Communicating Emotion: Review of A vs B Photo Discussion

I love how opinionated this community is. There is no right, no wrong – just a good bit of discussion…

In case you’re lost, I promised to follow up this earlier popular Which Photo is Better A or B? post. The discussion on these is always spirited–in this case the post received more than 1000 comments in 24 hours–of which I read them all. A breakdown by numbers, my particular take (it was different than most of your votes), and a fascinating old JWT video that features Stephen King and a box of hammers, which subtly reveals a good bit about products and our emotions around them, all after the jump…

First, here’s a breakdown.

1. By popular voting, reader choice is Photo A. Overall opinions mostly hinged on the facts that “you could see more of the product” OR it was non-vote for B, in which the sentiment was centered on “the lens flare is too distracting”…

2. This advertising image was indeed shot for LuluLemon and, true to our readership popular voting, the final call on this image from the client was indeed Photo A. I like A. It’s a super solid shot. Clear. Tight. Right on brief and right on my personal style.

3. But my preference was for image B. I like the special sauce that the flare adds. That said, I certainly and completely understand the client choice – professionals always default to the people writing the checks. There are often clear marketing objective that play a role before the shoot AND many objective arise/come out during and after the shoot… In the end, to the credit of LuluLemon’s team –and they’re a really smart bunch– they really wanted to see the product since it was one of their first foray’s into running wear. I love the final image in A, but it’s perfectly ok for me to like B a little more.

Here’s why:
(First another glance at the images.)

This is PHOTO A, below.

Runner A

THIS is PHOTO B, below.

Runner B

First – remember I’ve talked at length before (post here: photographers push your art directors….) about my creative approach when on commercial shoots…. My initial goal: making the image from the creative brief…focused on pleasing the client, checking all the awesomeness boxes, where everybody on set looks at one another and says “we got the shot”. THEN, after that moment, push things a little bit and say “let me experiment”…push the concept a little more, check your own awesomeness box and throw that image into the mix for final selection. That was at work here. Image A was “the brief”. Image B, was me adding points of flare. In this case, a flare ;) [*Note also that I often report on the client then choosing my “special sauce” image? Well, doesn’t always happen – as in this case here…But not to worry.]

Ok. I like image B purely because of the emotion involved. The emotion that the image makes me feel, the emotion that’s on the runners face, the emotion that I, as a runner, connect with when I go for long runs at sunset and my eye does the same thing that a camera sensor does when the sun hits it, etc. I disagree with technical arguments against this image. I worked for about 40 minutes to get this shot. The lens rendered the image beautifully, as did the camera. If you make the distraction image, I’m not buying it either. But that’s just me. I’m looking for the substance of the photo and it’s obviously not all to be found in the flare. My eyes move thru the photo.

There are always, as I mentioned above, marketing objectives that drive the content of commercial images… That’s their nature. But where the tug of war happens — and why I selected this pairing of images — is that the marketing objectives (here to make a really nice, connecting shot with the runner and the product) are sometimes at odds with a purely emotionally response based image. In fact, I believe that if you take away most of the technically-based comments below, that a majority of the people would actually connect more emotionally with Image B. Like yours truly.

Isn’t that the highest goal of an advertising image? To connect emotionally with the product or service? Debatable indeed, but it’s how I like to think about it. From both a creator perspective and as a buyer of stuff. It’s partially The client can always — and often does — think more comprehensively about the campaign than the artist who is actually shooting the campaign but my sentiment is emotion. Let the people higher on the pay scale decide the rest of the stuff…

With regard to commercial art specifically, I personally share a view shared in part by uber-planner (creative strategist) Stephen King puts it, as pulled from buddy of mine Feris Yakob over at Talent Imitates, Genius Steals:

“- communication is an indirect force rather than a direct persuasive one
– its primary role is to intensify a brand’s meaning totality (‘brand gestalt’) by creating intensity of feeling, rather than conveying rational messages
– it works most effectively by building long-term brand associations & values rather than via short-term sales shifts
– a planner’s role (photographer’s perhaps) is to … not get dragged into the nightmarish mechanistic false world of purchase intent methodologies.”

