One thing that constantly catches me out id the depth of field (DOF) on a Macro lens. When shooting a normal photograph, an aperture of F/13 will probably keep most everything in focus.
In a macro world, that is sadly not the case.
(f/13, 1/125, 100mm, ISO-100. Light from strobes to right and left through diffusing materials)
I mean, I know when it’s close the DOF is tight. But I mean, this tight? If you look at the blown up version, you can see that some of the tacks lose focus between the bottom and the point.
I actually like the photo. I’m just amazed at how shallow the DOF is.
It’s been about a month since I started dabbling in stock photography, so I thought it was time to look at how things are going.
The thing that constantly surprises me is the quality of photographs people are putting up. If stock was ever a way “to make money from family snaps”, it’s well past that now. The discipline the more serious photographers show is amazing – to take multiple pictures of the same object and turn each out perfectly is a skill that’s beyond me and to take new and unusual photographs is a credit to their creativity and talent.
I still haven’t decided if it’s for me in the long term, but for now I guess if it keeps me using my camera and developing my skills, I’ll keep putting some of my pictures up for sale.
Anyway, here’s some interesting (to me) figures.
|Site||Accepted Uploads||Rejected Uploads||Portfolio Size||Sales||Commission|
I’ve alternated between being amused and bemused over the last month.
I’ve grown fond of shutterstock and I guess it shows in that I’ve uploaded more images there than anywhere else – that’s not really to do with the fact people are buying my stuff from there, more because their forums are friendly and their upload process is painless.
Meanwhile, I’ve considered stopping with the others a few times. Indeed, I told someone in work I was fed up with having no sales and so many rejections from Istockphoto and logged in to prove my point – only to have my first sale sitting waiting on me…
My current feeling is that’ll I’ll try to list on shutterstock and istock and the other sites will get submissions if I have time. Especially since there are yet more sites to consider!
If you’re giving it a go, let me know how you’re getting on and if you have any tips, please share.
I’d always wanted to see how hard it is to catch a clay pigeon exploding in mid flight.
(f/10, 1/250sec, 135mm, ISO-400)
Bloody difficult. That’s how hard it is.
Reckon my failings here were the low shutter speed, possibly compounded by poor aperture choice.
Sadly the day I tried it, the weather was pretty dull and grey. Added to that, the lens was never going to be able to track and focus on the clay. I ended up pre-focusing at roughly the range I thought the clay would get hit, then tracking it from the launcher and zooming in on it as I went.
I think I maybe fired 30 or 40 shots trying to get something like this. Out of the set I have 3 where the clay is obviously hit.
Needless to say, it helps if the guys shooting at the clays is competent and hits them more often than not.
I mentioned a while back that I bought some “ebay triggers” to allow me to remote fire my flashgun. At the time, and since then I’ve had real issues with misfires – the flash will fire at random moments, sometimes ruining a shot or forcing me to wait until it resets. No amount of fiddling has ever cured the problem. It simply seems to be an issue with the Canon 430EX and the cheap triggers (they’re marked RF-04 and PT-04).
Fortunately I put my hands on a separate flashgun which removed the pain for a little while, but still left me in a quandary about what to do for multiple strobe shots.
Well, I think I have a solution. It’s early days yet, but it seems if I separate the PT-04 receiver from the 430EX the problem goes away. It’s simply a case of putting a hot-shoe to hot-shoe cable between the two. For my purposes, I used the “Canon Off-Camera Shoe Cord OC-E3” though others may work just as well.
Oh, and you might want to check ebay for cheaper versions…
It was model night at the club again last night.
It’s still an intensely uncomfortable experience, but I’m actually finding I’m growing to enjoy it once I get past the “you model, me idiot who hasn’t a clue” stage.
It’s made me want to take more shots like this. Not sure when the opportunity will present itself though.
There is definitely a lot of magic goes into lighting these sort of shots. A lot more than my pictures give credit. One of the club members took charge of lighting and set up three lights –
- One firing into a white umbrella high right
- One firing into a white reflector left
- One firing through a snoot (I think that’s what it’s called) to the right rear
It’s maybe why I’m frustrated when reviewing these. I can see a picture I took, but not a photograph I composed if you know what I mean? I’d like to get some experience actually making lighting decisions and to do that I need to both understand lights and have access to the environment to do it.
It may be time to break out all the off camera strobe gear again.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m always interested in new experiences in photography and one which has intrigued me for a while has been the idea of making money from it.
Now, before I go on, the idea of photographing a wedding fills me with dread. I don’t have the confidence or the gear to shoot family portraits (though I did do a couple over Christmas – more on that another time). So, I kinda thought that was it.
Well, turns out there is another way. Taking stock photography.
When companies need a bit of fluff for a website or an advertising campaign, a nice piece of fruit or some bloke scratching his head, they use stock photography. When someone wants a picture of a city for a new book or for an article, they use stock.
Which is great if you happen to have a made a hobby out of taking pictures of it.
Now, given the amount of photos I take, I’ve always been a bit bemused about what to do with some of them. I’ve managed to sell a couple at an exhibition last year, but apart from that and my own personal enjoyment (and here I guess), they never see the light of day. Stock photography seemed like an interesting idea to try out.
I started “selling” pictures about 2 weeks ago and tonight I discovered I’ve made $5. OK, hardly enough to make me quit my job, but as was pointed out for me – I made that while sleeping, surfing and working. It’s also kinda cool that someone somewhere likes my photos enough to buy them. Best of all though, you can sell non-exclusive rights to the image so you can use it yourself or sell it on a number of sites.
I’m not going to get into what makes a stock photograph right now, and I’m not going to extol on the virtues of it anymore than above. If you’re interested, there are a lot of sites selling it and you need to be prepared for a bit of a meat grinder when it comes to getting accepted and getting an image on sale – images are moderated and no punches pulled when they tell you it’s not good enough. Still, it’s good fun.
The site I’ve been mostly using up to now has been shutterstock. The percentage you get for a sale is very small (think 25cents a picture), but I guess it does add up. Other sites are available and I’ve registered on some of those as well, but without getting round to posting much to them.
I don’t think it’ll change the photographs I want to take, but it is kinda fun to play at from time to time.
I’ll let you know how I get on.
Oh, and yes, there is a referral on that shutterstock link – if you sign up via it, I get 3cents for every picture you sell without it affecting your commission. Tell you what, if you start making me big money, I’ll maybe split it with you!
Last Tuesday was the annual NIPA beginners competition and as such saw several hundred of the best prints from beginners in clubs within Northern Ireland gathered together.
I was lucky enough to attend, and luckier still to come away on the night with some good results from my photographs. Looking at the entry however, one thing was abundantly clear. There are a lot of excellent photographers out there (and these are just the ‘beginners’).
I’m glad things went so well. I’ve been finding it tough to field entries for competitions and for general web fun recently. Losing the last half of last years photographs has been a lot more painful than I expected – it turns out there were a lot of prints I liked amongst it and each time I try to put something together I find myself looking for them. Hopefully there is some progress on their recovery – I’ll let you know in a week or two…
On an entirely different thread. I’ve started dabbling with “stock” photography. It’s early days and I’m still deciding if it’s something I want to progress, but I’ll post about my experience so far once I’ve been playing for a month (and surprisingly yes, someone has actually bought something of mine)
Anyway. Just a quick update. I haven’t gone away you know…