Photo Critiques - Technical Details
Should we include more technical details with our Photo Critique submissions? I think that in many cases it will help with the critique.
I think of Char's wonderful Something ENTIRELY Different..., for which the explanation of a 50-image photo stack and follow-up post processing was most educational.
Or, I think of Herb's recent post from Iceland, where I want to know more to inform my critique. Was the hay cart moving? Was this handheld? What ISO (and camera, to understand particular ISO limits) was needed to get the image in twilight?
Excellent suggestion. I've added details to my recent Iceland posting you referenced. Details might include:
-Lens make/model/maximum aperture
-Handheld/tripod (or other support)
-Image stabilization ON/OFF
-Post Processing Software
-Crop factor (aspect ration and percentage)
Percentage of crop can be confusing. Best definition I find for digital photography is the percentage of pixels remaining. Quote from https://richditch.wordpress.com/2009/03/24/crop-percentages/.
Calculating Crop Percentages
I feel it is important to disclose how much an image has been cropped if it is posted on a photo critique site where learning and information sharing are primary goals. Disclosing that a posted image is a substantial crop is simply honesty about how close the photographer actually got to the subject; keeping quiet about such a large crop is dishonest and misleads viewers about the photographer’s skills and sets up unreasonable expectations for beginning photographers who haven’t mastered field techniques on getting close.
But there’s no obvious standard way to specify how much an image has been cropped, and a lot of inaccurate and confusing comments are made trying to indicate this. To me, it’s simple: express pixels remaining after the crop as a percentage of the pixels before the crop. Let’s take a 6MP original and crop it as an example:
Original: 3000 px wide by 2000 px high = 3000*2000 = 6MP
Crop: 2500 px wide by 1500 px high = 2500*1500 = 3.75MP
So, the cropped image is (3.75/6) = 62.5% of the original.
Two simple multiplications, and one division, and you’ve got the answer.
Good topic for discussion. Thanks for bringing it up.
Every time I press the shutter release, I'm trying to create a "better" image than the bazillion that have proceeded this particular capture. Knowing the capture details of a particularly lovely image, like Herb's Iceland post, is most helpful. Despite years of practice, when shooting hand-held, shutter speed is still a bit of a challenge. Knowing the MM of the lens, shutter speed and crop are helpful bits to file away (and hopefully retrieve later 😀 ). Basic processing steps/techniques are also interesting, but for me not as useful as capture details, plus the crop.
I am open to including such info if helpful. I don't have strong feelings however because the visual impact of an image is valid regardless of the details. I also think it's funny that cropping in the camera is thought of as "good" while cropping in post is viewed as somehow substandard. What if one crops an image to fit in with a series..what if one crops 1:1 because their camera doesn't do 1:1....For my value - the fact that the crop took place as an artistic intent is what I would like to know (i.e the why) more than the how (post or camera)...
I believe there is a real dichotomy about cropping. With transparency film (and I shot thousands of Kodachromes), you only had in-camera cropping, but digital offers us so much more. In many instances shooting digital wide is an inherently better option, particularly if using the Transform Module in Lightroom to allow room for correcting the perspective. Are you a "better" photographer with less cropping, I think not, but others might. You may produce a higher resolution image with less cropping, but in the end the artistic value and impact of the image ought to outweigh resolution, noise and other technical defects often observed by the pixel peepers.
I find it helpful to know the percentage of the crop, if for no other reason than to be less critical of technical issues than if the image as at 100%. For a critique forum such as this, if a commenter knows a significant crop occurred, such as my 32% crop in the Cape Ingolfshodi Twilight image, alternative crops might be suggested, e.g. shift the horizon higher in the frame to emphasize the water more than the sky or try a 2:1 aspect ratio instead of 3:1. These cropping suggestions offer the forum participant an opportunity to resubmit an image--perhaps a better version for further analysis. It's certainly a far different world we live in digitally where a poorly composed transparency offered little alternatives other than a reshoot.
As always you make some great points. The -chrome era made a huge mark on photography as there was nothing except in camera. We had to perfect our skills because everything was either so unforgiving (narrow latitude) or not possible (post processing). Sometimes I feel like going out and shooting some Velvia just to make sure I can still do it - I feel my skills might be not as sharp as they were in those days.
I agree with your points about how we might better be able to hep each other. It also frustrates me a little that my camera manufacturer (Nikon) does not provide me more in-camera options. Fortunately it does provide me with 5:4 which is how I set up my camera (and also B&W for live view to help me compose without color), but I really want to work in 1:1 without mental gymnastics or back of the camera screen masks.
I agree with Lloyd that some technical information about our images would help me as a photographer. However, I also agree with John about the prevailing value judgements about pre vs. post cropping. I tend to ignore those value judgements and focus instead on the final image.
At the risk of rendering the beaten equine animal to glue....
We could choose the following terms:
- Framing: That which we do in camera, pre-capture
- Selecting aspect ratio (by selecting camera or a setting in camera)
- Selecting lens focal length
- Placing the subject within the resulting frame
- Cropping: That which we do post-capture, either in camera or in software or by scissors or by matting
- removal of subject matter by relocating image borders, either maintaining or changing the aspect ratio
That would give us more details to report and more to talk about regarding composition 🙂