Our (photographers) taste in photos vs the general public

Started 11 months ago | Discussions
Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: I doubt that comments here are really representative of all forum members
In reply to Tom Axford, 11 months ago

Tom Axford wrote:

I can only speak for myself, but I rarely comment on posted images unless I think I have something constructive to say (and I think that the OP is genuinely looking for constructive criticism).

Well, you found one of those.

In the great majority of cases, I may have an opinion on the images but I don't think I can make any really constructive suggestions, so I say nothing.

It is informative for me to know just to know "like" or "don't like". If a reason is given I may ask for clarification but if no reason is given I don't press for one.

On this occasion, I will make an exception and say that I like all three of your images (with no special preference for one over the others).

Thanks. I appreciate, just as much, those who have said they don't like any of them.

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: Our (photographers) taste in photos vs the general public
In reply to Mellowmark, 11 months ago

Mellowmark wrote:

Florida Nature Photographer wrote:

Thanks for your sharing your thoughts.

The first two photos lack clear points of interest/ subjects and it's not clear what the photo is of (apart from being of a pretty scene).

Thanks for reinforcing this point that I've received from others.

The second one has nice light but nothing of interest in the foreground. (I appreciate there may have been nothing of interest there).

I saw that light and knew it wouldn't last long. I pulled have to the side of the road and dove for my camera. I took a shot with a road and power lines in the foreground. Then I scurried across the road to get those out and what you see is what I had to work with.

Do you think having the road and power lines in the foreground would make it better. I suppose I should just post the shot when I get time.

The third one is stronger as it has a clear subject (the beautiful barn obviously), but I would experiment with different angles and framing, perhaps using the trees. Perhaps a crop would work to make the barn more prominent?

Great feedback. I've received the crop feedback on the barn several times now so I will post a re-cropped version when I get time so folks can judge.

Some more interesting light in the sky or on the barn (golden hour?)

The problem is when I'm out enjoying nature I can't shoot every nice scene at the golden hour. When I'm home I go to special places that I find specifically at the golden hour but that is harder to do when traveling.

Just my opinion though (which does not count for much) - after all opinions are like assh*les - we all have one.

But when added to those of others it helps create a much clearer idea of what is good and what isn't.

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: Barn: 3 small tweaks
In reply to Michael Jardine, 11 months ago

Michael Jardine wrote:

Nice pictures. My favorite was the barn. I made three small tweaks, only one of which really jumped out at me - the vertical lines of the barn, out-building, and water tank were not vertical, and that always bugs me. So I rotated to vertical.

I will compare yours to mine. I need to develop a better eye for that. I use auto level in Lightroom but it isn't perfect.

The other two smaller tweaks - purely personal - lifted the shadows to show more of the dark side of the barn, and reduced highlights to show more detail of the snow.

Good idea to reduce highlights. I will try that. I'm in the habit of enhancing them.

Thanks for taking the time to rework my photo.

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: Photographers are tougher technically/artistically...
In reply to Mike_PEAT, 11 months ago

Mike_PEAT wrote:

As a trained photo judge I see more than 20,000 images/prints in competitions. Most are just average, no technical flaws, but humdrum. Some are above average, but no "wow" factor. To excite me an image has to have a wow factor.

Thanks for sharing your expertise.

What key things do trained photo judges look for?

Can you give a few examples of what constitutes "wow" factor?

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: My take on this
In reply to Dancebert, 11 months ago

Dancebert wrote:

At google images search 'barn photography' for examples of barns on the one side of the frame or square to the frame.

Will do. Thanks for the suggestion.

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: Our (photographers) taste in photos vs the general public
In reply to Trevor Carpenter, 11 months ago

Trevor Carpenter wrote:

 We don’t all like the same music, art or tv programmes so it stands to reason that we don’t like the same pictures.

A fact that this thread is demonstrating.

Slight caveat in that people on these forums tend to evaluate technical points that the man in the street might not see or care about

Which raises the question... If they don't see/care, should we concern ourselves with them?

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Trevor Carpenter
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Re: Our (photographers) taste in photos vs the general public
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 11 months ago

Florida Nature Photographer wrote:

Trevor Carpenter wrote:

We don’t all like the same music, art or tv programmes so it stands to reason that we don’t like the same pictures.

A fact that this thread is demonstrating.

Slight caveat in that people on these forums tend to evaluate technical points that the man in the street might not see or care about

Which raises the question... If they don't see/care, should we concern ourselves with them?

Yes definitely because the same as above, we are all different.  My other half cares passionately about what items go in which place in the cutlery drawer.  I don't give a damn.  We are both right.

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: Good Question
In reply to ROC124, 11 months ago

ROC124 wrote:

The general public often prefer images that trigger a positive emotional response or memory.

The stronger that response, the less important are the technical merits. Many photo hobbyists tend to look first, and sometimes only, at technical merits, particularly related to the gear used.

Good thoughts.

