15 Tips For Better Photography

If you’re just starting out, here are 15 important tips for getting better photos, every time.

Keep an eye on the weather

Weather conditions can play a big part in setting the mood of your shot. Rather than waiting for the bright light of the midday sun, a misty morning in a forest can be the perfect time of day for that mood-shot.

Take your time to choose the subject

Take your time to choose the subject, then spend time walking around the subject looking for the best angle and lighting.

Take your time to set up the shot

Don’t be afraid to take your time to set up your shot. Although it can get a bit frustrating if you have your loved ones tagging along and they’re sitting and waiting impatiently for 20 minutes for you to take a single shot of a piece of driftwood on the beach!

Don’t always choose brightly-coloured subjects

Subjects with muted colours can sometimes produce excellent results. A field of wheat of similar yellow-brown colour can produce striking results when accompanied by a low-sun and long shadows.

Movement diffusion

If you have a camera that allows you to shoot with a manual shutter speed – try slowing the speed and increasing the F-stop. Then move your camera when taking the shot. Some very effective arty-type images can be produced with blur effects.

Overexpose your subject

Not too good to do all the time, but experiment with results by over-exposing the subject.

Try macro photography

Grab a magnifying glass and see if you can focus your camera through the glass onto a small subject. It just may work! And may open up a whole new range of subjects for you!

Shoot through wet glass

Try spraying water onto a window, then take a shot through the window to a subject outside. (wet the outside of the window – not the inside of your home!)

Colour balance

Try balancing colour by having subject and the surrounding detail in similar colours.

Silhouettes

Silhouettes usually have a small range of colours, but can produce some of the most beautiful images. Shooting a silhouette involves having the background brighter then the subject in the foreground.

Experiment with patterns

We’ve all seen those amazing images of the red and orange leaves of maple trees in the fall/autumn. Thousands of leaves – all of a similar shape and colour – but very awe-inspiring and beautiful.

Compliment colours

Two strikingly-different colours can be beautiful too. Picture an image of your girlfriend or wife in a red dress sitting on a field of green grass. Or your boyfriend or husband in a red shirt walking through a field of waist-high wheat stalks. Complimentary colours that will bring more attention to the subject.

Use a colour filter

If your camera can be fitted with coloured filters – try your hand. Although this effect can be made quite easily these days with photo and image-editing software.

Sunrise is better than sunset

Wake up before sunrise one day and go on a photography expedition. If you’ve not done it before you’ll be pleasantly-surprised by the contrasting light and shadows. But remember you’ll only have a very short window of time in which to shoot (usually less than an hour) before the sun rises too high and you lose the light.

Use a flash in daylight

Use your flash during the daytime to fill a close subject with light. This will produce better results where the background is brighter than your subject and the automatic shutter speed on your camera shoots too fast to effectively show the detail of your subject.

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Affiliate Marketing For Photo Sites

If you’ve got a photography website, it’s worth remembering that most of your visitors probably aren’t coming to buy your photos. A lot of photographers seem to think if they build a website and post some great photos, buyers will just turn up and start offering them money for their images. But that just doesn’t happen…

The fact is, most people visiting photographer websites are other photographers! Most of the rest are simply people with an interest in the subjects you shoot. Only a small group are ever likely to be commercial photo buyers. So it makes sense to have money-options that might interest everyone else.

That’s where affiliate programs make your life easy, and done right, can make any website profitable. Basically you add links and banners to other people’s products and get paid when your visitors click through and buy something. The best are always free to join and have a proven record for paying on time.

Here’s a few of my preferred affiliate programs that you might have seen around this site… if you’re not ready to join any programs yet bookmark this page so you can come back later!

Photoshop For Photographers Affiliate Program

This is a popular Photoshop video training package recorded especially for photographers. It converts very well and pays 30% per sale, plus 10% on the second tier! It’s also available through Clickbank (with a slightly higher commission rate) but most people prefer the 2-tier option here.

Proud Photography Courses

These guys are well promoted already around the internet and that actually helps with conversions as people are already familiar with the brand. They also offer a second tier payout for referred business and a large selection of interactive online photography courses and training. Register Here.

Photography Concentrate

Rob and Lauren offer some excellent ‘concentrated’ photography training courses… including Camera Skills, Photo Editing, Wedding Photography, Album Making and more. The courses sell well, and, you guessed it… they pay a 2nd-tier commission as well.

ClickBank

Clickbank is the worlds largest digital marketplace offering a staggering collection of downloadable affiliate products. You sign up with Clickbank — free- and have immediate, pre-approved access to promote any product in their marketplace. They have some excellent photography items, including the following…

GlobalEye Photography Business Solution

This is a subscription based service helping photographers market their business and sell more photos online, which means your commissions are recurring for as long as your referral stays a member. They’ve been at it a long time now– 14+ years — so it’s a very  good long-term option. Register with Clickbank first then use the GlobalEye affiliate area to create your tracking links.

Stock Photo Price Calculator

This is a great service for photographers needing help pricing their photography. It’s only a low ticket item but it sells extremely well and it’s well worth adding a banner or two to any photography website. Register at Clickbank then grab your tracking links from the Calculator Affiliate Info page.

