Home Forums Main YANAP Discussion Forum Some Concerns of Mine

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  • #15729
    IainMc
    Member

    I’ve looked around this site at some of the (overwhelmingly negative) feedback that many (if not most) “fauxtographers” are receiving. Constructive criticism by definition should also point out what is working – i.e. apparent strengths that can be built upon.

    Now one thing that really strikes me is that many of these people giving out the criticism have years and decades of experience as professional photographers but since they hide behind avatars we don’t see any links to examples of any of their work as examples of what exceptional or bona fide photography is.

    If Gordon Ramsay or Raymond Blanc for example were to write blogs lambasting the poor quality of food served in burger vans, greasy spoon cafes or pubs we could take every word they say practically as gospel. Everyone knows who they are – Michelin star awarded chefs, the elite of their profession but even they don’t get rave reviews from food critics 100% of the time.

    Overall the impression I get is one of fear of and attempts to discourage competition from less experienced market entrants who can undercut prices in a tough economy. It’s the same train of thought as the long running rage against microstock . Yuri Arcurs  for one has done very well out of microstock but any claim that he is not a professional photographer could not be taken seriously given the size of his business.

    The one from the list I find hilarious is that if you use selective colouring you are not a professional photographer. Now I can go into a place that sells wall posters and find an A1 size photograph of a yellow taxi in a New York street – only the taxi is in colour the rest is black and white. There are many versions – put “New York taxi poster” into Google images to see what I mean – most of the results are colour pops. It may be cliche and rather ubiquitous but I’m willing to bet it sells in significant volume.

    So come on all you seasoned pros – pick up the gauntlet and show the rest what to aspire to.

    #15732
    nesgran
    Member

    Now one thing that really strikes me is that many of these people giving out the criticism have years and decades of experience as professional photographers but since they hide behind avatars we don’t see any links to examples of any of their work as examples of what exceptional or bona fide photography is.

    Actually, most of us have posted our own images but this forum isn’t conducive to showing it easily. The second problem is how the haters of this page finds their way to your personal photography business. Don’t believe me? check out some posts by browneyedgirl. None of us have to prove ourselves as photographers. If we boast about our amazing photography skills and it turns out it is shit and you are still giving out advice there is a problem. Anyone else remember that thread I’m thinking of? If you want stunning photos no one needs to look further than say 500px or flickr explored. Most of these are going to be very good photos in various different categories.

    Overall the impression I get is one of fear of and attempts to discourage competition from less experienced market entrants who can undercut prices in a tough economy. It’s the same train of thought as the long running rage against microstock . Yuri Arcurs for one has done very well out of microstock but any claim that he is not a professional photographer could not be taken seriously given the size of his business.

    This is pretty silly I think. Of course most real photographers are feeling the squeeze from the hordes of fauxes that are out there. Problem for many of the people frequenting this site is that they are in the portrait/wedding business where fauxes roam free. What most of us have problems with are people who start up a photography business and don’t do it legally. There is no way to undercut as much as these people do if you pay taxes, it doesn’t add up. If you are paying your taxes but your photos are sub par, that is the clients problem. I personally have a problem with people who are advertising themselves as wedding or event photographers and don’t have the skills or the equipment to pull it off. It isn’t the end of the world (for a faux) if your client gets shoddy photos from their budoir session but if they have no decent photos from their wedding it breaks my heart.

    Those of us that do more advertising are feeling it less but then there are fewer fauxes trying to break into there and most of them get shot down brutally anyway by editors etc. As for microstock, I can’t recall anyone saying anything bad about it as such, just that your shots weren’t great.

    As for selective colouring, people want it and people will buy it. It is a bit like ugg boots, people want them but they look awful anyway. I was down in IKEA the other week and they have massive (probably 70×100″) red london bus in a black and white street and honestly it doesn’t look bad. Problem is when fauxs are using it as they are, it has ruined selective colour completely and it is starting to look very dated, think very heavy HDR for example

    #15734

    Constructive criticism by definition should also point out what is working – i.e. apparent strengths that can be built upon.

    Now one thing that really strikes me is that many of these people giving out the criticism have years and decades of experience as professional photographers but since they hide behind avatars we don’t see any links to examples of any of their work as examples of what exceptional or bona fide photography is.

