Am I really that bad of a photographer?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by christal|1, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. Excuse me while I vent. I know the ratings system is not perfect.....never will be. I can accept that. But I get so frustrated with the low ratings I receive on all my images. My 'friends' (the regulars who comment on my work) applaud my work, occasionally giving me constructive criticism. But other people I don't know or 'anonymous' will give me low ratings......3's and 4's. And those ratings are the average of all of the ratings I receive, so that means some people are likely rating my images a 1 or 2.
    Rest assured, I make no pretense of being a great photographer. In fact, I plan to go to photography school next summer, as I really want to improve more than I think I'm able to do on my own. But are my images really THAT bad? Sometimes it's just plain demoralizing to receive low score upon low score. I have never ONCE had someone give me a low score on an image with an explanation as to how I could have improved it. This is just plain wrong.
    I know there are some impending changes to the ratings system. But what exactly IS the answer? Photo.net is potentially such a great forum for improving, if we can have honest discussion about our work. Personally, I'd like to see a policy implemented that would prevent someone from rating anonymously, and I would love to go back to the system where the member's name is identified to his/her rating.
    I've thought of going to critique only, but I have no expectation that it would result in any more comments on my work. I'd rather 'fix' the rating system.....possibly even requiring a comment if you leave a rating. As it is now, I don't seem to be receiving much benefit from the system, and I question whether it's worth my time to load images at all. I've made some wonderful friends here on PN, and a few of them have been incredibly supportive and instructive to my work. But with so many members here on PN, one would think I'd get comments from more than the same few people all the time.
    I hope I don't come across as whining. I wonder who else empathizes with my situation. And more importantly, has everyone filled out the survey that the staff at PN sent a while back asking for our input of ideas for changing the system? I gave them an earful! :)
    Hope everyone here in the States had a nice Thanksgiving Day, and thanks for 'listening'. :)
     
  2. I like your FLORALS/BOTANICALS folder. It's quite nice and so is the rest of your portfolio. Coming from someone with similar ratings.
    Cheers.
     
  3. "But what exactly IS the answer?"
    Christal, I'm not sure there is an answer except to take it for what it is - general feedback from an audience of p.net's member demographics, and not take it personally.
    Today's PoD is another example of the rating system's shortcomings; its inability to consistently and accurately reflect the quality of an image.
    http://www.photo.net/photo/17603860
     
  4. >>> Am I really that bad of a photographer? ... But are my images really THAT bad?

    No! I took a quick look sampling your galleries and you have a fine eye.

    >>> I know there are some impending changes to the ratings system. But what exactly IS the answer?

    Not trying to be flip or curt, but you might consider passing on participating. Many, including myself, have
    made that choice. The system seems flawed, and of little benefit. IMHO...
     
  5. First. You have a super cool name. You should be a spy. :)
    As far as your ratings. Haters are always going to hate. Do you like your work? That's all that matters. But you've taken
    some really good shots and have been to a lot of places. I don't know how much post processing you do, but maybe that
    would be the next step. And maybe creative cropping. I like what you've done. It's varied and interesting. If this is a hobby,
    make yourself happy.
     
  6. On photography forums (not here, I'm speaking generally), I notice high ratings for certain types of photos - sunsets, hyper-saturated colors, nude models. These seem to draw the most attention.
    In other words, I don't know how much you can expect from a public rating system. Someone once said that if popularity were the ultimate measure of things that every meal would be pizza and every pair of pants would be blue jeans.
    A better idea would be to compare your work honestly against photos that you believe to be of high quality, e.g. photos in a similar genre that have been published in books and magazines. At least start there. If you can, find some honest friends who are willing to tell you what's working and what's not. And listen to them. Especially when they tell you what's not working.
    Remember, no matter where you are today, you can be better in six months and better still in a year or two. It's a matter of making distinctions and putting in the effort that you need to improve. Best wishes on your journey.
     
  7. I quit giving ratings about a year ago. I stopped posting critique-seeking photos well before that. My photographic pursuits have nothing to do with what others' think, but if you do seek such things, be aware that the general oversaturation of images in the online universe means that for a picture to really, really stand out, it, well, really REALLY needs to stand out. I dare say, Lange's "Migrant Mother" would scarcely be noticed on photo.net today. Someone would complain about lack of shadow detail. :)
    On the internet, the only choices are a thick skin or abandonment. The choice is ours.
     
  8. Well, I'm nowhere near a pro, just a dabbler landscape photographer, and I like a lot of your landscape shots, but some of them seem to be taken in pretty ordinary light. Sometimes flat light is what you want but most times it isn't. A lot of your landscapes are spectacular but others seem just flat.
    Now that I've said all that, I'm not putting my own work on a pedestal. My suspicion is that you put up the pictures you're unsure of which gives you more criticism than you may deserve. Thing is too that people's tastes are different. A lot of times some shot I love is greeted with universal disdain while some other shot I think is pretty ordinary is what people like. So the fact that I like some and not others really may just be different taste.
     
  9. No I don't think your images are bad. I took a look at your gallery and I would give them 7 or 8 on the average.
     
  10. Chris.....thanks for your kind words, but I really wasn't fishing for compliments. :) I'll check out your portfolio soon.
    Michael.....It's not that I take it personally. It angers me more than anything. I can accept criticism quite well if it's offered in the right spirit, but I just don't understand how someone can rate a 2 or 3 and not offer some constructive comment. The only way to change that would be to require a comment if someone rates. I'm not sure what changes they have in store for us, but I rather doubt that will happen. And yes, there is a great deal of inconsistency, which is to be expected because photography is such a subjective art.
    Brad.... The system seems flawed, and of little benefit. IMHO... Amen to that! I retain hope that they can devise a system where I CAN participate in the ratings and benefit from it. It could be a fantastic system......never perfect......but much better than it is now. When you say 'pass on participating', do you mean just the ratings portion, or the critique portion as well? To me, the ONLY reason for participating is for the feedback from others. I wouldn't spend so much time loading my images if it were only to 'share' my work with others. My work isn't that good. :)
    Rich RE: your 1st 2 sentences......thanks for the best laugh I've had in a long time!!!! As for your comment, Do you like your work? That's all that matters........hmmm...... I'm a concert violinist, and I would never be happy staying in my own practice room and only performing for myself. If I couldn't share my art, my art would die. I feel the same way about photography. I do enjoy it, and I would take pictures even if nobody viewed my work. That's mostly because of the spiritual side of photography......being out and hiking in beautiful places and being in touch with nature......it re-energizes me, and the hobby of photography has helped me 'see' better and be more aware of my surroundings. So ideally I'd like to share my work, get feedback and learn from others. Also, frankly, I'm not experienced enough yet as a photographer to make a good assessment about my own images. I like some of my images, but that's not to say I wouldn't like them better with a little constructive criticism from fellow PN members.
    Dan......wise words. And I do strive to get better. I agree.....I can learn so much by looking at and comparing my images to great images by accomplished photographers (and indeed, even bad images). But that's just not enough. I need to shoot more, read more, and yes, get more help from friends who are willing to be forthright with me. There have been times when a PN member has been of invaluable help to me. Unfortunately, mostly I just get the pat on the back 'awesome' comment, which is appreciated, but not very helpful. Maybe it's the concert violinist in me.......I accept criticism well, but I realize not everyone feels comfortable (or knowledgeable) about dispensing criticism. I would love to have about 10 people who would routinely give me that kind of honest critique.
    Patrick......I don't mean to be flip or disrespectful, but why do you participate at all if you don't accept ratings or critiques? Do you spend a lot of time in the forums? I realize not everyone has a big portfolio of images, but they get other benefits from Photo.net. I would add another choice......thick skin, abandonment, OR FIX THE SYSTEM!!!! :)
     
  11. Personally, I'd like to see a policy implemented that would prevent someone from rating anonymously, and I would love to go back to the system where the member's name is identified to his/her rating.
    Don't expect that to happen. Anonymous ratings were introduced so people could give an honest rating without fear of reprisals (low revenge ratings, nasty comments, and hateful messages) which happened far too often.
    Haters are always going to hate.
    See my comment just above. Far too many people interpret a low rating as a spiteful attack, evidence of the rater's personality disorder, or evidence of the rater's incompetence or stupidity. The possibility that the rater simply and honestly wasn't impressed with the photo (or that the photo simply wasn't that appealing) seems to fall at the bottom of the list of explanations.
    I'd rather 'fix' the rating system.....possibly even requiring a comment if you leave a rating.
    "Great idea! Love it!" "Don't like it..." "Sucks!"
    Sorry, but you can't force people to give a helpful and substantive comment or critiques. You can make them say something, but you can't make them say something useful.
     
  12. Don't put too much stock in ratings for now. It's never been more than an American Idol type popularity contest. I submit a few photos for ratings mostly to get more visibility, which in turn draws more insightful critiques and not merely compliments.
    At the moment, and for awhile now, there's quite a bit of gaming of the ratings system that favors a few cliques. It's not as obvious as it was several years ago. But overall activity is way down so the effects of manipulation is more noticeable than it was even a year ago.
    Funny thing is, the gamers remind me of a story my grandmother told about her job managing a government housing authority. She once chided a local housing developer for his small time corruption, saying "You have a lot of potential to help the community. Stop this penny ante stuff!"
    He thanked her profusely. Apparently he interpreted her message as an encouragement to go on to big league corruption, which he did for several years until he ended up in prison.
    Here's the point of that anecdote...
    For years, whenever folks would complain about the ratings system, I basically told them it's only as good as its participants. If you want to improve the ratings system, pitch in and make it work better.
    And sure enough, some of those members have done just that. They lavish ratings of 6 and 7 on members of their cliques. They also rate a lot more photos of members who aren't in their cliques. No idea what ratings they give - ordinary members can only see which photos have been rated 6 and 7, so, by omission, we can see which were rated lower. And since relatively few people participate at all in rating photos now, it's fairly easy to see who's doling out 6's and 7's.
    As a result, the entire system has been skewed. Cliquefolk now check each others ratings to see who's giving 6's ("Well seen!") and 7's ("Bellissimo!") and interpret the absence of a 6 or 7 to be "Hate rating!" So it's no longer a 1-7 system. It's a 1 and 6-7 system: 1=Hated it!; 6=Loved it!; 7=Orgasm!
    Incidentally, I've noticed during the past year my photos submitted for ratings rarely gather the five ratings needed to show the average and names of raters. Up until around 2012 photos submitted for ratings routinely gathered at least five ratings. Now, I could conclude that overall activity is down. Or, because I love a good conspiracy theory, I could conclude that it's a plot to deprive me of that info because I don't play the mate rating game.
    Or I could just not worry about it because I get plenty of insightful critiques despite the numbers game. I chose the latter. Because I'm not concerned about one-photo-at-a-time reactions to everything I upload. I'm more interested in whether a certain theme or project has gelled. Photo.net has been very good for that type of feedback.
    But folks who want daily doses of gold stars, they'll need to follow the example of those who apparently took my advice years ago: form your own mate rating cliques. It wasn't quite what I had in mind, but goshdarnit, they certainly took the initiative. Gotta admire 'em for that.
    I've heard some folks claim 500px is better. I've visited 500px. I see some photos with dozens of "Bellissimo!" and "Well captured!" type comments. I don't see many actual critiques. I'm inclined to conclude that when folks say 500px is "better" they mean "More like photo.net's mate rating game was 10 years ago."
     
  13. I share images mainly in the weekly picture forums, Nikon Wednesday, Pentax POTW, etc. Very few comments on photos in those galleries but the fellowship is fun. I get to see, and share, parts of the world that others' don't see daily. To me, it's much more meabingful to see images with a caption or description and ponder the beauty or the location or both. Or the skill of the photographer. Lots of that evident there.
     
  14. David..... Yes, I understand the best time of day to take pictures is in those magical times early and late in the day. However, that isn't always possible, so I consider it a challenge to get an acceptable shot in less than ideal lighting conditions. Sometimes my 'flat' images can be blamed on poor lighting conditions, and sometimes it's just that I didn't know how to adjust well to the situation. And that's precisely where input from fellow PN members would be invaluable.
    With regard to people having different tastes.......I realize how subjective photography is, and variety is what makes this site so much fun. Not everyone likes flower pictures or pictures of children. Some prefer street photography and find landscapes boring, for instance. But we're rating on the photograph......not whether or not we LIKE the subject. At least that's what I try to do......I don't give a low rating just because I don't like the subject matter. I try to distinguish between the craft and the subject matter. Obviously, not everyone does that though.
    BeBu.....thanks for taking the time to look and for your nice comment. I am proud of some of my shots, even though many of them have received low ratings. But there are many images I should probably remove or re-edit.
     
  15. Your photos are very good, better than most! You have a great eye for composition. I am another one who doesn't rate nor asks for ratings.
     
  16. Christal, I know you're not fishing for compliments. However, I'll just say I think your work is quite good. I have to agree with those who suggest you shouldn't seek ratings. In my experience, most ratings are BS anyway, and there are very few people whose opinions I would value or trust.
    If you feel your work is good and expresses what you want it to express, then it's good.
     
  17. Mike....
    The possibility that the rater simply and honestly wasn't impressed with the photo (or that the photo simply wasn't that appealing) seems to fall at the bottom of the list of explanations.

    I totally agree with this!!!! But it's rather depressing that there are so many hateful, spiteful and vindictive people out there. Personally (fortunately), I haven't seen much of it. I guess some people just want pats on the back and don't really want any negative remarks made about their photos. Also, I notice that some people are not very tactful about dispensing criticism, so their comments can be misconstrued.

    Sorry, but you can't force people to give a helpful and substantive comment or critiques. You can make them say something, but you can't make them say something useful.

    So true....and I agree that many would leave one word and meaningless comments just to 'qualify' as a comment. But I think there would a percentage of people who would leave a substantive comment once required to do so. I think it would be an improvement over what we have now at least.
    Thanks for the insight about how things were with the previous ratings system.
     
  18. "I just don't understand how someone can rate a 2 or 3 and not offer some constructive comment."
    Christal, there are a few reason for that.

    It's always easier to complement than to criticize especially when criticisms might touch on rudiments of an art form that makes it difficult to express without coming across as condescending.

    A thorough, detailed, and insightful critique will also resemble an essay requiring paragraphs of text to express, and not many people are willing to take the time or have the inclination to do so.

    Finally, if a viewer doesn't know the author of the work, he will potentially be treading on thin ice not knowing how a critique might be received.

    There are many other reasons, but in fact there is much that can be extracted from low ratings. For starters, a poster (or learner) must have some idea of their relative level in spite of their best effort, and with the understanding that sometimes apparently disparaging remarks about a photo can not be balanced with positives, either because there is none to be had or nothing short of a reshoot with new insights will suffice.

    We've all had our share of receiving low ratings, and in my case, I find myself often able to infer unspoken comments from the low numbers because I know it's a lousy picture to begin with, and if I was unsure, I'd ask in my request for critique.
     
  19. >>> When you say 'pass on participating', do you mean just the ratings portion, or the critique portion as
    well?

    Both. What has worked for me over the years is having a good sized but close knit circle of friends who
    also shoot (some paint as well), can provide honest feedback, and whose own work inspires me.

    I never understood what pnet ratings are about. Is there some kind of competition or something?
     
  20. Lex......I hear you about your gaming and conspiracy theory. Frankly, I haven't seen it, but I don't doubt it occurs. Weird! All I've seen is a propensity toward low ratings. Though it's frustrating, I've never taken low ratings personally, as I haven't (I don't think) angered anyone or cause anyone to retaliate against me.
    I get plenty of insightful critiques despite the numbers game.


    How is it that you're able to garner so many helpful critiques without participating in the ratings? Is it just that you've been a member for a long time and developed a 'network' of friends who will honestly critique your work?
     
  21. I understand the best time of day to take pictures is in those magical times early and late in the day.​
    The person who make this suggestion makes a valid point, but there is another way to look at light.

    Years ago, I assembled a collection of some of my best photos to show to some friends. I realized that a portfolio made up only of sunrises and sunsets can become boring quickly. There's not enough diversity from shot to shot.

    In my opinion, it's better to shoot in a variety of lights. Light changes throughout the day. The trick is to figure out what subjects look best in the light that's available at any given time. Now I shoot at any hour as long as I can find a subject that works in the available light. It's liberating. Give it a try!
    I enjoyed your Arizona photos, by the way. I'll look at more of your galleries shortly.
     
  22. Lex......I hear you about your gaming and conspiracy theory. Frankly, I haven't seen it, but I don't doubt it occurs. Weird! All I've seen is a propensity toward low ratings. Though it's frustrating, I've never taken low ratings personally, as I haven't (I don't think) angered anyone or cause anyone to retaliate against me.
    I get plenty of insightful critiques despite the numbers game.


    How is it that you're able to garner so many helpful critiques without participating in the ratings? Is it just that you've been a member for a long time and developed a 'network' of friends who will honestly critique your work?
     
  23. Brad pretty much sums up my own thoughts. And I, too, don't really understand these ratings. I pulled up a couple of your photos and searched in vain for their ratings. Where do these appear?
    Irrespective, I pretty much do what Brad does. I don't want my work numbered, ranked, and processed by faceless strangers in cyberspace.
     
  24. Steve......thanks for taking a look! Greatly appreciated! The more I hear from you all, the more I'm considering giving up on the rating system. Or maybe I'll wait until the 'new and improved' website comes out, and then make the decision.
    Sarah.....Thanks so much.... And for realizing the last thing I'm doing is fishing for compliments. :) Also, I want to say that I have long admired your work. I've been to your website several times.....quite well done. I've just never known how to leave you a message on your images.
    Would you agree with Lex's remark above:
    I submit a few photos for ratings mostly to get more visibility, which in turn draws more insightful critiques and not merely compliments.


    I'm afraid I'd never get any feedback if I weren't submitting my images for ratings. My images wouldn't have as much visibility, would they?

     
  25. Michael......well articulated reasons why someone may be reluctant to submit a critique. And yes, I agree with the low ratings sometimes serving as a 'filter'. Sometimes I'm not sure about an image, and if it immediately gets lousy ratings, I'll usually pull it. I can take a hint! ;-)
     
  26. Brad.....I guess the problem for me is developing that close-knit circle of friends. I do have a few very devoted friends, but I frankly don't participate very regularly. I think people who are more devoted to the website, make regular contributions and can be depended upon for a timely response are more likely to have a better following. I just can't devote as much time as I would like to PN.
     
  27. Dan, as I said in a comment to David above,
    I consider it a challenge to get an acceptable shot in less than ideal lighting conditions.

    So I totally hear you about that! Here is an analogy. I'm a violinist, but though my violin is (too) expensive, I don't have a Stradivarius. I grew up in a poor-ish family.....at least poor enough that they couldn't afford a fine instrument for me when I was a kid. So it was my challenge to get my crappy instrument to sound like something beautiful. It was challenging, but possible. So I'll keep working with my (not crappy---but not Stradivarius quaility camera) to get the best shots I can by learning as much as I can about how to maximize the camera's features and the existing lighting conditions.
    BTW.....I looked at your Death Valley folder. It's outstanding work, and I have to wonder why someone like you doesn't post more work here on PN. What benefit do you get from this website?
     
  28. >>> Brad.....I guess the problem for me is developing that close-knit circle of friends.

    It takes awhile, a few years for me. Some were through photonet. A larger number from people that live
    nearby (San Francisco Bay Area) and shoot similar subject matter. Also, I've taken project-oriented and
    other classes about photography at a nearby university, which in the process has created connections and
    friendships with others down the peninsula. Seems we're all on Facebook now, which makes it easy to stay connected and nice to see
    what everyone is up to. Different groups of people meet from time to time; anything from meeting at a bar
    and having a few pops talking about photography/photos/projects to attending exhibitions when someone has one
    going on. In the end it's all good. I believe most of my improvement has come from being inspired by my friends.
     
  29. Sarah.......Go to this image of mine, then click on 'details'. Then scroll down and you'll find the ratings.
    http://www.photo.net/photo/17588651
    Many of my images don't get enough ratings for them to register. I think you need to receive at least 5 before they start averaging and posting them. So perhaps the images of mine you looked at were those that didn't have enough of a response. BTW, this is one image that did receive some nice feedback.
     
  30. "How is it that you're able to garner so many helpful critiques without participating in the ratings?"​
    I do participate in the ratings. It's helpful because I have a specific goal.
    Photos submitted for ratings go into a queue of photos that appear randomly at the bottom of discussion forum threads like this. This increases the odds of getting incisive comments from folks I communicate with regularly on the discussion forums.
    I'm very selective about which photos I submit for ratings. They aren't necessarily photos that I believe will get high ratings. I choose photos for which I'd be interested in hearing comments. In many cases I already know the photos will receive an average rating of around 4.
    This tactic requires patience. Some photos may go for months or years before attracting any feedback. That's fine. If I felt I needed more immediate feedback on a photo - for example, choosing between two similar photos - I'd ask for that type of feedback. Usually there are folks willing to give that type of immediate feedback, for which I'm very grateful.
    And I wouldn't claim that my photos receive "many helpful critiques". I get just enough helpful critiques to serve a specific purpose - to determine whether a photo works on its own or within the context of a theme or project. I'm not looking for lots of affirmation and comments of generic praise. I don't fill my quota of four critique requests a day for everything that falls out of my camera.
    For my specific purposes, the system works fine. Submitting photos for ratings gets more eyes on my photos. I'm very selective and don't flood the system. But my method wouldn't work for folks who don't participate often on the discussion forums.
    There really are two photo.nets:
    1. The discussion forum community, which tends to attract a few dozen regular participants, who get to know each other over time through sharing common interests and, occasionally, butting heads over their differences. This photo.net tends to favor folks who are fluent in English, if only because photo.net is hosted in the U.S. and statistically the majority demographic is within the U.S.
    2. The photo display, comments/critiques and ratings community. And that community has traditionally been almost entirely separate from the discussion forums, with a few exceptions. That particular community seems more international, and tends to foster its own style of communication. Some folks may find it easier to communicate in brief expressions of affirmation, either in writing or numerical ratings. There may be another few dozen members who participate almost exclusively within the ratings/comments community.
    My method would not be effective in the second community. They don't participate on the discussion forums, so they wouldn't see my photos. And my photos rarely gather enough ratings, good or bad, to appear on the Top Rated Photos queue. Again, that doesn't concern me because the ratings in and of themselves have no value to me. There's no contest, no prize, nothing to be gained or lost, and a numerical rating doesn't answer the question I had. The numerical rating is merely a key to a door, or a stamp on the hand to show I've been admitted to the party.
    Now, if I made more conventional photos, conventionally pretty photos that were easy to like, it might be a different story. For those types of photos the ratings system might serve some purpose, even beyond affirmation and gratification. Perhaps some folks are able to translate that type of prominence on the TRP to some sort of tangible value - Google ranking that helps with sales of prints, books, etc. Some folks view it as an asset toward a larger artistic or business plan - I recall a former member who actually assigned a tangible monetary value to photo.net ratings and considered ratings as indicators toward the marketability of his photos.
    But for photographers who are more concerned about themes, documentary projects, a larger body of work, or feedback on overall artistic growth, the ratings system isn't very useful. It's like asking for a critique and receiving a single word fragment. The word fragment only tells you someone noticed, but nothing more. It's like the game of exquisite corpse, but nobody participates after the first response.
     
