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Photo Examples of Good Rule or Technique Application, Help for the New Contributor


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After 13 pages, I have no idea if it came up already or not, but just to be sure, sometimes it is good to ignore typical composition rules and leave some space for the buyer for copy or  cropping.

Most of us that have been here a while have done our share of critiquing the portfolios of our many newcomers, often a bit more harshly than we intended or possibly should have.  While I realize

My apologies to those of you who are getting tired of seeing this thread but in reviewing my portfolio images I noticed how often I have used an "S" curve in the composition of my images.  While I lik

Posted Images

Jean-francois,

I'm not sure I understand the point of your post and it's obvious that you didn't understand the point I was trying to make with my comment. 

It was either early in this thread or in some other recent thread, that someone pointed out that those cultures that read from right to left would feel that diagonal lines from right to left, rather than left to right would "feel more natural".  I was trying to include that logic in the diagonal line "theory".  No malicious intent, I assure you.

I was trying to be all inclusive.  In no way was I attempting to single out any one group.  I knew I should have deleted that comment.  Sorry for the confusion!    

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Wilm,

I was hoping you might make additional comments here, expanding the points you made in your post to Evelyn.  Thanks for doing so!  

I wanted to include your thoughts regarding "reading direction", "weight" and "positive and negative development" within an image but I knew I couldn't do it justice;  so I stuck with just diagonal lines.

I never really thought enough about how a buyer or designer would use my images and what an image could convey (either directly or through their placement within the "layout").  Great information and something I will attempt to use in the future when composing my images.  Thanks again. 

By the way, you are forgiven for posting some of my portfolio images without my permission 😀.  I'm just glad you didn't use any of my "failures".  

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Hey Steve,

thank you for your kind words. My English is a bit rusty, so I try to explain my thoughts by using images. Of course I dared to use your images, because you took part in the conversation. But thanks a lot for not reporting me!!! :D

BTW: One fact concerning "design", regarding aesthetic perception all over the world - no matter what cultural, social or religious background of the person who watches an image - is that, what we call "Kindchenschema" in Germany. I don't know the correct translation. Maybe something like "schema of childlike characteristics"? Cuteness?

Although the races on this planet have massive problems to differentiate faces of other races, all races agree: "this baby is cute". Round, soft form and stocky shapes, big eyes and so on. All races would agree that the face of a (baby) seal is cute, even though a seal is a predator.

As far as I know it's the only aesthetic rule that works all over the world. It awakens a protective instinct in us. Mother nature has put that in our genes. (Product) Designers use this fact in several cases.

 

However: I am going to bed now. If I don't, my face could possibly contradict other people's aesthetic feelings tomorrow. Have a good night!

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I don't know if this has been mentioned before but, even if it has, I think it bears mentioning again.

A lot of new contributors I see here start out shooting wildlife.  There's nothing wrong with that, but in looking at some of their images, they look rushed, like they only had 5 minutes to get a quick snap and call it a day.

Shooting wildlife well requires a significant time commitment and dedication to the craft.  Someone once wrote here that my best-selling bird shot - a cardinal - was a "lucky shot", but here's the thing: I don't believe in luck.  What most people call "luck" is really a combination of preparation, opportunity, and execution, and all three of those things are within one's control to varying degrees.  In other words, you make your own "luck".

Preparation and execution are much more complicated issues to describe than I have time to go into now, so let's just talk opportunity.  It's very simple, really: most wildlife isn't going to come to you.  Opportunities generally only present themselves to those willing to go to where the animals are (knowing where they are is part of preparation), and staying there long enough for nature to reveal itself.  In that regard, wildlife photography is no different than deer hunting or fishing.  It requires patience.  Nature is on a timetable that knows nothing of your needs or schedule.  With all that noted, here is why my "lucky shots" weren't so "lucky".

