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Gnans

A year after my previous Portfolio review...

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... I'm back again looking for critical comments. Over the past year, I have focussed more on

 

# Monitor colour calibration (still do regularly using spyder5 express)

# More attention to caption and keywords

# Trying to include people in shots i.e. people doing things

# Editing the picture in detail around saturation etc.

 

Portfolio link https://www.alamy.com/portfolio/gnans 

 

Thanks,

Gnans

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Posted (edited)

Hi Gnans,

You got a lot of pictures uploaded in a year, well done! Very colourful and interesting pictures.

 

1) Your keywording and captioning is a bit hit and miss. Some captions include the town/city and country, some don't:

Dromedary camel with soft cushion on its back used by tourists for a entertainment and leisure ride - Image ID: 2BKB6BK (where?)

Juice shop in Marrakesh medina market square aka Djemaa el fna - Image ID: 2BKAY4G (there's no juice shop, just a hand holding a drink)

Airport scene looking at the entrance with blurred travelers pulling suitcases - Image ID: 2BKAXXD (not even the airport name is mentioned, let alone city, country etc.)

 

2) Some major technical comments:

 

Subjects that are backlit can often look very effective. Like this for example:

Backlit Bell Tower of Umag Town Hall. Istria, Croatia. - Stock Image

(Also not a perfect photo because there's a lot of vertical distortion. But the lighting is very good. Maybe slightly too good, I suspect the tower has been selectively lightened. But you get the idea.)

 

Just a general comment on lighting, not necessarily related to your pictures. Lighting is really important in photos - see what professional photographers say about light. You're trying to represent a 3D scene in 2D, and lighting really helps with this. Shadows and highlights can really make the subject of an image or the image as a whole 'pop' (stand out, be alive). You can have flat lighting in pictures, don't get me wrong, but you would still want enough light to show contrast and shadows generally. So getting the lighting right is really important. Bad lighting can destroy an image.

 

Koutoubia Mosque the largest mosque in Marrakesh (Marrakech), Morocco, North Africa - Stock Image

In this scene, there is also vertical distortion, and the whole scene, including most of the sky, is underexposed. The area where the sun is is exposed correctly perhaps, but this is not the subject of the picture. The subject of the photo - the tower - is dark, we can't see the details on it. It doesn't hold the viewer's eye, there's no interest.

 

 

Djema el fna food stalls - Stock Image

Two questions. Sorry, it's going to sound blunt, but I'm not going to beat around the bush. (a) Are you using your camera's histogram when you take pictures? / Are you just using the auto settings? (b) Are you editing with any software?

 

This picture is really dark, even the lit scenes are very underexposed. If you opened up this photo in any editing software, the histogram curve would be well over to the left, meaning you've got clipped blacks (areas where there is no detail and just pure black pixels).

 

 

I've commented on editing elsewhere and I don't want to make this post even longer. I would expect someone editing pictures to be roughly following what I've written about here (everyone's workflow will be different, this is just what I do). Scroll down to my 'personal workflow' in this thread):

 

https://discussion.alamy.com/topic/12808-feedback-greatly-appreciated/

 

 

 
UNESCO site Marrakesh market wide open with no stalls during daytime Stock Photo
 
Wonky horizons got mentioned to you a year ago. This is plainly not straight and it's immediately very noticeable. Also, just a general tip, try not to photograph in the direction of the sun. It often ends up with an overexposed sky and a scene with very flat colours - like this one.
 
 
3) The next one's much more subjective and soft photography skills. Composition:

Hand made artistic goods on display in the co-operative run by Berber community people in Atlas mountain range near Marrakesh town in Morocco - Stock Image

I think it's important to tell a story with photography, and particularly with stock photography. The subject should be obvious normally. In this photo, it's not immediately clear what the subject is, there's too much going on in the picture. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be looking at the buildings in the background or the pots in the foreground. The blue metal thing encroaching into the right hand side of the picture is very distracting. So is the pole right in the middle of the picture. Basically, when I look at this my eye travels all the way round and doesn't settle on anything, because it can't find a subject and it's unsettling/doesn't hold the viewer's interest. A suggestion might have been to crop a lot more when you took the picture, just focusing on showing just a few pots, with the buildings in the background out of focus.

 

Bahia palace interiors in Marrakech, Morocco, North Africa - Stock Image

You've tried to show the whole square, which is great, but again, there's no obvious subject. I can't see the details in the floor or the walls, the people are too far away. It looks like a very quickly taken "holiday snap".
 
Bahia palace interiors in Marrakech, Morocco, North Africa - Stock Image
The subject in this picture would have been the people if they were standing in the middle. Except they're off to the side and very obscured. The archway opposite is very plain - if there was a scene behind, it would be a great compositional device to lead the eye through to the background. Except it leads the eye to a plain white wall. You need to ask why this is a horizontal format picture - the people to the side are distracting. What are you trying to show here? The building? Find a more interesting view. The people looking around the courtyard? Ok, then move so the columns aren't hiding the people.
 
UNESCO site Marrakesh market wide open with no stalls during daytime - Stock Image
You've got very flat lighting here. There's very little contrast. The picture looks dull and flat. Again, there's no particular subject, the eye just roams around and doesn't find one. It's not going to hold the viewer's attention. Would have been much better to focus on some particular people. This picture might work if you had an interesting background like the church in St. Mark's square (Venice). Here, the background buildings are very plain; they just don't hold the viewer's interest. Most of the picture is a very plain sky and a very plain pavement.
 
