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Photography QnA: New Questions

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Category: New Questions

In the BetterPhoto photography forum, great questions on the art and craft of photography flow in at a rapid, non-stop rate. The following are the photography questions that have been asked most recently. Browse the questions below to see which photo topics have most recently been posted in our photography forum.

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Photography Question 
Harriet Feagin
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 10/25/2011
  41 .  Textures
I want to find some colorful textures such as pastel oils or watercolors. Does anyone know a good source? Thanks!

4/5/2014 9:03:58 AM

  Have you tried Gimp (freeware from It also has texture-like effects and a lot more. Also, you can create and blend your own textures with photos.

4/5/2014 10:52:56 AM

  Thanks. I will look this up.

4/5/2014 1:56:38 PM

  Try Textures for Layers on Flickr:
They have lots of free textures. This will also lead you to individual Flickr accounts with more free textures.

5/31/2014 3:55:31 AM

  As Tiia mentioned you can create a texture by blending your own photos.

Sidewalk cement makes a good texture, as does tree bark, rusted metal, carpet, crinkled paper, frost/snow/rain on a window screen, etc.

For this photo I blended a picture of my counter top with a photo of corn stalks and adjusted the hue/saturation.

Garnished Grackle

5/31/2014 8:00:15 AM

  Double Gold
Double Gold
Same finch; flying and perching. Background is my sidewalk blended with my countertop.
This photo is an example of blending cement and a different counter top.

5/31/2014 8:02:55 AM

Anne Marie Hickey
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/11/2001
  Also try Joel Olive, Flypaper, Paint the Monn and my favorite is French Kiss for textures

6/13/2014 1:14:00 PM

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Photography Question 
Usman Bajwa
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 4/11/2006
  42 .  recent increase in Judges' Comment
I have noticed that the frequency of Judges' Comments on the recently announced February Finalists was significantly higher than before. I, for one, received three judges comments out of my four February Finalists.

If this is part of a conscious effort from Judges and is in line with BetterPhoto 2.0, I think it is a wonderful step. This practice will not only give extra motivation/excitement to the contestants but will also give them some pro feedback on their entries.

Would like to hear from fellow members on their take on this.


3/31/2014 9:53:55 PM

  I also received four Judges comments on the three of my finalists. I noticed a lot of other comments from the Judges on other peoples finalist too. I think we all appreciate the extra effort it takes to do this and hope it continues.

4/1/2014 3:45:54 AM

  I received a Judges' comment on my one finlist, and it was indeed much appreciated! Thank you, Judges and BP!

4/1/2014 9:34:28 AM

  I think it's great. I've noticed it happening sporadically in the past, I'm wondering if it's just a certain judge or judges that like to comment, and the rest, not so much. What I'd really like to see is, especially on the Grand Prize, what went into their thinking as to why that one was special to them. Lots of times I will think that somebody in a first or second place position had the shot of the month. I'm always curious as to what went into their choice.

4/2/2014 1:21:25 PM

  I received a comment from one of the judges on one of my finalist also. Very much appreciated. Between that
and the recent email of their changes I think our voices have been heard. So happy of what appears to be moves for the better.

4/2/2014 1:48:37 PM

  I just went ahead and checked the number of Judges' Comments on March's Finalists in the monthly theme category and found out that 29 out of the 43 got a Judges comment, that's a 67% rate.

Thanks for your time, Judges, its very much appreciated.


4/29/2014 4:37:24 AM

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Photography Question 
Peggy J. Pfister
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 2/2/2011
  43 .  Contest Category
Hi, I'm still trying to wrap my head aroung the recent changes in the contest categories. :)
What if I have a close up (but not really macro) photo of a plant (no flower), not converted to B&W or any other DD-type processing? Previously I would put it in Catch-All, but now I don't know where to put it ...
Does anyone have any thoughts or advice that you wouldn't mind sharing?

3/31/2014 9:59:30 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  A Betterphoto Shaman?

3/31/2014 12:45:44 PM

  LOL, Gregory! Do you know one? :)

3/31/2014 2:19:18 PM

  Well now, I've always thought this kind of shot should go in N&L - but in the past it was usually overlooked there in favor of the expansive scenes - especially at sunset or sunrise LOL I'd probably try it there, though.

4/3/2014 12:55:24 PM

  And idle curiosity question for Gregory. Do you enter the contest here at BP?

4/3/2014 12:56:18 PM

  Thanks for your thoughts, Nikki. I'm still mulling it over, but now that resubs are allowed, I can retry it in a different category if I pick wrong ...

4/3/2014 12:59:26 PM

  Peggy, maybe if you put up an example, we could give a better guess? Nikki, I agree, I would probably have put it in N/L, but it surely wouldn't have much of a chance there. Very seldom do we see anything but landscapes picked in that category. It would have to be pretty special to beat out the super landscapes that usually dominate the category. And I don't think Greg enters the contest. He would probably do pretty well if he did, I've seen his website in the past.

4/3/2014 1:23:59 PM

  Hi Carolyn, thanks for responding. This is the one I was pondering ...


I ended up converting it to B&W, so I put it in DD. However, I still wonder where it should have gone if I had stuck with the color version.

4/3/2014 9:22:02 PM

  It's gorgeous, Peggy. If EoD is intact (part of the description of the Man Made category says "Bokeh, Painting with light, and motion blur photos belong in the "Abstract/Graphics" category" so I'm not quite sure what's going on there), I probably would put it there.
You can change the category before you enter tomorrow or some other day before the end of the month if you change your mind.
And you did catch that all bw does not have to go in DD, didn't you?

4/3/2014 9:29:58 PM

  Hi Nikki, thanks!
Yes, I caught that all B&Ws don't have to go into DD; I just thought it was probably safe to put it there. I thought of EoD as well. Seems that it could really go in several categories.

I think it would be a good idea if "Flowers" were actually "Flowers & Plants". I did at one time enter a plant photo (sans flowers) in "Flowers", and it got an EP, but went no further. Of course, I don't know if that was because it was considered miscategorized, or if it just wasn't destined to go further. :)

4/3/2014 9:43:04 PM

  I think it would fit in EOD, Macro (maybe) or DD.
Good question about the plant! I always wonder what to do with them, too. N/L, I guess.

4/4/2014 2:43:40 AM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 6/11/2005
  Peggy, I would vote EOD or macro. And I have seen some plants get recognition in N/L. And I'm more in line with Nikki for B/W; they don't have to go in DD just because they're converted to B/W. There's probably less DD work to convert to B/W than some of the other effects we see outside of the DD category.

4/4/2014 7:57:43 AM

  Thanks to all for the helpful advice! Much appreciated!

4/4/2014 9:49:52 AM

  Did I miss something about being able to resubmit?

4/6/2014 12:27:28 AM

  Yes, in one of the threads Jim said we could resubmit. I think it was Jessica's about replacement of the Catch-All category with Man Made.

4/6/2014 4:26:40 AM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
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member since: 6/11/2005
  Jill, Jim M also sent out an e-mail Apr 2nd. Here's the words:
I have great news...

You can once again resubmit photos into the monthly photography contest. If your photo did not place and you want to try again, go for it.

Contest-lovers will also enjoy that we are selecting more Editor's Picks, and picking them sooner... so you have more time to enjoy seeing the results before we publish the next round, the Staff Favorites.

And if you did not already know, it's free to enter the contest.

But wait, there's more :-)

1. For WEBSITE OWNERS... we've improved the "Add to Favorites" system and made it so the photo title and ID display when you hover over a photo.
2. For STUDENTS... We have a really exciting development just around the corner, where you will get a new assignment each month, feedback from excellent photographers, and more.
3. For EVERYONE... we've improved speed and performance on the site as a whole. Enjoy a faster BetterPhoto!

We have a lot of improvement going on here.

And the really big improvements are right around the corner. Soon, we'll be unveiling the new BP 2.0.

I appreciate all the feedback many of you have sent me in recent surveys and emails.

Thanks for helping make BetterPhoto even more awesome.

Jim --------

4/6/2014 6:28:27 AM

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Photography Question 
Beth W. DeBor
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 9/9/2009
  44 .  April EPs, Staff Favorites, & Finalists
The posts in this forum should only be related to EPs, SFs and Fs. Please start a new thread for anything else. Good luck!

