A Good Kick in the Ass Critique

Discussion in 'Website Creation' started by george_jonathan, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. Hey everybody here on photo.net! I just want some honest feedback from professionals and non professionals on my website. This year I'm targeting high school seniors and made a specific portfolio for them. I would like a critique on the design of the website and if possible on the imagery. Any feedback is good feedback, and looking forward into hearing everyone's opinion! By the way, you have to click on a photo to see the actual image. The washed out image in the thumbnails is just an added effect till you click on the selected image. For the website, I was going for something simple and direct so my clients don't get overwhelmed with all the HTML and flash that comes with other websites.
    WEBSITE: www.georgejphoto.com
     
  2. I like the simple layout for the most part. I don't care for the TV static between shots on the home page, very annoying.
    The washed out image in the thumbnails is just an added effect ...​

    The images look the same as the thumbnails to me.

    I like most of the "fine art" images. But, many of the HS and Wedding shots look amateurish. Group shots with heads in the middle, feet cut off, and excess space at the top. Overdone post-processing, sloppy hair cutouts, heavy saturation, inappropriate HDR. The 3 young girls in the wedding section, I don't get the creative effect you are trying for, it just looks horrible to me.

    I like many of the back-lit images. This is something that the average person can't do and may attract clients. I am not so sure about some of the other overdone stuff I mentioned, if you are successful, then what I say isn't that important. But, based on this portfolio, I would never recommend you, sorry.
     
  3. You said Kick-ass. Here goes.
    The colors on the site are wierd. You can do that but you ought to show some accurate colors too. Ditto by the way on what Matthew said.
    Who hires senior photographers young man? Parents do. I would run from you as fast as I can. Do you really think parents want their daughters to look those in your shots? Do they want their boys to look like thugs?
    I don't know where you are. Do you think you could give us a clue on your website as to where you might be? Are you so important that I can't call you on the phone?
    I have to assume your personal shot on the "about" page is you. What is the message that you want to give? That you are a professional serious photographer or that you just made a drug deal? I would not let my daughter in the car with you. And what is with the third-person stuff? Get a grip. Tell the client why they should hire you. That you are a mature individual. Pick a shot of yourself that makes you look trustworthy and responsible. Your portfolio does not show that you "transcend mainstream photography" whatever that means, it shows a prospective client that you don't know how to do it . It makes you look like an 18 year old. Careful about claiming to have worked for big name companies. Unless you were really hired by Nike corporate do not claim to have them as a "client". I'm not saying you haven't but just a word of caution.
    Loose the implied nudity on a sight that is aimed at kids and weddings. The naked girl in the bathtub....really? The girl with the tramp-stamp and her panty clothed bottom sticking up? That's the shot I want for my daughter. You betcha. Are all of those shots what you would call "fine art"?
    Just because you can do something in photoshop does not mean that you ought to do it. As Matthew said, the shots are overprocessed, the colors completely off-putting and the black and white conversions harsh and unappealing.
    You need to base your portfolio first on the notion that it is to show how your work is commercial. Aim it at clients not your own ego. Post wedding pictures that are properly composed, exposed and commercial. Post pictures of normal kids photographed as their parents would want them photographed. Drop the fatuous "since coming to the industry in 2010...." that will NOT impress clients. Especially clients who have clothes older than 2010.
    So there it is guy. You wanted it in your face and you got it. Rethink your portfolio completely. Yours does not prove that you can even take a "normal" portrait and it makes weddings look just odd.
    If yours was a beginners portfolio for fashion work I would say you have a lot of talent and a good eye. Good camera skills and a bright future. For weddings and seniors? Not so much. Dial it down a lot. Remember that it is the client that matters. Aim your portfolio at them. Have two portfolios. One for fashion and fine art and another for weddings and senior portraits. I can't say this often enough. Starting today and forever remember this. What photographers do when they get to work is take pictures for people who have paid them to do that. What they do for a living is SELL photography. Your site does not do that in my opinion. You have tons of talent. There were many shots on your site that I thought were just great. Iwould have been proud to have taken them. But you asked for a critique of a commercial site. It is in that light, not your ability as a photographer that I say this stuff. Well....you asked;)
     
  4. Right. Candor? Over processed thug-life adolescent-ness. There's a place for that (maybe as window dressing in some commercial venues and web sites, etc), but it's not going to make parents want to give you money (let alone a fistful of unmarked bills, as you seem to be saying you're expecting with that "About" shot ... really?).

