Learn to love your artistry
We (the retouchers, but I think every artist would relate) all know how difficult is to keep up with all the new trends, client demands and always bring something new on the table while still loving our work – both the process and the result.
There are many reasons why you would stop loving your images (or art in general): you might be in a transitional phase, learning something new, or perhaps there’s a lot going on in your personal life that is affecting your ability to get into a creative mind-set, you have less time to devote to your work, or you’ve just reached the edge of your current skillset and don’t know how to take your work to the next level. What can you do about it?
Perhaps is time to step back and review what it is actually that you don’t like about your portfolio.
Are the images what you don’t like? For example, something that I have learned along my career as a retoucher is that you can’t transform every image in a masterpiece. Are you looking at other retoucher’s portfolio and you feel like you can’t compare? I would suggest identifying if the images they’ve had their hand on are not of a better quality of what you are used to work on? Many websites such as Model Mayhem, Retouching Academy and Raw Bank on VK are offering good RAW images for retouch, but then you hit yourself of the issue that everyone has the same photos displayed, isn’t it? Why you don’t take the extra step of asking your favourite photographers if they could spare some images on a TFP basis that you could use in your portfolio? You might be pleasantly surprised about the results this action will bring you.
Is the quality of your work that you are not sure of? We all hit a wall sometimes when we believe that we have all the information we need to create good work, we know few techniques that we use all over again and we hope that this is enough. Well, sometimes it is not. There are a wide range of free tutorials available online that you could take advantage of, that would teach you how to take your portfolio to the next level. Remember, this is a progressive field; new and better ways are being discovered and shared with the world every day, so please make sure you don’t miss it. I will share in another blog post some of the best tutorials that I know of online, so stay tuned. You can also subscribe so you will always receive the latest updates.
Perhaps you have been put down by some negative feedback? It is just natural that after spending few hours on a project you would expect some praise for it and you probably post it online with the hope that this time you will blow their minds. But we all know that most of the time this is not the case and there might always be someone, or multiple people that will critically review your work –sometimes even in a very aggressive way. Now, you must remember something: every review is also left by an individual that has its own vision and perspective, and that sometimes people with no knowledge of the field will still comment on your work and make an impact of you. I like to make a “background check” on the individuals that are sharing their opinions on my work so I would know if I would like to take their feedback into consideration. Feedback is always good, but (for me at least) only if it comes from professionals in the field, from people whose work you admire or at least from a retoucher that is better than you (why not?). The key is to select the constructive comments that will not only point your mistakes, but also suggest ways to correct them while also specifying the good parts of your work. Here is an article that I love about constructive criticism, so feel free to explore: https://uxplanet.org/the-art-of-constructive-criticism-e8addcfd9e18
Maybe you just need a break? Creativity is not something that you can just pull out of the pocket and sometimes you just need to get away for a while and rediscover yourself. It can become exhausting to always be there, always create something new, always give – sometimes is better to get something for a change, so just go out there and do something else that you like (even if it’s cooking, sports, hanging out with friends). Believe, this will be a life changer if you do this from time to time and you allow yourself to do more than one thing in your life.
It might simply be that you need to keep going. You might be finding yourself looking for a quick fix, a short way to become great at what you are doing, but the unsexy truth is that every skill requires all your commitment and sometimes you just have to do the same thing again and again until you make it right. Some techniques are more difficult than others, but are the best and most recommended by respectful professional so they might worth the time, don’t you agree? All the knowledge in the world means nothing, if you’re not applying it repeatedly and over time. So don’t give up just because you didn’t succeed today at something, try again and again until you will forget that you were struggling with it.
So, these being said, make sure that you identify the problem first and then review the steps that need to be taken to make you love your work again. It’s really important to look back at your portfolio and be proud of your achievements, and even if this is not the easiest thing to attain, it is not impossible. Find new way of displaying your work, ask for constructive criticism, spend time on your personal and professional growth, learn new techniques and make sure you don’t give up without trying.
Do you have anything else to add to the above? Please feel free to contact me directly via my Feedback form: https://www.ravoraartistry.co.uk/feedback