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Messages - Seren

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Lighting / Re: Coco Ring Flash vs RayFlash
« on: October 22, 2009, 05:50 »
Well here's another thought... I made a very similar one for about 5 from some plastic tupperwear and silverfoil from the cheap shop...

Off Topic / Re: Poor photography students need your old gear
« on: October 27, 2008, 17:38 »

The other thing I thought of, was I sent my Nikon D1 off to a university because I remember being a broke journo student and never having anything to use.

You kidding?  When I lived with my ex and he was at university, he had more money to throw around with his student loan and part time job than I did working a 37 hour week.

It's no coincidence that most students are poor, but also spend most of their time in the pub.  Guess where the money goes?

(Before anyone complains, I lived with a uni student for two years, and after that a Doctorate student, and was surrounded by students the whole four years in a university town).

Off Topic / Re: Recommend a magazine?
« on: October 23, 2008, 17:08 »
I'd reccomend Photography Monthly. It's the sister magazine to Professional Photographer which Seren mentioned. However Professional Photographer has lots of business orientated content, so if your neice was looking to a career in photography that might be the one. They are both well written. Hope that helps, Regards, David

I'd go with that.  Photography monthly seems to be aimed at people who want to learn about photography.  Most of the "digital blah blah" are just full of ten minute half assed tutorials.

Off Topic / Re: Recommend a magazine?
« on: October 23, 2008, 11:55 »
How old is she?

My favourite is professional photographer mag - not just good for pros.

I find digital camera mag is full of awful articles that regurgitate the same rubbish every month.  It's VERY basic.

Something to keep in mind.  Getty now own a third of the top microstock sites.  One more purchase and they'll own 50%.

They can now pretty much dictate the market...  I wonder what they'll do to make their traditional collection more attractive to buyers?

all my images with StockXpert will be re-reviewed and rejected if IS reviewers
get their filthy hands on them.

I think if you feel that way then you need to go out and learn how to use your camera.

Photo Critique / Re: Critique Away
« on: October 23, 2008, 01:47 »
Personally I wouldn't send them...

They look soft even from those small thumbs (unless you did something strange to them in photoshop).  Plus they look like snap shots, they're not particularly well composed or illustrating a subject.

Big calendar buyers tend to buy from established stock libraries (Alamy is used alot in the UK, so is Getty) so you might have more luck approaching that sort of supplier.

Plus you know, they don't really have the cute appeal.  They're all looking at things other than the camera, which sometimes works, but people like their cute fluffy animals to be looking at them from their calendar...

(I should justify this now by saying that one on my images was bought to be used in a calendar, pretty much for exactly what you're talking about).

Photo Critique / Re: Limited commercial value
« on: October 23, 2008, 01:41 »
I think you'd be better selling the original image - designers could do that in a few seconds in photoshop.

Off Topic / Re: Aperture 2 - Photo books
« on: October 23, 2008, 01:40 »
Thanks for the info Seren. Yes, if the quality is not great then all is not lost. It just converts the design to a pdf file which I can take to a better quality printer here. I will check out Asuka but since I am in Singapore, it might be an expensive option.

Hopefully the update to Aperture will have a big effect on the quality of the books. Just ten more days to wait and see!

The update to aperture won't affect the books, because the quality problems are with the printers.  They're similar to blurb in that respect.  They're nice books (and I use them as very cheap options for my wedding albums) but they probably won't last being handled too much.

But to someone who doesn't know much about image quality (i.e. average Jimmy) then they probably wouldn't see what the fuss is about.  Really depends who your client is and who you're showing them too.

Plus the aperture and iPhoto ones have the apple logo on them - which sucks.  I don't want my clients to know what printer I use because then they'll ask whey I charged them X amount for the book when they could have got it for less.

Off Topic / Re: Aperture 2 - Photo books
« on: October 22, 2008, 10:05 »
I saw an aperture book and wasn't impressed with the quality at all.

However, I saw one that a friend of mine put together in Aperture then ordered from Asuka (a wedding album) and it was beautiful.  Aperture is great for the page layout, but not so great for the printing.  But you get what you pay for - apple aperture is cheap!

Cameras / Lenses / Re: You have a backup camera?
« on: October 18, 2008, 01:59 »
I also use it for special situations, such as canoeing (even putting a dry bag inside another dry bag, I would not take my DSLR in a canoe!