    Speaking of that About page: get a friend who writes for a living (or at least who does it well) to help you with those tangled-up sentences. If nothing else, at least get the grammar right! But even good grammar won't help with what comes across like (hey, you asked for it!) empty chest thumping.

    Honest congratulations if you've scored work with Nike. That's terrific. Put that under the "commercial" area of your portfolio, not the "Nike" area, and then dig up at least something else commercial to mix in there with it. Doesn't matter if it's a portrait of your local dog walker or landscape guy or an earnest shot of a hamburger on a plate. Show some diversity - businesses don't want one-hit wonders.

    On the wedding work: show that you can deliver at least a few images that someone won't roll their eyes at when they look at them again five years from now and they've gotten completely fatigued with Instagram effects filters. Seriously. If you're going to use the word "classic" to define your work, you have understand what that really means. It's the opposite of how you're using it in this context.

    I completely applaud the energy you're putting into what you're doing. Step back a few feet and look at your message from the point of view of your prospective clients, and ask yourself if each and every image you're showing there is consistent with what would make that audience write a check.
     
  5. Fix the spelling errors in your About section: signature, advertisements. I agree that the TV static transition between images on your Home page is very annoying. I think some of your shots are really great and do show a certain individual style, but some are extremely overdone (halo around the model, for example). Maybe you should look at whether you want to be a fashion photographer or a senior portrait photographer? Seems like your skill set and style might work much better in the former rather than the latter. All of us could be wrong about what seniors and parents want these days, I suppose, so sure, test the waters and see what happens--your style will certainly set you apart! (But have a backup plan, too!) Good luck and have fun with it!
     
  6. Hey guys I want to thank you all for the good kick in the ass! lol. Really I appreciate each and one of your responses. I took a step back and threw the ego outside and made some adjustments to the website. I took out the thugs and the woman that would affect my brand. I also took out the tv static and took out the transparent look. I still need to re write my about me but I erased that and I'm going to upload a new photo of myself, that's more presentable. I also took out the Nike page because I feel that it doesn't really do much for my site. As for the post processing, I don't know if I'm going to change that because I feel its all about taste and all art is subjective so perhaps I might or might not reinvent myself depending how the business goes.
     
  7. When you rewrite your "about me". Here is the key.
    First be humble but confident. Remember that if you say something about yourself that you tell the person reading why that is a benefit to them. For example.
    "From the very beginning of my career I have sought out challenging editorial assignments from which I learned the importance of expressing my client's vision, producing professional results and doing it all on-time and on-budget. This means to you that I carry these values and work ethic into every facet of my photography whether it is a major advertising campaign or your graduate's important senior pictures."
    Here is an example. If I say, "Rick has photographed many famous people" ....that is just a claim. They might not believe it. If I then say who and post some pictures it becomes a fact. BUT. If I say "Having had the honor to photograph many famous and demanding clients I will bring the same skill, dedication they demand to your important assignment"....that is a benefit. See what I mean about always speaking in terms of the client's benefit. The key is that whenever you make a statement about yourself it is likely nothing but a claim until you show the prospective client what it means to them and then it is a benefit.
    Relook your pictures. Professionals have a style for sure. We have ways we like doing things and people will respond to that either negatively or positively. But remember that a unique style is a limiting factor unless you show that you can and will step outside that style and make pictures in a wide variety of ways. Simply put, the more versatile you are the more work you can get. So how some versatility in your portfolio.
    Finally. Put your phone number on your site. Old people call people. We are into instant gratification and sending a message to which we don't know when we will get a reply automatically sends us to the next website on the google search. We keep clicking until we get our answer. You can screen your calls if you like but if you are going to do this for a living you WANT to answer the phone to a client.
    Good luck and keep us posted when you have a new product.
     
  8. George, I thought I'd add that I admire your attitude toward getting critiqued. This will stand you in good stead. I, too, prefer the kick-ass critique to the bland "nice web site" platitudes. Too many people don't want to listen to negative feedback and I think their learning curve will be much shallower than one who is willing to listen and learn (like you). Finally, if you really feel strongly about your style, stick with it. Be honest, though, and be sure it is a style that flows from inside of you and not simply something you are copying or something you are doing to impress. Your true personal style may actually end up being very popular with some folks, who knows? Good luck to you.
     
