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I have a couple of "moody" beach images that were taken against the sun with a wide-angle lens. Consequently, the highlights on the water are almost totally blown out (which was the idea). Once upon a time, Alamy listed blown highlights as a possible reason for QC failure. I don't see this in the submission guidelines any longer, but I'm somewhat hesitant to upload. Has anyone had a failure due to blown highlights in recent times? Thanks.

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Hey John,

I have the same issue sometimes, particularly with reflective objects. My personal view is that if you've got really bright light reflecting off e.g. a shiny metallic object, your own eye with a much larger dynamic range than your camera, probably sees the highlights as being blown out as well. Or if you've got illuminated light bulbs in a picture and the ambient lighting is a bit dark, these are always going to be blown out. So I do generally submit these pictures, possibly after using the adjustment brush to reduce the exposure locally. But I only submit a small number like that so maybe I've been lucky.....?

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1 hour ago, Steve F said:

Hey John,

I have the same issue sometimes, particularly with reflective objects. My personal view is that if you've got really bright light reflecting off e.g. a shiny metallic object, your own eye with a much larger dynamic range than your camera, probably sees the highlights as being blown out as well. Or if you've got illuminated light bulbs in a picture and the ambient lighting is a bit dark, these are always going to be blown out. So I do generally submit these pictures, possibly after using the adjustment brush to reduce the exposure locally. But I only submit a small number like that so maybe I've been lucky.....?

 

If the highlights can't be recovered enough, I sometimes try to clone some details back in. Good to hear that your images have passed QC. The images I'm referring to have very big areas blown out. Chances of them licensing are probably slim, so I don't want to risk my current five-star rating for naught.

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Browsing thru my collection, I found this one that I had forgotten about. It passed a number of years ago, so maybe not much to worry about.

 

freighters-and-sailboats-at-anchor-in-en

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8 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

I have a couple of "moody" beach images that were taken against the sun with a wide-angle lens. Consequently, the highlights on the water are almost totally blown out (which was the idea). Once upon a time, Alamy listed blown highlights as a possible reason for QC failure. I don't see this in the submission guidelines any longer, but I'm somewhat hesitant to upload. Has anyone had a failure due to blown highlights in recent times? Thanks.

I don't know what DSLR's you are using, but I am currently working with NIKON D800's, 16bit NEF, and I have always been able to fix any blown out highlights in LightRoom.

I would also say that image EC7380 is not what I would call "Blown Out Highlights"  Those are called "Highlights."

 

Chuck

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11 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

I have a couple of "moody" beach images that were taken against the sun with a wide-angle lens. Consequently, the highlights on the water are almost totally blown out (which was the idea). Once upon a time, Alamy listed blown highlights as a possible reason for QC failure. I don't see this in the submission guidelines any longer, but I'm somewhat hesitant to upload. Has anyone had a failure due to blown highlights in recent times? Thanks.

 

Want to get rid of blown highlights?

 

Process them in Lightroom and adjust using the highlights and/or the whites adjustment bar.

 

Failing that put them in Lightroom, create a background layer of the image (Background Copy) then select blending "Exclusion" reduce layer opacity to 1% bingo no more blown highlights

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57 minutes ago, David Pimborough said:

 

Want to get rid of blown highlights?

 

Process them in Lightroom and adjust using the highlights and/or the whites adjustment bar.

 

Failing that put them in Lightroom, create a background layer of the image (Background Copy) then select blending "Exclusion" reduce layer opacity to 1% bingo no more blown highlights

 

I'll try the LR thing, wasn't aware of that. But I think we may be talking about situations where the sensor hasn't collected any information so you have areas in the picture where there are blocks of pure colour and there's no additional information to recover.

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9 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

Browsing thru my collection, I found this one that I had forgotten about. It passed a number of years ago, so maybe not much to worry about.

