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Topic: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: BriceJohnson
Posted 2012-12-19 17:00:04 and read 9120 times.

Hey Everyone...

I am still trying to get some pics accepted here, and always get rejected files back with "grain" , "Quality" and "Soft". (To name so of the most common.)

Would upgrading to a higher quality lense help? I am shooting with a Nikon D3100, and a 55-200mm lense. I am thinking of the 70-300mm.

Thanks.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: NZ107
Posted 2012-12-19 17:17:07 and read 9121 times.

1. Why start two threads when they can obviously be combined into one.

2. Depends if you can notice the difference yourself or if your settings are far from optimal for aviation photography/you're consistently using the tele end of your lens. Also depends on the conditions you shoot in. Obviously nobody can help you if you provide no samples.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: Kaphias
Posted 2012-12-19 17:48:30 and read 9104 times.

Upgrading your lens will generally help, yes. But if I can get pictures accepted with a point and shoot that's worth less than your current lens, I'd start by looking at some of the other possible issues before turning to equipment. Start by shooting still aircraft at a fairly close distance in optimal lighting. Once you get the hang of that, then expand both your skills and your equipment to suit your wishes.

Edit: That wasn't a dig at you, my apologies if it reads like that. Have you posted any pictures in the Photography Feedback forum to get some specific advice?

[Edited 2012-12-19 17:51:45]

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: dazbo5
Posted 2012-12-20 01:03:27 and read 9040 times.

Quoting BriceJohnson (Thread starter):
Would upgrading to a higher quality lense help?

Not necessarily. While good quality equipment helps, the basics of photography still apply. Even with the whistles and bells of top of the line equipment, if you don't know how to get the best from it or use the light to your advantage, it won't help. Maybe you can post a couple of examples so we can point you in the right direction? The old saying applies; quality in = quality out, ie you need good quality photos and good camera technique in order to get the desires results to upload here. Post processing should only to make minor adjustments and not be relied upon to remove or correct flaws. You want to get it right in-camera first. I would say your problem isn't with equipment, you need to develop your photography technique before blaming equipment. Pretty much any DSLR body and even basic lenses can produce good results these days when used correctly and within their limits.

Darren

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: dlowwa
Posted 2012-12-20 02:02:57 and read 9027 times.

Taking a look at your rejections, the problem in my opinion would be three-fold. First, half of your images are backlit or suffer from terrible lighting. Second, a quarter are taken from quite a distance, which will cause problems, either from atmospheric conditions, or having to crop a lot of the image. Third, the final quarter are not too bad, but need better editing to give them a chance. In short, a new lens might help with a few of them, but the vast majority of your rejections would not have been avoided with a better lens.

If you want to go into more details, better to provide some examples for everyone to see, and take the discussion to the Feedback forum.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: derekf
Posted 2012-12-20 02:05:34 and read 9025 times.

It's OK. I've been taking photos for 35 years with decent equipment and I can't get any accepted either.
Whatever you do, don't buy equipment just to get accepted here. Upgrade your equipment to satisfy yourself.
If, as a by-product, they end up good enough for here then that's a bonus.

Acceptance here is mostly do with processing and manipulating the resulting image and seems sometimes to have little to do with actual photography.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: viv
Posted 2012-12-20 03:42:09 and read 9001 times.

Quoting derekf (Reply 5):
Acceptance here is mostly do with processing and manipulating the resulting image and seems sometimes to have little to do with actual photography.

I disagree. A good image from the camera needs very little processing to get accepted here.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: dazbo5
Posted 2012-12-20 05:55:40 and read 8955 times.

Quoting derekf (Reply 5):
Acceptance here is mostly do with processing and manipulating the resulting image and seems sometimes to have little to do with actual photography.

I would agree with Viv and disagree with your statement. I rarely spend more than a minute or two in post and it's just a case of checking levelling, final composition etc and a bit of sharpening. If things are right in-camera, there's very little to do in post so manipulation is not the issue. Basic photography skills are the key to getting photos accepted here, not editing skills or equipment (although they do help).

Darren

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: vikkyvik
Posted 2012-12-20 07:48:37 and read 8935 times.

Quoting BriceJohnson (Thread starter):
Would upgrading to a higher quality lense help?

Chances are, upgrading your photographic skills would help more. I don't mean that as an insult; it's just the way it is. I submitted my first bunch of photos with a cheap DSLR and cheap lens. Certainly can be done.

Quoting derekf (Reply 5):
Acceptance here is mostly do with processing and manipulating the resulting image and seems sometimes to have little to do with actual photography.

I'll have to go with Darren and Viv on this one.

Sure, I've "rescued" images in post-processing, but it's a heck of a lot easier and more consistent if you have a good image to start with.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: derekf
Posted 2012-12-20 12:43:50 and read 8894 times.

Whatever. I've had clear, sharp, ISO 100, perfectly exposed images rejected for grain, contrast, any number of non-existent issues. There is nothing wrong with my photographic skills or quality of the equipment I use, therefore it is the processing where the rejections are arising.
Having countless images rejected for grain, contrast and sharpness has very little to do with getting it right in camera and everything to do with how they are processed.

Anyway, to the OP, buy a new lens to take photos you like - not to satisfy some acceptance criteria that exists here.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: dazbo5
Posted 2012-12-21 00:33:09 and read 8838 times.

Quoting derekf (Reply 9):
There is nothing wrong with my photographic skills or quality of the equipment I use

I don't think anyone is suggesting that there is, but to say ...

Quoting derekf (Reply 5):
Acceptance here is mostly do with processing and manipulating the resulting image

simply isn't true. Of course a small amount of post-processing is required and you need a basic grasp of it, but all we're saying is as long as the original frame is of good quality, you need to do very little in order to bring it up to the standard required here and therefore there's very little 'manipulation' required. It's just minor tweeks to bring out the best from the photo and present it to a particular style. My upload ratio at the moment is well over 90% and I'm no photography or Photoshop expert so it shows it can be done.

Quoting derekf (Reply 9):
Anyway, to the OP, buy a new lens to take photos you like - not to satisfy some acceptance criteria that exists here.

I'd fully agree with that, but from Dana's post (as the OP hasn't provided any examples), there are technique and photographic basics that need to be mastered before relying on equipment.

Darren

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: derekf
Posted 2012-12-21 01:19:11 and read 8828 times.

My acceptance ration is 4% so I get very little payback for the time spent - so I stopped uploading for a while. I've taken thousands of photos for over 30 years but according a.net's criteria, I am getting worse? No. I don't believe that for a second - in my case it has all to do with post-processing. I have tried all sorts of techniques, I have tried Elements and Paint Shop Pro (I'm not foolhardy enough with money to try Photoshop). I have tried very little post-processing, lots of post processing. I have on a hard drive any number of perfectly exposed sharp clear images, most of which were rejected for soft, grain, contrast etc. - things introduced by the processing. I have tried pre-screening threads, post screening threads, any tips and advice picked up has made little or no difference, indeed some seem to have made it worse.
So it is either post processing or some other screening criteria that I fail to meet . It would be nice to get a higher acceptance ratio but it's patently not going to happen so I don't get upset by it any more. It is airliners.net's loss, not mine.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: AlexC
Posted 2012-12-21 01:39:43 and read 8822 times.

I notice that the head screener mentions backlit photos. I'd advise folks to avoid uploading anything that is even vaguely backlit, they just won't be accepted. Well anyway, that's been my experience.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: dazbo5
Posted 2012-12-21 02:40:15 and read 8807 times.

Quoting derekf (Reply 11):
So it is either post processing or some other screening criteria that I fail to meet

I'm more than happy to help out as it can just be simple things that can make the difference. I use PS Elements as the full version of PS isn't really needed for the post-pocessing required for uploading here. You don't need any advanced techniques, just a basic understanding of processing them. If you want to contact me through my profile, i'm more than happy to go through my workflow with you. I can't take any photos at the moment with the poor weather and my main lens being in the workshop for the 3rd time in 2 months due to a problem caused by an initial repair, so have time on my hands!

Quoting AlexC (Reply 12):
I'd advise folks to avoid uploading anything that is even vaguely backlit,

Which is exactly what we're trying to point out to the original poster. A new lens won't help until the basics of photography are mastered, ie getting the best from your equipment and understanding lighting.

Darren

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: vikkyvik
Posted 2012-12-21 08:19:59 and read 8761 times.

Quoting derekf (Reply 11):
in my case it has all to do with post-processing.

That may very well be true, but I just wouldn't make a blanket statement that:

Quoting derekf (Reply 5):
Acceptance here is mostly do with processing and manipulating the resulting image and seems sometimes to have little to do with actual photography.

...since it can be done without too much processing and manipulation (and the less, the better, in my opinion). I'll fully admit that it took me quite awhile to figure all that out.

Quoting derekf (Reply 9):
Having countless images rejected for grain, contrast and sharpness has very little to do with getting it right in camera and everything to do with how they are processed.

Not sure what you mean. If the lighting is low contrast and you have to introduce contrast in post-processing, it'll increase grain. If the photo is soft and you have to sharpen a lot in post, it'll increase grain. So they're all related, and will certainly be affected by the quality of the original photo.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: JakTrax
Posted 2012-12-21 11:03:36 and read 8738 times.

There are two sides to every story and I can empathise with both sides. Like it or not, this site and (the majority of) its images are not representative of photography; it's all about the editing. I've had some truly awful images (or certainly images I'd consider truly awful) accepted here, but some amazing ones turned away. This tells me that my editing isn't consistent, rather than my photography; as someone with over 20 years' experience photographing aircraft I can safely say my photography is fine.

Images here are manipulated, for sure, but that's what Photoshop's allowed us to do - and mainly for the better. We all take stinkers at times and wish we'd done better, but it's nice every once in a while to be able to rescue that all important shot. It was nigh impossible with film/slide!

Trouble is, looking at images here it will always bee very difficult to see how good the original photograph was (it's interesting that we talk about photos and images here, sometimes as though they're two separate things) - i.e. how well the photographer did with composition, exposure, colour, contrast, etc. Of course Photoshop can fix it all but I'm a firm believer in getting it as close to perfect as you can in the camera. We may have poor photographers here who can work wonders with Photoshop and get tons of photos accepted - just as there are clearly some awesome photographers who just struggle to adapt to Photoshop and this site's requirements. We're never really going to be able to distinguish between the two.

Finally, going back to the whole 'photos and images' thing, I consider the original file to be the photograph and the edited version to be the image.

Cheers,

Karl

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: CosmicCruiser
Posted 2012-12-21 11:15:04 and read 8735 times.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 14):
Not sure what you mean. If the lighting is low contrast and you have to introduce contrast in post-processing, it'll increase grain. If the photo is soft and you have to sharpen a lot in post, it'll increase grain. So they're all related, and will certainly be affected by the quality of the original photo.

