Editing can be hard - getting a second opinion can help
From time to time I enter the various assignment contests here, usually adding anywhere from one to a handful of photos. Much of the time, they are rejected because the editors were looking for "something a little more elaborate." A couple have made it, but my track record is such that I only enter with some trepidation.
Then came the smartphone assignment contest. I've been using my iPhone a lot and absolutely love having a camera with me all the time. I sometimes use it to take a few photos even when I have the rest of my gear with me - to get the GPS coordinates or just so I've got something fast - often something I can upload to Facebook or send to friends & family.
Other sites take iPhone photos now too, but I hadn't uploaded any of mine for sale anywhere, so I figured why not give the assignment a try? But with so many photos to choose from and no theme, I wasn't sure where to start.
I narrowed down my choices to about 40 photos - enough to fit on two pages of photo paper as contact sheets, and tried to narrow my choices further. I'd showed my husband some of them on my 27" iMac - if they looked good that big I wasn't worried about quality - but which ones would make good assignment pix? I was tempted to go with only photos of people, but he liked a lot of other ones, so I wasn't sure.
Sometimes it's really hard to edit your own work - I don't mean tweaking them in Photoshop or other software - I mean deciding which are keepers - which should go out to magazine editors - which should go to stock sites - RF, RM, micro or macro? Unless a photo is a real winner, I'm never really sure.
I had my husband look through the photos at DT that had already been accepted for this assignment, then I had him go through the contact sheets and asked him to circle his 10 favorites. He did but said there were others he'd seen on my computer he liked better that weren't even in my top 40. His choices were so different from mine. There were only two photos in my top ten that were also in his. So, I picked 6 of his top choices and 6 of mine (which gave me 10 photos since there were two overlaps).
All six of his choices were accepted - including one photo I was going to delete altogether! Two of mine were. I think he's hired :)
I think we all have a love/hate relationship with our work - we're too close to the subject matter to be objective. That's why we need editors. Either we get attached to a photo that may be good but that may not really work as stock - or we take a photo that might be really good for stock, but it's not what we were aiming for, and so we don't like it. Getting an outside observer to take a look at our photos with a fresh unbiased eye can really help.
So next time you've had some rejections - or when you're sitting with a group of photos and don't know which to choose, have a friend or family member take a look and tell you which they'd choose. Your acceptance rate might just go up!
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Photo credits: Marianne Campolongo.