  9. Lots of "good" advice above on how to be a conventional portrait photographer. Only problem - there are lots of them out there, and most don't earn very much! There is an alternative view - namely that a ton of attitude with a generous admixture of chutzpah, enthusiasm and youthful naivety will probably get you a whole lot further down the road! (Possibly in fashion photography, also in portrait photography where the clients are young professionals and take the decisions themselves rather than be dependent on their parents approving of a visual style).
     
  10. I'm going to upload a new photo of myself, that's more presentable.
    Why for God's sake? To me the pic of you in the dark glasses counting the $$ bills was humorous and right in line with the style of your site. Whatever you do, resist the attempts of old farts to turn you into them and force their attitudes on yours. The ESSENCE of photography is that when someone says "No no, sonny, you can't do that!" you say "F**k you" and go right out and do it!
     
  11. grh

    grh

    Yeah, David, not good advice. The OP mentions not getting business and wonders why. The posts above address that question. The website and its content are, um, not good. You want paying customers? Find out what they want. They don't want images that can come from a 12 year old with an instagram account. Unconventional portrait photographers at least know how to handle a camera and pose people.
    Oh, and use an off camera flash in brigh sunlight. Which many of these photos are just screaming for.
    I also agree that the "about" picture would not be found in the least bit humorous by a potential client. There's not much more to add other than "I agree with the other posts above." Except for D.B.
     
  12. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Lots of "good" advice above on how to be a conventional portrait photographer. Only problem - there are lots of them out there, and most don't earn very much! There is an alternative view - namely that a ton of attitude with a generous admixture of chutzpah, enthusiasm and youthful naivety will probably get you a whole lot further down the road!​

    I agree completely. I know plenty of parents who want their kids to have the senior photos the kids want, not the parents, and let them. Tame it down and you're dealing with middle-of-the-road boring stuff. Just because people here deal with an older crowd that doesn't want anything off the beaten track shouldn't make you change.
     
  13. Again I appreciate all the feedback. I want to thank David for inspiring a young photographer to stick with his guns. I'm thankful of all the photographers on here for taking the time to help me. I've taken what I think would help my brand and applied it. David reminded me that I should follow my gut and go with what feels best. Jeff, I want to thank you for understanding the perspective of a young photographer.
    They don't want images that can come from a 12 year old with an instagram account. Unconventional portrait photographers at least know how to handle a camera and pose people.
    Oh, and use an off camera flash in bright sunlight. Which many of these photos are just screaming for.​
    Thank Gary for trying to look down on my photography and try not to help a young photographer out. As an older photographer you should know how to criticize a younger photographer.
    1. You didn't help me understand myself
    2. You didn't help me understand my photographs, so I can eliminate my weakness and capitalize on my strengths
    3. You didn't help me understand my audience
    4. You didn't expand your idea on what good photography is.
    5. You didn't help me, so in essence you didn't help improve the general level of photography
    Next time try to encourage the beginner and try to respect each picture as a photographers search for truth, beauty, happiness, self-expression, a means of communicating with his fellow men, and a way of sharing with others the delightful or interesting things I've seen.
    I have written to my fellow PN photographers: I'm the future you could of never predicated. I will redraw your maps, from your seeds of unfamiliar and disorienting forms will spout. Your caution will become my risk. When you seek the reassurance of answers I will commit to the elegance of inquiry. I will outdo you, confuse you, and approach the unknown future with an open heart.
    00bX4m-530651684.jpg
     
  14. Yeah, David, not good advice.
    Sorry if I upset you! There's room in this world for all kinds of different approaches, but one thing I know after 45 years in media - the world of photography has changed in recent years out of all recognition, there are billions of pix in circulation on social media and elsewhere, and today's photographic equipment (camera and lighting) can be operated by anyone of reasonable intelligence who can read a manual (or even just a menu) and use a computer and has a good eye for a picture (the only thing that hasn't changed, and the only thing that's almost impossible to learn). The remarkable British portrait photographer Madame Yevonde said in the 1930s "Be different or die!" (anyone that doesn't know her work should check it out). This statement was right on the nose then and has only become more true since!
     
