Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tweaking here and there

I have found myself in a strange position. I feel like we get to a great place with this blog and then it goes downhill again. It isn't that I am set on it being one specific way, but I don't want it to be all over the place either. This is a challenge I am taking seriously, for myself and my own photographic improvement. And I created this blog for others who wanted to take the same challenge.

When I started this challenge I hoped to have a pretty close knit group of people who could challenge and build each other up, so we can all be better. We have over 40 members of this blog now--all authorized to post. But week after week we have only a small percentage of that actually posting. In fact, this last challenge only had 15 ENTRIES! Only 15 out of 43...

I would understand this if it were just one week--people get busy, things happen. But it is week after week. I guess I just don't understand why some people wanted to sign up for this challenge if they had no intention of ever posting.

I am going to put a new rule in place, so that we can keep this blog cleaned up and close knit like I intended. IF YOU DO NOT POST AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH, I WILL REMOVE YOU FROM THE LIST. Once a month is not too much to ask. That is ONCE every 8 challenges--even though I hope you will post more!

I made it clear from the beginning that this was for all skill levels. I still stand behind that. But part of improving and being better is knowing what was good about a picture and what could be better. Going through, there are SO few comments on people's pictures. I have had a few people tell me that it is discouraging to post and not hear anything back. Especially when those people have made a point to leave comments on other people's pictures.

I UNDERSTAND comments are not always possible. I know for me, I can't always get to them right away. But this is one area I think we can all improve on. Really, who DOESN'T love a comment?

And while we are talking about improvements, I would LOVE to know what you feel we can improve. I have heard a few people asking to vote the best picture for each challenge. What are your thoughts? And what are some things you think could be done to change things up? What will get you posting more? How can we add some spark to this blog to get people going and excited again??

I really would love to hear your feedback, good or bad. PLEASE leave a comment and let me know your ideas so we can make this a great place for everyone!!


AprilF said...

I will be a better poster! I joined this group to push me creatively and instead I'm letting my laziness take over (as usual). I totally agree that there should be a minimum amount of posting per month.

Candace said...

I like the idea of having to post at least once a month. I try to post with each challenge, but sometimes no matter how hard I think on a certain topic, I have a hard time coming up with a picture for that topic. I'll try to get better, though.

And I think voting on a best picture is a great idea!

I'm wondering if maybe all the members of the group should also subscribe to the blog, so they'll be alerted right away when there's a new post so that they can try to be better about commenting? I don't know, just an idea...

Travis and Jenny Holloway said...

I like the idea of voting for best picture. I think that will push us all a little more to put our best work on here. And I agree with others about wishing more people would comment. One of the main reasons I wanted to join this blog was to get helpful feedback on how I can improve my work. (I generally comment when I do a challenge myself.) I also like the monthly limit--it gives us room to miss one here or there, but still pushes us to be participants. And I'm loving the Friday Features--I think we should definitely keep those up!

Breezi said...

The only thing I worry about with the voting for best picture is this:
It'll always go to people who have the fancy cameras who do the fancy photoshop stuff to their pictures.

I feel that sometimes part of being a good photographer is not having to 'doctor' the photos.

I know that I am trying to learn some things, but it is certainly overwhelming to me.

Anyways... just random ramblings...
grain of salt.....

Janelle said...

I've been wanting to do polls/voting since we started, but I also agree with Breezi. Taking a good photo is about taking it, not about fixing it. (I probably wouldn't be bothered as much if I hada fancy camera or non-free software.)

With eight posting opportunities a month, I think the minimum requirement should be at least 2-3. Once isn't even 25% of the time! (I know, I skipped all of last week.)

I wish that more people would comment on my photos, but at the same time, I don't comment on everyone else's photos. I comment on the ones that I have something to say about. I understand that it's reciprocal: my photos aren't great, ergo, I get less comments. The really great photos get all the comments (and in a poll, will get all the votes).

Wow, I sounds kinda bitter, don't I? I don't mean to. Maybe a little irritated, but not bitter.

Erin Wageman said...

Great ideas!! I think it would be fun to do a best pic vote! I think it would push people a little more on trying to take great photos! And the new rule is great too. I know I will try harder to get more posting done!

Mindy said...

Some of my favorite photos I've taken were before I had my DSLR and photoshop, so it's not the only thing that makes a photographer. ;)

Also, since I've had photoshop I've realized that you really can't "fix" a bad picture. I might use it to enhance a picture that I've taken, but the real work is in the taking of the picture. I don't "fix" bad pictures with photoshop.

I've enjoyed seeing the pictures that I feel are better than mine, because it inspires me to do better, and teaches me things. I think we can all learn from each other, and not be upset that some have better cameras.

I also don't think the "best" picture would necessarily go to the same people each time. Sometimes something about a picture might really inspire others, even if it's not taken with a professionally camera and "doctored" in photoshop. I'd love to be able to give a shout out to photos that I think captured something special.

There is a photography blog that I follow (Miz Booshay, who writes for PW sometimes) and she always signs her posts "encourage one another". I really love that thought, and I think that's something that could happen here. Let's do it!

Mindy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teryn said...

I love Miz Booshay also! and I think the "encourage one another" is exactly what this blog is for me. I love the idea of a contest. I think it would give us a little extra push to try to think outside the box. As for fancy cameras and photoshop- totally not necessary. All the fancy equipment in the world can't turn a not so great photo into a prize winner. This is all about thinking outside the box and that is totally reasonable SLR or Not. (I try not to use photoshop on any of my submitted pictures- it's helps me push myself a little more)

As for comments- here's my 3 rules and maybe they might be helpful for others to follow as well.

