Milestone – Accepted to AAWA Fall 2015 Juried show!

You might recall I recently became a member of the Ann Arbor Women Artists. So I applied for their Fall 2015 juried show, and two of my photos got accepted!  I had had them framed before for another event, and here they get another chance get out of the house and strut their stuff, maybe this time they’ll find a new home…

LAKE TITICACA, PERU - AUGUST 3: Uros Indian woman looking out from a watchtower on a reed island in Lake Titicaca August 3, 2013.
Indian woman looking out from a watchtower on a reed island in Lake Titicaca
Wandering path through lush scenery
Wandering path through lush scenery in Lachay, Peru

I drop off the photos Monday the 19th, show is for a month at the Ann Arbor District Library, with Opening Reception Oct 23, 6:30-8pm, at 7 pm. The show itself runs for a month.

Monthly Reflections – July 2015

And now we’re into August, hope your summers are going well!

Just returned from a family trip to England, took a few photos, though also realized in trying to submit photos of the Underground strike quickly due to their timeliness that somewhere toward the end of the Iceland trip I set my photo size to 4 MP vs. the usual 16 MP, so lots of photos I took since then (4th of July, a few in Toronto, half of the ones in England) won’t be large enough for Shutterstock, bummer.  I had switched to small photos for that one photo ’cause it was for my sister and not for stock and I didn’t want to have to resize it…  and after the end of taking that one photo I got distracted and didn’t set it back and since I haven’t submitted any photos to Shutterstock lately I didn’t notice it – thank goodness I don’t depend on stock for my livelihood…  I had a bit of negative “and you call yourself a photographer…”  thinking, but only for a few minutes, I know now to have a little cry and move on, spending any more time on that is just a waste of energy…  So focus on lesson learned: From now all all large photos all the time, not taking a chance on that again…

I did submit a handful photos to Shutterstock, so I’m up to 1320 images. I made some progress on the Iceland photos, selected over 100 of them for stock- about 80 of which are large enough for Shutterstock, whew! Now to find the time to finish getting them ready and submitting them…

So here are the most recent photos on Shutterstock, with the few extra logos:

Shutterstock July 2015 new

And the most popular photos as of this month, as always the logos dominate. With Planned Parenthood in the news I got lots of downloads of that one, and I see a few from the Holland photo shoot as well, great!

Shutterstock July 2015 popular

So planning on lots of uploading in August…  In the meantime, best wishes on your photography adventures.

Susan

Monthly Reflections – June 2015

Yikes, July is just whooshing on by and I haven’t written up my end of June posting yet, oopsies…

Had a great time in Iceland, will be processing those photos and the 4th of July photos too, just so many things I want to do this summer…  I did catch up on processing the logo photos so I’m up to 1314 images on Shutterstock!  My goal is still 1,500 by the end of summer…

Here are my most recent photos on Shutterstock, with the ones from the trip to Toledo leading the way:

Shutterstock June 2015 new

 

and the most popular below. Logos and store fronts  still making it big, as well as Detroit photos, and some of the yellow stickers, have to come up with more of those sometime…

 

Shutterstock June 2015 popular

 

Have been enjoying Lynford Morton’s Shutterbug Life podcasts, always learn something from them…

OK back to the garden, catch you again soon. In the meantime, best wishes to you on your photography adventures.

Susan

 

 

 

From DPS – The 4 Ps – Tips for Improving Your Wildlife Photography

Digital Photography School had a great entry with suggestions on improving your wildlife photography.

1. Preparation – learn about your subject, and your camera, check the weather.

2. Practice – With great “keep in mind” suggestions specific to wildlife photography

3. Perseverance – Take your time and stay quiet

4. Passion – Appreciate and care for your subjects

You can see many more details of each topic and some great wildlife photography to inspire you here.

From Picture Correct – 9 Essential Compositions Rules for New Photographers

So I’m remembering why I don’t do much photography done during the school year, I always forget how long the weeks are!

