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  • #15502

    Hi. How are you all? I am both a photographer and a journalist…though I’ve always been much more of  a writer. I currently write and take photos for several NY newspapers and I run my own small company specializing in children and family portraiture. I have done other types of shooting, including events, head shots, corporate parties, etc but the majority of my bookings are for children portraits. I have been a second shooter during several weddings but never the main..except for friends and family members. I currently list wedding photography on my website but never have any inquires, nor do I feel confident enough to actually do a wedding. I am much more intrigued by photographing little ones, etc. The majority of my appointments are gained throughout word of mouth and the small bit of advertising that I do. I list my services in a few local community newspapers and I occasionally put a business card up onto a library bulletin board. As of now, I’ve been booking about 5-10 appointments per week. Writing has always been my main gig but lately the photography inquiries have been picking up. I am not sure I want to continue with photography for much longer. I always said I wanted to work doing something I love..and truthfully, my passion for photography is fading. I used to shoot all of the time for my own enjoyment and lately every time I shoot it is for work. I’d like to take some time off and relearn my love for the art..maybe take some pictures of things that actually fascinate me. I’ve always wanted to go into the city and take images of people on the street. All different kinds of people- homeless, rich, young, old. I want to shoot in a photojournalistic style documenting the different between the urban areas and the suburbs. I live 2 hours outside of NYC in the Hamptons. I have always wanted to shoot similar photos of people/places in both areas and then perhaps, put them all together on my website or print them out. I don’t know. I haven’t got that far. I’ve always just felt the desire to do that. Anyway, I didn’t go to school for photography. I actually went for psychology. I took private lessons each week from a pro photographer/photography professor to learn the technical aspects of the art. I believe I went for lessons two hours a week for about 6 months or so. From the start, he said I had a good eye but that I needed to learn the technical things, ie. how to shoot on manual, etc. Eventually, the lessons became to expensive so I decided to learn on my own through books and internet tutorials. Shortly after the lessons stopped, I met a man who works for a newspaper. He liked my photos and he offered me a job. I took it. I began working so often that I had very little time to learn. Since that day (3 years a go-ish) I have been so busy shooting and writing that I don’t have time to learn more about it. I’d like to take a break and shoot for fun, learn more, etc. I need that. As far as equipment goes, I have a Nikon D70, a D3200 and a D300. I have a few lenses, Nikon 70-300, Nikon 24-70 and a Lens Baby. The Lens Baby I bought and have really rarely used. An impulse buy, if you will. I have a Nikon SB800 and SB400 external flash. In addition to all that, I have a few tripods, a black muslin backdrop, backdrop stand, etc. I have Adobe Elements, Adobe Lightroom and iPhoto. I use them all, I don’t know which I like best. I am in great need of learning more about Photo Shop. I’d like to invest in Creative Suite or Creative Cloud but I’d like to learn more of the basics first. My teacher had just began teaching me Photo Shop when I stopped the lessons. Perhaps I’ll take an adult ed course or college class in the near future. I’ve only had one unhappy client since I’ve started. She was unhappy that I didn’t give her enough images. She payed for a 1 hour session and decided her and her son were ready to go after 20 minutes because he was tired and cranky. I encouraged her to stay a little longer but she said no. I gave her 30 images in total for the 20 minutes she was there and she was unhappy with that amount, she wanted more. She was quite rude at that. Other than her, I;ve had no complaints. Several clients have asked me to switch color images to B&W or visa versa and I always do. I have a wide array of reoccuring clients..everything from aspiring models to middle class families to the Suffolk County Legislator. I’ve photographed many celebrities, politicians and even a former president while shooting for the newspaper. I’ve been really blessed with my career but I feel unsatisified lately. I charge relatively low prices compared to other professionals because I understand how hard it is to splurge on pictures, especially in todays economy. I have two children myself so I know how many necessary daily expenses people have. Around the holidays I offer Mini Sessions. They are 25 minutes long and are $75. I donate $10 from each Mini Session to the nonprofit NYC charity, Art Start. Mini Sessions are available annually from Oct to Jan. I think its nice to make my services available to low income families. I currently do give a flash drive with images from the session to each client. I include that in my rates. I have been told I should charge extra or charge for printing only, a la cart style. I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do that. I think a lot of my current clients would be disappointed and unable to afford that. Perhaps I could “grandfather” in my existing clients so that they still receive the same rates..and then charge extra for images for new clients. Just brainstorming. Anyway, to the point. I just found this website this morning and I was hoping to get some opinions & feedback. My website doesn’t feature a lot of my personal work, mostly just my paid work. Not all of my clients agree to sign model release forms so their pictures aren’t on my website. That’s understandable, I think. I wouldn’t want my kids picture on someones website either. My website URL is MeganLanePhotos.com. You can view my galleries by clicking on the thumbnails on the home page. There are other pictures throughout my website on each page. Certain pages are still under construction- namely my Diva Glam Birthday Party Page. A friend of mine is a make up artist/hair stylist. Her and I are going into a venture together in which we will offer our combined services for young girls/teenage girls birthday parties. We are still in the process of promoting the idea and getting the word out there. OK. Gotta run. My 3 year old daughter is just waking up. Thank you in advance for your time and feedback. Greatly appreciated.