  15. Oh sigh. Son this is a business. I love your exuberance but this is about buying bacon. This is not about poetry. I totally respect your point of view. I am with you in moving the bar. I hope you are the great white hope. But you put senior photos on your site not to be the next Mapplethorpe but to put bread on the table. You have to get your head around that. Either you want to sell photos or.....
    Jeff what are you telling him? Do you really want to sign up for that mess that was his site? There is a difference between commercial photography and pushing the outside of the envelope. What is your advice to him? Are you telling him to try to make a living doing weddings and senior portraits by exhibiting a website with implied nudity, weird colors and gangster themes? (Insert serious eye-roll here. ) You tell him what he ought to do. For a living. It seems your advice is nothing more than 'roll the dice'. Not cool man.
    Now our George. I got your pathos. I have been in your place. But dude this is a business. You can either shoot to be out there or you can try to make a living. The ball is in your court. Put down your beer, look at the business license on the wall, balance your checkbook and decide. There is plenty of time for your self-expression. People pay for self-expression. The thing is that they pay for theirs not yours.
    Let me ask you a question George. If you were having lunch with a couple of famous photographers, say Gilles Bensimon and Annie Leibovitz would you say this to them:

    "I'm the future you could of never predicated. I will redraw your maps, from your seeds of unfamiliar and disorienting forms will spout. Your caution will become my risk."​

    You would say that? That my man is just nonsense. Two beers into eloquence. Try learning about the business of photography. Once you are a success you can hold court and talk about modes of alienation. For the time being try to make a living. That is a big accomplishment in this market.
    At this time in your career you do not need the advice of artists. You need the advice of businessmen. Your art is fine. Your business acumen...not so much. You decide. Pop another beer and try to one-up the nonsense you just posted or go for a solid career as a respected professional photographer. We gave you great advice about how to sell photography. You appear to have rejected it. No doubt you have secret knowledge that we don't have. Lucky you.
    And for God's sake George, don't presume to lecture those of us who have been doing this for decades. I got that you are going to "outdo you, confuse you, and approach the unknown future with an open heart." Really George? You are the one huh? I'll keep that in mind.
     
  16. Rick to start off, I've taken the advice in this forum and I applied it to my work. You should check out my site and you'll see the difference. Second I'm not saying I'm "The great white hope" or "the one" what my point is, is that photography is changing medium and what your generation strived for is the same thing mine is. That is reaching the excellence of those before us and elevating it. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I came on this forum to ask assistance from other photographers. Clients will choose the images that best fulfill their own criteria, including aesthetic feedback. Feedback from photographers, art directors, customers, etc is indispensable. In the end, its the clients opinion of what I do best that will be the final judgement of business success. The process has everything to do with the marketability of my work "which I've fixed, thanks to your help" and nothing to do with my ego. If it becomes ego driven that I will be an artist and not a businessman.
    Pop another beer and try to one-up the nonsense you just posted or go for a solid career as a respected professional photographer.​
    Rick, how do I know that you're even a professional? You have no work or credentials to back up any of your information that you've tried to provide. For all we know, your just a guy who goes on forums and tries to act like a know it all which obviously you think you do. Also, if I did meet those photographers, I would say that. They're people I look up too and all I'm trying to do is again reach there excellence and take it to the next level. You've taught me nothing about the business side but just trying to bring down my photography. I've opened up and try to show "So called professionals" my work, so I can get better. My work is good enough for today's age and I've proven it with the picture I published. What do you know whats marketable to today's kids? People can look at your work and say your washed up. Rick, maybe you should take a good look at your post and realize that everything you just wrote is coming from somebody whose needs some self assessment and re-evaluate themselves as not only a photographer but perhaps a person.
     
  17. Why reinvent the wheel? There are a large number of photoprapher resident websites which do all this for you. Look at Karl Grobl.
    Such a waste of time and effort, with no good end results. I think its about doing the homework.
     
  18. Couple of points - firstly to George - Rick describes himself as "Working generalist. Former newspaper staff photographer. Freelance photojournalist." Although he post no pictures, I am sure he is telling the truth and is good at what he does.
    I myself have 1,000s of press publications to my credit, mainly through pictures which I produced for press packs for organisations for which I was working or with which I was associated. At the same time, I must say to Rick that press guys are notoriously lacking in understanding of images which are NOT (and not meant to be) press pix.
    I feel I can claim to have a broad overview of professional photography, having been a pro photog for 7 years in my youth and frequently acting as a commissioning editor, picture editor, exhibition curator and mentor to young photogs since, even though my main business is now writing. I genuinely feel that George has got his finger on the pulse of his generation and is producing some very exciting imagery - I think it's very important to accentuate the positive here.
    Since I do not know where George lives and whether his potential customers are visual sophisticates or mid-West Bible belters, I cannot judge whether his style is going to succeed in the field of social photography or whether he should better turn to fashion magazines, but I feel very strongly that he is deserving of encouragement and should follow his inclination. I say again: "Be different or die!"
     
