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DPChallenge Forums >> Challenge Results >> Why is it so hard to get a 7 and over
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08/27/2012 08:20:07 AM · #1
I keep thinking of leaving DP soon, but I have one more goal to achieve, and that's scoring over 7 with a photo, with the last half a dozen pic's that have I've entered I've started really well, and it's hung around the 7's for a while, and it starts to plummet...
... and I end up with a 6 something, what is the special formula please, b/c it's time for me to move on, but I just want to reach that one more goal before I leave.

Message edited by author 2012-09-25 05:45:23.
08/27/2012 08:30:17 AM · #2
Clear alignment with challenge - sometimes that means finding a middle pathway between perceptions of a challenge, shoot late after you've read the discussion thread (the aim here is to avoid the low ballers who disagree with your interpretation).

Avoid clutter, ensure the eyes have somewhere to settle and that this area has pristine focus (in camera - sharpening artefacts ruin scores).

Maintain clarity - use your histogram display on the camera to ensure you gather maximum data - harder to 'break' an image in post.

Don't let post processing define the image - for the most part, don't tone map, absolutely avoid halos.

Use a palatable composition.

Maximise the screen real estate - avoid portrait orientation, square crops give you more if the composition works.

Get rid of any blemishes - dust spots, target banding etc are ruinous.

Subject should communicate depth and draw you in, leading lines, perspective cues, good use of depth of field to isolate subjects etc.

Shadows (on the ground) and reflections seem to do well too.

That's just a brain dump - and what do I know anyway...

Just my thoughts of the things that I think score well. In no way do I think any of those gets you a truly 'good' image; but if we are game playing....

In reality the stuff I like to look at is like the image below:

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That's the sort of image that I give high scores for... but shooting for a 7+ is all about mass appeal.

Message edited by author 2012-08-27 08:51:22.
08/27/2012 08:38:22 AM · #3
Very exhaustive and extensive list Paul.

Will have to study it, and see if I can improve using your techniques!
08/27/2012 08:42:45 AM · #4
Kittens, children, scantily clad women, all in the same shot.
08/27/2012 08:45:17 AM · #5
Originally posted by Neat:

I'm thinking of leaving DP soon, but I have one more goal to achieve, and that's scoring over 7 with a photo, with the last half a dozen pic's that have I've entered I've started really well, and it's hung around the 7's for a while, and then all you Americans wake up, and start voting and then down it goes, and I end up with a 6 something, what is the special formula please, b/c it's time for me to move on, but I just want to reach that one more goal before I leave.


Paul made some great suggestions on how to improve score if that is your absolute goal. But remember that the score of 7 is a completely arbitrary level. It means that most people really thought it was the best or close to the best shot in the challenge, it met the challenge critera absolutely, and it had a wow factor (wow, I wish I had shot that...).

So, a couple questions for you on why you are planning on leaving....

Has DPC improved your shooting capabilities and skills?
Have you learned (either from guidance or practice or both) how to be a better photographer? Do you now find yourself at a stagnent place?
Do you feel that you are past making improvements in your shooting that the challenges at DPC can provide?

Personally, I do not enter a great deal for DPC any longer, but I still enjoy the process from 1) thinking about the challenge and brainstorming ideas 2) shooting for the challenge and seeing if my vision in my head is matched by what my camera can obtain, and 3) processing the image to give me a finished product. I can't tell you how many challenges I have shot for in the past year, and yet I am under 20 challenges entered. Either I am not happy with my idea, my composition, etc. Those that I like enough to share get entered....

We would miss you around here. You do very good work. Rethink the WHY of DPC for yourself before you depart.
08/27/2012 08:47:45 AM · #6
It's the averaging of everyone's opinion. If you give anyone a reason to low vote your entry (off topic to them, subject they object to, perceived flaws, etc. etc.) then you WILL get those lowball votes. If you avoid anything that may draw in the lowball votes, then you risk watering down your image so that it doesn't offend anyone, but doesn't thrill anyone either. That gets you lots of 5's, which can sting as badly as the 1's.

Your style is far more artsy than some others, and you like grain and blur. That automatically gets you some low votes from people who will almost always perceive that as a flaw. They just don't like it, unless the challenge topic is blur or grain.

