This is obviously a photography site. Most(if not all) of the users here have the images they ask questions about in digital form, that can easily be uploaded to this site(unless I am missing something)

I'm not sure what percentage, but lets say maybe 25% of all questions would benefit a great deal from images being posted with the question. Why are so many users reluctant? How can we encourage this or make this process easier, more likely to happen, etc?

Would photo.se benefit from a custom section in the ask question piece that specifically prompts for an image if none was included?

This is a good example here. The user has plenty of rep to post images, and probably has even done it before. The question they were asking would benefit a great deal from posting both of the image examples he tried to explain with words. Most experts here could probably answer the question immediately upon seeing the example images, but instead it gets into a drawn out session that probably has no good answers. Ideas?


5 Answers 5


A few reasons come to mind:

  1. The content isn't something they want to share publicly. A few reasons for that:
    1. Many folks won't post pictures of their kids online, so if they're having problems taking pictures of their kids they're kinda screwed.
    2. The subject mater they're shooting might not be something they want their name associated with... I'm sure you can all guess what that might be.
    3. They're too embarrassed by the low quality... eg the problem they're trying to get help correcting. (yes, this seem contradictory, but I've seen it many times on forums and in photo clubs.)
    4. If they're an aspiring pro, it might be their clients images and...
      • they don't want their clients to see the images being critiqued/discussed
      • they don't want prospective future clients to see that they had to ask for help
  2. They don't like the copyright assignments associated with posting via imgur and
    1. they're not tech-savy enough to host elsewhere and link into the post, OR
    2. they aren't sure if the CC BY-SA requirement in the StackExchange terms applies to linked content.

One problem I can see is that the FAQ specifically mentions that photo.SE is not for photo critique. Many people, particularly amateurs, don't necessarily understand the difference between "critique" (artistic/subjective) and "analysis" (technical/objective). Perhaps better wording of the FAQ and more specifics are in order? e.g.:

Attached images are OK and encouraged for:

  • showing an example of a problem you're having with your equipment
  • demonstrating effects of different equipment on the same scene/subject
  • answering a question/explaining a concept

Attached images are not OK for:

  • subjective discussions/ratings, e.g. asking "what do you think about this image?"
  • starting photo contests or theme threads
  • (etc.)

You have to have a certain rep to post images - many new users can't. Being that we're a photography site, it'd be great if that could be lowered for our SE site.

It'd also be great if there was some kind of note on questions like 'Don't forget to include a sample image of your problem, if applicable.' We'd have to guess at issues far less and they'd get better answers.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ The limit is very low. I believe that it's 10, in fact. And, having observed a troll attack on the site already, I believe at it's pretty much necessary. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 12:09
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, didn't reqalize its quite 10, plenty low enough. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 13:56

One possibility is that photographers care about copyrights and are reluctant to share images in a way that reduces their ability to sell it at a later time.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think this is the reason, since images posted here are too small to be actually used in any reasonable application. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 20, 2011 at 7:34
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ It's probably not the primary reason, but I think it probably contributes. \$\endgroup\$
    – chills42
    Commented Jun 20, 2011 at 15:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RobertKoritnik I've had images stolen from one website for use on another. Image theft doesn't always have to require large sizes. \$\endgroup\$
    – jwenting
    Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 13:03

I believe some of my posts would become better with images added, but they are lacking because adding them does not come naturally, I have to consciously urge myself each time I post an image. I don't have any issues with the idea of sharing them publicly or copyright terms.

When writing an answer, I'm storing my flow of thoughts as a text. Adding an image disrupts my thought flow, because

  • adding an image is different in each online system, requiring either some magic markup code or finding that button you need; this trains the mindset "it's not easy" even if it's relatively easy in each system by itself. In comparison, writing text is pretty straightforward once you've found a box that accepts it.
  • uploading the image is a chore on its own -
    • find the image in my photo library;
    • is it good to submit as is, or should I resize/crop, sharpen? (usually, yes);
    • find the image again with the file browsing tool you use for uploading the picture.
  • now, what were we talking about?

One thing I see here that could be improved from SE side is accepting picture uploads by drag-and-drop; it would be slightly easier to use, but not a magic bullet for all the issues.


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