We post our images all over social media looking for likes, hearts and comments. We crave recognition and validation in the work we spend days and hours on, so we can feel good about what we are doing, so we don’t feel like we are wasting our time and let’s face it — it’s human nature to want people to like us and our work.

How is this helpful?

Most of the time, it isn’t. Really. What feedback are you getting? Are your viewers actually taking the time to see your image, figure out what you’re trying to communicate? Are they getting what moved you to create that image?

Most of us scroll through our social media streams and like our friend’s posts, we want to acknowledge that we saw them. We may or may not take the time to comment, “nice shot,” “pretty scene” or some quick quip about your images. We want to support our friends so we click that like or heart and move on.

You know the famous quote from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” right?

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

This holds true for appreciating art as well. We scroll right on by.

corvette

Just posting is not enough

If you truly want to improve your work and receive helpful feedback you have to ask for it. I don’t mean just adding the “What do you think?” or “Suggestions?” question to your posts. That’s not specific at all. What sort of feedback do you want? Maybe you’re working on improving a certain aspect of your photography, so when you post, mention that and ask for feedback on that particular editing or composition skill or whatever it is you’re working on getting better at.

Trying something new to you? Tell us that. Explain what is different that you were trying.

What is the story you’re trying to tell?

When you want feedback it really helps if you add commentary to your image first. Yes, I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but when you are working on learning and growing in your photography stating what your intentions are for the shot helps the viewer offer more useful feedback instead of trying to guess what it is you want help with.

where's Waldo?

Here are a few questions you can answer that will lead to more useful feedback for you:

  • What were you going for?
  • What were you trying?
  • What was it that captured your attention in the scene that made you want to shoot it?
  • What type of feedback are you looking for specifically? Is it in your post-processing work? Is it the composition?
  • What compelled you to take the shot in the first place?
  • What is the story you are trying to tell?

All of this will help others be able to better help you.

Lead photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash