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Similars -- How Many?


Ed Rooney
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If the light, season, circumstances or whatever make it a noticeably different image which might sell when the 'similar' might not, then it is justifiable to include new ones and to retain old ones which are not presenting the subject in quite the same way. I suppose we need to put ourselves in the shoes of the image buyer and ask if the images we present each offer him/her something different.

 

As you allude to, Ed, having more than a few similar images can be injurious to search placing over the long term. I like to have 'similar' images where they show how a location has changed in some way over time or because of the season. Sometimes however, I have revisted a location and simply taken better pictures, which has prompted me to delete some earlier inferior ones. Deleting similars in these circumstances is somethign which only happens occasionally, but I do strive to avoid having several images showing essentially the same subject in the same way.

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This is really a matter of editing; most pro snappers are pretty selective, then there are those who just flood their portfolio with shoals of similars. I really don't get it!

3 sounds enough as a workable rule, 5 on occasion. I remember Susan Griggs who ran a very prestigious agency in London who didn't do similars at all; she selected just the one usually. Neither did she do dupes, so if the original was out with a publisher, it was well and truly out!

 

We  all owe  Susan a word of thanks. She was instrumental  in getting the law changed back in 1987 so that photographers automatically owned the copyright in the work they produced

Edited by Robert M Estall
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2 hours ago, Robert M Estall said:

We  all owe  Susan a word of thanks. She was instrumental  in getting the law changed back in 1987 so that photographers automatically owned the copyright in the work they produced

 

Jeepers! Was it that long ago?

 

Allan

 

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I seldom upload similars, unless a vertical and a horizontal of the same subject count. I do revisit places often, though, to look for new angles, different lighting, etc. .

 

To quote T. S. Eliot:

 

"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."

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I am with John, but my dislike towards similars comes from micros experience where it is not uncommon to have dozens of near identical copies of absolutely dreadful image where even single copy has 0 sale potential.

 

I think photographer should ask him/herself question whether additional copy is giving something new. It can be angle, light or even technical / gear change.  But uploading similars where main purpose is chasing numbers (port size) is IMHO one of biggest evils of stock industry today.

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2 hours ago, Autumn Sky said:

I am with John, but my dislike towards similars comes from micros experience where it is not uncommon to have dozens of near identical copies of absolutely dreadful image where even single copy has 0 sale potential.

 

I think photographer should ask him/herself question whether additional copy is giving something new. It can be angle, light or even technical / gear change.  But uploading similars where main purpose is chasing numbers (port size) is IMHO one of biggest evils of stock industry today.

 

Yes, it has become far too easy for photographers to upload the entire kitchen sink. I always try to choose 1-3 of what I think are the best images from a series, which usually isn't all that difficult.

Edited by John Mitchell
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3 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Yes, it has become far too easy for photographers to upload the entire kitchen sink. I always try to choose 1-3 of what I think are the best images from a series, which usually isn't all that difficult.

 

Exactly.   Example:  Last week on a hike I ran into this:

north-american-porcupine-erethizon-dorsa

 

He/she (how can you tell??)  was willing to pose & stood still for few minutes.  I took 15+ shots --- this was first time I had such glorious chance to photograph porcupine!  This image is the only one I uploaded.  Rest are "similars" -- maybe different angle a bit, no tree on the left side,  quills a bit different but essentially the same & I saw no purpose of uploading them.

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Three images, side by side, on Page One that you'll see by clicking on my blue number (7-11-19) are very similar. On one, I corrected distortion and one has a lone figure walking so there is a reason for choice. 

 

More often than not, I don't find that I can make both a horizontal and a vertical of a scene. 

 

 

Edited by Ed Rooney
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Don't ask me! I've just given advice on not using too many similars, in another thread, and then checked my 'blue number', to find 6 or 7 of the same scene. Not, the same image, exactly, as most of them have changes of pose or angle or editing.

When I get a good scene in front of me, I tend to "milk it", not knowing when to stop shooting. On the other hand, part of me thinks it's better to give the client what you want them to see, and not too much choice as they might not be able to decide at all. Help!

 

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2 minutes ago, Steve Valentia said:

When I get a good scene in front of me, I tend to "milk it", not knowing when to stop shooting.

 

Me too. I can come home after a busy day shooting pix with a bewildering number of pix to edit (or discard). I'll try to pick out the best shots, and whittle the number down to something manageable. And that process continues.

 

I've heard contributors write that they upload so many similars because they just can't decide which of their pix are the best. Well, the edit/discard routine is a vital part of the photographic process (especially now, with digital, when it's as cheap to shoot 100 frames as it is to shoot 10), and there's really no excuse to upload loads of similars, simply because we can!

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16 minutes ago, John Morrison said:

I've heard contributors write that they upload so many similars because they just can't decide which of their pix are the best. Well, the edit/discard routine is a vital part of the photographic process (especially now, with digital, when it's as cheap to shoot 100 frames as it is to shoot 10), and there's really no excuse to upload loads of similars, simply because we can!

