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Critique Me And Help Me Get Better

Posted by: Todd Hanes on 02/01/2013 - 5:47 PM

I have been on FAA since mid 2012. No sales yet but I do get some very interesting visitors form all over the world as most of us probably do. I tell my wife, Everyone in the world is looking but no one has any money to buy!!. The age old question: how do I get some sales going? how best to network on FAA? But to start, please take a look at my work and provide any valuable feedback. I welcome the opportunity to learn from others and to improve my product. I got into photography as a hobby and thoroughly enjoy hiking around looking for the next image. Of course now I want to improve my equipment and need $$ so I am trying to monetize. Help?


Oldest Reply

Posted by: Mike Savad on 02/01/2013 - 6:16 PM

you only have 82 pictures, and that isn't much. you want hundreds or more. you should start people in galleries, it's easier that way.

Sell Art Online
the image isn't bad, though it's a bit dark. the tractor adds a little,but i find it mostly cluttered. it's hard to know where my eye should go. the image is on the small side, limiting the size of the print. try to add more words relating to it. country,rustic,rural,wheel,brown,wood,etc.

Photography Prints
sure have a lot of mills. the problem with this shot is, it's bland and dark. it doesn't pop and it's hard to tell at a glance what this is. if the trees had more orange it would pop better. as an hdr it doesn't really work as the sky and building are very dark and the reflection is too. hdr done well should be pretty even, with a bright reflection.

you have to advertise your own work. use twitter, blogs, any place you can. use the groups on here, the contests on here, put it in your mail, make cards, wear a shirt, etc. even posting in the forums helps you get seen. most of yours has a dozen hits, which tells me you aren't doing anything but uploading. i would update the avatar so it's mostly your face, and it's sharp.

Art Prints
it's ok, but kind of bland. the water is dull due to processing. there are dozens of shots like this on here already, so it has to really be like wow, to grab attention

Sell Art Online
this one is crooked and dark. there isn't anything but the sunset to grab my attention. nothing that makes it noteworthy, like another boat, or people on the beach, etc. in other words, other people standing on this beach, the buyers, might already have this shot. and you don't want that. you want to make it special. a good hint when you know it's not as good as it could be - if you can't think of anything to say other than sunset in the description, you know it lacks story.

Sell Art Online
not a bad shot, it could be a bit brighter and more even, hdr would work well here. i would clone out that sign to make it look less touristy.

Art Prints
i like these mountains, but not that fence, not there anyway, it should be off to the side, it shows age, but it's right in my face. i'm tripping over it. the path is good, but the mountains lack contrast, color and punch. this has no depth. a better spot would be to the left of the fence, showing more path leading in. a polarizer would help get some definition back. otherwise tweak it in photoshop.

Art Prints
i think of all your shots this is your best one. oddly these bales are liked by many. and it's different because of that huge mountain. the house gives it context and story. the front bale is on the dark side. the sky has a nice look, but i would increase contrast to give it a storm look. mostly this lacks punch and contrast. it looks like a picture, but i want to be standing in that spot. i don't get that feeling. part of the other problem is that the field and house blend. it's hard to fix that because of the color and lighting. i might play with this as a contrasty black and white.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Mike Savad on 02/01/2013 - 6:19 PM

oh one other thing, the bio, i never liked reading about people in the third person, especially when it switches back to first person like it does. it's very long and wordy. just get to the meat of it. this is who i am, this is what i do, this is what you'll see. i specialize in this. remove the - i hope part, it sounds wishy washy, all that memory stuff should be as a part of a description of the image they are looking at. a good bio is short, simple and to the point. you don't want to bore or tire the buyer. they may just leave at that point.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: David Lester on 02/01/2013 - 6:28 PM

I looked at your photos for the time I had, so far they look stunning, but I would gladly give you some feedback on them at random, any feedback I give is just my opinion, if it makes since great if not it is your vision that counts in the end! ..would you like the feedback to be posted under each photo or send a seperate message for each one I look at?
Also, what is the camera and lens you use and what editing program do you use? This will help in giving advice..

I am not promoting the site I am listing, but for nature and landscape photography it is outstanding. You can view galleries and see what others post and what advice they receive and give. Amatures and pros are on there, visit it if you is... you did not sell photos on here but you can link each photo to this site to sell them from there! They helped me more than I can say!!



Posted by: Todd Hanes on 02/01/2013 - 6:37 PM

Mike, great stuff.I appreciate the feedback. Funny enough the Hay Bales seem to be everyone's favorite of the bunch. I am hearing a general theme of bland which I completely agree with. I need to get better at the post production part as well. Thanks again Mike.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/01/2013 - 6:47 PM


Very nice images! I think that you may have many a tad dark, or too much of a vignette effect. Also the images, from the Smokies(?) seem to have a yellowish caste, which may have been intentional, but with the darkness, may turn some clients off.

