What's this?

Here’s a photograph sent to me by Marc Latham ...

An interesting and unusual image! It took me a moment to work out what it was, but then I realised that Marc was standing in the courtyard of an old building, pointing the camera directly upwards.

In my experience most people rarely look up, and it’s always a great idea to seek out interesting and unusual viewpoints.

However a criticism that I’d make of this image is that it has no subject and, as a result, is maybe a bit too puzzling. There’s something that appears to be a bird on the left-hand side, but it could also be a leaf, or even an object thrown out of a window. Then the vapour trail coming out of the chimney looks like it should be smoke ... but it’s too straight. And it cuts the image in half.

In his e-mail Marc wrote: I'm afraid my photos were not deemed to be of high enough quality when I submitted them to stock agencies.

I don’t know if he submitted this image as part of his trial batch but, if you’re trying to sell through agencies, a question to ask yourself is, “Why would anyone want to buy this image?”

The other thing to watch out for in photographs with large areas of uniform colour - like the sky - is ‘noise’. Most agencies will reject anything that is too ‘noisy’.

I can’t see, from the size of the image that Marc sent, if this image suffers from it, but here is some ‘noise’ from one of my images ...

This is a small section of sky, viewed at 100%. The noise is the random mottling. It’s caused by a variety of factors. Too high an ISO setting (the ‘film speed’) is one reason. But it may be due to the camera. Cameras with small sensors are particularly prone to it. That is one reason why the sensor size of a camera (rarely quoted in sales pitches) is far more important than the number of megapixels.

And if your camera suffers from it, this is one of the times you can say your equipment is letting you down.

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