Should I be listening to people for advice who have no portfolio?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by animalexplorer, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. I am somewhat hesitant to follow a lot of advice without the proof, a lot of it can mean dead-end results while very little advice might prove otherwise. There are quite a few people who comment leaving suggestions on how to do anything on photo.net but when I go look at their portfolio I see nothing posted? No images? Where's the proof from their results? Why would I want advice from someone who might own the greatest camera on the planet but might never use it? For all I know they might not even own a camera at all, or maybe I'm listening to a person who only uses point and shoot disposible cameras. I like to see people who make comments also have images posted in their gallery as it is a way for me to confirm are they for real or just waisting peoples time.
    Paul
     
  2. There are some here (myself included) who don't have portfolios here but do elsewhere. You should check their profiles to find out before judging their critiques.
     
  3. I check out everyones profile that I come across and do find that some have links to their portfolios elsewere on the internet which helps me to figure out if their advice is helpful. I am talking about the ones who don't have any reference to back their claims.
    Thanks
     
  4. A good photographer might be technically clueless. Therefore, listening to them with regards to technical questions might be a bad idea.
    Someone who understands the technology inside out might not be a good photographer, yet could really give helpful advice with regards to technical questions. Dismissing them based on their portfolio would be a bad idea.
    Web sized images tell little to nothing of how the images would look as large prints.
    Someone who is an excellent photographer may be a poor critic, and someone who is excellent at analyzing other people's work may be a so-so photographer.
    I think it is best to take what people write as it is. True or false, it is the responsibility of the reader to find out.
     
  5. If I ask for advice, then it follows that I listen to all of the advice offered, even if I subsequently reject the bulk of it. I do not believe anything that I read on the web, without considerable further verification. Such is the nature of research, no matter what the source may be.
    I judge responses based on how well they concur as well as the general tone and quality of the reply. Whether or not that person has a portfolio at P.N. is irrelevant.
     
  6. Good coach might not be a good player and vice versa. It's always good idea to listen to what they have to say especially if they spent time to critique you, now you can do whatever you want with that but I would not dismiss them beforehand just because there are no portfolio that you can check.
     
  7. Some photo.net regulars don't use photo.net portfolios but do have personal websites or blogs, so check around when in doubt.
    But I don't get too hung up on the personal portfolio issue as evidence of credibility. I tend to rely on boxing references way too much but the same dynamic applies: great boxers don't necessarily make great trainers and coaches; great trainers/coaches weren't necessarily great boxers, or may not have boxed at all. Angelo Dundee was an all-time great trainer and corner man and learned his trade through observing others, not by lacing on gloves. One of his best boxers, Sugar Ray Leonard, was a great champion who hasn't produced great results as a trainer. Exceptions include Buddy McGirt, a good but not great champion and very good trainer; and Ronnie Shields, a great amateur (I watched him several times in my youth in Texas), disappointing pro but excellent tough-as-nails trainer and corner man.
    Sorry for the digression, but the point is, don't dismiss the critiques of those who don't have impressive portfolios. If the critiques seem on the money, why not assume the critic has a good eye and accept it graciously? Consider the alternative, which too often from otherwise good photographers amounts to "critiques" that are little more than unfettered sycophantic praise because they're anxiously currying your favor for reciprocal praise on their portfolios.
    Above all, be grateful for any comments at all. There are many thousands of photos competing for the same scarce resource: attention of viewers. After awhile you'll be able to discern the differences between gratuitous reflexive suggestions (usually amounting to "crop this") and carefully considered suggestions (which may also amount to "crop this").
     
  8. Especially ignore "advice" if the person has no Website, portfolio, and a generic/fake name. There are many like that. Just ignore and proceed on.
     
  9. Comments, from anyone, are nothing but a starting point. You'll always need to evaluate any commentary offered about your work. Only you can determine what's relevant, no matter how accomplished the commentator. With that in mind, the fact that the commentator does or doesn't have a portfolio becomes secondary. As others have said, be glad that anyone has offered a comment but never let go of your obligation to find your own way.
     
