Archive for December 2010

29 Dec, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes

Ed. Note: We’ve asked our correspondent, Dennis Light (Chicago), to recall when he broke “the film habit” and made the switch (a few years ago) to sell his photos through digital submissions. In the following article, he digs into his ancient exploratory notes and recalls some of the early pitfalls and hurdles he encountered when he broke into submitting digital pictures to photobuyers. We agree with Dennis that it’s not possible to synthesize into a brief article what could fill a book on this subject. But to give you a taste and whet your appetite, here are some of the phases, Dennis says, that ‘digital’ will expect of you.

A basic no-frills Primer…
Digital Submissions, The Right Way

By Dennis Light

Breaking away from film and entering the world of digital isn’t easy. But for you, the entry-level person, and me, a former computer illiterate, it’s a challenge that can be successfully met. Once mastered, you’ll find new horizons that were not available to you in the past. Here are a few principles in the order of their importance:

1. If you can get any internet connection faster than dial-up, get it! You’ll save much time and frustration.

2. Calibrate your monitor -- that is, adjust your screen as close to a set standard as possible, so that your photobuyers view your images in the same way you do. Shareware programs are available, or you can buy off-the-shelf software such as Spyder 3 pro (ColorVision.)

Learn to take advantage of all the basic Photoshop features. (While there are other imaging software programs, Photoshop is the industry standard. It even comes in a “lite” version, known as Photoshop Elements 9.

For a great resource for learning Photoshop, I highly recommend joining NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals – you don’t have to be a professional in order to join!). For $99/year, you get their bi-monthly magazine Photoshop User, discounts on books, workshops and seminars, and access to online video tutorials to guide you step-by-step through virtually all the things you’ll need to know how to do in Photoshop, as well as the best ways to accomplish them.
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5. Examine your images at 100% to find and eliminate dust and scratches. Adjust levels or curves (the darkness and lightness of your image). Color-correct your images. If an image is a preview (usually sent as 4x6” or 5x7-1/2”), SHARPEN the image. If it’s the hi-res version a buyer has requested for publication, keep the above corrections MINIMAL, and DON’T SHARPEN the image at all!
In the editorial field, such as magazine and textbook publishers, most of your pictures will be used at the quarter-page size. This is an advantage to entry-level photographers still learning Photoshop.
Once an image is accepted, it gets passed on to a “designer,” who has the job of making any technical improvements to your digital submission. However, if you consistently submit images whose technical quality is not high, your name will soon drop to the bottom of the photobuyer’s/designer’s list. They are not overjoyed when they have to put extra time into your digital images.
It’s no small task to learn this medium of digital photography. Reading the instructions for a scanner, or especially for your new digital camera, can mean wrestling with an English translation of Japanese “engineer-speak”! It ain’t easy. I recommend three courses of action:
1) Attend a local workshop on the product you’re interested in, presented by the manufacturer's own reps. Large local camera shops often host these for a nominal entry fee (about $10).
2) Check out YouTube or buy or rent a video produced either by Nikon School or Blue Crane. They are available at retailers such as < > It will cover all the basic controls and features in an hour. A great advantage is that you can watch with your digital camera in your hands, pausing and repeating sections as often as you need. There’s even one for Nikon scanners!
3) Buy a “Magic Lantern Guide” for your particular digital camera or flash. They are written in English, by photographers, produced by Lark Books and available at
A final reminder, which bears repeating: Make previews you’re sending to photobuyers look as perfect as you can, but when asked for a hi-res “final” image, keep necessary corrections minimal, and don’t sharpen it.

Dennis Light is a freelancer living in Chicago. He specializes in horticulture, fitness, and lifestyles.

