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My very close friend (I consider her a sibling) is asking for help with promoting their photography on social media to get their amateur photography business off the ground, but they have only a little experience and many pictures up on social media that seem not to be on par with semi-professional photography businesses.

  • My friend also recently had a baby, so they are busy with caring for the baby.
  • My friend lives in an area that is very rural, so that is one of the issues-travel to other places is very hard, (plus having a 1 month old baby travel is not easy)
  • My friend is trying to do this for additional income to support their new baby.
  • She lives in a different state than I do, and we live around 10-12 hours apart.
  • She has not taken any college classes for business or photography.
  • She has no intention of hiring me, she only wants me to post on facebook about the business and promote awareness of her business among my friends.
  • She sometimes visits an area where i know my friends from college live. This area is also near my mom's parents and siblings, so she visits family then as well.

I want to continue supporting and encouraging the friend, but not bring down their skill level by telling them that they need more work and they need to take classes.

My goal is to continue having a positive relationship the best I can, and to encourage her to keep going, and not necessarily involve me in promoting her business.

How do I encouragingly critique my friend for her photography work?

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Unfortunately, being an artist is never easy. If you want to achieve results, you have to try and fail, try and fail, over and over. Sure, some people have natural talent, but it only goes so far -- and, in fact, most of the people you think are really "talented" have years of experience to teach them what works and what doesn't.

Here's a simple trick for constructively critiquing anyone: Always offer a positive comment before you say anything negative. For example:

I really like the way you've used light and dark to enhance the subject ... but I think you could use just more contrast. It looks a little washed out. What kind of filters are you using? Here, let me show you what I mean ...

You should also provide a solution (hopefully a simple one) to the problem -- like buying a new polarizing filter or changing the aperture setting, or investing in some good reflectors. If you can, help your friend to use the new equipment, and compare the results.

If that is beyond your own personal technical skill, then maybe do some research online to find a site that can give professional advice.

I think your photos could use more contrast. I'm not sure how to do this, but let me show you this website where they recommend ...

The encouragement comes when they understand that it's a constant learning process, and sometimes little tricks can produce amazing results. Over time, these add up.

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