Friday, 14 December 2012

Why Don't You Like Me?

To clarify, I like you. And I would accept all of your photos if I could.  But you may be finding that reviewers have a different opinion about you. Let’s try and change that.

So, here’s a few reasons reviewers have decided that they don’t like me:

1) Technical Quality. Seems like a fair reason to reject me, I guess, my photo just isn’t technically good enough to sell.

The main reason I believe this happens to me is artifacting. This usually means noise, in my experience. If you don’t know what noise is, then it’s certainly worth looking up, but it’s basically just the name given to the grainy texture you get in photos. Nobody is fully sure of what causes it, but it happens to a greater extent at a higher ISO and in low-light conditions, so you might want to try and avoid these where you can. If you end up with noise in your image, the noise removal filter in Photoshop (and Elements) is usually pretty good, but can mean you lose detail, so be careful.

Also, make sure there’s no dust or marking on your lens before you start shooting – a prefect photo with a lens spot is nowhere near a perfect photo.

The rule to follow is that you should check your image at 100% zoom every time, this way you’ll know if it’s good enough.

2) Lighting and Composition. Perhaps less obvious, but it certainly makes sense that a dark image with odd composition will not sell.

Overcoming the first part should be easy, just make sure your image is bright and colourful, simple as that. This is easiest to do in camera, but adjusting these things in your editing programme shouldn’t be too taxing, if you need to (this can often be a problem if you shoot on cloudy days, as I mentioned last time).

Composition is one that I’m still not entirely sure about and actually seems to be quite subjective. My way of thinking about it is that no one should be able to look at your image and tell you that something looks a bit off, it should make sense to the viewer. Told you it was subjective. Please feel free to comment if you think differently about this, I’d be intrigued to hear!

3) Focus and Sharpness. Again, kind of obvious.

If your photo isn’t in focus, nobody wants it – sorry! This shouldn’t be too difficult, since autofocus is usually fairly accurate. If you get this message a lot, though, it’s worth considering trying manual focus, as I discovered recently. You’ll have to use a tripod (which you should be doing anyway), but it means that there’s no doubt what’s going to be in focus and it will make sure your image is sharp. Give it a go, if you haven’t already, a new challenge is always fun!

These are the main three I envisage you having trouble with, but you’ll soon learn how to overcome them. It may take more time at first, but it can very easily become second nature.

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