Tag Archives: question

Is it Best to be a Specialist or a Generalist?

The poll this week is an open ended question. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time, but I can never convince myself to form an opinion.

Is it best to be a specialist or a generalist?

A Specialist is somebody who focuses their photography on a very specific topic or style, while a generalist is somebody who has no single specialty. I could argue for one or the other depending on my mood at that moment, but I keep coming back to “no opinion”.

Specialists can have a very recognizable body of work based on subject matter or photographic style. This can be good if you want to have your name associated with that subject or style. But it could be bad if you don’t want to feel limited to that one thing.

Generalists are often less recognizable because they cover so many different subjects and their style can be varied to suit the need of the subject. This can be good if you like doing something different all the time. But it could be bad if you find that you’re never well known for any one thing in particular.

I see myself as a generalist — film, digital, b/w, color, street, macro, landscape, portrait, architecture, candid, sport, etc. I’ll basically shoot anything that comes my way with whatever camera I happen to have in my hands. And yet all along, I feel like I should be focusing on something more specific in order to take myself to the “next level”… whatever that means. I think I’m giving up on trying to define my photography — I’ll just let it do its own thing.

What about you guys? How do you see yourselves? Are you striving to become one or the other? Do you feel one is better than the other? Do we even have a choice in the matter?

Have You Ever Needed to Use Your Photo Backup?

Everybody says that backups are important, but not everybody has lived through the crisis of losing photos. If you haven’t experienced this yet, it may seem like something that only happens to other people. So this poll aims to show what percentage of photographers out there have actually lost their photos one way or another.

I’ve got four answers in this poll. Choose No if you’ve never lost your photos. Choose Yes if you have lost some or all of your photos, but you were able to restore a great majority of them with a backup. Choose Lost the Backups Too if you did keep backups, but they were also lost. And choose Didn’t Have One if you lost your photos and you didn’t have a backup. I’m sure there are various situations that blur the line on these answers, but choose the one that best fits.

FOLLOW THIS SERIES OF ARTICLES!
TOC — PHOTO BACKUP GUIDE
BACK — EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE
NEXT — RAID TOWER

Also, go ahead and tell us your horror stories in the comments (it is Halloween after all). Or share your story of how your backups saved your photo collection.

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And don’t forget to check out the results from the last poll, “How Big is Your Photo Collection?” It appears that nearly half of you (44%) are still under 100GB, about 16% are in the 100GB to 200GB range, and another 12% in the 200GB to 300GB range.

How Big is Your Photo Collection?

Keeping on track with the Photo Backup theme, I wanted to pose another question relating to the topic. When we first get into photography, we don’t have a clue how large a photo collection can become (and how quickly too). These photos can burn up every bit of disk space we have, causing us to upgrade our storage space situation.

FOLLOW THIS SERIES OF ARTICLES!
TOC — PHOTO BACKUP GUIDE
BACK — WHEN DISASTER STRIKES
NEXT — WORKING DRIVES

So for this poll, take a peek at your photo archive and see how large it is (just the originals, not all the backups). I’d also be curious to hear in the comments how long you’ve been in photography along with how much disk space you’ve filled in that time.

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And make sure you check out the results of the last poll “How Many Photo Backups Do You Have?” Most people chimed in at 2 or 3 copies (including the originals), but we had a whopping 10% state that they have no backups! On the other end of the spectrum, one reader mentioned in the comments that they have 8 backups!

How Many Photo Backups Do You Have?

To get us rolling with the photo backup series, let’s do a little poll to find out where everyone is at with their redundancy habits. This will help give me a better idea of who I’m writing to for the upcoming articles. It will also shed some light on typical habits of other photographers.

FOLLOW THIS SERIES OF ARTICLES!
TOC — PHOTO BACKUP GUIDE
BACK — AN INTRO TO DATA SECURITY
NEXT — IT’LL COST YOU

What I’m asking for is how many independent photo backups you maintain. I know RAID setups are kinda fuzzy, but let’s still count those as one. Other forms of backups can include internal or external hard drives, DVDs, flash drives, memory cards, online services, etc.