Since they all succeed in that manner for me, I'm not inclined to get into the technical merits. While they can be improved technically, my first reaction is that those technical improvements wouldn't significantly increase my enjoyment of them.

...

The big question for photographers, then, is "Who is the intended audience?" No matter how hard you try, you can't please everyone. In your case, was the intended audience those friends and relatives who enjoyed them images, or a bunch of largely anonymous gear heads on the Internet?

I'm trying to improve my skills. For the moment my target audience is family and friends but I know they are far too forgiving. I want to learn to create technically better photos with a goal to... I don't know where this will go for me... I have no current plans to make this a job but I know that I want more than I have now. I want to guard against having my creativity being strangled by concern for the technical, but I don't want to ignore that important aspect of photography either.

I sell my prints in local galleries, and have learned the clientele of each has different preferences. I do photography to please me, but then select images for shows based on the different audiences. The one constant is that the photo hobbyists that attend the shows are often highly critical of technical issues, and never buy anything. There is a good lesson there!

Thanks very much for sharing your expert experience.

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Re: Our (photographers) taste in photos vs the general public
In reply to Cirrus888, 11 months ago

Cirrus888 wrote:

All 3 are very "meh". Nothing stands out. I think a poor day for photos in terms of lighting rather that technical inability on your part.

I appreciate your feedback. And I appreciate your attempt to give me an excuse. It may fly with the second and third photo in my OP but not the first. These two were taken the same place and time as that one. I really like these so if there are problems with them I need to know. I don't want to have a false sense of what makes a good photo.

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Paul B Jones
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Re: Our (photographers) taste in photos vs the general public
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 11 months ago

I like the first photo the best. Half frozen ponds often hold wildlife in the vicinity so the image evokes positive emotions. I like golds and whites too.

On the bigger issue, I find that I can "expertly" determine what is wrong with an image - to the point of focussing on the flaws (no matter how small)  to the detriment of being able to really enjoy most photos.

As others have noted, sharpness is the worst example of this syndrome. Ordinary folks don't seem to really care that much about it and are able to react naturally to the image as a whole. It is something I immediately notice and often can't get past.

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: My take on this
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 11 months ago

Florida Nature Photographer wrote:

NewGirlLiz wrote:

Out of these three photographs, I like the first one best. It is the one that most appeals to me - although I'd love to have seen more of that reflection that you have in the foreground.

When I get time I will post the original version. I'll be interested if you like it better.

So here it is with the entire reflection in the foreground. The feedback I received that caused me to remove some of it was that the snow in the front was out of focus.

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: Barn: 3 small tweaks
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 11 months ago

Florida Nature Photographer wrote:

Michael Jardine wrote:

Nice pictures. My favorite was the barn. I made three small tweaks, only one of which really jumped out at me - the vertical lines of the barn, out-building, and water tank were not vertical, and that always bugs me. So I rotated to vertical.

I will compare yours to mine. I need to develop a better eye for that. I use auto level in Lightroom but it isn't perfect.

The other two smaller tweaks - purely personal - lifted the shadows to show more of the dark side of the barn, and reduced highlights to show more detail of the snow.

Good idea to reduce highlights. I will try that. I'm in the habit of enhancing them.

Thanks for taking the time to rework my photo.

So here is my attempt to follow your suggestions. Did I understand your correctly?

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Bob Tullis
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Re: Our (photographers) taste in photos vs the general public
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 11 months ago

Even photographers will have differing opinions about those shots.

If those aren't subjects you've shot before, there's a lot to admire about them.  "If only I could get some shots like that", and like that.

If you've been chasing such types of scenery for years on end, they'll be OK, like many others out there, but not like that one time I got this shot with this weird light and that mountain lion that hopped on top of the barn just as I was ready to snap, and I caught it as it leapt and grabbed an owl in mid-air, silhouetted by the rising moon. . . that one ruined all barn shots for me from then on.

And like that.

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: Our (photographers) taste in photos vs the general public
In reply to tnphoto, 11 months ago

tnphoto wrote:

Your friends are going to go easier on you than we strangers, especially if you ask for C&C. We also don't know whether you're a working pro or a beginner, and our criticism really should reflect the different standards we need to apply.

My E-M1, which arrived in October, is my first interchangeable lens camera. I first started post processing (Lightroom) just over a year ago. I've been putting a fair amount of time and effort into it but I still think of myself as a beginner.

In landscape, location is super important. You're not going to get the same killer shots in the woods behind your house as the guys roaming Yosemite.

You can say that again.

But you're out there, making images and trying to get better, and I give you credit for that. So here are my comments, FWIW:

Thanks.

How would I improve it? You've got to get closer to something and make that the center of interest. My eye is drawn to the hump-like rocks on the right. Move in close, wide-angle perspective, vertical shot. That puts the sun behind me, not so great, so a different time of day would be better. Or move upstream on the far side of the creek (to keep my sidelight) and look for interesting structure for the bottom of a vertical photo.

