Getting to the issue when teaching
Whenever I am teaching I always ask students to bring me their bad images. If I am critiquing work to help improve someones photography I ask to see the unedited images. WHY? Because anyone can luck out and get a great image, or spend enough time in Photoshop to fix an image. But seeing the bad or unedited images will show what a person does most of the time. This is true in other areas as well. I don’t care what you are like when everything is going perfect, but what are you like when things are going bad? You may be a great wedding photographer when the temperature is 20C and there is no wind or bugs, but what are you like in -10C and a 100k wind, or with a bride that is in a miserable mood?
What are you like REALLY?
Years ago I was interviewing the sweetest lady for a job. She was dressed perfect, hair and make-up was perfect and she had all the right answers and he personality was perfect for the job. THEN I checked deeper with people that knew her and she never got the job! WHY? Almost everyone I talked to said that most days she was a mess. She would not show up on time for work, blamed everyone for everything except herself, could not control her anger and it went on and on. She did good for the interview as she had edited herself to make her look perfect.
I had a photographer come in one day to apply for a job. He brought me in some cool images to show me his work and it was really impressive. Then I asked some questions and found out that the one image took him an entire semester to do. I asked him how he would do with a wedding that required him to shoot hundreds of images in a couple of hours, he told me he didn’t think it could be done.
How can you improve?
Do like I do when I am teaching, look at the RAW in everything – the RAW images, the RAW you, the RAW new car, the RAW boy or girlfriend, the RAW new employee. Then start from there! If you have trouble getting a good digital image look at the digital file out of the camera, what is wrong with it and what is wrong with the other images? If people say you are a bad business person, look at the RAW you. Buying a new car, think of what it will be like in six months and get over the excitement of new.
If you start from the RAW you will find what really needs to be fixed and it will be easier to fix it. If you have problems doing that look for someone that will be honest with you and help you to get to the bottom of things! Sometimes a second opinion that is honest will help you see the RAW in the situation.