    I’m impressed, I don’t think I have ever managed to get this site to deliver bold text for me!  Ah, well …

    I’ve said before and will say again, “professional” just means you hope to be paid, “amateur” means you do something for love instead of money.  Neither word says anything about knowledge or quality of work.  There is also the “specialist”, which you don’t mention but it does seem to creep into photography.   I think you could be a professional having specialized in studio portraits for 30 years, yet you could know a lot less than the news photographer that has only worked a year or two, or the amateur who reads everything and has tried out much of what has been read.  You mention Gordon Ramsay and Raymond Blanc.  I have seen Gordon Ramsay on TV and have no idea who Raymond Blanc is.  Living in Toronto, I have been to several restaurants owned by celebrity chiefs we have seen on TV.  When I think of Michelin, I think of the tires on my car rather than a good meal.  When I want a good meal at a reasonable price, I go to a restaurant owned by someone who is fairly anonymous.  Good and bad are subjective and not related to professional, amateur, or celebrity.

    Regarding constructive criticism, dictionary.com says:  “criticism or advice that is useful and intended to help or improve something, often with an offer of possible solutions”

    I like to see the work of those who are offering criticism because it gives me an indication of how much weight I should give their criticism.  Usually when photography is receiving that criticism, I like to see photos, but if you say enough that makes sense, eventually you will win me over.  Over time, I have seen photos taken by most of the regulars here, even ebi.

    I have linked to one of my web pages and, at one time or another, to a couple of my Flickr pages.  Here is a link to one of my photos.  It is on Spoonful’s Facebook page.  It’s possibly the only photo of mine on Facebook.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=552281174864735&set=a.426993484060172.95777.426992960726891&type=1&theater

    Like Nesgran, I don’t care if someone messes up most kinds of photography but it does break my heart when wedding photos are bad.  It also bothers me when a photographer displays someone else’s work as their own, whether in a book on photography or in an ad.  It just seems wrong.  If what we have to say here influences even one or two people to do a better job, or pass on a job they are not really capable of, then it is worthwhile.

    #15735
    IHF
    Member

    Ditto what everyone else has said thus far.
    I also have to throw in that there are times when I show a port or a photograph or two to my children from posts on this forum just out of curiosity (and they seem in the mood) and ask “what do you think of this picture?” They 99.9% of the time have the same opinion as I do and/or of other commentators on the thread. They may not say “These pictures are out of focus. They need to learn how AF works, and how to lock and recompose.” And only ask “why are they all blurry?”, but the honest first impression is the same. My children are sometimes even “meaner” than I am, and will laugh hysterically at certain images that I know weren’t taken to make people laugh :/ and then flat out say how awful it is. They will say “boring. It’s a building, oh great! The same building again…” When I will say something like “They need to start shooting their architecture in better light. And take more time with their compositions, and experiment with different POVs. I feel like I’m looking at aunt Ethel’s snaps of the neighborhood, instead of a photographer’s portfolio” . All my kids know is that the pictures are boring. I know why they are, but the critique and first impression is the same. My kids aren’t photographers and have no interest in it at all, yet they have opinions when they look at images, just like anyone else does. I’m only an enthusiast, peon, nobody in the photography world, and I like it that way, but I have an opinion and can see what I don’t or DO like about individual photographs or portfolios of work that are shared. To say that I cannot/don’t have a say or that I don’t know enough to critique, just because I don’t shoot for money, prizes or awards, etc is just silly, and seems a little desperate to me.

    I have received negative critique, and have never once got defensive and said “let me see YOUR work, know it all!”. Instead I ask questions and learn what I can, and then thank them all profusely for their time. Sure there are a few out there that have a few screws loose, and I might question (TO MYSELF) their abilities if what they say just doesn’t make a lick of sense after listening to others and a little research or experimenting. Then just stand back and watch them get corrected by everyone else that replies to the topic/critique. Believe me when I say, that when invalid, incorrect information or advice gets thrown out there. There WILL be a discussion taking place that doesn’t even involve the original poster anymore. lol photographers don’t just let bad critiques or inaccurate assessments fly. If you got a negative review, and received lots of criticism and a whole blazing discussion didn’t start flying trying to defend your work or an aspect of it, you can rest assured that it was an accurate assessment, and it’s time to step up your game. Sorry, buck up!

    #15737
    nairbynairb
    Member

    Do you know what bad acting is? You may not be an actor, but you can tell when someone sucks.

    A bad chef has bad food. A bad contractor has shotty construction. A bad spokesperson doesn’t sell product.

    Even people in other fields that are bad at their job, still get paid. Photography is no different.

    That being said, you also don’t need to be a photographer to know that a photo is bad; Just like you don’t need to be a chef to know something doesn’t taste good.
    Also, the New York Cab photo you’re referring to is one of the FEW instances where spot colouring works…ish. Chances are, it still would have been a decent photo in full colour, properly lit.