My "lucky shot", presented below (cardinal), was the result of driving to a park 20 minutes from my home, setting up a tripod, camera with long (600mm) lens and cable release, and waiting 3 hours in the cold for the opportunity to get the shot.  When that time came, I was prepared for it and executed the shot.  Did my preparation guarantee getting the shot?  No.  But had I not gone through all of the preparation needed to get the shot, I surely would've missed.  That preparation included my presence and time in the setting.

My latest "lucky shots" involve my return to underwater photography, but the same principles apply: be where the animals are and be "in the moment", prepared and focused on capturing whatever presents itself.  There is no shortcut or substitute for "being there" wherever "there", with animal opportunities, is.  

So, in essence, you can have the best or cheapest gear in the world and neither will matter if you're not willing to learn about the animals you wish to shoot and then commit to spending time in the wild trying to get them.  It's no coincidence that the "luckiest" wildlife photographers in the world are also the ones who are the most prepared.  

IMHO.

male-northern-cardinal-flight-winter-600

medium-shot-wild-snook-centropomus-600w-

shot-wild-crevalle-jack-caranx-600w-1484

florida-manatee-trichechus-manatus-latir

wild-california-sea-lion-catches-600w-24

Hope this helps.

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Phil, 

I couldn't agree with you more.  As the old saying goes, "the prepareder I am, the luckier I get".  I don't specialize in wildlife photography as you do but I've sat many an hour waiting for some creature to show up or do something wonderful.  "Good things come to them that wait".  Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Admittedly, it helps that I'm retired and have the time to wait but those just starting out need to realize building a "good" portfolio takes time.  Don't despair, if those "lucky shots" aren't filling your portfolio and the money isn't pouring in as fast as you hope.   It takes a lot longer than some people think.  Keep shooting, make every shot better than the last.   

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From the years that I've moved to small seaside town from a big city... Everything was still new and exciting for me. Nothing so fancy here but perhaps just being right place and right time - this is not the best photo or anything and sold only once I think but it is among my own favorites because everything happened natural and spontaneously. Those people just came there, looking to the horizon and talking with each other etc. It was just everyday life moment and it was after the rain with interesting weather and water puddles on the ground.

I had 18-55mm Nikkor kit lens with vibration reduction OFF. Camera body was Nikon D90 and it was on tripod. I've used Aperture Priority mode with F/8 and ISO 200 and left the rest to the camera. Took just one shot of this moment and everything already changed after the clicked and I also grabbed my gear and walked away. 

I hope you enjoy & thanks for looking! 

stock-photo-yalova-turkey-february-people-watching-the-approaching-storm-with-beautiful-sky-and-1250252668.jpg

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Mihai, 

I'm flattered that you read this thread and chose to contribute.  Given your expertise, it would be great if you could explain some aspect of photography (your choice) that would help the new contributor.   

The thread goal was to help the new contributor better understand photographic basics (i.e. composition and exposure) as well as some of the lesser known areas of photography.  

Keep it  POSITIVE, HELPFUL  AND INFORMATIVE.  We look forward to your input.    

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4 hours ago, KeremGogus said:

From the years that I've moved to small seaside town from a big city... Everything was still new and exciting for me. Nothing so fancy here but perhaps just being right place and right time - this is not the best photo or anything and sold only once I think but it is among my own favorites because everything happened natural and spontaneously. Those people just came there, looking to the horizon and talking with each other etc. It was just everyday life moment and it was after the rain with interesting weather and water puddles on the ground.

I had 18-55mm Nikkor kit lens with vibration reduction OFF. Camera body was Nikon D90 and it was on tripod. I've used Aperture Priority mode with F/8 and ISO 200 and left the rest to the camera. Took just one shot of this moment and everything already changed after the clicked and I also grabbed my gear and walked away. 

I hope you enjoy & thanks for looking! 

stock-photo-yalova-turkey-february-people-watching-the-approaching-storm-with-beautiful-sky-and-1250252668.jpg

Beautiful shot, Kerem!  Love the reflections!

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6 hours ago, Forum Mihai said:

That looks OK, but you still have to adjust the WB to remove the blue tint from the building to match the scene.

