When you produce anything, and present it to the world saying ‘here, this is the best I can do’, there’s always room in there to freak out a little bit. What if it’s not good enough? What if I’m not good enough? Someone said something negative, so it must be terrible.
There will always be people to tell you that your work is rubbish. And you’ll find that people are much more likely to tell you they don’t like something, than when they do.
I remember my first negative comment on this website, it kind of shook me for a little bit, but I have friends and family who do what I do, so I knew to expect it, and I moved past it. Then when it happened again, it wasn’t so bad, and now, it means nothing at all. It certainly doesn’t make it onto this website.
I posted a photo comparison on Facebook this week, asking for my reader’s opinions on which photo they preferred. I got a very mixed reaction, a lot of which I didn’t agree with (such as merging the photos), but I was keen to see what everyone had said (I read all the comments). Towards the end, the comment below cropped up.
A couple years ago, this may have bothered me, or spoiled my mood, but now, I just roll my eyes and move on. I like to make fun of the situation, because it gets to a point where that’s all you can do anymore.
Over the past week or so, I’ve run into problem after problem on my website, and it got me down. So much so that I just wanted to sit back with a gin and tonic, and forget about it all. Haven’t we all been there?
But I’m through to the other side now, and I just wanted to give you a little reminder; don’t focus on the negativity.
For whatever reason, some people just want to put other people down, and this is especially true for photography and most definitely true for the internet. Everyone has an opinion, because all art is subjective, but it’s up to you to decide whether you should listen to them or not.
“The photographer is filled with doubt. Nothing will soothe him.” – Raymond Depardon
When someone says something negative about my photography on Facebook, I often look at theirs. If they’re a talented, professional photographer, then clearly I need to pay attention. If they’re still taking photos of flowers in their garden, with their T2i and pop-up flash, well, I quickly forget about what they’ve said.
This is part of the reason I’ve created my own forum, where reputation matters. Your karma score gives other readers an indication of what other people think about you, so they know whether to pay close attention or not. I believe in holding people accountable for what they say.
But I digress.
The point is, you may not be that good at photography yet, but you’re here, so you’re on the right track. There’s a massive difference between criticism and constructive criticism, and anyone who’s being negative for the sake of it doesn’t deserve a second thought. The fact that people actually go out of their way to comment with their negativity amazes me, but alas, this is the internet.
And the good is much more memorable than the bad. From time to time, I receive an email from someone telling me how much I’ve helped them, and how happy they are, and that can really brighten my day.
So if you want to stay away from negativity, here’s what I recommend:
- Only ask people who’s opinion you actually care about.
- Ask for constructive advice.
- Remember how far you’ve already come.
- Remember that you’re still going to continue to improve.
- Remember you’re not alone (come join the fanpage or forum).
- Stop comparing yourself to others (just because someone else is better, that doesn’t mean that you’re not good).
- Go out and take some more photos, you may surprise yourself.
- Relax. I called my family and friends.