I take my 5D dSLR kayaking with me!  It just gets shoved in a dry back in the back, and I grab it out when I want a shot!  However I do have camera insurance...

Plus the serious purple fringing that you can see even from that web res pic.  I got a Sigma 15mm diagonal f2.8, and the quality is awesome.  Perhaps try something like that next time?  I mean, it's wide enough that I keep managing to get bodyparts in the shots...

13 / Re: How much this beast need to be fed?
« on: October 06, 2008, 01:41 »

Can you say Alamy?  ;D

And they have a search algorithm which pushes the consistently good contributors to the top, the rest get buried.  No use just having a few lucky files, your rank is measured across the board, so crap shots will bring you down.

14 / Re: Will I ever get in?
« on: September 21, 2008, 03:08 »

I guess to me it is an issue of putting the cart before the horse.  Knowing the basics is essential to any undertaking, be it microstock or something else.

Thank you Lisa!  You said what I wanted to say.  Words don't come easily to me, and I find it even harder to express what I mean on paper.

It struck me again yesterday.  I went to a furniture market where there were artisan cabinet makers.  Now, most of these guys were awesome.  They lovingly created the most beautiful pieces of furniture that were to die for.  Their stalls were busy all the time with loads of money changing hands.

Then there was the guy who somehow managed to get in on a limb...  His work was shoddy and looked like it might have fallen apart in a few months!  He had no one around his stall...

I suppose I come from a family of traditionalists where you have to be accomplished at your craft before saying believing you're any good.  Hard work and study has always been something that has always been encouraged.  I spoke to a girl I went to school with recently, and she said she was looking for work as an interior designer and could I do some pictures for her.  I asked her if she had been to university / college / self studied, since there are all sorts of building regs you need to know before doing that sort of work (my father had wanted me to be an architect!).  She said no, she was just going to blag her first few clients and go from there.

Which just feels like the attitude of so many people in microstock, in the shutterstock forums especially.  If you show them the ten photos you failed with, then will then teach you TO PASS THE TEST.  It's like a major complaint about driving instructors in the UK.  They don't really teach you how to drive, they teach you how to pass your driving test.  We should be encouraging people to be better photographers, not just pass some arbitrary test which doesn't mean anything.  If someone fails, then the best thing they can do, is go away for a few months, study books, hit up some exhibitions, talk to other photographers outside of microstock, critique their own work etc.  THEN they will come back a better, more rounded photographer.

We should be encouraging others in our industry to improve their craft, not just pass a test.

15 / Re: Will I ever get in?
« on: September 20, 2008, 13:46 »

Yes they are and you need to have a recognised photography qualification, maybe that's why you didn't get in!

Actually I phoned them and photography qualification isn't an essential requirement.  It's a nice thing to have.  There were other reasons I didn't get the job - mostly lack of experience in a picture editing role.

16 / Re: Will I ever get in?
« on: September 20, 2008, 13:43 »
Paulie - fed up perhaps because everyone I talk to is a "photographer".  Fed up because I got stopped again last week while out shooting by a guy with a Casio compact saying he was trying to get accepted at iStock and just couldn't seem to manage it.  Fed up with the amateur photography magazines convincing everyone that they're a photographer.  Fed up with people with portfolios of 20 images who make two sales a month claiming to be "proffessssional".

Guess I'm turning into one of them nasty "pro's" that all the microstockers hate.

Fed up with people who think they're good enough to sell their pictures but can't take ten good pictures.  Read a book.  In fact, read the camera manual.  It's got everything you need to know!

Fed up with people who show me their crappy photographs taken on ISO 800 in bright sunshine, out of focus and suffering from serious CA and yet having to go "yes, it's lovely".

Fed up I suppose with pissing around with people who don't have a clue what a good technical photograph looks like.

17 / Re: Alamy Measures - Wow, usefull stuff
« on: September 20, 2008, 13:39 »
Interesting....I also have Nikon D50 and wasn't even considering Alamy because of the photo size required.  Upsizing from a 10mp camera is a lot different than upsizing from my 6mp camera, right?  I never even tried it; thought it would look terrible, and have therefore resigned myself to wait for the next camera.

