How Can I Improve?!

posted on 1st of may, 2010

Please look at my portfolio!
How could I improve?
Some advice from you?
Some critique on my portfolio please?
Please help me improve!

You have seen these threads on DT message boards. From time to time they jump out among other posts and loudly call out for help. And I can't deny, I have written some of them in the past as well.

Everyone wants to know the secret - what makes me succeed? And we are looking for understanding and insight as well. We want reassurance, that we are doing the right thing, heading in the right direction.

There's a really great help on the DT site. I have always suggested to everyone who wants to understand what kind of images are more stock images and what are not, that he should play The Game. Although it crashes from time to time - the score isn't so important than the benefit what you can receive from the greater understanding about customers needs. It's a really a neat tool on the site.

But still, what about my portfolio? How could I improve my images?

Yesterday, I had a really great experience, which warmed my heart and gave me lots of ideas and understanding. Ellen Boughn is offering her mini-consult service for photographers on her site. And yesterday I had a chance to talk with Ellen via Skype. And it was really amazing experience and very refreshing.

Ellen is the author of all those great blog articles what we are referring to over and over again on message boards. She has a long history in image industry and I'm not sure if there are many people on the Earth who could compete her with the total number of the photos viewed in the lifetime. Maybe there are, but I doubt there are many, and Ellen is definitely a great expert on her field.

That's why I was very surprised at first, when I heard that she offers her consults as well as to starting photographers and microstockers and not only to long time pro photographers with well established portfolios.

That wasn't surprising that Ellen works in the professional way, but I liked how seriously she took reviewing my portfolio and giving detailed feedback. And it wasn't the kind of feedback what you can usually get from a warm and friendly photo community: "Great photos! You have fantastic portfolio! Absolutely great!" (although to tell the truth she said some good words as well ;) happy-happy), but she had well explained and well justified suggestions about keywording, composition, subjects. She brought up examples from my portfolio and showed me what I could have done differently. I liked it very much. I love to learn.

© Iserg (Help)
When I asked her, why she is doing this, why she is in the image industry sharing her knowledge, then she said, that talking to photographers and encouraging them trying to point out what they could do better and looking at their photographs, is one of the most important thing she likes about her job. It's fulfilling and energizing. And I think that such love toward photography and photographers makes Ellen the best adviser. Not to mention her teacher background.

Yesterday was a really great day for me, and I appreciate a lot that I could learn from such a great expert and warm and friendly person. Now I just have to digest everything I learned and put into practice.

Ellen, if you read this, thank you very much again. And all others, if you feel that you need advice about how to improve as a stock photographer, consider seriously accepting Ellen's offer of consultation. Great advice is available which can help you a lot.

Ellen Boughn's website

Comments (26)

Posted by Maigi on May 13, 2010
Thanks, Leslie, Jianbinglee! Glad you liked it.
Posted by Jianbinglee on May 13, 2010
This is a great article very useful. I need to read carefully and slowly experience, serious study. Finally, thanks Maigi, Thank you for sharing.
Posted by Ponytail1414 on May 12, 2010
Great info, thank you! Doesn't look to me like you need much help though!
Posted by Maigi on May 10, 2010
LOL Thaanks! :) I can sum up all my knowledges about stock photography - make super cool photos and draw amazing illustrations and upload them as fast as you can. :) And of course I offer this insight for free. ;))) Thanks my friend!
Posted by Creativei on May 10, 2010
Great blog, but Maigi, I was thinking to take consultation from you (of course for free) you have a such wonderful portfolio, your sales says everything.
Very soon you will be the featured photographer in DT
Posted by Maigi on May 04, 2010
@Adeliepenguin: I thought when I call you penguin, it would be impolite ;)) But now I learned, that Adélie doesn't sound better LOL Sorry about that. How should we call you? :)
@Rozenn: Thank you for your good words! I love to learn and seize every opportunity to do it. In our own way we all are master of something, we have something to teach others, and way too much to learn from others just because of arithmetical reasons.
Posted by Rosedarc on May 03, 2010
In this stock photography "game" we're all standing at different levels. It's good to see that someone like you who's been doing it for a long time and very successfully still has the energy and the passion to learn to get even better and find more inspiration.

