I hope that this will not come across as pompous or arrogant.
One of the most difficult elements when it comes to looking at images we have taken is separating what is in the image from the emotions that surrounded its creation. Unless we can do this effectively then we will not only not see the image as others see it, but also will not be able to accept any negative comments about it.
This fact was clearly demonstrated this week during a discussion on the Facebook Group I belong to.
A women posted a link to her photographic website where she was offering her services to shoot portraits and weddings. After someone else commented about the use of the music on the site I decided to have a look.
The pricing model she was using was rather unusual and comments like “my kid will be in tow” and I can only shoot for a maximum of 4 hours quickly confirmed the suspicion that she was an amateur looking to earn a little pocket money on the side, rather than a professional.
It was her wedding section that really got my attention. It contained a lot of images (around 60 I would guess) but when you looked at them it was not hard to see that there were only two weddings. Now everyone has to start somewhere so I am not knocking her on that regard. It was the quality of the images.
One in particular took my eye (as it was large) and showed a bride and her father. Composition was good but the father had his eyes shut. Several others also showed issues with eyes.
When I stated in a comment that it was an image that I would have been rejected, she got really defensive and snotty. She stated that his eyes were shut because of the angle of the sun, and that the bride really loved it. She then deleted the thread from Facebook.
Now there is an important element here. With wedding photography the bride and groom are your customers and quite frankly provided that they like the shots then the opinion of other people (especially photographers) really doesn’t matter. However when she posted the image on her website it was no longer for the benefit of the bride and groom. It was trying to show her ability as a photographer. Therefore it was the end image that needed to stand on its own.
While she would have been aware of the emotions of the day and the bride’s reaction to the image, I only saw an image of a guy with his eyes closed. If sun was the issue then I would have expected a photographer to work around the issue. Without the emotion I saw images that would not encourage me to recommend her to shoot a wedding.
It is the same when we come to competition images. The judge doesn’t care that you had to get up before dawn, tramp 6 hours, fit a million sand flies to get that picture. They are only interested in what the image portrays to them.