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Hi everybody!

 

Considering that I'm rather green in stock photography world and that I've been photographing for years, but for my own fun only, I thought I'd ask if anybody cares to give me a wee feedback on my portfolio, small as it is right now... A word or two on topics, keywords, style, things like that, or whatever jumps to the eye... Or if you don't mind choosing my best and worst photos, that would be helpful too...

 

I would really appreciate some honest opinions, because I wouldn't want to spend all my free time on going through photos and uploading and keywording them, if there is maybe an obvious issue I'm constantly overlooking or if they are simply too ordinary to ever have any chance of selling... So, any opinions and tips would be greatly welcome!

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Maris

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Hi Maris:

 

I would say generally your images are too dark and you need to do some work with shadows and highlights.  First thing I think would to be calibrate your monitor.  I don't know what software you use, but checking out some videos on Adobe or Youtube on using Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom might give you some insight.  Do you shoot RAW or jpg?

 

Jill

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I would say generally your images are too dark and you need to do some work with shadows and highlights.

Definitely agree with this. They are very flat- Need a simple levels adjustment to bring out highlights and contrast. 

 

Here's one picked at random that I think would have potential: A quick 'auto-levels' in Photoshop makes a very big difference. Working from RAW will undoubtedly be better.

 

acacia_trees_in_african_plains_during_mi

 

-Jason

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Agree with what's said above. Soon as I opened up your photos, I thought, "too dark." A few looked good.

A suggestion. If you know you want to take people shots outdoors, grab that first bright overcast day to do it. I'm not talking dark impending rain. Bright overcast skies act like a big soft box. The shadows on the face will be soft rather than harsh. Failing that kind of day, carefully study and learn to use fill flash dialed down, to illuminate and mitigate harsh facial shadows.

 

Images that include the sky look best with blue skies, or blue with fluffy clouds. Try not to take these in the harsh middle of the day light, but morning and late afternoon.

These are just general guidelines that I, as a photographer am aware of, but admit some of my morning shoots bleed into harsher light. But then my hidden voice starts screaming, "Stop!"

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As others have said, a number of your images are too dark and lacking in white highlights. You probably have your monitor turned up too bright. You should use the histogram (preferably raw) to view this and correct. Ideally you should calibrate your monitor as Jill says - preferably with a hardware calibrator - not expensive nowadays.

Edited by MDM
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Oddly enough they don't look dark to me. Perhaps mine are too dark as well. Would anyone care to take a look at mine? I don't use a calibrated monitor. The latest 100 are archive scans.

Edited by spacecadet
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Oddly enough they don't look dark to me. Perhaps mine are too dark as well. Would anyone care to take a look at mine? I don't use a calibrated monitor. The latest 100 are archive scans.

 

Most of the scans look very dark to me and could use some colour correction as well.  And your regular stock some is fine and others way too dark as well.  It's amazing what a difference a calibrated monitor makes.

 

Jill

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Oddly enough they don't look dark to me. Perhaps mine are too dark as well. Would anyone care to take a look at mine? I don't use a calibrated monitor. The latest 100 are archive scans.

 

At a quick glance, I would say that you definitely have a significant number of images that are too dark - the pictures of the church after the archive batch are way too dark. The quickest way to check this is to look at the histo in LR. If it should have highlights and the histo is only going half way, then you have a problem - easily corrected for raw images. Bright monitor syndrome is a likely diagnosis.

 

it could also be underexposure in addition to a monitor turned up too bright. Some of your back lit pictures with bright skies (e.g Naze Essex) are too dark on the main subject suggesting underexposure probably in addition.

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Oddly enough they don't look dark to me. Perhaps mine are too dark as well. Would anyone care to take a look at mine? I don't use a calibrated monitor. The latest 100 are archive scans.

 

highland-regimental-war-memorial-with-ga    riesling-vines-belonging-to-weingut-zill  too dark

 

grotto-in-matlock-bath-riverside-gardens    st-giles-church-matlock-derbyshire-engla   good exposure

 

You work on a laptop? I'm asking because I edit the work of 17 photographers. One works on a laptop and it looks as if his work is done by 10 different people working on 10 different computers. I have the same feeling when I look at your collection. It lacks uniformity. Anyway, for me, post-processing on a laptop is a BIG NO-NO.

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

 

It doesn't need to be a laptop - a screen that has a lot of variation in brightness with viewing angle will do the same.

