Breakfast challenge - cant resist whining

Started Mar 16, 2012 | Discussions thread
tarakanchik Contributing Member • Posts: 870
Re: Breakfast challenge - cant resist whining

CharlesB58 wrote:

VadymA wrote:

Here is some particular tips that I think may help you:

  • Accept the fact that simple family shots ALWAYS do bad in the challenges (straight angle, cluttered fore- and background, "boring" scenes, etc).

  • Also admit that great shots almost always require some preparation in terms of thinking about composition, background, light, DOF, etc. Allocate some time for that when you are planning to make a challenge-material shot.

  • Analyze Top 20 winning entries in as many challenges as possible and try to determine their formula for success (pay attention to camera angle and close framing in particular as they are the esiest to apply, then light, DOF, and other subjects as you begin to progress in your skills). Then try to apply this formula in your shots (even simply mimicking certain shots that you like will help you improve your artistic vision dramatically).

  • Find other sources showing great photo examples (books, sites) and do the same thing - analyze what makes them interesting and try applying what you learn in your shots.

  • Also learn your camera and photography techniques as some shots only possible with manual settings, special lens, etc.

These are all good points. I would add that people naturally tend to confuse an emotional assessment of an image with aesthetic assessment. We look at a photo we have taken and re-experience the emotions we felt at the time of capture. This can lead to judging a photo to be much better than it really is, especially if it's of a family member or pet.

This is probably one of the most difficult things to do as a photographer, learning to subjectively self-critique. The reason family photos do so poorly in challenges is most often because they simply aren't very good. But people, confusing emotional satisfaction with objective critique, think they are. It doesn't help when someone else says "Wow, that's a really great photo of your child", which can mean it's a photo of your child that someone thinks is great because of how it captures the moment. But it's not a great photo. It's an average photo of a great moment.

Nicely put.

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