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John Mitchell

When is shallow too shallow?

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I hesitate (honest) to start another discussion about shallow depth of field images, but when is shallow too shallow? I have a couple of images that I'm concerned about. They were purposely shot with a very narrow (less then 10% of the horizontal height) band in focus across most of the frame.

 

Alamy now defines "soft and lacking definition" as,"Marked difference in definition between low-res comp & when viewed at 100%" in their recently updated submission guidelines.

 

So I assume that all I have to do is reduce the image to 1300 pixels on the long side (size of comp, I believe) and compare it with the full-sized image. Right?

 

Still Paranoid in Vancouver

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I think that really depends on the image type, and whether the shallow depth of field logically improves the image or an idea behind the image.

 

I wouldn't like to submit a traditional landscape image with shallow depth of field - but if a finger was held up in front of a face with a field in the background I may allow an extremely narrow depth of field.....

Edited by Niels Quist

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I think that really depends on the image type, and whether the shallow filed of depth logically improves the image or an idea behind the image.

 

I wouldn't like to submit a landscape image with shallow depth of field - but if a finger was held up in front of a face with a field in the background I may allow an extremely narrow depth of field.....

 

Right. The image in question is a closeup of a crossword puzzle. I focused about 1/4 of the way into the frame on a row of squares. There is a fuzzy hand holding a pen in the background, which is not meant to be the main subject. My concern is that QC might think that the hand is the main subject, which was not my intent.

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I hesitate (honest) to start another discussion about shallow depth of field images, but when is shallow too shallow? I have a couple of images that I'm concerned about. They were purposely shot with a very narrow (less then 10% of the horizontal height) band in focus across most of the frame.

 

Alamy now defines "soft and lacking definition" as,"Marked difference in definition between low-res comp & when viewed at 100%" in their recently updated submission guidelines.

 

So I assume that all I have to do is reduce the image to 1300 pixels on the long side (size of comp, I believe) and compare it with the full-sized image. Right?

 

Still Paranoid in Vancouver

 

 

That's my understanding John. If the effect is clearly visible in the 1300px preview you should be OK (but not promising ;) ) Don't even need to compare if that is the case, it is to avoid the client finding an image is not as sharp as they expected.

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Sounds as though you shouldn't have a problem. if the line of squares is sharp I believe QC is shrewd enough to understand your intent. Whether they think it is a good picture is immaterial ...

Edited by Martin P Wilson

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I hesitate (honest) to start another discussion about shallow depth of field images, but when is shallow too shallow? I have a couple of images that I'm concerned about. They were purposely shot with a very narrow (less then 10% of the horizontal height) band in focus across most of the frame.

 

Alamy now defines "soft and lacking definition" as,"Marked difference in definition between low-res comp & when viewed at 100%" in their recently updated submission guidelines.

 

So I assume that all I have to do is reduce the image to 1300 pixels on the long side (size of comp, I believe) and compare it with the full-sized image. Right?

 

Still Paranoid in Vancouver

 

 

That's my understanding John. If the effect is clearly visible in the 1300px preview you should be OK (but not promising ;) ) Don't even need to compare if that is the case, it is to avoid the client finding an image is not as sharp as they expected.

 

 

Most similar shots on Alamy seem to have the hand and/or pen in focus. Hence my concern.

Edited by John Mitchell

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I think that really depends on the image type, and whether the shallow filed of depth logically improves the image or an idea behind the image.

 

I wouldn't like to submit a landscape image with shallow depth of field - but if a finger was held up in front of a face with a field in the background I may allow an extremely narrow depth of field.....

 

Right. The image in question is a closeup of a crossword puzzle. I focused about 1/4 of the way into the frame on a row of squares. There is a fuzzy hand holding a pen in the background, which is not meant to be the main subject. My concern is that QC might think that the hand is the main subject, which was not my intent.

 

 

In my experience QC is not reluctant to follow an idea in this way unless the focused area is completely illogical, which your example doesn't seem to me. I wouldn't worry too much...

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I think that really depends on the image type, and whether the shallow filed of depth logically improves the image or an idea behind the image.

 

I wouldn't like to submit a landscape image with shallow depth of field - but if a finger was held up in front of a face with a field in the background I may allow an extremely narrow depth of field.....

 

Right. The image in question is a closeup of a crossword puzzle. I focused about 1/4 of the way into the frame on a row of squares. There is a fuzzy hand holding a pen in the background, which is not meant to be the main subject. My concern is that QC might think that the hand is the main subject, which was not my intent.

 

Are the squares blank or do they contain word(s) that could be appropriate for the shot?  If the latter, the concept would definitely focus on the squares and not the hand and pen and should be judged accordingly.

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I think that really depends on the image type, and whether the shallow filed of depth logically improves the image or an idea behind the image.

 

I wouldn't like to submit a landscape image with shallow depth of field - but if a finger was held up in front of a face with a field in the background I may allow an extremely narrow depth of field.....

 

Right. The image in question is a closeup of a crossword puzzle. I focused about 1/4 of the way into the frame on a row of squares. There is a fuzzy hand holding a pen in the background, which is not meant to be the main subject. My concern is that QC might think that the hand is the main subject, which was not my intent.

 

Are the squares blank or do they contain word(s) that could be appropriate for the shot?  If the latter, the concept would definitely focus on the squares and not the hand and pen and should be judged accordingly.

