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03/22/2009 02:05:30 PM · #1
I've been meaning to write this for a while.

During my time on dpchallenge I have seen many discussions, statements & arguments in regards to some of the following topics. In some cases I have seen good photographers leave this site out of disagreement and/or frustration. I certainly don't expect things to change as a whole, but if I can put a few things into perspective, hopefully it will affect some people in a positive manner.

Here we go...

01. You will not always agree with the results of a challenge

Why? Voting is made up of hundreds of votes from different people. The voters come from all walks of life; nationality, race, sex, age, experience and taste are all factors that influence votes. The photos that score best will be ones that appeal to the broadest audience. So while you may feel strongly that a photograph should have scored higher, or vice versa, understand that this is how the voting system works.

What can you do if there is a photograph you really like, but didn't score very well? You can:

a) Leave a comment on the photograph telling the person how much you liked it
b) Add their photograph as a favourite
c) Send them a PM
d) Nominate them for a Posthumous Award

02. It is very difficult to win a ribbon

How difficult? To date, there have been 1000 challenges, 204,979 entries and 3000 ribbons given out (not including disqualified entries). Statistically speaking, you have 1.4636% chance of winning a ribbon with each entry. That means for every 68 photos that are entered, only 1 will win a ribbon. Don't get down on yourself if one hasn't come your way.

And don't forget...

03. It's not all about ribbons.

If you are on DPC for the sole purpose of winning ribbons, then I must say you are probably misguided. Some of the best photographers on this site have few, or little ribbons.

There are many other reasons you should participate on this site, other than trying to win a ribbon. They include:

a) Having a reason to go out and take photographs
b) Getting feedback on your photographs
c) Learning new photographic and editing techniques
d) Making new friends
e) Exposure; Letting the world see your photographs. I don't know of any other site that you can upload a photo of any quality and be guaranteed that hundreds of people will see it (during voting)
f) Seeing the work of other photographers
g) Getting new ideas

There are also other ways to have your work recognized.

Posthumous Awards
Member of the Week
OOBIE and YAPPIE awards

04. The quality of a photograph and how well it fits the challenge can be two different topics

Other than aesthetics, the final score of your photograph depends on how well it fits the challenge. I often see people who have a beautiful photograph, but it does not fit the challenge well. They get upset because they think the score is a representation of their photographic skills. If you showed your photograph to someone outside of this website, and asked them to guess what the topic was, would they be able to guess it correctly? If not, then your idea might not be a good fit for the challenge.

05. The first 50 votes

The first few votes of any challenge are fun to watch in the forums because people practically have heart attacks about how much their score changes from vote to vote. Don't take your score to heart for the first 50 votes. With such a small sample of votes, the early going can be a rollercoaster ride. People often complain about how much their score has dropped, and while some of it might be in good humour, other times, people get genuinely upset. If you really need to save yourself the heart ache, you can:

a) Not look at your score for the first day
b) Turn off "my scores" in your preferences.

06. Understanding scoring

I think it's fair to say that many people don't understand how votes relate to the final score. Statistically speaking, 5.5000 is the average vote using a voting scale of 1 - 10. So while a 6.0000 score doesn't seem far off, consider this: In order to score a 6.000, not only do you need to have, at minimum, more 6's than any other vote, but your 7 & 8 & 9 & 10 votes have to outweigh your 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 votes. In simpler terms, a good photo won't score a 6. Only great photos that can garnish lots of higher votes stand the chance of breaking past the 6.0000 barrier. During any of the weekly challenges, typically only 15-20% of the final scores are above 6.0000.

A final score of 6.0000 or higher is a common goal for many people on this site. A more reasonable goal would be to try to beat your overall average with each challenge entry.

07. It is difficult to look at your own photographs objectively

You think of an idea. You execute it. You chose the best shot in the series. You edit it to your taste and style. You essentially give birth to your photograph. It is therefore very difficult to step back and look at your photo from a strictly objective point of view. This is why people get easily upset or offended when their photos don't do so well in voting, or when someone leaves a comment they don't agree with.

