If there is anything photographers are hungry for besides new gear, it’s a thoughtful and insightful critique of their work. It’s not as easy to find as one might think. There are no shortages of people who will voice their opinion on your photography, but what we are often looking for is a fresh perspective. We desire a point of view that not only confirms that we are doing something right, but that also suggests how to take our work to the next level.
Eyeist is an online photography review site, which offers the kind of evaluation, and critique that is often relegated to in-person portfolio reviews at photo conventions or media speed dating events. Using the tools of the Internet, Eyeist brings together photographers with industry professionals including photo editors, art buyers and professional photographers. It offers photographers a chance to receive feedback and make contact with people who are actively working with or as professional photographers.
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They offer four basic services that include a Basic Review, in which you submit a portfolio and receive an audio recording of the evaluation. The Website Review assesses your website, not only for its imagery but its effectiveness in communicating yourself and your work. The Live Review features a 20-minute live session with a reviewer, providing a complete interactive experience.
I was able to take advantage of their fourth offering with an Editing and Sequencing session with Eyeist co-founder, Allegra Wilde. With years of experience in the photographic industry including roles as a creative director and independent consultant to many professional photographers, it was a chance for me to get an experienced eye on some work that I recently produced in New Orleans.
With the Editing and Sequence service, photographers are able to submit up to 150 photographs from which the reviewer makes a selection of 30 images. Based on the intended goals of the photographer for the work (a book, a gallery on their website, a promo piece), the reviewer makes a selection and orders them in a way that allows the collection of images to have their greatest impact.
After uploading my 47 images to their site, which was done with a straightforward web-based uploader, I answered several questions about the work and my intentions for it and waited for a review which arrived in the form of an audio file that I accessed on the Eyeist website, where I could also view the final edit choice individually and in sequence.
I was fascinated not only by her choice of imagery, but her clear and concise explanation of not only why she liked and selected certain images, but also the reasoning behind choosing this particularly sequence of the work. While part of my expectation was to gauge the effectiveness of the photographs in communicating my experience in New Orleans, her review provided me some valuable perspective as to how I could improve my approach.
The idea of exploring certain personalities or locations in depth was a suggestion she made, which really struck a chord for me. Though my time there was limited, she shared that such an immersion even for a relatively short period of time, would allow me to delve into a community in a more personal and unique way. This would likely result in images that would not only be different from others, but that would be differentiated because it involved my own personal experience of the people and the place.
That statement alone was a valuable take-away for me.
As Wilde later explained to me Eyeist is a service that provides photographers not only a place to determine how good or effective they are as photographers, but also provides them valuable insight of how they can define themselves in the current competitive world of photography.
“We get a wide range of people from the retired doctor who just wants to know whether he’s any good,” Wilde said, “to the working professional who is interested in finding a book deal or exploring a new market. Our reviewers provide an educated pair of eyes on a photographer’s work.”
Some of these reviewers include photographers with accomplished bodies of work such as music photographer and portrait artist, Lynn Goldsmith and photographer and director Michael Grecco. Their roster also includes notable art buyers, art directors and curators including Wally Mason, Anna Alexander, and Stephen Meyers.
With a Basic Review starting off at just $100, Eyeist provides a valuable service at a very affordable and attractive price point. Its value is increased because of the unique access it provides to the very media professionals who’s opinions and work influence much of the imagery we see today.
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