Week 2 / Project 2

Photography FRESH START

Week 2 / Project 2 – Things I Learned From Reading Your Comments

There have been almost 1000 comments so far in this Fresh Start program. While I can’t answer them all, I do read them ALL.  While reading them, I’ve learned there are about 3-4 key things I see over and over again that seem to be holding people back.  So I decided to discuss those things in hopes that one tiny change in your mindset right now, can have a snowball effect on your success in photography this year.  Thanks and, of course, please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences below. 
NOTE: This is a 20 minute video of me talking (no screen capture to follow along). If you want to speed it up, click on the gear icon in the lower right corner of the playbar. I may sound like a chipmunk but you’ll get through the video faster. 


  1. Roger Robertson

    Thank you for commenting on the basic issues of our personal over expectations. For me as a hobbyist photographer, I recognize that my frequent use of my camera equipment is as important as someone performing to play in the band. None of us are familiar enough with what is in our hand unless we have practiced over and over.
    Thank you for warning us about how other’s comments can pull the life out of what we are otherwise are finding great joy.

  2. Cynthia Hollingsworth

    Wow — this was powerful. I do want to improve my photography, but I always find excuses to not go out because work and working out and family time always seem to fill up the hours. Maybe I need to give myself permission that that is OK for now. And yes, intimidation is a very real thing. I have the opportunity to participate in an exhibit, and I thought that I shouldn’t because I’m not good enough to not be embarrassed. I have to spend some time thinking about all of this. May even have to revisit this video later.

  3. Barbara Johnstone

    Thank you Matt. Great points and reminders. And I learned that something I am always asking for, may not be what I need to do. I need to figure out how to build a group of people whose opinions I trust.

  4. Kim Braley

    Excellent points, all of them (uncomfortably so, at times :)). Thank you for taking all of the comments and feedback and consolidating them into valuable insights for us. I think your honesty is what builds trust in your brand – keep it coming!

  5. Patricia Saul

    INTENTION is so important. thanks for reminding us.

  6. Kathy

    Another great talk. I’m learning a lot from the comments as well. I find that I, too, am intimidated by others’ comments but if I don’t share photos, I lose interest. Having thousands of photos on my hard drive does not keep me shooting. So I’m going to focus more this year and share but not ask for feedback. I’ve done that in the past and gotten either “this is an awesome shot” or “this shot is ho-hum.” Neither helps me grow.

  7. William Thomes

    Hello Matt. One of the things keeping me focused is my “shooting buddy”.
    We’re also good friends and have a lot of the same likes and dislikes. Since it takes time, our wives are good friends as well so we often plan an outing we all can enjoy. Often, one of us will give the other a call and say- this is happening let’s take a look. Helps keep me in the game.

    The best part is that he’s a much better photographer who is well rounded, so I’m constantly learning as he doesn’t mind sharing his knowledge. Also, he’s not shy and will raise his eyebrows if needed….and quick to compliment if warranted. We’ll also get together and watch videos over coffee and donuts.

    Find a buddy…..same interests……with family’s that get along. It will be more fun and keep you in the game.

    Thanks for this course.

  8. Joshua Mondshein

    Hey Matt, thanks for taking the time to do this and try to help us, I really appreciate it.

  9. Daniel Douglas

    This one really opened my eyes. It was like you’ve been watching me. Great food for thought. Thanks Matt.

  10. Sjoerd Woudstra

    Hi Matt

    Well spoken. Especially the last part was a real eyeopener. This reminds me of the old ages where there was a competition between people who owned Canon gear and people who owned Nikon gear. I owned a Canon camera and was very happy with it, but all the time I heard comments of Nikon folks like “canon s*cks”, “it makes bad pictures” and so on. And it reflected down to the photos I took and the quality of them. This has kept me for years sharing my pictures to other folks than my friends and family. Being member of a camera club? No way!!
    But a few years ago my daughter said to me: dad, why don’t you publish your photos on Instagram? And so I did. And to my surprise there were people who really liked my pictures and gave positive feedback. And none of them criticized the pictures in a negative way, which is to my opinion a common feature inside clubs where there are always people who think they are better than the rest and express that in a negative, unpolite manner.