1) I always comment on the person who posted before me.
2) I always choose at least 1 other picture I really enjoy that I can leave a coment on.
3) I always comment on the pictures taken by those who comment on mine.

Unfortunately- the third one usually isn't very many because I don't get many comments. I really do hope that's something we can improve on. It is part of why I'm here- for the encouragement and constructive criticism of others.

Rachel H. said...

I know it's easy to think, but it is definitely not always about the fancy camera. Trust me...I can take a picture and my husband can take a picture using the exact same camera, and you would think one of us used a point and shoot. :) Photography is about feeling and how you portray things through YOUR eyes--(at least to me). I agree with those that said that if you don't start out with a good photo, it still is a bad picture, no matter how much doctoring. Even the BEST photographers in the world STILL edit their pictures--at least to enhance them some. Digital photography ISN'T the same quality as film, and sometimes I find my pictures are good to me, but would be BETTER with that little boost that editing can offer.

I have a friend who has a little point and shoot. I would NEVER have known by the look of her pictures. I am hoping to share her blog with you all soon--waiting for permission first! She is the BEST example of how BEAUTIFUL a picture can be out of a little $100 Sony camera. It's amazing. And also proof that it's what is inside YOU as a photographer that counts first and foremost...not what's inside your camera (though that can be important at times)

I LOVE HAVING EACH OF YOU A PART OF THIS! I really think so much good can come of this, and we will all hopefully look back at the end of the year and be amazed at how far we have come.

zealygirl said...

I have had a harder time coming up with ideas for the last couple of challenges because the words have just had one literal meaning. I think really trying to choose words with multiple meanings would help me.

I think that for the voting it would be a good idea to have a category or two for winners (like best overall, best new unique take on the word, etc.).

Just some ideas. I'm looking forward to the next challenge!

Karla said...

I am brand new to this blog, but still want to apologize for not jumping on the band-wagon as soon as I joined. I became a "follower" after I got the invitation and thought I would just observe for a while to see how it all works.

I LOVE the idea of the challenges! I just got a new camera and am in the stages of learning how to use it. My hope is that the challenges will help me learn.

I have already seen many amazing photos on here! I'm excited to get started! :) Thanks for letting me join!


Stephanie said...

I like the idea of having a couple different voting categories, suggested by Zealygirl. I think that voting will definitely help to push me to take better pictures.

Charles & Amanda said...

I like what Teryn said about how she posts comments:

"As for comments- here's my 3 rules and maybe they might be helpful for others to follow as well.

1) I always comment on the person who posted before me.
2) I always choose at least 1 other picture I really enjoy that I can leave a coment on.
3) I always comment on the pictures taken by those who comment on mine."

It is hard to give everyone feedback all of the time, so this is a great thought.

I have also dropped the ball on posting, so I would like to apologize for that. I like the idea of having voting for a couple of different categories. I also really enjoy the Friday feature and would like to keep that going also.

Blake said...

I think it is a good direction. It is a good idea because it is to push ourselves.
Comments are fantastic. I feel odd making comments on some people's because they take fantastic pictures and know more than me so there isnt much I can say more than "nice picture" or something like that.
I think it would be ok to vote best picture. Let us remember though that we shouldnt compare ourselves to others, which i do sometimes.

Rachel H. said...

I like the idea of categories. How many categories do you think we should have? 2-3?

Janelle said...

Well, because we have so many people, I don't think it's realistic to do more than two polls per challenge...that would just make for really really long lists. Maybe at the end of each month we could have an extra poll to choose the most improved photographer. Also, in the regular polls, maybe there could be a "can't win twice in a row" clause?

Shanda Call said...

I think this is great, and I appreciate you pushing for it to be more rather than less. I felt like when I first started on, people were great about commenting and posting, and then it started being "not so much" I've been away on spring break, but I def plan to get back in the swing of things and post and leave comments more. It does suck to post and then have no responses...

LeAnn and Cris said...

I have totally dropped the ball the past two weeks. Sometimes I feel like I have nothing to take a picture of, I just need to let the creativity take control!!!(which I have a hard time doing!!)
As far a comments I have tried to give them when I participate in the challenge itself. I feel like some others do about the comments, I'm not a really, really good photographer and I feel like my photos don't get the comments like others. But in a way it's my fault, if I would push my self to do the challenges and look outside the box, maybe I'd get a better picture and more comments. With the CC we do, I feel like maybe people are afraid to hurt feelings, I want CC!!! Bad, good, really bad, EVERYTHING!!!! This can push us to get better pictures,I want the pointers!!!!!
I love the idea of a poll and voting on a picture. I also like the idea of "you can't win twice in a row"
I'm really wanting to be a better photographer, and I love this blog!!!Thanks Rachel for getting it together!!!!

{Alynn} said...

I feel like I should appologize! My computer limped along and then DIED last month. I've been borrowing my sister's now and then for a quick check on things, but I didn't want (and didn't have the time) to upload my pics and stuff onto her computer. I don't WANT to be a slacker! Please let me stay, my hubby promised me a solution soon! : )

I noticed the comments have slowly been dwindling to almost nothing. I think this discussion will push everyone to do better.

Not sure how I feel about voting... I do like the catagory idea, but don't want to make a ton of work for Rach to set it all up!

I'm way inspired by your friend who has "just" a point and shoot! I can't wait to get rolling with this again! Thanks for all the work Rach! We all love ya!