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Help me out here...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by gho, Jun 15, 2005.

  1. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    ...with your honest opinion...

    I specifically designed my galleries so that comments and ratings could be applied, as I thought they might be helpful feedback.

    but, the results are quite confusing and perplexing for me... Some of my highest rated photos are ones I absolutely hate, and some of my favorites are among the lowest rated....

    highest rated with 6 votes and 5 stars - I think this photo sucks, that's why I put it in a frame to draw attention away from the photo:

    Here's another highly rated one that picked up 3 votes and 5 stars, and I think it's a rather boring photo:

    lowest rated with 2 votes and zero stars - It actually took me several shots to get the look I was after:

    One of my absolute favorites, zero stars and one vote:

    Another one of my favorites at zero stars:

    All of my rated images here, ranked from highest to lowest:

    Here's the question: Are my photos really that bad? What do you peeps think? Do you agree with the ratings the photos have recieved? I ask here since you all are very open and candid with a eye for art and composition. I really appreciate any feedback you're willing to provide.
  2. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl

    Your images are NOT horrible.
    What you have here is really nice pics of the people, and very difficult backgrounds and lighting.

    Considering what they gave you to work with you did a great job.

    When you first put it up I looked at almost all the images. Left a few votes here and there. Guess I should have done more and I apologize.

    Also left you a messageg on your original post of the images here.

    The most important thin is the Couple happy with them :>)))))))

    I don't think I would pay much attention tp the voting thing as most people just look and go on.
  3. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Hey Greg,

    I paged through about 60 of your images and I thought that they were very nice captures. None of them were undesirable or uninteresting. You have to understand that people look at your work as fine art...and art is something that either hits you or doesn't hit you. You have images with young children...those images should truly impress their parents and families but not necessarily the general public. You will always get a more favorable response by someone that has an attachment to the subject of the image/artwork. Then again, there are some people that might not really see what you saw when you shot the image, e.i. the eyes of the Father giving his daughter's hand in marriage, the look of the new husband or vice versa, the innocence of the young children, the wonderful colors of the fish...
    I have shot what I thought were outstanding images of kids playing high school baseball and a few of the best images did not sell...talk about scratching my head. I thought these images could have made it into a magazine they were so good.

    Bottom line here...there is nothing wrong with your images. Don't think that your work isn't good...it's just fine.

    Just my honest 2 cents.....
  4. Gregory, your images are outstanding so I wouldn't worry what other think. We each bring our biases when we view others images. Let's take the last photo above, I liked it when I first saw it and realize how difficult it was to take properly. Others may just think you have burnt out highlights and not see it as you and I do. It is hard to go wrong when you take a picture of your lovely daughter. I would give them all five stars.
  5. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Well stated Gordon :wink:
  6. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    You know the saying, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder"?

    Well, when it comes to photos, or other art (especially in forums) that saying applies triple!

    When we take a picture and it turns out the way we wanted, and we are happy with it, that's really all that counts.
  7. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Gale: My dear... You're one of the very very few people that take time to comment on my images. I'm always very appreciative of the comments you leave, and they bring smiles to my face.

    I wasn't talking about the wedding images specifically, but in general. My gallery has been up for a year and has collected some ratings that I find quite confusing, to say the least.

    It's not that I'm worried about it, but I'm just wondering if I'm missing something. It prolly just confirms what I already know - I'm pretty whacked ;) 

    AND, you certainly don't need to appologize. Anyone who takes the time to vote, or leave comments is held in the highest regard in my book. I'm flattered that viewers would even look at my images, much less vote.

    Frank: Wow, you went all out! I was thinking the same thing. My photography style either clicks or it doesn't.

    I think you're right, it's quite stressful trying to "make" an image that everyone likes. I think I should just shoot to make myself happy (which is prolly impossible), but at least I'll have fun doing so.

    Sometimes I feel that people try to turn my images into something that's not me - I don't like the end result and it loses it's meaning for me.

    I know that people that have an emotional attachment tend to favor images more than detached viewers. But I think that timeless classics don't need that attachment to be good. That's kinda what I'm striving for - those photos that involve the viewer.

    Thanks for your feedback!

    Gordon: LOL... Thanks... When i did that shoot, I was actually going for a kind of high-key late afternoon look, that's why I chose such a contrasty spot.