BUT…  I got this great link to some composition ideas – some of the usual ones but also some new ones that I know I’ll want to remember:

1. Rule of thirds

2. Leading lines

3. Diagonals

4. Framing

5. Figure to ground

6. Fill the frame

7. Center the dominant eye

8. Patterns & repetition

9. Symmetry

Intrigued?  Check it out here, and take the time to view the video, MANY more examples beyond the one shown in the article – lovely photographs!

From Lynford Morton – Nine ways to find more time to take photos

This is one I need to heed myself, as I’ve been having a hard time fitting photography in with the other things going on in my life this month…

Lynford Morton writes in Shutterbug Life with some suggestions to find more time to take photos:

1. Schedule smaller chunks of time

2. Build it into existing hobbies

3. Make it a daily/personal project

4. Make it a part of your family time

5. Make it a social activity

6. Use it with your work or calling

7. Take a camera everywhere – this is the easiest one that all of us could heed…

8. Make it mobile

9. Permit yourself to take bad pictures

He ends with this quote ” If you really want to do it, you’ll make time. If you don’t want to do it, you’ll make excuses.” A reminder that time management is really priority management…  Read the article and listen to the podcast for more details.

From DPS – 10 Ways to Improve Your Travel Photography

Gavin Hardcastle has some great travel photography suggestions in this DPS article  Suggestions include:

1. Focus on faces

2. Shoot fast

3. Learn the lingo

4. Hire a translator

5. Smile and make friends

6. Ask for permission

7. Choose the right lenses

8. Carry two cameras

9. Step out of your comfort zone

10. Take responsibility for your own safety

You can see more of his terrific photographs in his Fototripper blog.

From DPS – 7 Tips and Etiquette for Taking Portraits in Public

Mujahid Urrehman gives some great suggestions in 7 Tips and Etiquette for Taking Portraits in Public.  Interesting comments enrich the conversation. The tips include:

1. Show your presence

2. Engage

3. Ask permission

4. Remember people

5. Show the results and make people feel good about themselves

6. Respect their possessions

7. Say goodbye and inform them of the use of their photo (legal)

Interesting comments add to the discussion. I have been surprised by how many times I am asked to take someone’s photo when I’m on a photo shoot, often they are just happy to pose and then walk away.  If circumstances seem appropriate I offer to email them the photograph – I’ve done that a few times and they seemed to really appreciate getting them.

From DPS – Digital Photography Tips for Beginners

Digital Photography School has a great set of tips for beginners along the categories of:

Basics of exposure

Learning to Use Digital Camera Settings and Features

Handling and Caring for a Digital Camera

Other Beginner Photography Tutorials and Tips

Common Digital Photography Problems and Questions Answered

I have found their short tips to be very useful, I encourage you to take a look –  here

From Digital Camera World – 7 Ways to Make Precise Selections in Photoshop

I recently read this great article in Digital Camera World titled 7 ways to make precise selections in Photoshop. It goes into detail into these 7 techniques:

01 Quick Selection

02 Refine Edge

03 Channel selections

04 Color Range

05 Handy shortcuts

06 Marquee tool tips

07 Select Focus Area

Click here  to access the article – definitely a keeper for me!

Best wishes in your photography adventures,

Susan

So…. How do you back up your photos?

So I haven’t written in a while because I’ve been dealing with recovery after my hard drive died a few weeks ago… Yes, my whole business, all thousands of photographs, gone…

Which would be very sad if it were not for my back-ups! :)

I had used Time Machine in the past to back-up my computer to an external hard drive, but I realized that I didn’t back things up as often as I should. At work I use time machine and just automatically plug in my external drive and have it do it’s thing while at my desk, but when I’m home it’s just not so convenient as I sit on my sofa on my home laptop, and I could easily go weeks without backing up.

So I got a subscription to Carbonite, which continually backed up all my files to the cloud through my wireless connection, no matter where I was, and I didn’t have to think about it at all. Much more like it, though it didn’t back up applications, just files.