  10. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I think that critiquing a photo is something that, when properly done, can be done by anyone with a good eye and good analytical skills, including communication. On the other hand, one must have at least studied fairly closely a variety of techniques and their application to be able to guide. The only way to see that online is through a portfolio, whether here or elsewhere.

    The problem online is that anyone can, and often does, give advice about things they haven't done. I have seen some horrific advice about the things that I do, dead wrong, and when I look, there's no evidence that they have ever shot the specifics being discussed. My favorite is the people who say you can't photograph music with a flash, which I do all the time successfully. Look for their shots and you see butterflies and leaves rather than any experience with shooting bands in the dark. People talk about street photography and show photos of the back of people, or random street scenes shot from a mile away. People talk about lighting situations they have obviously never tried.

    The problem is that for someone new, it can often be difficult to separate the good advice from the bad without having something to look at. If one knows that there is a great teacher, like the great boxing trainer that hasn't fought but who everyone knows is good, that's fine, but here on photo.net, that is unlikely to be the situation.
     
  11. Another way to look at critiques from people with no portfolio.
    Often the end result of producing a photograph is to show it to someone who couldn't possibly have a portfolio. Yup! I'm referring to non photographers. The feedback of the general public at some point becomes something you're going to want to add to your assessment of one of your images. If the only valid feedback is from someone with a portfolio(i.e a photographer) then your photography becomes a closed little circle and not the broad method of communication it really is.
    With any sort of feedback or critique, you have to weigh ALL of it and then you decide if it makes sense and if it helps realize your expression.
     
  12. Karl makes an excellent point that frequently gets ignored when this discussion comes up. And it applies even more so if you are trying to sell your work to the public. Can you imagine a wedding photographer who wouldn't pay attention to what brides want their wedding images to look like?
     
  13. I think the experience of the commentator is not always relevant. Criticism tells you something about your own work as well as about the critic. The advice I always give to people is to take the criticism to your mind , not your heart (and as an editor for an academic journal for a spell, this was advice I got to give a lot).
    Accept criticism that helps you see something you had missed, but discard those elements that are mean, spiteful, and jealous. Just don't be too quick to decide what is "mean, spiteful, and jealous."
     
  14. Paul, Wikipedia contains an interesting writeup on "Advice" which is worth the read:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advice_(opinion)

    I find it a little ironic that your question is phrased in the form of advice-seeking - should you listen to those who respond without a posted portfolio? :)
     
  15. I always think it is important to listen to yourself when hearing others' advice... if the advice offered does not ring true to your inner voice, it's a good indicator that it might not apply. People, regardless of their experiences or portfolio or skills, can only speak from their own condition no matter how hard they try to step out of that to be 'helpful'.
    The old saw about "no advice is worth a darn, including this advice" comes to mind.
     
  16. That is a question only you can answer for yourself ... and the answer might quite well be depending on the type of question you ask. However, if you decide to listen only to advisors with portfolios, you should clearly state that when asking your question ...
    -- "as it is a way for me to confirm are they for real or just waisting peoples time."
    ... since its not only your time wasted then.
     
  17. No of course you shouldn't, I don't care about advice from people who don't have at least a MSc either ;-)
    Seriously, good advice above. I do think it would be polite of the person asking questions to mention having such biases so that people don't need to waste their time answering questions if the answers are going to be disregarded anyway (same goes to criticisms).
     
  18. Agreed about the obviously ill-informed advice ("Always use fill flash, never have anything in shadow!" "Rule of thirds goes in everything!" "Landscapes must always be horizontal, portraits must always be vertical!").
    But I have no trouble accepting obviously well informed critiques from those with no portfolios. And even if a complete novice suggests an off-the-wall crop or edit, I'll consider it because they are seeing things with an eye that hasn't been over-trained. I'm wary of the "shibboleth effect," the notion that only insiders are permitted inside the city walls and secret passwords, buzzwords and catch phrases must be repeated within accepted context, while any strangers who don't know the code must be ostracized or executed.
    Because as Karl observed, we are not playing to only an audience of fellow musicians. Becoming too insular risks becoming incestuous. Next thing you know our photography is suffering from genetic defects.
     
