Upload & Sell: On
Trying to articulate what I look for in a landscape. Other styles would be weighted differently especially in the image quality and composition areas. I would really like a critique of this.
The first thing is visual impact. What do I see at first glance? This could be the typical stuff, bright colors, a sunset, cloud formation crashing wave etc. But some images are subtle and have no immediate impact and must be viewed closer. Some subtle images are very good, but the first impact is still important for popular appeal. A wow image that does not pass closer inspection will at least get a first glance while a subtle one that is great up close may never get viewed up close. But if it is our job to judge, this does not matter because we must judge all images and get past this point.
Image quality. As soon as your attention has been drawn to the image, you ask these questions:
1. Is the color/saturation believable?
2. Is the exposure and tonal range believable?
3. Is it sharp and in focus?
4. Halos, gritty look, over sharpened?
5. Is the contrast good?
6. Does it seem to have a true black and true white?
7. Obvious cloning, dodging or burning.
8. Dust spots or other artifacts that should have been cleaned up.
9. Vignette that is not intentional. Ignore if intentional.
10. Subject motion. Ok for water, not much else.
11. Is it clean? It should look like it was taken through a clear glass window.
1. Do all the elements seem like they belong in the image?
2. Are all the elements pleasing or seem like they belong?
3. Is there some single element that is more important than the rest? If so, is it made to be prominent?
4. Are there elements that ought not to be in the image?
5. Could they be eliminated by viewing angle or cropping?
6. Does this look the way you might expect to view the scene in person?
7. Is the scene itself something worth looking at?
8. How soon would you tire of this if it were a print or a screensaver?
1. Is this a great image?
2. How does it stack up on a greatness range?
3. If it is being judged in a contest, where does it place with respect to the other images?
4. If not, how does it stack up relative to images you have seen?
1. Image quality is first because it flunks if poor.
2. Overall value moves to first if image quality is sufficient.
3. Impact is 3d in importance to me if not the general public.
4. Composition is last, but no doubt influences the overall value significantly.
Here is my thinking.
No matter how much impact an image has, if the image quality is poor, it is a poor image. Image quality does not matter for something of historical significance, but landscapes are usually not historically important. And one with poor image quality is of low value.
Overall value is a macro judgment, one that transcends all other items while being a composite of them at the same time. Being a combination of them all it is not easy to dissect. It comes from the heart not the mind and is not so easy to analyze. Yet an out of focus/soft landscape usually has low value unless it is a fog /misty type shot.
Composition is lower in my ranking. Viewing an image that has outstanding image quality in the areas I mentioned is a thrill all its own regardless of subject or composition, or impact. Like a fine piece of machinery.
A wow image with average image quality has less value to me than a subtle image with better image quality. In fact a subtle image really needs the image quality to shine because often itís the fine details that make it stand apart, like the fine texture and accurate color of an old tree for example.
Subject value and image quality are both more important to me than composition. Extraneous things will cause a lower judgment, but I donít need to be guided. My composition check list does not include stuff like leading lines and rule of thirds. If the scene is homogenous and interesting and looks like a place I might stop and look at in person, it is pretty close to meeting my composition rules.