  31. Thank you, Christal! I appreciate that! But alas, there's no way to leave me feedback, other than to drop me an email if you're so inclined. ;-)
     
  32. Dan South -- A better idea would be to compare your work honestly against photos that you believe to be of high quality, e.g. photos in a similar genre that have been published in books and magazines. At least start there. If you can, find some honest friends who are willing to tell you what's working and what's not. And listen to them. Especially when they tell you what's not working.​
    Christal -- It is so hard to find people who can consistently take the time to critique one's work. I tend to agree with Brad in regard to not bothering with critiques on Pnet, and utilizing Dan's idea of comparing your own work to work you admire that you see elsewhere. (I know you said that you feel that's not enough, and I can understand that.) I don't want to bash the PN system, or the commonality of the average critique, but I honestly don't know how beneficial it is.
    I took a look through your portfolio (and made a few not very helpful comments...I'll try to take a deeper look) and there's nothing wrong with your work. I agree with Brad that you have a good eye. I would ask what kind of photographer you want to be...is there a particular genre you like or feel more comfortable with? I see a preponderance of landscapes, is that where you would like to concentrate the most?
     
  33. Lex.....interesting to hear your approach. And you gave me a great idea. Sometimes I do have specific concerns about an image. I should be more specific in the type of feedback I"m requesting, as you illustrated above. I'm sure that would likely get more responses.
    I haven't spent much time in the forums, but when I have posted a question, I've always received a lot of responses and have found it very helpful. Do I understand you correctly to say that you can discuss your individual images with other forum members? If so, maybe I should start hanging out in some of the forums a little more often. Some interesting stuff going on here! :)
     
  34. "Do I understand you correctly to say that you can discuss your individual images with other forum members?"​
    Generally speaking, critiques should go on our portfolio critique spaces, not the discussion forums.
    Occasionally exceptions are made on certain discussion forums. For example, the beginner forum might accommodate a request from a brand new member for their first critiques, but afterward we'll direct them toward the usual critique process. And illustrations to accommodate technical questions or demonstrations are appropriate for some discussion forums.
    The weekly photo sharing threads on discussion forums often accommodate some collegial chatter but these aren't really critique sessions.
    I'd like to see more folks host their photos on their photo.net portfolio spaces and embed them to these weekly photo sharing threads. I usually drag and drop photos from my portfolio space to these weekly photo sharing threads. If anyone cares to comment they can simply click directly on the photo and be taken to the portfolio page where that photo is hosted. Some folks do appear to use that method, which I appreciate. If more of us did this consistently it may lead to more relevant critiques and comments, particularly from folks who haunt the discussion forums and have some context for understanding fellow members' aesthetics, concepts and goals.
     
  35. Steve, thanks for taking a look at my portfolio. I appreciate all of your comments, particularly the very helpful one on my 'MOOOve' image. This is exactly the kind of critiquing I'd love to receive more often......you're quite good at it!
    Yes, in this frenetic age we live in, I realize it's a lot to expect for people to comment on my images. But I'm ever hopeful that as I contribute more, I'll receive more in return.
    Actually, I'm still trying to find my 'voice' as a photographer. I love all subjects, but the main reason you see so many landscapes is that I have a very demanding career and rarely get the time to shoot except when I'm on vacation. Hence the landscapes. But I have varied interests. I would really love to shoot people......both creative portraiture (which I'm not set up to do yet.....no studio lights) and street photography. But I still am not comfortable pointing a camera in someone's face. :) Besides, I don't like wandering around in the city by myself, so I probably will never become a street photographer. You have to be out there and ready to capture those types of shots. Anyway, I'll be attending the Rocky Mountain School of Photography this summer, and there I hope to identify my main areas of interest.
     
  36. You seem to have deluged PN with your work which from the thumbnails looks competant but I probably missed the interesting ones where you showed your individuality for the mass of very ordinary work which by its un imagination rates 2 or 3 ... the scale is 1-5 I believe from vague memory of when I rated photos. Just becuase a photo is technically excellent, assuming one can see that from a computer screen which I doubt, unless it shows originality away fom the millions of also runs it doesn't deserve more than 3.
    I save 4 and 5 for outstanding work which I have never matched .
     
  37. Just becuase a photo is technically excellent, assuming one can see that from a computer screen which I doubt, unless it shows originality away fom the millions of also runs it doesn't deserve more than 3.​
    Oh yeah - as if images that get high ratings are always original or creative...
    In fact it's usually the opposite that's the case - rating/critique systems like the one here encourage and foster banality.
    Mediocrity begets mediocrity.
     
  38. I think Lex formulated the clearest description of how rating and critics functions on Photonet, that I have seen yet. His mail of Nov 28, 2013; 11:43 p.m. Thanks!
    It also answers, in a very constructive way some of the questions of Christal, as far as I see it.
    I would add a dimension concerning "being seen" from the outside of the Photonet community. Internet search engines direct directly viewers to our images from the 'outside", if we understand to tag them correctly. I don't know which actions Photonet make to improve our visibility on the net, in competition with so many other photo sites around. On other sites, this is maybe the main profit one draws from creating portfolios on the net, in view of selling or just being seen.

    Personally I keep away from ratings and satisfy my need for critics by the ones I get from friends here on PN or by e-mail exchanges. Over the time I think there are periods where you have a great need for critics and other periods where you work on what you have got of comments and recommendations in order to improve and create. I'm in the latter period for the moment.

    Looking at Christal's portfolio, I see many very good shots based on Christal's obviously good photographical eyes, but in many cases they would benefit from a touch of post-processing to bring forward the colors, contrasts and sometimes the main themes, by some cropping. I also think, but I my be wrong, of course, that Christal suffers from her passion in photography, like many of us, by not clearly developing a style and personal approach in her portfolio.
     
  39. I'm ever hopeful that as I contribute more, I'll receive more in return.​
    Christal, it's my experience it does work, slowly but surely. I'm yet another one that gave up on ratings, except for a few that I'd like to show below threads. The few photos I have submitted for rating, ended up where I expected - but as many in this thread, I'll never have top-rated photos as I do not do what gives top ratings: HDR, high saturation, long-exposure waterfalls. No nudes either. So no 6 and 7 in my world (and in all honesty: most of the ratings I gave were 3 or 4 - which to me means they're fine photos, just not exceptional).
    The most useful critiques I've received are often more people sharing how they perceive a photo, how they interpret it, how they (possibly) see visual clues that I haven't seen and so on. More technical/compositional advice is useful too, obviously, but discussing how images impact you makes me reconsider a lot more than just technical concepts. So it's also usually the spirit in which I leave my own critiques. That means they can be short and possibly not seeming a real analysis of an image; maybe not what people might expect. I don't know, this is also a bit a questionmark around critiques. But well, for me, this is mostly in the spirit of sharing - sharing thoughts, ideas, impressions. And, in the end, a written critique of any kind tops a single digit value.
     
  40. I post photos for critiques and nobody comments in
    many cases. Totally ignored! I really would like
    someone to say something. You need a little more
    of this or a little more off that. Your work stinks.
    Take up the saxophone. Something!
     
  41. Alan, I would suggest that you continue commenting on other peoples photos and you will get you fair share of comments yourself. That's how it works !
     
  42. I post photos for critiques and nobody comments in many cases. Totally ignored! I really would like someone to say something. You need a little more of this or a little more off that. Your work stinks. Take up the saxophone. Something!​

    The primary culprit is time. We all process so much information in a day. Very few people take time to post and in depth critique. If they like it, they say something like, "Amazing! 7 of 7!" If they don't like it, they pass by and say nothing.

    The secondary culprit is that people can be sensitive about having their work criticized publicly. In order to improve, people need to hear about what DIDN'T work in the photo. Most people can handle honest criticism, but some take it badly. If I don't know someone well, I don't want to take the risk of angering them.
     
  43. Here is an analogy. I'm a violinist, but though my violin is (too) expensive, I don't have a Stradivarius. I grew up in a poor-ish family.....at least poor enough that they couldn't afford a fine instrument for me when I was a kid. So it was my challenge to get my crappy instrument to sound like something beautiful. It was challenging, but possible. So I'll keep working with my (not crappy---but not Stradivarius quaility camera) to get the best shots I can by learning as much as I can about how to maximize the camera's features and the existing lighting conditions.​
    That is a wonderful analogy, Christal. I agree 100 percent with your approach of trying to make something worthwhile out of a less than perfect situation. To me, that's the mark of a good photographer, musician, etc.
    BTW.....I looked at your Death Valley folder. It's outstanding work, and I have to wonder why someone like you doesn't post more work here on PN.​
    Thank you very much for your kind compliments! I maintain a website and two photo blogs. There are always more places to post photos, but at some point it simply takes too much time to keep up with it all. I would rather maintain a quality presentation in a few places than tryi to be all over the web.
    I hope to add more to PN galleries when time permits. PN has been very good to me over the years.
    What benefit do you get from this website?​
    Information, primarily. I have learned a great deal here over the years in terms of both technical knowledge and creative inspiration. I still learn things, and I try to share what I know with others.
    The PN site is well managed. Internet communities can be somewhat uncivilized when the oversight is inadequate. PN has always been a pleasant place to interact.
     
  44. I've had a look at your portfolio, I think some images are very good and some are not to my taste, which is exactly the way they should be.
    As for "are my images that bad"? Well, the overall rating is 5.04 and centre spot is 4, so no, they're not "bad." However, I don't know what the average/mean/median rating on PN is, so it's difficult to know whether 5.04 is good or mediocre compared with others on this site.
    However, PN ratings are simply a numerical value assigned on a single web site and doesn't actually tell us much. What really matters is whether you are taking the photos that match your vision and your way of seeing and feeling about the world you live in. If you are, then the images what is important and not others' opinions.
    I've often found that a PN rating has no reflection on the market worth of an image, so something that may get ~4 on PN can end up as a double page spread in an international glossy or be licenced to an agency for a tidy sum.
    In short, as Polonius put it, "to thine own self be true."
     
  45. I didn't read the responses. Don't need to because I'm.going to cut to the chase. The complaint is indeed whining. You claim that it is
    important for comments to be left with low rates. If you were really concerned about learning from ratings, you would have
    included all ratings, especially high ratings. Those are so often just as, if not more, lacking insight and explanation behind
    why it is deserved. But, like usual with these complaints, there is no concern about any other ratings. High rates are
    accepted but, sonehow, the low ones are the problem. The concern is not about learning. It is the fragile ego.

    Honest advice for your future in photography... Get over it. Potential and existing clients and/or bosses are not going to be
    like your freinds you describe. They will often be arbitrary and not give you feedback. You will need to be able to handle
    that.
     
  46. Ray House

    Ray House Ray House

    Well said John.
     
  47. I've been a member to PN a long time and do post once in a while. However, I reserve my images for my own web site since other photographers are NOT my primary audience. According to Ken Rockwell "7 Levels of Photographers", I strive to be a level 7 where I simply take photographs because I enjoy doing it and it offers a sense of self fulfillment. Commercially successful photographers spend an inordinate amount of time promoting their own work and I simply don't want to do that, especially since I currently have a job. I would rather take pictures, which I do on a weekly basis, than spend that time on self promotion. You do have some excellent images though.
     
  48. As regards learning from feedback, then the critique forum is about the only place where that is possible. Ratings really are just an ego boost, and as others here have mentioned they really should be taken with a pinch of salt as they are far from indicative of a pictures worth. I myself have, until very recently, used the ratings system to garner greater exposure which, along with attempting to critique fairly regularly, I hoped would lead lead to more critiques on my work: the almost sole reason why I use this site - improvement. I have stopped however as even though I know it to be non representative of an images worth, I compare the numbers which I receive against other pictures here (a great way of self rating as others have noted) and find them, even allowing for massive self love and blindness, to be, by way of comparison and in my opinion, hugely undervalued. Perhaps!
    I'll stick to sticking my neck out for critiques, a tremendously valuable part of this site. I get a decent amount of feedback. Some photos that I'm really proud of slip by totally unnoticed, while other shots that I like less seem to be much more popular. What I do desire however, and what it seems from reading the comments here, are more critical critiques. I believe we should all just say what we really feel (in a constructive manner) about work in the critique forums. To hell with angry responses. Perhaps each user should mark a box that states they are willing and strong enough to take anthers honest opinion! I for one am. Please folks, sharpen your quills!
     
  49. Personally, I'd like to see a policy implemented that would prevent someone from rating anonymously, and I would love to go back to the system where the member's name is identified to his/her rating.​
    Anonymity has nothing to do with it.
    Unfortunately, mostly I just get the pat on the back 'awesome' comment, which is appreciated, but not very helpful.​
    You've got lots of "pats on the back" in this thread alone. In an ideal world, the policy would require the critics to read something like these BEFORE critiquing. Then those who are genuinely looking for constructive criticism, positive or negative, can learn something instead of getting "pats on the back", or having their feathers ruffled. But I'm talking about an ideal world, not PN.
    http://edknepleyphoto.com/2011/07/01/critiquing-images/
    http://www.amazon.com/Criticizing-Photographs-Terry-Barrett/dp/0073526533
     
  50. JC......not sure how long ago you participated in the ratings, so maybe the scale was once 1-5. Now it's 1-7, so I consider a rating of 2 a very low score. I agree that my work can't compare to some of the imaginative and creative work found here on PN. I shoot mostly on vacations and take the shots I can get......I don't walk around with a camera in my hands every day waiting for opportunities to surface. And I also have very primitive editing skills and use a basic editing program, so I agree with you that my work would be considered competent.....nothing extraordinary.
    I do not understand what you mean by:
    If you were really concerned about learning from ratings, you would have included all ratings, especially high ratings.


    And let me be clear.....I am not 'concerned', as you say, about the low ratings. Nor am I offended. And I don't expect to learn from the ratings per se either. But I do expect to learn from the critiques, which never accompany the low ratings. That is my bone of contention.
     
  51. Keith.....sometimes I think there is a bit of the 'beauty queen' aspect to PN. It can be a popularity contest to some extent. That doesn't bother me though. The people who socialize more and go to the effort of making comments are of course going to receive more feedback in return. But I agree with you that the ratings don't necessarily correlate to originality or creativity. Having said that, I am impressed by a lot of the creative work here on PN.
     
  52. "But I do expect to learn from the critiques, which never accompany the low ratings. That is my bone of contention."
    Christal, in view of your professional credentials, consider a photo rating in the same way if the same rating structure was in place during a student violin recital; not everyone critical of a performance will have constructive or even useful things to say, and those who do might have trouble summarizing it in brief short of giving a masterclass, if they're qualified and are willing to spend the time.

    There are quite a number of members who are extremely thoughtful in their critiques and are more than willing to help, but you have to ask for it as I have in the past, unless they happen to come across your photos and feel inclined to comment voluntarily.
     
  53. Christal,
    One thing I find appealing when I look at a portfolio and it's something I do with my own portfolio is periodic editing. I keep a lot of stuff in hidden folders, especially if they've already been commented on, but I try to keep my portfolio edited down to about 50-60 photos. That way, the presentation shows some structure and care. It also makes each individual photo more visible. It shows what you think is significant in your work at a particular time. A lot of portfolios with over a hundred photos, some in the thousands, just feel like a photo dump. I understand that's how many folks use PN and that's fine, just less interesting to me. With 50 or under photos, it comes across a little more like a gallery show and, for me, shows a degree of intentionality and is more likely to invite comment.
     
  54. Anders......yes, Lex is very insightful and clearly articulates the strengths and flaws of the system. As far as being seen 'outside' of the PN community, I'm not sure I would want that. I don't intend to sell my images, so the marketing of my portfolio is of no interest to me. I recently started tagging my images, not being exactly sure what purpose that serves. From what you're saying, I guess that means people from other sites could access my images. And I'm not sure I would want my images out there in cyberspace. I've heard of so many instances in which people have had their work stolen or 'borrowed'.
    Your assessment of my portfolio is spot on. And your very comment inspires me to pare down my portfolio. Thanks for that! There are images loaded on there from when I was virtually just beginning with digital, and when I was using a free online editing program. I've often thought I should take some images off and re-edit some of the better ones. It's exactly this kind of feedback I wish there was more of. Thanks so much!
    And as for you comment 'suffering from her passion for photography'......again, spot on. I'm the kind of person who has SO many interests. That transfers to my photography. I would get bored with always shooting the same kind of thing. But that's more of less what I'm doing now because of the opportunities that present themselves. But hopefully as I continue (I'm nearing retirement and hope to devote more time to photography), I'll find that 'voice'. Not to say there is anything wrong with shooting everything. Sometimes I'm amazed by someone who shoots only birds, for instance. That would drive me crazy, but if someone is passionate about birds and finds their niche and are great at it, then more power to them. But then there are other photographers who can (and do) shoot everything, and do it well. That's what I'd like to strive toward.
     
  55. Wouter.....nor will I ever have top-rated photos (well, I can hope I'll improve... :) But I looked at your portfolio and you have a distinct style and do quite good work......the kind of work I'd like to do more of. And I love your entire last paragraph, but particularly:
    But well, for me, this is mostly in the spirit of sharing - sharing thoughts, ideas, impressions. And, in the end, a written critique of any kind tops a single digit value.
     
  56. Alan....thanks for your humorous response. You obviously don't take yourself too seriously, which is a good thing. BTW, I left a comment on one of your images, and I know you weren't 'fishing' for that. Yes, what Anders said below is true......and I probably need to contribute more myself.
     
  57. Dan......Yes, critiquing can be a tricky and sensitive thing. Some people can't accept any criticism, no matter how tactfully and gently it is offered. I think I've stepped on a few toes occasionally. But I sense quickly what I can or can't say with that person, and I quickly adapt. However, the people who have interacted with me know (hopefully) that they can offer criticism, and I can take it well. Probably a result of my profession......I wouldn't have gotten very far without LOTS of negative criticism. That doesn't mean I'll always agree, but that's okay too. If the criticism is offered in the right spirit, I always appreciate someone taking the time to help.
    Overall, I also think PN does a remarkable job of managing the site and responding to concerns. It's not perfect....but there is no such thing. It's a comprehensive website, and I learn so much about all things photographic. For instance, currently there is an article listing the best photo books for 2013. Some great choices there. So perhaps for me it's best to pull out of the ratings, which is the part that frustrates me most. I'll probably wait until the new website changes are implemented and see if I still feel the same way.
    Does anyone know when the new website changes will take effect?
     
  58. Thanks for critiquing one of my photos. Now I won't
    have to take up the saxophone.
     
  59. I'm skipping several pages of comments and will just offer a few of my own observations. First, I think you might be taking the ratings deal way too seriously. It's not unbiased opinions from professionals after all. I haven't put any of my own photos in that forum and don't follow it. I do regularly put a few images in the discussion forums, such as Nikon, Classic Cameras, and so on. I don't really feel the need for approval from strangers, but do enjoy feedback from those I feel I know on the forums I haunt. I also know I have somewhat "eccentric" taste and not everyone is going to like I what I do. This doesn't bother me--I'm mainly trying to entertain myself.
    I did take a look at some of your photos. Since I live in the Dakotas, I started with those and then went to the November ones. I have some honest thoughts. First, too often you seem to take a pretty "standard" approach. You see something interesting, attach a "standard"lens, and take the shot from a standard perspective. The result is you end up taking the same shots everyone else would. Second thing I noticed is you don't seem to yet have realized the importance of Use of Light, at least not consistently. My impression is you are so mentally focused on composition that you are overlooking the single most important thing to any photo--Use of Light. When you come to a scene, the first thing you should do is study the Light. What is the direction, the color, the intensity etc.? Start studying the photos of those who have mastered Use of Light and I think you will become better. Note that I am saying "Use of Light." That means you DON'T have to just be at a place at sunrise or sunset. There is some really cool things you can do any time of day. BTW, at the Badlands there is the great south wall. It is white. If you had got there before dawn and set up on top of one of the mounds to the south, when sunrise came those white walls slowly change color as the sun rises. IT IS SPECTACULAR! Anyway, you did have some great photos when the light was working, but mostly I came away feeling you do not fully understand Use of Light. Too many of your photos are technically correct but do not transmit any sense of emotion. I too love classical music and played in the Univ. of KS Ancient Instruments ensemble. It is possible to play technically very correct--keeping time perfectly, perfect intonation, etc. but still there is no soul to the music. Photography is the same way--it can be all technically correct but you come away feeling little emotional impact. Many of your photos (certainly NOT all!) show me what you saw, but do not show me how it felt. You are having trouble translating into a photo how an interesting location FELT. (This is a big challenge for me too.) So I conclude, learn the light, learn how to see it, learn how to best use it. Use of Light is 90% of a great photo. The technical stuff, not so much
    Kent in SD
     
  60. Peter......if nothing else, my post has really taught me a lot about the way the ratings/critiques system works. It's been very enlightening. For instance, I had no idea what you were talking about when you said
    Well, the overall rating is 5.04 and centre spot is 4, so no, they're not "bad." However, I don't know what the average/mean/median rating on PN is, so it's difficult to know whether 5.04 is good or mediocre compared with others on this site.


    I didn't know I could find a compilation of all the ratings I've received. I was astonished to find so many 5's and 6's. I guess that's because I don't see individual ratings. I only see the average, which is always much lower than that. And recently it seems that the first responders give very low scores. After my image has been up for awhile, some people must give higher ratings, because the average score starts creeping higher.
    Thanks for the explanation and pointing me to the ratings compilations.......and for your wise words, as well.
     
