@MBC A lot of what you say makes sense and you write very well—much like a friend of mine who is very passionate about photography but doesn’t feel he has the skills yet to call himself more than an experienced amateur. For him, and for me, preserving the memory is by far more important than winning the Pulitzer for Photography or something akin to National Geographic’s or Life’s Picture of the Year. Yes, I agree that clients expect a reasonable quality of photos, but that is inherently tied to their budget. I’ve read some of your comments where it seemed you were a little hot under the collar and you wanted to reach through your screen to the person you were commenting about and scream some things to them that meet your photographic ideals, and only yours. That is hardly constructive criticism and I’d be willing to bet you’re still learning even after 32+ years of being in the business, as we all learn new things every day no matter what profession we’re in.
This site is much more dedicated to “your photo f***ing suck” types of responses and, as a result, constructive criticism is hard to come by here. To me, the idea of constructive criticism is not a total stripping down as you say you’ve been through. Comments like some of those on here are real ego deflators and passion killers, but there are certainly times when things need to be said to get the submitter’s head out of the clouds or think they are God’s gift to photography. I’ll give you that much, but not not by being malicious about it for the sake of it. I also think that your comment (used a few times) about being in the business longer than someone has been alive has an air of pompousness behind it, but that is just my opinion.
It’s far too easy to say thinks like “your lighting is bad”, “your composition stinks”, “your backgrounds are distracting, your subject is out of focus, etc.” but a lot of the comments stop there. There is very little of the WHY and “here’s what you can do to make it better.” Books can only tell you so much and content is more often than not geared toward the technical side of photography, ie: here’s a photo and here are the ISO, aperture, and shutter settings to make it better. There’s no WHY in that text. Photography is much more than numbers for the exposure triangle, meter readings and lighting ratios or GN numbers. I know you understand all that. But to have malicious comments on here with nothing to back it up amounts to nothing more than cyber-bullying, plain and simple. It’s far too easy to blast away at someone from behind a screen than it is face to face. I think you are just as guilty of that but at least you have the decency to say it more tactfully than most of the others on here. It’s up to the person receiving those comments to interpret them as they fit, but if that information is taken negatively, you tried your best to help.
I for one would like to see what 32 years of experience and dozens of magazine covers look like. I dare you to post a link and and any descriptive text you like to the Photography Showcase forum. You may get some flack from those who have nothing better to do than criticize because it makes them feel superior, but I’m sure there will be a lot more positive comments and questions on the how and why you shot something one way as opposed to another or what type of lighting you used and where you placed it, exposure settings, lenses used, and anything else behind the whys of even more. As harsh as IHF can be, I’m almost positive that she and many others would like to see and read about all that. Unless, of course, you feel that contributing in that way violates your business sense because you’re not being compensated for your “online instruction”…
I invite you and any others who see this to read the Pricing post in the main YANAP discussion forum and post your thoughts about it there.