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I did mainly not edit becauseon my old monitor I could never judge if it looks good or not . 

So almost all pictures I have up on alamy are straight out of camera jpg's. 

The colorimeter is on its way and the new monitor will get calibrated frequently. 

Whether or not I like editing is still to be decided, it takes so much time for me. 

 

Philippe, do you want an 18th guy to edit for? ;) 

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I did mainly not edit becauseon my old monitor I could never judge if it looks good or not . 

So almost all pictures I have up on alamy are straight out of camera jpg's. 

The colorimeter is on its way and the new monitor will get calibrated frequently. 

Whether or not I like editing is still to be decided, it takes so much time for me. 

 

Philippe, do you want an 18th guy to edit for? ;)

 

The fact that you refuse to use anything by Apple or Microsoft may be a major part of your problem in addition to having giant 50MP files to edit. But you have no objection to other people using Apple or Microsoft software on your images - hmmm :lol:

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Perhaps I should keep my paws the highlight slider for the nice blue skies, then.

My monitor gamma was too high but as it's an all-in-one which I acquired out of necessity, the adjustment is limited. Thanks all for the ideas.

Edited by spacecadet
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Maris, I hope you realize you've been given some really good advice here by some of the more savvy shooters who post in this forum. I particularly like the quick exposure correction Jason posted of your Acacia trees--it tells the whole story of your main problem at a glance.

 

"Basics" was mentioned. Let me add something to that. A good image has three elements: light, shape (composition), and color. (B&W is another subject.) Now a really good image, what we all should be going for, has four elements: light, shape, color, and action. Jay Maisel liked to use the word "gesture" instead of action . . . but whatever you call it, it is the point of the picture -- it's what going on, be it subtle or dramatic. 

 

I don't normally comment on people's collections. I'm making an exception with you because you have a good eye for photography . . . and you can improve. That is a good basic eye but you don't seem to have an eye for lighting at all; the majority of your images are badly underexposed. Why??? Do you not see this problem? 

 

Passing Alamy Quality Control (QC) is one thing, but the point of being involved with stock shooting is to make sales . . . and for that your images have to look good. 

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OK.. I don't really want to ask... but do people think that I am also suffering from "images too dark" syndrome?

 

I have two monitors on my desk at work and I have just "calibrated" them both.. an on one my pictures now look OK and the other.. not as good :-(

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I don't think so on the whole, but don't ask me- I'm still on the dark side. I'm convincing myself that buyers in general don't have calibrated monitors.

Looking back now with a gamma correction the OP's collection does tend to the dingy.

Edited by spacecadet
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I think your pictures are probably ok for the most part in terms of monitor brightness but you may be underexposing certain shots in camera by not metering the subject and allowing the sky to overly influence the reading. This can be counteracted in post-processing by using the grad filter in LR or ACR assuming you are shooting raw, given that the images don’t seem to be massively underexposed.  

 

The shots of the statue in Paris are a good example - the shot of the statue alone is properly exposed but, as soon as you include the sky, you are underexposing for the statue. Assuming this is the case, then you need to meter for your subject - preferably spot metering and manual exposure - or alternatively use exposure compensation with auto (not as accurate). If you want real accuracy, get a grey card and a color checker passport.

 

Similarly the shots of the mounted police are very dark - again I would guess that metering is the problem rather than your monitor.

Edited by MDM
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OK.. I don't really want to ask... but do people think that I am also suffering from "images too dark" syndrome?

 

I have two monitors on my desk at work and I have just "calibrated" them both.. an on one my pictures now look OK and the other.. not as good :-(

If you have calibrated both monitors, they should be pretty close to each other - if not then something is amiss.

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Thanks for all the opinions so far! Interestingly enough I would never have suspected darkness as the main issue, so you have already given me a good point to ponder about! BTW, I do post-processing on laptop using LR, but on my screen the end result does actually have rather vibrant colours, so I wouldn't even have thought of lighting them up more... Possibly a screen and angle thing then... Otherwise I've been shooting JPEGs, because I've never thought of actually doing anything serious with my photos until now, so it was just easier. I might start shooting RAW from now on though, I see that would be more reasonable... AND I suppose I should reconsider my laptop option and get myself a proper screen to work with. 

 

As far as the Woman With Two Dogs is concerned, I actually have one where she was looking straight into the camera as well :). Not so candid shot :). But personally I like this one better, they are so cool, looking at something all together... 

 

Thanks for the tips and input! Really helpful!

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