  11. Silvina

    Thank you for keep me thinking and growing in my photography journey. It took me 20 years to call myself a photographer.

  12. Helen

    Woah you hit the nail on the head for me! I felt like you were observing some of the camera club meetings I attended at work. I felt so initimidated!

    I took notes during this video and my take a ways are to center yourself around people who are helpful and to understand what my goal is.

  13. Sabine Lommatzsch

    Hi Matt,
    thanks again for your videos!

    There are two most important things for me in this video from week 2/project 2:
    1.) “constructive criticizing is a skill” and the consequence > “Don’t ever put your photos out there for public critique”
    2.) “surround yourself and ask people, that you know want to make you better”.

    Greetings from Kiel (Northern Germany),

  14. John Chasse

    Matt, great talk about the intimidation factor. It really hit home. I think there can be a great difference between a shot that I like and is personal for me and a technically correct shot that can pass muster at my photography interest group. I like your idea about a introduction about the shot that I like and why.

    This series is much better than i expected and is providing motivation for me to enjoy my photography more.

    Thank you for your effort and insights.

  15. Barry Park

    Hi Matt

    I like your philosophical approach to life. In the past I was keen to win Trophies and succeed winning many trophies over a period of years and then I realises I wasn’t enjoying my photography producing pictures for Club judgers. Since then I have started to take images purely for my own pleasure that I can immerse my self in and every time I look at them I feel the moment I’m happy. I still enter the occasional competitions and if the judge is myopic I win a trophy but the picture is me what I want. Clubs are an important part of our photographic journey but remember judges look first for faults in their eyes and the overall picture second. One judge can give a picture 20 points and the next judge 14 it happens.

    I like your easy style Matt and dedication to teaching and always lean something, keep up the good work.


  16. David Travis

    I love your honesty in this video Matt. It’s why I keep coming back to you as an educator.

  17. Francisca van raalte

    Thanks Matt, i enjoyed the episode.In this day & age there are so many photos made each day.Most are just snap shots.Here we are talking about photography.Reading the comments most of us here have photography as a hobby.Think that joining a group of likeminded people is helpful because you can learn a lot from other peoples photos.Giving a negative critique is easy.Better is it to give feedback and explain what you think the photographer could do ( lightning, camera setting, use filter, subject placement, background, editing, etc.).You do not know what the circumstances were when the photo was made ( time, weather, place,etc.).You can learn from looking at photobooks, from professionals,but best way is looking at photographs.Discuss about it,give tips that might be useful in the ffield,.In the end when you have a photo that you are proud of share it with the world.

  18. Gail Scott

    Great video Matt. I loved your point that you have to DO THE WORK to improve, not just talk about wanting to learn or get better. I loved the point that it is a habit that you can create and there is always time to do what you want to do. Thanks so much, I am getting a lot out of these videos.

  19. Sharon

    I love the idea that not everyone who offers a critique is necessarily good at critiquing.

    • Francisca van raalte

      Giving a negative critique is easy.Looking at a photo you have to try and envision what the maker of that photo want to show to you .What is the subject, circumstances ( weather, lighting, background, etc),goal to achieve.Better is it to give a positive critique.What would you do in this situation ??.Getting closer to subject, use certain type of lighting, other camera settings, use a filter, etc.By looking at other photos you can learn from each of them.In the end what matters is that you are happy with the end result.

  20. Ken Moore

    Hey Matt, intimidation, you hit it dead on. Procrastination, not so much. Since last year when one of the editing software Facebook pages had a challenge to take a photo each day and post it, I’ve pretty well gone everywhere with my camera. But posting the photos I take doesn’t happen. I take pictures with the equipment I can afford and of things I like. I enjoy heading out looking for something in particular, get the picture(s) and going home and editing them. That’s what I enjoy. Then it comes to posting them and everything stops. I find I am always comparing mine to others posted on that page and backing away. Your first challenge of posting my favorite photos almost didn’t happen because when I looked at what others were posting, to me mine didn’t look as good. Took me a while before I came to the realization that they are “my favorite”.
    Like I said, my camera is always ready. While listening to your latest video today I walked past my dining room window, grabbed my camera and shot off 14 pictures of a couple deer feeding on the bushes outside my house. Later I’ll edit them and maybe send 1 to my daughter but the rest will just sit on my computer.

