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A note about the quality of photos in Brickset reviews

Brickfan50Brickfan50 Zwolle, NetherlandsMember Posts: 254
As hinted by myself in another thread I'm often rather dissatisfied by the quality of the pics that appear in BS reviews. I am aware that criticizing people who have expensive cameras and lighting setups is mostly not very welcomed. Let's say: almost every (semi) professional photographer has the opinion that his/hers photos are the best. That's OK!
As a professional printer since 1992, I have to serve people with different levels of knowledge about colour workspace, RGB/CMYK and colour profiles. The switch from digital images to printed images is far more complicated than preparing camera images for publishing on a web site.
OK, sorry for the long introduction but I wanted to explain where I'm from.. :-)

I sampled a couple of pics from reviews of the same set by Brickset (BS) and Brothers Bricks (BB).
Saturation

Here you can see that the white parts on BS are lacking detail that are visible on BB. Shadow is the main difference here. On the left the blue look slike medium azure or dark azure / on the right it is dark turquoise / teal -- which it is.

Colours are off

On the left BS, on the right BB. The green plates and tiles are much to0 dark when compared to the real LEGO colour for green. The light bluish grey tiles on top are too dark on BS. The colours of the tiles on the floor too dark to.

Colours are off 2



Here's another example that in my opinion clearly shows how the colours are not right on BS.
Left is BS and right BB. The Bricklink colour dark red (bench and arrow) shows almost brownish on BS while it is about right on BB. The colour of the cups on the wall are too light on BS when compared to the real colours you have on hand in your collection. The BB photo is much better. Also the red cap on the right is more red than on the left. Orange is orange on BB but over saturated on BS.

Left (BS): black is dark grey, brown is some indifferent brownish colour. On the right both colours are much more closer to the real brick colour. Yellow hair on the left is over saturated. On the right it's good!
Please don't read this as sort of attack on you -- Brickset is doing great! But I really think you could do better when it comes down to photography.

Tips...: check your camera default white settings. Check/change your studio lighting setup.

Final note: I'm on the Autism spectrum (like quite a few other BS members) and *I* think this is important. But I understand that other people are different and more like "what is this member whining about?". That's OK. I only wanted to contribute to getting better photos in the future on this site.
*technical note: I downloaded the pictures from both sites and opened them in Photoshop. I pasted them side-by-side in new window. I didn't use a pre-setting (colour profile) and I didn't use compression to save them in jpg format. So it's original as it is.

omniumBOBJACK_JACKBOBM1J0ELittleLoriFireheart

Comments

  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 862
    The ones on the right look artificially 'warm' to me, but I'm no expert. It could be my monitor is too cheap or not set correctly, but I guess that applies to most people to some degree.
    drdavewatfordandhegmonkey76
  • Casper_vd_KorfCasper_vd_Korf Twente, The NetherlandsMember Posts: 67
    In my opinion, both BS and BB are a bit off with their colours, sometimes too dark and sometimes too light. However, if you put the effort in to have completely matching colours would be too much work for every review.
  • panchox1panchox1 ColoradoMember Posts: 330
    Interesting. In most of these, I find the Brickset pics to be the better ones. The other pick in the first example makes the white bricks super discolored, almost gray and dingy looking. but like @Aleydita said, that could be my monitor. I do prefer the other pic in the second example over the Brickset pic. but that is the only one. That's just me looking at my work monitor.
    drdavewatfordvizzitorandheM_BossBumblepantsgmonkey76Shib7BSmustang69
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,414
    Aleydita said:
    The ones on the right look artificially 'warm' to me, but I'm no expert.
    Yep, I think we're seeing the same thing - three out of the four pics on the right look too dark to me, and the whites and light colours have an unnatural brown tint (which I think is the 'warmth' you're referring to). The remaining pic on the right (second picture down) is too light IMHO - the standard green plate looks like it's bright green to me.

    Overall, the Brickset pictures look more 'clinical' and precise while the BB pics are less well lit and more 'organic' if that makes sense.... I do however think that this is very much down to personal preference rather than one style of photography being 'better' than another.
    560HeliportvizzitorandheM_BossBumblepantsgmonkey76stlux
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,444
    I also think it is down to personal preference. Plus you get used to one site's methods and so get used to what colours look like in their reviews.

    One thing I like to see is the lines / shadows / breaks between bricks. Often for white or larger areas of other lighter colours, they all merge into one and it is sometimes difficult to tell how many / what parts have been used if you cannot see the joins between them.
  • FowlerBricksFowlerBricks USAMember Posts: 1,669
    As a photographer, the photos from the Brothers Brick look under exposed and not properly color graded to me. For instance, glare is really not something to be proud of and they seem to have quite a bit of that, most likely due to lights that are too direct. And they definitely seem to have too much red in their shots. That's just my two cents.
    stluxHuwgmonkey767BSbenbacardivizzitorM_Bossdrdavewatford
  • Brickfan50Brickfan50 Zwolle, NetherlandsMember Posts: 254
    Thanks to all above ^^ who have commented on my post, especially @Huw: thanks for your effort to go into detail!
    I agree that it's a difficult subject and there are many variables to factor in. However we  have a reference: the LEGO colour tables with RGB values. Ideally those values should match the colours found in the photographs but I'm aware this is hardly doable in practice.
    Right now I can't think of a solution that would be perfect but I'm still thinking about it.
    Best wishes, Martin
    LittleLoriKungFuKenny
  • DeMontesDeMontes North YorkshireMember Posts: 621
    I agree it’s down to personal preference with images and both TBB and Brickset have a high standard of photography imo. It is also worth bearing in mind that time is a huge factor and both TBB and Brickset strive to review sets in a timely manner for the benefit of readers, often review sets arrive with a very tight turnaround!

     TBB and Brickset are not a single individual but a group of writers and reviewers.  Different cameras, setups and post production preferences will make a difference to the final images.

    I have not had an issue looking at images from Huw and Chris on BS reviews as I find them to be clear and clinical, but I particularly enjoyed @iso3200 images as these were stunning. I even took the time to message private to say how beautiful they were like a ‘fan girl’. 

    I always read Chris’ reviews with an expectation that ‘Furthermore’ and ‘Moreover’ will be utilised 😂 but that’s just me being a bit on the scale too!

    Interesting topic and certainly not my area of expertise but I’m always keen for tips and constructive criticism. Good info from the OP, thanks

    Elspeth

    LittleLoriGothamConstructionCodmcc0Bumblepantsiso3200
  • porschecm2porschecm2 Member Posts: 2
    I'm a little late to commenting on this, but I'm The Brothers Brick photographer in these examples. The feedback (both positive and negative) is welcomed, and I'm always looking to improve, just as I know Huw and Chris are here at Brickset. 

    Elspeth correctly notes, though, that time is a huge factor on review photos. I know that I could get better photos if I spent more time on them both in the studio and in post-production, but that extra few minutes per photo adds up, especially on large sets that often have 50-75 photos. And that can end up being the difference between publishing today vs tomorrow. 

    She's also right on another point, which is that our reviews don't come from a single source. I do the photography for a lot of them and have a decent (but not professional) set up, but TBB has a much larger team of writers who do reviews from time to time, and we're not all working with the same equipment. Because TBB is an all-volunteer organization, we can't equip every reviewer with pro-level gear, so you will see variance depending on who the reviewer is. I'm probably overdue on upgrading my lighting setup, which would solve some of the noted lighting concerns.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,619
    Thanks for pitching in, Chris. As you say, it's all down to time, and we are usually up against it.

    I have to say, though, that I am not a fan of the dark blue background you use. It makes the pictures look too drab, IMO.
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