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View Full Version : quality vs. quantity..


Suzushichan
10-03-2006, 03:20 PM
this subject has come up many times between myself, friends and co-workers. i've been working as a photographer, trained and all, for the past 6 months so this has kind of bothered me at some recent conventions. there are photographers who take pics of as many people as they can, but the photos don't do the models or BEAUTIFUL COSTUMES justice. that's what it's about, and if you can do it well, and with style, more power to ya. but what i'm trying to get at is what is everyone's take on this? at a con do you think that quality or quantity is more important. i think that it should be a matter of both. i don't like it when people take bad pictures of my costumes. i've seen them! <_<

Super No 1
10-03-2006, 09:21 PM
Whether you take 10 photos at a convention or 10,000, you should always take the best photograph that you can.

I think the vast majority of photos from a convention are taken by people who don't spend a majority of their time taking photos. They spend most of their time going to screenings, panels, gaming, shopping, etc. If they happen to see a cosplayer in the vicinity, they take a photo even though the conditions may not be the best for taking photos. Most of these photographers aren't too concerned with lighting or if the cosplayer is looking at them or if they are at a bad angle or if the cosplayer is 100 feet away. They just want to take the photo and go on with their business.

Then, there are "con photographers" who spend a majority of their time taking photos. For some, their goal is to take a photo of every cosplayer and every costume. If that's their goal, they have to go all over the convention grounds to get their photos and they will take photos is less than ideal conditions. There are some photographers who will just take photos of what they like. I know that I have certain conditions that I like and so that naturally leads to less photos being taken. It all depends on the photographers style, their goals for the convention, or a combination of both.

Regarding "bad" photos, I think that when somebody takes a bad shot and puts it up on the internet for others to see, that photographer doesn't think that it's a bad shot.

jtnishi
10-03-2006, 10:18 PM
this subject has come up many times between myself, friends and co-workers. i've been working as a photographer, trained and all, for the past 6 months so this has kind of bothered me at some recent conventions. there are photographers who take pics of as many people as they can, but the photos don't do the models or BEAUTIFUL COSTUMES justice. that's what it's about, and if you can do it well, and with style, more power to ya. but what i'm trying to get at is what is everyone's take on this? at a con do you think that quality or quantity is more important. i think that it should be a matter of both. i don't like it when people take bad pictures of my costumes. i've seen them! <_<
There are definite troubles with each road, but arguably it is significantly easier to be a good photographer concerned about quality than it is to be a good photographer concerned about quantity. But both definitely have their places in the world.

When people look for photos by those who shoot for quantity, they're mainly concerned about finding pictures of their costume on the internet at all, a technical approach in a sense. But keep in mind what's required to take that path: you're going to frontload time shooting pictures, in the hope of having enough material to upload. On the other side, when people look for photos by those who shoot for quality, they're mainly concerned about finding the prettiest shots of themselves possible, a mostly aestetic approach. The frontloaded time per picture increases, but usually overall, frontload time minimizes.

But I consider the two paths akin to the principle ideas of working hard, versus working smart. I'm lazy, so I clearly prefer the latter road, though I'm not opposed to the former road as needed. But both paths lead generally to the same end. Shooting for quantity requires working hard every time, but it's relatively simple work. Shooting for quality requires more time practicing in the front, but typically gets easier as time goes on, and is arguably somewhat more complex work. I definitely prefer a balanced tactic myself, aiming for a relatively high quality level of work, and then trying to take as many shots as I can at that level. That seems to work well, so long as you have a bit of a masochistic streak in ya. ;)

skypirate
10-03-2006, 11:04 PM
I've never regretted trying to photograph one more cosplayer.

Hikaruchan
10-04-2006, 01:49 AM
Should be a balance of both, hopefully a con will have photographers in attendance with different focuses so all bases are covered. I know I love looking at private photoshoot photos that have been skillfully done. But on the other hand, a lot of the time it is only about 10% of the cosplayers at most that seem to regularly get those types of shoots. Back in the 90s I noticed that a lot of cosplayers pics were the same people over and over again, but I kept meeting wonderful costumers that were not getting barely any photos. That is when I started on the side of photographing as many cosplayers as I could as best as I could in con settings while I myself was cosplaying. So while my photos may not be as nice/artsy as some, it is great getting thank yous from people where my photos are the nicest they have gotten taken of them - as I also have to take time off of making new costumes to edit and upload 100/1000s of pictures depending on the cons size.

staereo
10-04-2006, 08:09 AM
It completely depends on what level you're talking. People are saying a balance, which is absolutely true. You should always do your best with what you have to work with.