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And based on the results of our last poll, I think we’ll be going forward without an Epic Edits forum. When asked if we want one, most people were in the “maybe” or “no thanks” category. And as many commented, there are a ton of already great forums out there, so why start another?

Do We Want an Epic Edits Forum?

I’m always thinking about the community here, and how we can foster its growth. A forum is something that I’ve been thinking of for quite a while, but I held off mentioning it until we approached 5000 RSS subscribers. It may turn out that we need more of an audience to get a forum rolling, but let’s find out with a little poll.

I want you guys to be totally honest here (not that I’m questioning your integrity). But a forum is a big deal with lots of extra work and responsibility on my part. I have no problem maintaining such a thing, but if I’m going to do it I need to have a good part of the community also supporting it. On that note, I would definitely lean on some key players to keep the peace.

I think it would be a great way to “share the knowledge” and interact on a deeper level than just the comments here on the blog. I’m not exactly sure how the topics would be broken out, but I could imagine things like weekly photo themes, photo critiques, Q&A, film photography, digital photography, cameras and equipment, post processing, news and items of interest, and more.

So what do you think? Would you participate in a forum with this community? And at what level? Leave some comments too, and let me know what sort of features or topics would make a forum really shine.

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And don’t forget to check out the results from the last poll titled “Who Wins? Nikon D90 or Canon 50D“. Even though the two cameras are in slightly different customer segment, the votes are nearly split 50/50. Lots of comments on that poll too — one of my favorites is from Antoine:

who wins ? the answer is easy Brian, WE do.

There is nothing that pleases me more than competition it pushes manufacturers to put in more features and lower the prices and, in the end, we are the biggest winner.

Both seems like good cams but, let’s face it, most of us doesn’t even need 1/2 of the features here.

Who Wins? Nikon D90 or Canon 50D

Yes, yes, there’s been a lot of buzz recently about two new cameras from Nikon and Canon. They both decided to announce a new dSLR body at about the same time, and I can’t help but compare the two cameras. By their technical specifications, they’re not exactly in the same class, but they’re close. Both cameras are aimed at the advanced amateur photographer. Here are some details on the two cameras:


Order on Amazon.com

Order on Amazon.com
Nikon D90 Home Page
dpreview.com Preview
Canon 50D Home Page
dpreview.com Preview
THE BASICS
12.3 Megapixel
23.6 x 15.8mm Sensor
4.5 Frames/Second
3″, 920K-dot LCD
Live View & Face Detection
1/4000s Max Shutter
ISO100 – ISO6400
THE BASICS
15.1 Megapixel
22.3 x 14.9mm Sensor
6.3 Frames/Second
3″, 920K-dot LCD
Live View & Face Detection
1/8000s Max Shutter
ISO100 – ISO12800
THE STRENGTHS
24fps 720p HD Video
Optional GPS Geotagging
High ISO Performance
Lower Price Tag
THE STRENGTHS
More Pixels
Faster Continuous FPS
Faster Shutter Speed
Higher ISO Capability
RELEASE PRICE
$999.95
RELEASE PRICE
$1399.00

So let’s pretend for a moment that you’re not loyal to either brand (in my case this isn’t difficult because I’m a Sony user). I mean really step back and take a look at the two cameras. If you were out to buy your first camera, which one would look more enticing to you? And do tell in the comments why you’d choose one over the other. Who got it right in this round?

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And be sure to check out the results from our previous poll: “What’s Your Photo-Sharing Frequency?” 1/3 of you are totally random with your upload frequency, while another 1/3 manage to be consistent with a few per week. Only 1% post many photos per day, while only 2% post none at all.

What’s Your Photo-Sharing Frequency?

This poll is aimed at those of us who share our photos on the web via the various photo-sharing websites. I’ve noticed that people tend to have their own habits for the number of photos they post over a given period of time. Some people post a certain number each day, others post all their photos as they shoot them, and others post only their best work.

