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Posted (edited)

Hello All,

 

What would be your opinion on the best settings for photos to pass the QC check?

 

I have this one image that is an awesome shot (1951 Grumman Albatross flying close to the a lighthouse), but I fear that it isn't quite good enough to sell.

 

I used a Sony A77II with a 70-300mm 4.5-5.6 lens. ISO 50, F5.6, 1/200th sec, 280mm. I was lining up for the lighthouse dialing in the settings and then the plane came...I didn't have it in continuous mode and of course the settings were not what I would have chosen had I not had to react so quickly. I tried to submit and received a noise failure, corrected that, but then get a softness issue the second time.

 

 

https://whichbordernext.com/

 

The image was exported from the original setting with no crop...10.6MB JPEG

Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

 

thanks,

Mark

 

 

Edited by Mark Loken

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Mark,

 

What a great shot!

 

Instead of trying to get this one image past QC I would recommend that you submit more "mundane" images that are technically "perfect". After you have a few successful submission try submitting the lighthouse image in another batch of images, kinda sneak it in if you follow me... QC is very picky until you have a proven track record of "Good" submissions.

 

There is no "best" setting to pass QC but as a guideline start with low ISO, close down 2-3 stops from wide open and shoot at least 500th of a sec. Of course this does not work with all subjects but it's a start. For me interesting content is more important then a technically perfect image of a boring subject.

 

Best of luck,

 

David

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Shooting RAW might have got you through, but that image has very bad mottling. I think it's a jpg compression artefact- hence suggesting RAW- but I'm no expert. Motion blur may also have contributed to it. It's also very soft, which suggests the lens isn't up to it wide open. 1/200 is nothing like fast enough to stop the aeroplane's movement.

As dlm says, this isn't the sort of image to get you on the strength. Try something stationary.

 

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Thank you for your comments! I really appreciate it :)

 

To be honest, I was only really thinking of selling this one image - the full wide shot, and then the more zoomed in crop. I was thinking that this was a once in a lifetime photo that maybe I could make some money as I can't find any other images out there close to something like this. Since I have been learning more about this, I am looking forward to expanding this to more photos. I just need to practice on getting better more sharp photos.

 

Yeah, the shutter speed was definitely too slow than what I would have chosen had I was known a plane was going to come around the lighthouse. It happened so quickly I am surprised I got what I did. Normally I would have had only the water in focus and one wing clipped...LOLOL

 

If I understand the comment about RAW correctly I could submit RAW? I need to google mottling...haven't heard of that term before.

 

thanks,

Mark

 

 

 

 

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You should shoot RAW. You must submit jpegs. Read all the information Alamy provides carefully and you will be fine.

 

Paulette

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Posted (edited)

Thank you.

 

I did shoot RAW, I just wasn't sure what is his comment meant about the RAW images.

 

I guess my main question is: Do you think this image is salvageable to pass QC with the proper corrections?

 

I realize I need to step back and focus on uploading simpler images, but curious about this photo in particular.

 

thanks,

Mark

Edited by Mark Loken

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Posted (edited)

What are you using to develop? Lightroom? Photoshop? Sometimes talented use of these programs can rescue a soft image. Then reduce size down to 3000 pixels on long side. Downsizing can sometimes make the difference in perceived sharpness.  Then, once that’s done, you will need to inspect it at 100% on your monitor and look for things gone wrong. It still may not be sharp enough.

Also look for red, green, purple fringing. Those are a fail.

As far as noise goes, often I have applied some noise reduction being careful not to soften the image too much. Then in Photoshop, I might use the selection tool and apply stronger noise reduction to sky areas or unimportant darks. 

Its taken me many years to figure it out and even then, as we say in the USA, holding your mouth right helps! 😁

 

Probably one of the most important things I learned over the years is this:

Don't fall in love with an image. Yours is great as far as content, one of a kind and pure luck.  I shot many images over the years that made me go “WOW!” I always tried to save them even though many weren’t technically good enough. I had failures galore. QC don’t fall in love.

 

Then I woke up and smelled the coffee.  Quit submitting those. And I’m here to tell you that was the most painful and hard lesson I’ve learned in this business.  Now, hard-hearted as I have to be, I have a great submission record.

 

I don’t know if this came into play with you, but sometimes when something unexpected pops up and I try to grab a shot, the sheer excitement causes camera shake. That happened when I returned home one day, and saw a flock of American robins and Cedar Waxwings stripping the fruit from my front yard crabapple tree. I ran inside, put my long lens on and ran out to shoot them from my open garage. Long lens, no tripod, shaking with excitement = soft images.  I should have used a higher shutter speed but my brain wasn’t engaged.

Betty

Edited by Betty LaRue

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Betty,

 

Thank you for the deep explanation - it really opens up a lot of insight and things to think about.

 

I never thought of selling images before this photo and do realize that I have much to learn when it comes to pixel peeping. :) 

 

I primarily use LR, but also use GIMP with Darktable.