Pretty much sums up why we need to be pushing creativity to clients that we believe in, right? Ultimately they make choices based on bigger spheres, budgets, jobs, goals, etc than we do creating the work, BUT it shouldn’t keep us from making the stuff we feel is most creative after you “get the shot”.

What say you?

[Final departure: here’s a funny old 1970’s JWT agency video where these gents articulate in/around the emotional side of hammers and dress suits. Worth the 90 seconds if you like this stuff. ]

98 Responses to Communicating Emotion: Review of A vs B Photo Discussion

  1. DanielKphoto January 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    Interesting post Chase! I love both of the photos, and actually I wasn’t sure which one was better. Nice to hear your own opinion :-)

    Thanks for sharing with us…

  2. Abhi January 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    I like the way you explained the stuff in this post in very detail.

    Also , I cant agree more when you say–“The emotion that the image makes me feel, the emotion that’s on the runners face, the emotion that I, as a runner, connect with when I go for long runs at sunset and my eye does the same thing that a camera sensor does when the sun hits it, etc”

  3. Zak Shelhamer January 3, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    I would say B… warmth creates emotion for me.

  4. steve January 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    Thanks for revisiting the discussion, Chase. I agree with the principle: emotion. We should choose photographs this way. We often make wrong decisions when we over think or over analyze this stuff.

  5. Carl January 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    I prefer A, I think there is just too much flare in B.

    Maybe something in between could be best but I just feel too much of the runner is lost in B.

  6. Charlotte January 3, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    I understand what you mean,my suggestion however is just a littleness sun flare in pic b, that would make it perfect

  7. Charlotte January 3, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    *a little LESS*

  8. Elis W. Alves January 3, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    Thank you for revisiting the post Chase! I was really curious as to which image you used and why. I did comment on A being my favorite but liking the expression on the runner’s face better on B. Now that you’ve explained your reasons I like B more than I did at first. :c) Thanks for letting us in your artistic processes! You are a HUGE blessing man! :c) Keep up the good work!

  9. Kris January 3, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    Too much flare in B, flare in A is good ;-)

  10. Kyle Bromley January 3, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    I think shot B works a little better than A, and here is why I think so (just personal preference of a consumer all advertising technicalities asside). Shot A yes shows more of the product, but I walk away with no connection to the product, and no reason why I’d buy that set of running garments (given I was a female). Shot B for me gives me this feeling of warmth from the light and makes me feel connected to the product (again given I actually needed to buy female running garments). It makes me feel like taking a morning jog in the warm rising sun light. Also, the sunlight detours me from the parked cars which is more of a distraction in the first shot than the second. The light overpowers them and I go straight to the model running. So in conclusion I’d pick shot B as the winner if I was just a consumer looking at a product to buy. Great shots regardless though man!

    • Sam January 3, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

      nice explanation. i understand the warmth thing, but to me photo A is still “warm”. the glare doesn’t seem to block out the cars too well. it blocks out the lamppost but becomes a distraction anyways. i guess i get what you’re saying. great pics though like you said.

  11. Stu.C January 3, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    Yup, it’s about an Artist using a camera to create an image vs a Photographer making a photograph.
    I prefer the composition of B (the car draws the eye into the pic better with the tail light included) and blue sky always makes people happy :)

  12. Carson McComas January 3, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    This reminds me why photo critiques are so rarely useful.

    If no one were required to defend their position, I suspect more would have chosen B. I too had a better emotional reaction to B than A, which I think makes B the better image, but B is more difficult to defend.

    A is also the safer choice because it satisfies the brief, and safety is a deeply compelling motivator.

    It’s difficult, when we mix art and business, to trust ourselves. But the great ones do.

  13. Jamie Maldonado January 3, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    I like B more, if only the flare didn’t claim so much of the runner … it also covers up (in my opinion) the worst aspect of Photo A: The big pole in the middle.

  14. Matt January 3, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    Nice explanation of your position. It’s easier for me to see the runner’s satisfaction in A than in B. I don’t see the extra flare adding that much extra emotional feel, but I could see a touch of nostalgia in B vs. A. I guess A vs. B might come down to “I’m really content running like this” vs. “I miss the days when I used to run”.

