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I think my photos are ok and I've been getting occasional sales, but when I compare them to others they're ranked with, I sometimes wonder whether I should be cranking up the saturation and vibrance, and experimenting more with colours. I've generally gone for a fairly realistic look (including profiling my cameras); but does that sell?! Any thoughts welcome, particularly if you have experience. Has anyone tested it by offering highly saturated images next to similar non-saturated ones?

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I think these things often tend to be a case of personal preference. There is an argument that your images need to 'stand out from the crowd' when viewed with everyone else's images as thumbnails. Having quickly looked at your images though, I think they are fine. And you are, as you say, making the occasional sale which with a portfolio of under 500 images sounds to be not too bad.

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I generally have a bit more clarity and vibrance on an import preset. But nothing to worry about.

Careful with that perspective tool. Full correction often looks a bit odd.

Edited by spacecadet
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Hi Robert:

 

Your processing looks accurate. There is nothing wrong with that, if you are looking for accuracy.

Clients use photographs to attract attention to their publications products etc. Therefore most useful photographs are a exaggeration of reality, because reality does not attract attention.

So the photographer exaggerates reality by shooting in the best light, from the best angle, of the most interesting subject available.

Boosting saturation, within the bounds of good taste, is a way to attract attention to your images.

There is a theory that in the western world we suffer from chromophobia, and do not use colour to its full potential. This does not seem to be the case in the eastern world, or in aboriginal cultures worldwide.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromophobia

 

The book Chromophobia by David Batchelor explains the Western fear of colour.

 

http://www.reaktionbooks.co.uk/display.asp?ISB=9781861890740


Here is some saturation examples from non western cultures.

 

Australia

 

https://www.google.ca/search?q=Australian+aboriginal+art&lr=&hl=en&as_qdr=all&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjw3JeD25XVAhXJGj4KHe-UCpUQsAQIMw&biw=1625&bih=1246&dpr=2

 

Canada

 

http://coghlanart.com/Norvalpainting.htm

 

Japan

 

http://www.hiroshige.org.uk/hiroshige/100_views_edo/100_views_edo.htm

 

South Asia

 

https://www.google.ca/search?q=South+asian+art&lr=&hl=en&as_qdr=all&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwih2_6r3pXVAhXBaz4KHdGZD30QsAQIOg&biw=1625&bih=1246&dpr=2

 

Bill

 

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Thanks spacecadet. I agree with caution in perspective control but it's difficult to resist with a shift lens!

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Thanks Bill. Interesting theories indeed. We're schooled to value realism (above all thanks to photography), and it's certainly only one of many legitimate ways of interpreting and representing the world.

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Thanks Matt, reassuring to know they look ok to you. I prefer to stand out through composition and light than exaggerated colour effects. But I'm tempted to experiment along the lines I noted though to see if it affects sales, although with sales so rare anyway it wouldn't be much of a test!

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12 minutes ago, Robert said:

Thanks spacecadet. I agree with caution in perspective control but it's difficult to resist with a shift lens!

Sorry, I had assumed it was software correction!

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1 minute ago, spacecadet said:

Sorry, I had assumed it was software correction!

Well sometimes it is ... Actually it was something I picked up from looking at 1960s architecture photography (usually done with camera movements) - even when correcting perspective, they usually left a very slight angle to satisfy the psychological need to feel as if you were looking upwards. And occasionally I think correct perspective can spoil a composition. But otherwise I tend to think that it can give a USP to an image of something lots of people have already shot in other ways.

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1 hour ago, Bill Brooks said:

Hi Robert:

 

Your processing looks accurate. There is nothing wrong with that, if you are looking for accuracy.

Clients use photographs to attract attention to their publications products etc. Therefore most useful photographs are a exaggeration of reality, because reality does not attract attention.

So the photographer exaggerates reality by shooting in the best light, from the best angle, of the most interesting subject available.

Boosting saturation, within the bounds of good taste, is a way to attract attention to your images.

There is a theory that in the western world we suffer from chromophobia, and do not use colour to its full potential. This does not seem to be the case in the eastern world, or in aboriginal cultures worldwide.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromophobia

 

The book Chromophobia by David Batchelor explains the Western fear of colour.

 

http://www.reaktionbooks.co.uk/display.asp?ISB=9781861890740


Here is some saturation examples from non western cultures.

 

Australia

 

https://www.google.ca/search?q=Australian+aboriginal+art&lr=&hl=en&as_qdr=all&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjw3JeD25XVAhXJGj4KHe-UCpUQsAQIMw&biw=1625&bih=1246&dpr=2

 

Canada

 

http://coghlanart.com/Norvalpainting.htm

 

Japan

 

http://www.hiroshige.org.uk/hiroshige/100_views_edo/100_views_edo.htm

 

South Asia

 

https://www.google.ca/search?q=South+asian+art&lr=&hl=en&as_qdr=all&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwih2_6r3pXVAhXBaz4KHdGZD30QsAQIOg&biw=1625&bih=1246&dpr=2

 

Bill

 

 

Interesting links. I think that things are changing, though. As we subdued "Westerners" get more exposure to other cultures, we're becoming increasingly comfortable with bright colours. Recent street murals in Vancouver seem to be reflecting this. Also, some people in older neighbourhoods are painting their houses in non-traditional hues. Speaking personally, all the time I've spent in Latin America has definitely made me more appreciative of intense colours.

