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Fix Your Flaws

"Charged"

"Charged"

Too many times I've seen people upload pictures and say something like, "Uhhgg I don't even really like this ... the blah blah blah looks a little weird and I just can't seem to get the blah blah to look quite right. Oh well here it is ..." It's as if some photographers think that by pointing out the flaws before the viewer spots them, it makes them okay. Negativity doesn't cancel out flaws, it accentuates them. More than half the time, you're going to be the only person to notice whatever it is that's bothering you anyway. Why tarnish your own hard work by pre-forming your audience's view of the pieces as not being that great? Putting something up and asking for constructive criticism in a Facebook group or something is one thing, but throwing a "finished" piece up in your portfolio and bashing on it just makes me want dole out face slaps.

You could have plopped that image up online and said, "Hey internet, check out my new piece of art!" Leave it at that. No one is going to notice whatever it is you dislike about the image unless it's pretty blatant ... Or you mention it. Now everyone is going to look at the thing that bothers you! Furthermore, if you knew about the "flaws," then why share it in the first place? Fix it!!! No one is making you put the picture online but you. If you're not happy with something, rather than slathering the internet with negative thoughts about your own work, just put in the extra time to make something you're truly happy with.  If it's too infuriating and you just can't seem to get it right, throw the image on a back-burner and give it some time before coming back to it later on down the road. (I myself have a couple "finished" images waiting in the wings to be revisited before any of you get to lay eyes on them.)

For this image, I spent hours adding in all the finishing touches ( ... well I do that for all my pictures, but anyway). Once I thought the image was "done" and ready to post online, I kept looking at the feet. It just didn't look like he was floating, so I kept darkening that area in hopes of drawing attention away from it.

Left is what I THOUGHT was the finished piece. The right is the actual finished piece after I redid the legs and finishing touches.

Every single one of my images gets "The Wife Test" before it can officially be called done. This very high-tech test consists of me showing the image to Sara and awaiting her solicited brutal honesty. I wanted to be done with the image and move onto the next project, but she too thought that it looked more like a bad composite of feet than a floating guy. For half a second the thought crossed my mind to just post it anyway, but reality slapped me in the face and I knew that (your wife is always right, it's science) every time I would see this image I'd look right at the feet. I don't think I would have mentioned to my audience what I felt like was the "flaw," but I know I would have always wished those feet looked different. Stupid feet.

I want to be totally proud of all my images. Which is why even though I knew it would take a lot more work on a piece I thought was finished, I decided to hold off on posting the image and keep working until it was REALLY done. It was certainly a bit of a pain in the butt to completely rework his bottom half, but in the end the extra time was totally worth it. Now when I look at the picture I only think, "Dang this came out really cooool," rather than, "Eww those feet look stupid, I'm a failure."

I'm sure if I posted the image when it was originally "finished," NO ONE WOULD HAVE EVEN NOTICED ANYWAY! Which is why you should never point out your flaws, and hopefully you won't have to, because you'll just fix them!! We are our own toughest critics, but we usually know what's best for us, so just listen to yourself (and your wife/significant other should you have one). You're smart, so just listen to your gut. Speaking of smart, the strapping young lad in this image is my brother Daniel! He just graduated with an associate's degree from Finger Lakes Community College in upstate New York and is about to transfer to Cleveland State University to finish out his bachelor's in "New Media." So watch out world, because there's another Cornelius boy about to take the creative world by storm ..... or by glowy electric sword.

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