Online Self-Learning Mini Course

Self-Critique for success.

Level: Any
Status: Open

Average rating (see reviews):

(10 customer reviews)

Train your eye for imaging excellence

Start time: Anytime!
Learning Style: Self Learning
Type: Theory Only

Aim: To learn and replicate the exact process I use to self-critique my own work for either personal, professional or competition purposes.

This highly-requested and much-needed short online course shares what to look for, where to start and how to improve purely with your own eyeballs, inside.

Please note: This course is theory only, in English, and does not include retouching guidance or shooting information. It does have signposting to lots of resources for each area. Some of these resources are Imaging or Premium MTog-only resources.

Included in MTog Life

This online course is included as standard in Imaging & Premium Membership plans which contain a boatload more resources too. You can either select just the course alone by using this page, or head to learn about the Memberships instead. The choice is yours!


Hours of tuition



The info:

Getting better at anything is very hard if you have no idea what you need to do to improve. It’s even harder if you don’t know what is right and “wrong”. Getting critique from someone who really knows what they’re talking about is often difficult, and it can get expensive over time.

This course aims to provide a framework to assess your own images, along with providing examples of issues, errors and improvements that can be made too.

Whether you’re just starting out, are a working professional wanting to improve or you’re aiming for award wins, this course has three sections to ensure you get the basics nailed, move through standard professional practice and up into awards (if you want to do that!).

  • The Minimum Bar: The basics to look for and when to look for them
  • The Professional Bar: The professional enhancement zone, for control
  • The Competition Bar: From a judges perspective, the finesse zone

And it’s all online so you can join from anywhere in the world!

Please note, this course is delivered in English.

The Framework

We start with the critiquing framework. A simple set of steps of things to look at when you review an image, whether it’s whilst shooting, before, during or after retouching.

The Minimum Bar

The basic benchmarks that are required for the higher levels of work. These are things you can assess, review and always check to know you’re doing the right things.

The Professional Bar

If you’re above the minimum bar, you can sell your work. This section aims to take that and develop it into higher levels of control, care and skill for high-level work.

The Competition Bar

You’re already working at high level professional standard with each of the previous two sections nailed. Here we look from a judges point of view for finesse.

Ready to start Self Critiquing?!

Click here to skip and sign up…

Who is teaching?

This course is taught by International Multi-Award Winning Photographer, Jessica McGovern who has the following credentials:

  • 200+ Recognitions for photographic work
  • Judge for multiple international image competitions
  • International Pet Photographer of the Year 2023
  • International Pet Photographer of the Year 2020
  • Pet Portrait of the Year 2020 (and runner-up)
  • Northern Pet Photographer of the Year 2021 & 2022
  • Northern Equine Photographer of the Year 2021
  • International Panoramic Photographer of the Year 2021
  • Speaker at The Photography Show 2021 & 2022
  • 2 x Fellowships with 2 different organisations
  • Featured in international publications

Regardless of location, means, background or gender, Jess believes that Photography is a skill where every individual can feel safe in their personal expression. She loves nature, landscapes, moving pieces of portraiture and high impact imagery.

If you’d like to check out Jess’ teaching style before committing to this course, check out our other online tutorials.

Access Duration

The access duration for this course is set at 6 months.
Why? Read on…

Access to the lessons is set by default and by design – there is current scientific research displaying a strong correlation between learning deadlines and completion, retention and mastery. Self-management is crucial and even with a busy life or a time-pressured day job, if you prepare for our online courses, you’ll have enough time to complete the sessions plus practical assignments too.

We would recommend taking your time to work through the lessons and practise each topic before moving on but also to schedule in learning time to your diary to ensure you remain committed to working through your enrolled content.

We know this is a hotly debated topic in the online learning world, but for Jess as a science nerd, following the data is vital. So far a grand total of 0.3% of our total student enrolments have 

If at the end of the default access length you feel that you need more time, just send us an email and we’ll sort that as soon as possible – there is no charge for extending however extensions are for 3 months only and can only be applied once.

That being said, you can get lifetime access connected to an MTog membership if you need additional time. If you are an MTog already, you can request to have course access extended at any time, for any reason (you don’t need to tell us). Simply send an email to [email protected] to get the process moving. We’ll action it as fast as possible!


of people don't complete online courses if there is no deadline for access*

* W. Feng, J. Tang, and T. X. Liu, “Understanding dropouts in MOOCs,” Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, 2019 + J. Reich, “MOOC completion and retention in the context of student intent,” EDUCAUSE Review Online, 2014.

Start today:

Are you a Trainer?

This section is new, and strictly enforced:

Trainers, Influencers & Coaches

Unfortunately, due to repetitive, frustrating and demoralising situations occurring regularly over the past two years, we’ve had to make the decision to refuse access to any individual who offers, or plans to offer, photography, editing or business training to other photographers.