If I may I'll add just a comment or two. If the lighting is that low there's not much you're going to do that will look really good. Increasing contrast should be done in small amounts or it will be too much and obvious. Sharpening is always done due to the nature of a digital sensor but not to "sharpen" a soft or blurred picture. If the picture is even slightly underexposed using PP to brighten it will add noise. Also as I'm sure you know high ISO will add noise too. Noise can be eliminated with noise reduction in PP but again too much will soften the picture. In the end you must consider all the ingredients to get the best picture, lens, light, motion and composition. An error in any of these will result in a less than super pic.
My first attempt to submit photos here was rejected due to my lack, at the time, of all those considerations and mine had noise and dust on the sensor. I've learned a lot over the last few years and my last photo was rejected because "there were too many like this" which kinda surprised me considering all the interior shots I see and would never shoot. I may try again in the future but it's not a huge priority. Like another post said do it for yourself. I participate in another photography website and can tell you no photo is ever completely free of criticism if enough people comment on it so if you like it cool, if you learn something that will help you improve then that's great. Have fun!

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: vikkyvik
Posted 2012-12-21 23:22:59 and read 8679 times.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 15):
We may have poor photographers here who can work wonders with Photoshop and get tons of photos accepted - just as there are clearly some awesome photographers who just struggle to adapt to Photoshop and this site's requirements. We're never really going to be able to distinguish between the two.

Absolutely. But that doesn't negate the fact that by nailing it in-camera, you can save yourself a lot of editing, and need for more advanced editing skills.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: viv
Posted 2012-12-22 02:04:28 and read 8657 times.

I do very little editing - about 2 minutes per photo - because I don't know how and have no interest in learning.

My acceptance ratio here is 68 per cent.

Get it right when you shoot, not afterwards.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: JakTrax
Posted 2012-12-22 02:15:41 and read 8656 times.

Viv,

I can add nothing further that would be as effective! I think your succinct comment concludes the thread!!!

Karl

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: derekf
Posted 2012-12-22 02:40:18 and read 8645 times.

I don't disagree that getting it right in the camera is a good start - but that is by and large what I do...and end up with a 4% acceptance ratio. I can only assume therefor that there is something else that is stopping me from getting pictures accepted. I also do very little to my photos, most don't appear to need very much and yet a decent acceptance ratio is elusive. Therefore the reason my photos are rejected is in the editing.
There is no doubt that the acceptance bar is raised higher each year, sadly my editing skills have not kept pace.
I try my luck uploading every few months, have a good laugh at the rejection reasons then disappear again sighing "Oh well...."
I've plenty of other hobbies that are far more rewarding than trying to get photos accepted here.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: dazbo5
Posted 2012-12-22 04:34:32 and read 8633 times.

Quoting derekf (Reply 20):
I also do very little to my photos, most don't appear to need very much and yet a decent acceptance ratio is elusive. Therefore the reason my photos are rejected is in the editing.
There is no doubt that the acceptance bar is raised higher each year, sadly my editing skills have not kept pace.

My offer still stands in reply 13 Derek. I'm no master at editing, but I know what is required for here so can hopefully steer you in the right direction if you wish.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 19):
I can add nothing further that would be as effective! I think your succinct comment concludes the thread!!!

  

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope Santa brings you something nice   

Darren

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: derekf
Posted 2012-12-22 04:48:17 and read 8627 times.

Thanks for the kind offer Darren. I may take you up on it sometime.

It appears others have decided that the discussion has been concluded so I'll leave it there.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: JakTrax
Posted 2012-12-22 10:35:50 and read 8597 times.

Derek,

There's nothing wrong with your photos I dare say. Despite claims to the contrary the 'standards' are continually raised, to the point where no camera can actually naturally produce the kind of images sought. Your example is indicative of how the site is based around editing rather than photography. But hey-ho.....

Quoting derekf (Reply 20):
I've plenty of other hobbies that are far more rewarding than trying to get photos accepted here

I love this hobby and fanatically spend all my spare time doing it. Uploading here is just a sideline but nothing beats a hard day's work (and a pub visit with the lads afterwards!), followed by coming home to view your efforts on the big screen. THAT's the rewarding part - pleasing yourself! I much prefer looking at my high-res originals than my overly sharp 1200 pixel edits.

Happy Xmas!

Karl

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: Silver1SWA
Posted 2012-12-23 15:15:00 and read 8457 times.

Quoting derekf (Reply 20):

Everyone who is saying that a good capture will require very little editing to get accepted here is correct.

The key to acceptance is not the amount of editing, it's to recognize what an acceptable photo looks like and edit accordingly. There is a very small margin for error so you have to aim for that sweet spot in all areas of the editing process. A little anticipation is needed too. I'm sharpening for the screeners' screens, not mine. In other words, I over sharpen according to my screen because I have figured out that if I aim for "perfect" on my screen, my shots will be rejected for soft. You need to make adjustments as you get rejections. And since the standards are always going up, you have to be on your toes and adjust along the way to keep up.

It shouldn't take a lot of editing to get an acceptance. It takes proper editing, as defined by the site.

Quoting AlexC (Reply 12):
I notice that the head screener mentions backlit photos. I'd advise folks to avoid uploading anything that is even vaguely backlit, they just won't be accepted. Well anyway, that's been my experience.


There is some truth to this and frankly, it's crap. If done correctly, backlighting can enhance the mood of a photo. It kills me when I see photos shot down for being backlit or in less than "favorable" light.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: derekf
Posted 2012-12-24 01:25:36 and read 8424 times.

That's exactly what I've been saying - getting photos accepted is all about editing. You say a good picture needs very little editing and then go on to describe how crucial editing is in getting pictures accepted and if your editing is slightly off, the photo gets rejected. So it is all in the editing - like I said. It doesn't matter how good your original photo is - you get the editing wrong, it gets rejected.

I take much more satisfaction from winning some recent photo competitions - incidentally with photos that were rejected from this site. That tells me a great deal about the standards for airliners.net and how false they really are in terms of real photography.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: Silver1SWA
Posted 2012-12-24 02:42:07 and read 8408 times.

Quoting derekf (Reply 25):
It doesn't matter how good your original photo is - you get the editing wrong, it gets rejected.

Agreed.

Quoting derekf (Reply 25):
That tells me a great deal about the standards for airliners.net and how false they really are in terms of real photography.

I have learned with Airliners.net, it is what it is. It's interesting... I learned how to use my camera and how to edit using photoshop thanks to this website and for the first couple of years, I only shot aviation photos. The acceptance criteria was all I knew. This actually hurt me a bit as I began to expand beyond shooting for this site and beyond aviation photography. It was incredibly difficult to adjust to the more generally accepted practices in photography. Kinda ironic considering it's usually the other way around as people with tons of outside experience have a hard time adjusting to Airliners.net standards.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: dazbo5
Posted 2012-12-24 05:10:44 and read 8414 times.

Quoting derekf (Reply 25):
getting photos accepted is all about editing

I still maintain the emphasis is on the photography and not the editing, but of course editing (post-processing) comes in to it in the digital era. I feel it's a misconception that editing is the most important part. If you have a good quality photo to work with, the editing is just polishing it to present it to the a.net criteria, nothing more and takes no more than a minute or two. A less than ideal original or one taken under challenging conditions is going to take more editing know-how and I would agree editing becomes more important for those. But then a large part of photography, for me at least, is in the planning of a shot, ie being in the right place, at the right time with the right equipment and best available lighting. I fail to see how getting photos accepted here is all about the editing, it starts way before that in my mind. It'd say it's 80% photography and 20% editing at most under normal circumstances.

Darren

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: ckw
Posted 2012-12-24 05:37:38 and read 8401 times.

Quoting derekf (Reply 25):
That tells me a great deal about the standards for airliners.net and how false they really are in terms of real photography.

I think 'false' is a bit strong, but I know where you're coming from. I prefer to think of the criteria as a house style - either you work with it or don't bother uploading. Many magazines have similar constraints. If the house style doesn't match your shooting/editing style it's going to an uphill struggle - and ultimately unsatisfying.

The mistake people seem to make is equating A.net to a photography site. It's not - yes there are great photos here, but these are within a predefined envelope - and this envelope is not based on photography per se, but on the illustration of a particular subject.

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 26):
I have learned with Airliners.net, it is what it is. It's interesting... I learned how to use my camera and how to edit using photoshop thanks to this website and for the first couple of years, I only shot aviation photos. The acceptance criteria was all I knew. This actually hurt me a bit as I began to expand beyond shooting for this site and beyond aviation photography.

I agree with this 100% - A.net is a great learning tool, but its not the end of the road by any means - or even the only road.

Cheers,

Colin

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: JakTrax
Posted 2012-12-24 05:58:30 and read 8397 times.

Quoting dazbo5 (Reply 27):
It'd say it's 80% photography and 20% editing at most under normal circumstances

I'm not sure Darren, I have seen some tremendously bad photos make it here once edited (a few have been my own!). Composition to me is a very important part of what makes a good photo, but the level and crop tools in Photoshop can make a poorly composed image suddently very aesthetic.

I look at it like this - I take a photo, in which the subject fills the frame and is perfectly centred. Colour and contrast are pretty good, and it's level. It's in focus and sharp. I resize it and submit it here. What's going to happen to it? It will be rejected, likely for colour/contrast and certainly for soft. Does that make it a bad photo? Of course not.

On the flip side, someone can take a truly awful photo - i.e. unlevel, muddy colours, poor contrast, bad composition - and edit it in the correct way so that it sails through the screening process. This image (image being a word I apply to an edited photo) will be better than that in the first example - but will the actual photo?

These days you need not take a good photo to get a good image - it just needs to be in focus and without camera shake basically. The rest Photoshop can/will sort.

Merry Christmas all!

Karl

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: Psych
Posted 2012-12-24 06:13:57 and read 8395 times.

Some wise words in this interesting thread.

I particularly agree with the notion that A.net has a 'house style'. Part of achieving that accepted style is in the photographing of the image - e.g. wait that fraction of a second before you press the shutter so the wheels pass by that runway sign that would otherwise obstruct them; another key part is all in the editing - a perfect example being that fine line surrounding sharpness.

Good quality photos achieved in camera do - I agree - often not take long in post-processing. But I do feel that requires a tried and tested workflow, that does the business for here. I like to think I take decent photos, but not one would get on here without some editing. That said, I have a photo in the queue, which I am keeping everything crossed for, which is on its third go and has taken a load of work (and learning) to get looking right. True, it was taken in challenging conditions, but without significant editing - and knowledge of the editing process (or knowing a man who does!) - it wouldn't stand any chance. More time has gone into that one photo than the whole time I spent at the airport on the occasion it was taken.

My view, for what it is worth, is that a good track record at A.net requires a successful editing workflow, and an awareness of when stages in that process need to be altered to address differences in the original conditions.

May I wish all contributors a very Happy Christmas, if that's your thing, and a prosperous New Year.

Paul

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: walter2222
Posted 2012-12-24 07:10:24 and read 8396 times.

Quoting AlexC (Reply 12):
I'd advise folks to avoid uploading anything that is even vaguely back-lit, they just won't be accepted. Well anyway, that's been my experience.



There are, however, exceptions, as shown here:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Walter Van Bel



When I was shooting this, I noticed the different shades of grey (not 50, but still...) and I liked it. Therefor, I also uploaded it and it was accepted. Just to state that not everything even vaguely back-lit will be rejected, it just depends on the photo or image  

I must say that I have enjoyed reading through the thread!

