Portland in the Mist, an example of an unsuitable image.

I’ve just been looking through some old photos, so watch out for some silly little posts.

A few years ago, before I fully revived my interest in photography, I took this picture with my ‘point and shoot’ camera. It was taken from the cliffs at Ringstead in Dorset and showed Portland partially shrouded with mist. I was quite pleased with it so I sent an email to the Picture Editor at the Western Gazette, our local weekly, asking him whether he thought it suitable as a ‘readers photo’ for inclusion in the paper. You can imagine my pleasure when he said that he liked it a lot and would include it when space permitted.

Well, a week or so later (which meant that I had to buy the paper each week) I found my image on a very generous spread (in fact I think it might have been across two pages), which presumably meant that there wasn’t much news or advertising that week. I was so disappointed, even embarrassed, at what I then saw as a terrible image. The problem was that it did not look good on newsprint while on glossy paper or a screen it looked fine.  On newsprint, the faint distant detail of the harbour breakwaters, which to me was an essential part of the image, was completely lost.  The subtle colour tones were also destroyed.

Today, I would have taken the shot in a completely different way, probably as a stitched panorama, thus holding much more detail into the image. I still don’t think it would be suitable for inclusion in a newspaper though.  The lesson learned is to really consider how an image is going to be presented before deciding whether to use it.


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