About 400 of my pictures online were shot on a 6MP camera, a few were shot on a 2.9MP camera.  Choose your shots well and post process sympathetically.

However, I'm thinking about splashing out on a new 5DMkII shortly just because it would mean I could shoot JPEG and submit straight to Alamy.  As much as I love post processing, it gets in the way when you're shooting for bulk!

18 / Re: Will I ever get in?
« on: September 20, 2008, 01:31 »
Just a further thought too.  Because it seems the attitude around here is "Keep trying till you get in".

If I stacked the shelves in a supermarket and kept putting damaged products on the shelves, that's not acceptable.  If I turned up for an interview, and I demonstrated how I was going to stack the shelves with these damaged products, they wouldn't let me come back for another interview.

Apply that to stock.  People here have claimed that they have interviewed for shutterstock nearly ten times.  Why does shutterstock keep letting people present their damaged photographs to sell?

Where is the honor anymore?  Surely before you offer a product to sell to the general publish you must be accomplished in your craft and produce a final end product.

Back to food again.  If I rocked up to a farmers market and started selling my jam that I had accidently spilt vinegar in, people are going to have something to say and I'm not going to be asked back to the farmers market again.  (MMmm, Jam).  It's the same thing.  Why do people keep being offered multiple chances to do something that should be done right first time?

I bet, that if you set your dSLR to program mode, ISO100, walked outside and took a picture of a well lit, well composed scene, (I don't know, a cat on a windowsill) then I bet it would be accepted to all the libraries (notwithstanding the "too many" rejection).  dSLR's will inherently take a technically good picture, that's what they're designed to do.  I don't know how people manage to stuff it up so much.  Like I've said before, I've had my MUMS holiday pictures accepted to microstock and Alamy taken with her compact on Auto.

19 / Re: Will I ever get in?
« on: September 20, 2008, 01:15 »

P.S.  to Seren...   it's a shame. Just before I came on this thread,  I actually complimented you in another.  There,  you were telling folks how foolish they were to pull their photos from nonproductive sites in the short term.  They should stay and have patience, you implied.   Yet in this thread... you tell us you are now removing your photos from microstock....
       Humm..I don't understand... Guess I took too many drugs at Woodstock... and I'm now just a confused old man......                yeah, right. 

The reason I'm pulling from microstock, is that in nine months I'm going to be hitting the road with my partner (military man) and I don't want the stress of having to keep up with what 6 sites are up to with my images.  I don't want to have to keep checking them to see if I have made a payout, or if they're playing silly buggers with my money.  I want ONE primary site, and then work with specialists to promote my images.  I have four main collections to my work - millitary (which I'm deciding who to put with), a kayaking collection (which I'm having a portfolio review with next week), an archive collection (around 5000 slides and trannies which were my grandfathers who was a photographer for about 50 years) and a local collection (which wouldn't sell on microstock).  So basically almost every photograph I take won't sell on microstock because they won't have it.  So what do I do?  Put one or two pictures a week on microstock?  No, it's not worth it when I can put them with the rest of my collection.  That way I don't have to keep visiting sites all the time.  Plus I'm hoping to go away somewhere deserty and violet on a regular basis (in negotiations at the moment) so it's not really practical to have to check your earnings and keep up with sites while you're there.

P.S.  Alamy reviewers aren't photographers - I applied for a job there as QC, it's just down the road from me.  And the other agencies I'm interviewing don't have reviewers.  They have editors who search the collections for clients.   :-\

20 / Re: Alamy Measures - Wow, usefull stuff
« on: September 19, 2008, 07:43 »
Thanks Seren for adding some value to what I know. Well 10.000 pics. That a lot of work. How do you manage with your time. Do you have a regular job beside ?

I work 37 hours per week in a regular job.  I walk my dog twice a day and hit the gym.  I cycle a few hours every weekend.  And am a coach for a water polo club one night a week.  I also have a boyfriend who lives 125 miles away who I try and see at least two weekends a month.  I don't have a studio, just a tiny living room in my parents house.

If you really want something, you find time to fit your photography around everything else you do.  I fit my photography around all of what I've written above.

