March 2009

Digital Cameras&Digital Cameras&Digital Photography31 Mar 2009 12:47 am

iStockphoto is a very popular stock photography website – with both photographers and buyers. If you’re new to selling your photos at stock photography websites though, it’s usually helpful to find overviews and reviews of various sites available.

iStockphoto is one of the more popular stock agencies online, so I thought it could help to give an overview of my own first impressions of them. When I first started selling my photography at stock photo agencies online a couple of years ago, I didn’t sign up with iStock. I’ve seen websites use photos from that agency in ways they are not suppose to, and that bothered me. I also really didn’t like their upload process and limitations.

After about two years of steady stock photography income growth at other sites though, I finally decided to give in and try iStock. It’s reputed to be a top earning site for many photographers, and the number two earning site for most of the rest. I figured if I was serious about trying to earn my living as a freelance stock photographer, then I should make sure I submitted my images to a place which is often considered to be the top online stock photo agency.

Signing up at iStock is completely free. To start submitting your photography though, you’ll need to do more than just setup an account. The first thing you’ll need to do is apply to become a photographer. This involves taking a brief test, and then submitting your initial photos.

iStock only requires you to submit three images for your “test”. But all three of those pictures must be approved before you’re officially able to start submitting more.

Some photographers feel that the initial test is quite difficult to get three photos approved for, but I personally didn’t have much of a problem. In fact, the only problem I ran into was the fact that I’m primarily a stock food photographer. I submitted two pictures with food and one people photo for my initial test of three, and I quickly found out that iStock prefers to see a variety of topics in your test submission. So even though my photos were not similar in any way, since two of them were on the topic of food one was rejected.

Once I understood they wanted to see 3 different subjects on the first submission, it was quick work for me submit something different and become accepted.

Once you’ve passed your first submission quality review, you can start uploading more of your photos to iStock. And this is the part that I personally detest. iStockphoto doesn’t let you upload your pictures via FTP and they also don’t provide a way to upload more than one photo at a time. You are forced to submit just one picture at a time, and this can be quite painful.

Another restriction that I’m not overly happy about is their upload limits. As a new contributer to iStock, you are only allowed to upload 15 photos in a one week time frame. The time limits are rolling though, and that tends to help, but the restrictions make it impossible to get a decent sized stock photo portfolio built there quickly.

Rolling time frames with the upload restrictions are confusing to many new users too. It’s easy to understand once explained though: The restriction clock starts new with each photo you upload. So if you upload two pictures today and then 13 tomorrow, you’ll have reached your initial 15 upload limit. In roughly 7 days, you will have two upload slots available though – not 15. That’s because you only uploaded two pictures your first day. A day or so after those new slots open, you’ll have another 13 open up though, since you put 13 pictures into the queue the second day.

Speaking of the queue, I’ve found the iStock takes roughly 5-7 days to review pending photos for new contributors. They apparently review photos from exclusive photographers much faster, but you’re not allowed to become an exclusive photographer with them until you’ve reached a specific dollar amount of sales.

Like all online stock photo agencies, iStock likes certain types of photos better than others. So when you first start submitting photos to them you may notice a high rejection rate. After a short while though, you’ll start learning their particular preferences, and you’ll be able to start getting photos approved fairly consistently.

Due to the painful and slow uploading and submission process there though, I have found myself dragging my heels with getting my stock image portfolio onto their site. It took me several months just to get 42 photos online with them, and I only earned a little over twenty dollars in the same timeframe. So I still have quite a ways to go before I can call this site a good earner for me.

Despite these issues, any freelance photographer who wants to sell stock photos online should sign up with iStock. While their system may not be overly friendly to photographers, they do have a very large buyer base that no photographer should ignore.

Digital Cameras&Digital Cameras&Digital Photography31 Mar 2009 12:44 am

artistic wedding photography

Out of all the people that work as a team to make your wedding possible, the photographer wedding professional rises above all the rest. The wedding day would be nothing without tangible memories to mark the occasion. The cake will be eaten, the dresses will fade, and the flowers will wilt over time, but your artistic wedding photography is what will last for generations. Your wedding album will be around long after the thrill of that special day is gone. This is why you have to take the time to find a photographer wedding professional who will do the job right.