  21. Elwira Kotowska

    Thanks for wise insights! Both in video from you Matt and from all of you who comment. I believe that we are first a human being who likes or dislikes other people. Then if we belong to the first group then we are humble photographers, writers or teachers. Looking forward next lesson!

  22. Mike Moffat

    Great video Matt. The intimidation part really resonates with me. I joined a local photo club at the invitation of a friend I met through photography. He’s a super guy, friendly and a heck of a photographer. I enjoyed the presentation, I enjoyed the people. BUT when they started in with presenting photos and the rules and the 5 Judge panel man I was never more intimidated. (well there was this one time when I was scrutinized by my wife’s family LOL) anyway these five judges would talk about and cut your photo up or praise it, even argue. I thought about it and just no way I was doing that. My friend is still a friend by the way. I post my photos on FB mainly in photography groups, or bird groups. I always answer the question where should I learn about photoshop and/or Lightroom I send them to you and another educator (Ben Willmore) your both great educators. Neither of you intimidate me with your styles and you my friend Matt your best of 2019 were fantastic loved em all.

  23. Linda Cross

    Matt, I so much appreciate your teacher’s heart! Thank you for your encouragement today. It was what I needed to hear. Favorite phrases that will go in my journal for today: “Be intentional!” “Am I willing to do what it takes to improve?” “Make it a priority, no matter how much it hurts at first..” These are applicable in many parts of life. Why would photography be any different?! Thank you again!

  24. Richard Salmon

    another great video with amazing insight…..

    • Aino

      You are always so sweet and awesome Matt! Big fan. You are encouraging and wise. Always enjoy listening to you. ?

  25. Raymond Jobin

    Wonderful video, Matt! All that you said was spot-on and resonated with me and made me think, “That’s me!” Enjoy all your videoss and workshops, so from one professional educator to another, well done!

  26. David L Hall

    Another thought provoking video.

    On intimidation and sharing. On my cards, in the signature line of my emails and on my website I include — Photography — “If we don’t share it-what’s the point”


  27. Irene

    Everything you say, Matt, applies to my artwork as well as photography. It’s hard to overcome intimidation and rejection.

    I hope I can finally create a website and put my work out there.

  28. sammiesibemom

    HI Matt, I love you and you tell us the truth! WOW – this video really hit home with me. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us especially about the world out there and what other people say and think about our photography. I’m going to make 2020 the best year of my photography! JILL

  29. Andrew Crane

    This is year two of fresh start for me. Last year I was using a borrowed camera; this spring I bought a used Nikon D5000. Last year Matt had us exploring different types of shooting, food, still life, these were great exercises for me.
    See it’s like fly fishing, you always want a new rode and better gear, and you buddy always catches the bigger fish. That’s the way I feel about my photography, so today I did a shoot with the camera I have and my idea. https://adobe.ly/376FBkm
    Am I a professional stylist, was the light just right, was it a full frame camera no. But, I dried everything in that photo myself, I thought about the layout did what I wanted to do and I think it’s awesome. Will It be on the cover of some food magazine, maybe someday, but right now I have a day job I’m very happy with and photography is a great adventure that my wife and I enjoy together. I had a great time this morning and next week I will be back at work thinking about the next photo shoot that will make me happy. Thanks Matt, hope you get to Breckenridge this year, skiing is my other big passion.

  30. Gary Gibas

    Another great video! I definitely identify with it being hard to get back into photography once you stop for awhile, and making excuses to not do it. Intimidation is there too. I think joining a camera club would help me, but I’m intimidated by the possibility that the majority of the members would not be helpful.

    Your video on editing the Best of 2019 showed me that you can take very good photos and make them great, so maybe I can take some of my photos and make them better after I improve my post processing skills. I found some classes that I purchased and started but never completed. One goal is to restart and complete the majority of them.

