I had a great surprise over the weekend! Jared Polin from Fro Knows Photo critiqued my website as part of his '30 Critiques in 30 Days' series (froknowsphoto.com/30-for-30). Jared posted on Facebook asking for websites and photos to critique for this series so I submitted my website. I didn't know he would critique it so it was a great surprise to find out he did. I was actually away when he posted it so I had to wait patiently until I got back on Sunday night to watch it, which was quite a weird and surreal experience.
I've followed all of his content for several years and so I was really happy he took the time to do this. It's quite easy to feel like you exist in your own little bubble and to be unsure of what people think of your work, so it was great that someone who inspires me was so positive about my site and work. My friends and family have been supportive about my work but you're aware that people close to you can be biased, whether or not they mean to be. The great thing about Jared's approach to critiquing is that it's all fresh to him and he is not worried about speaking his mind.
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So here's a few thoughts I've taken away from the critique to think about to work at:
Recently I was thinking I needed to make a change to the pages of my portfolio, so the critique confirmed this for me. Jared was a bit unsure on the title of the 'Other' page which I'd never given much consideration to, but perhaps this sounds a bit throwaway and vague. One idea I've had is to split the photos into different pages like 'Creatures' and 'Details'. As these photos feel more personal and relevant to myself and my current photography I would prefer to have them follow on from 'People' and 'Places', keeping them above 'Weddings and 'Motorsport' which have not been a focus for me this year. As he decided to read the 'About' description to get an idea of how I should prioritise pages then I may need to rewrite this page slightly to support the changes I make. Additionally I had considered removing 'Weddings' and 'Motorsport' from my portfolio and linking to it through the 'About' section e.g. "I have a keen interest in motorsport (click here to view a gallery)", but this may be a step too far at the moment.
Jared took a look at the 'Series' section which wasn't as fleshed out as I plan it to be. I've just added 'Cologne, 2014' to that (probably about a day or so after he recorded the video) which I think he would have been interested to see as he has been there for Photokina (a big photo show). I have a number of other series in the pipeline that have a more specific and smaller-scale focus that I will add once I've worked through some of the projects I want to finish off and blog about. I was pleased that he noticed the little touch I've added to each one with a brief explanation to the series.
Blogging has become an important part of sharing my photos and what I have been up to. I would certainly like to update more often, but some blogs take a fair amount of time to put together. Some are more straightforward explanations of an event with a gallery of photos, while others are more descriptive and have a blend of text and photos. I'm a bit of a perfectionist so I try to do my best with each one and make a judgement call for the size of each one; too long and people might be put off reading the blog, and too short not might not tell enough of a story to engage. With a bit more blogging I think I'll be able to put them together quicker. More is planned so keep an eye out and subscribe to the email newsletter at the bottom of any blog post to stay updated.
So what did you think about Jared's video and his critique? Do you have any suggestions for how I could improve my site and what do you think about some of my thoughts? If you have read a number of my blogs I'd be interested to know what you think about them - too long, too short or is it good to have a varied approach?
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I would like to thank Jared for looking at my site and critiquing it. He's been an inspiration to me over the years, whether it's watching other critique videos, getting my Monday morning fix of his RAWtalk podcast, finding out about gear and equipment in his real-world reviews or watching him shoot in his '5 Minute Portraits' (which are always longer than that!). If you are looking to get more into photography I'd recommend checking out his site froknowsphoto.com as I have learned a lot from him. You can find him on various social media through his site or search for Fro Knows Photo.
Additionally I would like to thank other members of the Fro community following the video as I have received positive feedback directly from them or on Jared's posts. This has been a great boost and tells me I'm going in the right direction. Thanks also to everyone who continues to follow what I do and supports me!