    That’s how I see it, anyhow. That’s my own personal vision, and as such may be different from everybody else’s. And that’s OK! ;)

  15. Carl Licari January 3, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    Image B? Because of the emotion???
    I guess it does create emotion because I’m totally annoyed that the flare is consuming a third of the photo. Annoyed that it’s blocks half of the beautiful runner. Annoyed that it doesn’t block out the parked cars and street lights poles.
    Emotion, yea, that’s it!

  16. Justine January 3, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    I liked B straight off! My eye likes the unusual and is drawn to study it. I felt the runner blended into the trees in A I found it too perfect & uninteresting. B looked more real to me, like she was running. I think it captured movement better

  17. Dennis January 3, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    I can’t agree more with the arguments for tying an image emotionally to a brand. Trying to do anything but is like having a zombie movie without guns – sure, you can do it, maybe even successfully – it just doesn’t have that special sauce, to use the author’s words.

    Only problem is, I find myself much more emotionally drawn to image B. I’m not 100% sure why. I’m probably wrong, objectively speaking, but we all experience emotions in a somewhat subjective matter, right?

    I bet I’m reacting to the honesty and the nuanced approach of the first image. Perhaps if “B” were framed differently, maybe more blown out, it’d fire more of my neurons closely tied to the story being told here.

    Still it doesn’t really change the point of the post – we absolutely need to be pushing for emotions in branding and advertising. As George Lois said – advertising is a POISON GAS

  18. Shawn M January 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    I keep looking at the pictures and B gives me a headache. My gut reaction from the beginning is it hurts my head. I want to squint and look away. When I look at A I go right for her face and smile.

    With that said, every time I take a flare shot or look at flare shots I look for the shots that are uniquely different. I’ve seen a few over time, not many. Some of my favorites include the trailing dots of sun or the points of sun.

    In picture B its just a big white blob in the center of the screen.

    It has potential and I can see where you were going with it. You are so amazing in all that you do so I know what ever your decision it will be stupendous.

  19. CallumW January 3, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    In A the flare looks like a mini rainbow arc landing on her foot :)
    Surely a sign of gold below the rainbow.

    I guess A satisfies the clients need and B satisfies your creative need?
    For me the flare is just too heavy in B.


  20. eric January 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    anyone who is saying B is a total follower. picture A is clearly the one you should prefer because like others have in-fact pointed out picture B has just too much flare. i understand the point of this post but that picture is almost totally washed out by that sun.

  21. eric January 3, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    the artistry is totally lost on me, pictures are about trying to draw our attention to things we are taking a picture of. what is the point if we are going to ask people to value the arbitrary shit that comes out. that’s accidental, and although beautiful, no one should be taking credit or trying to force such things.

    • Chase January 3, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

      eric: if you are so sure, tell me then, what am i actually “taking a picture OF…” ?

  22. ken January 3, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    If the flare in B weren’t as gigantic, it’d probably be better….as it is, it looks like a piece of film that was burnt in the middle (sorry…that’s one person’s opinion :-)

    So something between A and B would probably have satisfied both the commercial aspect and the artistic aspect IMHO…

  23. Friso Kooijman January 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    Hi Chase,

    I prefer picture A because the lady outruns the sun, she is ahead of the sun and seems capable of outrunning the light …. (technically not possible, okay, I know). The story continues and is

    Picture B shows a lady running that is swallowed (eaten) by the sun and thus is stopped by the sun. The story ends.

    Therefore picture A feels more powerfull to me.

    Best regards


  24. Gerry Photographer January 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    I like Photo A better. Photo B was kinda too much. For advertising, Photo B may work better – that circular light area for the advertising message. Art directors are really hard to figure out, photographers just gotta cover every possible angle to get a shot for whatever desires/fancy the art director might have any given day. :-D

  25. Doan January 3, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    product advertising: A
    creativity: B

  26. Denzil J January 3, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    It’s easy to agree with someone after the fact the decision has been made so I hope I’m not perceived as a yes man, but I’ll still voice that I like B better as well. For one, the runner doesn’t appear to be looking at the camera so it feels less posed. And yes, there is a lot more emotion there. She’s just running, and she’s enjoying it. She’s experiencing that feeling of just being in the moment where your brain turns off, the world goes away, and you just run. The way the flare hits you in the eye almost makes you feel like your a runner passing by. I also like the vignetting in the sky, which is not in image A.

