September, 2011 Monthly archive

Scenario : You shoot multiple frames, you spend time agonizing over which image makes it to the edit – one out of hundreds, you spend hours on the post-production, you agonize over what category of your portfolio the image will fit in, you take a deep breath & you publish the image.

You find you are always disappointed. Your sense of achievement & fulfilment is dulled the moment you receive feedback. Feedback, today, is instant due to platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr & blogs. Today, everyone is a photographer. Everyone has an opinion & there’s a race on to be the first… somewhere, anywhere.

If you were trying to impress your audience, 90% will be impressed. Will swoon over the image you just posted, will ooooh and aaaah over it. The remaining will, for the sake of being different from the 90%, try to be critical of the image, your process, your composition, your editing… something, anything. You will be dissatisfied with the former because it does not add value to you personally, it does not help growth. You will be dissatisfied with the latter because you’ve seen similar public feedback by the same people on others’ images.

If you were trying to impress another photographer because they are someone you admire, someone senior you want to work with or a good looking photographer you want to shoot with, you are opening yourself up to even bigger disappointment. The other photographer will comment, if at all, from his / her personal style and point of view & even the most genuine & well-meaning folks can get caustic & overly critical.

You’re absolutely safe if you’re trying to impress your Mom because she loves everything you do despite your over the top Photoshopping of her wrinkles.

The best thing would be to try and impress your own self. Are the results better than before? Have you captured a unique angle? Was the light awesome? Did the composition make you smile? Do the colors make you feel love? Do you like the image? Did you learn anything when you shot / sorted / edited / went through feedback for this image?

Don’t immerse yourself in what others have to say. Listen to people who have some credibility in your own eyes, pay attention. But never allow anyone else to dictate who you are.

If your photographs do not reflect who you are, you’re not doing it right, you’re not being true to yourself, you’re living a lie.

The next time someone tells you that you shoot too many flowers, your subjects are always smiling, you produce too much black & white, you use Photoshop too much, you take too many pictures of door handles or that your images aren’t colorful enough, remind yourself that your goals are for you and no one else needs to know why you do the things you do.

Keep shooting. Everything else will come to you.

You’re telling me that my talking about a thief stealing from me makes ME look bad.



I know a few photographers of good calibre in India. They are, technically, competitors. Yet, each one of us continues to receive work. It is true. There is no dearth of work or money. Provided you are talented in your specialization, talented in your dealings with people, talented in your marketing & talented in your socializing skills.

And then there are those who call themselves photographers & continue to grovel for work and lower their prices even further. Respectfully, they should take up professional grovelling.