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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Is This a Good Photo?

Now there's a leading question to which you could easily get a million different answers. What you'll find if you start asking, are different opinions. Some folks really get gripped by a fantastic stock-type image, some like artistic landscapes, others like experimental photography, some couldn't live without macro photography, and on it goes.

So, the low down is that good photography and good images aren't something you can define, unless you have a reason to define it. Let's move on to the actual results of photography - the photo or image, and leave the "good photography" to the philosophers.

Does it make sense that the same photo can be seen as good and bad?

stock photo in black and white photography of vintage light/flash unitsWell, think of it this way. If someone comes to you for a passport photo, a good passport photo is one that contains a sharp image against a plain background, and only has the head and upper shoulders of the subject. It also must have no glaring highlights on things like eyeglasses, nose or chin, must not contain shadows, must be a straight on facial pose, no profiles, and the subject must be expressionless (ie: no smiling).

That doesn't sound like the sort of thing most people would consider a good portrait, but the passport office sure does.

If a bride wants an artistic shots with lots of blurring and motion for her first dance, the photo might show only small parts where it is fairly sharp, and the rest of the photo would be a swirling blur. There are photographers who think that would be quite a horrid shot because of all the blur, but the bride will love it. She'll think it's a great photo.

stock photography of smooth spa rocks on white backgroundIf you shoot for microstock, then you need a photo that is evenly lit, properly balanced in terms of colour (white balance), the focus must be sharp in the correct places (ie: the focal point), it must have good composition, it shouldn't contain a any noise, and it must have an appeal for commercial buyers. All of those factors would make it a technically good photo, and a good photo for stock, but not always a good photo for framing.

I think by now you can see where we are going.

In order to create good work photographically, you need to work to your market, if you have one or plan to have one. If you shoot only for yourself, then anything goes.

If you want to sell your work, research your market. By that I mean, if you want tofine art photography print of landscape in emerald and white sell Landscape Prints then start looking at places that sell Landscape Prints. Look at the work presented and see what type of style is popular for that niche. It's a good starting point, so look at a lot of places.

Then, after you gather your data, decide what you want to do about it. Because one type of print might sell better than another, you might decide to work in a couple of styles if you are comfortable with those. Or you might decide that your style isn't going to fit with that genre of imagery.

But here's the kicker...this is where most people stop. "Oh, I don't shoot stuff like that, so I guess it's not for me."

fine art photography landscape print showing lake of waves and stormy skies, copyright J. Gracey StinsonLike art, photography is resiliant and flexible. If you shoot in a certain style and you think it doesn't fit in a Landscape photograph, do it anyway, and do it your way.

Go out and develop a style of Landscape photography that's different. There really are no limits in photography. When you work in any artistic genre, the biggest mistake you can make is not allowing yourself to try.

What limits us is our desire to have our work accepted by everyone as "good". If that's the case,stock photography over black background of glasses and bottles in blocks of ice, copyright J. Gracey Stinson then all we are doing is producing for others, and not out of our love of photography - we are letting others define what we think. Then photography becomes just another way we allow others to measure us.

That's not to say you can't blend those two things - as an example, many photographers love to shoot microstock photos, and they fit into that market and don't give up any of their own desires to do it.

In my repertoire are many images that others apparently don't like much - too fine art photography print of sweet faced blond child - girl in santa hat, copyright J. Gracey Stinsonblurry, or the colour is wrong or there's too much noise. But that's okay. They don't have to like them. Some of them have even sold, so a few people like them.

Me? As it happens, I love them. They have the ability to melt my heart, or make me feel comforted, or bring a smile to face and heart.

And that's the whole reason for doing it in the first place.

1 comment:

article marketing said...

Very thoughtful, had a great time reading your post