Our Reader Case Studies

First of all, I apologize for not being able to write anything for the last couple of days. Lola has been very sick since Friday and both Omar and Ozzy have also been a little sick, although they seem to be only mildly affected by the virus. I have been taking the boys out every evening for Lola to relax a little bit and have not had a chance to work on the site content. So many things are getting piled up on my “to-do” list, I don’t even know where to start. When the whole family gets sick, everything comes to a complete halt and you cannot function normally anymore, hoping that things will get better in a couple of days. That’s basically the mode I’m in right now…

On the other hand, spending less time in front of the computer has not been bad either, because I spent some time planning ahead (and yes, putting more stuff on the list) and even came up with some new ideas. Speaking of which, one of the ideas is the subject of this article – “Our Reader Case Studies”. I came up with the idea after exchanging a couple of emails with one of our frequent visitors, who could not understand why his pictures at night were coming out blurry, with a lot of bright spots in the pictures. I requested him to send me a sample image in its original format, so that I could review it and see what could be wrong. When I received the image, I looked at it and I immediately knew exactly what the problem was, without even looking at the image data. I explained what the problem was and gave some suggestions on what I would do if I was shooting the same scene, with the exactly same equipment.

Why Blurry

Obviously, this kind of communication is private and nobody else saw the example image or my feedback. If others had a chance to see these kinds of real-life examples and perhaps even share their own, it would definitely be a good learning tool, especially for those, who are just getting into photography and trying to learn the basics.

Here is a quick process outline:

  1. Many of us occasionally end up with a really bad photo, without knowing why it came out the way it did. You think you did everything right and the camera settings seemed to be good, but something caused your camera to produce a bad-looking photo. Maybe it is blurry, maybe it is noisy or has some weird artifacts that you do recognize – but it is bothering you and you want to know why it happened.
  2. You either leave a comment here or contact me through the “contact us” page, with the title “Case Study” and a basic description of the problem.
  3. I respond to your email with a request to send me the file.
  4. You respond to my email and attach the troubled image in full-size RAW or JPEG format. I will need the original file, with no post-processing. You also indicate whether you would like to stay anonymous, or do not mind your name posted in the article.
  5. I post your image, along with the description/problem and the solution in a new “Case Study” article.
  6. Readers see the problem/solution and learn from it.

Some basic rules:

  1. Your image must not contain any graphic content, including nudity.
  2. Please send one image at a time, because each image will be a separate case study (unless you need to show a sequence of pictures to describe the problem).
  3. If a case study with exactly the same problem has already been posted, I might choose not to publish it and refer you to an existing case study instead.
  4. You can request to review and approve the case study before it gets published.
  5. By providing your image, you are agreeing to let our website publish your sample photograph in a case study article. We respect copyright and we will not use it for any other purpose.

I might change or add to the above list in the future, as we go through the process.

So, do you think it is a good idea to do these kinds of case studies? Please let me know in the comments section below.


  1. 1) kerry
    April 6, 2010 at 8:18 am

    I think it is a brilliant idea! When I first got into photography I had so many disasters with photos and often couldn’t get answers as to why, even when I asked on photography forums. With a flash problem it took me twelve months to find the answer, which eventually came via Arthur Morris’ blog. It was a frustrating and depressing situation as I so wanted to master flash – I still haven’t mastered it, but at least I know the answer to one problem!! :-)

    • April 7, 2010 at 2:02 am

      Thank you for your feedback Kerry! I have a deep respect for Arthur Morris and his work. He is truly one of the best bird photographers in the world. Was your flash question related to fill-flash using the flash xtender? :)

      • 1.1.1) kerry
        April 7, 2010 at 2:34 am

        Hi Nasim

        It was regarding Hi-speed Sync and the problem I had of not being able to set the aperture I wanted in order to remove detail or ending up with very over exposed shots – I didn’t know about the use of Hi-speed Sync. Arthur covered the issue in his bulletin number 316 and also gave a link to a good article on this issue by http://www.rpphoto.com/howto/view.asp?articleID=1026 (hope it is ok for me to post the link).

        P.S. Yesterday I forgot to send my best wishes for a speedy recovery for your family – I got so excited about your suggestion! :-) Hope they are on the mend now.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          April 8, 2010 at 8:19 pm

          Ah…high speed sync can be quite useful with the better beamer/flash xtender. I used to use a better beamer for bird photography before, but ended up smoking my SB-800 after a busy photo shoot in a local park. Hiking with a flash + extender was not very practical either and I stopped using it after a while…

          Family is slowly recovering, but the virus transferred on to me now :(

          • kerry
            April 10, 2010 at 11:50 am

            Oh, you poor thing! I do hope you are feeling a bit better now. My husband had the flu bug a couple of weeks ago but luckily it missed me.

  2. 2) WebMonster
    April 7, 2010 at 11:54 am

    It is a brillian idea! I hope I’ll find lots of answers to my problems.

    • April 8, 2010 at 8:20 pm

      WebMonster, send some pics with questions when you get a chance! :)

  3. 3) Dennis
    April 9, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Nice idea! This is a privilege to all readers and I’m sure many will benefit from it. Thanks, Nasim. Really appreciate for what you have been giving.

    • April 17, 2010 at 3:37 am

      Dennis, big thanks to you for your participation!

Comment Policy: Although our team at Photography Life encourages all readers to actively participate in discussions, we reserve the right to delete / modify any content that does not comply with our Code of Conduct, or do not meet the high editorial standards of the published material.

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