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What would have made these better?

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
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  • #1648
    clouddancer
    Participant

    I am trying, honestly. These are the 3 I submitted in the last contest. I would like to know what would make them better pictures. I thought they looked cool and then when I saw the other pictures I felt really tiny. So, I’m asking for input. I am limited in a lot of what I can do because of my P&S, but I do firmly believe that I could make better pictures anyway.

    Thanks (in advance) for the input/advice, etc.

    Edited to include the actual pictures. Thank you to sleeping for pointing it out. Should have previewed. I knew it. I hope it works this time.

    #23498
    sleeping
    Participant

    Well, my first advice is that HTML Image tags don’t work in the forum 😉 I use this site to convert them to BBCode (which does work): http://www.seabreezecomputers.com/html2bbcode/

    #23499
    clouddancer
    Participant

    I feel stupid now. I should have checked that. I used the IMG code from Photobucket so hopefully it’ll work for someone other than me this time. I see them, but that may not necessarily work for everyone else. Thanks (again).

    #23500
    staplermofo
    Participant

    That’s a rough question.
    I mean, it’s essentially asking “what makes a photo good”.

    I’m not really sure how to answer that except to say “staplers.”
    I’m also told up to 10% of the population prefers boobies to staplers, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    #23501
    clouddancer
    Participant

    I do want to make better pictures. Part of how I would know I’m doing better is overall getting more votes. Lots of pictures I see are better than mine. I guess it is asking what makes a photo a good photo versus an okay. Those are okay. They’re not great. Should I have used different lighting? Are the colors not coming out enough? Are they too bright or dark, not cropped well, bad angle or “standard” one that’s boring? Are they too obviously contrived, or placed for taking pictures instead of more part of the environment? Is the subject of the photograph blending in too well with the background or is the background so boring it takes away?

    Perhaps I’m thinking too much about this, but I also know that it’s pointless to “keep practicing” if your form is wrong or if you’re practicing the wrong things. I seem to do okay to decent at flowers and almost anything outside, but like a n00b at any other thing it’s just practicing the craft. Thanks.

    #23502
    SilverStag
    Participant

    The first rule of Farktography should be “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

    Votes are a poor measure of quality, because I’ve seen hundreds of beautiful photos go by the wayside in favor of a funny or clever entry here. It’s going to happen.

    The best way to get better is to just keep shooting. You will eventually develop and eye and learn things as if by osmosis. It’s quite literally a practice-makes-perfect hobby. When someone says something nice to me, I try to keep my head screwed on straight by remembering that for all the nice shots they praise, I shot a few thousand crappy ones to get there.

    What I’m saying, long-windedly, I’m afraid, is that you can’t rush this. By the same token, if you love shooting, don’t get discouraged by not instantly living up to your expectations of yourself. I’ve been shooting crappy photographs for 40 years, and loved every minute of it.

    Just enjoy yourself.

    #23503
    staplermofo
    Participant

    I’ll just spout nonsense then until someone else speaks up.

    Since it’s all personal opinion and all that crap, and you have a ready supply of it in yourself and your friends, take some pictures you like and think about what it is you like about them. Keep doing this until you have established trends.
    Then, take a look at pictures you don’t like, but you think also follow those trends. Try to find a trend in what sucks.

    For example, I like pictures with a lot of contrast, but only when the contrast brings the subject, or a facet of the subject that supports scrutiny.
    I like lots of vibrant color, but only when it’s nicely clumped. I don’t like rainbow vomit.
    I like narrow depth of field, but only when I can clearly make out everything I’m interested in in the photo. If there’s something in the background I would like to read and can’t, I get frustrated at the photo.

    In other words, there isn’t any easy way. You have to think about what looks good, look it over, think about what would help, what wouldn’t, blah blah blah. Which is why all my photos are half-assed. My “good enough” threshold is awfully low.

    Hopefully someone that photographs well will speak up and give proper advice.

