Hey all...it has been quite a while since I have posted here, but I am back. I have been taking a break from photography for a bit due to work and a recent surgery, but I am hopping back on the horse and getting back into the saddle.
I had something come up today that really got me to thinking. I have recently decided that I was going to give microstock a shot for some potential extra income. What I have come to realize is something that I have thought about over the years briefly, but never really focused on; the photography community in general.
There are a lot of photographers in the community that will give an honest opinon of a particular shot or of your work in general. Most will give constructive critisizm and helpful advice on how to make a shot better or how to do a particular technique in a way that makes it more effective. However, there are quite a few photogs out there that just state that something sucks and then don't give any reason why. They give DESTRUCTIVE critisizm. That which is uncalled for.
I recently had a photo that I submitted for stock be declined for technical reasons (they don't give specifics). There is no way to question why, it just is. So, I posted the shot in the site's forum to get the opinion of others on the site and get some input as to how to improve the shot. The first response was simply that the shot was bad and better luck next time. No explaination, nothing. The second post was very helpful and explained to me why it didn't get accepted on the site. This particular site, from what I have found, does not cherish artistic photos, just your standard run of the mill technically correct shots. If the rules are broken, your shot is denied. Simple as that. That is fine with me...but not what I want to be involved with. I will no longer submit photos to that kind of site.
One thing that I have learned over the years, especially since getting into the world of glamour, is that photography is an artform. The rules are there as a guide and not set in stone. Creativity depends on this. If everyone of us were to follow the rules on every shot, photography would be considered a science and not an art. There would never be a new or exciting shot to look at and there would be no point in taking new photos because everything would have already been done. This is where I am in the photography world right now. I am trying new things, breaking rules and trying my damnedest to be the most creative that I can thus creating new images that spark imagination and emotions.
One thing that I thought about was this; our community has forgotten that what matters is the opinion of our client base. This is why I place a super high value on the opinion of the average joe as opposed to that of someone in the industry. See, as photographers, we look at a shot and we look at the lighting, the exposure, the colors, the framing and we determine if the shot is a good shot or a bad shot. We can pick apart any photo and find flaws with any shot that we see. The average joe makes a much simpler assessment of the shot..either I like it or I don't like it.
Take this shot for example:
This is a shot I took of a model that I was working with a few years ago. For one simple reason, she liked this shot...she looked at it and it made her feel pretty. That is the goal (at least my goal). I couldn't tell her that the photo was flawed...I couldn't tell her that her earing hanging messed up lines and made her ear lobe look funny...I couldn't tell her that something in the bg was distracting...I couldn't tell her that some photogs would say that it was over processed...all she cared is that she like it and she felt pretty as a result.
What is my point of this post? Simple. I am not saying that we shouldn't ask for or take advice from other photogs or people involved with the industry, I am saying that we need to take that critisizm with a grain of salt. Out best critics are our clients. If our client base is consistantly saying they like your work, then guess what, you are doing good. If our clients are consistantly saying they don't like your work, then something needs to change.
Regardless, I am a firm believer in the idea that we never stop learning. I have been shooting with models for almost 7 years and, by far, I do not know everything. I have been shooting landscapes and cityscapes for as long as I remember, and I still have shots that don't meet ANYONE'S expectations. I always want to learn! That is all there is to it...but if you are going to give input on somone's work, please make it constructive. Try to look at it both from the eye of a photographer as well as from the eye of a client. Make suggestions as how to improve and please, leave out the personal attacks and useless information.
Thanks for enjoying my little rant...have a nice day! And yes, critisize me!! I know I am a bad speller!!!
Happy shooting all...I should have some new work up soon!!