Wednesday, June 21, 2006

TIP- Making Money With Digital Photography And Live Events

By Richard Meredith

A few years ago I became interested in digital photography, mainly for web publishing and

personal reasons. You know, how nice is it now to NOT have to deal with film, scanning
pictures, and the costs of developing all of those "not great" photos that you didn't know were so
bad until you paid to have them developed!

So, at the time I got my first digital camera a friend of mine was playing in a rock band, and
needed pictures for their web pages and promotional printings and ads. When I first began to
do their photography, I had NO IDEA what it all would lead to... and now I will reveal to you some
of the MANY ways to make money, part-time, with your love for photography!

Now, at the clubs my friend's band played in- a lot of the time they would be in a line-up of 3
bands for the evening, of which I shot live pictures of my friend's band's performance. Then I got
another idea, I'm there already,usually to finish the night with the band, so I started to take pictures of the other bands. Afterwards, as they were breaking down their equipment, I introduced myself as the other bands photographer, and explained that I liked their music and look- and also took pictures of them also.

I got the names of the band members, jotted down notes about which instruments each one
played, and then got a mailing address to reach them. I told them that I was going to print up some proof sheets and send them off to them... all were very agreeable and willing (and why not,it doesn't cost them a thing).

Then I printed the proof sheet(s), and selected three of what I thought were the best- of which I
made a little bigger on a seperate sheet and used Photoshop to refine and enhance the images prior to printing (all on my little ink-jet printer).

I composed a form letter that I could customize for each mailing explaining details like:

- The first proof sheet was all of the raw digital images

- The second one with the larger images was digitally self enhanced

- I would professionally print any pictures they wanted for XXX cost (considering mailing costs,
printing costs at a local printing shop, labor for digital enhancement, and healthy profit margin)

- For any order I would give them a CD with ALL of the photos in digital form for them to use any
way they wanted

- Add my contact information

And finally my availability to book shootings with them in the future

Now I could personalize this form letter and send it with the proof sheets to the band, and
when I would call them about a 8 days after I made the mailing to ask them if they recieved the proof sheets and which ones they liked (and I liked)- and I simply asked for an order.

It was amazing how well this worked, and I expanded the idea.

I would go to fund-raising events, marathons, special events hosted by radio station personalities... always getting the contact information for reaching whoever is in charge of promotions and following the same system!

As you go along, you realize some other benefits to you new "business"- like free
admissions (and no club cover charges), press passes, exciting opportunities to meet
interesting people and celebrities, discount drinks, and much more! It's amazing what people will GIVE you,if you just ask!

Then there are the home-business tax deductions that are eye-opening in themselves!

As soon as you can, upgrade to more professional equipment so you can not only "play"the part, but also "look" the part. Print up business cards, and make up your own porfolio of your "best" digitally enhanced photos of all kinds of subjects and previous shootings.

Seriously, this could turn your love for digital photography into an exciting lifestyle and an
income that could surpass your present one!

But then again, I know I have only just scratched the surface with professional digital
photography, and I'm sure you now have just entered a "think-tank" that will spur many more ideas for you to make digital photography more than just a love. Make it a great life!

Richard Meredith is the Author of
"The BLACK BOOK of Online Business" -
An amazing FREE SOURCE ebook for the online business person!

Feel free to distribute or publish this article conditional only by including the by-line intact.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Restoring an Old Photo

By Kenneth C. Hoffman

While browsing through a box of photos handed down to you
from a relative, you come across a studio portrait of your great
grandfather and his family. The picture is in sepia tone, the edges
are tattered and there are deep scratches across the picture. To
make matters worse, someone folded the picture to fit into a small
box producing a crease across the center of the picture.

In spite of it’s faults, you would like to enlarge the picture and
frame it for your family gallery. With a photo editor, you and your
computer can make the photo like new. First scan the photo at
400 dpi resolution. Save the file as a .tif and scan again saving as
a .jpg file. Using the JPEG file to work with, choose the clone
tool to extend the corners and to remove any marks in the photo.
The clone size should be about twice as large as the blemish and
set to fifty per cent strength. Save your work after ten or so fixes,
more depending on your RAM memory.

There are three basic methods of fixing missing or damaged areas
in the photo. The source area of the clone tool is centered over an
area similar to the missing patch but undamaged. A fifty per cent
strength (eighty five per cent for skin) clone brush used in a tapping motion will replace the damaged area. A second method drags the
clone brush and source through the damaged area for replacement.
Finally, a third method involves masking out an undamaged area that
is identical to the damaged area, making it into an object and dragging
the object to the new location for a perfect fit. Some edge blending
may be necessary. Work at the highest magnification possible for an
invisible fix.

Most difficult are problems with the nose and eyes. If one eye is undamaged, it may be possible to make an object of the eye area, flip
it left for right and replace the damaged eye. Blend the edges and use
the smoothing brushes for a natural look. Do not sharpen the eyes
too much or they will look unnatural.

When satisfied with the retouching, open the histogram to stretch the contrast to a proper level. I recommend desaturating the image and using the color balance to simulate the original sepia tone. Some editors have a special sepia tool for this purpose. For enlarging more than
two hundred per cent, I recommend using PureImage or equivalent
software to reduce artifacts, smooth out the one tone areas and sharpen
the edges. Your efforts will be well appreciated, for after all, if it weren’t
for your ancestors, you wouldn’t be here.

A retired portrait photographer, not quite as old as some pictures.

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Copyrights IN Your Photographs

By Carolyn Wright

You take a picture of a city street. Look closely and you’ll see copyrighted material everywhere in your photo. The obvious copyrights are on the billboard, the newspaper stand and products in the store window. The less obvious copyrights are in the sculptural ornamentation of the lamppost, the patterned fabric of a woman’s skirt and the toy the kid is holding. You will never be able to track down all of these copyright owners to get their permission to use the photo. Are you out of luck if you want to use it commercially? Maybe not.

While copyright law can be restrictive on photography, it is not irrational. Copyright law includes the doctrine of “fair use” that allows unauthorized use of copyrights in certain circumstances. The courts recognize that free expression and avoiding law suits over minor issues are more important than protecting intellectual property rights.

The doctrine of fair use means that copying will not infringe a copyright when it is “for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research.” Four factors are considered to determine whether the use qualifies under the doctrine:

The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
The nature of the copyrighted work;
The amount and substantiality of the portion used; and
The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

So if the copyrighted material that appears in your photo is covered by these four categories, you do not have to be concerned with getting permission to use it. On the other hand, it’s a judgment call. Would a court agree with your position? It may be costly to find out. The next best alternative is to get a copyright lawyer’s advice. The lawyer can give you an opinion based on research and experience. But the safest and sure way to use a copyrighted work in a photograph is to get permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Take my advice; get professional help.

Copyright 2005 Carolyn E. Wright All Rights Reserved


Carolyn E. Wright, Esq., has a unique legal practice aimed squarely at the needs of photographers. A pro photographer herself, Carolyn has the credentials and the experience to protect photographers. She’s represented clients in multimillion dollar litigations, but also has the desire to help new photographers just starting their careers. Carolyn graduated from Emory University School of Law with a Juris Doctor, and from Tennessee Tech Univ. with a Masters of Business Administration degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in music.

