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I think I know the answer to this one, but just in case:
 
When submitting shots to Alamy that are of natural subjects, what is the best way to showcase those images?  Should they be enhanced as much as possible to show off their beauty in the best possible light, or should they be left 'au natural'.

 

Naturalnatural.jpg or Enhancedenhanced.jpg

 

I suspect that I should stop messing about and leave the enhanced versions for POD sites, as (Editorial) buyers of natural subjects are more likely to require the real McCoy - or are they?  Maybe I should submit both with appropriate comments and check-boxes ticked in the relevant places?

 

Opinions please!

 

Many thanks in advance for your help as always...

Edited by losdemas
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I think the enhanced is a little flat and the flowers blend too much. I think the contrast and shadows adjusted somewhere between the two would be good. But both are great shots.

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In the enhanced image you have created vignetting in the top corners….I don't know whether Alamy would frown on this.

 

Yes, I don't see the point in those darkened corners in the sky, but I like the lightened, cheerier flowers. 

 

I guess when you say "enhanced" you mean post processing, Danny? I do PP on every image and each one is considered on its own.

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You should enhance them

You should not enhance them

You should do neither

 

Or be honest with yourself and leave out the 'should' and do them in the way that seems right to you

If you can't see any way in which they do feel right, then bin them

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In the enhanced image you have created vignetting in the top corners….I don't know whether Alamy would frown on this.

 

Yes, I don't see the point in those darkened corners in the sky, but I like the lightened, cheerier flowers. 

 

I guess when you say "enhanced" you mean post processing, Danny? I do PP on every image and each one is considered on its own.

 

 

Yes - the image is vignetted all round - just more immediately noticeable in the sky.  Point taken about this: probably not appropriate in this marketplace.

 

Both images are post processed, just the 'enhanced' a little more!  The blue hue has been altered a little, the colours saturated a little more in both blue (for the sky) and on the opposite side of the spectrum to bring out the area around the stamen a little more.  The image has been brightened overall and the contrast is also lowered a little to take out a little of the harshness in the shadow areas of the petals caused by very bright sunlit areas.  But then this is not liked by some - as Jill pointed out:

 

I think the enhanced is a little flat and the flowers blend too much. I think the contrast and shadows adjusted somewhere between the two would be good. But both are great shots.

 

OK, a variety of opinions then!  To make it a little simpler, I guess what I was meaning to ask, rather than a totally subjective opinion, was what is a customer looking for in an editorial image of this sort and more likely to buy or expect to see here on Alamy?  I was thinking (that'll teach me!) that they are more likely to want the truest rendition of nature possible - or are they happy to bear that rendition with a few adjustments to 'reality' (whatever that is :D!)?

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"what is a customer looking for in an editorial image of this sort and more likely to buy or expect to see..."

 

If you want to sell shots of flowers, then the competition is very tough.  I discused the viability of nature shots with the creative director of one of the best collections of flowers and other natural subjects in the world.  The answer was: don't bother unless what you do is exceptional.  

 

To make exceptional pictures of natural subjects you have to start with your own feelings and emotions, and possibly do some analytical work, in facing the natural world, and develop a technique and a style that flows out of that.

 

Therefore, the short answer to your question is: it really doesn't matter how you present them.  If you make a sale it will probably be down to some random factor that you haven't considered.

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"what is a customer looking for in an editorial image of this sort and more likely to buy or expect to see..."

 

You state that as if there's one customer with one set of tastes and values. Surely that's not the case. In anything that has art as an intrinsic element, you must present things as you like them and accept the cheers or the boos . . . or the sales.  

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In the end one does whatever one does and hopefully suits the image; in your pictures I prefer the unadorned image as I don't think that the vignette suits the subject and the flower details seem better exposed but that is only my opinion and not absolutely right as another will undoubtedly demur.

 

I wonder with nature shots a leaf can be taken out of our "amateur" bethren's book: they apply as little change to the image as possible?

 

For me I will carry out such post processing that I think that suits the subject including if necessary vignetting; I have never noticed QC raising eyebrows over such.

 

Peter.