If you are working an event in that you have a certain quantity of images to shoot in a certain time frame, your pace is somewhat dictated for you.

I think what is lost in time crunches is not quality. Its my opinion that a good photographer shoots good photos. Your time having shot, experience and personal talent in the art will dictate your output. Whether you have a fraction of a second to take a shot, or 15 minutes to take a shot, your ability to capture light does not fade. I believe what suffers is creative output, framing, and composition.

One thing you'll notice with more experienced event photographers is that their output is consistant whether rushed or under no time pressure. The quality of the shot and the final image often retains the same quality, picture after picture (save toss-outs). What changes is how the images differ in composition. Once a photographer is under a time squeeze, they will do their best to retain their quality, while cutting the time by cutting a bit of the creativity. They will start looking repetative when viewed side by side. Individually, however, they will still be quality images.

Bruce

Trelyon
10-04-2006, 09:32 PM
this subject has come up many times between myself, friends and co-workers. i've been working as a photographer, trained and all, for the past 6 months so this has kind of bothered me at some recent conventions. there are photographers who take pics of as many people as they can, but the photos don't do the models or BEAUTIFUL COSTUMES justice. that's what it's about, and if you can do it well, and with style, more power to ya. but what i'm trying to get at is what is everyone's take on this? at a con do you think that quality or quantity is more important. i think that it should be a matter of both.

even tho i'm a pro-photog... teach photo classes... my best cam shoot at 8 frames-per-second with 27-frame burst... ::brags brags brags:: etc etc.

when *i* take pics at cosplay cons... it's quantity... i want... since it's for personal enjoyment... at the con i'm an Otaku... not an artist... not a photog... i'm an anime geek with a camera ::smirks::... most of the time... i shoot 2 pixs per cosplayer... a full... and a portrait... if it's a character i like... i would ask to cosplayer for the signature poses... and candid poses... i also take more pix at a gathering... and end up about 3000+ pixs a day

i rarely do a 'real' photoshoot... unless my g/f made me for her costumes ::snickers::


i don't like it when people take bad pictures of my costumes. i've seen them! <_<

as stated by the wise folks above... most of the photog at cons... are taking pix for fun as well... they want it for the memory of the events... before going back to 'real' life... a souvenir of the fun they had... many are not trained to take pix... and we shouldn't expect their pics to be... if they take crappy pix... it's doesn't reflect upon you or your costume... it doesn't even reflect their skill as a photographer... a cosplayer... noticed you and your costume... and like it enough to take a pix... and post it online :)

~*~*~*~
quality: my g/f sez that she hates it when she's fixing costume... talking on the cell... or eating they just take random pix... if they waited 2 secs... she would've posed for them... and the pix would be a better shot... she doesn't care if the pix is out of focus... or the lightin is bad... she hate it when they just shoot when she's not ready... etc.

Sleepy
10-05-2006, 02:12 AM
My short answer: quality.

I'm one of the few who uses film. Back when I started taking pictures at a con, buying a digital SLR wasn't necessary. Considering the costs of one at the time, and the fact that taking pictures at conventions is still the only time I ever use my camera. If I know a shot isn't gonna look right, or could look better in different conditions, I simply won't take the picture. If I also notice another established photographer giving a cosplayer decent coverage I also wouldn't intrude. I find browsing other photographers galleries of the same con interesting, because we all take very different pictures and cover different people. So I'm never concerned with the quantity of a con. There are plenty of us out there.

And since I'm a conservative type of person anyway, I always have to consider the costs of development.

jtnishi
10-05-2006, 12:21 PM
My short answer: quality.

I'm one of the few who uses film. Back when I started taking pictures at a con, buying a digital SLR wasn't necessary. Considering the costs of one at the time, and the fact that taking pictures at conventions is still the only time I ever use my camera. If I know a shot isn't gonna look right, or could look better in different conditions, I simply won't take the picture. If I also notice another established photographer giving a cosplayer decent coverage I also wouldn't intrude. I find browsing other photographers galleries of the same con interesting, because we all take very different pictures and cover different people. So I'm never concerned with the quantity of a con. There are plenty of us out there.

And since I'm a conservative type of person anyway, I always have to consier the costs of development.
You do bring up a good point. A lot of the reasons that photographers even get to be able to make this choice is because of digital. Film photographers are almost never going to pick quantity over quality, because the costs would drive them up the wall. And I'm going to guess that those who started with film and spent a large amount of time with film are actually going to have trouble thinking quantity over quality when switching to digital because it almost completely violates the way they learned how to do phtoography.

