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.