Artistic License vs. Histogram???

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  • cab.in.bostoncab.in.boston Wink wink, nudge nudge. Posts: 634Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 12, 2014
    This has been an interesting and enlightening thread. You make some very valid points, particularly about the business sense and delivery of photos, but some of the things you say have me wondering.

    I am by no means a professional photographer, and have no interest in being one. There was once when a friend "commissioned" me to shoot some photos to be hung on her wall because she liked some of what I have done. In the end, it was a royal pain because after I delivered to her what I was happy with, processed how I like (which is after all why she asked me to do it - she liked my "style"), she wanted to see the rest of what I'd done, and had all sorts of comments on what she'd like to see in the processing, etc. To the extent that I wondered why didn't she just do it herself, because it wasn't really "my" image. Yes, I took them, but it wasn't what I was happy to call representative of my work in some cases. I'm sure you have shot things where you come home with dozens or hundreds of images that don't make your cut, and you wouldn't want getting "out there" for people to see, because for whatever reason you just weren't happy with them. So I'd guess you know what I mean. We all shoot a certain percentage of tossers, no matter how careful we are.

    Being a pro in this field, he absolutely should communicate well, deliver on time (or at least contact you if the date was going to be missed), and there should have been some kind of understanding from the beginning about all these things. I do, however, think it's unreasonable for you to expect unedited raw files for you to play with as you see fit. I was married during the film-to-digital transition years, and our photographer shot film. I didn't know squat about photography at the time, but even if I had known what I do now, I would never have assumed he would just give me the negatives for me to process. We hired him because we liked his style (and his pricing), not just as a body to shoot and deliver raw materials to us.
    DrMillerKC wrote: »
    And about 240 out of 650 photos were B&W and we'll never see the color originals???

    If the photographer shot them with the intent of being B&W, and that's what his vision/style was for those, then no, I wouldn't expect to get color versions of delivered B&W images. I might point out a few shots that I really liked and ask if he would consider working up a color version, but as far as I'm concerned, his style is up to him. Did he have a fair sprinkling of B&W in his portfolio? If so I'd expect to see the same in the delivered images. What if he'd shot them on B&W film, or with a Leica M Monochrom? Would you insist he colorize them, or hire him only with the caveat that he not shoot B&W?
    The "reputation" thing is the lack of communication, inflexibility, and lack of business acumen. Everything was fine as long as we did not expect photos before 12 weeks, we did not bother him before that, and that we were OK with receiving photos in batches and only after begging for them.

    Clients should NOT have to beg for their photos.
    Completely agree.
    As I said, my daughter liked his intimate, soft, filmy up-close, portraits of the B&G. That's why he was chosen. And the ones we really like fit that category.
    If you liked that particular aspect of his portfolio, and indeed are happy with the shots that fit that description, great. But you also hired him to do the rest of the event, so the rest of his style should have been considered when hiring him as well. Otherwise, hire him to do just a portrait session with B&G to get those style images, and someone whose event coverage style you prefer to do the day of the wedding.
    Who knew that the photos and style would be selected for us by a dictator without any "give and take"? And thinking we would ever think we would want unedited photos was beyond our imagination - at the time.
    I would absolutely, when hiring a photographer, expect the photos and style to be chosen by the photographer. That's why you review portfolios and choose (or not) a particular person ahead of time. Someone else may love his style while you clearly don't. There may have been another photographer that suited your tastes better, but I don't think it's fair to say "I don't like your processing/style/whatever, so just give me all your raw files and I'll do it." I also wouldn't hire a swing band for the reception and then be upset that they didn't play a bunch of classic rock tunes when I asked them to.
    Father, husband, dog lover, engineer, Nikon shooter
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  • Matthew SavilleMatthew Saville Wedding Photographer Southern CaliforniaPosts: 3,352Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited August 16, 2014
    I think you guys are still being overly critical of the OP's opinion on this matter regarding the family formals.

    As I stated earlier, it's all well and good to use film for those creative, artistic shots where film's beautiful warm tones and other "unmistakeable properties" make it an artistic tool, not a crutch.