Quoting Psych (Reply 30):
I particularly agree with the notion that A.net has a 'house style'. Part of achieving that accepted style is in the photographing of the image - e.g. wait that fraction of a second before you press the shutter so the wheels pass by that runway sign that would otherwise obstruct them; another key part is all in the editing - a perfect example being that fine line surrounding sharpness.



   I completely agree here!

Quoting viv (Reply 6):
A good image from the camera needs very little processing to get accepted here.




   I also agree with Viv here, but I must add that also my acceptance ratio has plummeted, mostly because I have been trying to get some really bad weather shots (Belgian summer, you know) accepted, and my editing is not that good to achieve that  

Thereafter I had other problems (PC screen going defect and PC hard drive crashed...) and now I am still busy trying to install my SW again (where did I leave all these CD-ROM's???).

Anyhow, I wish everybody on here a very Merry Christmas and a Phabulous 2013 (the phinal year of the Phantoms in Germany...).

Best regards,

Walter

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: dazbo5
Posted 2012-12-24 08:31:43 and read 8362 times.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 29):
I have seen some tremendously bad photos make it here once edited (a few have been my own!).

I agree Karl, there's no question that a knowledge of Photoshop or similar software can be useful in pulling back photos that would otherwise have been lost. But in terms of the original question of whether BriceJohnson should get a new lens or not, I think technique and getting things right in-camera are much more important than editing his way out of it. For me, that's more important than sitting behind a desk and playing with parameters, I'd much rather be out in the fresh air (tainted by jet A1 exhaust!) than spending 30 minutes trying to mask things. Of course editing plays it's part in all of this, we don't live in an ideal world where lighting is perfect all the time (certainly not in this part of the world!) but I don't see it as the most important part of photography and certainly not for having your work accepted here. The most important part for me is getting it right in camera then it minimises anything that needs to be done in post. That's far more satisfying to me and makes it so much easier getting photos through screening.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 29):
I resize it and submit it here. What's going to happen to it? It will be rejected, likely for colour/contrast and certainly for soft. Does that make it a bad photo? Of course not.

That's where post-processing comes in for submitting here. You're never going to get a photo accepted here without minor editing. It's someone elses site and they make the rules, whether we agree with them or not, we have to abide by them if we want to display our work here. With a well executed shot, and mine are by no means perfect, far from it, coupled with a small amount of editing, there's no reason why anyone can't get a shot accepted here ...

Quoting Psych (Reply 30):
that requires a tried and tested workflow, that does the business for here

.... I fully agree Paul. Once you have things in-camera sorted, and you have a digital workflow for here sorted, there's no reason why anyone can't get photos accepted here. There are times when I feel the screening process lets us down (that's a whole other subject and been covered separately and by our emails), but once you get your head around what is required for the site, it's not all that difficult. It is to start with, it's a steep learning curve as we all know but everything is difficult to start with and once you get your head around the criteria and with experience, it gets easier.

I still maintain the photography aspect in terms of technique, planning and execution is most important, with editing being secondary.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 29):
These days you need not take a good photo to get a good image - it just needs to be in focus and without camera shake basically. The rest Photoshop can/will sort

To a certain extent, I agree but that's up to the individual to assess what they are trying to achieve and what they want to get from their photography. Personally, I would prefer to get things right in-camera and to learn the aspects of photography than learn advanced editing skills. It's a bit like a training course I'm going on next month for work (4x4 LANTRA refresher) where the idea is to learn and get the techniques correct to minimise risk and not get stuck. In this analogy, of course there are times when you will get stuck then there are techniques for recovery such as winches, bridging ladders and manual labour (shovels!), but you only want to use them as last resort and not rely on them.

Merry Christmas, Santa is on his way!

Darren

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: JakTrax
Posted 2012-12-24 08:52:30 and read 8356 times.

Hi Darren,

I'm actually agreeing with much of what you say, as I too prefer to get everything (or nearly everything as you sometimes can't help the light!) right in the camera. With editing as terrible as mine I don't have a choice!

For me personally, it's 100% about the original photo and 0% about the editing. A good photo will always be just that, irrespective of whether it's edited for here, there, elsewhere or everywhere - or indeed edited at all. I'm simply saying that an image that looks good here might not be a particularly good photo.

Most of my experience comes from old 35mm formats - well before Photoshop came along - so I guess my idea of a good photo may be different to someone else's. I appreciate that some people are more concerned with the 'end product' - that is, the final edit - rather than the original file. In fact I know people who bin the original files once they've been edited! As for me, I keep all originals and bin the edits once they've been accepted.

I've had high acceptance ratios here (not quite sure how they happened!) but believe me, my editing is pretty appalling. Luckily I do work very hard at getting a decent photo straight from the camera, which is I imagine what saves my bacon much of the time! I now spend much less time editing images (not that I ever spent that long per photo) and tend not to get too concerned when something gets rejected.

Cheers,

Karl

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: vikkyvik
Posted 2012-12-24 12:24:56 and read 8327 times.

Quoting derekf (Reply 25):
That tells me a great deal about the standards for airliners.net and how false they really are in terms of real photography.

Define "false standards" and "real photography" first, and then we can discuss.

But going back to what you originally said:

Quoting derekf (Reply 5):
Acceptance here is mostly do with processing and manipulating the resulting image and seems sometimes to have little to do with actual photography.

Many people have posted that with a good starting photo, there's not much processing and manipulating required at all. I don't consider most of the editing I do to be "manipulation" anyway (which, for me, has the connotation of making the photo appear to show something that's not actually there, subject-wise, light-wise, color-wise, whatever, and goes beyond mere enhancements or tweaks). Slight boost of contrast, slight tweak of color, some sharpening; that's all easy and very quick. Yes, you have to do it to get accepted here. But it doesn't have to be much of a process at all.

I suppose I should phrase it like this: most of my mental focus goes into getting the shot right when I take it, rather than into processing it. So all I have to do is take an already-good shot and tweak it for the aforementioned "house style" of A.net. My acceptance rate has generally been between 60 and 75% for a year or more now.

Recently, I haven't been feeling like editing photos for A.net, so I've taken a break from uploading. It's quite simple, really. But my workflow was quite consistent, so I can always pick up where I left off and start uploading here again.

Having seen many of your photos in the feedback thread, I think it's a simple issue of looking at the photos through A.net's eyes, rather than your own eyes. Obviously, that's only relevant if you want to upload here. Life goes on...

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: darreno1
Posted 2012-12-24 14:29:03 and read 8306 times.

I look at sites like these as learning tools and encourage all newbies to do the same. I don't have to upload here and have my own albums which I share with others, however I continue to upload here as I see it as an opportunity to learn different techniques and for my work to be scrutinized. And like everyone pretty new to photography and editing, I got many pictures rejected at first and improved with time. I has also taught me quite a bit about editing with Photoshop which was my intent. Now, with that said, I don't always agree with their opinions but they're not forcing me or anyone to upload so at the end of the day, I have play by their rules if I want my pics accepted. If you keep that in mind , see it as a learning experience, and realize it's not personal, you will enjoy and appreciate the site more.


As for editing well from what I've seen, the amount of editing required also depends on the equipment as well as the size of the final pic to be uploaded.

It's a fact of life that no two bodies are the same, and some produce more grain and/or color inaccuracies than others regardless of lens used which usually means more post-processing. Thankfully the d3100, from my experience, does a good job with grain and color.

Also, the bigger the final result, the more editing usually required. Most of my 1400 / 1500 pixel pics would surely require less editing had I uploaded them at 1024 or 1200. Add to that the fact that we all have our own standards (aside from the website's) and you can easily see why editing times may differ.

Lastly, you get what you pay for with equipment, especially lenses. The ones that come as part of a kit (e.g the 18-55 / 55-200 etc) are usually of a lower quality. I didn't know what 'sharp' really meant until I upgraded my zoom to a better lens. It made a very noticeable difference and it had little or nothing to do with technique. Of course technique matters and knowing and shooting around the len's sweet spot is always ideal but there's only so much a cheaper lens can do for image quality.

So don't dismiss the idea of possibly picking up a better lens at some point. If you're after better images, regardless of how good a photographer you think you are, there will be a time when a lens upgrade is a necessity. And you don't need to pick up a >$1000 lens to start. You can get great lenses in the $300-$500 range. The lens I use here (tamron 70-300mm) was around $450 (with rebate $399) and it blows away the Nikon 55-200 and matches even the more expensive 70-300mm in many tests.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: derekf
Posted 2012-12-24 15:18:46 and read 8292 times.

I think the problem may be those of us who were taking photos a long time before airliners.net was invented. We took photos for ourselves, the only thought being to please our own criteria, with only 36 exposures in a film and film and processing costing a fortune, getting it right in the camera was the only way to go.

The false standards I am talking about have been discussed many times before - the precise centring, the oversharpening that is required, the noiseless, grainless images which can look false and cartoon-like at times. Not to mention the required colour cast changes we've all had to make, regardless of how the scene really looked. The sometimes bizarre rules about parts the airframe being obscured by steps, grass, people etc... These "rules" have been introduced slowly and stealthily over the years such that they were barely noticed and have now become "normal". They are not normal requirements to get photos published anywhere else though.

Don't get me wrong, I would dearly love an acceptance ration like I used to have. Mainly so that the time spent isn't time wasted. Airliners.net is still the best on-line aircraft photo site and when I started uploading in 2000, it was place to share your pictures. Sadly, it has moved a long way from that now.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: NZ107
Posted 2012-12-24 19:24:15 and read 8254 times.

Quoting derekf (Reply 36):
when I started uploading in 2000, it was place to share your pictures. Sadly, it has moved a long way from that now.

You agree that things change over time.. The internet has evolved a lot since then (I didn't have knowledge of this thing called a digital camera until 2002 and didn't have broadband internet until 2006). You (the website in this case) gotta be able to differentiate yourself and sticking on the true hobby line isn't quite the way to go (also probably a reason for myaviation.net to start). There are so many other websites which don't have to be pure aviation sites in which you can upload these pictures to. But I also believe that it has helped many photographers like me to at least get a platform in photography. Without it, there wouldn't be anything to strive for and my photos would still probably be as horrible as when I started out taking photos. Then again, I do sometimes believe it goes too far with things like extreme borderline 'soft', and rejected only for that. But these are rather small points compared to the overall aspect of A.Net, unless your only objective is to upload here.. Obviously something frowned upon. IMO it wouldn't be the site it is now without the screening process that exists, however I still think that more artistic photographs should be accepted here.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: vikkyvik
Posted 2012-12-24 20:39:12 and read 8248 times.

Yes, the editing takes some work, especially when you're starting out. But:

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 37):
But these are rather small points compared to the overall aspect of A.Net, unless your only objective is to upload here.

I feel the same way, with the exception that I don't care if someone's only objective is to upload here. It's certainly not my problem, and if they're having fun and are content with only that, then that's fine with me.

Quoting derekf (Reply 36):
I think the problem may be those of us who were taking photos a long time before airliners.net was invented. We took photos for ourselves, the only thought being to please our own criteria, with only 36 exposures in a film and film and processing costing a fortune, getting it right in the camera was the only way to go.

