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Author Topic: Understanding composition  (Read 5681 times)

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« on: February 02, 2008, 12:44 »
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Any tips for crestock submissions? :)))

I understand crestock prides itself on warning contributors of its stringent standards, but the "composition" rejection is totally beyond me.

A serires of three images, all three of the same subject matter with different composition - rejected for composition. So, we'v got three incorrect compositions..... So, then, tell me - what would be "correct" composition in their opinion? Anybody here with insights on this "composition" thingie? I emailed support asking a more detailed explanation as ... well, I just started uploading to crestock, and given its low sales, low income %, the verdict is still out for me. In no way am I "threatening" as all I am for stock industry is this tiny fish in a gigantic ocean, but for my own sake I am trying to "understand" this because it has implications for when, whether, how fast, and what I will be sending over to crestock. I will never complain about rejections based on technical aspects... but things like "composition" are more of a gray area....

If you are really curious - all three are on DT, most recent acceptances, frozen Niagara Falls...


« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2008, 16:03 »
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hi

http://www.photoinf.com/

is all about photographic composition, there is a lot of info there, some of it is actually good :)

but it is general and specific for stock, where you always have to remember 'copy space'

« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2008, 16:49 »
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I agree with the reviewers, the composition of these pictures is too tight.  Try backing up a little or using a wider lens so the viewer can see what is happening in the picture.  Also these pictures only have 2 elements water and ice.  I have found that most good pictures have at least 3 elements.  Like water, ice and a person in a barrel going over the falls!  All joking aside try to shoot during the magic hours, shoot a lower or higher angle, add a foreground element, use a slower shutter speed, find the spot that Aliencat used (http://www.dreamstime.com/niagara-falls---winter-sunset-image7) and use the rule of thirds for composition.

« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2008, 17:39 »
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In order to be successful, commercial images must convey/contain some sort of message - making an interesting or pretty picture will not get you very far in this market. Although the most efficient (and profitable) way to make money is to plan your shots, you can still be very successful by making "found" shots if you compose them with a definite purpose in mind - try taking in the scene and picturing the possible commercial images with your mind's eye before raising the camera to press the button.

« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2008, 20:55 »
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In order to be successful, commercial images must convey/contain some sort of message - making an interesting or pretty picture will not get you very far in this market. Although the most efficient (and profitable) way to make money is to plan your shots, you can still be very successful by making "found" shots if you compose them with a definite purpose in mind - try taking in the scene and picturing the possible commercial images with your mind's eye before raising the camera to press the button.

Hehe :) trust me, I do this every time I hit the shutter button - copy space - check, in two out of three images copy space is provided by the falling water in the background, and the zoomed version (as I thought) would offer a close up with bigger resolution to those who are designing winter/travel destination projects. Of course, outdoor shots are less "commercial" that tabletop/studio over white or something along those lines, but my images are still quite suitable for any seasonal/winter/travel destinations images. And to tell you the truth, Niagara Falls in winter is not the most photographed world wonder, especially given that all the traditional shots offer you the same, hackneyed wide angle shot. Believe it or not, these close ups are more of an exception among Niagara shots than a rule... huh, oh well...

« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2008, 21:03 »
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I agree with the reviewers, the composition of these pictures is too tight.  Try backing up a little or using a wider lens so the viewer can see what is happening in the picture.  Also these pictures only have 2 elements water and ice.  I have found that most good pictures have at least 3 elements.  Like water, ice and a person in a barrel going over the falls!  All joking aside try to shoot during the magic hours, shoot a lower or higher angle, add a foreground element, use a slower shutter speed, find the spot that Aliencat used (http://www.dreamstime.com/niagara-falls---winter-sunset-image7) and use the rule of thirds for composition.


Well, I WAS going for a tigher, close-uppish shot, trust me - on purpose....  I know Aliencat's spot well, and I've done a lot of research across stock sites - all images are sorta the same wide angle of the same two-three shots - from Canada - wide shot of American falls, from Terrapin point (his shot) to the Canadian side, and some side views of the American falls (which I already have plenty of and I don't even bother submitting them... may be I should!). So, I was going for something different, more detail, closer, more intimate Niagara, with stone-like icicles and rushing masses of water in the background - for copy space.... Well, I live 30 mins away from Niagara, I'll go photograph some "usual" suspects next time I'm around there.... I also know Niagara well enough to know that beautiful sunsets/sunrrises (for photographers) are rare as the sun falls at this really bad angle :)))  Move the sun, darn it!

