Factory of Light Blog

Sharing knowledge and ideas about photography

Tips on getting feedback on your photo’s

Getting feedback on photos can be a crucial step in the learning process as a photographer.  But other than friends, family, and facebook, most people don’t know where to turn without opening the wallet.

There will always be the ad’s in the photo mags that will review ten of your pictures for $100.  Websites with $50 monthly membership fees that give a few suggestions here and there.  And my personal favorite, the $4000 workshops to Brazil!

Although these options can buy you some valuable opinions, there are a few other free options to get you started in case you don’t want to take out a small loan.

1. Pixoto – Get feedback literally in minutes!

Being a registered domain for several years, Pixoto’s newer beta technology puts photo’s against each other in a head to head style contest they call “Image Duel”.  It’s free to sign up and has a large set list of weekly contests.  The type of feedback however is not verbal critique, but a numerical score based off the “wins” and “losses” it accumulates from the duels.  Pics must be at least 900px’s and as soon as you submit your images, they immediately start dueling against other photos.  You can also click on one of your images and view the last four photos it’s dueled against, also showing whether it won or lost against it.

2. Focussion – Where feedback is a requirement

Focussion’s overall goal is feedback.  In order to post pictures, users have to give creative criticism on other photos in exchange for tokens used to post their own.  While some people won’t say more than “I really like it!”, you’d be surprised how many do offer their opinions and advice when needed.  While not  quite as fast as Pixoto, the feedback is still decently quick, and very helpful.

3. Flickr – The photo sharing giant

Many of you have probably used Flickr or at least heard of it.  While it seems more and more people are using it to simply backup their pictures online, when used correctly it can bring you a lot of feedback.  It’s much slower in the beginning than the other two because you have to market yourself a bit, but because of the sheer volume of members, once you get going the feedback can be overwhelming.  The key to it is really using the “Sets” and “Group” tools Flickr provides you.

After uploading your images, search and join groups with the same subject matter that your images consist of.  There’s no limit to the amount of groups you can join, so if you have some black and white pictures for example, join at least 10 different groups that are strictly B/W and post your pictures to all of them.  “Sets” I’ve found are very affective as well.  These are basically just sub groups you make yourself that organize your pictures based on a common factor. (black and white, dogs, country side, pictures taken from the same vacation, etc)

After strategically organizing your photos, the real marketing begins with commenting on others pictures, adding people as contacts, and adding pictures to your favorites.  The most important thing of all is ASKING for feedback.  Use the individual photo description boxes to let people know about your pictures, what you were trying to accomplish with the shot, and for criticism.

Flickr takes a lot more effort, but if done correctly is still very affective.  Just remember it’s a numbers game.

I’d be extremely grateful for comments on if this helped out all, or any other methods for gaining photo feedback.

5 Great paying part time jobs to give you more time for photography

Whether your on an aspiring photography career or just a hobbyist, working 9-5 Monday through Friday doesn’t exactly give you much time to spend photographing.  In fact, it doesn’t give you much time to do…much of anything!  On the flip side, a part time job three days a week making between minimum wage to ten dollars an hour won’t exactly pay all the bills or let you get those new lenses you wanted.  There are however, many options out there that give you the flexibility to go on shoots without constantly stretching the wallet.

1.  Valet Parking Attendant

We’ll start with my personal favorite.  I was a valet for about four and half years between three different companies.  The job was so much fun and paid so well, it was hard to continue to think about my career path.  If you spend anytime in the city you’ve probably seen them on every other block, and may have used them before.  Take just a second to think back to when you handed a valet a couple of bucks.  Now think about the small amount of work they did to earn that tip, as well as how long it took them to complete the task.  Combine that with how many vehicles they can take in every hour, and think about the possibilities.  Plus you won’t have to worry about staying in shape!  Valet’s can make anywhere between $12-30 an hour on average.  On many occasions, special events, and depending on the lot, $300 a night was common.

2. Waiting Tables

Probably the most common job on the list, and one of the easiest in my opinion.  The key here is the more upscale restaurants, so you may have to get your foot in the door at an average location.  Once you have even the slightest experience, you’d be surprised where a good attitude will take you.   You’ll make great tips if it’s a popular restaurant and the biggest two problems I ran into were memorizing the menu at first, and the occasional jerk.  But good luck finding to many jobs where that doesn’t occur.

3.  Bartending

Not too far off from the last is one of the best paying jobs on the list.  Bars are everywhere and this industry isn’t going anywhere.  Although slightly harder to get than waiting tables, the same idea applies.  You’ll probably have to start at a less popular bar to get the experience and then you can move to the high paying bars.  A lot of bartenders BANK!  At a popular bar in a good location $250 could be considered a “bad” night.  Special occasions it’s not uncommon to make $700+ a night.  Plus if you move around a lot, it’s extremely easy to get on quick at a different bar.   Bartending might not be as easy as waiting tables or parking cars, but the pay is unmatched.

4. Hotel’s

Ever gone to a hotel and had a guy wearing a funny looking hat take your bags to your room as you checked in?  You tipped him didn’t you?  Well you should have!  Bellmen, room service waiters, and shuttle drivers at hotels make tips.  Depending on size a lot of hotel’s combine these services into one job title so you can make good money at smaller hotel’s doing multiple tasks, or larger hotels doing just one job title, but larger volume.  One thing I found positive with this line of work is that how much I took home largely depended on me.  You can literally walk around and ask for money in the sense of helping guests with luggage, calling taxis, giving guests rides for dinner, shopping, etc.  Hotels are  hustlers playground, and many have turned them into flexible careers.

5. Offshore Oil Rigs

Your probably thinking this one isn’t exactly uniform with the rest of this group.  With the Travel Photographer mainly in mind or any that need more consecutive days in a row for shooting, this could be your ticket.  Literally, it will pay for your ticket!  Although you might put in as many or more hours as a full time job, it’s the time off that qualifies this for the list.  Schedules vary from company to company but usually are one or two weeks on/one or two weeks off.  I’ve seen ads for a month on/a month off.  This could give you enough time for at least one trip per month that you could travel, and with many of these paying you $1000 to 1500 or more a week starting off, you won’t have a problem buying a ticket.

Please feel free to comment and let me know if you can think of any other part time jobs with the main goal of freeing up time without sacrificing financial stability.

-Factory of Light

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