    I'd even go so far as to say that, if the bride hired the photographer for this reason, for this artistry, then it's understandable for the photographer to say "no, I cannot provide you with "perfect" color for these film shots, the color response of the film is the reason WHY I chose this film in the first place!"

    HOWEVER, the whole argument falls apart when you get to the family formals, IMO. As a wedding photographer for 10+ years, and as one who has shot plenty of film and digital alike at weddings, I do have to agree that it is a bit elitist and snooty to go and shoot official family formals on film, deliver them with a strong color cast, and then refuse to offer to either shoot the same images on digital at the time of the wedding, OR to at least offer an un-processed negative / film scan of the family formals, for personal use and printing.

    Sure, maybe the OP's original edit was a bit TOO correct, but maybe somewhere in between would be nice?

    And I also don't understand why you're jumping down the OP's throat regarding their request for just a COUPLE of these official family formals in un-edited form. There is a very valid point here: If it is a "boring" straightforward family formal, then it's not going on my blog or in my portfolio. And I couldn't care less how it is edited for personal use / display. I'd be far, far better off to just provide them with un-edited photos, let alone shoot the family formals on digital instead of film in the first place, ESPECIALLY if the father of the bride is a photographer and has an opinion on the matter. In fact I'd rather have thrilled clients who recommend me to their friends, and have a slightly oddly edited image on display in their home, than to have a whole bunch of people be pissed off at me for being elitist and not delivering on a simple request.

    So, I do understand both sides of this. In many cases, the photographer is entirely justified in "sticking to their guns", or this or that. Their craft is their baby, and they're allowed to be picky about it. But this one issue, regarding straightforward, formal posed portraits, is where I think the OP has a very valid point.

    IMO, just re-visit those film scans, post-process them yourself but don't over-do it on the perfectly neutral tones, and call it a day.

    =Matt=
    My first thought is always of light.” – Galen Rowell
    My SmugMug PortfolioMy Astro-Landscape Photo BlogDgrin Weddings Forum
  • QarikQarik Krazy Korean Posts: 4,959Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 19, 2014
    I like the photographers shots as presented in general...it's too bad OP didn't like them. Personal taste aside, from what I have seen, if the other images match that in quality then the photographer is at least par for the course compared to other professional work I have seen and shot myself. Hard to comment beyond that as we can't see the whole set.
    D700, D600
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  • jonh68jonh68 Major grins Posts: 2,711Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 25, 2014
    That was an interesting read. I like the photographers edits better. In regards to the professional behavior of the photographer it would be interesting to hear his side of the story. Seems to me there is much more to this story.
  • DrMillerKCDrMillerKC Big grins Posts: 24Registered Users Big grins
    edited August 25, 2014
    jonh68 wrote: »
    it would be interesting to hear his side of the story. Seems to me there is much more to this story.

    I don't know what "side" you are looking for. Only receiving the first half of contracted photos 12 weeks after the event is a fact. We didn't have one photo before that to even comment about.

    Anyway, the disappointment continues for me. After downloading the first and second batches of the photos, I looked at the megapixel count and the majority of the photos scanned from film were delivered to us at 7mp (I have no idea of course what they were originally scanned at since we don't have one unedited photo). The photos from the assistants' cameras were 22mp (Canon EOS 5D Mark III) and 12mp (NIKON D700).

    Then, we were directed to a new download site for the FINAL edited photos. Of course, the site required a PIN for download, and after another 2-3 emails and a voice message, we finally got the PIN from the photog a WEEK later.

    So, we received the final edited photos (now 3 weeks past contracted time) and I noticed the file sizes for each photo were a fraction of what we received before. On inspection, now every photo was downsized to between 5mp and 7.6mp.

    Is it standard that when digital photos are delivered to a customer that they are downsized instead of delivering original full-resolution quality files (that's what I expected but there was nothing in the contract mentioning that)?

    BTW, we are supposed to get a DVD but I'm guessing that it will NOT contain the high-resolution files (but I hope they do). We are not holding our breath now that is already 15 weeks past the event and we are tired of emailing and not getting any response.