3/30/2014 6:54:04 AM


4/3/2014 2:18:25 AM


4/3/2014 7:06:10 AM

  Add me to the list of lurkers... :-)

4/4/2014 7:42:43 AM

  Latched on ;)


4/6/2014 9:41:10 AM

  April 1 - From Paris with Love - Man-Made


4/8/2014 2:29:02 AM

4/2..EOD..Patterned Web

4/8/2014 4:11:59 AM

  Skipped the 1st...resub..apparently they don't like oob stuff...
Ep for the 2nd...

4/8/2014 7:00:36 AM

  I appreciate these posts as it lets me know where the judging is. April is a bust for me so far...

4/8/2014 5:12:37 PM

  4/3..Landscapes..Oh What A Night

4/10/2014 2:08:15 AM

  April 2 - Backlit Birdy - Digital Darkroom


4/10/2014 2:13:17 AM

  April 1 - Animals
Bird Dog

Nothing for the 2nd :(

4/10/2014 7:55:19 AM

Lola M.
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 3/29/2005
  Monarch and Zinnia
Monarch and Zinnia
4/2 Details and Macro

4/1 Skipped

4/10/2014 8:40:21 AM

  One for me at this point, April 2, EoD

Against the Wall

4/10/2014 10:25:52 AM Photo Contest Finalist

Finalist - Digital Darkroom - April 2014

Sempervivum, or "hens and chicks" succulent, "Kalinda" variety.
Minor adjustments in PS CC, converted to B&W with Topaz Black and White Effects 2.
4/1 Digital Darkroom

4/10/2014 10:46:42 AM

  Essence of Life
Essence of Life

Minor adjustments in PS CC.
4/2 Monthly Theme (Back to Basics)

4/10/2014 10:49:36 AM

Bob D. Hall
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Bob
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member since: 4/15/2002
  4/3 skipped
4/4 skipped

4/10/2014 3:42:41 PM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 6/11/2005
  Bob, don't give up on the 3rd or 4th just yet. From looking at the EP link (, the latest EPs I've seen are from April 3rd. And no one has reported an EP for the 4th, on this thread.

A couple of days ago, folks were reporting EPs for the 2nd, but it took two more days before I got an EP for the 2nd. Meaning, you still might get an EP for third.

4/10/2014 4:43:24 PM

  Hope you're right, Ken. For now, I'm with Harriet -- 0 (for 10 in my case).

4/10/2014 5:04:30 PM

Bob D. Hall
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Bob
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member since: 4/15/2002
  Thanks, Ken!
I will not give up!

4/11/2014 7:53:32 AM

  I was looking at my entries for this month and realized that I don't know, with confidence, where to enter some of my shots. Elements of Design and Man Made are confusing to me. I still miss the Catch All category. It is like the junk drawer in the kitchen.....when in doubt, throw it into Catch All. This may have been a problem for BP,though.

4/11/2014 10:05:33 PM

  Just got one in the junk drawer - uhhh - Man Made category. Could have easily gone into T&P or, of course, C-A.

April 3
Door at Hacienda Martinez

But they skipped the 2nd which saddens but does not surprise me :)

4/13/2014 5:20:33 PM

  Got one for the 4th.....50% so far.. :-)

4/14/2014 5:03:39 PM

  Finally, on the boards. Elements of Design. 4-4-14 Happy dance! (not a pretty sight)

4/14/2014 5:47:48 PM

  4/4..Landscape..Early Morning Reflections

4/14/2014 6:06:04 PM

4/3 Flowers

4/15/2014 6:53:05 PM

  Very flustered. Have entered 8 and not one EP. I thought I read form BB that they were going t be more generous again. I definately dont expect every shot that was the case a couple years ago but 0 for 8. thats aweful. Hopefully my photography isn't really that bad. Its of course just a hobby for me but still like to think I can occasionally take a photo that is ok.

4/17/2014 4:20:39 AM

  I think they are only up to the 4th, Jackie. Maybe yours were entered later than that.

4/17/2014 4:28:58 AM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 6/11/2005
  And hopefully they haven't finished with the 4th yet. :-)

4/17/2014 4:32:35 AM

  1st and 3rd for me, too, though a skip on the 4th wouldn't surprise me. I'm actually more interested in their going back for a second look at the March EP's :)

4/17/2014 7:08:14 AM

  Jackie, in my opinion you take more than the occasional photo that is better than ok. I wish we knew who does the judging and what they're judging on.

I haven't had an EP since the end of Feb. but in fairness to them, I stopped entering as a result of frustration and then entered two at the end of March which were both skipped. The one I entered so far in April is from the 4th.

4/17/2014 8:16:32 AM

Bob D. Hall
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 4/15/2002
  4/3 skipped
4/4 skipped
4/5 "Mating Season" Animals
4/6 "Bride In A Barn (Sepia)" People

4/17/2014 10:39:30 AM

4/6..Landscape..Winter Sunset On The Rocks
4/8..Landscape..Snow And Ice And Some God Rays
4/9..Macro..Dew Tell

4/17/2014 12:01:21 PM

Lola M.
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 3/29/2005
  Yellow Sulphur
Yellow Sulphur
4/9 Details and Macro

6 skipped photos before this one

4/17/2014 12:15:52 PM

  Only two EP's so far this month. Discouraging. But, the month is not over yet!

4/17/2014 12:22:14 PM


Staff Favorite - Elements of Design - April 2014

Echeveria "Sunburst", shot in late afternoon window light.
Minor adjustments in PS CC.
4/4 Elements of Design

4/17/2014 6:05:37 PM

  April 3 - Skipped
April 4 - Skipped
April 5 - Skipped
April 6 - Skipped
April 7 - A London Sunrise - T&P
April 8 - Skipped

And I have always loved the ones which are trend-breakers, April 7 in this case, lol!!!


4/17/2014 8:52:38 PM

  Up to the 10th!

Hoppy Easter tomorrow... :-)

4/19/2014 6:37:47 PM

Bob D. Hall
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Bob
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member since: 4/15/2002
  4/7 skipped
4/8 skipped
4/9 skipped
4/10 "Day of Refection" Landscape

4/19/2014 6:39:30 PM

  Aha, got two in a row, wow, and it feels awesome ;)

April 9 - Flying - People
April 10 - A New Addition - Flowers


4/20/2014 8:31:34 AM

Bob D. Hall
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Bob
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member since: 4/15/2002
  Staff Favorite "Bride In A Barn" people

4/27/2014 4:02:07 AM

  Thats great Bob and good luck in the next rounds. You may want to check the dedicated thread in the discussion forum for showcasing March's SFs, Finalists and Winners at the following link:


4/27/2014 5:15:49 AM

Bob D. Hall
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Bob
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member since: 4/15/2002
  4/11 skipped
4/12 NE
4/13 skipped
4/14 "1906" MM

4/28/2014 1:05:41 PM

4/12..Landscape..Pasture Weeds
4/13..Landscape..A Favorite View From Eufaula Cove

4/28/2014 1:13:51 PM

Lola M.
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Lola
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member since: 3/29/2005
  Spring Tulip
Spring Tulip
4/14 Flowers

4/28/2014 2:35:14 PM

  April 11 - Full of Beauty-Beautiful - Flowers
April 12 - Cactus Design - EoD


4/28/2014 8:19:05 PM

4/15..Macro..Stepping Forward

4/29/2014 11:24:27 AM

  April 13 - Skipped
April 14 - Strike a Pose - People
April 15 - Riding a Wave - D&Macro


4/29/2014 8:59:44 PM

  April 16 - Skipped (My fave of the month)
April 17 - One-arm Pushups - Animals


5/1/2014 8:38:28 PM

  April 18 - GEOMETRY - Man-Made
April 19 - POPPYLICIOUS - Digital Darkroom
April 20 - Ceiling Stars - Man-Made


5/3/2014 5:35:14 AM

  Wow! Not happy!!
4/21..Macro..Gross grass Dweller
Now that ain't pretty!!

5/3/2014 10:44:40 AM

  I'm not a happy camper either. Everything skipped, it appears, straight through from the 13th through the 21st.

5/3/2014 5:36:29 PM

  None for April....but my happiness doesn't come from getting an EP, mine comes from just being alive and healthy enough to be able to get out and enjoy the things I love to do.

5/4/2014 4:50:38 AM

  A total of 4 for me, the most recent on 4/21. Probably the worst showing since I joined BP. Maybe it's time to buy a new camera (that's a joke, folks)!

5/4/2014 6:20:36 AM

  4/22..Macro..Dropping Off
Mine aren't looking so good for the month, either. I hope it improves when (or if) they go back through the ones they skipped. I haven't had 5 in a row skipped in a LONG time.

