my flickr photostream

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

View it Large

Clink clink clink
© 2009 Simon Hucko - view it large here

Internet photo-sharing sites have made people's photography incredibly accessible. You upload a photo, and anyone in the world with an internet connection has the chance to view and comment on it. While this is great for getting exposure and sharing photos with friends and family, it does come with a few downsides.

One of the biggest downsides (in my mind) is that the sites force your photos into small sizes. The normal view for a photo on flickr is 500p on the long edge (which is the same size I use here on the blog). And that's if someone has clicked through to your photo page. In other parts of the site your photos are relegated to even smaller sizes, and at times arbitrarily cropped into a tiny square thumbnail. The problem? Not all photos read well that small.

Take today's photo. Even at 500p, the background looks cluttered and busy. I had someone suggest that I add some blur to the background to help take away the distraction from the couple. I don't disagree with that, and a shallower depth of field or some photoshop would help isolate the main subject.

But, do me a favor and view that photo larger. Take a minute to look at the background, and everything that's going on there. What looks like a random bunch of heads at 500p suddenly becomes a wealth of expression and celebration of the couple's kiss. It's even better at the original image size, which I don't have posted. All of the action in the background adds to the story of the photo, and gives it more depth than just a nice picture of a bride and groom kissing.

The moral of this story is, find a way to view your photos larger. Find sites that will let you display your work at a larger resolution. Alert people to the fact that your image will probably look better larger and ask them to click through. Also, larger format prints are an awesome (albeit slightly expensive) way to look at your work, and I highly recommend taking a few of your hero shots and getting them printed up at 8x10 or larger. There is something truly satisfying about holding a print of your work in your hands and taking in every detail.


NOTE: I'm not trying to call out the person who made that comment, or say that they were wrong. You can definitely make the point that the background is too busy. It's all subjective, and there is no right or wrong. I love getting comments and criticism (yes, criticism) on my work, and being able to discuss it with people beyond "great shot!" "thanks." So thank you for the inspiration.

Feel free to write your thoughts/feelings on it as a comment here or on the flickr page


[title of blog] on flickr


  1. LOL oh Simon, I'm not so sensitive. I wouldn't have been offended, even without the disclaimer.

    This is one of those shots that I would have put the blur into, BUT I think you're right, I'd lose the people in the background -- whose expressions and reactions are WONDERFUL. Good thing I almost never save OVER my original photos. ;)

  2. @Kristan - haha, ok I just wanted to make sure.

    You make a good point about non-destructive workflow, which I'll have to touch on at some point as well