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


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37 minutes ago, Steve Bower said:

Rudy,

Thanks for your lesson in Photoshop.  As I've alluded to many times, I'm far from a Photoshop expert.  I've stayed away from giving PS advise.  I'm glad someone is willing to fill this obvious omission.

Steve,

You're welcome and don't worry. there are enough people here on these forums that are proficient enough in PS to mess you up!  :)

and very few people are Photoshop experts. I am certainly not. I know for the most part how to process images. Especially B/W. (My favorite technique are Luminosity Masks and my Photoshop UI doesn't look like a normal UI, but we save that for another day.) But I know people that are truly masters in creating composites  and surrealistic masterpieces where I go like, how in the world...... Just saying I guess we can be experts in bits and pieces

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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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15 minutes ago, Wilm Ihlenfeld said:

I would like to add the noise filter, Rudy.

If too much saturation or dynamic is added to an 8 bit image, it can lead to bad gradients (for example blue gradients in the sky)  that are no longer clean, but get edges. If you convert the image to 16 bit, change dynamic or saturation and then add about 2% / max 3% noise after adding saturation or dynamics and then convert back to an 8 bit image, the gradients will look perfect in most cases.

By the way, this also applies to the users of the images if they need them in CMYK mode. Because often the purchased RGB images look perfect, after the conversion to CMYK mode for offset printing, this is unfortunately often no longer the case.

 

Great tip Wilm. Like I said, never too old to learn something!

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14 hours ago, Steve Bower said:

Thanks Wilm,

I didn't know you could change an 8 bit image to a 16 bit and then back again.  Thanks for the information.

I don't shoot RAW, but that's a whole different topic and not worth the endless debate. It's a personal choice, speed, size, what I do. Not saying there's something wrong with anyone else's personal choice.

But... what Rudy said is correct. I sometimes open a file, make it a TIF and use that for editing. That way I have a master image, that I can open and save and correct and change, which is not compressed, so no loss. Then I save a final version as a JPG.

Image > Mode > 16 Bits/Channel or 32 bits is also a choice?

I'm experimenting with Affinity Photo and the interesting first thing I noticed is, you don't save as a JPG or TIF or anything else, you save afphoto which is like a PSD. When done with all the editing you can export as what you want, but you still have the working file, if you want to go back. Lossless!

I picked it up for image stacking.

Good kick re-start @Rudy Umans 👍

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You're welcome, Rudy and Steve.

 

BTW – even if that has nothing to do with good rules: When I work with layers in photoshop and I wan't to save those layered images (as Pete says as "working file"), I always save them as tiff file with LZW compression. The layers remain but the file size is much smaller than a psd file. Since I have many many files with a size of more than 1 GB (when opened in photoshop) it helps me to reduce my storage capacity.

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Great info ya'll! 

Like Pete, I just shoot jpg.  As I recall, when I first started shooting digital, all camera manufacture's  RAW files weren't supported by early Photoshop editions.  Besides, it seemed like a lot of extra work to learn how to process yet another file format so I never bothered with Raw files (yea, I'm a LITTLE lazy).

I'd like to think, I get it right in camera most of the time (thanks to my mirrorless camera) so I don't normally push the processing that much in Photoshop.   However, I probably don't know what I'm missing but as the old saying goes, "Ignorance is Bliss".

Wilm, I too convert my Keepers into a tiff file, however, I don't use TIFF LZW compression.  I understand that there is not suppose to be any loss in quality due to it's compression format but I ass u me there has to be some downside to using it.  Have you seen any?  What is the rest of the story?

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If I save an image as a Tiff file it is for editing purposes only and if I go through the trouble I want the biggest and best file possible, so no compression for me and since it is only a temporarily file, size doesn't matter.  Besides the JPEG, I save my RAW files and negatives for archival purposes. If you convert a RAW file, a sidecar is created that saves all the changes you made. Except in DNG where the original image file and the sidecar are incorporated into one with an overall smaller file size. So, if file size is a concern, DNG might be a viable option. The final JPEG plus the RAW file or film negative is enough for me.