    And, no video trailer to post online or completed video from the videographer yet either, 15 weeks and counting - but that's another story ;)
  • trooperstroopers Major grins Posts: 317Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 25, 2014
    Can you post the contract somewhere for us to review (with strike-throughs of names/photographer)? I'd like to read it.
  • DrMillerKCDrMillerKC Big grins Posts: 24Registered Users Big grins
    edited August 25, 2014
    troopers wrote: »
    Can you post the contract somewhere for us to review (with strike-throughs of names/photographer)?

    Clearly a cut & paste without any sort of proofreading or legal advice (e.g. the photographer refers to his business as "Studio", "Supplier", "Photographer", etc. where the entire legal idea is to just define ONE symbol throughout the contract.

    [IMG]http://www.enatal.com/Contract-Page 1.jpg[/IMG]
    [IMG]http://www.enatal.com/Contract-Page 2.jpg[/IMG]
  • SamSam San Jose CA Posts: 7,418Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 26, 2014
    Dr Miller,

    First the Mp size of the files is semi-irrelevant. As an example I have an image that is 5616 X 1872 I will be printing for a client. The psd file is 162 MB with layers. The same image flattened and saved as a tiff is 60MB. The full rez jpg file is 5mb. The size is simply a matter of information compression.

    I can print from any of these files and you would have a hard time seeing any difference.

    AS to the contract...................I can't image signing this.

    Sam
  • DrMillerKCDrMillerKC Big grins Posts: 24Registered Users Big grins
    edited August 26, 2014
    Sam wrote: »
    First the Mp size of the files is semi-irrelevant. As an example I have an image that is 5616 X 1872 I will be printing for a client. The psd file is 162 MB with layers. The same image flattened and saved as a tiff is 60MB. The full rez jpg file is 5mb. The size is simply a matter of information compression.

    I can print from any of these files and you would have a hard time seeing any difference.
    You have confused megapixels (mp) that are a measure of resolution with megabytes (MB) that are a measure of file size.

    For your picture the mp size is 10.5mp (5616 x 1872). I'm no genius on storage bytes and photos, but the file size for an uncompressed photo like that would be 5616 x 1872 x 4 bytes per pixel, or 42MB (or the file size if RAW, but I think that depends on 8-bit vs. 32-bit photos???). But, as you point out, for the exact same resolution photo, the file size can be almost anything less than that (and usually is MUCH less) based on the degree of image compression and how much pixellation you can endure.

    In my case, one of the assistant's cameras was a Nikon D700 and the original photos had a RESOLUTION of 4256x2832, or 12mp, and my concern was that the photog reduced the RESOLUTION (and probably the file size) of the photo to 3500x2329, or 8.1mp. That of course would only make a difference if we were to print HUGE photos BUT the loss of resolution would cripple any opportunity to crop to a particular area of ANY photo.

    I'm still hoping we get the ORIGINAL edited resolutions and not this downsizing. But I imagine at this point the photog doesn't even understand what he did by lowering the resolution.
  • Matthew SavilleMatthew Saville Wedding Photographer Southern CaliforniaPosts: 3,352Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited September 3, 2014
    Indeed, I do think you are justified in demanding the full-size image files, at the absolute highest JPG quality possible, if that is what the contract states you will receive. (I don't have time to read that whole thing, hope that's OK)

    In this day and age, 5-7 megapixels could be viewed as either totally more than enough, or a slap in the face considering they originally shot 12-22 MP files, and film that might have been medium format. (???)

    So unless the contract specifically states a megabyte file size or megapixel file size, I think you have the right to request full-res, high-quality JPG files.

    For comparison, our studio delivers JPGs at quality 100% (that's "12", in Photoshop) and full-res 99% of the time. We shoot on 5D mk3's and D800's, so that's 22-36 megapixels. We ONLY down-size the images, or increase compression slightly, if the client specifically mentions that they cannot download that many gigabytes of images over their internet connection. (And even then, we allow them to supply us with an external HD sometimes if they'd like those files)

    BTW, regarding the earlier comment as well, I'm not sure what we'd benefit from hearing the photographer's side of this. Really all I can think of that might be interesting to hear is if the bride and the photographer had originally sat down and talked specifically about how she really liked the beautiful warm tones of the film "look" in his portfolio, and if the photographer had mentioned that indeed this is a characteristic of the film they shoot, and that's exactly how HER pictures are going to turn out. Something tells me, however, that a conversation like that did NOT happen...