Thanks for the great suggestions.

The shadowed side of the barn and the silo need more interest, which you can provide with a little digital dodging and contrast enhancement.

I've seen how to do that in several video tutorials I watched but I keep forgetting to do that. Thanks for reminding me.

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Re: Our (photographers) taste in photos vs the general public
In reply to Trevor Carpenter, 11 months ago

Trevor Carpenter wrote:

My other half cares passionately about what items go in which place in the cutlery drawer. I don't give a damn.

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Re: Our (photographers) taste in photos vs the general public
In reply to Paul B Jones, 11 months ago

Paul B Jones wrote:

I like the first photo the best. Half frozen ponds often hold wildlife in the vicinity so the image evokes positive emotions. I like golds and whites too.

Good to know.

On the bigger issue, I find that I can "expertly" determine what is wrong with an image - to the point of focussing on the flaws (no matter how small) to the detriment of being able to really enjoy most photos.

Yeah, I worry about that happening to me.

As others have noted, sharpness is the worst example of this syndrome. Ordinary folks don't seem to really care that much about it and are able to react naturally to the image as a whole. It is something I immediately notice and often can't get past.

When I first started posting here I didn't even notice things out of focus. Now it is starting to bother me, as well.

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: Our (photographers) taste in photos vs the general public
In reply to Bob Tullis, 11 months ago

Bob Tullis wrote:

Even photographers will have differing opinions about those shots.

As I am learning.

If those aren't subjects you've shot before, there's a lot to admire about them. "If only I could get some shots like that", and like that.

My first winter shots as a dedicated photographer.

If you've been chasing such types of scenery for years on end, they'll be OK, like many others out there, but not like that one time I got this shot with this weird light and that mountain lion that hopped on top of the barn just as I was ready to snap, and I caught it as it leapt and grabbed an owl in mid-air, silhouetted by the rising moon. . . that one ruined all barn shots for me from then on.

Yeah, I worry about that. Takes all the fun out of stuff that used to thrill me... It has started to happen already. The more I learn, the pickier I get.

You should post this mountain lion, eating owl, in moon light shot.

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: Our (photographers) taste in photos vs the general public
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 11 months ago

Florida Nature Photographer wrote:

The second one has nice light but nothing of interest in the foreground. (I appreciate there may have been nothing of interest there).

I saw that light and knew it wouldn't last long. I pulled have to the side of the road and dove for my camera. I took a shot with a road and power lines in the foreground. Then I scurried across the road to get those out and what you see is what I had to work with.

Do you think having the road and power lines in the foreground would make it better. I suppose I should just post the shot when I get time.

O.K. I cloned out the power lines. Is this better with the road in there like that?

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NewGirlLiz
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Re: My take on this
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 11 months ago

Hmm. Actually, I think you were given the right advice. The snow in the front doesn't help the photo!

I like your barn much better, cropped, by the way. The sunrise one doesn't seem improved either way, with or without the power lines or road. Personally, I just don't think that this is a great photo, whatever is done with it.

I really love the other two shots you've posted, taken in the same place as your first of these three here. These are my favourites by far.

Please ignore the following if it doesn't ring true for you, but a thought occurred to me on reading through all of this thread and some of the things you've said.

I can't help wondering if you might be creating unnecessary confusion for yourself by seeking feedback multiple times on the same images? As you know, I'm very much a newbie and I know that if I kept bringing the same image back and getting LOTS of people's advice on it, at some point it would become counterproductive for me and I would no longer be able to work out what I thought at all. I think you have to reach a point where you make your own decisions based on your own views and all the advice you've heard and draw a line under it and move on - otherwise you can sink under the weight of too much discussion and analysis and be pulled in so many directions that you no longer know what you, yourself, think.

Just my opinion!

Liz

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Tom Axford
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My own taste varies quite a lot
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 11 months ago

This is an interesting thread and has demonstrated the wide variety of views among photographers.

Just to add a further twist to this discussion: I find that my own views are by no means unchanging and can vary quite a lot according to the circumstances.

All of my photos are initially viewed on a computer screen (apart from viewing them on the camera, of course), but I choose a small number to print on paper (generally after quite a lot more pp). Most of these get looked at for a time, then filed away. A few are displayed on a suitable wall (either framed or unframed) for an extended period of time (months or years).

I also choose ones I particularly like to use as wallpaper on my computer (generally changed every few weeks).

Now, in both these circumstances, I often find that, after extended viewing, my opinions may change somewhat. The shots I like most, either as prints or as computer wallpaper, are quite often not those shots that I selected as best when I initially looked at them on the computer. I have never really fully understood the reasons for this.

It seems that those images that are most striking at first glance are often not the ones that give me the most pleasure when seen over a more extended period of time. I have never entered photo competitions for this reason - most of my favourites have been chosen for extended viewing and are generally not so appealing at first sight.

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