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


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7 hours ago, Kirk Fisher said:

Done quickly so the edge is wonky, but not sure if it adds much to have the top of the doorway. In general, I wouldn't like to cut off the top like in the original, but I think the original focuses more on the dog so it also works. Nice photo by the way (and if we're not allowed to fiddle with a photo like this, let me know please...)

ddd.thumb.jpg.580611dbe9f73c627a2ba28bb2ed6f88.jpg

You have a beautiful and very stocky portfolio! Nice travel shots!

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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

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.

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

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On 9/8/2019 at 4:52 PM, jean-francois.me said:

it was interesting,  because my eye went from light bulb to the cut frame, enough that i actually missed the dog at first.  so i wondered if that was part of the effect 

not so much of a light bulb, but seems to me that it is a padlock at the top frame of the door. but now with the full arch added, those little "bumps" in the stucco at the top left (with their tiny shadows) became a bit of a distraction to my eyes at least. I know! we are (I am) not an easy bunch to please! it's always a dilemma for me how far I should go with those things, if it's worth the time and effort to clone out these "silly" things (like litter on a sidewalk). I have not come to a final conclusion yet, but I am gradually becoming more "lazy" to "fix" those things. if I am aiming a more "artistic" photo that may let's say end up getting printed, I tend to fix them. but if it's "just" a stock photo that will likely be used only digitally, I am not that keen any more to go in and "fudge". I suspect there are completely opposing approaches on this!? (and yes! one can never be sure if a photo get's printed or not! I know).    

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On 9/8/2019 at 6:37 AM, Leonard Whistler said:

 

 

Not true.

Using the Sunny f16 Rule will produce correctly exposed images. Light meters and experimentation will most likely lead back to an exposure equal to the Sunny f16 Rule. There will be some exceptions, but not many.

Looks like the Sunny f16 Rule is a trending topic.

:)

If you want to use it that’s great, but it’s basically bad advice and not appropriate for a thread aimed at helping new contributors. The rule doesn’t generally produce correctly exposed images. Photographers should use their light meters, eyes and brains not an outdated rule. Badly exposed images is not a good way to get sales in a saturated market.

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2 hours ago, Ricoh Mirai User Club said:

If you want to use it that’s great, but it’s basically bad advice and not appropriate for a thread aimed at helping new contributors. The rule doesn’t generally produce correctly exposed images. Photographers should use their light meters, eyes and brains not an outdated rule. Badly exposed images is not a good way to get sales in a saturated market.

 

"New contributors" are smarter than you think. By now they most likely have given the Sunny f16 Rule a try and decided if it's for them or not.

 

Sunny f16 Rule

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunny_16_rule

:)

 

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2 hours ago, Leonard Whistler said:

 

"New contributors" are smarter than you think. By now they most likely have given the Sunny f16 Rule a try and decided if it's for them or not.

 

Sunny f16 Rule

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunny_16_rule

:)

 

Leonard, the very first line in the article you cited explains the "rule", and also why it's generally not needed today:

Quote

In photography, the sunny 16 rule (also known as the sunny f/16 rule) is a method of estimating correct daylight exposures without a light meter.

As most cameras today, even P&S cameras, have built-in light meters, there is no reason to apply this rule, especially if the meter is telling you something different. 

In short, there is no "rule" for achieving perfect exposure, and even the sunny 16 "rule" is just a starting point that may or may not even be close to what the actual proper exposure should be. 

When I was shooting wildlife in Michigan, I was often transitioning from brightly lit open fields to heavily wooded forests.  The only "estimate" I ever made was to set the ISO for the light best suited for the shutter speeds I needed to capture fast-moving subjects in vastly different lighting conditions.  In bright daylight, my ISO would be set for 400, my shutter speed for around 800-1600, and my aperture would typically be wide open.  In light shade, I would move up to ISO 1600, and for deep shade, ISO 3200-6400.  The goal was always to keep the shutter speed as high as possible, and have the camera ready to shoot when I moved to shade or sun.  Landscape and portrait photographers generally work using an entirely different set of principles regarding light, but because speed isn't an issue, they can spot meter with their cameras and nail proper exposure virtually every time.