  61. JC....I apologize for part of my response to you. The last part was really intended as an answer to John H. I never expected so many responses, and going back and forth trying to respond to these is confusing.
     
  62. John.....I wish you had read the comments and responses, and I think you would understand that I am indeed not looking for stroking or compliments. I'm truly frustrated by the seeming lack of effort put in by the community members. People want comments themselves, but many are not willing to contribute in return. (I don't mean to slight the wonderful members who do a remarkable job of participating).
    I do not understand what you mean by:
    If you were really concerned about learning from ratings, you would have included all ratings, especially high ratings.


    Let me be clear.....I am not 'concerned', as you say, about the low ratings. Nor am I offended. And I don't expect to learn from the ratings per se either. But I do expect to learn from the critiques, which never accompany the low ratings. That is my bone of contention.
    As for my 'future' in photography. I don't expect to make a cent at my photography. And I am in a career where excellence is expected, and there is not a lot of stroking. Nobody expects it. I don't 'expect' it in my photography either, though admittedly we all love it when someone likes our work. I simply want honest feedback, which I've received some of as a result of posting this question. For that I'm grateful.
     
  63. John.....I wish you had read the comments and responses, and I think you would understand that I am indeed not looking for stroking or compliments. I'm truly frustrated by the seeming lack of effort put in by the community members. People want comments themselves, but many are not willing to contribute in return. (I don't mean to slight the wonderful members who do a remarkable job of participating).
    I do not understand what you mean by:
    If you were really concerned about learning from ratings, you would have included all ratings, especially high ratings.

    Let me be clear.....I am not 'concerned', as you say, about the low ratings. Nor am I offended. And I don't expect to learn from the ratings per se either. But I do expect to learn from the critiques, which never accompany the low ratings. That is my bone of contention.
    As for my 'future' in photography. I don't expect to make a cent at my photography. And I am in a career where excellence is expected, and there is not a lot of stroking. Nobody expects it. I don't 'expect' it in my photography either, though admittedly we all love it when someone likes our work. I simply want honest feedback, which I've received some of as a result of posting this question. For that I'm grateful.
     
  64. Michael D........I absolutely agree about the self-promotion thing. I think that's mainly why I'll probably never make a cent at photography. My photo skills hopefully will improve with time, but I can't ever see myself spending any significant time promoting my work. That's precisely why I'm questioning my participating in Photo.net. Is the time I spend here worth the investment? But every time I think about discontinuing my membership, I just can't do it. There are many wonderful things to this community, and I do learn so much (from the articles in addition to the participation).
    I find the 'process' of taking pictures fulfilling. It gets me away from my daily stresses and gives me something positive and even spiritually uplifting to concentrate on.
     
  65. Scott......I haven't even looked at your images yet, but you have just won an ardent fan/supporter. I also only invest my time here for the self-improvement factor. And I think your idea is brilliant:
    Perhaps each user should mark a box that states they are willing and strong enough to take anthers honest opinion!

    I realize we all have different tolerances for criticism.....that's fine. But your idea would let those of us who would like honest criticism to 'invite' it from other similarly minded members. Have you submitted your idea to the staff?
     
  66. Robert K.....My point about the anonymity is that it's much easier for someone to dispense 3's if he knows his name isn't connected to it. If his name was connected to his rating, he may still give a '3', but perhaps he would be more inclined to leave a thoughtful critique explaining his rating. Some wouldn't, I realize, but some would.
    Even though, as Sarah picked up on above, I was anything BUT fishing for compliments with this post, I have received some pats on the back. But more importantly, I've received some excellent and usually spot-on general observations about my work, which I find much more helpful.
    Thanks for the links......they look very interesting!
     
  67. ". . . those of us who would like honest criticism to 'invite' it from other similarly minded members . . ."
    Would that suggest that those who don't check the box want dishonest criticism? I don't think you can legislate to the finest detail who wants what kind of criticism. When you display your photographs for the public, you open yourself up to all kinds of criticism, from "swell" to "ugly" to everything in-between. Don't discount a simple "swell" or what's commonly referred to as a pat on the back. Think of how many folks look at our photos and don't comment at all. A "swell" tells you it was at least worth the effort of saying something to you. That says a lot in a world swirling with photo upon photo upon photo. The one that got the "swell" was at least worth a notice and a mention. So was the one that got an "ugly."
     
  68. Michael.......Good analogy and advice. I certainly can do that......ask for specific advice when I need it. I need to be bolder in my participation. A couple of times I've had someone contact me personally for advice about an image because they happen to have liked my work (or my gentle way of participating).....or for whatever reasons, I'm not sure. But I'm always happy to oblige, and I suppose I could do the same. The worst thing that could happen is that person would not respond. :)
     
  69. Fred......In light of some members having thousands of images, I didn't think my portfolio was all that large. But it's true, I rarely spend much time on the portfolios that have lots of images......it's just too overwhelming for me. So thanks for explaining your method. I'll give some serious consideration to paring back. I know Tony Hadley does what you do.....that is, he keeps much of his work in hidden folders and rotates his images from time to time. Good idea.
     
  70. Christal, I just looked through your portfolio because of your original post and I'm going to give you a rating of 6 overall. I think you have a great eye for composition, subject matter and I'm betting that you do not do a lot of post-processing. As you say, you do it for your own pleasure and that's all that matters.
     
  71. Kent, I can't thank you enough for your lengthy response! It helps so much to hear this type of thing from someone. On some level I know everything you say is true, but I hadn't been able to formulate it in my mind. Indeed, I have asked the question before 'can you teach the non-technical side of photography?.....vision, feel, instinct, impacting someone in a visceral way, etc ' People have asked me the same about music.....I could expound forever on that subject. And I love your musical analogy.
    As I responded to David on the first page of this post,
    I consider it a challenge to get an acceptable shot in less than ideal lighting conditions.
    However, having said that.....When we were in Alaska (haven't posted my images yet), it wasn't that I didn't understand the light. (Not to say that I couldn't have maximized the existing light better though. :) It's just that I often find myself in a location for a limited amount of time and have to 'take what I can get'. Yet I'm surrounded by amazing scenery, and I have to take pictures of it.. I don't have the luxury of infinite time or being a professional photographer who can afford to wait for the ideal conditions. That is a frustration for me, for sure.
    After some research, I believe the things you're missing in my photography can indeed be taught. I'm working toward that end, and I even plan to go to a photography school that places a great emphasis on this, as well as the technical aspects of photography.
    And thanks for the suggestion for shooting in the Badlands. We'll definitely visit there many times in the future. We're from Indiana and we drive up to Alberta to visit my daughter and her family.
     
  72. Fred, I always appreciate your well-though out comments to people here on PN. And what I really like is that you not only have strong opinions, but you can substantiate those opinions, which lends much more credence to them in my view. And I think your reminder is a valid one......people are busy, and the fact that they take time to comment at all should not be belittled.
    But I don't think Scott's comment
    ". . . those of us who would like honest criticism to 'invite' it from other similarly minded members . . ."
    would require 'legisation to the finest detail'. It would simply be a tool (just like the check box indicating if a comment is helpful) for those who want more detailed and instructive comments to find other like-minded participants. I think it's a brilliant idea.
     
  73. Don......you're correct. I don't do much post-processing. But that's because I have limited capability or knowledge to do so, not because I wouldn't like to. I see some amazing special effects and HDR's that I would love to experiment with. I don't even have the capability to process RAW images, so I have much to learn. Thanks for visiting my portfolio!
     
  74. The answer is to get off the internet.
    Have a nice day. I don't expect you to like the truth. Unplug, go out in the world, work, and enjoy. A writer who has done nothing but write and read and read about writing and write about reading is worth nothing. Great writers are people who have lived. I think the same applies broadly. I haven't looked at your portfolio.
    I hereby challenge you to get off the internet for 30 days.
     
  75. "Would that suggest that those who don't check the box want dishonest criticism?"

    No, it's just that many people have mentioned here that they have refrained from commenting, or have not commented
    honestly, as they were afraid of inciting a strangers wrath! Perhaps if they see that a photographer has essentially given
    them free reign to lay it in them, they'd be more inclined to comment rather than just passing on. Would hate to think
    done of my images were missing out in a panning just because someone was scared of offending me!
     
  76. Hi Christal,
    It seems your question has produced quite a long and fruitful thread. Though I spend a lot of time reading the forums and occasionally going through the galleries I am not very active in them. I have never used rating systems mostly because they seem to me to be often based on popularity and "politics" rather than a true response to the photo.
    Anyway what prompted me to add to the thread was your comment -
    "I realize we all have different tolerances for criticism.....that's fine. But your idea would let those of us who would like honest criticism to 'invite' it from other similarly minded members"

    Like you, when I am looking at someone's images I am mostly not sure if they want a critique or just for you to look. On another site I always put the following comment with my images-
    "If you find this image interesting please say something about it. Helpful criticism is always welcome."


    This way the viewer at least knows I am open to advice and helpful criticism. On the down side I still don't get much in the way of critiques but nor do I get a stream of "good" "great" etc (or perhaps my images just aren't good or great at all :) )
    One other thing, and here I can only speak for myself, - sometimes I feel I ought to get more involved and will write several critiques on images that interest me in the critique forum. But of those I leave comments on, only about half are acknowledged (and this often applies to others who have commented). While I am not asking for agreement or praise, just a thanks to show the person has at least read the critique. As your track record in this thread shows you are obviously not one of these people - but I high-light it just to show that sometimes people get disenchanted with the system and like me give up commenting - at least for a while.
    Sorry for the long winded response. Thanks for airing this subject.
    Best regards
    Laurie
     
  77. I wish you had read the comments and responses, and I think you would understand that I am indeed not looking for stroking or compliments.​

    I didn't say that you were. Rather, I discussed the double standard and sensitivity applied to less favorable responses than higher ones which is a different issue. That issue being summarily brushed aside purposefully or more sub-consciously. Perhaps a mix of both. Its hampering your evaluation of peoples responses in general and whether they are actually useful or not.
    I'm truly frustrated by the seeming lack of effort put in by the community members... ...let me be clear.....I am not 'concerned', as you say, about the low ratings.​

    Of course you are. Look at the title of the post. It certainly wasn't "Am I really that great of a photographer" with complaints about a lack of feedback from higher ratings. There were no complaints about lack of comments from average rates. If it were really only about a lack of critiquing itself, the title and post would have been about that in general. Instead, it was...

    "I get so frustrated with the low ratings"

    "My 'friends' (the regulars who comment on my work) applaud my work, occasionally giving me constructive criticism."

    "it's just plain demoralizing to receive low score upon low score."

    "I just don't understand how someone can rate a 2 or 3 and not offer some constructive comment."
    "I am proud of some of my shots, even though many of them have received low ratings."



    Your words, not mine. I believe, however, that you are genuinely interested in feedback and specific commentary from all perspectives at least in principle. My concern here is whether you are getting or will get the most out of any commentary that you receive and evaluating the comments objectively. Look at the reaction here to my commentary. Summary rejection of the critical observation about low ratings despite repeated reference to only low ratings. Now its supposedly about lack of comments in general and how higher raters leave comments. A real concern should be if those are actually useful.
    I do expect to learn from the critiques, which never accompany the low ratings. That is my bone of contention.​
    All of which are by identifiable people which is a factor in why the comments even exist and what they say. A social phenomenon. Attaboys. Unfortunately, the numbers of high and average rates and comments don't match either. No "bone of contention" about the lack of comments for those ratings. So, you see, you state officially that the concern is about about a lack of commentary on ratings in general and but the actual evaluation and conclusion (the bone of contention) still references only the low ones.
    So why point all of this out? You want feedback and that is great. Some of it is useful, some not. The best way to help decipher between the two, to the extent possible, is to take a step back and consider all responses more objectively and see much of them as mere passing reactions. First is rating score evaluation. Look at the overall scores and trends when considering scores, not the fringes. Perhaps even ignore scores. At least acknowledge and factor in you sensitivity to them on both sides of the spectrum. As to critiques and seeking them: Invite people, including friends, to be more discerning, more objective. Even if someone thinks an image is good, it is much more useful for them to tell you how it can be better. Ask them to do that. Otherwise the feedback really doesn't do much for you anyway.
     
  78. Going from your response to me, I have some more thoughts. You say you don't have the luxury to wait around and must deal with "less than ideal light." This is what I call "standard" thinking. I come at it from a different direction. I am almost completely an outdoor photographer. In winter I most often shoot at night. I've met a few of the worlds' great photographers in the field, (e.g. Jim Brandenburg in MN, Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson of Reykjavik) and was told some very illuminating things about Light. First, there is no "bad" light or "good" light. All light is useful......for something. Your job in the field is to understand exactly what kind of light you are working with, and then come up with an effective way to use it. Shots that work on an overcast day generally don't work on a sunny day, and the reverse is also true. I see many, many photographers trying to take the same kinds of photos they do on cloudy days as they do on sunny days, and it just doesn't work. Some of your photos are in this category. To become more than a technically good photographer, you must learn how to use different kinds of light effectively.
    I love to visit places in the polar regions--Arctic Canada, Iceland, even northern Scotland. My ultimate trip would be Antarctica. At those latitudes the light is always softer than it is closer to the equator. It's hard to go wrong! It's very easy light to work with. South Dakota has this kind of soft light in winter, but in summer the light is very harsh. You have to take different kinds of shots then. An example. You have some photos of Badlands formations in this kind of harsh light and the shots aren't working. Here's what I once did on a bright mid day. The sky was washed out blue, the formations are white. I switched to b&w film (I shoot 4x5), and then put on a deep red filter. This turned the sky very dark, nearly black. The formations stayed white. The effect was dramatic! It's not often you get a landscape where the sky is very dark and the land is very light--the image has impact! For too many of your shots you seem locked into a "standard" way of seeing and shooting, where you need to get a bit more creative I think. There were a few of your shots where you seemed to have stumbled into this, but it wasn't consistent. There's an old saying that goes, "If you shots lack impact, move in closer." I've found this to be true most of the time. When the light isn't working for a big scale shot, move in closer for a "micro" shot of some details, where the light will be working better. There is no bad light, only bad use of light. This is the reverse of how you've been approaching Light. Am I making sense? Some homework for you. Look up Ian Cameron and Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson on the internet, and study their photos. Pick what you consider their five best. Now, carefully analyze each in terms of what kind of light they had in that shot, and how they used it. Remember that their thinking is "there is no bad light........."
    Below photo:
    The light was very harsh at the summit of Mona Kea, Hawaii. I switched to my Leica IIIc using b&w film, and used a Leica 3.5cm lens made in the 1940s because it has lower contrast than modern day Nikon lenses. I liked what I got with the 70 yr. old lens & camera.
    Kent in SD
    "You can learn a lot from traveling around Iceland
    with a photographer. He talks about Light.
    He's constantly preoccupied with Light."

    --Unnur Jokulsdottir
    00cCGg-543868584.jpg
     
  79. They rate pictures here?
     
  80. Christal, I flippd through a couple of pages of this thread and the contributions seem pretty well balanced but I would like to let you know that, I know exactly how you feel!
    I am a member of a forum on Flickr and...without being too egotistical, I am certain that my images are better than the work of many others who get all sorts of gushing attention. It is a SP forum and it seems to me that for many SPers, if something is well-framed, in focus, noiseless and without motion blur, it is not even worthy of a mention! I know this might seems bitchy or snarky, but honestly, it is geting ridiculous in my opinion. I'll be out in the middle of rural China bent almost to the ground and zoning in perfectly on the face of a septigenarian vegetable seller in the midst of an argument and....bang! Captured perfectly! Zero comments, zero faves, not worth even looking at, according to the membership. Another guy will take the blurriest, noisiest, crappiest, OOF shot of a drunk he's annoyed two minutes from his apartment and suddenly he's a 'genius'.
    It is very frustrating
     
  81. Stephen, with web forum and social media "success", it's mostly a popularity contest. Folks who come across as personable and easy to like online usually win that game.
    It also requires a combination of self pimping while graciously acknowledging ones followers/sycophants. I can point to some amazing success stories, but I'd rather not do so publicly because it might seem snarky. They are very good at what they do, which is selling themselves, their personalities and how lucky their followers and fans are to be acknowledged by such swell photographers.
    Regarding photo.net's ratings, it's a popularity contest usually dominated by a couple of cliques. It's actually quite easy to join the cliques and enjoy their favors. But that doesn't mean everyone who rates photos will reciprocate with automagic ratings of 6 and 7. Some folks actually rate without regard to favoritism and tend to regard a rating of 4 as average and 3 slightly below average - not "hate rating" as some folks might wish to believe. If we accept that some photo.netters have high standards, it makes sense that they'd rate most photos as 3-5, only average, slightly below or slightly above average. There shouldn't be a majority of photos receiving ratings of 6 and 7 - statistically that's improbable.
     
  82. You have to remember that, from an artistic perspective, it doesn't matter one bit how difficult a shot was to get or how much trouble and expense was involved or what equipment was used, or even how technically perfect it may be.
    The perceived quality of a shot depends mostly on the eye of the photographer and the eye of the viewer. It's perfectly possible that a Smartphone snapshot taken on the way to your local bar might be more original and interesting that a shot taken with the best equipment on a trip half way around the world.
    Personally I'm not really interested in seeing yet another perfect example of a cliche subject. Wrinkled old people in high contrast B&W, Tuscan Landscapes, HDR images of Venice or Paris or London. If I've seen it before I'm not very interested in seeing it again, no mater how technically perfect the image may be.
    Show me something original, something I haven't seen before 100 times and at least I'll look at it
     
  83. Several years ago I was with a group photographers in Yosemite, shooting during the day, talking photography and showing images at night. The first photographer showed his images that he had taken with a 360 degree camera in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Pretty awesome (but you're not supposed to take pictures in that venue). When it came to the other photographers showing their images, that first photographer wasn't the least bit interested. I asked him why he didn't even look at the other photographs, he responded "because they're BORING." I never forgot that statement, not because the guy was kind of arrogant, but because it made me take a second look at my own images, and yes, they were boring. I don't know if I've been able to break the boring barrier, but it is certainly something I consider every time I take a photograph. I personally believe that this has improved my own photography.
     
  84. It also requires a combination of self pimping while graciously acknowledging ones followers/sycophants. I can point to some amazing success stories, but I'd rather not do so publicly because it might seem snarky. They are very good at what they do, which is selling themselves, their personalities and how lucky their followers and fans are to be acknowledged by such swell photographers.​
    Dude, snark away! Dollars to donuts we name some of the same names. (No, I'm kidding about doing it publicly. But I'm serious about us both thinking of some of the same people.)
     
  85. Adam......This thread notwithstanding, I actually don't spend much time on the computer. I have a sedentary job and the last thing I want to do is come home and sit at a computer. I've been a bit more active on PN lately, but I go months without posting any images. Having said that.......I hear your point. We were actually on the road in our RV for 2 months this summer......in some remote places. We virtually had no connection to the Internet. At first, it was heavenly, and my husband and I discussed the freedom from not being 'connected' all the time. But then, frankly, it became a bit difficult. It came time to pay bills, or look up something about a destination we planned to visit, or find a name of a contractor to fix something on our rental property back home, etc....... It became clear to us that we are entrenched for good in the computer age, and there is no going back. But for us, we get many opportunities to 'unplug', get in our RV and get away from it all for awhile. Not sure I could go an entire month though.
     
  86. Laurie......Well, to begin with.....if you were to start posting images on PN, I'd comment on them. I took a quick look at your work. It's high quality with an eclectic mix of shots.....the very kind of portfolio I love. But I digress.... :)
    I've actually tried wording to that effect on my images when I've requested critiques, and frankly I never found that it increased the number of responses. But it doesn't hurt, certainly. But I agree with you about the frustration of critiquing and getting no acknowledgment in response. So what I've started doing is looking at the member's posting record. If they are an active participant and have a fair number of comments given to other members, I consider them a likely candidate for interaction. If on the other hand, they only have a 'gimme' attitude, only posting and asking for critiques, but never critiquing others, then I look elsewhere.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas.
     
  87. Christal, you mentioned that you don't do much post processing or own a raw file processor. I would suggest that you jump in and learn sometime. It's not that complicated, and you can download trial versions of Lightroom and other popular raw processing programs.
    I won't suggest that working with raw files will improve your ratings in online critique forums, but it will open up creative possibilities for you. Your work is good, but I would like to see you develop it ever further.
     
  88. That settles it then.
     
  89. John H. ...... I take it you are quite a literal person. No problem with that......but it seems that you take every word I've said literally and perhaps not in the entire context for which it was intended. First of all, especially in light of the fact that I often don't get a lot of responses to my posts (images or otherwise), I tried to find a 'title' for my post that would garner some attention. I couldn't state the complexity of my frustration in one line of text, or indeed even in my initial post.
    My frustration IS with low ratings......the ones that come in waves right after my image is posted. My frustration is ALSO particularly with low ratings without comments. My frustration is also with high ratings without comments, but I don't feel it's as necessary to offer a comment on an image you like. Why, you ask? When I get a positive rating from someone, I'm not as apt to expect a constructive comment. If they think the image is pretty good, I don't need to hear why it's good, and the rater may not be discriminating enough to find anything to critique about the image. Maybe they really just like the image and can find no fault with it. Whatever......who knows? So of course, the higher ratings don't bother me as much as the lower ratings. But not for the reasons you suggest. It is not that I can't take the heat of the low ratings.
    With regard to your comment:
    My concern here is whether you are getting or will get the most out of any commentary that you receive and evaluating the comments objectively. Look at the reaction here to my commentary. Summary rejection of the critical observation about low ratings despite repeated reference to only low ratings.

    In this thread alone I have received some wonderful constructive criticism, for which I'm grateful. If you had read all of them you would see that my responses were not in the least defensive. I concurred in every single instance. You are the first person whose criticism I have not accepted, though I respect your right to offer it. As with any comment on any image, I don't have to agree with everything that is offered.

     
  90. Kent, WOW!!!! A lighting tutorial! Thanks so much for offering this info. I think going to workshops to study such things with noted photographers would be invaluable. I plan to do it. It is also my dream to see the polar regions, particularly Antarctica.......also northern Scandinavia where I could shoot the Aurora Borealis. At this stage in my photographic development, I really don't know creative techniques and options to try. I'm learning all the time, and I know if I keep going I'll be in a different place next year. I do plan to attend photography school this summer. I've checked it out and it's format sounds perfect for me at my current level. It's the way I learn best......immersing myself in something for an extended period of time. When I'm at home working and dealing with other responsibilities, I have limited opportunities for studying photography, and I don't seem to make much headway. I'll no doubt go through the Badlands again next year on my trip up to Edmonton to visit my daughter, so stay tuned..... :) Hopefully I'll get some shots more to your liking. :) Thanks, again!
     
