March 28, 2009

Taking Photos for Cash

Selling photos online, doesn’t mean you need your own business, or even your own website. Some online services even provide a website for you to sell your work on. Normally you would have to hire a web designer, get a merchant account, setup up a credit card account etc. With today’s technology that is a thing of the past. Instead of using the photo networks, you can also build your own website online, free of charge in a matter of minutes with a Site Builder. Several companies have been experimenting to put together, “Do It Yourself” systems that make building a website a breeze. Google has caught on to this and came up with their own version like this blog here, called Google Blogger. You can find lots of these online, just type in “free websites” and check them out.

 Once you have shot enough images and feel pretty comfortable with your digital camera, start looking online to find out what other Photographers are taking pictures of. See what is selling on some of the top sites, like I-Stock Photo or Getty Images.

Really dig deep into these sites and see what others have to say. See if any of the photos are rated and see which ones come up on the home page. Some of these sites have quality guidelines when selling though, so you have to read their Terms and Conditions pretty thoroughly. Some of these larger photo networks may be too competitive for you if you are just starting out. Another good idea is to really focus on selling photos in your local area. You can shoot photos of kids at the local baseball games, soccer games, football games, etc. and sell the photos to the parents. You could talk to restaurant managers at any of your local restaurants and see if they need any photos for upcoming ads or menu additions. Is your community growing? Are there new businesses popping up? Go to your local Chamber of Commerce and ask them if they can provide you a list of all the companies in your area or new businesses coming soon. Sometimes it is a paid list, but is usually worth it. Depending on where you live this business list can be anywhere from $15-$50, but again, it will give you an entire list of Names, Numbers and Addresses. There are plenty of photo opportunities out there, just do a little homework and start shooting.

March 23, 2009

Digital Photography Secrets - Creating Breathtaking Landscape Photos

Landscapes can be among the most captivating photos a photographer can create. They can also be challenging, especially when using a new digital camera. With a little preparation you will be able to create beautiful digital landscape photos.

The first tip is to be prepared. Carry a tripod as well as extra memory and batteries to allow you to keep shooting. Tripods will eliminate camera shake in your photos, which is particularly noticeable when you are shooting large vistas. You will also want to find a good telephoto and wide-angle lens for landscapes. Telephoto can be used to zoom in on interesting characteristics of the environment, while you would use the wide-angle to give a panoramic feel to your pictures.

The key to good shots outdoors is the light. The best time to shoot landscapes is early in the morning as the sun is coming up, or during dusk. This way the colors don't become washed out in the harsh mid-day sunlight and shadows tend to have more character.

Don't lose yourself in the background. Find an interesting element to focus on. This will give your pictures more character as ensure that the scale of your landscape is not lost on viewers. The foreground subject could be as simple as a person, or a unique rock outcropping.

Keep your photos off-centered. Referred to as the Rule of Thirds, you want to invasion the scene as being cut into three sections. Aim slightly off center, either along the horizontal or vertical axes, to give your pictures depth and a look of professionalism.

Find ways to guide your audience to the main feature you want to highlight. You can use anything that resembles a line running in the direction you want people to look in. It could be a river, a road, or kids running through a field, whatever. This again adds depth and scale to your photo, as well as giving it "life."

Play with black and white. Never before has it been possible for a photographer to seamlessly switch from colour to black and white photography. What used to necessitate several cameras is now as simple as the push of a button. Black and white produces drastic contrasts between light and dark and can make even a dull seeming picture more spellbinding.

Get more help on taking digital photography landscapes and other ways to get the best from your digital camera

March 22, 2009

Getting started in Digital SLR Photography

Like so many other technologies, digital cameras have come a long way in a very short time. If you’ve decided to buy a digital SLR camera, have you worked out what features you are going to be looking for? Ask yourself what sort of photography do you intend to use the camera for. Just family type shots and everyday stuff or for photo’s you might be able to sell or make some nice wall prints?

Competition is fierce and prices have plummeted dramatically in recent years. If you are using your home PC to carry out photo editing, you will need to think about whether it is up to the task. Remember, you can never have too much RAM. Editing software is already included when you buy a digital camera but like everything, some programs are better than others. I use a full version of Photoshop and it can do just about everything, but can be rather intimidating at first.