Two remarks.
Adjusting the color would be easy, a matter of seconds. I have left him so because this corresponds to my taste. Which brings us to the real problem. My taste is completely irrelevant in the microstock ecosystem. The only taste that counts is that of the customer. And whether it's hit or not is very easy to measure, by the DLs or the turnover. These numbers alone determine the quality of a stock photo. Which brings me to my second remark:

1 hour ago, Forum Mihai said:

The example @geogif gave is good. It can probably sell more than the average wildlife shot. It just needs an extra touch to be perfect, that's all.

The mosque sells itself, but not particularly well, but only now and then. So no real difference to my other mosque pictures, which I didn't give any special treatment to. 
And there it could be of course that @Forum Mihai is right with the first recommendation. Maybe the picture with a non-blue foreground would have found more buyers. 
Since I'm here right now, here's an example of a similar picture that, in contrast to the mosque, sells well and profitably and is therefore suitable as an example for a "good" stock photo:

wolfsburg-lower-saxony-germany-july-600w

The fact that it is "good" is probably less due to the photographic quality or the complexity of the post-processing than to the subject shown.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

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2 hours ago, geogif said:

Two remarks.
Adjusting the color would be easy, a matter of seconds. I have left him so because this corresponds to my taste. Which brings us to the real problem. My taste is completely irrelevant in the microstock ecosystem. The only taste that counts is that of the customer. And whether it's hit or not is very easy to measure, by the DLs or the turnover. These numbers alone determine the quality of a stock photo. Which brings me to my second remark:

The mosque sells itself, but not particularly well, but only now and then. So no real difference to my other mosque pictures, which I didn't give any special treatment to. 
And there it could be of course that @Forum Mihai is right with the first recommendation. Maybe the picture with a non-blue foreground would have found more buyers. 
Since I'm here right now, here's an example of a similar picture that, in contrast to the mosque, sells well and profitably and is therefore suitable as an example for a "good" stock photo:

wolfsburg-lower-saxony-germany-july-600w

The fact that it is "good" is probably less due to the photographic quality or the complexity of the post-processing than to the subject shown.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

Thank you for showing this brilliant example, geogif.

 

First of all this image shows a very important fact: No crooked lines! I am sure this fact is extremely underestimated by many contributors.

Thousands of thumbnails are shown during your search. Customers decide in seconds at first sight, if an images looks professional or like a snapshot. Photos like your architecture shot used to be shot by using professional equipment - large format cameras - and falling lines were always balanced out. Vertical lines were parallel to the image borders. This is what our eyes have learned in the past. Like your image which we therefore categorize as "professional" in one second. If we are offered a landscape image with crooked horizon, we decide in one second that it's a snapshot by an amateur without photographical skills.

The image shows a gray and a bit threatening sky. Combined with the falling roof line - the negative diagonal, the metaphorical/semantically statement of this image is obvious. VW has problems. "Dark clouds are coming up."

Additionally we have enough copy space to place a headline in the sky.

Good stock image.

 

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Wow, I just got up and found a bunch of responses.  I never expected so many.  Regrettably, I wont be responding to each and every one of you.  However, I did want to thank each contributor for their comments and the information they provided. 

In addition, I would be remiss if I didn't extend a thank you to each respondents regarding their positive replies.  Helping the new contributor is the goal of this thread, keep it up!    

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27 minutes ago, Whiteaster said:

It sells well because it is a very good subject and a nice photo too. The only thing that hurts my eyes a bit is the perspective (not quite right) but who cares.

The VW headquarter has 13 floors.Photo was taken from parking lot directly in front of the building. The perspective distortion of the original was massiv.

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GregD & David,

Great points and images.  In addition to that unique perspective, a foreground item provides the opportunity to create additional depth of field in your images.  However, this usually requires a small aperture (f11 or f16) in order to keep everything in focus.  The attached images apply that perspective and a small aperture (f16).  Thankfully, I didn't have to get that low to get these shots. 

_MG_1154.jpg

Bow Lake Bridge & Clouds.jpg

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