A tip - when I'm photographing local scenes where I live - and I know I can go back repeatedly - I'll wait to take photos until the lighting is good and the sky. If I get there and the lighting is bad, there's just no point taking the picture.
 
I hope you find this helpful. I know I've been very direct, I hope you're ok with that! Good luck!
Steve
 
Edited by Steve F
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Steve,

 

Thanks for your detailed response and I appreciate the direct critics.

 

#1 - I get what you are saying. I need to be more descriptive and provide more details in caption. Much more than what I thought would be enough. I'm slowly reviewing the keywords and will refind them.

#2 - I'm taking pictures hastily and rushing rather than working on lighting conditions and move around and use the best of available light. I do see the histogram in camera but not for every picture. The night market stall one is not edited properly in lightroom. To be honest, as you rightly picked all the Marrakech photos are holiday snaps and I removed majority of them from Alamy but is still in portfolio until the 180 days lag time. I realise that I have taken too far many images than required hastily rushing to take pictures rather than taking time and composing better.

#3 - Composition comments are understood. Probably again going back to #2 that I need to take time , compose the photos better.

 

Thanks again.

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Gnans said:

Steve,

 

Thanks for your detailed response and I appreciate the direct critics.

 

#1 - I get what you are saying. I need to be more descriptive and provide more details in caption. Much more than what I thought would be enough. I'm slowly reviewing the keywords and will refind them.

#2 - I'm taking pictures hastily and rushing rather than working on lighting conditions and move around and use the best of available light. I do see the histogram in camera but not for every picture. The night market stall one is not edited properly in lightroom. To be honest, as you rightly picked all the Marrakech photos are holiday snaps and I removed majority of them from Alamy but is still in portfolio until the 180 days lag time. I realise that I have taken too far many images than required hastily rushing to take pictures rather than taking time and composing better.

#3 - Composition comments are understood. Probably again going back to #2 that I need to take time , compose the photos better.

 

Thanks again.

No worries, glad you're taking it in a positive way. Yes, take your time if you can. I know having more photos helps, but I think you can't skimp too much on quality or it hurts your ranking too much.

Steve

 

p.s. I've just looked at some of your other pages. I did only have a look at your most recent pictures originally. You actually have some very good / much better pictures elsewhere.

Edited by Steve F
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On 10/05/2020 at 15:32, Gnans said:

Steve,

 

Thanks for your detailed response and I appreciate the direct critics.

 

#1 - I get what you are saying. I need to be more descriptive and provide more details in caption. Much more than what I thought would be enough. I'm slowly reviewing the keywords and will refind them.

#2 - I'm taking pictures hastily and rushing rather than working on lighting conditions and move around and use the best of available light. I do see the histogram in camera but not for every picture. The night market stall one is not edited properly in lightroom. To be honest, as you rightly picked all the Marrakech photos are holiday snaps and I removed majority of them from Alamy but is still in portfolio until the 180 days lag time. I realise that I have taken too far many images than required hastily rushing to take pictures rather than taking time and composing better.

#3 - Composition comments are understood. Probably again going back to #2 that I need to take time , compose the photos better.

 

Thanks again.

 

One of the best things for my morale and quality of my pictures (I hope) is to take a break if I feel quality starts to slip. Especially after several days on the trot of putting out good images I can find that the next time I go out it's all just substandard crap because I've temporarily burned myself out. I take a rest, leave the camera at home, and then get back to it a couple of days later recharged and ready. If you feel you are "hastily rushing", try and do the same.

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Noticed your picture Marigold Tagetes flower bud - Image ID: 2C16DG9

I am afraid that flowers can get a little confusing,there are two species often called marigold, what you have here is a Calendula probably calendula officinalis, not a Tagetes.

This is commonly known as the Common marigold Pot marigold or English marigold plus a few other names.

It is part of the daisy family and probably originated in Europe

The Tagetes species, most common ones the French marigold and African marigold are the ones related to sunflowers and originating in Mexico.

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5 hours ago, Chris Burrows said:

Noticed your picture Marigold Tagetes flower bud - Image ID: 2C16DG9

I am afraid that flowers can get a little confusing,there are two species often called marigold, what you have here is a Calendula probably calendula officinalis, not a Tagetes.

This is commonly known as the Common marigold Pot marigold or English marigold plus a few other names.

It is part of the daisy family and probably originated in Europe

The Tagetes species, most common ones the French marigold and African marigold are the ones related to sunflowers and originating in Mexico.

Thank you Chris. I have fixed it now.

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On 10/05/2020 at 15:05, Steve F said:
Bahia palace interiors in Marrakech, Morocco, North Africa - Stock Image
The subject in this picture would have been the people if they were standing in the middle. Except they're off to the side and very obscured. The archway opposite is very plain - if there was a scene behind, it would be a great compositional device to lead the eye through to the background. Except it leads the eye to a plain white wall. You need to ask why this is a horizontal format picture - the people to the side are distracting. What are you trying to show here? The building? Find a more interesting view. The people looking around the courtyard? Ok, then move so the columns aren't hiding the people.
 
 
 

I disagree.  I like the empty arch in the middle of the pic.  Just remember, Gnans, people's opinion vary greatly on pictures - what one person dislikes, another person likes. 

 

I have noticed, apart from the wonky horizons, you include a lot of dead space in your pics.  You might want to look at that.  Well done - keep going!

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Gnans, nice range of pictures.  I like the macro shots of phones, tech, etc I can easily imagine them in the business section of one of the nationals. As for the Arch? With out something in the centre the Arch is the subject. When I'm unsure (often!) I try to imagine the picture in the opposite format, what does vertical format do for you?

 

All the best,

 

James

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