Jump to content
Whatbird Community

What’s wrong with these photos??


Recommended Posts

These photos that I have up on Ebird, in my opinion are 4 or 5 star quality. 
this song sparrow which I think is a 4 star, got this. Threes! I am curious why you think people may have given threes. 1FC2429D-E77F-46D5-B355-E877D2D37D15.thumb.jpeg.00cffcb01da0b8c0a9b233d0f0f00dc6.jpeg

California towhee. I think it’s. 5, but people gave it 4. Again, why do you think that is?536AD33A-CC2F-4812-A5E5-43A693ED0E0B.thumb.jpeg.e0353ff6a053bd4dfcbe0350df289248.jpeg

sorry about this, I am just wondering how I can improve my photos now that I have my new camera!

thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, IKLland said:

These photos that I have up on Ebird, in my opinion are 4 or 5 star quality. 
this song sparrow which I think is a 4 star, got this. Threes! I am curious why you think people may have given threes. 1FC2429D-E77F-46D5-B355-E877D2D37D15.thumb.jpeg.00cffcb01da0b8c0a9b233d0f0f00dc6.jpeg

California towhee. I think it’s. 5, but people gave it 4. Again, why do you think that is?536AD33A-CC2F-4812-A5E5-43A693ED0E0B.thumb.jpeg.e0353ff6a053bd4dfcbe0350df289248.jpeg

sorry about this, I am just wondering how I can improve my photos now that I have my new camera!

thanks!

The photos themselves are great, but the ebird likes the whole bird to be in the photo to help with identification. When I post my own photos on ebird, if I have a closeup like these photos, I'll often subtract a star. For example with you California Towhee, the image is a five star, but since only the head and part of the back is visible, I would rate it as a four star. If the photo had been zoomed out so that most of the bird was visible, it would have been a five star image using ebird standards.

There's nothing wrong with closeups though, and I actually prefer them to full frames of the bird. I know I have taken many closeups and I will continue to do so. 

Edited by Aidan B
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Aidan B said:

The photos themselves are great, but the ebird likes the whole bird to be in the photo to help with identification. When I post my own photos on ebird, if I have a closeup like these photos, I'll often subtract a star. For example with you California Towhee, the image is a five star, but since only the head and part of the back is visible, I would rate it as a four star. If the photo had been zoomed out so that most of the bird was visible, it would have been a five star image using ebird standards.

There's nothing wrong with closeups though, and I actually prefer them to full frames of the bird. I know I have taken many closeups and I will continue to do so. 

Ok thanks! So what about this Cali towhee shot? Is it better? None has rated it yet, so 4 or 5? Also, the song sparrow shot, looks like it’s a 4 based on what you told me. Jay do you think on that one happened?  Thanks!

this was of the same bird. https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/315285941#_ga=2.247662917.352775541.1615430131-1955318793.15928739672400?__hstc=264660688.b2752c042a3bc5a0fc

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, IKLland said:

Ok thanks! So what about this Cali towhee shot? Is it better?

I'd take one star off for lack of sharpness and one off for the bird being cut off.  I think it's a 3...really between a 3 and 4, so I'm okay with a 4 for that one.

Edited by The Bird Nuts
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes 5 star ratings require more than just an in focus bird/good image. Lots of the time they need good composition, framing, and something interesting occurring. Photography is an art form, so there’s a lot of tips you can research to create more interesting photos. I know sometimes I’ll upload similar photos of the same bird, and they’ll get different ratings based on where the bird is in the image/how I cropped it. But in the end, ratings don't really matter as long as if you like the photo. It’s also easier to get 4-5 star quality images with more expensive cameras as they have more megapixels and things. Most of the top images of the day are taken with cameras above $1000. Though, it’s definitely possible to get one with less expensive cameras, it’s just not as easy! 
 

3 stars is a standard and I feel like people are more likely to rate 3 stars or 5 stars than they are 4 stars. To me, 3 stars is a good photo, but it’s not something I’d expect to see in a magazine, while 4 is basically a 5 but is missing ~something~ or has something like a badly placed twig or a blurry body part. 
 

Play around with cropping and the rule of thirds. It definitely can make or break a photo. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think there's one element that hasn't been mentioned yet regarding ebird's photo rating system, only the BEST photos deserve 5 star ratings. I don't think anyone should start off rating their own photo as a 5 star image unless they honestly believe it is amongst the BEST photos they have ever rated. The idea of the rating system is to find the BEST photos, if you believe your photo belongs with the BEST photos, then rate it accordingly. On the other hand, if you know that there are better photos than yours of any particular species, then you have to ask yourself, if your photo is not of the same quality as some of the best photos, do your photos deserve 5 star ratings? My point is, I believe that only exceptional photos should get top ratings, putting 5 star ratings on good photos makes it harder to find the great photos if they both have the same 5 star rating. I think that applies to everyone and is not directed at any one person.

