Jump to content
J Gillispie

Feedback is greatly appreciated

Recommended Posts

Hello Alamy people,

 

I will greatly appreciate any feedback you can give me regarding my portfolio. I have been on Alamy nearly 1.5 years and do know that my portfolio is small.  I have had two sales but like everyone, more sales would be fantastic! 

https://www.alamy.com/portfolio/671273.html

 

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, J Gillispie said:

Hello Alamy people,

 

I will greatly appreciate any feedback you can give me regarding my portfolio. I have been on Alamy nearly 1.5 years and do know that my portfolio is small.  I have had two sales but like everyone, more sales would be fantastic! 

https://www.alamy.com/portfolio/671273.html

 

Thanks!

Hi Juli, Nice portfolio! A quick question before I comment further - what sort of editing are you doing to your pictures, can you briefly summarise?

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice! The only thing I might suggest is that with some of your florals and insects you have them zoomed in close. Shoot them like that, but take another shot backed off a bit to show some copy space on one side or another with the subject off-set, or a vertical with space either top or bottom. Some buyers like copy space.

Good job!

Betty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Steve F said:

Hi Juli, Nice portfolio! A quick question before I comment further - what sort of editing are you doing to your pictures, can you briefly summarise?

Steve

Hi Steve,

Thanks! I use lightroom and photoshop (if needed).  Every photo is edited individually, but in general I use the basic panel and then reduce/eliminate noise with the luminosity slider.  HSL is used as needed.  I used to shoot film years ago then about 3 years ago realized I really did miss great photos and picked up the panasonic luminx gx85 prior to a trip to Australia. Both the camera/handheld computer :) and photo editing software have been a fabulous on-going learning experience. I tried another editing software prior to adobe (trying to avoid a subscription) but it was very frustrating to use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Betty LaRue said:

Very nice! The only thing I might suggest is that with some of your florals and insects you have them zoomed in close. Shoot them like that, but take another shot backed off a bit to show some copy space on one side or another with the subject off-set, or a vertical with space either top or bottom. Some buyers like copy space.

Good job!

Betty

Thanks, Betty! I had not considered the copy space aspect. I will add that into my compositions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, J Gillispie said:

Hi Steve,

Thanks! I use lightroom and photoshop (if needed).  Every photo is edited individually, but in general I use the basic panel and then reduce/eliminate noise with the luminosity slider.  HSL is used as needed.  I used to shoot film years ago then about 3 years ago realized I really did miss great photos and picked up the panasonic luminx gx85 prior to a trip to Australia. Both the camera/handheld computer :) and photo editing software have been a fabulous on-going learning experience. I tried another editing software prior to adobe (trying to avoid a subscription) but it was very frustrating to use.

 

Hey Juli,

Thanks, that's good to know, I'm using LR too. Yes, the subscription is a bit annoying, but I guess you get what you pay for. Your macro shots are really cool - are you using extension tubes to get that close?

 

I'm just judging this by eye, but some shots look slightly underexposed and a bit lacking in dynamic range. Do you use the histogram in LR to achieve full whites and blacks? I know you don't necessarily want to do it for every photo, but Alamy requests it in their rules for passing QC and it's a good rule of thumb generally.

 

Bit lacking in contrast.

Road killed black tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) - Stock Image

 

 

Bit underexposed

Black and white striped tent top close-up - Stock Image

 

Bit underexposed. I think it's a sunny day from the shadows, but the lighting otherwise looks like the lighting on a grey day.

Bright yellow close up of brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) sunflower wildflower - Stock Image

 

Great detail shot, but quite underexposed

Tomato hornworm, Manduca quinquemaculata, close up showing the caterpillar eating on a tomato plant stalk - Stock Image

 

 

Your captions are a bit hit and miss sometimes (join the club, me too!) Captions are quite important for your images being discovered in searches. Some have the Latin name of animals, some don't. Some have the state and country, some don't.

Southern desert horned lizard, Phrynosoma platyrhinos calidiarum- Image ID: 2BX7FBK where?