As I've said before, visual appeal counts for more than meeting the topic head on, but to gain that maximum score, you need to do both.
08/27/2012 08:54:35 AM · #7
Originally posted by CrazyDiamond:

Kittens, children, scantily clad women, all in the same shot.


I can certainly testify to the effectiveness of such subjects.
08/27/2012 08:55:43 AM · #8
Originally posted by Paul:

Originally posted by CrazyDiamond:

Kittens, children, scantily clad women, all in the same shot.


I can certainly testify to the effectiveness of such subjects.


Scantily clad men/women, the you can't go wrong.

Ugh, I sound so bitter.
08/27/2012 09:00:42 AM · #9
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my only 7

my nudes score mid 5's but im learning
08/27/2012 09:05:09 AM · #10
I've only entered 3 challenges. Took a long time to get up the courage to do that. I've not done well but don't expect to so soon. It would help tremendously if voters would give feedback. The only way to get better is to listen to what people have to say, but if they don't say it, it doesn't matter what the score is.

Having said that, whenever I've asked for feedback on specific photos, I've gotten great, constructive criticism.
08/27/2012 09:06:11 AM · #11
[quote=] ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Yo_Spiff It's the averaging of everyone's opinion. If you give anyone a reason to low vote your entry (off topic to them, subject they object to, perceived flaws, etc. etc.) then you WILL get those lowball votes. If you avoid anything that may draw in the lowball votes, then you risk watering down your image so that it doesn't offend anyone, but doesn't thrill anyone either. That gets you lots of 5's, which can sting as badly as the 1's.

And this is why my shot's start well then fizzle, b/c i tend to have flaws in my photo's which some just hate. That's why I think my time here is almost up, I'm not willing to change just to get a ribbon, It's taken me a while to come up with a style and now I have one I don't want to compromise to please people.

' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' bassbone Yes I have come to that place where you could say I've become stagnant, not much excites me on here anymore, that's why it might be time to move on.

' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' CrazyDiamondkittens and children I've done ad nauseum, as far as the women, that's not my style, nor would it ever be, not really something I get excited about........lol

Message edited by author 2012-08-27 09:07:21.
08/27/2012 09:08:59 AM · #12
Interestingly, some of the people who regularly get mentioned as among DPC's most talented photographers are often scoring poorly or meh.

Take ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' jjbeguin for instance. His last 10 entries averaged a mere 5.64, with only three 6+ entries. His site average is 5.75. He routinely gets brought up in discussions as one of the most talented photographers on the site.

Or take ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_N.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_N.gif', '/') + 1) . ' bspurgeon as another example. He's been honored with an "in the style of" challenge, but his popular appeal over the last 10 challenges has been a 5.13, with only two 6+'s.

so why this disparity?


08/27/2012 09:11:25 AM · #13
Originally posted by Neat:

And this is why my shot's start well then fizzle, b/c i tend to have flaws in my photo's which some just hate. That's why I think my time here is almost up, I'm not willing to change just to get a ribbon, It's taken me a while to come up with a style and now I have one I don't want to compromise to please people.

Then don't. Why do you have to sell out? Just accept the fact some people don't like your style and move on. The only opinion which matters is your own, unless you're selling prints, then the customers opinion matters also.

Message edited by author 2012-08-27 09:11:41.
08/27/2012 09:11:45 AM · #14
Originally posted by Yo_Spiff:

Interestingly, some of the people who regularly get mentioned as among DPC's most talented photographers are often scoring poorly or meh.

Take ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' jjbeguin for instance. His last 10 entries averaged a mere 5.64, with only three 6+ entries. His site average is 5.75. He routinely gets brought up in discussions as one of the most talented photographers on the site.

Or take ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_N.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_N.gif', '/') + 1) . ' bspurgeon as another example. He's been honored with an "in the style of" challenge, but his popular appeal over the last 10 challenges has been a 5.13, with only two 6+'s.

so why this disparity?


Yes they are both awesome photographers, for sure, it's just that they have the minorities vote, and those who love them, really love them, and those who hate their style well you know the rest!
08/27/2012 09:18:45 AM · #15
Originally posted by Venser:

Originally posted by Neat:

And this is why my shot's start well then fizzle, b/c i tend to have flaws in my photo's which some just hate. That's why I think my time here is almost up, I'm not willing to change just to get a ribbon, It's taken me a while to come up with a style and now I have one I don't want to compromise to please people.

