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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The Importance of Effective Keywording

Uploading your photos on to a photo stock agency is often quite easy...
With a few mouse clicks your photos are available to be bought through that site by brands and creatives. However you have to make sure that your photos don't get lost in the multitude uploaded photos by using correct keywords. Intentional visibility will help your photos get the attention that they need in order to sell. 
The biggest misconception about key words is that "more is better". The truth is, however, that less is more when it comes to keywords. You must ensure that every keyword used is relevant to what your image portrays. When choosing keywords, ask yourself: "If I were searching for this kind of photo, what keywords would I use to find it?"
Here is a guide to picking relevant keywords for your images:
Focus on Adjectives, Nouns, and Verbs
What are the main objects or subjects in your photo? What do they look like? What are they doing? The keywords chosen at this stage will help you identify what is present in your photo. 
Larger Concepts Portrayed
What does your photo represent beyond the surface level? Buyers very often purchase images in order to portray an idea, a feeling, and a way of life. If you include keywords that tell a story, your photos will be more relevant to buyers. 
Location Is Important
Purchasers often look for specific locations (a country, city, or specific site). If you include the photo's location in the keywords it will increase the chances of your photo being found and therefore sold. If you, for example, use the keyword "China" your photo will have to be sifted through perhaps hundreds of images. But if you also add the keyword "Beijing" it may only have to compete with a couple of dozen images. By being location specific in your keywords you make "the net tighter", so to speak, allowing your photo to be more easily found. 
Let's use the photo below as an example:
What keywords should be used in line with the guidelines above?
Adjective: barefoot, green, purple, red, dry
Nouns: traveler, nomad, woman, person, rocks, desert, road, route, hat
Verbs: wandering, exploring, walking
Concepts: journey, freedom, time off, wanderlust, leisure, landscape, scenery, travel, solo
Location: United States, America, American state, United States of America, Death Valley, Utah

As a successful photographer you must 'feel' and get into the head of a buyer when shooting, selecting, and keywording your photos. Taking great shots is only the first step. Choosing correct and precise keywords for your photos will drastically increase their visibility. And sales!

Photo credit: Gitte Kama (

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Hate your job?

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Photography Tutorials

Check out Serge Ramelli's Youtube channel! 

He has over 400 tutorials on photography, he is the number channel on Lightroom worldwide. If you want great tricks and tips photography check him out! 

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Great Car Photography - 10 Tips

If you have ever tried to take a great picture a car, you know that it's not as easy as you thought. Although it can be simple enough to take a clear and simple shot of the vehicle, it's far more difficult to capture the design, detail and essence of the car. Here are ten steps which will help you take greater shots of cars.

There is a lot of things involved in car photography, so much so that there are entire websites and books dedicated to it. We won't cover everything here, but hopefully this will give you an insight into the world of car photography and get you started with the basics.
To begin, you'll need a car! Any car will do really, but your work will look more professional and exciting if you're working with more interesting vehicles. If all you've got is your everyday Fiat, that is fine. But if your mate has a Lambo, you'd better buy him a couple of drinks and ask nicely if you can borrow it for the day!

Photo by matthiasschack

So you've got your car, now you need a location. You don't see many car adverts in which the car isn't set within an amazing location and bathed with the warm sun in the distance. Most likely you will be shooting on a budget so it will be hard to match the shoots you see in glossy magazines. Still, there are plenty of options to choose from.
You need to make sure that the car is the centre of attention - you don't want your location to steal away attention from the car. You want it to the car look better. Decide, therefore, whether you want to shoot the car in a natural setting, somewhere more unusual or whether you want a more studio feel to it.

Photo by alendrathril
In a natural setting, you could have the car either on the road, in a car park, or on the drive. These settings wont necessarily add much to your shot though. Imagine what sort of feel you'd like for your shots. Do you want a gritty and moody feel? Then perhaps head to the top level of a multi-storey car park with views across the city, or to the industrial estates with perhaps some derelict warehouses. Do you want a clean and classy image? Then head to the business district of the city with all the the reflective glass of the office blocks and modern buildings.
As an alternative, you could go for the more classic shot, at the top of a hill with an open vista overlooking the landscape, preferably with the sun setting in the background. Finding a great location will make your photograph stand out more. Try hard to find somewhere that will really enhance the atmosphere of the shot and the features of the car.