And MILCs make the job of getting proper exposure right even easier. No guessing.  No estimating.  No arcane rules.  Just look through the EVF and see how changing the exposure triangle changes the exposure.  

The bottom line is that no one has to guess at this anymore, when we have impressive camera tech and our own MkII eyeballs to nail exposure most of the time without guesswork.  

IMHO.

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1 hour ago, Phil Lowe said:

Lorem Ipsum ...................................

 

45 minutes ago, Forum Mihai said:

Lorem Ipsum ...................................

 

By now any new contributor reading this thread - if any new contributors are even reading this thread -  will have given the Sunny f16 Rule a try and decided if it's for them or not.

 

:)

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I have a problem that might fit well in this thread, it could help new contributors. 

How do you take sharp pictures in thick forests? 

I recently went hiking to the mountains and I crossed a leafy beech forest and tried to take some pictures. They didnt look bad on camera but later at home, the focus is not right in any of the pictures. The equipment I used was a tripod, Canon 80D, a Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4 and I shot at F 7.1-11. 

Thanks for the help. 

 

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1 hour ago, Fercast said:

I have a problem that might fit well in this thread, it could help new contributors. 

How do you take sharp pictures in thick forests? 

I recently went hiking to the mountains and I crossed a leafy beech forest and tried to take some pictures. They didnt look bad on camera but later at home, the focus is not right in any of the pictures. The equipment I used was a tripod, Canon 80D, a Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4 and I shot at F 7.1-11. 

Thanks for the help. 

 

how long was your exposure? 

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Fercast,

Mihai, is correct, no wind is essential.  As you discovered, a forest tends to be a dark places to photograph and often requires a tripod due to the slow shutter speed (needed to get the correct exposure). Wind is the most likely candidate for your lack of focus, given your use of a tripod and a relatively small aperture.

Hyperfocal distance ("the point of focus which will give you acceptable sharpness from the closest object in your image to infinity", my paraphrase of the def.) is often difficult to calculate as it will change with lens focal length and aperture.  In addition, the closeness of the closest object within your frame also enters into the equation.  There are charts that give you this information and it was often shown on older lenses but we seldom have the chart nor does the modern auto focus lenses indicate the hyperfocal distance.

While this is just a "quick and dirty" way to estimate hyperfocal distance, focusing about 1/3 of the way into the image usually gives you acceptable results (assuming you use a relatively small aperture).  Obviously, some will argue this solution but it is better than focusing on the closest object within your frame and cranking up (f16 - f22) the aperture, IMO.

Recently, given my camera's features, I have been using focus stacking to get "acceptable" focus in my images (see attached).  You can get reasonably good results with just two images (and combining them in Photoshop, CS 4 or newer) since you are already using a tripod.  I would try that.  However, focus stacking, more than ever requires no wind.         

_5320820.jpg

3286095.jpg

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I didn't know wind was such an issue, good to know. 

@jean-francois.me took most pictures at 1/10 or so. Should have shot slower? 

@geogif I tried both, for both questions, to see if there was any difference. I looked through the viewfinder and later on monitor, and I tried focusing in auto first and then in manual with the digital zoom. And not even the main subject (the tree in foreground) was really really sharp, but I realized this later at home. 

@Steve Bower I found about the hyperfocal distance a few weeks ago but I wasn't able to find my 80D in those websites where you pick the camera model and the do the numbers for you, so I looked at the sensor of the 60D (this one does appear in those webs) and the size of it its very similar to my 80D's sensor. I did the calculations with that, but since I wasn't sure if it was going to be the same and also I didnt have a precise way to measure distance other than steps... I haven't tried to shot using hyperfocal distance yet. I do try to put the focus on 1/3 of the screen tho, but I've used that in wide open landscapes. In the forest I was trying to focus on the closer subject. I'll make sure there's no wind next time and focus this way. Also focus stacking sounds like a really good way to solve it. 