I sometimes find that it is helpful to have a few people look at my photos before a challenge because they can give you that insight that you might not be able to see because of your attachment. They get to see your photo in the same context as a voter; from a neutral perspective.

08. Everyone is misinterpreting my photograph, and therefore they are voting wrong

It is your job to communicate your message to the viewer through your photograph, and to a lesser extent, through your title. If the viewers are unable to figure out your message, it is you who have failed. Not all photographs need to have a message; they can be open for interpretation. But if there is a particular message you are trying to communicate, your photograph is the medium in which you communicate.

09. Participation will positively affect your photographs

This is an important point. The more involved you are with this website, the better off you will be. Joining a side challenge will push you to take more photos, and will make you try different editing techniques. You will also get valuable feedback.

Joining a side tournament, such as the DPC Olympics, The Better Than Average side tournament or Head-to-head to-the-death knockout-a-thon, will make you want to compete, and I can almost guarantee you will have better photographs. To date, all 3 4 of my ribboning images were taken either for/during a side challenge. My average during side challenges is 0.25 pts higher than normal. (Not that average is the end all factor for determining the quality of a photograph - see #3)

The more comments you make on other people's images and the more you participate in he forums, the more likely people will look at your profile, and subsequently add you as a favourite photographer or add one of your photos as a favourite.

Also, if someone has taken the time to leave a comment on your photograph, please consider marking it as helpful. I know some people, myself included, are deterred from leaving a comment on an image after a challenge if we see that the photographer does not mark ANY of their comments as helpful.

10. The trolls are out giving low votes!

There are many different ways I could tackle this topic, but most end with a mob carrying pitchforks and torches knocking at my door, so I'll keep this simple:

As long as there is a "1" button, people will be giving out 1's. Many people get their undies in a knot complaining about how many low votes they got, when in most cases, the 1, 2 & 3 votes are proportionately minimal compared to the rest of their votes. Everybody gets them, so why make a big deal about it? The people giving out "1's" are probably the same people who give out 10's, and I don't hear ANYBODY complaining about getting those.

*Disclaimer - My typical voting range is from 4 to 8. To the best of my knowledge I have never given out a 1 vote, so please keep me out of your witch hunt :) *

------------------------------------------

All in all, donít take things too seriously. If you disagree with someone regarding a comment, or point of view they might have, there is no point in getting upset. State your case, and if things donít resolve themselves, move on.

Donít sweat the small stuff and itís ALL small stuff.

I have written this with the best of intentions. I hope you have found this informative.

Open for discussion :)

Edited: Changed Subjectively to Objectively, Changed the wording for #4, fixed my math

Message edited by author 2009-08-28 06:45:06.
03/22/2009 02:10:09 PM · #2
Well said!!!!!!!!!!!
03/22/2009 02:25:12 PM · #3
Bravo!
03/22/2009 02:25:44 PM · #4
Spot on!
03/22/2009 02:25:57 PM · #5
Hear Hear!!! Extremely well penned and presented.

I've garnered the majority of my learning about photography from this site and its people. This site is what YOU make of it. If you go in with a positive attitude and don't take criticism too personally, then you will do well and your photography will improve (and you'll probably make some very good friends - I know I have). If you go into it looking for glory and ribbons, then you're probably going to be offended and disappointed.

Thanks ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' jeger for making these points so succinctly and simply.

Message edited by author 2009-03-22 14:26:15.
03/22/2009 02:30:33 PM · #6
Very well put. Can we get this required reading for all noobs, before they enter a challenge?
03/22/2009 03:05:20 PM · #7
Originally posted by jeger:

Open for discussion :)

And you were doing so well until you got here ... ;-)
03/22/2009 03:21:28 PM · #8
Good stuff but #1 should read you will never agree with the results of a cahllenge unless you get the blue ribbon!
03/22/2009 03:22:55 PM · #9
you KNOW that's not true...

