Quality -vs- Consistancy

ronlane

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meh...
i was trying to be all deep and thinky like..
gettin all philosophical and stuff...

i should probably just stick to calculating vent settings and drug dosages. :er:

lol, here let me join you in this wanna be philosophical thinking.

Does consistency come from producing quality photos or does quality come from producing consistent photos? (chicken or the egg, huh?)
 

runnah

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Consistency implies constantly meeting a set quality value for a given action. If by definition you are striving for technical consistency (focus, exposure, composition) you are therefore producing quality photos because these are measurable values where as the intangible things (emotion, feels, meaning) are not measurable.
 

rexbobcat

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I am legitimately incapable of creating consistent results. It just doesn't seem to be in the cards for me, so now I just say f*** it I'm going to do what I want and try my hardest to get the best images possible. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn't, but the more I fret about my own competence, the more unsure I become, and the worse the photos are.

I'm afraid of becoming boring. That's my greatest fear. What's the point of being a photographer if all I do is have a set up in my house and I run my 'clients' through it like cattle. Sure I may be consistent, but does that make me a good photographer? I don't think so. It just means that I learned a trick and I am able to reproduce the same trick over and over again.


And even if you're talking about consistency beyond the aesthetic of the images, consistency is a very vague term. Consistency in what? What is the criteria? I could create a beautiful image, but if it does it fit its purpose then is it really a good picture? It's like a fashion photographer who is thrown into a position where they have to be a photojournalist. They might make really good portraits of whomever they're shooting, but if those photos are devoid of context, then they are not good images in a photojournalistic sense.
 

Derrel

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Speaking of "consistent results". I just spent a few minutes going through a relatively new photographer's web site, and was struck by how very much the results depended almost entirely on Photoshop. Very consistent image finishing and processing. Smoothed skin. VERY smoothed skin. Only a few sets, with multiple images of each person. Very average posing, very average lighting, but a LOT of Photoshop processing. Ugggh! Garbage. It was obvious the person had limited experience...there was simply no breadth...no variety...pretty much what a person does when he or she needs to slap together a website, and has begun from scratch. I would never, EVER hire such a person...it was obvious there was simply no experience, since every set was recent, and just had no style. Allllllll post-processing. And yet, very consistently well-processed. Just executed with no sense of style...
 

jenko

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There's a famous photo by Richard Avedon with a nude model and a boa constrictor. It took Avedon several hours to get that shot. Few rolls of film.

Phillipe Halsman's shot of Salvador Dali mid air with flying cats and water--Six hours and 28 shots.

Even Ansel Adams has an expansive archive of shots that never saw the light of day.

Perseverance and editorial perfectionism are probably more important than consistently good.
 

slow231

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although i do agree that being able to produce consistent good shots goes hand in hand with being able to produce great shots, i do think that situations arise where you choose to go after one or the other.

for example pushing the limits on dragging the shutter (whether it be for panning, rear curtain flashing, or some other motion oriented purpose) significantly cuts down on your number of acceptable keepers... but on the other hand you might get a killer shot! and this could be a pretty conscious trade off. For instance at a race there are only a limited # of laps, so you only have a finite number of chances to make shots. Or perhaps you muck up an eventful situation (like a pass for the lead) that you could have safely captured at a faster shutter speed. for stuff like this you have to choose how to use a finite number of opportunities.

or at an event where you can only be in one place at a time. perhaps you chose to camp out and wait for a possible killer reaction from great-grandma or little nephew vs just grabbing shots from the rest of the crowd that you know will ham it up for you. The situation will pass, so you have to choose between playing it safe and grabbing at least a few keepers, or risk it for maybe (depending on the subject not just you!) one killer shot oozing with genuine emotion.

i think it all depends on the situation. if shooting for myself, i want portfolio shots. if shooting for someone else (or to document), i'd error on the side of ensuring that i produce something. but if i know i already have some shots in the bag, i'm going to start rolling the dice.
 