  91. Steve......funny guy! :)
     
  92. Christal, just as a brain exercise, let's revise your statement a bit:
    "My frustration IS with high ratings......the ones that come in waves right after my image is posted. My frustration is ALSO particularly with high ratings without comments. My frustration is also with low ratings without comments, but I don't feel it's as necessary to offer a comment on an image you dislike. Why, you ask? When I get a negative rating from someone, I'm not as apt to expect a constructive comment. If they think the image isn't very good, I don't need to hear why they think it's not good, and the rater may not be discriminating enough to find anything to critique about the image. Maybe they really just dislike the image."​
    Works either way.
    So why is it so hard to accept low ratings as graciously as high ratings?
    I'm not denying the ratings system has issues and seems to be biased with disproportionate ratings. But what I see are a lot of unusually high ratings without any apparent discrimination between genuinely good, fresh, vital or unique photography, and merely average or adequate photography that's competently executed but not unique in the slightest.
    I don't understand why we shouldn't demand some justification for ratings of 6 or 7. I'd like to know what made the viewer think a photo was more than merely average or above average, considering the vast majority of photos submitted for ratings are variations of very familiar themes. Because how else will we know what's working when nobody explains why a particular photo seemed worthy of a 6 or 7?
    And I don't mean just copypasta like "Bellissimo!" or "Well seen!" I mean a comment, phrase, even a single word that didn't come from a keyboard macro.
     
  93. Stephen.....as I said above, it's often a popularity contest. The more you put in to it and 'play the game', the more comments you're going to attract. Some of us don't have the time to do that though, so I guess we just have to accept what is offered and be content with that. I'm curious, what differences are there between Flicker and Photo.net? I've never investigated Flicker. Good luck with your work!
     
  94. "Dude, snark away!"​
    Nah, not here. Because many of 'em are really decent folks. They're not merely narcissists. They just happen to be very good at cultivating fans. We actually can learn a bit from them.
    Similarly, I have a few really good photographers on my FB feed who really are doing great work and should have thousands of followers, but don't. They're also really likeable folks. They just don't seem to have generated the sort of self-sustaining momentum it takes to nudge their popularity over the top.
     
  95. Lex......oops.....I answered Stephen before I read your post. I said almost the same thing......though you said it better. :) I do think people have different standards for rating. One person could consider an image average and give it a '3'......another could give it a '4'. And there are only a handful of photographers on PN who have consistently received 6's and 7's.
     
  96. Bob. Just curious......to what degree do you think it's possible to learn creativity and originality? I know there are books out there on the subject......none of which I've read. Do you think they're helpful?
     
  97. Stephen.....as I said above, it's often a popularity contest. The more you put in to it and 'play the game', the more comments you're going to attract. Some of us don't have the time to do that though, so I guess we just have to accept what is offered and be content with that. I'm curious, what differences are there between Flicker and Photo.net? I've never investigated Flicker. Good luck with your work!
     
  98. Dan......you're right, of course. I'm working toward that end. The photo school I'll attend this summer requires sophisticated software, which I'll get soon. The problem for me is that I don't learn this stuff well on my own, but once someone shows me, I attend a class, or even an on-line class on Lynda.com, the info seems to stick. The main thing for me is that I currently don't have much time to devote to photography.....much as I'd like to. I'm thinking of retiring soon though.
     
  99. "...what differences are there between Flicker and Photo.net?"​
    Flickr was essentially born of social media. It originated as a photo sharing utility for online gaming. But it diverged and became a standalone site that rode the early wave of social networking. From the beginning it incorporated tools that encouraged connectedness among users: tags to find photos based on common key words; folksonomy and clusters to allow users to organize photo genres or categories, rather than a rigid top-down taxonomy defined by management; metadata - huge factor; groups set up by users, not by top-down management.
    Such a system tends to go one of two ways:
    1. Social anarchy, like 4chan, and way back when, Usenet, with relatively little moderation other than to delete illegal material. This works only with anonymity or pseudonymity, with participants' true identities unknown and generally unknowable to each other. Basically the apocalypse. Human sacrifice. Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria. Real wrath of god type stuff.
    2. Social cliques, with moderation aimed at preserving a pleasant environment free of bullying, threats, intimidation, and generally indirectly fostering conformity. This works only with real identities, avatars, or handles or nicknames - aliases or pseudonyms that are only surface veneers and part of a social identity within a particular community, not intended to protect privacy. Flickr went this direction. Cirque du Soleil rather than Grand Guignol.
    Photo.net is... hard to describe nowadays. It's old web. Web 1.75. Not so much hipper than 1990s Geocities, CompuServe and Yahoo, just not as embarrassingly clueless because it never tried to be popular. It was the World's Most Interesting Man, before his gall bladder surgery, diabetes and COPD forced him to stop drinking and hanging around smoky bars. He's still an okay dude, maybe a bit hard of hearing and tends to rehash the same old war stories every time you see him. And he has some good photos... in boxes and negative sleeves, or dry mounted on 6-ply archival mount boards.
     
  100. Lex.....hmmm....I should start hanging out over in your neck of the woods! :) I just don't see a preponderance of high ratings. And I don't mean to say that I couldn't benefit from comments on the higher rated images. But the few images I've posted that have received 6's or 7's, I KNEW were good images. I didn't need the ratings to tell me so. Now, would I have liked someone to tell me how to make them even better? You betcha! But again, I can learn much more from a well-thought-out critique on a low rated image than on an image I know to be pretty good to begin with.
     
  101. You may be referring to average ratings. True, the overall average ratings appear to be down at least a full point compared with a few years ago. But I see many folks routinely giving ratings of 6 and 7 - these are publicly visible. These may be offset by lower ratings, but there's no way for anyone other than administrators to know for certain.
    Personally I think it may be a mistake to make higher ratings publicly visible. I'm not sure it makes sense to only partially mask ratings lower than 6, while keeping ratings of 6 and 7 visible. This partial system seems to foster the notion that only ratings of 6 and 7 are acceptable even without critiques, while anything lower is unacceptable and certainly unacceptable without justification. Leaving ratings of 6 and 7 publicly visible also encourages a form of mate rating and peer pressure: "I see your name attached to the list of people who rated my photo. But when I checked your list of photos that you've recently rated, I don't see my photo on your list. That means you didn't rate my photo 6 or 7. Why do you hate me?" Blah-blah-blah.
    Seems obsessive, but, hey, people do that on photo.net. The ratings have always been a bittersweet temptation. Everybody loves the high ratings. Nobody wants to be the kid who didn't get a gold star.
    Everybody loves high ratings without any form of qualification on the part of the rater: "You like me? You really, really like me? And you can mash the 6 and 7 numerals on your keyboard? Yay, that's good enough".
    But anyone who doles out ratings of 5 or lower had better be prepared to show his credentials: "Your undergrad degree is in history and you have an MA in photography rather than an MFA in Cross-Cultural Deconstruction of Postmodern Solipsism? You aren't qualified to rate *my* photos 5 or lower!"
     
  102. Ratings might have seemed like a good idea when the site was run as a hobby by its owner, but the system never worked out of the box and we're still debating the same 'ol thing 20 years later, except now the site is a business and needs to generate enough revenue to justify its existence so it's no longer about making it work academically, but how it can exist in such a way as to be conducive to attracting members, keeping them around, while not becoming a constant sore point.
    In that context, the only "out" I can imagine is a rating system that serves a social function and explicitly states as such in its site description. Under such an environment, ratings can serve as encouragement, true feelings, or indeed whatever you want it to mean as a rater or a recipient. In other words, acknowledge the elephant in the room while understanding and accepting its limitations and find a new purpose for coming to the site if you're in disagreement.
    The alternative is to remove the feature altogether which I can't see happening.
     
  103. Yeah, it's a puzzle. I suspect that if you privately surveyed the folks who routinely dominate the TRP, chances are they're pretty happy with the current system. Sure, they might prefer to see their averages back up over 6.0, like they were a couple of years ago. But whether 5.75 or 6.25, they're still dominating the TRP, same as over the past several years. The system works really well for the people it works really well for.
    The tricky bit has always been balancing parity or equity against reality. A couple of years ago the system was tweaked so that the actual, absolute highest rated photos on any given day didn't actually dominate page one of the TRP. That meant that on one or two occasions even my not-particularly-remarkable photos appeared on page one of the TRP, briefly, despite having an average rating of just over 5.
    That didn't please some folks, who preferred a real meritocracy, with the TRP reflecting the absolute rankings.
    And the latter may have had a point. Clearly the Lake Wobegon effect adjustments haven't completely resolved the dissatisfaction, whether it's because the system is inherently "unfair" or because folks don't understand the purpose of the ratings system and why it works as it does. And we're well beyond the point where we can advise folks "Just read the history of the ratings debates." I'm not even sure a Wikipedia article would suffice to explain the convoluted history and permutations over the past decade.
     
  104. You are a good photographer. Pay no attention to the rating system.
     
  105. With regards the comment above about boring images, I do at times feel quite sorry for a person who has spent a fortune on a camera body, bought the best lens money can buy, flown to Cambodia with a tripod, got up at 5am, hired a car, suffered the worst roads on earth while trying to convince their driver that drinking vodka in the morning is probably not a good idea and turning the lights on is, hiked for 20 mins to get just the right point of view, waited for the sun to be in the right spot in crippling humidity, been bitten by 50 mosquitoes, spent hours on photoshop lovingly crafting their idea of the perfect shot which can be blown up to exhibition size....and I see his work and think "Oh, that's quite nice". Then someone takes a casual shot of a gleeful toddler with their iPhone and it makes everyone smile. :)
    The thing that gets me is how obvious self-promoters are. "He liked my pics so I'm going to like all his pics then somehow we convince ourselves we're really talented and Ansel Adams was a conman". I saw one thread on another forum by a bitchy little man who opined that HCB was "crap" an invited all his mates to confirm this. But that's people for you I suppose.
     
  106. "There is no such thing as bad publicity", look at it this way:)
    And nothing wrong with your pictures, they are good, I had looked at your portfolio, I think you can do some editing, remove obvious duplicates. There was interesting film on TV from "National Geographic" about their photographers. Magazine stated, that on average photographer brings between 10 and 13 thousands pictures from assignment, only few of them get published and those photographers are top pros, they do not do spray and pray.
    Good luck.
     
  107. "Some of us don't have the time to do that though, so I guess we just have to accept what is offered and be content with that."
    Chrystal, I see this as a reasonable position to take and a reasonable trade-off. Why would anyone who doesn't put much time into something (PN) expect much in return?
    Along those lines, though, I'm afraid many do expect a lot from PN without putting that much time into it, and that's likely not going to happen, especially in terms of substantive critiques and actual learning about photography. It takes time . . . and effort.
    This is why I'm against having administration solve problems. We've recently asked the administration to solve the problem of the Off Topic forum (according to the survey), needing to silence our peers who we felt were too "mean-spirited" in controversial political and social discussions. We've asked the administration to stop our seeing nudes posted by our fellow community members either because they offended our own sensibilities or because we were worried about getting in trouble at work. Now we want to ask administration to protect us (with a checkbox) from harsh or angry responses to our critiques, and protect us in advance by hoping they can set up a system where we won't even address the photos of those who might not want an honest critique, even though they've submitted their photos for critique. My feeling would be that it takes as thick a skin to give an honest critique as it does to post a photo. Participating in a public forum will introduce us to all kinds of folks with all kinds of opinions and many ways of expressing those opinions. We get a reply we don't like . . . we can always simply walk away and not give the same person another critique. I have learned as much about responses to my critiques as I've learned from some others' critiques of my work. I'm not about to avoid providing honest critiques because I'm worried about a negative reaction to them and I certainly don't want the administration to come up with yet another way to protect me from fellow members.
    "I believe we should all just say what we really feel (in a constructive manner) about work in the critique forums. To hell with angry responses."
    I much prefer your line of thinking here, Scott, than your suggestion of a check box to indicate whether I want an honest critique or not.
    "It also requires a combination of self pimping . . . "
    Lex, like you I stopped playing the ratings game a long time ago and now submit for ratings only to have my photos show up at the bottom of threads. At the same time, I have sought to and succeeded in developing a following of PN members whose work I generally respect and whose comments I general find helpful if not always negatively critical. Even if they are a little on the praising side of the equation, as it's hard to negatively critique even an Internet friend's work, I do get honest emotional reactions to things which can tell me as much about one of my photos as someone else's suggestion of how I might crop it or whether I should have tried black and white. You're not doing this, but I want to make sure what you are saying doesn't get confused with the a very positive side of developing a critique "group" for oneself, which can be much different than pimping. Self promotion can actually go hand-in-hand with good work and a good critique ethic, though the self pimping situations seem to glare out in much stronger ways.
     
  108. You could block ratings and just accept critiques. High numbers swell your head and low ones depress you. Neither instructs you on what the viewer likes or dislikes about your picture to make it work for them or not. That's what you really want to learn to become a better photographer.
    As an aside, I use to go to a photo club before I recently moved. Twice a month, they would have a critique where the members would comment on other member's photos. Once a month, they would invite an "expert" who would judge photos the members brought it. Once a month they would have a "training" session or maybe a show from some professional of his work. At the "competitions, the judge would comment why photos worked for him or not. These were good methods to learn and get feedback in a supportive and friendly social environment with other photographers with varying degrees of experience. It was also a way to meet other interested photographers to go on a photo shoot together where you could learn as well..
     
  109. It is gratifying to see the amount of words generated by this topic. People care, and that is a good thing.
    I agree with an earlier post by Fred G.: pare down your gallery photos. The process of going through your images can be quite instructive, even though it is difficult to be objective about one's own creations. Be ruthless; each picture must have a compelling reason for existence in your portfolio. Just think how you feel when Uncle Charlie pulls out his box of slides and you are forced to sit through three hours of picture after picture. A friend told me once that slide shows should be no longer than seven minutes. How fresh and interested your audience would be at the end of that! Take the challenge and find only the most stunning and imaginative pictures you've ever taken, and wow your audience, instead of putting them to sleep.
    In the process you will possibly learn something about composition, lighting and point of view and how it all adds up to visual and emotional impact.
    You have a lot of material to work with already. Good luck!
     
  110. Forget the ratings system...

    When I want an honest opinion on my work, I consult fellow pros or better yet, enormously talented and well known
    photographers giving workshops, one in particular who is not known for handing out empty praise. I never use the net,
    ever. Because the problem is that people are just too nice, much of the time to avoid retribution and criticism of their own
    work....it's clearly evidenced in this thread.

    All this being said, yes, take a class or a workshop. My opinion is that most of your work is below average in terms of
    amateur camera owner standards, a lot of poorly represented light, static and lacking compositions. I know many will harp
    on me for saying the last part, but I am just calling it like I am seeing it.

    Good luck in moving forward and getting some real instruction to improve your vision.
     
  111. Looking for critique on sites like this one, more often than not, ends up being a road to mediocrity and stagnation.You need to develop your own yardstick. Take courses, study the work of those who you know to be masters.Put your energy into photographing and evaluating rather than relying on a random group of strangers to judge your progress. They may inform you as to what is popular however I'm not sure of what good that does anyone. Given that you are not selling you images you have the benefit of not being concerned with what is popular. That in itself is a luxury which should not be squandered.
     
  112. Cristal, going through your portfolio, I have listed the images that I thought were interesting and I took a second look: In Harmony, Yellow Mounds Dusk, Underwater Ballet, Trees Exhibit B, Green ion Orange, Escape Goat, River Rock Abstract, Striations of Color. Another way to rate a piece of art is by how long a person looks at it. The longer, the better.
     
  113. I agree with Gordon B, above. The ratings have more to do with popularity and marketing than they do ability. I have no interest in that at all and think it's silly. My thinking is the "rating" system should be simplified into "Like" or "Dislike." That might give a better gauge. If you want more meaningful feedback, why not join your local camera club? Really, I think this is part of your answer. I've been given a lot of meaningful feedback on my own images from my camera club, and people tend to be more honest when you're dealing with them in person. There's fewer games played.
    Christal mentions she sometimes doesn't have enough time for photography. Probaby most of us can say that as well. The answer to that might be to take short one to two hour trips around where you live rather than relying on big grand trips. Just as winter gives different opportunities than summer, night gives you whole new opportunities vs. day. There is an unlimited amount of images to be made within five miles of your house. Or, even inside your house. To better learn how to use flash, I set up "still lifes" on my kitchen table, and put a 3-sided white foam core around it, or a black 3-sided foam core background. I then put two of my flash on lightstands and began taking photos right in my kitchen, varying the light. Doing this I learned pretty quickly the fundamentals of placing light and how to use it. You can do this without flash too, just to learn Light. Another thing I do is as I drive along or even just sitting somewhere, I try to compose little photos in my mind. I carefully analyze the light and ask myself how to use it. This is GREAT practice, even though I'm not actually taking shots. I am constantly analyzing light in a photographic sense as I go through my day.
    --->I think this is the key to photography: sharpen your previsualization skills.
    Just as before you play a sonata on the violin you think about how you want to interpret it (dyanamics, meter, etc.) so too must you consider all the possibilities when making a photo. You don't actually have to have your violin to think about how you're going to play a piece, and you don't actually have to have your camera to think through how you will make an image.
    Below photo:
    I like to take photos of my old camera gear as I acquire it. I set up the white foam core on my dining room table and get out a couple of flash. Our cat, Annie, is drawn to this activity like a magnet. I've taken some cute shots of her and my camera gear over the years as she does her inspection. Again, done at home on my kitchen table. It's good practice. Note the skeptical expression on Annie's face. Ultimately, she did approve of the Rollei.
    Kent in SD
    00cCOj-543882384.jpg
     
  114. Another +1 for Gordon B's insightful comments. Follow your own vision. Blaze your own path. Establish your own criteria
    for what works and what doesn't.

    If you do seek advice, favor that of those who have accomplished something. I would avoid the advice of someone whose body of work does not appeal to me (or who refuses to show their work). That's like letting some lazy couch potato design your exercise program.
     
  115. Bob. Just curious......to what degree do you think it's possible to learn creativity and originality? I know there are books out there on the subject......none of which I've read. Do you think they're helpful?​
    It's possible, but it's 1000x harder than learning how to use a camera. Creativity is mostly inborn I think, but some of the books might help you understand it better. Take a look at "The Zen of Creativity" by John Daido Loori, though it's far from a "100 things to do to be creative" instructional cookbook.

    I'd say stop copying, in the sense that landscape photographers might not want to copy or compare their work to that of [Insert name of favorite landscape photographer here] or portrait photographers might not want to copy or compare their work with that of (insert favorite portrait photographer here]. Equally, don't try to emulate popular images on photo.net. Avoid shooting anything that could be sold as a postcard in a gift shop. Be prepared for others not to understand (or even like) your work. Shoot what you feel, not what you think might make a good picture.

    Picasso was original and when he started out everybody (as in the public and most art critics) hated his work. They didn't understand it - but he did.

    You might look at the work of Francesca Woodman http://www.berk-edu.com/RESEARCH/francescaWoodman/index.html It was shot in the late 1970s, so the originaly has to be based on that time period. Probably every image she shot would get a low rating here, but here work is now in some of the most prestigious photo collections in the world including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate gallery in London. Of course since she committed suicide at the age of 22, she's not the perfect role model...

    Then again some people just want to create pretty and popular images, and that's just fine if that's what you want. In that case you probably should try to emulate the "top rated" photographers work. Everyone probably shoots "stock" type images some of the time and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, even for someone who wants to also be a creative artist. Just note that being creative is not the route to take to high ratings in a popularity contest. In fact I'd go so far as to say that, in general, if an image is highly popular, it's probably not creative. People like things they are familiar with.
     
  116. Well said Bob, also I had never heard of Francesca Woodman, very interesting work. There is a well know photographer using those very same ideas today, first thing I thought when I saw the pictures.


    Note the skeptical expression on Annie's face.

    That's not half as bad as Buggy's face with approaching Nikon, more seething hatred I think.
    00cCQb-543886984.jpg
     
  117. Just do your own thing, and share, why does it matter what others think? Have respect for your own vision.
    Unless of course you want to be the fairy sitting on top of the Christmas tree.
     
  118. I had never heard of Francesca Woodman, very interesting work. There is a well know photographer using those very same ideas today, first thing I thought when I saw the pictures.​
    Well, I guess the current photographer may not be entirely original then, though all art is a progression. I suppose you could find work similar to that of Woodman before she shot her images. Most work is somewhat based on what's gone before. The originality problem is when work isn't based on previous work but is essentially an attempt to duplicate it.
    I suppose the current analog of Woodman's work would be Smartphone Selfies, but that wasn't an option in the 1970s.
    There is a movie ("The Woodmans") about Francesca Woodman, told mostly by her parents. It's a little disturbing - which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
     
  119. Lets us be honest most great Artist never got much recognition in their day. Only the connected and arse lickers achieved that.
    Just a thought.
     
  120. Lex.....thanks for outlining the differences between Photo.net and FlickR. :) You have a very pictorial, imaginative and enjoyable writing style! Maybe that's why I like PN so much.....it's old fashioned, and even I (the non-techie) can get my head around it.
    And I wholeheartedly agree with your statement:
    But anyone who doles out ratings of 5 or lower had better be prepared to show his credentials.

    That's just another layer of frustration for me.
     
  121. Michael.......I agree. I'm certain they will never remove the feature. And neither will they ever find a system that pleases everyone. But that doesn't keep me from trying to at least lobby for the changes that are important to me. Each and every member has that same right. In this thread I hope it doesn't appear that I'm bashing Photo.net. Certainly not. It's not perfect, to be sure. But I actually am amazed it runs as smoothly as it does. The content is quite good, and I've learned a lot from it. The ads haven't made the site unpleasant to negotiate, thank God, and they seem to keep in check the few crazies who have come and gone over my few years here. (Although maybe we're all just a bit crazy!) ;-)
     
  122. Lex......even after all of the mentions of past history of ratings on PN, and the explanations many of you have provided in this thread, I don't understand the rating system..........probably never will. I know one PN member who has it all figured out though, and I know he truly does. He must follow the ratings like crazy because he's able to determine which people are doling out 3's. He's calls them on it, but there is never a response. Frankly I don't know how a person could stay glued to the system enough to determine that, but certainly some of you understand the system inside and out, to the degree possible. I think I'm probably better off happily oblivious! I'm really feeling better after venting, and you all have really helped me calm down about the ratings system. It's only a number!!!
     