JadeCat
10-05-2006, 08:16 PM
The problem with Cons is that sometimes, you don't have good lighting, or you cannot arrange a time with the cosplayer to do a better shoot (they are running to a panel, masquerade, whatever) or there were too many people around, or the background sucks, etc. etc. etc. You name it, there's probably a reason.

I like to take the best quality photos that I can possibly get at a Con. But sometimes, that's not possible, so I try to take the best photo that I can given the conditions I have to work with.

There have been times when someone has thanked me for photos because it's the *only* photo they have of that costume, etc.

The way I look at it? Photojournalists have to work with less than optimal conditions), so if they can do it in the midst of a big event (like a war, battle, or in the middle of a hostile country) and get great shots.... then there's no reason why I can't do the same at a Convention (with no bombs whirling around me). So, I try to learn as much as I can about lighting so that I can make the best situation out of any given situation.

jtnishi
10-06-2006, 02:34 PM
The problem with Cons is that sometimes, you don't have good lighting, or you cannot arrange a time with the cosplayer to do a better shoot (they are running to a panel, masquerade, whatever) or there were too many people around, or the background sucks, etc. etc. etc. You name it, there's probably a reason.

I like to take the best quality photos that I can possibly get at a Con. But sometimes, that's not possible, so I try to take the best photo that I can given the conditions I have to work with.

There have been times when someone has thanked me for photos because it's the *only* photo they have of that costume, etc.

The way I look at it? Photojournalists have to work with less than optimal conditions), so if they can do it in the midst of a big event (like a war, battle, or in the middle of a hostile country) and get great shots.... then there's no reason why I can't do the same at a Convention (with no bombs whirling around me). So, I try to learn as much as I can about lighting so that I can make the best situation out of any given situation.
However, that's still a quality based approach, rather than a quantity based one. Conditions might suck, but it still means the preference is to get a few good pictures over a lot of average ones.

Super No 1
10-06-2006, 04:36 PM
There are a lot of horrible places at cons to take photos so I simply avoid those. There are plenty of cosplayers to photograph in places where conditions are a lot better, so I just don't bother with going into the sucky areas. I find areas that I like and stick with them.

Spiv and X
10-06-2006, 06:21 PM
I recently returned from AWA and the lightign... is... AWEFUL there. x_x

But I think it's slightlky flastteirng when someone takes a quick snapshot of you when you're talking on a cellphone or eating... even sleeping. It's funny to find those photos. XD

I go for quantity, thought I try to get the best pictures i can. (Consideirng i'm usually rushign and the photograph-ee is usually rushing). And angles are herd when you stop for a picture for one perosn and 25 other people show up form ALL ANGLES and you're like "Whaa? @@ Who fo I look a--*cmaera flahs( MY EYESSS!"

It's fun though. i don't complain. Except standing in the same spot for 35 mintues in 2 inch heels in vinyl coats gets a little hot/painful.

Anime London
10-08-2006, 06:14 PM
It does come down to why a person is taking pictures at a con. For personal use, then you can take your time with good shot.

That isn't always the case at cons where 12,000 people are going in 12,000 directions... all at once. It's less than ideal conditions under sometimes questionable lighting. Not only that you don't really have time or your subject have time to do a good photo. Hotels and cons aren't made for photo heavy events like cosplay.

Even given my camera, Canon SD300 has habit of being out of focus under mixed lighting. Small lens cameras are terrible for this. I end up taking not one but several of single subject then sort out which photo I like best to post on the site. Sometimes even with taking multiple shots I still end up with trash while those with high end digital would only need to take one.

With memory and cameras being cheap, I take a lot of photos because there is NO chance of going back and getting a second chance. Still this is up to the skill and quality of equipment a photograper has available to them.

JadeCat
10-09-2006, 04:44 PM
However, that's still a quality based approach, rather than a quantity based one. Conditions might suck, but it still means the preference is to get a few good pictures over a lot of average ones.

Yes and no and kinda.

If I'm running around as in an 'official photographer' capacity, either shooting photos for the masquerade, shooting for a newsletter, or whatnought, then just *getting* a photo of a person in costume is my priority, regardless of the lighting.

I don't like inconveniencing people. If I can get them to move to a better spot, then great. If I can't, well, I'll take the photo anyways, and hope that the flash provides enough to get a decent shot. So, here, it's quantity versus quality. (However, obviously, if I've got a studio setup for a masquerade, then I've got the lighting portion down, and then quality versus quantity becomes moot.)