She wrote the book on photography law. “88 Secrets to the Law for Photographers," by Carolyn and well-known professional photographer, Scott Bourne, is scheduled for fall 2005 release by Olympic Mountain School Press. Carolyn also is a columnist for PhotoFocus Magazine.

Carolyn specializes in wildlife photography and her legal website is

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Art of Communion Portraits

By Kenneth C. Hoffman

The First Communion is first in many ways. It is the first formal event in a young person’s life, the beginning of a life of good character and a milestone in a seven year olds education. The First Communion portrait is especially treasured by the parents, showing the innocence and hope for the future in their young faces.

For these reasons, a natural, happy face takes precedence over creativity in posing. Communion poses are studies in confidence and naturalness. An ideal session starts with a standing full length pose holding the missal and rosary beads. Girls have their weight on the back foot, their front knee slightly bent toward the camera. Boys stand with legs slightly apart facing twenty degrees off center. Several shots from the left and right sides will assure a perfect expression.

While the subject is standing come in for a medium shot cropped just above the knee. Some happier expressions can be included in this variation. Lighting should be soft but modeling, say two and one half to one ratio.

Medium close up poses are the most popular, so concentrate on getting a good selection for the parents to choose from. A posing bench that simulates the altar rail places the hands and elbows comfortably at waist height. Variations include hands on missal, reading missal, looking up, smiling and serious. You should photograph both left and right sides for a good selection.

Girls allow a little more leeway in prop usage. White tulle placed over a bouquet of flowers, a white or brass candlestick with candle in the background or a small, round topped table holding the missal and gloves off to the side and behind the subject are appropriate props. If there is time, a seated pose for the girls can be effective. Boys can stand with their elbows on a raised marble column holding the missal, the other hand in their pocket.

Always check that the tie is centered and the collar fits snugly to the neck in front. If the shirt collar is too loose, place a roll of tissues behind the neck to tighten it up. Make sure the roll is not seen by the camera. Shirt cuffs ideally should show one half inch of white past the sleeve end. If this is impossible, then show no cuff at all. Too long cuffs can be rubber banded under the coat to the correct length. Veils should be checked for equal length on the sides and the crown centered on the head. Gloves look better held in the hand or on a pedestal, never worn. White dresses and accessories are a natural for high key photography. Boys in navy blue suits look better on a medium gray background with the edges darkened.

Some unusual shots can be tried for appreciative customers. A super close up with eyes raised is quite angelic. Place a small light above the lens for a nice catchlight. Profile shots with a candle and rosary are very effective for the more artistic clients. Throughout the session talk to your subject, tell them how nice they look and give them a chance to relax and look confident. At any sign of nervousness, take a break and distract them with conversation on another subject. Remember that expression is nine tenths of a good portrait.

Retired portrait and wedding photographer. Any thoughts?

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Rule of Thirds- Some Rules Are Meant To Be Broken, But Not This One!

By Warren Lynch

The "Rule of the Thirds" is a fundamental truth among photographers and artists. I suppose that it's not really a rule though. You can think of it more as a "guideline". So, in that case, I guess that there are times when it can be broken. Before we talk about breaking the rule, let's talk about what the rule is all about. It's tough to know when to break a rule if you don't know when to apply it.

The "Rule of Thirds" calls for you to draw imaginary lines that divide the scene into a grid of horizontal and vertical thirds. That is, you mentally "draw" two horizontal lines which divides your image equally into three rows or bands. Then you draw two vertical lines which divides your image equally into three columns. The end result is a checkerboard of nine evenly spaced squares.

Now all you have to do is compose your image so that the main elements which are the most important or interesting are placed at any of the four intersecting points of a horizontal and vertical line. Yes, you can use "any" of the four points. Which one you use will be determined by the scene you are shooting and the natural placement of the subjects in it.

Experts say that by using the lines as a guide it's easy to produce a nicely composed image that avoids the common practice of centering your subject in the middle of the shot. Since there is no intersecting pair of lines in the center of the image, it's impossible to place your subject there if you follow the rule.

Camera manufacturers aren't big supporters of the "rule" because they design their auto focus circuitry around the assumption that the subject of the photograph will always be centered in the viewfinder. So, when shooting using the Rule of Thirds, you may need to switch to manual focus if your camera refuses to focus properly.

Now that you understand the rule, let's explore the wisdom of breaking it from time to time.

An interesting result of drawing those imaginary lines is that not only do they intersect, but they also run parallel to each other. That results in a side benefit which can give you an entirely different perspective when composing certain shots.

Let's suppose you're in the desert on a clear night with a full moon and a sky full of stars. You've got nothing but a miles of white sand, glistening in the moonlight, between you and a large butte in the distance.

Instead of placing the butte at one of the intersecting points, like the rule requires, center the butte horizontally in the viewfinder and then move the camera so that you place the top third of the butte slightly above the bottom horizontal line. The result will be a dramatic dwarfing of the mountain by that magnificent night sky and a perspective that the average photographer would have never seen if it weren't for the "rule".

The nice thing about the "Rule of Thirds" is that it always works when there isn't something else that will work better. That means that if you don't have time to compose a perfect shot, you'll at least end up with one that's better than ordinary if you let the "Rule of Thirds" take over.

Have more questions about rule of thirds. This digital photography tip article is brought to you by award-winning professional photographer Warren Lynch. Exciting articles gives both beginners and advance digital camera enthusiast the leg up. With cutting-edge digital photography blogs, forum and review resources.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

How to win at Photography Competitions

By David R Butcher

Entering photo competitions is a great way to practise and improve your photography and have some fun in the process. One of the greatest morale boosters a photographer can get is to win or even placed in a highly regarded competition. It means that others have seen your work and judged it worthy. There are a few pointers that you need to know about competitions that will increase your chances of winning however

First find your competition. Luckily photographic competitions can be found in many places such as in magazines (both photographic and other specialities), local newspapers, local promotions as well as here on the Internet. Why do people run competitions and give away lovely prizes? Well photographic clubs use competitions as one of their chief sources of entertainment and encourages the members to take photographs. Competitions are also used as promotional or advertising tools for products or companies.

The prizes offered can vary from cash, certificates, film, photographic goodies to cars and exotic holidays. Some photographers make a handy bit of extra cash by entering competitions on a regular basis. Though prizes are a definite draw, many just enter competitions to test their skill against others.

If you are thinking of entering a competition or you have had little success before, here are a few tips to set you on the right track toward entering and hopefully winning a photographic competition.

Shoot for the competition!

The best pictures in a competition are often those that are shot especially for the competition in question. Most competitions have a theme and certain guidelines to be followed. Sometimes even the organisation running the competition must be considered before even composing that winning shot.