@Leonard Whistler I have done stacking before with small items in a studio lightbox and it worked quite good (also it's easy to do in Photoshop). I actually thought about doing it but since all the leafs are moving so much I just thought it would be too messy and it wouldn't work. I'll try it in a quiet day with no wind. 

Thanks for all the answers. 

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53 minutes ago, Fercast said:

Also focus stacking sounds like a really good way to solve it. 

Or if you're fortunate to own a view camera, you could try the Scheimpflug principle. This kind of camera is based on an extremely old design (they've been around for about 100 years) but they're quite versatile. Basically, the camera consists of two panels (one holding the lens and the other holding the film or digital sensor) with a flexible bellows in between. When shooting a landscape, you can actually tilt the front panel forwards independently from the rear panel, allowing you to shift the plane of focus. If you can imagine lines extending from the front panel, rear panel and subject plane meeting at a single point / intersection below the camera, the plane of focus will be parallel with the ground / landscape. And interestingly, the depth of field becomes wedge shaped. And everything within that 'wedge' will be in sharp focus and that includes subjects that will be miles away in the distance, as well as closer subjects too. However, if there are subjects that are extremely tall like tall trees, the top sections that protrude out of the 'wedge' will appear soft. Though stopping down the aperture will increase the size of the 'wedge.'

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Fercast,

I think you were correct in relying on sensor size as your point of comparison for determining the hyperfocal distance.  However, I believe the real point of the comparison is the fact that each camera would use the exact same focal length lens to produce identical images.  The focal length of the lens is used in determining hyperfocal point, not sensor size.  But then, you probably knew that.

This "focus 1/3 of the way in" thing is just an estimation so precision is not that important.  Estimate the distance with your eye and shoot away.  I would take multiple shots using varying focus points around that 1/3 estimation point.  One is bound to be better than the rest.  I might also suggest taking shots using different apertures, even try f22.  If the wind is minimal (and your shutter speed isn't too low) the added depth of field might offset any diffraction caused by the small aperture.

At 1/10 of a second, the wind better be almost non existent.  I think I would move up the ISO a bit and increase your shutter speed appropriately.  How much?  You know your camera, that's your decision.  You could vary that (ISO) too, if the shot is important.  Don't you just love digital? 

Patrick, has a good point.  The tilt aspect of the view camera might help "some" with this type of image.  The best part, Canon manufactures several "Tilt - Shift" lens.  Regrettably, they are very expensive and are "prime" lenses only.

Try focus stacking next time, I think you'll like the results.             

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While this may be viewed as a controversial statement (or not), only images of people, things people have made, a place people want to visit or a thing they want to possess, will make "big money" in the world of stock photography.  I'm sure this statement could be modified to make it more complete or accurate but this has been my experience (which is somewhat limited, 10+ years).

I generally shoot what I love which is nature and wildlife with occasional forays into "Things and People".  Unless I have done something unique or special in portraying nature (i.e. angle, composition, lighting or the capture of a special moment) even the simple "People and their Things" photos tend to do better than my "Photo Club Nature Shots". 

This probably comes as no surprise to the "Old Timers" and the real professionals but to the new contributor who is trying to decide what to submit and where to concentrate their efforts, I definitely would recommend, stick to "People and Their Things".  If money is your primary goal in submitting, learn how to deal with releases (property and model) and be prepared to make this your business.  Anything else will likely be just a hobby, that hopefully will pay for itself.

I made the comment in a previous post that "If you have a unique shot or an opportunity to shoot that big seller, don't shy away from making it better".  However, as you may have noticed, my examples fit into the "big money" category, I defined above.  While I haven't changed my mind, I felt that post needed a bit of clarification. 

Attached are a few images that I love because they're "unique" Nature shots.  In each case, I spent an inordinate amount of time "perfecting" them.  The first image is two focus stacked shots (10 images a-piece) combined to make a panorama.  Regrettably, it has never sold.  The second; is of the most beautiful waterfall I've ever seen.  This image, nor any of the extensive images I took of this fall, has ever been downloaded at SS.  The Third shot is a focus stacked image I took of a banana slug.  While I think it ranks up there with the "top banana slug images", it too has had no takers.   

