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


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On 4/11/2021 at 2:33 AM, oleschwander said:

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

Oh my mistake, I thought it was a Microstock site and Microstock forum, for people who were trying to sell stock photos.

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

 

 

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BALANCE in an image.  While we alluded to certain aspects of "photographic balance" in some of the past pages we never explained exactly what it is and how to accomplish it.  The following is an attem

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.

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On 4/12/2021 at 9:05 AM, HodagMedia said:

Oh my mistake, I thought it was a Microstock site and Microstock forum, for people who were trying to sell stock photos.

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

 

 

I post something for everyone that comes here. If it doesn't apply to somebody, it might apply to somebody else.

But since you seem to like to shut me down (as usual frankly and without even reading my posts), you have the chair Pete. 

 

Sorry Steve, but I suddenly remember why I don't post that much anymore

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8 hours ago, Rudy Umans said:

I post something for everyone that comes here. If it doesn't apply to somebody, it might apply to somebody else.

But since you seem to like to shut me down (as usual frankly and without even reading my posts), you have the chair Pete. 

 

Sorry Steve, but I suddenly remember why I don't post that much anymore

Wasn't about you, but you always make it personal?

At least we agree most of the rest of the time. (see below)

  

On 12/26/2020 at 7:17 AM, Rudy Umans said:

Boycotts have been tried, unions have been tried (The last seven months and a number of times prior) Not just here on these forums, but also on MSG and social media. Everything under the sun has been tried, but as long as there are hundreds of thousands of contributors (Whatever the number is) and only a handful are here on the forums or on social media and as long as the vast majority doesn't care what the payout is ("It's just a hobby and something is better than nothing") nothing will happen and all mutinies to overthrow the crown will be in vain.

If you would have paid attention since June 2020, you would have known all this

Btw, I am not a newbie.  I joined SS in 2008 and regardless what my number of posts says today, I do have over 16000 posts over the years. Just saying, I have seen a thing or two. Back in June I deleted a good chunk of my portfolio.  Nevertheless my port was always small because my believe was and is (as I said many times here on these forums) stock photography was doomed the moment the subscription model was introduced. ( guess by who) 

The way I see it, you have two choices; You take it like a man or woman and make the best of it, like some did,  or you look for greener pastures.

 

Why do new people read here and keep joining Microstock agencies, thinking they will be different from everyone else?

 

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5 hours ago, Clupeidae said:

Rudy could start his topic, Photo Examples of Good Rule or Technique Application, Help for the Advanced Contributor

There was nothing advanced about my posts frankly.

My 16 bit recommendation could prevent problems that would need to be corrected otherwise, which would become, in turn, a lot more advanced actually than going to: image>mode>16bit

Correcting banding or halos for example is a lot more advanced than not getting them in the first place and images with banding or bad halos would be rejected here (yes, even for $0.10), so in that regards, my posts were very appropriate

The only disadvantage could be that some plug-ins don't work in 16 bit. Other than that, not sure what the big deal is. It doesn't cost anything, it doesn't hurt and working in 16 bit has a lot of advantages.

The same with the curve tool I mentioned. Basic tool that everybody should know.

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I appreciate Rudy's knowledge and comments and I'm sure others did as well.  Let's not spit hairs here.  The intent is to help each other, inexperienced and experienced. Lets keep this thread as free from all the normal forum bickering as we can.  I think that is something we all would appreciate.    

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3 hours ago, Steve Bower said:

I appreciate Rudy's knowledge and comments and I'm sure others did as well.  Let's not spit hairs here.  The intent is to help each other, inexperienced and experienced. Lets keep this thread as free from all the normal forum bickering as we can.  I think that is something we all would appreciate.    

There was a time that microstock actually contributed to the craft of photography for beginners and experienced contributors alike. Many contributors' photography actually improved thanks to microstock and Shutterstock was at the forefront of that phenomena for a long time. 

