I learned so much by giving critique to another photographer.
It doesn’t matter where he/she stands in photography, really. Giving a critique to an inexperienced photographer will teach you maybe even more then looking at the work of experienced one.
Lots of time I force myself to really look at the photo I don’t particularly like knowing that I’ll definitely get something out of it. Would you take a moment and analyze the photo above? What do you see?
Giving a critique isn’t that easy if you want to really be constructive and help person whose work you’re looking at.
This is just me but I really really get annoyed when someone say: “You should buy this or that” cameras, lenses, flashes, strobes… to a person who is trying to learn. Even the most expensive equipment won’t help with the most important know hows in photography.
Sometimes wannabe photographer doesn’t have the basic knowledge of composition and for sure you’ll need to pay him attention to just that part of photography not equipment he use.
Or for the lighting f.e. if from the photo he/she showed you can clearly see that he/she doesn’t understand how to use light. It’s not the solution to say buy flash, strobes, umbrellas, blah blah blah. They don’t need to buy anything (except maybe some book or course about using light). Explaining in a few simple words where should light be in relation to the subject will be great. That way you respect the photographer, equipment he/she owns (his choice and perhaps financial state) and you are giving him much needed information.
Sometimes the only solution is to buy a new gear, I agree. But if wannabe is only at the beginning of the journey there are more important things he/she needs to learn. He/she doesn’t need to empty their pocket. What he/she needs is to train their brain to see important things a photograph is made of.
If wannabe has a f4 lens f.e. Why don’t tell that person how to achieve shallower depth of field with that particular lens instead of just “Buy a faster lens”.
Why not: Look carefully how available light inside of your house is changing during the day and find a perfect place to shoot your still life or else and learn how to enhance/control/diffuse that light. Or is it really better to hear: You’ll need to buy a flash, softbox and some other stuff to make your photos look good.
If you think that only solution really is to buy new equipment, please explain to wannabe why the equipment that he/she has isn’t good enough.
Back up your sayings.
And keep in mind also that sometimes people who give the most useful and great constructive critique are not the best photographers themselves.
If you make a real effort and look at the photo above, you’ll see that a happy pregnant woman took a self portrait. Colors used imply happy feelings. Now pay attention to shapes. How many of them are present there? look at the lines also. rule of thirds. It’s all about geometry here.