  19. I always give much more weight to advice given from people who have easy-to-find photographs (pnet portfolio, websites, blogs, etc). It has served me well on photonet over the years. I can give many examples about both good and bad advice offered, and the high degree of positive correlation with those offering the advice having photographs to see, or not...
    BTW, the OP is NOT asking about critiques and questioning critiquing skills, but advice about photography in general...
     
  20. I don't have a lot of work on photo.net . it is on my website , http://www.ellisvener.com . If some one is giving advice and they don't have a photo.net gallery or their own URL or a gallery of work hosted somewhere, I think you are right to be a bit sceptical.
     
  21. I agree with Karl, often the best judge of a photo or image is the non-photographer. They're almost always the best critic or supporter of my photo cards. They know what they like and don't like, and they're less technically critical (some with experience mistake opinion for fact). And as stated, check their profile as they often have their own Website or photo gallery elsewhere. But in the end a critique is just an opinion.
    As for P&S cameras. I heard an interview with a French professional photographer who asked his students, "If you can't capture good photographs with a simple P&S camera, why would I expect you to do any better with better camera?" His point being the camera is just the tool, and talent and skill will show despite the tools.
     
  22. Paul:
    The simplest idiom is to ignore any critic that has nothing useful to say, regardless of what's in his portfolio.
    If I ask for advice, and somebody gives it, I listen politely. If it makes sense to me, I apply it. If it doesn't make sense to me, I ask for clarification. If it still doesn't make sense to me, I toss it out if the critic doesn't know what he's talking about in my opinion. If I know the critic is knowledgeable (i.e. as evidenced by pictures in a portfolio, or other clues), then I'll experiment and see if I can apply his advice to my situation.
    Eric
     
  23. jtk

    jtk

    If someone offers advice without showing his/her own work, ignore them. I think the ratings system should block anyone who hasn't posted a half-dozen new pictures every quarter (which would rule me out because I've not posted anything for a year or so).
     
  24. There are a number of reasons not to post, including but not limited to concern about the privacy of one's subjects and pilfering of one's work, and lack of photographic expertise doesn't necessarily invalidate a criticism. You might very well get excellent advice from a museum curate, a fine artist, or an architect who has never pursued photography seriously, even though it might relate to visual elements, rhythm, or color relationships rather than f/stops or light placement. There's also the old adage about the mouths of babes and sucklings.
    Contrariwise, an excellent photographer may be a poor critic. I once heard Ansel Adams criticize the work of one young photographer rather harshly as a meaningless abstraction, and the young fellow asked, "Do you see what this is?" Adams didn't, the young fellow explained what his picture represented, and Adams reversed himself. The work was well done--he just hadn't seen it for what it was.
    I think you can submit a photo as is, without comment, for judgment on its intrinsic merits. I think you can evaluate the criticism you get in the same way.
     
  25. I listen to all the advice that I receive. I do not always heed it, but I do listen. The type of advice depends on whether I look for a portfolio or not. If it's something simple like cropping, then a portfolio doesn't matter. If it gets into technical aspects, then I am more likely to look for a portfolio, although the lack of one does not necessarily negate the usefulness of the advice.
     
  26. Portfolio shopping opens a laarge can of worms. I checked the portfolio of one of the posters I most respect and found I respect his advice (and his generosity!) much more than his work. As they say, YMMV. The fact that I don't much care for his work means absolutely nothing. Probably he wouldn't be blown away my mine and I know my stuff is good!(grin)
     
  27. I believe wriiten advice should be judged on the content of the advice given. I am a person who has no web site whatsoever. I also have been deterred from posting on photonet for 2 reasons: (1st) I shoot film and print conventially in a wet darkroom on 11x 14 paper. I have no desire whatsoever to learn photoshop, to scan negatives, or to spend in excess of 1000 bucks for an A3 scanner to scan 11x 14 prints. (2nd) Recently, there has been alot of copyright infringements arsing from lifting images from photonet to other galleries and forums. I don't want that to happen to my images. It does piss me off when people ignore what I have to say simply because I have no photos posted. There are other like me. I have a BFA in photography from RIT, I have shot professionally, and I have had many solo and groups shows over the years. I currently have a solo show of street photography in NYC which is hard to get. I say all of this not to brag, but to point out that some people just don't post their photos on the web. To ignore their advice for this reason ALONE could easily be a mistake. I have been shooting since 1982.
     