5/4/2014 6:58:15 AM

4/24..Macro..Drops On Leaf
Yikes! These skips are painful. LOL

5/4/2014 3:44:03 PM

Lola M.
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Lola
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member since: 3/29/2005
4/23 Flowers
7 skips before that one

5/4/2014 5:04:55 PM

  April 21 - Skipped
April 22 - Skipped
April 23 - Skipped
April 24 - Last One Standing - D&M
April 25 - Carpet Landing - N&L
April 26 - Blue Turban - DD


5/4/2014 6:10:04 PM

  4/17 Flowers In Clover

4/19 Details & Macro Golden Spring

5/4/2014 6:53:59 PM

  4/25..Landscape..January Morning
4/26..Landscape..Sunrise Over Avalon Bay

5/5/2014 2:52:04 AM

  4/27..EOD..Web Patterns

5/5/2014 2:53:23 PM

  4/27..EOD..Web Patterns

5/5/2014 2:53:25 PM

Bob D. Hall
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Bob
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member since: 4/15/2002
  4/15 - 4/22 skipped
4/23 "Sedona Majesty" Landscape
4/24 "Bell Rock" Landscape
4/25 "Fishing" Animals
4/26 4/27 skipped

5/5/2014 3:30:30 PM

4/29..Macro..Like Tiny Jewels
4/30..Grand Finale
.....and waiting for the next run through. They did skip a bunch this month. Way more than usual. BUT, I'm hoping for a few more to show up later.

5/6/2014 2:51:44 AM

  I've only submitted six images since Feb.24--ALL SKIPPED. Maybe I'll just quit submitting to the contests all together.

5/6/2014 7:01:09 AM

  15 submits for April...O ep's! I'm batting 1000! :-)

5/6/2014 9:43:26 AM

  April 27 - Skipped
April 28 - Skipped
April 29 - Skipped
April 30 - Skipped

I am hoping they at least take a second look at the left-overs!!!!


5/6/2014 9:57:07 AM

  Skipped my last three, too. At 11/28, I'm just under 40% and from what I'm seeing in the thread, I should be counting myself lucky!

5/6/2014 10:02:38 AM

  8 out of 17....Ugh!!!

5/6/2014 10:20:09 AM

  6 out of 10 for me. meh.

5/6/2014 12:52:34 PM

  16 of 30 for me, about 50% that is.


5/7/2014 2:51:13 AM

  18 of 30 for me. I guess I shouldn't complain. They did miss some good ones, though, and I'm sure that's the case for all of you!

5/7/2014 2:56:05 AM

  Well, I was worried my photography really got bad....but I guess 8 out of 14 is not too bad. I just don't have time to put on an image every day. (Care taking for my mother) I'm like Carolyn, there are a few I really loved that didn't get Eps....

5/7/2014 3:52:01 PM

  Are we still not allowed to re-enter pictures to the contest? I didn't get a single EP for April and I feel like several of my entries would have deserved at least an EP. Maybe BP isn't the right place for a wildlife photographer. I thought I had improved, but I'm getting fewer EP's those days.

5/7/2014 6:24:14 PM

  You can now resubmit! And everybody got fewer EPs this time, it looks like.

5/7/2014 6:34:37 PM

  Thank you, Carolyn!

5/7/2014 8:10:33 PM

  Wild Flower
Wild Flower

Not only is the wild onion, or allium, a wildflower, it's a wild flower!
This one has burst open and is just about to send out tiny flower stalks.
Shot along the banks of Clear Creek, Galveston County, Texas.
Minor adjustments in PS CC and a bit of texture by Kim Klassen.
Picked up an EP ...

4/5 Flowers

5/8/2014 6:30:07 PM

  I just picked up another one from the 4th.. :-)

5/8/2014 6:45:01 PM

  Picked up the 2nd, 4th, and 5th

5/8/2014 6:50:19 PM

  The second pass through by the judges always feels like a big reliever, I see three new EPs.

April 3 - Fresh Salad on a Wheel Barrow - DD
April 4 - Summer Dreams - Flowers
April 6 - Spring Impressions - DD


5/8/2014 8:16:52 PM

  Not a one for me, at least at this point. Zip.

5/9/2014 6:02:58 AM

  Well, if they passed through a second time, they didn't pass through me. Nothing more than I already had.
None yet for May either. Boohoo.

5/9/2014 6:25:00 AM

  A big 7 out of 26...:-( Better then nothing I guess...

5/9/2014 11:10:23 AM

  Everything "new" that I see reported is for the 6th or earlier. Maybe they only got through the first week or not even.

5/9/2014 11:20:00 AM

  This morning:
4/7..Macro..Vine And Water Drop

5/11/2014 9:45:03 AM

  The word from Jim is:
we have a lot more EPs coming for April. My team may even be working on them this weekend or early this week. Hang in there.
The competition is steep... especially in the Flowers category. There are simply so many awesome high-quality close-ups of flowers. This makes it what Galen Rowell called a "mature" subject that then requires even more unique and eye-catching compositions and treatments.

5/18/2014 11:56:15 AM

  And I got an EP on a previously left-over one just recently, Yay.

April 8 - The Winning Team - Animals


5/19/2014 9:14:34 PM

  I just picked up the 7th and 8th, too.

5/19/2014 9:20:43 PM

  This Old House
Digital Darkroom

5/20/2014 5:14:27 AM

  The second run through has started.
4/17..T/P..Mountain Fork Riverbank Morning Mist
4/18..Macro..Mother Nature's Knick Knacks
4/20..EOD..Curve Appeal
4/23..Landscape..Gorgeous Cloud Colors

5/20/2014 5:57:13 PM

  Retro Style
Retro Style

A view of the iconic fin of a 1957 Chevy Bel Air, shot at a small local car show.
Intentional extreme contrast and saturation, noise. All processing in PS CC.
4/7 Elements of Design

5/20/2014 6:11:36 PM

  Got a couple more EPs, I love the second pass through ....

April 16 - GOTHIC DESIGN - EoD
April 23 - GLOW - Flowers


5/20/2014 8:17:08 PM

  Don't Fence Me In

5/20/2014 8:31:26 PM

  I got one for the 17th--Bubby--but more exciting for me is a first place win in pictorial category that I received at camera club tonight. It's my first award.

5/20/2014 9:30:49 PM

  Congrats Beth, that is wonderful news! Was Buddy the winning image?

5/20/2014 10:49:54 PM

  Thats great, Beth. Big CONGRATZ, WTG!


5/21/2014 5:59:06 AM

  Thanks, Usman and Joannie. No, Joannie, he had to compete with cute furry little ducklings so Buddy didn't make it through. My textured rose was one of the three in that category for my level. Each judge got to pick a final image out of all the winners for the season.

5/21/2014 8:13:21 AM

  One of my two favorites was entered on the 20th and still doesn't have an EP. As Usman and Carolyn have both reported for the 23rd, I guess I can give up on that.

5/21/2014 6:53:03 PM

  A Serious Fellow
A Serious Fellow

The American green tree frog (Hyla cinerea) is about two inches long, and lives mainly in the southeastern United States.
This little guy was sleepily lounging on a dry reed in a wetlands area near Houston, Texas.
He was a docile subject, but I couldn't get him to smile for the camera ... :)
Minor adjustments in PS CC.
One more ...

4/28 Animals

5/21/2014 7:54:29 PM

  Yep, just got one for the 30th. I reckon they have finished. I was picking them up left and right through the middle of the month but after the 16th, I didn't pick any up until the 30th (skips on the 20, 22, 24, 27, 28 and forgot to enter on the 29th).

5/21/2014 8:03:23 PM

  I'm also thinking they may be done, or close to it. Hopefully we'll see Staff Favorites in the next few days. Best of luck, everyone!

5/21/2014 8:21:39 PM

  April 30 - The Bright one - DD

That would make 23 EPs out of the 30 entries for me in April. That is actually more than I was expecting earlier ;)

However, my two favorites of the month were again skipped ;(
(which are now going into the resub folder).

I guess that is just like life, its a mix .... can't have all the happiness or all the sorrow!!!


5/22/2014 12:36:41 AM

  I also ended up with 23 of 30. They got most of the ones I thought would get one. Just one I think they missed. I have a similar one from the same batch I'll put up later.

5/22/2014 6:36:39 AM

  Glad they went back and did another round. I ended up with 14 out of 26...much better :-)
I was getting very discouraged until I heard from Jim about some of the new things they are working on for "The New BP..."I can't wait to see what changes are coming :-)

5/23/2014 7:49:01 AM

  Yes, I'm glad they went back also! I picked up one more EP, so I have two out of 13!

