Totally Rad Filters?

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Imagesbybarbara
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Posted Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:46PM
When I upload to Istock I pretty much do a levels adjustment.  I was just playing around with Totally Rad filters and can't believe how much more life my images could have.  My question is, is it best to do minimal adjustments for stock or is using these filters helpful?
kelvinjay
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Posted Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:29PM
I can't comment on those particular filters, but I can tell you what years of looking at rejected images in the Critique Forum has taught me. The filter needs to enhance the image. It needs to work in sympathy with the subject matter.

I know you're not a newbie, but randomly applied filters are something we see a lot of from newbies in the Critique forum. They see filtered images in iStock's collection and so they try and add similar looks to their work. They see some grainy, high contrast black and white filter that made a beautifully lit film noir style portrait magically come to life and then wonder why their shot of a seagull, keyboard, pet, office worker etc got rejected for over filtering.

If you have a creative image and have a style of processing it that adds to the whole feel and message of the image, then you are far more likely to have it accepted than if you just try to boost random walk about snapshots. Not that I'm saying that's what your images are like - just that it's the creatively lit, higher concept images that seem to benefit most from more aggressive filtering and editing.

If you want some feedback on any images before you upload to iStock - I'd recommend asking for a pre upload critique to make sure you're not over cooking things. As with any new gizmo, it may take a little bit of work to see how it fits with iStock's acceptance standards, so I'd be tempted to go easy to start with or at least not upload mass batches of images processed with any new software until you've got a few acceptances / rejections to establish where the boundaries are.

Filters can be a lot of fun and I know filters are in fashion for many areas of photography right now, the whole Instagram effect, but as selling stock is often a long game, I'd beware of uploading too much content which may be prematurely dated by the use of any really overt filtering.

(Edited on 2013-02-27 05:10:42 by kelvinjay)
wdstock
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Posted Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:27PM
One more point which Kelvin may have alluded to above. If a filter causes "technical damage" it probably won't be accepted. You may see images here which appear heavily filtered...and they are. However, if you were to look at these at 100% (can't do with current zoom implementation), you would see that the image is usually technically "clean", i.e. no "artifacting". Some canned filters may look good at the "10000 foot" level, but upon closer examination create artifacting or "technical damage" to the image. I am ending my post here as I have used up my quote quota.

(Edited on 2013-02-26 20:29:13 by wdstock)
Imagesbybarbara
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Posted Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:28PM
Thanks for the information Kevin, I have never really have gotten into filter use since I come from the old school of the film days and from working in a pro photo lab I never understood the heavy use of filters.  I think I will continue on the route that I have been on.  From what I have seen with the filters I have noticed that the blacks seem to go too dark and I do know that would result in a rejection, therefore I will play it safe  for now.
evilclown
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Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:27AM
I think with all filters, if they are used correctly and on the correct image they are very much worth using. I use RadLab occasionally and as far as quality goes, it's not degraded the image too much.
RyersonClark
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Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:31AM
All great advice above.  I do use Rad Lab on about half my images from the past year.  Mostly as a short cut to photoshop and nothing radical.  I also never use them "full power" but cut them back to what looks bright and shiny and still natural.  I always check for damage to the image.  
Imagesbybarbara
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Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:12AM
Thanks for all the advice, I guess I will try the demo out and see how I like the filters, I do notice when using them that I knock down the percentage on them because at 100% its just to much adjustments, it seems like nowadays photographers are heavily into using filters for their portrait work.
YinYang
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Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:31PM
Agree, it is how you use it that matters, use the right amount with the appropriate subject, it could be a quick and wonderful way to achieve your goal, overuse it on the wrong content could ruin a good picture.
diane555
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Posted Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:21AM
I love Rad Lab! I generally use the filter settings a s base and then tweak them to suit myself. I love that I can save them for other files in a series too.
4x6
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Posted Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:05PM
I also have Rad Labs, I rarely use it, but I do like the results when I do choose to use it. 
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