  19. David, you're right and I know this isn't the same over a forum then in person but I apologize for my words Rick. Thank you David for shedding some light on this thread. I have a better understanding on this now.
     
  20. grh

    grh

    just want some honest feedback from professionals and non professionals on my website. This year I'm targeting high school seniors and made a specific portfolio for them. I would like a critique on the design of the website and if possible on the imagery. Any feedback is good feedback, and looking forward into hearing everyone's opinion!​
    George, you started out asking for feedback. Did you mean it or not?
    1. You didn't help me understand myself
    2. You didn't help me understand my photographs, so I can eliminate my weakness and capitalize on my strengths
    3. You didn't help me understand my audience
    4. You didn't expand your idea on what good photography is.
    5. You didn't help me, so in essence you didn't help improve the general level of photography
    Well, you seem to come across with a significant level of arrogance, finding many ways to criticize me (and others that do anything except congratulate you). You didn't request a response on your style (1); I mentioned framing and composition, plus lighting (2); others have already elucidated your target audience, so I didn't feel the need to repeat what has been said (3); you didn't ask me about my idea of what good photography is, but I'll say this: a portrait should capture someone's essence, tell you something about them. I don't get that from anything I see here (4).
    We'll have to agree to disagree on the extent of help (5). You spend a great number of words defending your work, all of which bely your original request. You asked for input. You don't get to complain when it's not what you're expecting. You're in an artistic field, and you may want to grow thicker skin. Or stop asking questions and just do what you want to do, to heck with everyone else's opinions.
    Publication of a pic in Billboard: a bad photo is a bad photo, which explains almost 100% of what comes out of cell phone / instagram / hipstagram / whatever.
    I have written to my fellow PN photographers: I'm the future you could of never predicated. I will redraw your maps, from your seeds of unfamiliar and disorienting forms will spout. Your caution will become my risk. When you seek the reassurance of answers I will commit to the elegance of inquiry. I will outdo you, confuse you, and approach the unknown future with an open heart.​
    I think you meant "I'm the future you could never have predicted." Seriously? Are you listening to yourself (improper grammar notwithstanding)?
    I could continue, but I don't do unteachable. Good luck to you.
     
  21. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    a bad photo is a bad photo, which explains almost 100% of what comes out of cell phone / instagram / hipstagram / whatever.​

    This is only true when you judge photos on technical merits. Most people don't, it's almost always photographers on web forums that think this way immediately. Bad photos are ones that don't communicate, not ones that come from cell phones.
    For a living. It seems your advice is nothing more than 'roll the dice'.​

    Not at all. Young people these days are taking things into their own hands instead of letting senior citizen photographers determine what they want. I see a much wider range of choices here. And nudity for teens is irrelevant, Miley Cyrus poses nude, and nobody cares.

    It might seem irrelevant to the old folks, but this article is an indicator of what's going on. It's the teens who are changing things in their world, and people who don't listen to them will end up obsolete. The world changes, and photographers can change with it. George needs to make his website a little more consistent, but there will be people whose wishes match his style.
     
  22. Different and I think beautiful work, we all have different tastes. You inquired about the website and some people started talking about your work. I read not to long ago about this young woman now doing major work for large companies (still in her teens). If she had listened to some of the people here she would not be where she is.
     