Frankly I have rarely problems with color transitions, banding, or noise, even if I just process in 8 bit jpeg, which is very rare. Maybe a cell phone picture. Like others, I like to get it right in the camera and if I have too, I use ND and GND filters. Sometimes a POL, but not very often (remember those? You put them in front of your lens) All the settings in my camera are set to zero or neutral and I make adjustments in the RAW converter. If further processing is needed, I mainly dodge and burn and some curve adjustments. I do these functions with luminosity masking. That's it.   Less is more! Everything else is more like an insurance.

Besides for more processing power, I use 16 bit because many of my pictures are printed in books and commercial printers prefer 16 bit as well I understand. For the same reason, my black and whites (which is most nowadays) are saved in greyscale. (Important!)

on a more personal note, especially now this whole stock thing is coming to an end, I like shooting film with medium format vintage cameras (Some are pre war) DSLR's have way too many buttons. My pinhole cameras have only 1 mechanical button and 1 knob . OK, I have 1 that has 2 knobs lol.  I touched my outdated 6D maybe once over the last six months. I scan my negatives, so if somebody has a question about scanning, fire away.

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1 hour ago, Steve Bower said:

Great info ya'll! 

Like Pete, I just shoot jpg.  As I recall, when I first started shooting digital, all camera manufacture's  RAW files weren't supported by early Photoshop editions.  Besides, it seemed like a lot of extra work to learn how to process yet another file format so I never bothered with Raw files (yea, I'm a LITTLE lazy).

I'd like to think, I get it right in camera most of the time (thanks to my mirrorless camera) so I don't normally push the processing that much in Photoshop.   However, I probably don't know what I'm missing but as the old saying goes, "Ignorance is Bliss".

Wilm, I too convert my Keepers into a tiff file, however, I don't use TIFF LZW compression.  I understand that there is not suppose to be any loss in quality due to it's compression format but I ass u me there has to be some downside to using it.  Have you seen any?  What is the rest of the story?

Steve, this LZW compression means that similar pixels - e.g. white pixels - are compressed as if they were only one pixel. If you open this image again there will be no losses in quality. Attached you can see the German flag in 6000 x 6000 px. The jpg file in maximum quality (12)  takes 2.4 MB of storage place, the LZW compressed tiff file needs only 0,43 MB.

The difference is so extreme because the image is so simple. For more complex images – for example a landscape shot with many different color elements and textures – the jpg image will therefore take up less space on the hard disk than the LZW tiff.

If you save this flag image as a tiff with the three colors in layers, it will take 2.7 MB on disk. A psd file is 4.1 MB in size. For very large files, you can save several hundred MB on a single image by saving it as an LZW tiff instead of a psd. But the saving will take a little longer.

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I would like to make one more addition.

I could write a whole lot about this. But I realize at this point once again how difficult it is to pass on information sensibly when you can't write it in your native language and many technical terms are simply missing or they are difficult to translate. Sorry for that!

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2 hours ago, Wilm Ihlenfeld said:

I would like to make one more addition.

I could write a whole lot about this. But I realize at this point once again how difficult it is to pass on information sensibly when you can't write it in your native language and many technical terms are simply missing or they are difficult to translate. Sorry for that!

Don't you worry about a thing! You are doing just fine. As a matter of fact, you're doing better than fine, you're doing great!  English is not my native language either. ( which is Niederlande)

Since I live in Miami, FL for over 30 years now and I speak a little bit of German (Survival German and it has been a while I needed it, so don't get your hopes up, but still...) I might be able to help you if you need a technical term to be translated into English. Just PM or email me.

 

btw, sometimes it is better not to get too technical. Sometimes it is better just to explain the basic principle and if somebody wants to learn more they have google, YouTube, and the library at their disposal.

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14 hours ago, Steve Bower said:

Thanks, Wilm!  Like Rudy suggested, I Goggled it.  It looks like I be using LZW compressed TIFF files from now on.