    =Matt=
    My first thought is always of light.” – Galen Rowell
    My SmugMug PortfolioMy Astro-Landscape Photo BlogDgrin Weddings Forum
  • JonaBeth RussellJonaBeth Russell Major grins MauiPosts: 870Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 10, 2014
    This has been quite an interesting read!

    1. I like the photographer's edit in both samples, showing the warm tones. Most people, sadly, have lost the ability to see colors the way they are for a given light. Instead, they simply see white, blue, brown, black, green, etc. Walk through the forest sometime on a cloudy day and realize how much purple, orange, red and yellow you'll find in the "brown" bark of a tree, or in the "black" soil.

    2. As Matt mentioned, didn't anyone consult the photographer's portfolio before choosing to hire him or her? Wouldn't you say, "Hmmm, all of these shots look a little warm for me"?

    3. I dunno why the photos were decreased in resolution, but it should be noted that, if a shot is taken at 18 MP, then cropped a bit, the MP count will decrease to however many MP are in the cropped area. So, if a tilted photo is straightened, it will lose MP count. If edges are trimmed, goodbye total MP count.

    4. Nikon once made a print that was 65 x 43 feet, and it hung in Times Square. This came from a 3.3MP camera (Nikon 990). The point here is that, you seem too hung up on technical stuff, and somewhat hell-bent on being pissed off at your daughter's photographer.
  • JonaBeth RussellJonaBeth Russell Major grins MauiPosts: 870Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 10, 2014
    One last statement, to be fair to the OP:

    The business practices used by your daughter's photographer definitely seem a bit...unorthodox. I could not fathom having 10+ week old work still on my plate. I can't handle the stress of that type of backed up business. Plus, I couldn't possibly remember the "feel" of the wedding that long after, especially if shooting more weddings in-between.

    The hard lessons regarding self-education PRIOR to contract signing have already been stated here. I'm sorry for your dissatisfaction, and can definitely relate on many levels. Buyers remorse is a very sour flavor, indeed. However, I do offer a twist on perspective, if you're open to it.

    Right now you're operating from a position of frustration, a bit of anger, and overall negativity. I can assure you of one thing -those feelings are valid, but are NOT the end-route to healing over the matter. I encourage you to find a positive way to move forward from this. Sure, you can smear bad reviews all over the place, but keep in mind this idea: hurtful words are often like glass spewing from your mouth. Not only do they cut the intended target, but they shred you on the way out.

    When you boil it all down, here's what you have: A batch of memories that will forever remind you and your family of the day your little girl became one with her husband, moving into her own family life. When you're old and feeble, and you look through the album, you won't give two shits about that cocky photographer. You'll look back and think, "My how proud I was to be her father on this day." At least, that's probably what your daughter would like you to think. Indulge her.

    None of these words are meant to come across as pious, just trying to give your emotions & concerns the respect they deserve, as well as appeal to your happy inner self.
  • SamSam San Jose CA Posts: 7,418Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 10, 2014
    DrMillerKC wrote: »
    You have confused megapixels (mp) that are a measure of resolution with megabytes (MB) that are a measure of file size.

    For your picture the mp size is 10.5mp (5616 x 1872). I'm no genius on storage bytes and photos, but the file size for an uncompressed photo like that would be 5616 x 1872 x 4 bytes per pixel, or 42MB (or the file size if RAW, but I think that depends on 8-bit vs. 32-bit photos???). But, as you point out, for the exact same resolution photo, the file size can be almost anything less than that (and usually is MUCH less) based on the degree of image compression and how much pixellation you can endure.

    In my case, one of the assistant's cameras was a Nikon D700 and the original photos had a RESOLUTION of 4256x2832, or 12mp, and my concern was that the photog reduced the RESOLUTION (and probably the file size) of the photo to 3500x2329, or 8.1mp. That of course would only make a difference if we were to print HUGE photos BUT the loss of resolution would cripple any opportunity to crop to a particular area of ANY photo.

