Spring cleaning!

Spring cleaning!

f/2.8, 1/200 sec, at 70mm, 100 ISO, on a Canon EOS 5D

Ok, I admit it; I am under conviction. I need to practice what I preach. I have been listening to Zack Arias critique websites, portfolios and images over the weekend and I feel I need to start being harder on myself. Zach made a really good point, a good image cannot make a bad image good. Likewise, a bad or weak image can do nothing but pull down a whole gallery. His philosophy is leave nothing but your best in your gallery and dump everything else into Flickr. So, this weekend I started the process of revamping my gallery pages. I am not done. But I have made a good start at cutting out some images that are not strong. Heck, I even tweaked my welcome page while I was at it. I completely deleted the old Malaysia gallery and renamed the Penang gallery “Malaysia” then added a few more images from outside of Penang to it. (Did that make any since?) I still have plenty of work ahead. But in branding we want to show only our best and be known for just those images, not the many mediocre images we have on our computer. Right?

Have you looked over your portfolio lately? I put Zack’s voice in my head and flipped through my gallery pages. Ok, so I am a bit schizophrenic, I have voices in my head (but don’t all artist?). At least this voice is helping me edit my work and cleaning up my image. Join me. It is time for spring cleaning!

FaceBook Comments

comments

About The Author

16 Comments

  1. Mitchell Kanashkevich

    Haha! I’ve been effected by Zach’s videos in the same way. I’m going to revamp my site too. I think it is a natural progression in a sense – you shoot more good stuff and then the stuff which is weaker goes out the door. Heck, I’d even like to ask him to critique my new site, if he still does this by the time I finish and if he’d choose to do so.

    Reply
  2. Matt

    Mitchell, You have more guts than me. I think my skin is too thin. I might run away and cry like a baby.

    Reply
  3. Heimana

    It’s a good idea! Spring-cleaning’s always good, I should do the same, and I also would like to ask for a critique, even if it seems suicidal… 😀

    Reply
  4. Aleksei Saunders

    I’m looking forward to the “new” galleries Matt. Feels good to go through and see things with fresh eyes sometimes.

    Reply
  5. Peter Pham

    This is exactly what I do too. But I don’t seem to clean enough. I need to get a bigger broom to do a good sweep. Can’t wait to see your house-cleaning and new galleries.

    Reply
  6. Zack Arias

    I’m glad that the critique of one photographer helps another.

    Cheers,
    Zack

    Reply
  7. David duChemin

    Matt – Perhaps you and Gavin and I can partner on this – we each do an edit for the two others. In other words you tell me which images you think I should lose are, and you tell Gavin the same thing. This way each of us gets two sets of eyes to do an edit/cull.

    Let the thinning of the herd begin!

    -d

    Reply
  8. Nicole

    I started a little of this myself this weekend. Not finished yet, but started looking at my images, presentation, and galleries more critically and did some sweeping up. It’s always helpful to have someone else look at your work and give you feedback, but next best is having someone else’s voice in your head 🙂

    Reply
  9. prashant

    Hey matt,
    I alwas believed in this and my portfolio was limited to 10 or more images. I have recently re-refined my set and revamped the website again.

    would love to see your best of the best.

    Reply
  10. prashant

    Hey matt,
    I alwas believed in this and my portfolio was limited to 10 or more images. I have recently re-refined my set and revamped the website again.

    would love to see your best of the best.

    Reply
  11. Jeffrey Chapman

    I’m afraid that if I do this that I’ll end up with just my name and no photos! But perhaps that’s a good thing. Nothing like a completely empty portfolio to motivate one to get out and shoot.

    Reply
  12. Matt Brandon

    I knew other must be in the same boat as me. Thanks Zack for making all this new work for us!

    Reply
  13. Vanessa Jackman

    Watching the videos was like watching reality tv- I almost couldn’t bear to watch but couldn’t hit the stop button either…. compelling, palm-sweat inducing stuff. It is like watching a lecturer let rip through a uni assignment with a red pen (in my case there seemed always to be a lot more red pen than essay left!) BUT wholly necessary AND something that is invaluable to us all- the pro, the amateur, the newbie alike. I totally admire those just starting out who put their porfolios forward for Zach to critique (the girl who shot her first wedding springs to mind) and said “let me have it- don’t sugar coat, tell me exactly what you think- good, bad or ugly”. And sure, she (they) probably did have a little “oh god, that’s it, I am never picking up a camera again, I need a cup of tea and a long lie down” moment, but most importantly, she got constructive advice on how to move forward (and I am sure she did a happy dance when she was praised by Zach for consistently nailing exposure), what to work on. Because moving forward (not backwards, sideways,whatever) should be the goal for every photographer- whether you have been been shooting for 30 years or 5 years.

    Interestingly, the photographic agency I occasionally work for (doing office work) regularly prunes, tweaks the portfolio’s (both online and hard copy) of their photographers in order to ensure that only their strongest work is on display. When an art director calls in the books of, say, 8 different photographers from 8 different agencies, you want to be darn sure that each and every photograph presented in the book is strong, and “counts”: because it may mean the difference between getting the commission…or not.

    From what I have seen (and heard), I don’t think the importance of (tightly edited) “personal work” can be overstated. I know that one of the photographers from the agency (who started her photographic career at 37 and shoots mainly film- gives me hope!) gets a lot of work based on her personal portfolio…In fact each of the photographer’s has a “personal projects” section in their online portfolio.

    Re editing: I always think it is so much easier to have someone else (on the same-ish wavelength of course) edit something than it is to do yourself. I guess this has something to do with the fact that the “editor” can be impartial,objective, ruthless, emotionless to some extent, because they don’t know what you went through to get the photograph ie lugging equipment, trekking in 35 degree heat all day without taking a single decent shot,getting chased by a pack of stray dogs etc – they only see the finished product. It is the same with correcting someone’s essay- easier to take the red pen to somebody’s work than your own.So even though it is excruiatingly hard to say “yep, here you go, here’s my portfolio- do your worst!” (and I don’t have the guts to do it- yet) I think it is easier than trying to do it yourself.

    Sorry for banging on again (when I comment, I really like to comment a LOT, huh?!)……..So, once you, David and Gavin have culled, may I please have your “discards”…I think they would look mighty pretty in my portfolio ;););)

    Reply
  14. Vanessa Jackman

    Ha Ha- I have just looked at the length of my post compared to everyone else’s- someone needs to red pen me!!

    Reply
  15. Matt

    Vanessa, BTW DO you go by Neddy? You post was long but very well thought out and I think made a lot of since. I have always said, photographers make the worst editor of their own images.

    Maybe I’ll cut and past your comment at a guest post 😉

    Reply
  16. Vanessa Jackman

    Yep, Ned, Neddy, Messy, Jacko, vj…the list goes on!

    Reply

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archives

Categories

Get my new ebook!

Signup and receive my newest ebook. You will learn how to travel light & efficient and up your photographic skills as well.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Registration to Begin Soon

Join our mailing list to be notified when registration for this amazing workshop goes live!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This