Due to Upper Deck's own stupidity with their 2010 release they've all but been pushed out of the baseball market. And Panini and their plethora of logoless products is really no more than a chihuahua that bites at Topps' substantial ankles and begs collectors for attention. With Topps having the exclusive rights since 2010 they seem to be getting lazy in some areas. Here are a couple examples from cards I've pulled recently from the Update series.
I've seen a few other bloggers show this card and talk about it's awfulness. Topps has a bad habit of photoshopping player's heads onto someone else's body when they can't find a good photo. While they've been doing it forever I think this is the absolute worst one I've seen. It is my assumption that rather than employing their own photographers, Topps buys the shots they need from other sources like the AP, Getty and freelancers. But I don't know how they can manage to not find a decent photo of a player in the correct uniform by the time the cards go to print. Particularly for the Update series. It just seems lazy on Topps' part and lazy on the part of whoever created this photoshopped monstrosity. (Apologies to Kendrys Morales)
Here is a case of more laziness by Topps photo selectors. Because they fill the Update series with all of these junk All-Star Game and Home Run Derby cards, one would think that Topps would perhaps task a few photographers to capture shots of the players specifically for them. Maybe they do that anyways. But here are two examples of awful choices of photos. The lighting in the Pedro Alvarez card is such that his left eye is shadowed by his hat brim while his right eye is not. Because of that it looks like he has a black eye. Maybe Topps wanted us to think Alvarez picked up a nice shiner pre-game by getting in Prince Fielder's way at the food table.
The photo for the Clay Bucholz card on the other hand is distorted and grainy. It looks as if he was in the outfield while the photographer taking the picture was in the photog's bay by the dugout and it's so zoomed in that the photo was distorted even on a 2.5 x 3.5 card. I mean, really? They couldn't find a better shot of Bucholz from the entire All-Star workout or game? These days the photographers have Ultra Extra 23509233 Megapixel DSLR cameras with 2,000,000x zoom yet this photo looks like it was taken with a point-and-shoot digital camera from 1998.
And yet for some reason I still give these people my money...