So after I got my new hard drive I was able to recreate the overall structure from my most current Time Machine, and my jpegs are all downloaded, working on the psd files now.  I think I’m going to have some issues with some of my applications, have to dig up some old installation CDs to find serial numbers, etc. (note to self – next time be more organized about that…) but at least all my thousands of photos are saved, whew…

I wonder whether I should just have my files in the cloud in some Google drive or something, will have to ponder that for a while… … so this made me wonder, how do YOU back up your photos? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section as I reconsider what to do for the future…

Susan

Year in Review – Looking back on 2014, with many thanks…

So the end of 2014 is here, good chance to reflect… Some things I’m proud of:

– Creating this blog this summer and continuing to post fairly regularly.
– Reaching 1,000 photos on my Shutterstock site by the end of the summer.
– Attending Mike Moats micro photography workshop, I’d held on to the workshop pamphlet I picked up from his Ann Arbor Art Fair booth for years waiting for one to take place near me during the summer and to feel “worthy” … I learned so much from him, and glad I can keep learning through his posts.
– Learning from other WordPress photographers, particularly Lianne Cole, Simon Bowler, Mark Simms and the incredibly prolific Amy Saab , all tremendous role models to me – Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos!
– Having my first solo exhibit, It’s In The Detailsabout car details, and also being selected for the Letters and Leaves exhibit at the local botanical garden.
– Starting the logo photography project, I’ve had such fun with that, AND it’s been a big money maker!
– Creating a gallery on Fine Art America to sell prints of my photos, curious how that will go.

I look forward to seeing just what 2015 brings, might just purchase that 50 mm lens I’ve had my eyes on for a while, would love to have a print sale… I know that one way or the other I’ll grow as a photographer, learning from the many outstanding photographers I’ve met and sharing my experiences with those interested in photography…

Best wishes to you in your 2015 photography adventures,

Susan

Giving Fine Art America a shot

I recently created a gallery on Fine Art America to allow people to purchase prints, cards, etc. of some of my photographs.  I first researched various such POD (Print On Demand) sites, and selected this one because:

– You keep ownership of your photos

– You set the profit you make for each order

– It’s only $30 a year to place unlimited photos

– It seemed to have good flow and generally good user reviews.

– You can “sponsor” pages by having links to search pages from your website, which in theory prioritizes your photo to the third line of the search results. Though of course with popular searches you really just get a higher chance to be on that third line, we’ll see how well that works out…

At any rate, it’s an intriguing next steps to my photography adventures, so we’ll see how that goes… You bet if I sell something I’ll be all sorts of excited and you’ll hear from me here…  If you have had experience with Fine Art America I’d love to hear of your experience, please drop me a comment, thanks!

Monthly reflections – December 2014

Not many new photos since November Monthly Reflections and my day job kept me quite busy, so mostly basking in the glow…

The It’s in the details solo exhibit wrapped up. No sales, but many kind words, and now I have the set I can look at other places to exhibit them, we’ll see…

The Matthaei Botanical Gardens’ Letters & Leaves – Nature As Inspiration for Poetry exhibit came off well, we went to see it and the ivy photo holds its own among the other photos. Some of the poems are quite good, too, proud to be a part of that.

Now that I have a bit of vacation I am taking some photos, just yesterday boyfriend and I spent the day in Detroit, and this morning we went on a logo hunting expedition, so I’ll be adding to the Shutterstock collection soon. Time to think about an end of the year wrap-up, hmm…

From DPS – Digital Photo Editing Workflow – Better Images From Capture to Output

Just read a great summary in Digital Photography School of the complete process from the time you take the picture to the final photo. They discuss these steps:

Capture – Composition, lighting, exposure, focus

Pretty happy with my focus, work to do re. exposure, always learning

Import – Storage, file naming, database, backups

I used to have this compulsion to include in the file name one letter reminders of the stock photo sites each photo got into, my workflow got a lot simpler then I realized it didn’t matter… I use Carbonite as my back-up because it just happens automatically, you don’t have to remember to do anything. SO glad I had it when it looked like my hard drive might have been fried. Turned out to just be a bad cable, but good to not have to sweat it while waiting to have it looked at, and not having to worry I could have lost pretty much my whole photography business…

Organize – Selections, ratings, collections, metadata

I don’t go with folders, maybe I should, but the first word in my file is typically the location or key word, works for me…I definitely include the metadata

Develop – Crop/straighten, tone & color, sharpening, remove artifacts, creative effects

They cover this in great detail, nothing to add.