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This is just "Velvia vs Astia" in the digital age isn't it?

 

It's more about "being happy with what comes out of the box" vs "making some efforts to make the picture stand out" ^_^

For me, taking the shot is just half the work.

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

 

Same horse, different jockey.

 

Your decision point has changed, that is all. B)

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Thank you all for your very thoughtful input - all very valid and useful points (and pointers!)

 

I shall take it all in and consider carefully how to proceed - not just with what I've got, but on how to go about things in the future (and not just natural subjects).

 

Ed R: you are quite right - every customer (every human on the planet!) is different and I can't pre-suppose what they are going to like/want.  I was kinda asking the impossible ('cos I know you guys can deliver)!

Philippe: I shall make sure I have some kind of reflector with me in the future -  a hugely useful tool in many situations.

Many folk: OK, OK I think I've got the vignetting message now :)!  I'll hold back in future -  or take it to the extreme!

Russell: in a sense, yes, I think you are right re: choice of different film stocks.  In any case, perception (at the time and after the event) and later recall will differ from person to person.  And the camera always lies ;) !

Ed E & John: Thumbs - yes, you're right and I'm trying to pay more attention to this in all my work - if the thumbs don't stand out, you'll never get your work seen.

Robert: yup the market is flooded.  Those darned flowers are everywhere, so everyone takes photos of them :angry: !  I do have what I consider a unique viewpoint on floral photography (initially, borne out of limitations of my equipment), but I have never been brave enough to post them as they are more likely to be seen as 'art' and this is perhaps not the place for that.  But who knows...they may have their place, so I may well give it a try, though I may well be setting myself up for a QC fail as the intention may not be understood.  But, a few years ago the image referred to in this thread may well have just been dismissed as technically inadequate (flare, very limited focal plane, etc.) whereas now that's recognised as deliberate technique to achieve a 'look'.

 

OK - decision made: for most submissions where I have natural images that I consider worthy enough to be here, I'll do my best to get the "most natural looking pictures with perfect balanced light and bright colours" (thanks Philippe!)  However, I shall also have a go at submitting some of my more extreme views of nature - as I see it.  Expect to see me either on the QC-fail threads or the front page soon :lol: :lol: :lol: !!!

 

Thank you all again for your valuable help - it's a pleasure to be in your company!

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"...but I have never been brave enough to post them as they are more likely to be seen as 'art' and this is perhaps not the place for that..."

 

As recent converts to creative image-making Alamy having been banging the drum for art photography like no other.  When did you last see a nice, well crafted ordinary image beloved of magazine editors (whose generosity knows no bounds) on the home page? 

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To beat a dead horse one more time, there are no good reasons to have vignetting in your frame. If nothing else, it draws your eye away from the subject. Stop it!   :)

 

When I worked in-house for American Airlines, doing their location photography, part of my job was to go up to Chicago to okay the brochure print runs. Before me, the manager who did this tried to match the brochure images to the original chrome. I didn't do that, even though it was usually my picture. Instead I just tried to get the printing to look attractive. 

Edited by Ed Rooney
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Try this little experiment:

 

Put your camera away and view a contrasty scene with - your eyes !  These really evolved organs have got cameras beaten hands down - without moving your head look into the deepest shadows - suddenly more detail appears. Do the same with the brightest bit - again more detail appears. Pick up your camera and take a straight snapshot. Don't fiddle with the artificial controls - just view the image - now say which is the 'REAL' interpretation of the original scene.

.......or, instead spend your time creating a file which makes you happy - and a second absolutely straight one, and if you want to, and this situation really worries you - submit them both !

 

Simples !

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I used to worry about trying to second guess what the buyer might want. Even limiting my response to Natural History, Alamy must have hindreds of World Wide buyers of NH - either for advertising or specialist NH publications. So, I don't second guess all these buyers any more, I just make the very best and most realistic end product I can and pitch it through Alamy. It is all too easy to sweat and groan over stuff like this and, I suspect, it makes not a jot of difference in the end. As long as it safely gets past QC that at least gets it out there (and, of course, with good keywording).
I do agree with the non-vignetting comments though :)

nj

:)

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