  23. I like the website and the images, and wish I could take shots like that now ( I am an amateur). The one thing that bugged me is the home page, the images that you showcase abruptly, and very quickly cycle through. I'd slow them down a little and maybe fade/dissolve them a little. But I'm rapidly falling into the 'old' category (44?) and so maybe I'm just out of touch?
    Other than than you clearly have a passion and some clear skill. Whatever you do in life there's a few that are lucky (and inherit), but most achieve success through long hours and hard work.
    good luck.
    james
     
  24. Not at all. Young people these days are taking things into their own hands instead of letting senior citizen photographers determine what they want.​
    You sure enjoy insulting people Jeff. Thread after thread. Senior citizen photographers? Insulting.
    He asked a business question. Parents buy senior pictures for their kids. That is the market. So he is trying to sell people in their mid 40's to early 50's. That is his market. Yes the kids get a vote but they do not buy the packages. His challenge is going to be finding a compromise between pleasing the kids and creating pictures that parents will want to buy and send to grandma, aunt and uncle. So if he wants to sell more pictures for more money he needs to please both groups. PARENTS are not going to send pictures that make their children look like thugs to grandma no matter how much the 17 year old senior thinks it makes him look cool.
    While we are on the age nonsense. Many of today's fashion icons are older people. Some of the finest, most progressive and edgy photographers are seriously old. And many of the movers and shakers making buying decisions in the fashion industry are my age or older. Do you really want me to make a list? So the idea that kids are driving this train is simply not true. They are marketed to. They have a voice but they are marketed to.
    So lets go back to what the OP asked before he got his toes stepped on. He asked what we thought of his website and specifically the marketing tools for selling the senior portrait and wedding PRODUCTS he wants to sell. He is welcome to shoot anything he wants. Perhaps some will sell. My suspicion is that he asked for a reason. So now he got his feelings hurt and he wants to lash out at us. So because we won't stroke his ego and tell him what he wants to hear he is going to insult us for our age. He can do that. It is rude but he can do that. Its his site. Let's see how much stuff he sells. For real money. To the PARENTS of the seniors. Because it is the PARENTS of the seniors who are going to stroke the checks.
    Photographers sell their work. He is putting up this website because he wants to do that. And it is the opinion of several of us that it is poorly designed to do that.
     
  25. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Parents paid for these photos. They are of younger children but she does senior portraits in the same vein. There are a lot of different sensibilities out there now, it's not just traditional conservative pix. Most of my friends are from punk and goth bands and have kids in the high school/college age range and are not hung up on the same old thing.
    He asked what we thought of his website and specifically the marketing tools for selling the senior portrait and wedding PRODUCTS he wants to sell.​

    He also asked about the images. This is what he said: "I would like a critique on the design of the website and if possible on the imagery." You may want to ignore the second half of that, but most people here seem to have picked up on that, whether or not they liked the photos.
     
  26. But you see Jeff, we need to ignore that to help him market. I completely understand the different sensibilities. The thing is that if he is going to market his services he has a choice to make. To use an analogy, he has to decide whether he is going to shoot jeans or dresses or both. You and I know that he may prefer to shoot jeans and feel uninspired by dresses but he will make more money if he can shoot both. Versatility is a market expander. Read my earlier posts. They are all about making the site appeal to more people.
    I got that he wants to be the edgy guy. He can go ahead and do that. But he can make more money if he can shoot traditional weddings in a traditional way as well as his interpretation of the traditional wedding. The shots are in his port. He just needs to make them more commercial to show his versatility. That or he will get type-cast. If his limited market puts all the bread on the table that he needs then fine. My guess is that he would not be doing this site if the world were already beating a path to his door. And he certainly wouldn't be asking for help.
    Market analysis. How old are the parents who are going to buy senior pictures? The answer is that they will average well over 40 yeas old. That means they were born in the 70's. They are out in front of hip-hop culture. So that does not mean that he should not include this styling in his port to appeal to the senior. It means that he ought to include both. George is in Burbank California. It is a fairly affluent area compared to the rest of California with an average household income about 20% higher than California in general. Its largest employer is Disney and it calls itself the "Media Capital of the World". There may be plenty of call for his style in a forward thinking place like Burbank and if he can stay busy with a one-note approach then more power to him. But my bet is on appealing to both democrats and republicans alike to use another analogy. So I would put both in my portfolio. And he ought to also unless he is beating customers off with a stick.
    Jonathan is very talented. He picked up his first camera in 2009 and is doing the work he is doing now in a little under four years. That is very impressive. He appears to have the eye and ability to be one of the good if not great ones. He is WAY beyond the GWCs on C-list. What would be more impressive would be for him to continue to grow in photography by learning to do other stuff as well. Get depth. Have a larger skill set.
    Clearly he wants to do weddings and senior portraits and my guess is that he would not turn down some other things too. Our goal in trying to help him ought to be to get him to see that we are pushing him to do MORE not less!!! Is he smart enough to see this? I think so. None of our suggestion call upon him to not do what he is doing. They call upon him to do more than he is doing.
    Finally he has to learn that all creative types have to have thick skin. He is in an industry where some 19 year old entrepreneur can reject his work out of hand. He is in an industry where some mean as hell grandmother of the bride can give him fits and poison the water in a very close-knit industry. And he is in an industry that is interested in product. His job has two goals. The first and foremost is to delight customers. To satisfy their vision and their dream. The other is to express his unique viewpoint both in a way that sells and in a way that satisfies his art. As his career grows (and it is my opinion and hope that it will) he can narrow his focus and arrive at the perfect place where he balances his bliss with his bank account. Or he can just be another frustrated artist working at the camera store.
     
