Experts, instructors and even your customers can be wrong.
Here is the scenario, you photographed a landscape image that you personally love. You violated some of the typical rules for landscapes - foreground element and interesting sky but maybe your sky was of the pretty blue wide open variety. I am a habitual learner and knower as I am one to freely admit, do-er has always been my weakness. Like this blog post, hand wrote it a couple weeks ago, is just now being typed. One of my favorite things to watch while photo editing or just sitting around is to watch videos on the web. Not those videos, photography related videos, videos like "The Grid". The grid is hosted by Scott Kelby and he had Rick Sammon on the show to blind critique some images that were submitted. Both these dudes are excellent photographers, instructors and just great to learn from. During one of the critiques, there was a landscape photo with a big blue sky and the comment was, that it should have been less a focus in the photo and as I looked out of my rainy window here in Portland Oregon I wondered if that belief is only due to preestablished rules or due to personal environment. Scott is in Florida so a blue beautiful sky is, well, boring. Like the Empire State building to New Yorkers, it is just there. I happen to love Oregon landscapes with a blue sky, as it is not the norm and I find those images wonderful, but in a landscape competition, that photo I like would loose.
Then there is a recent photo subject I worked with. When I was done, I thought each image given to her was outstanding and so much better than anything she has taken before, and it turns out after, of course, my opinion and I may be wrong. One of the things that she "required" before shooting was professionally edited shots. No problem and I believe I delivered. Soon thereafter she started posting on her Instagram photographs taken by another "professional editing photographer". All the photos had a glow effect, very soft lighting and much more and to me was total shit for work. They made my head hurt but she continues to share them, she is wrong but again, this is subject to my opinion and not real hard facts. What do I know, the other model in the photos has over 15,000 followers on her Instagram, so I should just shut the hell up but they are so bad and she only shared a few.
Last story for today. A very well known and excellent women's portrait photographer, Sue Bryce, whom I greatly admire and respect used to be all about natural light. Now on her Instagram, I see Profoto huge softboxes and studio lights. I believe my photography crush knows that it is ok to change and evolve your talents. In the Creative Live classes I own of hers, the message I took from them:
Maybe what I do is not for them, so do what you do, find your customer.
Here is how I see it, be the artist, learn the technical stuff to make the art how you want to make it and leave the anal retentive stuff to those that need to be exactly right to justify their art. You will not please everyone and don't be insulted when they just don't dig your vibe.