Photo by gmeurope
If you'd rather try an unnatural setting for the car, think whether you'll make the car look alien in it's surroundings. For example, a car doesn't look very mush at home even when shot parked on grass. Still, you'd want to avoid cliché car shots. At the same time don't be overly ambitious and end up having a series of shots that take the car too far out of context.
Possibly the best option is to go for a studio-type shoot. Hiring out a studio large enough can be very expensive though, so explore the alternatives first. If you know someone with a large garage with white walls it may be the perfect alternative. The greatest advantage of using a studio is the opportunity to light the subject creatively. (More on that later.) This can give you the chance to get some great interior and detail shots, but full body shots can end up looking fairly cold and bland.
Finally, when considering your location, think carefully about how the surroundings relate to the colour of your car and whether the tones in the shot compliment each other.

Photo by nairoozdotcom

Next comes the matter of lighting - the essential element of every photo shoot! Natural light is always best. The golden hours, just before and during sunrise in the morning and through sunset in the evening would be most recommended. That way, you'll get a lovely warm side wash of sunlight on the car and you can avoid the overtly harsh brightness of the midday sun, which will also cause problems with reflections.
There is also the option of using artificial lighting. There are many ways to light a car for a shoot. The best thing is to set up lights or flashguns one by one, highlighting aspects or angles of the vehicle as you see fit. Then, take a few test shots, ensuring that the lighting setup is just where you want it. This way you wont light the car excessively and you can avoid letting the light sources double up on parts of the car. Use your eyes and take your time, the lighting is a very individual preference and can define the personal style and mood of the shot depending on you.

Photo by 900hp

Having now set your car up in a great location and figured out the lighting it's time to actually start taking pictures! It's important to think about how you want to portray the car, whether there are any particular features that you want to highlight.
Shooting from eye level, even when done technically correct, can make the car look boring. So to make your shots stand out you'll need to use different angles and vantage points. An interesting point is to shoot from just above the ground. This gives the car an overbearingly menacing look! Experiment and see what works for you and your car. (More tips can be found here.)
Once you've decided which angles work best and show the car in the way that you want, try moving the car to varied positions to get it to work well in the setting. Make sure you avoid distractions behind the car such as trees and telegraph poles / cables. Depending on the angles you've chosen, for full body shots, using a tripod is recommended for extra sharpness. However, for those wonderful angles, you'll need to go handheld...

Photo by uhho

Once you've taken the full body shots, you can start thinking about any exterior detail shots that might want to highlight. Take a good look around and try to capture any details such as bodywork shapes and lines, logo badges, wheel rims and grills. Here too, it's important to consider the lighting and angles - don't presume that your previous set up will work the same for the various detail shots.

Photo by nairoozdotcom

Don't forget that there are many interesting interior details worth shooting too. The manufacturers logo, for example, will appear many times within the car's interior. There will likely also be a few nice design features that may be worth capturing. Make sure there is enough light available, especially if you're on location during the evening. You may want to actually take the interior shots first while its still bright, as it would be a shame to miss out on the details. Obviously, if you're in a studio the order of things doesn't really matter.

Photo by DeusXFlorida

Panning is a technique that is utilised in the world of motorsport photography, but also a fair amount in promotional car photography. The aim is to capture the car in motion, as it hurtles at speed either around a racetrack or some stunning mountainous road. This creates an effect where the car is in focus whilst the background is blurred, indicating motion.
The simplest way of using this technique is from a handheld point and requires you to turn and move in line with the moving car whilst taking your shot. It's important to know the expected movement of the car before you start shooting and as you move around in line with the subject. This is actually not that difficult! It just takes a little practise to get right.
Another panning technique is to shoot the car from another moving vehicle. If both are moving at same speed, you won't need to move the camera, achieving still a similar effect as stationary panning. However, be careful when sticking your camera out the window of a car. It is perhaps best to start with the basics first before you consider the dual car shoot!

Photo by grantuking

Hopefully these suggestions and tips will get you started and give you grounding for taking some great shots of the cars you admire. As mentioned earlier, don't expect to be matching the high quality of the car manufacturer's advertisements straight away, but they're great for inspiration and ideas. There are so many beautiful cars, both modern and old, just waiting to be 'immortalised', so get out there and have a go!