Originally posted by PapaBob:

Good stuff but #1 should read you will never agree with the results of a cahllenge unless you get the blue ribbon!


Message edited by author 2009-03-22 15:23:04.
03/22/2009 03:28:53 PM · #10
All very good stuff but I really don't find this one to be correct;

04. The quality of a photograph and how well it fits the challenge are two completely different things

I have seen many wonderful photos that fit the challenge extremely well yet through some minor technical issue are judged very harshly, where as some of the images that get high votes or even win challenges are technical marvels that only fit the challenge in a general sense. I really think the technical perfection has overridden some of the focus on the content of the photos. just my opinion of course.
03/22/2009 03:43:46 PM · #11
Originally posted by jhomrighaus:

I really think the technical perfection has overridden some of the focus on the content of the photos. just my opinion of course.


I definitely agree with your statement, as technicals and editing have become a major component of challenges. I have seen photos that, in my opinion, loosely fit a challenge do well because of these aspects.
03/22/2009 03:48:53 PM · #12
I give out 1 votes, I honestly encounter pictures that I think are absolutely horrible or just so poorly executed I wouldn't know where to begin. I think honesty is important, and helps people grow, even if its brutal.
03/22/2009 04:22:17 PM · #13
Originally posted by Adromeda:

I give out 1 votes, I honestly encounter pictures that I think are absolutely horrible or just so poorly executed I wouldn't know where to begin. I think honesty is important, and helps people grow, even if its brutal.

The only fly in this ointment is that although in premise it's true, there are an awful lot of fragile, easily bruised egos amongst artists in particular, and they DON'T usually want brutal honesty.

That's something that you can handle only once you have acceptance, and comfortability, in your craft.
03/22/2009 04:23:58 PM · #14
Originally posted by jeger:

There are many other reasons you should participate on this site, other than trying to win a ribbon. They include:

a) Having a reason to go out and take photographs
b) Getting feedback on your photographs
c) Learning new photographic and editing techniques
d) Making new friends
e) Exposure; Letting the world see your photographs. I don't know of any other site that you can upload a photo of any quality and be guaranteed that hundreds of people will see it (during voting)
f) Seeing the work of other photographers
g) Getting new ideas

There are also other ways to have your work recognized.

Posthumous Awards
Member of the Week
OOBIE and YAPPIE awards

This is the real draw of DP Challenge for me.

Friends, help, and activities.
03/22/2009 04:57:45 PM · #15
Well, I can tell you my DPC story. I joined here in May of 2008 when I decided to buy a DSLR and take up photography. I joined this site because I liked the idea of different structured tasks each week because it keeps you shooting. The idea for me was to learn how to use the camera and how to do different effects. I have learned allot over the past year too, especially thanks to this site. Some of my photos, have done terrible in challenges, but that is part of the growing process. I have yet to earn a ribbon, or even be close, in fact my best finish is 5.66 and 22nd... and you what? I'm fine with that. My photography is like midget porn, its not for everyone...LOL...

I have entered 11 challenges and out of all the negative comments I have had, I have only had 1 or 2 where I thought the person was being rude. I actually think the comments that are negative are the ones I should pay attention to most, especially if they are in agreement. I also make a point to mark all the comments as helpful. Anyway, I think allot of people take themselves way too seriously on here and some have to grow some thicker skin.