The Theme - This is the most important thing to remember. Most competitions have a theme or a specific subject they want portrayed. For example, entering a dog picture for a landscape is a sure fire way of joining the rejection pile. Far too often shots are sent into competitions which, seen on their own merits are technically superb and artistically excellent. But, if the picture doesn't fit the them then the judges have to reject the image.

The Organisation - Often the company or organisation running the competition will conjure an idea of the type of images they want to see. For example, a travel business that runs a competition for the best holiday snaps. They are probably expecting to use the winning images to promote their business. So knowing what holiday destinations they cover and supplying nice bright images of those destinations will probably score higher than others.

Use Impact in Your Entries
When you enter a competition just think how many other may or will be entering. It could just be a few entries in a local camera club competition or it could be thousands in an international competition. Whatever the numbers your image must stand out amongst them. In order to achieve this the subject of your photo must have an eye catching feature or form of impact.

Landscapes for example are a popular subject for competitions, everybody knows what a landscape is and can usually find a nice location not too far from home. But to stand out from the crowd you have to consider the impact and with landscapes its all about the lighting. Sunsets are pretty, and can be spectacular but if the judges have seen hundreds of them then the sunset is very 'samey' as all the other sunsets and become mundane.

For other subjects for impact use colour, shapes or creative lighting, try unusual angles for shooting common subjects. You must find something that will make your image jump out from the crowd.

Technical ability
The last important aspect of your entry is purely technical. If the image is badly exposed, has washed out highlights for example or is out of focus or exhibits camera shake then the image will be rejected.

So with all the above in mind, happy shooting and just remember, shoot for the competition and go for impact with nice sharp well exposed images and you will increase your chances of winning those prizes.

Good luck

David R. Butcher Bsc., LRPS has over 35 years experience in photography and is a co-founder of School of ( established in 1999. He has been awarded the Licentateship of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Photography Tip- Photographing Faces

By Kenneth C. Hoffman

Every emotion and depth of feeling can be shown on the human face. To capture that fleeting moment on film is a challenge fit for the most talented of photographers. How can the average photographer improve his chances of recording that one-in-a-lifetime image or at least improve the ratio of interesting,

true life images to the unusable, ‘too-bad-she-turned-her-head snapshots?

First you must prepare your camera for the task. If the social event you are to attend is indoors, an ISO setting of 400 or 800 is recommended. A bounce flash head adds another dimension to the lighting and at the same time freezes that portion of the action not lit by strong ambient light. A fifty per cent mix of bounce electronic flash and available light usually allows a high enough shutter speed to freeze most action. A shutter speed of 1/30th is a minimum speed for hand held cameras and 1/4 sec is acceptable for a supported camera. A tripod is definitely preferred for absolutely sharp photos, but can be clumsy and obtrusive for candid work. The recent invention of the stabilized lens or CCD will add two or three lower shutter speeds without blurring. Using doorways, railings, furniture, or just the two-elbows-on-a-table method is helpful in steadying your shot.

A medium telephoto zoom lens simplifies the task of cropping in the camera. Preferable would be an F2.8 28 - 105mm zoom lens or closest equivalent. Longer telephoto lens settings are difficult to keep cropped, and require a higher shutter speed. Wider lenses introduce too much distortion for rendering the human face naturally and produce too much busyness in the composition.

Once the camera is set on the proper settings and the flash (with newly charged batteries) is bounced backwards and to the upper left portion of the room, you are ready to record those faces. In a room with low ceilings, a flash bounced straight up and used with a telephoto setting on the lens is acceptable and you are now ready to record those faces. Two or more faces in the picture should be relating to each other or to a third party. No one should be looking at the camera or the photographer. Six too ten feet away from the action is sufficient for your compositional purposes and presents a buffer zone that protects you (the photographer) from being included in the conversation. Individual faces should almost fill the view finder for good impact.

Tune your mind to an awareness of uninhibited laughter, serious facial expressions showing concentration, moments of love with hugs and kisses and hands touching. Any and all stiff frozen faces staring into the camera waiting for the flash to go off should be avoided. This is not to say you can’t apportion some time to group pictures and memory shots since they are great to have, too. Try to anticipate reactions and make several exposures in a series. You can always delete the missed shots. Be patient, keep moving and be ready to move to another location if you are discovered. Of the hundreds of images you take, you will only be remembered for that one great shot.

At your first viewing of the photographs, edit them mercilessly, removing all photos which do not meet your standards of acceptable emotional content, composition, facial expression or focus. With any luck, you’ll be the talk of the town.

Three hundred photos per wedding, fifty wedding a year, thirty years - but who's counting?

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Photography Tip- Digital Art Made Easy

By Kenneth C. Hoffman

Everybody who likes to take pictures would love to have some of them enlarged and framed for their walls. Its very presence would give you instant satisfaction and the confidence that you, do have an artistic bone in your body after all. A casual perusal of you snapshots, however, might lead you to believe that not one of these snapshots are good enough for the wall. Now, just for a moment, make believe that you could change anything you don’t like about a picture of yours and that you could match that image to the image in your mind. You can - with the help of a scanner and a photo enhancement program. Of course, if you have a digital camera, you don’t even need a scanner.

There are four basic levels of photo software. Freebee programs meant only to crop, change the color balance, and fix red eye in your pictures. A middle quality program uses a macro to change shapes, improve sharpness, and offer some filters for creating a few special effects, like crude oil paintings or black and white charcoal effects. The next step up often will cost $30.00 to $50.00, but will include all the basic tools you need to create a proud-to-display masterpiece. Micrografx (now Corel) Picture Publisher presents six sizes of paint brushes, an air brush, pastel chalks and colored pencils. You can change the size of your picture, crop it any way you want, and take advantage of dozens of filters which simulate real art textures like water color on parchment paper, palette knife paintings, etc. Turn white skies into blue skies with fleecy clouds, soften some of Grandma’s wrinkles or remove a garbage can from an otherwise perfect picture. A cloning tool permits the addition of outside elements, skin retouching, background cleaning and the filling in of empty spaces. A magic cropping knife can isolate a subject, move it onto another background and let you move the objects in your picture around at will, like decoupage, creating a whole new world of graphic manipulation.

The top of the line is Adobe PhotoShop and its competitors. This program is considered professional software, costing $300 to $700. The basic tools are the same, but many more levels of manipulation are offered. The dozens of filter you used with Picture Publisher have multiplied but keep in mind that dozens of filters and effects can still be utilized by both programs through plug-in filter software. A two week course is recommended in order to learn how to use the Adobe program effectively while the Picture Publisher help boxes are considered sufficient instruction for most people.

Your finished artistic creations can be saved in computer albums against the time you need a nice graphic for decorating an article or for an artistic card. They can be put on tee shires, mugs, calendars, Holiday Cards, stationary, post cards and business cards.
Wall enlargements up to 13 x 19 are easily produce with a Hewlett Packard 1220 Deskjet printer or an Epson printer. Both are available with archival inks lasting over 60 years without fading. But the most of the enjoyment comes from the creating!

As a retiree, I can take any pictures I want.

