How to "compete" ?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by alaios, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Hi all,
    a bit of discussion, grub your favorite coffee and please join. (this is a discussion coming from a newcomer and is should be more read as random thoughts I wanted to share at a coffee shop)

    I would like starting from today (I hope I will make it) to start sharing all the pictures I captured, since my first day I got my nex. The reason is mostly to get tips on how I can improve composition and camera's settings.

    I wanted to do that months now but my newborn daughter has of course shifted my priorities.

    I will try to share those over smugmug as is very easy and less consuming for me.
    The reason to open that discussion is that I have tried in the past to share bits and bytes here and there but I get the feeling that I am stuck with the taste of the others that are used in looking in great post processing photos (I do not judge that at all). I feel is the same like the taste buddies, if you eat salt a lot you will need a fixed level of salt in the food to consider it as tasty.

    I do not do photoshop to my images, I have tried only some times to slightly crop or change a bit brightness and contrast and that was all. The images I will start sharing would be the jpegs coming directly from the body's camera.

    I am not sure if I people are overdoing it or not, I guess this is pretty much personal taste, but sometimes I get the feeling that people are drifted to something that starts to be quite distant of what there is in reality. I can make of course a car look great with post processing (change hues, replace colors, reduce flares put more words also here...) but never my eye is gonna conceive it like that.

    So to reach a conclusion, right now I do not want to do any post processing (I know a bit but I do not want to invest time, I want to improve what I shoot directly from the camera) but do you think that your taste buds are quite good to their "original" condition or you want some extra salt to consider something as "nice","good starting point","good-bad composition"?

    Feel free to comment as you like. Let the fight begin. The first round of coffees on me
  2. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Photography, like any other "art" is very personal. If you don't want to process your photos then don't process them. I personally don't like fake miniature shots. I also don't like HDR shots that are processed to the point that they look like comic book illustrations.

    But, many people do like that stuff and that's what makes the world go around. In the end you have to do what makes you happy. ;)
  3. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    I like a bit of gradient filter and some dodging & burning. They're quick to apply and IME they can really help reconcile the differences between the way I perceive a scene and the way a camera renders it.
  4. ChangshaNotes

    ChangshaNotes Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 15, 2012
    I sometimes do very little PP, sometimes do a lot. I don't like combining images or removing objects I also could give a flying $%^& what someone else thinks about the right and wrong of it all. It's a hobby for me and I don't have to answer to anyone else but myself.

    随便 (suíbiàn) - It's up to you.
  5. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Aug 22, 2012
    Check. I wish I had more time to shoot, more time to share photos, more time to get feedback/critique.
    Check. My daughter is now 15 months.
    Agreed, the bar here is quite high and I feel nervous every time I upload a photo! But that's ok because at the end of the day people here are very nice. Probably only someone who comes in here obnoxiously insisting their way is best even with a technically poor photo is likely to get any push back. I think otherwise you will get very fair and honest critique if you ask for it, but if not people will tell you they like it if they do, and not say anything if it's not their taste!
    Check. I photoshop about 1% of my photos, and only when the mood strikes me.
    Everyone has their own style. If you want great dramatic impact from your photo, chances are you're going to have to play with light. But the rest of the photos that don't aren't any worse, technically. They just have a different expression.
    Not committing to post-processing helped me learn faster as there was more urgency to get things right from the outset. Histogram is a must, manual mode a must, etc. Lots of misses at first but fewer as time went by. On the other hand the experience with heavy PP was that there are indeed limits to what you can do, and it is possible to spoil a perfectly good unprocessed photo, etc. So there is no right or wrong here, and if time is your limiting factor (it certainly is for me), then that's just going to be part of the character of your photos. I find I love landscapes but have no time to go to interesting places to shoot (especially with young family). And photography that way would be slightly anti-social with my wife and daughter along. So I tend to take a combination of street and portraiture so I involve them in it. Sure I miss out some other stuff, but I have great memories at the end and that is also important.
  6. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    I personally think the post processing is at least as important as the shooting itself and adds even more of your own style to the photo. Also, it is NOT because you don't get a photo "right in camera" - post processing has nothing to do with fixing an image (usually), it's more about enhancing it. And believe me when I say you wouldn't like a single one of my images if I didn't process it.

    Of course it's okay not to post process, but depending as what you see photography, I for sure won't ever like any of your photos. The exception being if you see photography as a craft rather than an art, in this case (i.e. mostly for street- and reportage photographers) I don't care about post processing. But as an art, I can't stand seeing out of camera images, as they simply can't transfer feelings as effectively as images that are processed just to transport this single feeling.

