If Facebook had a “Don’t Like” button would your family and friends click it?
One of the challenges of doing anything creative where you are trying to do it for a profit is getting your work in front of people who will hire you or buy your work. Social media is a great way to gain exposure, meet people who are into the same creative outlet you are, and sometimes even open doors to make money. My point of this post beyond all of that is to challenge people to look beyond the ‘atta boys’, ‘great job’, ‘love it’ and clicking of the “Like Button” by your friends and family on Facebook. Sure it’s great to hear from your Aunt, but is she really the one you want providing the feedback on your work? I’m assuming no….going back to the title of this post…would she click a “Don’t Like” button if there was one? No.
The challenge here is to get you to look beyond your local social media comments. It’s helpful to get someone who you respect and is successful in the same field as you to give some honest feedback on your work. It might sting a little and you might not agree initially with some of the things you hear, but I know it will help you grow. And in the long run you will do better work.
Not long ago I submitted a group of shots to a magazine thinking in my mind that at least one of them would be a solid contender for publishing. The reply I received was not what I had hoped. It was a no on all of the images. Hurt a bit? Yes…But the editor also took the time to provide some great feedback and challenge me on the way I see things.
Criticism is often a tough pill to swallow, but it’s a part of what we do. So appreciate the fact your friends and relatives take the time to look at your work and comment…but keep in mind they are the same ones who loved your ceramic dinosaur from art class…… and you couldn’t bring yourself to tell them it was supposed to be a horse.
A few of my recent rejects below. Yes I like them…and yes there is room for improvement.
Click images for the larger view.Details
Stealing may be a strong word since we are talking about the internet and perhaps borrowing might be a better fit. I’ve had it happen to me before…and yes it will happen again. In a nutshell I received an automated email that someone had commented on one of my photos on Flickr. This one was interesting because this person..we’ll call her Lyn to protect her…oh wait her name is Lyn, decided to let me know that she’d borrowed (she used the word “used”) one of my images and even dropped me a link to where she used it. I suppose we’ll call Lyn’s comment a virtual thank you note (see below). I thought surely she’d at least linked back to my flickr page when she used the photo…nope….maybe a nice mention of “photo provided by…” No not that either. Hmmm…if anything, good old Lyn gave me a blog topic for the week.
So who is at fault here? Is there fault? People put my images on Tumblr all the time and they don’t drop me a virtual thank you like Lyn did…they do however almost always link back to where the image came from. I guess in this case I left my front door unlocked and someone came in and grabbed what they needed. I’ve heard it all from “you should use lower resolution uploads” to “you HAVE to watermark you images”. I’m a fan of neither solution and really would never have known if Lyn didn’t drop me a comment on my image. I’m kinda bummed this stuff happens and again I know it will continue. This doesn’t bum me out nearly as much as fellow photographers or big companies who want your image..but dont have a budget and want it for free…but that is a topic for another day.
So Lyn I’m letting this one go… You chose a nice shot, let me know you took my stuff and based on the page you dropped it on you are really going for some ad clicks to make some money…I’m going with the theory that your a single mom trying to put four kids through college.
I would like to know where she got the article to go with the photo….any writers out there getting virtual thank you’s from Lyn?
Lyn’s page and my photo belowDetails
A few shots from the Amasa Back and Bartletts Wash trails….
Click images for the larger view.
The image above looks like it’s going to turn out horrible, but in this case Todd had a back up plan before he hit this section of trail….He was able to walk away with out a scratch.
Poke around the internet for a bit and you’ll see lots of methods/suggestions on how to back up your images. The method I describe below….works for me. If you take anything away from this post….I hope it’s at least a reminder to back up your photos.
My process is in three parts:
I start by downloading my images to my computer. No brainier I know but I’ve had a few issues with hard drives crashing and now I run a mirrored set of drives on my pc. In a nut shell whatever is written to one drive is mirrored to the other. You can have a drive fail and you are still up and running. You’ll hear of complaints that it slows down your system but I’ve been doing this for a couple years now with out issue.
The second step is I run a weekly backup to an external drive using Acronis back up software. There are loads of options for back up software….take your pick and use one of them. If I’ve just come back from a photo shoot I’ll fire off the backup as soon as the photos are downloaded to the computer.
