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- How to Choose What Images You Make Into Prints
One question that plagues new photographers (and veteran photographers, too) is if the photos you create are any good or not.
Sure, you might ask your friends and family what they think, but the chances are that they will give you glowing reviews, even if the photos you present to them aren't the best.
So that means you need a little bit of objectivity when it comes to getting feedback.
Here's a few ideas for getting that all-too-valuable feedback so you can learn, grow, and create even better photos.
Join a Photography Group
Photography groups are great learning tools because they bring together like-minded people for the express purpose of learning about photography and sharing work.
If you live in a bigger city, finding a local photography group should be pretty easy.
These in-person groups often meet a few times a year to go on photo walks and other photography adventures, and during those activities, you can pick the brain of your fellow photographers and get feedback on the photos you take.
If you live in a small town, though, finding a photography group might be a little more difficult.
Luckily, we live in the digital age, and there are plenty of online groups - like our very own forums and galleries - where you can join a virtual group to discuss photography topics, share images, and give and get feedback.
Better still, these virtual photography groups often have an incredible array of photographers of all different disciplines and experience levels.
That means that if you're a beginner, you can get constructive criticism from more seasoned photographers that have been around the block a few times.
These virtual groups are also a great way to present your images to a large audience, too, thus generating more opportunities for critical feedback (more on that in a second).
Show People Your Work
It's hard to get feedback if you keep your images a tightly held secret, so if you want to know if you're any good, put your photos on display.
It seems like everyone these days is a "photographer" and posts their photos to Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, and other popular social media sites.
And while that's all well and good, keep this in mind - if you're looking for critical feedback, those platforms might not be the best.
It's sort of the same problem as showing your work only to family and friends...the people you know on those sites will give you glowing reviews.
Conversely, some people on social media can be overly harsh, and you might get extremely bad feedback that's simply hurtful.
A good way to get around this is to share your work with other artists.
Again, that's where photography groups - in person or online - are a great place to learn and grow as a photographer.
Another option is to enter photography competitions.
Though the idea of doing so might cause you panic in your heart, entering your photos into a competition forces you to be more critical of your own work and look at it from a technical instead of an emotional point of view.
At first, you might find that your images are rejected more than they're accepted - and that's okay.
As you learn the ropes and begin to have a more critical eye on your own work, you'll be able to push yourself to learn and grow even more.
Try Stock Photography
Perhaps a more unusual way to determine if your images are good or not is to submit them to a stock photography agency.
Like photography competitions, preparing your work for submission to a stock agency requires you to look critically at your work and develop a thick skin regarding the quality of your images.
Often, stock agencies will ask that you submit a variety of images at first, that way they can determine if you've got the chops to create good images.
If you get rejected - which most photographers do quite often - some agencies will offer you a reason why.
That's incredibly valuable feedback from people in the know that you can use to improve the quality of the photos you take.
What's more, once you develop the knowledge and skills to produce better photos on a consistent basis, you will find that stock agencies accept more of your images. That can equate to a nice side income!
Print Your Photos
After you've sought feedback on your photos, gained new skills, and begun to create consistently good images, there's one last step you should take - print them out.
Living in the digital age as we do, we all undoubtedly have thousands of photos sitting around on a flash drive or cloud account.
That's a shame, especially if you've worked hard to improve your skills to take better photos!
I love getting prints made of my images, not just because that allows me (and others) to enjoy them, but also because it's a nice finishing touch to the journey you've taken from shy, unconfident newbie to a grizzled veteran.
Besides, it's hard to hide any flaws in your work when your photos are hanging on the wall in a large print.
The key to getting a great print is choosing the right printing company. If its canvas prints you're after, you can't beat CanvasHQ.
I've got tons of prints from these guys, and every time a new one arrives, I'm blown away by the quality of the product.
Not only are the colors always spot-on, but the canvas gives it some depth and detail that I really appreciate.
"I ordered a canvas of a favorite picture of my 4 children. It arrived within a few days and I couldn't be happier. It is beautiful. Such great workmanship! I can't wait to hang it on my wall. Thank you for a terrific canvas." - Lynn T., Greensboro, NC
With CanvasHQ, you can choose from a variety of finishes to suit your taste, including matte, glossy, semi-gloss, and even iridescent.
There's different frame choices too, from a thin and sleek .75-inch frame to a bulkier 2-inch frame that gives the piece some visual weight on the wall.
But getting prints isn't just about the quality of the materials that the company uses...
You want to work with a printer that creates your prints with the utmost care and provides top-notch customer service at the same time.
Again, CanvasHQ fires on all cylinders here, in part because they're a small, family-owned business that treats their customers like family.
And, if something goes awry, don't worry - they'll either remake your print or refund your money. Not bad, right?