There are exceptions to our new no-trainer rule that we’re happy to make, but only if we’re contacted before membership registration to approve the sign-up.

“This has been one of the single hardest decisions I personally (Jess) have ever had to make. Over 50 different people have blatantly, unapologetically and aggressively stolen or skimmed content, workflows or resources in the past 18 months alone. Never again.”

We will always protect ourselves and others in our position, just as we would expect others to do, and we check for misuse and fraud regularly.

All our content, techniques, resources, plan structures, included elements and pricing are protected. As a hard line, any plagiarism, content skimming or intellectual property theft will be pursued legally and details of the breach will be shared with the industry.

It’s a shame it’s come to this, but we know we’re not the only educators to have had to implement this protocol. Please be a good human!

If you pass the above terms then there are no course pre-checks, no delays, no approvals and no launch dates, everything is on your terms. To sign up, you just need to add the access to your basket and checkout.

During checkout, you’ll be asked to create an account with an email address and password – make a note of these, you’ll need them to access the course. After checkout, your access starts then over on our dedicated Course platform, courses.thattogspot.com.

You can take a look at our other online courses here. 

Please note, this is a self-learning course so please try to make sure you have a good internet connection before starting! Access is for 3-months as standard. For lifetime access to enrolled courses, check out the Memberships.

Learn to see differently.

Click here to go back up to sign up ↑

Course reviews…

The SC4S course has really helped me to think more critically about my work I’m producing, not only do I now produce work of a better standard, but I’m also learning when enough is enough, especially when it comes to recognising that something is good enough for the client! There’s a lot of info in this course, when I started it I don’t think I was expecting to learn as much as I have or that I would end up giving it so much time and headspace. But it really has proven to me that learning to recognise my own strengths and weaknesses in my work is just as important as learning editing and photography skills. I highly recommend this course if you want to take a step towards being a Picky Patricia, it’s honestly a game changer! – Olivia

The SC4S is a great course to get you started on Mtog life. As always, everything is divided in little chunks which makes it easy to navigate and digest. The best way to learn, from the best teacher in the business! – An DI Prima

After joining the MTOG community I was very excited to start entering competition (ok and maybe slightly terrified…). I had no idea what competition-level work was so every time I entered a photo I was throwing it at the judges and hoping it stuck. I just finished Self-Critique 4 Success and I can now see where almost all my images “failed”. I feel confident looking at images and preparing them for competition thanks to this course! I’m excited to see what 2024 brings! – Liz

The SC4S course is the icing on the cake having done the OAOCPC and the SH!T Hot Shots course. Breaking it down into Minimum Bar, Professional Bar and Competition Bar means there is something here for everyone no matter what level you are at right now.I love the short video breakdown of the course. Sometimes finding a chunk of time for me to sit down and watch a long video isn’t always possible so the shorter clips are ideal.Thanks Jess for yet another amazing course to help motivate us to become better photographers. – Michelle Dempsey

Every photographer from beginner to advanced needs to do this course. It clearly outlines what is expected in your work at all the bars, from this I now know for certain what bar I am working in. The checklist provided found my weak areas and what I need to work on to progress to a higher standard. Very worthwhile course. – Lynn Coomber

The pivotal lesson I’ve gleaned thus far underscores that the efficacy of your equipment often takes a back seat to mastering the fundamentals. Despite possessing an entry-level camera and a modest lens collection, the knowledge acquired in this course has markedly enhanced the quality of my photographs. Jess and the MTog team deliver superb instruction, seamlessly guiding from foundational concepts to more advanced techniques. Every nugget of insight in the Self Critique for Success course has been a source of genuine appreciation for me. – Stephanie Swasey

Great course! I think the content is great and the concept of splitting it in different levels makes total sense. Of course I see the art of Jess and want to be at the same level right now. As I am trying to improve while I have a busy full time job, there have been moments this course was overwhelming so I stopped for a while and got back to it. I think the message at the end was very helpful, and relieving for me, that I should try to achieve the challenges within my level. In short, very good teaching style easy to follow, great value but depending of basic understanding it will need to be paired with other Courses. – Hasti Sefatpour

This course has been immensely helpful. With every episode, I’ve gone back through previous photos I’ve taken, and done a self critique. By the time I watch the next episode, and then go back through photos I’ve taken since, I am seeing improvements! I’ve become far more critical in my photo taking and editing, and the rewards are immense! Absolutely loving all of your content, and my dreams of getting beautiful photos of my dogs, to capture a life time of memories, is coming true. Can’t thank you enough for all the hard work you’ve put into your lessons. – Callie Soden

The Self Critique for Success Course is absolutely amazing! Every concept is reinforced with relative videos to help reinforce and visualize the concepts. So incredibly well organized and informative. If you want to take your work to the next level this course is a game changer! – Beth Boudreau