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Subject: Bad pictures/Editing required? rss

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Kristian Pesti
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Heya!

I've only submitted few game photos before and decided to do so again. One got approved, one is still pending and three got declined.

It might have been perfectly fine to decline them, but I just want to learn. Are the reasons for declining these pictures perfectly fine or should I just try harder?


-Blurry and underexposed


-Underexposed


-Underexposed

Thanks for your feedback!

(If you detect a bitter tone, well...I'm slightly bitter seeing what else gets approved but on the other hand I'd rather take this as an learning experience because I'm really new to photography!)
 
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Virre Linwendil Annergård
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Best way to learn is to use geekmod yourself,

also yes thoose photos will have a low probability of going through as the lighting is to low for what most people want (the lighting might be a creative element but in that case categorise correctly etc)

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Your photos are very underexposed. They are dark, which hides a lot of details.

Your best bet is either to brighten them up in a photo editor, or (better yet) shoot with some more lights, such as floor lamps pointed at the ceiling. That will help to show more detail and make the photos more pleasing.

The first one isn't blurry, but you have a very narrow depth of field which left the meeple out-of-focus. The focus is clearly on the stones. Regardless, the out-of-focus meeple is distracting (but that's not an excuse for rejecting it).
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First: disconnect photography feedback from the geekmod approval process. Theses are two entirely distinct concepts.

Geekmodding is done by anyone. There are far more photography morons geekmodding than not here. They see shallow depth of field as "blurry". They don't understand what makes a good image, and are really looking for a snapshot and not a photograph. It's also a voting system, so even if a single clueful user does do some geekmodding, it's not terribly useful since most people don't have a clue what they are looking at.

You can host your images on external sites and link them here and get feedback, without ever having them be approved. Post them in Flickr and link to them here:


Soontir Fel TIE Interceptor Miniature by mbax, on Flickr

Flickr generates the code to do that with 1 click.

If you host them elsewhere, you can get feedback on the photography much easier, and not have to worry about the approval part.
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You got some good comments here and further to that, I would recommend some white balancing as well.
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Guido Gloor
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An easy way to have brighter pictures is called "exposure compensation". Here's a video about how to use it for your camera:



Dial in +1 stop or so, and you'll have the bright pictures that GeekMod so craves without much of a fuss, and experiment with it at your leisure No need for additional lights or flash.

The focus in the first picture is fine, it's the composition that seems to have gotten people to reject it as "blurry" - the composition made me expect an in-focus meeple from the thumbnail, the stones don't seem to be the focus of the composition (but the focus of the sharpness), so the two elements appear to contradict each other.
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haslo wrote:
An easy way to have brighter pictures is called "exposure compensation".

(snip)

Dial in +1 stop or so, and you'll have the bright pictures that GeekMod so craves without much of a fuss, and experiment with it at your leisure No need for additional lights or flash.


Exposure compensation usually slows the shutter speed and/or opens up the aperture. If the OP does this in the same dim light that he's been using so far, the results will be blurry (due to shake) and have even narrower (unintentionally) depth of field. They may also be more grainy if the ISO gets pushed too high.

There's no substitute for more light.

As a side note, standard indoor lighting is way dimmer than you expect. You really need a lot of light to make most cameras happy.
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Diffler wrote:
I'm slightly bitter seeing what else gets approved but on the other hand I'd rather take this as an learning experience because I'm really new to photography!

I'm a photo hobbyist as well and if you check my stats, you'll see that I've yet to submit a pic on BGG. I've paid some attention to threads such as this, and am convinced that more voters than not are either ignorant about quality photography, or they are simply voting quickly (and nearly randomly) in an effort to do what they need to do to earn what they seek.

I like your shallow depth of field in picture 3. The fact that the wine glass is out of focus is what makes the picture. It's also probably what got it declined. Such a large element of a photo, out of focus, is beyond too many users' ability to comprehend, here.

There are two completely different and almost unrelated matters. If the question is "How do I get pictures approved at BGG?", then forget much of what you see in photography books. If your question is "How do I take better photos?", then forget much of what you see and hear at BGG.
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Andreas Krüger
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1/13 s, f/8, ISO 1600. It was definitely very dark.

The camera switched to the most sensitive sensor mode. This adds noise to the image and can give a grainy look, but I think this is not so much a problem for most observers. But the camera can not go much higher with the sensitivity, maybe 1600 is even the maximum allowed.

