Why are everyone else's photos so much better than mine?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by alanrockwood, May 26, 2016.

  1. alanrockwood

    alanrockwood Member
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    1,196
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    OK, I know it is a stupid question, but it might lead to an interesting discussion.

    (By the way, one of the several reasons I haven't posted any photos at APUG is implicit in the title of this thread.)
     
  2. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    3,749
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Location:
    Melb, Australia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you post some examples you may be able to receive some constructive criticism. Maybe your photos are not as bad as you think.
     
  3. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    4,818
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    because you don't have an expensive enough camera
     
  4. tomfrh

    tomfrh Member

    Messages:
    644
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2015
    Location:
    Sydney, Aust
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    It's basic statistics. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturgeon's_law

    You (and me) happen to fall within that 90% from the sounds of it.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    20,057
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You might think about going on a workshop, you need one that asks you to take a representative sample of your work and then has group discussion where you present and discuss your images guided by who ever leads the workshop.

    A lot of it is about find the direction of your photography, knowing what you are trying to say with images.

    Ian
     
  6. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Subscriber
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    1,409
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Like others are saying, post some of your work, and tell us why you don't like your own work. Is it technical issues (don't like the tonality, don't think my photos are sharp enough, etc.) or is it that you don't think your photos are interesting or beautiful?
     
  7. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    5,550
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Location:
    Gig Harbor & Palm Springs
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Told to me once by a professional photographer:

    "The difference between a pro's photos and an amateur's is that the pro knows what to throw away."

    The photos that (most) people place in galleries or elsewhere are going to be their better ones.
     
  8. Mark Tate

    Mark Tate Member

    Messages:
    38
    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    Location:
    Umina Beach
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Why do YOU think they are not ?
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2016
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    25,446
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    paswonquitte
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    hi alan

    i think a lot of things have to do with confidence. it is not hard for anyone to think the photography they produce
    is not very good compared to others they see. we are flooded with images both good and not as good from the instant we
    open our eyes until we go to sleep. the trick is to be confident with what you are doing and enjoy what you are doing. ian's suggestion
    of showing images to a workshop/portfolio review ( fracture magazine, flash powder project and others do this ), might help. it might also
    help to show your images to someone whose perspective you trust. uploading work to a website is a crap shoot, no matter the website. typically
    its back slaps, and atta boys and silly comments if it is a nude [ they always get the most comments and "likes" ] there is a website i upload work to on a regular basis
    and i noticed that within 1 hour of a handful of people's uploads they had lots and lots and lots of comments ... when i asked someone "in the know" i was told
    they were their own little comments reservoir ( cliques), they all commented on eachother's work just to boost the comments and make it seem like their work was well established or well viewed
    kind of like having a shill on an auction site boost your bids and views, or logging in to a website with 2 or 3 different user names to converse and argue with yourself in threads.

    like with everything, the more you do something, the better you will get / 2nd nature and the more confident you will be. do what you enjoy that's what counts anyways.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2016
  10. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    10,708
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    K,Germany
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The first 10,000 are the worst. Keep shooting and photograph what you feel not what you see.
     
  11. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    1,189
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Location:
    Near Tavisto
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I think we all ask ourselves that question from time to time. Probably a case of "The grass is always greener..." etc..
    Steve
     
  12. frank

    frank Member
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    4,376
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2002
    Location:
    Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    "The reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else's highlight reel."
    S. Furtick
     
  13. HiHoSilver

    HiHoSilver Member

    Messages:
    2,172
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2015
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I love seeing HCB's comment from Ralph (about the first 10k)

    I felt the same, Alan. I kept 1-3% in the 80s. A bit higher now, but not that much.

    When an aspiring writer asks their literature prof how to write like a master, they're told to read *alot* of very high quality stuff. On that basis, I started looking at very high quality photos. Alot. As in no less than 10hrs/wk of looking at & studying why an image had impact. While doing this, I was shooting at least a roll/wk. I keep more shots now, but not alot. I'm starting to experiment more & that holds the retention % down some. When composing, I'm thinking about what is it about this shot that got me exciteable. How do I bring that out more & how to eliminate or minimize any distracting elements. 'Nothing new. I'm just doing what others have done & recommended before me. If you get the impression its work, you're right. I'm not willing to invest the time/work in everything, but to learn to shoot well, I am. I certainly am not starting out w/ any natural talent at it.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Nodda Duma

    Nodda Duma Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,760
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Location:
    Brookline, NH
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I bought a random book on composition basics. It seemed to help quite a bit...bringing to conscious thought the path from what caught my eye to actually capturing what caught my eye and then turning that into an actual print.

    And yes, I agree with the post about knowing which ones to share.
     
