Become Snap-happy With Digital Photography!

The digital revolution has made amateur photography more popular than ever before. The days of Fuji film and print processing have been replaced with talk of mega-pixels and memory cards. With hundreds of cheap digital cameras on the market, it’s possible for anyone with a good eye for photography yet little practical knowledge of the mechanics of cameras, to capture great shots with simple point and shoot” digital models.

For some, a love of photography can turn into a profession. If you’re looking to take your photography to the next level, it’s a good idea to first build up a portfolio of work, and then submit your work to the many dedicated photography websites or competitions. There are hundreds of amateur photography forums and websites where members can submit their work for critical appraisal by other members. Such websites also offer advice and tips on photography techniques.

Another way to get recognition and even payment for your photographs is to submit your shots to magazines. Either choose a general photography magazine to do this, or try specialist consumer magazines. For example, if you are a keen skier, submit your ski shots to a winter sports magazine; or if you enjoy fishing, try an angling magazine. Local papers are also a good place to submit photos, as they are often on the lookout for pictures to accompany their stories.

When submitting your photography to magazines, it’s important to remember that photography is an extremely competitive field and that you will be up against professionals. Therefore, don’t get disheartened if your shots aren’t accepted at first just keep on shooting and continue submitting; in the world of photography, persistence pays.

Amateur photography competitions are another great way of getting your photography seen, and can win you fans, prizes and even commissions or customers. A good idea is to start small; your local photography club will probably hold various contests; also keep an eye out for other competitions that are within your field of expertise. There are hundreds to enter, and they tend to have set themes covering everything from travel to sports, nature to nautical and portrait to planes.

The ‘Million Places on Earth’ competition, for example, is offering a top prize of one million dollars for unique location images from anywhere in the world. Other competitions include Embassy Suite Hotels ‘Happiness in Motion’ competition, which carries an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii as their top prize; while UKplus are also holding an online photography competition with a top prize of 1000 for photographs taken within the UK.

Whether it’s for fun, glory, or perhaps a new career path, photography is an extremely rewarding hobby. And you never know – you might just see your picture on the cover of National Geographic one day!

How To Sell Your Pictures As Stock Photography

I love taking pictures. I just can’t get enough. The more pictures I take the better I want to get. This also means that the more pictures I take; the more high quality equipment I want. It’s an addiction. Many photography hobbyists have the same problem I do. If you don’t want to pour all your money into your photography hobby, there is another option. You can turn that photography hobby into a successful photography business. A great way to get started doing this is through stock photography. Businesses all over are looking for pictures to use in brochures, websites, advertisements, and more. These businesses will happily pay for your pictures rather than hire a photographer to take pictures for them. Here are some tips on how to get started on making money from your photography.

The first thing you need to do to start your stock photography business is to decide if you want to sell your pictures on micro or macro stock photography sites. Micro stock sites (ie. istock, dreamstime, and shutterstock) operate on the premise that if you offer photography at a low price, you’ll get more sales (which they do). These sites sell pictures for as low as a dollar for small sizes, up to ten or twenty dollars for a large copy of your picture. They also offer other options like allowing prints, and exclusive license (they pay you a lot more but you can no longer sell the picture to anyone else). Photographers get a percentage of the sale, which can vary from 20 to 80 percent of the sale price. Many photographers don’t like these sites because they sell photography for much less than they feel it’s worth, but many small businesses rely on them for affordable stock pictures. The other option is macro stock photography (ie Alamy and MyLoupe). You will probably sell A LOT fewer pictures on macro stock sites, but on these sites you make significantly more per picture, usually around $250 per photo (as opposed to the 60 cents I made off my first micro sale). Most of these sites will only accept pictures with over 6MP, but if your camera has fewer pixels, you can learn to upsize your photo in an editing program. While it is your own choice which route to take, many photographers start out on micro sites and then start moving their best pictures over to macro photography sites as their skills improve. You should note that some macro sites will not do business with photographers who sell their work on micro sites, so be sure to check their policies before uploading.

Once you’ve started uploading pictures, you need to remember not to stop. The more pictures you have online, the more sales you will make. Most sites have uploading limits and if you can, you should try to put up as many pictures as you are allowed. You should also put your pictures on as many sites as possible. Many people have their favorite stock site and only look for pictures there. This means you can put shots up on multiple sites; although many sites will guarantee you a higher percentage if you decide to upload a picture to their site exclusively. I would try not to overlap picture on macro and micro sites since someone probably wont pay $300 for a picture they can get for $1.

