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11/01/2006 12:32:32 PM · #1
I've been a member for over two years now. One thing I've noticed is that there are a lot of very overprocessed images doing well these days. When I first joined, if a picture was noticeably overprocessed, it was immediately given a lower score. Maybe I'm the only one noticing this. I'd be curious if others are seeing the same thing. There are 5 pictures on the front of the DP page (1st - 3rd place photos) that in my opinion are extremely over processed...too much sharpening, too much burning, etc. A year ago, I don't think those pictures would be where they currently are. Is this a new trend? Or have the overall standards of DP dropped? For all I know, I'm the only one that feels this way! If that's the case, I'll shut up. But I'd be interested to hear what some of the "old timers" have to say...members for a year or more.
11/01/2006 12:34:27 PM · #2
As I said in another post, I feel out-of-the-game here because my Photoshop skills are not very good. I thought this was a photography site... Not a photo editing one...
11/01/2006 12:37:34 PM · #3
One thing that I have learned about photography is that Photoshop (or other editing tools) are an integral part of photography. In the "old days" there were dark rooms (there still are...but you get the point). In the dark rooms, you could burn, dodge, etc. Photoshop is just the modern day dark room. But it seems to me that there are too many "winning" photos that are very over processesd. I honestly can't see a lot of these current winners having won a year or two ago. Either there are a lot more people joining DP that aren't aware of the concept of over processing or the old group has slowly disappeared. I actually think it's a combination of the two.
11/01/2006 12:38:00 PM · #4
Originally posted by candlerain:

As I said in another post, I feel out-of-the-game here because my Photoshop skills are not very good. I thought this was a photography site... Not a photo editing one...


It's more about the end product. no matter how you get there. through the camera or post processing as long as its within the editing rules. If your photoshop skills arent very good in your opinion then no better time to learn. when i started here in april i didnt even know what the controls on my camera meant and certainly had NO idea what the heck photoshop was. you just have to adapt if winning is your motive. No offense by this at all. Hope it doesnt come off as rude. just my opinion.

btw: Didn't answer you OP as I'm not an "old timer".

Message edited by author 2006-11-01 13:11:34.
11/01/2006 12:39:00 PM · #5
If it makes you feel any better every time I've "overprocessed" a shot for a particular effect it has bombed pretty badly, including my current portrait entry...
11/01/2006 12:40:22 PM · #6
Well, the darkroom was part of photography, and so is photoshop...so you if you want to be a good photographer being a decent processor of your images is required.

That said, the stuff on this site is often ridiculously overprocessed, and statements like "I wish you photoshopped out that tree, or that car, or that pole" etc. bother me. But my preference in photography is a representation of life as it is.

Many people here do not use it this way and process accordingly.
Anyways, do what you will, but the amount of processing I see here just looks awful and cheesy a lot now, to get to the bottom line. The point of processing is to make your images look better...and that fails a lot here.

Get your images closest to the way you want in camera and the end result will always be better.
11/01/2006 12:40:41 PM · #7
I'm not saying all over processed pictures are winning...all I'm saying is that a lot of the current winners (now and in the past few months) are very over processed and more than likely would not have won a year ago. I'm not trying to offend anyone, so hope nobody is taking it that way. I'm just making an observation.
11/01/2006 12:42:51 PM · #8
Doesn't "over"processed carry its own judgement call?

The pictures on the front page are processed. You believe them to be overprocessed, but the average person here does not. Perhaps you are not keeping up with the times? Reminds me of the line from a Pearl Jam song...

I change by not changing

That being said, I think specific, constrained challenges encourage processing because it makes the picture stand out. After the Game was VERY specific in what it wanted in a shot. So did Trains and Railroads. When you look at 200 pictures of trains and then see one that is processed differently (but well done), I think you are going to give that extra points. It's just basic psychology.
11/01/2006 12:43:13 PM · #9
I'm curious about which photos currently on the front page you find overprocessed. I actually agree with you about the trend but I think the only way we can fix it is by open conversations like these where we really pin down what over-processing is. I find that the same curves/levels/dodging/burning looks great in black and white or duotone images but when done on a color image (as is often is here) it just looks absurd but clearly a lot of people dissagree. I am also sick of some of the neatimaged shots that pop up on the front page. Makes me want to vomit, esp when it looks like an otherwise good photo that was destroyed.
11/01/2006 12:44:51 PM · #10
Originally posted by chafer:

I've been a member for over two years now. One thing I've noticed is that there are a lot of very overprocessed images doing well these days... (snip)


While I agree with the sentiment that heavily post-processed shots seem to capture the eyes of the voters today. It has been that way for a long time.

