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Armstrong

Portfolio Critique Request.

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Hi Everyone,

 

I'd be grateful if anybody can spare a few minutes to help my critique my portfolio.

 

http://www.alamy.com/stock-photography/3D577894-860E-4144-B6D4-10E724FA1893/1/Michael%20Winters.html

 

It's still a relatively small portfolio but before I start adding more I'd be grateful for suggestions of what to do more of and what to do less of!

 

Thanks

Michael

 

 

 

 

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I've taken a quick look. I can't see any overall problem that would prevent sales, but there are one or two points of detail that you might address.

 

There is some evidence of needless repetition,e.g. shots of the peleton of cyclists, two photos of a sign.

 

Then a few images could do with cheering up a tad, e.g. one of St Michael's Mt. that appears quite dark, another where the sky is very murky e.g. EXM26F etc.

 

You appear to be including more people in your more recent shots which should help, and there are some nice compositions, but in others, for example a view of four at a harbour wall from behind, could do with a bit more background to add to the context of the shot. People, unless famous or doing something unusual, have to contribute to the idea behind the shot.

 

Finally, if you don't get too many responses here you might try in "Ask the forum" which tends to have a larger audience.

Edited by Bryan
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There's the obvious, more secondary editorial...... you will need large numbers to make any impact but I guess you shoot what you can shoot.

 

One thing that strikes me is the cropping is often too tight, what have you got against skies? EN2E40 for example, there's little room left above the spire and the students bottoms almost sit on the frame. No room for type or copyspace and barely any room for a bleed in printing. There's often not enough for a sky to be extended if needed. You tend to see this in verticals where it makes more sense but you're doing it in horizontals.

 

Thumbs also could do with a little more punch to stand out on page.

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Thank you Bryan and Geoff - much appreciated.

 

Thumbs also could do with a little more punch to stand out on page.

 

Am I right in thinking the only way to do that is to up contrast/vibrance or saturation in the main image?

 

Coincidentally I had wondered if some of my images were too contrasty recently. I am using a glossy iMac screen that seems to show images with more contrast and saturation, so put it down to that.

 

Michael

Edited by Armstrong

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Thank you Bryan and Geoff - much appreciated.

 

Thumbs also could do with a little more punch to stand out on page.

 

Am I right in thinking the only way to do that is to up contrast/vibrance or saturation in the main image?

 

Coincidentally I had wondered if some of my images were too contrasty recently. I am using a glossy iMac screen that seems to show images with more contrast and saturation, so put it down to that.

 

Michael

 

I'm looking at them on a near full gamut ARGB photo monitor - I don't use our imac for photo work for that reason. It's the blues which are most obviously a little pale and lacking punch..... so vibrance would be best bet as the reds look pretty good. The crops is a big issue IMO, you are killing copyspace on many and that can be a big problem for double page use, especially as openers in an article. 

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Lovely portfolio. Nothing wrong with your blues. Definitively nothing wrong with the saturation (see tiles vs sky in EJPGYX)

You must however calibrate your screen to be sure that what you are seeing is what the client gets.

Are the 5 Stockimo Michael Winters images yours too? Wow! Why not do that in your regular photography?

Some of it is in some of your regular images already: the wetsuit; the mackerel; the Bodleian.

 

Now the all important question: do they sell?

I suspect not all that much. Where do your images appear for the relevant keywords used in searches? What does the competition look like?

Are there enough clients searching for those subjects at all?

Do you use All of Alamy to check the relevancy of your keywords?

Could it be clients use more or different keywords in relation to the keywords you have used?

- For instance, there have been searches for Seville Santa Cruz, or outdoor cafe in Seville, but not for cafe in Plaza Venerables.

- For mackerel, there have been searches for fresh and catch.

Do you use All of Alamy beforehand?

 

Your regular collection is still a bit bland, and your Stockimos aren't. As an exercise I would try using your camera as if it was a phone for a week or two.

- ok maybe not for calling. And to treat the resulting images as if they have to go into Stockimo. Just as an exercise. After that go back to your usual subjects with the results.

 

wim

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Thank you Bryan and Geoff - much appreciated.

 

Thumbs also could do with a little more punch to stand out on page.

 

Am I right in thinking the only way to do that is to up contrast/vibrance or saturation in the main image?

 

Coincidentally I had wondered if some of my images were too contrasty recently. I am using a glossy iMac screen that seems to show images with more contrast and saturation, so put it down to that.

 

Michael

 

I'm looking at them on a near full gamut ARGB photo monitor - I don't use our imac for photo work for that reason. It's the blues which are most obviously a little pale and lacking punch..... so vibrance would be best bet as the reds look pretty good. The crops is a big issue IMO, you are killing copyspace on many and that can be a big problem for double page use, especially as openers in an article. 

 

Thanks Geoff... Very helpful point about the copy space. I'll incorporate that into future stock shots or when processing previously taken images.

 

Michael

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Lovely portfolio. Nothing wrong with your blues. Definitively nothing wrong with the saturation (see tiles vs sky in EJPGYX)

You must however calibrate your screen to be sure that what you are seeing is what the client gets.