Photo by macieklew

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Rules for photographing people and property

Do you worry about what you can and can’t take photos of while on your daily travels? You can stay safe and avoid legal issues when photographing people and property following these tips:


Laws differ from country to country but more often than not it’s illegal to take and sell an image editorially that contains people without their permission as long as the photo was taken in a public place.

Obviously, if you can get model releases for everyone in your shot then that’s great - the photo can be used commercially!

Public property

In general there's no need for permission to shoot in public places. You can take photographs of private buildings or property, as long as you do it from public land. There might be exceptions but usually, the rule is, if you can see it, you can shoot it.

Private property

If you’re taking photographs whilst on private property that’s open to the public (like museums, shopping centres, and the like) make sure you’re following the property owner's own rules on photography. If you’ve paid to get in somewhere, they most likely have a policy against commercial photography.  Look out for signs of their photography policy or ask someone.  If they allow it, get written proof of this in the form of a property release to cover your back!

These are just the basics. For more information on what rights photographers have when shooting in public, there’s a great article on the Digital Camera World website.

Remember, every country has different regulations so make sure you check out your local laws.

Top tip: when you’re selling stock photography, it’s important you annotate, or categorise, your images correctly. Is there recognisable property/people in the shot? Did you get a property/model release to sell the image commercially? It’s fine if you didn’t, it can be sold for editorial uses.  If you want more info on when you might need a release check out this handy releases guide for customers (it will help you as a photographer too!)

Disclaimer, I'm not a lawyer(!) and this advice could change.

Quick definitions…

  • Public property – Any property that is not owned by a private individual or a company
  • Private property – Any property that is owned by an individual or a company
  • Property release – A legal release form signed by the property or brand owner, giving permission for the photographer to use or sell the photo
  • Model release – A legal release form signed by the person or people in a photograph, giving permission for the photographer to use or sell the photo
  • Commercial use – Commercial use generally means that an image is used to sell a product, promote something or raise money for a cause. 
  • Editorial use – Editorial use generally means when an image is used to illustrate a newsworthy article, a critique or an educational text

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Why You Should Consider Profit before You Start a Photography Business

Each year over ninety percent (90%) of small business fail. This includes the photography business. I find this figure frightening. Most people in those statistics move on to another venture or start again and become successful either the next attempt or the one after. 
Many photographers simply throw themselves straight in the ‘deep end’ because they can already take excellent photographs and are remarkably creative.
There is a big difference between starting a profitable photography business and opening a photography business. You should read that sentence again!
1. It’s likely that you have a strong passion for photography because you are reading this. This is not enough. A strong passion for photography is different to a strong passion for succeeding in business. There are exceptions off course because some photographers have such a strong passion for photography they seek out advice or guidance to ensure success in their business.
2. Telling everybody - your parents, partner or your best friends - that you are throwing yourself into a photography business won’t bring success on its own either
3. If you’re on a budget,  as most people are, it is foolish to run out and buy state of the art camera equipment and other advanced photographic accessories when you are unsure you will use it in the earlier stages of your business venture. At the outset you should try to keep costs at a bare minimum.
4. There's no argument that you must still have a grasp on your profit and loss sheet and cash flow in order to succeed. Your balance sheet is a snapshot in time but is still important. Have a chat with your accountant. Accountants worth their value won’t charge you for this.
5. Some of these issues are understandable because the drive to earn a living from something we like is like pursuing utopia. Therefore, people rush in trying to make it all happen as quickly as possible. This often ends up a disaster with a lot of hard earned savings and borrowings being thrown to the wind.
6. The interesting point is that all this is easily avoided. It is so easily avoided that it is frustrating to see people reject the opportunity of advice or guidance when it’s so easily available, and then they wonder why they have crashed and burned! It is so easy to avoid all of the above. The fact is – it’s much easier to avoid failure than undertaking the risk of going through the above and still being successful. Why? Because knowing what to do brings confidence.
7. Often toward the end of a failing business many owners become desperate and do things they otherwise would not. Sometimes depression shows its ugly face. Then you have the difficult task of collecting yourself and your self esteem again and starting from scratch.
8. Here’s another little gem: Don’t even think about starting a photography business unless you are sure you can show persistence when required. Like with all small businesses, there will be some heart breaks and wins. When you lose a good client, don’t go to the nearest bar and whine to your friends. Take stock of why you lost the client and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Let go of your pride and approach your client with a solution and something a little more than last time.
9. The biggest dud cop-out is “I lost my business to a cheaper photographer!” Give me a break! If this is a concern for you, then beware, because there’s a chance you don’t have the solutions to run a profitable business. That issue will always be around. The highly successful photographers don’t concern themselves with that at all.
10. Only you know if you are a truly keen photographer. You are the only person who knows whether it would please you to earn a living from such an enjoyable vocation.You won’t find theanswer on the internet, in a book, or from your grandmother. Your own ‘gut’ will translate your desire. Remember this, if you decide to proceed, be smart and do it correctly the first time!
I hope this has been of some to you…

