pancakes

MicrostockGroup Sponsors


Author Topic: Submission to Istock critique  (Read 4722 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Lagereek

« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2012, 01:07 »
0
What are you two on about? :P But anyway thanks for the advice guys. I know what was causing the noise and the lighting. The noise was probably due to a high ISO and the lighting would be because i was trying to use paper to isolate the image. Also i don't really have any lamps and was relying on my house lights. The out of focus was probably due to the aperture. I also didn't expect such a high standard in the stock photos. The other pictures (2,4,5,6,7,8) were photos i had taken, but originally not intended for stock photos - holiday snaps. Having little knowledge on stock i thought they might pass but this is obviously not the case. I have read the camera manual, i know terms such as aperture, shutter speed, exposure etc and i have been doing photography as a hobby for a year now. Now i know you said i shouldn't blow my money on gear just yet and should probably improve, but would it be wise to invest in studio lighting/tent/glass so it can help improve my photos. The lens wouldn't just be used for stock photos, but if your saying that i wont see a difference in IQ then maybe it wont be worth $$$. I think i have the right idea about stock images, isolating the subject and thinking about what my photos would be used for but i don't know much else, so yeah, advice and ideas are always welcome :) .
- Oh and i do have a tripod albeit a plastic 15 ($25) one!


Yeah, sorry for all the glib.  Photogrpahy is not about equipment,  I know a world famous photographer and all he works with is a MII and a 24-70 lens, thats all.  However, I think you want to think about subject matter, rather then equipnent, for now that is. Any stock photography is all about commercialism, you simply have to shoot saleable images and thereby saleable subjects. Flick around some of the leading agencies and you see what we mean.
Yes, if youre into studio photography, creating in the studio, ofcourse you need a lighting set-up, a few flash-heads, reflectors, etc, thats a good investment for sure and to be able to fight with some of the competition, yes you do need a camera, at least around, 12mp, pref, full-format.


Poncke

« Reply #26 on: July 07, 2012, 03:44 »
0
What are you two on about? :P But anyway thanks for the advice guys. I know what was causing the noise and the lighting. The noise was probably due to a high ISO and the lighting would be because i was trying to use paper to isolate the image. Also i don't really have any lamps and was relying on my house lights. The out of focus was probably due to the aperture. I also didn't expect such a high standard in the stock photos. The other pictures (2,4,5,6,7,8) were photos i had taken, but originally not intended for stock photos - holiday snaps. Having little knowledge on stock i thought they might pass but this is obviously not the case. I have read the camera manual, i know terms such as aperture, shutter speed, exposure etc and i have been doing photography as a hobby for a year now. Now i know you said i shouldn't blow my money on gear just yet and should probably improve, but would it be wise to invest in studio lighting/tent/glass so it can help improve my photos. The lens wouldn't just be used for stock photos, but if your saying that i wont see a difference in IQ then maybe it wont be worth $$$. I think i have the right idea about stock images, isolating the subject and thinking about what my photos would be used for but i don't know much else, so yeah, advice and ideas are always welcome :) .
- Oh and i do have a tripod albeit a plastic 15 ($25) one!

There is your problem

ShadySue

« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2012, 07:12 »
0
- Oh and i do have a tripod albeit a plastic 15 ($25) one!

There is your problem

I shot entirely without a tripod for a couple of years, and now that I've got a new one only use it some of the time. I lose far more photos due to my reactions not being quick enough to capture the action, or through subject movement, than through camera shake, but that's just me (and I have good IS lenses). You need to know when you need a tripod and when you don't.

But if you do need one, it needs to be really good or it's worse than useless (gives you a false sense of security).

« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2012, 07:47 »
0
I'm assuming you haven't been accepted as a contributor yet. Sorry to say it, but looking at what you've posted here. I wouldn't spend money on equipment at this stage if I were you just in the hope of future earnings.

