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Author Topic: Image quality advice  (Read 5563 times)

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« on: April 19, 2016, 06:10 »
Hello everyone, I'm new to the world of micro stock and need some feedback regarding image quality more than anything. I'm wondering if these photos are acceptable with noise, exposure etc.?

Feel free to leave comments about composition, focus, WB, or anything else appropriate. I know there are copyright issues in a few, but these aren't planned submissions. I'm more concerned with quality of sharpness and noise levels. They seem good to me at 100% What do you think? Thanks in advance if you've taken the time to help me! [nofollow]
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 09:46 by IanJensen07 »

« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2016, 10:34 »
I don't think you could get any of these images accepted at an agency. Noise isn't the issue

As you realized, you cannot have business names or identifying numbers (license plates on cars, numbers on boats or planes). Even if the image is sharp somewhere, the lighting needs to be good and the choice of aperture needs to suit the subject.

All of these images are very dull, and even if you perked them up a bit with post processing, you still have really uninteresting light on subjects that aren't commercially useful. Shooting an abandoned building at f/4 is probably not ideal - having a bit more of the image sharp would be better for stock.

Composition is something else you should look at. Plunking a small plane in the middle of a large image of a cloudy sky isn't good.

For anything you're planning to shoot, do a search of that subject on Shutterstock sorted by popularity to see what sort of images sell and what they look like. It might help

« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2016, 11:06 »
Thoughts from my still new perspective-- Lighting changes are needed. if you can get a picture of the rock wall on a sunny day, it would have more potential. I think the plane photo just needs changes to the levels to make it pop out more.

I think the moon through the trees photo is not especially exciting, but buyers are weird; I have some photos I'm not fond of that occasionally sell. I suspect this photo would.

The wasp is too small. If you're willing to get close enough to be stung for a macro shot, or have a big zoom lens, go for the close up.

The closed dealership photo is a joke I didn't get initially. I realize this says as much about me as anything. Unfortunately the building is also in shadow from the clouds.

One question I've seen others pose here that I'm always asking myself is, "Who is this photo for? What would someone buy it for?"

« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2016, 13:36 »
I appreciate the feedback, thank you.
Just a reminder, I wasn't anticipating someone buying these, they were mostly for feedback about noise and sharpness. I agree, they aren't interesting lol. They were some varied shots I took of different subjects that I post processed out the noise and mild vignetting and kept balanced to look natural. I'm happy to hear they appear clean as that was my biggest concern.
Knowing I can produce clean enough images is inspiration to step up all the other aspects and pull of some really nice shots. Thanks again :)

« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2016, 17:10 »
What equipment are you using? - you shouldn't really need to be processing out noise etc for these kind of shots if you get it right in camera in the first place

« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2016, 17:47 »
Entry level Nikon D3200, I have the 2 standard kit lenses and a 50mm. I know the crop sensor works against me in the noise department. The noise I found wasn't bad, I'm just overly paranoid of rejection due to it so I'm practicing making it as nonexistent as possible. I just don't know what's considered acceptable if any at all.

« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2016, 20:23 »
...I wasn't anticipating someone buying these, they were mostly for feedback about noise and sharpness....

Understood, but you want to practice quality on shots of the type you intend to submit, otherwise it's an exercise that really won't gain you anything. Just about any idiot with a DSLR can shoot something noise free in soft, even, bright light with a non-moving subject. What will get trickier is if you are shooting something in contrasty light, or with a fast-moving subject in horrible lighting (most indoor sports), or with tricky mixed/colored lighting (concerts or plays). There are a bazillion examples, but I think you get the general idea.

So don't worry about logos or IP for your test shots, but do compose and shoot the sorts of things you plan to submit when checking for technical issues.

If you plan to shoot very contrasty outdoor scenes, especially if they're too large to light, you will need to do multiple exposures and blend them (Photoshop is probably best, but you can do HDR if you keep the image looking real) to avoid lots of noise in the shadows.

Here's an example of the sort of noise that will get an image rejected. Shutterstock's preview of one of my images

Take a look at the two exposures I shot, and what would happen if you just took one and then lightened the shadows (click the thumbnail to see the full size)

« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2016, 22:43 »
Thank you greatly for the feedback and examples. Luckily my photos aren't showing anywhere near the level of noise like the image on the left. I'd say they come out almost exactly like the photo on the right, if not, only small adjustments have corrected what was there. I've noticed my camera tends to expose slightly to the left even though it has plenty of headroom, I'm thinking of reversing that to give myself more room in post. In addition, I'll look to just improving and practicing as you've recommended and move on from here.

One more thing though, I typically edit with a calibrated monitor for print. I find my images usually look too bright on everyone else's monitor. I wonder, should I use the same settings for this type of work as well or is there a different standard here? I'm guessing the agencies are using such a setup as well.

« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2016, 23:08 »
Your monitor should be calibrated with a profile - it doesn't  matter which one as long as it's accurate. Then every image must be saved with its profile. If you edit in one profile and deliver to the agencies in another, you must convert to profile (not assign) and save the JPEG with its profile

Essentially you need a color managed workflow. If you're just matching a specific printer, that won't do

« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 23:39 by Jo Ann Snover »

« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2016, 00:45 »
I have a crop sensor camera shooting at 100 iso in "typical" conditions never causes noise rejection in my experience 200 occasionally I have done low light in 800 with processing. If you are to make stock even remotely viable you need to keep processing time to a minimum.


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