As photographers, it’s easy sometimes to get tunnel vision; to get stuck in a genre or style that appeals to our personal tastes. While there are certainly benefits to pursuing what we are passionate about shooting and the art is in reflecting how we view the world, a narrow focus has many drawbacks as well. In the field, stubbornness and predetermined intentions can leave us to miss countless opportunities which are always around. In post-processing, especially in determining which shots are keepers, a closed mind and quick judgement can lead us to dismiss an image that actually has great potential. And for those of us who decide to try to market our work, the consequence of a shallow portfolio is further magnified.
For example, I follow several professional photographers on Facebook. I love looking at photos, always have, and in trying now to improve my own work I find it beneficial to study that of others. There is one gentleman that I followed for a while that does some phenomenal work with seascapes. His images are strikingly beautiful, but despite this I must confess that I lost interest in his posts rather quickly. Why? Because his photos are all the same. Every single image seems to be a low angle, long exposure capture of the tide washing over rocks at sunset. Granted, my very best efforts couldn’t hold a candle to his most mediocre, but after a short while my inspiration and enthusiasm toward viewing his images began to wane.
With this in mind, I am always trying to add variety to my collection of photographs. Of course nature and landscapes will always be my preference (and I still have no intention of getting into any kind of portraiture;) but I believe that mixing it up is a good thing that can only help my skills to grow. And honestly, at this stage of the game for me that’s what it’s all about. It’s all a learning process, and while style is important I want to find a way as that develops to meld it with a well-rounded variety of subjects. Furthermore, I think the learning process also includes discovering what works and appeals to others. And that’s what this is all about…
One of the really great things, photographically speaking, about this age of digital sharing and social media is the ease of presenting new photos and soliciting feedback from a widespread audience. Facebook is particularly useful for this, as it allows people to comment on individual shots, or simply express which ones they like. For this reason I often display a cross-section of recent images on my facebook business page, even including some that I myself am not necessarily sold on. It’s always interesting to discover which shots are attractive to others, and often it’s not the ones I would expect. For this reason (and for the general expression of support) I am always eternally grateful for those who take the time to view and leave comments on my work. In the past, I’ve even had little giveaways to offer further incentive and increased interaction. I think it’s about time to do that again.
So here’s the deal. I’m looking for feedback on some of the photos I’ve taken so far this summer. Those are currently displayed on facebook in albums entitled May and June (2012.) For anyone who is willing to take the time to review these, I will enter your name in a drawing for a chance to win a 4 pack of the greeting cards that I make featuring a selection of my original images. We’ll leave this open for the next week, so let’s say the contest closes at 11:59 pm CDT on Sunday, July 22. Feedback can be whatever you desire, positive or negative, and can consist of a comment or simply liking a photo. I’ll enter your name in the drawing once per album, so if you offer feedback on the May album (regardless of how many shots in that album you comment on or like) your name will be entered once. Review both the May and June albums, and you’ll double your chances.
The only other rule is that to be eligible you must also follow my Josh Meier Photography facebook page, or in Facebook jargon you must “LIKE” my page. To do so, simply click here, and when the page opens up click on the little thumbs up Like button beneath the banner photo. I’ve been slowly but surely increasing my list of supporters and now even have a decent contingent of folks that aren’t family or former high school classmates. It’s almost enough to make me think that some people actually really do like my work as opposed to just feeling sorry for me, but a few more followers would be nice to help drive that point home.
Once you’ve officially declared your fanhood, have a look at those albums from this summer and let me know what you think. Which photos are your favorites, which you think I should offer for sale, even which ones you don’t think quite make the cut. Seriously, I won’t cry over constructive criticism.
Remember, you have until next Sunday to partake in this little exchange, and you might want to check back throughout the week to see if I’ve added anymore photos. It won’t come as a surprise that, like everything else, I’m behind on processing images this summer, so I still have some to go through that might be added here.
Thanks for your support, and please feel free to tell your friends!