    But you raise an interesting point. I guess many people look for technical perfection in a well balanced image without blown highlights and stuff, and many times I'll do things like that for effect.

    Ken: Well, I suppose you're right. I probably think too much about it. I'll just take photos that I like, and if it sells, it sells.

    Thanks for the encouragement. I guess seeing all those perfect images in the forums kinda clutters up my mind.

    It is art, after all, and I guess in the process of the creation, I get too carried away with what others think. No wonder all the historic great artists were so whacky and secluded - maybe once I'm dead, my work will be popular :D 

    You guys are simply great. I'm going to take everyone's advice and just keep shooting the way I like. Thanks!
  8. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    It just goes to show you, Greg,

    There's no accounting for ppl's tastes :)  You're a working photographer, and making decent money doing it, that's all that counts. Your work is top notch, and if others don't like it, well tough toenails!
  9. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Greg - what Steve said, only I wouldn't have said toenails.

    Like you, I often photograph things differently than many people would do. This means that it will have a lower recognition factor than say a well focussed, nicely exposed bird with creamy bokeh, or a beautiful model in a colorful environment (hey - I like to look at these kind of pictures too!) I will never be able to be the best at those, so I don't even try. I shoot things that I know others don't.

    I think you do too, and so people don't recognise the message you are showing as readily. Tastes are fickle though. Keep on being yourself artistically, and your work will build synergistically to become a body of work worth far more than a collection of perfect images.

    Check out American PHOTO's May/June issue. On page 48, they have a interview with Mary Swanson who says that 'portfolio review events' are the best way for folks to get new work 'out there'. She mentions two in particular, spenational.org and photolucida.org that are designed for emerging artists.

    I am going to look into these as well as other opportunities to show portfolios to people who want something different!
  10. Greg,

    As we love to say in the world of statistics, IMHO, sample size (of feedback) is just way too small to be meaningful. :mrgreen: Still, I do wonder if some of the better rated ones are getting votes from your clients in addition to a few folks from these forums -- and I'd also agree w/ others that it's easier to appreciate photos that you have a personal attachment to (and thus, far fewer feedbacks on your personal photos).

    I took a quick browse through the large number of thumbnails at your link, and honestly, I think I do have very different tastes than yours (which I suspected in one discussion about wedding photos long ago on DPR :D ) though I did spot a few I liked, including this one that got a single vote of zero star.


    No, I wouldn't necessarily say I love it, but to me, it's certainly more interesting and "artistic" than most of the rest. I don't like the idea of rating "art" though, so I don't generally participate in providing ratings when I offer feedback. For me, the closest you'll get is to judge how enthusiastic my feedback is. :D  Roughly speaking, I might go from "nice pic" to "I like it" to "excellent" or "love it", etc. and would usually offer more details about how/why I like (or dislike) it, etc. But that's also tough to do if I have to browse through a ton of pics. :D 

    Of the samples you posted, I like the idea of the 3rd one w/ your little girl at Ikea. It might work better though if you used slow sync flash to give better definition to your daughter and still get some motion blur.

    As for comments about "difficult lighting", well, I can understand the point, but I think the logic is a little bit faulty -- though not completely so -- to suggest that one should factor in such difficulties into how an image should be perceived. Sure, to the trained observer, I'd agree there's some value there, but if your goal is not merely to achieve good technical quality in difficult situations, then that value is rather small to anyone else but yourself (and maybe the few other photogs).

    Of course, as also pointed out, if you're pleased w/ the results (and you don't need to impress anyone else w/ it), then that's all that matters. But then, if that's the case, there's not much point in asking for ratings either.

    Personally, I think if you really want to "improve" your art, using such ratings method is *not* the way to go. Engaging in a little chat w/ people *both* wrt to their work as well as your own works far better, IMHO.

    Hope that was helpful w/out sounding too harsh or impolite.

    Best regards,

  11. Greg,

    I agree with the others. Your work is great!

    I like the others find that you can't satisfy everyone out there. One person may love the childrens picture and many may hate it but that doesn't mean anything. I have had some awful comments on my webpage and I have had others that adore the photoshop work I do and always emailing me asking how I did something. Now that is flattering!
  12. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Sorry everyone for the late reply...

    Steve: LOL, I don't know about the "decent money" part of it. But I certainly enjoy what I'm doing. I'm really glad that you think my work is top notch, as I really respect the work you do, and you provide quite some inspiration for me.