    #23504
    staplermofo
    Participant

    *shakes tiny fist at SilverStag, installs QWERTY Warriors 2*

    #23505
    nobigdeal
    Participant

    The first rule of Farktography should be “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

    Votes are a poor measure of quality, because I’ve seen hundreds of beautiful photos go by the wayside in favor of a funny or clever entry here. It’s going to happen.

    The best way to get better is to just keep shooting. You will eventually develop and eye and learn things as if by osmosis. It’s quite literally a practice-makes-perfect hobby. When someone says something nice to me, I try to keep my head screwed on straight by remembering that for all the nice shots they praise, I shot a few thousand crappy ones to get there.

    What I’m saying, long-windedly, I’m afraid, is that you can’t rush this. By the same token, if you love shooting, don’t get discouraged by not instantly living up to your expectations of yourself. I’ve been shooting crappy photographs for 40 years, and loved every minute of it.

    Just enjoy yourself.

    What he said….

    It took me a long time just to break the top 20 in any contest and well over a year of entering 3 shots every week to get my one and only “win”. The voters on Fark don’t follow any set criteria, so I just shoot and enter what I like and take the votes as they come.

    Your 1st shot is pretty good. I maybe would have focused on the “Penthouse” name more and applied some noise reduction along with sharpening to clean up the shot.

    2nd Shot is ok. maybe a different arrangement of the discs?

    3rd shot is meh..kind of dark and uninteresting. I don’t know what you could do to make it better.

    This is a game of practice. Keep shooting. It doesn’t cost anything when you shoot digital.

    Read up on photography and composition. There are some pretty good websites out there that can be very informative.

    http://digital-photography-school.com/ (this one is very good and the forums are very beginner friendly)

    #23506
    sleeping
    Participant

    Perhaps I’m thinking too much about this, but I also know that it’s pointless to “keep practicing” if your form is wrong or if you’re practicing the wrong things.

    Practicing more is actually good advice, but only if you are actually practicing, not just taking a bunch of random photos. People tend to assume they are the same thing, but I don’t think that’s the case at all.

    One thing that helps a lot is not taking just one photo of anything. Take 2 or 3 or 4 (or 10 or 20) and make them all different.

    Then, and this is probably the most important part, you need to look at what you’ve shot as objectively as you can, and try to figure out what you did wrong, and what you did right. I don’t just mean the basic technical stuff (exposure, focus etc.), but also composition – shapes and lines, texture, color.

    When you go out shooting after that, try to remember what you did right, and see if you can do it again….

    #23507
    bucky_bacon
    Participant

    I’m assuming that by “better” that you mean getting more votes, better finishes in the contests. The thing with these Farktography contests is that usually a great subject relating to the theme or a witty concept (see SilverStag‘s winning entry last week) will usually win out. Composition and lighting (don’t ask me about lighting) are important in that they can help take an average picture of your subject and make it instantly more appealing to people scrolling down the entries. My advice is that it’s really best to try to not over think it. Try to come up with the best subjects that you can and try multiple different shots, compostions, etc. The important thing is that you enjoy what you are entering, and what you are shooting. I can promise that the practice of doing so will make your results improve.

    Now, I would also say that you’re off to a pretty decent start, believe it or not. The important thing that you can’t argue is that you have a desire to participate and to do well. I can certainly see the effort that you put into your entries the last two weeks, compared to those prior to that. You’re obviously looking for diverse subjects and putting time into setting up your shots, and I like the compositions personally. I believe you are headed in the right direction. Just continue to participate, keep thinking and looking for “outside-of-the-box” ideas. Look through past contests, see what has done well for others, and try to adapt what you like about those pictures to your work.

    #23508
    swampa
    Participant

    Joining the you are doing fine crowd. I see no problems with your first two pictures, just the third picture is a bit dark and off kilter for my liking.

    The other thing to remember is that some people will be voting for what is represented in the photo, not whether it is a good photo in these contests.