Spring storm clouds moving across the desert- Image ID: 2BX7FF2 where?

 

This is a really pretty picture, but probably will never ever be found in a customer search. The common name, Latin name and location are all missing.

A branch of pink and magenta fruit tree flowers blooming in spring time - Stock Image

You really need to be hot on keywording and captions, especially more so the smaller your collection is. Although with 208 million pictures in the library, everyone has a small collection relatively speaking! Finally, just a minor one and not something you probably tend to think about in the land of the free, but there are variant English spellings for words over the pond so bi-color would be bi-colour, shopping center (mall!) would be shopping centre over here etc. The Alamy search engine doesn't translate English variants so if someone searches on the British spelling of a word, your American spelled variant of that word wouldn't be searched for and vice versa.
 
I hope this helps. Keep growing your collection and more sales will come, you've got some great pictures.
Steve

 

Edited by Steve F

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Steve F said:

 

Hey Juli,

Thanks, that's good to know, I'm using LR too. Yes, the subscription is a bit annoying, but I guess you get what you pay for. Your macro shots are really cool - are you using extension tubes to get that close?

 

I'm just judging this by eye, but some shots look slightly underexposed and a bit lacking in dynamic range. Do you use the histogram in LR to achieve full whites and blacks? I know you don't necessarily want to do it for every photo, but Alamy requests it in their rules for passing QC and it's a good rule of thumb generally.

 

Bit lacking in contrast.

Road killed black tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) - Stock Image

 

 

Bit underexposed

Black and white striped tent top close-up - Stock Image

 

Bit underexposed. I think it's a sunny day from the shadows, but the lighting otherwise looks like the lighting on a grey day.

Bright yellow close up of brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) sunflower wildflower - Stock Image

 

Great detail shot, but quite underexposed

Tomato hornworm, Manduca quinquemaculata, close up showing the caterpillar eating on a tomato plant stalk - Stock Image

 

 

Your captions are a bit hit and miss sometimes (join the club, me too!) Captions are quite important for your images being discovered in searches. Some have the Latin name of animals, some don't. Some have the state and country, some don't.

Southern desert horned lizard, Phrynosoma platyrhinos calidiarum- Image ID: 2BX7FBK where?

Spring storm clouds moving across the desert- Image ID: 2BX7FF2 where?

 

This is a really pretty picture, but probably will never ever be found in a customer search. The common name, Latin name and location are all missing.

A branch of pink and magenta fruit tree flowers blooming in spring time - Stock Image

You really need to be hot on keywording and captions, especially more so the smaller your collection is. Although with 208 million pictures in the library, everyone has a small collection relatively speaking! Finally, just a minor one and not something you probably tend to think about in the land of the free, but there are variant English spellings for words over the pond so bi-color would be bi-colour, shopping center (mall!) would be shopping centre over here etc. The Alamy search engine doesn't translate English variants so if someone searches on the British spelling of a word, your American spelled variant of that word wouldn't be searched for and vice versa.
 
I hope this helps. Keep growing your collection and more sales will come, you've got some great pictures.
Steve

 

Steve,

Thanks for the detailed feedback I really appreciate it! I will go back through and fix the captions to add more details such as the Latin names and location.  I used to put in the spelling variants but when I uploaded to some other stock sites they were marked as misspelled.  I have been using the keywording field in lightroom to help speed things up but often it is just easier to copy/paste from my spreadsheet. Maybe I should have a separate column for the sites that accept variants.  No, I have not used the histogram consistently except checking for clipping but I will take another look at it - guess I relied to much on my QC 3-star rating from Alamy.  Again, thanks so much!

Juli

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Hi Juli,

Glad to be of help. There's a lot of YouTube videos out there on the histogram, but I'll see if I can write a useful summary. Altering the histogram is one of the main edits I do in LR.

 

You're quite right about checking for clipping. You can click on the little squares at the top left and right of the histogram to highlight any clipping in the photo.

