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Photo Sales Question?

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Photo Sales Question?

Postby maverick » Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:26 pm

I would be interested to know from photographers who sell there
art, what percentage of your photo's are of what you saw as opposed
to what are enhanced or manipulated to please an individual or group?
I've found personally that people lean more towards the enhanced
photo's, which Im happy to do, but I feel that there getting cheated
sometimes of the real experience.
I guess Im wrestling with staying true to my art or staying with what
sells.
Have you gone thru this faze yourself? If yes, what was you solution?


Thanks



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Postby Charles2 » Tue Oct 02, 2007 3:22 pm

Ansel Adams was one of the best photo enhancers the world has ever seen. A lot of the quality of his photos was the result of his efforts in the darkroom. Personally, I feel that the artistry of the photographer starts with the camera work but is further enhanced by the darkroom work. I also feel that the same thing applies to digital photography. The finished product is the artists expression and has nothing to do with how it was produced.
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Postby copeg » Tue Oct 02, 2007 4:03 pm

This seems to be an often talked about subject in photography forums and I'm looking forward to hearing other's responses. Esp. with digital photography, things can be changed beyond our wildest dreams. As charles mentioned, Ansel Adams was an artist in the darkroom - these days with photoshop what Adams did was nothing compared to what is possible today. With film, many things such as the type of film, developing process, etc.. effect the outcome of a photograph. With digital, the file can usually changed in the form of white balance, sat, contrast, etc...which all reflect the outcome - but also digitals can be changed by adding or removing elements, blending multiple exposures, all of which with the intent of creating art rather than representing the scene.

I personally almost never "change" a photo. I put change in quotes because it is relative. A raw file needs to be "changed; just as film needs to be developed - and I personally change the file to best reflect the beauty of what I saw with my own eyes. With my film photographs, when I digitize them, I also change them to remove color casts and other artifacts caused by the type of film I was using. What I almost never change is adding or removing elements, or carrying things beyond what I remember seeing (I say almost because I have been know to mess around with a photo artistically - but I usually mention this if I feel I've crossed that border). There are two different schools of thought - between that of documentation and art. I personally am always trying to seek a blend of the two. But, keep in mind this is coming from someone that doesn't sell much :rolleyes:
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Postby maverick » Tue Oct 02, 2007 4:37 pm

For me, finding the subject to be photograph, the angle to take the
picture at, choosing the right time of day to take the photo..,ect all
comes into play before the camera is even setup.
This to me is as much part of the artistic side of photography as
anything else done during or after the photo is taken.
And yes, I too would like to hear more peoples input, like SSSDave
who has been in the business for quite awhile.
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Postby Ciocc » Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:06 pm

trailblazer wrote:But, keep in mind this is coming from someone that doesn't sell much :rolleyes:


That's depressing because your work is *very* good.
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Postby SSSdave » Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:53 pm

Well mav you posted this thread at the wrong time haha. All my packed gear is staged at my front door to depart on an Eastern Sierra fall foliage road trip. I've been really busy today and simply don't have the mental energy left this evening to properly engage this one of my favorite photography forum subjects. But maybe I can outline the issues. You can visit http://www.photo.net or http://www.naturephotographers.net then search on my real name which is what I post under and "fidelity" to read what I've written.

Most pros today, especially newer ones have embraced post image enhancement with anywhere from modest restraint as trailblazer related to virtual anything goes where they actively clone out and in elements. A Photoshop pro with honed graphic arts skills at my level can readily create fine images Frankenstein style from some Manhattan office without ever having made a boot print in a wilderness. Replacing a boring blue sky with nifty clouds is no big trick given enough effort. The main thrust of my own inputs is that image enhancements to any level are perfectly fine as long as one at least in some way however small informs their public audience what they are doing. And that is where the battle lines are drawn because a majority of those doing post processing image enhancements don't want their audience to know what they have done. Not a peep do they want to offer. Of course in the realm of public photography doing so would only be a negative in the public's perception and they know it. Of course that attitude has caused the public to increasingly lose trust in what they see from all nature and landscape photographers which I personally dislike and work to hopefully change within the community.

For those that choose to, one can capture and later make fine art prints that are reasonably accurate to what one experienced. Not perfect but close enough that a person witnessing such would have no problem agreeing the photograph was a pretty good match. However today for those capturing images digitally, they only have their mental images to recall what a scene looked liked later when they are processing a file. And that simply is a poor way to consistently end up with a reasonably accurate result. Sure one could spend $3k using an X-Rite colorimeter, big Gretag-McBeth color charts, and Eye-One Software and acquire the tricky knowledge to calibrate a D-SLR before every shot like some commercial product photographers do but virtually no nature and landscape photographers bother doing so. All they do is adjust white balance and then set up the myriad controls and settings for whatever they are familiar with. In the future if photographers ask for image accuracy the manufacturers could deliver such but these early days no one is.

