<<< o >>>uttam 16 comments + add yours

Apologies for the length of what follows ...

Regular visitors will know that I've spent a lot of time recently worrying about what to put up, how often to post, and so on ... but I think I've solved a part of the problem. What's been troubling me is twofold. First: I want to post as regularly as possible as i) it provides the incentive for me to take enough shots such that I remain focussed enough to improve (and without that incentive I might not find the time in and amongst everything else I need to do), and ii) the critical commentary I receive here is invaluable. But second: sometimes this means that I post stuff that I know just isn't as good as some of the other stuff I put up, and I worry that maybe people wont like it, or think "oh, that's not so great in comparison to shot X", and so on. And lately these two issues have been in tension with one another.

So, to get round this I've decided to make better use of categories to assign my images to what I see as different levels of quality. At the moment I have 20 separate categories, and many entries are assigned to multiple categories and, well, it really doesn't make a great deal of sense to organise them in this way, particularly as the number of shots on this site increases. So I've decided to recode all 179 entries into one of three primary categories, Portfolio, Gallery, and Photolog (and a number of secondary ones).

The Portfolio category will serve a similar function to my current "Top 10"; i.e. it's a repository for those shots that I consider to be technically and aesthetically my best work. The Gallery will contain shots that I think have a reasonable amount of technical or aesthetic merit but don't quite warrant being put in the Portfolio for one reason or another. And the Photolog category will be reserved for everything else – day-to-day shots, things that are ok but aren't all that special and so on.

So, for example, my entry from two days ago for the Photo Friday Landscape challenge will go in the Portfolio category as I think it's one of the best shots I've produced. Yesterday's shot will go in the Gallery as while I think that it's a beautiful image it could have been better framed and the clothing they were all wearing was a bit distracting, particularly around the border of the image. In other words the shot has a couple of technical and aesthetic weaknesses. And, finally, today's shot goes in the Photolog category as I think it's generally ok, but there's nothing particularly special about it – nice colours, nice texture, but nothing that says, to me at least, "wow, I really like X, Y or Z about this shot".

And I'll probably keep a couple of secondary categories (Photo Friday, Children, etc) as I do think these are useful, but first and foremost every image will be assigned to one of the three categories mentioned above.

Anyway, my aim here is to be able to post stuff that isn't my best work – i.e. it's day-to-day Photolog category stuff – without always feeling as though I need to justify quite why a shot isn't up to the standard I aspire too. So, keep an eye out for the category an image is placed in (which follows the image description), and over the next while or so I'll recode my existing images (and maybe do some work on the category templates) to reflect these changes.

capture date
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
focal length
image quality
white balance
Canon G5
9.30pm on 5/6/04
aperture priority
4x3 + people [portraiture]
comment by pixeldiva at 09:34 AM (GMT) on 9 June, 2004

For what it's worth, I think that in some cases, as a photographer, we (as a collective group) can have a tendency to overthink the photographs we take.

I, for one, know that the kind of photographs I take now are very different to the ones that I took when I first got my camera, and that's because then I was taking shots of EVERYTHING that caught my eye, and now I find I overthink it, and will decide not to take a shot because I don't think it will be "worth it" or "good" or whatever, and I'm somewhat horrified to realise, looking through my archives, that I have more "good" shots from that first few months than I do for most of the two years since.

I'm quite frustrated at myself that I've let myself get into this kind of mindset, and I've been actively working to overcome this and get back to the mentality I began with.

My point, and I realise I'm taking a while to get there, is that when I began I took shots of everything and posted them, and was frequently surprised by the reaction to some of the shots I didn't think were particularly worthy. I've now stopped taking the less obvious stuff, and even when I do take it, I don't post it, and I feel like my photography has stagnated as a result.

One man's meat is another man's poisson, or something :)

I know what you mean about feeling that you need to post your best work, and don't lose that feeling, but also, don't feel afraid to take, or post, the "lesser" stuff. Your work (even the stuff you say you're unhappy with) is both incredible and inspiring, and the background information you provide in terms of settings, workflow process and what was in your head at the time is both helpful and thought-provoking.

Keep on keeping on. :)

comment by Kjetil at 10:27 AM (GMT) on 9 June, 2004

It is a really great idea that you have, about the three main categories! A solution like that can maybe help you on the way ...
It might be better for you to not be concerned that you might post photos that are not as good as some you posted earlier.