Interesting I would have never known. Another personal note, storage is inexpensive, so I don't worry about compression. I have external backup drives 2T and up, and at a minimum, annually, save everything. I also do other backup, during the year to a different USB drive. 2T drives are now under $60 off the rack at electronics stores. 8T and I got one last year, was $159. I don't find that to be too much to back up every photo since 2004 and have space left over. 👍

@Rudy Umans Converting to a TIF allows me to edit, multiple times, and have a working master that I can go back to if needed. The fact that someone can convert to 16 bit for subtle changes, shadows, color, is the only reason I could see. Just like the argument that RGB is different from sRGB. Yes, but the final image, when it's converted to upload and what' the buyer will get, are better in the format they will eventually be delivered and used.

Your clients and your use, you might want and need higher counts, but for the web, everything is always going to be 8 bit eventually and all that fussing over, taking a raw file, only to reduce it to 8 bit, doesn't seem to make a lot of end result sense.

I shoot JPG because of what I usually shoot. I don't have the time to take 1,000 files, unpack or whatever to convert them to JPG from RAW and then edit each one individually. The camera does some of that work for me. Then I adjust what I have as standard settings. If I was doing fine art shots or individual images of something, maybe all that control would be useful.

I don't need that complete control over every aspect and the time and space (now space matters, on a memory card in a camera?) because time matters. If I'm shooting something and have to change the card, that is potentially lost images. Of course, open the camera to change a battery or card, or stop to change a lens, and something interesting will happen. Some kind of rule of nature? :wacko:

So to explain why I do what I do and I'd agree that someone else will work a different way, it's because of what I do and how I need speed and space. I'm out in the field, live. Someone in a studio on their own time, in control will have different ways of dealing with their workflow.

I have literally rushed to be into the media room, ahead of another photographer. Popped the card in my laptop, edited a photo, captioned and uploaded, so mine would be used, instead of his. Minutes can mean the difference of, a photo sitting on my hard drive or something that's published in the news. One hour and things are getting stale. The next morning, is probably too late.

We're all in different places. And by the way, for Microstock, and this is about Microstock, I don't need RAW files either. Again a personal choice. But for 10 cents, and possibly downsizing to get something accepted, how much time and effort do I want to spend?

Plop and Shoot, get it right in camera, edit and upload. 😎

 

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17 hours ago, HodagMedia said:

And by the way, for Microstock, and this is about Microstock, I don't need RAW files either. Again a personal choice. But for 10 cents, and possibly downsizing to get something accepted, how much time and effort do I want to spend?

Right. But I don’t think Rudy is talking (only) about microstock.

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4 hours ago, oleschwander said:

Right. But I don’t think Rudy is talking (only) about microstock.

I thought frankly none of us were. There was the impression that Steve started this thread for people who want to learn something that is worth more than $0.10

If it was just about microstock, this thread might have been a lot shorter.

Go to IMAGE >ADJUSTMENTS>AUTO and maybe some cropping and/or cloning and done

Somebody would have replied with  Yes, but....., which would have been debated over 5 pages or so and that would have been it.

Fortunately, this thread turned out into something more interesting and helpful for beginners, seasoned pros, and people in between.

 

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I'd like to think that we all had bigger dreams for our photography than the nightmare of 10 cent microstock.  When a lot of us started (in the beginning), stock photography was a great opportunity for a photographer to make good money, that is no longer the case.  I've chosen to continue photography (and upload) out of a love for the hobby and the challenge to make my next image better than the last. 

I have limited knowledge of the subject but take satisfaction in passing on what I do know to those that have a real desire to learn.  Anything that will help those of us that want to improve that next image (here or at the next level) is appreciated.

 

 

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55 minutes ago, Tim photo-video said:

Please see experienced ones - how well exposed are my last shots from the photo?
I was told all the time that my shots were not selling because of poor lighting. There are a number of reasons for this, but I'm wondering how things are with the latter?

New photos

Thanks in advance!

The exposure is ok, The images are a little flat and could use some more contrast. You could use the curve tool for this. 

the curve tool in photoshop - YouTube

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Tim, 

While it was not my intent to make this a critique thread, it might be a good opportunity to start the discussion on lighting.  I'm not a studio photographer but like Rudy, I think your lighting is a bit flat. 