    All this is of course only my opinion, don't let take the fun out of photography for you just because I think differently.
  7. Electric Shepherd

    Electric Shepherd TalkEmount Regular

    May 12, 2012
    Leicestershire, U.K.
    I couldn't agree more.

    Also post-processing is nothing new, plenty of it happens in the analogue field too - unsharp masking, dodging and burning are all film based terms. Again, I always shoot in raw format, so I must post-process to even get something you can actually see.

    It goes without saying though that there's a world of difference between enhancing a shoot and overdoing it...
  8. suntoryjim

    suntoryjim TalkEmount Regular

    May 17, 2013
    There's just so much information packed into a RAW file that to not process it to bring out all the richness and dynamic range contained within is quite a shame. Post-processing, in my opinion, allows you to extract every last bit of information that the sensor is capable of.

    That said, the sensor on the NEX is far more capable than many DSLR users seem to think (and are so quick to dismiss).

    <a href="" title="Bay Bridge sunrise by suntoryjim, on Flickr"> View attachment 34774 "1024" height="681" alt="Bay Bridge sunrise"></a>
  9. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    On the one hand I say take the picture right to begin with, and you don't need to post process.

    On the other hand I say post process is so easy to do, why not. If you have a good picture, you can make it great just by a few clicks and slides.

    On the third hand, (spent to long next to the nuclear reactor), there are times you can take pictures with the intent of post production.
  10. ChangshaNotes

    ChangshaNotes Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 15, 2012
    One way to look at it is that all photos are PP. If you are shooting jpeg, then the camera is PP the photos anyway. Lens adjustment, contrast, saturation, noise reduction etc is all done before we see the photo.
  11. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    I don't believe in heavy PP either (don't like photos that look too "unreal") but I do believe that every photo needs to be even slightly PP'd . I used to think the same as Alex but when I actually tried post processing I find that my photos look better to me...

    And by slight PP I mean correcting/fine tuning things like exposure, contrast, WB, noise reduction, cropping, converting to B&W - simple stuff like that :)

    The best way to change your mind about it is to post a photo you took (post a link to the RAW file) and give permission to others to PP it for you - in the end you might even like it ;)
  12. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther TalkEmount Veteran

    Aug 9, 2011
    But then there's that little issue of the NEX sensor being the same one that's in the Sony SLTs.....:biggrin:
    But I get your point. :)
  13. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Aug 22, 2012
    But better, since it doesn't have a big piece of glass in the way;)

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
  14. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    Mar 25, 2013
    If you shoot RAW, then it is almost necessary to process the photos. RAW files contain all image information but will not emphasise any of it. Therefore they look bland, amost washed out. But with that raw data you can do almost anything.

    Personally, I do not like unnatural looking images. But you need to make them pop a bit. This is usually done by increasing contrast and colour saturation selectively.

    But if you look at the type of images that become popular on flickr or 500px, I personally feel that it is a dead end. It is all about in-your-face pictures, where all the subtlety of good photography is lost.

    My tip is to make photos that appeal to you first, to your family and friends second and to the general public third.
  15. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    There's a HUGE gap between heavy post processing and making photos look 'unnatural'. Just look at most of my photos to get examples. I pretty much always spend 5+ hours to post process a single shot, and yet (with a few exceptions) most of them look pretty natural (at least to my taste). Post Processing always was part of photography. And above that, you have to draw a line between post processing and photo manipulation.
  16. josema

    josema TalkEmount Regular

    Mar 31, 2013
    Jose M. Alonso
    Agree with others on that some PP is needed. RAW needs some sort of digital development process. Also agree on that there are too many overdone photos out there but it seems it's an unstoppable trend as they are the ones catching the attention of the masses. Not that I care much about it though. I'm just a nerd who is still experimenting quite a bit (and learning along the way)
    What I'm trying to do myself is for the images to pop enough so they remind me what I saw with my eyes when I was there and, frankly, it's been pretty hard.

    I've just uploaded some tests with and without HDR using shots from a recent visit to Yosemite. I'm just using LR5 and Photomatix Pro. See the thread at if you are interested and can find the time to comment (tip: includes bonus RAW files for you to play with! :)
  17. sleekdigital

    sleekdigital TalkEmount Regular

    May 7, 2013
    From my perspective, it's totally fine to post process and image manipulate all you want, as long as you are honest about it (not trying to pass something off as real that isn't, for example). In the case of photography as art, the end goal is to make an image that has some desired effect on the viewer. If processing/manipulation help you get there, then go for it.
  18. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    Michael Reitman has just posted a short article about this very subject over at Luminous Landscape:

    A Matter of Interpretation
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