5/23/2014 9:05:16 AM

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Photography Question 
Donna R. Moratelli
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Donna
Donna's Gallery

member since: 11/23/2000
  45 .  photo size
Are the images on the site bigger now? They look huge!

3/22/2014 12:13:09 PM

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Jill Odice
BetterPhoto Member
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Jill's Gallery

member since: 7/1/2005
  46 .  Self Portraits
How fun! Jim sent out an email asking us to post Self Portraits! It is nice to see the faces behind the cameras :-)

3/20/2014 11:27:47 PM

  I didn't know, but I already see me there. Good idea BP, so we would be able to put a face behind the name too !!


3/21/2014 4:24:05 AM

James C. Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
Owner,, Inc.
  Thanks Jill and Usman - fun to see your faces for sure!!!

3/22/2014 2:04:40 PM

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Photography Question 
Arleen H. McDaniel
BetterPhoto Member
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Arleen's Gallery

member since: 1/4/2014
  47 .  Aperture Priority mode
  living room chairs
living room chairs
aperture priority, 1/60 sec, 18-55mm, indoors, Arleen McDaniel, Mid day, etc.
© Arleen H. McDaniel
Nikon D3100
With the camera setting on Aperture Priority , I set the setting No problem but the camera does not seem to do its part and the pictures often turn out fairly dark. This in indoor shooting
Arleen McDaniel

3/19/2014 10:46:51 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  It would've done that on shutter priority. The meter measures relative brightness of the different parts of what ever the metering area is reflecting back at it. A very bright spot like outside area will shift what it thinks the exposure needs to be to under exposed end.
Like being outside and suddenly looking at a white object that hurts your eyes. The sun didn't get brighter, you looked at an area that reflected more light than the overall scene.
If they're turning out dark all the time, like when you're outside, then you might have the exposure compensation accidentally set to under expose. You can check that to be sure.

3/19/2014 5:19:01 PM

Christopher J. Budny
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/3/2005
  You may also need to check what metering mode your camera is set to (if it has the ability to choose from different ones like Spot, Center-Weighted, Evaluative.)
For instance, if you were set to Spot, and the actual spot being metered was outside that window, then this shot is exposed accordingly -- notice how the outside is not blown out? The trees are all well defined/exposed... being so much brighter out there, than in the room, if the outside drove your metering, the inside ends up very underexposed as you have here. Conversely, if you had exposed for say, the chair, you likely would have blown out much of the detail in the yard outside.

3/20/2014 5:52:40 AM

  Thank you for the feedback, In your opinion what would be the best metering setting in this situation?

3/20/2014 6:07:51 AM

Christopher J. Budny
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/3/2005
  For a single photograph of this scene, you'd have to decide which elements mattered most. If the goal is to show the room & chairs, properly exposed, you will lose a bit (or much of) the exterior to blow-out. But given the big expanse of brightness in the center of your scene, I'd try Evaluative/Overall metering. Also, if you had sheers on those windows, closing them might help cut the light a bit, and balance out the overall lighting in the room.
Another option would be to take 2 identical shots on a tripod; one exposed for the yard, one exposed for the room, and blend those together (in software) for a composite result.

3/20/2014 6:59:46 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  You also have spot metering or the exposure compensation. One may feel smoother to use than the other. The location of the spot meter button on my camera isn't as easy as using the dial on the back to use exposure compensation. It's easy to keep the camera up and use my thumb and keep looking at the info in the viewfinder.
So for me, I would use the evaluative with exposure comp when keeping it on an auto exposure setting. It's one choice, you may like another.

3/20/2014 7:17:11 AM

  I will do some playing with both of these, I seem to have better luck with Manual setting, I will send the results I really appreciate the imformation

3/20/2014 12:14:13 PM

  This is a challenging exposure situation, for sure! I agree with those who discussed using spot or center-weighted metering if you wanted to get proper exposure on the furniture in the room. The outdoors would appear blown-out by comparison, but that's not always a bad thing. Another alternative is to utilize HDR software to get the best exposure in all areas. You must shoot several exposures of the scene and combine them with the HDR software, PhotoMatix is one.

3/27/2014 6:47:09 PM

I have played around some with the different aspects and think the forum has been helpful and appreciate the feed back

3/28/2014 8:55:11 AM

  14421808  forum picture
14421808 forum picture
AP 1 sec f/16 100
18-55mm at 35
  14421809 forum picture
14421809 forum picture
AP 10 sec f/16 200 +2 exp
18-55mm at 35mm
Having trouble getting the pictures in exposure +2 and HDR

3/28/2014 9:35:11 AM

Here are a couple of the play around learning pictures

3/28/2014 9:38:09 AM

Here are a couple of the play around learning pictures

3/28/2014 9:38:09 AM

  Hi Arleen, The image at the bottom is the better of the two in terms of exposure on the furniture. The outdoor area is a little blown out. Your comment suggests that you have HDR software. If so, just keep experimenting with it. For best results, you'll need to shoot some exposures over, at your camera's recommended exposure, and several under.

3/28/2014 9:48:40 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  You could use that situation as an opportunity to learn about using flash to get a better balance of light between the inside and outside.
Bounce flash off the ceiling to bring the lighting ratios closer together.

3/29/2014 10:01:35 AM


3/31/2014 1:29:01 PM

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Jessica Jenney
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Jessica
Jessica's Gallery

member since: 12/2/2005
  48 .  Man Made category
I see the "Catch-all" category has been replaced with "Man Made". I see many images that are not man made just to let you know.

3/18/2014 3:23:46 PM

  HELLO BP!! Shouldn't you let us know when you are changing a category? When was this effective? Next month's contest, I have to assume. What does this mean?? Wouldn't man made apply to some of the same stuff that goes in EOD, or what about DD? I know I'm baffled. Please let us know!!

3/18/2014 3:55:33 PM

  Holy Cow!!!
Yet another change!
I just noticed! Sheesh!
I have also seen things that are obviously NOT man-made. I guess I've missed the memo regarding this change!
I might have entered differently had I known this was going to take place.
Perhaps BP should just put the catch-all category back, and ADD this as a new category.....I dunno!

Flabbergasted & Frustrated !!

3/18/2014 7:24:53 PM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
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member since: 6/11/2005
  I think we need to see how this pans out. I've already put several photos into the "Catch All" category, and when I check my Contest Entries, they're still listed as "Catch All." And there are tons of Catch All photos that aren't applicable for Man-Made category.

This could be a simple mistake, or perhaps meant for next month. If BP does make the change from Catch All to Man Made, I hope they make it effective next month, and put out some guidance on what this category is...or isn't. Otherwise, half of the contest submissions will be mis-categorized.

3/18/2014 8:03:33 PM

  Here's the current definition of "Catch-All". "Man-made" seems to apply to the first type ("transportation") only, leaving the rest without a home. I can see that they might want to refine if the category were overrun, but it actually has fewer entries than N&L.

Plus while I've used the term myself on a recent image, I do object to the term MAN-made. :)

This is the place for any image that doesn't fit into one of the other nine categories. Examples include still-life, motion-blur, black and white. If you have an photo that you love (that doesn't seem to fit into the other categories), enter it into this category. Please do not put photos into this category that could fit into another category. This category is for:
Transportation - trains, planes, cars, etc.
Motion blur and long-exposure zoomed images
Painting with light
Black and white images.
Bokeh and other special effects

3/18/2014 8:19:57 PM

  Thanks Jessica for letting us all know. You keep a close eye on the contest mecanics:)

Sure would have loved had BP informed us on the change of name with some specific details as to what kind of images are suitable in this new category. I would say a lot of architecture and transportation images would fall under this.

Looking forward to Team BP's elaboration/explanation on this new category.


3/19/2014 12:12:46 AM

  I hope they add Catch All back, because frankly, most of what I shoot only fits in this category... Where are tabletop/still life shots suppose to go now? This seems like a weird choice for a category... I don't shoot in b/w but I have always thought that would make a great one...

3/19/2014 4:59:33 AM

  LOLOL I was just thinking the other day in connection with another competition what a good idea it was when BP switched, years ago, to Catch-All as a final category since it broadened rather than narrowing.

I'm with others who say there are many subjects that will now be left without a home. If the problem is people putting a flower or a bird picture, for example, in C-A rather than Flowers or Animals, it can be solved much more simply. Just don't give it an EP or, if you do because you really don't pay that much attention to category on the first round (quite acceptable, IMO), make sure it does not go on.