Keywords seem to need help too. I did a fast search for "Umbria" and you were on the next to last page. You need to improve your keywords, get more friends to visit and vote. I looked through a few and actually voted for 3 images, not because they were great, but to see if they had any votes and they didn't, until mine. So you need to go and vote for everyone of your images, yourself. Try this, do a search on something easy and small in your collection, Umbria or something like that. record the postion in the search, 123 of 136,say and then go vote for them. Tomorrow, assuming that the search engine does get updated tonight, because recently, it hasn't been updated every night, tomorrow, go do the same search and see if your images have moved up, maybe now even on the first couple of pages!!!

So more keywords, go vote and vote often!


Here's my group:

and you can always email me privately with questions


Posted by: JC Findley on 02/01/2013 - 7:03 PM

I like your images and subject matter.

You will want to "pixel peep" a little before you upload here. What I mean by that is zoom way on in and correct small flaws like dust spots. The image below has a couple that are visible even without the green box.

Sell Art Online


Posted by: Mike Savad on 02/01/2013 - 7:04 PM

it's not just post, it's general story telling. like the old mill in the autumn, with blazing orange trees. a small path that leads to the mill (that tree in front bugs me but there isn't anything you can easily do about it). you want some kind of story telling. that's what makes photography hard, anyone can pick up a camera, but to tell the story of where you were and why you shot it, as show in the picture itself. that's what makes it hard.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Todd Hanes on 02/01/2013 - 7:39 PM

@Mike, Yep I agree. The reason for the mills was to get away from Italy a bit and put some local images into the mix. The tree was a big problem because even if I walked far to the left it was still a major part of the image. I did climb up on a hill to the right and got a little different perspective. I found the reflection to be the best part of this particular perspective but as you pointed out, I have some work to do.

@JC - I am trying to get better at it. I never noticed before but someone pointed out some really bad dust particles on some of my older stuff and I was completely embarrassed. I think taking a little more time would be the first step.


Posted by: Todd Hanes on 02/01/2013 - 7:45 PM

@Dave, under each would be just fine. I do realize its just ones opinion and appreciate an feedback. I am trying to improve so good or bad I like to hear peoples thoughts. I am a newbie. I use a Sony Alpha 100 with an 18-70 kit lens. I use PSE 10 for post production. Thanks for the website suggestion. I will check it out.


Posted by: Ann Powell on 02/01/2013 - 7:49 PM

. You have some very nice compositions, and I enjoyed looking at them. I agree with some of the previous comments that many of the image look a tad too dark.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/01/2013 - 8:10 PM


You have the gear and the eye, now just learn the "mechanics" of FAA. I have a camera that supposedly cleans itself each time I shut it off or start it. And the first thing I do, when I open a new image, is create a new layer,caleed "clean" and I do all my spot removal,etc. there and then move on!



Posted by: Todd Hanes on 02/01/2013 - 8:18 PM

Rich, I appreciate the kind words. That's a great point. That will be the first layer on all my pics going forward.


Posted by: Loree Johnson on 02/01/2013 - 8:18 PM

As far as the darkness goes, you may want to check your monitor. I was happily processing and uploading photos, then I got a new computer and monitor. I uploaded a batch of photos and checked them on a computer at work and they looked terribly dark. What I found was my new monitor came with a default setting of "graphics" (meant for online gaming). It was way too bright and caused me to process my photos too dark. I switched it to "standard" and once again my photos looked like they should.


Posted by: Lynn Palmer on 02/01/2013 - 9:43 PM

Hi Tod, you have a good eye for picking popular/interesting subjects. As others have mentioned, you could do a bit better on the composition and framing yet many of them will still make really nice images with a bit of post processing to clean them up and make them pop a bit. Every month or two I go back through my images and realize I've learned new techniques or bought new software that will improve them. Just start playing with yours in Photoshop to see what works best to optimize each one. Keep in mind that you can replace an image on FAA without losing the keywords, votes and comments.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/01/2013 - 10:27 PM


Good points. And especially the fact that you can tweak images and re-upload them and not have to start all over. PSE10 is great and maybe the time is right to upgrade to PSE11, which should be amazing. But with that said, I would prefer that you,Todd, learn whichever program you have and "play" with the images.

Look at Lynn's images as a place to start, or even mine. Vignettes are fine if the whole image can handle it,but if the image is dark to start with, then it's a problem.

Ask questions, a lot of good people here and with 160,000 other artists, hardly any competition!



This discussion is closed.