Today It just makes me sad that it seems to be the complete opposite and microstock seems detrimental to the craft, which is a shame. Software and computer technology don't help either, but those are things that make the craft different, not worse.  Nevertheless, it would be sad if basic photoshop techniques are called advanced now.

On the other hand, back in the mid 19th century the Arts and Crafts movement started as a counter balance of the Industrial revolution at the time. Today something similar, especially among college students, is going on concerning photography. A movement if you like,  that I am part of (at least, I like to think I am) and that apparently does not always rhymes with the train of thoughts of many current contributors. The Arts and Crafts movement still exists 175 years later. Stronger than ever actually. 

anyway, others would call me just an old fa..t  lol.

As I said when I revitalized this thread a few pages ago, microstock as we knew it, is coming to and end and I am hoping that at  least some will or remain to see  photography as an art and as a craft regardless.  That's why I post what I post in threads like this.

It is great that concerned people like Steve start threads like this. As you might figure by now, I highly appreciate it. There is a lot more value in threads like this than initially meets the eye. So thank you Steve!

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9 hours ago, Rudy Umans said:

As I said when I revitalized this thread a few pages ago, microstock as we knew it, is coming to and end and I am hoping that at  least some will or remain to see  photography as an art and as a craft regardless.  That's why I post what I post in threads like this.

You’re so right Rudy. Thanks for your always interesting posts. Years ago the Shutterstock forum was really great to read and I think it was a good asset for SS. Lots of interesting tips and discussions. A goldmine for new contributors (including myself). Then came the posts about anything can sell and at the same time SS boosted their collection with anything can go and a bit later the 10 cent policy (I know SS didn’t start the decline in payments). The forum was dead and now there’s almost nothing worth reading and the number of posts are of course decreasing (as far as I can see).

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On 4/9/2021 at 8:05 AM, HodagMedia said:

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 👍

Tell me how this works. I convert my photo from RAW to a TIF and edit in 16 bit then when I'm done save as a 8 bit JPG. What happens to all those RAW and 16Bit colors and shade when I save to JPG? Aren't they lost or don't they degrade to what I'd have if I just shot JPG and edited that? How do I know what colors they will be when I drop the tones 16 to 8 bit?

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14 hours ago, Clupeidae said:

Tell me how this works. I convert my photo from RAW to a TIF and edit in 16 bit then when I'm done save as a 8 bit JPG. What happens to all those RAW and 16Bit colors and shade when I save to JPG? Aren't they lost or don't they degrade to what I'd have if I just shot JPG and edited that? How do I know what colors they will be when I drop the tones 16 to 8 bit?

Yes - in my view shooting and editing in RAW is overrated. Especially for ‘ordinary’ stock photos. But for ‘fine art’ and some commercial purposes it may have some advantages. In Photoshop you can also process JPEG files in RAW. I guess some highly skilled photographers can see some subtle differences ...

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BALANCE in an image.  While we alluded to certain aspects of "photographic balance" in some of the past pages we never explained exactly what it is and how to accomplish it.  The following is an attempt to summarize this topic.  

The most obvious and easiest way to create a balanced photo is to place the subject right in the middle of the image.  We see an awful lot of photographers that consistently do this, especially beginners and myself.  However, you can create balance in a photo without placing the subject in the center of the image, ways that most people find much more appealing. 

Placing the subject in the center of a photo is like placing it on the fulcrum of the image.  Moving the subject to either side of that fulcrum creates a visual imbalance much like moving from the center of a teeter totter to one side or the other .   In order to balances the image, another element must be added to the other side of the image to create "visual balance.   Just like you would balance a teeter totter, the subject and the introduce element must be similar distance from the center of the photo.  Balancing a photo, however, require balancing the "visual weight" (of each element) not it's physical weight.  So the question is, "What is "visual weight" or simply what attracts the viewer's eye and creates interest".

