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09/06/2011 01:04:16 PM · #1
I have been shooting on this site for a while. Not as long as my profile might indicate, as I shot for a few months and then vacated for almost four years. . . I have been shooting pretty steadily for a while again and am happy to report that when I first started I could barely chip above 5.0, and now I have several photos scoring in the high fives. I even have reached the point where I know where an entry is likely to fall--and some do poorly. The question I have is, "What is it I'm missing?" What is the difference between a 6.25 and a 5.9 shot? What I have often found is that bitching about how low my scores are is a sign there is something other photagraphers are seeing that I am not. . . So, what is the difference between a high 5.0 shot or person scoring regularly at that level, and a shot or person scoring above that?
09/06/2011 01:13:27 PM · #2
I've almost made a topic just like this a few times before, so I will be watching what people have to say.
These days if I put in some effort (and the score shows it if I don't), I very easily score a 5.7-5.9, but I find it very hard to get just a tiny bit higher in the 6 range.

Message edited by author 2011-09-06 13:52:46.
09/06/2011 01:13:50 PM · #3
Originally posted by crowis:

. . . So, what is the difference between a high 5.0 shot or person scoring regularly at that level, and a shot or person scoring above that?

Either about five more votes of 9 or 10 or else five fewer votes of 1 or 2 ...?
09/06/2011 01:21:14 PM · #4
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by crowis:

. . . So, what is the difference between a high 5.0 shot or person scoring regularly at that level, and a shot or person scoring above that?

Either about five more votes of 9 or 10 or else five fewer votes of 1 or 2 ...?


Ha Ha. LOL. True. That is all the difference in a Math sense. But, some folks get those votes on a regular basis...and some do not. . .
09/06/2011 01:25:25 PM · #5
Originally posted by crowis:

Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by crowis:

. . . So, what is the difference between a high 5.0 shot or person scoring regularly at that level, and a shot or person scoring above that?

Either about five more votes of 9 or 10 or else five fewer votes of 1 or 2 ...?


Ha Ha. LOL. True. That is all the difference in a Math sense. But, some folks get those votes on a regular basis...and some do not. . .


The difference's are so varied, money, location, availability of models, imagination, travels, equipment limitations, on and on.
09/06/2011 01:27:16 PM · #6
I just had a look at your portfolio, honestly you are so close and some I wonder how it was you didn't manage to get over a 6.

Here is the best advice I can give, seek out a second opinion on challenge entries. Sometimes the difference between a 5.9 and a 6.2 can be as simple as cropping it a bit differently. A fresh eye can really help you see things that you don't notice because it is your baby... um I mean photo.

09/06/2011 01:27:45 PM · #7
I think you have hit the point where you need to be and that is realizing you can't get over the barrier yourself. I am a sub 6 hobby photographer myself and I think there are several things that I need to do to get to the next level. I don't want to make this thread about myself but here are some things that I think I need to do. If they apply to you or strike a chord, all the better.

Technique: Those individual lessons you are learning and implementing in your photography need to all come together into each photograph. Exposure, Composition, Lighting, Subject, Post Processing. You need to have more than just one of these things in an individual photo to bring it up to the next level.

Equipment: Shoot, Shoot, Shoot and Shoot some more. Master your current equipment by finding it's sweet spot and then begin to expand and better your kit.

Collaboration: Find someone who can mentor you, someone who you can bounce things off of, someone who will give you honest critiques and share some knowledge. Not just DPC either. The challenges are good for learning but I think they are more useful for putting lessons learned on display and finding out how well you learned them.

I am sure there are other things that people can suggest you do. But hopefully this will get the conversation started. I know there are some other threads out there discussing the same thing. There are some mentoring threads that got started and members were looking to buddy up to help each other out. Good luck on your growth!
09/06/2011 01:28:28 PM · #8
I have been wondering this myself, Crowis...

=/
09/06/2011 01:32:37 PM · #9
Originally posted by sjhuls:

I just had a look at your portfolio, honestly you are so close and some I wonder how it was you didn't manage to get over a 6.

Here is the best advice I can give, seek out a second opinion on challenge entries. Sometimes the difference between a 5.9 and a 6.2 can be as simple as cropping it a bit differently. A fresh eye can really help you see things that you don't notice because it is your baby... um I mean photo.
I will second that. Looking at your falls image, and having seen quite a few versions of these falls recently, I think a different crop could have got you over 6.
09/06/2011 01:40:35 PM · #10
Originally posted by EL-ROI:

Equipment: Shoot, Shoot, Shoot and Shoot some more. Master your current equipment by finding it's sweet spot and then begin to expand and better your kit.


It's easy to think that a better lens or camera will get you to the next level. They certainly don't hurt but they are not necessarily going to help if you don't know how to use them.

I have won most of my ribbons with cheap equipment, bottom of the line DSLR and a kit lens, even my lighting is a hand me down set of flashes that were meant for a film camera. And up until a couple months ago I even was using homemade soft boxes.

The point is I never let my limited equipment limit me. I figured out ways to use it to the best of it's ability. I figured out how to utilize software to make up the difference between my cheap equipment and the vision in my head.