The exposure time of 1/13 s is too long for most people to stabilize the camera in hand. Your images do not look like camera shake, so no problem either. But again, the camera cannot do much more.

f/8 is a standard aperture. The camera could change the value to get more light in, but this would make the depth of field more shallow.

I actually like the warm mood in the third image. With the glass in the background, it makes me thirsty for a glass on wine. This warm mood is also partly due to the white balance. The light is a bit too red which is pleasant but, of course, kind of an error. I gues most geekmodders have no idea that white balance even exists, so this is probably not the reason for declining them.
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Andreas Krüger
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Willward wrote:
I like your shallow depth of field in picture 3. The fact that the wine glass is out of focus is what makes the picture. It's also probably what got it declined. Such a large element of a photo, out of focus, is beyond too many users' ability to comprehend, here.


Don't be too pessimistic. The decline reason given was "underexposed", and the exposure is indeed borderline. Also, a lot of artistic images get through. Just follow the monthly photo competition.
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Thamos von Nostria wrote:
Willward wrote:
I like your shallow depth of field in picture 3. The fact that the wine glass is out of focus is what makes the picture. It's also probably what got it declined. Such a large element of a photo, out of focus, is beyond too many users' ability to comprehend, here.


Don't be too pessimistic. The decline reason given was "underexposed", and the exposure is indeed borderline. Also, a lot of artistic images get through. Just follow the monthly photo competition.


Wasn't trying to be pessimistic. I thought my comments were more realistic than not, actually. If the photo had included cleavage behind the wine glass it would have had an order of magnitude better chance of being accepted, even if more underexposed, with less depth of field, one-quarter the resolution, and significant blur due to camera shake.

It's a know your audience thing.
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Willward wrote:
I like your shallow depth of field in picture 3. The fact that the wine glass is out of focus is what makes the picture. It's also probably what got it declined. Such a large element of a photo, out of focus, is beyond too many users' ability to comprehend, here.


I would hazard a guess that the main motif being a wine glass is a bigger obstacle than a creative picture of a game with any accessories (gaming-related or otherwise). (Posting creative pictures to game category is a 'certain' reason to reject. And such pictures still pass moderation more often than not, and then cause gallery change proposals and further need for moderation.)

You can't actually appreciate the work put into picture moderation until you have done it for a while.

(Disclaimer: I'll go now and read the thread.. So excuse me for jumping the gun here :-)

Edit: Yes, the pictures look underexposed. When you take creative pictures, if you think people don't 'get them', give geekmod comments when you submit them. Tell why a picture should be accepted, why it isn't anything like existing ones. And get the category correct!

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dcclark wrote:
haslo wrote:
An easy way to have brighter pictures is called "exposure compensation".

(snip)

Dial in +1 stop or so, and you'll have the bright pictures that GeekMod so craves without much of a fuss, and experiment with it at your leisure No need for additional lights or flash.


Exposure compensation usually slows the shutter speed and/or opens up the aperture. If the OP does this in the same dim light that he's been using so far, the results will be blurry (due to shake) and have even narrower (unintentionally) depth of field. They may also be more grainy if the ISO gets pushed too high.

There's no substitute for more light.

As a side note, standard indoor lighting is way dimmer than you expect. You really need a lot of light to make most cameras happy.


Use it in combination with an increased ISO and it can be ok. On a DSLR you have much more resolution than required for web imagery. A bit of even bad noise is not a big deal when down-sampled to 1200 on the long side.

Or cheat physics all together with a full frame DSLR.
 
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dcclark wrote:
Exposure compensation usually slows the shutter speed and/or opens up the aperture. If the OP does this in the same dim light that he's been using so far, the results will be blurry (due to shake) and have even narrower (unintentionally) depth of field. They may also be more grainy if the ISO gets pushed too high.

There's no substitute for more light.

Well, there is the whole "use a tripod" thing I regularly do for my more posed shots. If you use a tripod, definitely go to the lowest possible non-extended ISO for best picture quality, and maybe use the self-timer for reducing shake from pushing the shutter button.

The issue with "more light" is that it's also "light from different directions", and might very well also be "more direct light with harsher shadows". I'm a big fan of natural light and particularly in the third shot, the overexposed door frame in the background with the slight (but not too prevalent) glare is what makes the shot what it is. More light would have made for a completely different image. That's why I suggested exposure compensation. At the sizes images are generally looked at on BGG, it's no problem to go to ISO 3200 or maybe even beyond.

