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Thread: Challenge Suggestion

  1. #1
    PhotoRob's Avatar
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    Challenge Suggestion

    This may have been done before, however how about a challenge that requires submissions be completely unedited (no cropping, no post production. etc...), other than white balance, or conversion from color to monocrome.

    Thoughts?

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Challenge Suggestion

    Robert

    That suggestion has been made from time-to-time. But to what end would you see this as a challenge?

    If we accept that shooting in RAW is a good thing to do then we accept, by definition, that skilful application of post-processing skills is part of the image-making process.

    I think we would all agree that a RAW image couldn't be presented without being sharpened. So would that be allowed? A RAW file always needs work on contrast. So would that be allowed? Etc.

    The problem is in setting the parameters for what is and is not allowed. But, if someone can come up with a set of 'rules' with which everyone else agrees, there is no reason why someone shouldn't launch it as a challenge.

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    PhotoRob's Avatar
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    Re: Challenge Suggestion

    Thanks Donald, hope you're doing well today.

    I've only recently started studying what it takes to produce quality images, and in every class (Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, University of South Florida CE) we've been forbidden from post production in the 1st 2/3 of the schedule. Idea is that if you deemphasize the necessity to concentrate on understanding what makes for a good exposure, and become dependent on post processing, you're not building on a strong foundation of the craft and can expect many, many late nights in Photoshop (and that time is non-productive time / makes you zero money, etc...).

    I agree the rules would need to be flushed out, and maybe the tagline that this competition is for beginners only, etc...

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    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Challenge Suggestion

    Spending too much time in post-processing is either 1: you are not so sure of your vision when you took the image hence no specific process in mind on how you want to edit your shot and 2: you are not yet confident in using your preferred editing software. Of course, when you have an specific image in mind before you took the shot, that makes it really easier to compose, to expose, and to light your shot hence the idea of using only the least edit from RAW to a workable jpeg or tiff file. Just an opinion, Sir.

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    To PP or not to PP that is the question.

    Robert writes...

    "I've only recently started studying what it takes to produce quality images, and in every class (Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, University of South Florida CE) we've been forbidden from post production in the 1st 2/3 of the schedule."

    I can see the rationale behind that rule, however I don't necessarily totally agree with it. Shooting in RAW requires post processing in at least sharpening. Shooting in JPEG, you have already applied a modicum of post production to your images.

    I agree that it is best to shoot for the optimum quality image and I also agree that some photographers try to use PP as a crutch so that they don't need to get the image correct in the camera. I also agree that it would be difficult to quantify how much PP is allowable so, just eliminating PP might be a way to ensure that no over processing is done and that the images are captured with the best quality possible.

    On the other hand, and there are always two sides to any question. I believe that PP is an integral part of digital photography and disallowing PP is like a black and white film course in which you are not allowed to print with an enlarger. Unless you at least sharpen a RAW image, you cannot get the "best" quality possible. I think that teaching PP concurrently with image capture would be possible.

    Here's my take on photo education for what it is worth. I am not directing my comments to your school or to any school in particular. However, I would guess that USF wants their students to gain well grounded photo experience before venturing into far out "artsy-craftsy" regions of photography.

    IMO, there are some schools which provide a background which will qualify their students for positions in commercial photography. I think that commercial photography emphasizes the ability to produce optimum quality images which are well lit, well focused, well exposed and well composed. There are also a few schools, Syracuse University and The University of Missouri are two which come to mind which prepare their students for careers in photojournalism.

    There are other schools which prepare their students for a more avant guarde approach to imagery. Although some of advertising media is happy with this type of photography, it is IMO, most suited to be hung on the walls of coffee shops with price tags hanging from them. Those images can be out of focus and do not need to follow any rules - all in the name of art! Hey, don't knock it, a lot of people like this type of imagery but, probably few photographers earn their living with this type of photography.

    I am not saying that one educational aim is better than another but, a photographer can often gain the skills which will qualify for a paying position with the education gained from a commercially aimed education.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 29th October 2011 at 09:39 PM.

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    Markvetnz's Avatar
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    Post processing

    IMHO no amount of PP can salvage a crappy poorly composed and exposed photograph. It can improve it a bit but it still remains a bad image. A monkey in silk is a monkey no less.

    To me the fun in photography lies in
    1. Planning the image and then getting out there
    2. Doing my best to get it right in camera so I've got the "raw" material I need
    3. Post processing to bring the plan together
    4. Final output to monitor or print
    5. Enjoying the result

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: To PP or not to PP that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Robert writes...
    I think that's one of the most sensible pieces of analysis that I've read in a long,long time.

    Those of us who are forever trying to claw our way up and along the learning curve should print it off and pin it to the wall.

    Thanks, Richard.

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    Re: To PP or not to PP that is the question.

    "...how about a challenge that requires submissions be completely unedited (no cropping, no post production."
    Sounds to me like shooting 35mm slides.

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    Re: To PP or not to PP that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by flashback View Post
    Sounds to me like shooting 35mm slides.
    Hey! 35mm slides were great in their day! ...but why would anyone shoot with them today?

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: To PP or not to PP that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Hey! 35mm slides were great in their day! ...but why would anyone shoot with them today?
    Yeah, I have a few hundred somewhere

    ... and no, I wouldn't want to go back to them

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    Re: To PP or not to PP that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Hey! 35mm slides were great in their day! ...but why would anyone shoot with them today?
    Well, if there were to be a competition with NO editing/cropping etc, that's kind of like shooting slides. Ya shoots 'em, ya develops 'em and ya shows 'em. I'm not promoting it (although I do kick around the idea of going back to it) but it meets the 'purist' concept of shooting photos with NO pp as was suggested in this post.