Lastly, I have yet to take a photo where I was like, "Man the voters are going to love this." I have never, nor will I ever, shoot "For the Voters." I shoot what I like, because that's what I enjoy. I may never win a ribbon, but that's cool because I don't need a ribbon to get satisfaction out of this site. The competition, the voters, the b!tchers, and even that Freakin UPDATE button that I press every other minute, are what makes this site fun. Someone else said this site is what you make of it, that is spot on. Just my 2 cents

Message edited by author 2009-03-22 17:00:45.
03/22/2009 06:33:13 PM · #16
Originally posted by Sirashley:

Well, I can tell you my DPC story. I joined here in May of 2008 when I decided to buy a DSLR and take up photography. I joined this site because I liked the idea of different structured tasks each week because it keeps you shooting. The idea for me was to learn how to use the camera and how to do different effects. I have learned allot over the past year too, especially thanks to this site. Some of my photos, have done terrible in challenges, but that is part of the growing process. I have yet to earn a ribbon, or even be close, in fact my best finish is 5.66 and 22nd... and you what? I'm fine with that. My photography is like midget porn, its not for everyone...LOL...

I have entered 11 challenges and out of all the negative comments I have had, I have only had 1 or 2 where I thought the person was being rude. I actually think the comments that are negative are the ones I should pay attention to most, especially if they are in agreement. I also make a point to mark all the comments as helpful. Anyway, I think allot of people take themselves way too seriously on here and some have to grow some thicker skin.

Lastly, I have yet to take a photo where I was like, "Man the voters are going to love this." I have never, nor will I ever, shoot "For the Voters." I shoot what I like, because that's what I enjoy. I may never win a ribbon, but that's cool because I don't need a ribbon to get satisfaction out of this site. The competition, the voters, the b!tchers, and even that Freakin UPDATE button that I press every other minute, are what makes this site fun. Someone else said this site is what you make of it, that is spot on. Just my 2 cents


Finally! A grownup! :)

Good stuff here, and I agree with it all.

Midget porn?? They have that stuff? LOL!

ETA: I totally agree with ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' jeger's original post here. It's brilliant! I didn't read all of this thread, lest you think I'm calling everyone else a child. I'm not. I just like how mature this post is. :) Get what you can from the site and ignore the others stuff. :)

Message edited by author 2009-03-22 18:37:17.
03/22/2009 07:26:01 PM · #17
Altogether a lovely post, well thoguht-out, but....

Originally posted by jeger:

07. It is difficult to look at your own photographs subjectively

You think of an idea. You execute it. You chose the best shot in the series. You edit it to your taste and style. You essentially give birth to your photograph. It is therefore very difficult to step back and look at your photo from a strictly subjective point of view. This is why people get easily upset or offended when their photos don't do so well in voting, or when someone leaves a comment they don't agree with.

I sometimes find that it is helpful to have a few people look at my photos before a challenge because they can give you that insight that you might not be able to see because of your attachment. They get to see your photo in the same context as a voter; from a neutral perspective.


Are you sure you don't mean "objectively"? The problem is we are fairly objective when viewing others' images but entirely subjective when viewing our own...

R.
03/22/2009 07:38:28 PM · #18
Originally posted by soup:

you KNOW that's not true...

Originally posted by PapaBob:

Good stuff but #1 should read you will never agree with the results of a cahllenge unless you get the blue ribbon!


I look at two of the shots of mine that won ribbons, and I am still shocked and surprised. . . . . I really don't think my blue, especially, was all that great
03/22/2009 07:39:50 PM · #19
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Altogether a lovely post, well thoguht-out, but....

Originally posted by jeger:

07. It is difficult to look at your own photographs subjectively

You think of an idea. You execute it. You chose the best shot in the series. You edit it to your taste and style. You essentially give birth to your photograph. It is therefore very difficult to step back and look at your photo from a strictly subjective point of view. This is why people get easily upset or offended when their photos don't do so well in voting, or when someone leaves a comment they don't agree with.

I sometimes find that it is helpful to have a few people look at my photos before a challenge because they can give you that insight that you might not be able to see because of your attachment. They get to see your photo in the same context as a voter; from a neutral perspective.


Are you sure you don't mean "objectively"? The problem is we are fairly objective when viewing others' images but entirely subjective when viewing our own...

R.


A quick check of the dictionary says you are right Bear.