3/19/2014 6:29:33 AM

  Martha, I'm with you - MAN-made doesn't cut it for me, either. Last time I checked I wasn't one, so guess I won't be using that category any more!

3/19/2014 6:30:39 AM

  Yes indeed, we really need BP's definition of what the new category means and a list of which types of photography are no longer welcome (see Kara's post). Do they mean what other sites call Digital Art (in camera or by PP)? Architecture? A bird on a telephone pole? A flower garden? Anything human? All require the intervention of "Man". For that matter, what if the subject was made by ((shudder)) a Woman?

And I agree with Martha: you'd think by 2014 it'd be routine to use inclusionary vocabulary. Why an insensitive title which ignores over half the membership even if that wasn't the intent? Since only BP knows what the category includes, it's pointless to suggest alternatives until they share that information with us.

Finally, what the heck was wrong with "Catch All"?

3/19/2014 6:42:39 AM

Perhaps their intention is/was to
INCLUDE a category of Man Made
and not take Catch All away at all....maybe it's just a glitch.

3/19/2014 7:07:55 AM

  To me it sounds like a great title for the Monthly Theme category. Man Made - infinite choice of images. I think its just a simple mistake. And, by the way, everywhere else on the website there is still Catch All category. But until this issue is cleared I won't put anything into Catch All. Too bad. I did not submit anything yesterday because of that.

3/19/2014 7:14:57 AM

  Must be a mistake. Yes, sounds as though it's really meant as a theme? Makes absolutely no sense as a category. And, of course, not "man" made but "human" made is the obvious term that reflects reality.

3/19/2014 10:21:04 AM

  Maybe it is a mistake and 'Man Made' is supposed to be a future monthly theme. This month's theme was 'Creativity' but has reverted back to February's theme, 'Wild Color'.

3/19/2014 12:17:12 PM

James C. Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
Owner,, Inc.
  Hello awesome friends,

Man-made will be the new category starting in April, replacing Catch-all. It will be:

* Architecture
* Transportation (planes, trains and automobiles)
* Industry

Still-life photography should go into Details & Macro. Motion blur will likely go into Elements of Design.

Don't worry about this change for the rest of February. And if you enter awesome pictures of architecture, industry, and transportation... that will be cool too. The judges will be flexible for this month.

We have so many improvements happening... I can't tell you how excited I am.

If there is dust from all the construction work, please excuse and forgive.

It's been a long time since we updated BetterPhoto to this extent.

Since it's BetterPhoto's 18th birthday next week, it's a great time for improvements.


P.S. Yes, the theme is "Creativity" (I've just fixed that bug).

And let me say, I've peeked at what is coming in and it's awesome.

More details as soon as I can...

3/19/2014 4:08:44 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  "A bird on a telephone pole? A flower garden? Anything human? All require the intervention of "Man". For that matter, what if the subject was made by ((shudder)) a Woman?"

The poles would be crooked.

3/19/2014 5:03:00 PM

  Thanks Jim for your information/clarification on the new category.

Its great to know that BP is going to be 18 next week!!! WOW. I have been associated with it regularly since the last 5-6 years and have loved every second of it. Wishing BP and BPers many more years of success and growth and fun and learning.


3/19/2014 7:56:15 PM

James C. Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
Owner,, Inc.
  Thank you so much, Usman!

And thanks, Gregory:

A) You're funny!

B) I realized as I was driving away after posting that previous comment that I forgot to mention:

This doesn't mean that you Nature & Landscape photos can't have any sign of humans in them. The other categories can of course have man-made stuff. It's just an umbrella term for those very popular subjects of architecture, transportation, industry.

It's all about what is the primary value of the photo. The main concept or core essence. Bird on a pole... it's about the animal. Flower garden... it's about the flowers, even if a person made it.

And we're using "man" in the universal sense meaning man and woman...

...but children would still go in the people category (if that is the primary subject of the photo).



3/20/2014 7:09:44 AM

  :( Jim, to you, "Man" may be universal, but in the 21st century "Man" feels exclusionary for many of us. You're celebrating BP's 18th birthday in what to me (and probably some others) is an unfortunately negative way even if that's not your personal perception.

You used "Industry" in your list, which would also cover "Architecture" and "Transportation". So why not use it instead?

Then again, there's always Catch-All ...

3/20/2014 9:06:46 AM

  Kay, I was of those "rabble-rousers" who worked hard to rid the planet of exclusionary language like this way back in the '60s, and happily, most of it (at least from public organizations, businesses and such) has gone by the boards. Truly sorry to see it here.

3/20/2014 9:48:18 AM

  Yes, I would agree with Kay in all regards here, Jim. And Monnie as well. The use of "man-made" is exclusionary and inappropriate. The change to this category, and the dumping of Catch-All, and, really, your explanation of where things would go, all simply do not make any sense to me at all no matter how I might try to twist them in my mind to make them somehow seem reasonable. I cannot fathom what the reason for such an incredibly strange category change would be, from anyone's point of view, BP's or ours. WHY???

3/20/2014 9:55:47 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  Ahh, the imperative of the perpetual victim. Human has hu MAN in it. Can't say that.

3/20/2014 4:37:23 PM

  Mitch couldn't have spoken my ideas any better! A tiny flower should still be able to go into macro. Why? BECAUSE THEY DON'T WIN IN FLOWERS! Yet, still life is now supposed to go into macro? So how is macro going to defined now that larger things are to go in this category??? Jim - I mean no disrespect but this is one of the most incomprehensible decisions I've seen yet and makes no sense at all to me or to anyone I've talked to.

3/20/2014 9:18:18 PM

  LOL, you are too much, Gregory! On a lighter note, I see a Man in WoMAN too. Check this out, someone listed all the English words in the lexicon which had man somewhere inside it including roMANtic !!!

By the way, I agree with what Mitch said above, I also fail to understand the need to take away Catch-All category and replace it with a new category which caters to just some of the subject content covered by the new category, whatever we may finally call it? What will this intends to accomplish?


3/20/2014 9:18:44 PM

  It was so nice and easy. Now I am getting more and more confused about this change(not a good feeling): Where do the Black and White images go? They used to belong in the Catch-All category. I have a couple of B&W floral macro photos.Where should I submit them? May be in the Elements of Design? Would it be a good idea to have a B&W category as well? At least this would eliminate some confusion

3/21/2014 8:07:36 AM

  I have always put black and white images in whatever category suited their subject and they have done just fine: black and white flowers in Flowers; black and white animals in Animals. etc. I would not mind a separate bw category BUT I would NOT want that to mean a black and white of a person could not be put into People if I felt it was more competitive there.

I still want to cast a vote for no change.

3/21/2014 8:31:04 AM

  Amen to all the above. I agree with the no change idea.

3/21/2014 9:41:18 AM

  In the new categories, where do action/sports fit?

3/21/2014 10:01:46 AM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  Jim, I agree with everyone too; let's keep Catch All. It's been one of your more popular categories over the years. And it keeps it simple for people who aren't sure what category to choose. No anguish on where to place their photos.

Perhaps "Man-Made" could be the next Monthly Theme and you can reevaluate based on the interest the theme may generate.

3/21/2014 10:20:03 AM

  I'd like to add my vote to keep "Catch-All" as a category as well. Man-Made can be a wonderful separate category that would be great to have. Or a monthly theme. But please don't replace Catch-all!

3/21/2014 10:53:14 AM

  I also vote for keeping the Catch-All category. If its not broken don't fix it.

3/21/2014 12:58:13 PM

  So where do abstracts go now?

3/21/2014 2:16:45 PM

James C. Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
Owner,, Inc.
  I hear you and I'm going to stick with the new category definition. Yes, some people may like how Catch-all can be a place to put a photo when you're not sure how it goes. But the sad truth is that too many photos the judges see in Catch-all clearly belong in another category such as People or Nature/Landscapes.

To answer your questions:

Abstracts go into Elements of Design.

B&W go into Digital Darkroom (since 99% of us or more do our Black and White in software rather than by using film). Same thing with Infrared.

Bokeh will also go into Elements of Design.