  28. If you ask for advice then you will get some advice (opinion) from different people. If you want to set criteria for those that offer advice then you can do that. Some people would say I would like to know something about a camera from Professionals or people that own the camera. You could say that you only want advice from people with online photogallery's etc. If you are talking about critique of your pictures then I don't know how that goes. I have never critiqued a photo or posted one for critique..I do not even view the photo.net gallery except the thumbnails that are on the home page. .I used to have a picture gallery at pbase.com but it seemed to be more trouble than it is worth and when it was time to pay up again I decided to forget it...Besides I prefer to show my pictures to people I know, my camera club, friends and family etc in print form. However I think you should accept or reject advice in any way that you please.
     
  29. Like Brad, I took Paul's (OP) original question to be something like should I get cmaera X, or which fliter should I use when or is the RB67 impossible to handhold ... etc. To my purely amateurish mind, it looks like everyone jumped on the ratings game wagon. Is that an overly sensitive or sore subject to evoke that sort of response? (Curious here, not being snotty.)
    My Uncle Frank of course is the only true expert in everything :) Taking advice or buying a used car, caveat emptor.
    jim
     
  30. I could care less about someones portfolio as a way to determine the quality of their advice. First off, plenty of photographers (like myself) just dont care to put their work up on the web for all and anyone to steal! The OP didn't say anything though about photo critique, he said (my emphasis):
    "There are quite a few people who comment leaving suggestions on how to do anything on photo.net but when I go look at their portfolio I see nothing posted?"
    He seems to be talking about technical information, not critiques of his photographs. With this in mind then I'd think the only thing a portfolio would do is show me that maybe, the helper has and sometimes uses the kind of equipment (or process) I'm seeking help with. The really cool shot that was apparently created with a top end digital gee wizz camera though could have been done with a 8x10 view camera, who knows....
    In judging help given on this or any forum I pay attention to the poster of the help and think about other posts they've made. Do they usually seem to sound knowledgeable? Have they mentioned having this type of equipment before? After a while you start to know who shoots film, digital, 35mm, MF or LF, and what their attitude is. Beyond that, I take it all and run it through my own logic meter. Does it make sense or not? Then, if its not likely to cause loss of life or limb, and it sounds somewhat reasonable or at least enjoyable, then what the heck...give it a shot and see what happens!
     
  31. Some of the best photographers I've seen, who have an account here; well, I've never seen them write a word on these fora. There's just not going to be any sort of official correlation between quality and identity. Pretty much going to have to accept some advice on your own terms; and, ignore the rest, I guess.
    Kind of like our responses. J.
     
  32. If they don't have a portfolia, check to see if they have a website. There are a few very knowledgable photographers that frequent these forums, but don't have a single photo uploaded to thier portfolio, however they do have links to thier websites.
     
  33. That Wikipedia article on advice Michael linked to is one of the best things I've ever seen on Wikipedia. It's either rank plagarism or a triumph of the collective will. If you didn't look at it already I recommend it.
     
  34. You shouldn't listen to anyone that doesn't conform to your expectations.
     
  35. I got back into photogrpahy a litte over a year ago after about 25 years away. I found this site right away and began learning. My photographic skills have grown considerably and I have asked for advise on the forums here many times. I, before I even consider the advise, go to the advisor's workplace and see their photos. If they do not have photos to show, I ignore them and move on. If they have photos to show, I see if their photos are consistant with my photos. If they shoot similar to me yet many times more experienced with high quailty I am glued to them like fly paper. I take advise from ALL good photographers and I learn much. I take more advise from good photographers who shoot what I like to shoot and can learn from. Without this site and forums I would not be anywhere near the photographer I believe I am now. This site and forums has taught me more than all of the workshops put together I have attended and for this I thank everyone here.
     
