Step 4 - Choose the advice you want to listen to.
Creative people are often keen to hear what other people think of their work; obviously because we like feedback, and we like knowing that others think our work is good. However, there is a downside to this - and that is taking criticism if it is given! Be careful what you ask for, and more to the point WHO you ask!
If someone says something negative about your work - don't feel you have to give up! Ask yourself whether you rate that person's opinion? If it is another photographer - what is their work like? Do they have a point, or do you actually prefer the shot as it is - it's up to you to decide. Sometimes constructive criticism can help us and make us a better photographer, but you need to recognise that sometimes it is just the personal opinion of the person looking at your work - they may have a totally different view point.
I always remember the very first seminar I ever went on - where I spent a week with photographers and got totally fired up and motivated by what I learnt, only to have my picture completely slated in a print critique at the end of the week. I decided on the spot that I was useless and would give up photography (despite having had the most inspiring week of my life). Fortuntately for me, as I was on my way back to my room to cry my eyes out, I was stopped by one of the other lecturers who said "by the way, that is a fantastic picture". If he hadn't done that, I may never have had the confidence to do what i've done. He taught me to realise that different people have different opinions, and that the guy doing the print critique actually wasn't my type of photographer at all, so why would he like what I was doing?
It's important to remember that the only people you should listen to are Number 1 - your clients, and Number 2 - the people you respect. If your clients don't like your work then either you are doing something wrong, or you have the wrong type of clients!
Don't get confused by conflicting opinions on how to shoot pictures - break the rules! Dare to be different - you don't have to conform! YOU can do what YOU like. It's boring to be the same as all the rest. Experiment and enjoy doing different things. Don't worry too much about what other people think! There will always be different opinions - some people will love what you do, and others will hate it - that's human nature. Just believe in what you do, and listen to your intuition (remember Step 1?). Take advice from people you respect and make your own decisions about it.
For a truly life changing way of thinking creatively - look at Annabel Williams' latest books - "99 Portrait Photo Ideas" or "99 Digital Photo Art Ideas" available from Annabel Williams
Next month: STEP 5 - Give yourself a break!
Take a look at the previous steps: