Eyeist Review: My Experience

My love affair with photography over the years has grown into a lifeline of daily documentation of our beautiful ordinary through the eye of my Canon 60D. As a busy Mom of four, my camera has become a dear friend who is present with me in all the crazy moments, precious portraits of little ones and all kinds of adventures. I rarely leave home without it.

Out of this hobby of capturing my life, my photography has started to evolve into something more. On occasion I have started taking photos of other people’s families, a belly right before the birth, content for my blog and even shots for other blogs as well. Little by little I have tiptoed into the idea of taking things to “the next level,” and following this passion into something more professional. I had my favorite lenses and editing software and a make-shift website to get me started, but what I really wanted was some good old fashioned feedback and advice from someone more seasoned, someone further along in the field who could help hone my skills and give me some clear direction.

So I jumped head first at the chance to work with Eyeist and what a special gift that has been to me as I pursue the art of photography.

If you are not yet familiar with the website Eyeist, allow me to introduce you. The incredible brainchild of Allegra Wilde, Eyeist is a place where photographers of all skill levels can come and connect with leading voices in the field of photography to receive honest feedback on their body of work. Allegra got the idea for Eyeist by attending all the big photographic workshops and observing people who were willing to wait in line hours for a quick two-minute review of their photography. She wanted to bring this same model to the internet and level the playing field, giving everyone a fair shot at getting the right eyes on the work that they are producing.

These two-minute workshops are tailored towards a much more professional group, and as a hobbyist, I am sure I would never have the confidence to attend. This is the beauty behind what Eyeist is doing.

I signed up for their online editing and sequencing review and a twenty-minute interactive session. I was asked to upload up to 150 images into my workspace portfolio and then choose a reviewer. There is an incredible list to choose from including Barbara Bordnick, and Anna Alexander, photo director for Dwell Magazine. Eyeist even offers reviewer matching if you aren’t sure who would be your best fit. I chose the wonderful founder Allegra Wilde, selected a time that would work with my schedule and then provided some information about my photography and myself. On the day of our review I logged onto the site and could see that Allegra was logged in as well. She was reviewing my work and editing it down to a concise set of 30 images. Then she gave me a call so that we could chat about her process and what she was doing.

It was awesome to see her work through my images and choose which photos to keep and which to leave out and the advice she gave me about my work was absolutely incredible. I can’t really describe fully into words how she did it but it was the perfect balance of criticism and encouragement. She showed me how to tweak my eye, how to sequence images to tell a better story. She asked me about how I go about grabbing emotion and then pushed me to engage a little more to reach the “grittier” feelings behind my shots. She suggested I wait more; capture some real raw feelings and emotions as well as the pretty or happy ones. Shoot the awkward and uncomfortable emotions as well.

One of my favorite things she said to me:

“We put our emotional stamp on each image. When we look at someone’s body of work we are essentially looking at a catalog of self portraits, considering that everyone’s eye sees a bit of themselves in whatever they find to capture.”

It was insanely inspiring. For someone like me, it helped to muster up the confidence I needed to step out of the safe zone and get my feet wet as a professional photographer. Eyeist in my opinion is for the seasoned photographer and the amateurs, or Mom-tographers alike. It is money well spent to receive an honest opinion about the work you are putting out.

When it was all over I left Allegra armed with tons of ideas and a list of practical action items to take the next steps towards my goals.

After my review, I sent Allega a quick text to thank her for taking the time…she totally texted me back. I left feeling like I had actually made a friend in the big wide world of “real” photographers and it lit a fire under me. Thank you Eyeist and Allegra, your work is awesome and I am forever grateful to have had the chance to work with you!

If you’d like to schedule an Eyeist review, click here to view the various options and here to see the reviewers.

Rebekah Gough is the creator of the very popular blog, A Bit of Sunshine. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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