    I’m already waiting to see what you present next week.

  31. Robin Martin

    Yes, thanks Matt! I’m in that 60 an over bracket and you do suddenly become either invisible or incompetent. This alway makes me question my decisions. So with all this said I’m going to get out there and shoot for me. Lol

  32. Harald Koch

    Hi Matt, hi everybody,
    here are some of my thoughts:
    I’ve read almost every comment in the last few weeks and I keep reading “I’m not going to take pictures.” “I don’t like my photos.” “The others’ pictures are better.” “I don’t have a website.” “Nobody looks at my photos.” “I can’t handle negative criticism.” “I’m having trouble with the image processing.”

    I myself love to take photos and also to edit them, that is my passion. But I’ve been sitting at home all winter and haven’t used my camera. So what!
    We should not put ourselves under such pressure. Who of us lives from taking pictures? For most of us it is a hobby. (A great hobby, by the way!)

    Until the middle of last year I had a website at http://www.Zenfolio.com for $60 a year and nobody looked at it. I was frustrated…
    Since last autumn I have a new website: https://haraldk.wixsite.com/photo-design
    It costs nothing! Now I don’t care if someone looks at my photos… (You are invited 🙂 )
    …and it’s much nicer than the old one! And a lot of visitors have been there!

    Some of my photos I had on Instagram. I waited for “Likes”… I deleted my account. I don’t take photos for “Likes” but to take photos for me.

    If we take all the pressure off and then go away again, to a nice place (I live in Hamburg, that’s easy) and then take photos, they will be good!
    My best ones will be on my website, or not… I decide all that!

    By the way, I also looked at all the photos of your “Best of 2019”, all photos were very good. So don’t hide at home, go outside (you only learn photography while taking pictures), take pictures and be happy…

    Greetings from sunny Hamburg.

  33. Glyn Stevens

    Hi Matt,
    Like others I am really enjoying this series. The intimidation section I can relate to. I belong to camera club and the photo’s shown by others in the group are amazing. Even judges who come to judge the competitions say how high the standard is. The intimidation I feel comes at 2 levels one is just seeing the breath taking shots people take and think I can never match that level (some of that is because a high number of winning shots come from overseas in exotic locations- which financially one day I hope to do) but I do try a learn from those shots. And the other intimidation comes from when I do put my photos up because of the high standard of others mine always seem to get the low numbers 6,7,8’s. which causes me to not share my photo’s.
    Some here my say give up the club but I enjoy going and learning from this group. I think I may need to find a safe place to share my photos.

    • Kathi Hunt

      This is totally “me”! I feel the same way many times in my club. I agree with you that I learn so much in every competition night that I keep going. I may never be able to shoot in exotic places; I have learned to try to do my best from where I am. I have found a select group of club members who share my feelings and my goals. Maybe that could help you too. We have a closed FB group to share with each other.

    • Francisca van raalte

      Hi Glynn.I’m curious about the people who are in your photogroup.Are they all at the same level ( i.e hobby) or are there (semi)professionals ??.I don’t think that photos from tropical locations are more likely to win.It revolves around the subject, what is “”the story “”of your photo??( what do we see, what are you trying to tell to people who lokk at your photo, what do you envision ).Why do you think your photos or worse than the others ??. Depens also on the judges.Everyone looks at a photo in a different way.Maybe the club should use different judges each year.I don’t think that giving up is the best solution.Like you say you learn from the photos.I have a few tips for you that might be usefull.Look at photocritiques given by professionals,& learn from them because they explain what is good, points where you can improve, & what they would do in this situation.Check out the website from Jared Polin ( Fro Knows Photo ) and Creative live.There you can watch free lessons in photography but the also do critiques by several photographers ( for example Art Wolfe).