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How to Pose a Bride and Groom

By Kenneth C. Hoffman

Of all the pictures taken at a wedding, the one most important is the portrait of the bride and groom. Some wedding couples depend on a relative or a friend to take a few good photos for their album and others reserve a professional photographer to do the honors. This article is for both the real and wanna-be photographers at the wedding.

A good time to photograph the bride and groom is after the ceremony and before the reception. Ideal is an open lawn away from any building. Other photogenic locations are at the edge of a treed area, under an arcade or
at home in the backyard. Important is to choose an evenly lit background: one that does not contain light and dark areas. Place the couple in the shade at least thirty feet away from any background objects with their faces toward the main source of light.

Turn the bride thirty degrees away from the camera and fluff the train behind her so that only half of the train is visible from the camera position. Never pull the train around to the front of the bride since this is most unnatural and would never occur in real life. Pose the groom slightly facing the bride and have him offer his arm for her to pass her through. Make sure her ring is visible. The groom’s outside hand can be in his pocket or touching the bride’s hand. The bride should shift most of her weight to the foot furthest from the camera and the groom should have his weight evenly distributed on slightly spread feet. Never let his hand drop straight down at his side. The bride may hold her bouquet in her outside hand at a level below her waist with some daylight or background showing between her elbow and her waist. An alternate place for the bouquet is on the ground next to the groom’s feet. Turn their faces toward the camera but not fully straight on, but at a slight angle toward each other. Their expressions should show their happiness, but not laughing.

Angles other than the view straight on without changing their positions often present another good composition for a portrait. Consider also a view from behind the couple, requesting them to turn their heads directly toward each other, giving the photographer a profile of their faces. A variety of shots are possible with this pose. A medium shot (at the knees) with their faces closer together and an even closer pose with the cheeks almost touching make wonderful portraits. Try having them look into each other’s eyes with his arms around her. Natural light from the side is the most beautiful source as long as the reflector of some sort balances the light. Watch your cropping in the viewfinder carefully and leave some space over their heads. Pay attention to the position of the feet (no soles showing) and be sure only the sides of the bride’s hands are presented to the camera. The groom’s coat collar should fit snug to the neck.

A beautiful portrait of the bride and groom can be their most treasured reminder of the most important day in their lives. You can make it happen.

Comments Welcome.

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Photography Tip- Business Practices for Photographers

By Kenneth C. Hoffman

There must be as many business policies as there are photographers

in business. Through the years I have learned by my mistakes and
by observing other successful photography business. Here are some
policies that have added to the success of my business.

Concerning weddings, require the full payment for the basic package that
the bride and groom order. Extras must be paid at the time of the final
order. The argument that no goods are in the hands of the buyer must be
politely put aside.

If actual proofs are supplied for perusal, one successful photographer I
know actually supplies these proofs (over 300 3x5s) to the bride and groom
free of charge. The theory is (and it works) that more people over a longer period of time will see the pictures and place more orders. These proofs are too
small to use as gifts or for display and their gratitude for the free gift is
wonderful for word-of-mouth advertising. I suggest that the proofs be
heavily textured to prevent illegal digital scanning.

I believe that a full guarantee of customer satisfaction be a major policy of
the professional photographer. The consumer is entitled to be happy with
their purchase, even though some criterions are subjective and not the fault
of the photographer. No customer should be left with a bad taste in their
mouth when they leave the studio. You will reap the rewards in additional
referrals and increased orders.

Offer as many free retakes of sessions that have gone wrong for one reason
or another. I know that this policy represents additional costs to the studio
but the clients have no fault when the two year old won’t sit or grandmother
gets sick. Some clients might try to take advantage of this policy by trying
to get free sessions for individuals in a group picture, but the rules must be
stated clearly and posted in the studio for the customers to see.

Some photographers expand the price list lower and higher, quoting higher
and lower levels of quality. I know that the reason is to present more choices
in cost to the customer, but the down side is that the cheaper products will
not represent your best work and the customer may feel cheated. All your
work must be of the finest quality you can produce. Lower prices can only
reflect smaller sizes or fewer quantities.

Promise a realistic date for the work to be completed and make sure that the
work is ready on time. A variable date for completion only serves to undermine
the customer’s faith in your efficiency and good work habits. Reminder calls
are a good idea if the work is not picked up within a reasonable time period.

Assuage the customer’s important concerns and fears early on in your relationship.
Some clients are reluctant to bring up their fears and end up not booking if those
concerns are not addressed.

Never offer any extra pictures you have at no charge to the customer. For some
reason, this never works in favor of the photographer. Be meticulous in preparing
the exact sizes and amounts of their order. On the other hand, you may include a small
(non photographic) gift for their continued support of your services.

Generally, your prices should be commensurate with your major competition, using your
expertise and talent as the reason your customers are satisfied and return for more business.
Bi-annual reappraisal of your price list should be a regular habit. Everything goes up and
you should be no different. Photographers are a dime a dozen but good, successful
photographers are rare.

I was a portrait and wedding photographer for 40 years and enjoyed every minute.

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Planning Photo Day Trips

By Kenneth C. Hoffman

How many of you budding photographers own an expensive SLR camera or the latest digital

camera with tripod and haven’t a clue how to get started using them? Raise your hand. Hmmmm. What you need is a whole day out in the field taking beautiful pictures for your album, contests, your scanner and your walls. Here are some ideas for photo opportunities you can count on to produce a high percentage of winners.

The New York skyline or any famous city within travel distance are sure fire people pleaser's when photographed in an unusual way. If you have access to a view of the city from a westerly point, try to arrive at the scenic point one hour before sunset. As long as the sun is out, the city buildings will be bathed in a warm light, while the clouds or sky will appear many shades bluer. This color contrast highlights the importance of the buildings and provides a visual interest not available at other time of the day. Place the horizon one third from the bottom of the picture for a ‘sweeping sky’ look. If possible, scout around for a tree or other over hanging structures for framing and foreground interest. A secondary center of interest in the mid-ground helps the feeling of depth. After the sun series, an hour wait for near dark presents another ‘magic’ time for an interesting shot. A clear dark sky will photograph royal blue when a short time exposure is used. The warm incandescent lights of the city are further enhanced by the comparison. A slow to medium speed ISO setting requires a shutter speed of two to three minutes at F5.6 or F8.

A visit to a local antique store is a gold mine of beautiful pictures. A kind word to the owner and a promise of a picture or two usually insures their cooperation. Set your camera on a tripod in order to take advantage of the natural light in the room An edge-darkening filter in front of the lens greatly improves the pictures. You can make your own by cutting a four by four inch piece of 2x neutral density plastic filter material. Cut a one inch by three-quarter inch oval hole in the middle. When placed in front of the lens, a natural fad-out is produced on the edges of the picture. Look for interesting subjects to photograph like a sleeping doll, light coming through colored bottles, antique items on a dresser top, an old rocking chair with the old owner int, or an antique hobby horse. Try to stay away from straight lines and very dark objects. Window light is best, so you may find it necessary to relocate the item of interest nearer to a window. The owner surely knows many interesting stories about their antiques. Altogether a fun day!