 

As a general rule of thumb, you get a kind of bell shape for the histogram where the peak is in the middle and the histogram shape drops towards the left (where the blacks are) and towards the right (where the whites are). If your image is underexposed, the peak will be towards the left of the centre, towards the 'black' side. You can compensate for this by increasing the exposure using the exposure slider below. Ditto if the peak is over to the right, except you drop the exposure (note that the saturation tends to increase if you increase the exposure of an image. If you increase by a large amount, you might even need to reduce the saturation using the saturation slider).

 

It might be that you have a scene where the histogram jumps up sharply on the left hand edge. You might be losing detail by having pure solid blacks, so you can adjust the 'black's slider to remove this clipping. But maybe your shadows are still far too dark. So you can slide the shadow slider to the right to decrease your shadows which will smooth out the steep vertical line on the left of your histogram to more of a curve. Ditto, but in reverse if you have a steep line on the right where your highlights/whites are.

 

Maybe you have a bell shape, but the edges of the histogram don't get near to the left or right hand side. This means your image is lacking in dynamic range and you have no blacks or whites - any whites or blacks in your image will be rendered as light and dark greys. So you need to use the black and white sliders to move the edges of the histogram until you start to get clipping, then move it back slightly.

 

You might have an image with a really bright sky and dark land. The histogram will have a peak on the left and a peak on the right and will drop in the middle because you're lacking mid tones. Again, you want to move the shadow slider to the right to increase the shadows, and the highlights slider to the left to decrease the highlights so the image is generally better exposed.

 

Have a play with the sliders until you get used to what they do. At the end of the day, unless you're trying to go for an arty look, you want the image to look natural. So when you look at the image, is it too dark overall, too light overall, highlights too bright, shadows too dark, not enough contrast etc. - and then you adjust the histogram to suit. Not necessarily hard and fast following the rules I've given above, you just want the picture to look natural and the lighting correct as it was when you took the picture, so make the changes you see fit until the picture looks right to you.

 

Here's a useful website (with pictures!):

https://digital-photography-school.com/understand-lightroom-histogram/

Steve

Edited by Steve F
Changed 'it looks right' to 'the picture looks right'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The histogram is useful, but neither is it an exact science, you have to take into account the content of the image. If I take a photograph of swans against a light-ish background with very little dark grey or black in the image, the histogram will appear to be smushed over to the right. That doesn't necessarily mean the image is overexposed... it just means that there is a lot of bright white in the image. Perfectionists will say "well don't take a photograph of swans against a light background" but that is completely missing the point.

 

Opposite applies if I take a photograph of an object with for instance a dark or pure black background. The histogram will try to tell me there's too much black in the image by being largely skewed over to the left with peaks where the exposure is. Again, that doesn't mean the image is underexposed. 

 

While I agree that the histogram is a useful tool, using the sliders to "fix" it seems to be somewhat missing the point considering it's the image content that matters the most. I've taken some images that the histogram has told me it's all wrong and tried to fix it, ruining the look of the image. It's useful in giving you a ballpark idea of how well exposed an image is, but you also have to trust your eyes too.

Edited by Cal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Cal said:

The histogram is useful, but neither is it an exact science, you have to take into account the content of the image. If I take a photograph of swans against a light-ish background with very little grey or black in the image, the histogram will appear to be smushed over to the right. That doesn't necessarily mean the image is overexposed... it just means that there is a lot of bright white in the image. Perfectionists will say "well don't take a photograph of swans against a light background" but that is completely missing the point.

 

Opposite applies if I take a photograph of an object with for instance a dark or pure black background. The histogram will try to tell me there's too much black in the image by being largely skewed over to the left with peaks where the exposure is. Again, that doesn't mean the image is underexposed. 

 

While I agree that the histogram is a useful tool, using the sliders to "fix" it seems to be somewhat missing the point considering it's the image content that matters the most. I've taken some images that the histogram has told me it's all wrong and tried to fix it, ruining the look of the image. It's useful in giving you a ballpark idea of how well exposed an image is, but you also have to trust your eyes too.

