When Following Your Dreams Learning By Doing Works Best

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There was a time in my pre-dreaming life, where I would have done most anything to avoid the experience of having people evaluate and critique my work. But this is slowly becoming a thing of the past.

This week I attended a photography competition where people openly critiqued the photos that were submitted.

During the competition, I sat across the aisle from one ‘judge’ – and watched him look at each image as it came across the screen.

There were a few common themes in his critiques and suggestions tonight:

  • When setting up your shot, make sure you have something “going on” in the foreground, middle ground and back ground. Watch for the ‘rule of thirds.’
  • Look for images that have energy and movement, and ones that “scream the story”
  • Make sure to pay attention to how many elements in each image will be fighting for your attention
  • When setting up for a shot, always be aware of light, texture, time of day and composition

Many of the photographs I saw up there during the slide show could have been “mine” – the perspectives, for the most part, were pretty traditional and that is how my eye sees potential images. Although I cant really explain it, seeing those images gave my confidence a little boost, and it made me feel like I was a part of something bigger.

I also had a chance to sit next to a fellow Olympus camera user and try to help him figure out a few technical settings on his camera – if you can believe that. I was able to help him and actually have a clue as to what I was talking about.

What I’m realizing is that learning by doing is the best learning style for me – and being around others with the same passion and willingness to put themselves out there gives me hope that I won’t have to travel through this dream alone.


Remy’s dream is creating opportunities for photography showings and public displays of her work.

  • I think the right kind of critique can save your dream, or even make your dream possible. I think of how the athletic coaches have shaped my son’s dream of being a sports star. He’s recently working with a coach who is re-training him on how to be a better runner, so he can try out for his dream position in football. This particular running coach is relentless on technique and the basics and my son must do it over and over again. My son takes what the coach says with great excitement and practices everything he says — a testament to how we should handle constructive feedback.

    Accepting feedback gracefully is a lesson in humility and an opportunity to become the best that we can be. Congratulations on taking this important step forward with your dream.


    • Remy Gervais, Top Photographer

      Thanks Cath. I am going to join the group and we’ll see how it goes! thanks for your ongoing blogging feedback, I hope i accept it gracefully enough for you to keep giving it to me! xox Rem

  • Corey

    Here’s some great advice I was given: Don’t look outward for your style; look inward, but do know your style. Never apologize for your own sense of beauty. Learn to say “I’m a photographer” out loud with a straight face. Accept critique, but don’t apply it blindly.

    • Remy Gervais, Top Photographer

      Corey i LOVE that. Thanks for the reminder. xo Rem

  • Remy Gervais, Top Photographer

    Thank you Kathy! It has been a very interesting journey, and one that I’ll be on for a while…and if the bullet points help, that is awesome…They are things that I’ve thought about before, but not so much in the set up of the shot, but looking at the image afterward, thinking “now did i get all those bullet points in there?” xox Rem

  • Kathy Lingo

    Very nice, heart-felt and “glimpse into Remy’s dream” article.” I love knowing you no longer fear the criticism of your work, that you can begin to welcome it. And I love the picture–is that yours? I’ve been taking pictures all my life for the sheer love of it and I’m quite sure I’ve never consciously taken into consideration your bullet points–it will be fun to incorporate some of the knowledge you so succinctly shared. Thank you, Remy, for sharing bits of your life and your art and your journey–we all grow and learn from each other. Kathy