I have been thinking of something for a long time and that is the sheer number of terrible photos being produced by so called photographers are quite impressive.
It’s bad, and the reason is often because people aren’t stringent enough when culling photos (choosing your best photos) and too hastily posting online. Many want to hear what others have to say immediately (your friends are lying to you) instead of simply trusting their ability to evaluate their own work.
I totally understand that tastes differ and photography is an art and art is subjective, in fact some of my photos may not appeal to others, that’s not in my control. However, what does fall within my control is how scrupulous I am when deciding what goes out to the world.
I don’t understand why so many photographers conduct a shoot for a client and then post 30-40 images on Facebook and Instagram. The shoot was for the client not the general public!
I’m not taking a shot at people that take bad photos; I have many bad photos myself. But that’s the entire point of also having a very strict selection process to decide what’s going to make the cut.
It’s a fact: your portfolio is only as good as your weakest shot. Anything you post online is, to a certain extent, part of your portfolio as things live forever on the Internet.
Photographers should be their toughest critics, and I mean brutal.
Sadly too many just aren’t because they trust online comments from their aunt, their neighbor and their kid’s second grade teacher such as “nice shot!” “great composition”, “beautiful light” and so on which they get on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest and feed their addiction for social media affection.
But in reality these comments do not help you improve. They just corrupt the overall quality of your portfolio.
There is a great story of Picasso waiting in a restaurant for his food, while waiting he began to draw on the napkin, a customer came by and asked if they could buy what he had just drawn. He said sure, $20,000. The customer said, "It only took you 5 minutes", Picasso agreed, then he said, " However it took me 40 years to learn how to do it in 5 minutes!” If anyone thinks I am going to give him or her what took many years to learn for free, they are mistaken.
Some may not always like my delivery or even my work for that matter, heck I have been called many names by others photographers and people that don’t even know me in my community. But that’s okay I was born to take a punch.
Making mistakes is part of the game. And I have made plenty and will continue to do so for the rest of my career.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at myself lately, I’m finding out it’s not about the other people though. It’s about you and I. I’ve made the mistakes. I’ve followed the sickening trends early on and unsuspectingly listened to the masses. But I’m the only one who can do what is right for me. I need to remind myself that coming into my own and having success hasn’t been an overnight process. A friend of mine Stoney Jackson actually prompted this manifesto so to speak with a quite humbling comment he made on one of my posts on Instagram he said, “you definitely have developed a style, I can’t explain it I just know that I can pick out your photos just by looking at them without reading whose it is.” Although great words I must say that I’ve spent thousands and thousands of hours trying to find my voice and place within the industry. I have yet to even scratch the surface and I still have thousands of hours ahead of me. Thank you Stoney!
At the end of the day it all comes down to one thing and that is being true to my profession, my clients and myself.
All the Best!