  36. I wouldn't automatically discount any advice. I consider it, then decide if i feel it applies to my situation. Be discriminating toward the message, not the messenger. However, I do agree with James that it can be helpful to see if the person who is giving advice is photographically on the same page as you. Someone can give perfectly sound advice but it may not be appropriate for the style of photography you are trying to achieve.
     
  37. It would certainly be much more helpful if the OP was more specific on what type of advice he was talking about. Should you take anyones advice? Yes. No. Maybe so. Ingest, simmer, stew, digest, regurgitate, re-examine, compare with others, and then decide which advice you want to keep.
    For instance, someone here could have been shooting for 20 years, has a great portfolio of strobist style portraits of beautiful women online at photo.net, yet when asked about model releases, this person provides completely inaccurate or misleading advice, because what he never bothered to mention in his reply was that he never uses model releases, and only has second-hand knowledge about them. But he was sure quick to give advice. On checking his portfolio, you're amazed at how good it is. Should you now and therefore automatically assume he's provided you excellent advice cuz he has good pictures?
    Converesly, what if the person with no pictures was actually working at the top tier of the professional industry, is often quoted in trade magazines, etc.. - Is this person's advice, which anyone would consider worth it's weight in gold, now worthless cuz he has no photos on Photo.net?
    My advice (if you want to take it - feel free to look at my portfolio) is to cut others a break, and take any and all advice given to you in context, and file every last bit under: "Take it or Leave it."
     
  38. I did not have a portfolio on this site or elsewhere online until this year. Didn't have a digital camera, and most of my negatives were too big to scan. But I have been answering questions here for several years.
     
  39. To be honest, I have never thought of these forums as a place to "Give Advice", rather an opportunity to engage with fellow photographers, through dialogue and shared experiences, to assist in problem solving while learning at the same time through emerged insights. While being factually accurate is important, it can not always be so as none of us hold a corner on knowledge in any field or sub-field in photography. Mistakes are inevitable but in more cases than not, "correct" answers will emerge.

    People who do nothing make no mistakes, and if we were all fearful of making mistakes, or worse, demand absolute correct answers, then Pnet will be a very lonely place devoid of dialogue. We engage, we share, we make friends, all with the mind set and interest of community building. It has worked well and will continue to as long as we make allowances for the occasional unintended error.
     
  40. Whether someone displays photographs on the web or not is utterly irrelevant to the quality of any advice given about anything.
     
  41. I don't display my best shots because I am putting together a book and am not keen on giving away pictures that I plan on selling. On average, each night synchronized-flash shot I do of the last steam locomotives in China(and environment) ends up costing me about $600 to make. So, no, I don't post them for free. The advice on how to do these on-location shots I give away for nothing, however.
     
  42. Michael, that entire quote should go on the photo.net masthead. I've never read a better summary of the spirit of a healthy forum. It should be required reading for every photo.net member.
    Michael Chang [​IMG] [​IMG] , Apr 07, 2009; 09:24 a.m.
    To be honest, I have never thought of these forums as a place to "Give Advice", rather an opportunity to engage with fellow photographers, through dialogue and shared experiences, to assist in problem solving while learning at the same time through emerged insights. While being factually accurate is important, it can not always be so as none of us hold a corner on knowledge in any field or sub-field in photography. Mistakes are inevitable but in more cases than not, "correct" answers will emerge.