  16. blockend

    blockend Member
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    3,809
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    True. If you're impressed by more than 1 shot from every ten rolls of film, your editing regime isn't tough enough. The quickest way to identify strong images, and thus get better as a photographer, is to look at really great photographs. Look at the masters, despair briefly, then get on with it.
     
  17. baachitraka

    baachitraka Member
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    2,880
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    Bremen, Germany.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Please don't ever care comparing with others and it may ruin your talents.
     
  18. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    3,555
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Location:
    SE Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well the shots in my gallery here probably represent less than 1% of my film shots. (And even then, "good" is only for the viewer to decide. :unsure:) I have in past years taken some classes and workshops in watercolor painting, so I like to think perhaps whatever composition skills I may or may not have are more broadly rooted than just photography. Since you haven't really specified what things you're not happy with, it's difficult to offer suggestions, other than I'm pretty certain none of us get every shot into juried shows! When I've tackled a specific target (a few years ago there was a photo contest for a local historical site as an example), I might shoot 3 dozen exposures which I end up whittling down to perhaps five or six candidates. After making small test prints with those five or six I might make exhibition sized prints of three and select two of those. (Which may still not make any waves or get an award!)

    It would be useful if you could articulate some hints of what you think you are missing -- technical shortfalls - exposure, sharpness, contrast -- or the more ethereal composition and subject matter issues. The latter, of course, can get into those situations where ten observers offer ten different opinions. :blink:
     
  19. tedr1

    tedr1 Member
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    892
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2016
    Location:
    50 miles from NYC USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It has already been said..................Study the great photographers, buy books, study hard. Go to galleries. Make a lot of pictures, expect to throw most of them away. If you aren't making a lot of pictures the odds of turning out a great one are pretty low. Technical issues are important, you have to be comfortable with your equipment, but cameras don't make great pictures, photographers do.
     
  20. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    2,584
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Location:
    Castle Rock, CO
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    So true.
     
  21. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    2,584
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Location:
    Castle Rock, CO
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Who was it that said a good photographer is one who never lets people see his stinkers?
     
  22. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Member
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    1,469
    Joined:
    May 27, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I used to take a lot of railroad photos. It was a hobby when the kids were very little. I could get out of the house for a couple of hours on the weekend and find some peace and quiet alone by the railroad tracks. Maybe I spent 6-8 hours per month behind a camera. My photos weren't all that great. A few were pretty good. I then figured out that the best rail photographers literally dedicate their entire lives to rail photography. A lot of them have no families. They road trip for days. Sleep in cars and tents. Taking railroad photos is all they do.

    I can't do that. I don't want to do that. But it has given me kind of a "what's the point?" attitude toward photography. I can't compete, so why bother?
     
  23. CropDusterMan

    CropDusterMan Member

    Messages:
    607
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2014
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Usually, the reason why so many photographers work can be unappealing is their poor editing skills. Here is an interesting quote during a class at Rice University during the 1970's...

    "Photographic technique is easy, the whole process is simple…you can make a lot of errors and end up with
    a printable negative. I don’t think you learn from teachers, you learn from work, and you learn to be your own
    toughest critic, and you only see that from seeing work, intelligent work. We all have limitations…at any given
    time we’re limited, and you can only learn from what you can understand at a given time, and hopefully you
    can learn something so that you can understand more…on that level you’re a critic, you’re your own worst critic
    and that’s the only way anybody gets any place.

    To make the point…every photographer who does a reasonable amount of work, discovers at times when they look
    at old contact sheets, sees frames they see the never conceived of printing when they first shot them. Your understanding may
    eventually catch up to a frame that a camera was responsible for. We all have limitations for what we can deal with at a given time".


    Garry Winogrand, 1975


    Ultimately...Shoot a lot, be highly critical of your own work, and learn from your mistakes.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2016
  24. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    28,061
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Groups:
    1. Move in closer. That is the most common failure after one masters exposure and focus.
    2. Buy a better camera.
     
  25. 4season

    4season Member
    Ads Enabled

    Messages:
    426
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
    Shooter:
    Plastic Cameras
    Photograph > Edit (repeat daily)
    Do it long enough and frequently enough and you learn a thing or two: Sometimes I'm amazed at the little details I get just right without conscious effort. Whether shooting digitally or on film, I think it's important to review the results promptly while the memories are still fresh in my mind, and I'm quick to discard photos that just seem "meh". Not concerned that I may discard 80%, because that still leaves me with a lot of keepers by the end of the year. If I kept everything, I'd be totally swamped with images scarcely worth a second look.
     
  26. CropDusterMan

    CropDusterMan Member

    Messages:
    607
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2014
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    +1.

    If your pictures aren't good enough, you aren't close enough.
    Robert Capa
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies. If you have a Photrio account, please log in (and select 'stay logged in') to prevent recurrence of this notice.