Since I started this journey, I’ve been figuring out how to look at my images in a critical, but positive way. At the beginning, I was learning so much and doing my best to get out into my local are to do my photography. It was a struggle to figure out how to work all the parts of my camera and gear AND fit what I think is interesting into a little rectangle to be an actual photo. My brain told me it was SO HARD and I used to get so frustrated. In fact, I would get so frustrated that I would not even download or look at my images. I would put my camera bag down and do my best to ignore what I thought were terrible images. When I realized I was doing this, I started coaching myself and figuring out how I wanted to change my thoughts about the images on my memory card. Because, I DO want to look at them AND I want to learn from them!
I’ve coached myself past not wanting to look at my images and am now working on looking at them with a critical eye. I’ve done a TON of studying images to see what speaks to me and what doesn’t. I’ve watched lots of YouTube videos with image critiques to find out what can be problematic in some images. Ultimately, it’s up to me to decide what I like but it’s all been helpful to fine tune that process.
One HUGE help has been joining a photography website/community called Nature Photographer’s Network (NPN). I initially did a free trial to check it out and decided it would be invaluable for me this year. They offer live webinars with excellent photographers on a variety of subjects. There are well-written, informative articles from some of those same photographers. And, a whole community open for discussion AND, my favorite, image critiques. These critiques have rules and, so far, my interactions have been positive and helpful. I really enjoy that I can post an image I’m interested in getting feedback on and the responses are usually very well thought out. Commenters can also download my image and make any suggested edits and repost. Before I do post an image, I do my best to look at it with a critical eye and make any edits. I do NOT expect others to do do those things for me!
So, I’m still working on making images of what I like and doing my best to sort through them before I make edits. This subjective work has been one of the most challenging parts of the work I’m doing. So, I just want to send a shout out to ALL folks that have helped me in my process including individuals I’ve reached out to for help! THANK YOU!!!! This work is MY personal goal but has included so many others and I’m thrilled to be part of such a great community!
This is an image I submitted to NPN for a critique. It’s not my best BUT I feel it’s important to hone my skills with what I have. If I wait around for the perfect conditions to take an image, I’ll never have practiced what I need to get the image right when I get a great one. My final image edit was done through a great critiquing process. Loved it!!!