June 2008 Archives

June 22, 2008

Ten Flickr no-nos

I enjoy Flickr. Well, there are things that could be added, changed and improved, but all in all I like more things than I hate.

While using this service—and because of my love for photography I tend to use it a lot—I compiled a list of ten annoying habits some people have on Flickr.

Here it is.

10 Flickr no-nos

1. Heavy prettification

Adobe Photoshop has a glaring bug disguised in a feature: it comes bundled with a shitload of filters. "To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail," but to an eager man armed with a copy of Adobe Photoshop every JPEG looks like it needs some effects: heavy vignettes, fake DOFs and funny gaussian blur bokehs, lovely purple skies painted via color selection tools, flares, cross-hatchings to give a “sketch” effect, Warhol-style posterization and tons of other “improvements”.

Hell, I found even a couple of terminal cases of page-curl.

You only need 3 Photoshop filters: Gaussian Blur (for masking), Unsharp Mask and Add Noise. Use them responsibly.

2. Embellishments

If a picture is not beautiful enough, maybe a good frame will save it. If it’s beautiful, a nice double black frame or a good drop-shadow will make it twice as much. Maybe three times. Or—heck!—even more. And yes, fake Polaroid transfer borders make a distinct chapter here.

Note the word “fake”—it should answer all your questions.

Print your pictures and put them in a real frame—if you like frames so much—you’ll be a lot happier. Drop the fakes.

3. Color poopping, erm, popping

A color detail—in an otherwise black & white image. And the horror even has a name: color popping. You know what I’m talking about: eyes staring bright green irises in a B&W portrait, a red-red rose held by a gray-gray lady.

Don’t feed me those photo magazine examples—they often write what digital vulgarians want/deserve to read.

Run. Don’t look back.

4. Dead weight

Gone are the days when contact sheets were private and the photographer was ready to die rather than make 'em public. Nowadays they publish their contact sheets on Flickr for everyone to admire all the mistakes, the failures and the unimportant.

Select your shots. Post the best one. Okay, two—because you can’t decide.

5. Frame by frame

Some people regret the tragedy that Flickr only takes stills and not video; but the most intrepid photographer can compensate this misfortune by shooting torrents of stills—and posting them all. You have seen this: pages and pages of pictures from a concert or a sports event.

Buy a video camera and switch to YouTube, folks.

This is related to #4, so that advice works here as well: select your shots. Post the best one.

6. Graphomania

Photographers write on pictures for ages, you know that from your grand-grandparent’s postcard memorabilia. The thing is—at 1920 they did not use Comic Sans, though. Today they do.

Buy a comic strip if you like type on images.

There are other ways for transmitting information: captions, bylines, tagging, EXIF, metadata etc.

7. Hot mamma

No, your mother is okay and her polka-dot dress is kinda cute, but shouldn’t personal life be more—you know—personal?

Brides, mothers, brothers—maybe you forgot to set the privacy flag and mark the pictures “friends and family only”?

It’s easy: where it reads “This photo is public (edit)” click “edit” and select “Only You” and then “Your Friends” and/or “Your Family”.

8. Second goddamn Life

So you like playing with dolls but you lack the needed imagination and will, but Second Life can provide this for you. That is okay. But—please!—don't take screenshots of your avatar and post ’em in Flickr pools, tagged with keywords like “photo” and “portrait”.

I have two keywords for you: “seek” and “help”.

Or flag your screenshots accordingly. Here is how: find that "Flag your photo" link under Additional Information and select “Screenshot”.

9. Tag illiteracy

Car pictures tagged as “portraits”, dog pictures tagged as “nudes”: this calls for a PhD thesis titled “Bad creativity—when and how imagination lowers IQ.” This should be called tag-spamming because it pollutes tag-based searches.

It’s not that hard: a picture of a happy dog can be tagged with “dog” and “happy” but not “cat”, “carrot” or “car”.

Please use tags appropriately.

10. Rip-offs

Digital burglary is as easy as snatching the purse from a very, very old lady. And because it’s easy, people do it a lot, posting images they don’t own.

Don’t disgrace yourself.

If you notice stolen content you can “submit”:http://info.yahoo.com/copyright/details.html a Notice of Infringement to the Yahoo! Copyright Team.

This is where you step in

If you’re annoyed by things that are not listed above, please jot them down and continue the list in the comments.