     

    Best,

    Megan Lane

    MeganLanePhotos.com

    #15503
    nairbynairb
    Member

    Going through your galleries, I’d say you’re a faux.

    You definitely jumped into it too quickly before learning what you need to learn.
    Your images are inconsistent… Just look at any of the sets of photos you have – none of them have a similar feel to them.

    You have a couple of colour photos (colour is usually desirable when dealing with children because colour and kids just go together) mixed in with a lot of underexposed black and whites, sepia and then some weird sepia green-toned style. Out of 11 photos on your “Adult Photography” gallery you only have 2 colour photos. Why are you so scared of colour!? It wouldn’t be a problem if your B&W’s were amazing, but they aren’t!

    http://static.squarespace.com/static/51dd4343e4b0d1ffe699ebaa/51deeabce4b007373baa311f/51dfe930e4b01d6e75fbd8c5/1373817005428/website6.jpg
    Screams faux (even if it’s in your “random shots” category)

    http://static.squarespace.com/static/51dd4343e4b0d1ffe699ebaa/520176a8e4b0b766abb483d6/52023bf0e4b090e2d569b42a/1385125868109/farm6.jpg?format=750w
    This images is green and has a HORRIBLE vignette.

    http://static.squarespace.com/static/51dd4343e4b0d1ffe699ebaa/51dd4343e4b0d1ffe699ebb8/51dd7b95e4b0e5482bde982b/1373716589484/cave4.jpg?format=750w
    Blue?

     

    Why do you have an iPhone screenshot of a website as a portfolio photo?

    All in all, I don’t think you should really be paid for what I see on the site. I know it seems harsh, but it’s what I feel.
    I’m very impressed you’ve landed the job you did with the work you do – so good job on you.

    If you are able to, I would definitely take a hiatus from getting paid for your images and take that time to relearn.
    I don’t think anyone should ever give up though, you obviously care about it.

    One of the biggest things that has helped me was this website. People started pointing out things that I wouldn’t have otherwise noticed.
    Go through the threads here, and see what people nit-pick.
    More specifically, any post by ebi (although crude) is a good place to learn.

    Keep shooting, stop charging, and just enjoy it!

    #15506
    Wilson
    Member

    Just went to your website to give my feedback I’m far from a pro but maybe it will help.
    The ‘Little Ones’ gallery look like candid and snapshots. The kids is looking up at you and your not down on their level. I see your daughter is your main subject but try to take picture of other children like friends and family. You don’t need a sepia and color version of the boy. A little posing a good background will make a image 10 times better.

    The Corporate looks a little better the man and woman on the wall is out of focus and the kids at the bottom seem out of place in that category.