Look at this member: //www.dpchallenge.com/profile.php?USER_ID=1368

I wish I could borrow her skills when I needed them.
11/01/2006 12:45:04 PM · #11
My trains entry was crushed for over processing. Some shots are applauded for it and some aren't. I've seen some highly over processed immages do very well.
11/01/2006 12:46:17 PM · #12
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Doesn't "over"processed carry its own judgement call?

The pictures on the front page are processed. You believe them to be overprocessed, but the average person here does not. Perhaps you are not keeping up with the times? Reminds me of the line from a Pearl Jam song...

I change by not changing

That being said, I think specific, constrained challenges encourage processing because it makes the picture stand out. After the Game was VERY specific in what it wanted in a shot. So did Trains and Railroads. When you look at 200 pictures of trains and then see one that is processed differently (but well done), I think you are going to give that extra points. It's just basic psychology.


I agree, it is subjective to people's opinions just like everything else. There is a line between processed and over-processed, the difference is where everyone's line is at.
11/01/2006 12:46:42 PM · #13
I've been around for only a year but thinking back to some of the first member challenges i remember, the dodge/burn, hyped up processing was very evident. Look at some of Heida's 21_F.gif heidaentries for example. I use the member challneges only because they allow this sort of thing. Then it seemed to go the other direction with more realism and natural processing, now processing is taking center stage.

Most if not all pics have some processing, and i find well done pictures on either end of the spectrum to be enjoyable. Trends like to come and go...

Speaking of Heida, 80+ challenges with a 6.59 avg!


11/01/2006 12:47:02 PM · #14
What I usually see is unsubtle processing. Too much sharpening, heavy handed work.

But I remember when I started - I couldn't even see the difference between a well sharpened and oversharpened image. I suspect its often the same with these. It takes time to even become aware of these subtle differences.
11/01/2006 12:48:15 PM · #15
I haven't been a member for a year but it was around this time last year that I started to visit the site alot. I haven't really paid much attention to the processing but I agree it seems that lately the photos that are winning are pushing it to the extreme limit.

I have been guilty of it myself lately because I am influenced by what I see on the front page in my quest for a ribbon or even a top 20 finish.

The photoshop skills used here are some of the finest out there. And I agree that not everone here has that advantage in their favor. However you need a good photo if you want to photoshop it into a great photo. So the pictures that are winning the ribbons are doing so deservingly. Even if they are overprocessed they are still good photographs. Which is why they score well. It is a shame though to see alot of really nice photos get scored lower because the person that took the photo doesn't have the same amount of skill in post processing as they do in taking photos. Or for others who simply just do not believe in all the extra processing. Or a certain type of processing.

If it is a new trend, That is what it will be just a trend. In 3 months it might be taboo to burn colors or sharpen your image.




11/01/2006 12:48:23 PM · #16
I agree that the processing is getting heavy handed. I wouldn't necessarily call it over processed, just more processed than in the past (over processed implies too much). BUT, the voters seem to enjoy more heavily processed shots and so they get voted higher. This leads photographers who want higher scores to post process more in order to please the voters who want more post processing...

For me, over processing photos is like over processing hair - wicked awful. But, you can process hair a lot and still have it look natural.
11/01/2006 12:51:22 PM · #17
Overprocessed is definitely a subjective term. User Petrakka phrased it well when he said that the pictures look "cheesy." To be perfectly blunt and honest, I think the overall quality of the pictures on DP has dropped. And that is probably just a simple result of a lot more people joining. There aren't as many actual photographers any more...and if there are they've been diluted by all of the newcomers. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but I think what used to be considered a great photo is now considered average because the "average" newcomer isn't as knowlegeable as the crop that was here before. Don't get me wrong, I'm not putting myself in the group of elite photographers, but I'm really hoping someone out there understands what I'm trying to say. Whatever, it's not that big of a deal. Again, it's just an observation. If you want to take offense, be my guest.
11/01/2006 12:52:02 PM · #18
The DPC voters have always taken a pretty narrow view of what a "good" photo is.

According to DPC:

A good photo is NOT a photojournalism photo (both skiprow and I have had stuff published in local papers and had it do badly in a challenge)

A good photo is NOT a high fashion photo

A good photo is NOT an architectural photo

A good photo is NOT a stock photo

A good photo is RARELY a surreal photo

A good photo is RARELY one with a kid in it

I agree with you that the voting has been swayed by the popularity of Heida and Joey. But the voting has always excluded vastly huge sections of photographic pursuit.

It does seem to vary as groups come and go - but the fact that they like overprocessed now - or are more used to it - is a fact in my mind. The more troublesome thing is how many photographers who are making money shooting great stuff in their field can't get above a 5.5 on this site.