 

freighters-and-sailboats-at-anchor-in-en

 

John, to me this seems like a legitimate use of highlights even if blown out. It is an intentional effect. I'm guessing Alamy have issues with large areas or blocks of white where nothing can be recovered that are distracting and reduce the quality of the overall image, but these kinds of highlights reflecting on the ocean create a desirable effect. I have had images pass of the setting sun and rising sun in which the pure white in the centre is unrecoverable with no information, but I expect that Alamy would discern this as normal as it is the bright centre of the sun.

 

I do understand the hesitancy to upload though. I have a couple of recent moonrise shots on a lake with reeds in the foreground. As they are long exposures the reeds have some motion blur from the slight breeze. I'd like to upload them but hope they aren't rejected because of this motion blur.

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Those are specular highlights in John’s picture and there would be no expectation of having any detail in them. As others have said, no worries about submitting pictures with specular highlights. 

 

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Chuck is right, John. You wouldn't have a picture without those water reflections. 

 

I found the Adjustment tool under Image in PS best for lightening a gloomy image without blowing normal highlights. Coincidently, I snapped a similar image of the ferry on the Mersey yesterday.  

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2 hours ago, Steve F said:

 

I'll try the LR thing, wasn't aware of that. But I think we may be talking about situations where the sensor hasn't collected any information so you have areas in the picture where there are blocks of pure colour and there's no additional information to recover.

 

I was referring to the specular highlights question the OP posted i.e. sparkling waves.

 

The second option using exclusion layers solves that problem

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I have a few with water shown as blown out that have passed.

 

Allan

 

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11 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

 

Browsing thru my collection, I found this one that I had forgotten about. It passed a number of years ago, so maybe not much to worry about.

 

freighters-and-sailboats-at-anchor-in-en

 

John, I think photo has the proper use of specular highlights...not blown out at all.  Nice shot!

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15 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

I have a couple of "moody" beach images that were taken against the sun with a wide-angle lens. Consequently, the highlights on the water are almost totally blown out (which was the idea). Once upon a time, Alamy listed blown highlights as a possible reason for QC failure. I don't see this in the submission guidelines any longer, but I'm somewhat hesitant to upload. Has anyone had a failure due to blown highlights in recent times? Thanks.

 

My opinion and it is only that is that if the main subject is properly exposed or if it cannot be reasonably expected to 'cram in' the exposure latitude of the image then it is acceptable to have blown out areas. Blown out areas should not be detriment to the overall image though.

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Unless it ruins the image small areas of blown or very bright highlights and indeed totally dead areas of black won't be a problem. It is unreasonable to expect all areas of the image to be within the 0 and 255 ranges of exposure unless the scene itself had very low DR, like an even softly lit room or an overcast sky and a flat subject. You can actually make an image look far worse by trying to make it too technically perfect and Alamy's QC employ enough common sense to work past that. They simply ask that blacks be within a few percentage points of 0 and whites within a few percentage points of 255. 

Edited by Cal
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6 hours ago, Michael Ventura said:

 

John, I think photo has the proper use of specular highlights...not blown out at all.  Nice shot!

 

Thanks, it's probably one of my better dust-collectors. 🙃

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8 hours ago, Ed Rooney said:

Chuck is right, John. You wouldn't have a picture without those water reflections. 

 

I found the Adjustment tool under Image in PS best for lightening a gloomy image without blowing normal highlights. Coincidently, I snapped a similar image of the ferry on the Mersey yesterday.  

 

Yes, that's right. The specular highlights are what that picture is all about. In hindsight, it wasn't  really the best example to post. I was thinking more of images with large blown-out, pure white areas. Looking through the Alamy collection, I see there are quite a few images that fit that description, so probably not much to worry about. However, unlike Chuck, I don't have NIKON 800's, nor can I do 300 pushups. ;)

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6 hours ago, Sultanpepa said:

 

My opinion and it is only that is that if the main subject is properly exposed or if it cannot be reasonably expected to 'cram in' the exposure latitude of the image then it is acceptable to have blown out areas. Blown out areas should not be detriment to the overall image though.

 

That makes sense.

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