    The family category need more color and you should work on your cropping like not cropping fingers and hands. It looks like you got a favorite bench at the park. Get the kids standing up and running around if that’s what you want. Tell jokes get them to laugh and not have force smiles.

    I first thought Adult photography was nude so maybe change the name to portraits. The girl in the bathing suit looks like something different from the rest of the album. She have to be a model so she know how to work the camera and pose. The rest of the people need work its your job to pose them and again too many black and white. The man standing on the tree could of been a nice shot but his hoodie draws my eyes towards it. That’s why most photographers prefer simple solid clothing.

    That’s just my take. You came here to learn which is good.

    #15507

    Nairbynairb covered quite a bit.

    From your post:

    I am not sure I want to continue with photography for much longer. I always said I wanted to work doing something I love..and truthfully, my passion for photography is fading.

    So, if writing is your thing, you might want to spend some time organizing your thoughts and figuring out paragraphs.

    “Adult Photography” has a certain connotation, like “adult movies”, so you might think about a title that hasn’t been co-opted by industry.

    Anyway, the top photo in your Adult Photography gallery is rotated 90 degrees CCW.   Her strap is showing.  The one below that has a green tint, which is OK for the hedge but not so good for the woman’s skin.  Down a couple more, and the tint is yellow.

    In Weddings, why do we get to the last photo before discovering the guy has an expression other than “pissed off”?

    Watch your backgrounds!  What is on that sign in the background, right side?

    You are a journalist?  I’ve looked at a dozen of your photos and none of them told a story?  Why is that?

    You might want to have an editor take a blue pencil to the copy on your page.    For instance:  “Let’s work together to create many photographs of yourself that you’re satisfied, happy and pleased with!”  Really?

    #15509
    nesgran
    Member

    I wrote a long post before basically saying the same things as the guys above and a few more. You have an awful lot of photos of the same bench with different people and it seems that the bench has some kind of out of focus force field around it. Virtually every single shot of the bench you’ve put focus on the bush behind rather than the eyes of the people. You have lots of photos of more than one person where one or more are out of the dof or moving. You need to be a lot more critical about what shots you put up on the webpage.

    As for weddings, avoid them. You don’t have enough gear to do a good job of it, you may want to invest in a better main camera and then sell off a few of the other ones. A D700 or even D600 would work well and would make a lot more sense with the 24-70 lens. The consumer grade 70-300 needs to go as does the D70 and probably the D3200 as well

    You pricing structure is also overly complicated. Why specify how many permitted (your wording) outfit changes you can have? It will only eat into their time with you and they may end up taking half an hour extra if they faff a lot with dress changes

    #15510
    IHF
    Member

    I’m sorry Megan… I don’t think photography or writing is your thing. If they are, then maybe a break from business and some time taken out to learn both creative arts is in order. You shouldn’t be charging for either service I’m afraid. I know this sounds mean rotten and horrible, but, it’s only pure honesty on my part.
    Lots of run on thoughts, skipping from third person, to first person, and back again. Many typos, and problems with grammar and punctuation. You are conveying a certain immaturity and novice, that I’m sure isn’t intended.

    Lots of misuse of light
    Bad expressions
    Bad exposures
    Bad focus
    Bad posing

    It looks as though you are carelessly just snapping. Even though you say you aren’t, it doesn’t show.

    I think if you are truly serious, a few steps back, and learning the basics to both artistic mediums would help you tremendously. Apply yourself, and work harder at learning, good things will come. Good luck to you

    #15528
    ebi
    Member

    i didn’t need to venture beyond the first page, nor would i want to. your work is bad. if you aren’t into it, you aren’t into it, do something else.

     

    #15594
    CoastalTog
    Member

    Does your editor require paragraph breaks?  Good grief.

    #15682
    ebi
    Member

    srlsy! I needed a TL;DR version.