    People who do nothing make no mistakes, and if we were all fearful of making mistakes, or worse, demand absolute correct answers, then Pnet will be a very lonely place devoid of dialogue. We engage, we share, we make friends, all with the mind set and interest of community building. It has worked well and will continue to as long as we make allowances for the occasional unintended error.​
     
  43. dlw

    dlw

    If I write in asking "Hi, I'm Joe Schmuck the Photographer, and I have X,Y,Z equipment but my pictures lack sharpness. What or what should I do to make them better?" Someone responds with "I think a good tripod will help." , but the responder has no portfolio does that make the advise bad? I like John Elder, shoot mostly film and rarely scan anything, but have shot a lot of photos, and like him, have no on-line protfolio, nor do I plan to any time soon. I don't think a lack of portfolio means the respondant dosen't know what they're talking about.
     
  44. >>> If I write in asking "Hi, I'm Joe Schmuck the Photographer, and I have X,Y,Z equipment but my pictures lack sharpness. What or what should I do to make them better?" Someone responds with "I think a good tripod will help." , but the responder has no portfolio does that make the advise bad?
    No.
    But *often* you see really bad advice. For (just one) example, on the Street and Documentary forum, someone might ask, "I'm brand new to street photography, what lens should I use to get good results?" And I've seen responses like, "Get an xyz 200 or 300mm lens." Not surprisingly, there will either be no photos to be found, or photos so poor that one should not feel confident about taking that advice.
    If, for example, I wanted to get started in say, mixed martial arts event photography (something I know nothing about), and needed advice about access, equipment, shooting technique, moments to look out for, events, etc, I would give a ton more weight to those offering advice that have compelling photos demonstrating their expertise in shooting mixed martial arts. But that's me. I'm OK with others not being that fussy.
     
  45. I find this posting quite ODD. Especially at one of the highest class photo sites of Professionals.
    Maybe a job with the CSI, or NSA is more to your missed vocation.
    I never once had to confirm someone's post. I may not get that far if links were added to products.
    Like others have also said, they might have not got around to adding images here yet.
    One Thing is always for Sure, They more than likely know more than me. 35 plus years, Yes it's possible.
    If I rated every search I made for an answer, I'd give it no less than a TEN every time.
    In fact, I just spent 6 hours researching the links provided by just 2 members of
    the products they found to help when it comes to 'Flash Brackets'.
    This led to other links within, and now I'm late for an appointment.
    Incredible data that would of taken another ten years to stumble into by chance,
    and now we don't have the luxury of time to wait.
    By all means explore, but to down rate info a member went out of their way to include
    that maybe stumbled across the link before you is a bit ODD.
    There is only one thing in all photo sites I find that backs up most image taken process
    and that's the 'EXIF DATA'. If it's missing, then I can't confirm my thought process.
    If I add to a post, it's to confirm I burned the info hopefully permanent between the ears.
    Cheers.
     
  46. I don't post a portfolio here and my online portfolio is password protected. I have my reasons for this and know a few others who do it also.
    Of course you should listen to all advice and reject that which does not ring true to you. It is possible that your dislike for a person's online portfolio may cause you to reject very sound advice indeed. It cuts both ways.
    When it comes to business advice some of the most successful photographers I know are mediocre artists and fabulous business people. It would be folly to reject thier advice because you feel their talent lacking.
    Then there are the endless threads about what camera to buy. These are usually filled with bad advice. Time and again I have seen posters advocate professional cameras for a newby. They advise spending thousands more than the person really needs to make beautiful pictures. Sometimes they advocate consumer bodies when the durability of a professional camera is called for. Of course you can sort through this kind of gearhead nonsense pretty easily given your level of expertise.
     
  47. dlw

    dlw

    Brad, I'll concede your point and agree with you on principle. My issue is that the OP seems to believe no portfolio equals no experience or knowledge and they're opinions and advise is automaticlly suspect. That just isn't true. By discarding advise out of hand mearly because the giver has no portfolio is shortsighted and may be disregarding truly good advise. One should weigh the advise with an open mind and determine for oneself if it passes the sniff test. That's all I really ment to say.
     
  48. >>> One should weigh the advise with an open mind and determine for oneself if it passes the sniff test.
    Sure. But beginners many times don't have the basics down in order to do a decent sniff test; ie the above recommendation for a street photography lens choice.
    I can offer many more similar examples. Fortunately, people are free to choose their own criteria for weighing advice. For *me*, well-crafted photos speak volumes and I've yet to be disappointed using that as a criteria.
     
