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How to get good photos?

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Re: How to get good photos?

Postby maverick » Sat Mar 10, 2012 3:27 pm

WD wrote:
I also know from working with LANDSAT images that you can get what is called
"radiometric" distortions and atmospheric distortions that are pretty specific to
the digital sensors. I have no idea if these are also present in a digital camera
image. I guess I need to read some stuff to understand how my camera sensor

See if this helps WD: http://rsclass.gis.umn.edu/documents/21 ... sing-6.pdf

In regards to ratios, it gets better as one gains more experience. Making good money in
photography is less about the art piece it self, and more about marketing, and being
a good sales person.
There are a lot of famous, respected photographers/artists who do not make a lot of
money even though they have beautiful art work, but many do not embrace the marketing
side of the business. On the other hand you have photographers that can sell pieces
that are not the most aesthetically appealing or technically the most sound, but can
get customers emotionally attached to a piece of art, and make a very good living but
never become famous.
Have learned that for my kind of work, the higher priced, higher quality pieces sell
much better. Last year after naively dropping my prices drastically, in the belief that
my work should be affordable to everyone, not only did my sales drop off dramatically
but some customers were upset, rightfully so, though they did understood what the
reasoning behind my decision was.
Just because people can relate, understand, or like your subject matter doesn't mean
that they will purchase. Lowering my prices cheapened my work, its uniqueness, and
all the effort/time that was put into capturing these art pieces. My lesson learned from
this is that lower prices does not attract the right kind of customers, and that mistake
will not happen again.
Big pieces on metallic paper, with the right kind of lighting that will show off the
beauty of the subject matter, and then giving a performance like intro for several
individual pieces so the customers can understand not only what it took to capture the
art piece, but getting them emotional involved, feeling what I did at the time of
capturing the scene.
This is extremely fun, extremely rewarding, and what works for me.

You mention your difficulties in capturing an all encompassing pano's of landscapes. It is
not easy, it requires patience, technique, and some luck to get everything to come
together as envisioned by the artist.
This a 4 piece panorama, a view from Wildcat Point, which one can see the Kuna Crest
Tuolumne Meadow and River (including 2 waterfalls), the entire Cathedral Range, and
Clouds Rest at the other end. Each piece measures 24x33 in size, it was sectioned off
into 4 to make it give the customer a variety of hanging options as opposed to one big
piece which would be over 10 feet long, which no only restricts where it can be hung, but
the the cost would be astronomical.
Viewing this on a computer that is not calibrated, at the size of a large stamp, and not
understanding what went into capturing this piece, or the emotions that were felt by
the artist at the time, making it just a beautiful shot, without the human dimension
behind it.
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: How to get good photos?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:12 pm

The link you posted is exactly what I used to do to process LANDSAT images. Same program too. That was 15 years ago. Surprised the same stuff is still used. Satallite imagery is different from our digital cameras. For one thing we do not have an infrared or ultraviolet channels to use in tweaking the visible light channels. Atmospheric distortion is a HUGE issue for satallite images given the distance light has to travel through the atmosphere to reach the sensor; not so much for digital photos. But just knowing that these distortions exist makes you aware of how you never "get what you see". What I leared is that the resolution you get with a digital camera is the resolution of the sensor. It does not matter if you have a 14 megapixel camera if the sensor is so small that not enough signal is picked up by each pixel on the sensor. A gray-scale sensor actually can get a sharper picture because you do not have to split the incoming light into the various colors, therefore a stronger signal per pixel. I have no idea how this works on regular film.

I wrote a guidebook and sell it on the internet. I do not have to make a living at this, thank goodness! (at least the profit pays for my gas for backpacking trips!) I decided from the beginning not to ever reduce the price. I also have an agreement with my publisher/printer that neither of us reduces price without written agreement. What we sell wholesale is different. Once a brick-and-mortor store buys the book they can sell it at any price they need to. A brick-and-mortor store price is not in direct cometition with internet sales. So far, they are selling well enough that nobody is reducing price. At some point, I may have leftover books, but honestly, I will give them to friends for Christmas presents and donate copies to libraries before I reduce the price! I do have certain "free shipping" specials to boost sales. This reduces the total price to the customer without degrading the book itself. It sure has been a learning experience selling the book. I have absolutely zip in marketing experience! Thanks for sharing your experience. Sometimes I wondered if I made the right decision.
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Re: How to get good photos?

