Some Sweet Advice On Dealing With (Online) Criticism

Have you ever come back from the most incredible shoot of your life only to get a person go down on you? Have you ever had the most amazing idea for your business and when going live a fried totally dissed you?

Being a creative means that you put yourself out there almost daily and that means that criticism will come. The question is how to deal with it in a way that both let you take in the value from what you are told but not let this impact on your self esteem. And us creatives sometimes have very fragile egos.

Marie Forleo has some of the best advice I’ve heard about how to deal with criticism on or off line. While her advice may take some practice, it is extremely beneficial if you can follow.

[Do You Let Criticism Stop You? How To Insult-Proof Your Ego | Marie Forleo]

Dear New Photographer…

(C) jenna martin

I’m writing this post because I was up late last night on a Facebook forum, reading close to 200 comments about new photographers and what slime they are to the industry. How they’re stripping photography of it’s “art” and destroying any decent business practices. I read every comment, feeling more and more sick to my stomach the further I scrolled down the page.

“Who do these people think they are? Don’t they remember when they were new and making all the same mistakes?”

I know this year has probably had it’s ups and downs for you; the excitement of booking your first paid gig, the confusion of all that “must have” photography gear and the hurt and guilt of being single-handedly blamed for “ruining the industry.” I know the phrase “what to charge for engagement photos” is probably one of the first things to come up in your Google search bar, and secretly you’re still wondering why using the eraser tool in photoshop is such a horrible thing.

I also know that you’re afraid to ask for advice at every turn because for every established photographer that is willing to help, you’ve got 30 more breathing down your neck that are doing everything they can to cut you down. I’ve been there too – I’ve had my work ripped apart online by a “reputable” photographer (who went out of business earlier this year), I’ve bought things I didn’t need because some famous photographer endorsed them and I thought it would make a dramatic improvement in my work (it didn’t), and I’ve used the crap out of the eraser tool (layer mask, folks).

So what I wanted to do here is give you a heads-up. A bit of a rant mixed with some advice I wish I had known in the beginning, this is just about everything I wish someone had told me the first day I got that used and slightly beat up (but still very new to me) camera in my hands.

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How I Offended the World’s Most Popular Photographer

The advent of the Internet was a momentous occasion, one which afforded me a litany of new ways to continue doing what I have always done best but now with a much larger audience — open my mouth and say things I probably shouldn’t. I know, shocker. Consider yourself a gem from Heaven if you are unable to testify to having done it at least once. Go ahead, cast the first stone.

As an aspiring photographer, like many artists, I had a tendency to find masters of inspiration and just latch onto them for all I was worth. I would follow their work, I would follow their lives, I would live vicariously through their utter awesomeness. But, as anyone who has idolized anyone can tell you, eventually your idols let you down, sometimes through no intentional fault of their own.

How I Offended the World’s Most Popular Photographer

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Learning to Critique

Pop quiz– How many times in an average day do you come across a photo on-line, put there by a photographer seeking critique, comments, suggestions, opinions, or input? Actually, it’s not a fair question. If your day is anything like mine, you lose track by lunch time. Between Flickr, 500px, my students, and the many photography-related pages I follow on Facebook, there are just too many to count. Despite the huge count (or maybe because of it) I find two things that resonate with me about these posts. The first– based on their reactions– is that most people aren’t really looking for an honest critique. They are looking for validation. The second thing that jumps out at me is that most people simply do not know how to give a proper critique.


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