Can't trust what I see

Discussion in 'General' started by Rob MacKillop, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    How do you guys cope?

    I look at a scene and think, 'Hmm...might make a good shot' or similar. Then I look through the viewfinder and it looks a bit different. Then I take the shot. If it is on film I get it developed, and it looks different again. If it is digital, I upload it to my laptop, and it looks different again. Then I might play with it in Lightroom or similar, and change things. So it looks different again. Then I upload it to Flickr, and it looks slightly different. Then when I was in a big department store yesterday, I looked at my photos on a beautiful Apple screen, and they all looked different again!

    What did I see? And where has it gone? How can I control this better? I know - spend a few thousand quid! Sometimes the changes are interesting, though, so it is not always a negative thing, so to speak.
  2. Kev Pugh

    Kev Pugh Well-Known Member

    Ah Rob this is truly a difficult one.

    What I do is to consider if I like it, if I do then I've achieved what I set out to do, believe me when I get stuff processed either Film or Digital I find loads I don't care too much for. But there is always one I do and thats good enough for me.

    The bonus is if someone else likes it, but then they may like it for different reasons to I said a truly difficult one to answer..

    Go with your gut and your feelings, as for the different look on different setups that's always going to be the case as we all have slightly different preferences.

    In time you will come to appreciate your shots more and develop an understanding of what it is you are trying to achieve, be critical with your self but not overly, it took me ages to post stuff as I always thought it wasn't as good as everyone elses, now I believe in me and like what I do.,

    hope that helps a little
  3. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    ... jesus Rob ... talk about can of worms ;)

    I think that you could do with breaking this down in to a couple distinct areas

    Framing, composition etc
    Understanding how to capture an element of what you see into an aesthetically appealing photo


    image handling
    controlling the process of camera to print

    the second can be tackled with technology!

    You will never be able to get your photos to look the same on all screens so managing your own screen and own workflow is the best way to maintain some sort of semblance of sanity
    there are such things as screen calibrators and photo screens

    I have a color munki display calibrator and an eizo display
    the calibrator creates a profile for the computer which tells the display how to produce colours accurately (loosely speaking)
    this gives you the confidence that at very least you have got your images "right" or at least how you want them

    a screen cal can be had for £100ish
    A good monitor ... well, most sttand alone displays are good enough to give you a good idea and will calibrate ... a good screen probably starts around £400...

    as for the first part ...
    seeing good composition in things before looking through the VF is a life long learning curve ... I really dont know what else to say on that :)

    Have i understood what you were getting at?
  4. Thomas brookes

    Thomas brookes RPF Chief iPhone app Reviewer

    I agree rob. My approach is to not to expect to much. In the short time I have been doing it I often find that what looks like a brilliant shot in my eye often does not reflect in the image...... I simply forget it and move on with an "oh well" attitude. I feel as my knowledge gets better in all aspects of photography I will be able to use techniques to portray the shot better in terms of settings, lens choice ect.

    When I first started out I had no idea That my final image would be hugely effected by what screen I post processed it on. My laptop screen is aweful and desperately needs calibrating as it has a blue tinge to it. I would post on here and look at the images on my iphone screen and they would be completely different to what I thaught I had achieved. I now run my laptop through a small hd tv screen to get a better idea of what I'm doing in lightroom. This is still a means to an end really but I don't have money to throw at super duper screens and calibration gismos at the moment.

    Not sure this has helped..... Just sounds like me moaning really!!!! Haha
  5. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    OK, sounds like there are a few tweaks one can do here and there, but mainly I just have to accept that no one can control it all. That's the gig, as we musos say.

    It doesn't worry me too much that out of, say, 36 shots, only three or four might be 'decent'. The fun is in the doing - walking around, 'seeing' the environment. The end result might well, and will, turn out to be a different thing, but that's just the way it is.

    I'll try to get used to it!
  6. Davie Hudson

    Davie Hudson Well-Known Member

    that's a good attitude, I can go out and take 300-400 photo's in a day and if I get 4 ones that pass my quality control then i've had a good day
  7. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Hmm..I'm probably also wondering why we obsess (some do) about very minor details of light and shade, when the output looks different on almost everyone's screen. Something I need to keep in mind.

    I recall a conversation with a studio recording engineer. I'd just recorded a solo track using a 10 thousand pound microphone. Through the big studio speakers it sounded amazing. But then he let me hear it on a truly crap pair of speakers, and said, "That's how most people will hear it"! That threw me a bit...
  8. Thomas brookes

    Thomas brookes RPF Chief iPhone app Reviewer

    And imagine if everyone took 36 shots and each one was brilliant. The emotion transferred when viewing a photograph would just dilute until "that brilliant shot" became just another to delete.

    I have always likened it to my fishing days. Many many... Almost to many times I would come home empty handed and disappointed and down but then that one time I would catch something and all those empty handed days become insignificant.

    If I come back with 4 or 5 decent shots out of 50 I'm a happy boy.

    I think the great thing is your attitude to wanting an original take on things, your way, the way you have seen that "could be" image. Far to many people these days ask "how do I make my shot look like this image/ style" rather than "I want my image to be what I see".

    Gone fishin
  9. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent


    I'm just about to head off to Waverley train station to finish a roll of film before going digital tomorrow!
  10. Davie Hudson

    Davie Hudson Well-Known Member

    I meant to say Rob, if you fancy a night out on the 17th gimme a shout and i'll put you on the guest list for my Rhythm 'n' Blues night :)
  11. Thomas brookes

    Thomas brookes RPF Chief iPhone app Reviewer

    Ahh Davie! I wouldnt mind that.... Bit to far for me mind. I play blues harp you see
  12. Davie Hudson

    Davie Hudson Well-Known Member

    Excellent !! I suppose like all dj's i'm a frustrated musician ,though i used to play the trumpet in school for an instrumental band :)

    to get back onto photography i've always thought of taking photo's at the night being as we have a very interesting crowd made up of Mods and Rockabillies in full 1950's dress but usually i'm too busy :D
  13. adrian jordin

    adrian jordin Member

    I think everyone has some places they keep going back to trying to capture the real feel of the place and never quite managing it.
    Thats part of the fun, going back and trying different approaches, till you get something that recalls everything you saw or felt when you first saw it.
  14. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    not me ... or a few others here ... but thats a different hobby altogether

  15. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    Ive been struggling with those hand rails i posted today for ages ... I didnt think i had got the shot this time either until i looked at it again 4/5 days after first looking at it ...
    all this stuff gets tangled up with the way the human brain can and does tangle things up ... ...
  16. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Sounds good, but I'm busy. Darn. Some other time. I have always loved blues, but get little chance to play it. Once a bonny lass came to visit, and we ran through a few pieces, but never got as far as gigging. I did, though, video the rehearsal, and some of it is quite good. Keep in mind it was just a run-through of stuff: Vikki and Rob – Blues Duo « Rob MacKillop ~ banjos, guitars, lutes and more

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