I printed some images off last week, of birds – with textured backgrounds – and when the prints came (my printer has died and I still have no idea what new one to get, but I digress) – I was somewhat dissatisfied with them.
There was some lack of detail in the shadow areas, that I was sure was there in the digital image – but then I got to wondering how much detail did I really need?
A friend of mine looked at the image in question – this one below.. and said he didn’t think there was enough detail in the feathers on the right hand side of the bird.
He went on “it’s got a good feel to it, I like the colours and the setting with the background rocks, but it’s the bird”
I asked how much detail he wanted.. “you can see it’s a Jackdaw can’t you?”
“Yes” he said…
“Well how much more detail do you want then?”
How much detail do we ‘really’ want in a photo? Sometimes I think we look for too much. When I’ve judged National Competitions, we generally get no more than about 5 seconds to make a judgement. Does the image have impact? It’s not till the end, when we have all the top scorers, that there is a bit more time to look at detail, but even then, time is short.
I’m pretty sure we worry too much about our image making. Are we crafting for ourselves, or for some judge.
I must confess to making images for myself, and if someone else happens to like them, then that’s a bonus.
A talk I went to earlier this year – was by a lady – whose photography is of the highest quality – and she was saying that she was editing her images to make them fit the requirements of a judge. In her eyes she was changing them from something ‘she’ wanted – to something that fitted a rule.
I’m not saying this is wrong, but at least there was a recognition of changes that have to be made to suit an occasion.
I think it’s a shame that we do this, but I suppose it’s (as they say) ‘horses for courses’.
What I did appreciate was the fact that she was keeping the original images – -which she had crafted for herself, and appreciated that she would have to alter them if she wanted them to win a competition, or help her achieve an award.
I think that as photographers we love not just the image taking – but the process that happens afterwards, and we also have a certain love of art generally. I’m sure that this is important in the creation of our photographs.
I’m also certain also that a love of art – outside photography is a useful and beneficial thing, especially when we turn our photographic eyes out into the world.
3 thoughts on “What do you need to see in a photo?”
I’m no photographer, words are my thing, so I’m not sure if I should wade in on this one … but for me it isn’t the detail, it is the composition, energy and colours of a photograph that attract me. If I like one and stop and give it a longer look, then I notice the detail. Your wet starling drying off is superb, so much life and character, that is what made me look first and then I looked at how you’ve picked out the colours on the feathers.
I don’t think there’s a wrong answer, and I appreciate your thoughtful comments. Must confess to liking the starling too 😄
I think you are correct in drawing the conclusion, we do try to over state thinks when looking at our own work particularly small details, but like you mentioned if you are doing it for a competition it is different to doing it for your own satisfaction. Anyway nothing wrong with the pictures, well done.