 

I know that zoomed out to 280mm with no tripod, and at a low shutter speed that sharpness will be an issue - especially when reacting to that moment.

 

I am just trying to understand if there is a possibility to try and salvage this and if it could be good enough to pass QC. Do I want to waste time on this or just forgo it and look forward to the next unexpected shot...LOL

 

thanks,

Mark

 

 

 

 

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Sorry, this one is just too soft and mottled. Cool shot, but not for here.  Heed Betty's advice about not falling in love with an image that ultimately won't work.

 

Another waste of time would be setting up an Alamy account to just try to sell one or two images. This is a long game where numbers count. Look up forum threads about "how long to first sale" to see how many hundreds or thousands of images you need to expect sales.

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Thanks Bill and All,

 

That's what I feared, but not a problem - I thought of selling it as it is the only interesting photo I have LOL.

 

Mark

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5 hours ago, Mark Loken said:

I guess my main question is: Do you think this image is salvageable to pass QC with the proper corrections?

 

Thank you for posting a 100% image!

 

You have put the image through the wringer a bit.

Clarity +18
Saturation +66
Vibrance +43

Sharpness +150

That last one does it, I'm afraid.

My guess is that it's not necessary. There may be some sharpening needed somewhere, but not globally and not unmasked. The same for the other settings.

I agree with the others: it's a great shot and worth trying to save it.

 

Now would it sell as a stock image? Hmmm I have my doubts.

Let's see if there have been searches for the Grumman. No not for the flying boat. People do look for the Hellcat and the Avenger and even for the drone and the X29. These are the Grumman Albatrosses on Alamy.

The lighthouse then: there have been 2 searches for the Split Rock Lighthouse in the past 12 months (which is as far back as we can look) and this is the competition.

Flyby/fly by? Not really. Flypast? (That's how the Brits call it: Alamy is in the UK and about half of the sales go there.) Yes, but all searches are for RAF flybys in England. Ok that was to be expected.

Flying boat maybe? Yes there have been some searches:

flying boat 1915
flying boat italy
flying boats
empire flying boat
flying boat 1917
dornier flying boat
flying boat victoria falls
gulls flying over boat
Flying boat pilot
flying boat first world war
mariner flying boat
flying boat 1916
flying boat
Flying Boat Museum limerick
flying boat 1918
Short Sunderland flying boat

 

So yeah a great shot, but maybe not as general stock. Maybe as a print on the wall? Then there are other outlets which we cannot discuss here as per forum rules.

Others who are plane spotters or know anything about that world may chime in here with some advice.

Would this sell on the micros? Again I would not know. Others who know more of that market, may chime in here.

 

wim

  • Upvote 1

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Wim,

 

Wow, thank you for the in depth response! Again more insight that I wasn't thinking about.

 

thanks,

Mark

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Mark Loken said:

Thanks Bill and All,

 

That's what I feared, but not a problem - I thought of selling it as it is the only interesting photo I have LOL.

 

Mark

 

It's not necessarily the interesting photographs that are most likely to sell here - look at almost anyone's collection and you'll find endless shopfronts, street signs etc - as photographs these are mostly boring as hell, but there is a demand for them

 

Alex

Edited by Alex Ramsay
typo

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You shoot RAW, but export a jpeg from LR for submission.

Despite the name, you can't make an unsharp image sharp with the "sharpness" setting- it's only intended as a default on RAWs, usually at 25, to counteract their inherent softness. Only very occasionally should any more be added. Those other settings only tend to make the problem more apparent.

The image is also very flat to my eye- the shadows being opened right up has shown up the faults.

It's a terrific poster though.

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57 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

You shoot RAW, but export a jpeg from LR for submission.

Despite the name, you can't make an unsharp image sharp with the "sharpness" setting- it's only intended as a default on RAWs, usually at 25, to counteract their inherent softness. Only very occasionally should any more be added. Those other settings only tend to make the problem more apparent.

The image is also very flat to my eye- the shadows being opened right up has shown up the faults.

It's a terrific poster though.

 

Adobe changed the Lightroom default sharpness amount to 40 in LRCC a while back. This is just a generic guideline - it is best to set default sharpness oneself which can be done for specific cameras and/or ISOs in the Prefs.

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

Adobe changed the Lightroom default sharpness amount to 40 in LRCC a while back.

I still use 5.7 and very rarely go above 40 even for marginals- I'd find it a bit much as default. Unless the effect is different in the new version.

 

 

Edited by spacecadet

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Just now, spacecadet said:

I still use 5.7 and very rarely go above 40 even for marginals

 

This is just from memory but I think I read that Adobe upped the default sharpness to 40 as that was what some competitors used (I think Capture One was mentioned),  so images were looking slightly crisper in the rival software before the change. I haven't done any tests myself so open for correction.

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51 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

 

This is just from memory but I think I read that Adobe upped the default sharpness to 40 as that was what some competitors used (I think Capture One was mentioned),  so images were looking slightly crisper in the rival software before the change. I haven't done any tests myself so open for correction.

