Our friends at Photoventure recently offered some interesting advice for sharing photos online. Taking criticism is always hard, but knowing how – and when – to accept or dismiss what others say about your images is one of the key lessons to learn in your development as a photographer. Check out their advice below. Do you agree?
Sharing photos online can be one of the more daring things you do as a photographer. No, really! Posting an image to your photography blog or a photo sharing site is inviting the world to come and speak their mind on your delicate creation. And rest assured, you will receive criticism when sharing photos online.
If you’re new to all this, it can be quite a shock. But rest assured, it’s all part of the process of becoming a better photographer. In fact, learning how to deal with criticism of your photos is one of the most important parts of your development. Here are our tips for dealing with it…
What are the intentions?
Is your critic trying to be helpful or just a snide member of the internet noise machine? Because there are a lot of both out there! If the comment is ‘Dis sux lol’ or even a more eloquent example of false criticism, you can probably disregard it. But if someone is trying to bring up an honest point, it’s worth taking a closer look at what they’re saying.
Be the bigger person
If someone comments on your photos with a snarky tone or is generally disrespectful with their criticism, don’t lower yourself to their level. Be the bigger person and ignore their attitude. Don’t let your emotions colour your response.
What can you learn from it?
The thing with a photo critique is, whether you agree or not, there’s generally some truth in it. So look at their arguments and see if there’s anything you can learn from it. This lesson may not be valid in this instance, but knowing it could prove useful later on.
Sleep on it
It’s best not to respond to your critics straightaway, when emotions are fired up. Give it a couple hours or more to think about what you want to say. Allow yourself time to go through the steps above and think about what this person is actually saying before you immediately leap into an impassioned defence of yourself. We make better decisions and clearer arguments when we’ve had some time to process them.
Ask for examples
If someone has suggested you did something wrong, you can show your willingness to listen and learn (which is always a good idea!) by asking them for an example of another way of doing it. Ask them to show you instances of someone who did it better, or differently. Maybe you’ll find they were right. Or maybe it will spur a new creative direction entirely!
Learn to think critically
Learning to accept criticism – both good and bad, valid and unwarranted – helps you learn how to question and criticise yourself. This is perhaps one of the most important lessons any photographer can learn when making images to share with the world. If you have no sense of how good your work is, you’re in no position to improve or expand your photographic horizons.
Dealing with criticism helps you develop important problem-solving skills. Learning how to think rationally helps you develop a better sense of self and what you’re capable of. You’ll learn how to dismiss the bad criticism and embrace the good points.
Don’t take it personally
As much as we like to believe our images, the spawn of our creativity, are a part of us… they really actually aren’t, you know. A photo is just a photo at the end of the day, and no reflection on you as a person. If I criticise your picture, it’s a statement on your ability to take a good photo in that one instance. It is not a refection of your sense of humour, intelligence or patience and understanding. We all need to remember that.
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