Are the 5 Stockimo Michael Winters images yours too? Wow! Why not do that in your regular photography?

Some of it is in some of your regular images already: the wetsuit; the mackerel; the Bodleian.

 

Now the all important question: do they sell?

I suspect not all that much. Where do your images appear for the relevant keywords used in searches? What does the competition look like?

Are there enough clients searching for those subjects at all?

Do you use All of Alamy to check the relevancy of your keywords?

Could it be clients use more or different keywords in relation to the keywords you have used?

- For instance, there have been searches for Seville Santa Cruz, or outdoor cafe in Seville, but not for cafe in Plaza Venerables.

- For mackerel, there have been searches for fresh and catch.

Do you use All of Alamy beforehand?

 

Your regular collection is still a bit bland, and your Stockimos aren't. As an exercise I would try using your camera as if it was a phone for a week or two.

- ok maybe not for calling. And to treat the resulting images as if they have to go into Stockimo. Just as an exercise. After that go back to your usual subjects with the results.

 

wim

Thanks Wim,

 

Yes, they are my Stockimo images. That's a thought provoking and helpful point about the difference between my 'regular' stock and the Stockimo shots. I've just bought a 35mm prime (on crop sensor) so hopefully that will force me to work a bit harder for the shots and might help with what you suggest.

 

Geoff suggested my thumbnails needed to stand out more. Considering that with your point about Stockimo... would you suggest that I process more in a Stockimo style (filters etc) or process as I am and adopt a more Stockimo approach to subjects and composition?

 

Regarding sales you guessed correctly. My sales seem to be poor compared to others if I do a images/sales comparison.

 

As for ranking on my UK images I am usually around page 5 for very well covered images. My BHZ ranking was mid page 13 last time I looked.

 

I don't use All of Alamy that often. I do look at Measures each day and I delete or modify keywords or phrases when they are leading to incorrect search results. I also Google subjects I have already keyworded and see what phrases and words are used in articles about them.

 

Michael

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Lovely portfolio. Nothing wrong with your blues. Definitively nothing wrong with the saturation (see tiles vs sky in EJPGYX)

You must however calibrate your screen to be sure that what you are seeing is what the client gets.

Are the 5 Stockimo Michael Winters images yours too? Wow! Why not do that in your regular photography?

Some of it is in some of your regular images already: the wetsuit; the mackerel; the Bodleian.

 

Now the all important question: do they sell?

I suspect not all that much. Where do your images appear for the relevant keywords used in searches? What does the competition look like?

Are there enough clients searching for those subjects at all?

Do you use All of Alamy to check the relevancy of your keywords?

Could it be clients use more or different keywords in relation to the keywords you have used?

- For instance, there have been searches for Seville Santa Cruz, or outdoor cafe in Seville, but not for cafe in Plaza Venerables.

- For mackerel, there have been searches for fresh and catch.

Do you use All of Alamy beforehand?

 

Your regular collection is still a bit bland, and your Stockimos aren't. As an exercise I would try using your camera as if it was a phone for a week or two.

- ok maybe not for calling. And to treat the resulting images as if they have to go into Stockimo. Just as an exercise. After that go back to your usual subjects with the results.

 

wim

Thanks Wim,

 

Yes, they are my Stockimo images. That's a thought provoking and helpful point about the difference between my 'regular' stock and the Stockimo shots. I've just bought a 35mm prime (on crop sensor) so hopefully that will force me to work a bit harder for the shots and might help with what you suggest.

 

Geoff suggested my thumbnails needed to stand out more. Considering that with your point about Stockimo... would you suggest that I process more in a Stockimo style (filters etc) or process as I am and adopt a more Stockimo approach to subjects and composition?

 

Regarding sales you guessed correctly. My sales seem to be poor compared to others if I do a images/sales comparison.

 

As for ranking on my UK images I am usually around page 5 for very well covered images. My BHZ ranking was mid page 13 last time I looked.

 

I don't use All of Alamy that often. I do look at Measures each day and I delete or modify keywords or phrases when they are leading to incorrect search results. I also Google subjects I have already keyworded and see what phrases and words are used in articles about them.

 

Michael

 

 

Well there's a few answers there already.

 

Ok one more exercise: have a good look at those pages 1-5 or 6 where you are at page 5. Pick one or two in a page that strike you at first sight. So you end up with 8 or 10. Why did they strike you? By design this is a subject you have done as well. Is it choice of subject? Way of depicting subject? Is it color? Saturation? Form?

Now click on any of those images and click on the pseudonym to look at the collection. Just look at the first page or pages. Don't take too long for each page in this stage. My prediction is that most if not all of their images will strike you equally. After doing that for an hour or so with different subjects, return to your own collection. Not sooner. Your eyes will have to be primed. Now pick 10 favorites per page from your own collection. Maybe sit at twice the normal distance from the screen for this.

My guess is that after this you will have a lot more answers.