Personally, I try to post 3 new photos each day — but only those that are from the “better” of my shots. I don’t limit my postings to my absolute best, but I don’t post every photo I take. I often process and choose photos in large batches, then release 3 each day so I have a steady stream of photos being published in between shoots.

So what do you guys do? One a day? Three a day? One every so often? Every photo all at once? Do you have a set strategy? Or do you just post images as you make them? I’m curious to hear your reasons in the comments too.

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And if you can’t fit into any of these categories, drop a comment below.

How Much Would You Pay for Photoshop?

Stand and Deliver
Creative Commons License photo credit: teotwawki

Back in March, I ran a poll on software piracy. As a result of the votes, I found that nearly 60% of Photoshop Users are pirates. This article was picked up by various social media networks, and it still receives quite a few visitors and comments. A lot of these comments are based around the results not being surprising because Photoshop is so grossly overpriced. Every time I see another comment pop up on this article, it gets me thinking about what people consider to be a fair price. So let’s find out.

As the basis for this poll, we’ll be considering a license upgrade for the most basic version of Photoshop. This assumes that you keep up on your upgrades as they roll out every one or two years, you’re not getting a student discount, and you’re not buying the full blown suite or extended versions of Photoshop. Just the basics.

So what would you pay? The upgrade license typically goes for around $300 USD at first, then dropping to $200 USD. So if you don’t currently pay for Photoshop, I’d expect your answers to be below this threshold. And if you do pay for Photoshop, I’d expect your answers to be at or above this marker.

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And be sure you catch up on the previous poll asking “Is Film Dead?” We had a few extremes saying that it’s either already dead or it’s the next big thing. But most of the votes were somewhere in the middle, stating that film is here… it’s just not really moving in one direction or another. Check out the comments too — lots of good insights as to where film is dead and where it thrives.

Is Film Dead?

Film Noir
Creative Commons License photo credit: ~*Leah*~

Sure, digital photography is king right now… but is film photography really a thing of the past? Will film have nothing but a cult following, or is it actually back on the rise?

There may not be a straightforward answer to these questions, but I’m curious to hear the thoughts of other photographers. As I stated in a recent PhotoNetCast episode, film is probably more popular in the artistic community rather than stock, wedding, corporate, family snapshots, etc. So I’m sure we’ll get a lot of different answers based on each photographer’s niche and experience.

But, in general, is film dead? Is it completely out the door as of right now? Or is it on it’s death bed? Perhaps you feel it’s come to a steady equilibrium. Or maybe you’re seeing an increase in film use. Let us know…

Final Destination
Creative Commons License photo credit: RO-BOT
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And if you haven’t seen the results from the last poll on Defining Fine Art Photography, it’s definitely worth a look. We had 14 very insightful comments about this foggy topic.

What is Fine Art Photography?

The poll this week will be another open-ended question rather than a click-and-vote. The last time I ran one like this, we had some awesome answers and I highlighted them in a follow-up post the next week. So we’ll do the same here.

The question this week spawns from my own involvement with fine art photography. I find photography in general to be a highly subjective topic — what’s good, what sucks, what works, and what doesn’t is typically a matter of taste amongst other things. Fine Art Photography tends to be even more subjective since it’s a narrow slice of photography as an artistic medium.

So, What is Fine Art Photography?

How would you define it? What makes a photo Fine Art rather than something else? Can photographers really call themselves Fine Art Photographers? And what conditions would make it feasible for a photographer to include themselves in this category? Offer up your thoughts, take the discussion where you wish, and I’ll pick out some of the more insightful comments for an upcoming featured article.

And since we’re on the topic of insightful polls, be sure to check out the results and comments from last week asking the question “Do You Take Photos or Make Photos?” It looks like a majority “take photos” rather than “make photos”, and a good portion also says they “do both”. Several commentators also hit on the topic of what these terms really mean, so be sure to check that out.