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(c) This week guest blogger Kirk Francis writes for PhotoBizCoach.com

 

The Internet is not the only Source for Feedback and Critiques For Your Photography.

Regardless of the level of experience, one of the things I have noticed many photographers want is feedback or photography critiques on their work from other photographers.

Where to get good photography critiques is something many choose to seek out on the Internet.  While I’m certain, there are many sites that offer good advice, sometimes it is difficult to gauge the advice that is received.  What I mean is, if you are dealing with an Internet website, you are not able to hear the tonality of the person’s voice, the expressions on their face, and other physical clues that indicate how they perceive your photography.

For the last several months, I have been attending a photography group that meets at The Amory Art Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.  The group is called the Photo Salon, its modeled after the long-running New York City Photo Salon program.  It meets once a week every other week and costs $10/meeting and well worth the time and expense of attending.  This group consist of beginners, hobbyist, professional and commercial photographers along with a few photography instructors from The Armory Art Center.  In order to show your work, they request you attend a Photo Salon and sign up for the next meeting date.  You can do whatever you want with your 15 minutes.  The more you show, the less time there is to discuss and receive photography critiques.  The less you show, the longer you have to discuss and get photography critiques on your photographs.  It’s up to you.

While I may not have experienced many of the well known Internet options available for online photography critiques, here are some of the advantages I have discovered by participating in the Photo Salon and receiving my photography critiques in person rather than online:

  1. There are typically at least three professional and commercial photographers in attendance that represent over 50 years of combined photography experience.  Hopefully, the group you get with will have this type of experience to draw upon for your photography critiques and feedback as well.
  2. I get to see what others have done and what they are currently working on.  In addition, I get to hear why they are doing what they are doing, what they like and dislike about their photography along with what the others think.  I know the  Internet sites allow for this but I wonder if you really get to hear the raw thoughts people have that they may not choose to write for an online photography critique.
  3. When the group views someone’s work, they start providing feedback and this generally gets going into a positive discussion about the photograph providing a wealth of information for those that are there.  What was done right and ideas of what could have been done different.
  4. You get to see people’s expressions when you first show your photograph.  When someone says they like or dislike something about a photograph you can really see and hear how they feel.
  5. Finding a group that gets together like the Photo Salon I attend, you get to know others that share the same passion for photography as you most likely do.  Within this group, you have the opportunities to get to know other photographers, learn about photography, information about other network opportunities, contests, jobs or collaborations you may not have know about otherwise.

For the Photo Salons I have attended, I tend to keep it to 10 to 20 photographs and have really gotten a lot out of the group.  The last Photo Salon I attended, I showed this photo:

The feedback I received from Greg Matthews and others that night, provided me something to concentrate on for the next time I was out.  He said to really focus on what he called composition.  What he and a few others said was they liked the photo above but not the people directly near and behind the subject (the girl on her knees street painting).  These people that were not the subject and were distracting.

Here is a subsequent photo I took when I was attending the Raising Cane Sugar Festival Rodeo in Clewiston, Florida:

 

Paying close attention to the advice I was given.  I think I improved with this shot and my photography overall from attending the Photo Salon.  I have quite a few photos from the Rodeo but I liked this one the best and will find out what the others think of it along a few of the others I took that night and I’m certain the next time I attend a rodeo, I will improve once again.

Don’t forget it also helps getting out and shooting events like the Lake Worth Street Painting Festival or Raising Cane Sugar Festival Rodeo to have photographs to show the Photo Salon.

So get yourself with a group of other photographers that can provide photography critiques.  The more diverse the group the better.

I’m sure everyone is happy I am getting a lot out of the Photo Salon I’m attending, unless you live in West Palm Beach, how do you find out about groups like this? There are several ways.  The way I found out was I happen to run into Robert Swinson who is an instructor at The Armory Art Center outside of Delray Camera Shop in Delray, Florida and he told me about it.  It took literally 9 months to finally attend my first Photo Salon and I have been attending every chance I get.   Here are a few ways I suggest finding a group:

  1. Ask your local Camera Shop
  2. Google: Photography Group, Photo Group, Photography Club, Photo Club, Photo Salon.  Plus your city or location.  This should get you some results.
  3. Go to Internet sites for meeting groups.  One example is www.meetup.com .

I wish you good luck on finding a good group to meet with to get your photography critiqued with helpful feedback to improve your photography.

 

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