Why do other photographers laugh at my work!!??

HackboneHackbone Always learningPosts: 3,978Registered Users Major grins
edited February 3, 2012 in People
Why do other photographers laught at my work and call me a "fauxtographer?"

Well it could be you aren't adhering to the rules of a quality print. It really is hard to say you don't like a print that you've taken of your child. Come on, it's my child she/he is great looking ( even though there might be a little of Marty Feldman in them, humor for the old folkes)

Below is a list of rules from the Professional Photographers of America that should be in a great photograph. They are supposed to be in order but many argue over the placement of a few.

Try to use these rules as a guide in your work. Copy them and tape them to your refrigerator or camera back and review them before every attempt.

Come on and lets elevate the level of photography that has been on a slippery slope for a few years now. The digital revolution bears part of the blame but we are to blame for most of it.

Don't stay a Fauxtographer for ever!!!


Impact is the sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling images evoke laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion. There can be impact in any of these twelve elements.

Technical excellence is the print quality of the image itself as it is presented for viewing. Retouching, manipulation, sharpness, exposure, printing, mounting, and correct color are some items that speak to the qualities of the physical print.

Creativity is the original, fresh, and external expression of the imagination of the maker by using the medium to convey an idea, message or thought.

Style is defined in a number of ways as it applies to a creative image. It might be defined by a specific genre or simply be recognizable as the characteristics of how a specific artist applies light to a subject. It can impact an image in a positive manner when the subject matter and the style are appropriate for each other, or it can have a negative effect when they are at odds.

Composition is important to the design of an image, bringing all of the visual elements together in concert to express the purpose of the image. Proper composition holds the viewer in the image and prompts the viewer to look where the creator intends. Effective composition can be pleasing or disturbing, depending on the intent of the image maker.

Presentation affects an image by giving it a finished look. The mats and borders used, either physical or digital, should support and enhance the image, not distract from it.

Color Balance supplies harmony to an image. An image in which the tones work together, effectively supporting the image, can enhance its emotional appeal. Color balance is not always harmonious and can be used to evoke diverse feelings for effect.

Center of Interest is the point or points on the image where the maker wants the viewer to stop as they view the image. There can be primary and secondary centers of interest. Occasionally there will be no specific center of interest, when the entire scene collectively serves as the center of interest.

Lighting—the use and control of light—refers to how dimension, shape and roundness are defined in an image. Whether the light applied to an image is manmade or natural, proper use of it should enhance an image.

Subject Matter should always be appropriate to the story being told in an image.

Technique is the approach used to create the image. Printing, lighting, posing, capture, presentation media, and more are part of the technique applied to an image.

Story Telling refers to the image’s ability to evoke imagination. One beautiful thing about art is that each viewer might collect his own message or read her own story in an image.

If you can get your hands on a Loan Collection book (the best of competition) it is well worth studying.
http://www.bonanza.com/listings/Professional-Photographer-of-America-Loan-Collection-00/45190954

Sorry for the rant but I went home to PA to take care of mom and dad and I had too much time to think.

Comments

  • Quincy TQuincy T from ear to ear Posts: 1,090Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 24, 2012
    Reality checks are essential. Thanks Hackbone.
  • zoomerzoomer Major grins Posts: 3,688Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 24, 2012
    The problem with "rules" is that in a room with three people, each of the three may have a different interpretation of each these rules.

    If a photo has impact it doesn't matter if it breaks all the "rules"...although typically it takes a strong performance in at least one of the "rules" for a photo to have impact.
  • HackboneHackbone Always learning Posts: 3,978Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 24, 2012
    zoomer wrote: »
    The problem with "rules" is that in a room with three people, each of the three may have a different interpretation of each these rules.

    Agree but when you put three people together who understand the rules they would be in agreement more that not.


    If a photo has impact it doesn't matter if it breaks all the "rules"...although typically it takes a strong performance in at least one of the "rules" for a photo to have impact.

    But you maye be able to improve the impact with image placement, change to B & W or whatever. Impact can be good or bad, it is still impact.
  • BilsenBilsen Not Like -- the Others Posts: 2,143Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 24, 2012
    Nice read Hack. You should have too much time more often.
    Bilsen (the artist formerly known as John Galt NY)
    Canon 600D; Canon 1D Mk2;
    24-105 f4L IS; 70-200 f4L IS; 50mm 1.4; 28-75 f2.8; 55-250 IS; 580EX & (2) 430EX Flash,
    Model Galleries: http://bilsen.zenfolio.com/
    Everything Else: www.pbase.com/bilsen
  • Bryce WilsonBryce Wilson Wants More Glass Posts: 1,584Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 24, 2012
    Bravo!!!!