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MORE EARNINGS -- 10 Tips to Shoot Better Stock. Other than constantly shooting to further hone your craft, it’s important to understand the purpose of stock: to sell or promote a product, concept or idea. With this in mind, here are ten tips to help you shoot better stock, hence more earnings.
PHOTO: BigStock

CAPTURING THE MOMENT -- How To Improve Your Travel Photography – Composing and Capturing the Moment “Now that you know how to get into the photographer mentality, it is time to go out and take those great shots. Here are 10 tips that will help you compose and deliver your story through your pictures”: SOURCE: Norbert
Look into the viewfinder, not through the viewfinder
Below is what I believe to be one of the most important tips for a photographer. Once I was taught this, it totally changed how I take photos
PHOTO: Blojfo.

SOLID LEARNING -- Six Tips for Finding a Photography Mentor -- Many people learn best by having things personally explained or physically demonstrated to them. Sometimes, you just really need a person to speak to; an expert in their field who is willing to help you on your learning path. Especially if your goals are to take your photography to a professional level. SOURCE: Tiffany Joyce

22 Dec, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes

PHOTO CONTEST TIPS -- THE WINNING EDGE: Photography Tips: 12 Elements To Capture That Winning Shot. Nothing boost and compliments a photographer like winning or even get nominated in a highly regarded competition. In order for all these to take place, one must participate in a competition as a first step because a photography competition is also a great way to understand your skills and sharpen your perspective… -but how do you capture the ever demanding judges’ attention?
SOURCE: Aurora Gatbonton

Is your website as good as you are? -- You can’t be in business today without a website, but when was the last time you checked how it’s working? When checking your website, if nothing else, pay attention to the following… SOURCE: Skip Cohen:

WINTER PHOTOGRAPHY -- Steve Berardi “Ten Tips and Tutorials. With winter in full swing here in the Northern Hemisphere, I thought it’d be good to put together another annual list of “winter photography tips.” SOURCE: Steve Berardi
PHOTO: Steve Berardi

15 Dec, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes

PHOTOGRAPHY TUTORIAL–COMPOSITION -- Ralph Nordstrum: "Why study composition? Edward Weston said, and I paraphrase, that studying the laws of composition before taking a photograph is like studying the laws of gravity before going for a walk."
PHOTO: Ralph Norstrum

WHAT’S IN FOCUS? -- Quick Hyperfocal Distance Tutorial for Sharp Landscape Photographs - The concept of hyperfocal distance is used in landscape photography to achieve the greatest depth of field and acceptable sharpness for both near and far objects. In this two minute tutorial, wildlife photographer Chris Weston walks you through some hyperfocal distance focusing techniques. SOURCE: Chris Weston

08 Dec, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes

HANDY TIP -- Want to take better holiday photos this year? Don't say cheese.
That was one of the simplest pieces of advice we got when we asked professional photographers for suggestions average people can use to improve their picture-taking. "The problem isn't in the word," Beacon Journal photographer Mike Cardew explained, "It's in drawing attention to yourself as the photographer. Capturing candid moments, when the subjects aren't looking right at the camera almost always makes for better pictures," he said.

EXPOSURE -- Night photography: Circular star trails at an abandoned desert gas station. When the camera position faces to the north, the stars will spin around Polaris (the North Star) in a long exposure. Joe Reifer: "A commonly asked question at my night photography workshops is: "How long of an exposure is necessary to achieve this effect?" PHOTO: JOE REIFER

01 Dec, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes

ON A STRAIGHT PATH -- It’s All About Consistency - One of the fundamental rules of marketing is all about consistency. If you do nothing else in preparing for 2011, look at everything with your name on it. A dozen pointers to help you in the process. SOURCE: Skip Cohen:

TRAVEL FOOD -- 5 Tasty Food Photography Tips When Traveling Abroad. This week’s Travel Tip comes from Sarah Wu, who lives in New York. She is a designer and her work can be seen at the famous Amusement park Disney in the US of A. Here she is with her tips on Food Photography and Travel. SOURCE: Sarah Wu

EDIT YOUR STUFF -- Need to edit your PhotoSourceBANK, LightBOX, or PhotoSourceFOLIO page ? On the PSI Home Page (right column), click on QuikEdit Log-In, or use this link: