Choosing your Best or Favourite photos?

The end of the year is a time for reflection. It’s a time I like to go through all my images from the past year and choose a few to represent my photography from the year. Here is the rub though, am I choosing my best photos or merely my favourites – and is that the same thing? I don’t think so. You can have a favourite photo that’s rubbish technically but means something very special to you or a technically amazing photo that you don’t like as much. I’m hoping by writing this blog post I’ll clear my mind as to which I’m doing this year and perhaps give you all something to think about while you reflect on your year.

Assuming the photo is basically correct (not hideously blown out or completely out of focus – unless I meant it that way) when I look at my photos I ask myself these questions:

  • Is the composition pleasing? Or could it be better? Is the light pleasing?

Are you making a statement with your composition or just playing it safe? Do it look balanced and feel right when you look at it? Does your eye want to take everything in?

  • Does the photo speak to me? How does it make me feel?

Everyone likes photos that make them feel something – anything, personally I like to feel happy rather than sad though ;)

  • Is there a story behind the photo? Is the memory of taking the photo clouding your judgement?

Did you set up a little scene with a funny back story? Is the story better than the finished photo? Is this one of those – “you just had to be there moments” where the photo doesn’t do it justice?

  • Was the photo challenging to take?

Did you have to trek 50miles for this photo? No one will know or care when they look at it but you. I’m guilty of this one. I often like photos of tiny things so small I couldnt see them in real life. Not sure that makes them good photos though!

  • Was this part of an experiment?

Playing with HDR or some other technique and really happy with how it turned out? Does it actually make it a good photo or just impressive to you because you know it was your first go at that technique?

  • Did I rise to a challenge?

Was this photo part of a themed challenge? Does it only make a great photo within that context or can it stand alone?

Well writing this post certainly cleared my mind as I’m am probably guilty of choosing all my photos for the wrong reasons. At the end of the day though it comes down to two questions?

1) Who is your audience? If you are only trying to please yourself you can do whatever you want! :) And everyone else it entitled to a different opinion.

and 2) Do your photos stand alone? Out of context (with no titles, back stories & explanations etc) when you see your photos do you think, wow, thats a great photo?

Now looking forward to the New Year and my blog post of best/fav 10 photos to follow shortly

Happy New Year everyone!

Wintery Updates

Ok, I’m usually a tropical sort of person but its winter holiday time again and wordpress has added a new feature to make it snow on your blog so until January the 4th this will be my little winter corner!

If you want to make your blog snow here’s the link…

http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2009/12/02/a-little-snow-for-the-holidays/

Dont worry I’ll bring back the sun in January when I come back from Cayman with some more tropical underwater photos! :)

In other news my pc has died (booo!) so I wont be able to update my facebook photography page until its fixed (both facebook and Redbubble are now banned at work)!

Geek chart – show where you share

So this morning I signed up for a geek chart :) Its a little graph that indicates what popular sites you use most. You dont need to give them your twitter password or anything like that. The just pick up the information from the usernames you give for popular sites like twitter, digg, your blog feed etc.

Scuba_suzy’s Geek Chart

UPDATE: for some reason wordpress strips out the embedded code to show the chart (maybe because its flash?) but you can still click the link above to see it.

A new feature on wordpress :)

OOooo how exciting! A new feature I’ve actually been wishing for on wordpress.com – post by email.

This post is my test run. You can find the details on how to do this with your wordpress.com here:

http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2009/05/12/post-by-email/

EDIT: I did have to come in and edit in wordpress after all because my default category is photography and this is not a photog post.

Blog Renovation?

Since I joined twitter I’ve been exposed to so many interesting links and articles from and about photography and ways a photographer can use social networking/blogging/twitter etc to an advantage. @photojack is a really good source for this type of information and through him and various others I have found a whole raft of new and wonderful photographer blogs to follow – I’ll blog about these later. The point of this post (which I’ll get around to eventually) is much of the information that’s been feeding into my brain has started me to question the roll of my blog and how I can make it better, more interesting and perhaps even more widely read?

