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Old 01-23-2007, 10:32 PM
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Default Rating photographs in the Photochimps Gallery

Rating photographs in the Photochimps Gallery

An excerpt from
“How to rate photos and give a meaningful critique”
A Photochimps Guide
by The Photochimps Team

When uploading an image to the Photochimps gallery, the photographer may choose to enable the “Allow members to rate your photo” option. This allows members to give the image a rating from poor to excellent (or 1-10). However, without any sort of guidelines, such a rating is rather meaningless. By splitting the maximum 10 point evenly between technical qualities and aesthetic qualities and giving each a maximum of 5 points, we can give a more meaningful rating. So, let’s first have a look at the technical side of things.

Technical rating:

Technical – 1
  • Almost anyone, including non-photographers would classify this photo as dreadful.
  • Most people would have immediately deleted or thrown this photo out.
  • There is nothing is in focus or there is too much camera shake to tell.
  • Picture is poorly exposed to the point that it is unsalvageable.
Technical – 2
  • Image is starting to look ok but it doesn’t look like the photographer took any care when shooting this picture or with the post processing.
  • Severely un-level horizons.
  • Important parts of the subject are cut off by the frame.
  • Still not very sharp.
  • Exposure still questionable.
  • Strong color cast.
Technical – 3
  • Looks like there was some effort put into this picture but there still some major noticeable flaws.
  • Lots of dust and scratches visible.
  • Poor contrast or important highlights are clipped.
  • Still some sort of a color cast.
Technical – 4
  • Close to perfect but not quite.
  • Slightly under or over sharpened.
  • Some areas still too dark or too bright.
  • Some dust and scratches are still visible.

Technical – 5
  • No technical flaw evident.
  • All technical aspects; including sharpness, white balance, color saturation, exposure, depth of field; all appear technically superior.
Even if a photograph is technically perfect, if it doesn’t invoke an emotional response it can still be considered rather boring. So, let’s now have a look at the aesthetic end of the scale.

Aesthetic Levels:

Aesthetic – 1
  • You as the viewer can’t figure out why the photographer even took this shot.
  • It has absolutely no point.
Aesthetic – 2
  • A typical snapshot.
  • Great as a documentary of friends, places and events.
  • No real artistic value.
Aesthetic – 3
  • A nice shot but it’s not something you would want to hang on your wall. May be better suited for the family photo album.
Aesthetic – 4
  • Almost perfect but not quite.
  • Most people would be proud to have this shot hanging on their wall.
Aesthetic – 5
  • Mind blowing! “WOW” is all that you can say.
  • Invokes a strong emotional response – either positive or negative.
  • You could spend a long time just looking at his picture and taking it all in.

To rate a photograph:

When giving a rating to a photograph have a look at both the technical qualities and the aesthetic qualities and give them each a score out of five. Add the two scores together and you will have the overall rating out of a maximum of 10. It may be useful to the photographer, if you then write a brief breakdown of the score in the comment box. For example:

If you give a photo a rating of 7 /10

In the comment box say this:
Technical – 4
Aesthetic – 3

Or even:
T-4/A-3

Keep in mind that the above rating system are meant only as a guideline and is in no way a rock solid set of rules. Use your own discretion when giving out a rating. For example, if an image has all the characteristics of a Technical level 3 but one aspect that you would consider a Technical level 2 you may still give it a 3.
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Old 01-23-2007, 10:45 PM
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If you would like to download and print this article, a PDF version of this article is available here:

Rating Photographs

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Last edited by Tom; 01-23-2007 at 10:48 PM..
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