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Maybe I'm trying too hard to take good photos...

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by demiro, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    My ten year old is my mother's only grandchild. Pics of the kid have been a big hit since day one, but my mom has recently repeated the mantra that she is out of wall space. The biggest prints I do anymore are 8x10, so trying to be conservative.

    Anyway, my kid gets her braces off the other day. She takes a selfie with my phone. Not a bad shot by selfie standards, but obviously limited. I send it to my mom just to show her the braces-free smile. Get a note back today that she got it blown up to 16x20, framed, and has it on the wall in her entryway. I can't imagine an iPhone shot at 16x20, especially with the lower res camera.

    I'm just shaking my head. Glad she likes the photo, but wondering why I've been wasting time worrying about lighting and settings and post processing when I take portraits of the kid for mom. Maybe my shots just really suck and this is the first one she thought wasn't terrible! :) 

    It does highlight how much we worry about details that the people we share photos with will never notice, understand or care about. Moral of the story: Shoot more and share more, stop chasing IQ and some semblance of perfection.
    • Like Like x 3
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  2. c0ldc0ne

    c0ldc0ne Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 9, 2012
    I fully agree with what you said, and I have had my share of experiences that match yours.

    On the other hand, we are often our own worst critics. If one of my photos doesn't pass my own judgement, I generally consider it a miss, unless I specifically shot it for someone else and they happen to like it.
  3. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    My wife gets upset that I delete lots of pictures; she thinks a lot of them are 'good enough', especially when they're difficult wildlife or macro insect shots that I don't like because of lack of detail, not all in focus etc. I don't care; I don't want people to see my work and go 'meh'. I want people to be excited and surprised by what I produce.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  4. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Maybe it's not so much the quality of the photo but "that precious moment" that has the most impact, especially for a grand mother & that precious moment for her may have been felt for this selfie photo taken on the phone.
    • Agree Agree x 8
  5. edmsnap

    edmsnap Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 20, 2011
    Edmonton, Alberta
    My mom's favourite picture is an iPhone panorama that my sister took; it's technically dreadful with dynamic range problems resulting in crushed black shadow areas and blown highlights. But it's a picture of a majestic scene in the mountains with trees, snow-capped mountain tops, a lake/river, and wildlife. I've considered my worst landscape shots many times better because of the sharpness, colour, and technical superiority. My mother barely acknowledges that any of them exist. For a while I was aggravated, but it has taught me that those of us on photo forums sometimes quite incorrectly value very different things and need to remember that subject, composition, and mood are way more valued by the average person in the world than perfect management of the exposure triangle and 150 lp/mm. :) 
    • Agree Agree x 4
  6. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    How true. As much as we hate to admit it, what really "makes" a great image is not sharpness, micro contrast, dynamic range, or bokeh. It's subject matter, feeling, composition that gets our attention and/or moves us.
    • Like Like x 1
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  7. jyc860923

    jyc860923 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    Shenyang, China
    • Funny Funny x 2
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  8. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Cameras are tools, and photography is a visual language. We say different things to different people with our photos. Precious moments are for a different audience than folks seeing your photos hanging on a wall for possible purchase. Yes, technical quality is always appreciated for precious moments, but it is generally not the driving component of the image for most of this audience.

    • Like Like x 1
  9. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    That teaches you nothing except she values your sister more than you.
    I'm not even joking.
    Make photos for someone else for a while.
  10. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    I'd rather look at a technically flawed image that speaks to me rather than an image which is technically flawless, yet has nothing to say. IMO, that's also how the general public feels when looking at images. The visual arts, photography included, is about the power of visuals that brings out emotions to the viewer and not necessarily about showcasing the artist's technical skills. Although not mutually exclusive, this is what differentiates artists, artisans and craftsman.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. EdH

    EdH Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 14, 2014
    Devon, UK
    The technical perfection of a photograph is always going to come second to the subject, and how the viewer relates to it. The quality of the image can add to that, but it's really not important to most people.

    We're at the at the geek level (at least so much that we're here on a photographic forum), so we tend to to look more technically (blown highlights, focus, noise etc.) at images. For non-photographers it's always going to be a much more emotional response – a gut feeling made within a split second, rather than an analytical review of the quality of an image. Often it is shots from our mobile phones because, when we're capturing a moment or event, our phones are the cameras we always have with us.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    I wrote this up back in 2013:


    We as photographers get all caught up way too often in our own work, what we think is great, and that technical proficiency trumps all else.

    Another point - don't assume what and why your mother likes one image over another. Communicate with her and ask her point blank why. Otherwise, you'll never know and just be guessing, and your guessing will most likely be wrong!!
  13. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2013
    That's kind of a funny story. I can empathize a bit. The people I am close to appreciate my photos, esp my GF, Father who either knows or has learned a thing or two about the technical merits. There still has to be something of interest or the right moment for sure to captivate anyone. That said, I've posted photos from concerts on facebook and/or sent to the artists. They usually appreciate them and compliment me, but the other facebook folks and some musicians will rave "great photo" to other people who post crap that is blurry, out of focus, blown highlights, extremely underexposed etc. They will even reshare or post to their profile. The kind of photo most of us would hit delete on without a second thought. Still others will upload EVERY single photo (like 100-200+) without any PP or culling. I guess it's more about relationships or familiarity maybe.