  27. Optic Bard January 3, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    Wow, amazing to think you read over 1000 comments. Thank you so much for posting the follow up. I really enjoy being able to express my opinion, and read other people’s reasons. I truly love being able to hear after all the discussion both what your personal opinion and the choice of the client. This was by far my favourite A vs. B post and follow up you have done.

  28. vallord January 3, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    First of all, thanks for wading through more than 1000 comments! That’s a feat unto itself. I immediately reacted to B (the flare made me anxious), but had a feeling the client would choose A. It seems more commercial and maybe more accessible to a greater number of people.

    Personally, I could stand to learn more about getting the shot ‘they’ are looking for. Normally, once I’ve learned the mechanics, I’m on my own program for shooting. The difference being that I am not trying to support myself and don’t need to get that perfect shot that sells.

  29. mirko January 3, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    I get the upsetting answer of blank eyes and people telling me that i have some kind of dramatic and irrational point of view when i talk about theses kind of things, at east here… I would really like to make the jump and start pushing things to another spaces that are yet to be discovered, when brands and products have still untold stories with clients, users and mor over: PEOPLE. People that feels, cares, hurts and love.

    All of the above, should be considered in one single and appealing image.

    Cheers Chase.

  30. Dan Kaufman January 3, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    I agree with the rational of the emotional B vs. the accountant’s A. but chose A on a purely “clarity of image” basis. I felt the lens flare on B was simply too overwhelming, a too-big desaturating boom versus a lens flare with spikes and rays that still left some clarity of focus on the the subject (the very good looking young lady in her quality duds.)

    perhaps is there were an A, B, C, and D version, with two variations on the A-type and two variations on the B-type.

  31. Jonathn Goh January 3, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    Not trying to be a follower or whatnot. But simple question, how long would you ponder at A? In my opinion B captured my pure attention, at that very moment, i felt the heat i would feel if i was running down a street on a sunny day, the flare gives me the feeling of a sense of joy while working out, and on top of that, i felt annoyed trying to look behind what the flare is hiding. What that flare did was take away the focus on the subjects, and just made it abstract. I like that.

    So indeed it has won over my attention. I looked at B, and gazed back at A. And in the end, A was just a good picture. Not a great photograph.

  32. Neil Macmillan January 3, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    In all honesty, I feel the flare is the obvious point for discussion, but personally I felt my emotional reaction was more tainted by the model. In shot B, I don’t feel her look is as open/friendly/inviting. Her pose and facial expression are just tighter and more engaging in shot A. Also little details such as her foot being against the light background, rather than against the darker region is preferable, especially if the product is the footwear.

    If flare is the discussion point though, it’s just a bit much in my opinion. I’m a big advocate of flare, often liking to put it in shots by careful positioning of a flash even, but it’s a little like the saturation/contrast sliders in PS. You can add a little more, and it seems better, so you add a little more, which seems better, so you add a little more….. and at some point find you added too much.

    Out of interest, do you have some emotional attachment to a moment in the shoot at which you were doing this shot? I often find myself attached to an image because it has a good memory from that part of the shoot, but when cold hard reality kicks in a week or so later, I realise the shot isn’t as good as I thought.

  33. claire January 3, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    Hmm. I was curious what you were going to say about these shots.

    In both cases, every time I look at them, I want the frame shifted to the right. The cars clutter the image for me. I’d rather see more fence instead or crop it to a vertical.

  34. stacy January 3, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    Awesome topic, I loved reading your take on this subject ! More, posts like this, please! You really got my creative juices flowing…thank you!

  35. Demetra Apostolou January 3, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    Kind of a “no brainer” that the client would prefer Image A…. It best showcases the product.
    B is more interesting though and unexpected. I’m in B camp.