However, if I'm just running around for myself, then if the light or something is going to make the shot crappy, then I don't even bother. So, in that case, I care more about quality than quantity.

Eriol
10-12-2006, 10:13 PM
In a busy environment, I prefer to shoot lots of pictures, and only showing the good ones to people. Usually, there isn't enough time to set up a shoot to get optimal exposure, and I certainly don't want to miss a key moment. If even 25% of my mass shootings are good, I'm happy.

In a more leisurely environment, I have the time to set up the shot, so I take fewer shots, but the quality of those shots are better. So, maybe 60-80% of the shots I take are good shots.

SolarTempest
10-13-2006, 01:46 AM
In an arguement for quantity - you might want to read the following article:
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2006/1642840.htm#

Although the full analysis isn't in the transcript, at least it gives you a rough idea of how many pictures to take in a group setting :toothy:

Efecss
10-13-2006, 08:09 AM
Throwing in my nickle here. What has been said is good. But, in keeping with the tone of conversation. Sometimes quality does get thrown out the window at conventions. But it dosen't mean you should not take the best picture you can.

I myself, try my damndest to take a good picture. And my instructors always said that they waited for my presentations because I always "made the picture." But then again, I was posing action figures for assignments on a table top studio. But, I did show some pictures of mine from conventions when I had used my dad's old 126 camera. (Fixed focus lense, with a cube flash box camera. ) Still took good pictures.

One thing you have to do (I have found) at conventions, is to kind of treat this like a newpaper/magazine assignemtn. You are there to capture the "colour" of the moment in the best way possible, and the coaplayers are you subject matter. If you have time to get that pose (or picture) which is right for the moment, go for it. But, also think it like Iraq and you have to keep moving to get the next story in.

Ofcourse you don't have to watch out for car bombs, but I hope you get the jist of the idea.

And I am sorry if this is not making any real sense, but I just got home and going to bed after working for four hours.

CAW
10-25-2006, 02:35 PM
I'm new here, and have never shot a cosplay con. I did, however, spend about three years shooting in nightclubs. Nightclubs have very rough lighting conditions to shoot in, much as I would guess is true of many convention halls. (Though at least in a convention hall, the lighting is probably static and not constantly changing like it is in a nightclub.)

I shot for quality, but in an environment that is unfavorable at best with so many things that were outside of my control, I had to shoot some quantity to ensure I had the shot. I refuse to post crap, and take pride in my photo work. Even in studio work, where you control everything, it doesn't hurt to take extra shots. Granted, digitial is changing this as you can have instant full-screen view of a shot seconds after you take it. But to constantly chimp disrupts the flow of the shoot. (Unless you have someone who is just there to be the chimper and knows well enough to keep quite unless there is a problem with a shot.)

There is another aspect to quantity when shooting an event. Ultimately, most people are vain and want to see themselves up on the club's/whatever's website. So you end up taking a lot of shots of people in the crowd that don't amount to much more than a glorified snapshot, just to satisfy all the people who simply want to be on the website. Thus, you have a lot of shots that aren't exactly pinacles of quality. (Still, a good photographer will do their best to make these look good and not post crap.) My guess is this aspect doesn't play as much into a cosplay con, as the people you are shooting are the people who have taken time to dress up and not every random drunkard that wants their picture taken, as happens in a club.

Oklahoma
10-28-2006, 08:25 AM
In general I found that I take more shots the less control I have over the situation and less shots the more control I have. Where I have no control I take more in hopes that I can get more that turn out and when I have control I don't need to take as many because I know that that shot came out; so I don't have to take 5 and get one that looks good I can take 1 and know it looks good.

As always any photographer should strive to take the best shot they can no matter the conditions but the worse the conditions it may take more shots to find that magic setting that makes the shot work best. You may be able to get a really good shot but the cosplayer doesn't have time to do more than one or two so you have to comprimise getting the best shot possible and get one that is only pretty good. I think finding the ballance between quality and quantity is what needs to be done.

Overall I prefer quality shots to quantity. If I have only so long to take a picture and I can take one really good one in that time period or 3-4 decent ones I would rather have the one really good one. I would rather see one great shot of a costume than 5 ok shots.

staereo
10-28-2006, 08:43 AM
In general I found that I take more shots the less control I have over the situation and less shots the more control I have. Where I have no control I take more in hopes that I can get more that turn out and when I have control I don't need to take as many because I know that that shot came out; so I don't have to take 5 and get one that looks good I can take 1 and know it looks good.