The next key to becoming a top seller is to take pictures with content that sells. Whatever you’re subject is, you will almost assuredly sell more pictures if the background is a solid color. Black and white are the best, but any solid color will work. Generally people want a subject without a background. If the background is a solid color, it’s much easier to remove with an editing program. If you want to know what subjects sell best, most sites have a section where you can see their most popular downloads. Just remember to get inspiration from these photographs, don’t copy them. If all else fails, you can never go wrong with pictures of people. You will need to get releases signed ahead of time for pictures of people with recognizable faces and also of recognizable property.

Hopefully these tips will help you get started making money with your photography. Just remember that, just like getting the perfect shot, starting your business takes time. You just need to work hard and not give up, no matter how slowly it starts. Many people started out slowly and are now making enough on stock photography sites to take photographs full time.

The Art Of Digital Photography Lighting

Photography is the art of light and shade. A photo is basically a record of the light conditions at a certain period in time and space. That is why the lighting plays a very important role there. You could have a hi-end digital camera but still get worse shoots until you are not aware of the secrets of proper lighting. This articles teaches you about the basics of digital photography lighting.

The Light Sources

The good light sources are natural light sources. The sun and the moon are considered to be the best ones. The artificial light sources include the photoflash, the bulb, the halogen lamp as well as some other sources. Special photography studios contain more advanced lights, but they are not necessary unless you are a hi-level professional.

There are various types of digital photography lighting, but the most common are diffused lighting and directional lighting. Diffused light coming from the sides is produced by the sun in the early morning and the late afternoon. Alternatively, it can be simulated by using an umbrella reflector. Direct light can be produced by flash or tungsten.

Light can come from the top, front, back or side. Front lighting is commonly used by photographers, but it often results in unexciting and flat photos. Back and side lighting produce a better effect, especially being combined with each other. The strength of light is also an important thing.

Digital Photography Lighting Specificity

As a rule, digital cameras have a wide set of lighting presets, which can help the photographer to take quality shots in different lighting conditions. Most digital cameras also provide automatic settings for white balancing. There could be various options like daylight, cloudy, tungsten and more. These adjustments can be set to compensate for any given light source so that white objects appear true white in the photo.

Overall, the digital cameras provide us with powerful tool of lighting adjustment. However, making an excellent lighted shoot is always a challenge.

How to Manage Lighting

Photographer can employ and combine different kind of light sources and digital photography lighting presets. There’re some common rules on how to manage lighting. For example, it is well known that portraits look best when taken in diffused lighting, whereas top lighting results in sharp contrast of light and shadows. Landscapes look good in soft light, whereas it is better to use bright light when captivating the wildlife.

One of the main advantages of digital photography is that you can experiment with the picture without any additional expenses on film and processing. Following the trial and error method, just try playing with your camera and make the best of it.

Some Macro Digital Photography Basics

Macro photography is underused by many amateur photographers. Professional photographer use macro photography to take extremely high quality macro photos that impress their viewers. Here are some facts about such macro digital photos.

We have all seen macro digital photos even if some of us did not realize that they were such. The two most common macro digital photos objects are flowers and insects. But macro photography is not limited to these objects. Creative photographers take macro photos of objects that you would never think of and create astonishing digital photos. For example taking a macro photo of a simple screw that is half way screwed in a piece of wood can be an amazing digital photo if taken using the right techniques of lighting and macro photography.

So what is macro photography? There are many definitions that can be used. The most intuitive one is simple: digital photos that are taken from very close to the objects. Another definition is digital photos that present objects in real life sizes when printed on a 4X6 paper. Yet another definition extends this to a real life size (1:1 ratio) or better (i.e. bigger than in real life).

Professional photographers use special equipment that was designed specifically for macro photography. Special lenses, lens tube extenders, flash units such as ring flashes and more are used. There is no doubt that such equipment can help specially in scenes that are hard to photograph. But even the cheapest digital pocket camera is capable of pretty good macro photography if only used right by the photographer.

Practically all digital cameras can be put in a macro mode”. Usually this mode is illustrated as a flower icon” (probably because flowers are the most common object for macro photography). When you put the camera in a macro mode the camera optimizes its settings for the best macro digital photo. If your camera allows manual control of some of its settings (like aperture and focus) you can improve the quality of the photos further more.

