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Photo Sales Question?

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Postby maverick » Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:03 pm

I hear ya Buck. Some photography forums will criticize photos for
being anything but natural(no silking, on contrast..,ect).
When it really come down to it, what ever sells best or your customers
wants matters ,and most importantly you enjoying doing it!
I do not want and will not make my love for the Sierra turn into a love
for money.
If it ever got to a point where I go to the Sierra for the business only, shoot me!



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Postby Buck Forester » Fri Oct 05, 2007 10:51 pm

If it ever got to a point where I go to the Sierra for the business only, shoot me!


Shoot you? What do you prefer to be shot with, digital or film? :D I agree, if that's the sole purpose, business, then shoot me too. BUT, I think one can do both. I mean, if it was your "job" to come away with saleable wilderness images vs. going to a cubicle in an office, wouldn't it be nice to have the wilderness as your cubicle? Some people wouldn't want that because they want to keep their job and their hobby separate to keep their hobby pure. Personally I would like to spend a lot of time in the wilderness, beyond just weekends and allotted vacation time, and if it takes spending some of that time with a camera or high-def video camcorder in order to make moolah in the process, I'm okay with that... as long as I could still keep the joy of being in the wilds alive and well and not always dominated by trying to get marketable images/footage.
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/page9/
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Postby Hikin Mike » Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:09 pm

Maybe in the beginning I have gone a bit too far as far as Photoshop, but now I really try and be true to what I saw. I don't have GNDs so I use blended shots when I have too.

As far as selling my work. The photos that I really like don't sell, but other things that I don't care for seem to sell. Go figure...
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Postby maverick » Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:12 pm

Peferably digital.
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Postby maverick » Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:50 pm

Hi Mike

Thats happened a couple times too me. There's a picture that I thought
was the pure essence of the Sierra and I get a few sales, and the photo
that I thought wouldnt sell at all was bought like candy, go figure.
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Postby SSSdave » Tue Oct 09, 2007 6:41 pm

Just got back from my week long foliage trip this afternoon and see a few folks here have added their two cents. It is important to not condemn or criticize as being wrong or cheating, manipulated or un-natural image captures as long as a person is up front and honest with what they have done to their audience. Quite often over the years such discussions have come up on photography boards and one always seems to see someone criticizing and condemning others that choose to create less than natural color photographs. That all really became an issue in the early 90s when Fuji Velvia replaced Kodak Kodachrome a more naturally rendering color film. Not at all productive as an attitude and rather divisive in the photography community. One might say the genie has long ago got out of the bottle and there is no way its going to go back in. On the other hand it is quite all right to pose a response as saying one prefers any manner of un-natural capture or manipulated images or vice versa naturally captured images and reasons why. But again one ought not condemn others for their creative art style even if one does not personally prefer it.

As Buck noted, manipulation is really not a correct term to use because it tends to indicate an active action change on the graphic content of an image rather than on the luminance and color content. Thus my tendency to use more general wording like "un-natural image capture" that is more encompassing to all capture that is different than our human visual experience. Of course black and white photography is quite un-natural and no one would argue that is a problem as an artform.

Examples of what I think can be criticized is a landscape photographer that creates unnatural images that don't inform their audience. Like the art fair person that hangs a bunch of framed prints at a show who also has a web site they provide on a business card for people but doesn't indicate anything about what camera equipment, film, or post processing work style was involved in making their photographs. Or the person that if questioned about a print hanging in their booth simply flat out lies to customers saying "those red and purple skies were really what I experienced during that sunset". Or the person that regularly boosts saturation and contrast on every image to the maximum believable levels and has not a peep of information on their site or if asked denies such. Or worse those that actively change the graphic content of images without an explanation. They tend to be the most resistant to admitting anthing of course not surprisingly.

In these cases a considerate photographer might merely place in their bio web page or on a sheet in their art fair booth that they use such and such saturated film and creatively post process images for what a vision in their mind's eye. Or another photographer might state they regularly use graduated neutral density filters or post process image blending. Or for the person that cloned out a distracting automobile in an image and noted some way that they did so on that specific image. Thus one does not need to place a sign of distracting and boring information on everything one sells. But there is a balance a considerate photographer ought to embrace. Anyone that does so is a credit to the community even if it is not what my personal style and preference is about. ...David
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Postby Windwalker » Tue Oct 09, 2007 9:11 pm

It 's a much older debate than you think... close to 150 years now. Documentary or Art?