As always any photographer should strive to take the best shot they can no matter the conditions but the worse the conditions it may take more shots to find that magic setting that makes the shot work best. You may be able to get a really good shot but the cosplayer doesn't have time to do more than one or two so you have to comprimise getting the best shot possible and get one that is only pretty good. I think finding the ballance between quality and quantity is what needs to be done.

Overall I prefer quality shots to quantity. If I have only so long to take a picture and I can take one really good one in that time period or 3-4 decent ones I would rather have the one really good one. I would rather see one great shot of a costume than 5 ok shots.


I concur. :cool:

Ollie
10-30-2006, 01:44 AM
All arguements here are made, of course, by photographers. "Of course quality is paramount," we scream, "It's just a matter of taking five minutes for three shots or just one!" Thing is, a lot of cosplayers have a much different standard of quality than a photographer. Cosplayers may often not care so much about composition, contrast, dynamic, or other such issues that are usually on the front of a photographer's mind. They may generally be happy with snapshots, just a decent record of their presence at the convention. While I totally agree that going primarily for quality, and then hoping for quantity, is a good mode of operation, it is a question of who you're shooting for.

If you're shooting for a website featuring convention coverage, you'd probably want to get as many decent shots of costumes as possible to provide the broadest content without sacrificing quality. A lot of the photos I take are for this purpose; people want to see themselves online, and I'd like a record of their costumes. Sure, I'll still try to get a quality photo, but once it's "good enough," that'll do. So in many cases, I wont bother trying since I know conditions are sub optimal.

Also, in my case, it's not till I can go back and review the photos that I see how much I really like some of them. In other words, if you worry too much about quality, you may miss a lot of good oppertunities. That being said, though, I've started to become a bit more selective. About one or two percent of my photos end up in my gallery for particularly good shots (as opposed to just the photo-report website), but I'd like to increase that number. Chances are somebody else will post a picture of a costume I liked, but then again, a snapshot only takes a few second and then I can be sure to have a picture.

staereo
10-30-2006, 06:35 AM
Cosplayers except snaps from attendees, but I think that the bar is getting raised with the expectations from photographers. Do they expect good photography out of an image? Nope, not usually. However, the photographers whose names are tossed around between cosplayers as notable, are those that offer an image output that sets their images apart from con snaps.

Sure, it's fine for non photgraphers to just take snaps, but for a photographer to form any sort of lasting reputation amongst cosplayers they MUST perform. I've seen plenty of these sorts of photographers with mediocre output, composition is all wrong, exposure or focus not quite right, etc, etc. I'm not talking the 'off shot' here and there, but rather more of a norm. HOWEVER, the images are consistantly better than a con-snap.

It DOES depend on the photographer's intended output. But if given a choice to grab one jaw-dropping capture, or 15 con-snaps, I would much rather the one jaw dropper. Why? Well, chances are more likely than not, that someone else has managed to get a con snap of a cosplay. Whether a con snap is taken by joe-cosplayer, or myself, does not change the cosplayer's valuation of that image. There is no real photographer loyalty, outside of what the photographer can produce when he triggers the shutter.

So, I would rather get 1 superb image that reflects who I am as a photographer, than capture 20 people. Because the 20 pics I would take would be worth no more to any of the 20 people than any other shot taken of their costume. However, that one person I got the perfect shot of, would treasure that image and covet it in their gallery as one of their favorite shots of their cosplay.

I would say the closest I get to quantity over quality is during the events. When you're capturing action under extremely low light, a large number of your images are likely to be cut when short listing your images. So keeping that shutter moving becomes important. Also, you're talking about a one-time event, a performance that noone will do twice. The other thing that comes into play for con photographers (meaning those with press passes, credentials, or staff photographers) is that they typically have the best seats in the house for shooting. This means, that purely by virtue of the seats you get, people are counting on *you* to get ~THE~ shot of anything that happens during the event. So you lose that 'everyone got the snap of the costume' assurance.

Luckily, at Anime Boston, we have two photographers on staff, David Ng and myself. Last year, we ended up working VERY well together at the events, and completely synchronized our shooting. Different angles, multiple captures of important happenings, as well as the opportunity to capture shots of multiple areas of interest at the same time throughout the event.
Either way, this is clearly a time when careful composing and metering just doesn't happen. Quality PER SHOT is sacrificed in hopes that the overall coverage quality is improved due to an increase of total shots leading to a higher potential for total keeper shots.

When shooting for my own personal interest, I totally support the quantity over quality, as I end up trying to shoot everything interesting.

Unfortunately, as soon as someone is relying on you to be a photographer, and give them something over and above what every other digicam wielding attendee is capturing, quality takes the focus of your efforts.

Bruce