Thanks!
03/22/2009 07:45:27 PM · #20
Very enjoyable.

Also good to see that DPCers will keep you on your toes and correct you where needed! :)

I also agree that the wording of #4 should be changed to read: The quality of images and how well they fit the challenge aren't necessarily synonymous.
03/22/2009 07:47:51 PM · #21
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Originally posted by Adromeda:

I give out 1 votes, I honestly encounter pictures that I think are absolutely horrible or just so poorly executed I wouldn't know where to begin. I think honesty is important, and helps people grow, even if its brutal.

The only fly in this ointment is that although in premise it's true, there are an awful lot of fragile, easily bruised egos amongst artists in particular, and they DON'T usually want brutal honesty.

That's something that you can handle only once you have acceptance, and comfortability, in your craft.


I often wonder why people who do not want or like "brutal honesty" would participate in such a public forum... there are a lot of other much less competitive sites that could serve as more gentle introductions into the world of photography for those with tender egos... I personally would prefer it if there was a much higher dose of "brutal" critique here! brutal honesty is almost always a better and more realistic educator than bubbly praise!
03/22/2009 08:09:33 PM · #22
Originally posted by karmat:

I really don't think my blue, especially, was all that great

Yeah, RIGHT!!!!

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/509/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_347486.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/509/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_347486.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Great pic, hilarious title......it makes me chuckle every time I see it!
03/22/2009 08:13:45 PM · #23
Originally posted by Adromeda:

I give out 1 votes, I honestly encounter pictures that I think are absolutely horrible or just so poorly executed I wouldn't know where to begin. I think honesty is important, and helps people grow, even if its brutal.

Originally posted by NikonJeb:

The only fly in this ointment is that although in premise it's true, there are an awful lot of fragile, easily bruised egos amongst artists in particular, and they DON'T usually want brutal honesty.

That's something that you can handle only once you have acceptance, and comfortability, in your craft.


Originally posted by xakpeet:

I often wonder why people who do not want or like "brutal honesty" would participate in such a public forum... there are a lot of other much less competitive sites that could serve as more gentle introductions into the world of photography for those with tender egos... I personally would prefer it if there was a much higher dose of "brutal" critique here! brutal honesty is almost always a better and more realistic educator than bubbly praise!

Yes, maybe so, but where are they? How do you find them?

I don't know of any, really, and I, as well as many, probably most people here, found DPC first.
03/22/2009 08:21:10 PM · #24
It depends on if that "brutal honesty" is constructive in anyway. Telling someone they suck (not suggesting that you do, but just giving an example) certainly won't help anyone grow. I think it is important to be honest, but at the same time realize that a constant barrage at someone's self-worth won't help them at all. It really doesn't have much to do with someone's fragile ego. We should be helping people *as well as* encouraging people.
03/22/2009 09:20:39 PM · #25
Originally posted by mshimer5:

It depends on if that "brutal honesty" is constructive in anyway. Telling someone they suck (not suggesting that you do, but just giving an example) certainly won't help anyone grow. I think it is important to be honest, but at the same time realize that a constant barrage at someone's self-worth won't help them at all. It really doesn't have much to do with someone's fragile ego. We should be helping people *as well as* encouraging people.


I can only speak for myself - but if I receive a comment that says "you Suck" or "this picture Sucks"... I will spend much more time trying to evaluate the statement (try to find what they are seeing that sucks) than I will ever spend trying to analyze a comment that says "nice shot". I do agree that "brutal" critique is more constructive if it is a specific review of the photo rather than a general statement...
maybe I just don't get offended as easily as some...which probably should be considered.
It's just that so many people do not leave the comments that point out areas where the photo could be improved, for fear of offending someone...

...and other, less competitive photo sites that I can think of...
worth1000 (photoshop geniuses there, but the photography section is a good learning area)
zoetrope: a good place to recieve general critique for a beginner
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