Having said that, I'd like to point out to @IKLland that photography is an art form or craft that takes time to master, I hope to get there one day myself. I think you're expecting a little too much for a new photographer with a new camera. Give yourself time to learn some of the basics like lighting, composition, and learn the camera's different settings for different situations, like when to use exposure compensation, etc., etc. I suggest checking out a few photography tutorial websites, some of the lessons are essential to understanding how to take better photos. Don't forget that it takes time to understand what it takes to make a great photo, but once you start to understand what you're doing, your photos will just get better and better. Don't get frustrated, you'll get there if you keep at it.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

42 minutes ago, lonestranger said:

I think there's one element that hasn't been mentioned yet regarding ebird's photo rating system, only the BEST photos deserve 5 star ratings. I don't think anyone should start off rating their own photo as a 5 star image unless they honestly believe it is amongst the BEST photos they have ever rated. The idea of the rating system is to find the BEST photos, if you believe your photo belongs with the BEST photos, then rate it accordingly. On the other hand, if you know that there are better photos than yours of any particular species, then you have to ask yourself, if your photo is not of the same quality as some of the best photos, do your photos deserve 5 star ratings? My point is, I believe that only exceptional photos should get top ratings, putting 5 star ratings on good photos makes it harder to find the great photos if they both have the same 5 star rating. I think that applies to everyone and is not directed at any one person.

Having said that, I'd like to point out to @IKLland that photography is an art form or craft that takes time to master, I hope to get there one day myself. I think you're expecting a little too much for a new photographer with a new camera. Give yourself time to learn some of the basics like lighting, composition, and learn the camera's different settings for different situations, like when to use exposure compensation, etc., etc. I suggest checking out a few photography tutorial websites, some of the lessons are essential to understanding how to take better photos. Don't forget that it takes time to understand what it takes to make a great photo, but once you start to understand what you're doing, your photos will just get better and better. Don't get frustrated, you'll get there if you keep at it.

 

12 hours ago, Aaron said:

Sometimes 5 star ratings require more than just an in focus bird/good image. Lots of the time they need good composition, framing, and something interesting occurring. Photography is an art form, so there’s a lot of tips you can research to create more interesting photos. I know sometimes I’ll upload similar photos of the same bird, and they’ll get different ratings based on where the bird is in the image/how I cropped it. But in the end, ratings don't really matter as long as if you like the photo. It’s also easier to get 4-5 star quality images with more expensive cameras as they have more megapixels and things. Most of the top images of the day are taken with cameras above $1000. Though, it’s definitely possible to get one with less expensive cameras, it’s just not as easy! 
 

3 stars is a standard and I feel like people are more likely to rate 3 stars or 5 stars than they are 4 stars. To me, 3 stars is a good photo, but it’s not something I’d expect to see in a magazine, while 4 is basically a 5 but is missing ~something~ or has something like a badly placed twig or a blurry body part. 
 

Play around with cropping and the rule of thirds. It definitely can make or break a photo. 

 

11 hours ago, blackburnian said:

I agree, both of these are 3-star photos imo. Don’t stress about ratings! Just enjoy the birds and do the best you can to get the best shot you can. 

 

12 hours ago, The Bird Nuts said:

I'd take one star off for lack of sharpness and one off for the bird being cut off.  I think it's a 3...really between a 3 and 4, so I'm okay with a 4 for that one.

 

12 hours ago, The Bird Nuts said:

The first photo doesn't have ideal composition, lighting, or sharpness, so I think three stars is correct for that one.

Ok thanks everyone for the great tips! Always helpful!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

This may help answer some of your questions.