As already said nothing wrong with the 550d, or the kit lens, at least to start with. Learn to use it properly before spending any more money. Forget "full auto" use ISO 100 wherever possible, either manual exposure, or aperture priority for non, or slow moving objects, spot metering on the subject,  Single point focus so you know where the focus on the image is. Learn about aperture and DOF, learn what shutter speed will "stop" movement. If you're using the tripod, use either the cameras timer, or get a cheap wired remote off ebay.

Use ambient light from a North facing window (if possible) for still life shots you can also use reflected light from table lamps or similar. Don't mix lighting of different colour spectrums (ie incandescent and fluorescent). Use reflectors made from foam core to get the light where you want it.

Learn first.

When you've been accepted, got some images in your PF and actually made some money, then is the time to spend money if you actually need to.

As lagereek has already said, being a good photographer isn't about having the most gear.
 
 

Poncke

« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2012, 08:02 »
0
I'm assuming you haven't been accepted as a contributor yet. Sorry to say it, but looking at what you've posted here. I wouldn't spend money on equipment at this stage if I were you just in the hope of future earnings.

As already said nothing wrong with the 550d, or the kit lens, at least to start with. Learn to use it properly before spending any more money. Forget "full auto" use ISO 100 wherever possible, either manual exposure, or aperture priority for non, or slow moving objects, spot metering on the subject,  Single point focus so you know where the focus on the image is. Learn about aperture and DOF, learn what shutter speed will "stop" movement. If you're using the tripod, use either the cameras timer, or get a cheap wired remote off ebay.

Use ambient light from a North facing window (if possible) for still life shots you can also use reflected light from table lamps or similar. Don't mix lighting of different colour spectrums (ie incandescent and fluorescent). Use reflectors made from foam core to get the light where you want it.

Learn first.

When you've been accepted, got some images in your PF and actually made some money, then is the time to spend money if you actually need to.

As lagereek has already said, being a good photographer isn't about having the most gear.
 
 

Thats about the best quick advice you can give a newbie.

« Reply #30 on: July 09, 2012, 08:40 »
0
ok, il hold off the glass...for now at least ;). I've been playing around with the camera settings (ISO, exposure etc) and settings in photoshop (the levels). I also found some decent lighting in my house although it was still tungsten so it needed editing afterwards, I also set up a DIY photo studio, got a remote control so my camera didnt shake when taking a picture and made my tripod more stable.
I redid the toy boat shot. I personally think its a good improvement from my original one but still do not really think it is Istock standard. I think i should make my compositions more creative. Can you tell me what you think?

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/73163709/Boat%2C%20white%20backcheck.jpg
- I think the top of the wooden pole things are a bit OOF and the boat is a bit dark. But i dont think its a big deal, oh and i should of cleared more dust although i found it difficult to remove.

I havent applied to be a contributor yet.
Thanks

ShadySue

« Reply #31 on: July 09, 2012, 08:46 »
0
The first thing I see now is the dust, so that may be an improvement, and at least it's a non-photographic issue. Tell me about it. I had a lovely little miniature basket that would have been a great prop in all sorts of shots, but it had been kicking about for many years, and I couldn't get all the dust off it: when I resorted to trying to wash it, it started to fall apart.
It's amazing what you don't notice until you try to photograph it close up. I discovered that a well known chocolate brand has all sorts of surface imperfections which I bet no-one else has ever noticed, but which were a nightmare to try to clone out.
Some foreign coins are just not well enough cast to make them crisp enough to be acceptible in a stock photo.

« Reply #32 on: July 09, 2012, 09:06 »
0
Yeah, it was a nightmare to get a little bit of dust off. This little toy boat only measures in about 3x5 cm in size and is about 10 years old so i am scared to do any drastic to it as it is very delicate.  Maybe i should photograph another subject as there are lots of little imperfections with this boat, such as wood Chipping's if you look closely.
Yeah, you dont notice these imperfections until you take a close up shot!