Thank you,

3/21/2014 2:36:38 PM

  Thanks you very much and very sincerely for the input, Jim. I can only say that I hope that the "judges" will also expand their parameters. Many nature shots are not flashy, wide-angle landscapes or seascapes. Are they now going to stand a chance in N&L? I would love that :) And many floral images are not tight, fill-the-frame, close-ups of flowers. Will they now be given serious consideration in Flowers? That would be way cool as they say. As for b&w in Digital Darkroom, it's long been my feeling that if the digital work isn't in-your-face, an entry hardly has a chance there. Will this change, too? And are you saying that all black and white images must go in DD? What about sepia toned images - are they now unwelcome in other categories? Or what if the tones of choice are blue?

I don't want or mean to sound contentious, but if an image is, in the judges' opinion, mis-categorized, it's their prerogative to pass it by. Simple as that. Got an animal ion People? Skip it. There's no need to juggle the categories in what I am quite sure will be a vain attempt to simplify things for the judges while, at the same time, complicating them for the entrants.

3/21/2014 2:59:15 PM

  Amen Nikki! And Jim - if you are still reading this be aware that a lot of the changes being recently made here have driven good, competitive photographers away. I can't imagine that that is your goal. If it is your aim to restore BP to its former prestige, you might want to consider what we are all saying because we are the voice of those who financially support BP and the voice of those potential new BP'ers who may think the contest definitions are too confusing. They will move on just as many have already done.

I think most of BP would agree that an improperly entered image should just be skipped. Simple. No confusion. We want simplicity in our photos for maximum impact. Seems logical to me that that might be a good idea for business policy too.

I challenge you to send out a survey. You may or may not be surprised at he results, but acting on the consensus of the results just might prove to be a wise business move.

Thanks for listening.

3/21/2014 4:20:01 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  Usman, check out this out. You might find it interesting

Once the panic goes away people will see that it's not going to be such a hard thing. Like all the other times. Nobody's ended up in the hospital yet.
Sepia or periwinkle toned it's still a duo toned picture. Same as black and white. That's not confusing. A portrait can be done to fit into a monthly theme. There's always been an amount of flexibility in choosing a category.

3/21/2014 4:32:08 PM

  Again, where would sports/action fit?

3/21/2014 5:06:01 PM


3/21/2014 5:08:54 PM

  Gregory....were you born with a level on your head? :-)

3/21/2014 6:47:03 PM

  I always use the alternate image uploader, and when I tried to submit the image to the Man-Made category, it wasn't listed in the drop down box. However, it did still show the Catch-All category. I'm waiting for this to get straightened out.

3/22/2014 7:17:57 AM

  Brenda, As Jim wrote above the Man Made category will begin in April and then the drop down box will reflect that.

3/22/2014 7:01:07 PM

  Thanks, Jessica.

3/22/2014 10:40:38 PM

  A still-life which includes, for instance, china and silverware, sounds like it would fit in a category called "Man-Made".

But Jim, above, defined the new category as for:

* Architecture
* Transportation (planes, trains and automobiles)
* Industry

A clearer category name would help encourage the desired usage. I like Kay's idea of "Industry"; I would suggest further refining it to "Industry and Architecture".

Also if the usage of "Digital Darkroom" is changing, what about calling it "Special Effects" to include other techniques like motion blur and bokeh?

3/23/2014 8:56:23 AM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  Martha, when I first joined BP in 2005, they had Special Effects category. It included things like motion-blur, nighttime photography, IR (and I'm referring to true IR, versus using software IR filters), etc. Basically, in-camera effects versus those created via digital effects. Then in Nov 2007, BP changed "Special Effects" to "Catch All."

I remember seeing a description of the 10 categories. I thought it was on the Contest page; e.g., "About our contest Categories", but didn't see it.

But even then, it's still subjective and we just need to give it our best shot when we categorize our contest photos. And have fun with it.

3/23/2014 9:32:40 AM

  Is this the description you were looking for, Ken?

I'm not sure if many people know about this list, or if they have studied it thoroughly. That's why I think the category name itself should be as explicit as possible.

3/23/2014 9:43:49 AM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  Yes, that's the one. Where on the Contest page did you find it?

3/23/2014 11:33:17 AM

  The only way I'm ever able to find it is to search on "contest categories" which leads to the forum question to which I posted this link, some time back. I can't remember how I found it originally.

3/23/2014 11:34:56 AM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  Thanks, Martha. Hopefully BP can post something like this on the main contest page, when they start the new category.

3/23/2014 12:03:20 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  Right bleow where Jim says what goes in "Man Made" he says where your still life of silverware goes. Details and macro.

3/23/2014 1:24:43 PM

  Yes Gregory. That's what I refer to above. My point is that not every member examines every forum thread in detail. The contest category name itself should clearly describe what topics the judges expect it to contain. The "Contest Categories" page clearly describes what kind of photos belong in "Catch-All", too, but according to Jim, the judges are bothered and confused by the fact that these guidelines are not being followed. To me, "Man-Made" is almost as vague as "Catch-All".

3/23/2014 2:03:41 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  What's missing is on the page with the drop down menus, under the "contest" header there should be either a link that drops down for categories, or make it part of the guidelines page. That seems like it would be a routine thing.
However, you can't hold every hand if as Jim described that they were seeing far too many photos in a Catch All category that were clear to them belonged in another. I don't think the judges were confused, just seeing too many in the wrong place. If there's a person that has a macro of a flower and can't decide to put it in the flower category, then you'll have people who will have a fashion portrait and will be stymied by not being able to make a decision if industry includes the fashion industry, or is it just smokestacks and steel.
There's a small ice covered tree branch in Elements of design. I say it should be in nature. If that person made the choice based on the lines the branches make, more power to them. If there was some confusion, I don't think you can make it any clearer outside of telling them directly.

3/23/2014 3:50:34 PM

  How about:
1. Plants
2. Animals
3. People
4. Black and White
5. Bug and Butterflies
6. Landscapes with No People
7. Architecture
8. Macro
9. Cityscapes
10. Elements of Design
11. Catch All

3/23/2014 7:14:39 PM

  I find this information also very helpful and informative for the contest.


3/23/2014 10:31:49 PM

  Maybe we don't need categories at all and BP could just give 1 grand prize, 10 1st place and 100 2nd place badges? It's not possible to explain all possibilities under categories, anyway, thus, people will still keep asking if a photo of a bug on a rose in a vase should go to animals, flowers, details & macro or elsewhere. Catch-all sounded universal for whatever kinds of photos, but now, if this category will be changed, confusion will only increase.

3/24/2014 1:22:59 AM

  I agree with Tiia :-) There are so many times when I just cannot decide where to put my images and now that we are not supposed to resubmit them it makes it tougher. In the past if I put something in one category and it did not get an EP I would put it in a different category at a later date. Usually it would get an EP sooner or later :-) I agree with what Nikki said earlier also. Sometimes I have an image that for example is a macro flower that I turned into a black and white, do I put in under flowers which has lots more entries,macro and detail, or DD because I made it B/W? If there were no categories images would be judged on their worthiness...The only other thing would be the monthly or weekly theme...? Just my 2 cents worth ...

3/24/2014 8:46:04 AM

  Not that anything we say will affect the final decision, but just thinking about the flip side of "no categories" . . . One thing a flower category (for example) does is assure a nice number of floral themed Finalists and Winners - even if the judge(s) don't happen to like flowers at all.

3/24/2014 8:51:42 AM

  Although I also don't think anything we say will make any difference at all in what's eventually done, I do want to make a point about black and white. I believe BP is suggesting that because we use software to convert to B&W, this somehow makes those images digital-darkroom-category appropriate, just because of the conversion. However, I feel, as Nikki has mentioned, that black and white images should go in whatever category their subject indicates is right, not the fact that they're monotone. The fact that software is used for the conversion doesn't really have to do with a digital-darkroom category; after all, software in the digital-photography age is used for absolutely everything, including taking the picture originally with the camera's software.

3/24/2014 9:46:22 AM

James C. Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
Owner,, Inc.
  Good discussion, everyone. I'll take these ideas into consideration.

3/24/2014 10:18:28 AM

  Thanks for watching the discussion and keeping an open mind, Jim.

I had been thinking about something Jill mentioned ... resubs. I understand the reasoning behind discouraging resubs, but with categories changing, and increased scrutiny of whether the image was submitted in the correct category (which is confusing), it seems fair to allow participants to resub the image in another category. Not sure how BP could police that (of course, I'm not sure if/how it is currently policed), but again, it seems fair to allow at least limited resubs in another category.
Just my thoughts. Thanks for considering all of our opinions.

3/24/2014 10:48:22 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  "It's not possible to explain all possibilities under categories..."

Yeah, they call that freedom. Run to it.