In macro mode the digital camera will set a wider aperture in order to achieve a narrower depth of field. This helps create a macro photo that is focused on a very close item with its background blurry. The camera will also optimize its focusing algorithms to focusing on a very close object. In fact in macro mode it will be hard to make the camera focus on objects in normal or infinite distances.

Some cameras also set the flash intensity to lower since the object is close less flash light energy is needed to light up the scene. Macro photography lighting is a complicated issue due to the close proximity of the object to the lens. A right angle, source and intensity of the flash are hard to achieve. For that reason it is always better to take macro digital photos in a highly lit environment like in daylight.

In conclusion like most other photography techniques it is important to use macro photography in the right scenarios. It also takes a lot of practice to achieve high quality macro digital photos. For example if you want to get a macro photo of a bee on a flower you need to learn how to lock the camera focus press the shutter button half way while all the settings are set and wait for that bee to show up. Also take as many photos as you can so hopefully one of them will be the perfect one you were aiming at. Go out and start taking macro photos to practice your skills. It is a good idea not to limit yourself to flowers and insects, anything can be a good object, a nail, a screw or a piece of candy.

Basic Skills In Digital Photography

Basically, there is not much difference between using a digital camera and a manual camera. In fact, most experts believe that using a digital camera actually spoils the photographer, making everything so easy for him. Still, there are many who remain daunted by the prospects of using a digital camera especially when their training comes mainly from manual photography.

There are a number of skills that one needs to learn before switching to the digital format. Read through and find out some of the things that you need to develop.

Computer skills

Digital photography involves dealing with computers. In fact, operating the digital camera is like operating a small computer. There are functions that are actually similar to the computer like formatting and delete and a whole lot of other things. You need to be familiar with the functions in order to be able to maximize the digital camera.

In addition, you also need to be really familiar with computer when storing your picture files and adjusting your photos. With this, you need to be able to perform computer tasks such as cutting, pasting, copying, renaming and opening and closing of files and folders.

There are a number of good books that provide tutorials that will enhance computer skills as well as teach you some of the basics in using the computer with regards to photography. Some books in photography, digital photography will for sure contain sections that deal with computers.

Knowledge in graphic programs

One can actually adjust photos and create a whole lot of effects with the use of graphic programs such as Photoshop. One can actually change the size of the photo, alter the pixels and even change the format into different file types. One good thing with digital cameras is the fact that one can actually alter the pictures taken before printing it.

With the use of these programs, one can erase flaws, sharpen some features of the photo, blur the background and even transfer one photo with another. If one is really good, you can even create one new photo by cutting different elements in various photos and put them all together.

Working knowledge with the various functions of the camera

As mentioned before, working with a digital camera is similar to working with a small computer. In order to maximize the digital camera, you need to master the functions including adjusting the various levels such as the shutter speed, the brightness, the contrast. There are even digital cameras that you can actually use as a manual camera; you just need to learn to adjust the functions.

Color Photography The Transition

Color is the essence to many things from photographs to a blooming flower to a deep blue ocean. The ability to take color photo prints has changed the world of photography in more ways than one but then it never used to be so colorful back in the early 19th century.

In the initial days, film rolls and photography were in black & white format, but the search for color film rolls continued throughout the 19th century. There were experiments conducted but the colors in the photographs could not be retained and they faded away fast. According to history, the first color photo was taken by James Clerk Maxwell, a physicist in 1861. One of the earliest methods of producing a color photograph was painstaking and a total of 3 cameras had to be used.

Prokudin-Gorskii, in 1915, was the first one to use this process to take color photographs. He used a color filter and placed it in front of the lens for each of the three cameras. This way he was able to get three basic channels also famous as the RGB or Red, Green, and Blue. Prokudin-Gorskii followed this by another technique in which he utilized three-color plates, and used them in succession.

As more experiments continued, H. W. Vogel was able to produce emulsions in the early 20th century that could generate the required sensitivity to red and green light. Later on, the Lumire brothers invented the very first color film called Autochrome. The Autochrome was launched in the market in 1907. This process involved the use of a screen plate filter, which dyed dots made from potato starch.

The Autochrome was the only available color film until Agfa, the German company, introduced a color film in 1932 called the Agfacolor. Following its example, Kodak introduced an integrated tri-pack color film in 1935 and it was called the Kodachrome. Kodachrome was based on three color emulsions.

Following Kodachrome, Agfa in 1936, came out with Agfacolor Neue. Agfacolor Neue had color couplers that were integrated with emulsion layers and this simplified film processing and created an impact in the photography industry. All color films except for Kodak, are based on the Agfacolor Neue technology.