    Also joining the play with the camera crowd. You will eventually come up with things that you like when taking photos (for me, large apertures or long exposures – also that the rule of thirds is stupid :P)

    #23509
    clouddancer
    Participant

    Now I feel sheepish but better. I am trying. Silly work gets in the way a lot of days (okay, 5 days out of the week), but I definitely try to get out.

    My favorite shots to do are of flowers, but flowers don’t work in everything. I don’t like to garden or grow stuff, but I like to take pictures of them. Go figure. Sometimes I’m told not to enter anything by my husband, but I think trying is better than not. I always want to put in at least 1 picture. I think it’ll only be 2 this time.

    Hubby and a friend went to the “city” yesterday and he brought me back batteries as I requested. Silly camera goes through a lot, but I make do and try to make the most of the shots I will get before the batteries go kaput.

    Anyway, thank you TONS for the encouragement to just keep going and having fun with it. I feel a lot better about where I am.

    #23510
    nobigdeal
    Participant

    Now I feel sheepish but better. I am trying. Silly work gets in the way a lot of days (okay, 5 days out of the week), but I definitely try to get out.

    My favorite shots to do are of flowers, but flowers don’t work in everything. I don’t like to garden or grow stuff, but I like to take pictures of them. Go figure. Sometimes I’m told not to enter anything by my husband, but I think trying is better than not. I always want to put in at least 1 picture. I think it’ll only be 2 this time.

    Hubby and a friend went to the “city” yesterday and he brought me back batteries as I requested. Silly camera goes through a lot, but I make do and try to make the most of the shots I will get before the batteries go kaput.

    Anyway, thank you TONS for the encouragement to just keep going and having fun with it. I feel a lot better about where I am.

    http://www.energizer.com/products/hightech-batteries/rechargeables/Pages/rechargeable-battery-charger.aspx

    Best investment you can make if your camera eats batteries, and not as expensive as you think.

    I have been using the same 4 in my P&S that I use for my eBay store for about 3 years. ($22 original cost)

    #23511
    Curious
    Participant

    also that the rule of thirds is stupid

    my sister, the retired high school photo teacher, and i have fought over that one for ages. while i agree about top left eye travel western reading practices, etc, etc my personal aesthetic favors something else. so i shoot what i find pleasing and let the viewer decide.

    clouddancer i have one win and 4 second place finishes. the 2nd in Hallowe’en follows the rule of thirds. it is the only one that does. the 2nd in Keep Out was a combination being able to get the right angle, careful composition and good luck. the one win and other second place were shots that fit the theme and the voters liked. both were snapshots taken of Katrina damage and two of probably a hundred taken that day with two cameras.

    if you want to see them here’s my FSM profile. please note that of all my entries the vast majority finished well out of the running. those entries that finished 199th i like as much as the ones that finished in the top ten. and i thought they had potential when i posted them. also note how many votes and final placement. tied for 71st place is an entry with eleven votes and two entries with only one vote each. so using vote counts as a test of your skill just doesn’t work. and comments in the contest thread about “great picture” don’t usually tell what they liked about it.

    my point here is pretty much a repeat of others. learn the “rules” but don’t feel you have to be bound by them. shoot a ton of stuff. then a ton more. use the zoom and or move to change composition. get down on your knees or stomach. climb up on a chair or wall. ask lots of questions about shots you like. and those you don’t. if instead of being able to have the sun over your right shoulder it’s coming from the upper right in front of you use fill flash. try other tricks and techniques you read about but feel free to adapt them to your particular situation.

    above all else HAVE FUN. this is a hobby. you will get happier with your results if you don’t get all OCD about it.

    and BTW if you aren’t using rechargeable batteries invest in an overnight charger and a couple of sets of batteries. while i do keep a quick charger in my car the overnight ones seem to do better. if you are a wal-mart shopper they have ray-o-vac batteries (set of eight) and an overnight charger for under $20. i’ve also used everyready rechargeable batteries for several years. all will eventually die but overall are cheaper than disposables.

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