My point: If your unique shot is not a "people and their things" image, you better be doing it for the fun of it, because based upon my experience, your monetary return on the image won't justify the time spent.  I have no intention of changing my photographic subject but be advised, if you don't set a high standard in this genre, you may just have an expensive hobby, nothing more.

This has been my experience, any contrary experience or differing views?            

  

_5245000  .jpg

_MG_7087.jpg

FS Banana Slug 3 .jpg

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  • 3 months later...

If you're a new contributor and haven't seen this thread before, you might want to read through it as you could find some helpful information.  If you've seen it before, I apologize for  resurrecting it.

I'm sure we've all wondered why that "great image" we uploaded hasn't sold.  It's human nature to think "Our Image" is going to be a winner but did you checked out the competition before uploading?   I'm sure a lot of us use the "keyword suggestion" tool to increase the number of appropriate key words for our images but have you ever used it to scope out the competition, (I believe it uses the "Top Images" as examples)? 

More than once the "Keyword" tool helped me determine if an image is going to be competitive let along have a chance to reach the first few pages of the "Top Image" search.  Depending on where you're at in your photographic journey, one download may be a "win" but is that really enough to justify the work require to upload it?  

Even if you plan on uploading regardless of the competition, a comparison of your image's "technical" (exposure, composition and post production) with the competition is a great learning experience and is bound to raise your upload standards.  Checking out "Similars"  (after you upload) can also be a good review, as long as you recognize that SS's image recognition system does not use keywords when choosing comparable images.

The attached image is of a building in Santorini, Greece which I thought was "Special" due to my inclusion of the bougainvillea in the foreground.  Boy was I wrong!  It turns out there are a lot of images from the same position, same focal length and even included the same flowers.  In addition, there were a number of shots that I liked even better than mine. 

In spite of this, I uploaded it as my shot was focus stacked and to my way of thinking the post processing was better.  It's a new upload so we'll see if buyers agree.  If they don't, it too will sink to the bottom of the pile never to be uploaded as there is far too much competition.        

_A140086.jpg

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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.

This one has been downloaded a lot (and I mean a lot) and is at he end of it's lifespan now after a number of years. (otherwise I would not have posted it here frankly)  I left the space in the foreground and, to a lesser extend, in the sky on purpose. it gives the buyer options, which worked apparently.

image.png.7e06ba4f76903f05304ad5f590174169.png

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  • 2 months later...

In addition to Shutterstock's current stiff acceptance policy, the latest two articles in the "Additional Resources" offered by Shutterstock is a definite attempt to redirect contributors back to "Quality".  In fact, the second to the last sentence of their article "Tips on Picking Images for Your Photography Portfolio", specifically says exactly that.  Read it, look it up.

The earlier Article "Composition in Photography : How to Create Interesting Images" also was an attempt to improve contributor's submissions.   It was short and well written and sounded vaguely familiar to what we as contributors put together in this thread.

It's definitely not as polished but I think new contributors will find it worth their time to read.  Especially in our current situation, hiding away in "Isolation".   

 

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Quote

These are just some ideas to help you get sorting. But above all, remember that quality, not quantity, will get your portfolio noticed. Happy sorting!

https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/photography-portfolio-tips

I'm just going to leave that right there.  So much to write after the last year of arguments that were had over this topic, but I hope this will settle the issue once, for all and forever more.

 

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  • 8 months later...

One more time (resurrecting this thread)!   Most of us have heard of the Rule of Thirds as it pertains to photography (we discussed it earlier in this thread) and I'm sure you've found it useful in composing your images.  However, there is a another compositional guide which has been around for many centuries and has been used in the design of the Egyptian pyramids and composition of some of the great painting master pieces like the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper. 