While not a complete list, the following include some of the many elements that attracts a viewer's eye and can be used in a photograph to balance an off center subject.  1. Areas of high contrast.  2. Items in focus.  3. Bright spots or areas.  4. Saturated items.  5. Warm colors, i.e. red etc.  6. Large items.  7. People and Animals.  8. Darker objects.  9. Direction of the Subject's gaze. 

Both the photo subject and the "balancing element" must create the same (or similar) level of attention from the viewer in order to provide the desired balance within the image.  The above list is not an attempt to rank the visual weight of each element as that is subjective and could vary widely with different subject matter but it should provide some guidance in identifying possible balancing elements . 

Not surprisingly, there are many different types of "balance" within photography.  Again, this is not an all inclusive list.

1.  Symmetrical Balance or what is often referred to as Formal Balance.  As you might expect, both sides (or top and bottom) have equal visual weight and is often depicted using a reflected image (see first attached image). This type of balance tends to create a peaceful or calm image. 

2.  Asymmetrical Balance or Informal balance is created when the subject is off center and an additional element is included in the image to create visual balance.  These images tend to feel more dramatic than a symmetrically balanced image (Examples are images 2 & 3 attached).

3. Tonal Balance  Is based upon Color Theory and the use of complimentary colors (those colors opposite each other on the color wheel) to emphasis the impact of the other color.  Images taken between the golden hour and the blue hour often use this technique due to the presence of both orange and blue, which are complementary colors.  The 4th image utilizes Tonal Balance. 

4. Ideal Balance  To me this form of balance is a bit nebulous but the experts (not me, I googled it) describe it as follows: When the subject's message is so clear and strong that it renders the empty parts of the frame interesting.  Image #5 was taken in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on an incredibly calm day.  I felt this image, while rather unimaginative, screams peacefulness and calm and would fit into this category.  You may disagree and have images that might better fit, "Ideal Balance".

5. Imbalance   An imbalanced image is most often used to evoke a dramatic feeling or emotion such as solitude, emptiness, instability or tension through it's lack of balance.   Image #6, while not a perfect example, was my attempt to show how isolated or alone this Great Blue Heron appeared on the foggy beach.  Again you may have images that better illustrate a powerful emotion through an Imbalanced image. 

The compositional balance you chose dictates the feeling or message you want to create through your image, make a conscious decision when you choose the balance of your image.  A well composed and balanced image will make the viewer feel exactly the way the you want them to feel.  Make Photographic Balance work for you!     

 

                      

           

Glacier Pano # 6  adj  more.jpg

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I've often read that a professional photographer should develop his or her own style or create a consistent look in their photography through composition, processing, lighting, etc.  I can definitely see how this could be a good thing in that a potential client (that liked your past work) will have a good Idea of what to expect when they choose you as their photographer. 

While we as stock photographers might hope this industry is different, the reality is that buyer's taste are different and our images will only appeal to a very small portion of those looking for an image.  This is is further magnified by our location (where we live), what we shoot, our equipment and eventually our talent level.   Given all this, creating our own style might just make a lot of sense and help our images stand out. 

While I am no expert on the subject,  It is quite obvious that over the years,  my interest, personality traits, and limitations have all contributed to my photographic style.  Not everyone will agree nor even feel it necessary but I think a little self analysis might assist you in creating your "style" and just might make your images more marketable.

My background may not be representative of the majority of photographers but it could assist you in identifying some of the factors that will help determine your "photographic style".

As reflected in the title of this thread, I tend to follow the rules, hence the rule of thirds, balance and leading lines are often used in my compositions.

While my wife would not agree, I also tend to be rather neat and like a clean environment.  Given this, "Merges" of elements within my photos and a cluttered background drive me crazy.  

I am extremely near sighted, so up close detail and macro photography is an obvious choice when looking at a subject .

Colors seem to lift my spirits so I look for colorful subjects and enhance those colors (within realistic limits) when I process my images.

I'm direct and to the point, my subject must be obvious.  There shouldn't be a question of why I took the picture. 