Aliencat's image is really great (not without a ton of photoshop in the sun - I wonder...)

Ahh, the law of "gotta do the opposite"... if it's a close up - they'll say back away, if it's a wide angle, they'll say get closer... can't win huh :)

Anybody willing to get into a barrel and roll down the yet-unfrozen-Niagara falls?

josh_crestock

« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2008, 06:57 »
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Hi,

Niagra falls, frozen? Wow. But, the link didn't seem to work.

Rejecting images for composition can be pretty subjective, at times. We base rejections like these mostly on the commercial value of the image, is it going to sell or add something to our collection? There are few rules that should be followed, because breaking the rules can often be more effective. The inspectors are all photographers with years and years experience selling images, they mostly can rely on instinct when inspecting for composition.

In order to be successful, commercial images must convey/contain some sort of message - making an interesting or pretty picture will not get you very far in this market. Although the most efficient (and profitable) way to make money is to plan your shots, you can still be very successful by making "found" shots if you compose them with a definite purpose in mind - try taking in the scene and picturing the possible commercial images with your mind's eye before raising the camera to press the button.


Thats some really great advice. Also, check out Yuri Arcurs' thoughts on composing images that sell, http://www.crestock.com/blog/photography/eight-secrets-from-the-worlds-top-selling-photographer-92.aspx

We reject most often for having Unfinished Frame Objects (UFOs), these are objects that cross the frame of your composition, but just don't have a place there. Like, a tree branch entering a landscape composition can be a UFO when not adding anything. A dinner setting, with a spoon cutting the frame at the corner. The branch can easily be moved or photoshopped, and remember to compose still life compositions in layers, leading the eye somewhere.

Hope that helps,

Josh Hodge
The Crestock Team

« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2008, 02:41 »
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I said "try backing up a little".  You are on the right track but you need to learn the difference between tight shots and close ups.  It's like you photographed an arm and are now attempting to pass it off as a picture of a hand.  Also you need to learn the limitations of your equipment so you will know what kind of picture you can make and what kind of picture you can't make. 

You state, "I WAS going for a tighter, close-uppish shot".  If you are going to get close then get close, don't get "close-uppish".  Then later you state "I was going for something different, more detail, closer, more intimate Niagara, with stone-like icicles and rushing masses of water in the background".  That's good but I and the reviewer think you failed.  If you don't have the equipment to get close then try backing up a little and photograph a slightly wider composition.  I feel you are wasting your time shooting badly composed tight shots and then attempting to pass them off as close ups.  Then still later you state  "Ahh, the law of "gotta do the opposite"... if it's a close up - they'll say back away, if it's a wide angle, they'll say get closer".  When you go out to shoot you should already be doing all of that, that is shooting this side and the opposite side, close up shots, tight shots, wide shots, high shots, low shots, down shots, motion shots, stop action shots, silhouette shots, use front light, back light, side light, wide lens, normal lens, telephoto lens and any other technique that you know.  Finally you state "can't win huh", if you are not willing to learn from the answers why ask the questions?

« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2008, 18:46 »
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I said "try backing up a little".  You are on the right track but you need to learn the difference between tight shots and close ups.  It's like you photographed an arm and are now attempting to pass it off as a picture of a hand.  Also you need to learn the limitations of your equipment so you will know what kind of picture you can make and what kind of picture you can't make. 

You state, "I WAS going for a tighter, close-uppish shot".  If you are going to get close then get close, don't get "close-uppish".  Then later you state "I was going for something different, more detail, closer, more intimate Niagara, with stone-like icicles and rushing masses of water in the background".  That's good but I and the reviewer think you failed.  If you don't have the equipment to get close then try backing up a little and photograph a slightly wider composition.  I feel you are wasting your time shooting badly composed tight shots and then attempting to pass them off as close ups.  Then still later you state  "Ahh, the law of "gotta do the opposite"... if it's a close up - they'll say back away, if it's a wide angle, they'll say get closer".  When you go out to shoot you should already be doing all of that, that is shooting this side and the opposite side, close up shots, tight shots, wide shots, high shots, low shots, down shots, motion shots, stop action shots, silhouette shots, use front light, back light, side light, wide lens, normal lens, telephoto lens and any other technique that you know.  Finally you state "can't win huh", if you are not willing to learn from the answers why ask the questions?


