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Sorry to ask such a basic question - but better to ask and learn than remain ignorant for ever!

 

How do I tell if my images are pin sharp in focus esp landscapes!

I am not a 'pro' photographer but have taken photos for over 30 yrs with film now digital. I would like to start selling some of my photos. I am in the process of building my own web site www.mark-thompson@photography which has some images which I think are reasonable! 

 

My images look in focus on screen but when viewed at 100% I cannot decide as they obviously look more 'grainy' but still reasonable - I am often over critical of own work but need a marker / help to decide?

It would be nice to be able to do similar 100% view on good and bad focused full size images which are obviously difficult to find on web sites!

 

Any help / direction from someone in the know would be much appreciated!

 

Thanks Mark

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You could always post a photo at 100% to the forum here, and you would receive feedback on the sharpness of it.

 

Maria

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Hard to explain, it is usually easy to tell if your photograph is in in focus.  I would expect most of your shots are in focus, so just go through a load at 100% and have a good look.  You'll soon be able to see the difference in the details, especially hard edges of objects.  

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When I first started here, from a situation like your own, I had a few QC failures, but, from memory, they were not due to lack of sharpness, but rather excessive processing, processing errors, dust bugs etc come  to mind. Your photos don't need to be 100% sharp all over provided that the bits that need to be sharp are. Few zoom lenses provide wall to wall sharpness, but the QC people are from the real world and know what is possible. More important perhaps is to try to avoid grainy skies, using noise reduction in that region if necessary.

 

If I have a concern over genuine unsharpness - camera shake perhaps, or getting the focus wrong, I immediately bin the image, but, very occasionally, there is that marginal case where downsizing will provide an acceptable solution. Don't go there for your test images!

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At 100% they still need to look sharp. You'll see more grain in places, mainly backgrounds with less texture or that are darker, but the main focused subject should still look completely sharp or very close to it. There is some leeway with this, but it's hard to define that of course without looking at comparisons. If you post some 100% crop examples, making sure you post exactly what you plan to send Alamy rather than using a hosting website that sharpens or compresses the image, we'll take a look for you.

 

I'll put an example here of what I'd consider acceptable or not. Others may not agree with me completely, so take this as my opinion rather than definitive fact, as it does depend on your eyes, monitor, etc.. These are all 100% crops of a duck's eye, where it should be sharpest.

 

This is sharp enough for QC. It isn't as sharp as I'd like, but it will pass. There is leeway to allow the customer to add sharpening themselves that fits the size of the image they're using.

sh1.jpg

 

This would be too blurred for my liking. If the image was excellent otherwise and I wanted to keep it, I might try downsizing it to give the appearance of being sharper, as that may well make it sharp enough for submission.

sh2.jpg

 

I'd consider this one too blurred and would delete it straight away, as it isn't savable.

sh3.jpg

 

This last one is sharper than the first, but it's over-sharpened. The grain is more obvious and it looks artificial. If you need to sharpen as much as this, it's too blurred to use. You could remove the grain but that means needing more sharpening, as grain removal basically blurs the image.

sh4.jpg

 

 

I hope this helps give an idea of things. Just for the record, I have only failed QC twice, one submission after the after (in January 2014) so I guess that means I have a good idea what's acceptable and what isn't.

 

Geoff.

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Maybe worth mentioning, an image does not need to be 100% in focus over the entire  image.

Shallow depth of field and/or motion blurr are also acceptable - albeit I would not recommend too excessive dof / motion blur for the first submission(s). 

 

eurasian-red-squirrel-sciurus-vulgaris-K

 

tawny-owl-strix-aluco-violently-shaking-

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5 hours ago, GS-Images said:

I guess that means I have a good idea what's acceptable and what isn't

 

At the risk of being called pedantic, I agree you have a good idea of what is acceptable, but like me you have not tested the lower end (our QC record is "too good", so we don't really know where the limit lies.

 

Which I guess is what Alamy wants - we self QC and probably to a higher standard than they do themselves.

 

For instance:

 

I quite like the energy in this image ...

 

6uxgWIUIbIN5zUoOC1uzIrfiRUBKbDREFuZOVDrt

 

but at 100% the eye is just not sharp enough. So shared on Facebook, with my son (who owns the dog) but not submitted.

 

EFgSPCMesouQkNlR7BbJxDiIQoVQKKZkgUAHZvPA

 

Ah sorry about that! The images looked good in the preview, but have now disappeared, They were in Dropbox. Can anyone explain how to post non-Alamy images please?