 

That said, I'm not a big fan of the super-saturated imagery that you see on POD sites these days. It seems gimmicky to me.

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They look good to me, not a fan of over saturation.

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Leuven Town Hall, what a building, superb.

Edited by steve18

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In Belgium, where you have "jugendstil" I'd want to have the Dutch term "niewe kunst" as well.

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Steve, John, sometimes I'm in awe of some of the more carefully crafted saturated looks that some people on Alamy have; it's an honest question, and I just wondered what general opinions and approaches were. And it's useful to know whether I could/should be bolder in Lightroom, and if so, how. 

 

Leuven Town Hall is great, but very odd! And hard to photograph as a result. 

 

Spacecadet, thanks for the tip, I was too lazy to look it up. 

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15 minutes ago, Robert said:

Steve, John, sometimes I'm in awe of some of the more carefully crafted saturated looks that some people on Alamy have; it's an honest question, and I just wondered what general opinions and approaches were. And it's useful to know whether I could/should be bolder in Lightroom, and if so, how. 

 

Leuven Town Hall is great, but very odd! And hard to photograph as a result. 

 

Spacecadet, thanks for the tip, I was too lazy to look it up. 

 

I don't know much about this stuff, but camera brand seems to make a difference. For instance, images taken with Sony cameras look more saturated to me than those captured by some other brands (e.g. Canon).

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If you use Photoshop,  have a play with different camera profiles. I tend to use the Adobe Standard one, but - at least for Canon cameras - there's the Landscape option to consider. I find it a little OTT,  but will make your colours "explode".

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Great replies, thanks. vpics, yes, the chosen base profile is everything. I've recently been using x-rite to create custom camera profiles, which have a bit more pop than the standard Adobe profile. In the past I've used 'Camera Faithful' (Canon) with saturation and vibrance up to about 8, which I think does a nice job of natural and subtle colouring. I've always found Landscape too harsh, but I wonder if it's worth a try in some circumstances.

 

 

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Thanks geogphotos, will definitely think about that on my next batch. This is something else I try not to overdo to avoid going into the dreaded HDR look and keep shadows as shadows, but again I've probably been too cautious.

 

 

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I always thought my early images were a bit flat compared to those of the same subject on Alamy. I got Lightroom and i've got a preset that adjusts the auto setting and adds +25 vibrance and  +20 clarity and my images improved a lot. When I export them to Photoshop for spotting etc I sometimes boost the saturation as well.

 

John.

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27 minutes ago, Stokie said:

I always thought my early images were a bit flat compared to those of the same subject on Alamy. I got Lightroom and i've got a preset that adjusts the auto setting and adds +25 vibrance and  +20 clarity and my images improved a lot. When I export them to Photoshop for spotting etc I sometimes boost the saturation as well.

 

John.

 

Why use Photoshop for spotting when you have an excellent spotting tool in LR?

 

Allan

 

Sorry to go off topic.

Edited by Allan Bell

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I was advised by a very successful Alamy contributor to set both Clarity and Vibrance at +40 and Saturation at +10.  My first thought was that they were too high but it certainly gives images a bit of 'punch'.  Realistic they are not but they are selling on a regular basis.   I have these settings as my default but adjust where necessary.

 

All my images in my collection were produced using these settings.

 

John

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4 minutes ago, Allan Bell said:

 

Why use Photoshop for spotting when you have an excellent spotting tool in LR?

 

Allan

 

Sorry to go off topic.

 

I've always used Elements and now Photoshop CC so I suppose it's habit!

 

I also do other tweaking in Photoshop too.

 

John.

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Just now, Stokie said:

 

I've always used Elements and now Photoshop CC so I suppose it's habit!

 

I also do other tweaking in Photoshop too.

 

John.

 

Must admit to secondary tweaking in PSE myself but now find spotting in LR easier. That is why I wondered if you had a different reason for spotting in PS.

 

Allan

 

 

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7 minutes ago, John Walker said:

I was advised by a very successful Alamy contributor to set both Clarity and Vibrance at +40 and Saturation at +10.  My first thought was that they were too high but it certainly gives images a bit of 'punch'.  Realistic they are not but they are selling on a regular basis.   I have these settings as my default but adjust where necessary.

 

All my images in my collection were produced using these settings.

 

John

 

2 minutes ago, GS-Images said:

 

I would also have thought that was way too high, but your images do look great, vibrant, and not over-done. Interesting!  :)

 

Geoff.

 

Yes, very interesting!

 

Your images look very good John.

 

I might have to change my preset from +25 vibrance, +20 clarity and add a bit of saturation.

 

John.

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16 minutes ago, GS-Images said:

 

It the risk of going off topic.....I spot in LR usually, but think PS does a better job and makes it faster. I use PS for it if I'm using it to make other changes too, otherwise stay in LR. Also I recently found that on images that have HUGE amounts of spots (such as hundreds of tiny flies), the despekle (or something like that) feature in PS works wonders and removes all spots in one go. Not good for dust though as that's usually more like a large blob, but great for flies!

 

Geoff.;

 

Thanks Geoff. Just looked up despeckle in PSE and see it in noise filters. Didn't even know it was there. Will give it a try when I need to next time.

 

Thank you,

Allan

 

 

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