Friday’s post here at GoingPro was about photo critiques. Some of you didn’t like the fact that I suggested that you should bring your worst images – not your best for critique.
I think there is a basic misunderstanding. Some of you do not appear to know the difference between a photo critique and a portfolio review. Your portfolio review should include only your best images. That is where you show off.
Image critiques are where you show your mistakes and try to learn what you did wrong and how you can fix it from photographers who know more about photography than you do.
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This is a short post aimed at those of you who avoid critiques. Stop it. A critique from a working pro is one of the most valuable things you can do. Critiques from the kids in the local camera club – not so much.
But when you get a chance to enter juried shows, print competitions at the professional organizations or get critiques from pros at photo conferences, do it. And here’s a tip to get the most out of your critique.
BRING YOUR MISTAKES!
Don’t bring your pretty shots expecting a pat on the back. You learn more from your mistakes than your successes. So grin and bear it and ask a pro for a critique. Then, listen – shut up, don’t talk – listen, and go home and evaluate what it all means.
This post sponsored by Bay Photo Lab
I see lots, and lots, and lots of photographic portfolios. If I didn’t say no as often as I do, I’d do absolutely nothing but review portfolios. When new photographers bring me their work, I’ve started to notice a trend. They seem to think the pictures should have more value if they were hard to take. For instance, one young man proudly proclaimed NO PHOTOSHOP! Another said he didn’t use HDR. Another said she shot on film for its “originality.”
Okay – so here’s an introduction to the real world. At an agency, looking for a picture of “X”, unless it’s for a news organization (i.e., photojournalism) they don’t care one bit how the picture is made. They want an image. They think of it as art or an illustration for a larger project. They usually think of the picture as more of nuisance, but they know they need one so they buy it. The LAST thing they want to hear is a speech about the purity of shooting without HDR or no Photoshop. They are way too busy – and so am I.
If you think photography is a game – a test to see who can work the hardest to make the picture – that’s certainly your right. But in the world where people make pictures for a living, it’s just the opposite. We want to make them as quickly, and as affordably and as easily as we can.
If you’re spending more time talking about the PROCESS than you are the story behind the PICTURE, then you might be missing the mark.
Food for thought.
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Are you someone who wants to make serious photographs but can’t really call yourself a photographer because you aren’t really shooting? It’s easy to let life get in the way. But if photography is really important to you, you have to set time aside for it no matter how busy you are. Whether you just photograph your kids or your car or the neighbor or a mountain scene, it all matters. Before you know it, this life will be over and I don’t know anyone who thinks they’ll lay in their coffin saying – “Wow sure am glad I DIDN’T take that picture of Fido!”
If you really want to do this, guard your time. Make photography a top priority. Most photographers — published and unpublished — have many commitments to juggle, not to mention day jobs. But they still fit in shooting time. Most professional photographers I know had to work other jobs before they were able to shoot full time. They simply made a conscious choice NOT to let other things steal their time.
If you were to take inventory of all the things you do with your time, you’d be shocked how much of it goes to waste. Keep a written diary of everything you do during the next week. How many hours do you spend watching television, daydreaming, shopping, etc.? My guess is that if you carved 10 minutes off each of those activities, you’d find a half hour here or there that you could use to study and practice the craft of photography.
If you want to call yourself a photographer, you must shoot. You must shoot now. Don’t wait.
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