  123. Alex.....thanks! But someday I want to be better than good, so I keep striving toward that. I have much to learn. It's like my profession as a violinist. I never stop learning and striving to be better. I guess it's my nature. :) Thanks for your lovely comment.
     
  124. Stephen......it sounds like you work hard for your photos. You're certainly not the 'shoot-out-the-car-window- type of photographer. Maybe you could try describing the circumstances under which you took the picture in the comments section when you post. I think that would enhance the overall 'package' and may garner more comments.
     
  125. Nick......yes, I have some old stuff that really needs to be re-worked or eliminated, and even some newer things that need to be deleted. Not sure when that will happen. :)
    I've heard the same statistics about professional photographers. But at least they have editors going through and culling their work. I can't remember the exact statistic, but I've also heard that a photographer can take up to something like 100 shots to get 1 good one. Hmmmm......iisn't a professional photographer supposed to have enough knowledge about his equipment and lighting conditions to not just shoot indiscriminately the way some of us often do?
    Anyway, thanks for taking a look at my portfolio and for your input. Greatly appreciated.
     
  126. Fred,
    I'm afraid many do expect a lot from PN without putting that much time into it

    How true. There are many more 'takers' than 'givers', for sure.
    As for this comment:
    we want to ask the administration to protect us (with a checkbox) from harsh or angry responses to our critiques, and protect us in advance by hoping they can set up a system where we won't even address the photos of those who might not want an honest critique
    I am not suggesting that the administration 'protect' us from anything. Nobody would be prohibited from commenting on another member's work, and really nothing would change over the current system. Having a check box to 'invite' honest criticism would simply indicate that you are eager to have honest critique. This hopefully would encourage other like-minded individuals to participate in that way. You mentioned that the PN staff is already instrumental in controlling the Off Topic forum and the nudes topic. Well, those both fall under the category of censorship, and I can see there would be vastly different points of view on those issues.
    I also really like Scott's attitude about participation, but for the reasons stated above I really like his check box idea. I also think developing a thick skin is in order. If there is one thing I've learned in my _ _ years is that no matter how reasonable or well-thought out my opinion is on a topic, there will ALWAYS be someone who disagrees. I guess that's what makes the world go 'round. How boring it would be if we always agreed! :)
    I've read many of your critiques here on PN. You're rather direct, but in a positive way. So I'm surprised to hear you say
    it's hard to negatively critique even an Internet friend's work

    Why is that, do you suppose? I feel the same way. But it's not because I'm not able to offer the criticism.....it's just that I'm not sure how that person will respond. Some people are just more sensitive than others. So again, the check box idea would alleviate some of the apprehension about leaving direct and constructive comments.
    I actually think (hope) that I've found a couple of people in this very thread who I will continue to collaborate with in regard to viewing images and commenting. I had no idea this thread would develop in to anything like this when I posted my 'vent'.
     
  127. "but I've also heard that a photographer can take up to something like 100 shots to get 1 good one. Hmmmm......iisn't a
    professional photographer supposed to have enough knowledge about his equipment and lighting conditions to not just
    shoot indiscriminately the way some of us often do?"

    It depends on what kind of photographer you are talking about and what they are shooting. I can get a great peak action
    shot of Shaun White at the Winter Xgames in a single shot, but there may be a distracting object in the background that is
    gone by the next couple frames. I have also nailed great shots in a single sheet of 4x5, only bracketing to mitigate the
    chance of dust ruining the shot since I only print it in a darkroom.

    There are a ton of misconceptions about pros, especially ones who are in the more dreamed of genres, usually
    perpetuated by forums like these ones on the Internet.

    Branch out, get real honest critique in person from people who will give you honest opinions of your work if that is
    important to you. Also realize that since this is not your job, you don't ever have the pressure to compete or get tons
    better than you are truly capable of, so don't take it so seriously, especially those silly ratings.
     
  128. Alan, I said above that I am actually considering submitting my images for critique only rather than ratings. But I think I'll at least wait until the 'new and improved' site comes along. I'll be anxious to see what changes they make.
    I would love nothing more than to be active in a photography club. I actually belong to one, but I'm rarely able to go. They meet on Thursday nights and they take field trips on weekends. Well, I'm a performer, and I work when everyone else is off.....nights and weekends. So I am at a great disadvantage there. I'll be retiring soon.....next year or two, so then I can get more involved. I do occasionally go shooting with others, but we don't stay glued at the hip, and we each kind of do our own thing.

    The thing I would most love to do is go to some of the workshops offered in various parts of the country by accomplished photographers. You get to immerse yourself for a weekend or a week, and you have immediate and hand-on guidance. They're quite expensive, but a friend of mine has done many of them and has learned so much from them. I've watched her grow as a photographer.
     
  129. Alan, I said above that I am actually considering submitting my images for critique only rather than ratings. But I think I'll at least wait until the 'new and improved' site comes along. I'll be anxious to see what changes they make.
    I would love nothing more than to be active in a photography club. I actually belong to one, but I'm rarely able to go. They meet on Thursday nights and they take field trips on weekends. Well, I'm a performer, and I work when everyone else is off.....nights and weekends. So I am at a great disadvantage there. I'll be retiring soon.....next year or two, so then I can get more involved. I do occasionally go shooting with others, but we don't stay glued at the hip, and we each kind of do our own thing.

    The thing I would most love to do is go to some of the workshops offered in various parts of the country by accomplished photographers. You get to immerse yourself for a weekend or a week, and you have immediate and hand-on guidance. They're quite expensive, but a friend of mine has done many of them and has learned so much from them. I've watched her grow as a photographer.
     
  130. Chrystal, because I think a negative critique would best be done with some nuance, some questioning, some diplomacy so as not to turn off the photographer being critiqued from hearing the critique. Sometimes, negative critique is best when done a little at a time over time. Part of that is to make sure the critic isn't imposing their own view too strongly, but rather making sure one is letting the photographer know they don't seem to be reaching their OWN goals. That is not so easy to do. What I meant was it's hard to be critical of someone's work while also being positive, but with some thought it can be done.
    As for honest critique, I assume that if one puts a photo up for critique they want honest critique. There shouldn't be an additional checkbox for that. It just seems silly to me. I can practically guarantee you that if people are offended by critiques they get now, they will continue to be offended even when they request honest critiques. They will either feel the negative critiques are not honest, because they're negative or they'll feel they're mean because they're negative.
    I don't think of closing the Off Topic forum or curtaining off nude photos as censorship, though I'm afraid I do think of them as paternalistic.
     
  131. Stephanie.......
    Just think how you feel when Uncle Charlie pulls out his box of slides and you are forced to sit through three hours of picture after picture.
    Hilarious.....but so true!
    Yes, I can try to create a more 'elite' portfolio, and I definitely see your point. And you're also right about it being difficult to do. I often ask my husband if he thinks I should post something. I still have a difficult time discerning between several similar shots I've taken of a subject.

    I took a look at your portfolio (to see if you listen to your own advice).... :) You do! :) Is this the size portfolio you're recommending? Because I actually think you could add a lot more pictures without being in danger of 'putting anyone to sleep'. You have an interesting and eclectic mix of fine images.
    Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
     
  132. Well, I guess the current photographer may not be entirely original then, though all art is a progression. I suppose you could find work similar to that of Woodman before she shot her images. Most work is somewhat based on what's gone before. The originality problem is when work isn't based on previous work but is essentially an attempt to duplicate it.​
    There are many incarnations of "Woodman-like" female photographers these days. Some of them may be aware of her work, others may not. Natalie Dybisz (aka Miss Aniela) has made quite a name for herself, starting out, I believe, on Flickr. (Not sure if this is who Simon was referring to.) No offense to Ms. Dybisz, but her work relies heavily on her good looks and her Photoshop abilities (tons of semi-clad "floating in air" photographs). I see very little of the sensitivity and emotion that Francesca Woodman put into her photographs. (To be fair to Dybisz, she puts a lot of thought into her imagery and certainly sees her photography as something other than just fantasy fodder for 15-year-old boys.) Sadly, Woodman paid the ultimate price for her sensitivity. I was glad to see Bob bring her up in this discussion.
    I know we've already been over this ground in this thread, but writing about Franscesca Woodman once again brought to mind the notion (suggested by many posters) that there is a lot to be learned by familiarizing yourself with the work of truly talented photographers (past and present). A lot depends on the type of photographer someone wants to be. Sometimes "just be better" isn't sufficient enough, or detailed enough, as a goal. Better at what? Dazzling the masses? Getting commercial assignments? Pleasing yourself? Getting published in arty magazines or earning a place in a prestigious gallery show? It's a big world out there with a lot of territory to explore.
     
  133. Daniel......unfortunately I don't know any photographers like you mention or have the luxury of consulting
    pros or better yet, enormously talented and well known photographers giving workshops

    I am a professional in another field, in which I do have that luxury of professional courtesies, performing with other elite musicians, etc. But I'm just an amateur photographer, and apparently not a very good one, as you point out.

    Thank you for your honest assessment. Other than your advice to 'take a workshop', what advice would you offer? You have obviously risen to the upper echelon in your field, but you had to begin somewhere. How did you get your training before you were in a position to consult other famous photographers for advice?
     
  134. I figure my "keeper" rate is about 30%. Those are the merely decent shots. Even though I photo almost daily, I think I maybe get only 5-10 really great shots in a year. NatGeo photographer Jim Brandenburg once told me, "Only show your very, very best shots. That way, people will think you 're a better photographer than you really are." I still think your best bet is to join your local camera club. You will get personal advice from people who know what they're doing, on an on-going basis. Another thing I did was become buddies with a local pro photographer whose work I really like. Every now & then we go out on a Saturday and take shots. I drive and pay for the gas, and buy lunch. He gives me advice and we kick around ideas. He takes shots he needs, so it's a good deal for both of us.
    "Daniel......unfortunately I don't know any photographers like you mention or have the luxury of consulting
    pros or better yet, enormously talented and well known photographers giving workshops "
    Your local camera club will have people exactly like this who will be willing to help you. I think regularly attending a good camera club will teach you a lot more than a one shot workshop, and it will be a lot cheaper.
    Kent in SD
     
  135. Gordon.......I have been 'listening' to everyone in this thread. You summarize everything well. I highly respect you as a photographer, and I have always found your comments helpful. So I place a high value on your wise words. Thank you!
     
  136. Michael......gee.....thanks for spending time going through my portfolio. I appreciate you singling out particular images. It is helpful. However, I venture to say that if I were to ask 10 people to do the same, they would be vastly different lists. I only say that because, as we all know, photography is a wildly subjective medium. Thanks for your efforts!
     
  137. grh

    grh

    I'm pretty sure that unless an image contains bare breasts, there are a large number of reviewers that will rate an image low solely on that basis.
     
  138. "I love all subjects, but the main reason you see so many landscapes is that I have a very demanding career and rarely get the time to shoot except when I'm on vacation." And you want to be a good photographer? I wouldn't worry about ratings if I were you, or anyone else for that matter.
     
  139. Kent......Yes, I agree with Gordon too.....see above. As for the camera club, please look at my response to Alan above. Well, never mind.....I'll just paste the comment here:
    I would love nothing more than to be active in a photography club. I actually belong to one, but I'm rarely able to go. They meet on Thursday nights and they take field trips on weekends. Well, I'm a performer, and I work when everyone else is off.....nights and weekends. So I am at a great disadvantage there. I'll be retiring soon.....next year or two, so then I can get more involved. I do occasionally go shooting with others, but we don't stay glued at the hip, and we each kind of do our own thing.
    I definitely will do this when I am able.

    As far as the time factor.......funny you should suggest the short trips. About 2 years ago my husband and I vowed to start getting 'to know our state'. We travel a lot, and as I was beginning photography I felt I had to go to grand places to take pictures. Then I started viewing work on PN and realized that a lot of shooting opportunities can be under our very noses. Or nearby at least. :) So we do that…..not often enough, but we try. In fact, just today we did it and came home refreshed and energized. Not sure if I got any good pictures yet.....we'll see. I haven't been able to load them because frankly this thread has been consuming all my time.

    I'm going to answer the last few comments, and then I'm going to bow out of this thread. It has been extremely informative, and I have appreciated your wonderful advice. Like another PN member, Tony Hadley, you experiment at home. Tony has taken some of the most amazing images by experimenting in his kitchen using his creativity. This image of yours is wonderful, but I know it's the process of doing it that you learn from. I can certainly try this kind of thing at home. I did that once when I was beginning........to experiment with DOF I spent a lot of time shooting Xmas ornaments on our tree......and I learned a lot from it.
     
  140. Dan.......definitely!
     
  141. Christal, loads of great comments from you. I do make a huge effort to get better and to go places most people wouldn't. A few weeks ago I was in the alleys where the 'working girls' live in a satellite town of my city- something the pimps did not like! (Un)fortunately, the girls seems happy, well balanced and quite pleased to see me, so there were no shots like I had anticipated. If I had postd a picture of a happy, healthy girl proudly showing me her baby I would have had to contextualise the image in such a way as to be really insulting to the subject, purely to feed my own ego.
    I feel that most of the conventions of SP have come about because of te limitations of film, sensors, AF speed etc and I want to bring the genre into the modern world, something most SPers seem uninterested in.
    00cCSs-543888884.jpg
     
  142. Christal, I started when I was about 9, by 16 was told by my dad to not waste my time as every boy and his dog wanted to
    be a photographer. In fact, I had a ton of adversity including teen homelessness to overcome, so besides mentors, I am
    self taught. The biggest teacher of my vision was the works of photographers that etched deeply inside me and still is to
    this day. This came in the form of magazines, books and when I was lucky enough to see one, a gallery showing. There
    are photographer's who images literally might have saved my life because the immense effect those images had on me
    gave me hope, shaped my being.

    I am not saying you are not very good, but I did give some pretty blunt opinions as to how your work stacks up against all
    that I have ever seen. Maybe ask your self what makes you want to photograph something, why are you picking up the
    camera. Is the snow in the scene pretty or are you cold and want your viewer to feel that when they see your work.

    The web can be a great place to source all kinds of things, photos and opinions on photos included. But it is also lacking
    in a very basic human element: the presence of the human being it self. The origin of this thread tells me that you could
    benefit from making an adjustment to your visual diet. Perhaps read the NYT's Lens Blog in addition to finding other
    avenues of how people think and feel photography. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words....well that is
    potentially a lot to listen to so consider a balanced diet in how those words come to you and how your work is seen.

    The world of photography is much, muuuuch bigger than what is on the Internet. I wish people who truly valued real
    critique would venture beyond it.

    I am on the road right now, when I have the chance, I will select what I feel is your best photograph ( my opinion ) and tell
    you why that is, I at least owe you that much...;-)
     
  143. Bob.....
    Not long ago I had the privilege of seeing an exhibition of the photos by Vivian Maier. I found her work extraordinary, and I realized how rarely I get such an opportunity. Do you know her work?

    http://www.vivianmaier.com/about-vivian-maier/

    I had not heard of Francesca Woodman.....seemingly a troubled woman. I find her style really dark. But I think it's important to look at all styles. So I really should try to be more informed and learn about photographers. My passion for photography is actually rather a recent one. The more I know about it, the more I realize I don't know, which in turn makes me want to pursue the art even further.

    Here's an analogy.....I'm a violinist, and I've played the Mozart Violin Concertos many times over the years. I keep revamping my approach to them. It's inevitable. I hear other interpretations that eventually find their way in to my psyche. It's not that I copy any one violinist......but I create my own style culling from the many different interpretations I've heard. It's amazing how I continue to grow and change as I approach the pieces I've played for years.

    Thanks for the book suggestion as well. And I don't mean to burden you, but since enough other people are reading this thread now, I wonder if people would be willing to share some of their favorite photographers. It would give me a starting point. Thanks!
     
  144. Simon......cute picture!
     
  145. Allen......well said!
     
  146. Fred......
    As for honest critique, I assume that if one puts a photo up for critique they want honest critique.
    I don't make that same assumption. I think they may THINK they want an honest critique if they post their photo, but most would be offended by direct criticism. Ideally, that criticism would be offered tactfully as you described in your first paragraph, but as you said, that's a difficult thing to do. Frankly, most of us are not very good at it. You are!
    There shouldn't be an additional checkbox for that. It just seems silly to me. I can practically guarantee you that if people are offended by critiques they get now, they will continue to be offended even when they request honest critiques. They will either feel the negative critiques are not honest, because they're negative or they'll feel they're mean because they're negative.

    All I know is that I would not be offended unless someone was just a down-right jerk and trashed my work. And even then, I'd probably just completely disregard the comment, considering the source. So I guess we have to 'agree to disagree' about this. :)
     
  147. Steve.....
    there is a lot to be learned by familiarizing yourself with the work of truly talented photographers (past and present).

    I'm beginning to understand how important this is.

    A lot depends on the type of photographer someone wants to be. Sometimes "just be better" isn't sufficient enough, or detailed enough, as a goal. Better at what? Dazzling the masses? Getting commercial assignments? Pleasing yourself? Getting published in arty magazines or earning a place in a prestigious gallery show? It's a big world out there with a lot of territory to explore.

    And that's the $64,000 question for me. I do know that I want to share my work somehow.....and by that I don't necessarily mean making money at it. My friends and family love my work, but then none of them can even take a decent shot with a point and shoot (Well, my husband isn't too bad). So while I appreciate their support, it's not enough. Yet I don't want photography to become a career either. I'm nearing retirement, and I have spent 40 years in a demanding and stressful job. It's time for me to chill a little. So determining exactly how photography is going to play a part in my life is the challenge. But I figure that some things will just fall in place. As my work load subsides, as my knowledge about photography increases, as I have more time for shooting, studying and attending schools and seminars, as well as photo clubs, I think I'll fall into a balance that I'll be happy with.
     
  148. Kent

    "Only show your very, very best shots. That way, people will think you 're a better photographer than you really are."
    I like that! And I will definitely start participating in photo club when I'm able to.
     
  149. Gary.....this may be in some instances.
     
  150. Tim.....
    And you want to be a good photographer? I wouldn't worry about ratings if I were you, or anyone else for that matter.

    I'm not sure what you mean by this. Are you suggesting that I should just give up?

    I'm managing the best I can right now, but when I retire (which is soon) I hope to put all my energy in to photography. In the meantime I continue to do what I can.
     
  151. Stephen.....a wonderful image.
     
  152. Excellent advice from Fred G:
    Chrystal, because I think a negative critique would best be done with some nuance, some questioning, some diplomacy so as not to turn off the photographer being critiqued from hearing the critique. Sometimes, negative critique is best when done a little at a time over time. Part of that is to make sure the critic isn't imposing their own view too strongly, but rather making sure one is letting the photographer know they don't seem to be reaching their OWN goals. That is not so easy to do. What I meant was it's hard to be critical of someone's work while also being positive, but with some thought it can be done.​
    Pin this up next to the advice that you received from Gordon B.
     
  153. Daniel......adversity often fosters creativity. I've seen it countless times! This has obviously been true in your case.
    Funny.....the NY Times is my home page on my computer, yet I've never looked at the Lens Blog. I certainly will now. I probably am not reading the right kind of stuff. I have gotten countless books out of the library. A recent one was 'Dances with Light' by Darwin Wiggett. It has some beautiful images in the book, but frankly it is of no help at all. There are no details as to shooting conditions, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, what if any filters were used, etc. I can look at all the great work in the world, but at some point I need to know how to achieve that quality of work. Some improvement certainly can come through experimentation and just shooting a lot. But I need more than that......at least to get me to the point where I can figure things out on my own a little better.
    Yes, I know what you're saying. I really enjoy images that provide me with some kind of visceral reaction, so I need to strive to create those images. BTW, you don't 'owe' me anything. :) But I would greatly appreciate any time you would have to look at my images and offer your input. Thank you!
     
  154. Bob. Just curious......to what degree do you think it's possible to learn creativity and originality?​
    Christal, you didn't ask me this question, and Bob gave you some excellent advice already. But I would like to add my two cents.
    I don't think that one can "learn" creativity and originality. If you learn it from someone else, is it really original?
    However, you can DEVELOP these skills (as you can any other skill) if you're committed, have the right attitude, and put in some time and effort. What you CAN learn from others is how to free yourself from habitual, limiting behaviors, i.e. behaviors that would tend to make you shoot the same photos over and over again.
    My advice, in order of importance:
    1. Accept that you are already original. No one else is like you. Be true to your own vision and preferences. Build confidence in your own unique view of the world..
    2. Always look for your own shot, your own interpretation, your own composition. Shoot what you WANT TO SEE rather than what's popular or trendy. Rather than what gets high ratings. (Bob was right!) The world is full of photographers who stand behind other photographs in order to "get the same shot." Refuse to be one of them.
    3. Shoot regularly. Make time to get out and do it. Even when you have no objective in mind - shoot! Shoot something! Shoot something that appeals to YOUR eye. Creativity is a skill, and practice is important.
    4. Try different things. Take different kinds of photos. Take them in different ways. Try to vary your approach sometimes just to see what will happen. Sometimes it won't work. Learn what you can, revise your plan, and plow ahead energetically, again and again.
    5. Give yourself time. Let your style emerge at its own pace. Don't be in a rush. As long as your are working and reflecting seriously on that work, you are improving.
     