    I think I'm going to print up a bunch of copies of this and have them laminated.
  • reyvee61reyvee61 Major grins Posts: 1,877Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 25, 2012
    Great post for sure...thanks for this :D
    Yo soy Reynaldo
  • divamumdivamum Major grins Posts: 9,019Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 25, 2012
    Charles, these are all great points and it's good to see them collated and expressed so coherently. There was a discussion in Challenges recently trying to quantify various aspects of a "good" shot - you should repost over there!! thumb.gif
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,033Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 25, 2012
    Not to tout my own horn, but I honestly do think my C theory is easier to remember and to apply, even if it doesn't cover frame selection process :-) mwink.gifdeal
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
    Star*Explorer: on Dgrin, home; Master Class: open;
    Class is in session, My Facebook, @DarthSLR, #NiksTips
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  • RyanSRyanS Always Learning Posts: 507Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 25, 2012
    I don't think I have anything new to add to the discussion other than to add the possibility that talent has something to do with it. Specifically, I am referring to a special aptitude for inherently recognizing what makes an impactful image impactful. For a long time I took issue with this idea, because (to me) it seemed to suggest that one couldn't improve beyond a certain point. I now believe that is not the case.

    Talent does matter. However, I think it matters only in how quickly one can improve. I don't believe it affects the ability of one to improve. For example, Leonardo DaVinci was considered a master by age 20. He was so good that his mentor, after seeing him paint, put down his brush and never painted again. I believe he was able to achieve so much so quickly due to talent. Another painter might learn to paint like Leo, but it might take them decades to learn the skill. Others might need to live for 150 years to achieve the same skill level.

    Let me throw out an idea that might be controversial. If your skill as a photographer is rapidly improving you probably have an aptitude for it (talent). If it isn't, that doesn't mean you can't learn it. It simply means it may take you longer to learn it. Don't be like DaVinci's instructor and put down your brush just because you meet an amazingly talented artist. Simply accept that they are gifted and then go back to work. What you have to contribute might not be as impressive as the Mona Lisa, but it is still important and every bit as relevant to life, happiness, and art.
    Please feel free to post any reworks you do of my images. Crop, skew, munge, edit, share.
    Website | Galleries | Utah PJs
  • 0scar990scar99 Big grins Posts: 71Registered Users Big grins
    edited January 25, 2012
    I think with photography you can master the 'science' without mastering or being capable of mastering the art.
  • IcebearIcebear Major grins Posts: 4,015Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 26, 2012
    0scar99 wrote: »
    I think with photography you can master the 'science' without mastering or being capable of mastering the art.

    I think you're talkin' about me. Except I haven't mastered the science by a long shot.
    John :
    Natural selection is responsible for every living thing that exists.
    D3s, D500, D5300, and way more glass than the wife knows about.
  • OverfocusedOverfocused Photo Nut Posts: 1,067Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 26, 2012
    0scar99 wrote: »
    I think with photography you can master the 'science' without mastering or being capable of mastering the art.


    Truth. I think I am somewhat of an enigma, however. My brain autonomously does the scientific part with ease and I think that has turned into the way I express myself artistically... with science. It's sorta confusing sometimes since I don't really know how to connect with my own pictures very well emotionally at all (or most anyone elses for that matter)
  • fireguy.edfireguy.ed Big grins Posts: 36Registered Users Big grins
    edited January 26, 2012
    0scar99 wrote: »
    I think with photography you can master the 'science' without mastering or being capable of mastering the art.

    I completely agree. I can take a technically correct photograph, but it may just be a photograph. While someone else can take a shot with their phone camera and it has the elements to make it art. ne_nau.gif

    Also, we all can't be good at every style of photography. I think some people, myself included sometimes, try to be a "jack of all photos", but just end up a master of none... ok, maybe a few styles once (if) we realize our strengths...
  • HackboneHackbone Always learning Posts: 3,978Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 26, 2012
    If we take technically correct photographs with the rules applied doesn't that mean they are art!
  • Bryce WilsonBryce Wilson Wants More Glass Posts: 1,584Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 26, 2012
    Hackbone wrote: »
    If we take technically correct photographs with the rules applied doesn't that mean they are art!

    I would say what you describe is a "journeyman". I would think an artist would either break the rules or create his or her own.