Output – Destination?, file settings, delivery

In my case, as you know, it’s the stock photo websites, starting to explore some framing…

To read more details and see some great photo examples, see Digital Photo Editing Workflow – Better Images From Capture to Output

Monthly reflections – November 2014

Lots of excitement since the October Monthly Reflections

The It’s in the details solo exhibit is up and running through mid-December, it looks great! I had a reception that 40-50 friends attended, so wonderful to have the support of so many friends! I wonder if any of the photos will sell, wouldn’t that be a hoot!

I also got that ivy photo accepted at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens’ Letters & Leaves – Nature As Inspiration for Poetry exhibit, can’t wait to see how that one looks, headed there this week-end.

Not much time to take photos given my day job and mom demands, but the photos I have online are making for some nice extra income – Thanks, Shutterstock !

From DPS – Top 10 Mistakes that Cause Blurry Photos

While we’re on the theme of avoiding blurry photos, here ‘s another article I think you’ll find quite useful. The causes they focus on are:

1. Your shutter speed is too slow
2. Not using a tripod
3. Bad camera holding technique
4. Your aperture is too wide
5. Not using autofocus
6. Not focusing in the correct place
7. Using the incorrect focus mode
8. Not using manual focus
9. Junk on or in front of your lens
10. Poor lens quality

Read the article for more details and example photographs. I’m still working on focus modes, the others I’ve definitely dealt with and am getting much better on. One step at a time…

From PictureCorrect – Seven Tips for Sharper Photos

PictureCorrect has a great article with 7 starter tips for sharper photos. It goes into detail into:

1. Tripod

2. Cable release or remote

3. Self-timer

4. Mirror lock-up

5. Use your lens’ sharpest aperture

6. ISO

7. Image stabilization

You can read the whole article here .

In my case I started by using my monopod, with image stabilization off, which was a tremendous help in getting sharp photos.  Later I realized that I was getting better at having a steady hand when taking photos handheld, and I started adjusting the shutter speed to go for sharper photos.  I’d start at the inverse of the focal length, so if I was shooting at 100 mm I’d start at 1/100 sec, then adjust depending on whether I was shooting a moving (so faster shutter speed) or stable (no need to push the shutter speed) object.

When I started taking stock photos the goal of focus at 100% magnification, which is the requirement for many stock photo agencies, was daunting, but now I get it “tack-sharp” most of the time hand-held. It was a matter of getting out there and shooting lots of photographs, first with tripod and cable release, etc. , then monopod, now handheld… Remember I’ve been taking photos seriously for a number of years, got my first DLSR 10 years ago, take it one step at a time, and master your camera as you need to…

From PictureCorrect – How to Avoid The Most Common Photography Mistakes

Click here for details on avoiding 15 most common photography mistakes, along these areas:

1. Light and shadow
2. Location
3. Focus
4. Aperture
5. Composition
6. Framing
7. Flash
8. Shutter speed
9. Camera basics
10. Trying to shoot at night without a tripod
11. Attention
12. Backgrounds
13. Shooting
14. Creativity
15. Horizons

 

Great advice!

Trying out for another exhibit – Letters and Leaves exhibit

Ever hopeful I have submitted some photos for another exhibit, this one is Letter and Leaves at the UM Botanical Garden, they ask for “your most inspired photographs to accompany and enhance the poems on display—images that explore and reveal the theme of the poetry of nature.” SO, I submitted these three:

Orca near Vancouver, BC

Ivy climbing wooden slats

Inca tern

Cross your fingers!

_____

Addendum November 12th – I found out last week that “Striving,” the photo of the climbing ivy, was accepted into the exhibit! I’m getting it framed right now, so excited…