This series of really useful and interesting posts from PixelatedImage blog on how/why/should photographers blog really hit home…

The Photographer and the Blog, Part 1 , Part 2, Part 3

I must admit, I do fall into the category of bloggers that have a difficulty with writing. I enjoy it, but it takes me a while. I like to read blogs which have lots of lovely interesting links (inspired by kultureflash updates). And being a photographer I feel bad if my blog post doesn’t have a photo in it (like today). So over the bank holiday (yay) weekend I will endeavor to come up with the list of things that will hopefully transform my blog into something more people will find interesting to read and come back to. If you have any ideas that you would like me to implement (more tutorials on underwater equipment I have? Or a random image a day or whatever) please leave me a comment below. They are moderated (for catching those pesky spammers) so they will show up when I see and approve them. Have a good weekend all!

Twitter – some thoughts

I’ve been on twitter now for about a week (less if you count that I didnt tweet much during the workdays) and I’ve discovered two surprising things.

Firstly its harder to tweet than you might think. At first I thought it was basically just as inane as a facebook status (so much so I hooked mine up to facebook so I wouldn’t have to status twice). However I now remember the reason I got bored of updating my facebook status in the first place. Its dull. No one cares if I’m eating chips with my breakfast or travelling to see my grandma. I’m not famous so this minutiae on my life interests anyone (apart from perhaps my grandma).

Before I’d learnt how to use the search facility (an unassuming link at the bottom of your twitter home page) I was limited to searching for people whose names I knew or whose blogs I’d happened to come across. Don’t get me wrong. I love to follow my friends and colleagues and the odd comedian but I feel the real benefit from twitter comes when you branch out and follow people who have the same interests as you. I am interested in photography as you know from my blog here ;) so I’ve now found a bunch of photographers to follow who post interesting info, links and so forth.

While I’m still very much a newbie (does anyone still you this word?) I am very much enjoying finding out new things about this fascinating social media every time I use it. And this is where google (as usual) is my friend, I have been wondering for a day or so what RT at the start of some posts meant. Then someone used the full word. Retweet. I found this really interesting article on retweeting as a result

Another interesting concept is hash-tagging. Like keywords in flickr and blogs it seems #tags are used as a sort of grouping mechanism. I’ve not really got my head full around it yet but it may be just as simple as tagging your post so that others may search on the keyword? Recent tags I’ve seen are #togs #CSS Sprites #photog #breakingnews and #Flickr

Something else I’ve noticed is the different rate at which people tweet. Some people tweet 6 times a minute and it feels like you have been blasted with a tweet gun. Some hardly post (I guess these would be lurkers) and some carry on a conversation with the people they follow and who follow them.
This is an interesting article I found about this: Conversational Symmetry and Twitter

I’m not yet sure which approach I prefer. I like to hold a conversation occasionally but I feel its rude if you ask someone a question and they do not reply. On the downside anyone viewing you profile only sees your posts and therefore only half the conversation which is no fun for anyone. If you tweet too much are you unnecessarily blocking up peoples twitter windows so nobody can get a word in edgeways? However if you merely lurk you aren’t going to be very exciting to follow. Personally I do not understand how you can follow thousands of people and expect to really follow them I have trouble keeping up with a few. Maybe its just a status things like having hundreds of ‘friends’ on facebook most of whom you dont really know and possibly wouldn’t even smile at in the street. Maybe I’ll get used to it.

One thing I love that I have discovered through twitter is posterous.com. How cool that you can auto blog via email! All those offices that block social media (like mine) will be scuppered by this one as email is now an indispensible business tool. I can now twitter at work (should I want to) just by sending an email thats one in the face of the IT services lol.
I now have pretty much everything hooked up. My posterous site feeds my twitter which feeds my facebook status and a updates box on my blog. I do love RSS feeds! :)

Feel free to follow me or just to take a look:

twitter: http://twitter.com/scuba_suzy

posterous: http://suzywalker.posterous.com/

and hot off the ‘press’, just as I was finishing typing in this post someone tweeted this article which looks very intersting too: http://www.interactiveinsightsgroup.com/blog1/ultimate-how-to-grow-your-social-media-network/