 

 

Some squares empty, others with words.

 

Thanks for all the helpful feedback, everyone. Think I'll re-shoot this one for Alamy, even though it would probably be fine by the sounds of it. 

 

I guess the old adage still holds -- "If you ain't 100% sure, don't upload."

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Sounds fine to me. It's good if you've shot something different to the majority. You should perhaps reshoot with the hand or pen in focus and submit those too. I find qc is no problem with shallow focus if an appropriate part of the image is in focus. The puzzle itself should be fine for that. If I think there's any risk of qc thinking the shallow focus is some sort of error i'll put shallow/ selective focus in the keywords or use the word defocussed within the caption.

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Sounds fine to me. It's good if you've shot something different to the majority. You should perhaps reshoot with the hand or pen in focus and submit those too. I find qc is no problem with shallow focus if an appropriate part of the image is in focus. The puzzle itself should be fine for that. If I think there's any risk of qc thinking the shallow focus is some sort of error i'll put shallow/ selective focus in the keywords or use the word defocussed within the caption.

 

Thanks for the feedback. Rumour is that QC doesn't read captions and keywords. But who knows?

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Sounds fine to me. It's good if you've shot something different to the majority. You should perhaps reshoot with the hand or pen in focus and submit those too. I find qc is no problem with shallow focus if an appropriate part of the image is in focus. The puzzle itself should be fine for that. If I think there's any risk of qc thinking the shallow focus is some sort of error i'll put shallow/ selective focus in the keywords or use the word defocussed within the caption.

 

Thanks for the feedback. Rumour is that QC doesn't read captions and keywords. But who knows?

 

 

Not rumour, it was stated by Alamy.

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Sounds fine to me. It's good if you've shot something different to the majority. You should perhaps reshoot with the hand or pen in focus and submit those too. I find qc is no problem with shallow focus if an appropriate part of the image is in focus. The puzzle itself should be fine for that. If I think there's any risk of qc thinking the shallow focus is some sort of error i'll put shallow/ selective focus in the keywords or use the word defocussed within the caption.

 

Thanks for the feedback. Rumour is that QC doesn't read captions and keywords. But who knows?

 

 

Not rumour, it was stated by Alamy.

 

 

Not surprising. I imagine they don't have time to read War and Peace either. B)

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Sounds fine to me. It's good if you've shot something different to the majority. You should perhaps reshoot with the hand or pen in focus and submit those too. I find qc is no problem with shallow focus if an appropriate part of the image is in focus. The puzzle itself should be fine for that. If I think there's any risk of qc thinking the shallow focus is some sort of error i'll put shallow/ selective focus in the keywords or use the word defocussed within the caption.

 

Thanks for the feedback. Rumour is that QC doesn't read captions and keywords. But who knows?

 

 

Not rumour, it was stated by Alamy.

 

In which case, as I would have expected, qc can appreciate the use of selective focus visually just fine. (But I think using such terms in captions could also assist buyers using mouseover on a page of small thumbnails.)

Sharp is sharp, regardless how thin the plane of focus. The position of the plane of focus is another thing of course and in the case of a portrait of any sort might qc fail an image on the basis of a poorly placed plane of focus? I don't do many shallow dof people portraits but with an insect only rarely would I submit an image with the eyes out of focus. And at close range even f11 might only give a plane of focus as wide as a butterfly's eye... With the crossword there's no such requirement regarding the focus point/plane, it's the photographers artistic decision and I reckon qc respect that.

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I hesitate (honest) to start another discussion about shallow depth of field images, but when is shallow too shallow? I have a couple of images that I'm concerned about. They were purposely shot with a very narrow (less then 10% of the horizontal height) band in focus across most of the frame.

 

Alamy now defines "soft and lacking definition" as,"Marked difference in definition between low-res comp & when viewed at 100%" in their recently updated submission guidelines.

 

So I assume that all I have to do is reduce the image to 1300 pixels on the long side (size of comp, I believe) and compare it with the full-sized image. Right?

 

Still Paranoid in Vancouver

 

 

That's my understanding John. If the effect is clearly visible in the 1300px preview you should be OK (but not promising ;) ) Don't even need to compare if that is the case, it is to avoid the client finding an image is not as sharp as they expected.

 

 

Most similar shots on Alamy seem to have the hand and/or pen in focus. Hence my concern.

 

Hi John,

The fact that most similar shots are different to yours would be a good reason to submit them in my opinion. Hard to say without seeing the shots but I think QC would get what you are aiming for.

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Just in case anyone cares or even remembers, the crossword puzzle image passed QC. Thanks, everyone, for your collective wisdom.

Edited by John Mitchell
  • Upvote 1

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Glad to hear it John. Its a good image too so well worth doing. Less paranoid in Vancouver now I hope? :-)

Cheers, Keith

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Glad to hear it John. Its a good image too so well worth doing. Less paranoid in Vancouver now I hope? :-)

Cheers, Keith

 

A little less paranoid for sure. Think I've finally figured out what Alamy is looking for when it comes to very shallow DOF shots. Shall have to experiment more with them. It's not something I've down much of.

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Just looked at your excellent image. Hand is spelled wrong in the caption. 

 

Paulette

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Just looked at your excellent image. Hand is spelled wrong in the caption. 

 

Paulette

 

Oh dear. Thanks for pointing that out. I'll correct the spelling.

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