Yes, and that's an often-cited aspect. But to be blunt, as someone who only started shooting AFTER digital and Photoshop, it's not a particularly relevant commentary, aside from the historical perspective aspect.

I'm not sure why uploading to A.net means you're not pleasing your own criteria. It's perfectly possible to do both. I don't upload anywhere near all the shots I take, because a lot of them would not meet A.net's criteria.

With that said, we wouldn't be here if we didn't enjoy sharing photos. And sometimes it's nice to take a photo that many others will enjoy, or that will make you some money, or whatever. Same as showing someone a physical photo album, and having them like your photos.

Quoting derekf (Reply 36):
when I started uploading in 2000, it was place to share your pictures. Sadly, it has moved a long way from that now.

It's still quite a nice place to share your photos.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: dendrobatid
Posted 2012-12-25 00:33:28 and read 8239 times.

Quoting derekf (Reply 36):
I think the problem may be those of us who were taking photos a long time before airliners.net was invented. We took photos for ourselves, the only thought being to please our own criteria, with only 36 exposures in a film and film and processing costing a fortune, getting it right in the camera was the only way to go.

Derek
Getting it right in camera is still the best option, then it was the ONLY option ! Those who, like me, did their own printing still used to adjust contrast, exposure, colour but in a darkroom but if an image was not sharp, that was effectively it, USM being a very difficult and fiddly process all but impossible with 35mm. Most editing that we do now on a computer was possible then but considerably more difficult in a darkroom

Quoting derekf (Reply 36):
Don't get me wrong, I would dearly love an acceptance ratio like I used to have. Mainly so that the time spent isn't time wasted. Airliners.net is still the best on-line aircraft photo site and when I started uploading in 2000, it was place to share your pictures. Sadly, it has moved a long way from that now.

Yes, things have changed and the standards have evolved, they have improved an awful lot from that period too. I took my photos never expecting to share them, took them to aid my memories and the site has allowed them to be seen by thousands. And as to those standards?

Quoting ckw (Reply 28):
I prefer to think of the criteria as a house style - either you work with it or don't bother uploading. Many magazines have similar constraints. If the house style doesn't match your shooting/editing style it's going to an uphill struggle - and ultimately unsatisfying

Colin has it spot on. This site is pretty formulaeic but get that formula right and it is not difficult to get images accepted - most people can do it. Another part of the evolution of the site was a move to accepting more images outside the formula, the so-called creative, and that has worked well but it does not mean that everyones attempts at being different should be accepted. Contre-jour lighting has also been mentioned above. It has never been an automatic rejection to be taking against the light (it is on some other sites) but it is far more difficult to get the image right but if you do it is likely to be accepted, as Walter shows above too.

Why worry about your acceptance rate ? It is not an issue since the link to upload limits was removed a long time ago.

This site (and initially it was ONLY this site until others copied it) has made our hobby far more popular and it remains different things to different people. Some want to take a photo that thousands will look at whilst others (myself included) are simply recording different aircraft, images that one day may be of interest. Photos that I took (for myself) forty odd years ago do attract interest and I hope that those I take today may be of interest in another forty years, long after I am gone. That they mostly are not these days does not bother me for that is my choice. My treat is to find and photograph an aircraft that is not on the database at all but that is likley to go unnoticed by the majority of viewers.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 38):
With that said, we wouldn't be here if we didn't enjoy sharing photos. And sometimes it's nice to take a photo that many others will enjoy, or that will make you some money, or whatever. Same as showing someone a physical photo album, and having them like your photos.

Yes, agree

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 38):
It's still quite a nice place to share your photos.

Yes, agree there too - and we are still here !

Mick Bajcar

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: NZ107
Posted 2012-12-25 03:30:58 and read 8198 times.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 38):
I feel the same way, with the exception that I don't care if someone's only objective is to upload here. It's certainly not my problem, and if they're having fun and are content with only that, then that's fine with me.

It'd be a very expensive hobby if you only wanted to upload to A.Net, that's all I was trying to mean.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: BriceJohnson
Posted 2012-12-26 17:18:43 and read 8045 times.

Thanks for all the responses!

They will help me in my decision.

Does anyone know if the 70-300mm has a fast AF system? Is it still tack sharp at the 300mm side of lense?

Thanks! I thought that asking the pros would be the best idea!  

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: ptrjong
Posted 2012-12-27 04:08:43 and read 7953 times.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 40):

It'd be a very expensive hobby if you only wanted to upload to A.Net

Just as expensive actually.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: yerbol
Posted 2012-12-27 15:05:02 and read 7894 times.

Dear Calvin,
Nikon 70-300mm AF-S lens is a very good lens. It is faster and obviously longer than 55-200mm.
Closing aperture to f8 should give you sharp image at 300mm but you also should have good VR in your own hands  
Ask your friends if they have one or rent it and try it in action. Try to see/find the difference in optical and speed quality.
Editing is a very interesting process for me personally. It shows me all my mistakes in unedited photo and I am learning to set up my equipment correctly and improve my technic. I am trying to get everything possible from me/my technic and my equipment to get the best out of these two things and if it is done well, minimum editing is required.
Friendly photographers already gave you good advises and ready to help.
Please do not give up and share some good photos with us.

To All,
We are approaching New Years Eve and on behalf of Almaty Spotting Club I wish you all the best in 2013!
Perhaps it is my last post in 2012  
It is a pleasure to our club members to see all your photos from every corner of our world.

PS. Air Astana ordered two Dreamliners [delivery 2016] so we hope to see you in Almaty!

Brgds

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: BriceJohnson
Posted 2012-12-27 17:35:40 and read 7859 times.

Hello Yerbol.

Thanks for the response... it should help me in my purchasing decision!

Happy New Year all!

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: megatop412
Posted 2012-12-29 15:38:22 and read 7611 times.

Interesting how this subject comes up again and again, all that changes is who is saying it.

Derek I sympathize with your arguments as I have had much the same experience. There are many folks who are more than willing to help(as the person above has done), but in the end, as you and others have said, it's all about the editing.

It's also a gamble. I can't count the number of times I have seen examples of what shouldn't have been accepted, but trying to bring that to light here is considered poor form. As one gentleman noted above by posting one of his own images, he violated the 'no backlighting rule' and was accepted. So, the waters definitely get murky, and I do think it depends on which screener looks at your photos(despite the claims to the contrary). It's a shame, really, because I would love to be able to share my photos here. I do a fair amount of editing my shots to my standards, and I have a pretty critical eye. I just have no patience with being told that my skies are 'grainy' when in fact they were left unsharpened and shot with the base ISO. So, now I share my work on other sites, which is this site's loss.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: dendrobatid
Posted 2012-12-30 01:19:37 and read 7537 times.

Quoting megatop412 (Reply 45):
As one gentleman noted above by posting one of his own images, he violated the 'no backlighting rule' and was accepted

Another site has a rule against no backlit shots (I think) but that is not the case here. Backlit shots are however far more difficult to get right but if you do, they will be accepted and there are plenty of them on the database.
Walter's shot broke no rules, it is effective and so was accepted.

Mick Bajcar

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: JakTrax
Posted 2012-12-30 08:33:27 and read 7484 times.

Quoting megatop412 (Reply 45):
I have a pretty critical eye. I just have no patience with being told that my skies are 'grainy' when in fact they were left unsharpened and shot with the base ISO



I too have a critical eye (I'm sure a certain someone with whom I travelled to the States recently would be happy to testify as to how picky I can be!) but am very relaxed when it comes to grain - after all, it's a natural part of the photographic process and not (in my case at least) an editing error. It therefore gets me how other, more troubling offences - such as heat-haze - go mainly unchallenged. Heat-haze makes for a soft image at best, and is downright unsightly at worst, so I fail to understand how grain/noise is perceived as a fault or flaw. Heat-haze can also be avoided most of the time by simply reducing the distance between photographer and subject. And if it can't, the subject better be extremely rare!

In summary, heat-haze causes far more loss of image quality than grain ever will. It's disturbing when I get a 'quality' rejection due grain attached to an image shot at 70mm in perfect winter light, yet something shot at 400mm in crap summer light sails through.

C'est la vie......

Karl

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: ckw
Posted 2012-12-30 13:26:18 and read 7459 times.

As an objective (non-uploading) observer, I'm curious as to how (and why) the standards evolve ... the noise thing in particular (as it seems to cause a lot of issues).

Have things become stricter because cleaner, higher res sensors are available resulting in cleaner images in a wider range of conditions? Or is there a demand from viewers for cleaner images?

Similarly with sharpness - it seems from some comments that photographers feel obliged to "over sharpen" (by their standards) to meet acceptance requirements. Where is the 'demand' for this sharpness derived? (it is certainly WAY above publication standards - which generally prefer less sharpened or even unsharpened images).

Now I'm perfectly happy with the idea of a house style, however, it might be worth considering how such a style is arrived at and how it is allowed to evolve. If it is purely relative (ie. based on the quality of the top n% of images) then there is a real danger of acceptance becoming overly dependent on equipment owned. If it is not relative, then what measures can be offered to compare against. For example a patch of grey sky could be shown with an acceptable amount of noise which can be used to compare against.

Who benefits from higher standards? Are people not visiting A.net because the standards are not high enough? Is it possible that a more relaxed standard might result in a greater variety of images and photographers and therefore more visitors? Just some food for thought - remember what Voltaire said: "best is the enemy of the good".

Cheers,

Colin

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: JakTrax
Posted 2012-12-30 14:41:46 and read 7440 times.

Colin/All,

I remember a year or so back being told that the screeners were basically powerless to change the way the process works; I simply don't see how this can be true.

I wasn't really around much during the 'Johan years' but the standards he set were obviously much lower than today's. Quite remarkable that a non-photographer set the rules (did he have any experience or did he simply have preferences as a viewer?) but since his departure one can only assume that the screeners were left to preside over quality control. Likewise, some of this frankly anal nit-picking must have been devised by the screeners - leaving, as Colin says, the question relating to how we managed to get to this stage with regard to quality demands.

Presumably it starts with an idea, which causes a domino effect and soon becomes site policy. But in my opinion we're getting too fussy with the little bits - the ones that don't really matter - whilst at the same time missing the glaringly obvious. Images are getting done for grain and other trivial things left, right and centre, but you only have to look at a handful of images to see that the centre rule of late is all over the place.

Some of the rejection reasons I've heard recently (such as, "Over-exposed front portion of tail" and, "Grain in tail logo") suggest to me that the people scrutinising the photos are trained in image manipulation rather than photography. An image straight from a camera will never be perfect but that's what makes it a photo. We really shouldn't have to be using noise reduction on perfectly-exposed, ISO100 images. Nor should we expect a night shot with a long exposure to feature super-sharp wingtips, as an aircraft is moving all the time - even when apparently stationary.

We are now being asked to change the very laws of physics to get photos accepted here. It's just not possible, so we have little choice but to heavily manipulate our images to meet site criteria. This isn't photography.