The last step of my process is using Carbonite off site back up. Carbonite runs full time on my machine and is always backing up to their servers. Unlimited data and it’s around $60 a year. They can also back up your external drive for an additional fee. I know lots of people who think backing up to an external drive at home or an array of drives is enough, but I like the idea of my files being off site too. Theft, fire, flood….clumsy accidents with external drives….you never know.
Think I’ll run a backup right now…all freaked out from typing this.
I’m pretty new at using my “smart phone” as a camera…You can see by the title of my post that I took my “best photo ever” with it. I’m actually kidding about that…… but the process of using my camera phone and sharing the images with others brought up an interesting situation. I recently shared the first photo below from one of my recent mountain bike rides with a few people…one of them was my brother. Most of you probably know how easy it is to snap a shot, toss on some pre built filters and boarders….then either email to a few people or share it on Twitter (@m5photography by the way). I mainly share these types of shots just to keep people updated with what’s going on in life. Now back to the shot that I shared with my brother. He responded right away on the mountain bike shot and said “that is the best photo you have ever taken.”
Now there are few take a ways from this scenario….the first is that my brother REALLY liked the shot and the pre built filter I dropped on it. Most people agree that photography is subjective and in this case if thats my brothers favorite photo I can live with that. Do I agree with him? Well no…I think it is an interesting shot with the fog and the riders… sure…my best? No. Should I toss out the Canon 7D and stick to shooting with the phone? Not just yet.
Another good reminder that came from all of this and its something I’m always saying to my friends who have the gear but don’t shoot often enough…I took the time to take the shot and used what I had. My brother didn’t ask what I used to take it..nor did he care after I told him. At that very moment the best camera I had for the job was the one I had with me. In this case it’s the camera on my phone.Details
Day 2 was actually spent an hour or so away from Moab in Colorado…also known for some amazing riding it was worth the extra time in the truck. I could tell Colorado had a dry year as last time I was here there was more green on the ground. Still a beautiful place to ride and shoot.
If you missed the Day 1 shots, you can find there here http://m5photography.com/5/2012/05/moab-photos-day-1/
Tech Info: Canon 7D and Tokina 12-24 f/4 lens.
As always, click images for the larger view.
This shot ended up being one of my favorites from our trip to Utah…shot it in the horrible harsh non golden hour of 2pm. Guess it can be done…
Canon 7D with the Tokina 12-24 f/4
Click for the large view.
I should probably blog more often about companies where I get bad customer service, but there are enough websites out there where you can read about poor service. I wanted to spend at least a few sentences praising GoPro. I recently had an issue with my Hero2 and the on board audio not working just right. A quick email to customer service and I got a quick response with a few options to try out. Unfortunately the solutions they provided didn’t do the trick so I sent them a note letting them know. The next step was to send the camera in to have GoPro take a look. I was thrilled to have them send me a replacement the same day they received the camera I had sent in….I hadn’t asked them for a quick turn around…it was just something they took care of right away.
Thanks GoPo! It’s nice to deal with a company who remembers where they came from.Details
I’ve been riding past a certain spot for a number of years now and each time I rode past it I took a photo. It was always a mental photo…just banking it in my mind to remind me that I wanted to go back and shoot there. I think one of the important things in photography is shooting personal projects. My only goal with going out shooting this day was to clear out that mental photo and make it a real one. I only had about two hours to use…but knew that should be enough to get this shot done. If we had left over time, which we did, I had another shot I wanted to check off my list.
The shot below with the palm tree is the spot I’d been riding by for years and it felt good to finally get it done. I’m naming the shot SoCal when I post it to Flickr/500px as it sort of sums up parts of Southern California…Palm trees and graffiti.
The second/third shots are just something I’ve tried before with minor success. Really wanting the rider to throw a ton of dirt towards the camera. We’ve done it a number of time on motorcycles…but I wanted to get a good mountain bike one. Yeah I took a few rocks to the face on that one…
Canon 7D with Tokina 12-24 f/4 lens.
Light kit: Boling 2 x 300 watt
Lights fired via PocketWizards FlexTT5 and Mini TT1…. held by the always helpful voice activated light stand Kyle D. (Thanks again Kyle)
As always click images for larger view.Details