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Any criteria for a so-called professional photograph

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  • Any criteria for a so-called professional photograph

    I've seen many people try to make professional photos by using photoshop. But it seems they are making it unreal. To me professional photos are those which look natural. So any ideas about the criteria to assess a professional photo?

  • #2
    A professional photo is one that is well-composed, well-lit, pays attention to the subject matter and maybe has a certain ''quality'' lacking in the everyday run of the mill photo of the same view.

    A professional may use Photoshop in post-production, but more often to enhance rather than to ''fix.''

    A person doesn't have to be a professional photographer in order to take professional photos. It is an art like any other art that can be learned. But like art, if there is a natural talent, a natural eye, those photos will be heads and shoulders above the general population's attempts even if they practice.

    But even a professional photographer can have gaffe days. In today's digital world, without the expense of film, shooting multiple shots in a wide bracket to produce one good photo is becoming the norm. It's that one still shot taken at the precise exact moment when a well-composed, well-lit photo opportunity happens that separates pro from amateur pro. (Some luck is involved too. Right place, right time for instance.)

    There is no criteria to assess a photo as ''professional.''
    Depending on the end use of the photo, there are any number of criteria sets to be used.
    It's a skill to take product shots, food shots, dynamic head shots for actors, landscapes, vistas....etc. What works for one group isn't necessarily going to apply to another. As far as pro stock shots go, you can pretty much see the difference in quality, and the price. Compare shots on NatGeoCreative to any of the free stock sites. Some of the free stock sites will even have sponsor bars at the top where better quality images can be bought. You can see the differences in composition and lighting right there (pixabay is one of these. enter a subject to search.)

    Photo researching requires knowing what pro means in your clients' requirements. A good designer will apply what they know of composition to the photos they are looking at and evaluate whether or not they are professional enough to use. Of course, this depends on the skill of the designer and their understanding of good composition.
    Last edited by PrintDriver; 12-30-2017, 10:15 AM.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Beatcolor102 View Post
      I've seen many people try to make professional photos by using photoshop. But it seems they are making it unreal. To me professional photos are those which look natural. So any ideas about the criteria to assess a professional photo?
      PrintDriver has already said most of what I was thinking, but I'll comment anyway.

      Your definition of a professional photo isn't the definitive definition -- it's just yours. A good photo is one that's appropriate for the task at hand. If realism is needed, a realistic photo is probably appropriate. If an enhanced photo is needed, likewise, a heavily manipulated photo can work just fine. It all depends on the purpose the photo is being used for.

      That said, I too have noticed a whole lot of photos from semi-professional photographers (if there is such a thing) that are purported to be realistic, but that have been so heavily enhanced in Photoshop that they look unnatural. They might look great, but they're not realistic.

      We sometimes use a photographer who has a tendency to overwork his photos. He shoots them a raw format because that format provides more dynamic range data from which to enhance the details and pull out those things he wants to see in the photos. His photos end up look fantastic, but we've often had to tell him to scale back the enhancements. His reply has been that his enhancements are more true to what he saw and experienced when taking the photo than the original, non-enhanced photo. Our response is that we needed a realistic photo of a man riding a 4-wheeler and not one with the look of a heavenly being piloting a celestial chariot.

      I used to work at a newspaper. The rule there was no photo enhancements beyond basic toning. If a photographer came back from an assignment and the person in the photo had, say, a telephone pole appearing to stick out of the top of his head, we'd leave it just like it was. We could easily have made a better photo by removing the pole in Photoshop, but we wouldn't do it. Our reasoning was that the newspaper's reputation depended on accuracy, and that enhancing or changing the photo was a step in the direction of altering what was actually the case instead of reporting what was actually there at the moment.


      • #4
        Hi Beatcolor102 and welcome to GDF.

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