PS. You must plan to make a profit. Don’t be like so many and get taken to the cleaners …so to speak!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Great Travel Photography Tips

by Geoff Harris

Planning on travelling soon and need some practical advice? Geoff Harris shares ten tips to help you get excellent photographs wherever you choose to go. 

10 great travel photography tips - Think like a portrait photographer
The beauty of travel photography is that it encompasses so many different styles and approaches – portraiture, landscapes, wildlife, architecture, even documentary photography. Most people have been on holiday with a camera, but that doesn’t make them travel photographers – so what is good travel photography? Good travel images are usually well composed, well exposed and go much further than the average snap in capturing the flavour of a place. Good travel images tell a story. They’re interesting to people beyond your immediate circle, and who’ve never even been to the places you’ve photographed. Here are ten practical tips for getting memorable shots from your travels.

1. Plan

10 great travel photography tips - Pre-plan
Even if you book a trip at the absolute last minute, you should do a bit of research on the best places to photograph in your destination(s). With the internet, you don’t even have to buy guide books any more. Simply do a Google Image search of where you are going and you’ll be hit by a barrage of photographic inspiration. Be ambitious with your photographic itinerary, but realistic; if you’re planning a 40km taxi drive a to a temple, make sure you time it right so you don’t spend the whole morning stuck in traffic. If you have longer in a more exotic destination, it’s often worth booking a photographic guide to make things easier and find interesting subjects. Contact them directly via websites or social media or visit travel photography forums and get some recommendations.

2. Pack carefully

National Geographic Walkabout Slim Shoulder Bag
It’s very tempting to take everything but the kitchen sink on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but don’t overpack. At the very least, you need a  compact with a decent zoom lens, or a Compact System Camera or DSLR. If you can change lenses, try to take a standard wide-to-telephoto zoom (eg 24-70mm), a 50mm or 85mm fixed-length ‘prime’ lens with a wide aperture, and, if space permits, a longer zoom, such as a 70-200mm lens. Try to include a lightweight travel tripod (carbon fibre is ideal) and a cable release for night and long-exposure shots too, and possibly a couple of filters. You may also choose to take a flashgun but this is arguably less important. The crucial thing is to try and fit everything into a comfortable shoulder bag or rucksack that you can take into a plane’s cabin, rather than taking the risk of checking it in. Spare batteries and spacious memory cards are essential too.

3. Get acclimatised

10 great travel photography tips - Get acclimatised
Once you’ve arrived, spend some time just wandering around and getting your bearings. If you’re itching to take some photos, markets are a good place to start, particularly in more exotic locations such as the Far East. Stall-holders want your custom, so they are often fine about being photographed (it’s polite to buy something small in return), and you will find lots of distinctive colour, sights and smells. Remember, shooting small details of a place, or the local produce, can capture its essence as well as any shot of a famous tourist spot. Be sensitive to local customs (hopefully you did some research in advance) and respect religious sensibilities. Take a break if you get hot and thirsty at a local cafe; often you can get great images just watching the world go by.

4. Chase the light

10 great travel photography tips - Get acclimatised
Good light is key to all good photography, travel included. Getting up early to catch the best light is really worth it, and it can free you to work on your photos while family and friends are asleep and crowds are light. Failing that, the last hour before sunset is another great time. Use a free app such as The Photographers Ephemeris to find the exact times of sunrise and sunset, or just work out where the sun will be in relation to iconic buildings you want to photograph. The problem with shooting in the middle of the day in hot, sunny countries is that very harsh shadows can spoil your shots. Dusk and night-time are also great times to experiment with longer shutter speeds to capture traffic trails, or try creative flash effects such as rear-curtain sync.