I tend to be a perfectionist, so focus is imperative and only those image that appeal to me and check off all of my "boxes" make the cut.

My style doesn't appeal to everyone and the photos I produce may not be any better than those created by other photographers but they consistently represent me and the way I "see"  (my style).

Attached are a few images, while in different genre, reflect my "style".    

What is your style?  How do you see the world?  Shouldn't your images consistently reflect that?     

  

                         

forum 1.jpg

forum 6.jpg

forum 3.jpg

 

forum 10.jpg

forum11.jpg

forum 5.jpg

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Thank you @Steve Bower As always, a very interesting post.

Stunning images.

I do like how you link style to respective personality traits.  I will study my photos to see if I can see myself in them. Maybe deep down I am a mad doll.

With regard to your first sentence, and questions, I don't think I do have a particular style but I have noticed that some contributors to stock agencies, for example, Arcangel, have a very particular style that defines them. 

Food for thought.

That macro insect is quite unsettling 🙂

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4 hours ago, Steve Bower said:

I've often read that a professional photographer should develop his or her own style or create a consistent look in their photography

 

3 hours ago, Studio 2 said:

I have noticed that some contributors to stock agencies, for example, Arcangel, have a very particular style that defines them

I think the best selling contributors here and elsewhere have developed their own destinctive style - be it both photographers and illustrators.

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Studio 2

I may have been a bit simplistic when I implied that personality traits are the major factor in determining our photographic style, but my likes and dislikes have definitely defined what I shoot and the "look" I find most appealing.  

As both you and oleschwander suggest in your posts, a consistent "STYLE" can definitely contribute to your photographic success.  It sounds like developing a style is worthwhile.  

I think my dragonfly is kind of cute, right up there with your dolls.🙂  

    

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 Thank you @Steve Bower for your examples of the rules of composition.

I have to say that, eventhough I am familiar with the rules,  finding the right composition and balance is not an easy task for me (understatement 😉).

My tendency is to place things in a diagonal line pointing to the top right hand corner, or in the centre or to the left or right. And I tend to tilt the camera too much which will cause distortion. Those are all beginner mistakes, which I will now need to unlearn. 🙈 

To be honest, it’s sometimes difficult to see what I am shooting when looking through the viewfinder. And the LCD screen on the back of my camera is a bit dark, though it does show the rule of third grid. I might give the LCD screen a go from now on to see if I am able to improve my composition whilst shooting and improve my angle. Noticed on a regular basis that my image should be straightened and as it’s already framed to begin with, I end up with zero cutting space around the subject. 😏

Here are my examples of a bad/weird composition and a good (enough) composition :

1. Had no idea how to make this monument look “pretty” and cut the image to match the ‘diagonal’ composition raster. Nevertheless, it looks weird right ?  Should I have gotten rid of the white markings in the sky ? To me they might contribute to the story that goes with the monument (war, under attack). But the ‘happy’ bright colours don’t match that story. (too far fetched, right ?! I have too much imagination😂)

image.jpeg.537b1fb572f98762098cc7f2f8774354.jpeg

2. Wrong angle. Highschool in decline 😂As rightly pointed out to me by @Wilm Ihlenfeld.👍 (Nevertheless, sold 5 times due to the lacking of a competitor 😁)

Rotterdam, Zuid Holland, The Netherlands : Aug 22nd, 2019. Detail shot of the Hogeschool Rotterdam building against a  blue sky. Showing "Hogeschool Rotterdam".Translation: "High School Rotterdam".

3. This is my best composition. Shot straight from the camera with no alterations. It’s very peaceful and the light is beautiful. This is one out of the two  images from my portfolio I truly like as they are. Because of the natural light falling onto the subject, the composition and the feeling of space or ‘going somewhere’. 

image.jpeg.8068d11a474a5260fc83838e6e47ac6a.jpeg

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Repelsteeltje

I assume you are asking for comment regarding your images and questions.  Composition is definitely a problem for most photographers.  I suppose it comes natural to the the real artist out there but for most of us, it's a matter of learning the rules and consistently applying them.