Postby SSSdave » Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:16 pm

I've seen enough of your images WD to know you have good composition skills. The image in post #2 is well balanced and framed. Some might have tried to get closer to the nearest paintbrush but that would have been a mistake there because right behind the turf and flowers is a big slab of bright granite that one needs to work to reduce frame size of by backing up this late in the morning. Later morning granite in the Sierra is often an image killer.

Generally landscape images with complexity you call busy don't display at small sizes as well as more focused landscape images that emphasize primary subjects. Conversely some complex detailed large format lanscape images that display impressively in large prints are often boring when displayed on a web sized screen or worse at the size limited by usual web boards. That said it is true that sometimes large detailed landscape images when downsized also display well at small image size. That has much to do the the specific subject matter and cannot be generalized although some will try and claim a good image ought to be impressive regardless of size. Such statements are likely related by those who really haven't personally viewed many large format prints. When we are viewing landscapes our wonderful eyes see considerable more lifelike detail than what small displayed images provide thus there is a basic disconnect with reality.

In any case I would not put too much importance in trying to impress others with web posted images regardless of how many photographers especially new ones seem to put such effort into. It is simply puny medium without much detail and for the vast majority of one's public audience variable from one computer screen to the next. Now that all said if the subject is small like a wildflower closeup, the web and our computer screens is quite adequate in presenting a quite reasonably and detailed display to our human eye sense of scale:


Today digital cameras have in just a few years thrown average amateur photographers into the realm of being able to produce rather impressive well detailed larger digital images. However printing a 16x20 from a 300 ppi original is still somewhat expensive so average folks really only see how sharp their camera results are by looking at their work on the computer where they cannot see a whole image at 100% size in order to judge overall frame impact.

As to your image, on post #2, it is an excellent subject and well framed as is. It is late in the morning from optimal looking about 10-10:30am. Better at 8-8:30am PDT late July when shadowing is more prominent and the sun more off axis to the right, while late enough that the paintbrush can illuminate and stand out. Capturing the frame earlier and the paintbrush may be increasingly dull while shadows cast annoying dark areas that interfere with frame geometry while not improving subject contrast.

One will see unending images by supposedly serious photographers that rarely make images outside early and late light. Much is simply too dim and awkwardly shadowed, to move my aesthetic sense. Classic is a distant small in the frame peak with reddish sunrise light on it while a few nice wildflowers up close fill the foreground nicely illuminated while most else is relatively dim shapes and shadows. Note that is an area down inside a canyon behind a tall ridge so there is not going to be any early light. I plan each day so I can capture landscapes like this in the narrow windows of best light. If one has a few images planned that can require a careful itinery setting up and running from place to place. A Sierra summer landscape photographer needs to learn how to capture images with clear blue sunny skies because that is usually all there is on our plates particularly during mornings.

An example taken last summer about 8am with the sun off to frame left:


Notice how the shadows here are just enough to enhance the small elements like small rocks in the foreground, the line of firs illuminated against the dark lake edge mid frame left, and how the forest on the opposite lake side are small areas of cyan green within a darker shadowy matrix. Of course one can use Photoshop to artificially bring out contrast in landscapes, however there are ways to produce the same results naturally by capturing from the right perspective at the right time of day.
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Re: How to get good photos?

Postby Mradford » Tue May 29, 2012 12:04 pm

Obviously there is no short cut to getting better photos other than experience. I think that the definition of a good photo isnt what everyone else thinks but how you feel about it. That being said focusing on the type of light and the composition of a scene is the best advice i think anyone can give. Now i am not a major landscape photographer by any means but i do make a living photographing none the less. I know some of the guys say not to take as many photos to compensate for getting a good one and i do agree. I think that slowing down, manually focusing, and really thinking about how you want to capture a subject can help. Also, i think that getting out and shooting more than just when your on a trip or at an event will help you with learning how to compose and also help you create your own voice and look. Also, when shooting landscape i think the BIGGEST thing is to not go out mid day and start shooting. Lighting is very crucial and the best lighting is in the morning and late afternoon to evening. Focus on using the light to create color and texture. Don't feel bad about your photos!! We all have to start somewhere and you will only get better with more practice! :)

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