    Chris: I actaully don't mind being in the minority, but just has me wondering sometimes. I've always been on the stranger side, so I'm quite used to it.

    I enjoy photos that no one else likes to take because of it's uniqueness. I try to provide a bit of a story in my photos so that looking into them, reveals more of the story than that first glance, "oh, nice bokeh" type of thing.

    Interesting point though - Perhaps, maybe, my photos creates too much of an interaction with the viewer that people that simply glance quickly miss the entire point.

    I liked the links you provided. I'll definately look into them further.

    Thanks Chris, you've always been so supportive of my work. I'll take your advice and just keep doing what I "feel" is right. If it catches on, hey! If not, oh well!

    Man: Dead on right about statistics. I was thinking the same thing with the sampling size, and tend to ignore the single vote ones (good or bad). But some of the ones I liked, actually picked up 2 or 3 votes of zero and 1 star. That's when I started wondering.

    Perhaps it's just that lemming syndrome, where one person doesn't like it and others simply follow suit.

    Probably a pretty dumb idea to have a rating thing anyways. I don't know what I was thinking when I wanted to implement it.

    I actually perfer people the response from people that have differing tastes, as it gives me an alterntive point of view and helps me keep my mind and eyes open.

    Funny thing about that portrait gallery - the highest rated one (with more than 1 star), is the only one that picked up any type of comment, and it's a somewhat negative one at that. I think my best images in that gallery, have actually recieved zero votes.

    As far as the girl (my daughter) at Ikea - that was done with slow-sync rear shutter. It was shot with a T1, and the flash doesn't have too much of a reach, which, in a way is kindof a good thing, as it doesn't appear "flashish." Might have been technically better with a DSLR, but of course, I wouldn't have been able to get the shot at all in that case, as I don't usually carry my DSLR into supermarkets.

    What a geek, I bring my D70 into Wally's world one time, and the bouncer told me "no cameras allowed" - I'm not sure what I was thinking at the time :/ I snap away happily with my digicam in wally's world all the time!

    I agree with you on dicussing the photos, but I rarely pick up any real constructive critisim. In fact, many times, my posts just disappear into oblivion without any comments negative or otherwise. Quite disappointing, so I guess it was just me reaching for some type of uninhibited feedback.

    I guess what I was hoping was that if someone left a negative rating, they'd kinda explain why they didn't like the photo. But I'm thinking my head mustve been in the clouds when I thought that.

    And, of course, you haven't been impolite. I did solicit it.

    Melissa: Thanks. I've thought about it quite extesively now, and I've decided, I'm not even going to try to please everybody anymore. In fact, I'm just going to shoot as I like and if no one likes it, I won't worry.

    That doesn't mean that I'm going to stop trying to improve my techniques, I'd really love to hear what everyone thinks of the images - especially with respect to lighting. The number one thing I focus on in my photos is the lighting - everything else is secondary for me.

    You're right about being asked questions, it's the most sincere form of flattery, IMHO. I get several questions daily and it sometimes takes me quite a while to answer them (I always try to answer them properly without saying stuff like - "I don't know, try google.")

    But, it's quite an amazying feeling that someone is actually looking up to me, and feels that they can actually benefit from my advice! No words can describe it. Even more flattering is when they come back and they are very pleased with their work and show me the results!

    I'm very happy that I actually took the time to type out the lessons - which I was pretty hesitant to do at first, since I wasn't sure that anyone would even find it beneficial. My guestbook is filled with thanks from avid readers that appreciate the information!
  13. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Spoken like a true artist.
  14. Greg,

    I went through the entire set. The primary issue I see is cropping. For my tasts some of the shots had the edges of an interesting image cropped out (the side view of the lion doorknocker and many of the shots from the fish tank). Others, mainly of groups, place the subjects right in the center...snapshot syndrome. (An example, in the shot while taking their wedding vows. There is a fourth person in the group...a few feet to your right and you'd have captured all the parties and balanced the picture...as it stands you see only a sliver of the woman's face). A few might have been more closely cropped (the coral, for example...to highlight their colors and fine detail). Finally the ones at the end lack something to give the images interest. For example, the shot of the back of the child's head......?