 

That's easy to see: if you open an old RAW image that you have edited in an older version of the ACR settings, you'll see an exclamation mark in the corner somewhere. If you click on that, it will update the editing. But not the settings. So when it changes after that update, it will be the process; if it changes after you've updated the setting, it's the setting.

The update happened last year at LR V7.3 (I did look that up). Don't know which ACR version that was. 

Adobe has commented:

"The sharpening amount increase (from 25 to 40), in conjunction with the new Adobe Color default profile, are part of an effort to offer a more pleasing “out-of-the-box” rendering for Lr Classic, Lr CC, & ACR."

Lots of people commenting mention the higher pixel count of current cameras that need higher sharpening, which is also my experience.

 

wim

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20 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

 

Lots of people commenting mention the higher pixel count of current cameras that need higher sharpening, which is also my experience.

 

wim

 

I wonder if that is down to lens quality rather than anything intrinsic to larger images. The sensor with higher pixel count will be more demanding and will show up any flaws in the lens. Also to compare images from sensors with different resolutions, it is important to view them at the same size which means downsizing the larger images but that is going to involve some sharpening.  I can't see why the number of pixels in an image is related to sharpness rather than the relationship between adjacent pixels.

 

Then there is this whole argument about what sharpness actually means

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7 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

I wonder if that is down to lens quality rather than anything intrinsic to larger images. The sensor with higher pixel count will be more demanding and will show up any flaws in the lens. Also to compare images from sensors with different resolutions, it is important to view them at the same size which means downsizing the larger images but that is going to involve some sharpening.  I can't see why the number of pixels in an image is related to sharpness rather than the relationship between adjacent pixels.

 

Then there is this whole argument about what sharpness actually means

 

It's that he mentions Mumbo-jumbo himself...

There's sharpness and perceived sharpness.

Sharpness is resolution.

Perceived sharpness has to do with acutance, which is basically contrast. I would say pleasing contrast which can be measured somewhat, but is in essence subjective.

A higher sharpness in ACR will bring out lens flaws more with any sensor, but they're easier to determine with a big high pixel count sensor. On smaller lower count pixel sensors they use to drown in all the other noise. Because like always in photography it's basically a signal to noise ratio problem, just like with sound. And everything we do is a compromise between many many small factors, which is why computing power makes a great difference. This still means human computing power too.

As my grandfather used to say: good tools is half the works.

 

wim

  • Upvote 1

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In the Martin Evening article he suggests that:

 

"The actual amount of underlying sharpening that’s applied varies from camera to camera, but Adobe’s aim is to apply a base-level amount of sharpening that makes all RAW files appear equally sharp at a 25 setting"

 

Given that you can now replace '25' with '40' you would think that they might take account of the higher pixel counts of specific cameras to make them 'appear' equally sharp. Perhaps it is just that they haven't been entirely successful in achieving this with the higher pixel count cameras.

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1 hour ago, Harry Harrison said:

In the Martin Evening article he suggests that:

 

"The actual amount of underlying sharpening that’s applied varies from camera to camera, but Adobe’s aim is to apply a base-level amount of sharpening that makes all RAW files appear equally sharp at a 25 setting"

 

Given that you can now replace '25' with '40' you would think that they might take account of the higher pixel counts of specific cameras to make them 'appear' equally sharp. Perhaps it is just that they haven't been entirely successful in achieving this with the higher pixel count cameras.

 

I read the Adobe aim/statement as: if you cannot be bothered with setting specific values for each camera body you have, you will probably want a nice crisp image without too much work

(fully agreeing with MDM here). The default Adobe Color is a step in that direction also with higher saturation and higher contrast than the old Adobe Standard.

And I don't think it's mainly meant for the LR users, because Photoshop users have also felt the need to produce much more saturated and contrasty images because we're now mainly working for the screen. Because even when images will end up on the page, they're picked from a screen.

 

wim

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1 hour ago, wiskerke said:

I read the Adobe aim/statement as

That's possible,  but I read it differently, in that he's saying that Adobe recognize the camera that has produced the RAW file and tweaked the 'underlying' sharpening accordingly so that level '25' (or 40) is the same across all cameras once the files are opened in Lightroom. I have no idea of course, would have to ask Mr. Evening.

 

The new emphasis on producing livelier images by producing a different default profile is something else isn't it? Does the Adobe Color profile also encompass the sharpening?

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

The new emphasis on producing livelier images by producing a different default profile is something else isn't it? Does the Adobe Color profile also encompass the sharpening?

 

No it doesn't, it's just a color profile. Just weighing colors; saturation and hue differently.

However contrast (=a steeper curve) does influence perceived sharpness.

If you click on the 4 squares next to the profile's name in ACR (Adobe Color being the default) you can browse all profiles that come with it. Plus the ones you may have saved. If you have your image at 100%, it's easy to see the differences they make in perceived sharpness.

Clicking browse does the same btw.

 

wim

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