3/24/2014 10:52:09 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  Since digital is new enough that most people have used a hour lab in their picture taking lives, I can understand where Jim would say put all black and white in Digital Darkroom. Anybody who did black and white before, good chance they had a darkroom while everybody else had a machine cranking out color pictures.
So I can see how he relates that to converting what comes out color in a digital camera to digital darkroom. But I do agree that the subject has as much weight as a color picture when a person makes their category choice. Not everything works as a black and white, just from converting it.

3/24/2014 11:23:49 AM

  How about having another listing under each category so there will be fewer questions as to where things should go.

I like to review the submissions and I wonder quite often why something was placed where it was.

Oh, well.....things will sort out!

3/26/2014 11:13:48 AM

  Some of you good folk make my depression feel better. Now as a Human-kind I can just ignore the sticky-outy-thingy I have in front and know that there are some fighting for every one of our rights. Let political correctness take over the whole world I say! :0) (thought I had better put the silly thing in as you might not recognize male-chauvanist sarcasm)

3/26/2014 12:38:09 PM

  I just noticed the change. I can understand having a Man Made category but I hardly think that a still life should be in details and macro. The old catch all was a great category. If it ain't broken, why fix it? I don't do many still life photos but I do have some that don't seem to fit anywhere so the Catch All was perfect for me. Oh well.... I only take the photos. What do I know?

3/28/2014 8:08:45 PM

James C. Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
Owner,, Inc.
  The decision has been made:

1) I'm going to keep the new category... "man-made" really means "person-made" and refers to transportation, architecture, industry, etc.

And 2...

(good news coming...)

(you're going to like this...)

(ok you're going to love this...)

Resubmits are allowed.

3/31/2014 3:26:03 PM

  YAY! We need our resubmits..especially since some have been doing it anyway. Happy Happy Happy!

3/31/2014 3:33:48 PM

James C. Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
Owner,, Inc.
  I thought I noticed that ;)

3/31/2014 3:35:46 PM

  It's my age folks; I don't think I will enter any more competitions. Too many changes for me, 'person-age'.

3/31/2014 4:34:40 PM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  Thanks, Jim on publicly saying that resubmits are now allowed. Contest judging is subjective and this will be a nice step "back to basics" for the contest.

3/31/2014 4:42:38 PM

  Terrific news about the resubs! Thanks, Jim!

3/31/2014 5:22:52 PM

  Some changes I like, some I don't and some I don't understand. I like the resubmit change but I don't understand the Man Made category replacing Catch All. Right now I can't think of a change I don't like so that's a good thing.

3/31/2014 7:01:16 PM

  Yay on allowing the resubs, Jim.

Is it possible to redo the page on the categories by listing subjects allowed under each one? This will be easier for all of the members and I am sure for the Judges too.


3/31/2014 9:36:31 PM

  When I uploaded my image this morning (using the basic uploader), some of the category names included qualifiers indicating what belonged there. Nice!

4/1/2014 6:39:29 AM

  Planning out my April entries (yes, though I swap out if I get one I can't wait to upload sometime during the month, I mostly plan a month in advance). I cannot tell you how much I miss Catch-All. Argggggg

4/1/2014 8:53:58 AM

  And since I've already entered today, I can't see the drop-down menu. Can someone else notice when entering whether there is an Abstract/Graphics category? If so, does it replace Elements of Design? I just read through the descriptions under categories and stumbled on mention of this category which is new to me.

4/1/2014 8:58:56 AM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  Nikki, I've already uploaded and going off of memory, but I think "Elements" was still there. Elements is still one of the categories on the "Recently Entered" contest page. I don't recall reading anything about Elements being renamed to Abstract/Graphics. Earlier in this thread, Jim M did say that abstracts could go into Elements category.

4/1/2014 10:05:42 AM

  Here's the link from My Member Center - How to Categorize

Note that
-cityscapes is still under N&L but is also specifically listed under Man Made
-EoD is still listed and says "extreme digital creations do not belong in this category" which would preclude many of the distortion abstracts people create, imo
-DD is still there but says it is NOT for "Photos that have such a subtle application of photo-editing techniques that one cannot tell any post-processing work has been done which was my point earlier - if it's not in your face, it won't fly there
-D&M still sounds as if it's for very close-ups but
-Man Made is NOT for

a. Bokeh, Painting with light, and motion blur photos belong in the "Abstract/Graphics" category
b. Black and white, and partially-colored photos belong in the "Digital Darkroom" category
c. Still-life photos, if they don't fit into any other category, belong in the "Details" category

Very confusing to me. And leaving me quite unhappy with the category choices I have to make on some images.

4/1/2014 10:21:39 AM

  And I really want to know if they seriously think all black and white photos should go in DD. Since I love black and white and think it's quite possible for a bw image to compete on an equal footing with color images, I do think the subject should determine the category. Which would mean a bw building or train that was not EoD or Graphics would go in Man Made, not in DD.

4/1/2014 12:09:13 PM

  After reading your posts, Nikki, my first thought about black and white being in the Digital Darkroom category is, where would Ansel Adams put his photos if he was a member of BP? Infrared, yes. Black and white, no. I think we have gotten too complicated. Again, if it is not broken, why the fix?

4/1/2014 12:46:36 PM

James C. Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
Owner,, Inc.
  Harriet, it is broken from our perspective.

One note about black and white: as before, you can continue to enter them into ANY category. If it's an amazing photo of a person or an cat or a cityscape, feel free to enter it into the People, Animals, or Man-made categories.

OR you can enter it in Digital Darkroom, if you really zipped around Nik or Photoshop etc to create it.

Have fun.

4/1/2014 5:00:15 PM

  I can see where, as judges, it can be frustrating when photos are obviously in the wrong category. I can see where the
catch all could have gotten huge because it was an easy place if one could not decide. We will just have to do the best we can to put entries in the correct categories and hope for the best. Thanks for the clarification. I like the contest. First of all, it is free for members. Secondly, it is digital so no printing and framing and thirdly, it does help us improve. I have enjoyed the few years I have participated.

4/1/2014 6:30:41 PM

  Part of life these days! Changes!

4/1/2014 6:56:38 PM

  Thank you, especially for the clarification on the black and white images, Jim. That was a big question for me and I'm pleased to know they can go in any category.

4/1/2014 7:22:34 PM

  Yeah Linda, the only CONSTANT in life they say is CHANGE!!!


4/1/2014 8:40:19 PM

  I was keen to know the final word on the category choices for the Black and White images, great to know it remains as flexible as it was Thanks, Jim for the clarification!!

4/1/2014 10:30:00 PM

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Photography Question 
Virginia Kickle
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Virginia
Virginia's Gallery

member since: 12/19/2004
  49 .  Sizing for upload to Better Photo
I have noticed that my images loaded to Better Photo do not appear sharp. What settings should I be using when I export them from Lightroom?

3/17/2014 7:04:45 PM

Christopher J. Budny
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/3/2005
  Speaking from my own experience, after I make all my edits in my full-size file, I make another file just for my BP upload. In my BP file, I re-size it down to 800 pixels on the long edge (sometimes adding additional sharpening at this stage, if the image needs it.) That is the file I then use to upload (never the full-size file) and I've never encountered a perceived softening when I view the uploaded image.

3/20/2014 5:56:12 AM

James C. Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
Owner,, Inc.
  That is a great procedure, Chris.

I will tell you that I recommend trying it at 1600 px on the long end.

Please, if you have chance, try that out and let me know if it works well for you.

The 1600 will come in very handy in the near future.


3/20/2014 7:03:06 AM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  Hi Jim, I do the same as Chris; always resize to 800. That's because I thought the BP process would take any uploaded image greater than 800 pixels, and downsize them to 800 for display. For example, if I upload an image at 1600 x 1066, the BP process would downsize to 800 x 533. Rather than having the BP process downsize, we just do it ourselves, sharpen, then upload.

Your comment about "1600 will come in very handy in the near future". Reading between the lines, I'm hoping you're saying that soon, BP will allow for the display of images up to 1600 pixels. That would be super! I've seen many great pano shots that lose impact, because of the 800 pixel limitation.

Thanks for chiming in on the forum. Great dialogue!

3/20/2014 7:57:30 AM

James C. Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
Owner,, Inc.
  Nudge, nudge, wink, wink... wonderful things are in the works :)

3/20/2014 8:04:06 AM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  Excellent! Thanks, Jim!

