I am so fortunate to have a fiancé who is an accomplished artist and that gives me good feedbacks on my artistic attempts. It is important to have someone who can give you honest opinions and help to push you onward.
When i years ago, now 9 years ago really started taking my photography up a notch when I went from analoge to digital and also invested in a 300mm F2.8 from Sigma I was in an environment that would give me harsh and good feedback on my bird photography, which was what i was doing then. I learned a lot from the challenges of hearing that this photograph isn’t a good one, it is unsharp, it is to harsh light etc.. I also learned to shoot my shots on manual to have full control over how I wanted the light to be in the shots.
Since then I have been seeking out other arenas to push myself and shoot things and situations outside my normal comfort zone. One of the things I have challenged me on is people. I have used any chance i have had to shoot for the Norwegian Guide and Scout Association, at different camps and championships. Here we have been shooting pictures for website, suvenirs and media. Anything from documentary, more photojournalism and totally posed photos. Here as well I have learned a lot – to approach people and to demand the situation as a photographer to be able to capture the scene as I want it has maybe been the most challenging and at the same time most rewarding for me. Prior working mostly with birds, mammals and landscapes I have no control over.
Now I am working mostly with landscapes. I consider myself to be really good at capturing colours and to get the mood of the situation in the frame. However I am not particular skilled with the composition, it has a tendency to be much of the same. So now with honest and direct feedback from my fiancé I am working on improving myself in that area as well.
When you have learned a technique and a skill you have the opportunity to make use of it, or you do not have to. But your choices and repertory has increased and that is vital. Many of the great painters where apprentices to other masters of the art to really learn the skill and techniques. I think it is important to challenge yourself and learn the skills, learn the techniques and improve your works. Challenge yourself to become better. In todays world we are fortunate enough to have this thing called internet where we on websites can share works and get feedbacks. The challenges today is to find environments where your work is not only priced but also really critiqued. There are to many places where people say “Nice Photo” without telling you what is great about it, or tell us that they really hate it and why. Art is ment to be provocative, and therefore it important if you are to become better at expressions that someone challenges your views.
Seek out an environment where you get honest feedback that can make your artistry grow.