Lagereek

« Reply #33 on: July 09, 2012, 09:07 »
0
Tell me something.  Who or what is the market for this sort of image? I mean why is this a commercial image? because of the isolation? what product or concept would this sort of image be suitable for to promote? and to promote what?

Anyway I guess you know the answer. However, these are the type of questions you should ask yourself before embarking on stock-photography and heavy PS works,  if you wish to turn stock into a living, that is,  otherwise it doesnt matter the slightest, as a hobbiest you can go and shoot the man in the moon for all one cares. Mind, should you capture the REAL man in the moon you be a billionarie.

Seriously!  you want to as yourself why a buyer would stop and buy YOUR image before anybody elses. Its a commercial cogwheel of the highest caliber and no time or place for second rate material. :)

best of luck with next batches.

ShadySue

« Reply #34 on: July 09, 2012, 09:07 »
0
Yeah, it was a nightmare to get a little bit of dust off. This little toy boat only measures in about 3x5 cm in size and is about 10 years old so i am scared to do any drastic to it as it is very delicate.  Maybe i should photograph another subject as there are lots of little imperfections with this boat, such as wood Chipping's if you look closely.
Yeah, you dont notice these imperfections until you take a close up shot!
Yup, choose an easier subject. Often in stock you have to clinically excise yourself from your favourite subjects or images.

« Reply #35 on: July 09, 2012, 09:46 »
0
You can set a custom white balance in camera, using either a sheet of white paper, or (preferably) a grey card. Saves the processing. Or shoot a sheet of white paper/grey card on auto WB and use that to process the WB of all your images in PS.

The isolation won't pass inspection. You have blobs of stuff all over the place, and dirt in the shadow. Some drop shadow is acceptable, this is too much IMO.

Again listen to what's being said here, why would anyone buy an image of this boat? Think about what you're shooting and don't get bogged down with your favourite subjects.

Personally, unless you really know what you're doing, I'd steer away from isolations for application shots. A non-isolated shot will do for a still life. Showing some sort of "story" would help, for (not a very good) instance a seaman's cap on a table with (a different :)) little model boat.

You're already showing improvement though. Keep trying!

« Reply #36 on: July 09, 2012, 11:53 »
0
I agree with the comments above. The toy boat isn't a good subject for microstock even if the shot was perfect. It just wouldn't sell.

As for your question regarding equipment, I started shooting microstock by using natural light (window) and reflectors. You can create your own reflectors with white cardboard, etc. I would start there and eventually add an off-camera flash (you can get a cheap manual flash for this with a cheap remote trigger - see the Strobist site).

I got into microstock with the hope of buying photography equipment with the money I made (to support my hobby). I wouldn't have been able to justify the equipment otherwise ("sorry kids I can't buy your school supplies this year because I spent 5K on a camera":-).

I did reach my goal eventually. Don't give up but also be realistic. I started in 2007 when microstock was relatively easy to get into and images sold much better (I was told then that I had missed the "good years"). I probably would have quit had I started today since new images don't sell very well. I would suggest you not invest in a lot of equipment upfront - shoot with what you have and use the income to upgrade equipment gradually.

Good luck

« Reply #37 on: July 09, 2012, 19:44 »
0
For isolating images i use some white-ish mount paper (postboard), i then change the levels in PS, this takes 30 seconds but my lighting isnt perfect so it leaves shadows. Il try and work on other shots which are not isolation but isolation seems quite easy to perfect, and still life seems more difficult in my opinion. Im not really planning to fund photography using income from stock, its more of an added bonus, which in time i would like to expand as i have lots of free time at the moment. I havent invested into any expensive equipment yet but do plan to for non-stock related reasons. I attempted to shoot some other isolation shots. Again i cant seem to get the composition quite right, but i think these images are more relevant to stock.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/73163709/Pillscheck.jpg
- I think this is my best stock image yet :P but the shadow and the light reflection are not doing it any favours

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/73163709/Coffee%2Bstrawberriescheck.jpg
- First non-isolation attempt, i dont think it looks like a stock image, not really relevant to anything. Who has strawberries and coffee? :P I thought it might of worked but im not quite sure. Lighting did not work, probably because i did the image at night using artificial lights when i should of done it during day, natural light.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/73163709/6eggscheck.jpg
- I like the detail on the eggs, i dont really like the compostion

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/73163709/cup%2Bteacheck.jpg
- I thought it was a good idea, but i didnt execute it well, didnt know how to make it more vibrant in photoshop. Also the cup and the white background were hard to get right, thus the non pure white background. It also looks a bit blue.