  155. Thanks Christal!
    That was taken with the new Canon M and 'kit' lens on my first day of shooting with it. I find the images richer than those from my D5100, which is supposed to have a better sensor. As to critiquing published work, I find myself constantly surprised at the basic editing mistakes I see in even prestigious magazines such as Nat Geo- images which need straightened, cropped or otherwise 'dealt with'. I am astonished that a seemingly Professional Photographer would have the balls to submit thousands of images to an editor when he knows he can only hope for ten of them to be published. That is not professional in my opinion! I 'publish' (i.e. post on Flickr or here in a thread) only a tiny percentage of my images- the rest are ignored, though often I cannot bring myself to delete them from my drive until I am backing up the best to a USB; i.e. I have sufficient images to re-assure myself I have 'a good haul' from the last few months. I can see little point in submitting work which is not the best one can produce. If I spend 3-4 hours on the streets and 'publish' 20 images from 2-300 exposures, I'm happy. I delete as I go along, culling the bottom 40%, so if I get a second similar shot I'll delete the weaker one, even if the weak one is pretty good. A good photograph, as we know, is a lot more than 'properly exposed and in focus'. I hate cropping- it feels like I've let the opportunity down, so often I will simply delete an image, no matter how much I like it, if it has to be cropped more than 30% or so, sometimes grimacing and cursing as I do so- there is no point having all these shots online if you can only print them at 5 by 7 inches!
    The work on my gallery on p.n is quite old now. My flickr is http://www.flickr.com/photos/95376272@N05/
    I would be intrested in your thoughts Christal
     
  156. I think originality and creativity is for the most part drawn out, or "uncovered" by an insightful pedagogue, or in the case of a self-learning process, by some form of self-actualization - if you believe everyone is creative in some way.
    Given Christal's high level of musical training in which creativity is integral, all she needs is to translate photography-related aesthetic terms into its musical equivalent. For example, the general aesthetic gradation in photography is the equivalent to the degree of musicality in violin performance. It takes years to play a single note perfectly on a violin which is immediately apparent to an advanced violinist; the same goes with photography in the immediate recognition of high level aesthetics. This, can be learned.
    In general, I will discourage photography "courses" in the same way I will discourage going to the local mall to take violin lessons from a teacher of questionable qualifications. The gradation from such a teacher to someone like Dorothy DeLay is night and day; in the same way taking "lessons" from a questionable photography teacher can potentially do more harm than good.
    Good teachers will learn *your* language, personality and temperament, and through adaptive pedagogy deliver content in a way that will help you develop immediate felt significance. That's the general difference between teaching and learning - one is what others do to you, the other is what others will help you do for yourself.
     
  157. Crystal ... if you stretch 2 and 3 from 5 to 7 you still only get 3 and 4 and unless you intend to be one of the sycophantic hoard they both are good ratings for competant work. I save the high numbers for photographs that really impress me after best part of sixty years of interest. They maybe crap to some but the number is a reflection of my appreciation of the photographer bringing that capture to my attention. They are rarely landscapes or plays with color which sums up my memory of my quick scan across your albums.
    As far as post processing I have never done HDR as yet but when I finally worked what all the guff was about I realised I had been doing it when needed for ages. Since post processing requires as much attention as camera work you cannot start too soon becuase most of it is simply common sense use of basic tools ... does it look right? OK lets go with it.
    Time of day .... Golden Hours .... I too take 'record' photos occasionally at the wrong time but they are records for me personally and normally, since I rarely take landscapes the time of day doesn't matter and it is the activity of those in the photo that attracts me as with my visit to Old Faithful a couple of years ago. "Red White and Blue" sums it up although at the same time I was interested in how people were holding their cameras.
    00cCUA-543889984.jpg
     
  158. Or on a previous visit "Waiting for Old Faithful"
    00cCUF-543890084.jpg
     
  159. Landscapes are, for me, inherently boring. They need to be pretty special to grab my attention. At least onscreen. Printed well and large then framed properly is another thing entirely. Then we can see where the care and attention went. But even then, a good insect Macro at 16 by 24 inches makes an impression! I find that when I look at a shot which has a person or animal as its subject, I am far more drawn to it. Phot.net does seem to specialise in 'controlled' work, with lots of PP. This is fine of course. But it doesn't do as good a job of capturing the moment, which I feel is the real strength of the medium and often a nice capture is, for me, ruined by prissy or unrealistic doodling on PS. When I look at Christal's work I recognise the time and effort it took to make these images. But they don't really grab me as there is only one thing happening. I can't remember any complexity of composition, any discord or juxtaposition or even inherent comment or irony in the frame. It's like drinking a nice house wine- perfectly decent, churlish to make an issue of it. But what I really want is a complex single malt. I find when I try to take a landscape myself, I sort of go "Erm, ok, here's a bridge. Um... how can I make it look like more than just a bridge? Eeeer...OH! There's a PERSON on the bridge. Let's focus on her!" Which is why I seldom take landscapes
     
  160. Steve I had a look at your page, you say you first picked up a camera in 2011 and then reached this conclusion about Photoshop?
    In the short few months I have been taking pictures I think I have learned a lot and have deleted Photoshop. I want to keep the photography in my photography and am very pp-averse.

    I don't understand why people have this mentality of separating Photography from the post production, it's all part of the same process. It can be done very well or very badly with many shades in between. It's a very odd conclusion to reach after only two years. I would advise you to reinstall it and take some classes, it takes a lot longer to realise the full potential of Photoshop and exploit it fully than it does to grasp camera exposure.
     
  161. Did you look at my Flickr page Simon? I feel my pn page is not really representative anymore. I am not willing to put the time in to learn PS. I really don't think it's needed and in fact am bordering on ideologically opposed to it. Silkypics, Irfanview and Zoombrowser do all I need. I try to spend as little time as possible on PP and in my Dali folder on Flickr I made a point of taking only one prime for one body to Yunnan for ten days, only shooting in JPG and doing NO pp, except straightening and sharpening when downsampling to upload. In my opinion the photography did not suffer from this at all. In fact, I was very proud of the results- I felt it was a significant right of passage and really hit home to me how good a modern digital camer is. I feel I am getting far better as a photographer by adopting this method. Sharpening eyes seperately from the rest of face and all that, is really not my bag. I am certain there are members who do things like this so effectively I am unaware of it, but, life's too short for this kind of thing. I had a look at your website. It is obvious you know what you are doing. This kind of work is not what I want to do.
     
  162. >>> I can't remember any complexity of composition, any discord or juxtaposition or even inherent
    comment or irony in the frame.

    Curious, I took a look at your flickr stream you referenced above of random people, and that was the exact
    feeling I came away with - and that was before coming across your comment I just quoted.

    >>> Landscapes are, for me, inherently boring. They need to be pretty special to grab my attention.

    I think that can be true for all genres of photography...
     
  163. "Your camera, your pixels/emulsion, you shoot what excites and drives you. In the end it’s all good"
     
  164. "I'm not sure what you mean by this. Are you suggesting that I should just give up?" I would give up worrying about ratings you get here or anywhere else. Have fun taking photos and do it because you love it. Go back in the archives here and view some of the posts about ratings and you will get a sense of how silly they are in the big scheme of things.
     
  165. I agree with Simon that you made a bad error in getting rid of Photoshop .... was it full PS or just PSE there is a consioderable difference. Camera and editor are companion tools towards the final result in the digital age. In the film age it was camera and darkroom until Kodak led everybody astray with their color film processed at Kodak's Lab. Digital has returned the darkroom to the serious worker in the form of the computer and editing programme making it so much easier and quicker, I used to have a darkroom.
    I prefer my results to look like photographs too and I use my editing skills to make a photographic representation of what it wasn't in real life Becuase life cannot be controlled a lot of the time but the results look as if I had had control.
    I use Paint Shop Pro which is comparable to Photoshop and though both are complex programmes I think PSP is more intuitive and I no longer have PS in my computer
     
  166. Christal, I would recommend you "The Art of Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum, it is not entertaining reading, but it give me better understanding of what is photography about as personal expression.
    Steve, since you brought it up yourself, I did look at your photo stream and with Photoshop or without, some of them just correctly exposed snapshots, without connection with subject, taken from safe distance, make viewer wonder, what photographer trying to express?
     
  167. Christal's background as a professional musician and teacher brings to mind a question I've pondered for awhile...
    How can we translate our personal creative experience into a constructive critique experience, both giving and receiving criticism constructively?
    For example, Christal: Can you conceive of any constructive purpose for a numerical or comparable ratings system for a professional musician? Or for a particular performance, or performance of a particular piece?
    If audience members were given an American Idol style option to dole out numbers after a concert in which you had performed, would you change anything in response to seeing that a few audience members had anonymously rated the performance 3 out of 7? If so, and if not, then why or why not?
    And if audience members had rated the performance 7 when you knew the performance was somehow flawed, would you happily accept that rating as valid and dismiss your concerns about a less than perfect performance? Or would you doubt the critical ears of some audience members and determine to do better next time despite the accolades?
    And if the ratings for the concert were anonymous from 1-5, but visible for ratings of 6 and 7, and you knew the performance wasn't perfect - perhaps wasn't even particularly good by your own high standards - would you suspect that perhaps some of those audience members were relying on social networking and a bit of ego massaging to lubricate the next social gathering, fundraiser, etc.? Perhaps they were hoping you might reciprocate with some sort of favor - anything from donating a solo recital for a children's hospital fundraiser, to friending them on Facebook or Google+ and helping to promote their own favorite causes.
    I mention this, in part, because of the behind the scenes drama that occasionally accompanies the Cliburn piano competition in my hometown of Fort Worth, including this year. Even when judges are considered competent because they've been selected from a pool of folks with solid professional credentials, there is still an inevitable bit of drama over their "ratings system" and decisions.
    The vast majority of photo.netters really are photographers and folks who are passionate about photography. So is there any particular reason why we shouldn't consider their ratings just as valid and well qualified as anyone's, even when their ratings are 5 and lower, without any explanation?
     
  168. I wholeheartedly agree with your statement:
    But anyone who doles out ratings of 5 or lower had better be prepared to show his credentials.​
    Sigh. You're in denial Christal.


    Denial about being specially sensitive the low ratings despite repeated references to only those ratings (The title of the thread, itself, arises solely out of low ratings only). After all that was pointed out, it was then claimed to be concern for comments for on all ratings instead of low ones. But the fixation is still there even though you refuse or are unable to see it.
    Now its qualifications of others to make low ratings. No recognition that, if qualifications are needed to justify those ratings, they are just as needed for higher ones. There are many threads discussing whether special qualifications are needed for ratings. Whether it be the credentials or viewing the images of the raters. In all those threads, just like this one, receipt of low ratings were cited as the need qualification. Never higher ones. The posting of this thread follows that same motivation 100%. Thread after thread started from complaints that low rates needed comments leaving out the others. Low raters need qualifications the other lime of complaint always was and always is.


    You will never get the most out of feedback, of whatever nature, until you recognize the bias and filtering your have in your mind that dismisses the less than flattering review. Putting the reviewer on trial rather than checking one's own sensitivity at the door.
     
  169. One of the ironies that always pops up in these discussions is the belief that low ratings must come from photographers who are unqualified/inexperienced/incompetent whereas higher ratings come from professional/experienced/talented photographers. I'd argue that the opposite is much more likely. An experienced photographer who has already seen many thousands of lovely cliches (and probably taken a lot of them himself/herself) will be much harder to impress than a newbie who hasn't overdosed on pretty sunsets.
     
  170. Another irony is the insistence that people should demonstrate that they are skilled photographers before they can offer a valid opinion about a photo but no such demonstration is required for them to give advice about how to take photos. Seems backwards to me. You don't have to be an expert chef to tell whether or not a meal is good; you don't have to be an acclaimed filmmaker to tell whether or not you enjoyed a movie. On the other hand, if someone is giving me advice about how to cook, I'd want to know that person is actually a competent cook. However, on photo.net, you see people offering advice on how to take photos all the time with no demand that they demonstrate their competence in the field, but you better be an outstanding photographer if you dare to not like a photo or give a low rating.
     
  171. I argee with both of Mike D's points above with some caveats.

    Can a person who knows nothing about photography judge a photograph as being good or bad? Certainly! As long as
    they actually took the time to look at it seriously. I trust the perception of the interested lay person, because they're not
    thinking about technical matters. They are only concerned with whether the image appeals to them.

    On the other hand, we can't assume that the lay person is genuinely interested in an art form? What does the average
    pop music listener think about Mozart? Or Stravinsky? If you took a sports fan to the opera, would they genuinely try to
    determine whether it's appealing? Or would they get bored and look for excuses to get up and leave?

    Regarding the creation of something, whether it's a photo or something else, I think it helps to know the advisor's level of
    ability and factor that in. Someone who barely knows how to grill a hamburger might not be able to give an aspiring cook
    useful advice on preparing creme brûlée. Let the advisee beware.
     
  172. Mike, you've touched on a few problems on the operation of photo.net of which there are few clear answers, nevertheless I believe it can work if placed within context.
    Some of the best cooks are domestic in their making of daily family meals. For the most part they neither know or understand the sciences involved in cooking nor the history and evolution of food, nonetheless their opinion can be entirely valid even if it's supported by nothing more than intuition and limited personal experience.
    The problem with only valuing expert advice becomes apparent if only competent professional politicians can offer legitimate points of view about politics, social issues, or governance, which we know not to be the case.
    Of course not every offered advice or opinion has value to its recipient or general population even at a technical level in which there is a clear right or wrong. Departing from technical issues, IMO, is where it will remain vague with no absolutes, given that we're in a forum where content is user-generated and active participation is highly encouraged.
     
  173. "Can a person who knows nothing about photography judge a photograph as being good or bad? Certainly! As long as they actually took the time to look at it seriously."​
    Aye, there's the rub.
    What do we mean by "took the time to look at it seriously"? What if time and experience are inextricably, if mysteriously, interconnected (see the theory that it takes something like 5,000 or 10,000 hours to become an "expert")? By that reasoning, the longer a beginner or novice considers something, the farther he or she gets away from being a beginner or novice. Therefore, by the time she decides to render a judgement or offer a numerical rating, the less a novice she is.
    And if that's true, then it doesn't take an experienced photographer as long to "seriously" consider a photograph. In which case, I am vindicated for taking less than 30 seconds per photo when I use the dreaded "anonymous" rate photos queue. In reality, sometimes I take only 5 seconds. For some photos I may take several minutes, including navigating to the page where the photo is hosted and considering the larger view, as well as the context of the folder or entire portfolio. And the time I take may have little influence on my actual rating. Some photos are so obviously good I don't need more than a few seconds to rate them 5 or higher. Others are so lacking in intent, execution or subjective aesthetic merit that even after having spent five minutes studying the photo and portfolio I'm still not persuaded to rate it higher than 3.
    How often are any of us persuaded away from our initial snap judgements? Statistically, studies indicate not often. But we can all probably recall certain specific instances when the "acquired taste" phenomenon changed our opinions about a certain food, music, movie or art.
    But did that make us "experts" in asparagus, noise rock, Bergman films or abstract art? Or did we simply acquire a taste and preference without being able to elucidate why?
     
  174. I like how this conversation is going. And it is true, for me at least, that the opinions of strangers on the internet matter a little provided I can understand why they say what they do. But, if someone doesn't like what you're producing and their criticism doesn't help you understand how to become a better photographer, there's not much you can do about it. You have to shrug and move on.
    For example Nick doesn't think much of my work. That is 100% fair enough. I have no axe to grind with him. He aks what I am trying to express. I'm trying to capture everyday life in China in the 21st Century in an interesting, honest way. I am not trying to superimpose my own ego on these people. Maybe the lack of manipulation stops me from being an "artist". Maybe I should have shoved my camera in their faces. Maybe I'm too polite or even well-balanced to have "vision". I just take what I see, with no agenda. Obviously I also looked at his gallery on this site, where I learned that photographing people from a 'safe' distance expresses nothing, but photographing swans from a safe distance does.
    I am not interested in an argument- Nick likes what he does and doesn't like what I do and vice versa- there is nothing wrong with that at all. But I do find it strange to hear people, who are often taking pretty mundane photographs, talking about "their vision". When it come down to it, we all do our best and hope that others like it. And I think it is very rare for someone to have a portfolio of 'vision'. I have clicked on links to many world-renowned photographers and only very rarely been super-impressed. Most of the time it's just another photograph.
     
  175. Dan.... I think 'develop' is an excellent choice of wording. (And an appropriate word for the subject of photography, don't you think?) ;-) Seriously, I'll remember the Dan South 'Bible'. Wise advice, and I appreciate the advice.

    It's the same with the music professional. It's a life-long journey of growing and developing. For some, that is..... for those who keep an open mind, are willing to be be challenged and work very, very hard, growth occurs. For others, they stagnate and become cynical and lose their 'chops'. I prefer being in the 1st group. But no matter how hard we work, we can never be as good as we want to be. There is no such thing as absolute perfection. Someone will always come along who can surpass anything I've done. But that doesn't keep me from striving to improve at least.
     
  176. "I am not interested in an argument..."​
    Your actions indicate otherwise. Generally speaking, if we're genuinely receptive to constructive critiques, we don't turn around and nitpick the work of the person offering criticism, particularly with the goal of refuting the validity of their criticism.
    "I just take what I see, with no agenda."​
    Again, you seem to contradict yourself.
    Earlier you wrote:
    "I want to bring the genre into the modern world, something most SPers seem uninterested in."​
    Granted, art and logical consistency aren't always comfortable partners. But in this case you may be your own best critic, if you're willing to review your own words, the thoughts and motivations behind those words, against your goals and current state of progress toward those goals.
     
  177. This thread is getting really long, and like every long thread on this site it reflects our inability to accept intractable disagreements as a pervasive feature in the arts and other disciplines, and that somehow we'll be able to make a compelling enough case toward finding a truth.
    I guess this thread will eventually come to a close only for a newer member to raise the issue again in the future because this thread was before his time, and we'll get to rehash it all over again.
     
  178. No, Lex, I am not interested in an argument.
    I am glad that Christal has found some benefit from her thread.
     
  179. Stephen......I've barely had time to even keep up with this thread, but I did take a quick look at your Flickr account. I think your work is excellent. You seem to have a connection to your subjects and often evoke some kind of response from them. Your images are dynamic and the compositions well-thought out. You often shoot from a low vantage point, which I also find appealing. The B&W tones and clarity are excellent. There is no pretense to your work, and it's overall good, solid work.
    Having said that, I also can't understand why you are reluctant to use a more sophisticated editing program. You said you didn't want 'to take the time to learn'. Well, how about a program like Photoshop Elements 10 (I'm sure they have later versions by now)? It isn't as powerful as CS6 certainly, but it's a great program. I'm of the mind that we should always try to improve. As impressive as your work is, it can be better, especially with better tools at your disposal. Of course, your method makes a great 'exercise'......you train yourself to do as much as humanly possible IN camera. That in itself will make you a better photographer.
    I also have a hard time understanding how you could get a shot like CSC-3906, for example, without bracketing. When I take shots like that with a wide range of light to dark, the sky will inevitably be blown out. So it appears that you must have done a little editing to this image. There are other examples of this as well.
    Of course, not all the images work. Some are excellent......some just so-so......none are terrible. But I suppose that the same could be said for the work of any one of us in this thread......perhaps not......don't mean to offend anyone. It's all so subjective, and not every image will be appealing to everyone, obviously.
    I had never been on Flickr before. The page with your collection of images makes a nice presentation. But it seems without the images being in categories, it would be hard to locate a particular image. Also, can anyone leave a comment on your images, or do they need a Flickr account?
     
  180. "Regarding the creation of something, whether it's a photo or something else, I think it helps to know the advisor's level of ability and factor that in."​
    I think Mike's will agree with this. Level of ability is, indeed, a factor. In some situations, as illustrated in the rest of the post, it is a huge one. In others, less. Indeed, in some instances, even an impediment. Sometimes qualifications to accomplish do not match qualifications to teach or guide and vice versa. Sometimes experts are wrong. We all, of course, should embrace the wisdom of those with more experience and talent but take it in objective perspective.

    Mike describes more of a be all and end all approach to one's view qualification. The kind borne of low rate anguish or or a non-coddling critique.The kind that says... anyone who doles out ratings of 5 or lower had better be prepared to show his credentials. The kind that says someone giving me a high rating, need not be challenged so. The kind where, as Cristal says When I get a positive rating from someone, I'm not as apt to expect a constructive comment. If they think the image is pretty good, I don't need to hear why it's good. The underlying message... Those ones are presumed more valid and, thus, affirming.


    Another issue, also often raised in the low rating complaint threads,are identification by the poster of invalid low rates. It was touched upon here when we were told, My frustration IS with low ratings......the ones that come in waves right after my image is posted. This thread, like those, continue, nevertheless with the complaint that the ratings are uninformative without accompanying comment along with the typical denial that it is about hurt feelings or the desire to receive higher scores. That it is all about the learning. The problem is that the rates are still deemed invalid but somehow still count and need further follow up. If the rates are known to be arbitrary, such as the ones that instantly follow the image posting, then we know they can be discounted and the opinions behind the rate of no value anyway. The only reason left to care about the low ratings under those circumstances is what?


    Bruised feelings.
    Recognizing and letting go of them being the difference between garnering humdrum technical improvements of some kind as opposed to the leaps and bounds associated seeing everything in a more enlightened and objective way.
     
  181. Hi Christal
    Thank you for taking the time to look at my photostream. I of course am flattered and happy that you like my work. :) It took me a while to track down CSC-3906. I used to append 'witty' titles to my shots but it all got too much. This is one of the frames which were uploaded straight of the camera, taken in JPG and that's it. I must admit it took me a couple of tries to get it right, but that was more to do with being in an awkward position. The "PXXXXX" files are from the Panasonic GX1 which are always taken in JPG then reworked slightly in Silkypics, then Altalux. I try to be as subtle as I can with that, setting a value of around 2 or 3 to just bring a little 3D texture to the image, which is only really noticeable when viewing the original but it is a wonderful little program that I feel completes the image. As I said the entire Dali folder is OOC JPG- there might have been the odd tweak here and there but there were so few I can't remember and I wa making a point of getting the exposure right. I deleted many images as just not right...mainly due to focus errors with my frikking Nikon! Nikon and I are finished.
    If you would be willing to help me, I could email you a couple of full res originals for you to PS to your heart's content and send me back, so I could see any potential benefit from the program?
    00cCdU-543905784.jpg
     
  182. Michael.....Gosh, I have so much I could say in response. Perhaps we could take the subject off this thread sometime. BTW, I'm very impressed that you know Dorothy DeLay. I never studied with her, but many of my friends did.
    I would never send a young beginner to someone like DeLay. There are excellent 'lady next-door types' of teachers who had good training, know how to teach the fundamentals, and are often better at interacting with children. When you're a beginner (at music or anything else), progress is very rapid. You go from zero or nearly zero knowledge about a subject to a reasonable proficiency very quickly. Likewise, when I first learn a new piece (even now), the initial learning is rapid. The notes and rhythms come rather quickly, but it's the subtle nuance stuff and interpretation, bowing variations, refinements that take forever.
    With photography, a person who may not have any formal training could have an amazing intuitive sense and eye for structure, composition, and even lighting. There is less 'technical' stuff to learn in photography than there is with the violin, for instance. Essentially, someone could learn all of the features on their camera in a week. That doesn't mean they would be a great photographer, certainly, but they would at least not have to spend years learning the basics, as with a musician.
    So I guess what I'm getting to is that for me, photo school would be very helpful. But it has to the be RIGHT one and focus on the things that are important to me.......also teach in a fashion that reaches me. I stopped in Missoula, MT this summer, and spent a few hours talking to people at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography. I had been impressed with a couple of their weekend seminars, but I wanted to see for myself what their program was like. I was able to look at the facilities and ask them a million questions. I liked what I heard, and I'm convinced that it would jump-start my photo progress. Also, I learn best when I immerse myself in something and have day-in-day-out exposure to what I'm learning. At home, with all of my other responsibilities preventing me from doing that, I may study a little this week, and then again next week or 2 weeks from now. I don't retain anything that way, and feel that I don't get anywhere.
    So since I have so much to learn in photography and am near the bottom of the general learning curve, I don't feel I need the best photographer 'artist' to teach me. I just need someone who can inspire me and explain things well......and as you said, learn my 'language' and be responsive to my learning style and needs.
     
