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Critiquing Your Photography: The Most Important Opinion Is The Paying Client

Headshot Taken Outside North Raleigh NC Studio

By the time you start reading this sentence, you have already formed an opinion about the image above. You may love it. You may hate it. Regardless of your personal opinion of it, the most important opinion to me is the client that paid me to shoot it. If the client is not happy, then I have a real problem.

Every photographer should critique his or her own work and make efforts to get better. In other words, we should all strive for improvement and upping our game.

I got insight on the image above from two different industry leaders within 24 hours of each other. These two individuals are known in the industry on a national scale. One ripped the image apart and only said the background was kind of cool. The other had nothing but positive things to say. That tells me that everyone has his or her own personal opinion and I have to decide what to do with the insight provided.

It doesn't bother me to get negative feedback on an image unless it happens to be direct from the client which fortunately is extremely rare. I simply have to decide for myself how much of the feedback positive or negative that I feel is valid or not. In this particular case, I understood the negative points, but did not agree with most of them. My personal opinion or the opinion of a nationally known industry leader doesn't matter when it's all said and done because at the end of the day, it's still the paying client that makes all the difference. If the client is not happy, then I have to make it right. But that is something that is very rare for me. I have only had to do one re-shoot in all of 2015. It was a guy from a company that I shot over 50 people for that said he needed a hair cut, so he came back after his hair was like he wanted it.

So my take on this image and any others that I am shooting goes something like this:

1) Is the client happy?
2) Did I do the best that I could on the image?
3) How could I have made the image better?
4) What would I do different next time?
5) Is the retouching provided natural looking?
6) Is this image good enough to go in my portfolio?
7) Will sharing this image help get me new clients?
8) How does the image match up to other professionals?

No matter what someone else says (industry leader or other), as a full time professional photographer, I have to ask the 8 questions above on everything that I shoot and from time-to-time get some outside input. It's all part of the process of becoming better at what I do. It's my goal to constantly be making improvements in my work.

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David Williams

Short Bio About The Author: I'm David Williams a professional commercial photographer focusing on corporate and business clients with some personal branding, lifestyle photography in the mix. My love for photography began in late 1981 while still in High School. I started making money with his camera in 1982. Brenda, my wife, and I started working together in photography in 1988 shortly after we met. Brenda and I married in 1989 and have two adult daughters. Please be sure to get a quote for services if needed. Call or Text: 919.723.8453. Please reach out to connect with me on LinkedIn.