    My two cents.
  • reyvee61reyvee61 Major grins Posts: 1,877Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 27, 2012
    If we were still etching images and words on stone it would be a skill-set that involved creativity and laborious skill but with digital there is science involved and there has to be a marriage of technical skills and creativity to create what you might envision ....
    Yo soy Reynaldo
  • CowboydougCowboydoug Kidnapper Posts: 401Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 27, 2012
    These "RULES"... they are guides... With practice & intent they become natural... These Rules... ...yeah, they are there but they are intrinsic at this point... I can just see LEO (thanks Ryan...that made me Laughing.gif) but I can just see Leo with his note pad going over a check list... did i do this , this, this & this... Most, if not all of these Rules or Guides are apparent in most of the work we do as pro's... they need to be... otherwise you won't be pro for long. It is because of study and practice that they are natural to us NOW...

    Thanks Charles for the interesting and thoughtful post and to all who have added... oh and Charles... YES... you're an artist....lol
    I'm a Kidnapper... I take terrible pictures of people, then hold them for ransom.

    Cowboydoug
    Certified Journeyman Commercial Photographer
    www.iWasThereToo.com
  • Awais YaqubAwais Yaqub One Inspired soul Posts: 10,478Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 27, 2012
    Charles, thanks for great post
    Thine is the beauty of light; mine is the song of fire. Thy beauty exalts the heart; my song inspires the soul. Allama Iqbal

    Gallery
  • SwartzySwartzy Right Brained Scientist Posts: 3,293Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 1, 2012
    RyanS wrote: »
    I don't think I have anything new to add to the discussion other than to add the possibility that talent has something to do with it. Specifically, I am referring to a special aptitude for inherently recognizing what makes an impactful image impactful. For a long time I took issue with this idea, because (to me) it seemed to suggest that one couldn't improve beyond a certain point. I now believe that is not the case.

    Talent does matter. However, I think it matters only in how quickly one can improve. I don't believe it affects the ability of one to improve. For example, Leonardo DaVinci was considered a master by age 20. He was so good that his mentor, after seeing him paint, put down his brush and never painted again. I believe he was able to achieve so much so quickly due to talent. Another painter might learn to paint like Leo, but it might take them decades to learn the skill. Others might need to live for 150 years to achieve the same skill level.

    Let me throw out an idea that might be controversial. If your skill as a photographer is rapidly improving you probably have an aptitude for it (talent). If it isn't, that doesn't mean you can't learn it. It simply means it may take you longer to learn it. Don't be like DaVinci's instructor and put down your brush just because you meet an amazingly talented artist. Simply accept that they are gifted and then go back to work. What you have to contribute might not be as impressive as the Mona Lisa, but it is still important and every bit as relevant to life, happiness, and art.

    I do agree with you to a degree, albeit a couple of considerations are overlooked. Talent is difficult to quantify. We recognize it when we see it. Now let's consider the flip side, lack of talent.

    There are those who have very little talent for a particular interest. Work and dedication will only take them so far. Sadly, they never will achieve a level higher than satisfactory. This dilemma not only applies to photography but for any endeavor. We see those challenges daily for some, including ourselves.

    What is most difficult is recognizing whether one has a talent or propensity towards a particular endeavor. This should be the bigger question each individual should ask themselves, especially when charging fees for their handicap.

    Many areas of photography can be learned. Lighting ratios, posing, camera settings, all can become a learned thing. Having the ability to recognize and implement excellence is something which separates by way of talent.

    JMHO
    Swartzy:
    NAPP Member | Canon Shooter
    Weddings/Portraits and anything else that catches my eye.
    www.daveswartz.com
    Model Mayhem site http://www.modelmayhem.com/686552
  • HackboneHackbone Always learning Posts: 3,978Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 1, 2012
    True story.......I had two good friends who were photographers. Fred was self taught and did it on the side and was interested in scenics and wildlife. He has since gone on to his heavenly reward. Ralph was a graduate of The Art Institute of ________(fill in the blank) and was a great technical photogrpaher. He lived in a house that had a vacant lot next to it with a dead tree and rowboat tied to it. Ralph walked past this scene every day for 10 to 15 years. Fred drove by one day and said wow and made a few exposures and wound up with an award winning print. Sometimes we don't see the forest for the tress. Our tunnel vision is something I constantly have to work to overcome.
  • rwellsrwells Let the shootin' begin... Posts: 6,084Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 2, 2012
    Good post that provokes some thought Charles <img src="https://us.v-cdn.net/6029383/emoji/thumb.gif"; border="0" alt="" >

    Personally, the list of "rules" would better be described as ingredients. If we were to use a chef and his/her recipes as an analogy, it somehow seems easier for me to describe/understand.