Rating photos

Rate the quality of the image, not the quality of the bird or the observation. A great photo of a common, drab bird should still be 5 stars and a poor photo of a very rare or hard-to-photograph bird could still be only 1 or 2 stars. When rating, please consider the photo guidelines, as well as the following factors:

  • Sharpness: Is the primary subject in focus? Is the image blurred or grainy? 
  • Visibility of bird: How well can you see the bird? If the bird is very small, partially obstructed from view, or backlit in the photo, the rating should be lower than it would be otherwise.
  • Size of photo: Lower your rating of any photo that has a noticeably small resolution. Uploading full resolution files is always encouraged.
  • Watermarks: Lower rating by 1-4 stars depending on the size and obtrusiveness of the watermark.
  • Composite photos, back-of-camera, photos with obtrusive graphics or extreme editing: automatic 1-star for anything that is in clear violation of photo guidelines
  • Flocks: Rate flocks based on the quality of the image rather than the visibility of any individual birds. Is the flock in focus, well lit, and the overall image of high resolution?
  • Birds in-hand: Photos of in-hand birds are critical for illustrating plumages and molts, and add significant value to the standard ornithological practice of bird banding. Please rate images of in-hand birds based on photo quality. Do not intentionally down-rate images of birds in the hand because you don't agree with the practice. In-hand photos should also be tagged as in-hand during upload.

 

Descriptions of star ratings for photos:

  • 5 Stars: Excellent quality. High resolution and in sharp focus. Lighting should be good and the bird at least fairly large in the frame and not significantly obscured.
  • 4 Stars: Very good quality. High resolution and in good focus, at least decent lighting, and bird reasonably large in frame. One or two of these factors may be less than ideal and prevent from achieving 5 stars.
  • 3 Stars: Decent quality. High or medium resolution with decent focus. Lighting might be less than ideal; bird might be smaller in frame or somewhat obscured. Might have several factors that prevent it from being rated higher.
  • 2 Stars: Poor quality. Could be a good image but at a noticeably low resolution, or high resolution but with significant flaws. Lighting might be severely backlit or poorly exposed. Image might be good but the bird is extremely small in the frame or mostly obscured.
  • 1 Star: Very poor quality. Very low resolution or very poor focus; bird may be very small or obscured in the frame or have extremely bad exposure. In general should only be uploaded as record shots, if still identifiable.
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it’s a common bird, it needs to be a really exceptional photo to get a 4 or 5 star.

If it’s a locally rare bird, I’ll often rate photos a little higher than I would for a common bird. I might give a 3-star photo of a local rarity a 4-star rating. (Only for documentation photos from the original finder of the rarity).

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/11/2021 at 7:14 AM, lonestranger said:

only the BEST photos deserve 5 star ratings. I don't think anyone should start off rating their own photo as a 5 star image unless they honestly believe it is amongst the BEST photos they have ever rated. The idea of the rating system is to find the BEST photos, if you believe your photo belongs with the BEST photos, then rate it accordingly. On the other hand, if you know that there are better photos than yours of any particular species, then you have to ask yourself, if your photo is not of the same quality as some of the best photos, do your photos deserve 5 star ratings? My point is, I believe that only exceptional photos should get top ratings, putting 5 star ratings on good photos makes it harder to find the great photos if they both have the same 5 star rating. I think that applies to everyone and is not directed at any one person.

This is simply not true. Photos that most appropriately match the requirements in the description for "5 Stars" in their rating system are the photos that should be rated as such.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, DLecy said:

This is simply not true. Photos that most appropriately match the requirements in the description for "5 Stars" in their rating system are the photos that should be rated as such.

What part of my interpretation is not true? I believe my statement aligns pretty well with the requirements. The way I read the requirements, only the best photos deserve 5 stars, they call these photos "excellent". 4 star photos are referred to as "good". 3 stars are referred to as "decent", etc., etc. Are you implying that less than the BEST photos deserve 5 star ratings? I don't understand what part of my post you're objecting to.

5 Stars: Excellent quality.

4 Stars: Very good quality.

3 Stars: Decent quality.

2 Stars: Poor quality.

1 Star: Very poor quality.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, DLecy said:

 

Rate the quality of the image, not the quality of the bird or the observation. A great photo of a common, drab bird should still be 5 stars and a poor photo of a very rare or hard-to-photograph bird could still be only 1 or 2 stars. When rating, please consider the photo guidelines, as well as the following factors:

@AlexHenry

They do say specifically not to rate the picture by the quality of the bird. 

Edited by Avery
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, lonestranger said:

What part of my interpretation is not true? I believe my statement aligns pretty well with the requirements. The way I read the requirements, only the best photos deserve 5 stars, they call these photos "excellent". 4 star photos are referred to as "good". 3 stars are referred to as "decent", etc., etc. Are you implying that less than the BEST photos deserve 5 star ratings? I don't understand what part of my post you're objecting to.

