories and in my profile highlights. Which is another reason why you need to seek more info there ;)

Will you participate?

I hope so. The first critiques went really well, and the photographers were overjoyed. It was a great feeling for me as well, being able to provide such help for free.
I hope I’ll be able to help you too!

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Creative. Nomad. Photographer. (he/him) /// formerly: Creative Director, UX Lead, DesignOps Manager, Web/Graphic Designer, Photographer, YouTuber, DJ, Public Speaker, Content Creator, AI-enthusiast, Food-Blogger... /// Award-winning Designer and Photographer, published and exhibited worldwide /// also known as Koan (DJ, Design)