Digital Photography Success

This is an excellent Better Photography course package.. ebooks, videos etc, that’s great value to promote due to the recurring eZine subscription that comes with it. When you sign up a new subscriber, you get a nice upfront commission plus you get a recurring monthly commission as long as they stay subscribed. Nice!

Final Thoughts On Affiliate Programs For Photography Websites…

You might have noticed, I really like the 2-tier program. It just makes good sense to me. Realistically a lot of your visitors are going to be other photographers, and it’s fair to expect, a lot of those will be in the same situation you are… looking for a way to monetize their photography website.

So it makes sense to share these options and get a small commission on their new business if they decide to run with it.

Likewise, the recurring commission options mean more money in your pocket.

For me these are even better, as they accumulate over time. So while one or two sales a month mightn’t be a whole lot if you only got paid once, if you’re getting paid again, every single month, most of us would be happy to add one or two new subscribers a month!

Get Your Own Instant Photography Website With Affiliate Options Built-In!

If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution, you can have a photography website just like this, with loads of content and dozens of cash generating affiliate links already in place. It installs as a pre-made WordPress Blog, so you can set it up in no time at all, modify it to make it your own, and then start publishing your photos to the world.

If you’d rather be a photographer than a web-nerd, this is one option you really ought to check out!

Instant Photography Websites

 

 

Buying Stock Photography Online

Sometimes too much choice can be a bad thing and stock photography is a prime example.

For years many of the household-name stock photo libraries would promote themselves as being the biggest and having the largest collections. If you’ve been paying attention though, you might have noticed that’s not such a unique selling proposition any more and many of the larger libraries are now desperately looking for other ways to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace.

The truth is, many photo buyers find massive stock photography collections time-consuming and tedious to search, despite the improvements in search engine technology.  The problem is, the size of these collections has increased at a greater rate than the search technology has improved … so in a lot of cases, searching has actually gotten slower and harder.

It’s no surprise then that more and more photo-buyers are opting for smaller ‘niche’ stock libraries, when they need to buy stock photos online.

These boutique stock libraries don’t even try to compete on volume and most of the time they can’t compete on price either … but more and more buyers are flocking to these photo stock sites anyway, for a whole new set of reasons-to-buy.

Personal customer service, direct contact with the photographers, fresh original images, unique styles and content. OK, maybe these aren’t new reasons after all, but they are reasons-to-buy that have been pushed aside for far to long.

A lot of it comes back to how the photo buyer values their time, and what sort of value they put on finding the right photo fast. The good news is, more and more are prepared to pay a little bit more to avoid the tedium of a mass-distribution library and hone in on quality new images sooner.

So next time you need to buy stock photos, take a pass on the stock photo superstores,  and check out a few of the boutique collections instead … you might be pleasantly surprised.

 

5 Things Every Freelance Photographer Should Be Doing Online

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Sometimes it seems the Internet was made just for photographers.

On a social level it lets us share photos with friends and families, we can get together and talk camera gear and photographic technique, and it helps a lot of us overcome the ‘isolation’ that often goes hand-in-hand with a photography career.

On a professional level, it provides the means to showcase our work to Clients, access new markets and conduct the entire stock photography sales process without leaving our desks. It also offers the means to monitor trends, see what our peers are doing and see what our customers are buying.

And for all that, the sad reality is, for many photographers, the pure volume of information and options becomes more of a hindrance than a help. They only have so many hours in a day, and deciding what’s worth their attention and what isn’t becomes a chore, and as a result they tend to brush over the important stuff and get way-laid with the trivial.

Well if you ever find yourself in that situation, here’s a bare-bones list of the 5 essential website ‘types’ every freelance photographer should have bookmarked and should be using regularly. Have a look, see what you think and be sure to leave your thoughts and suggestions for each in the comments below:

1. Stock Photo Library

Few freelance photographers wouldn’t have a stock library presence of some sort, but plenty of part-timers still leave it as something to do later when they’re more established, or have more photos.

These days that’s just not necessary. It’s much easier to get into and you don’t have to have thousands of images ready before you start. In fact,it’s much easier to start early and add to it gradually, than wait until you have tens of thousands of images to submit.

Stock is a long term business though, so do take your time and find a library that suits your work and your style. Make sure it leaves you in control of your work and doesn’t expect you to give up your rights, or sell your work for peanuts, just to be involved.

2. Photo Price Calculator

To that end, make sure you bookmark a good online stock photo price calculator. There are a couple of great ones out there that calculate prices based on photographer feedback, so the information is an accurate reflection of current market prices. Be warned, most people are blown away when they first use these… simply because most photographers seriously undervalue their work.

If you’ve never looked at a Stock Photo Price Calculator before, I’d suggest you make a list of 5-10 of your main markets, and then list a couple of ‘average’ usages for each. Then open the calculator and work out a price for each usage. Keep it handy and you’ve got a ready-reference guide if a Client ever puts you on the spot, but more importantly, you’ll get a whole new insight to the value of your photography.