 

My Lightroom routine starts with sorting the rubbish, often whittling down 100 images to 15 or less. Under/over exposed, camera shake, poor composition, high noise etc etc all get the big X. But, I still may be left with more than 5 that are all "good", and sufficiently varied. It's then that submission choices get tricky.

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7 hours ago, Ed Rooney said:

The first three images you'll see by clicking on my blue number (6-11-19) are very similar. On one, I corrected distortion and one has a lone figure walking so there is a reason for choice. 

 

More often than not, I don't find that I can make both a horizontal and a vertical of a scene. 

 

 

 

I only take/make both a horizontal and a vertical when the subject lends itself to both views, which, as you say, isn't that often. Also, clients can often crop a vertical from a horizontal if they want, so I guess horizontals are probably more useful in the long run.

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When I shoot for magazines, occasionally they'll pick, even for the cover, an image that I wasn't sure whether or not to send along, so, I'll try to give a good representation of a scene - from various viewpoints, wide angle, vertical, close details, but in terms of real similars, usually 3-5. I do go back different days, seasons, even years later. And the photos always look so different, I don't usually feel the need to delete old ones. 

 

Occasionally I've experimented with different processing - I'm amazed at how different a seascape will look depending upon which color profile I choose - from that deep nautical blue to a more aqua-blue slightly vintage color feel. Buyers are skimming so many photos so fast that it can't hurt for them to see the color scheme they are seeking, even if they could process it that way themselves. But I've been trying to spend less time in LR both by shooting fewer images to save hours of culling time, and by processing less, though I really love all the choices.

 

 

There's a lighthouse I photographed in Maine back in 2009 just after taking a class at Maine Media. I had an hour there before heading south to meet a friend. I think I have about 15 different views here and all but one angle has sold at some point, at least 4 of them for $$$,. I was on the fence about 2 of the 4 that sold for $$$, so perhaps they are the exception that proves the rule?  

 

 

 

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Can't afford to be too pious about this as I recently discovered two long standing almost identical images, processed from the same file, in my collection.  Grateful to Alamy for immediate duplicate deletion!

 

I try to avoid more than one shot from the same position but with a different focal length, however every rule is there to be broken and last week put two such up for sale. It does depend upon the subject, in an ideal world a landscape and portrait would be good, but, as others have said, not often possible.

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3 hours ago, Ed Rooney said:

Marianne, I'm curious what you did about a property release for that lighthouse? 


 I suspect @Marianne didn't do anything about it. The Lighthouse below is (literally) 5 minutes drive from my house. I photograph it regularly, and it is a location for the workshops I offer, on a weekly basis, for individuals and groups. I have also been paid to teach there for the Great Irish Lighthouses organization who own it and I know all of the committee members who run it.

They are delighted to have it appear (as it has) in magazines and books and they frequently share my  social media posts. They even gave away 100 postcards with my details on the back, and a photo of it on the front, at the hut where tourists pay to visit the lighthouse.

 

I have never asked them to sign a PR and no one has ever told me it's not needed. I would assume that most other lighthouse owners, especially those that are a commercial venture (and many are), would be happy to see it published.

 

The main point about any release, though, is that the purchaser of the image (not the photographer) is responsible for determining if it's needed. I just put "NO" next to 'Do you have a signed Property Release', and leave it to whoever is buying the image to decide if they need it signed. 

2A5F3B0.jpg

Edited by Steve Valentia
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@SteveValentia

 

Never had anyplace expect a property release, even for those I've photographed that were not owned by the US Government (the US Coast Guard is still in charge of all lighthouses that are still an active aid to navigation) . Love your lighthouse photo. 

 

The only lighthouse near me is on the Hudson River, no longer in use but it is getting a facelift soon by a non-profit that now owns it. It is technically behind a (broken) fence, but the park ranger nearby told me that there was a big enough hole to go through the first time I visited. They give tours one Sunday a month in warm weather. 

 

So, without even thinking, I just uploaded 21 photos of 3 different lighthouses I took last fall. Visited one of them early in the day, then came back for blue hour/sunset. Different angles and crops. A lot of cropping options with my Sony. I used a wide angle lens and then played around. Probably should have uploaded fewer, but I think I can delete some before they go on sale. Took a lot of verticals and horizontals, as well as a few square format, which show up nicely in searches. Also, I find the light at sunset can change so drastically that 3-5 shots might not cover all options. The lighthouses aren't in New England so at least they shouldn't show up in searches for "England."

 

Of course, the Huron Harbor lighthouse, which is confusingly on Lake Erie, might show up in "Lake Huron" searches. Oh well. . . actually, I just searched "Huron Harbor Lighthouse" and out of a few pages, only one photo is actually of that lighthouse. Not a pretty one, but I got it as the sun was going down, so that helps. Uploaded fewer than 5 of those. 

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