  34. lacewood

    OMG intimidation ” .. you addressed the elephant in the room. I rarely share photos, and your right – what is correct editing , i always worry what will anyone will think , have I done it right? , is it good enough?, maybe I should ?… then its …well I won’t share my pictures,. and your right, when I really think about it , who really cares’ no ones really watching my work, – . being scared of critics , feeling exposed’ makes it hard to grow, learn but here ..really here with people here, its more chilled everyones not showing to better each other, well thats how I feel. Having a web page is difficult, in being out there , yet I admire so many who have done it – their work .
    Guess its like art (painting /drawing) -I’m the artist …only I decide when its finished , its really my interpretation.
    If Picasso did it like everyone said , well would he be Picasso? – DaVinci ,(-my favourite) quirks and all , amazing in their own right,

    Another challenge, bring on 2020′

  35. Mary C

    Matt, thanks much for taking the time to address these important issues. I struggle with many of them and am always happy to get some new and fresh ideas for how to overcome them. As usual, you always accomplish this with forthrightness and humility. For this I am very grateful. Thanks again; please keep it up.

  36. Barb

    Matt I have really enjoyed the previous 3 videos, but seriously this is the best advice ever.

    Almost 4 years ago a friend, who is also a pro photographer, said to me if I wanted to get better, I needed to shoot something, anything, every day. I’m into month 43 of a 365 project that is prompt driven. Some images are junk, some are fabulous, most are somewhere in-between. The reality is that this month, all of the images are better then 43 months ago.

    I think that something that many people forget is that when someone else critiques your photograph, they could be absolutely out to lunch. It is their opinion and it doesn’t matter how “professional” they are. You can learn and agree from what they say or totally ignore it, but you should never assume that what they say is the absolute truth or take a negative comment personally. Knowing this, makes it much easier to share my work.

  37. Vonda

    Hey Matt,
    Thanks for this “Fresh Start challenge”. Your insight about intimidation really hit home for me! I’m not new to photography but don’t feel that I’m at a professional level either, tho that’s where I want to be! And God knows I’ve bought enough courses where I should be! 😉 But there’s something I’m “missing” in the settings and just can’t seem to get it figured out and it’s so frustrating not having anyone local that I can discuss and show my problem to without feeling like a complete idiot! The only organization I can find in my area is the state chapter of PPA and the president of that is someone that I sort of know and he is an awesome photographer so there’s no way I would put myself or my photography in front of them! Eek!

    And with the best of 2019 assignment, I did not realize how little I had actually taken photos last year! And I don’t have any site to post photos yet, but I am working on that. Also, I did get all my courses organized and listed so at least got that done, so thanks for that push! So for this year, I am making appointments with myself to get out there and take photos every week! I’m really enjoying this challenge. Thanks again for doing it!

  38. Bente Andermahr

    Great stuff Matt,
    You have your finger on the problem.
    Much inspired and motivated.

  39. Lyndie

    Here are my photos. I finally caught up and figured out how to put photos in the collection. I could not find my previous post from today or my post from last week.

    • Justine

      I particularly like that last shot! You chose a really good angle and your timing was spot-on to capture the planes against the pathway of clouds.

  40. Sharon Brownlow

    The intimidation is very real. I think for me, my photography is so personal and I edit my photos to reflect what I saw and felt at the time I press the shutter. I share with family and friends on Facebook, and I get all these likes, and “beautiful” but I feel like they do that just because they are my family and friends. It feels pretty safe sharing there. If I feel very confident with a photo I may share it on the Nikon users page. I have a web sight with Zenfolio, but I never tell anyone about it. Listening to you talk , I’m thinking for growth I really should join a camera club. I’m a very quiet person, not outgoing and attending a camera club session full of strangers is terrifying.

    As far as finding time, I really really try. In fact I wake up each day hoping to get out with my camera. I’m up early, usually by 5:30 I have horses to feed and take care of and lots of chores and errands to do, but if the weather allows I try to sneak in an hour or so to get in some camera joy. This time of year, the weather is always terrible and we have very little daylight so it is a bit of a challenge.

    As far as organizing my gear, I have made it my priority in the last year to keep organized and having my camera bag always ready to go. I have two cameras now, so I make sure at least one of my kits is always prepared.

    Thanks for the video, you are making my uncomfortable, and that is a good thing.