That brings me to my next point. Software you must learn to utilize photo editing software that to me is the key. If you don't know how to photoshop you have to get extremely lucky if you want to get over a 6. I did not start getting high scores until I purchased topaz and SEP2 and learned how to use them. If you don't have this software or know how to use it you are at a serious disadvantage.
09/06/2011 01:45:14 PM · #11
Originally posted by crowis:

So, what is the difference between a high 5.0 shot or person scoring regularly at that level, and a shot or person scoring above that?


If it helps, here's an example of a high 5 shot and a person scoring above that.

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' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/257/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_104757.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/257/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_104757.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I know I know "groannn" :P
09/06/2011 01:47:55 PM · #12
Originally posted by sjhuls:

Originally posted by EL-ROI:

Equipment: Shoot, Shoot, Shoot and Shoot some more. Master your current equipment by finding it's sweet spot and then begin to expand and better your kit.


It's easy to think that a better lens or camera will get you to the next level. They certainly don't hurt but they are not necessarily going to help if you don't know how to use them.

I have won most of my ribbons with cheap equipment, bottom of the line DSLR and a kit lens, even my lighting is a hand me down set of flashes that were meant for a film camera. And up until a couple months ago I even was using homemade soft boxes.

The point is I never let my limited equipment limit me. I figured out ways to use it to the best of it's ability. I figured out how to utilize software to make up the difference between my cheap equipment and the vision in my head.

That brings me to my next point. Software you must learn to utilize photo editing software that to me is the key. If you don't know how to photoshop you have to get extremely lucky if you want to get over a 6. I did not start getting high scores until I purchased topaz and SEP2 and learned how to use them. If you don't have this software or know how to use it you are at a serious disadvantage.


That is very good advice. I am using PhotShop CS5. I really need to learn its ups and downs more, though I just started learning Adobe 6 months ago, and pretty much on my own--with some help from my S/o's son. The crop is a good point for me as well, because next to trying to make the photo fit rule of thirds, I am not sure where the best crop lies and have received a couple of comments on crop. In regards to El-ROI's comments, I agree all of those are likely important. I think I hit the shutter button about 600 times this weekend(LOL). But, sometimes, I feel there is JUST something I should be seeing that I am not. That back of the head itch that gets me going. I agree I cannot do this without some kind of assistance beyond just being amazed at what other people do and trying to do something similar. Maybe it is just practice in my case, don't know.
09/06/2011 01:48:33 PM · #13
Originally posted by Art Roflmao:

Originally posted by crowis:

So, what is the difference between a high 5.0 shot or person scoring regularly at that level, and a shot or person scoring above that?


If it helps, here's an example of a high 5 shot and a person scoring above that.

' . substr('https://images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/hidden.png', strrpos('https://images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/hidden.png', '/') + 1) . '

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/257/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_104757.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/257/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_104757.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I know I know "groannn" :P


Funny : )
09/06/2011 01:48:40 PM · #14
Originally posted by Art Roflmao:

Originally posted by crowis:

So, what is the difference between a high 5.0 shot or person scoring regularly at that level, and a shot or person scoring above that?


If it helps, here's an example of a high 5 shot and a person scoring above that.

' . substr('https://images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/hidden.png', strrpos('https://images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/hidden.png', '/') + 1) . '

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/257/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_104757.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/257/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_104757.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I know I know "groannn" :P


oh... that was bad...

I agree with asking people for feedback. The problem is, it's easy to get into a rut. We have a tendency to take the same shots from the same perspective and process it the same, because it's the way we think. Input from others can get you looking at things in different ways. Helps you change things up a bit, and start looking more critically at your own work.
09/06/2011 01:49:37 PM · #15
Originally posted by Art Roflmao:

Originally posted by crowis:

So, what is the difference between a high 5.0 shot or person scoring regularly at that level, and a shot or person scoring above that?


If it helps, here's an example of a high 5 shot and a person scoring above that.

' . substr('https://images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/hidden.png', strrpos('https://images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/hidden.png', '/') + 1) . '

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/257/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_104757.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/257/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_104757.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I know I know "groannn" :P


congratulations. took me a minute. i'm dying on the inside.
09/06/2011 01:57:31 PM · #16
For me it has been a lot of small lessons learned over time that finally came together. But I think the turning point was when I decided to shoot what I am enthused about. When I started applying those lessons to what I personally like, I started having more hits than misses.
09/06/2011 02:09:23 PM · #17
I agree with ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Yo_spiff, shoot what you want to shoot. I take my camera up to the mountains with me and my goal to get something worthy of putting in a frame. So definitely shoot for yourself.

And also what ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' sjhuls said about editing skills. Get good at it. Which I still need to do.
09/06/2011 02:39:15 PM · #18
My lesson is simple: when I shoot specifically for a challenge, and put in the time and effort to make sure I get a good idea/composition/subject, I do better. If I simply walk around aimlessly shooting and hoping for an entry, that's when the crashing and burning happens.
09/06/2011 02:44:22 PM · #19
Originally posted by gcoulson:

If I simply walk around aimlessly shooting and hoping for an entry, that's when the crashing and burning happens.