    #15699
    IHF
    Member

    something else that bothers me. (Enough that I had to have a look again) You aren’t a wedding photographer, but yet you write articles like “5 questions to ask your wedding photographer” on a bride registry type blog, and use images in your article that you yourself haven’t taken. I find that very odd, and a little dishonest on your part.
    That, and how you refer to your “boat load of experience” on your blog when you are, by your own admission, very new to family photography. It’s obvious when going through your port and seeing the same content over and over. It all seems very “fake it till you make it”, and so misleading to your potential clients/public. Classic faux move. I don’t know wether to laugh or grit my teeth, and I have a feeling I’m not the only one who has giggled a bit when visiting your site and Facebook.

    Be proud of who you are and your accomplishments, and your goals, be honest with your readers, yourself, and to the people you solicit to. Write about what you know. I think people would be much more interested in a blog written by a girl who is trying her best to learn photography, shares her mistakes, and triumphs, or likes to share her daily adventures, or whatever floats your boat. People can generally see through fronts like this pretty easily. Dishonesty/falseness will always come back and bite you in the butt. Be you, not somebody/something you created in your head.

    #15709

    I didn’t feel the need to respond to any of the above comments, excluding the last. The blog posts I write for Registry Rebellion are in no way related to my photography work. I was hired 6 months a go (give or take) to write weekly blog posts for Kira, the owner of the business. Each post is of a different topic. Some are about bridesmaids, others about party favors and others about wedding photography. I do not solicit business through any of my blog posts, nor have I ever intended to. My “5 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer” post was written to help brides find a photographer who is best suited for them. If I remember correctly, I didn’t mention anything about myself, my photography or my company within that post. I don’t use my own pictures because that is not my responsibility. Kira chooses photos that she feels fit best. She likes to give aspiring wedding photographers exposure on her blog. Typically she features a new photographers work for each post that I write. Only one time did she feature my images and that was because she saw them on my website and felt that they would accompany the post perfectly. I could see how it would be “odd” if I wrote only just that one post for Kira. That being said, that one post is among dozens of others that I have written. My purpose of blogging for Registry Rebellion is to help brides along their wedding planning adventures. I give them advice, ideas and support. I have received many thank you’s and words of appreciation from our readers. Kira has even told me how much her business has improved since she hired me. Not only do I write for Kira, but I write for several NY newspapers. Once again, I’ve never attempted to gain photography clients or business through writing any blog posts or newspaper articles. My writing has nothing to do with my photography, and the other way around.

    To be honest, I would’ve appreciated constructive criticism much more than what I received from all of you. “Lots of misuse of light, bad posing, bad focus on the park bench, etc”. That was useful. I appreciate that. Those who simply said “your work is bad,” I appreciated less. I also don’t see why my writing is being critiqued. I didn’t ask for opinions on my writing. If I wanted writing advice I would’ve gone elsewhere. I’ve never had any complaints from the newspapers I work for, nor have I had complaints from my photography clients. I know I need improvement with my photography. That is why I post on websites such as this. That is why I watch youtube tutorials and read books, such as “Understanding Exposure.” Having said that, I didn’t write my original post here or the post I’m writing now with the best grammar, spelling, etc. I wasn’t trying to be fancy or impressive. Also, the content on my website wasn’t meant to be literary prize material. My website isn’t intended to showcase my writing work. I wrote a rough draft with all of the necessary info prior to publishing it live, and then I submitted it to a friend of mine who teaches Cinematography at Stonybrook University College. He edited what I wrote, added some things, subtracted some things, etc. I’m sure there are still some mistakes, but I doubt that my potential or existing clients are reading my website content trying to find spelling or grammatical errors. They are simply trying to find out more about me, my company and what I offer. I’ve yet to have a dissatisfied client, and I usually book about 5 sessions a week. The few times I’ve made mistakes, I fixed them. For instance, about a year a go I did a family shoot outside in the windy weather. One out of the 80 pictures I gave the client on their flash drive had a mistake. Their son had a runny nose and I had forgotten to edit it. I must’ve skipped past it upon reviewing. I don’t remember the details. Point is, as soon as my client brought this to my attention, I took it upon myself to drop what I was doing and edit out the runny nose. I emailed it back to her in high res within 30 minutes of receiving her phone call. She was so happy that I fixed it, and impressed that I did it that same day. Another instance: A few months a go I was hired to shoot an anniversary party. I had told the client that they would receive their USB flash drive within 7 business days. I ended up sending it out a few days late. I was overbooked with appointments and I misjudged the amount of time it would take to be edited and mailed out. I felt bad, so I sent a complimentary 8×10 print and 4×6 print along with the flash drive as a nice gesture. I believe the flash drive was 2 days late. I mailed it overnight delivery to ensure they’d receive it as quickly as possible, since I was late finishing everything up. The client was so happy that I sent them free prints. They told me that they wouldn’t have even cared that I was a few days late. They were thankful I went the extra mile for them. I’ve worked with them two times since that first booking.