  12. #12

    Re: Challenge Suggestion

    Rob, I can understand an instructor’s attempt to make his students concentrate on taking good photos before doing PS processing. However, it is a fact that the greatest photographers, Ansel Adams et al. used the chemical darkroom to process their superior images. These days, the digital darkroom is used for PS processing.

    Perhaps a better challenge might be to focus on taking the very best photo every time instead of shooting off a ton of digitals with the idea of PS processing them into being super photographs?

    RAW must always be processed, but one has the most latitude because all the data are there. Set the camera to shoot both RAW and JPG and note the difference since the JPGs are partially processed in camera.

    The thing is that photos like any art are the products of the artist’s vision. Who is to say which is good, which is better, which is bad?

    Taste is very subjective.

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    PhotoRob's Avatar
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    Re: Challenge Suggestion

    Thanks for comments everyone, some great insights here. I echo the opinions that the digital darkroom is a necessary part of the process for producing quality images. It was very interesting (maybe uncomfortable is a better word) having to display images as-is to a group for C&C; looking back I suppose it was the right way to do it or risk a bunch of students slaving at their laptops vs. practicing behind the lens.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Challenge Suggestion

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoRob View Post
    It was very interesting (maybe uncomfortable is a better word) having to display images as-is to a group for C&C; looking back I suppose it was the right way to do it or risk a bunch of students slaving at their laptops vs. practicing behind the lens.
    Hi Rob,

    For CiC, I considered, for a few hundred milliseconds, suggesting a SOOC or 'jpg shot' challenge, the problem is that these days, there are so many in-camera options that can be set and used, it amounts to PP.

    For example; sharpness levels, scene modes, etc.

    Many new DSLR users, let alone P&S users, don't even appreciate these things are being done to their images in camera, so it doesn't make for a 'level playing field' as some images submitted (even in good faith) could turn out better than those shot by someone who knows what they are doing and tries their hardest to avoid this.

    In the past, I admit to using PP more than I should, particularly for horizon levelling and compostion - I do try harder now. I may take a static shot say 3 - 5 times, each time getting it better in camera, so that the last is the keeper - with practice, I hope to reduce the number of lazy shots before the keeper

    Oh dear, I seem to have wandered off topic.

    Cheers,

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    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Challenge Suggestion

    how about a challenge that requires submissions be completely unedited (no cropping, no post production. etc...), other than white balance, or conversion from color to monocrome.
    Robert, why not start your own SOOC thread and compare images between those that prefer to not do any post processing? I expect that it wouldn't be much different than any of the other 'post your ABC images here' type of thread. You could define and police your own rules and all that are interested could contribute freely.

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    PhotoRob's Avatar
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    Re: Challenge Suggestion

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Robert, why not start your own SOOC thread and compare images between those that prefer to not do any post processing? I expect that it wouldn't be much different than any of the other 'post your ABC images here' type of thread. You could define and police your own rules and all that are interested could contribute freely.
    Posting this 'what-if' thread was a way to float the idea and bring in some much needed suggestions; I'll go back through all the comments and if overall folks are receptive to 'going in front of the camera without full makeup' (per se), I'd kick off the thread like you suggested. Appreciate all the feedback and expanded discussion, very good stuff. More to come...

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    Sam Smith's Avatar
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    Re: Challenge Suggestion

    Robert,
    I started a Photo 1 class last night at University of Texas at Arlington. Our instructor a young lady with a masters degree also told us to submit 5 photos SOOC as to see how well control our cameras on manual. The format is small jpeg. She says she is looking for the correct exposure with no computer adjustments at all other than down sizing to get it to the correct size. I understand what she is doing and why, but it still does not fell right submitting these photos like she wants.

  18. #18

    Re: Challenge Suggestion

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Smith View Post
    Robert,
    I started a Photo 1 class last night at University of Texas at Arlington. Our instructor a young lady with a masters degree also told us to submit 5 photos SOOC as to see how well control our cameras on manual. The format is small jpeg. She says she is looking for the correct exposure with no computer adjustments at all other than down sizing to get it to the correct size. I understand what she is doing and why, but it still does not fell right submitting these photos like she wants.
    It is not really a fair, practical or sensical assignment. The playing field is not even. After all, the camera will process the JPG photos. A person can know nothing about manual, look at what the program modes suggest and use those settings in manual.

    If the photographer sets the internal processing modes in the camera and another does not or sets them differently or uses exposure compensation—which is correct? In many, if not most, cases “correct” exposure is a matter of taste. One person prefers saturated, another likes monotones and the rest like everything in between.

    I am not sure what can be learned from such an assignment.

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    Kris V's Avatar
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    Re: Challenge Suggestion

    Quote Originally Posted by Viana View Post
    It is not really a fair, practical or sensical assignment. The playing field is not even. After all, the camera will process the JPG photos. A person can know nothing about manual, look at what the program modes suggest and use those settings in manual.

    If the photographer sets the internal processing modes in the camera and another does not or sets them differently or uses exposure compensation—which is correct? In many, if not most, cases “correct” exposure is a matter of taste. One person prefers saturated, another likes monotones and the rest like everything in between.

    I am not sure what can be learned from such an assignment.
    What about different model cameras? Each model processes differently - I tried it with 3 P&S cameras, all set to auto, and under the same light conditions. The SOOC pictures looked VERY different.

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