So you're not the only one who's noticed - it's a look I kind of like myself and do a lot in my personal work all the time -

//www.democard.com/photo/courtney/

I try to realize that this is a learning site - including those learning to judge what constitutes a technically great photo. There are several members that regularly place with technically inferior images IMO - but the creative captures the voters and they ignore the rest.

I it an imperfect system - glad we're not playing for money. :-)

Message edited by author 2006-11-01 12:53:24.
11/01/2006 12:52:56 PM · #19
Originally posted by mpeters:

I've been around for only a year but thinking back to some of the first member challenges i remember, the dodge/burn, hyped up processing was very evident. Look at some of Heida's 21_F.gif heidaentries for example. I use the member challneges only because they allow this sort of thing. Then it seemed to go the other direction with more realism and natural processing, now processing is taking center stage.

Most if not all pics have some processing, and i find well done pictures on either end of the spectrum to be enjoyable. Trends like to come and go...

Speaking of Heida, 80+ challenges with a 6.59 avg!


I believe I already was speaking of Heida... =]
11/01/2006 12:53:23 PM · #20
I think that there is a lot of oversharpening, added saturation, lots of dodging and burning. I think that what has started this trend more than anything is that wow factor that seems so prevalent now in any of the entries. Apparently mine have no wow factor. They are mostly well composed and well exposed images. However, I have gotten many comments about the lack of wow. So people probably decided that one way to add wow was to do more processing than is necessary. It seems to be working. Not sure if it is a good thing. Voters do seem to be placing more emphasis on WOW which for me is upsetting because where I live there is no WOW.
11/01/2006 12:55:47 PM · #21
Heida keeps being brought up. The difference between Heida and the pictures I'm referring to now is that she was actually skilled at burning. Her pictures really never looked "cheesy." That's not what I'm seeing now and wouldn't compare the pictures that are winning to what Heida was doing.
11/01/2006 12:57:55 PM · #22
Originally posted by jaded_youth:

Originally posted by candlerain:

As I said in another post, I feel out-of-the-game here because my Photoshop skills are not very good. I thought this was a photography site... Not a photo editing one...


It's more about the end product. no matter how you get there. through the camera or post processing as long as its within the editing rules. If your photoshop skills arent very good in your opinion then no better time to learn. when i started here in april i didnt even know what the controls on my camera meant and certainly had NO idea what the heck photoshop was. you just have to apapt if winning is your motive. No offense by this at all. Hope it doesnt come off as rude. just my opinion.


I've been a professional photographer for over 16 years (portrait and journalist). And I've learned a LOT about Photo editing from this site. Also, I've learned a few things about photographing (and editing) subjects that I hadn't spent much time with before.

To the OP: I've been here on and off since '03. I don't see the quality of images going down here. I rather think it's more of an artistic movement. And I really do believe that a good little editing photo can score just as well as a good "over-processed" image here.

It is a photo site. But, a photo is not a photo til a viewer lays eyes on it. So, everything that is done from before shutter click to pp to jpeg compression levels is part of the photo-making routine. No photo is created at shutter click (not even with film).
11/01/2006 01:00:58 PM · #23
It's actually making me kind of ill and honestly has pushed me away from the site. Most of what I'm finding distasteful amounts to little more than playing with the sliders and no more than a poor mans version of digital art.

I'll start things off with Oversaturation. To the extent that beautiful natural landscapes and skylines look nothing like the original...not a good thing (IMO). Again playing with the color sliders to exaggerate or create Ooooh and Ahhhh colors is Photoshop 101. Amateurish IMO.

Oversharpening has also be taken to criminal levels IMO. Same goes for Noise reduction.

There was an image on the front page a while back that some commented in a PM "looked like it was dipped in vaseline"

This stuff would never fly out in the real world and the trend here is a little disturbing. I assume people see enough of it ribboning to follow suit.

Message edited by author 2006-11-01 13:09:46.
11/01/2006 01:02:00 PM · #24
I haven't been here that long - but I do agree that it seems like your photoshop skills are more important than your camera skills if you want to make it to the front page.

I do like that pictures "look good" - but part of that is, at least to me, that look like something you could actually see around you and not like something you can only do in post processing.

It is of course very subjective what you like or dislike when it comes to post processing and "picture enhancing" and once in a while I do give high ratings to what you would call "over processed" pictures.

For my own part I rarely do anything besides a little curve adjustments and maybe some hue/saturation in Raw converting and then some USM and levels afterwards - but then again: I'm also far away from getting a "front page picture" :-) (did finish 14 in my first challenge though)
11/01/2006 01:07:50 PM · #25
i'm a full time photo retoucher, going on my 13th year of photoshop use, and i very rarely do much more work on photos here other very basic adjustments and resizing. I'd like to see more 'straight out of the camera' challenges.

my best published photos have had very little work done to them.
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