The megapixel resolution of the camera should be set as high as it will go to insure the best quality and to produce decent size prints. You can always resize for the web or email later. Another thing to consider is the memory card. Most SLR cameras either don’t come with one or they are very small. Myself, I shoot mostly with a 10 megapixel camera and shoot totally RAW format (which are larger files) I use 4 GB cards, and can get around 300 photos on each card. These days’ cards are pretty inexpensive and I always carry a few with me (formatted). I advise against the larger 16 – 32 GB cards in case you lose one or have an accident, and for quicker download times.

From the moment you pick it up, it should feel right in your hands. Consider where the buttons are located and how they are spaced out. Digital cameras use a great deal of power, mostly the LCD screen. Most of the better cameras come with a rechargeable battery pack and I always carry a spare (charged) with me. If they are not supplied, I recommend rechargeable batteries. I use those with my external flash units and they pay for themselves easily. (just remember to charge them before using them) When buying your digital camera, look for a nice large LCD, these days 2½ in or 3 in. screens are common.

Depending of what type of shooting you’ll be doing, lenses are major factor in camera packages. You can easily spend more on lenses than you do on the camera body itself, but there are some nice camera outfits aimed at the beginner at very decent prices. Do yourself a favor when buying new, shop with a reputable dealer and do some Internet research on features. Try to purchase the best you can afford and it will pay off in the long run. If you’ve narrowed down a camera, you can find some great used outfits on places like Plus try to talk with people who shoot regularly or are members of a local camera club for some inside tips. Oh yeah, and last but not least, keep shooting and have some fun!

March 20, 2009

Photography Tips From a Pro on Shooting in Low Light

If you are shooting wide open, which is at the camera's largest aperture, your depth of field will be correspondingly shallow. That means your focus is going to be even more critical than otherwise. Pick a point that needs to be sharp and really pay attention to keeping that point sharp. Generally, if you are shooting people, the most important thing to keep sharp is the eyes. When I am shooting people I focus on the eyes, shoot, re-focus and shoot again...and then do it all over again. I can't tell you how much I hate to be editing and find that I have a potentially great shot, but out of focus eyes ruin the picture. I have found that if I am worried about an image not being sharp, I am usually right. Pixels are cheap...shoot enough to make sure you have your shot!
Shooting for stock, know your equipment, know your agency
If you are shooting with a stock agency in mind it is good to know just how high you can push your ISO before you reach the point where the agency is going to reject the image. That means you have to know both your own equipment and the standards of the agency. I was once shooting from the interior of a jeep on a mountain road in China. The scene, road-building equipment clearing a landslide, was lit by the headlights of the cars waiting for the road to be cleared. I shot the scene, hand held, but braced against the head-rest, at an ISO of 1600 with a Canon 1ds. Man did I work on that image in post (processing the digital files)! They accepted it too. With the newer cameras I have no qualms about shooting at 400, I am comfortable shooting at 800 and don't think 1600 would really be such a stretch. But don't take my word for it... do some testing!
Exposure and more
RAW (the file format native to the camera) has been talked to death, but keep in mind that it is more akin to negative film than transparency film and I personally find that I can safely get another stop to a stop-and-a-half in post-shoot processing. Shoot RAW, not jpeg! As far as exposure, keep your histogram as far to the right as possible without clipping (going off the edge). If you loose your highlights (which are on the right hand side of the histogram) you probably can't get them back. I guess in that way a digital file is like transparency film.
I am not a big user of on-camera flash, but it can be a real life-saver. I suggest a good starting point is to set your flash to under expose by two-thirds of a stop. That can help bring out details without overpowering the image...and looking like you used on-camera flash! If you do use on-camera flash it is generally a good idea to bounce it or at least put some sort of diffuser over it.
Use movement to your advantage
Another thing to keep in mind is that a little movement in your image isn't necessarily an image killer. Sometimes you can make it work to your advantage. A year ago I was shooting in the train station in Mumbai, India. The station is indoors and while it wasn't exactly gloomy, it still qualifies as low light. I put the camera over my head as high as I could hold it and fired off a half-dozen frames at an eighth of a second. I only shot six frames because at that point a machine gun carrying police officer politely but firmly informed me that photography in the train station was forbidden. That image, in which everything has movement, even the lamp posts, has already sold a number of times as a stock picture with Getty Images (1377). Sometimes movement can make an image more dynamic and help it convey a mood or message.
Stock Photos of cute puppies, cats, cows, elephants happy people, ethnic people etc.: John Lund Stock Photos Animal stock photos, Fine Art Prints, and printed gift merchandise
Visit John Lund's Blog Creative Stock Photography Concept stock photos, Fine Art Prints, and printed gift merchandiseArticle Source:

March 18, 2009

Photoshop For Photographers

A picture is worth a thousand words and that is why beautifully edited photos make loud statements and speak for themselves. As a photographer, you need to know how to use Photoshop to process all your digital photos, touch them up for professional look and feel. Photoshop software is used all over the world to edit, amend and touch up dull looking photos into elegant vivid colored photos that are used for magazines and newspapers.

You don't have to be a Professional Photographer. These days you do not have to be a professional photographer to produce quality photos. You do not have to learn how to do exposure compensation, white light balance, aperture adjustments, field of depth knowledge or to tweak your SLR camera. Just a normal digital camera to take photos and software to download to the computer is sufficient for you to produce professional looking photographs by using this software. It can correct the color saturation, make good exposure compensation and remove blemishes to old yellowed photos and add in new backgrounds.

By using levels adjustment in Photoshop, you can instantly add more colors to your otherwise plain washed out photos. One can also brighten up the colors and images in a dull and dark lighting. If your flash light is not powerful enough to reach the distant environment, fret not because you can turn to Photoshop to brighten up the dark photos.

Correct Hand Shake Errors. You can also correct hand shake errors in your digital photos by sharpening the images with the various tools like Smart Sharpen. Alternatively, you can also blur your photos for that misty feel by using Smart Blur. One can also change the numbers of the car plate, remove an unwanted object in the photos or add new objects to them. Such is the power of Photoshop for photographers.

You can also add text to your photos for posterity. On the other hand, you can also add a copy right text with your name to the digital image including the copyright sign to show ownership. This is useful when you need to post photos of products in eBay pages so that your potential clients know that the photos originate from you and not copied elsewhere.

If you are an avid aspiring photographer, it makes good sense to sign up for a course in Photoshop so that you know the basics of how to edit your digital photographs, re-size them for faster upload to the web sites. This is an investment in itself.

March 16, 2009

Digital Photography Changed the Way in Which We Look at Family Photos

We are all well aware that Digital photography has changed the way in which we look at our family photos. It was only a few short years ago we use to wait with excitement for our vacation photos to be developed and printed at the local photo lab, now it's all different because we can view the results on the LCD screen on the back of our digital camera right on the spot. 

It's then easy to decide if we want to change the exposure, the position of the camera, or whatever else, simply by viewing the image on the screen immediately after taking the picture and deciding if a re-shoot is the best option or deleting the unwanted image just taken... In fact life couldn't be easier!

But don't you miss the good old family album, recording events as they happened... Well there's no need to fret because you can still do exactly the same thing and have your digital lab print up only what you need. Now here is the big advantage, apart from the saving in costs of buying, processing and printing all the images taken, many just don't make it to print. Any images you don't like you just simply delete them, saving only the better ones. This means when it comes to getting the digital lab to print up your images of choice, there is a substantial saving to you. These days a lot of people are investing in a good printer and printing them themselves and Digital Scrapbooking is really catching on.

Also consider the other options, for example keeping your family in the loop with up-dated images of your vacation and other special events via your email. This doesn't cost you a thing and sometimes your family and friends are grateful that you thought of them by supplying your latest vacation images for them to see.

So in a way, not only can you maintain your traditional family album the same way you always did, you can also store your latest images on your computer, perhaps later burning to disc to save hard drive space or maybe to send a disc to your family and friends. These days people are already taking this for granted, so occasionally you need some old photographer like me to remind you that it wasn't always that easy!
Next time you take a digital photo, think of what I've just reminded you of and really use these options to the fullest….and remember, keep shooting and have some fun !
© D. Gould Photography