Interesting, because walking around aimlessly looking for a good entry often works quite well for me. I can often recognize the good subject and light when it presents itself to me. I have a good tourist trap location for doing that sort of semi-random shooting, however. Another thing that may tie in with my earlier post is that I have realized what I like about photography is exploration of the world, rather than creation of scenes a studio.
09/06/2011 02:56:10 PM · #20
As one who has done more than their fair share of crashing, burning, etc. - a couple of thoughts.
To score a 6 or above, you have to have a shot that people will vote 7 or 8 on. Take a look a shots that score 6.5 or above - that is the level you have to be at to get over a 6. Sometimes that takes a lot of editing, sometimes not, but that quality happening naturally (and without help) is quite rare.
Harmony with the dpc voters. Certain things don't do well, no matter how well executed. Guys, no matter how special a car is, or how much you like it, to the ladies (and to many "artsy" guys) it is a red car. I could go on (and on and on) about what doesn't harmonize...
Details, details, details - avoid distractions, have one and only one subject, etc.
I'd say if you wouldn't vote 9 or 10 on it (on the critical side, not the generous one...), it probably won't go over 6.
09/06/2011 02:57:50 PM · #21
Originally posted by Yo_Spiff:

Originally posted by gcoulson:

If I simply walk around aimlessly shooting and hoping for an entry, that's when the crashing and burning happens.

Interesting, because walking around aimlessly looking for a good entry often works quite well for me. I can often recognize the good subject and light when it presents itself to me. I have a good tourist trap location for doing that sort of semi-random shooting, however. Another thing that may tie in with my earlier post is that I have realized what I like about photography is exploration of the world, rather than creation of scenes a studio.


Ditto. My best scores are shots I just happened to have that fit a challenge. My set-up shots fail miserably.
09/06/2011 03:00:16 PM · #22
Originally posted by dtremain:

(on the critical side, not the generous one...)

Excellent point. One thing I did for a long time was to put a list of anticipated critiques in my pre-challenge notes helped me to look at my own entries with a more critical eye. It was also a fun game to see if someone left the anticipated critique.

Message edited by author 2011-09-06 15:00:59.
09/06/2011 03:03:51 PM · #23
Originally posted by Marc923:

Originally posted by Yo_Spiff:

Originally posted by gcoulson:

If I simply walk around aimlessly shooting and hoping for an entry, that's when the crashing and burning happens.

Interesting, because walking around aimlessly looking for a good entry often works quite well for me. I can often recognize the good subject and light when it presents itself to me. I have a good tourist trap location for doing that sort of semi-random shooting, however. Another thing that may tie in with my earlier post is that I have realized what I like about photography is exploration of the world, rather than creation of scenes a studio.


Ditto. My best scores are shots I just happened to have that fit a challenge. My set-up shots fail miserably.


+1
09/06/2011 03:13:38 PM · #24
Originally posted by crowis:

I have been shooting on this site for a while. Not as long as my profile might indicate, as I shot for a few months and then vacated for almost four years. . . I have been shooting pretty steadily for a while again and am happy to report that when I first started I could barely chip above 5.0, and now I have several photos scoring in the high fives. I even have reached the point where I know where an entry is likely to fall--and some do poorly. The question I have is, "What is it I'm missing?" What is the difference between a 6.25 and a 5.9 shot? What I have often found is that bitching about how low my scores are is a sign there is something other photagraphers are seeing that I am not. . . So, what is the difference between a high 5.0 shot or person scoring regularly at that level, and a shot or person scoring above that?


Looking at your portfolio and challenge entries ... your technique and composition are coming along fine. Keep working on them and expect them to get better.

The first thing I'd suggest is to think about the story your photo tells, or you want to tell through your photo. If you don't know the story, you're in trouble. Viewers see lots of technically perfect photos, but with out a story, it's like Mozart played by a robot ... no feeling ... no emotion. Make me laugh, make me cry, make me happy, make me mad with your photo. Suggest trying for the next dozen challenge entries to tell a story with your subject and your treatment of the subject.

The second thing I'd suggest is find a regular source of photographic information besides DPC. Tim Gray has a daily email that's full of useful stuff (about 70% of the time) and comes in tiny doses you can internalize. The Kelby training is pretty good. Each time one of these little stimulants resonates with you ... shoot something with that stimulant in mind. It will shake up your imagination and let you practice a few new things every once in awhile.
09/06/2011 03:27:02 PM · #25
Watching videos to see others editing their work is a huge opportunity, especially for those of us who are self taught in Photoshop. There are quite a few on the net, as well as in CDs that come with various photo magazines. The full photoshop program is so huge that it gets daunting for the self taught, and one tends to travel the same narrow path through the workflow.

Looking at your work Mike, I wonder if you have ever messed around with the multiply layer? It can give a richness to the colors and a nice pop to the contrast that might make the difference in breaking that 6 barrier. Mess around with all the levers and layers, from your portfolio I would guess that your sub six scores have less to do with what you are pointing your camera at than how you cook your images.

Cartier-Bresson said "I am a hunter, not a cook" and had others do his darkroom work. Here you have to hunt down the right image, and spice it up correctly.
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