Creativity begets creativity!

It can be proved from the fact that the Kodachrome color films were invented by Leopold Mannes and Leopold Godowsky, Jr., two very accomplished musicians. Leopold Godowsky, Jr. was the son of one of the greatest pianists of his time, Leopold Godowsky.

Color photography actually revolutionized an era and brought out the impact of colors through vivid and detailed images including the ones from the World War II and the destruction caused by natural disasters.

The color photographs captured emotions and the surroundings in such a way that they were being used more and more in newspapers, magazines and even for book covers.

Photography – Passion To Business

Photography is a passion for many of us. Many of us are interested in wildlife photography, while some of us are interested in still photography. Seldom do we think of concerting this passion of us into a profession. The thought may have struck us many times but we never pursued it. The reasons can be many. We may have second thoughts of leaving our cushy jobs and going out on our own. Secondly we may not have enough ideas to how to go about it. We have tried to elaborate in brief about photography business.

For starting any business you need to have a proper business plan, which should include your objective, your choice of photography and even the revenues that you are expecting. Next you need to make your business a legal entity with a proper registration, bank accounts and insurance. Now you have done it all, so how do you go about getting customers. The best way to get customers is by getting in touch with people who are professionally associated with the business and have an existing network. They can be friends or acquaintances who are associated with photography. If you are interested in still photography you need to develop a studio where you can have your photo shoots done. If it is an outdoor shoot you need to pack your photography kits and move to the location where the shoot is scheduled to take place.
Setting up a photo studio at the first instance may be overkill. We suggest that you use the infrastructure of an existing studio by paying an hourly rate for the initial period of your business. When your revenue stream becomes constant then you can go about and set-up your own studio.

There is another very important aspect of photography business. If you have decided that photography is what you want to pursue as your profession, you need to have a tie-up with a professional photography lab to process your photographs. To get a true finish to a photograph it is very important that they are processed by hardened professionals.

Since you are new you may not be aware of how much you should price your services. Check out the current photography service rates for different genres and price your service accordingly. Try offering discounts for long shoots which will benefit your customers. It is imperative that you always add value to your customers when offering services. Suggest locations for outdoor shoots, dress for the models and give other ideas which will benefit your customers. Always use your creativity to give a product that your clients have never experienced before at a price which they will appreciate.

There are other points that you should keep in mind. Take assignments which you think you can handle within your bandwidth. Keep to your commitments as it is important in photography business. Your delay can cost your customers on their model fees, location hire charges, lights etc. As a photographer always try to use the best equipment which goes a long way in producing that perfect picture.

Photography Equipment

Photography is one of the most expensive hobbies that a person can get into. In addition to the camera, one will also have to buy films and spend for the developing. And as you become more enmeshed with the activity, you will probably be adding a list of different add ons for your camera or even buy special cameras that perform specific tasks.

One of the most common add-ons that professional and even amateur photographers spend their money on is the lens. This is one of the most basic parts of the camera and yet the most crucial. There are different kinds of lens that function according to the needs of the photographer.

Most cameras especially those that are used by professionals have the option to interchange or add lens. There are actually to main types, the fixed focal lenses, which are also called the prime lenses and the zoom, which is primarily used to alter the focal length and lets you take shots of objects that are really far away.

Wide angle lens, for instance, will allow you to take photos within short distances. This is ideal in photoshoots that are done with limited space. With a wide angle lens, the photographer need not walk backwards to be able to get the whole image. Telephoto lens, on the other hand, will allow you to narrow down the angle of view. This is also called the long focus lens because it allows one to take pictures in long distances. One kind is the short telephoto lens that are especially great with pictures from head and shoulders. This is why it is also called portrait lens.

Another kind of lens is the zoom lens, which come in different focal lengths. You should remember that there are zoom lens that can also function as a telephoto or wide-angle lens. This is why some photographers invest in good zoom lens instead of buying separate lens. In addition to the convenience in price, buying zoom lens will also lessen the equipment that you have to carry.

Other equipments that a photographer have to invest in are tripods and of course a good camera case that will protect it from all kinds of weather. Tripods are used to minimize the shakiness of the camera that will result in blurred or double images. For personal use, tripods are handy if the photographer also want to be included in the photo.

Abstract Photography

Abstract photography and abstract art are very popular and involve a merchandise trade of billions of dollars over a century. Most art galleries and exhibitions as well as photography events are never complete without a section on this form of depiction.