    I've learned over the years, not to upload my bad ones or too many of the same thing/same angle.

    When I submit a batch of photos to the newspaper or contests, I often find my least favorite photos of the bunch are the ones chosen to be published or winners. My aunt even asked to buy a few prints from me that were published on last years calendar and I tried to talk her into a few other alternates that I preferred and thought were better technically and subjectively, but to no avail. She liked the ones she liked.
  14. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    I wouldn't call 8MP low res for the latest iPhone. Recently, a friend of mine printed a 20x30 framed off her Galaxy S5 of a friend who completed a run from a charity organization and is currently hanging in her medical office.
    The main purpose of photography has always been record keeping. Sharing images and telling stories. It's always been effective for many centuries. The successful photographers convey those messages; even if the image is just a selfie. Vivian Maier TOOK a lot of selfies herself and most of her shots have some blur in it and would even make Ming Thein cringe over little technical imperfections. And yet, those are being sold for hundreds and thousands of dollars and started legal fights for who should legally own her copyright materials. Why? Because her images, while maybe lacking in perfect IQ, convey a deep message that people are willing to buy a piece of that and hang them on their walls to appreciate just like your mother.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  15. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Legend

    Mar 21, 2014
    I think the obvious answer is that there needs to be a middle ground.

    I was on a canoe camping trip this past weekend and we took an Olympus underwater tough cam and an old Fuji superzoom/bridge cam that we wouldn't be too upset with if they got dumped in the water and died (unlike $1000+ of interchangeable lens camera gear if we'd taken an M4/3 cam or my GF's Samsung NX). We managed to capture a few nice moments, but the Fuji in particular is unresponsive, has slow AF, abysmal dynamic range, terrible JPEG processing...all of which is exacerbated when trying to take photos from a moving canoe. We captured a few nice moments, but there were a lot of missed moments, too, which can be blamed on the equipment, and the ones that we did capture wouldn't hold up to printing much bigger than 11x14" (I consider print to be an easier output medium than a computer screen, to be perfectly honest!)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    My plan for next year is to invest in a DiCAPac waterproof case to carry my GX1 + 14-140mm. I want the flexibility without the regret of so many near-misses of lovely moments.
  16. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Actually, I have no problems taking out my Nikon AW110 as my only camera as I was inspired by this guy with his AW100.


    For this little compact point and shoot, at lower base ISO, the colors and everything are smooth and gorgeous. It's of course no Olympus m/43, but I have paired both together on my travels. Printing big is no problem with the AW 110 and dynamic range can be extended using easyHDR software with JPEG files and printed well if you know how to prep the files. Best of all, I can control both my AW 110 and E-P5 from my iPod Touch to do selfie, covert street photography and stuff. Now only if I can find a good underwater tough camera that does RAW. Does Olympus Tough do RAW?!?
  17. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    I have an awesome camera for that kind of stuff ... but these days I guess it'd be considered too big.

    E-1 & 14-54mm : highly water-resistant and can be used to beat off marauding wolves and beavers.
  18. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Legend

    Mar 21, 2014
    The new Olympus TG-4 does RAW. It is the only one on the market except for the $900 Nikon AW1 interchangeable system (well, interchangeable with 2 lenses).

    My TG-850 is actually okay, but the main thing is that the zoom range is very limited. 21-105mm equivalent. Great wide angle, but on these canoe trips the wildlife is really the highlight. I generally need much closer to 300mm equivalent (hence the 14-140), since loons and herons are quite skittish (the loons spend most of their time underwater, and only pop up now and then, so you need to be ready and waiting and zoomed in)

    Sadly, even the E-1 and 14-54 can't handle immersion. Water issues on a canoe trip are an all-or-nothing matter. Your camera is either high and dry, or it's in the water. Nothing except a dedicated underwater camera or a fully-sealed bag will do. We still haven't dumped our canoe yet, more than 3 years running...but it's bound to happen some time, and ruining $1000 of gear with such a silly incident would dampen my spirits very much indeed.
  19. tkbslc

    tkbslc Super Moderator

    That Nikon AW1 is getting cheaper. Down around $600 grey market. I might bite when it gets closer to $300-400, which will probably not be long based on other Nikon 1 products!
  20. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Legend

    Mar 21, 2014
    I've been wondering about that myself, for a while. The price is dropping a lot, lot slower than I'd thought it would.

    Though with the terrible 3.5-5.6 aperture on the AW1's 11-27.5 (27-75mm) zoom, the TG-4 probably approaches it in image quality at the wide end despite the 1/2.3" sensor, due to its f/2 aperture. 1/2.3" is only 2 stops behind 1" in area, and the AW1 doesn't have a sensor anywhere near as good as Sony's RX100 series. And since it also shoots RAW, has other more versatile features, and is better sealed/shock proof due to its integration, the TG-4 that already sells for $329 sounds like a better bet in my mind.
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