Personally, I like your monument image.  Did you take any other angles of it or is this the only shot you took?  I would recommend that you walk around your subject and look for the best angle and take anything that you think looks good.  Often times you won't know if a shot is a "keeper" until you see it on your computer screen.  Did you take a vertical shot or one that used the flowers in the foreground?  Sometimes simpler is better.  I personally, do not like the contrails close to the monument but that's just me and my "style", clean. 

Again it would have been nice if you had taken a number of shots of the school.  You're shooting digital (not film) so you don't have to limit the number of shots you take. You are there, don't waste the opportunity.  

I also like your "dock image".  Golden Hour lighting is always good.  Once more it would have been nice to have other images to choose from.  Having an image that showed a little bit more of the foreground (the rocks and the dock)  might also have work well . 

Sorry if I overstepped your intent with these comments.  Keep working on your compositions you can improve with each shot if you take multiple shots and compare them.  Good luck! 

 

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Thank you @Steve Bower for your feedback (that was my intention 😉).

This is the vertical photo of the dock. Come to think of it, I probably did not include more of the foreground because it would show something that I did not want to show in the photo (a grass field or a pavement or something). And I think I just turned the camera vertical without moving. Just basic.😄

image.thumb.jpeg.6489fab0a3e2e689240fca2ecd47d9a4.jpeg

 

The angle of the monument was basically based upon the light reflecting off the subject. When walking around it, I could not find a better composition either because of the flag poles that got in the way. Thinking about it now, after reading your suggestions, I might try to shoot through the flagpoles and show the monument in the background. Or use the flowers. But first decide which side of the monument looks best. Then figure out when the light falls onto that side. Who said photography was easy ??😳😂 

Oh and the school was just that one image. Because I concluded in a second that it was  impossible to get to the right angle without twisting my neck up to the point where I would not have been able to get back up. And we were on a scooter tour so we wanted to move on.😎 Recently I took another shot of the school but from the other side. It’s straight now, but there a tree entering the frame.. Maybe three times is a charm, and redo this one again ? 💁

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Sounds like you're doing what's necessary to get the best shot.  Personally, I like the vertical of the dock but then that might just be me.  It might be a bit "narrow" (cropped) for my taste but I like the "solid base" in this photo.  

Tour's, don't you love them.  They're not conducive to getting the best photograph.  I've been on my share of cruise tours and I'm always playing "catch up".  I'm never the tour guides favorite person.  My best shots are always when I'm all alone and I can take my time.  

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I also find the  vertical one being a bit narrow. It even feels as if I cropped the image on the sides afterwards, but this is just ‘ as shot’. Zoomed in too much. 😉 

This particular tour was just the two of us on a scooter. And how that went was; me sitting on the back of the scooter, my boyfriend driving (less than 25 km per hour 🐌). Got my camera in hand and I am trying to spot anything interesting like a hawk, looking to my left and right and react quickly. As soon as I see something, we stop and I take a couple of shots, and we continue with the scooter tour. Too much time pressure for me to enjoy the photography, but I am discovering the area and all the nice places to go to and photograph. 😄

You could put me on a beach, and I could spend hours, just looking for shells or pebbles, not noticing the world around me, just focussed on anything shiny (Magpie😂). It’s just very relaxing. So I also prefer to be alone when I am shooting and it  gives me a bit of ‘me time’. Just making the world stop for a minute whilst spotting butterflies in a field. 🦋

 

 

 

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Thanks for bumping this thread!  I failed to respond to what (IMO) begs further inquiry.  You say you have  difficulty seeing through your view finder and LCD.  May I ask, what kind of camera are you using?  While I know the cost of new equipment is always a big consideration, not being able to use the view finder is a problem that definitely will affect any genre of photography.  While I'm not a gear head, this is something that I think has been eliminated in most of the current mirrorless cameras.  An upgrade in equipment might be a big help.    

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