Then don't. Why do you have to sell out? Just accept the fact some people don't like your style and move on. The only opinion which matters is your own, unless you're selling prints, then the customers opinion matters also.


I know your right I won't sell out, I'm comfortable with that, I'm just waiting for the elusive 7, before I leave, and then I can say, I achieved all my goals.

Message edited by author 2012-08-27 09:20:14.
08/27/2012 09:31:49 AM · #16
Originally posted by Neat:

and those who love them, really love them, and those who hate their style well you know the rest!

Have you considered that your style may be the same way?
08/27/2012 09:32:50 AM · #17
Originally posted by Giles_uk:

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my only 7

my nudes score mid 5's but im learning


My only 7 had none of the above mentioned.

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And I'm sure if I shot nudes they wouldn't do near as well. Because they would have to be Self Portraits or risk a divorce with my wife. :D

08/27/2012 09:33:20 AM · #18
Anita I know I can be straightforward with you: you have beautiful ideas, but your images are frequently overcooked. People love (me too) neat images, with a good amount of sharpen. Even when this concept is not followed there must a sort of harmony in what we are communicating through a photo. I think of these images:

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When I see your images I have two different reactions:

- this kind of images work:

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- this ones don't:

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Even your best scoring image would score better with a different editing, I'm quite sure:

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08/27/2012 09:41:44 AM · #19
Originally posted by Alexkc:

Anita I know I can be straightforward with you: you have beautiful ideas, but your images are frequently overcooked. People love (me too) neat images, with a good amount of sharpen. Even when this concept is not followed there must a sort of harmony in what we are communicating through a photo. I think of these images:

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Even your best scoring image would score better with a different editing, I'm quite sure:

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Yes it's funny I really like those 3 above, definitely my style, and surprised they did so well, and happy to see...and as much as I love blur, I don't tend to do well in those challenges, but it seems someone who doesn't normally shoot in that style will win, quite ironic that is!!

Message edited by author 2012-08-27 09:43:09.
08/27/2012 09:47:10 AM · #20
About leaving DPC:

First of all, you will be missed, both for your photography and your comments.

Second, if you only see DPC as a place to compete, then perhaps it is time to move on. But if you see it as a supportive community of photographers, you won't find a better bunch of friends elsewhere.

I find DPC a stimulating environment that has many ways of accommodateing all styles of photography.

Edit for typo.

Message edited by author 2012-08-27 09:51:10.
08/27/2012 10:04:31 AM · #21
Originally posted by JuliBoc:

About leaving DPC:

First of all, you will be missed, both for your photography and your comments.

Second, if you only see DPC as a place to compete, then perhaps it is time to move on. But if you see it as a supportive community of photographers, you won't find a better bunch of friends elsewhere.

I find DPC a stimulating environment that has many ways of accommodateing all styles of photography.

Edit for typo.


Well I like the comp and the support, and I'm sure when I decide to leave I'll miss everyone, I mean it's been a lot of fun - really!
08/27/2012 10:23:55 AM · #22
I haven't gotten above a 6.78 in 2 1/2 years let alone a 7. Is that a bad thing? Nah, it does get aggravating at times but throughout the past couple years I have experimented more, thanks to people like yourself, and am finding my own voice. Sure most of the times I don't get a lot of love for my work, some of it is, well, dark but it is what I like. I chased the ribbons for awhile but, while I still do occasionally, I will now enter a shot that I like better or think is more artistic then one I think may score better.

I hope you don't leave but I know it happens but you will be missed. If it weren't for those artist out there that weren't afraid to try something different despite the scores I don't believe I will have grown as much as I have.

Oh and naked guys (at least ones like me) don't score well :)
08/27/2012 10:27:48 AM · #23
And remember - you can play 'both' sides if you want - plenty of people do.

Mass appeal one challenge, niche the next...
08/27/2012 10:27:53 AM · #24
Thanks Josh, you are always so nice to me.

And I'm glad you've changed your style, and I feel chuffed to have influenced you, that's always nice to know :)

Now I better get some sleep.

I'll see in the morning if anyone else has some good tips.
08/27/2012 11:21:48 AM · #25
Shoot a landscape.
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