“Become a Better Photographer through Sharing.
We are taught as children to share with others but when it comes to our photos, we sometimes cringe at the thought of it. A photograph is a reflection of the photographer; by sharing, we expose a part of ourselves that might be a bit uncomfortable.
“What if they think it’s terrible?”, “My work isn’t good enough,” “Other people’s work is so much better.”
These and many other thoughts go through our minds before we take the plunge to start sharing our work on a regular basis.
I can remember when I first started sharing. I would email a picture out to a few friends here and there. To my surprise, they were quite kind and offered valuable feedback. I started to see my work through other people’s eyes, learning that everyone has their own perspective, likes and tastes. Other people see my work differently than I do and are generally very kind.
With time, I was encouraged to broaden my list of friends and so I scoured through my address book and invited many others. The more people that I added, the better, fuller, richer the experience became. It’s one of the things that I really love about photography … the sharing and the feedback.
“So, how exactly does it make you a better photographer?”
The process of sharing invokes more thinking around the photos you’re sharing. It encourages you to tell a story about the photo.
Why did I take it? What does it mean to me? What do I see in it?
When you share, you are forced to think about these things and that practice makes you better. Soon, you are thinking about these things before you take the photo instead of after and that leads you to being a better photographer.As your list grows, you become very aware that what you send out is representative of your work. Soon, you find yourself striving for better and better images. You critique your own work with greater detail when you know that many people will view it. Things that would have passed before, will not pass now … but that’s ok because you’ll find yourself producing better and better images.
There is another bonus! Your fans will be there when you are ready to step to the next level with shows and print sales. You now have a following of people that know your work and are excited to see it presented, displayed and celebrated – please visit my upcoming show and print sale at Ottawa Studio Works!
“When my work is good enough, I’ll start sharing it.”
I have friend that is a pro photographer; he’s been published in many magazines and has been shooting most of his life. He recently said, “Nobody will want to buy my work.”
You will never feel that your work is good enough! It doesn’t matter what level you are at. We always look up at the work of others and feel that our work is less and hence, “Not good enough.” It’s only through sharing that you will start to realize that your work is good enough.
The fall colours are warm and vibrant but none that I have seen match the incredible vibrant reds of the burning bush. While most leaves have settle to the ground, this bush stands out as though it is on fire. Today, it was further saturated by rain droplets that settled on these fiery leaves.
“So, where do I start?”
There are several ways to start. The first and easiest is to start with an email list. Create a group in your email program and add your friends to the list. It’s a good idea to ask permission first because not everyone wants to receive pictures.
As you become more confident, grow your list by adding more friends and colleagues. Ask your friends if they have friends that would like to be on the list. Before you know it, your list starts getting pretty large. When the list grows large enough, you could consider using a hosted service like Google Groups, or Yahoo Groups. I recently switched to GroupSpaces which allows people to sign up to join my list and to also unsubscribe. This allows the list to “grow in the wild” so to speak.
Facebook is a great way to share your work too. I have a friend that is an amazing sculptor. He shares pictures of his work on Facebook and I love seeing what he’s working on. Your friends will feel the same way about your photos.
After a late evening of printing and preparing works for the show later this month, I rose before the sun and headed out to capture the world as the sun rises. A very cold night resulted in fabulous frost formations. An hour later, my toes were frozen and fingers numb, but I had captured an exciting sequence of shots. In this shot, long crystals of ice cling to these tiny twigs. To the passerby, this is a mere coating of frost. To the close observer, these micro crystals form shapes that resemble a spruce tree.
“But I already share my photos on Flickr.”
Flickr, Picasa, SmugMug and others offer great places to setup galleries where you can share your work. Though these are good, my preference is still the ‘photo a week’ type publication where you’re actively reaching out to people. Having a gallery is great but it doesn’t develop your skills in the same way that a reach-out type activity does.
Now go take your favourite photo from the past week and share it! Good luck and I hope to see your photos!
Join Kevin’s photo of the week email list.