Good, but good enough?
We all do it, we hold off putting ourselves out there - "Once I get a few more good shots in the portfolio", "I just need to work on my SEO/branding/website" or "I am not 'creative/experienced/technical' enough yet". Yup, we have all heard and, no doubt, used those very excuses.
But there comes a point when you just need to take that plunge, and what you will find is:
- it's not as scary as you might think;
- clients don't suddenly flock to hire your services;
- you are always going to feel like using above excuses.
As part of my continuing evolution and learning, I recently not only changed my website platform but rebranded and renamed it too, destroying all my SEO from the last 3 years - JEEPERS! However, I believe this was the right move for me. Having put together my newly-formed Squarespace website, I took an almighty risk and asked Zack Arias to critique my work. For those who don't know Zack, check out his website DEDPXL. Once you have done that, come back and read on.
A couple of years ago, Zack was doing website critiques which were not only informative but downright amusing. For the past year he hadn't done any but recently I heard he was bringing them back and was looking for submissions. Without hesitation, I submitted my site. With hindsight (what a wonderful thing!), I should have ensured in advance that it was tiptop, but actually I am glad I didn't - it highlighted things I knew but had done nothing about, as well as several things I had never even considered.
There were some clunkers in my portfolio - I had switched over from doing commercial, weddings, events, portraits, you name it, to concentrating on one single theme – people. I don't have a massive portfolio so some images on the website were admittedly padding - old work and stuff that shouldn't really have been there.
Zack went through my work highlighting my skills but also my flaws which, even though it stung, was entirely needed and, by submitting my site, I had requested. At some points during the video, I found myself shouting at the screen to justify the shots but, at the end of the day, Zack doesn't know me, he was judging my work on its merit and as he is someone I highly respect I had to listen. The choice is now mine as to what I do. Whilst I don't agree 100% with Zack's critique, it is what I put myself up for. As you can no doubt see, I have since tweaked the website to make it more cohesive and have honed my portfolio. Changes are still underway on that front.
I am flattered that Zack and Meg took the time to review my work (for free) and to offer genuinely impartial advice. Let's face it, that's something that it's just not possible to get from my friends and peers.
At the same time, I also submitted dadefreeman.com to PEEK, where an "ordinary" person navigates and critiques your website, and you get to watch a video of what they did and what they said about it. The lady who did mine had very different opinions to Zack's because she was seeing it from a non-professional photographer's viewpoint. She said she would book me in a heartbeat, which was nice to hear.
Of course, it is important to bear in mind that all opinions are subjective but the information from both these critiques have helped me offer the best of myself and, hopefully, will help you too.
I would like to thank the internet community for its support, comments and feedback. And a huge HOLLA at Zack and Meg for taking the time to review my work and for their candidness.
So, to answer the original question - Good, but good enough? The answer is yes! Don't wait for it, don't question it and don't sweat it. Just do it!!!
Dade Freeman is a Brighton photographer producing portraits and headshots for actors, musicians, corporate business and other professional industries.