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Old Shack, Advise Sought

Posted by: J Scott Davidson on 02/04/2013 - 11:33 AM

I have been in love with photography since I was very young. As an amateur I have sold a few images. What I would like to know is if these images seem marketable, here, on this venue. Perhaps it\'s unfair to ask this question without being more specific but I honestly don\'t know exactly what to ask.

I will post a link to one, but please, if you have the time I\'d love to hear any comments respecting any of the images I have posted.

I admire the work I see here on FAA and hope to learn from any advise you can offer. Thank you in advance for time and consideration.


Oldest Reply

Posted by: MM Anderson on 02/04/2013 - 12:15 PM

I think you never know what type of image will really be marketable. I like some of your photos a lot but on close inspection you seem to have some focus and noise issues. You might want to work on that in the future.


Posted by: J Scott Davidson on 02/04/2013 - 12:43 PM

Thank you MM. Perhaps you or someone else following the discussion can help me with this.

Until I posted these few images here on FAA I would print anything that pleased me. I have only now begun to show these images electronically. The largest prints my printer is capable of is 13x19. It would seem that images that print sharp at that size may not in fact be sharp enough for this venue.

Now an admission: I have never "sharpened" an image electronically. With most of my experience on film, and that never having been an option in that format, I always thought focus was captured at the time the image was taken (or you missed it). Having fooled with the "unsharp" mask I have been left feeling the image looked artificial in some way.

Do my images need to be 'sharper than focused' or am I missing focus at the time of exposure?

I will address this as soon as I can. I want to put my best foot forward. I will try to sharpen any of the images that need it (I agree, after having viewed them online). It maybe necessary to re-shoot a good number of images in hopes to solve to the problem.

Any advise from others would be very much appreciated.

Thank you again MM


Posted by: MM Anderson on 02/04/2013 - 1:24 PM

I think some of your problem may be from focus at time of exposure like with the crocus image, but some of your noise problems might be the result of over sharpening. You really need to go easy on the sharpening. If your focus isn't sharp to begin with sharpening too much on the computer will not really help.


Posted by: J Scott Davidson on 02/04/2013 - 2:49 PM

Are there any other causes for this noise?

Perhaps I've stepped in the deep end before mastering a few basic strokes ;-)

I don't like "sharpening" at all. I thought I had avoided it entirely in respect to these images. I have tried using sharpening but always felt it looked artificial, regardless of how little I used. I will render new jpgs from the RAW files and see if I can't fix what I missed!

Thank you, this has been very helpful. It is difficult for me to find honest critique and I value it greatly. I only wish I had thought of looking for it earlier. If there's anyone else reading, please, send a beggar a few gems of wisdom. Thanks in advance!


Posted by: Charles Beeler on 02/04/2013 - 5:52 PM

I like your images, but some of them look over saturated which can cause the noise. Are you trying to do HDR or are you having play with the shadows because they are to dark? Trying to lighten an image that is dark is hard to do without noise in the darker areas. It can also happen with over sharpening too. Have you tried the noise reduction filter in Photoshop?

This one looks like the blue as well as the red is just a little to much.
Sell Art Online

This one which is the one you link to above looks like the grass is way over saturated.
Art Prints


Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/04/2013 - 6:15 PM


Some of your images look pushed a bit, either in the color editing or even in trying to increase the file size. There's color noise and also some noise from the original capture. I usually tell photographers to "shoot to the right", which means right side of the histogram, so it's slightly over-exposed and this helps with the shadows. If your capture is good, you may even be creating the noise in the shadows, in pushing the blacks.

Are you using a DSLR?

The good news, you have a good eye, so now, it's just a matter of handling the images in editing,



Posted by: J Scott Davidson on 02/04/2013 - 7:03 PM

Rich, yes a DSLR. A Nikon D-90, and yes I worry sometimes that the smaller image sensor will limit me. It does seem as though most feel these images have been over worked. I do bracket most images (if the situation permits) With this I will go back and re-examine each of the images I've posted and see what I might do. Better yet, I will re-shoot these as time allows. Thank you for your time and sharing your experience!

Charles, Though that is the way I "remember" the blue on Mattoon St that day, the red is over saturated. It could very well be that while trying to bring that blue to the range I had hoped for (or perhaps imagined) the red was ignored. I will render a new version from the RAW and see if I can't address those issues (with both Mattoon St images).

To all, thank you for taking the time to look. I am so grateful for the advice. Until now I only showed my images to those that felt obligated to say something nice (or because they married me ). I hope to have improvements to show you in the near future!


Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/04/2013 - 7:30 PM


Ok, the camera itself is good, maybe some of the settings are taking the image and applying too much saturation,contrast,etc.? Are you using Photoshop,Photoshop Elements, or something like this to do your editing? Shooting RAW is the best thing you can do and then save the Tiff or PSD and then duplicate it and save it as a jpeg. But always work from the PSD or Tiff file, not th jpeg.