  49. Especially ignore "advice" if the person has no Website, portfolio, and a generic/fake name. There are many like that. Just ignore and proceed on.​
    I am someone without any of that. I even have a generic (but not false) name.
    As someone who embraces Buddhism I have no desire to show any of my work, except in my apartment and sometimes in the 'No Words' forum since there it's possible to be expressive without any recognition.
    In my mind I immediately throw away comparisons and adjectives about photos; they're so subjective anyway. I see my experience in using a machine to capture a moment not as an art (which takes away all the emotional connection for me, and being such an easy endeavor to master that relies so heavily on a machine makes it 'not art' to me anyway), but rather a zen-like exercise in this vast game.
    So considering the above quote (and thread topic) from such sage photographers, I will refrain from offering any photographic advice, and keep to questions about software/hardware specifics that I have direct experience with. This should help keep the forum more concise.
     
  50. I have heard these gripes before. While I would like to know something of a critiquer, it is not vital.
    So to Paul Brasco, I have only this little thought to add to the long thread: 'Diaper rash 'w/ little merit unless we get down to cases. What burned your butt?...something is underlying this protest spiel. Tell us. Or don't.
     
  51. I like to blame the victim when it comes to this kind of thing. You get what you ask for. Poorly written queries don't offer a person who might help you enough information to have a clear idea of what you mean in the first place. People tend to think that their situation is universal and their predicament needs no explanation. As if to say, "It doesn't seem to be working. - You surely see exactly what I mean. - What do I do now?"
    Someone asks you for directions. The battery in their GPS went dead. (Who uses maps any more?) All they will tell you is that they want to get to their destination. How can you say anything that might be useful at all without asking where they are coming from and where they want to go? You might ask what they have already done for themselves to get there.
    The OP complains that he fears that there are people here on PN who lack the credentials to offer help to others. He want visible proof that a person is worthy of attention. So what's the problem? How does a person test the advice he gets for value? (A person does test advice, doesn't he? I do. I have a pretty good BS detector built into my brain, and I have suffered the consequences of following well-intentioned ideas from nitwits often enough to realize that it is up to me to be reasonable... It's not for nothing that we say that you can't believe everything you hear!)
    So where does this leave Paul Bratescu? Can we do better than "Up the creek without a paddle?" I think so. To all the Pauls: Asking for help is a valuable life skill. One can make things hard for himself by being overly heroic when it comes to doing things all by oneself.
    As I see it the issue is, "How can you serve your own self-interest to make sure you get better answers to your questions?" -- Ask better questions! Some people are very good at taking a few minutes to explain what they are doing, what they have done already, and what continues to be the matter. Help other help you by telling them what you're up to.
    And don't expect other people to do your work for you. What's harder for Paul, recognizing a bonafide helper, or recognizing a silver bullet? Is it more reasonable to expect to get the very best answer to a query, or a comment that might point to a satisfactory result you have to work out for yourself? The latter, I think.
     
  52. take everything, digest it, trow the one that doestn fit you or doestn help you.
    Portfolio or not, any advice could be good. For example, my girlfriend's not a photographer nor a retouching artist..but she is a female who take care of her body and estetic appereance..so when she give me a advice about my retouching, when im doing a ad campaing for a cosmetic client..if she told me something about the result, i will listen to her since she use make up for years..and im not ; )
    ___
    Also, i like receiving advice from someone who can post images so i can see the result of is explanation..it give the person more credit, knowing a bit of background or seing a good image could help making a point.
     
  53. I can never play basketball as good as Magic Johnson, yet I can point out to you players that are amazing, mediocre, great, bad, and well horrible. I know it when I see it, even if I can't do it.
    There is no correlation between having a portfolio and knowing composition well.
    As to technical aspects of photography, a portfolio may add weight to one's opinion, but this is never conclusive.
    Back to composition: Often the best critique one can receive are from those that know little to nothing about cameras, or photography in general. What makes a critique valuable is less about having knowledge in photography, and more about having knowledge in composition in general.
    And the converse is true to: There are those that know camera workflow and the technical side like the best pros, yet have never made a really good composition.
    In short, listen to any and all critiques, regardless of the skill and knowledge of the one giving it. Harmonize what you are told across many opinions.
     
