The Dangers of Seeking Approval from Peers & Mentors


WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THESE PICTURES?
I’ve had quite a number of photographers who have recently sent me some of their works. They want to know what I think of their pictures. Most importantly, they want to know what I don’t like about the pictures. Sometimes I wish I knew the criteria for being a photography judge/critique. Is it by the fame one is perceived to have, or is it by the type of clients one is known to service….I’ll know the answer one day.

Please don’t misunderstand me; I’m not casting down anyone for asking me to critique their pictures. On the contrary, I feel honored. Its just that many people don’t handle criticisms (or the lack of it) very well. Truth be told, most people that have asked for my opinion (one way or the other regarding their pictures) have great collections. Most people that take photographs that are considered “ugly” or “bad” usually know that within themselves. They know its bad enough not to ask for people’s opinion.

Many times we want to hear a large amount of people tell us how great our pictures are (myself included) so that we can feel good with ourselves and reaffirm what we feel we already know: I’M A GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER.

Sometimes, I feel getting constructive criticisms go a long way in helping us get better. Sometimes we get depressed because we feel our works are not “appreciated” enough.

The following are a few comments I’ve heard read from critiques:

“Take it easy with the editing”
“I think the picture would look better in black & white”
“The pictures are too sharp”
“The picture is not sharp enough”
“Wow, I’m stupified by these pictures”
“Well done, great job”
“I’m so proud of you”
“God will take you to greater heights”
“May Allah bless the works of your hands”
The list goes on.

But this is the point I’m trying to get at. I feel a lot of us should be conscious of the fact that the photographer that’s your mentor may have a different style from yours. He (or she) may prefer black & white pictures and you may become sad because he didn’t click the “like” button on your colored pictures. He may dislike the fact that you made the background out of focus and you might be sad.

Yes, we may argue that our mentor knows better but we forget that we are all artists. Even the gentleman (or lady) that designed the Japanese flag must have gotten the “disapproval” of his creative mentors. How else can you explain logically a small red dot on a white background. But the government of Japan loved it enough to compensate the fellow for his work of art.

And that’s my point exactly: ultimately the opinion of the person that matters the most is the potential client that will be paying for your services. Sometimes the photographs you take that they fall in love with are the ones you wanted to throw in your recycle bin. Now you’re thinking twice because there’s a $1000 cheque in your hands that proves you were wrong.

Peers & mentors are good guides but they may sometimes not agree with your creative tendencies. Take their advice, but still carve out a niche for yourself. Don’t just take pictures that look like those of Jide Alakija, Tunji Sarunmi, Aisha Augie-Kuta or Kelechi Amadi-Obi. Take pictures that look like U: your style is your art. Sometimes I save some of my “blurry” pictures because one day they could be used for an exhibition somewhere. Hope I’ve not been misinterpreted thus far….

By the way, what do you think of my pictures? 🙂
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For tips on growing your photography business, like our fecebook page (www.facebook.com/elophotos) or add us on ur bb: 271E3BC8

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3 comments

  1. Gladys · February 21, 2012

    What do I think of your pictures?… I think they are lovely! And I hope to be able to afford you for my wedding when the big day eventually arrives 🙂

    Btw, the point about the Japanese flag?… Very funny. I just don’t get the idea behind it either. But it obviously works for them.

    Oh. And I love your writing style. I look forward to your articles every time I log on to facebook.

    Like

    • elophotos · February 23, 2012

      thanks so much. now i have a reason to write every single day for the rest of the year. Cheers

      Like

  2. sayitwithpictures · June 5, 2012

    love your writing as well as your photos… you are incredible

    Like

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