    More often than not, if your photo can’t stand on it’s own in colour or in black and white… it won’t stand on it’s own with selective colour (or ‘dutch angle’ for that matter)

     

    Your argument is just silly. You sound like someone who didn’t get the reaction they wanted from a critique they ASKED for. (and by ‘sound like someone’ I mean ‘I know this is the root of this’)

     

    #15745

    Has anyone else noticed that when ever we say we like some ones work, they never demand to see ours!

    #15746
    EyeDocPhotog
    Member

    cameraclicker, I’m curious as to why you think this would EVEN REMOTELY be a good image?! Were you paid for this shot?!

    I think the poster of this topic has a valid point. If that pic is representative of your BEST work, sir / madam, you have NO RIGHT criticizing my work. At all.

    The composition, exposure, clarity, white balance, extraneous “stop sign,” asymmetry…. all of it way off base.

    I’m glad I could finally see the Grand High Exalted Mystic Wizard’s work. You need A WHOLE LOT MORE PRACTICE. But keep shooting – you’ll get there.

    #15747
    EyeDocPhotog
    Member

    After many of the comments I’ve read from authors who i mistakenly believed to be experts in their craft worthy of critiquing others’ works, I can see from whence they come is self-styled “master photographers.”

    In medicine, it has been said that an inept clinician will often whisper advice from cover rather than risk its merit at the point of attack by referring to another doctor then lambasting him / her when a treatment plan goes bad. I can see that this board is chock full of such people.

    Put your money where your mouth is. Every one of you. Show us, pray tell, your UNIQUE and PROFESSIONAL work. I particularly like this comment:

    I have received negative critique, and have never once got defensive and said “let me see YOUR work, know it all! I ask questions.”

    BS. You might have done that if the person kindly said “check your lighting or composure to alter the scene a little and it’ll do wonders.” If it was from the the rest of these clods, you would first rifle through every image the other person has ever posted and say “Who’s he kidding?! Mine are better!”

    As I said before I’m a doctor, not a pro photographer, and at this point I’m glad I stuck around this forum just long enough to see everyone’s true colors.

    As I said before, this site is around so those of you not making any money have a place to vent by laughing at others. Keep laughing, it’s fine.  🙂

    #15748
    IHF
    Member

    No, not BS

    I take what I need from any opinion I get. I have never once been appalled, or butt hurt over anyone offering me their time, and opinion. Every critique, good, bad, short, detailed, etc has substance, and something we all can use to better our photography and/or our presentation. I usually don’t take much from gear heads, and photoshop artists who do most of their work after the shutter is clicked, but not because what they say has no validity. Only because I’d rather hear how to make a shot better before the shutter clicks, and I don’t think gear is all that important or should I say… It’s more of a personal choice that the individual photographer should make, as they are the only ones that know what they need want to get the images they desire. Plus, a better camera can’t fix boring, badly composed work, only what’s between the ears can.
    That said, others may get more from photoshop/editing help, or help with gear that may suit their needs better. We all work differently, and take away different things from critiques (not just our own, but other’s as well). I chose to find what helps me improve, and takes me in the direction I want to go, others may chose to take away nothing, and instead think everyone in a forum is moronic, or just a bunch of jealous bullies.

    I’m no expert, and never claimed to be. I have a LOT of learning and evolving to do. I know just enough about photography, to know I don’t know enough. This is what I love so dearly about it. I highly doubt that anyone coming here thinks that we all are a bunch of highly acclaimed photographers out to serve them free advice on YANAP lol no, I’m not buying it. We are just peers, people learning photography just like everyone else who posts here.

    Just because I chose not to make a living with my photography, and keep it a hobby for myself, does NOT mean my photography has no merit or value, and certainly doesn’t mean my opinion doesn’t have any merit or value either. You DO realize that every single feature on the front page was created by a pro photographer who gets paid for their photography services? lol

    And like every other time a post like this one happens I’ll shake my head, and link to my POD
    http://www.redbubble.com/people/onegoodeye/portfolio

    I seriously don’t understand how viewing my photography will somehow change someone else’s critique and make their photography any better. Their photography is about them, and what they are willing to put into it, it’s not about me at all.

    Maybe give this link a read

    5 Things You Should Know About Receiving Photography Critique

    #15749
    Bill
    Member

    I enjoy those who post a link to their work and ask for a true and honest critique, that tells me this person is looking to improve their skills and produce better work or looking for confirmation that they are on the right track.

    If I have the time to offer some advice, I will, if I don’t have time, I leave it alone. I think some or most are truly honored that someone would take the time away from their business to offer up some free advice. Sadly, there is no guarantee that the advice you seek will match your expectations. There are other sites that offer strictly professional critiques, but most charge a fee, so consider yourself lucky that we take time to look at your photos at all.

