Provide feedback

Dear all,

After connecting and sharing, providing meaningful feedback is the next step, and there’s a few things about providing feedback. First of all there’s the person who provides the feedback and secondly there’s the way of providing feedback. I recently also read a great article by Scott Bourne on this with which I couldn’t agree more: Pedantry is the enemy of great photography.

So, when it comes to the person who provides the feedback, ignore the ones whose work is not out there and whom do nothing but breaking down your picture, they belong to the category of pedantics being described in the mentioned article, people with all the textbook knowledge, yet not able to think outside the box and contributing zero point zero to the photographic community. On the other hand, there are some great photographers out there who are happy providing constructive feedback, people whose work you admire and it’s their inputs you want to get.

Constructive feedback is about catching somebody doing something right, a basic rule of management that can also be applied to photography. While providing feedback, focus on actual ways to improve a shot, on helping people to better capture their vision on the sensor, instead of pointing out what is bad in your opinion and according to the great book of photography.

Let me illustrate this with the following shot:

Canon 350D, Canon 75-300 mm @ 260 mm, 1/250, f/8, ISO 200

… yes, I know, the tail of the small one is cut off, and some people would go on and on about that, yet that is not the point, good feedback here would be how to better process the picture, … Does it mean I don’t care about the tail? Certainly not! Did I learn from it? Oh yes! Did it prevent me from taking the shot and sharing it? Certainly not! Never stop shooting and sharing because of the pedantics, never ever let them win! A lot of people still like an honnest capture of a great sighting or some great behavior, even if it isn’t perfect. In a way, it takes more guts to get such a shot out than to post that ‘perfect’ shot you got. As wildlife photographers we have to do with the conditions that are given to us and if you are afraid of making mistakes out of fear for criticism, you’ll eventually miss out on the perfect shot as well.

Feedback is about giving and taking. Don’t be paternalistic, provide feedback by suggesting what could be done to improve a shot, up to the creator to take along that piece of advise or not. Make suggestions instead of blank and opinionated statements: you should do this, you should do that, … is helping nobody. ‘The best steersmen are always ashore or ‘Bachelor’s wives’ and maiden’s children are well thought’ are proverbs that don’t apply to the great.

Warm regards and looking forward to your feedback,


PS: I am about to go on home leave and will not be posting for about a month and I’m already looking forward to get back to you after that.