  183. I've been playing the guitar for >25 years and it took me five years (afer having played for 15 years) to get my Blues vibrato right! I recently bought a genuine Spanish made classical guitar and have had to relearn my chording habits and other techniques to properly bring out the quality of the instrument. I do hate it when someone used to playing an electric plays an acoustic in exactly the same way- kind of missing the point.
     
  184. JC.....Interesting images.....thanks for posting them.....particularly in light of the fact that we were in Yellowstone this summer. I haven't posted any of my images yet, but I can assure you I didn't have any like this. :)
    I think of most of my photography as 'documentation'. Oh sure, I do a few digital alterations and/or abstracts, but mostly I just 'record' the beautiful sights I am fortunate enough to get to visit. I share them with my friends and family. I'm not printing any of them and placing them on my wall. Speaking of that, though I love your images, they are certainly not the kind of image I would place on my wall. They're more for fun and conversational purposes, in my opinion.
    Seeing your images is a reminder though.....sometimes adding a figure can enhance a photo by creating more interest or creating a sense of scale. Thanks!
     
  185. Stephen......You're saying my work is ordinary. There is no wow factor or anything that would distinguish it from the millions of other images out there. Precisely! So I understand how you can become ho-hum about landscapes. 'If you've seen one, you've seen them all' mentality. BUT, I would like to try to emulate and once in awhile get a landscape shot like some of the photographers I love.......Michael Anderson, Marino Cano, Marc Adamus, Galen Rowell, Chip Phillips.....and many, many more. I certainly don't find their landscapes boring. So I'll keep trying. :)
     
  186. Tim...... Got it! :)
     
  187. Nick.....thanks for the book suggestion. I will certainly check it out.
     
  188. As will I!
    Some days I can go out and get nothing but scowls and my camera seems to be on a mission to annoy me. Other days it all works effortlessly but what I get is tat. Sometimes I am happy. I think the point to remember is that we are all trying to judge ourselves and being judged by commited photographer world-wide, with access to the images of some of the best ever.
    High standards make for difficult work.
    All the best
    Steve
     
  189. Thankyou for your comments Crystal .... They are the two photographs from two visits which work for me. No, I am not one to hang photos on the wall.
     
  190. Lex.....gosh....thought-provoking questions. I have some definite answers though.....which you may or may not understand or agree with. I'll refer to your paragraphs by number in my answer.
    #4....Each time I walk out on stage I try to give my absolute best. No matter how my day has gone or how tired I am, 'the show must go on'. So if I were to receive a 'low rating', I would simply chuck it up and vow to do better next time. I can only do what I can do. Or next time I might try to change the program because (as in photography), it is difficult for the lay person or music enthusiast (as opposed to a highly trained professional) to distinguish between the quality of the playing and the selection being performed. Just as when people rate an image.....if they like the subject matter and/or it's something they're comfortable or familiar with, they'll like it. If not, then they won't. I try to make that distinction when I rate an image, as I also do when I listen to a performance. I may not like the piece being performed, but I can sure tell how much effort went in to the preparation, and I can applaud the effort and accomplishment if nothing else.
    #5.....I am my own worst critic (most musicians are), so I would never dismiss 'concerns about a less than perfect performance', no matter what the rating. I have a standard to maintain, and if I fall short of that, I'm disappointed in myself. And your last sentence......absolutely! I can't tell you how many times people have jumped to their feet in standing ovations for performances that ended brilliantly. The louder the better. :) But the performance, in my estimation, wasn't all that great. So go figure. Again, people simply come from all walks of life, have different likes and dislikes, and varying degrees of discernment or discriminating abilities.
    #6....Very possibly......it happens all the time. Part of the business.
    #7.....I've adjudicated many high profile competitions, and I can tell you that this kind of thing always happens to some degree. Again, like photography, subjectivity plays a huge part in determining the best contestant. I may place more emphasis on interpretation and musicality (how I FEEL about their playing), while another judge could place more emphasis on techniical prowess. Furthermore, each contestant is highly qualified, so the differences between contestants are sometimes microscopic ones. When there is a principal opening in a major symphony orchestra, there can be anywhere from 150-400 vying for one spot. Talk about difficult!
    #8.....I presume you're talking about the comment I made earlier......wasn't it it YOUR comment that I agreed with?
    And I wholeheartedly agree with your statement:
    But anyone who doles out ratings of 5 or lower had better be prepared to show his credentials.

    That's just another layer of frustration for me.


    Are you talking about ratings now or comments on images? I make a huge distinction between the two. Anyone can offer a rating, whether they're qualified or not. So when I agreed that 'they should be prepared to show their credentials', I didn't mean literally.......like in expertise. I simply meant that they should be be able to back up their rating with a comment. For instance, we have some chronic complainers at work. I drives me mad! Stop this mindless complaining, and DO something, take some action, contact the powers that be, write a letter, call a meeting to discuss the problem.....SOMEthing!!! But no........they just would rather complain. Likewise, there are some people who generously dole out low ratings, (akin to complaining in a sense), yet they never leave a comment. That's what I meant above by 'that's just another layer of frustration'.

    Now......with regard to:
    So is there any particular reason why we shouldn't consider their ratings just as valid and well qualified as anyone's, even when their ratings are 5 and lower, without any explanation?

    Truthfully, Yes I consider them valid, for the same reason I consider the audience member's positive reaction to a lousy concert valid, but I do not consider them well-qualified. But just as I don't need to be a professional ice skater to assess the ice skating in the Olympics, for instance, I still place value on the opinion of someone who is not well-qualified in the field. I just give more credence to a comment by someone who is an expert in the field. Wouldn't anyone? If someone gives me a high rating, and they pat me on the back, it's not very helpful is it? Unless they tell me specifically WHY they like it or suggest another way I could have approached it, which rarely happens. But if someone gives me a low score and truly hates the image, then perhaps I COULD learn something from the negative feedback, which of course is rarely forthcoming. So at any rate, I didn't mean credentials in the way you think I meant it.....that's all.
     
  191. John......ahhh....I just went over this with Lex. Please read my response to him. But I honestly am not in denial. With regard to your last paragraph, I'd like you to show me one instance in this thread or anywhere on PN in a comment I've made or responded to where I have 'put the reviewer on trial' or been ultra sensitive to something. There have been several negative comments about my work in this thread alone, and one was actually quite harsh. How did I respond?
    Furthermore, you still seem fixated on the title of my original post. We have come 180 degrees from that original post. Perhaps you would like me to rename it? :)
    One thing is for sure. I have learned a lot about myself as a photographer, as well as the rating system and how insignificant it is in the big scheme of things. This has been eye-opening, for sure.
     
  192. Mike......
    belief that low ratings must come from photographers who are unqualified/inexperienced/incompetent whereas higher ratings come from professional/experienced/talented photographers.

    I have not made that assumption. I think your other scenario is more likely. But I've been told that there are some members who routinely dole out 3's like candy.....without justification. I don't know, but some people seem to be able to 'read' the ratings and have said that. Who knows? I'm just about 'ratings'd out at this point'. :)
     
  193. And now, fellow PN members, I have to check out of this thread. It has been very informative, and I have enjoyed the exchanges. I suppose this will continue on for awhile, so I'll stay tuned, and I may jump in here and there. But I have come to the end of my Thanksgiving vacation, and now I must get back to more important matters. Besides, I need to be out shooting, not sitting at the computer.....right? :) Ain't PN grand?
    Furthermore, I have had my hands full just reading and responding to all of the comments in this thread. So I haven't had a chance to check out your portfolios (only a few), which I intend to do.

    Thanks for your enlightenment and encouragement (yes, and criticisms also!). :)
     
  194. "But I've been told that there are some members who routinely dole out 3's like candy.....without justification. I don't know, but some people seem to be able to 'read' the ratings and have said that. Who knows?"​
    Nobody has access to that information except a tiny handful of folks in administration. Moderators like me don't have access to specific information correlating individuals members with any ratings they've given below 6. Anyone who claims otherwise is just guessing, and probably guessing incorrectly. If you study the publicly visible and accessible summary and detail pages for ratings given and received, you'll see that it's almost impossible to correlate information about ratings of 3-5, which are *not* publicly visible and accessible, with any accuracy.
    However, since ratings of 6 and 7 *are* publicly visible and can be correlated with members who give those ratings, it's relatively easy to get a general idea of the distribution of high ratings among members who reciprocate with high ratings. Both parties may well believe those ratings are valid.
     
  195. Sorry.....can't help it.....one more musical analogy, if you can stand it.
    With regard to vision or creativity, or shooting something differently than anyone before you has done, I have this to say. I totally GET it! I love it when I see someone thinking outside the box and coming up with something unique, unusual, thought-provoking, moving, etc.
    But let's face it. Most of us can't do that on a consistent basis. We take the standard shots of the Grand Canyon or Arches, etc. Then they get low ratings and/or no comments because they aren't unique enough. But they're quite good......just not enough different from what everyone else is doing.
    So here is the musical analogy: Beethoven's 5th Symphony has been played how many thousands of times over the years. Each and every performance has been different because there will never be the same dynamic......the collection of musicians and conductors will be slightly different in every performance. There will be micro-variations in interpretation from one performance to the next, but nothing strikingly different. Yet it continues to be the most beloved and well-known piece of all time. People listen to it repeatedly and find enjoyment out of it.
    Why must we be so haughty about seeing good work done by decent photographers? Can't we recognize it for the beauty it represents, even though perhaps it doesn't 're-invent the wheel'? I think some photographers can be a bit arrogant about this........and some even about equipment as well. If I can enjoy Beethoven's 5th for the 100th time, then I can certainly see 100 pictures of the Grand Canyon without maligning the image because it wasn't different enough.
    I will now take my comment 'off the air'. :)
     
  196. Christal, the musical analogy resonates well with me. I found myself reminiscing about this summer's Russian Festival at the Bass, with the FWSO supporting Beatrice Rana (whose playing style and stage presence I liked as well as Clarie Huangci's, who didn't advance as far as I'd hoped in the Cliburn earlier this year).
    This local review of that particular performance expressed my own impressions, but far more coherently. I'm still just a novice classical music fan. Even with the rocky start and unevenness, I still enjoyed the performance.
    If I had to rate Rana's interpretation of Tchaikovsky on that particular night, with Van Cliburn himself as the pinnacle at 7, I'd give Rana a 5. Still very enjoyable with some passages that seemed uniquely her own style, although she had seemed more at ease with the FWSO and confident in May during the Cliburn finals. I suspect the Theater Jones reviewer might have given it a 4 out of 7, possibly because he found the FWSO brass more annoying than I did, while I find the FWSO's string section so incredibly good that it covers a multitude of other sins. And I'd hope she wouldn't mistakenly think I was one of the cowardly anonymous hate raters who only gave her a 3, just because she might have heard from someone who had heard from someone else that so-and-so was doling out 3's like candy.
     
  197. Quite opposite Steve, I like your shots, just not all of them . Devil is always in details, even in street photography. You have two static subjects, looking into camera img 0363, why legs of girl on the left are cut and you leave right side of frame empty?
    And those swans was actually attacking my feet sometimes, I like them a lot:)
     
  198. I saw a picture a few months back by wonderful Vivian Mayer, it just wasn't a good picture in my eyes. It was a slow shutter speed that just didn't work, well not for me anyway.
    The 6 trillion adorning comments on Facebook about the image did make me wonder that when you site a now very famous name to an image, people will just spew forth admiration because they think they should, it was the usual awesome, genius blah blah comments.
    It makes you wonder when you have a name for yourself, how much more giving people might be just because you are a "name" and that every single image they see of yours is pure genius.
    Just restating here before anyone jumps on me I adore Vivian Mayer, just this one didn't work on any level for me.
     
  199. The 6 trillion adorning comments on Facebook about the image did make me wonder that when you site a now very famous name to an image, people will just spew forth admiration because they think they should, it was the usual awesome, genius blah blah comments.
    It makes you wonder when you have a name for yourself, how much more giving people might be just because you are a "name" and that every single image they see of yours is pure genius.​
    A very common phenomenon, Simon, as you're obviously familiar with. It occurs even with popular social media photographers whose abilities are many rungs below the likes of Vivian Maier.
    One of the very popular photographers on Google+ posted a workmanlike, but unexceptional, abstract bokeh a year or so ago. The comments followed the usual "Brilliant!" pattern until one poor soul had the audacity to point out that while the photo was "okay" it was nothing that had not been done thousands of times before. He questioned why all the previous commenters professed such admiration for the photo. The outcry, attacks, and claims of "sour grapes" that greeted this poor fellow were sad and amazing to behold.
    On the other side of the coin, one's own family members do not always offer gushing and unquestioning praise. I've been working on a self-published book of certain of my photographs. I recently had an initial copy printed up to use as a mockup and to get an idea of what it might look like in print. I gave it to my wife and asked her to look through it and give me her impressions. As she turned the pages, her comments went something like this:
    No.
    No.
    No.
    No.
    No.
    Not bad.
    No.
    No.
    No.
    Oh, I like this one.
    No.
    Okay.
    No.
    No.
    (long pause........)
    What the hell is this!?
     
  200. "What the hell is this!?"
    Steve, are you saying we're behaving too much like wives? You're right, though; a concubine would never say such a thing. :)
     
  201. "show me one instance in this thread or anywhere on PN in a comment I've made or responded to where I have 'put the reviewer on trial"​

    "I wholeheartedly agree... ...anyone who doles out ratings of 5 or lower had better be prepared to show his credentials."

    There have been several negative comments about my work in this thread alone, and one was actually quite harsh. How did I respond?​
    As one would when described as being sensitive to adverse reactions in the same thread. But, to be fair, you may tend to react better to explained diplomatic criticism than to generic rating scores.
    "I've been told that there are some members who routinely dole out 3's like candy.....without justification"

    There are some that dole out 7s like candy but those still don't merit any acknowledgment as being just as much an issue.
     
  202. @ Christal
    I have to admit I've only read your OP and a few of your replies. So, you may have addressed my questions previously, or you may simply be worn out by the sheer volume of replies.
    Still, I would like to ask whether you seek a greater sense of acknowledgment of the work you've done or constructive criticism to help make the craft and art of your future photography better? Of course, these are by no means mutually exclusive but I would like to know which you value more, at least as far as pnet is concerned.
    Part of the reason I ask is because I have found Flickr to be much better when it come to gaining an affirming sense I have shared my photos with someone (a great many someones, in fact). Flickr's system is imperfect, too, with their humble little fav star. I know it only takes a split second for someone to fav a photo of mine . A look at my Flickr stats shows that a little less than 50% of my photos have been faved. Still, it's gratifying to see that some took the split second to have a look and another split second to check the fav star. Actual comments are more rare and critiques or criticisms more rare still.
    I've never read much positive about pnet's rating system. More than anything I've read posts like yours or posts suggesting (usually pointedly) some kind of change, which never seems to come about. This makes me conclude that while pnet's a grand place to hang out and chat about photography it leaves many wanting when it comes to critiques and ratings. I've never submitted any of my photos for critique here at pnet. In fact, I'm not sure how it's done.
    As much as I enjoy sharing my photographs I can readily see and am constantly reminded of my shortcomings as a photographer. Those shortcomings are not subtle. I love many of my landscapes, but I lack vision and imagination. Even still, I'm surrounded by my photographs here in my office and I catch myself admiring them all the time, though I know they're mediocre. I'm also held back by comparatively few opportunities to shoot the kinds of subjects I like at the times of the year (and sometimes even the time of day) that would yield the best photographs. So, even though I read and learned a lot about landscape composition, in the end my work still has to come out of the vision of my tiny little brain.
    C'est la vie.
    Of late, my own push has been toward better preparation. When I travel I make written notes of how the light falls and when. I'm trying to use a tripod when I need one, even though lugging one around is a pain. Lastly, I am actively looking to improve my technical bag of tricks. To that end, I've been lurking at strobist with the idea that I may add a bit to my images by using off-camera lighting when it's called for. We will see.
    I wonder if you've ever thought of taking a class? I have, but timing is always tough. What's worse is my Groucho Marx-inspired disinclination to belong to any group that would have me as a member. I'm just not one for that kind of group experience. I do wonder, though, if such a group could actually help me to become better. What are your drives when it comes to your own photography? Is there anything you see you'd like to improve on or are you satisfied, for lack of a better word, with your photographs? Are there any specific shortcomings you'd like to strengthen?
    Thanks for reading and responding if you have time.
    Cheers.
    Paul
     
  203. Nick, I appreciate you taking the time to offer rapprochement. I really have a hard time when people expect there to be some kind of over-arching theme or message in photography. Maybe I have not got to the stage yet where my work is mature enough to try to superimpose ideas onto it or maybe there is some kind of embedded pictorial aesthetic I am unaware of. I do hate literary criticism, despite studying Scottish Literature at final year degree level as part of my linguistics course. I consider myself a commited amatuer who sometimes gets it right and try to have high technical standards despite the very real challenges being a Westerner in China represent in terms of being able to pass un-noticed or being seen as an annoying wealthy tourist. I do hope to get better. Maybe I should take a good look at my photostream and cull some less than satisfactory images.
    Great thread guys.
     
  204. "mature enough to try to superimpose ideas onto it"
    The superimposition of ideas onto a photo or photos doesn't sound terribly mature to me. It sounds more like a prank, or a recipe for disingenuousness or self consciousness. What would, perhaps, be mature would be allowing an idea or ideas to guide one's work or to emanate from it. It's pretty easy to tell when a photographer or artist is simply adding an idea as a distinct and non-integrated element. That usually reads quite inauthentically. It's a richer experience, IMO, when the idea is part of the thing, integral as either a stimulus or a result or both. Ideas can be symbiotic with photos . . . and bodies of work.
     
  205. Having suffered through enough lectures expounding on the genius of this or that author, I can readily attest that superimposition is an integral part of The Arts. I was asked to do an M.Phil by my Lit. Dept, but really could not be bothered.
     
  206. Stephen, that superimposition of ideas is perceived to be "an integral part of The Arts" in lectures in a Lit. Dept. doesn't really mean much to me. It would be academic, at best. I was merely giving my own thoughts on artistic and genuine uses of ideas in photography. Take it or leave it.
     
  207. I should probably reiterate the context of my original comment about "credentials", which was intended to be ironic. My original comment was:
    "Everybody loves the high ratings. Nobody wants to be the kid who didn't get a gold star.
    "Everybody loves high ratings without any form of qualification on the part of the rater: "You like me? You really, really like me? And you can mash the 6 and 7 numerals on your keyboard? Yay, that's good enough".
    "But anyone who doles out ratings of 5 or lower had better be prepared to show his credentials: "Your undergrad degree is in history and you have an MA in photography rather than an MFA in Cross-Cultural Deconstruction of Postmodern Solipsism? You aren't qualified to rate *my* photos 5 or lower!""​
    Anyway, no, I don't believe any photo.net member who offers ratings needs to have any particular credentials. It's just a simple popularity contest, like audience members voting on American Idol. They are qualified merely by being audience members who are interested in the event. Same as photo.net.
     
  208. my original comment about "credentials", which was intended to be ironic.
    I might have described it as illustrated sarcasm but the irony of the response, literally embracing it as sound policy, was, itself, most illustrating.
     
  209. to try to superimpose ideas onto it or maybe there is some kind of embedded pictorial aesthetic I am unaware of.​
    I'd have to disagree with the notion that the superimposition of ideas (or themes) is an integral part of the Arts. At least not in the literal sense of "superimposition" being the placement of something on top of something else. Themes and ideas emerge organically from the best works. The notion of there being an embedded pictorial aesthetic hits closer to the mark, I think. Not in reference to your photographs, Stephen. I mean in the general sense of it being one of the hallmarks of the work we try to create. A consistent embedded pictorial aesthetic is one way of saying "style". And I think that, too, must emerge organically. Which is why -- getting back to the OP -- it seems pointless to concern oneself with ratings on PN or anywhere else. Catering to a populist consensus of "good" cripples the ability to discover what the individual photographer truly considers "good". Something which has probably already been stated 10 or 12 times in various ways in this thread.
     
  210. That's fair comment. Your reply made me think of the way I literally approach the subjects of my photographs, i.e. as discretely as possible and usually from the side or behind. I love crowded and noisy places as they afford me the luxury of getting closer without being 'rumbled'. I have noticed that the slow AF speed of my new Canon M is distinctly hampering, as people do tend to notice somebody standing quite close to them with a camera pointed in their direction. That extra second can make all the difference.
    I have been jaded by listening to an awful lot of garbage being talked about "Art", especially in the context of Modern Conceptual Art (here's some of my dirty laundry- that'll be ten thousand pounds please. I am, after all, a genius). I remember looking at one "work" in The Tate Modern, in which The Artist had quite literally gone over the canvas with a tiny brush using paint the same colour as the canvas. The blurb ran something like "This groundbreaking and brave work decontructs Art by embedding the work itself in the canvas, inviting us to break down our ideas of artifice; it is quite literally a painting of itself!"
    It would be funny if it weren't so insulting.
     
  211. I just 'LOVE" or perhaps better I'm jaundiced by talk of credentials as all I have is City and Guilds and sixty years of experience earning my living from various aspects .... but credentials is the modern way to try and sort out those who know from those who don't ... unfortunately it doesn't always work that way.
    Some pages back there was talk about who adds 6's and 7's and I would suggest it is the novice who thinks anything is wonderful.
     