That being said, there's not much reason to post a 18 gigamegapixel image on BGG. I downscale mine to the longer side at 2048, which makes for a 2-4 gigamegapixel image. Full HD monitors have two-ish gigamegapixels if you show the image full screen. Pixel peeping beyond that point isn't really necessary, and giving GeekMods the opportunity to pixel peep too much might be bad for getting your images through.

Thamos von Nostria wrote:
Willward wrote:
I like your shallow depth of field in picture 3. The fact that the wine glass is out of focus is what makes the picture. It's also probably what got it declined. Such a large element of a photo, out of focus, is beyond too many users' ability to comprehend, here.

Don't be too pessimistic. The decline reason given was "underexposed", and the exposure is indeed borderline. Also, a lot of artistic images get through. Just follow the monthly photo competition.

I agree, but I find that more artistic images with shallow DOF or special lenses or objects that aren't strictly components of the game itself always take longer to get through GeekMod.
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Andreas Krüger
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Willward wrote:


It's a know your audience thing.


Browse images, order by hot, gallery people.

Page 1: Of the 15 top people images, 4 show cleavage.
Page 2: 1 cleavage image, and Puerto Rico Pat.

You can find that too much, but it is possible to get a photo into the top ranks without cleavage.

BGG is not a photography site, so the artistic value may be underappreciated. The geeks care about games, and a small blurry image of the latest hot game will get more thumbs than an artistic shot of a niche game. And there are also a lot of people who like photography. The monthly competition is really a good opportunity to show off good photos and get some attention to them.
 
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haslo wrote:

That being said, there's not much reason to post a 18 gigapixel image on BGG. I downscale mine to the longer side at 2048, which makes for a 2-4 gigapixel image. Full HD monitors have two-ish gigapixels if you show the image full screen. Pixel peeping beyond that point isn't really necessary, and giving GeekMods the opportunity to pixel peep too much might be bad for getting your images through.


"gigapixel", you keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.
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Hexis wrote:
haslo wrote:

That being said, there's not much reason to post a 18 gigapixel image on BGG. I downscale mine to the longer side at 2048, which makes for a 2-4 gigapixel image. Full HD monitors have two-ish gigapixels if you show the image full screen. Pixel peeping beyond that point isn't really necessary, and giving GeekMods the opportunity to pixel peep too much might be bad for getting your images through.

"gigapixel", you keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

Meh, megapixel, gigapixel, it's just numbers DPI is important, resolution is important, pixel pitch is important, sensor technology is important and image quality is what it's all about. Megapixels are just for marketing.

But, thanks. Rather embarassing really.
 
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Thamos von Nostria wrote:
Willward wrote:


It's a know your audience thing.


Browse images, order by hot, gallery people.

Page 1: Of the 15 top people images, 4 show cleavage.


That's more than 25%. Far less than 25% of my typical day involves cleavage being in my field of view.

Thamos von Nostria wrote:
BGG is not a photography site, so the artistic value may be underappreciated. The geeks care about games, and a small blurry image of the latest hot game will get more thumbs than an artistic shot of a niche game. And there are also a lot of people who like photography. The monthly competition is really a good opportunity to show off good photos and get some attention to them.

I agree completely. I never said that I had a problem with the way things are. I merely said that I believe I understand the way things are. I stand by my statements. If one wishes to further their artistic creativity in photography, there are probably better sources of input than BGG. If one wishes to get photos approved at BGG, I don't know of a source that guarantees success but it probably isn't Taking Creative Photos at your local library.
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haslo wrote:

Meh, megapixel, gigapixel, it's just numbers DPI is important, resolution is important, pixel pitch is important, sensor technology is important and image quality is what it's all about. Megapixels are just for marketing.

But, thanks. Rather embarassing really.


Only off by three orders of magnitude.

Megapixel is an objective measure of resolution. It's just been co-opted by marketing and is totally misunderstood by the general public who think BIGGER NUMBER R BETTERER.

At least the latest marketing race is ISO, and that really does help. mmmm 102400.

Your original point is totally valid. Putting super high resolution images on here is useless.
 
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Hexis wrote:
Only off by three orders of magnitude. Megapixel is an objective measure of resolution.

Sure, one objective measure. But personally, I find actual pixel resolutions much more useful - 17MP sounds like a lot more than 16MP, but when the aspect ratios are different then suddenly the 16MP sensor can have as many vertical pixels. MPs really condense a two-dimensional metric into one dimension, and necessarily lose information while doing so.

