Author Topic: New memeber would love some feedback  (Read 1972 times)

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Sandra Minarik

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New memeber would love some feedback
« on: April 09, 2010, 12:30 AM »

As a new member I'd really like to get some critiques on my current website and images. Last year I decided to use this template because I felt it was easy to navigate and create. I was in school at the time and this website was sufficient for gaining assignments as a student photojournalist.

Since moving back to Vancouver, I've worked hard as a freelance photographer but find myself working on assignments unrelated to journalism. Although I'm making some money I'm not feeling as fulfilled. I know that times are tough in the industry but believe that if I work hard enough and present myself professionally something will happen eventually.

Any feedback, both positive and negative, is greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much everyone.

Adrien Veczan

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Re: New memeber would love some feedback
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2010, 01:07 PM »
Hi Sandra,

I'll let other people comment on the layout of your website, I'm not exactly versed in web design.

But as far as images go here's what my thoughts were:

Go easy on the concert photos. Maybe you do shoot a lot, but you have to remember you're shooting a subject that is performing for you in a lit environment. So you can't really take credit for any picture that's got nice light - or an intense moment; that's a given.

That said, if you're into concerts, work on the composition of your pictures (the only thing that you can control in that sort of environment).

Have a look at what Steve Russell did at a recent event in Toronto:

Also, if you're trying to break into photojournalism, pictures on your website shouldn't be manipulated in any way.

Something like that, while not a big deal for a commercial client, is a firing offence at a newspaper:

You can't remove or alter any element of a picture. And you can't retouch skin like that either.

Same comment for your portraits and composite images. If that's work you want to show, make it clear it wasn't editorial and put them all in a section you could name something like "commercial", just so there's no misunderstanding.

Hope this makes sens, hope this help.

Sandra Minarik

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Re: New memeber would love some feedback
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2010, 02:01 AM »
Thanks Adrien for your comments. I agree with going easy on the concert photos. I started shooting concerts last year for the artists performing and enjoyed it because at the time it was very new to me. Because of that I submitted images to some small entertainment publications. After a year though I'm definitely feeling less challenged, and I think it's because of exactly what you said in regards to the light and moment.

Your right, photojournalists should not manipulate images. I completely understand, agree, and abide by this. Retouching images is fun for me and I do at least some retouching on images for commercial clients but need to separate commercial and editorial work. Thank you for bringing this up. I've had many conversations and read many articles on truth in photojournalism but didn't realize I wasn't giving this impression with my website. Fixing this will be the first thing I work on.

I really appreciate your comments Adrien, thanks for taking the time to look through my site and comment.


Thanks to everyone else who sent emails as well! I've learned a lot in the past day  :)

Offline Warren Toda

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Re: New memeber would love some feedback
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2010, 03:04 AM »
In no particular order:

• I hate scrolling Flash text. But that's just me.

Bio page:

• I bet 99.18% of the world has no idea what "street photography" is. You take pictures of streets?!

• your Bio talks only about you. Now this may seem okay, but there's a better way to do this:

Instead of:  "Sandra attended".

Use something like: (college) awarded Sandra a diploma of (whatever) after x successful years of study in (course name).

You receive mail. You earn a degree which the school then awards to you.

Instead of: "Tired of spending most of her time in front of a computer..." (Hey, no one cares because everyone sits in front of a computer).

Use something like: After x years of providing digital post-production services to a variety of business and entertainment clients (or whatever), Sandra decided to change direction and expanded her photojournalism skills by studying at Western Academy in Victoria.

Instead of: "Sandra provides images for press release, newspapers, magazines...."

Change it to something like: Newspapers, magazines, web sites, public relations agencies.... use Sandra's photography...

Point is, your bio page shouldn't be just about you. It's really a form of marketing that spells out what you can do for the customer, based on your past experiences/education. Phrase your previous experiences in a way which highlights your benefits.

Services page:

• Portraits: "Images of individuals and groups that portray character and express emotion." huh?

Always write from the customer's point of view. And that point of view is: what's in it for me?

Maybe something like:

Portrait Photography: Your character. Your smile. Your special look. You are always in the best light when we photograph you. Whether it's a business portrait, a family portrait or just a special time in your life, depend on us to make you look good.

Ditto for the Events and Entertainment sections.

Remember, your service is NOT about taking pictures. No one buys pictures for the sake of having pictures. No business has any need for pictures.

People want memories and keepsakes (yes, I know that sounds corny). Businesses want marketing tools to help their company succeed. Explain your services with these targets in mind.

• A quick note about retouching portraits: when you retouch pictures, *don't* tell the person. If they ask, say, "Oh, I just did a tiny bit here and there. You really didn't need retouching." or "I just got rid of a few loose hairs, that's all." = compliment

Never say: "I fixed your crooked nose, got rid of that thing on your neck and chopped off 30 lbs." = insult.

Even if a subject asks for major Photoshop surgery, don't say, "Wow, it took six hours of computer work to make you look good." Always play it down.

Everyone knows the magician doesn't really cut the woman in half. But explaining it just ruins the "magic" of the moment.

It's not just lighting and photography skills that create portrait-magic, it's also your delivery. Surprise and delight. People get portraits because they want to feel good about themselves. If your photo makes them feel good about themselves, then (a) you've done your job; (b) you get a repeat customer.

• in the Portfolio pages, when I rollover the little thumbnail numbers, the pop-down thumbnail boxes are all blank, (or is that just me?)

• not much difference between regular screen and full screen.

• some nice pictures in the Published section.

• I'm not sold on the way the lower portion of letters are cut off in your logo. But maybe that's just me.

• You seem to be fine on a lot of the technical photo stuff.

Added: all of the suggested changes to the text on your site were done quickly, off the top of my head. If you decide to make any text edits, do give it much more thought.

« Last Edit: April 12, 2010, 03:36 PM by Warren Toda »

Photographer in Toronto