    As I said in my first post, I do not really do wedding photography. I’ve only done a few weddings and only for friends and family. Not paid work. This past October, I did receive an inquiry from a couple who wanted to have their wedding portraits re-done. They had gotten married a few months prior to contacting me and they were very unhappy with the photographs their photographer provided them with. Their photographer didn’t show her shoes in a single picture. She had spent a lot of time picking out the best shoes. Also, the bride had bought two dresses to wear during her wedding portraits on her wedding day. Her white wedding gown and a red dress for the reception. The photographer didn’t take any portraits of her and her husband with the white gown. The photographer took candids of the ceremony while she wore the white gown..but none of just her and her husband. The bride was understandably devastated. She asked the photographer towards the end of the night if she could do the white wedding gown portraits and the photographer said she had to go! This couple spent a few dollars short of $5,000 on these photography services. Anyway, they contacted me because they wanted to have a one hour portrait session at an outdoor park. She wanted to wear her white wedding gown to recreate the day of her wedding. Her husband wore the same tux, too. They loved the images I provided them with. They’ve told me several times since then that they can’t stop looking at the pictures. The bride told me that every morning she wakes up, she looks at the print on her wall that I made them. I love having clients who are so happy. Not only because I feel proud of the work I did but because it makes me excited to hear how happy they are.

    To sum up, I do need improvements. I am not perfect. However, I don’t think I (or anyone else on this site) deserved the mean words that each of you said. Constructive criticism is what I was in search of, and I certainly didn’t receive that. I feel like I was badgered by a bunch of high school bullies. To those of you who actually gave me feedback and suggestions, thank you. To those who simply told me that I suck, go to hell.

    All the best,

    Megan

    #15710

    Having said that, I didn’t write my original post here or the post I’m writing now with the best grammar, spelling, etc. I wasn’t trying to be fancy or impressive. Also, the content on my website wasn’t meant to be literary prize material. My website isn’t intended to showcase my writing work. I wrote a rough draft with all of the necessary info prior to publishing it live, and then I submitted it to a friend of mine who teaches Cinematography at Stonybrook University College. He edited what I wrote, added some things, subtracted some things, etc. I’m sure there are still some mistakes, but I doubt that my potential or existing clients are reading my website content trying to find spelling or grammatical errors. They are simply trying to find out more about me, my company and what I offer.

    Everything you publish, everything you wear, what you drive, the friends you keep are all a reflection of you.  You may not like it, less so when it is you being negatively judged, but people judge all the time.  Even you judge.  Any potential customer looking at your page will look at your photos and read your text.  What image does your page present if the images and text are not your best work?  Why would you not put your best work on your page and strive to deliver that same quality of work to every customer?

    To sum up, I do need improvements. I am not perfect. However, I don’t think I (or anyone else on this site) deserved the mean words that each of you said. Constructive criticism is what I was in search of, and I certainly didn’t receive that. I feel like I was badgered by a bunch of high school bullies. To those of you who actually gave me feedback and suggestions, thank you. To those who simply told me that I suck, go to hell.