I've not uploaded in nearly a month now, because I'm a little fed up of being told that my images are effectively not good enough. I only shoot in premium light (as those who know me will testify), at sensitivities typically no higher than ISO200; I rarely have to crop or level (thus preserving as much quality as I can) yet still I get images shot down for various 'quality issues' - all because I've not applied the exact editing needed. And while all this is going on, scores of mediocre and even poor images are being added.

No doubt I will upload here again at some point but while I'm abstaining it's the site's loss, not mine. I make quite a few sales from my images hosted here, so that's motivation to continue, but it's a sad state of affairs when that's one of my primary reasons for persisting with A.net.

Finally, to address the thread starter, the equipment you choose is pretty irrelevant these days but as a beginner I certainly wouldn't be aiming for the high-end stuff just now. Sure, good gear is nice but it doesn't really make the going a whole lot easier, especially given the editing required. I've got some of the best gear going but as mentioned it doesn't exempt me from the hoard of rejection reasons in force here. Seems like the only cameras that can naturally produce the sliky-smooth images preferred here are the current crop of full-frame bodies - which cost well in excess of $4,000.

Cheers, and Happy New Year to all!

Karl

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: Silver1SWA
Posted 2012-12-30 15:10:01 and read 7438 times.

Quoting ckw (Reply 48):
Who benefits from higher standards? Are people not visiting A.net because the standards are not high enough? Is it possible that a more relaxed standard might result in a greater variety of images and photographers and therefore more visitors? Just some food for thought - remember what Voltaire said: "best is the enemy of the good".

Excellent post. In my experience, the average viewer doesn't care about the high standards. They are more interested in the subject, not all the technical nonsense that makes up a photo or the site's standards. I guarantee the site would have just as many visitors if it showcased photos unlevel by .2 degrees, or slightly soft engines or with jaggies on the horizontal stabilizer or if the aircraft was too low in the frame by a few pixels or if the sky had grain that isn't visible to the untrained eye, etc. etc. etc...

So I think you ask a great question. Who is this site trying to impress?

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: Kaphias
Posted 2012-12-30 23:51:29 and read 7386 times.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 47):
In summary, heat-haze causes far more loss of image quality than grain ever will. It's disturbing when I get a 'quality' rejection due grain attached to an image shot at 70mm in perfect winter light, yet something shot at 400mm in crap summer light sails through.

I don't know of the specific images that you're speaking of Karl; but from my experience uploading here, I've found the biggest factor to be the uniqueness of the image. I believe my equipment and shooting style and motives puts me in the minority of photographers who upload here. I shoot with a $150 Nikon S6000 point-and-shoot camera. I don't know what an ISO is or what aperture means, as the only in-camera adjustment I do is changing the brightness (or exposure, if you will) by a couple of notches depending on the light. I'm not a master of Photoshop and generally follow the same process for each photo, and I never use noise reduction. But looking over my photos, nearly all of them are registrations new to the database, and are shot at a somewhat rare airport (for the last could of years, at least). After reading topics like this, I can therefore only deduce that it's the uniqueness of my images that gets them accepted here – again, I'm no expert, but I can't imagine that the quality of my photos comes anywhere near what many here are capable of.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: Psych
Posted 2012-12-31 01:17:09 and read 7382 times.

It's good to read a thread like this, though the focus has moved somewhat from the thread starter's question.

Quoting ckw (Reply 48):
As an objective (non-uploading) observer, I'm curious as to how (and why) the standards evolve ... the noise thing in particular (as it seems to cause a lot of issues).

My sense is that a screener opens an image and then evaluates it against a series of criteria - is it centred correctly; does it look sharp; is the contrast good etc etc. I think we all agree the tolerance against most of these criteria is much lower than it used to be. For me that's because generally more people can take 'higher' quality images - due to better camera equipment - and also because more people know how to edit an image to a 'higher' standard. When I look through my own portfolio over the years that illustrates the process clearly. Many photos I took in my early days here would now be rejected for a raft of reasons - especially, for example, sharpening and contrast.

Screeners see a shedload of images. They therefore must see a lot of very high quality images, taken with great equipment and edited very well. It would take a very conscious act of will for these experiences not to have the effect of pushing the 'acceptance bar' higher. They know what's possible, and therefore I am guessing this process must have the effect of a collective drift towards what some regard as an 'anal' critical eye. It's inevitable, unless there is an active process to stop that upward drift (and I also guess there will be individual differences regarding 'susceptibility' to this process). I wonder whether one of the questions a screener asks himself is 'could this be better?' If the answer is 'yes' then the rejection button gets closer. For many, your assessment of the question 'could this be better' will be influenced by what you see day in and day out.

I think we see the above process in action - e.g. often very harsh critiques of contrast, grain, sharpening - and it then takes some 'conscious' process (e.g. possibly - and do chip in, experts - Heads sending out a message that too many photos are being rejected for 'x' issue; too many appeals for 'y' are being passed) to bring things back again. For me this is a 'natural' product of the increase in what is possible for the many.

All just theory, of course   .

Paul

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: ckw
Posted 2012-12-31 03:20:58 and read 7355 times.

Quoting Psych (Reply 52):
I wonder whether one of the questions a screener asks himself is 'could this be better?' If the answer is 'yes' then the rejection button gets closer. For many, your assessment of the question 'could this be better' will be influenced by what you see day in and day out.

I'm pretty sure there is an element of truth in this (whether subconscious or otherwise is another matter). And certainly I never come back from a shoot without going through my pics and thinking 'damn, I should have ...' - indeed, I don't think I've ever looked at a set of pics and thought 'yep, that's perfect!' This is how we learn and there is always room for improvement.

Over the last few years I've been doing a lot of commercial magazine shoots, and this has been a very interesting experience for me - those who know me will know I'm quite a stickler for quality BUT while there is no excuse for sloppy work, what I have found is that editors (and by extension readership) are generally much more interested in the image content rather than execution. One thing I have had to learn is that obsession over the technical details can result in not getting the shot. If the content is strong the image will work.

Pick a handful of shots out of any of the various Magnum or TimeLife books available - I guarantee you will find grain/noise, crooked horizons, blur etc. (not necessarily in the same shot!) Yet these are images which had massive impact around the world.

I guess what worries me most about A.net is the belief that meeting the standards = good photography. It doesn't. It perhaps at best means "technically competent"

Which brings me back to the OP and many posts just like it. It pains me a little to see people thinking that improving equipment is the way forward here. Pretty much any DSLR/Lens combo you can buy today is streets ahead of equipment in general use 20 years ago. Brilliant images should be possible. If not, then the individual concerned should learn more about the craft before investing more money.

But if the standards of the site are such that correctly exposed skies using a modern DSLR at base ISO are too noisy without engaging in post processing ... well doesn't that seem fundamentally wrong?

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 49):
I wasn't really around much during the 'Johan years' but the standards he set were obviously much lower than today's. Quite remarkable that a non-photographer set the rules (did he have any experience or did he simply have preferences as a viewer?)

I was - and indeed was a screener for a while. Johan was no photographer. Actually I think this was a good thing. His role was editor, and was not distorted by his photographic abilities. He knew what he wanted to see. Of course he was "wrong" on many counts  , but there was at least the opportunity for debate (we had some good ones!) AND he would personally review any questionable shot. Not infrequently he would make exceptions, and sometimes change the rules. It wasn't perfect by any means, but at least you knew who you were dealing with.

I don't get that sense anymore - the site seems to lack direction, managed by a grey faceless committee (I'm sure it isn't, but its all about impressions).

Cheers,

Colin

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: LOCsta
Posted 2012-12-31 14:13:57 and read 7267 times.

I am using the same equipment for almost 5 years, and my acceptance ratio is as bad as its ever been. Shots from a given shooting day 3 years ago would be accepted with no noise reduction or other special editing, and now an upload attempt from the same shoot will usually get a grain rejection or some other minor technical flaw. This is again from the same day's outing that had multiple shots already accepted years ago.
At first the goal was to get a shot accepted, and the easiest ones where the static or slow moving taxi shots in perfect light. As I progressed, my goal became more about the image itself (content, impact, uniqueness), than a perfectly technical, yet perfectly boring side-on. The problem is that many "outside the box" shots are judged to the same technical standard as the sunny side-on, and sometimes most harshly by screeners that have a portfolio of literally nothing but 1,000's of side-on approach shots taken in perfect light. Aside from the "hot/newsworthy" photos that make it to the front page, the majority of viewers will always be drawn to the photos that evoke emotion for what ever reason, and these are the shots that a) garner the most scrutiny during screening, and b) are the least likely to get accepted.

Here is a scenario to think about:
3 photogs go to an airshow...
In the morning all three shoot a static F-15 with good light, but a very typical shot of a fenced off airplane on display with clutter and people all in the frame.
2 photogs go home after the final display, while the 3rd waits till evening when the F-15 departs. While the morning static was shot at F8, ISO 100, 1/640 and is technically perfect, the evening is now dark and cloudy. With settings of F4, ISO 800, and 1/160th the 3rd photog manages to catch the Eagle in full afterburner, beacon flashing, and massive vapor as it climbs towards a black cloud. Quite happy with the fact that it is properly exposed and not a blurry mess, the 3rd photog heads home to the editing box.
The 1st two photogs had their edits done and in the Que in "no more than 2 minutes" from the time of opening in photoshop, because that's all it takes to get photos accepted here. However the 3rd photog has spent about an hour with isolated masking layers, to get that stubborn ISO 800 grain out. As a result of the NR he's losing all the details, and now its more layer masks to get the best balance of sharpness in details and minimal noise. After 2 hours the image is finally complete and looks stunning. Time to upload!
Approximately 10days later there are 2 acceptance emails and 2 static shots of said F-15 in the data base, and 1 rejected departure shot with the reasons being dark, grainy, soft, personal with a comment that says "too much grain"
At this point our 3rd photog is pretty disappointed because he had done everything he thought possible to bring the image to the level of acceptance.
Of course the image can be re-worked, and the guys that can do it in 2 minutes probably don't think its a big deal, but for the ones that spend the amount of time needed to get it as good as it can possibly be only to be rejected for the exact reason that took the most time in editing, there is little motivation to go through it again to maybe make it 5% better.
A week later the 2 photos accepted on A.net have about 70 views each and no comments. The 3rd photo was luckily accepted by flickr and has 2,000+ views and 50+ comments.

The above is hypothetical, but after reading this, which of the 3 photos do you want to see??? Also, guess which photog was contacted by the pilot, and now has a print hanging in their ready room and an open invitation to visit the home base.

Apply this same scenario to the 3rd photog several + times and he finally says "screw a.net, I'm not going to waste my time"
The 80/20 rule applies here too and the majority of the 20%er's aren't card dumping a sunny afternoon at the approach end of XXX airport. I'm sure many people stop uploading here for many reasons, but most of the ones I remember stopped because of issues with screening/acceptance. Also, none of them were uploading sunny side-ons as their main focus.

I guess in conclusion, I wish the photo in it's entirety was weighted more than the individual rejection check boxes in which there are close to 20 of them.

Cheers,

Kevin

[Edited 2012-12-31 14:19:08]

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: Silver1SWA
Posted 2012-12-31 14:27:43 and read 7259 times.