I think the only image which perhaps is not really associated to anything in stock is the coffee and strawberries, i think all the other images can be used in one way or another.

So am i getting any closer to the promised land?  :D




 

Lagereek

« Reply #38 on: July 10, 2012, 01:11 »
0
For isolating images i use some white-ish mount paper (postboard), i then change the levels in PS, this takes 30 seconds but my lighting isnt perfect so it leaves shadows. Il try and work on other shots which are not isolation but isolation seems quite easy to perfect, and still life seems more difficult in my opinion. Im not really planning to fund photography using income from stock, its more of an added bonus, which in time i would like to expand as i have lots of free time at the moment. I havent invested into any expensive equipment yet but do plan to for non-stock related reasons. I attempted to shoot some other isolation shots. Again i cant seem to get the composition quite right, but i think these images are more relevant to stock.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/73163709/Pillscheck.jpg
- I think this is my best stock image yet :P but the shadow and the light reflection are not doing it any favours

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/73163709/Coffee%2Bstrawberriescheck.jpg
- First non-isolation attempt, i dont think it looks like a stock image, not really relevant to anything. Who has strawberries and coffee? :P I thought it might of worked but im not quite sure. Lighting did not work, probably because i did the image at night using artificial lights when i should of done it during day, natural light.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/73163709/6eggscheck.jpg
- I like the detail on the eggs, i dont really like the compostion

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/73163709/cup%2Bteacheck.jpg
- I thought it was a good idea, but i didnt execute it well, didnt know how to make it more vibrant in photoshop. Also the cup and the white background were hard to get right, thus the non pure white background. It also looks a bit blue.

I think the only image which perhaps is not really associated to anything in stock is the coffee and strawberries, i think all the other images can be used in one way or another.

So am i getting any closer to the promised land?  :D




 

Either you like punishing yourself in front of the computer or youre not listening at all to what people here are telling you!  if you like the eggs but not the composition, throw away the image, dustbin.
All your other subjects are showing shadows, they are not commercial, they wont sell and there are about 25 million other similar pics and much better. Whats the matter with you?  whats the point in posting here and not listen? ::) ::) ::)

« Reply #39 on: July 10, 2012, 03:18 »
0
I am listening. I chose more commercially viable subjects which I had seen on istock. Such as the pills, I have seen lots of pictures similair to it, but like you said mine has a shadow. I can't fix that, iv tried using reflectors and whatnot. I only really have one light of decent quality - thus there is a shadow. Unless I get some good lighting coupled with a light tent I can't perfect it. Perhaps I should scrap the whole isolation stuff until I get a light tent at least.  To me, isolation photography seems easier to do, I don't really get the whole still life thing, and in England it is constantly raining, there is not much light. When I look at the photos in istock they seem in my opinion to have some type of staged envirommet, they have lighting around them. I also see some photos on istock which to me don't look commercially viable yet still scavenge some downloads. But I suppose it's better to have quality not quantity. I'm not trying to punish myself, I am just showcasing some images which I think might be cut out for stock, and want a reply on what I am doing wrong. Looking back, I think the pills are the only image which might get accepted, but if you look in the shadow there are tiny bits of dirt. Like you said isolation shots have to be perfect. Can you give me any ideas of non-isolation shots?