    • Gail

      Hi Sharon,
      Like the way you put it as far as being very personal. I shared on Flicker for a while and then took them off public view.

      Live in a rural community and I feel my subjects appeal more to me than other people. Family seem to appreciate my photos most because they are dear to their hearts too.

    • Vonda

      Hey Sharon,
      I agree on the intimidation of being in a camera club! I would love to do that also. But the only organization I can find in my area is the state photographers association and the president is the photographer that did my niece’s wedding and he & his wife are SO good! I feel like there’s no way I could associate with this caliber of photographers! It’s terrifying!
      On another note, I would give ANYTHING to have my horses still! They along with my dog were my favorite subjects to photograph! So sometimes I would just take my camera to the barn with me when feeding and snap shots of them then. At least, you would be getting some camera time in! Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t til after I lost all my animals that I realized I should’ve been doing Pet photography all these years!! Don’t miss out on your time to get photos of your babies!

      • Martin Tomes

        I know how you feel about showing your work to people who take fantastic images, but what you don’t see are the thousands of images which they take which are no better than yours. We had Ricard Peters, a photographer who won European Wildlife Photographer of the Year come to our club and rather than just show his best pictures he showed the process of getting them. An example is that he wanted a picture of a Puffin, so he showed us his first attempts which were no better than you or I could have got, it took him years to get it but in the end he got a very different from normal beautifully lit image of a Puffin which stood out and would sell. Don’t be intimidated by how good someone is, talk to them and like Matt says, find out if they are helpful or more interested in feeding their own ego. He also said he had taken a lot of his best photographs (including the one which won European Wildlife Photographer of the Year) in his back garden: https://www.richardpeters.co.uk/wildlife-photography/back-garden-safari/

    • Francisca van raalte

      Hi Sharon. I think you should join a camera club.Tthe place to meet people who have something in common with you : photography.Makes it more easy to interact,looking & talking about photos from members..Photography is personal as you say.Each photo shows how you see the world, you envision how your next photo looks like.Everybody has his/her own style of photographing & editing.That is what makes you stand out from the crowd.Decide what photos you are proud of ( you think that are your best ones ), put these out into the world.Do not get intimidated by negative critiques, it is very easy to give these.Better look at positives comments, learn from people perspectives on your photos, that is what makes you better.

  41. Pete

    Try to make folks better than you are!

    F A N T A S T I C

  42. Anne Sandler

    Hi Matt
    I’m a Toastmaster, and the one thing we teach as we evaluate speeches is that any critique is subjective. The same goes for sharing photos and comments made. I’ve shared a photo that I thought was okay but not great only to get a phenomenal number of “likes” and comments. Sometimes I share something I love and it falls flat. We all like different things and have various opinions. I also belong to a camera club that has juried competition each month. Names are not attached to the photo. Some of the members are superb photographers. I put my images out there to learn from whoever is judging, and I’ve gotten better as a result. I’m not thinking my scores will compete with the superb photographers, but a couple of times I did score enough to be considered in the final pass through.
    Regarding procrastination, the best thing I did was do the 365 one year. That was truly a game changer for me. However, I still procrastinate about learning Photoshop. And, yes, I did buy your course about 2 years ago. I started prioritizing time, did it for a few day, life interfered and I haven’t gotten back to it. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Justine

      Let’s be blunt: many people – and especially people who are not seriously into photography – have no clue about what is and isn’t a good photo. Often the “like” is because they like the subject matter of the photo, not because it’s a particularly good photo of that subject. I often see people see “Great photos” under social media posts of bad or, at best, mediocre photos. Like you, I have found that the number of “likes” I get on my own photos does not strongly correspond with what I consider their photographic merit. But thankfully I am in the 40-50s age group, so I long ago stopped caring about what other people think! I just roll my eyes and continue on my way with my own view.

      On the other hand, if someone with something to say has photographic expertise (such as an instructor on a photo course), I listen to and consider their feedback very carefully. But, every now and again, I may disagree with them, and that’s OK, because some things are subjective. I think I surprised one when he suggested that I straighten my lines on a building in one shot and I said I preferred it with the lines left sloping inwards. It was great feedback in one sense, as it made me more diligent from that point onwards in straightening lines. But guess what? In that particular shot, I still like it with the lines left as they are – a good example of Matt’s point about things not being absolute.