    When a chef wants to prepare a certain type of meal, he/she may use some of the same ingredients for several different dishes, but in quite different quantities, and even prepped differently, depending on what flavors he/she wants to bring out. No different for photography. One should use items on the said "rules" list to create the "flavor" that is intended. This may call for a cup of composition and only a dash of creativity. Or one may need to simmer some to the "ingredients" in order to allow other intended "flavors" to break through more easily.

    I think this topic is a valid one to understand and implement, but is as slippery to grasp as a rainbow trout!

    It's just not as simple as a "rules" list would try to imply.

    Not sure?

    Think about this rhetorical question: Why do you think that most all photographers (ALL that I'm aware of), top pro's down to amateurs only have a real "talent" for one genre of photography?

    If you get an opportunity, look at a good/great portrait photographers attempts at (landscapes, sports, wildlife, etc.) images. Chances are excellent that you'll say to yourself: how can this great portrait photographers landscape images suck this bad? Change any of the variables above and you get the same results. Why???

    Because each genre of photography applies the "ingredients" differently for "great images".

    YMMV, but this is how my brain works...



    BTW: <Why do other photographers laugh at my work and call me a "fauxtographer?">

    Even when I made a living with my camera, to my knowledge, I never sold a single image to another photographer... So, go ahead other photographers, laugh at my work <img src="https://us.v-cdn.net/6029383/emoji/rolleyes1.gif"; border="0" alt="" >
    Oh wait, isin't that one of those top "rules"? Laughter: a strong emotion <img src="https://us.v-cdn.net/6029383/emoji/thumb.gif"; border="0" alt="" >
    Randy
  • SwartzySwartzy Right Brained Scientist Posts: 3,293Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 3, 2012
    rwells wrote: »

    Think about this rhetorical question: Why do you think that most all photographers (ALL that I'm aware of), top pro's down to amateurs only have a real "talent" for one genre of photography?

    If you get an opportunity, look at a good/great portrait photographers attempts at (landscapes, sports, wildlife, etc.) images. Chances are excellent that you'll say to yourself: how can this great portrait photographers landscape images suck this bad? Change any of the variables above and you get the same results. Why???


    I'm not so sure here Randy with your question. I shoot and work with a few people that are exceptional with many styles of photography. They are great wedding photogs, excellent landscape shooters and do incredible composite work.

    I don't want to toot my own horn but quite honestly, I think I have a skill for product photography, portraits and landscapes (which is where my passions lie) and do admit that since I have no interest in pure PJ or street photography, I don't do real well there.

    The one part of the equation often overlooked is one's propensity towards a particular interest. Some of us (and am fortunate) to have a wide variety of interests which aids in producing a superior product. Now having said that, it obviously is NOT a matter of where one's passions lie to the extent of producing good imagery, but whether or not that individual actually has a talent for it.

    We see this across a wide spectrum in any industry. My mother loved piano music, desired with all her heart to play well but never could "get" there. She had an appreciation for excellence but was not within her being to produce such a product.....as with all of us (choose your limitation). Watching Tiger Woods strike a golf ball makes one realize the inadequacy we deal with, no matter how much we practice, no matter how much we read, no matter how many golf forums we participate.....we will NEVER strike a ball like Tiger. Fact of life. It is what it is.

    Just my 2 cents.....
    Swartzy:
    NAPP Member | Canon Shooter
    Weddings/Portraits and anything else that catches my eye.
    www.daveswartz.com
    Model Mayhem site http://www.modelmayhem.com/686552
  • rwellsrwells Let the shootin' begin... Posts: 6,084Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 3, 2012
    Swartzy wrote: »
    I'm not so sure here Randy with your question. I shoot and work with a few people that are exceptional with many styles of photography. They are great wedding photogs, excellent landscape shooters and do incredible composite work.

    I don't want to toot my own horn but quite honestly, I think I have a skill for product photography, portraits and landscapes (which is where my passions lie) and do admit that since I have no interest in pure PJ or street photography, I don't do real well there.

    The one part of the equation often overlooked is one's propensity towards a particular interest. Some of us (and am fortunate) to have a wide variety of interests which aids in producing a superior product. Now having said that, it obviously is NOT a matter of where one's passions lie to the extent of producing good imagery, but whether or not that individual actually has a talent for it.