5. Compose cleanly

10 great travel photography tips - Compose cleanly
All good travel photographers develop an almost Zen-like patience. Rather than racing around trying to photograph every temple in Bangkok, it’s often better to concentrate on the most interesting and photogenic ones and put in the time there, returning at quieter times if necessary. Good, clean composition is really important so be paranoid about messy backgrounds that distract from the main subject, or clutter in the foreground. Think carefully about what you have allowed into the frame before you press the shutter button, and if you have to wait five minutes for someone to get out of the way, so be it. Yes, it might cost you some time, but waiting is often much less frustrating than trying to remove unwanted elements from otherwise successful images in software.

6. Walk, walk and walk some more

10 great travel photography tips - Walk, walk and walk some more
Louis Montrose, a recent winner of Travel Photographer of the Year, said his best accessory was a pair of walking shoes. Even in thronged tourist hotspots you can often get interesting images just by exploring some of the nooks and crannies off the main thoroughfares. Travel photography is a process of discovery and revelation, but don’t expect great images to come right up to you. This striking image of a monk was taken at a side-temple at Angkor Wat, one of the most photographed places in Asia. It was the result of going off the beaten track and politely interacting with the subject, leading to an invite to a hidden temple that few tourists get to see. If you can get this kind of shot at a hotspot like Angkor, you can get it anywhere!

7. Think like a portrait photographer

10 great travel photography tips - Think like a portrait photographer
When you look at the work of geniuses like Steve McCurry, you see that so much of great travel photography is also great portraiture. So, if somebody agrees to have their photo taken, remember the golden rules. A prime lens with a fixed wide aperture (say f/2.8), or a telephoto lens, is useful for blurring out the background while keeping your subject sharp. Focus on the eyes by moving the nearest autofocus point over them, or if that seems too complicated and fiddly, by setting face detection AF. Try to avoid poles or objects sticking out of their head and try to keep the background as clean and non-distracting as possible; again, blurring it out with a wide aperture helps here. Eye contact makes for more powerful portraits, but more ‘candid’ portraits work well too. If your subject is grinning and posing, just be patient and stick around; eventually they’ll forget you are there.

8. Think about your settings in advance

10 great travel photography tips - Think about your settings in advance
The time to practice a more technically challenging creative technique – say panning, motion blur or capturing very fast action – is before you arrive at your location, rather than fumbling with your camera settings as something amazing is happening in front of you. Panning, where you freeze a vehicle while blurring out the background to give a sense of speed, is a great way to get memorable traffic shots, particularly with colourful tuk-tuks or rickshaws. Practicing panning at the side of your local roads will massively boost your success rate when you’re on holiday. Another good tip is to write down key settings for creative techniques on a piece of card and carry it in your wallet or camera bag. Don’t get flustered and race around; it’s better to come away with ten really great shots from one location than 50 mediocre ones from different places.

9. Don’t hide behind zoom lenses

10 great tips for travel photography - Don't hide behind zoom lenses
To get interesting photos, put yourself in front of interesting things. The beauty of using short prime lenses that they force you to get closer to your subjects, and often the resulting interaction makes for much more interesting images. Prime lenses often have superior optical quality and wider fixed apertures, too. Yes, you might feel shy, but the worst that usually happens is that you get shooed away. Usually, though, if you are polite and respectful, people will agree to be photographed, and often really enjoy seeing the resulting images on your camera screen. Even seasoned travel photographers admit to feeling shy on the street, but their desire to get a good picture overrides their nerves. This is the state of mind to emulate, without ever being pushy or aggressive.

10. Go beyond the obvious

10 great tips for travel photography - Go beyond the obvious
Again, using the Angkor Wat example, the obvious place from which to photograph is right in front of the temple towers on the main path. By all means have a go, but trying to keep other people out of the scene will be nigh on impossible. Even if you do get a clear shot, it’s a composition that’s been done to death. Why not be a bit more creative and wander around to find more interesting angles and perspectives? Maybe take a portrait shot of a local character with the temple in the background. It doesn’t matter is it’s Angkor, Big Ben or the Pyramids of Giza; there’s always a fresh perspective on an iconic building if you think creatively. Focusing on side temples and smaller details can often yield good shots too, as with this shot of the deity Vishnu at Angkor. Experiment with creative effects and black and white too.

About the Author

Geoff is a highly experienced photography journalist, and recently stepped down as editor of Digital Camera, the UK’s best-selling photography magazine. He now writes for a range of publications. Geoff is a keen travel and portrait photographer, and a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society.