I assume you are using a single overhead light on the majority of these last images, is that correct?  While I understand funds are limited, two lights would substantially improve your lighting options.  At the very least I would move your one light to the side in order to create more shadow and use a reflector on the other (even white poster board) to help even out the light.  I would also suggest you look up studio lighting examples for additional detail on light placement, etc.   

Early morning and late afternoon light is recommended for landscape photography not only for it's color but the additional shadow and texture it creates through side lighting.  While not an absolute, side lighting is effective in many if not most photographic situations. As photographers, we must evaluate the light and change it (if possible) or our position (or timing) to improve the light on our subject.

The first two are examples of late afternoon side lighting.  The third is a "studio shot" using side lighting and the last is an example of using flash to overpower the sun to obtain proper lighting on the subject.  Hopefully, you can apply these examples to your lighting situation.

If others have comment or examples you think might help Tim with his lighting question, please don't hesitate to respond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

_MG_3696  Heron at Sunset  JPEG.jpg

_MG_3785  sm .jpg

_MG_2651.jpg

_MG_9630.jpg

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9 hours ago, Rudy Umans said:

I thought frankly none of us were. There was the impression that Steve started this thread for people who want to learn something that is worth more than $0.10

If it was just about microstock, this thread might have been a lot shorter.

Go to IMAGE >ADJUSTMENTS>AUTO and maybe some cropping and/or cloning and done

 

You're absolutely right. That is all I've done to my images for microstock in the last few months. Auto-adjustments, auto medium contrast curve, a bit of sharpness/NR and then export by downsizing res to 8 mp or less. Takes less than a minute per picture and for the money I make out of MS, anything more would be overwork.

But it has also killed the joy of photography for me. Someday I'll quit microstock and go back to the older days of trying to make a great image just for the joy of it instead of hundreds of merely functional ones.

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2 hours ago, balajisrinivasan said:

You're absolutely right. That is all I've done to my images for microstock in the last few months. Auto-adjustments, auto medium contrast curve, a bit of sharpness/NR and then export by downsizing res to 8 mp or less. Takes less than a minute per picture and for the money I make out of MS, anything more would be overwork.

But it has also killed the joy of photography for me. Someday I'll quit microstock and go back to the older days of trying to make a great image just for the joy of it instead of hundreds of merely functional ones.

That "some day" to create a great image just for the joy of it could be today!  Microstock as we knew it, is not coming back so today is as good as any other day to pick up where you left off before the microstock era.

What might help to get your groove back is to have a theme. Just pick a theme like doorknobs or bridges or whatever you like

The other thing you could do is what many other, especially young, people do is go to your favorite auction site and buy a film camera. You can get those for cheap and they give you a great sense of self in your photography.

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6 hours ago, Steve Bower said:

I assume you are using a single overhead light on the majority of these last images, is that correct?  While I understand funds are limited, two lights would substantially improve your lighting options.  At the very least I would move your one light to the side in order to create more shadow and use a reflector on the other (even white poster board) to help even out the light.  I would also suggest you look up studio lighting examples for additional detail on light placement, etc.   

Thanks Rudy and Steve!
I am not a professional photographer. 1) Two years ago I started uploading a small archive of my videos. 2) Then I downloaded a small archive from my phone. 3) Took an old camera with a non-removable lens. 4) A year ago I took an already inexpensive $ 350 camera with a removable lens.
Therefore, for the time being, I shoot the lens of an outdated DSLR with a kit. Sometimes I use the built-in flash. At home - light from the window and made small reflectors. When traveling around the city or outside the city, it is natural light or light from lamps if this is a room. In the fall, I plan to resolve the issue with lighting.
I will try to experiment with contrast. I tried to get away from contrasting deep shadows. This is due to the fact that 1) a small dynamic range of my camera 2) it seemed to me that photos with deep shadows and light reflections are not universal and I tried to get rid of them.

Thanks for the advice! 
And on the exposure, I asked, since my monitor can be deceiving, it has several modes and it is very dependent on how it is lit when editing photos. This aspect should be taken into account by all beginners.

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