      • Francisca van raalte

        Hi justine.I totally agree with your response.It is very easy to give a negative critique.Better is it when you give feedback and explain what your thoughts are about the photo ( subject, placement, camera settings, lightning, background, etc.).In the end you are the one that decides what the photo is going to look like ( envision what story you want to tell).Maybe do some editing, if necessary, to the result of your labour: a photo you can be proud of.

  43. Ron Colemamn

    Hi Max, I certainly relate to your last item. That is why I quit going to my camera club. It was so boring to hear those critiques over and over again. Sometimes it seemed like the image would get so cropped down there was nothing left.

  44. paula t van every

    The part about getting your camera stuff organized spoke to me so I started today and may finish tomorrow – I don’t have enough cameras/lenses to get them too unorganized but have tangled cords, stray filters, and other accessories that need attending to.

    As photography forum moderator for 5 years, I’ve seen some folk, especially when first sharing photos, sadly lose all confidence when they get blistered by people who think they know more than they know. There’s an art to giving instructive feedback, and an art to receiving it too. I actually learned photography by participating in forums (no camera clubs where I live): asking questions, posting images for feedback, learning how to use that feedback and when to just say thanks and ignore it.

  45. Brian


    I especially enjoyed your comments on intimidation. No more than that, your observations resonate both for the photographer but also for the person who might be asked to comment on a particular photo. All too easy to discourage someone especially someone starting out. It’s a delicate balance to make it a teachable moment rather then someone’s ego trip.

    Your pointing this out was important.

  46. Jim Maire

    Great video Matt, you really zeroed in on the intimidation factor. I’ve been in the photo business for some 55 years and I’ve noticed that whenever I’m talking to someone about photography and ask to see some of their images, they always apologize about how they are no good. I know there are photographers out there that are very arrogant and will belittle another’s photos (I know because I have worked with a couple) but I guarantee that most photographers are helpful and enjoy answering questions. I always have a great time going over someone’s photographs, I like quizzing them about why they took the photo. You can learn a lot about a person that way. We need to share what we know and when that happens the photography realm is better for it. Keep up the good work Matt.

  47. Debbie McIntosh

    Hi Matt. Your analysis so succinctly articulated those elements that I struggle with and hadn’t even put into words. It is also very helpful to know that other people also struggle with these same things. As always, you continue to be so helpful in so many ways. Thank you.

  48. Virginia Jamieson

    Great program to date and love your video and comments today. I am a member of a local camera club and watch what others say about some pictures being critiqued and am thankful I don’t bring mine in to be ripped apart by people who have their “own opinions” never mind, experience. I know what to look for and what I like so I don’t let them bother me. But, I will admit that time gets away from us all at times and we don’t focus on what inspires us. My photography has been a passion for twenty years now and I still love it when I get some great shots. The “best of 2019” were gathered during a trip out west this past July and they focused me because of a gallery showing in Sept. 2019. I think if we have a specific event to look forward to, it helps with being focused on the learning and the effort. Thanks for all your courses, of which I have bought a few. Still trying to get the hang of the luminosity masking though. 🙂 All the best to you.

  49. Mary Murphy

    THanks Matt for the video. It felt like a wonderful pep talk and you brought some great wisdom. I belong to a challenge group and keeps me using my camera every week. I still have a long way to go but I am on the road!

  50. Neal Abello

    As always, you hit nail on the head. I find that my biggest problem, as some of the other folks, is intimidation but not from others so much as from myself. I am my own worst critic and don’t see my photos as very good although others like many of them. My wife is an artist and can see the good stuff in some of my photos but I find it hard to see for myself. I think that I must overcome this by sharing more with some of the people I know who are good photographers. That, I know, takes some guts on my part but will help in the long run. Thanks for doing this for us. I follow you extensively and my post processing skills have much improved. Now I have to realize that.

