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conrad

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No EC* Material

conrad > conrad Blog > No EC* Material
01/12/2008 - 4:16 PM



Unique views 266 (332)

I attended an EOS Discovery Day last Saturday. Interesting event. I went to workshops/presentations about white balance, photographing moving subjects, portraiture. And of course there were presentations of the latest camera models, counters where you could test and try them, etc., etc.

I tried a 180mm macro L lens, but came to the conclusion that my wife's Sigma 105mm macro really wasn't that bad. And I tried a 50D and a 40D, but came to the conclusion that not having any budget for a new camera made them a lot less attractive than the Canon employee behind the counter tried to make me think.

The presentations about moving subjects and portraiture were given by acclaimed professionals from those fields. Very interesting presentations, and of course they showed us lots of examples of their work.

Looking at their photos, something struck me time and time again. Quite a few of their photos, which obviously were good enough for publication and earning them their bread and butter, had flaws that would have been criticised on EPZ: burnt-out areas, speed blurs without any part of the subject sharp, unfixed highlights on faces, etc. The more I looked at those shots, the more I came to the conclusion that these photographers, who are obviously very successful in their chosen fields, wouldn't have had a lot of awards on ephotozine, probably. A lot of their shots definitely weren't EC material!

It made me think. I've often wondered if we're overly cricitical on EPZ. Maybe we are.

I mean, I don't just have this with the images of these photographers, I often see photos published that would probably never get any kind of award on EPZ. So why is that? Have we been spoilt rotten by too many great images? Is it wrong to be this critical?

To be honest, I'm not really sure what the answers are. It's interesting. I'm going to have to think about it a little longer. If I come up with any answers, I'll let you know.

(And in the meantime your thoughts on the subject are welcome below...)




* Made you look! I mean - admit it, had I given this blog entry the title I initially had in mind, "EOS Discovery Day", would you have read it? See what I mean... Wink

Tags: Award, Burn-out, Day, Discovery, Ec, Eos, Hc, Highlights, Photographers, Presentations, Professionals, Rc, Workshops

Comments

LisaRose
LisaRose  7172 forum posts United States4 Constructive Critique Points
1 Dec 2008 - 4:31 PM

I have found the same thing to be true when looking through my photography magazines. I see pictures that are suppose to be really good, and I can see exactly what would be pointed out as a flaw on epz.

There is a good side and a bad side to this. On one hand I know I have benefited a great deal from the comments I have got on epz, on the other hand I think I have become overly critical of my own work.

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1 Dec 2008 - 5:02 PM

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aftertherain
1 Dec 2008 - 5:02 PM

You just have to look at some of the photographs that come first in major competitions to see that beauty is in the eye of the beholder (or judge).
I have photographs here and on my website, I send pictures to the local paper and the local TV.
All have subtle differences tweaked to the end audience.

EPZ reminds me of the olden days of camera clubs the purists nit pick their way through the gallery making sure people conform.

davidburleson
davidburleson ePHOTOzine Staff 72236 forum postsdavidburleson vcard United Kingdom
1 Dec 2008 - 5:04 PM

hmm...epz members, best of the best?

Pete
Pete Site Moderator 1218416 forum postsPete vcard ePz Advertiser England96 Constructive Critique Points
1 Dec 2008 - 5:11 PM

We are lucky that we have some incredibly talented photographers on here. In my view shots that don't get ECs are often really good, like the example that Jules posted last week, but there's better.

I'm not saying that my choice is right, but I tend to be very critical, which is what upsets some. The pics that get ECs would often blow away award-winning shots. Look at many wedding photographers sites and those that are making a living are often shooting mundane pics that wouldn't get an RC let alone an UC, EC or HC. The thing is they are happy with their quality and, more importantly, their client usually is too.

I've looked at more books on photography than most and the illustrations are often dire. These are ones used to illustrate features written by experts!

ePHOTOzine has the crème of photographers, which is why our members' work appears in magazines frequently.

I do believe if you follow the epz EC hunt you could become overly critical. I have, having seen the variety of work that's submitted. No matter what subject we've had incredibly examples uploaded. When I shoot a landscape these days I rarely come back with something that I can think that's as good as X, Y or Z.

Isn't that a good thing? Depends on your outlook. I can see it will cause some to give up or become jealous, but for me, and I'm sure many other, it encourages you to try harder. My photography has improved ten-fold since ePHOTOzine appeared, and I thought I was pretty good before. I still have a long way to go.

LisaRose
LisaRose  7172 forum posts United States4 Constructive Critique Points
1 Dec 2008 - 5:48 PM

It does depend on a persons attitude or goal. At one time my goal was to get an EC, and although that would still be nice, for me it was depressing. I soon realized I was wanting the award before putting the time and effort into really learning photography.