    We see this across a wide spectrum in any industry. My mother loved piano music, desired with all her heart to play well but never could "get" there. She had an appreciation for excellence but was not within her being to produce such a product.....as with all of us (choose your limitation). Watching Tiger Woods strike a golf ball makes one realize the inadequacy we deal with, no matter how much we practice, no matter how much we read, no matter how many golf forums we participate.....we will NEVER strike a ball like Tiger. Fact of life. It is what it is.

    Just my 2 cents.....

    Hey Dave, hope all is well with you!


    I was addressing more directly Charles posting of "rules" for great images, not abilities, natural or earned. My point being: IMHO, you can't just apply equal parts of said list of rules to each and every photo as the list itself suggest. You have to apply the parts that more closely match your goal for a given image.

    As stated, YMMV...
    Randy
  • SwartzySwartzy Right Brained Scientist Posts: 3,293Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 3, 2012
    Hey Randy :) Yes, I see your point. Hope all is well with you as well. Haven't been around much lately..pop in here and there but so very busy with our company and shooting is a luxury these days...Laughing.gif. Your observation is well noted. Adhering to a prescribed list does not a great photo make but there are elements of said list that actually are applicable. I suppose, especially for judging print competitions, there needs to be some form of "standard" in which to quantify a nominating candidate. I would think it very difficult to be a judge as one would have to explain the parameters of the "yea or neah" for imagery. YMMV is a good way to describe it overall...Laughing.gif

    BTW, my Honda Valkrie gets about 32 mpg...not great for a motorcycle but sure is fun to go FAST :)
    Swartzy:
    NAPP Member | Canon Shooter
    Weddings/Portraits and anything else that catches my eye.
    www.daveswartz.com
    Model Mayhem site http://www.modelmayhem.com/686552
  • HackboneHackbone Always learning Posts: 3,978Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 3, 2012
    You folks are getting wayyyyy to deep for me. Remember this is a list published by the Professional Photographers of American to set some standards for what contributes to a merit print. You must have a starting point and be able to defend your score. If you score an 80 you have done very, very well. Scores are rarely in the 90's in most state comps.
  • SwartzySwartzy Right Brained Scientist Posts: 3,293Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 3, 2012
    Laughing.gif...but Charles.....but but....deep? Ha ha...I've always been called shallow :)
    Swartzy:
    NAPP Member | Canon Shooter
    Weddings/Portraits and anything else that catches my eye.
    www.daveswartz.com
    Model Mayhem site http://www.modelmayhem.com/686552
  • jheftijhefti Hyperope Posts: 733Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 3, 2012
    There was an interesting article in the New Yorker several years ago about two kinds of artists: the immediate talent, and the talent that takes the better part of a lifetime to develop. In the former camp, Jonathan Safran Foer was given as an example. He had no aspirations to write until he took a trip to his family's homeland; then he wrote 'Everything is Illuminated" in a matter of weeks and it became an instant best seller. By contrast, Paul Cezanne didn't hit his stride until later in life and his product reflected a deeply thoughtful maturity that younger artists--even prodigies--don't/can't possess. (That article, entitled "Late Bloomers", can be found here: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/10/20/081020fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=1 )

    I think when we define talent in terms of how steep the learning curve is, a lot of potentially talented people get discouraged and give up.

    Practical considerations (like making a living as a photographer) aside, I find great enjoyment in producing images that I find pleasing. Often times others don't share my opinion, but that is fine. As photographers, we constantly develop both our eye for subject and our technical skills to capture a subject. If we come away with images we truly love, we are successful. Now if we want to sell those images, that's another matter...
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,033Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 3, 2012
    jhefti wrote: »
    ... If we come away with images we truly love, we are successful. Now if we want to sell those images, that's another matter...
    Very well said! thumb.gifclap
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
    Star*Explorer: on Dgrin, home; Master Class: open;
    Class is in session, My Facebook, @DarthSLR, #NiksTips
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  • theprincereturnstheprincereturns Major grins Posts: 132Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 3, 2012
    Great list. Thanks for posting.

    As to the Talent discussion:

    I think talent has a lot more to do with your interest level and dedication to improvement (ie practice and studying) than any innate ability. Althought we each do have different strength and weaknesses that we need to learn to highlight or accomodate. I am more naturally a very analytical person, and the impact/emotion invoked by a picture is more difficult for me to quantify (especially in post processing where my eye is very quickly drawn to all the technical asptects of a picture). To compensate for that I often have my wife go through the pictures with me the first time and help me mark which are her favorites as she responds much more emotionally to an image than I do :-)
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