  51. Gail

    Wow! You hit the nail on the head in so many areas. I switch from a Canon EOS 7d to a smaller Sony two years ago and I feel like it is a new learning curve each time I get it out. Was trying to down size the amount of equipment I carry around. Charged batteries are always a challenge.

    My main intimidation has been the few times I have been ask to take people pictures such as backing up a photographer for wedding photos. It is a once in a lifetime chance and I know peoples expectations are high. Haven’t helped to many times but I do panic and saved the day a couple times which feels good. Birds don’t care if I get it right.

    Basically I shoot for the joy of it and pretty much on nice days only. ~Not connected to any other photographers in the area.

  52. Charles "John" Rossi

    Great ideas, thanks . . . and I like your photographs. You are an excellent edicaugtator and you are also an excellent photographer. Come to Denver someday and do a seminar. I will attend . .

  53. Mary Granger

    Hey Matt I really enjoyed this video. You have great insight into why people put off doing photography and what they could do better. I love your flossing example…it really fits.

    I belong to an online photo group called Create 52 led by Paul Tottman, in fact that is where I first heard about your videos. Anyway having a theme to photograph each week has really gotten me to take the time to increase my photography skills. This group is so very friendly and is great about giving positive feedback. When I don’t get out my camera for a few days, I am always feeling I need to get it out so I can shoot something for this group. It is a great way for me to keep focused.

    Again, thanks so much for Fresh Start 2020. I’m really enjoying it.

  54. Greg Bracco

    I love the flossing analogy!!!! Lately I’ve seen PS & LR groups on Facebook which encourage critical comments. I’ve been tempted to submit for comments. After seeing this video I am not going to. Thanks for that.

    I definitely am one of those people that say I’ll go out tomorrow, or I’ll do something today. I am very much in envy of people that carry a camera everywhere they go and just shoot and find things to shoot during their day.

    And when you spoke about intimidation I am my worst enemy.
    Great series, glad I joined up.

  55. Jack Gosnell

    Matt: great video.

    The three things for me that keep me actively shooting are .
    1. Failures are just learning tools.
    2. The fact that about half of my images with flaws in them are some of my most popular ( I’m talking soft focus ,noise, and things that my wife tells me I have to shoot even though I would just gone past.
    3. That my wife’s opinion on art is far better then mine.

  56. Mike Gegner

    Hi Matt,
    Excellent comments and I find myself suffering from a number of these issues, especially intimidation. Your example of sharing photos at a camera club is one of them. I’m always worried that they’re not going to be good enough. So, going forwad Im going to share photos each month. Thanks again for your insight and having been a participant in your Fresh Start program last year its helped me a tremendously.


  57. Tony Franco

    Thanks Matt
    You hit it on the head for me today. I really am intimidated. I have been a member of my local camera club for several years and I have not attended any session for the last 2 years. I felt intimidated. I have taken many of your courses on editing and I still struggle with how to get the perfect image. Thus I am always afraid to show my pictures at the club and always intimidated with the fact that I took so many courses yet I can edit well. In session 1 you said to post my favourite pictures from 2019 and I tried but stopped. I have Smugmug and just can t get myself to publish my pictures. Thank you for today you taught me to just put myself out there and not be afraid of what people may say. I am 63 and normally don’t care what people think of me or what I do. I am beyond that, but not with my photography.
    I am going to go publish some of my pics and just tell people what I like about them.
    thanks again for todays session.

  58. Jeff

    Great information Matt and it really hits home. Thanks you.

  59. Christopher Bates

    Excellent points. Procrastination is a killer for me and it good to be reminded of that time to time.

  60. Terry McConnell

    Thanks for the wise words Matt.
    I really like how you identify the intentions that
    a person needs away from the camera.


    At our festival we have put lots of the images on the city walls and the reason for this is many people are intimidated to even go into an art show or gallery. Luckily I am at an age where I’m not as intimidated anymore as you said.

    Seems this series is Marie Kondo for my photography: thank you. Looking at the focus video we decided we are “travel photographers” with underlying desire to make a diary of my life. Back to deleting 😉 Happy 2020



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