  54. I was not talking about critiques but technical advice instead, if it were critiques I would listen to the majority. This isn't about being able to observe the best basketball player on the team, it's about getting good technical advice from the best basketball player on the team. One's accomplishments seems more significant than words, but when you take the two and combine them it equals great advice. I'm not a great basketball player and I dont know much about the sport itself, but if I were to take advice from anybody I would choose Michael Jordan simply because he's one of the professionals that did it right. Yes, I do approach it as a "Take it or leave it situation", but I find that I learn better from people who have excellent images in their portfolio or their personal website, photographers that do it right. I appreciate everyone that contributed to this post, I'll also keep in mind not to shut anyone out. I have learned from you that it is better to get advice than no advice at all. Thank you for your time.
    Paul :)
     
  55. >>> There is no correlation between having a portfolio and knowing composition well.
    Yes there is. Correlation can be both positive and negative valued; ie, from a range of +1 to -1. If a person has a portfolio online that demonstrates the principles of good composition, then the correlation is high that the person knows composition well. If the portfolio demonstrates poor composition skills, then the correlation is high (and negatively valued) that the person does not know composition well. Both conditions, high positive and high negative correlations are useful.
    And that's the whole point. Photos speak volumes. If there's an online discussion about composition, and a contributor has a portfolio of well-composed images, then a beginner can feel confident that the advice rendered comes from a photographer who knows composition well; usually from years of experience.
     
  56. Paul what do you mean by "excellent images"? In regard to technical camera workflow, or composition? So which is it? You need to understand that one can know proper lighting a camera workflow like a pro yet show mediocre compositions in their portfolio...see what I mean?
    In other words, one can find really mediocre compositions that were light "perfectly", exposed "perfectly" and post process "perfectly". So can you learn anything from such photographers? YES, you can...they can teach you loads of info about the technical aspects, technique, etc...but will that teach you to make "excellent images"? Not really....if you want to make "excellent images" the place to start is to learn composition...technical knowhow with out compositional skills is dead. The reverse is true too, but making a great comp with mediocre technical skills is much better then making a mediocre comp with excellent technique.
     
  57. If the advice you recieved, comes from someone who doesn't has pictures in his photo.net portfolio search fot his name in google and you'll end in his portfolio form another website. If you don't find it, why not to try with his/her advice?
    If you have bad experiences with those, you could buy books or magazines that will help you in all the aspects. When I was returning from Houston to my house in Mexico, I saw in the airport the magazine PHOTOgraphic, this month's edition is great. It includes 13 basic interesting articles that might help you as they did to me.
    Greetings. Noel.
     
  58. Information can be useful. Opinions can be interesting. Advice can be ignored.... :)
     
  59. Hi Paul,
    While a portfolio is a good way to judge a persons advice--you can see their results and make up your mind about what they can achieve and how good their advice might be;there are times when people,like me who are new to the site haven't put out their portfolio. Advice is just that-- Advice. Advice is like giving birth--I am taking into account that your ability in that area is limited--however,a woman can ask another what it is like to give birth but,it isn't the same as exepriencing childbirth...some experiences are better felt yourself and learned by trial and error then by asking about. Does that make sense to you? If not,well...
     
  60. >>> however,a woman can ask another what it is like to give birth but,it isn't the same as exepriencing childbirth...some experiences are better felt yourself and learned by trial and error then by asking about.
    If you are a pregnant woman, and going to give birth in 4 months and need some advice from other women about things to consider, things to expect, and what to prepare for, would you prefer the advice and give more consideration to women who have never given birth (but have read a lot about it on the internet), or, from women who have recently given and experienced birth?
     
  61. ..im glad im a man, so i dont have to think about that question! ; )
     

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