3. Photography Business News & Information

If you’re keen — and you don’t mind sitting at a computer all day — you can subscribe to dozens of different newsletters and services to try and start up to date with goings on in the industry. Or you can find a single Photography/Business site that does it all for you.

There are quite a few really good websites out there if you go looking. My suggestion is to check them out and follow a couple until you find one that does the job right for you, your field of work, your interests, your location etc. The good ones will give you all the important stuff in a nutshell, the include links for more information if you need it, so you can stay up to date and get all the info you need, without the information overload.

4. Shopping & Auction Sites

It’s no secret, photographers are gadget-junkies! We’re always searching for that next piece of must-have camera equipment that we simply cannot function properly without. The fact we’ve already functioned quite alright for years without it doesn’t matter… once we know it’s out there we have to have it. Sound familiar?

The flip side is, quite often we’ve got just as much gear we should really get rid of… and again, if the internet was made for us then I’m sure the creators of eBay are either photographers themselves, or they have a few in the family.

There are other auction sites around, and I know a few people swear by them, but I think for shopping for new gear and selling old gear, the sheer size of eBay makes it hard to beat. So bookmark it and use it. Especially if you have a cupboard of old gear that’s not been used in years… get it out and post it, while it still has some value!

5. Online Photographer Community

Freelance photography is often a solo career so the ability to interact with your peers online should not be taken lightly. We all see hundreds of images on any given day, but to be able to look at new images and talk about them with other photographers is priceless.

Pre-Internet, it was something that only happened at ‘Camera Clubs’, and it tended to stop as soon as the photographer ‘went pro’… but the online forums and portal sites now give working photographers to ability to interact with their peers, share ideas and information and really grow as artists. And if you’re not making good use of them, you’re quite possibly stagnating!

Well that’s my top 5 must-bookmark website types. The internet offers us the opportunity to ’round-out’ our photography businesses in ways we never could before, so make sure you are getting maximum value from the time you spend online… and remember all work and no play, make’s for a boring photographer!

 

How To Shoot Photos That Sell

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Mother, father and baby

Most photographers never really get around to it, but there’s no denying, the more time you put into identifying the markets for you work and researching their specific needs, more saleable your work is going to be.

There’s no big secret there: the best marketers in any field are those who identify a market, research it and create a product that their new customers simply have to have.

The good news is it’s quite straightforward to apply that approach to your photography. The added bonus is that when you do take this approach your volume will increase significantly as well!

It’s a simple three-step process that you can start now and keep adding to as your skills develop and your interests expand. Don’t let the simplicity fool you; this is very powerful. I’d suggest you get yourself a ring folder and a packet of divider cards so you can add extra pages to various sections as required. Here’s how it works:

1. Make a list of your main subjects… aim for about 10 for now. You will keep on adding to this for years to come so you don’t need to make an exhaustive list right now. Just write down a few of the main subjects you like to shoot, those you shoot well and those you’d really like to shoot more often.

Write each one down at the top of a fresh page. If you are using a ring binder, make these the divider pages so you can insert additional pages between them.

2. Now make a list under each of those ‘Subjects’ of the kinds of photo buyers who might be interested in photos of that material. Write these under the ‘Subject’ heading and be as specific as possible.

3. Now set up a page for each of those Subject-Buyer combinations. You need to go looking for specific examples of that buyer type using an image of that subject. You need to find examples and really study the image to try and work out what was about each image that the buyer just had to have.

Make a note of any technical details of interest if you like, but your main focus should be on the content and composition. Your are researching your market so some study of the competition is useful, but the real value here is in understanding exactly what it is your potential customers are spending their money on.

In every published photo you see there will usually be one or two elements that the buyer simply had to have and they won’t always be the obvious subject.

Even when the photo is a fairly ‘bland’ portrait; human, animal or object, there will usually be some specific trait or feature captured and conveyed that caused the buyer to select that particular image.

Other times it won’t be a physical element, but something less tangible. Maybe a mood or emotion or other message. They are the images you need to study closely so you can see not just the message, but how the photographer used the physical elements of the image to convey it?

Has the photographer used props to add to the story? Are there more subtle symbols in play? How do all the elements fit together? How has the photographer used mood or emotion or lighting?

Until you start to recognize these kinds of elements in other images, it will be hit-and-miss whether you capture them in your own work. However, once you do start to look for these elements in other images, you’ll start to see them in your own photo opportunities, and then you can start include them in your own work.

When you do that I’d almost guarantee you’ll find yourself shooting much more marketable shots. You’ll also find you’re shooting a lot more prolifically as well!

Over time you might end up with notes on dozens of potential buyers for any subject you like to photograph. So when you’re faced with the opportunity to shoot a specific subject, you’ll have an extensive list of what buyer-types are going to be interested in images of the material, and you’ll have specific information on the type of images they want.

Instead of getting one or two ‘photographer’ shots you could easily walk away with dozens of highly marketable images, each custom shot for a different specific market.

Article Courtesy: Matt Brading. GlobalEye Images. If you’re sick of waiting around for random photo sales and you’re ready to build a hands-on stock photography business, be sure to check out the Global Eye approach.

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