@Click It And Stick It & @Malula
That not withstanding, announcing that there was no charge makes very little difference to me. What purpose is there for including that statement unless it was to deflect the harsh reviews that charging for substandard work produces? By making the statement the implication is that you don’t charge. I have been doing rather a lot of test shooting lately because my semi-retirement has afforded me a lot more time to get out and play. If I were to post my work on here, ask for critique, and say that I didn’t charge for those pictures, how would you interpret the statement. I expect you would assume I was posting as a student. The state of payment is irrelevant to the quality of your work, and therefore it is irrelevant to the content of the review. The state of payment is, however, one of the defining characteristics of what makes up a fauxtog, so if you want to know if you are a fauxtog, the difference is very great.
I do not know if this is true, and it is my hope that it is not, but you come across as someone who honestly believes their work is amazing with a capital BOO-Yah, and you came here to get your ego stroked. That isn’t what I’m about. If you, as a learner, come to me and ask for my opinion, you will be responded to as I did in my first post. An honest evaluation, encouragement, and simple advice for improving your work. I didn’t worry about the watermark on the images, because it is good practice to put a copyright notice on photos you take when you post them online. But, after IHF’s comment, I typed “melula photography” into Google and her Facebook page was the very first thing to come up. Now your request for evaluation is not for a student, it was for a pro, or more accurately, someone who has diluted herself into thinking she is a pro.
And people seeing your work and wanting to pay for it has no bearing on whether you should be in business or not. Pure and simple, your clients don’t know thing one about photography. There is no difference between taking advantage of a person who doesn’t know anything about photography by selling them bad photos when they can’t tell the difference and selling someone a bad car by putting sawdust in the transmission and hand turning the odometer. No different than someone who takes high school shop and then starts marking thing themselves as a contractor to people who don’t know the right end of a hammer. I don’t know about how it is in Wollongong, but here both of those things would get you put behind bars.
This is a simple matter of business ethics. When the client doesn’t know enough about whatever you are selling to make a fully informed decision, it is up to you to fill in their knowledge gap with a recommendation. If you take advantage of that and take their money, it is little more than outright theft.
I admit that I was very harsh, but I do not regret it, sometimes it takes a hard blow to the ego to get someone to take off their rose colored glasses and see their work for what it is. So I will now wipe the slate clean, and hope that you are listening good and hard to what I say next.
Kylie, at this point, you have a decision to make. It is a decision about what kind of person you want to be. You see, you have opened Pandora’s box and, to mix metaphors horribly, eaten from the tree of knowledge. You now know, without a doubt, from the mouth of someone who has been doing this longer than you have been alive, that you are not good enough to charge people in good conscience. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that were ignorant of this before today, and so everything you have done up to this point is moot. It is how you proceed that will define who you truly are. Will you, now that you know, go out tomorrow and steal from unsuspecting clients by lying to them about your skill? With the burden on knowledge you now hold, it could be construed in no other way if you did. Or will you accept this bitter pill, realize where you are, hunker down, and start doing the real work? That is a decision only you can make.
I will offer this one encouragement. Like Pandora, you still have one thing left in the box. The Spirit of Hope. One of the very great things about any part of the human condition is that all things are temporary. What you are today does not define what you are tomorrow, it informs it, but does not define it. Take a good deep look down inside yourself and ask yourself why you want to be a photographer. Is it about passion? Is it for the prestige of being an artist? Is it because of the compliments and the ego stroking? If it isn’t for the passion of the art, you’ll never make it, those other reasons can’t propel you beyond mediocrity. So, if you have the passion necessary to work (and pay) for YEARS without compensation to master your art, go for it. But know that it is a long and hard road and making it by honestly being great, does not come easy or fast.
Always remember, that true, lasting greatness only comes to those who are willing to toil in obscurity.