  36. M Christopher Holloway January 3, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    There is no point to the flare in B. It detracts from an otherwise perfectly appropriate image of a runner in flight that by the expression, is ENJOYING her run. Her expression and gesture is pleasing, as opposed to the expression that seems to say, struggling, plus the distracting flare that draws the eye away from the subject. The thing about A is that the shadow on the ground beneath the runners feet causes a loss of separation between ground and shoes. In A you immediately know the runner is in flight. This can easily be corrected in post. As an advertising image A is cleaner and tells the story. The emotion is there without the distracting flare.

  37. john urban January 3, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    As many have said, I like your take, Chase and thanks for sharing. I know most people WANT to say they LOVE B because the CLIENT picked A, but as an artist and not a client, I could never pick B. Emotion aside the flare is the focus in B and it’s way too freakin big. Happy New Year!

  38. Michelle Sibley January 3, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    Chase, Make the art you love and stand by it. Everyone’s opinion is just that.. an opinion. Discussion is good. You are charismatic & persuasive, my friend. But, my choice is still A.

  39. Johnnie Gjedved January 4, 2011 at 12:27 am #

    Thats a nice explosion you got there… I didnt know this was a poster for an action movie? ;)

  40. Sibtain S January 4, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    Hey excellent work as always! is there any chance you can talk a bit more about the technical aspects of what went into creating both these shots would absolutely luv to hear from you about that!

  41. Marcus January 4, 2011 at 1:28 am #

    I did not comment on the previous blog post, but I also preferred photo A. My opinion is, that it is better suited for the purpose it was made. It is a clear, good picture. To me that works well for advertising. I fully understand your reasoning for preferring photo B, but I guess that has also to do with the history you associate with it (working for 40 minutes to get this shot) and the feeling you wanted to create. Photo B did not immediately elicit this feeling of warmth when I first looked at it, because I was mainly distracted by the size of the flare and the position right in the middle of the photo, which I did not find too pleasing artistically (but of course this is just my personal opinion). So this got in the way before the feeling of warmth could even develop on my end. ;-)

  42. Ben January 4, 2011 at 1:53 am #

    A: more tities involved

  43. Dejan January 4, 2011 at 2:21 am #

    My personal opinion is, that the two images, although set to sell the same thing, they are sending two different messages.

    The first one, I think, is much more traditional in a commercial way and it easily sends a message: “I feel good in what I am doing and what I am wearing”.

    For the second I’d say, that it tells me much more: “Folks, running is good. It’s heavenly!”. The focus and emotions go much more to the activity in kinda idyllic surroundings. I’d say here, I wanna run in the morning and feel the way this image makes me feel. But I kinda don’t pay any attention to what she’s wearing…

    I like both and I would choose each one, but each for it’s own (different) message.

  44. Mohsin January 4, 2011 at 2:57 am #

    Hi Chris,

    Have you tried putting these pics for people to choose and observe what they liked?

    For me personally I liked image A.

    What you are associating (The sun in eyes one experiences as a runner) is not a pleasant thing. We avoid it.
    It would not be an emotion but a known displeasure.

    Obviously the first thing that eye moves to in this image is runner and her face. Image A has more emotions in that case than Image B.

    So personally for me Image A is the preferred one here. :)


  45. Eric Calabros January 4, 2011 at 3:55 am #

    I just wonder how you handle this large number of comments

  46. Rachel Wolfe January 4, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    A. I agree with the flare when running. I love when I can’t see where I’m running, honestly! It’s like I’m running on the sun for a brief moment. I couldn’t figure out why I preferred A for a little while, vacillating between the two for a bit, then I saw it! Her smile is a little bigger in A. Ultimately, that’s what everyone wants, happiness!

  47. Blake January 4, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    Props to you Chase for saying how you feel, even though it was against the grain.

    IMO, the flare in B is too close to the runner, which makes it far too distracting. Your eye is always drawn to the brightest part of the frame, and the flare is so bright that it overshadows the runner/product. I would have been interested to see a similar “heavy flare” shot with the flare more to the left of the runner where the runner is actually just barely being scraped by the tail end of the flare’s feathering.

    Probably was a tough pill to swallow seeing so many opposing views, but way to stand up and state your mind.