It goes by many names but it is most commonly known as the Golden Spiral or Golden Ratio.  It's actually a mathematical concept which is "simply" explained as "the ratio that results from dividing a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is equal to the whole length of the line divided by the longer part". That was the simple explanation???  (first image, Golden Spiral diagram or graph)

Bottom line:  It is a mathematical concept or equation that emulates many of the of the shapes we see in nature (i.e nautilus shell, many flowers etc.). While the image results may not look that much different from those created by the Rule of Thirds, it provides a curved line on which you can place the various elements of your image which helps to draws your eye around the Golden Spiral to the tight spiral at the end where you've place the picture's subject.  

While It may be hard to visualize this spiral in all of it's orientations (as you frame up your image), you may find that some of your favorite photos (you may not have known why they were your favorites) actually use or reflect the Golden Spiral as the elements of your photo draws your eyes around the spiral pointing them to the subject of your image.  How or if you use the Golden Spiral is dependent on the scene before you but knowing this compositional technique could improve your image composition when appropriate.

While I suppose I could be forcing the issue to make my point, I believe the following images illustrate the Golden Spiral when used as a compositional tool and serve as acceptable examples of this technique.  Sorry, I was not able to overlay the spiral on these images.  This would have been a big help, I'm sure.

     

Golden Spiral.jpg

_9112490  adj.jpg

_MG_7177.jpg

F S SMall Dragon Fly & Stick.jpg

Rocky Mountain NP 542.jpg

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On 12/12/2020 at 2:22 PM, Steve Bower said:

One more time (resurrecting this thread)!   Most of us have heard of the Rule of Thirds as it pertains to photography (we discussed it earlier in this thread) and I'm sure you've found it useful in composing your images.  However, there is a another compositional guide which has been around for many centuries and has been used in the design of the Egyptian pyramids and composition of some of the great painting master pieces like the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper. 

It goes by many names but it is most commonly known as the Golden Spiral or Golden Ratio.  It's actually a mathematical concept which is "simply" explained as "the ratio that results from dividing a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is equal to the whole length of the line divided by the longer part". That was the simple explanation???  (first image, Golden Spiral diagram or graph)

Bottom line:  It is a mathematical concept or equation that emulates many of the of the shapes we see in nature (i.e nautilus shell, many flowers etc.). While the image results may not look that much different from those created by the Rule of Thirds, it provides a curved line on which you can place the various elements of your image which helps to draws your eye around the Golden Spiral to the tight spiral at the end where you've place the picture's subject.  

While It may be hard to visualize this spiral in all of it's orientations (as you frame up your image), you may find that some of your favorite photos (you may not have known why they were your favorites) actually use or reflect the Golden Spiral as the elements of your photo draws your eyes around the spiral pointing them to the subject of your image.  How or if you use the Golden Spiral is dependent on the scene before you but knowing this compositional technique could improve your image composition when appropriate.

While I suppose I could be forcing the issue to make my point, I believe the following images illustrate the Golden Spiral when used as a compositional tool and serve as acceptable examples of this technique.  Sorry, I was not able to overlay the spiral on these images.  This would have been a big help, I'm sure.

     

Golden Spiral.jpg

 

 

 

 

Great post Steve,

The Golden Spiral is actually more important or influential on the human psyche  if you like, than the Rule of Thirds. It is very similar to the Golden Spiral (not the same though), which in turn, is based on the Golden Ratio Phi 1.618. You find this ratio throughout nature. Even the human body. (Fingers are 1.618 of the hand, the hand is 1.618 of the arm etc. etc.) 

The Golden Ratio is related to the Fibonaccy Sequence of frequencies. One of those frequencies is 369Hz  "The sound of the Universe" or OHM/AUM, what Buddhists monks chant during their meditation. The Yin/Yang symbol is also based on that. Nikola Tesla (yes, that one! lol) said, "understand 369 and you understand the universe"

Everything is related.  Even  a Dragon fly to the Universe and Composition in photography to a Buddhist monetary. 

Never knew that your picture of a Dragonfly could have such a deep meaning did you? :)

So, consciously or not, it is something we instantly relate to and recognize. 

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