Every year thousands of art students and photographers follow courses all over the world and try to vent their thoughts and ideas in the form of their own interpretation. In fact, abstract photography is a direct outcome of the earlier abstract art form that was made famous by many noted artists. Nearly everyone at some point of time has had a brush with this genre of photography and as we will see later in this article, has appreciated or collected the abstract photographs.

What is it really and is it the same as Abstract Art?

As the name implies “abstract” denotes what can be interpreted but not seen. The art form is many times debated to be complex and difficult to understand. Yet it attracts a horde of art critics and art collectors from every part of the globe, and several interpretations may accompany abstract paintings. Similarly, abstract photography draws the same popularity except it is done with a camera and not with brush and paint!

The exact definition of this art is difficult but it is sufficient to understand that there are no rules or norms for creating and in layman terms “anything goes” as long as it appeals to the eye! The photography technique is used to capture almost any event in a subtle manner such as a drop of water splattering in a pool to look like a crown or a piece of hemp rope at close quarters that looks like a striated bundle etc. The composition is immaterial; it is only the way a scene (really a photograph) is captured on film. The interpretation may come later.

How is abstract photography carried out?

It is necessary to have a professional high speed camera and sometimes a special high speed film. The best results can be obtained by using a black and white film and many valuable photographs are of this monochrome variety. The following aspects need to be kept in mind:

A perfect understanding of conventional photographic principles regarding shutter speed, aperture, focusing, film speed and lighting effects.

Telephoto lenses and close up lenses and flash equipment form a part of certain trick effects one wishes to create.

Films of different types like color, black and white, speed in ASA or DIN, tripod stands, remote shooting, filter lenses, shadow hoods etc.

Abstract photography is really the prerogative of a true artist and one who also has a scientific bent of mind. Composing a perfect shot requires the “artist” and taking the photograph requires the “technician”! Imagination knows no bounds and the best results are when one uses creative powers to its full capacity.

If you wish to try out your hand at this form of art, do read what some of the famous personalities like the Czech Josef Sudek and Jaromir Funk, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Ernie Yang, Latvian Wilhelm Mikhailovsky, Henri Bresson, and Ansel Adams have to write about abstract photography.

Photography Portfolio

Photographers are known through their profiles

A photography portfolio is like a resume or a portfolio that a super model creates to promote to the public. A well written profile can do wonders for the photographer since the first contact with the art critics and public is through this medium.

As in any profession it is important to sell oneself and the promotional technique used will determine how successful or otherwise an artist would become. One must learn this art of seductive persuasion for attracting the public to make a beeline for one’s Galleries.

What are the steps of preparing a Photography Portfolio?

All good things happen in threefold! Let us consider the 3 most important steps to achieving a write-up that everyone will think is written by a professional copy writer!

The first step one should take is conceptualizing the USP of your art. By USP we normally mean the Unique Selling Proposition but in our particular case let’s rename this acronym as Unrivalled Self Portrait! What needs to be written or included in good and effective personal achievements in the artistic world?

What ever you have so far completed in terms of picture composing should be placed as a theme in your Photography Portfolio. The theme is what you do best in photography and must be illustrated with an aesthetic design of your theme work.

Maybe you are a black and white photographer of the abstract kind, or a realistic current affairs political events reviewer in pictures, or dedicated to the artistic bent of mind that young children depict and need to be encouraged etc. Always plan your theme presentation before choosing or taking appropriate photographs.

Secondly, be very careful and judicious in picking your best photographs and in case you require a new set for the chosen theme, take pains in creating new photos. A photography profile cannot be just a collage of photographs. They must be systematically placed in the profile document to tell a specific story to the reader.

Out of a multitude of pictures to your credit you must only choose the very best that exhibit your artistic talent and place them interspersed between short text that enhances the art form. It is not that length of your resume matters so much as the relevance of how you promote your acumen towards the theme art being depicted. This makes up the gist of a professional photography profile.

Thirdly and finally you are ready to exhibit your work in the form of a portfolio. This is just what a super model or budding fashion model also does! Become a true salesperson and visit local art collectors and critics who matter.

Learn the art of online and offline marketing to approach your family, friends, acquaintances and show them your aptitude in a subtle manner. Remember, you cannot really promote yourself by giving lectures and talks at seminars etc, but you can surely sell your artistic bent of mind or “camera fingers” by creating an extraordinary photography portfolio.