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weepete

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Does, at some point, getting consistently "good" results become a better scenario than getting "great" photos, but inconsistently? In my mind yes, can be but it depends on your goal. Assuming that in order to get good consistant results you need the technical skills to get the stuff like focus, exposure basic composition etc and in order to get great results you need to not only nail the technical aspects but also have the creative vision to produce a work that has artistic merit too. If you are producing good results consistantly, but no great photographs then you may have reached a level where you are technicaly profficent with your equipment but need to work on your artistic vision. It may also mean that you have reached a level that you are performing at the top of your ability as well. On the other hand if your goal is less artistic and more based around documenting what's around you technical profficency may be more important, though there are a llot of shades of grey in this one.

Does the level of higher quality become a factor? : Yes, as your skill level increases and you start getting more consistant results and as your knowledge base increases the standard of what you consider is a great photograph will increase as well, so it's harder.

Does the frequency of the "great" photos become a factor? : Yes, it means you are reaching the goal of becoming consistantly great.

Does the purpose of the photos make any difference? (personal -vs- commercial/clients): Yes, it can but it will depend on what your personal goals are or what you have been hired to do. I'd argue that if you are documenting something, like shooting some night club shots for a club promotion it would be better to get consistantly good shots than say communicate an abstract idea through one of your shots. It could be you are hired or have a personal goal to produce that shot that could stop people in their tracks, and i
in that case its the opposite

If so, how much better and how frequent must the "great" pictures be, to overcome the advantages of producing consistent, but only "good" photos? That depends entirely on what you are trying to achive, and how much greatness you aspire to. Obviously getting say a picture that people say is great on here (while that is difficut enough to do!) Would I imagine be a bit easier that producing something that changes the art world as we know it.

In conclusion, it really depends on what your goals are, though there are many shades of great in between technical proficency and artistic merit. If you asked me what I would prefer it's dead easy, I'd prefer to be producing inconsistanly great results, as to me that would mean that I know I have not plateaued out and that I just need to work a bit harder to improve.
 

12sndsgood

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Was up in Chicago covering a car/drift show yesterday and thinking about this sort of thing. wether continuing covering shows was where i wanted to go. for shows or events I work on just being consistant and getting all the shots right for the magazine and you just kinda get into basic mode. make sure you have your basics covered and get it right and move on, but it doesn't allow me to get my better creative shots a lot of times Now when i'm covering drifting I will do the same, start off with a more safe panning speed. Then once i'm getting used to things, have some decent photos of the group I will start lowering the SS down trying to get more blur. more motion, a more creative shot. when I'm doing an individual car shoot I personally want 1 or 2 shots to nock my clients off there feet, I want to have that 1 shot that someone says they have to make a large print of that to hang on there wall. So doing my own thing I will work more creatively and push for that one good shot. I will put that time in to get the shot I need or want or see in my head. When i'm doing an event I dont have the time to put that thought into everything I do so I just revert back to that basic mode.

Consistancy is good. I want my consistancy but I hope I never lose that desire to go for the great creative shot.
 

ffarl

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Well, if success equals money then it could go either way depending on your end goal. Some photographers are famous mostly for ONE photo they took. Something iconic. To me however, that kind of success is as much a result of the right people deciding that it's "Iconic", and then that catching on from there. They might spend the rest of their lives trying to duplicate that success and never do it. On the other hand, imagine if you were shooting a wedding and took two brilliant photos and the rest were crap. You'd definitely want consistency there.
 

imagemaker46

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Being able to produce consistently good images on every shoot is something that I have always taken pride in. I have the ability to produce great images on a lot of my shoots, but not on every shoot, I don't believe that any photographer regardless of how many years behind a camera can produce a great image with every frame shot, that is unrealistic. Experience does not always get a person great images, I know lots of photographers that produce good images consistently, but rarely many great ones.

Every time I shoot I hope to walk away with great images, it is what I expect of myself, if I didn't have that attitude then what would be the point of shooting? My clients always know what they are going to get from me, and from a professional stand point it is one of the most important things. Clients should never have to worry about the photographer they hire, and I make sure that when I work for them, they don't have to be concerned.
 

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