Hence my second from last paragraph :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Steve F said:

Hence my second from last paragraph :)

 

I agree, I just wanted to emphasise as I also get where you're coming from and went through a lot of learning curve and disappointment trying to perfect the histogram when I first started. I find some people put heavy reliance on shooting for the histogram not the content (not saying you are) and I think this can mislead people.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Steve F said:

 

Steve,

Thanks! That is a good explanation and clarifies a few questions I had regarding the histogram. 

Juli

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Cal said:

The histogram is useful, but neither is it an exact science, you have to take into account the content of the image. If I take a photograph of swans against a light-ish background with very little dark grey or black in the image, the histogram will appear to be smushed over to the right. That doesn't necessarily mean the image is overexposed... it just means that there is a lot of bright white in the image. Perfectionists will say "well don't take a photograph of swans against a light background" but that is completely missing the point.

 

Opposite applies if I take a photograph of an object with for instance a dark or pure black background. The histogram will try to tell me there's too much black in the image by being largely skewed over to the left with peaks where the exposure is. Again, that doesn't mean the image is underexposed. 

 

While I agree that the histogram is a useful tool, using the sliders to "fix" it seems to be somewhat missing the point considering it's the image content that matters the most. I've taken some images that the histogram has told me it's all wrong and tried to fix it, ruining the look of the image. It's useful in giving you a ballpark idea of how well exposed an image is, but you also have to trust your eyes too.

Cal,

Thanks for adding! I generally just go by eye as well as what appeals to me and haven't really used the histogram for anything other than checking for clipping.

Juli

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, J Gillispie said:

Cal,

Thanks for adding! I generally just go by eye as well as what appeals to me and haven't really used the histogram for anything other than checking for clipping.

Juli

 

I would say somewhere in between just checking the histogram for clipping and going by eye is right where you need to be. The more you use it and are able to correlate it with what's in the image the more you get used to its foibles and why it does what it does - and ultimately when to take with a pinch of salt what it is telling you. Lightroom is good because if you hover over the histogram it tells you what the sections represent.

Edited by Cal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Juli

 

Not much to add to what others have said but do check your painted lady butterfly images.  2AT6RBW, TA53D8 and TA53CK are not Vanessa cardui.  I'm no expert on US butterflies but a quick search suggest they are one of the checkerspot species, Chlosyne.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, John Richmond said:

Hi Juli

 

Not much to add to what others have said but do check your painted lady butterfly images.  2AT6RBW, TA53D8 and TA53CK are not Vanessa cardui.  I'm no expert on US butterflies but a quick search suggest they are one of the checkerspot species, Chlosyne.

Hi John,

 

Thanks! I did double check the identification of those butterflies and they still appear to be subspecies of Vanessa cardui which is commonly found in Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, Nevada.  There are a couple of species of Chlosyne in the area but the distribution for one of them is at a much higher elevation (5,900 - 8,900 feet) than the location of these photos (about 3,500 feet) in addition, the scale color pattern doesn't match.  The other species is primarily orange with a small fringing of white on the wing margins.  Thanks for having me double check - entomology is not my specialty.

 

Juli

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 23/06/2020 at 09:50, Steve F said:

what sort of editing are you doing to your pictures, can you briefly summarise?

Steve

That's irrelevant.

On 24/06/2020 at 10:25, Steve F said:

Hi Juli,

Glad to be of help. There's a lot of YouTube videos out there on the histogram, but I'll see if I can write a useful summary. Altering the histogram is one of the main edits I do in LR.

As is that.  I never look at the histogram - there isn't a right or wrong histogram.  I don't think the OP wanted a lesson on how to take pictures...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Colblimp said:

That's irrelevant.

As is that.  I never look at the histogram - there isn't a right or wrong histogram.  I don't think the OP wanted a lesson on how to take pictures...

