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Joe Pro vs Joe Public...

Discussion in 'Colour or Not' started by lfc1892, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. lfc1892

    lfc1892 Well-Known Member

    When you take your shots, who's appraisal do you have in mind, if anybody's at all? The reason I am asking is that the general public/layman seems to have a very different eye to that of the more technically profficient experts out there. Top notch or experienced photographers seem to look for things that possibly don't really matter to Joe Public. I often sift through photo mags at work and colleagues come over and look at shots that are technically great, but visually I am told are totally unappealling to the average person. Yet, less technically perfect (rule of thirds etc) but more impacting photos seem to gain more approval. Simple shots full of interesting subject matter with plenty of sharpness, colour and contrast seem to catch the eye of the average man, and yet, photos that appeal to the more enthusiastic of us, simply don't do it for most people without a 'trained eye'.

    What's more important to you? If any?

    Also, I have also noticed a very clear difference in the opinions from one site to another. Strange...
  2. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    When I take my shots it's probably fair to say that largely I don't really have anyone's appraisal in mind. There will occasionally be shots that I take with the idea that it might be good for a club competition, particularly if I'm looking for a set subject, but mostly when I take the shot it's because I think I like it. Of course a lot of these get chucked away at download time when I realise I don't like the shot after all...

    I only really begin to think of third party appraisal when selecting & developing images for entry into competition or exhibition. The rest of the time I mainly process the image in a manner that pleases me. Some I do put up here or elsewhere and if others like them then that’s a bonus. Ultimately you can't manage to please everybody so it's not worth trying...

    It's the impact that grabs the attention and for the average non-enthusiast the visual appeal is the principal criterion. The intimate minutiae of sharpness, exposure, depth of field etc. are of no interest unless they are ridiculously out of kilter - if you have no in-depth understanding of the technicalities then you are unlikely to be able to recognize when they are right or wrong so they have no impact on your assessment of the image.

    Interestingly I find this sort of split in club competition between the beginners/intermediate and advanced classes. Often I really enjoy the beginners work because it does have instant visual appeal, it doesn't follow the 'rules' and it's been taken and entered because 'I like it' rather than because 'the judge will like it'. The advanced work on the other hand is generally of a very high technical standard but can be really quite dull to look at after a while as there are often a lot of 'photographers photographs' which show technique beautifully but which lack visual impact. Of course this can say a lot about the negative effect of competitive club photography which is often seen as having a tendency to stifle creativity and originality in the desire to please the judges - which probably reinforces the idea about making photographs purely for your own satisfaction and taking outside approval as a bonus. Certainly when I look at the output of many professional photographers I suspect that most of them would not do well in club comps... :D

    I've also seen quite a few pro's selling pictures at arts and craft fairs and it generally does seem to be the more visually appealing and natural work that sells rather than anything more abstract or avant-garde. By and large the public prefer pictures which are a largely realistic representation of the world as they see it and not as an enthusiast photographer has learned to see it. This is perhaps the core of the issue, we who move in photo-enthusiast circles inevitably pick up on certain influences and learn/teach ourselves to see things differently and more intimately while the general public at large aren't directly exposed to the same influences and therefore remain unaware and, perhaps, unappreciative, of them.
  3. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    Interesting you should ask...basically I take my shots to please myself..don't worry about what others think, however if people like them then I'm pleased, however if people get too picky about composition, focus etc it can knock your confidence.
    Personally I feel that the technical side can get in the way and put people off photography...ok it's something to strive for but at the end of the day if you the photographer like it then why worry. You can ask an "expert" his opinion and he'll be happy to oblige, but you may not like the answer regarding the technical aspects...if so don't be upset. Just smile and think to yourself there may be something to learn...ot there may not.
    Keep shooting..that's the way forward..you will improve on your technical side.
    BTW this isn't directed personally at you or anyone - it's just me having a ramble :D
  4. lfc1892

    lfc1892 Well-Known Member

    I guess the answer is shoot for yourself, as ultimtaley it's you that who will be looking at your portfolio most of the time. Unless, that is, it's a case of shooting for comps etc.

    The feeling I get from this site in the appraisal section is that it's very much a photographer's forum, as opposed to folk who like looking at photos and who take a few themselves...
  5. Gezza

    Gezza Well-Known Member

    Imteresting to read Nigels post re the difference between `beginners` and `advanced` images in club photography, When you look at major open competitions you can fairly easily spot the club entrants as they are all beatifully exposed, composed, etc but they very often lack the originality and punch that make them winners.
  6. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    For the most part, I shoot for myself and, usually, I shoot stuff that catches my
    eye and occasionally/usually misses everyone else's radar :eek:

    Although, when I was shooting for newspapers/magasines it would depend upon the
    subject/story. Initally, I would shoot the main subject (Mayor cuts ribbon to a new bridge) -
    "shoot the mayor cutting the ribbon of the bridge -. Stand off to the side and, as the mayor
    snips the ribbon with a portion of the bridge in the pic (boring) or do I get an ultrawide angle
    lens, get down low so I get the mayor's hand with the scissors cutting thru' the ribbon with the entire bridge in the pic (a wee bit more interesting). I opted for the latter and the Photo Editor
    loved it, the story editor was not as loving plus he had to chop my horizontal shot to a square. :rolleyes:
    Another quick example is where an event (World Curling thing) where all the staffers would be
    shooting it (and I was shooting for a monthly mag who didn't mind if they got the seconds from
    the daily) . So the Sports Editor said "I will look at your stuff but I want to see <u>Non Curling, Curling pics :eek: </u>" Suffice to say, I stayed completely away from where the staffers were shooting and shot, for lack of a better term, environmental portraits of the fans,
    curlers and combinations there of :) ... best pic (and everyone liked it except the subject) was
    of gorgeous Swiss (female) curlers eating a banana :eek: That pic even got me congrats from the
    staffers ........ they saw it but didn't shoot it because they figured it wouldn't run ... I shot because
    it had to run. So I shot for me and for them :)

    Sorry, this is a long, rambling and nonsensical read ...and the cafe is closing so adios.

    Cheers and regardless for whom ..... just shoot :D

  7. Shaun1970

    Shaun1970 Well-Known Member

    I'm in total agreement Spinno, there does seem to be a clique on here that are in each others pockets and dont feel the need to let any new members join. Obviously theyt know what they're doing and what they're saying, but for the sake of the Lord how about them giving us beginners a bit of slack now and again.
    Oops!! sorry I got a bit carried away there. Anyway, I think the professionals should have a better etiquette and realise that they were new starters too many moons ago. I'm of the opinion that if I like my work then thats all that matters, but if something catches the eye of someone else and they can enjoy it for a couple of minutes (at least) then that makes it all worthwhile. you are right though David, if some keep barracking about this that and the other then it does shoot your confidence down. I'd prefer constructive opinions rather than what some have said, such as "It's a bin job" or "Is this really for appraising?". The attitude of some amateurs and professionals is downright appalling and they really should help the pastime grow instead of distancing themselves from the riff-raff (me).

    Ok, the rant really is over now :)
  8. velocette

    velocette Well-Known Member

    I shoot only for myself or family and although we do belong to a club I never enter or attend competitions which makes things much easier. For me photography is 100% about taking the photos I like and that please me which make for a simple life as I only have one person to please.

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