EXCELLENT post, Kevin.

Quoting LOCsta (Reply 54):
The above is hypothetical, but after reading this, which of the 3 photos do you want to see???

More like which of the 3 photogs would I like to be! The third, of course! Which is why I don't upload here much anymore.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: NZ107
Posted 2012-12-31 14:40:23 and read 7252 times.

Quoting ckw (Reply 53):

But if the standards of the site are such that correctly exposed skies using a modern DSLR at base ISO are too noisy without engaging in post processing ... well doesn't that seem fundamentally wrong?

Well I'd say that depends entirely on the camera you have.. I have the 40D and that's great at ISO100. Then I started comparing my images to those taken on a 60D and 7D and I was quite shocked at how much grain there was for ISO100 in those two cameras. It does stand out. I believe a bit of the blame can be focused on the manufacturer for loading the sensor with too many pixels.

Quoting LOCsta (Reply 54):
Quoting LOCsta (Reply 54):
I guess in conclusion, I wish the photo in it's entirety was weighted more than the individual
rejection check boxes in which there are close to 20 of them.

Well said Kevin, spot on. Indeed, that has been the case a few times for me too. You get these unique images which just don't cut it when put into an A.Net perspective but are just far more interesting than anything else you've seen get uploaded to the site and are possibly just as technically correct, given the conditions.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: ckw
Posted 2012-12-31 16:08:37 and read 7233 times.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 56):
Well I'd say that depends entirely on the camera you have.. I have the 40D and that's great at ISO100. Then I started comparing my images to those taken on a 60D and 7D and I was quite shocked at how much grain there was for ISO100 in those two cameras.

Well yes, at a technical level, I agree with you entirely - which is why when my 7D was trashed I replaced it with an OM-D.

BUT the point is that its all relative - the 7D is noisier than a number of other cameras, but it is still in absolute terms an impressive piece of kit, and more than capable of producing straight out of the camera images acceptable for most professional applications.

So as far as A.net is concerned, what I'm suggesting is that while higher quality is always possible, is it necessary or even desirable? Does A.net really need to have standards which exceed Canon's flagship crop sensor camera?

Cheers,

Colin

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: dazbo5
Posted 2013-01-01 03:21:59 and read 7145 times.

Firstly, Happy New Year to everyone. I think most time zones are in 2013 by now! And secondly, I think it's great we've been allowed to run with this debate as previously, this topic would have been edited or removed by moderators long before now so thank to them.

Quoting ckw (Reply 57):
Does A.net really need to have standards which exceed Canon's flagship crop sensor camera?

I think that's part of the problem Colin. This site is now requiring such perfection in submitted photos (images) that some scenarios are all but impossible to achieve if you want to display them here. Whether they are great photos or not, if there's a hint of noise or the lighting is slightly off etc, there's no point putting them in the queue even though the composition may justify what are termed minor flaws here. Even then, I fail to see where some of the rejections come from for things like noise, magnifying glasses spring to mind. It's no wonder there's a bias towards sunny side-ons, which I actually quite like, on the site simply because if you try and deviate from this, you're sometimes wasting your time submitting them. I've had my discussions with screeners behind the scenes about certain acceptance criteria and it's a take it or leave it attitude, that's if you get a response as all. I must say Dana is the exception.

Quoting ckw (Reply 57):
So as far as A.net is concerned, what I'm suggesting is that while higher quality is always possible, is it necessary or even desirable?

Quality has to plateaux at some point, you can't improve it infinitely and I think we're getting close to that point now. If anything, some sensors are arguably not as good as models a couple of years ago in terms of noise, while they may be better in other aspects. I'm sure they can only go so far. Same with lenses, I don't think we're going to get anything sharper than we have now. So I would agree, is it really necessary to push the quality boundary for displaying on our screens? Probably not. While I do agree with tough acceptance criteria to maintain a certain quality, I fail to see why some of the rejections we all get are given.

Quoting Psych (Reply 52):
I think we see the above process in action

I think your hypothesis is probably the case Paul.

Darren

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: dendrobatid
Posted 2013-01-01 04:31:09 and read 7128 times.

I have just had a count up from stats available to me and a touch under 60% of images submitted are accepted onto the database but I think it is the very nature of this forum (and the feedback one) that the only ones that are discussed are those that are rejected. I don't actually think that 60% accepted is bad at all and when my acceptance rate plummeted a few months ago, I had to question what I was doing wrong (soft images) and pulled it back. I learned a lot from the Screening process when I first started to upload but I wish Screeners had actually been harsher on my old images as I would probably have learned quicker that way ! I continue to learn now

What Paul Markman has surmised above is not far off the mark and we Heads do keep an eye on the stats. As a Head Screener I have never seen a Screener being questioned over general leniency (as opposed to mistakes) but they have been for being too harsh. That seems to be only right!

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 33):
I.....tend not to get too concerned when something gets rejected.

That comment certainly gave me a good laugh and it seems to be totally contradicted by what followed!

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 49):
I've not uploaded in nearly a month now, because I'm a little fed up of being told that my images are effectively not good enough

Seeing and watching aircraft is the most important thing to me (I am an aircraft enthusiast, all kinds of aircraft) and whilst I certainly feel deflated if I don't manage a decent photo for myself I do not take them just for here. I still photograph the aircraft even if I now that the quality will not be good enough for here, the photograph aids my memory of the aircraft. I prefer to get something new for the database when I can but that is not my reason for taking photos, it was not there when I started and I have not changed much in what I photograph. The quality has evolved massively and we have all had to change with it but I suspect that the biggest strides have now been made, as Darren put it, reached a plateaux.

Is an acceptance of about 60% far off the mark?

I think probably not and I doubt that many of you would disagree, until it is one of yours of course  

Happy New Year

Mick Bajcar

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: JakTrax
Posted 2013-01-01 13:49:25 and read 7048 times.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 56):
I believe a bit of the blame can be focused on the manufacturer for loading the sensor with too many pixels

But the screenming process clearly puts the blame on the photographer for 'allowing' the grain to manifest.

Quoting dendrobatid (Reply 59):
Is an acceptance of about 60% far off the mark?

The majority are sunny side-ons though. There's not enough here to encourage photographers to upload their more creative efforts. As people lay off uploading their 'questionable' images it's only natural to see the general acceptance ratio rise.

Quoting dendrobatid (Reply 59):
That comment certainly gave me a good laugh and it seems to be totally contradicted by what followed

Not really. I'm fed up of not winning the lottery and so don't bother playing but I don't create a song and dance over it. If I were overly concerned these days I'd appeal, or continue to re-work for re-upload. I simply can't be bothered. As you have conceded in the past there's absolutely nothing wrong with my photography, and that's what matters most to me.

Kevin's point above is a good example, and is similar in ways to mine concerning the night-shot with the unstable wingtips. Sometimes physics prevents photographers from achieving their desired results but A.net views everything generically. Images are almost always judged from a third-person, editing perspective rather than a realistic, photographical one. You can't always properly judge the circumstances in which a photo was taken unless you were actually there - and how often is an A.net screener standing by your side when you press the shutter release?

Karl

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: ckw
Posted 2013-01-01 14:21:38 and read 7034 times.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 60):
You can't always properly judge the circumstances in which a photo was taken unless you were actually there - and how often is an A.net screener standing by your side when you press the shutter release?

Mmm - not sure if this should factor. I've always maintained there are no bonus points for "degree of difficulty" in photography. The photo works for the viewer or it doesn't. No one (outside a small group of enthusiasts) cares how you achieve the image.

I guess my concern is that A.net is discouraging interesting photography. I've just scrolled through screens of recent uploads. And while technically things have moved on since I uploaded here, I'm afraid the images haven't. Not wanting to offend anyone, but the vast majority are what I call 'reference shots' - very good renditions of a subject but with zero emotional content. No sense of excitement, glamour, danger or any number of adjectives which might be associated with aviation.

Now perhaps there are just as many such 'exciting' images as before, but if so they are lost amongst the thousands and thousands of safe shots.

Now I see the problem for A.net - it is, and always has, fallen over itself to be fair. Hence the tendency to evaluate shots based on measurable criteria (horizons, noise, color blance etc). Screeners seem unable to make a subjective evaluation "sure the horizon's crooked, but wow, great shot"... and of course, the photographers are equally to blame (if not more so). Heaven forbid a shot slips through which breaks one of the rules. Immediate outcry in the forum.

At the end of the day, if people want 'realistic' screening criteria, they are going to have to accept they won't like every shot that gets through - and maybe puzzled by those who don't. But photography is an art - picture should invoke a reaction - you're not going to like them all!

In practical terms, is there a way forward? Perhaps a two level method of acceptance could work. All photographers start at a 'basic' level, in which shots must pass a basic acceptance criteria. Once a photographer has achieved a certain level (eg. 90% acceptance over a 6 month period), they are promoted to 'master' level.

At this they are assumed to understand all the quality issues, and pics are screened purely on the content. Possibly by a separate team of screeners with good photographic experience. Masters would have to accept that their work was being judged subjectively - they would have no appeal process.

The benefits would be an incentive to progress to master level and ensure attention to the technical details, and for those that do, an encouragement to push the boundaries and develop their photographic style.

Cheers,

Colin

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: JakTrax
Posted 2013-01-01 14:53:07 and read 7023 times.

Colin,

Perhaps incorrectly worded......

Take the blurry wingtips image I keep mentioning. The screener will quite often see a 'quality issue' and - perhaps without so much as a further thought - hit reject. But if he questioned the circumstances or discussed the issue it would become clear that the effect is simply a limitation of the world we live in. Cameras and the atmosphere have limiting factors way beyond our control, so it's unreasonable to expect photographers to manipulate images in such a way to effectively make inevitable 'issues' disappear.

I took a photo today of an aircraft taking off and the jet blast is causing the registration to look incredibly soft; almost blurry. So many times I've had a rejection stating, "Soft this, soft that", when in actual fact the 'issue' is nothing more than the unavoidable effects of engine exhaust.

I don't mean to sound offensive but I really do think some of the guys have got far too distracted with the editing side of things and lost a grip on how things work in reality. I'm in a position where I can swan off to an airport more-or-less whenever I please - and I frequently do - so I consider myself pretty wise to most of nature's little 'effects'. I concede that editing is a big part of the digital age but there's no masking natural occurences; nor should there be any attempt to erase evidence of something perfectly natural.

I've realised that when you submit photos here, it's your editing that's being judged, not your photography. It's a shame as this approach certainly restricts what photographers choose to upload. I just don't understand this desire to negate change.

Cheers,

Karl

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: Silver1SWA
Posted 2013-01-01 14:57:48 and read 7022 times.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 60):
The majority are sunny side-ons though. There's not enough here to encourage photographers to upload their more creative efforts. As people lay off uploading their 'questionable' images it's only natural to see the general acceptance ratio rise.