  48. Kevin Steele January 4, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    Good post, it IS all about the feeling. An image is felt at a glance, if it pulls your strings you are pulled deeper into the photograph; your emotional response is what takes you there. My favorite images are intentionally created to reach for what I feel or have felt or have dreamt. Although they may be seen as traditionally “imperfect” images they are not technically poor – quite the opposite: mastering the craft unleashes the freedom to create.

  49. Mike January 4, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    Thanks for laying out the thought process. That is always the most interesting thing for me to read.

  50. Freddy January 4, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    Photo B.

    It exactly has the feeling of a good morning run in the summer. Love it. However, I understand why most people say A is a better photo. I think that photo B mainly appeals to people that know the feeling of running in the morning with the bright sun, and therefore can relate to it. Maybe thats why the main stream can’t appreciate photo B.

  51. Nataliya January 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    I like A as well. While I agree that a picture should evoke emotions in us, B rubs me the wrong way. I don’t like when sun blinds me during my runs, so naturally I don’t like to look at a picture like that.

  52. Jeff Heinz January 4, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    That video is so true! Just last week i had to tie my new hammer to my tool bucket because my wife loved it so much it kept finding its way to her tool “drawer”. I think all that really means, is that i bought a womans hammer!

  53. Julie January 4, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    Hi Chase,
    I’m curious to know if you’ve ever used crowd sourcing as a way to convince a client that an image is potentially better for their marketing purposes. I know a lot of factors go into deciding what image is appropriate for a specific potential client, and this community is loaded mostly with photographers….but have you ever tried to scout athletic communities for opinions, for example, as a means to convince a client that a certain atmospheric quality in a photo is better for the brand than a literal presentation of the products at hand?

  54. diala chinedu January 4, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    Thanks for revisiting this discussion Chase, I chose B and i still remain with B. For me, I chose B because the flare helped obscure the big light post which distracted me from A. Also, in A, the runner is almost looking into the camera and it makes it “rehearsed”. B just had a more natural feel to me and yes, the emotion in her face in B was definitely one factor that influenced my choice. Its funny tho that majority picked A…I was expecting the opposite…I’m also shocked the client picked A but everyone is entitled to their opinion and different things make us tick. Something that can affect one person greatly in a positive way may not even affect another person in the slightest way. Nice to hear about the conclusion. I’d like more of these posts :-)

  55. Tony Reidsma January 4, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    Photo B would work only if you placed the headline / some copy in the blown out area of the flare. I believe as a final image B is better IF the headline was placed inside the flare, which would balance the image out.

    IMHO. ;-)


    • Tony Reidsma January 4, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

      “Wake up calling…”

  56. Chris Aram January 4, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    While I still like A better, I can really appreciate the thought, effort and rationale you put into B ;-) That’s something about photography that I will probably always love – different compositions will strike different viewers in different ways.

  57. Adam Leahy January 4, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    After reading your post, I want to like these pictures…and B especially…but really I don’t like either one. I really love most of what you do, just bought your Trade Secret Cards by the way, but really these pics aren’t worth talking about in my opinion.

  58. nodderwaak January 5, 2011 at 12:13 am #


    thanks for sharing your approach with all of us.

    … but I disagree. To start of, like you said, it is the first image in terms of running wear, so I expect many more. I think that staying consistent will be easier with A. Making too much Bs will rather quickly turn into just another photoshop-feel (I know it isn’t) gimmic. The 40 minutes work really doesn’t matter, even if it was 40 hours …

    On the other hand, I disagree also with some people about the middle & left part of the picture. I just love that you’ve added that part. It adds a touch of Eggleston or Soth to it, which is still new to advertising pics. The middle part is a perfect divider between the daily life and the escape from it.

    … for the rest, I’m still your fan ;-)

    Am I making sense here?


  59. Nikedunks January 5, 2011 at 5:25 am #

    That’s so great! Your opion is very good!

  60. cduboisphotography January 5, 2011 at 7:04 am #

    B- The only thing that is missing for me in this photo is her leg muscles/tannage, that I can see in A. I would take in the flare only a tad because the legs are the sexiest part of running. The shadow under her in B is killer for the mood though!!