Wim

« Reply #40 on: July 10, 2012, 03:32 »
0
Go to a site like YAY micro that shows large thumbnails (magnifying glass below images) and inspect every bit of the image (lighting, compostion) and then try to improve on it.
Keep at it, don't waste time asking for critiques but use your own eyes!
Soon you will get to know your own work, shoot what you like and provide imagery with the quality standards required by stock agencies.
Keep practicing! just like you would with everything else in life (riding a bike)
Do not depend on others judgement (especially not in stock) or on the best gear money can buy.

And above all that, do try to have fun which is very hard as a newcomer in this business ;)

Good luck!
« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 03:34 by Wim »

ShadySue

« Reply #41 on: July 10, 2012, 03:37 »
0
I am listening. I chose more commercially viable subjects which I had seen on istock. Such as the pills, I have seen lots of pictures similair to it, but like you said mine has a shadow. I can't fix that, iv tried using reflectors and whatnot. I only really have one light of decent quality - thus there is a shadow. Unless I get some good lighting coupled with a light tent I can't perfect it. Perhaps I should scrap the whole isolation stuff until I get a light tent at least.  To me, isolation photography seems easier to do, I don't really get the whole still life thing, and in England it is constantly raining, there is not much light. When I look at the photos in istock they seem in my opinion to have some type of staged envirommet, they have lighting around them. I also see some photos on istock which to me don't look commercially viable yet still scavenge some downloads. But I suppose it's better to have quality not quantity. I'm not trying to punish myself, I am just showcasing some images which I think might be cut out for stock, and want a reply on what I am doing wrong. Looking back, I think the pills are the only image which might get accepted, but if you look in the shadow there are tiny bits of dirt. Like you said isolation shots have to be perfect. Can you give me any ideas of non-isolation shots?
Tell me about the rain. But stock isn't interested in excuses, only results. I don't have a studio, and it's raining, so I'm clearing my hard drive and might even be forced to do some housework. No point in trying to compete with people who have full studios if you don't have one - as well as lights, you need lots of space.
I echo what the others have said, though. Don't bother buying equipment at this stage. Could turn out to be a pointless investment - 'scavenging some downloads' won't even pay for a lens cloth (some non-exclusive dls might garner you 8c).
Study the market, see what your well-estabished opposition is. If you don't know how to beat them, don't even take them on - like me competing in the Olympics, but even worse. All the rivals might sustain an injury just before the big race - your photographic rivals are already up there, even if they never take another picture.

Lagereek

« Reply #42 on: July 10, 2012, 03:40 »
0
I am listening. I chose more commercially viable subjects which I had seen on istock. Such as the pills, I have seen lots of pictures similair to it, but like you said mine has a shadow. I can't fix that, iv tried using reflectors and whatnot. I only really have one light of decent quality - thus there is a shadow. Unless I get some good lighting coupled with a light tent I can't perfect it. Perhaps I should scrap the whole isolation stuff until I get a light tent at least.  To me, isolation photography seems easier to do, I don't really get the whole still life thing, and in England it is constantly raining, there is not much light. When I look at the photos in istock they seem in my opinion to have some type of staged envirommet, they have lighting around them. I also see some photos on istock which to me don't look commercially viable yet still scavenge some downloads. But I suppose it's better to have quality not quantity. I'm not trying to punish myself, I am just showcasing some images which I think might be cut out for stock, and want a reply on what I am doing wrong. Looking back, I think the pills are the only image which might get accepted, but if you look in the shadow there are tiny bits of dirt. Like you said isolation shots have to be perfect. Can you give me any ideas of non-isolation shots?


I almost get the feeling your having us on here? isolations are done with a purpose in mind,  but you seem to do it just for the sake of, isolations. Thats a completely wrong approach to this business.

You say youve seen plenty of pill boxes, well then, do you really think they need yet another pill-box?  10 years back at the birth of micro, maybe then, your images would have cut it. Today, no chance, today this business is dominated by professionals, they are the ones earning the money and they are the ones you will be compeeting with.
Your subject matter so far is too naive, too non commercial plus the fact there are already millions of them out there.