  

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 60):
Not really. I'm fed up of not winning the lottery and so don't bother playing but I don't create a song and dance over it

Clearly by "song and dance" you don't mean vent in the feedback forum about picky rejections...  
Quoting ckw (Reply 61):
Now I see the problem for A.net - it is, and always has, fallen over itself to be fair. Hence the tendency to evaluate shots based on measurable criteria (horizons, noise, color blance etc). Screeners seem unable to make a subjective evaluation "sure the horizon's crooked, but wow, great shot"... and of course, the photographers are equally to blame (if not more so). Heaven forbid a shot slips through which breaks one of the rules. Immediate outcry in the forum.

Ding ding! We are our own worst enemies sometimes. Remember that recent discussion about a certain photo of a window/wing view? Of how about one of the first "creative" shots to be accepted a few years ago that featured a approach tower with a blurred Southwest Airlines 737 overhead? HUGE outcry! Man I LOVE that shot and it would be great to see more examples like that. But when the screeners DO make special "exceptions", everyone starts crying because it was accepted while their basic sunny side-on was rejected for blurry.  

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: JakTrax
Posted 2013-01-01 15:47:46 and read 7006 times.

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 63):
Clearly by "song and dance" you don't mean vent in the feedback forum about picky rejections...



I like to express my grievances and concerns but that doesn't mean I'm all cut up inside about rejections. I LOVE this hobby way too much to let anything ruin it. I also still (for some reason) enjoy this site - which is obviously why I continue to post. I'm not going to hide the fact that I will likely once again enjoy uploading here (in fact I just stuck my 'shot of the day' from this afternoon in the queue); but I do feel it's time to cut back on the number I do upload for now.

The most important thing I've learned about this site lately is that, underneath, it's probably not your photography technique being judged but your ability to mask natural imperfections in an edit. I'm pretty confident in my own photography but I'm more than happy to admit that my editing - althougn improving - is very inconsistent. But like others I've no real desire to learn how to properly process an image to this site's standards.

Getting out there and pleasing my own peresonal criteria is what matters most.

All the best for 2013.

Cheers,

Karl

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: Silver1SWA
Posted 2013-01-01 16:07:56 and read 6997 times.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 64):
The most important thing I've learned about this site lately is that, underneath, it's probably not your photography technique being judged but your ability to mask natural imperfections in an edit. I'm pretty confident in my own photography but I'm more than happy to admit that my editing - althougn improving - is very inconsistent. But like others I've no real desire to learn how to properly process an image to this site's standards.

I NEVER take rejections personally or question my abilities as a photographer because of them. When I do get upset, that is never the reason why.

I get upset when I feel the rejection is petty, I have wasted 10 days, or if the site basically says "not for here" no matter how hard I try to get the edit right.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: dendrobatid
Posted 2013-01-01 23:56:59 and read 6929 times.

Quoting ckw (Reply 61):
Not wanting to offend anyone, but the vast majority are what I call 'reference shots' - very good renditions of a subject but with zero emotional content.

Colin is quite right in what he says in that comment and that covers the majority of what is submitted. It is certainly the majority of what I submit but that is what a database is, indeed should, be about too. It is a fine balance to keep those that want to take photos for a database happy as well as those that want to be emotive, creative with their photography.

The evolution of the site has led to more of the latter being accepted but there will always be far more of the record shots like mine (a mildly derogatory term in other photography circles). By trying to be all things to all people compromise is inevitable but I don't think we are far off the mark and the option is there to ignore what you don't want to look at.

Quoting ckw (Reply 61):
Quoting JakTrax (Reply 60):
You can't always properly judge the circumstances in which a photo was taken unless you were actually there - and how often is an A.net screener standing by your side when you press the shutter release?

Mmm - not sure if this should factor. I've always maintained there are no bonus points for "degree of difficulty" in photography. The photo works for the viewer or it doesn't. No one (outside a small group of enthusiasts) cares how you achieve the image.

Colin again gets to the crux, We are a small team of Screeners who cannot know every location nor be with you all the time so we have to go by what feels right in, say, level or colour. Submit an image with a green sky and it will feel wrong and so get rejected yet we get told that it was like that, with a sea horizon that slopes a degree or so and we are told it was like that etc, etc But you take an air to air with the horizon sloped at 30% for effect it may welll be accepted.

Almost anyone can get the safe shot accepted but take a chance on something outside the safe area and it might get rejected or accepted and thus affect your acceptance rate. But what does that matter , who even knows what that is but you ? We Screeners can't see anyones acceptance rates and they no longer affect upload levels so who cares?

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 49):
No doubt I will upload here again at some point but while I'm abstaining it's the site's loss, not mine.

Karl, you miss the point there. Yes, it is the sites loss if you do not upload, but it is not solely the sites, it is yours too. As was said much earlier in the thread, this is still a good place to share your images.

Mick Bajcar

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: gunship01
Posted 2013-01-02 08:13:25 and read 6869 times.

Ha!

Got you beat...

2.2% acceptance rate....

I think my monitor is not calibrated right. The pictures look darker when I finish exporting them to a folder to push to this site.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: JakTrax
Posted 2013-01-02 08:24:42 and read 6866 times.

Quoting dendrobatid (Reply 66):
Colin again gets to the crux, We are a small team of Screeners who cannot know every location nor be with you all the time so we have to go by what feels right in, say, level or colour. Submit an image with a green sky and it will feel wrong and so get rejected yet we get told that it was like that, with a sea horizon that slopes a degree or so and we are told it was like that etc, etc But you take an air to air with the horizon sloped at 30% for effect it may well be accepted.



I have to admit that I worded that one pretty badly. What I was getting at is that more faith should be put in (consistently reputable) photographers - that is, if they can satisfactorily explain an anomaly in an image, more consideration/leniency should be given. On the other hand, I think it's up to photographers to properly judge whether such anomalies (be they casts or whatever) are acceptable - that is, is there a good and obvious reason why the sky has a certain tint? If that reason is weak or questionable, keep it simple and remove the cast.

I understand that a lot of people will argue until blue in the face that there's good reason why a sky's green or red (even if there isn't) - and that a screener can never know the true photo conditions - but if there is a genuine reason is it not good form to trust the photographer? Or at least investigate further? For example, many SXM shots feature aircraft with green/blue bellies; of course being a well-represented airport it is now common knowledge that the sea causes this but there may be less familiar places where such an explanation may be ignored.

We had a phase recently whereby the yellow tint of early morning shots was being mistaken (for want of a better word) for an abnormal cast, and it took some gentle persuasion from certain members of the photographer community to swing the attitudes. In all fairness I'm not a fan of that yellow light and do try to eliminate it as much as possible, but if the shot's clearly taken just after sunrise why would anyone possibly reject it for colour cast? You wouldn't reject a sunset shot for red cast would you? My point is that, contrary to some general A.net thinking, a clear sky isn't always a perfect shade of blue. By the same token, clouds aren't always brilliant white or a dull grey.

On a final note I'll just go back to my 'blurry wingtips' example. If the photographer has done everything perfectly but those wingtips are blurry due to something completely beyond his control, is it not unfair to slap him with a rejection? Is not a rejection a critique of someone's work, and ultimately an advice on how to improve it? If it can't be imrpoved, surely it can't be rejected?

Karl

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: vikkyvik
Posted 2013-01-02 08:38:32 and read 6868 times.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 60):

But the screenming process clearly puts the blame on the photographer for 'allowing' the grain to manifest.

New rejection reason - "Equipment poorly designed by manufacturer".  
Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 63):
Ding ding! We are our own worst enemies sometimes. Remember that recent discussion about a certain photo of a window/wing view? Of how about one of the first "creative" shots to be accepted a few years ago that featured a approach tower with a blurred Southwest Airlines 737 overhead? HUGE outcry! Man I LOVE that shot and it would be great to see more examples like that. But when the screeners DO make special "exceptions", everyone starts crying because it was accepted while their basic sunny side-on was rejected for blurry.

You got that right.

I see accepted shots that have noise, look slightly blurry, off-level, whatever. But honestly, someone please give me one good reason why I should even care?? If other photographers want to upload noisy, blurry, off-level shots, that's perfectly fine with me, and props to them if they get accepted. Personally, I'd rather not upload those when I can avoid it, and if I do upload them, I do so with the understanding that they will likely get rejected.

Even for "high-degree-of-difficulty" shots, chances are there is someone (or many people, in my case) who could have shot it better than I can.

I was incredibly happy when I got my first shot accepted at ISO800. And even happier when I got one accepted at ISO1600. Same with one at 1600 pixels. But it took a lot of rejections to get to that point, and the shots I had accepted were clearly much better than those I had rejected.

(and, before anyone asks, it was actually learning to photograph better that enabled me to get those shots accepted; my editing skills hadn't improved that much)

All that said, I wouldn't have any qualms with less strict rejection criteria.

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 65):
I NEVER take rejections personally or question my abilities as a photographer because of them. When I do get upset, that is never the reason why.

I never understand why people take rejections personally. See plenty of that in the Feedback forum, and it's pretty amusing.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: dazbo5
Posted 2013-01-02 09:17:13 and read 6845 times.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 68):
If it can't be imrpoved, surely it can't be rejected?

I take your point Karl, but I don't ever see that working here!! There are times though, that I feel there are some really silly rejection reasons being given, your example on the yellow casts many of us had given recently is a good example. I also had one where an aircraft at a holding point in the background of the photo, not the main subject, when taken at a slow shutter was referred to as being blurry in the rejection comment!

I can see this from both sides though. While the photographer may wish to present a photo in natural conditions, it would be pretty much impossable for anyone screening that photo to know what the atmospheric conditions where like. Having said that, a photo taken at dawn or dusk is naturally going to have or yellow or orange / red bias and in my experience here, it's not always taken in to account by screeners. I do agree with Karl on the point that photographers who are submitting photos should be given more of the benefit of the doubt when it comes to that. It a photo taken in the middle of the day in the height of summer has an onbvious cast, that's fair enough but in winter lighting or when it's at a low angle, it should be taken in to account more than what we've seen recently.

Quoting dendrobatid (Reply 66):
we have to go by what feels right in, say, level or colour

I fully agree with you there, but I have seen plenty of rejections from many photographers where I do feel this has been taken to the extreme and time of day hasn't been taken in to account, or certain references for level etc. There are always going to be differences of opinion, that's what appeals are there for, but I do think sometimes things are overlooked and photographers explanations may not always be taken in to account.

Dana was probably sick of our emails a while ago about screening consistency and differences of opinion, yet all the photos rejected, and the subject of our discussions at the time are now in the database. Whether it's as a result of our emails, I don't know but I know I haven't done anything different. I will openly admit, one was a couple were straight re-uploads, no ammendments following rejection, appeal and discuss as I felt I had a solid case as to why I though the rejections were wrongly applied. A step in the right direction if there have been changes!

Darren

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: JakTrax
Posted 2013-01-02 10:22:10 and read 6831 times.

Quoting dazbo5 (Reply 70):
it would be pretty much impossable for anyone screening that photo to know what the atmospheric conditions where like



Of course. That's why the comments box is there. As I said, it's up to the photographer to judge whether the anomaly is likely to be seen as natural, or whether it's going to be considered a flaw. But the screeners in general must also play their part by perhaps better understanding (or better tolerating) known atmospheric occurrences which cause these anomalies. It's similar to the whole 'dust-spot or bird' thing - if it clearly looks like a bird leave it; if it's not readily identifiable get rid.