3/20/2014 8:30:38 AM

  I know BP images are right click protected, but of course there is no way any site can protect against screen captures. Is a screen capture of an image that was resized to 1600 on the long side any more or less vulnerable to being "borrowed" and used without permission than one that was resized to 800 on the long side?

3/20/2014 9:07:35 AM

Christopher J. Budny
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/3/2005
  You'd get a screenshot with 4x the pixels... so someone looking to use/print your images without your consent, from a screengrab, has more data to play with now.
ie, an 800x533 display today, could become a 1600 x 1066 display, if this is one of the new features coming at BP... The 800 grab would yield (at assumed 300dpi printing) 2.6" x 1.8" print. The 1600 grab would yield a 5.3" x 3.5" print. Of course, printing those on a lower-than-300 dpi printer one could end up with potentially even larger, workable print sizes.
I'd guess that if we get to an enhancement allowing say, 1600 pixel display, then many folks will probably want to expand their use of watermark signatures, and run them through the center of the image.

3/20/2014 9:24:59 AM

  My rule of thumb has been to upload photos at 900 on the long side (and about half that on Facebook) simply because should they be "stolen" the best anybody could get would be a 4 x 6 print, if that. Just for grins I just captured a friend's photo from today (which I've already deleted, of course) that shows at 875 x 579. I resized it to twice that and I'm able to get a decent-sized print. Imagine how good it would be if I'd been able to download it at 1600. Think I'll stick with smaller sizing here just to be on the safe side.

3/20/2014 9:41:58 AM

  I also do the same as Chris and Ken explained above, Virginia. I have a question .... will be actual size we see on our monitors will be any different than what we see now? If the size doubles, lets just assume, does it mean we have to scroll each entry to see the complete image, which sometimes is tedious to do and takes the fun out of seeing the image as a whole!


3/20/2014 9:09:08 PM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  Usman, when I first joined BP in 2005, we could display images in their full resolution. Or at least up to 2000 pixels, because I have some that large in my gallery. But the thumbnail was the same size as today, 210 pixels on the large side. So, I don't think BP will change the default size of the thumbnails.

3/21/2014 3:51:04 AM

  Sorry for not being very clear, Ken. But my query was actually relating to the full blown image itself and not the thumbnail.


3/21/2014 3:58:26 AM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  Usman, I don't know. I guess we'll just have to see, if/when BP makes the size change. I don't recall it being a big deal when I first joined.

3/21/2014 6:32:12 AM

  I haven't seen resolution mentioned. Should it be 72 ppi?

3/21/2014 7:45:27 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  Usman, if the display size is 1600, if you have a wide format monitor than it should fit.

3/21/2014 5:07:59 PM

James C. Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
Owner,, Inc.
  Hi awesome BetterPhoto members,

The largest images on display will likely be around 1000 px on the long end.

The decision as to how much you do to protect images is up to you. I can only tell you want I do... I size my images to 1600px in case we ever develop the functionality that would allow me to print my images (on paper or in books or on coffee mugs, etc)... or sell such images. I doubt BetterPhoto will do the latter but it may do the former.

If you are concerned about image sizes being so big that thieves will steal your photos, you may opt to downsize the image to 800px on the long end before uploading (or whatever size you want).

The choice is totally up to you.

And yes, Virginia, I still change my image resolution to 72ppi before rechecking the resize checkbox and then set the width or height to what I prefer. In Photoshop, you can use the Fit Image automation (or a few other methods) to get this done while you're making yourself a cup of tea.

Usman, I'm thinking about making the image thumbnails on the gallery index pages a little bigger. I'm talking about pages like:

The overall width is now something like 940px and it might get to be around 1240px.

However, the wonderful news is that, with modern programming, the images will automatically downsize to fit the width of your display.

Ken, for you this means that you'll want to use the highest resolution display and have it full screen, if you want to see as much of those amazing panorama photos as you can.

You will use the scroll to move down a page but not to the right.

The other nice thing about this is that the site is going to look and function much better on iPads, mobile devices, your new Apple watch :) etc.


3/22/2014 2:03:39 PM

  Thank you for all the information. My questions were answered! Virginia

3/22/2014 3:42:28 PM

  Thanks Jim for the notes. Much appreciated ;)


3/22/2014 10:36:37 PM

  I, too, use the 800 on the long side for my uploads, in the Tiff format. I know they will change to Jpg, but they just look better in Tiff, to me. Maybe Jim could weigh in on the Tiff/Jpg thing?

3/27/2014 5:06:13 AM

James C. Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
Owner,, Inc.
  I would actually love to hear from each of you on this. I myself upload high-quality JPEGs and am very satisfied with the quality and the upload speed is good. But TIFF has worked well for me too.

Reader, what do you do? :)

Any other tips for optimal image quality, anyone?

3/27/2014 4:12:31 PM

  I have been fine with mine. I convert tiffs to jpgs when I resize. I resize to 800 on the long side, 72 dpi, in FastStone Image Viewer (free download). Then I sharpen slightly (FS, too). And finally I save as jpg. So as far as I know, the BP software does nothing to my images when I upload.

3/27/2014 4:15:57 PM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  Jim, I remember the tips BP gave several years ago...resize to 800 on long side, sharpen, saturate a tad, and convert to TIF.

But I have done experiments comparing images uploaded as TIF and JPG, and can't discern a difference. But years ago, I could. Or maybe it was my imagination.

And I've done experiments uploading an image at 800 pixels and comparing to another image uploaded at 1600 pixels (arbitrary size), and downsized to 800 by BP process. The downsized image was a little degraded visually which I think was the main reason someone at BP recommended that we resize to 800 and sharpen before uploading.

I do look forward to the option of viewing images at a larger pixel count.

3/27/2014 5:16:57 PM

Christopher J. Budny
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/3/2005
  800px TIF upload here; although I've never once paid any mind to whatever the DPI setting is. It has no real bearing on web-displayed files; whether you save as 800 pixels wide (at 300dpi), or 800 pixels wide (at 72dpi) or 800 pixels wide (at 10,000dpi), your file still has just 800 pixels across, and that is what will display online. (Try opening a file, resize it to 800 however you normally would, and save it as a TIF. Then go change just the DPI value to a totally different value (with "resample = off") and save it as a differently-named TIF again... the 2 files are both 800 pixels wide, and the same MB in size.)

3/27/2014 5:45:23 PM

James C. Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
Owner,, Inc.
  Yeah, Ken... JPEGs have become much better than they were in the old days. That's why they might be just as good as TIFF now. Worth a try for anyone who likes testing things out.

And you are totally right, Chris. I just change that ppi to 72 out of mindless habit. :)

It's not really necessary if you are always looking at your image dimensions in the units of pixels (which I always do because I rarely print anymore).

We have such a wonderful BP right around the corner. I am going to see how much the team can get done on it this weekend.

Cra-crack (the sound of whipping).

Have a great weekend.

3/28/2014 8:49:53 AM

  Ignorance speaking here and I probably should be embarrassed to be asking, but doesn't reducing to 72 dpi make it harder to get a good or larger print from a screen shot should one be inclined to do that?

3/28/2014 9:02:36 AM

Christopher J. Budny
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/3/2005
  Nope. The DPI value within your file is completely ignored by all web browsers displaying your file. Assuming your gallery had 800 pixel-wide images on display, any screen grab will always produce an 800 pixel-wide result. The screen grab has no 'knowledge' of what you put into the file (DPI setting) when you first uploaded it to BP.

3/28/2014 9:07:38 AM

  I hope one of the changes being implemented will be elimination of whatever saturation changes the upload process currently applies. Today I often detect stronger yellows after upload. I attempt to reduce the saturation of yellows in my image before upload, but it's hard to get a good color match this way.


4/12/2014 9:33:00 AM

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Photography Question 
Htet Aung
Contact Htet
Htet's Gallery

member since: 9/13/2007
  50 .  Which is the best for me?
Hello! everyone, I have Nikon DSLR D3200 kit, and 18-200mm Nikon Len, 70-300 mm Sigma Len, 10-20mm wide Sigma Len. Now I'm upgrade to my camera to Full Frame format camera. But I can't choice which is the best for me. Canon 5D MarkIII or Nikon D800E or Nikon D610. Could you please suggest for me? Thanks.

3/16/2014 3:25:42 AM

Christopher J. Budny
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/3/2005
  Nobody will be able to tell you the answer to that question; you'll have to arrive at the decision yourself, after research into each camera, evaluating how each one feels when you hold it, determining whether you want to stay with Nikon to keep your lenses or switch to Canon and buy all new lenses...

3/17/2014 7:37:08 AM

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