    If you have read through any of this site, you should have figured out we are not here to stroke your ego.  Many of us, however, have spent time and energy to offer considered opinions, not just on the photography but on business issues, how you are perceived, and what makes sense to us.  You need a thicker skin!  You haven’t been badgered.  You have received some valuable advice, for free.  Even those who have simply said “You suck!” have provided some valuable information.  Most people who look at your work and think “You suck!” will simply move on without saying anything, and without throwing any money your way.  People who take better photos than you do, and who have more work experience, have taken the time to look at your work and provide some honest comments based on what you presented.  That is much more valuable to a smart person than people blowing sunshine at you.

    Go in peace.

    #15711
    JLiu
    Member

    Just for clarification, you started your first post with the following:

    I am both a photographer and a journalist…though I’ve always been much more of  a writer.

    How could you not expect to be criticized on your writing if you profess skill in that field? That’s as asinine as the sign language interpreter for Mandela’s funeral service. Pro tip – if you claim to be good at something, prove it. Also, I find it difficult to believe you haven’t come across similar reactions to any of your work considering you write for several NY newspapers – they tend to reject with caustic impunity.

    Like many before you, instead of asking the person who left you a brief, nasty critique to expand on that and possibly learn or discuss further, you decided to take the defensive route and have a pissing contest regarding your many accomplishments. I fail to see how this helps you improve – both as an individual and as a photographer.

    There will always be haters. How you decide to handle those people will be how you are judged.

    #15713
    IHF
    Member

    Maybe I didn’t word myself properly. I wasn’t insinuating that you were promoting your photography services in your blog posts for registry rebellion. Just saying I found it odd that you chose to write about a subject you don’t know much about. “I had a wedding once, and I’ve been a guest at a few weddings too. I think I’ll write blog posts about wedding planning and whatnot based on my wedding expertise.” AND found it odd and a little dishonest that your photography blog also implies again and again, that you are an expert with lots of experience when giving your readers/potential clients advice, and promoting yourself.
    What if the author of “understanding exposure” never even owned a camera and just winged it with tid bits he’s heard/read here and there? Would that sit well with you, even if the information seemed to be accurate? Or would you expect the author to know, and practice regularly what he/she writes about?
    This isn’t me accusing you of anything, or bullying you in anyway. I’m just trying to help you see things from a deferent perspective to try to give you a better direction and a way to improve upon what you say you love to do. One of the first lessons in writing is “write what you know”. This isn’t meant to limit your subject matter, it’s meant to improve the quality of your writing. But, you didn’t want advice on your writing and feel good enough is good enough. Fair enough. It’s just when someone comes to a photography forum and says they are losing their interest in photography and writing is more of their thing, you expect to find their writing is far better than their photography. You expect to see the interest, talent, and passion to show in their work. It was quite shocking to find out otherwise. I think that’s why some of us couldn’t help but say something.

    You came, asked if we thought you were a fauxtog, told us about yourself and how you felt about things, asked for opinions and feedback. We all took the time to look over your work, read what you had to say, and gave you just that. I’m sorry if it wasn’t what you wanted to hear. Receiving any sort of criticism is difficult. We’ve all been there. But this in NO WAY makes us bullies, or any other names you want to throw out there. I hope with time you can see things more clearly, and less full of anger, and maybe come back and ask questions about your criticism and what you can do to improve your focus, improve your black and whites, etc. asking questions like “why was this a bad pose? What could I do to improve this shot?” And so on, might be quite helpful to you. At the very least I hope you look in your manual and learn all your AF settings and how to select focus, and maybe google some of the terms and points that were made here in this thread. Then again, after reading your reply, you may not be ready to hear anything negative, and are still believing what you tell your “clients”, and what your friends and family say to you. That’s ok too. Either way, the ball is in your court.

    #15728
    emf
    Member

    I agree with IHF, but tbh, I’m a bit baffled by this whole thread. What’s the point of asking for critique if you aren’t passionate about photography? What’s the point in being a photographer in the first place? If you don’t feel passion for your work then how can anyone else be expected to? In this day and age photography seems like a really tough path for those who DO have passion for it, let alone anyone who doesn’t.

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