Quoting dazbo5 (Reply 70):
I will openly admit, one was a couple were straight re-uploads, no ammendments following rejection



I too am guilty of this. However far from being the true guilty party I think it highlights quite well the inconsistencies within the screening process. I know rejected images should never be submitted unchanged but if they are accepted the blame moves away from the photographer and the process becomes the guilty party.

Karl

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: vikkyvik
Posted 2013-01-02 11:50:39 and read 6812 times.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 68):
On a final note I'll just go back to my 'blurry wingtips' example. If the photographer has done everything perfectly but those wingtips are blurry due to something completely beyond his control, is it not unfair to slap him with a rejection? Is not a rejection a critique of someone's work, and ultimately an advice on how to improve it? If it can't be imrpoved, surely it can't be rejected?

Problem is, screeners certainly can't engage in a discussion with photographers about all uploads, or even 25% of uploads, without adding a lot of time to the queue (which, of course, is always another subject of discussion   ).

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 68):
What I was getting at is that more faith should be put in (consistently reputable) photographers - that is, if they can satisfactorily explain an anomaly in an image, more consideration/leniency should be given.

I don't see any way this would work without some segment of the community complaining. A veteran photographer who just started uploading to A.net would say "I'm not getting enough consideration/leniency!" A novice photographer who happened to nail a unique shot would say "Why are my photos getting rejected, but this other more experienced guy's photos are getting accepted?"

It's a tough road to walk down.

As an example, I had some photos rejected recently for a red cast. They were taken close to sunset, in some very nice yellow/orange/red light. Now, I could just submit the photos as they came from my camera color-wise, and claim that's the light they were shot in. But I know quite well that my camera can add a bit of a red cast to many of my photos. So I could say, "that's the way it was straight from the camera, and that's the way it looked", but honestly, they probably did need some red removed.

Anyway, don't know where I was going with that. Lunch time.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: JakTrax
Posted 2013-01-02 12:33:40 and read 6788 times.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 72):
But I know quite well that my camera can add a bit of a red cast to many of my photos



There's a myth that Canons lean towards a red hue, whereas Nikons lean towards blue. While this may be so it's actually more down to the user selecting either auto WB or an otherwise inaccurate WB setting. It's just the way the two auto WB modes perceive light. Setting the WB manually is time-consuming and fiddly but it does provide a solution to this myth.

It's actually pretty irrelevant when shooting RAW as the WB can be altered retrospectively.

Getting back on-topic, colour casts are pretty straight-forward affairs - there are only really certain times of the day when they're excusable and even then cameras can (as Vik points out) 'add a spice of their own' to promote the hue.

One thing I've always thought strange is the site's uniform approach to contrast - that is, blacks should always be black and whites should always be white. The only time I've ever seen aircraft tyres get close to pure black is either when they're brand new or wet. You can tell when an image is seriously lacking contrast but some of the contrast rejections I've had lately are at best questionable.

Finally, to use an example of one of my own images, I recently had a rejection where the screener commented that, "The aircraft underside is unnaturally white and without proper shadow". This was actually because a brilliant white 'strip' (associated with some kind of building work) had been laid at the runway end, and the sun reflecting off this gave aircraft a very pale, well-lit belly - much like the effect ground snow has. I explained this in my appeal but it fell on deaf ears. This is the kind of thing I'm talking about, where my testimony was basically dismissed as false by the screeners. I understand that it may have looked a little odd but my explanation should have been sufficient.

Karl

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: vikkyvik
Posted 2013-01-02 13:13:45 and read 6777 times.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 73):
There's a myth that Canons lean towards a red hue, whereas Nikons lean towards blue. While this may be so it's actually more down to the user selecting either auto WB or an otherwise inaccurate WB setting. It's just the way the two auto WB modes perceive light. Setting the WB manually is time-consuming and fiddly but it does provide a solution to this myth.

I know what you're talking about, but I'm not talking about a myth (that's why I said "my camera" and not "50Ds" or "Canons"   ). I'm talking about in-practice experience. I ALWAYS use manual white-balance, and then tweak it if necessary in post (I also always shoot RAW). I set it as close to what I see as I can get. But there's almost always some extra red in there, even after tweaking, and even when I'm shooting in non-sunset conditions.

It was a very noticeable difference when I switched from the 1000D to the 50D.

Reason color casts came to mind is because it's probably my major pet peeve with screening (along with noise). I absolutely HATE diluting the natural colors, and try and get away with as little change as I can. I often shoot in the late afternoon/evening, so it's always an issue.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: dazbo5
Posted 2013-01-02 13:16:48 and read 6775 times.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 73):
There's a myth that Canons lean towards a red hue

I wouldn't be so sure it's a myth Karl, both my 50D's and the 350D before them produce a subtle red cast and the firmware update 1.0.7 was partly to address this to a degree under certain lighting. It's does exists, although subtle. I take your point about AWB and manaual white balance, but the default AWB does give warmer colours on all the Canon's I've used and is well noted.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 72):
As an example, I had some photos rejected recently for a red cast. They were taken close to sunset, in some very nice yellow/orange/red light. Now, I could just submit the photos as they came from my camera color-wise, and claim that's the light they were shot in. But I know quite well that my camera can add a bit of a red cast to many of my photos. So I could say, "that's the way it was straight from the camera, and that's the way it looked", but honestly, they probably did need some red removed.

I think this fits in with Mick's point above about what looks right. While I agree with you, and I always correct white balance to what I think is right for how the photo looked at the time of taking, if indeed any adjustment is needed, the photo has to look right too. By reducing the middle slider of the red channel from 1.0 to 0.96, that has always removed any red cast from by 50D's / 350D to give a natural colour balance and how I remember the scene being when I took the photo. If this doesn't look natural, I may change things further but I don't see why we, as photographers, should remove 'casts' from dawn or dusk lighting just to satisfy screening. To be fair to the screenning process, natural lighting is often taken in to account but over the last month, many of us seemed to get spuruious rejections for too yellow when it's just how the lighting is at this time of year. I don't feel that is right, it is what it is. As long as it looks right for the conditions protrayed, I don't see why rejections should be given.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 73):
One thing I've always thought strange is the site's uniform approach to contrast - that is, blacks should always be black and whites should always be white. The only time I've ever seen aircraft tyres get close to pure black is either when they're brand new or wet. You can tell when an image is seriously lacking contrast but some of the contrast rejections I've had lately are at best questionable.

I'll agree with you on contrast Karl, i've never understood some of the contrast issues pointed out here.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 73):
This is the kind of thing I'm talking about, where my testimony was basically dismissed as false by the screeners

I've experienced the same Karl, I have one in at the moment where heavy rain has been mistaken for noise, when it clealy isn't wih comments pointing that poit. I expect it'll be rejected for grain yet again, even with detailed explanation.

Darren

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: JakTrax
Posted 2013-01-02 13:49:24 and read 6768 times.

Quoting dazbo5 (Reply 75):
but the default AWB does give warmer colours on all the Canon's I've used and is well noted

I was careful in my choice of words - MUCH of it is down to how the camera selects the colour temperature. The default AWB on Canons is set in favour of red, but that can of course be adjusted to favour a different hue by altering the WB. The 'default' is ultimately determined by how the user wishes to set up the camera.

In a shoot recently I was playing around with WB and all my images came out with a slight blue cast (which was favourable as I prefer the 'icy' look to my colours). If I so choose that could become my camera's 'default'.

Karl

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: Silver1SWA
Posted 2013-01-02 14:48:52 and read 6749 times.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 76):
I was careful in my choice of words - MUCH of it is down to how the camera selects the colour temperature. The default AWB on Canons is set in favour of red, but that can of course be adjusted to favour a different hue by altering the WB. The 'default' is ultimately determined by how the user wishes to set up the camera.

Depends on the Canon camera, actually. Not all Canons are the same. My 40D handles AWB much differently than my 7D which has different tendencies than my 5D Mark II. The 40D and 5D2 lean on the cooler, blue side while the 7D is a bit warmer...in my experience.

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: JakTrax
Posted 2013-01-02 15:31:54 and read 6735 times.

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 77):
Depends on the Canon camera, actually

Yeah, sorry, should have been more specific. I've had Canons where the AWB has (generally) had a slight blue bias. What I'm saying is that, ultimately, the 'default' is set by the user, and becomes whichever temperature that user prefers. Colour also depends of course on the temperature of the available light (which is typically around 5200k at noon on a clear day) - which itself can depend on where in the world you are and at what time.

I think it's too much of a general statement to accurately say, "Canons lean towards a red hue". A camera will only do as it's told.

Karl

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: AlexC
Posted 2013-01-03 02:29:23 and read 6651 times.

The comment that karl makes above about yellow tints in the early morning (or the early evening in my case) is a good one. I've had one or two shots rejected recently for yellow tints taken in fading evening light, the cast being accurate, and I noted in my comment that it was, however that was not taken into consideration. It was a new aircraft to the D/B so I wanted it to be accepted (even though I was in two minds about it as it was not going to be as I had seen it) therefore I removed the cast, re-uploaded and it was accepted. Also, there was a very 'golden' 747 (great shot!) accepted recently (most of you must have seen it!) that got through so it can be done!

Topic: RE: What Am I Doing Wrong With My Photos?
Username: ckw
Posted 2013-01-03 04:25:13 and read 6625 times.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 78):
I think it's too much of a general statement to accurately say, "Canons lean towards a red hue". A camera will only do as it's told.

The problem the designers face is that an infinite range of real world colours need to be mapped to a finite range of colours in a defined colour space - most obvious if you shoot jpg, as the available colours are only those available in the sRGB or AdobeRGB spaces.

As a general rule, the success or failure of this mapping is based on how well skin tones are represented. Most people are quite sensitive to skin tones, and will be quick to jump on inaccuracies. We are less likely to pick up on, say, color inaccuracies in a field of grass, so designers have more room for error in, for example, rendering greens.

RAW isn't really any better, for although a more complete set of color data may be collected; in processing you are still stuck with translating that data into the quite limited sRGB colour space.

Bottom line - it is extremely unlikely that ANY image in ANY light is an "accurate" representation of color. It is always an interpretation.

If we assume the light is neutral we can go some way towards color accuracy by using known white, black or grey areas to check for casts - but as anyone who has tried to match up white car paint will know, there's many many different shades that we perceive as white. The airlines don't all use the same white paint!

The best we can do is to use a colour temperature meter to set the WB - but even this is not very reliable when the subject is at a distance.

Ultimately though, we all are stuck with mapping the real world to sRGB. Even if we got the whites spot on, it is quite possible that our blues, reds and greens are wrong because the precise shade isn't represented in the colour space - I'm sure we've all encountered situations where the aircraft looks OK but the sky looks a bit odd.

Colour is a real problem for screening, because it is entirely subjective. Our ability to perceive colours also varies from individual to individual - eg. some will be more sensitive to yellow than others (what looks pleasantly warm to one may appear jaundiced to another) ... plus of course the additional complications of monitor condition, room lighting, wall colours etc. make accurate assessment of colour extremely difficult unless you have some sort of reference point.

Cheers,

Colin


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