Posted by: J Scott Davidson on 02/04/2013 - 9:07 PM

Rich, I shoot RAW and do most of my editing with Nikon's NX2. I also use Photoshop Elements, I have version 9 here. My thinking at first was that my tastes were leaning towards the garish ;-) Hopefully there's a little more to it. I can't help but wondering if I might give more thought to color management considerations. I have been pleased with my prints, but can see clearly with FAAs magnifier that all is not well here online (given what I've learned regarding the noise in my images and focus issues).

My check list would include being certain I am focusing well to begin with. I do use auto focus about half the time. Perhaps the poorly focused images are an issue there, or perhaps it would be images I focused manually. I honestly hadn't noticed this or the noise until seeing them here. Next on this list would be more carefully viewing the images here (at a higher magnification).

The color saturation issues might be monitor balance issues? Like I said I tweaked the monitor for the purpose of printing. The prints (13x19) may not have been a good indication of how they would look here online.

Hopefully not being to repetitive, thank you for your help.


Posted by: Paul Hilario on 02/04/2013 - 9:29 PM

You have some great shots in there that are ALL marketable but I can't comment on photography since I am a dinosaur in that field but what I do know is a little bit of marketing which is what you wanted to hear. There are a lot of marketing groups here at FAA that can help you but I would like to share to you some tips to get noticed. You see at FAA its not enough that you've got fantastic shots (others have too) but you have to get your image out there.

1. Don't scrimp on tags. Tag with your name, location and even the location of the picture.
2. Get people to vote on your image - that will increase it's visibility in the searches.
3. Join the groups and add your images - this will 'replicate' your images.
4. Comment on people who sold images similar to yours - this will help connect you to your market.
5. Know your market and tag using words that they may use in searching.
6. Put more pictures in which are organized in various themes that you want to show to your viewer.
7. Market your page - use other platforms for that.
8. A big help would be to get featured at the homepage. How to get there? Get favorited by SAMPLE GALLERY. Here's his page:



Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/04/2013 - 9:54 PM


Don't think there are any probelms with your monitor. Color is great and I use it as much as I can get away with. When I adjust color or saturation, I always go beyond what I think is right and then bring it back. If your prints are good and you like the results, then you're ok, as long as the files you print from and the files you upload are the same. If, like most of us, you are printing from a larger PSD file and then uploading a jpeg, there maybe something in the compression that is going wrong.

When sizing my files to be 25mb or less for FAA, I always use 11-12 for the quality and don't try to get the largest file to FAA.

Focus seems fine too. Remember depth of field falls 1/3 to the front and 2/3 towards the back,away from the camera. As you decrease the aperture/F-stop the area in "focus" gets smaller/shallower and that can be a problem, if you are relying on auto-focus all the time,



Posted by: J Scott Davidson on 02/04/2013 - 10:52 PM

Rich, Hyperfocal distance? I think that's it. Funny how you can know something, but then get caught up in the excitement. That moment when you believe you actually have seen and perhaps captured something special. I need to relax and pay more attention;-) I am converting the RAW files to JPGs using NX2. An interesting thing there, though JPGs, they are not sRGB. So, I open them in Photoshop and 'convert' them. I'm wondering if I may be damaging these images somewhere along the line. Still, the noise and focus issues need to be addressed and I am enthusiastic about getting better images posted.

Paul, Thank you. In fact all the advise I have been getting is worth more than the last dozen I books I've read, but you're right. I was wondering if the things I found interesting where in fact interesting to others. I do think if I follow some of your advise the additional exposure will help. Thanks for the well thought out answer! I will add tags. I will also be linking this site to my own URL. Clicking on that link as soon as I post this response.

Thanks again everyone!


Posted by: MM Anderson on 02/05/2013 - 9:44 AM

If you are editing the jpeg files and re-saving them then you are degrading the images and introducing artifacts. You should convert your RAW files to a lossless file like tif. Don't save the final jpeg until all editing is complete.


Posted by: J Scott Davidson on 02/05/2013 - 1:08 PM

I understand. I never edit jpgs.

It just so happens that NX2 saves jpgs but they are Adobe RGB profiled. I only open the jpg again (with PSE9) to convert it to sRGB. NX2 is well worth the extra step. I haven't found a better way to work in Nikon's RAW format. PSE9s RAW editing capability is more like a plug in than a full featured editing capability.

However, it maybe worth while to save these RAW files as TIFFs and then create jpgs from them in PSE9.

I may have not explained the process that well, here, or in the previous post. And I am open to any ideas that may help.

Thank you!


Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/05/2013 - 2:40 PM


I know nothing about NX2, but will assume it's a good program. But I would not use it for these purposes.

I would open all RAW files in PSE9 and save them as PSD's and then convert them to Jpegs when needed. That's what I do.

I open them in Adobe Camera RAW, make some simple adjustments, send them into Photoshop, do some more editing,color correction,cleaning,etc. and do a "save as" and call them "master" or "fixed" as PSD's. I then go to image, "duplicate" and open a new version of the PSD. I then "flatten" the layers, and then go to Mode and change the file from 16 bit to 8 bit, since you can't save a jpeg as a 16 bit file. Once the file is now flattened and 8 bit, I'll re-label it and do a "save as" a jpeg, keep the quality at 12 and save.

