Presenting photos on the site

Discussion in ' Site Help' started by john_a|5, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. One of the things I have noticed--especially with this weeks POW, but in general--is that the essentially white stage around photos adversely affects how one sees images--especially if one has a large, high resolution monitor. The excessive brightness creates a flare that invades the image and hides details in the darks and can cause them to appear blocked up when they are not.
    My suggestion would be to consider a darker neutral gray--possibly something between 90-100 in the RGB channels to remove this bias--The current POW appears relatively dark as presented--even with its black borders top and bottom and yet comes alive when downloaded and viewed on a darker gray background.
    Just a thought.
  2. This comes up from time to time. And to be honest, it's one of those things that people aren't ever going to agree on. Some people want a black background, some people want a grey one, some like white. I'm not saying that anyone is wrong or right, all can make strong points for or against. But when I've got something where the only answers are to annoy a different group of people by changing, or have a chaotic "myspace" mess of different background choices for different users, I'm inclined to just stand pat and stick with what we've got.
  3. I can see that, however, I just think that a neutral, 18% gray is a better compromise as a viewer and for a photo site--people would adjust hopefully--but then I also know that some B/W work would just blend into the background--some skies for instance. I thought about mentioning a default thin white border--maybe 10 pixels or so around the image, but then many would scream about a border or one that would interfere with their own border--can't win can ya!?!
    I just know that I end up having to somehow eliminate the current frame if I actually want to see the image--I think most seasoned photographers set their PS backgrounds to a mid-toned gray as overly dark or light backgrounds adversely affect the reading of an image. Oh well!
  4. I agree with John completely on this. The white washes a lot of stuff out and destroys the look of a lot of photos. Check out photography sites. Rarely will you see a white background. A neutral gray makes the most sense. I've actually considered posting only a thumbnail of my work and linking to my own web hosted version of my photos so that people would see them in a more presentable fashion. I may still do this, because the white is as invasive as John says it is.
  5. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    My black and white prints are mounted and over matted with white museum quality mat board. I never thought much about it but just did the same as was done by Ansel Adams. I don't think he used any other color board.
  6. James, no he didn't, but one of the first things he demonstrated when I met him was the flare the white board caused. He passed out cardboard tubes and had us look through them, eliminating the white background, to show how much it affects the prints. In his darkroom, his viewing area for wet prints was mid gray.
  7. A mat surrounding a printed photo has a very different effect than the very large amount of area that affects an online image. Also, the online background (and image, of course) are back lit. So comparisons to what we hang won't necessarily work. I, too, tend to mat all the photos and paintings I hang either with white or slightly off white. But I much prefer to look at photos on line with a mid-gray background.
  8. And to be honest, it's one of those things that people aren't ever going to agree on. Some people want a black background, some people want a grey one, some like white​
    I'm sure you're right Josh as far as the above is concerned but John is right. It sure would make for a big improvement.
  9. I wholeheartedly support John and Fred and I think that a neutral gray background will definitely enrich the tonal qualities of the photographs presented in PN. Actually I tried to highlight this issue on 13th June 2009 but couldn’t convince Josh. The previous link is
  10. Sumon, reading your earlier post, Josh's objection seems based on an individual having a choice of background, which would tend to compromise the design of the site and can thus see the objection. Changing to a neutral background would not only enhance the photos but provide a consistent look to the site--which is very important IMO.
    Some photos may look better on black or even white, however, I am sure we have all seen those visual games where they place a neutral gray in a field of black and the same gray in a field of white. On black, it looks maybe as much as 2 stops lighter than it really is while on white it looks up to 2 stops darker--that is why I suggested the neutral mid gray and not a darker color.
  11. There would be a little cleaning up to do, but attached is my suggestion--change the light gray around the images and the background color of the site only as shown below. Like I said, a little awkward with the type boxes in the darker image field maybe, but there would be easy fixes to those.
  12. I agree with the proponents of a darker background. In Photoshop you are offered two choices of workspace background, a neutral grey similar to the shade used by John A in his example or black. I'm quite certain that thousands of man-hours have been invested by Adobe to research and identify the shades most appealing to the largest number of people when using their product. Facebook has recently changed their photo display to something with a large black backdrop. 500 million users and that's where they spent their development resources.
    I prefer a neutral grey over black. Just adding my two cents, I understand the conflicts that changes like this generate. It's obviously not a deal breaker for me, I've been a subscriber for a while now, but I do think it would enhance the viewing experience.

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