5 Stars: Excellent quality.

4 Stars: Very good quality.

3 Stars: Decent quality.

2 Stars: Poor quality.

1 Star: Very poor quality.

You said repeatedly that in your opinion a 5 star ratings should only be if someone "believe it is amongst the BEST photos they have ever rated" and that "if you know that there are better photos than yours of any particular species" you shouldn't rate it 5 stars. This is simply not the case given the guidelines for rating photos by eBird.

While it may be that a photo you give 5 stars to happens to be the BEST photo you have ever seen of a bird species, someone can easily rate a photo 5 stars based on the following criteria: "Excellent quality. High resolution and in sharp focus. Lighting should be good and the bird at least fairly large in the frame and not significantly obscured," and have it not be the BEST photo they have ever seen of a bird species. If I am asking myself every single time I rate a photo "Have I ever seen a better picture of this bird?" the answer js always going to be "yes." There are some GREAT photographers out there with professional level equipment. That being said, should anything less than the BEST photo I have ever seen be given less than 5 stars? No. According to eBird I can easily rate a photo 5 stars if it meets the criteria included above, and IMO this how it should be.

I'm not really sure what you mean by the statement "putting 5 star ratings on good photos makes it harder to find the great photos if they both have the same 5 star rating," but it's worth noting that because eBird allows anyone with an account to rate photos, the ratings will average out over time as the number of people who rate the photo increases.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, DLecy said:

You said repeatedly that in your opinion a 5 star ratings should only be if someone "believe it is amongst the BEST photos they have ever rated" and that "if you know that there are better photos than yours of any particular species" you shouldn't rate it 5 stars. This is simply not the case given the guidelines for rating photos by eBird.

While it may be that a photo you give 5 stars to happens to be the BEST photo you have ever seen of a bird species, someone can easily rate a photo 5 stars based on the following criteria: "Excellent quality. High resolution and in sharp focus. Lighting should be good and the bird at least fairly large in the frame and not significantly obscured," and have it not be the BEST photo they have ever seen of a bird species. If I am asking myself every single time I rate a photo "Have I ever seen a better picture of this bird?" the answer js always going to be "yes." There are some GREAT photographers out there with professional level equipment. That being said, should anything less than the BEST photo I have ever seen be given less than 5 stars? No. According to eBird I can easily rate a photo 5 stars if it meets the criteria included above, and IMO this how it should be.

I'm not really sure what you mean by the statement "putting 5 star ratings on good photos makes it harder to find the great photos if they both have the same 5 star rating," but it's worth noting that because eBird allows anyone with an account to rate photos, the ratings will average out over time as the number of people who rate the photo increases.

Wow, sorry for my choice of words. I was not suggesting that anyone should disregard the requirements of the eBird rating system. I simply tried to encourage people to be honest about rating their photos and use comparisons of other top rated photos to help them honestly evaluate the quality of their own photos. Sorry to have offended you, I will chose my words more cautiously in the future.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, lonestranger said:

Wow, sorry for my choice of words. I was not suggesting that anyone should disregard the requirements of the eBird rating system. I simply tried to encourage people to be honest about rating their photos and use comparisons of other top rated photos to help them honestly evaluate the quality of their own photos. Sorry to have offended you, I will chose my words more cautiously in the future.

Not offended whatsoever. I simply don't necessarily share in your opinions and/or interpretations of rating bird photos on eBird. I'm glad we were able to "converse" on the topic, thanks for engaging with me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, DLecy said:

I simply don't necessarily share in your opinions and/or interpretations of rating bird photos on eBird.

My opinion was about people rating their own photos and not about rating anyone else's photos, and I don't believe anything I said to be "not true". If you disagree with my opinion and think that people should rate their own photos with a 5 star rating when they know that there are better quality images out there,(which is the only way I can interpret your objection to my opinion) well, I'll agree that we disagree. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As is clearly evident, the eBird rating system is a bit controversial. I'd rate your photos a 3 - I'd even see people rating a photo like your Black Phoebe shot at a 2, simply because the bird is out of focus and the background is distracting.

As far as quality of the images, I'd say the main issue I have with the first ones you posted is that they're slightly fuzzy. I agree with most - I'd put them at a 3. 4 to me are photos that are in good focus and have good composition. I reserve my 5s for photos that would be 4s but have just that next step of quality - bird is exceptionally clear, background is perfectly aligned, maybe the bird behavior is showcased, something like that. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ratings are subjective, you can get all your buddies to go on and rate it 5 stars if you want to, I have seen it done, so I wouldnt sweat any of the ebird stuff really. If you want to get honest opinions flickr has many groups that offer to rate your pic and tell you what they see wrong and right...

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...