What do you vote for?

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Beloved Pixoto comrades,

Not wanting to learn the secret formula to get a #1 for the day/week photo, but what is it that makes you vote for one picture over another?

Is it colour, appreciation of the technical aspects of the picture, the abstract nature of it, even if it appears in Landscapes...what?

Very interested to get a census across the board here!


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Michael Ripley

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Posted 8 years ago

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Photo of dickon


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Michael, what a question(!).

It should be, I suppose, the better of the two photographs within its subcategory at the time of ImageDuel judgement. Thus, is the picture on the left, a tree, a better photo of "Trees & Leaves" than the picture on the right?

If the picture on the right is of a car, then we should vote for the left one without hesitation.

If they are both in the same Category (although I would prefer that we only have ImageDuels within a subcategory... but that's another discussion(!)) then the better image for me is the one which is focussed (if intended) correctly, exposed (if intended) correctly and is the more a true exemplar of that Category.

I had a thread going discussing the problems of Context / Content / Construction... is a bad photo of a pretty subject (say, 'girl') better than a good photo of a less attractive girl? Hmm.

A photo might be constructed very well (focussed, exposed, level) but of a drab subject. Is this a 'better' image than a hastily snatched 'snap' of a pretty subject?

So, a longer answer than hoped for, I guess, but it's a difficult and personal choice.

Personally, I would avoid voting on Instagram / Mobile images. But there are some which are very good. I'm also not hugely keen on images which are mis-classified (and report them then skip them). And the obviously 'snatched snap' does not win for me either. Unless it is very, very good as an image. And "abstract" images are only abstract if they are not readily identifiable as an object - patterns or other abstracted sections of Life rather than a picture of water droplets, say.

So, Construction is important (how it is made). But so is Content (the pretty vs the interesting vs the dull...). As is the Context - is this image better than the other within the context of that subcategory?

How does this sit with you?
Photo of Steph


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I vote for which is the better photo of that chosen category :)
Photo of arnaud


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Hi Michael,

Personally, I first check that the photo matches the category.
Then I look at sharpness, exposure, contrast/colors and composition. If a photo has a WOW factor it gets my vote (doesn't have to be technically perfect if "the WOW is there" ).
Hope this helps!

Best regards,

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JoAnn Palmer

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I guess to be totally honest... what I do is glance at the category, then at both pics, one will instantly draw me to it first..probably due to the coloring or the contrast, I enjoy heavy contrast photos and colors.. and I often prefer simple over complex.. a single rose over a bush of roses etc so my eye always goes to that photo first... but that is not always the better of the two and I have to watch my finger so I don't accidentally vote for the first impulse...
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David Dinger

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I mostly do what JoAnn said above. Also, if it is a good-looking non-HDR pic vs. an HDR pic, the non-HDR usually gets my vote. Water drops sprayed on flowers bugs me lately too for some reason, so the fewer water drops the better :D
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Jeff Weymier

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I vote on the best photo on the basis of composition, clarity, color, contrast and so on. Even if I don't like the subject. I think some of the voters see a subject they like first and vote with their heart rather than looking at the images with a judges eye. I have a lot of photos on pixoto, some I think are good and some could be better and I don't mind losing to a great photo, it only pushes me to do better. What I don't like is losing to and overexposed, out of focus, over cropped, poorly colored photo because it happens to be a cute fuzzy bunny rabbit or something. I think another problem is that you need credits to post photos and you have people with the icon on the right side photo just clicking away so they can post their photos, without even looking at what they are voting on.
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It would be a shame if people voted so blindly but I suspect you are right, Jeff. I had suggested a couple of seconds delay before you can vote so if you're forced to wait, someone that lazy and inconsiderate might at least bother to look at the choices and pick their favourite.
Photo of SnapHappyExpat


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A few friends and I have a small private competition (outside of Pixoto) in which we vote for our favs each month so we have discussed this at length. As you might expect, we all have a slightly different take on it.

Personally (and I carry this through to Pixoto), I put less emphasis on theme relevance than the 'quality' of a photo. Obviously, a photo of a car in the flowers category would be rejected but as long as the photo is justifiably in the right category, I consider that box checked; for me, the categories are just rough boundaries so we can compare apples with apples.

With the category box checked, I move on to a balance of
Subject Interest (beauty, rarity, emotional response)
Composition (lighting, subject isolation, balance, lines, complementing colours, DOF)
Technical Competence (pleasing saturation, sharpness, WB, noise, (lack of) motion blur etc).

The weight I give to each of these three elements of 'photo quality' really varies from shot to shot. I will allow some leeway in one element if another element is exceptional allowing me to subconsciously arrive at a 'total' score. All in 3 seconds - isn't the brain a wonderful thing?!

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