My goal now is to become a better photographer, which is what it should have been in the first place.

I had not, and still haven't put the kind of work into it that is generally required to get a great image. I have some good images, not any I would consider great though.

Hopefully with time and effort I will get some images that I consider great...that would be nice. Smile

conrad
conrad e2 Member 910870 forum postsconrad vcard 116 Constructive Critique Points
1 Dec 2008 - 6:54 PM

Ah, some very interesting reactions already - thanks, people!

Personally, I'm still torn between -

1. The idea that "purists nitpick[ing] their way through the gallery making sure people conform" isn't a good thing because it makes some appreciate otherwise appealing pictures less than they should, and it depresses some people to the point of discouragement, and it seems to put people in some kind of EPZ mould, whereas they should be creative and try to do their own thing,

and

2. Pete's thought that it "it encourages you to try harder".

I know that for quite a few people 2 definitely works, and in several ways it does work for me, too. But if it makes me less appreciative of the photos I take during the resulting learning process, there is something wrong, and I tend to believe that 1 is very relevant, too, and that's not a positive thing as far as I can see.

Of course it all comes down to how the individual reacts to it, but still...

ade_mcfade
ade_mcfade  1014554 forum posts England216 Constructive Critique Points
1 Dec 2008 - 8:57 PM

I often compare my photographic learning curve to my music learning curve - and with music I started off learning mustic note by note, taking months to learn Billy Joel tunes when I was 12.

You follow the rules and you get the result you want.

What you end up with is a pretty exact copy of what was in the book. Fine, you can now play the tune, but you could also scan the music into a PC these days and it'd do the same

So once I got better at playing, I took less notice of the notes, and played the tune how I thought it should be. It's not purist, it's different to how you'd expect it, it's unique in that I rarely play the same thing twice in the same way.

Bit like that wirh the camera - started off with books telling me about the many rules of composition etc. Sussed that lot out and started coming up with something 1/2 decent, if not a bit flaky.

Then EPZ came along and that was like a boot camp - air of comeptition makes you want to improve and get up there with the rest. So to do that I did conform, I did buy lots opf grad filters and a polariser, I did use foreground rocks etc. etc. because that's what the sucessful photos had on EPZ at the time.

But like on the piano, I decided that oyu jus end up with copies by copying, so started trying new stuff...

getting off subject by the looks of it... oops...

Anyway...

The main thing is that I went through the pain of learning music in order to be able to improvise and do my own thing. Likewise with photography, I went through a similar learning curve which has enabled me to have the technical know-how to improvise with a camera.

I'm now more interested in how a picture looks than whether the sun has burned out, though once I'd have conformed and either cloned the sun out (and made a mess of it) or just binned the shot.

the nit-picking does keep you on your toes - I can usually predict with amazing regularity the comments I'll get if there's something non-standard in my shots.

thing is, once you've been through EPZ boot camp, you're aware of so many things to look out for at the point you're taking ths shot, you're trying to avoid giving people the satisfaction of telling you that the horizon's off or that tree on the edge of the frame looks wrong.

It's like a little parrot on your shoulder wispering tips into your ear.

conrad
conrad e2 Member 910870 forum postsconrad vcard 116 Constructive Critique Points
2 Dec 2008 - 8:56 AM

Interesting, so to summarise, you feel the nitpicking helps keep you on your toes, but at the same time you feel that you're past the stage of conforming to what is considered to be the standard, instead preferring to do your own thing. Sounds like a good place to be at.

aftertherain
2 Dec 2008 - 1:36 PM

The trouble with such nitpicking is that it does put people off.
I recently had someone critique one of my pictures and that's fine but the person followed it up with a scathing PM.
The fact that they didn't want to express their real feelings in the gallery but thought it was okay to do it in private really annoyed me.

conrad
conrad e2 Member 910870 forum postsconrad vcard 116 Constructive Critique Points
2 Dec 2008 - 2:05 PM

See what you mean, it's strange making that distinction indeed. Over the past two months or so, I also had some critiques in private messages. In both instances I just copied and pasted them underneath the photos - I'm not afraid of getting critique, and I'm perfectly happy with responding to it publicly.

ade_mcfade
ade_mcfade  1014554 forum posts England216 Constructive Critique Points
4 Dec 2008 - 1:35 PM


Quote: Sounds like a good place to be at.

Yeah - it's quite pleasing really.

You do get the odd comment that you learn from still though - but mostly they're about things I'm not bothered about (burn out) or subjective points of view.

Like to get feedback on handheld and people stuff though - still pretty new to that area, having been a tripod monkey for years!

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