Another fun spot laden with picture possibilities is the local arboretum or formal gardens. Depending on the time of year, spectacular photos can be made from the many unusual plant life. You can photograph tiny blooms from one inch away, discover patterns in strange leaves or capture the mood of a forest with a creative filter on your lens.

At certain times of the year, you can find a lake or local body of water blanketed by a transparent layer of fog. I know it’s hard to get up before dawn, but for this field trip it will be necessary. Bring along waders if you have them or rent a row boat or canoe. Unless building are particularly photogenic, don’t use them in your composition. A horizon line one third from the top will place more importance on the water and fog. A super saturated film or setting on your digital camera will enhance the color of the scene. Strong foreground interest and small apertures with long exposures are important features of the day. A small stone thrown into the still water simulates a hungry fish and a few handy large leaves floating past can help capture interest.

If there are no overhanging branches at the chosen location, a cut branch held over the lens a few feet away can substitute. The best photographs in the scenario will be fore the sun comes up. If you can, include the rising sun in you composition for a different look. For variety, shoot a few super close-ups of flowers, insects or leaves. Since the sun will give you a false exposure, a meter reading of the darkest portion of the scene can be set manually for a proper exposure. Work fast sine one hour is the most time you can expect to have Bring along a fishing pole and enjoy the rest of the day. Happy shooting.

I used to photograph only people. Now I photograph everything.

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Albums - An Arranged Marriage

By Kenneth C. Hoffman

We often put off finishing an album of photographs because of the daunting challenge it presents even to the creative mind.

It’s difficult to discard a not-so-good photograph even though an identical, but wonderful photograph exists right next to it. In order for an album to capture the attention of the viewer and hold it, it must be provocative, show variety, and progress in a timely fashion.

First, separate you photographs in piles representing events. Then choose one photograph with impact that also summarizes the main subject. For example, at you grandmother’s birthday party the presence of most of your immediate family afforded you the opportunity to take lots of pictures including all the action. The aforementioned cover shot would be a close up of Grandma and Grandpa in a hug opening her present.

Next, separate the main groups according to chronological order. Further divide these groups in a series of threes: one scene setting shot, one medium action shot and one close up. Of course, you have to work with what you have, so make the best of it. There will be many posed pictures of various family members, so in order to separate them, distribute the series of three at different points throughout the album. No chronological order is necessary since these photograph could have been taken at any time throughout the evening.

It is important to discard any pictures that an unflattering (unless comedic), especially ones in which the subject blinked. It serves no purpose to embarrass the subject, and only promises to disappoint. If there are two or more snaps of the same subject and you need only one, discard or store the extra images for safe keeping. If they are place in your story album, you risk boring the viewer to death with repetition. Save a particularly nice shot of the main subject (Grandma) for the last photo in the album for a warm, happy ending. I suspect this memory album will take its place as one of her most treasured possessions.

Retired portrait and wedding photographer. What do YOU think?

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Photography Tip- Dreamy Studio Backgrounds Made Easy

By Kenneth C. Hoffman

So you’ve got your basement studio all set up with lights, camera, tripod and a plain white background. Great. Wouldn’t it be terrific if you could add one of those beautiful muslin backgrounds you see in the catalogs and used

by the big studios? Yeah, right. Seven hundred dollars for one. Here’s a method to make a background of your own design at a cost of under twenty dollars.

First decide how you would like your background to look. Find a greeting card or postcard you like. It could be a forest of trees with sunlight slanting to the ground, a quiet lake scene, pine trees under a new fall of snow, an old fashioned garden in France or even a picture of yours that you love.

Make a slide or viewgraph transparency of your selection and prepare the surface for the artwork. An old king-sized sheet will do very nicely or you can use the wall itself. If using the sheet, stretch it firmly on the wall and project the transparency on it. Make sure the projector is firmly supported and square to the wall. Mark the position with tape in case it moves. Using a charcoal stick, trace in all the edges of the picture on the wall. If a removeable background is desired, stretch a king size white or light gray or beige sheet on the wall. Make sure it is firmly attached since you w will be drawing on it later.

Buy a gallon of white ceiling paint (for its matte surface) and some tubes of color. Mix enough paint of the needed colors in a few plastic buckets. With a two inch brush, paint the picture on the wall, using the photograph as a guide. You don’t have to be an artist since the rendition should be loose and a water color like representation of the chosen subject. Avoid using black or very dark colors and tone down any brightly hued colors with white or gray paint. If the scene is to portray a high key effect, one further step is recommended. Mix some white paint with an equal amount of water and roll or brush on a semi transparent layer over the dry painting.

If a more classic look is wanted, you may skip the transparency and paint right on the sheet or wall. Start in the lower center with beige and light gray
and work your way toward the edges, mixing the colors on the wall using veridian/brown, alarizen red/brown and brown/dark blue. These colors are sure to compliment skin tones. Use a four inch brush with either a diagonal stroke for the whole background or a quarter moon shaped overlapping brush stroke. Work fast, using the darker colors toward the edges. One warning: never go back to correct an effect after the paint has partially dried. One advantage of the classic background is that the edges can be extended around the corners of the room, allowing larger subjects to be photographed. The character of your unusual and beautiful background will be limited only by your imagination.

My home made backgrounds were so much in demand, other studios paid me $400 to paint one on their studio wall.

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Setting Up Group Portraits

By Kenneth C. Hoffman

“We don’t want any posed pictures” is a common admonishment from young people these days. What they mean is that they want to appear natural and relaxed in their portrait of the family. A certain amount of

posing is a necessary evil in order to accomplish what they want. Of course, it is up to the photographer to make this as painless as possible.

There are some general ‘rules’ of group portraiture that have been around since Rembrandt. Never line up the faces vertically or horizontally. The reason for this rule is that curves, triangles and diagonals create a more dynamic flow and are more pleasing to the eye.. Straight lines are static and tend to line up with the edges of the picture. Another rule is never to have faces look straight into the camera for if they do, unsymmetrical features are more easily apparent and the eyes take on a stare. Now, rules were meant to be broken, but first you have to know the rules.

While couples can be considered a group, I will start with a group of three. The easiest of numbers, three people make an automatic triangle. Heads can be placed in an uneven triangle, foundation side down. Spacing should be varied, but similar in distance. Other successful patterns are the inverted curve with the middle person highest, a diminishing, flatter curve with the smallest person nearest the camera, and a stacked triangle in a vertical format. Groups of three generally look more together when the outside persons face in to the center. Enough body should be included in the composition so an not to appear bodiless. A general rule is to leave twice as much space above the heads as below the feet or hands in the picture. Spacing between heads are measured from the center of the eyes, not the edge of the head. Please do not crop off at the wrists and ankles.

Hands play an important part in the language of the portrait. To look graceful and slender, hands should present their edges to the camera. Oppositely, to appear strong, the backs of hands should face the lens. Never allow the arms to hang down vertically, but find something for the hands to do so the arms are bent at the elbow. Arm rests, furniture and other people are handy tools for creating a dynamic angle for the arms.

