Welcome to episode 12 of Photography Critique. We take a look at four sites and I do my best to stay on track, make my point, and move on. Trying to take your critique of our critique to heart as best I can! Still can’t stop gabbing though. Hour and 12 on this one. I’m proud of this one. Hope you enjoy it as well!
Some really interesting discussion has formed around our last episode of Photography Critique.
I’m glad if we can give some pointers here and there but I think we ruffled some feathers and have started a discussion a bit deeper than how to edit your work. We’ve had a number of people recently stumble across us so I want to go over our own in-house rules for this critique thing that we do.
#1 – We only critique work that has been submitted to us. We do not do any drive-by critiques. If you send your site to us you know it will possibly end up on this blog and be the topic of a public discussion. If you want to be added to the list just email me your URL. Send it to critique @ zackarias.com.
#2 – I DO NOT name names in text or give links to the work we critique. The reason we do this is so “John Doe Photography” can submit his work and know that nothing on my blog will show up in a search engine. I ask that all readers cross posting these critiques respect this as well. Do not give a link to the person’s work AND a link to this blog. This is to keep possible negative critiques out of the reach from perspective clients researching said John Doe photographer.
#3 – Meg and I do this for the community at large and we have fun with it. We will not get academic with these critiques. At times we have something serious to say or something technical to share but you are going to get the EXACT same critique on this blog as if you came to our house, sat down at our dining room table, and showed us your work. We would offer you a drink and go through your work exactly as we do on this site. Smart ass comments and all.
#4 – Speaking of smart ass comments… We make them. We hope we are not offending anyone but if we think something looks funny then chances are other people are going to come along and think something similar. If we add a stupid caption to a photo it is because it’s so easy to do. Remember this… You can’t stand around your work and explain it to people as they see it. Once your site goes out in the world you have zero control over what people are going to think of your work. Meg and I are going to give you an off the cuff honest idea of what may be thought of your work. Like it or love it or leave it. If we laugh at one of your pictures it may be due to the fact that it is funny. The rub happens when your intention was to make a serious photo. We aren’t so jaded and cynical that we make fun of everything but you may not see it until it’s pointed out.
#5 – I am looking at your site as though I’m a photo editor, art director, or general public client. Would I hire you? Would I love your work? Would I hate it? Would I laugh at it? Would I think it is original or dated or boring? If so, I’ll tell you. But my goal is to not leave you there. If I feel I can speak to the work and give suggestions to make it better then I most certainly will give you my opinion in how I feel it can be made better. I will do all I can to point out your strengths as well. I’m not here just to try and bring people down. I do these things in hopes that it helps.
Meg is looking at your work as Meghan “General Public” Arias. She’s not trained in photography. She’s not a shooter. She’s not an editor. She likes being the detached third party. That’s not to say she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She’s a smart girl and has some interesting opinions on the work. I should know, she has opinions about mine all the time! ;)
#6 – I’m going to do my best to not make a critique personal. I’m looking at your photography. Not you. But at 1am I know I’ll make a joke and step on toes. Please know that we aren’t trying to be jerks. We’re dorks.
#7 – Whatever we say here… we would say it to your face. We don’t hide behind the Internet.
#8 – Most days… I have to listen to myself because I sure as hell don’t have it figured out and I’m just as guilty of the flaws I’m so quick to point out to others. Have you seen my sites? They suck right now. Suck. The only thing that lets me sleep through the night is I know they suck right now because I’m too busy shooting to be building a web site. Just note that I suck too.
Rules for you…
#1 – Don’t take it personal. You have to divorce yourself from your work to get an honest assessment of it. If you don’t you can’t grow. Your family and friends may absolutely love, love, love your photography. Heck, your clients may be head over heals about that selective colored heart over the belly button with no less than 17 actions thrown on top of it. Fine. People are happy with Wal-Mart portraits too but that doesn’t mean they are good. There are higher goals to reach in this craft and that is the point of view I’m coming from. Let Wal-Mart produce the crap. Individual photographers need to push on to better work.
#2 – Understand we are just one tiny voice in a sea of thousands. Take what we say with a grain of salt because you could show your work to another photographer the same day you show it to us and you will get a whole different take on it. Gather several TRUSTED voices together and then filter it down through your own brain to find out what needs to happen.
#3 – I can’t stress enough that Meg and I do not take ourselves seriously. We kindly request you do the same.
#4 – ALWAYS let us know how we can do this better. Speak up. Talk about it. We are all growing up in this ever changing industry together. It’s a pretty damn fun place to be. I’m glad you are here and I’m glad to be a part of it.
How’d we do on this one?