I’m still a long way to be a real photographer, one that sees a picture in his mind and is able to reproduce it with the camera, but I’m working on that. I’ve seen enough pictures to know what I like and what I don’t like, still figuring out why I do like some of them and how to get them.
Taste is one particular thing. You might not like cats or yellow, so pictures of cats or yellowish won’t appeal to you. A different thing is bad composition and bad post-processing.
Today we have access to a lot of pictures! Before you’d only show your pictures to your family and friends (if you were mean enough to them) and only professional photographers would make to photography books and magazines. Today anyone can show tons of pictures in the internet. Between Instagram, Google+, Facebook, Flickr, 500px and blog/websites there’s a lot of material available.
Instagram or facebook type of pictures, the ones that are shared to friends, have no intent of being great shots (unless you’re looking at Joe McNally’s instagram). Are mostly the snapshots we’d show to friends and family in 10×15 (cm not inches) prints and now we put on social media.
Blogs, websites and services like 500px, follow professional photographers or some communities in Google+, show very high quality images that are really inspiring. What puzzles me is the middle ground. Actually the place I think I’m in.
This middle ground is a very broad area. It goes from very serious amateurs to the very beginners that are anxious to show what they can do! I know, I’ve been there (in the anxious beginner department).
Services like Flickr, or some photography communities in Google+, have been showing some very “blah” images, if you know what I mean.
Actually what inspired me to write that was an image I’ve seen this weekend in a photo community on G+. Don’t mean to bad mouth whoever took the picture, is just an observation of the facts.
Munich has some nice subway stations. This picture was from one of them, a nice one, but it had no appeal whatsoever! No difference to a cell phone shot! First I thought “I’m getting too grumpy! If it’s shared in a nice photo community it must have something! I’m just not seeing it!”. Showed it to my wife, who’s an oil painter, and asked her opinion. Her comment was something along those same lines, as in “tourist shot from the subway station?”. Bottom line, the shot had nothing, but the comments were as nice as if it was a Ansel Adams picture!
The same thing happens very often (way too often) on Flickr. You put any shot there and quickly several “loved it” and “great shot” pop in the comments! I know because I posted some horrible shots there and have collected lot’s of compliments.
I don’t mean that the shots should be trashed in the comments, nor that people should stop sharing, but without constructive critique there’s no evolution. You see a picture that has nothing, you think, how can it be better??? “Maybe if you get closer to the floor, that would improve the shot”, or comments in that line can help the photographer!
Did I comment there? Nop! Yep, shame on me! Maybe I felt I was not in position to help, or maybe I just chickened out … don’t know.
Also the critique is very often taken wrong. You see a lot in the HDR communities some shots that are way too over to top in post-processing. Big hallos around the subjects or so processed that looks weird and flat. When you comment something, you’re the bastard that cannot appreciate the art!! Way too often!!
Anyway! The point here is: keep in mind you’re remembered by your worst shot and don’t believe every compliment you get. There’s always room for improvement!