  27. Rick I agree with everything you say too. Again I apologize for being defensive and thank you for taking the time to teach me. I'll apply everything you've taught me along with all the other photographers on this thread. I feel once I get the business side of things right, I can feel more confident to put my best foot forward and just go for it. One day I would like to be the full package and I understand I have a long way to go, but like all things that are achieved, hard work is the main ingredient to do that.
     
  28. <<<Young people these days are taking things into their own hands instead of letting senior citizen photographers determine what they want.>>>
    This is blatantly off the mark. If I'm not mistaken, George asked for critique in an open forum, and he's been given it. He is obviously not solely taking things into his own hands. He wanted the advice and obviously wanted an ass-kicking from others. By defending him in this way, geezer yourself, you're actually condescending to him and not giving him credit for being able to withstand criticism from young and old alike. You're the one acting paternalistically, old dude.
    ______________________________________
    Most of the photos struck me as harsh and hard to look at. I also felt I was looking at cartoon-like thug art. I didn't really like the way the navigation worked. When you clicked on a thumbnail, the bigger pic covered all the thumbnails and you had to click again to get back to the thumbnails. It just seemed clunky to me and I got tired of doing it after a while. I looked at the site only just now and don't see any text in the ABOUT section so I assume you're re-writing it.
    I think some of the setups you employ, actually many of them, are good and creative. That's part of style and your own creativity. What bothers me a little is that these setups (the striped shirt against the bricks is nice, the guy with the graffiti is good) feel unconnected to the individuals portrayed. They feel just like ideas that might have been used interchangeably with any of your subjects. If I sensed a connection between the photographic ideas and the individuals, I'd likely respond with much more enthusiasm. But there often seems a kind of distance between your subjects and the idea of each photo.
     
  29. <<<It's the teens who are changing things in their world, and people who don't listen to them will end up obsolete.>>>
    Was just re-reading and found this other falsehood proclaimed by Jeff. Look at history. There were plenty of people in my parents' generation who kind of warmed to the Beatles after a time but never really warmed to a lot of the rest of my generation's music, The Who, The Grateful Dead, Cream, even Janis and Jimi. That hardly rendered them obsolete. They continued listening to Sinatra and Big Bands. The irony, and where Jeff's statement becomes even more misguided, is that while many of my parents' generation never warmed up to a lot of my music, I have come to love Sinatra, Glen Miller, Ella, Armstrong, and the rest. So far from being obsolete, they showed me the timelessness of some of their taste.
    For me, a willingness to listen even as I've developed my own voice, which has nothing to do with age (I started doing so when I was 50), seems like a good approach.
     
  30. I can't really comment on the commercial aspect of the site but I can tell you a few things that I didn't like with respect to the site layout/structure.
    (1) I didn't like the rapidly changing Home page images. I think they'd be better if the transitions were more gradual and there were more images.
    (2) The "About" page doesn't tell me anything about you at all. It's just a picture. If there's some text you can get to from that page that actually tells me something, the link isn't obvious.
    (3) I'd like to see captions with the images. They don't have to be detailed, but they should tell me something about the images, especially the more unconventional ones.
    (4) I'm not sure if the washed out look of a lot of the images (not the thumbnails, the larger images) is deliberate or some sort of artifact of my browser (Chrome) but it doesn't appeal to me. I doubt it would appeal to many couples looking for a wedding photographer either, but perhaps you know your demographic better than I do!
    (5) The contact form is a little impersonal. Again some text there might help.
    Again, I'm using Chrome on an XP system to view the site. Perhaps it looks different in Safari or IE or on a Mac, but if it does, you should certainly check how it looks in all the popular browsers.
     

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