Shoulders look best when placed at a slight angle to the camera. Views across the back play up the curve of the spine and the jut of the jaw instead of the breadth of the shoulders. Too much of an angle will make the near shoulder appear too large, due to foreshortening.

Groups of four present an interesting challenge. You don’t want to place one head in each corner, making a square. People are basically made up of curves, not straight lines and appear mechanical and lifeless in this configuration. So what can you do with four people? An inverted curve can be formed with the two highest people in the middle. Make sure one is higher than his neighbor. For a more compact composition, overlap the shoulders, fitting them together like a jigsaw puzzle. This places the heads closer together without dead, empty spaces in between shoulders. Remember to turn the outside faces toward the center for a cohesive look. Other shapes that fit the quad portrait are an off center vertical diamond or rhomboid, a staggered vertical or horizontal zigzag line and an inverted curve of three with the smallest below in the center. Be aware that vertical faces should never be in line.

Five is an interesting and easy number to pose. Spacing becomes more important, informing the viewer of the warm relationship between family members. Basically, the faces place themselves in two triangles, the lower middle person sharing the triangles. A vertical composition stretches the space vertically and compresses the spaces horizontally. Six faces can be grouped as two uneven triangles, one slightly higher than the other. The classic oil paintings of large groups of people contain masterful examples of group posing.

Environmental settings play an important part in the balance of a portrait, creating a foil of shapes against the more important faces. If there are masses of light areas, they must be balanced with the appropriate mass of darker areas elsewhere in the picture. The eye travels an omega curve, starting in the lower left corner and wandering through the centers of interest (faces) until exiting out the lower right corner. The centers of interest should fall along this comfortable line.

The skills of the photographer retain the interest of his subjects with a constant patter, all the while making decisions pertaining to height and placement of faces pertaining to the over all pattern. Time should be allotted to the straightening of clothing without seeming too fussy. All eyes should be in one direction, that is on the photographer for a cohesive look. An exposure where one person is looking at the camera lens can not be considered as a viable pose. Try to make the process fun so that your subjects appear relaxed and natural. To quote a famous philosopher, they’ll never look younger.

A retired portrait photographer would like your comments.

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Seven Ways to Increase Portrait Sales

By Kenneth C. Hoffman

A good portrait photographer can do his or her best but still be plagued with no shows, minimum orders, and low profits. Here are seven tips to help you succeed.

A pre-session consultation is a good idea. It serves to answer any fears your clients may have about having their portrait taken. It also gives them an opportunity to get your opinion about what is best to wear. Tips on makeup and hair can be helpful. A brief description of their available wardrobe will give you an idea of what to suggest for the session. Of course, plaids and wild designs are to be avoided. Naturally, you must compliment them on their chosen outfit.

Secondly, confirm your appointments the day before. A gentle reminder while ‘touching base’ with your client is usually sufficient to ensure their arrival at the studio the next day. Any last minute changes in clothing can be discussed and a reminder that the parents may be included in some of the pictures of their children is wise. If something comes up that will prevent their making the appointment, it is best that you know ahead of time so that you can rearrange your schedule.

The samples on your studio walls should reflect the finest you can produce and instill in your clients a desire to own a similar portrait of themselves or of their family. Display only a variety of large sizes on your walls. A minimum size of sixteen by twenty and a maximum of thirty by forty inches will give the right impression. Eleven by fourteens and eight by tens look much too small on a wall. The profit margin is much greater in proportion to the increasing size of the portrait. A small area near the selling desk can be put aside for samples of these small sizes. I recommend that four by sixes be made unavailable and wallets not be displayed at all. Make sure that the eight by ten and five by seven samples are of a group portrait so that the head sizes are small in the photograph. The larger wall sizes look best when depicting five to seven people. Fewer heads will appear too large and more figures than seven in the sample portrait will seem lost and hard to see.

One key to larger orders is to present a variety of poses to the client. A normal set of head shots is not conducive to large orders. On the other hand, when each pose shows a different side of the sitter’s personality, the parent can not resist ordering at least one of the different poses. First, ensure the regular poses by photographing the sitter from different sides and using different expressions. Since ninety percent of pose decisions are made on facial expression, it is important to get all the different smiles and pleasant looks that you can. When you are satisfied with the head and shoulder portraits, design a seated pose for more interest. A book may be held or a favorite pet in their lap. These middle shots are a natural for larger portrait sizes. Teens and young children often can strike cute full length poses showing off their new Gap togs. Sport equipment, games or accessory clothing give hands something to do. A few super close ups in serious expressions will add spice to the poses and are great for wallet sales.

Word of mouth is traditionally the best form of advertising, but every avenue of spreading the word is to be taken advantage of. Wallet size photos with your name and telephone on the back make great reminders to future clients. It also makes it convenient for relatives to reorder additional and larger sizes. Most digital orders can be placed on the day of the session, but there are many interested family members at home who would order their own preferences if they could see all the poses. An inkjet printer can make a copy of the parent’s favorite poses in a few minutes for them to take home. The draft copy is fine for choosing their favorite expressions but too poor to be copied on a home scanner. I believe normal retouching should be included as a free service with the session fee but extensive time consuming retouching be charged by the hour.

The summer doldrums can be somewhat alleviated with a beautiful child contest. Other variations are the model search or a pet and child contest . A free session for each child is quite attractive to the parents. A requisite that the parents come in with the children ensures that you are afforded the opportunity to photograph the whole family. Grandchildren group portraits are popular as gifts, but are poor profit makers by themselves. You must insist that the studio be able to photograph each individual family while they are in the studio with the grandchildren. This may involve four or five families, so be sure to allot enough time to accommodate everyone. Since orders from this type of portrait session can run very high, it may be wise to waive the session fees for the individual families.

Finally, a word about break downs is in order. When photographing a family, you can suggest some fun pictures with different combinations of family members. Grandma would love to have a picture of herself with the grandchildren, Dad would be interested in a shot of he and his two boys. Mom and her little girl helper make a cherished portrait and a picture of just the two boys and a separate shot of the three girls is an irresistible photograph. Any resistance can usually be jollied along with a request for the Grandma to “Help me out a little”. A little coaxing and good natured joshing will get them over their shyness. Don’t forget to photograph the grandparents together and individually. These portraits may become very valuable in the future. The family pet make a wonderful action portrait with the family as well as with the children. Even a pet portrait can boost your orders.

Retired portrait photographer. Comments welcome, please.

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Photographing Flowers

By Kenneth C. Hoffman

One of the easiest ways to end up with a frame worthy photograph is to photograph flowers. Their symmetry and beauty makes every close up photograph a joy to behold. Flowers and photographers are everywhere and since almost every digital camera has a macro lens setting, this photographic subject is often overdone and seems to present no challenge to the aspiring photographer.

Au contraire, I say. There is no limit to the level of composition and treatment you can give your flower pictures. You can go for a color scheme to match your current d├ęcor, you can choose a famous artist and emulate his style. Your creations may contain two, three, five or many blooms (try to stay away from the one big bloom in the middle). Attractive compositions can contain two flowers, one large, one small forming a diagonal. Three blooms create a triangle with one acting as the main subject and the other two as their counterparts. Racemes offer a built in curve and specie tulips are in a class of their own.