Now will the result sell? Here's the romantic answer: You know the story of the archer. It's about shooting the arrow very well, not about trying to hit the target. I don't know; you don't know;  but your photography will be better. ;-)

 

wim

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st-giles-church-and-adjacent-shops-woodsholland-windmills-at-de-zaanse-schans-sp

 

Example of difference in punch and yes.....treatment of blue...... OP on left (too many examples like that IMO) and typical example from Wim on right. Nuff said!

Edited by Guest

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We all have different tastes! Especially it seems in blues. These three have all sold recently for good fees:

 

E9YW5X.jpg

 

 

DFHNWF.jpg
 
 
DAY0JT.jpg
 
I know they're too dark for some people's taste but I like saturated colours and obviously the customers who licensed these do too.
 
Alan
 
Edited by Inchiquin
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If you're using Lightroom an effective way to give the blues a subtle boost is to use the 'Camera Calibration' panel in the Develop module, and experiment with the Blue Primary slider (and the Red and Green too, depending on the image...)  Gives you much more precise control than the Vibrance slider alone

 

km

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Hi Armstrong

 

I had a look through your images and their keywords. Remember customers buying from Alamy come from all over the world, but in very few of them do you keyword the country in which the images were taken. I would seriously look at adding this information to all your images keywords

 

Kumar

Edited by Doc
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If you're using Lightroom an effective way to give the blues a subtle boost is to use the 'Camera Calibration' panel in the Develop module, and experiment with the Blue Primary slider (and the Red and Green too, depending on the image...)  Gives you much more precise control than the Vibrance slider alone

 

km

 

How does that differ from the HSL panel? Is it better? Maybe I need to experiment.

 

Paulette

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st-giles-church-and-adjacent-shops-woodsholland-windmills-at-de-zaanse-schans-sp

 

Example of difference in punch and yes.....treatment of blue...... OP on left (too many examples like that IMO) and typical example from Wim on right. Nuff said!

 

What if more saturated images end up online and less saturated ones in print. (Which pays better if the client is not in the newspaper scheme.)

 

wim

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We all have different tastes! Especially it seems in blues. These three have all sold recently for good fees:

 

E9YW5X.jpg

 

 

DFHNWF.jpg
 
 
DAY0JT.jpg
 
I know they're too dark for some people's taste but I like saturated colours and obviously the customers who licensed these do too.
 
Alan
 

 

 

Yes, it's like having a heated disagreement as to which is best: chocolate or vanilla ice cream. 

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I love vanilla ice cream, but I would never refuse chocolate.

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If you're using Lightroom an effective way to give the blues a subtle boost is to use the 'Camera Calibration' panel in the Develop module, and experiment with the Blue Primary slider (and the Red and Green too, depending on the image...)  Gives you much more precise control than the Vibrance slider alone

 

km

 

Thanks Keith - that's a great tip. I have very rarely used that tab so will brush up on it and try it on some images.

 

Michael

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Hi Armstrong

 

I had a look through your images and their keywords. Remember customers buying from Alamy come from all over the world, but in very of them do you keyword the country in which the images were taken. I would seriously look at adding this information to all your images keywords

 

Kumar

Thanks Kumar - I will do that. Two quick questions if I may:

 

1. Am I correct in thinking there is no method of batch adding those keywords? It will need a mass copy and paste instead?

2. Would you do it just in English for foreign subjects or also add the local language place names too?

 

Michael

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We all have different tastes! Especially it seems in blues. These three have all sold recently for good fees:

 

E9YW5X.jpg

 

 

DFHNWF.jpg
 
 
DAY0JT.jpg
 
I know they're too dark for some people's taste but I like saturated colours and obviously the customers who licensed these do too.
 
Alan
 

 

Nice Images Alan, i can see why they sold.

 

Did you use a Polariser to bring out the blues on one of them?

 

Michael

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There may be demand for British travel and tourism, but the demand is dwarfed by the supply.  And that statement doesn't get close to describing the situation. 

 

Editorial shots of subjects that buyers want and are being undersupplied will not only sell - you can chose your own blue: anything from fading Duck Egg to a vibrant Electric Blue

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Hi Armstrong

 

I had a look through your images and their keywords. Remember customers buying from Alamy come from all over the world, but in very of them do you keyword the country in which the images were taken. I would seriously look at adding this information to all your images keywords

 

Kumar

Thanks - I've just done that tonight for UK images. The rest of the World tomorrow!

 

Michael

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Nice strong editorial portfolio. 

Kumar has given you sound advice. The place is usually extremely important, especially in the types of photos you have. 

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Nice Images Alan, i can see why they sold.

 

Did you use a Polariser to bring out the blues on one of them?

 

 

They were probably all taken with a polariser. We had a discussion here recently about whether they were necessary in the digital era. I've used one regularly since film days and I didn't see any reason to change my behaviour. Apparently you can simulate the deep blue in PS but I don't see any point in modifying an image digitally when it can be done optically, and I find the polariser has plenty of other uses too, such as introducing warmth into all the colours generally and controlling reflections.

 

Alan

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