  212. The Internet is a great place to find examples of insipid art commentary being brought up. I tend not to make any more of a big deal over those than I do over PN ratings.
    There may be a seemingly obvious place for discretion especially in maintaining the observer attitude critical to some photography.
    On the other hand, Philip Roth had something interesting to say about it:
    "I cannot and do not live in the world of discretion, not as a writer, anyway. I would prefer to, I assure you - it would make life easier. But discretion is, unfortunately, not for novelists."
     
  213. The blurb ran something like "This groundbreaking and brave work decontructs Art by embedding the work itself in the canvas, inviting us to break down our ideas of artifice; it is quite literally a painting of itself!"

    It's gets you thinking though doesn't it, Isn't that the point of going to an art gallery that it's an ideas factory and gives the imagination a workout? Even if some of it's a little challenging at times.
    Last time I was at the Tate I wondered whether I could replicate the mood of a painting I saw with the camera, it was nothing like it in the end but it sparked something and I nearly always leave with more than I arrived with - Plus it's free to visit :)
    00cCuO-543935384.jpg
     
  214. It got me thinking "What a load of garbage!"
    The trouble with this and other desperate attemtps to provide meaning from the inherently meaningless is they are almost always the result of people who have lost sight of the point. Like Modern Art itself.
     
  215. "Modern Art" is a pretty wide term covering a whole lot of territory.
    It's also a very different animal from contemporary art.
    Speaking of the point.
     
  216. Paul...... Since you didn't read the entire thread, you probably didn't read the part where I removed myself from the thread. You're right......it was exhausting trying to keep up with the flood of responses (interesting as they were!). Now that Thanksgiving vacation is over and I am in a very busy part of my season at work, I had to stop spending so much time here on PN. I would be happy to respond to your questions, and will try to do that as soon as I can. In the meantime, you might take a closer look at your portfolio. You said you've never submitted images for critique. But you have, it seems to me. When I click on your images and then click on details, it indicates that your pictures have been submitted 'for critique only'. You may want to check that out before I contact you again. If you haven't heard from me within a few days, feel free to message me through PN. Thanks for your comment!
     
  217. Stephen......I finally had time to play with the image you wanted me to take a look at. I actually hesitated to do it because my PP skills are very primitive. I use Adobe Elements 10, and it's good for what it does. I don't even know how to process RAW images yet. Or HDR's. So I really have much to learn. Having said that, here's what I did to your image. It may or may not have improved it. First I did some dodging and burning, trying to reduce the deep shadows in the trees. Then I burned the sidewalk because it was commanding too much of my attention. Then, even after burning, it still needed something, so I ever so slightly cropped the image from the bottom and left side, keeping the ratio the same. I bumped up the contrast just a titch, sharpened just a titch, and then corrected the color. It may have just been my monitor, but there was a blu-ish cast to your image, so I took some of that away.
    I hope nobody writes and tells me this is a lousy job of editing. I'm only doing this because you asked me to, and since my monitor isn't calibrated it may well look awful on the other end. But if mine doesn't appeal to you, you can try some of the things on your own computer.
    Now......I'm not sure how to attach a picture here. Let's see if this works. If not, could you please tell me how to do it?
    00cCdU-543905784 dodged and burned
     
  218. Obviously that didn't work. Can anyone help me with how to enclose a picture like Stephen did above?
     
  219. Simon, thanks for your good efforts of translating some of the impressions from a visit in Tate Modern, into a photo. Well done ! Tate Modern is a gem.
    I totally agree with the comments of challenges you meet when you visit contemporary art exposition. I think that any conclusion like "a load of garbage" is normally just an invitation to come back and try, yet another time, to understand what is going on. I agree, that we too often are served with "explanations" and curators, who haven't understood either and try to hide behind more than opac phraseology or plain black talk ! For us to go beyond, then.
     
  220. Hi Christal, looking forward to seeing that. Afer the 'submit' button
    you get your update/confirm buttons
    then upload, browse, entitle, confirm
     
  221. Crystal ... to post a picture to PN you first need to make a small copy with dimensions no more than 700 pixels in either direction. Height/width .
    In doing this resize your editor may also be able to add compression to ensure the the file size is no more than 100Kb. When I used Photoshop there was an indication of the file size being obtained as you adjust the slider.
    This is explained when you have posted your message in the next menu/page that comes upafter you hit the 'submit' and 'confirm'buttons.
    It also suggests you add a title otherwie it will print the file name.
     
  222. Wow . . . 221 posts! What the heck's going on in here? Is this the Nikon Df thread?
     
  223. [ . . . reading posts backwards.]
    Simon said:
    Last time I was at the Tate I wondered whether I could replicate the mood of a painting I saw with the camera . . .
    I really like that image, Simon! I think you achieved your goal with aplomb!
     
  224. [ . . . reading back a few more pages.]
    Oh, okay. Art and critique. I know for a fact I haven't created any art yet. I love fine art photography, but have been unable to accomplish any myself. Over the last two years, after buying my first full-frame DSLR, I've been primarily concentrating on mastering my technical skills and my gear (since I plan to shoot stills for a living someday). But art has been a tough nut to crack. I visit Los Angeles-area art galleries and view others' work, both painting and photography, as often as I can. It's inspiring. Sometimes, depressing (at just how damned good some of it is). But, my own attempts at art always turn out forced, contrived, self-conscious, artificially self-important, or just plain lame. Art sure is hard.
     
  225. Ralph, nice to hear!
    Sometimes the conscious will to make art, and especially to make good art, gets in the way and, as you say, leads to self consciousness and some forced efforts. One approach is to absorb what you can from looking at art, particularly the passion with which most artists approach their subjects. Weston, for example, seems to have had a love of photography and photographs. But, of prime importance, he seems to have had a love and passion for the people and things he photographed.
    I saw an exhibit of the work of Lewis Hine yesterday. Somehow, his documentary work transforms itself into an art form. One might or might not view it as art. Regardless, it is significant photography. No matter how it might be viewed today, I don't expect it survives because he tried to make art. It was because his empathy for immigrants and child laborers and his instincts toward social reform brought forth something in him that enabled him to use his camera as a tool of light, in both the physical and metaphorical senses of light.He left an important body of work behind because he expressed something through photography that was of great significance to him. He wanted to share these lives with the world.
    One can learn the craft, of course. And then one figures out something meaningful to say and/or to show. To that end, one follows instinct and desire not just to make art but to express something one has a need to express and a passion for.
    Hine died poor and mostly unappreciated, or at least under-appreciated. His . . . ahem . . . "ratings" were low later in his life. That may have affected his standing in the world, but it didn't affect what he saw, cared about, or showed us, not to mention his lasting effect on photographers who followed in his footsteps.
     
  226. Thanks for the encouraging words, Fred! Unfortunately, my passion is presently consumed with mimicry, and style-fetish (not that I've accomplished either, yet). For me, my most admired photographers, Helmut Newton, Ellen von Unwerth, et. al., "nailed it," whatever it is. Was it the photography? The ideas? The sets, styling, make-up, or wardrobe? Was it art? Or, was it just the competent compilation of all of those elements? (I think the ultra-pretty naked models had something to do with it.)
     
  227. ""I think the ultra-pretty naked models had something to do with it.""

    It reminds me of the long waiting lines in front of the Grand Palais in Paris getting access to the latest Helmut Newton exposition. How many stood there in order to have a chance to see the "ultra-pretty naked models" and how many to see the fine photography of Newton? A third category were surely made of those, who stood there for both. You could make the same reflection concerning shows of landscape paintings of the impressionists.
     
  228. I'd out out on option b, Anders but..
     
  229. No idea why I said out twice?
     
  230. Stephen, Okay I'm trying again to post the image. Please see my post above for explanations about what changes I made. You may want to ask other people for ideas about their editing programs, as I'm certainly not the most proficient at editing. :)
    00cD7t-543962284.jpg
     
  231. Christal, you blew out the clouds.
     
  232. Ray House

    Ray House Ray House

    Christal, here is your edit. I resized to 600 pixels wide. See JC Unkz post above.
    00cD8S-543963084.jpg
     
  233. Editing a JPEG, even a high resolution JPEG, is often a fruitless effort. If it includes delicate highlights, such as clouds, there isn't enough data to work with. Blue skies and other large expanses of continuous tones or colors will become posterized with anything more than gentle nudges in contrast or saturation. Occasionally you can get good results by working in layers and selectively tweaking specific areas, but it's still a compromise compared with the raw file or TIFF.
     
  234. Wow! This was a long thread to read... So, I will just comment on the original post. We all know the rating system is flawed. You have to understand a few things. First of all it is pointless to discuss mate ratings and down ratings as you don't want to play with those people. The fact that a lot of people who rate images do not leave comments should not lead to judge them as useless. There is only a handful of people who use the rating system and for a majority of us English is not our mother tongue. Being that there is only a small percentage of members that use the rating system, do you want them to dictate what you should be producing? You mentioned that some of your images do not even get enough ratings to accumulate an average. As a user of the rating system, there are a few reasons why I do not rate an image; some images, I can't even understand why someone thought it was worth posting to start with. Some subjects I don't rate because I feel I cannot be objective: if I see another waterfall I feel I am going to puke, so I don't rate them because I am biased and feel I cannot rate them fairly. Then, the rating scale itself prevents me from rating some images as I am left thinking that a 5 would be too low and a 6 too high...
    Being that a large number of people who use the rating system are from a different cultural background than yours, their opinion will also be different. They will also see the image differently. Your brain is trained to look from left to right because you write that way. Someone who writes from right to left looks at an image the same way and from top to bottom.
    There is another flaw in the rating system that can be generating low ratings. Although you cannot see what the average rating is for your image before it reaches 5 ratings, people who use the "Rate Images" option can see the ratings on your image even if there is only one. This could definitely influence someone's rating. Let's say someone thinks that your image is worth a 5 and see that you have 3 ratings of 6, they may rate your image 4 instead of the 5 they think its worth in order to get your average to where they think it should be...
    I have used the rating system since day one I joined PN and it did help me with my progression, although you should consider it only one of many tools.
    Line
     
  235. Thanks for doing that Christal.
    I will just state again, for the record, that I am happy with my processing and do not intend to buy, install, learn or copy PS, LR or any program which I do not currently use.
    I cannot quite understand the need others have to convert me.
    Please stop advising me.
     
  236. Fred, Yes, the clouds are blown out. When I was working on my small computer screen I didn't notice it frankly. But when it loaded here on PN, it screamed at me loud and clear. I do think I've brought out more detail in the bottom portion of the image though. I'm sure someone more accomplished than me could do a much better job. :)
     
  237. Ray......thanks. In the your smaller version it's harder to tell the clouds are blown out, but now that I know they are, I can still tell.
     
  238. Lex, of course you're correct. But to show you what a 'newbie' I am at editing, I don't even know how to use layers yet. I know it's a pretty basic editing technique, and I really need to get with the program. :) Thanks!
     
  239. It's not editing folks, it is post processing. Editing is choosing, culling the photos. Kathy Ryan of the New York Times is the "Photo Editor" she does not change the content of the photos, just chooses them. Also, being good at photoshop is not being a good photographer, you are not getting any better at recognizing and utilizing light. This is the same as a person learning sheet music but having no musicality, they can hit the correct notes but it has no emotional flow.
    You want to be a better photographer? Learn how to recognize, identify and utilize light. Once you can use light effectively in 90% of your photographs, going beyond boring predictable compositions will become a lot easier as light often plays a big role in how you compose a photograph.
     
  240. Line, Yes, this thread has become a monster! I had no idea it would generate so many responses when I posted it.
    You've brought up some interesting and valid points. Is it true that only a 'handful of people use the rating system?' I myself don't usually rate an image unless I'm particularly moved in some way by the it. But I leave comments, which I find takes a little more care and time, and ultimately is more beneficial (at least I feel that way......I know not everyone does).
    You bring up an interesting point about cultural differences. On some level I guess I was aware they existed, and I'm sure my biases have been reflected in my comments and ratings. But then that's also the very thing that makes PN so appealing to me......people from broad backgrounds and many different countries sharing together.
    I still maintain (for me) that the ratings system in and of itself doesn't help me all that much. I find comments much more helpful. Glad to hear they have been helpful for you though......and thanks for your response.
    As far as 'English not being your mother tongue'.......I am always amazed at you and others who write so well, though it isn't your native language. Even if everything is not 'spoken' perfectly, the meaning is quite clear, and that's the important thing. In my profession I work with many different nationalities. Music is their language......not English. Some can barely speak English, but we find ways of communicating despite the language barrier.
     
  241. Stephen......sorry, no offense intended, and I'm certainly not trying to convert you. As I said above, I think your work is quite good. I only went to the time and trouble to try my hand at editing your image because you asked me to do so. (And I ended up blowing out the clouds, so I didn't do such a great job anyway).

    I'm just curious what you meant by the following:

    so I could see any potential benefit from the program?
    Why would you have said that and asked me to edit your image if you weren't interested in exploring other potential editing programs?
     
  242. Daniel, thanks for clarifying the distinction between editing and processing.
     
  243. Daniel Bayer
    It's not editing folks, it is post processing. Editing is choosing, culling the photos. Kathy Ryan of the New York Times is the "Photo Editor" she does not change the content of the photos, just chooses them.​
    Since when is the definition of editing tied to a job description at the New York Times? Content can definitely be edited (meaning: altered);
    Merriam-Webster: to alter, adapt, or refine especially to bring about conformity to a standard or to suit a particular purpose
     
  244. "Please stop advising me."​
    Then, Stephen, why are you here, and asking questions? Are you only seeking affirmation of what you already believe, know, or believe you know?
     
  245. "It's not editing folks, it is post processing."​
    Daniel, what do you call it when you do the same thing in the darkroom?
    I hung around my stepdad while he directed industrial films and PSAs years ago. He didn't get involved in the film processing - a professional lab did that. But he was heavily involved in the editing, which was more than just culling photos/frames.
    It's a little late now to split hairs over terminology and parse terms to suit ourselves. The designers and users of professional imaging software have already settled that debate.
    Another fellow photo.netter insists Lightroom and Aperture aren't "photo editing" software, because they're primarily used for, as you described the task of editing, "choosing, culling the photos". Never mind that Adobe calls Lightroom an editing tool. By this fellow's definition, apparently parametric image editing isn't editing, only pixel level editing is editing.
    Looks like another "versus" bone of contention has been dug up and ready for gnawing.
     
  246. Daniel, what do you call it when you do the same thing in the darkroom?​
    I call it what it is, printing.
    Ansel Adams was a great printer, not editor.
    With a pencil in hand, drawing, brush in hand, painting and guitar in hand, playing.
    It's kind of like "Great Capture!", just another BS term made popular by the internet, you know, like when people say "How is the ISO on the D800?"
    The ISO is GREAT! Which setting do you prefer love?
     
  247. "I call it what it is, printing."
    Do you do any dodging, burning, spotting, using any contrast filters, choose one paper or developer over another for its particular qualities, do any toning, intensification, bleaching?
    Do you choose an exposure index for your film other than the box ISO? Tailor development times to suit the scene or subject contrast? Choose a film or developer for its unique characteristics?
    "Ansel Adams was a great printer, not editor."​
    Wasn't he the fellow who wrote a couple of entire books on the above stuff I summarized?
     
  248. >>> It's kind of like "Great Capture!", just another BS term made popular by the internet, you know, like
    when people say "How is the ISO on the D800?" The ISO is GREAT! Which setting do you prefer love?

    It's kind of like "Film makes you slow down," just another BS phrase made popular by the internet, you
    know, like when people say "Film provides a realism that digital can't match," as they drop off their rolls at
    the local Walgreens for expert 1 hour processing. Or, " Because the inherent resolution of film is so
    GREAT, which statue or boat marina should I photograph next, love?”
     
  249. Chrystal ... says he with a large grin ... if you use Lighhtroom you do not need to know layers, as it doesn't have them
    I would be lost without them and consider they are a basic requirement for a programme to be called an 'editor'. The 'adjustment layer' is what I use most becuase it permits one to make subtle adjustment and the toggle them on and off without 'touching' the original file. Basically the tool makes the same adjustment to the whole image but since an adjustment layer can be itself adjusted in different areas of the picture on the scale of 255>2 [ white being 256 and black is 0 ] you can use one layer to adjust different parts of an image to different strengths ... so if you were using an AL and washed out a sky with it you could paint over the area with a black or grey brush until it was raised to the required level.... further more if you have part of a picture selected what you do is only applied to that area and you can 'flood fill' with different strengths of grey until it comes right.
    It took me months until the basic pinciple sunk in as I read people going on about ALs but once I got the hang of it I moved forward several miles :)
    AA was a good editor except he had to wait for the devloper to do its work before he saw what he had done. I am sure he would have loved to be let loose on the editing tools we have today ... to do so much so much easier ... I know ... I used to have a fume room. To see the effect taking place as you move a slider rather than guessing and then have to wait several minutes for the print to be suitable for daylight viewing ... horendous if working with color.
     
  250. Oh Brad .... how could you? ... I will never be able to write 'Great Capture ' again :)
     
  251. You can still write "Well seen!" It's not completely used up.
     
  252. JC......I can't wait until I get a good editing program (and learn how to use it). I'm waiting because the photo school I plan to attend requires both Lightroom and CS6......at least they DID. Who knows when a newer version will come out, and they always require the latest version. So I'm waiting a few more months to purchase something. The school starts in June.
    As for editing......we should start another thread on this subject. But I got to thinking, and of course I came up with another musical analogy. In my business we make edits all the time. And we do call them 'edits'. They include things like accidentals (note changes), dynamics, rhythmical adjustments, pregnant pauses, major tempi changes not indicated in the original score, and on and on. Wouldn't these be akin to the little changes we make while processing an image? Hence edits? I think it's a fine distinction between the terms 'editing' and 'processing', and I guess I would not nit-pick it too much.
     
  253. That musical analogy suits final preparation of a photograph very well. I don't think it matters whether we call it darkroom print manipulation, digital editing or processing, the goal is the same: to achieve a final result that fulfills our vision of what we wanted the photograph to be.
     
  254. It's gets you thinking though doesn't it?​
    I don't need to be told when, and what, to think
    Isn't that the point of going to an art gallery that it's an ideas factory and gives the imagination a workout?​
    No, the point is to see and appreciate art, not to be "challenged" (which means precisely nothing - it's nothing more or less than a pseud's justification for the existence of tat) by pretentious, meaningless, talentless non-art.
     
  255. Keith: " 'challenged' (which means precisely nothing - it's nothing more or less than a pseud's justification for the existence of tat) by pretentious, meaningless,
    talentless non-art."
    _______________________________________________________
    Two definitions of "challenge". The first, perhaps, is more relevant to Internet chat rooms and the second, perhaps, is more relevant to museums of art.
    1) A call to engage in a contest, fight, or competition.
    2) A test of one's abilities or resources in a demanding but stimulating undertaking.
     
  256. Conclusion: Keith can get much more our of his visits to art galleries, than what is the case for the moment. An appropriate ending of a very long discussion starting with the question: "Am I really that bad of (sic!) a photographer".
     
  257. >>> No, the point is to see and appreciate art, not to be "challenged" (which means precisely nothing - it's
    nothing more or less than a pseud's justification for the existence of tat) by pretentious, meaningless,
    talentless non-art.

    Hmmm... I suppose some of the exhibitions I've seen over the years where I've gone back multiple times
    due to being challenged and wanting to come away with a better understanding, might suggest (to some)
    the work by Arbus, Frank, Picasso, Rauschenberg, Bischoff, and Avedon (among others) is pretentious,
    meaningless, and tasteless non-art.

    If there were only some (for example) birds-in-flight photos/paintings in the above sets, I probably could have saved a lot of time
    understanding the work on first pass and not dealing with the hassle of multiple visits...
     
  258. Being inquisitive is an artists best friend.
     
  259. "A wealthy benefactor Being inquisitive is an artists best friend."​
    Fixed that for ya.
     
  260. If you don't want to spend money I suggest that you download GIMP which is quite similar to Photoshop and get started, you cannot start too soon.
    The school must think its students aim to become professional and join the graphics industry otherwise they would not specify PS becuase though I did have a couple of versions of PS... 7 and CS I didn't like them and reverted to what I started with which is Paint Shop Pro becuase PS was too expensive for me originally.
    If you aim to simply work for yourself as an adjunct to music there is no reason why PSP should not meet your needs and for instance I bought a boxed copy of PSPx3 when PSPx5 was 'the latest and I had x4 in my desktop, I wanted a programme for my notebook. It cost me $15 plus P&P on Amazon and when I compared it with x4 I could find no major differences. [ Funny thing it cost me $60 to get somebody to put it onto the notebook which doesn't have a CD/DVD slot :-( ]
    However in your position I would suggest you get either an old copy perhaps 'open boxed' or an earlier version 'sealed box' of Adobe Elements [ v8 or later ] and get stuck in becuase much of editing is common sense appreciation of what you see happening on the screen as you adjust controls. You cannot start too soon. The school will teach you their prefered MO system and wrinkles the tutor knows.
    I appreciate that as a student you will be able to get a cutprice version which does alter things.
    I do now have PSPx6 [ the latest ] and it is very similar to my earlier versions [ 4 off ] except they have added a very useful tool which delights me. But it is v8 since they added something of real value previously. In fact they changed something which seriously limited me with x4 in making panoramas and I go back to v8 to do them :)
    These programmes have reached the stage where all they can do is add small tweaks and a result is Adobe decided to go Cloud to keep up the money stream rather than try and sell another newer version.
    I think you will find that Adobe Cloud is the successor to CS6 and that is a weekly fee whether you use it or not.
     
  261. Ha! No smoke without fire Lex ;)
     
  262. Christal, think of post processing as interpreting a piece of music differently. Maybe in one performance you'll slow down
    the tempo to exaggerate drama. Another performance will be more peppy. In a third, you might exaggerate rhythms and
    accents. Or you might rework the phrasing of some melodic passages.

    Assume that the composer is deceased and that we have no recording of his exact interpretation. We have only the
    score. That score is your raw file. You now interpret the score to match your performance style,

    I would encourage you to download the free trial version of Lightroom. It's not gouge to change very much between now
    and June. If you had to study a new instrument in June,would you want to walk into the classroom cold, i.e. having never
    played it before? Or would you want to get a head start?
     

Share This Page