A good photographer wedding professional will strive to be unobtrusive. We have all been to weddings at which the photographer usurped the wedding coordinator, bending the entire proceedings to his or her will with more focus on the shot list than the natural flow of the wedding. This experience is one of the chief reasons that many couples are turning to photojournalistic wedding photography, which allows the proceedings to unfold naturally with no interference.

However, the true photographer wedding professional will be reasonably unobtrusive no matter what style of photography you choose. It is true that if you want posed photographs, time will need to be dedicated to taking those photos. This is true even if the bulk of your shots consist of photojournalistic or artistic wedding photography. During the ceremony and reception, though, even the traditional photographer should be careful to minimize his or her intrusion.

The wedding photographer should work in tandem with the videographer if one is present. There is no place for egos or lack of professionalism at your wedding, so be certain that your photographer is aware in advance that you have hired a videographer and that he or she is ready to work as a team.

Your photographer wedding professional should arrive on time and dressed appropriately to the ceremony. This is a very important topic that many engaged couples fail to consider. What style will your ceremony be? Do you have a theme? Is it a period wedding? How formal are the proceedings? Your professional wedding photographer should be willing to dress to blend in with your choices.

The wedding photographer can truly make or break your day through his or her professionalism or lack thereof. He or she should be courteous and respectful of the other professionals who are also working to make your day special. Your wedding professionals are a team and no one part of the team is more important than another. When interviewing professional wedding photographers, be sure to look for a true team spirit rather than someone who looks down his or her nose at everyone else.

Your wedding day is truly one of the most important days of your life, and your photographer will create your lasting memories. Choose a photographer wedding professional who is committed to working as part of the team and going the extra mile to make you happy. The rewards will be great. The options are many and the bottom line is that the day and events photographed are entirely up to you and your personal style.

Digital Cameras&Digital Cameras&Digital Photography28 Mar 2009 05:21 am

Many modern digital cameras make it nearly impossible for a user to take a poor photograph, but there is always room for improvement with even the best of today's digital tools. While many photographers rely on the “on board” settings and modes to take a photograph, with a few photographic “secrets” up your sleeve you can improve on many standard digital photos.

1. Composition counts - So, you're planning to take a group photo…you gather everyone in a tight bunch, center them in the view finder and take the picture. The result? A totally "standard" image that could be easily mistaken for countless millions of other group shots taken anywhere. What's the secret for improving such a traditional photographic image? Composition! Many professional photographers are able to consider each scene for its color and content, but also see it geometrically. This means they think about the shapes created by the positioning of every item in the scene, which involves a consideration of the background, foreground and subject. As an example, that group shot could have been balanced better between foreground and background without just placing everyone in the dead center.

2. Perspective shifting - Again, let's use the group photograph. A really great image can be created by a photographer mounting a chair, table or even ladder and "shooting down" into the group. With everyone looking up at the photographer, the scene can take on a totally unique perspective. This is also the reason many professional photographers may crouch down to take a child's photograph. Great digital photos can come from a radical shift in perspective because they catch the viewer "off guard" and ask them to look at things in an entirely different way than ever before.

3. Beware that flash! - Not all dimly lit scenes benefit from using a flash. Some images can be spolt when the flash washes out color from the people's faces, produces "red eye" or makes spots of reflection boune off background glass. Good digital photos are created by a thoughtful use of the flash, and this can mean bouncing the light off of a background area or nearby surface, applying "flash fill" techniques to eliminate shadows in all ready brightly lit scenes, or eliminating the flash and using a slow shutter speed or longer exposure to capture the scene (such as outdoor light displays during the holidays).

4. It's all about action - most digital cameras have "action" modes that are intended to capture people or animals in motion, but unless the photographer knows when to press the shutter, the image may not be a success. The best way to use a camera in action mode is to keep the subject in the frame, depress the shutter only part way, and when the moment is right, depress it completely. As an alternative, good digital photos can be created in "continuous" mode which means rapid-fire photographs are taken.

5. Tricky things! – digital cameras are full of all sorts of cool settings and features and good digital photos come easy to those who experiment with the many modes and possibilities contained within even the simplest equipment.

For more digital photos & camera tips visit:

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