    Another suggestion; the shot of the bride and the woman with the train spread out on what appears to be a bench. It looks unnatural (sadly, almost comical), the bride's upper torso is in an unnatural position. As I recall, there is also a doorway in the right side of the picture. The bride, the gown, the train and her good friend are the focus. I'd keep any distractions out and the background diffused/out of focus.

    Nevertheless, the only way one improves is to shoot and shoot and shoot. Keep up the good work.

  15. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  16. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Rich: Thank you so much for your candor. So I guess I'm a bit guilty of cropping too tight. I guess the reason I do that is because most of the time, the stuff I crop out is really distracting in the photo. But, it's not the first time I've been accused of cropping too tight. I'll try to loosen up the crops some.

    As far as the 'snapshot syndrome' - I usually try to keep things out of dead center. I guess I might have slipped on a couple. I'll go back and re-check. Funny thing is that I've actually gotten some complaints that the subject is not in the center (primarily from non-photographers). I thought, thought that I kept those centered compositions to a minimum, and that in cases where I did use it, it seemed appropriate. I'll definately start paying more attention in my crops from now on.

    It took me a while to figure out where the 'back of the child's head' shot was in my gallery. I know I do shoot quite a few of those, as I wanted the focus to be on what the child was interacting with, and not so much the child themselves (weird, huh).

    The only one I found was in the Wedding gallery, and I think that's the one you're referring to. Just to show you how convoluted my thought process was - I see a daddy leading his little girl away from the the fun she's involved in - and I think: little girl, looking back on the fun she's going to be missing, but still clinging to daddy's finger. She's leaving the scene in a reluctant way, yet willingly, as she's holding on to daddy's finger, and not daddy holding her hand.

    Of course, I'm a stupid photographer and missed the focal point - the subject moved a bit too fast, and the focus point landed on the braclet, not the finger/hand thing I was after.

    But, of course, it's only me that sees such strange things in a scene. But I think you hit the nail on the head there...

    For me, my favorite photos are the ones where a little story is involved. I think most of my viewers don't care about the story and only want to see a clean pic. That's why my the ones such as the fish above (which I find boring) was rated 5 stars, yet the one that I see telling the story of a girl taking a photo on a mid-afternoon day in her room, gets zero.

    Wow, such introspection... I never figured starting a thread like this would have caused me to think so deeply about my own work.

    As for the bride shot... It's actually the wind that's blowing her dress (and why she's in that awkward position). I hadn't really noticed it being awkward 'till you mentioned it. I was pretty stupid what I shot that one too, cuz I left my ND filters at home, so I had to stop down quite a bit to get the shutter speed under the x-sync speed. And it turned out to be pretty much useless as the fill barely helps. Should have just opened up and dealt with the shadows in post.

    Paul: I'm always supercritical of my work. That's kinda why I didn't get it with the rankings and stuff.

    Yeah, I noticed that also - there's stuff that sells, and then there's stuff I like. Most of the time they are two different things entirely.

    Actually, being a pro, I should just cave in and do the cookie cutter stuff that actually sells so I can make some money rather than being artistic and creative, and having no one understand my work.

    I actually wasn't referring to the "Wedding" gallery specifically. There's only like 2 or 3 photos that I actually like in that gallery.

    You guys have provided some awsome feedback on my wedding stuff. Now how come I didn't get that when I posted my wedding thread?

    Hmmmm... Just occured to me with all this about cropping, I think maybe some people may not like the way I use white space in my photos - I must have been told 100 times to crop all this one tighter, every time, I try. But, in the end, I end up going back to the same crop. The actual photo was cropped much tighter, and I had to actually add all the space around it (and, yes, I've got a pretty dumb story for this one too):

  17. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    I think your shots are tops :!:

    I always look at your posts and it's not easy up here in the woods with a slow line...but I noticed that your pictures are sized down so they came right up with my dial up line...that's much appreciated..

    I read this whole thread and I agree with everyone else..

    Your pictures are always special to me and I really enjoy seeing your lovely little girls.

    Best to you and keep up the good work!

  18. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Thanks Gaye... I actually didn't post the large images because I didn't want people addressing those images specifically, but rather my work in general.

    I just made a post with little thumbnails for you - simply click on the thumbnails for a larger image. That way you don't have to wait forever to download all the images.
  19. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  20. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Well I don't like THAt much empty space. lololol

    Some is ok. But hard to see the subject.. It is from the fish tank.. The little crab ??? He sure is neat.
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