21 / Re: Alamy Measures - Wow, usefull stuff
« on: September 19, 2008, 04:39 »

That's kind of sad. No wonder I have no zoom in three months. Maybe that's because I'm not uploading everything that's technically good and otherwise crap. I owe nikon d50 which is kind of a crap in those days with high ISO and MP.

It could be also that even that what I think is good is crap anyway. And I only have 33 pictures online at the time. What's that compare to 13 millions. But I haven't give up. To bad for PSC down. Beside Alamy everything that I've online. I try micro for a few month. But I don't like philosophy of micro.

D50 is more that adequate for getting pictures accepted on all the micros and on Alamy!  It's a good camera!

I don't think you should try and edit your collection too much.  You never know what buyers want to buy, and to try and second guess something just because it doesn't have artistic merit etc is silly.  I have sold a picture on Alamy of a CCTV sign.  Alamy is 70% an editorial agency, so it needs good, editorial images rather than creative.  If you want to sell creative, go somewhere like Getty or a specialist advertising agency, but the competition is much fiercer!

And yes, you can't expect 33 images to compete on ANY level at all.  On Alamy you should only really expect to see regularish sales over 1000 images online apparently.  I'm aiming for 10,000 SALEABLE images in two years, because if I follow the law of averages, that will produce about half the income I need to live on per month.

And of course the other thing is with Alamy measures, it only takes into consideration certain accounts.  It's generally buyers who buy often who have their searches and zooms recorded, and certainly only if they have bought in the last 90 days.  It doesn't count people just browsing your portfolio etc like the microstock sites do.

Alamy pride itself on being an unedited collection, where buyers can find literally ANYTHING they want.  Alhtough yes, no point in uploading 50 very similar images, it's worth giving the buyers a good choice.

22 / Re: Will I ever get in?
« on: September 19, 2008, 01:24 »

Take your photos honey and go RM and submit to say, Alamy and you'll be at your kitchen table with your camera and coffee alright pouting over your rash of rejections. Your statement and theory leads no credibility to your said statement and is self-appointed elitism and pompous without purpose.

Honey, I already DO submit to Alamy.  I'm in the process of removing all my micro photos because they don't make me nearly as much as alamy and other specialist agencies for my sports and military work.

And I'll say this.  It was easier to get accepted at Alamy than iStock.  I've not had a rejection on Alamy yet.

23 / Re: Alamy Measures - Wow, usefull stuff
« on: September 19, 2008, 00:58 »
wish they would accept me as a contributor.

A trained monkey with a dSLR could get accepted at Alamy as a contributor.  Take four technically good pictures... upsize to 48MB... save... upload to Alamy.  Anyone who thinks their photography is worth selling as stock can take just four good pictures.  I've even submitted one of my mums pictures there taken with a compact and it was accepted with no post production.

But yes, Alamy measures is awesome.  Shows me what I need to shoot more of, and where I have dud keywords in my images.

General Stock Discussion / Re: Time to cross out next ones
« on: September 19, 2008, 00:53 »
I stopped uploading to CS first, then BigStock. Now I am thinking than FP got enough photos to produce some results. I just started with MP and CC so I give them 1 more month to show any progress. After September we should see if YAY makes any promotional efforts if not I stop doing anything with them too. If I got my DVD reviewed on SV I will give them couple months for showing results.  It seems like anything besides Big 6 is pure waste of time.

I think you're being too hasty.  In discussion with another photographer last night, he said "I'm going to wait another three years to see if agency X produce the sales for me".  Not MONTHS, but YEARS.

Stock photography is not a get rich quick business.  I had some image with a specialist traditional library who went under about 12 months ago.  About three months ago a designer contacted me to say he'd downloaded a proof and wanted to buy it.  That's over NINE MONTHS that it took the designer from downloading a comp to getting the OK on the final design.  And that's not unusual!

Another reason I've left microstock.  So many people expecting the world NOW.  Stock photography is a slow processes.  I'm shooting on average about 70 images a week at the moment, with a plan to be making full time wages in around THREE YEARS!

25 / Re: Will I ever get in?
« on: September 13, 2008, 07:04 »
Am I the only one that thinks it's not hard to take ten pictures that will pass inspection with flying colours?  I could do that in twenty mins sitting at my kitchen table.

If you get turned down to sell your stock, perhaps you should go away for a few months and learn how to use your camera properly?

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