What's Wrong With This Photo?

“The photograph itself doesn't interest me. I want only to capture a minute part of reality.” ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Beginning Monday, Jen and I will be taking turns posting photo tips for members and non-members. I get a lot of emails from people wanting tips on how to take good photos. People inquire about what kind of cameras to buy, what kind of exposures to use, and some people want to know what all those little gadgets on their digital cameras really do.

Before I continue, let me say that our shootout is a blog is for both amateurs and professionals - and all you in-betweeners. I never personally judge a photo on our town shootouts. I just enjoy seeing other places around the world. I know that goes for everyone. I love blurred photos, faraway photos, up-close and personal photos - I just love looking at photos.

Please know that we are not giving tips to make your photos better for us; we are giving them to make your photos better for you. People invest a lot of money in cameras these days. Time (and money for printing) goes into taking those family photos, and you certainly want your vacation photos to be the best they can be.

So, here is my first lesson. A simple lesson. What's wrong with this photo? Jen, you can't chime in. I will post the answer on Monday. Actually, there are a lot of things wrong with it. But the major thing is - ????

Also, let us know if you have any particular questions about photography and either Jen or myself will be happy to address it in the future.

If anyone has any ideas on how to improve this site please deposit your two cents here.

Disclaimer: There may be some weeks we won't post a tip. We are all busy and don't want this to become a chore for anyone. We may also decide to stop the photo tips for something more interesting. This is an all volunteer site and we don't want to burn anyone out. We do want to keep this site fresh with ideas. Each shooter is a part of the big picture, so feel free to be a part of our team by sending in your thoughts and ideas.


  1. I'm not really sure what's wrong with the photo. Maybe the focal point is off? Too much focus on the boat in front??? I don't know.

    I love this idea of posting tips.
    This really is a great blog and you guys are awesome.

    I love looking at all the photos too, whether or not they are gallery worthy. I just love seeing other places and learning about them. I'm seeing a whole new world through other peoples eyes and it is the best thing ever. I can't describe how wonderful it really is to be a part of this.

  2. Either my head is crooked (no comment, please), or the first thing that stands out is the horizon being off. Oh, and I'm not entirely sure what this is a picture of - no point of interest.
    OK, enough about what's wrong, onto what's right - LOVE this idea of tips, and I think following a tip, we could maybe do a theme based on the tip - just a suggestion. Also, you might want to look at video tutorials on you tube for your camera, or photography in general.

  3. There are several glaring things wrong with that photo:
    1. I am not on the boat!
    2. There are no fishing lines in the water, that I can see.
    3. There are no fish jumping, or better yet, lying on the bow of the boatt.
    4. The boat is still, obviously, tied up to the dock. Must be the "No Fun Gang" that took this photo!
    5. Wait! I think that guy at 11 o'clock off the port bow just hooked a big one!

  4. Seems a little unexciting, so gray and flat. A gigantic jumping fish, preferably red, would help, huh? Reminds me of pics I've taken on moody gray days that have lots of atmosphere in reality, but come out blah in a picture. Say, can you guys put me back on the FSO list here? Carrie just pointed out to me that I had disappeared!

  5. 6. The real thing I meant to say is that the focus is on the forefront of the photo and not in the distance on the approaching boat. More than likely, someone taking this photo would have been trying to shoot the approaching boat. Zoom may have helped. Cerainly a different focus was needed. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
    P.S.....I think he has a couple of BIG black bass on the stern.

  6. The "No fun Gang?" That is too funny Gordon.

    That guy at 11 o'clock surely has something. He is a crabber coming up with his catch.

    Maybe that is why we are the only people around who can't catch fish - we forgot to put out our poles.

    Good Idea J9, about the shoots on tips. And yes, anyone who is really interested in learning photography can hit You Tube or Google.

    JariLyn: Thanks. I think we all love seeing the world through the camera. Gosh, I have visited places I would never had a chance to visit had we not started the shootouts. The shootouts are all about what we can see not how it is presented. I just thought I would put a little prize in the box. Kind of like eating your sweet cereal and getting some vitamins in it at the same time.

    I am all for learning more myself. I have been shooting for 24 years and there are all kinds of things I don't know.

    This is my last post for today. I will get around to everyone's shootout tomorrow.

  7. OK, so as I'm going through this week I've noticed that many people have AWESOMELY large format photos, and I seem to recal one of us actually posted at some point in time HOW to do that (Look at Heather or Elaine for examples). Now that I'm growing envious of the layout, I want to know how!!! And I think it had something to do with Picassa use, and probably why I didn't do it back then - I use Flickr, and didn't want to try to figure out what was where, or switch it all over (over 10,000 images already on Flickr).

  8. I agree with J9 etc. that there is no focal point (unless the focal point is the boat, which I had trouble identifying as such). My first question was "Why did somebody take this picture?"

  9. That would be great to share your ideas and tips of photography. I am not a professional photographer myself.

    The photo here is good when you enlarge and I cant find anything with it. Again, I am not a professional photographer. I believe there's a great interpretation in every photo. So please tell us more about this photo Patty.

  10. to me it looks like the person should have stood up to take the shot for a better perspective.

  11. -looking at the picture one can't determine what the subject is or was meant to be

  12. I love the tips idea...I'm all for learning and sharing how to improve photos. And I feel J9's pain...although I finally figured out how to do it with a lot of google searches. I may have bookmarked the directions that were actually understandable.

    Great work guys. Love being a participant in your site.

  13. Oops. Forgot to leave my 2 cents on the photo. I would say that the bow of the boat draws your eye nicely into the photo to .... nothing. A subject for your eye to fall on would be nice or the bow more to the left. The horizon is smack through the middle of the photo cutting it in half. And it could stand a little contrast boost. My guesses. I like the guessing aspect too...makes us engage our brains and then wait for the answer. Perfect! Thanks again.

  14. I am so happy to hear that tips are going to be posted. As an amateur in photography, I love getting help to improve my skills. Also, I am currently saving for an upgrade in camera. Thanks for this great news! Also, everyone in this group has been really helpful and positive. I love FSO!

  15. proffesional or no, I think everyone who takes photos for enjoyment has learned tips that can be passed along to the next person. I like the idea of photo tips and the discussion that will happen afterwards.

  16. I copied the photo to my editor, enlarged it so was easier to see, clipped it to remove some sky, straightened the horizen a small bit, lowered the midtones and increased the contrast - ended up with the bow of the small boat at about 25% of the total picture pointing to the small boyd out at sea, the sea is a dark grey - stormy looking - the total effect somewhat boring but better - to me I would have deleated the photo too much work to end up with only a somewhat okay photo - Now am totally into seeing what Patty and Jen have to say.

  17. sorry the last comment was from GingerV - forgot to sign out of townblogger..... I suspect that this picture was cropped before - when slightly enlarged was really blurred both in the foreground and the background.... GINGER V


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