I personally have grown to hate the question " Do You Manipulate Your Photos" because there is no simple answer, it's not as simple as yes or no. The main reason I dislike the question...is usually those asking the question have no clue about the photographic processes or how long people have been using similar techniques in the dark room, dodging, burning,contrast filters or post processing like sepia toning, spotting & retouching, etc., etc.
The public sees Ansel as a master photographer...but have no clue that he was a master print maker and a big part of what made him a Master was his darkroom techniques....the very things that some call "cheating".
I usually respond something like this... " I do all my own color management, my monitor is calibrated to the lab's printer. I process every image individually adjusting color, contrast and sharpness.
All things the lab down at the corner drugstore could do, if they didn't batch process everything all the same. It usually seems to satisfy them.

"When I'm ready to make a photograph, I think I quite obviously see in my minds eye something that is not literally there in the true meaning of the word. I'm interested in something which is built up from within, rather than just extracted from without. " Ansel Adams
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Postby Buck Forester » Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:44 pm

Or another photographer might state they regularly use graduated neutral density filters...


HEY! Ha! I don't think the mere use of a GND filter should require photographer disclosure. That's just a neutral filter used to help balance out light more like the eye sees it. Otherwise a photographer would have to disclose simple things like the fact they use a polarizer filter, etc. I also don't think Velvia 50 would require "disclosure" because that's such a commonly used landscape film. That would mean people would have to disclose things like if they used, oh, super glossy paper, or disclose which lens they used (wide angle and super telephoto 'tweak' the natural perspective), or maybe the type of scanner used (can make a diff on the final image output) or the type of printer used, or what ISO was used because ISO can have a big effect on a photo, or even the DOF used, which can "change" the way the world is seen, etc. All these things are nice info to know, and much of it is revealed as a photographer explains a photo and how he got it, but not because it "should" be revealed in the interest of honesty or manipulation and full disclosure. All those things are "standard" and, I think, acceptable without question. I think the whole disclosure is more oriented towards obviously manipulated or changed images in terms of content and composites (not blending for exposures, but two or more images combined to create something that wasn't 'there', like foreground flowers from one place combined with soaring mountains from another place, etc).

Each film type - Velvia, Provia, Kodachrome, Astia, Sensia, etc, have their strengths and weaknesses of rendering certain colors, as does the ISO settings.
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/page9/
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Postby maverick » Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:36 pm

Having to log in every time is getting to be really fun.
Anyways I have to agree with Buck that disclosing everything about
ones picture should not be taken to the extreme.
For example the GND filter is helping the cameras short comings/abilities in capturing the photo that we realistically see.
Our eyes are many times more sensetive to colors and light than our
cameras/lenses will ever be, and we need ISO, Blending, Layering ..,ect, to be able to get at least close to what we see.
I agree Dave that some discloser would be good in some cases, but who's going to enforce/regulate what needs to be disclosed and what doesnt need to be?
Its kind of like the steroid issue in sports, some gain the advantage
by manipulation others lose out because they don't take advantage of it.
How many times have any of youve been asked by a customer what
ISO you used, whether you used a GND filter or did you manipulate
your picture in any way?
If they did, they where dabbling in photography themselves or trying to impress you with there knowledge.
Of coarse if the customer asked any of the above questions I would
answer all of them truthfully, Im not trying to manipulate the customer
only the photo's!
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Postby ERIC » Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:12 pm

maverick wrote:Having to log in every time is getting to be really fun.


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Postby maverick » Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:18 pm

Thanks Eric. HST administrators rule!
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Postby SSSdave » Wed Oct 10, 2007 11:05 pm

Buck, I think there is a considerable gray area of what information a considerate photographer might provide. I wasn't making a list of things a photographer ought to provide to their audience but rather merely giving hypothetical examples for the sake of my post of what they might choose to. There is certainly not any consensus and in fact the current status quo has been not to provide any information. Thus if a photographer bothers to say ANYTHING however small about what they are doing, it gets my vote of appreciation because there are some in our ranks that see any shift towards any disclosures a threat to their own dark game. Recently in one forum I frequent someone took my advice only to get a couple of quick responses making fun of the fact he disclosed cloning out some distracting branches. See such attitudes are a threat to those that like things just as they are with anything goes.

I find total non-disclosure to be a problem because it undermines public trust in landscape and nature photography work. Thus my usual two cents that photographers ought to step up and go some extra distance for the sake of our community of photographers. There are some things you, I, and a consensus of photographers would agree with that ought to be disclosed like actually adding or removing graphic objects not in a scene. However there are some that won't even do that. Of course it is elementary to add nifty clouds, color, animals, or other elements to a scene for anyone with good Photoshop skills. One problem has always been that those without such skills, which in the past has been the majority of photographers, often had little understanding of what a graphic arts pro can do with Photoshop so thought in small terms of these issues. That has rapidly been changing of late of course with the avalanche of digital cameras in ordinary folks hands and accompanying proliferation of processing software. One can guarantee some will go that route to create images at least for those in business of selling prints because of the obvious corruptions for the sake of money. ...David
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