Why dont you just go the normal way, sling the camera around your neck, go out and take some pictures, scenery, landscapes or whatever, you stand a better chance with that then second rate isolations.
Sorry to sound a bit harsh here but you know, we get thousands of hopefulls here and there is just so much patience and time, etc.

« Reply #43 on: July 10, 2012, 03:42 »
0
I would say - forget pills or mugs. iStock doesn't necessarily need new contributors. You have to come up either with some new fresh idea (as Difydave wrote - showing some sort of "story" would help) or your copy of what you see on iS must be better than perfect. You can't make perfect studio shots with 60 watt bulb. Many of images that you can see on iS wouldn't be approved these days and for initial review they must be even better.

AND...  When I sent three still-life images for initial review year or two ago - I was rejected although each of images was in fact accepted. These images were not similar at all - different objects, different lightning, different settings but iS said - well done but we want to see variety of your work. In fact they made me shoot people to be accepted.

« Reply #44 on: July 10, 2012, 05:06 »
0
They made you shoot people?

Well, I guess that's one way of eliminating the competition.

« Reply #45 on: July 10, 2012, 05:17 »
0
They made you shoot people?

Well, I guess that's one way of eliminating the competition.

No. They made me shoot reviewers. :-)

« Reply #46 on: July 10, 2012, 05:54 »
0
The pills are coming close, at least the white background is clean now, but there's still too much shadow IMO and dirt/dust in the shadow and on the bottle. It's overexposed due to the way you're doing isolation as well. It's not as simple to get right as you may think.

While that one is an overdone stock subject, the others aren't really stock at all as they are. Food need to look appetising, brown cup's at a strange angle, white balance is off, brown unappealing background, objects on white need to show a white reflection, don't cut bits off, the lighting needs to be "right" The list is endless really.

You need to actually look at the subject. First with your eyes, and then through the viewfinder. Does this look good? Is it clean? Is the food fresh? Does this object go with that object?

You need to get the lighting right. You can do that with daylight or table lamps and reflectors. No hard edged shadows or (at least minimal) blown areas.

Finally when you have some good photographs, you need a variety of subjects for your application. The usual advice is a portrait  of a person (preferably doing something), a still life and a landscape.

IMO at your stage doing isolations is just adding another layer of difficulty.

There really is nothing "easy" about any of this stock photography business. Especially when trying to learn.

With these images though I'm afraid you are still a way off. You need to learn some more about photography both technically and artistically. Really look at what is used in magazines and on the web.

ruxpriencdiam

  • Location. Third stone from the sun
« Reply #47 on: July 10, 2012, 09:09 »
0
Initial submission to IStock is like pissing in the wind during a hurricane! :o

Wim

« Reply #48 on: July 10, 2012, 09:50 »
0
nm...
« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 11:25 by Wim »

« Reply #49 on: July 10, 2012, 17:16 »
0
1 - buy a cheap glass to shoot your isolations (you can place the white carton below or drop it)
2 - dont crop your subjects
3 - dont light your subjects from everywhere, try to leave 1/2 shadow(s) only, the coffee picture has like 4 different lights shadows/directions, not very professional
4 - learn first to "light" darker objects
5 - try to surround your object with white/black to avoid unwanted reflections on your subject (like on the coffee)
« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 17:18 by luissantos84 »

PhotoDuneMicrostock Insider

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
34 Replies
6639 Views
Last post January 24, 2009, 21:57
by goldenangel
11 Replies
3292 Views
Last post July 16, 2011, 20:52
by Will Dutt
4 Replies
868 Views
Last post October 16, 2011, 17:35
by Xalanx
10 Replies
1775 Views
Last post April 21, 2012, 00:29
by lagereek
101 Replies
5281 Views
Last post December 03, 2013, 13:17
by newby514

Sponsors

Microstock Poll Results

Sponsors