I think this processmay help with a few of your images, which I'll blame on Nikon! LOL!!!



Posted by: J Scott Davidson on 02/05/2013 - 5:10 PM

I would hate think of this as Nikon's fault. And the likelihood here is that I have used these tools incorrectly. A tradesman who blames his tools is a poor tradesman indeed.

I spent a bit of time learning that software because it got such fantastic reviews from respected Nikon luminaries. The "U touch" technology is vastly easier to use than Adobe's selection tools. There are also many more options for editing NEF files in NX2 than are available in Adobe. But, given what I'm learning I may have to rethink my use of NX2. Interestingly I choose it because it was considered the least destructive editing option.

Just out of curiosity, anyone listening in that have had experiences with Nikon's native software, chime in if you have the time.

I certainly have a lot of options when it comes to troubleshooting these images. I will organize a plan of attack and try to rethink this is in an efficient way.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/05/2013 - 6:16 PM


The proof is in the pudding! Run a single image through both and see what comes out! I was really just making a poke at the Nikon people! I'm Canon! And I can't imagine that ACR is destructive at all, where did you hear that?



Posted by: J Scott Davidson on 02/05/2013 - 7:15 PM


I wasn't thinking of ACR, I have PSE9 here. Comments made on most Nikon forums led me to believe NX2 fit Nikon's RAW format (NEF) better than other options. It isn't nearly as expensive as many of Adobe's offerings and has some unique capabilities I found easy to use.

I've owned Pentax, Cannon, Fuji, Nikon, Leica, and an East German camera but I can't remember the maker. Ya know, I've never had a camera I didn't have a blast with. I tend to find Pros and ignore Cons. Oh, and some Polaroids I had a fantastic time with!

No, in fact what I have heard is that if you work in any RAW format, and save to RAW, or TIFF you shouldn't cause any issues (right?). But I apparently I have strayed of course. Not to worry, I will re-examine my workflow and I'm sure much more suitable images will be the result.



Posted by: Charles Beeler on 02/05/2013 - 7:39 PM

I'm a Nikonian. I tried to used NX2 and didn't like the results. At that time it was extremely slow and always wanted to freeze up when trying to do any extensive editing. At that time I didn't even have Photoshop. I ended up getting Photoshop Elements and still use it today. I have PS5 also and I do use it when I have to really work on an image, but Elements to me is much easier if you don't have to do a lot of editing.

When Adobe first came out they wouldn't open NEF files. This may be why you were hearing that NX2 fit Nikon's Raw format better. Every time Nikon comes out with a new camera you have to wait for Adobe to develop a plug in for it through Adobe. I don't know if Nikon changes their NEF format with every new camera just so they can sell NX2 because of the issues with Adobe or what, but I'm glad I am not using NX2 anymore.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/05/2013 - 7:40 PM


If you are using PSE9, then you're also using ACR,as part of that package.

Like I mentioned earlier, just process the same image through both and see which you like better.



Posted by: J Scott Davidson on 02/05/2013 - 8:16 PM

Charles, NX2 did take early criticism for being slow to render. But that's not a problem now. Faster machines and some reworking on Nikon's end have made NX2 speedy enough.

Sorry Rich, not up on all of my jargon, thought ACR may have been canon related software. When I open NEFs with PSE they open in a clunky window I can only describe as "plugin like". My normal work flow (in either software) would be little more than using levels to make contrast and exposure adjustments. I have also used both titles to add saturation. In both cases NX2 seemed to render more realistic results and offered a better level of control.

However, there is a fly in the ointment and it could very well be NX2. As I find out (as Rich suggested, through trial and error) I will post my results. But it does puzzle me that I am looking for a way to make JPGs look better online while at the same time the RAW files of these images make very nice prints here (Epson Artisan 1430). I never used JPGs for anything but web publishing work and would never have thought to print from them. I remember being taught they were the very worst format for printing. Is there any reason FAA doesn't print from TIF or RAW? I understand previewing online would need to be jpg or perhaps png (maybe less damaging).

Forgive what might seem like silly questions, but I would really like to understand all of this. Film was far less complicated, don't you think?


Posted by: Charles Beeler on 02/05/2013 - 9:08 PM

I tried the newer version of NX2 again in 2011. I tried it again because of all the things it was supposed to do, but it was still slower than Photoshop and the same things can be done in Photoshop, so I continued to use Photoshop.
The window you refer to is what opens up Nef/Raw files in Photoshop. If you don't want to do any editing in that window then just hit the open image button on the box. That box helps with the tonal values because it shows the histogram. It takes awhile to learn Photoshop....believe me I know, but once I learned it there is so much more you can do with it.
Hopefully you'll be able to figure out what the problem is and can fix it. Good Luck.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/05/2013 - 10:37 PM


ACR or Adobe Camera RAW,which is waht comes with PSE9 is very powerful and a lot of stuff should be done there and then just tweaking in PSE9. Her's one of my favorite Youtube videos for RAW!



This discussion is closed.