"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty." Henry Ford
Posted by Adeliepenguin on May 03, 2010
Thanks, Maigi! Now you know why I call myself Adelie Penguin:) I love my penguins:):)
Posted by Maigi on May 03, 2010
Thanks, Adelie. Aww, I love your penguin photos!
Posted by Adeliepenguin on May 02, 2010
Thank you, Maigi! I think you are right...sharing experiences and knowledge does help us all grow. I will check your portfolio now and then to see if there are any "changes" :) And now you have me thinking about myself....
Posted by Maigi on May 02, 2010
Thanks, Carolyne! Best wishes to you as well!
Posted by Wildmac on May 02, 2010
Thank you for such a useful blog Mailis. I'm glad you've found some new inspiration and ideas for your port. I wish you all the best :)
Posted by Maigi on May 02, 2010
Richard, Enrique, Paul, Gabriel, Mariaam, Maen, Fran, thank you for your encouraging comments! I don't worry about my portfolio, but I'm always looking for ways to improve my skills, my instincts, my understanding about image industry.

Richard, thank you very much for your good words and comments about my portfolio! I appreciate it. Thank you very much. But about learning I have a different opinion. I don't think that seeking advice means trying to do what everybody else is telling you to do. For me learning, getting or giving advice is sharing. Sharing experiences, knowledge, thoughts, maybe even hopes and dreams how things should be. And very often both the one who gives advice and one who receives, benefit from the experience. Maybe only in a different way. Following only own instincts is a very lonely way to go. If mankind wouldn't ever learned from each other, every generation would still reinvent the wheel.

Gabriel, if I only would have known about your thread, I...(More)
Posted by Frantab01 on May 02, 2010
you've got a great port, wonderful work, thanks for sharing this blog :)
Posted by Mani33 on May 02, 2010
Thanks for sharing your experience Maigi! Good luck :)
Posted by Mariaam on May 02, 2010
Thanks for sharing, Maigi!
Posted by Justmeyo on May 01, 2010
Great article Maigi,i am glad you sharing your experience about consulting Ellen with us.I am sure you got good advices from her and it is good you try to improve your work in a professional way.
I just remembered when i had 300-400 files online i started a thread (i wanted advices about my portfolio)on forum but nobody answered me....hehehe and then i think i deleted.
I hope you have a great weekend and be always excited like now about work:)
Posted by Py2000 on May 01, 2010
Maigi, your portfolio is amazing, nice and diversified.
Posted by Egomezta on May 01, 2010
There will be always some things to improve and good you had an expert to suggest what to do better... In my opinion you are doing great, your portfolio is amazing.
Posted by Rceeh on May 01, 2010
Critics? You have a very professional portfolio in my opinion, with a lot of sales too. The only way I see (at your level) to improve your style is to stop trying to do what everybody else is telling you to do, follow your instincts and always try to have fun. You are a very good photographer and you don't need lessons from anybody. Hope it help.
Posted by Maigi on May 01, 2010
I'm happy, Ellen, very happy. Desi, Debbie, you should try it too. :)
Posted by Littledesire on May 01, 2010
Ellen! She's the one! Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Maigi!
Posted by Dmccale on May 01, 2010
thanks great blog
Posted by Ellenboughn on May 01, 2010
thank you so much for your kind words, Maigi.
I enjoyed our conversation so very much and so glad that you found it helpful and chose to write about the experience.
All best,
Posted by Maigi on May 01, 2010
Thank you very much, Linqong. :)
Posted by Linqong on May 01, 2010
You have a great portfolio!I think you have done a terrific job!!!

Comments (26)

This article has been read 2235 times. 7 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Ana Blazic Pavlovic, Andras David-korodi, Sergey Ilin, Dmitriy Shironosov, Richard Thomas.

About me

My name is Mailis Laos. I'm a photographer and digital artist from Estonia. Since 2016, I am happy to be one of Dreamstime's remote photo editors, and to do all I can to get your great images on site for sale. I love photography and digital art. Traveling, hiking, folk music and deep discussions with friends are among other things I enjoy a lot. And you can mess my head with thought-provoking poetry. You can find me on Facebook: MaigiPhotography Instagram: maigiphotos Google+: +MailisLaos Twitter: maigidesign Contact:

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