Andy, I'm glad you haven't got anything better to do than trawl through the Forum disagreeing with my posts. Editing is a key component of producing saleable photographs, unless someone is using the JPEGS straight out of the camera for Live News for example. Using the histogram is not strictly necessary in LR, you can do it all by eye. But it provides a lot of useful information about what is going on in a photo, e.g. when you have clipping, knowing when you have full whites and blacks etc., and should really be used in conjunction with the basic edits tab.

 

I provided my personal advice to the OP on how she might improve her pictures, which she is free to take on board or ignore. Perhaps you can provide the OP with some helpful advice?

Best wishes,

Stephen

Edited by Steve F
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Steve F said:

Andy, I'm glad you haven't got anything better to do than trawl through the Forum disagreeing with my posts. Editing is a key component of producing saleable photographs, unless someone is using the JPEGS straight out of the camera for Live News for example. Using the histogram is not strictly necessary in LR, you can do it all by eye. But it provides a lot of useful information about what is going on in a photo, e.g. when you have clipping, knowing when you have full whites and blacks etc., and should really be used in conjunction with the basic edits tab.

 

I provided my personal advice to the OP on how she might improve her pictures, which she is free to take on board or ignore. Perhaps you can provide the OP with some helpful advice?

Best wishes,

Stephen

I actually don't trawl through the forum looking for your posts to disagree with them, I've so much more important things to be doing.  However, when I see some of your posts I feel I have to comment.  Of course editing is a fundamental part of producing pics for Alamy, but to criticise pics when they're not under-exposed, flat, etc, is a step too far, IMO.  For all you know, that might be the contributor's style, how he/she like to produce pics.  Commenting on captions and keywords/tags is fair game, but anything else, IMO, isn't. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steve, I have noticed that you spend a lot of time checking out someone's photos when they ask for advice. I suppose it is possible that you could make sure the person wants editing advice as well as captions, keywords, etc. but I haven't noticed anyone seeming insulted. I am just impressed that you will spend so much time on helping another contributor. Bravo.

 

Paulette

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Colblimp said:

I actually don't trawl through the forum looking for your posts to disagree with them, I've so much more important things to be doing.  However, when I see some of your posts I feel I have to comment.  Of course editing is a fundamental part of producing pics for Alamy, but to criticise pics when they're not under-exposed, flat, etc, is a step too far, IMO.  For all you know, that might be the contributor's style, how he/she like to produce pics.  Commenting on captions and keywords/tags is fair game, but anything else, IMO, isn't. 

I thought this was a Portfolio Critique, not keywords and captions critique 🙃

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Steve F said:

I thought this was a Portfolio Critique, not keywords and captions critique 🙃

Aren't keywords and captions part of the port? 🤔

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, NYCat said:

Steve, I have noticed that you spend a lot of time checking out someone's photos when they ask for advice. I suppose it is possible that you could make sure the person wants editing advice as well as captions, keywords, etc. but I haven't noticed anyone seeming insulted. I am just impressed that you will spend so much time on helping another contributor. Bravo.

 

Paulette

Thanks Paulette. It's related to my job really - I make corrections and get corrected a lot when preparing deliverables - which makes me a bit of a stickler I guess! The keywording and captions are obviously key to being successful, but I believe it has to start with the image quality, especially when so many subjects have already been photographed many times.

Edited by Steve F

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Colblimp said:

Aren't keywords and captions part of the port? 🤔

Yes, I try to offer advice across the board - keywords, captions, photos.

Edited by Steve F

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 29/06/2020 at 23:16, Steve F said:

Yes, I try to offer advice across the board - keywords, captions, photos.

 

While I am in no way looking to contribute to the pile-on I do wonder what viewing equipment you are using? I know we had a slight disagreement about the importance of the histogram but I think for the most part your advice is sound, but I have noticed you have said on a few port reviews that there is flat lighting and/or something underexposed when I have not necessarily agreed. That said, it might be confirmation bias as I will only see when this is pointed out. I use an iMac 27" 5K and while I will hold my hands up and say it isn't calibrated I know not everyone here does and even uncalibrated it's a very good starting point. What are you using to view images? Is it an unusually fancy monitor?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.