Edited by Russell
Images not shown

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For landscapes I usually focus a third of the way into the pic, which (at, say, f11) should ensure acceptable sharpness from a few yards to infinity. If there's a particular feature of the landscape (building? person?), I may focus on that instead. When I'm looking at pix at 100%, I make sure that my chosen plane of focus is pin-sharp.

 

OP,  you'll soon get used to Alamy's requirements, and how a pic should look. If you're asking yourself "Is this pic sharp enough", I'd reckon it probably isn't. There's a bit of a learning curve, but if you only submit pix that are pin-sharp (and ditch the debatable ones) you won't go far wrong.

 

These days I don't actually look for sharpness. What grabs my attention are those (thankfully rare) images which, for one reason or another, are 'soft'. It may be camera shake, or focusing on the wrong area, or just general incompetence. Whatever... they don't get uploaded.

 

Good luck...

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Put your camera on a tripod on a nice sunny day and take a photo of your house, car, whatever at f8. Use the self timer or remote release so you don't touch the camera. The photo will be sharp - keep it as a reference. Its what I did until I could just see 'sharp' and 'not sharp' by eye. 

Colin

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From my experience I would have to say that Geoff's examples are spot on (even though they look a little odd for cows). As for landscapes, I always find it extremely difficult to judge their sharpness. Foliage and vegetation are too indistinct unless seen fairly close up, and I probably have quite a few landscapes on my hard drive that I haven't dared to submit but which might pass.

 

To be honest, the best way to learn what's acceptable is to experience it yourself. There's no substitute for studying which of your own images are accepted or rejected, to build up an idea of where the borderline lies. So get submitting a few and see how you get on.

 

Alan

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Some questions for you:

 

What camera/lens do you use?  Do you shoot jpeg-only, or raw?  What software do you use to post-process?

 

Edited by Bill Kuta

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To be able to assess sharpness at 100% it's important to check that you can resolve(see) individual pixels on your screen.

 

First step is to check that your combination of monitor, viewing distance and eyesight are suitable.

Do you see a uniform grey patch below or alternating vertical light and dark grey bars 1 pixel wide?

 

Greypatch.png

 

If you can only see a uniform grey patch then you need to change your monitor, viewing distance or try reading glasses. Once that's sorted, Geoff (GS-Images) has provided some good examples above of the bird's eye. I agree with his comments on what's acceptable. Wim Wiskerke also provided an excellent example of an image which is sharp all over here. NB. Make sure you download and view Wim's image at 100%. You may also find this forum thread useful.

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
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Wow thanks for all advice - just come through this morning. On way out to work now will go through it all carefully tonight - every days a learning day.... ;-)

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Thanks for support just had first 3 images accepted so have better idea now

Mark

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I found this on YouTube yesterday and thought it might help.  

 

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1 hour ago, Johnnie5 said:

If you do a search on YouTube for Alamy you get this list of helpful videos.   https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=alamy

 

Beware some of these videos are out of date and could be misleading.

 

Allan

 

 

Edited by Allan Bell

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Awful CA on that image Alamy used to show sharpness. 

 

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On 9/8/2017 at 11:47, Wicstun said:

Sorry to ask such a basic question - but better to ask and learn than remain ignorant for ever!

 

How do I tell if my images are pin sharp in focus esp landscapes!

I am not a 'pro' photographer but have taken photos for over 30 yrs with film now digital. I would like to start selling some of my photos. I am in the process of building my own web site www.mark-thompson@photography which has some images which I think are reasonable! 

 

My images look in focus on screen but when viewed at 100% I cannot decide as they obviously look more 'grainy' but still reasonable - I am often over critical of own work but need a marker / help to decide?

It would be nice to be able to do similar 100% view on good and bad focused full size images which are obviously difficult to find on web sites!

 

Any help / direction from someone in the know would be much appreciated!

 

Thanks Mark

When you look through your camera at something. Do several dots light up? I think that's how you get sharp images. I try to check the images on my camera by zooming in and if they look clear you know they are sharp but if you see blurriness etc you know they are not good.

 

Aylish

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On 01/10/2017 at 21:51, vpics said:

Awful CA on that image Alamy used to show sharpness. 

 

Yes, I agree.

 

On an image with blue sky or similar tones etc, The sky and road in the video are typical.

I always select a photo filter layer and then change the mode to linear burn, lower the opacity if too dark. Something I learnt on here a long time ago.

I don't like CC's visualize spots thingy.

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On 10/1/2017 at 22:51, vpics said:

Awful CA on that image Alamy used to show sharpness. 

 

Oh my gawd, I watched the video and fully agree. 

That picture would have went into my bin or through the CA filter before upload. 

 

 

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