With a few color neutral slides films like EPN-100, Astia, and Provia 100F, if one exposes well a scene that is not too contrasty, the result will be rather close to what our human visual system experienced. Thus one can put such slides on a light table next to where one is post processing on a computer with a calibrated monitor and end up with a result close to what was captured. In fact one can brighten the shadows and dim the highlights a bit to more accurately end up with an image that is better than what the slide film rendered. Personally I revel with nature's light just as experienced so don't feel a need to manipulate what I captured even if such would arguably be more aesthetic.

...David Senesac
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Postby maverick » Wed Oct 03, 2007 11:11 am

Thanks Dave for the insight and the 2 photo sites, very informative.
Hope youre trip is productive, Ill be going up Saturday to get some
fall foliage(395) and hopefully dogwoods(120).
Last edited by maverick on Wed Oct 03, 2007 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby copeg » Wed Oct 03, 2007 12:32 pm

maverick wrote:For me, finding the subject to be photograph, the angle to take the
picture at, choosing the right time of day to take the photo..,ect all
comes into play before the camera is even setup.
This to me is as much part of the artistic side of photography as
anything else done during or after the photo is taken.

Well put maverick. I am always planning photographs, and nothing is better than coming home with a shot that was completely preconceived. At the same time, a lot of my photography is spontaneous - I'm given a situation that, regardless of how much planning I could have done, is completely spontaneous and I must 'plan on the fly'. I find this more so with wildlife photography, but also in landscapes as well.
Ciocc wrote:That's depressing because your work is *very* good.

Thanks so much. I think its more due to a lack of marketing on my part.

Great post David.
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Postby mountaineer » Thu Oct 04, 2007 9:29 am

With my film photographs, when I digitize them, I also change them to remove color casts and other artifacts caused by the type of film I was using.


Wouldn't the color cast be caused more by the scanning process than by the film you use? When I scan my slides, they end up with a slight color cast that is not on the original slide. I adjust the digital image to match the original slide. I am not one for enhancing the photo beyond what I actually saw and what the slide image looked like. Now that I have had a digital SLR for a week or so, I am not sure where I stand on the straight digital photography issue.
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Postby Buck Forester » Thu Oct 04, 2007 5:37 pm

It's a tough question because enhancing or manipulating can mean different things to different people. Adding or subtracting things in the image to me is manipulating, but adjusting contrast and saturation within reason is usually necessary. I shoot a lot of Velvia 50 film, which in itself is a color saturated film. Is that manipulation before it even hits the scanner? I guess it depends who you ask. Are those nice, warm, glowing portraits of people used in advertisements "enhanced" or just well done? Who knows. I sorta take the Galen Rowell approach... anything added or removed in an image is manipulation, but shooting a bold colored film to bring out rich, natural colors is fine with me. Some are opposed to it. Some think long-exposures to silk out water are enhanced or unnatural, but I don't think so. The right lighting conditions can create really strong colors and that's what I aim for. I love color. But I don't like obviously oversaturated images. I find my digital images are less saturated than my Velvia 50... if I simply bump up the saturation on my digital images it looks fake-o. With my scanned Velvia the colors seem to be richer and smoother and hold colors better. But I don't know Photoshop very well so I don't say that with any authority. I feel blessed to make a good second income (keeps my wife at home with the kids) and my most popular print and licensing requests are from richly colored landscapes.

So, I guess it depends on what you want to do with your images. If you want to go for strong sales, I think richly colored landscapes are more commercially appealing, as long as they stay within the natural realm. If you want to be a purist at the expense of possible sales because you don't like rich colors, hey, you gotta be true to yourself. I guess I'm lucky because I like richly colored images to begin with. I don't struggle with the issue of staying true to what I saw. My struggle is whether I spend too much time in the wilderness "focusing" on capturing the beauty around me vs. simply enjoying it without snapping a gazeeeellion images. Actually, at this point I struggle to get into the wilderness in the first place, ha ha!
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/page9/
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Postby copeg » Fri Oct 05, 2007 10:12 am

Great post Buck!

mountaineer wrote:Wouldn't the color cast be caused more by the scanning process than by the film you use? When I scan my slides, they end up with a slight color cast that is not on the original slide. I adjust the digital image to match the original slide. I am not one for enhancing the photo beyond what I actually saw and what the slide image looked like. Now that I have had a digital SLR for a week or so, I am not sure where I stand on the straight digital photography issue.


I've found the color shift is mostly dependent upon the film I use. Not so much with velvia 50. But when velvia 50 was discontinued a few years ago I was left hanging as I hadn't stocked up on it. I was forced to use the 100, and this film I noticed had a really bad tendency toward a magenta hue in the slide itself.
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Postby mountaineer » Fri Oct 05, 2007 10:55 am

I still have about 60 rolls of the 50 in my fridge. :)
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