    I'm still hoping we get the ORIGINAL edited resolutions and not this downsizing. But I imagine at this point the photog doesn't even understand what he did by lowering the resolution.

    You are correct I misunderstood / didn't read it correctly, brain malfunction. I have rebooted and all is well. :D

    Sam
  • jonh68jonh68 Major grins Posts: 2,711Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 10, 2014
    One last statement, to be fair to the OP:

    The business practices used by your daughter's photographer definitely seem a bit...unorthodox. I could not fathom having 10+ week old work still on my plate. I can't handle the stress of that type of backed up business. Plus, I couldn't possibly remember the "feel" of the wedding that long after, especially if shooting more weddings in-between.

    This is why I think there are two sides. We just know one side. As you pointed out the OP seems hell bent on being ticked off. I get the feeling there is more going on here.
  • FedererPhotoFedererPhoto Major grins Posts: 312Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 11, 2014
    The point here is that, you seem too hung up on technical stuff, and somewhat hell-bent on being pissed off at your daughter's photographer.

    Exactly. And it's a shame, really. Once you start down the route of nit-picking, it can get bad. This is true even with really amazing work - 20k/wedding people put out work that can be nit-picked. No one, ever, achieves perfection on every single frame (especially if delivering that many files...) I ALWAYS recommend to my friend, when they get married, that they just hire the best person they can and then appreciate the product... rather than nit-pick it to death and end up having paid thousands for something they regret.

    As a wedding photographer, myself, I've only had one father-of-the-X like you. The Bride and Groom got the images, loved them, dropped an additional 2+k on prints/album etc (after paying for high-res digital files initially)... absolutely glowing reviews and super-happy. In fact, saying that they were dissapointed with many aspects of the wedding but that the photography 'saved' the day for them...
    THEN the 'advanced amateur' father saw them and started nit-picking technical issues ("the background in this outdoor shot is too bright, even though it's not blown out and the subjects of the photo are perfectly exposed... can I have all the RAW files so I can 'fix' your mistakes?" .... "you should have fixed the chromatic aberration on the edges of the frame every time you used xyz lens" ... etc...etc... just stupid super-nit-picky stuff. I even re-edited a couple dozen files at his requests, to no avail.) Over time, his nit picking ended up souring the clients on their photos such that a year later, they 'regret' them and find more reasons to be 'disappointed in their wedding'. The father, by being a technical snob, ruined their memories of their wedding day.

    You may think you aren't souring your daughters memories of her wedding, but you ARE. I bet, even now, when she thinks about her photos (and perhaps even just the wedding, itself) she's thinking about how you hated them rather than how proud you were of her. Personally, I'm sad at what you've done to your daughter and her husband. The photos are supposed to bring joy -- you have no business ripping them down.

    (and even more frustratingly, you've done it over mostly non-issues. Downsizing is common (I downsize to 12mpx so all the files match my lowest mpx camera -- the D3 and D700's... so my D800 or D4s files files get shrunk). The delivery period is long and he was late... okay, sure, but not crazily so. They won't give you unedited RAW files... I don't know any self-respecting photographer that would. Your 'edits' are considerably worse than the delivered versions. You don't like the color cast of the film... then you shouldn't have hired someone that shoots film....etc, etc, etc, etc...

    Just be happy with great reminders of great memories of a great day... negativity only breeds more negativity, for all involved. You owe your daughter better than that.
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  • VayCayMomVayCayMom making real life prettier Posts: 1,870Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 3, 2014
    I like the artistic versions from the photographer. You seem to lean toward a very cool blue white image. And I like what Matthew said .
    Trudy
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  • zoomerzoomer Major grins Posts: 3,688Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 13, 2014
    It looks like film shot on a cloudy overcast day and then scanned. Were you unaware the photographer was going to be shooting film?
    The photos don't look sharp and look pretty noisy. Probably the film was low iso and then the exposures were pushed a bit in the processing would be my guess.
    In both cases....the examples presented the first photo looks the best. Pumping up the exposures and oversharpening just makes them worse.

    Having said that, the majority of photos these days are viewed on facebook and these will probably look fine on there...the crooked shots, that is a whole nother issue.
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