But then, pixel resolution doesn't take actual spatial resolution of the sensor (and lens) into account either, so maybe it's not that bad anyway.

Hexis wrote:
At least the latest marketing race is ISO, and that really does help. mmmm 102400.

Kind of ... it does help, sure, but if it's just "we'll extend the ISO into the completely unuseable ranges" it's rather pointless, too. My OM-D can give me ISO 25600, but the highest I'll go is 4000, and I feel I can correct all the visible-at-100% noise until ISO 2000 only. Sure, it's nice to have the option to go higher in theory, but in practice I feel I'm sacrificing too much image quality. (Those thresholds will obviously vary by sensor size and tech.)

In a way, the Leica approach of "we'll only give you ISO 1600 because above that, we're not happy with image quality" is oddly fascinating and charming.
 
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Hexis wrote:
At least the latest marketing race is ISO, and that really does help. mmmm 102400.

Kind of ... it does help, sure, but if it's just "we'll extend the ISO into the completely unuseable ranges" it's rather pointless, too. My OM-D can give me ISO 25600, but the highest I'll go is 4000, and I feel I can correct all the visible-at-100% noise until ISO 2000 only. Sure, it's nice to have the option to go higher in theory, but in practice I feel I'm sacrificing too much image quality. (Those thresholds will obviously vary by sensor size and tech.)

In a way, the Leica approach of "we'll only give you ISO 1600 because above that, we're not happy with image quality" is oddly fascinating and charming.[/q]

Keep in mind, that generally speaking, as the top end ISO increases, the useable ISO increases. I can only speak to what I have personal experience with. 5D went up to 1600 (3200 as extended), 5D2 went up to 6400 (25600 extended) and the 5D3 goes up to 25600 (102400 extended). The 5D was really usable at 1600, but the 5D2 was better at 1600, and usable at 3200. The 5D3 is usable at 6400, even 12800 without a problem. Given this is pro gear and a full frame sensor. 25600 on the 5D2 was a noisy mess, but it had it's uses. 102400 is similarly a noisy mess on the 5D3, but now I only need 1/4th as much light to capture that noisy mess as I did before. With a f1.4 50mm, that's not a whole lot of light. It's a direct benefit, even at lower more day-to-day ISOs, since they are lower noise.
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Kristian Pesti
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Thanks a lot for your feedback everyone!

My artistic side is still evolving and I still don't seem to appreciate the correct details in pictures. I've surely noticed that light is something very amazing and very much sought for to get good pictures. But I haven't completely grasped the fact that the eye of camera is different from human eye and at least with my current gear it's hard to take pictures with "dark" and cozy mood in them.

So, have to learn more about being under exposed and stop saying I want them to be "cool" like that. At least I don't crank up the contrast anymore! modest

Also, I need to read more about the image guidelines, at least I need to pay more attention to the gallery I'm posting. And no full res pictures, uhh. Don't know why I did that, out of laziness I guess.

Thanks again for everything! I'll be back.
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haslo wrote:

Meh, megapixel, gigapixel, it's just numbers DPI is important, resolution is important, pixel pitch is important, sensor technology is important and image quality is what it's all about. Megapixels are just for marketing.


DPI is important but make sure you understand your final output. Had a boss once ask me to create a 1200 dpi 6 foot by 3 foot size poster that a client wanted. While talking to my boss I find out the poster was going to be viewed from a minimum distance of about 10 feet away. Hard to explain he didn't need a 1200 dpi 6'x 3' file. Ended up doing about 60 or 100 dpi without telling the client. Client still got what he wanted. Sometimes it's better to just nod in agreement and leave the technical details out of it. robot
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If you're not printing, then DPI is pretty much irrelevant. The image will display either at a scaled down predefined resolution or its original resolution. 72 dpi or 1200 dpi won't make a difference.
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Kristian: I would have rejected those photos for the same reasons.

For the underexposed ones, fixing them would probably require just a single click of the auto-level button in iPhoto/Aperture/Lightroom or whatever you use for managing and editing photos.

Blurry photos can't be fixed. You just need practice learning how to adjust the focus and aperture of your camera, using a tripod, and providing adequate lighting as needed.

I tend to reject a lot of photos because I want the content on BGG to be useful. One properly exposed, in-focus, properly composed photograph is better than dozens of underexposed, blurry photographs.

Photography isn't so different from board games. It has rules, winning conditions, and losing conditions. The more you play, the better you get, but only if you learn from your mistakes.
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