.... wow, somebody is being less than polite. in a nutshell, i think your post is not in the spirit of a positive, helpful, friendly and constructive threads and posts on here. I rarely ever partake in any forums, and this is the only one where i've followed discussions and wrote a bit here and there. And posts like this post of your really make being here an unpleasant experience.

In much of your first post in response to this thread you offer nice constructive advice (even though it's based on the assumption that i don't know the rule of thirds). In this post, you come across as obnoxious and offensive, at a personal level, at least to me.

and, gee, i guess then reviewers at dt, ss, is and all other sites that approved my images are "inferior" to your opinion as they all consistently found the images in question worth being a part of their collection. Crestock responded to me in a very personal email to assure me they are following up and looking into the issue and then publicly explained their logic & reevaluation on their forum - in a way that's nice and that really built up my respect for the site and their professional approach to concerns of contributors, whoever they are. And YOU are just coming across as a disrespectful "i know it all' attitude. Not nice.

« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2008, 03:20 »
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A thousand apologies if I offended you, that was not my intention then and it is not my intention now.  But please let me defend myself.

I thought your answer to my post was condescending. 
You said "I know Aliencat's spot well, and I've done a lot of research across stock sites - all images are sorta the same wide angle of the same two-three shots - from Canada - wide shot of American falls, from Terrapin point (his shot) to the Canadian side, and some side views of the American falls (which I already have plenty of and I don't even bother submitting them... may be I should!). So, I was going for something different, more detail, closer, more intimate Niagara, with stone-like icicles and rushing masses of water in the background - for copy space.... Well, I live 30 mins away from Niagara, I'll go photograph some "usual" suspects next time I'm around there...." 
That sounds like an I know it all attitude to me. 
And your statement "Ahh, the law of "gotta do the opposite"... if it's a close up - they'll say back away, if it's a wide angle, they'll say get closer... can't win huh" makes me think that you do not want to hear from people who disagree with you. 

I did not state that I assumed you did not know the rule of thirds I said "use the rule of thirds for composition".  Had I assumed you did not know this I would have explained it to you. 

Does "If you don't have the equipment to get close then try backing up a little and photograph a slightly wider composition." sound "less than polite" to you?  If it does then again, I apologize.  I do not know what kind of equipment you have and you already knew my opinion was that you needed either a wider or a tighter composition.   

My statement "I feel you are wasting your time shooting badly composed tight shots and then attempting to pass them off as close ups." is just my opinion.  Can an opinion be impolite? 

My two statements "You are on the right track but you need to learn the difference between tight shots and close ups." and "Also you need to learn the limitations of your equipment so you will know what kind of picture you can make and what kind of picture you can't make."  sound like constructive advice to me.  I could have written "you don't even know the difference between a tight shot and a close up!" and "learn the limitations of your equipment before you shoot again!"  To me those statements would have been impolite.   

My statement "It's like you photographed an arm and are now attempting to pass it off as a picture of a hand." is just an analogy.

And my "If you are going to get close then get close, don't get "close-uppish"." statement simply means, if you want to shoot a close up then do what you need to do to shoot a close up.  Impolite? 

Again I apologize if my writing style offended you, I mean no disrespect to you.  In the past I have tried to pass one kind of picture off as another and most of the time it just did not work.  Maybe I should have stated that somewhere.  And in my opinion some of my pictures are just plain ugly, bad lighting, bad exposures and cloudless sky's but they sell every week.  Like I've stated in the past "If I knew what was going to sell I would apply that knowledge to picking lottery numbers!" . . so good luck!
« Last Edit: February 07, 2008, 03:27 by redhat »

« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2008, 18:14 »
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One more thing, don't stop asking questions or for comments on this forum.  You don't have to worry in the future I will refrain from answering or commenting.

« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2008, 18:24 »
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One more thing, don't stop asking questions or for comments on this forum.  You don't have to worry in the future I will refrain from answering or commenting.

Redhat,

Thank you for a lengthy explanation and a calm response, I appreciate it. I guess the misunderstanding goes both ways as in no way did I mean to be condescending or a "know it all" when I was writing my own reply. Let's call it a day, no hard feelings & move on :)

Peace


 

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