  61. Bea January 5, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    I definitely prefer A.

    To be honest, pic B didn’t ‘touch’ me at all..too much flare, I can’t see any creativity in that, partly looks like wrongly taken. sorry.

  62. Leon January 6, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    I agree with the idea of pushing the creativity once getting “the shot”. They hired you because of your creativity and vision and makes sense to give them a chance you in action. Also its good for the industry.

    After reading your post, I see photo B differently. I still prefer A, but can appreciate B a little more.

  63. Brian January 6, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    I’ll stick with my first vote – B.
    You’re points just validate what I like about photo B. Nice!

  64. Sarah January 6, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    Totally agree with you. It is our job as creatives to push the boundaries and create something that hasn’t been expressed before. Clients and consumers know what they have seen before, but don’t know what they haven’t seen. It’s our job to show them that.

  65. Gary January 6, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    I love the emotion and the flare in B…I can’t get past the light post dividing the image in A. It feels like 2 images side by side. I tend to always lean to the more creative image then the “static” image anyway. It’s why I am an artist, not an advertiser.

  66. momar January 7, 2011 at 1:37 am #

    It depends…if you working for someone that wants a commercial shot and therefore to show the product clearly it has to be the shot A, but if its a editorial, more ‘arty’ shot with a emocional appeal, then shot B, both good…but with different appeal….personally shot B, its more what one the comments said: it looks what I would see with my own eyes.

  67. Chris January 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    hmm. i heard lens flare isnt the coolest thing anymore.
    2011 it is all about chromatic aberration ; )

    • Chase January 9, 2011 at 11:56 am #

      just noticed that i’ve been loving lens flares for about 5 years (just check out my portfolios…about 70% are backlit ;)

  68. Jeremy January 7, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    I’m sorry they didn’t go with your favorite image. I know that as an artist it’s nice to see when others look at one of your images and shares the same emotion that you have when you took the picture. It would have been interesting to see the results had you not given any context in initial A vs. B post. I think its one of the caveats of being a professional photographer that you sometimes have to swallow your pride and please the client. I hope this doesn’t discourage future A vs. B posts.

  69. TomOnTheRoof January 9, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    “I worked for about 40 minutes to get this shot.” – Chase, the brutal truth is that it does not matter to the average viewer. They probably think you shot it quickly because you are a good photographer.

    On closer inspection the expression on the face on image A may be indeed slightly more pleasing (i have not noticed it at first because of the flare – really). And as for the EMOTION – i do not like when the sun shines in my eyes! Shot A is a winner for me.

  70. Juan Jose Marquez January 10, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    Formula: Product+Production+Emotions+Art= Branding. I agree with you Chase, I like the artistic vision and emotion of the picture B.

  71. Puneet January 12, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    please chase can you teach the lighting for this shot, I really want to know and learn ?

    PLEASE !!!!!!

  72. Getty Images Philippines January 17, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    I prefer photo B. The effect of the sunlight give impressive to me. Yet, photo A looks clear to me.

  73. Matt Ayers January 19, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    Chase –

    I think Triumph’s most recent marketing campaign, leading to the release of two new motorcycles, parallels the emotional appeal you captured in Photo B. They certainly wanted viewers to see their new product and associate the brand “Triumph” with the emotional response they experienced, but I think they were careful to focus more on the emotional appeal than the product itself. This is especially true with the teaser videos they released leading up to the complete “reveal film.” Follow this link to check out their final video.

    After the video is complete, be sure to click on the “video” link at the bottom to see the teaser films that led to the final video. I hope everyone finds these videos to be as relevant (and exciting) as I did!


  74. Joel C January 20, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    Not sure B works at all… A looks cool though..

  75. Mike March 25, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    Not sure if you’ll see this so long after the post, but I keep referring people here. Every time someone shows a picture using flair as an artistic element there is inevitably the “flair is distracting crowd” and the “i like it” crowd. I send them this way because this is a great discussion of the subject and clearly has stuck in my mind.

    Thanks for the info and insight. I think it helps many people who enjoy photography.

  76. J_LeAnn_Shoots_People April 15, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    Artistically I love shot B. You feel the scene. It can stir emotion. I completely understand the client choosing shot A though. This shot shows off the clothing well.

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