I want to share a story with all of you about an experience I had over ten years ago with a group of unsupportive photographers. It’s an experience that has stayed with me, and even now, 10 years later, when I think back on it the memory remains clear.
When I started learning the art of photography I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. At the suggestion of a friend of mine I bought a couple of Scott Kelby books on photography and learned enough to try my hand at aperture photography. What I mean by that is I shot in aperture priority mode, because at the time shooting in manual scared the hell out of me.
I knew I wanted to shoot people, and thankfully I had two friends who agreed to do a shoot in a hollowed-out abandoned building. I took the shots and I knew they needed work, so I posted a few of the shots to a Facebook photography group I was a member of. I probably should have known better, but the feedback I got from literally hundreds of unsupportive photographers was overwhelming. I was called amateur, newb, pathetic, childish, and more. The number of negative comments from unsupportive photographers was enough for me to pull the post down, and NEVER comment or share in that group again.
Now keep in mind…The photos I posted I knew needed work, and I said in my post that I was looking for feedback and advice on how I could improve. The post received 203 comments and not one single person offered me any kind of advice. No one talked to me about lighting, posing techniques, or editing suggestions. Not one.
Fast-forward 10 years later. I am an accomplished photographer. I’ve worked with a variety of clients, businesses, and settings. I am in no way perfect and continue to learn, but I am certainly none of the things those unsupportive photographers called me 10 years ago. How did I do it? How did I improve? By following the advice of supportive photographers like Peter Mckinnon, Sorelle Amore, Jeremy Siers, Denny Den and so many more. Denny as a matter of record owes me nothing yet has always found the time to answer any questions I have ever sent his way on IG. That level of encouragement and support is the kind of photographer I think we should all try to emulate.
Being a supportive photographer is remembering we all start somewhere. Everyone starts at the beginning, and everyone has to learn. So the next time you see a photo from a photographer asking for advice, help, or support…choose to be kind.