    You get what you paid for! I have to pay my accountant $150/hour for his advice.
    Not all of us are fully professional, some have full and part-time jobs to make ends meet.

    If you feel that we gave you a RAW deal, try one of the other sites and see what CC you get from there. If you get the same or similar advice, then you have to look at the common element in the problem.

    As for not linking my work in this forum. I never asked for a critique, I have nothing to prove. You can see some selected works on my Flickr page, but that is it.
    Some of us cannot show you our works due to contractual agreements, some of my images I can’t show you since I have sold the rights.
    I’m not a master or almighty wizard, but if any of my advice or critiques help anyone out in their photography then great, if not, then it was free.

    #15750
    emf
    Member

    Eye Doc, I must say that you’re being rather unfair on CC. He has never once bigged himself up and said he some supremo photographer. All he has ever done is give out really helpful and comprehensive technical advice to anyone who asks. Mybe you didn’t like that image, but does that detract any from the advice and help CC gives? The answer is no.

    I disagree that it is necessary to see the critiquers work before accepting any advice or opinion they wish to offer. What difference does it make? Yes sometimes it’s subjective and opinions will vary, but most critique on here seems to be technical and that’s either right or wrong surely? If someone says an image is out of focus, bad colour temp, bad crop, distracting b/g etc. Then they are either right or wrong so who cares what their work is like?
    The cry of ‘let me see your work then you friggin smart ass’, to me is a deflection by the person being critiqued. Instead of actually addressing any faults or issues raised by those critiquing.

    #15752

    cameraclicker, I’m curious as to why you think this would EVEN REMOTELY be a good image?! Were you paid for this shot?!

    Well… Because that is exactly the way the place looks.  Except for the keystone effect, but the photo looks better with it than if it is completely removed.  The stop sign you don’t like is there, because it is there in life.

    Sorry you don’t like that photo, Eye Doc.  I posted a link previously, to one of my pages.  Perhaps you can find something you like there.

    #15753
    EyeDocPhotog
    Member

    Some clarification is in order.

    My own photos were neither the subject of the negative post to CC’s work nor the stimulus for my subsequent ‘conflagration.’ In fact, my own work garnered only positive & constructive criticism from the folks here.

    Another member who ‘asked for a simple opinion’ on his / her portfolio and website was met with such caustic and mob-like derisiveness as to render the person speechless that such comments would come from other photographers, let alone those who were asked for a simple ‘opinion.’

    I read the post as did others here. From the original plea, this was a person looking for just a little positive encouragement – by the language used any person could tell this was not a seasoned ‘middle eastern oil trader’ used to haggling for hours over saving 5 cents on a length of pipe. “Nice work.” would have sufficed. Or perhaps “IMHO, a tad more light would’ve been better here, but otherwise good shooting!” Maybe the harshest comment could read “Well, I don’t know about this shot. What were your thoughts here? Do you see that the eye is drawn away from the subject? I’ve made those mistakes myself…”

    I get that this site is not here to stroke anyone’s ego and everyone here expects you to have a thick skin and extols “hey, we’re doing this for free – as in NO PAY, NADA, ZERO so be happy we’re reading your stuff at all!”

    Kind of reminds me of residency… you know what else reminds me of that? When I learned the 79 yr old old woman had exudative AMD with a neo-net and advanced macular scarring in one eye and was already LP in the other. Her greatest fear coming into the hospital…? She knew her vision was depleting and it would get so bad so fast she wouldn’t see her grandchild due to be born in 3 months. Her outside doctor had told her so: “There’s nothing more we can do. Get to a low vision specialist and hopefully they’ll be able to help you read large print.” That’s it. Case closed. Next patient.

    The other doctor had not filled her in on anything she said (probably not true), but she had no clue of my findings and had every faith I would find something that required a simple fix to get her by. It was mid-December. I struggled with myself, the chief resident, the attending, even the damn PAs. Outside, I talked with her daughter at length. She cried copiously while hugging her husband – and me as well for a time, and her dripping makeup stained my clinic coat. My decision was made: “Mrs. Gomez, we’re going to give you a shot, and I want to see you back in 4 months. You’re going to be fine.”

    Her granddaughter’s name is Izabela. She’s my patient, been with me for 11 years. I see the whole family. They still tell the story of how I kept grandma seeing long enough until the Christening. I did nothing except give her the power of positive thinking.

    Some here can learn from that. That’s all I meant.

    #15754
    CoastalTog
    Member

    eyedoc- I told you last week other forums were better: thephotoforum and photocamel (better of the two).  You didn’t believe me.  Told ya.

    #15757
    EyeDocPhotog
    Member

    CoastalTog- I did.

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