Photoshop and their like offer thousands of ways to improve your flower photographs. Unwanted items in the background can be cloned out, flower heads may look better moved over to a better location and additional blooms can be added to fill in an empty spot. Don’t neglect the edges, for special treatments like bevels, chalk borders and faded out vignettes can add interest to the piece. With digital photography there are no limits to attaining the image created in your mind.

In the field, special attention must be paid to the overall look of the picture. Try to decide what it is about a particular scene that grabs you fancy. Is it the unusual light descending on your subject, the quality and tone of a different looking background, or is it just the way your subjects relate to each other? Choose one quality and try to capture the peak of that essence in your digital camera. If you are successful in this respect at the expense of another facet of the picture, it can be fixed later on your computer.

Arboretums and botanical gardens are a bonanza of opportunities for the nature photographer. Even the pollinating insects can get into the act. The subject of flower photography may be the easiest to get started on, but can be the most rewarding for the creative artist.

Retired portrait and wedding photographer. Has had three art exhibitions.

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How to Choose Your Photo Paper Wisely

By Ann Woods

Choosing the right paper for printing is one of the most important factors in producing great prints. Be it pictures or text, you usually just borrow what's in the copier. But the right paper makes an immense difference in print quality. To make the right choice, we must know the basics of selecting and printing on paper for general use and pictures.

• Paper Basics:
To choose the right paper for the required print keep in mind –the opacity, brightness, weight, caliper and finish. First, it is important to know what you are printing. Black and white documents are very different from full color photos. There are some multipurpose papers which are good for both. But if you want crisp, vibrant photos that will last a long time, then of course you need to use paper which is designed just for photos.

• Opacity:
This means how see-through is the paper? The more the opacity, less of the printed text will bleed through to the other side. This is especially important for double-sided prints. High opacity paper is considered good for documents such as brochures, newsletters and calendars. Photo papers have high opacity of about 94-97 usually.

• Weight:
Paper weight is expressed in pounds (lb.) or as grams per square meter (g/m2).This ranges from light weight newsprint to very heavy cardboard. Mostly quality business paper is 20 to 24 pound bond; the greeting card paper is heavier – usually in the range of 60 – 65 lb.

• Brightness:
Brightness basically means the amount of light reflected from the surface of the paper. Higher brightness will produce crisper text with better contrast and a brighter background for color and images. It is expressed in numbers 1 to 100. Photo papers have brightness number in high 90's. But then not all papers are labeled with their brightness rating. You will simply have to compare two or more papers side by side to compare their brightness.

• Caliper:
This is basically the thickness of the paper. Thickness affects its handling; whether the paper is stiffer and will resist creases and tears etc. Its unit of measure is 'mil'. Photo paper is usually 7 to 10 mils thick.

• Finish:
The finish of the paper can be matte glossy with lessening degrees of glossiness as semi-gloss, soft-gloss or satin-gloss. It is the coating on paper as glossy photo paper gives the printed photos the look and feel of photographs. Glossy papers take time in drying as the coating keeps the paper from readily absorbing the ink. However, quick dry gloss finishes are available nowadays. Mirror-like finish of high-gloss media is preferred for color photographs and smooth matte finishes for black and white photographs and business documents.

Paper has come a long way in the last decade. Choosing the right paper for printing is one of the most important decisions in creating great pictures. It is also important to know that the paper designed for your printer looks and performs better every time. The print depends upon what happens when the ink hits the paper. The wrong amount of ink can lead to jagged images that are too saturated or sometimes too light.

The synergy of ink, paper and printer is important so as to create color photos that are as bright as your memories. The latest coating technology prevents photo jams, curling and printed pages from sticking together.
Lastly, you know how sunlight damages a printed page. Special photo inks and special coating premium photo papers are available that resist the effects of indoor halogen and glowing light. You will be able to frame your photos and display them proudly as they will resist fading longer than most traditionally developed photographs.

Therefore, the right printer paper will not only give better results, it will also be more economical in the long run. There will be fewer paper jams and the output will look great every time.

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Photography - Photographing Children

By Michael Russell

Ever see the movie where the photographer is trying to take a family photo and the kid is doing everything he can, short of starting World War III, to keep that photo from being taken? Every tantrum in the world ever taken is captured in that one scene. Very funny, yes. But the truth is, photographing children is not an easy task for several reasons.

For starters, kids have a very short attention span. To get them to sit still for even a minute is like asking for a miracle. Fidgeting is like a way of life for kids. Bill Cosby used to have a blast doing comic bits about the brother and sister who couldn't stop touching each other and were always getting into some kind of trouble. Sit still? Not a chance.

Aside from that, children don't take direction very well even if they aren't restless. To say to a child, "turn your head slightly to the left" is like asking him to do advanced calculus. It isn't going to happen. Either the kid is going to move his head so little that it won't have made a difference or he'll turn his head half way around. "A little to the left" is a foreign concept to children.

So what is a photographer to do, especially if his assignment is to take photos of a church directory, or maybe of kids in school? Well, there are a few tricks he can use that will actually produce very good results. However, these tricks aren't going to work without one very key ingredient and this is the hardest thing to be able to do because you either have it or you don't.

The number one key to being able to photograph a child is to be able to relate to the child one on one. You have to have the kind of personality that either mesmerizes the child or at least makes him feel enough at ease with you that he or she can follow simple instructions. Unfortunately, some photographers have the personality of a fig leaf and there is just nothing you can do about it. These people probably shouldn't be photographing kids at all. But if you do have a bubbling personality, use it. Make the kid laugh and feel at home.

If, however, you're not exactly personality plus, there are some things you can do to get the kid's attention. One of the oldest and most effective tricks in the book is to bring along objects with you that the child can either play with or look at.

For example, if you want to get the child to tilt his head and look in a certain direction, the easiest way to do this is to hold up an object. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, but the more colorful the better. All you need to do is hold the object up in the direction you want the child to look. So let's say you want him to move his head slightly to his right. What you do is hold the object in your left hand and move it to your left to the point where you want the child to look. Then simply tell him to look at the object, using the object's name. So if you're holding up a small brown bear, tell the child to look at the brown bear. Also, smile when you do this. Eventually the child's head will be in the exact position where you want it so you can take the photo.

Another thing you can do, in the case of a child who won't sit still, is to give him something to play with. While he's looking at the object, simply call his name or do something to get his attention and as soon as he looks up you can take the photo. Yes, you have to be fast. But with a lot of practice you'll get real good at this.

Michael Russell

Your Independent guide to Photography

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Photo Websites- Sell Photos Online For a Profit

By Brandon Baumgarten

Would you like to sell photos online at your own gallery? Send people to your very own web address to purchase the photos you've taken of them. There's more than one way to go about it. Here we take a look at the benefits of building a photo website, using services designed for professional photographers.