Experience and see what you get! I think that will help you on the way!
Good job!

comment by Dirk at 11:38 AM (GMT) on 9 June, 2004

As you wrote a lot about your thoughts in your recent entries, I regularily read the description carefully. And I'm suprised to read about allmost the same problems I'm dealing with myself.
As you might know my photoblog has just started but the problems are very similar. Of course I want to rise its popularity by posting the best of my work but there are also a lot of shots which are connected to a story I want to tell and the shot itself perhaps lacks a bit in quality. So, your decission to use three main categories is a very good idea and will fit perfectly.

comment by Nick at 12:04 PM (GMT) on 9 June, 2004

Any way you could include the category in the rss file?



comment by travis at 05:58 PM (GMT) on 9 June, 2004

Those were some very astute comments that other visitors made. The only thing I've got to add is that I think if people do know how you confident or 'un-confident' you feel about a picture, it will also help those who might comment only in a negatively critical way re-think their words and be a little kinder. Maybe they'll provide ideas that you can really use to improve your shots instead of words that just break down... And of course, that always makes a blogger feel better!

comment by djn1 at 06:53 PM (GMT) on 9 June, 2004

I think that part of the issue here, for a lot of photologger's (myself included), is that we're not as accomplished as we'd like to be, and our blogs are one of the mechanisms we use to help us improve. So the tension between posting good stuff that attracts the "wow, I like that" comments, and the less good stuff which attracts some form of critical commentary, is always there – we need to post stuff that will attract a sufficient level of interest in our work yet we also need to put up stuff that will help us develop as photographers. For me there's an enforced balance between decent shots and not so good ones – I simply can't produce enough good shots to put one up every day – so on the whole I think that the balance on chromasia works in my favour.

That said, I'd still much rather I could produce great shots all the time – but I can't. What I can do though is learn from experience and from the comments I receive here.

comment by djn1 at 06:56 PM (GMT) on 9 June, 2004

Nick: I probably could, but I'd rather not. Many of the shots I've put up that I've not been certain about have received great feedback, and some of the stuff I've thought is good has received only a lukewarm response. If I flag entries the quality of an entry in the feed then I potentially close down the discussion in that entries labelled as Photoblog may well be passed over as not worth looking at. I'd rather not do that. The category is so you can see what I think of a shot, but I'd much rather you didn't prejudge them prior to looking at them for yourself.

comment by Sandra Rocha at 08:13 PM (GMT) on 9 June, 2004

as a follow up on latest comments on all this subject, I can't help but get the idea that a lot of people are losing track of what we are doing here (or most of us at least lol): these blogs are not of professional photographers, we should be having fun with what we're doing, this is not a freakin competion, its just a way to share experiences, so I thought for instance, I always wonder how many of you (I'm excluding myself on this because I seldom do it, except for b&w and not much more) do take photographs and how many just play with photoshop

I don't take pictures everyday, I have a job that takes a lot of my time even at home and have a family, and don't find it all that time consuming

have said that I assume its obvious that not all pics will turn out great but also can't see the harm in that, not even Picasso did it lol

comment by Carpenter at 08:57 PM (GMT) on 9 June, 2004

Nice photo, good idea....

comment by alexander - Zeys.com at 10:52 PM (GMT) on 9 June, 2004


comment by djn1 at 10:54 PM (GMT) on 9 June, 2004

Sandra: yes, I guess it is easy to take things a bit too seriously, but I suppose it depends on where you're trying to go with your photography, and/or what you're trying to achieve. For me it's about becoming sufficiently proficient such that I can realise my aims as an artist - which, when written down, sounds horribly pretentious - but I guess I'm aiming for something that I think is attainable but not all that easy to achieve. And you're right, it should be fun, and most of the time it is, but personally I need the 'edginess', occassional angst, and the 'pressure' to move me forward.

comment by jen at 02:14 AM (GMT) on 10 June, 2004

you have my support david, keep up the great job!
i guess everyone has varying aims and ambition, just try and be true to your own vision, it will grow no doubt, and we move along.

"how many do take photographs [...] and how many just play with photoshop" . hmm, no disrepect sandra, but !!

if it means something to you, perhaps it's a good enough reason to post it. that's how i've been playin it .. :)

comment by Tom B at 02:51 AM (GMT) on 10 June, 2004

David, I know that I will continue to visit daily and both learn and get inspiration from your photos.

I personally find it hard to believe that you have been able to continually post the quality of shots that you do on a daily basis, I don't know where you find the time.

I do very much enjoy when you add comments as to how to post-processed your shots as well as any other details on how the shot was setup and executed. These details are very helpful for someone that is learning and I am very much a PS beginner.



comment by photosuperstar at 05:34 AM (GMT) on 10 June, 2004

nicely done! my compliments.

comment by djn1 at 07:41 AM (GMT) on 10 June, 2004

Thanks for the support, it really is appreciated.

comment by Jere Seitz at 09:27 AM (GMT) on 11 June, 2004

I came across photoblogs.org just over a month ago. I have been thoroughly enjoying your photography and have been reading all the commentary. I currently do not shoot photography, although, I have taken black and white photograply classes in college. I remember my instructor telling us that out of two or tree rolls of film he sometimes came up with only ONE or TWO good shots. And he was a professional photographer. So, if I were you I wouldn't worry about having all of your shots be exceptional, the professionals can't do it, so just go out there and have fun.

Jere Seitz