More than Flowers and Pats on the back

What can be more beneficial to the improvement of your photography, than honest feedback. Likes or Thumbs ups really means nothing to me, asking into my considerations and giving me feedback on my photo means the world to me.

I might not agree with every comment, but comments going against my intent with the photo, raises the question if i am communicating my message strong enough and in that way not even the silliest of comments is a complete waste.

In the past, I spent a lot of time on PhotoSIG, and received many useful critiques. Give it a try. Unfortunately, it suffers from the same issues as the world in general, there are more takers than givers. And some people don’t really want critiques, they want praise. Others think they are so great that we should be honored that they have shared their awesome images and that makes up for them not critiquing.

On online photo critique forums is great places where you can read about other photographers’ experiences and share photos and manipulations with other online. It is about both giving and receiving photo critique, with the intent of getting better.

Arguments against

Not everyone is crazy about critiques, and the resistance shows in various ways.  Please do not get me wrong, if you dislike getting feedback fine with me.. just stay away from forums with your art 🙂

>>If you take the “advice” of others then your work will be driven to the norm<<, seriously? Is your work and mindset so fragile that you cannot take input from others, without losing that redline through your work. Whenever I meet people who wants to change my works, I do consider, could they be right, would it work better in the ways suggested. It also makes me ponder on my creative live, why do they not get where I was going with this photo, is the message to be strengthened. Regardless if I end up with adapting to their advice or disregarding which I must admit happens in many cases, it gives me reason to think over my work and my approach.

Then there is people reacting violently on negative critics, “My clients, is my friends, you disrespect them”. If your are not professional enough to know how to place your clients in a situation where they do not look total ridiculous, then expect someone to tell you that. If you are being insulted over people not seeing your greatness, maybe you should keep your work from others.

“The photo is not open for comments or critics”. This is perhaps the funniest kind of comment i’ve seen people add to their photos. Maybe it is because they cannot imagine their work resulting in constructive or even positive critics, on any account, why post it.. if you want thumbs up .. maybe instragram is more you.

“My location is super secret”, “I got it from a professional, and owe him to keep it secret”, “I do not wait everyone else to spoil it with cigarette buds” let’s face it, this kind of photographer needs to feel special and is beyond reach. No valid argument will change his antisocial behaviour.

Which is the better option

There is several sites outthere but i am going to focus on three major sites the www.500px.comwww.behance.net and www.flickr.com

Flickr is owned by Yahoo, Flickr was for a time the main player in the photo sharing website pool. It retains a large user base although its updates are infrequent and the user interface can feel quite outdated.

Similar to Flickr in most respects 500px presents a slightly more modern interface. I do like its feature where a score it gives each image. This score acts as a measure of the photo is rated by the community.

My impression of Behance is that the site seems to have a higher percentage of professionals (art directors, photo editors, designers, etc) than at Flickr.

Before you upload

Be self-critical, but not self-effacing. Do explain your thoughts behind an image and comes the positive image criticism will come faster than you realize.

Don’t be frustrated over the usual feedbacks like on cropping, titled pictures, or this would work better in B&W, or my favorite about composition and why I am not following the rule of thirds. Perhaps the best kind of feedbacks is to be found in questions and dialog about your line of thought behind the image. I described this kind of feedback in the article When we are impressed by a photo, when you get this kind of feedback, then do realise you struck gold, and both viewer and photographer will benefit from the dialog.

Watermarking your photos

It is wise to watermark your pictures with the intent of  avoiding them being used in a commercial context without your permission. Many say it ruins the picture,  disagree, Why would something placed in a corner ruin an entire picture?

I would personally be upset if a photo of mine would go viral or had earning from it and I wouldn’t get any credit from it. Surely watermarks can be removed, but it would have to be with evil intent, and easily proven when you chase-down the company exploiting your work.

 

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