Not long ago it would have been a major project starting your own photography business. My how things have changed. Today, the new online photo services let you up load all of your photos to your own gallery and set your own prices. Shoot whatever you want and send your customers to your beautiful online gallery, to purchase the shots.

It's the easy way to get your photos and video on line for family, friends and customers to view. They can click to order any size prints or a variety of gifts like coffee mugs, sweatshirts, holiday cards etc... and you make money on every sale you set your own prices. So now you just upload the pictures and Aunt Alice can order what she wants and stop bugging you for copies! Get carried away, upload UNLIMITED photos with a click, shoot a million pictures if you want, you can't out grow that! Your precious family heirlooms, safely stored in full resolution. Download them anytime you want, because it's a photo storage website too. Hey, backup is good right? Organizing photo albums could not be simpler with the easy to use tools these companies provide. As with everything each photo sharing website has its advantages, click on the link at the bottom of this ezinearticle to compare the different services.

One of the photo gallery website providers called Smugmug has teamed up with GoogleMaps to create SmugMaps, I would have named it smoogle maps, whatever you call it, it's so cool! Install GoogleEarth, then click on the green GoogleEarth botton. Then while your logged into your smugmug account click on the map, the photos you select are tagged to that spot and displayed for the world to see, promoting your art gallery. You can also SmugMap by typing in the street address or gps coordinates.

Are you an artist waiting to be discovered? Get your work out there today. Whether your shooting the local cheerleader squad or an expedition to Alaska. Selling your photos is now very easy to do. You don't really want to go thru the hassle of setting up a merchants account to charge peoples credit cards do you? Good because you don't have to! You don't really want to print, trim, pack, address, ship, and provide customer service on each order do you? Good because you don't have to. (if you answered yes, we have an opening for a lab tech) of course I'm just kidding, we don't have time for all that, were out shooting more pictures to sell!

That's right, now you actually have the time to go out and take lots and lots of pictures. Go crazy you can take a million photos if you want. There's no limit to number of photos that you can upload on some of the professional photo sharing web sites. Hey your goal oriented right? How long would it take you to shoot a million photos? Let's see, this should be easier than figuring out the Tootsie Pop thing. If you shoot everyday for 10 years you'd have to shoot 274 pictures per day, because I don't think you can take 2739 photos every day for a year!

Here are some suggestions on what to shoot:

a) Museums and Historical Landmarks
b) National Parks and Monuments
c) City Skylines and Architecture
d) Amusement Parks
e) Back Roads and Byways
f) Scenic Overlooks

2. SCHOOL SPORTING EVENTS- Especially regional and state tournaments or championships. They are a goldmine, parents love pictures of their superstars. If you take a photo of each kid and then a team group picture, many of the parents will buy a few. One for the house, one for grandma etc. When you add up all the kids from all the teams, you're looking at hundred's kids. The money starts adding up real quick.
a) Football Team Photo
b) Cheerleader Squad photo
c) Homecoming Activities
d) Regional & State Championships
e) Soccer, Wrestling, Swimming etc...
f) School Plays, Concerts and more
g) Little League Baseball
h) Soccer Teams
i) Basketball Teams

3. LOCAL EVENTS- Check the local paper and see what's happening in your area
a) Hot Air Balloon Races and Air Shows
b) Car Shows & Motorcycle Rally’s
c) Parades & Fireworks
d) County And State Fairs
e) Craft Shows
f) Trade shows
g) Concerts
h) Tail Gate Parties

4. BOY SCOUTS AND GIRL SCOUTS- Many kids don't play soccer or basketball, they enjoy scouting, and they buy lots of pictures of the kids during scouting activities. Just go around the event and shoot it up, try to get a nice posed photo of each scout, then a troop shot with the leaders. Make sure you get permission from the appropriate council.
a) Camp outs
b) Hikes
c) The Annual Jamboree
d) Pinewood derby
e) Fundraisers

5.PROPERTY- Real estate agents need quality photographs to promote their listed properties. Let your local agencies know your available on call and watch the cash start flowing in. Architects need photos of the properties they design for many reasons. Show me the money!
a) Real Estate Agencies
b) Commercial Properties
c) Architectural Photography
d) Builders and Contractors

6. RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES- This is my favorite, I live up in the mountains and we have a lot of these type of adventures available close by. Folks on vacation sure like photos of themselves while participating in activities. If you have activities like these in your area, talk with a local outfitter, they are usually very receptive to the idea of photo souvenirs, because it promotes their service long after the adventure is over.
a) Whitewater River Rafting
b) Horseback Riding Outfitters
c) Ski Resorts
d) Snowmobile Trails
e) Golf Tournaments

7. INSURANCE COMPANIES- Most insurance companies require documentation to reimburse policy holders for a loss. A photographic inventory of all items covered by the policy is recommended by insurance adjusters, this is a huge market.
a) Residential
b) Commercial

8. FAMILY PORTRAITS- Many families have a portrait done annually. I like to photograph the family during fun time, rather than a studio. I like to have a good time with them. I always get better smiles and more interesting images on location. This year suggest doing the photo at an activity that the whole family enjoys participating in together "A family that plays together, stays together"
a) At home
b) In the studio
c) On location
d) Holiday Cards in October

9. SCHOOL ACTIVITIES- If I told you how much money you could make in one day photographing graduates, clubs, dances or homecoming activities, you wouldn't believe me. So I am going to let you find out for yourself. Then you email me and tell me and I will believe it! Photographing some of the school events like graduation and plays should be done at a dress rehearsal prior to the actual event. Always make prior arrangements with the school before you shoot.
a) Graduation
b) School Plays
c) Dances
d) Marching Band
e) Homecoming

10. STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY AGENCYS- there are many agencies that will purchase quality images to package and resell. Check stock photo agencies many of them accept freelance work.

Here's how it goes. Take the photo, give the client a card with your photo gallery web site address on it. Up load the pictures to your gallery. They go to your website and pick out the ones they want and order prints or coffee mugs, whatever they want. Then the photos are printed and shipped by the company that hosts your gallery. Then the company sends you a check. How much you make on each image is up to you. The Photo gallery hosting company charges you say, $1.99 for an 8"x 10" print. You set your retail prices at 24.99 for the print. You just made $23.00. The magic happens when you use the intrinsic artistic value, to increase the value of an otherwise inexpensive piece of paper. Most retailers wish they had a markup this good!

Once you get going, you will be lining up jobs at all sorts of events. Even taking photos while traveling and writing off your business expenses. If you really love photography you should consider your own gallery online.

When I got my gallery, I had so much fun thinking of creative titles for the galleries and getting all my pictures set up and organized. For instance, I have one gallery that is a tribute to trees. Everytime I see a beautiful tree, I capture a picture and display it in a gallery that I named Treebute.

Start your online photo website gallery today and start selling your photos online for a profit. Visit

I have been a professional photographer at several western ski resorts including Vail and Breckenridge. I started out at Grand Targhee Wyoming, where I landed my first professional photography job taking action photos of skiers on the slopes at Grand Targhee. I am currently a freelance photographer based out of Lake Tahoe, CA.

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