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famousbelgian

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Posts posted by famousbelgian

  1. I have regular Alamywhacks but, although they often sell, it does not necessarily mean that they sell for the price they should sell, given their rarity. That is one of the sad facts about today's Alamy, no consideration is given to the rarity or uniqueness of the image. A historical or unique image of something that cannot be found elsewhere on the Internet demands no premium, it is sold under the same rules as a sunset image, of which there are millions.

    • Like 1
  2. I posted the following in November last year, I hope this helps ...

     

    If you have a look at my portfolio, you will see that almost all of my images are studio shots of objects against a white or black background. As others have said, if you want to do this well, it takes time and it is not a skill you learn overnight. Perhaps I can share a few things with you, after shooting 100+ images in this way almost EVERY DAY for the last 10 years.

     

    - Make sure you separate your background from your subject by sufficient distance to avoid light spill (flash bouncing off the background onto the rear of your object)

    - It helps to put a large sweep in the background, having the back hanging vertical increases light spill

    - Always light your white background with a separate light source and make sure it is one stop overexposed compared with your subject, use a flash meter to check, you don't want to overexpose by more than one stop

    - Every session, make sure you set custom white balance (use a neutral grey card), this will ensure your colour balance is always correct and will save you a lot of time in processing afterwards. Don't assume it will be the same every session, always start custom white balance from fresh.

    - Use the highest shutter speed you can (1/250s on most cameras, unless you have a leaf shutter)

    - I personally don't use a tripod, it slows me down too much, but if you use one make sure your IS (Image Stabilisation) is switched off

    - Be careful what you wear if your object is reflective or you are shooting a flat object held flat with glass. Wear a black cape if necessary. Avoiding reflections is something I could write a book about!

    - If you're not shooting on white, and you don't want to set custom white balance (or can't), put a small piece of white card in the corner somewhere. You can use this to set white balance later in processing if you wish.

    - Shoot in RAW if you can, it will make life much easier

    - Make sure you have a decent monitor and CALIBRATE it regularly

    - I open all images in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) in Photoshop CC. Make sure the chromatic aberration and lens profile adjustment boxes are ticked. If you are shooting on black or white, you will almost certainly have some (or a lot, depending on the quality of your lens) chromatic aberration (CA) to deal with.

    - Use the icons above the histogram to show blown highlights and shadows. These will turn part of your image red and/or blue respectively in blown areas.

    - To make the remaining areas around the subject white that aren't already blown white, I first use the white slider (not too far), and then the adjustment brush (set at +1 exposure and +5 white) to paint the remaining areas red. Start with a larger brush, then repeat reduce the brush as you get closer to the image. This is a skill that you will perfect with practice. If you have a black background, you basically do the same but using the black slider, and a brush set at -1 or -2 exposure and a negative black brush (painting areas blue).

    - Don't destroy your subject shadows, these normally need to stay unless you want a complete cutout

    - Correct any perspective in ACR, it is much easier to do it there. I do it by drawing 4 lines when shooting books, maps, etc.

    - In extreme cases, you can use the pen tool in Photoshop CC to create cutouts (I try and avoid using the magic wand)

    - Go for square cropping when possible, this maximizes visibility in searches among other images, it makes your image thumbnail "larger"

     

    Marc

    • Like 1
  3. I have used Photobox for my photobooks for around 12 years. They are very good value for money. One thing however they CANNOT do by their own admission is print pure WHITE on WHITE. If you send them images with a white border / surround such as cutouts (RGB 255 all the way round), it will not blend invisibly with their white paper. Either their paper is whiter than white or they can't print white ...

     

    I would definitely calibrate your monitor, but only if it's a decent one. There is no point calibrating a poor monitor. The best £250 I ever spent was on my current HP LP2475w 24" monitor. I've had it for 10 years and it's still going strong after 13,400 backlight hours. That works out at 3-4 hours a day, every day, for 10 years, which is about right. Not many monitors in this price range will last that many backlight hours. I use the next generation HP monitors at work and they are just as good. And no I don't work for or am connected in any way to Hewlett-Packard ...

     

    Most of your images look ok to me, but some need adjustment. Make sure your histogram touches on the left AND the right so you are just under pure black and pure white.

     

    If you are going to calibrate your monitor, the biggest dilemma will be picking your gamma. If the images are going to be displayed on a monitor or the Internet, use gamma 2.2. If they're going to be printed you probably need to use gamma 1.8 (most professional printers / typesetters use 1.8)

     

    Here is an excellent article on gamma settings : http://www.photoscientia.co.uk/Gamma.htm

     

    Marc

    • Upvote 1
  4. 5 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

     

    Another bugbear is DUST and I mean on the product or whatever you are shooting not on the sensor. I find it worst when doing close ups.

     

    Allan

     

     

     

    Yes, I don't know how many cans of air I've used over the years! Hundreds! Ultrasonic cleaning is also very useful sometimes.

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultrasonic_cleaning

     

    Marc

  5. On 11/3/2017 at 01:13, NYCat said:

    It was the venerable David Kilpatrick who originally recommended the RX100 to us. Wish he was still here.

     

    Paulette

     

    Yes, I miss him too, he was a tremendous contributor to this forum, I don't think I've ever come across anybody more knowledgeable about photography than him. He is on Facebook, and dishes out occasional wisdom there to people so I follow his feed.

     

    Marc

    • Like 1
  6. If you have a look at my portfolio, you will see that almost all of my images are studio shots of objects against a white or black background. As others have said, if you want to do this well, it takes time and it is not a skill you learn overnight. Perhaps I can share a few things with you, after shooting 100+ images in this way almost EVERY DAY for the last 10 years.

     

    - Make sure you separate your background from your subject by sufficient distance to avoid light spill (flash bouncing off the background onto the rear of your object)

    - It helps to put a large sweep in the background, having the back hanging vertical increases light spill

    - Always light your white background with a separate light source and make sure it is one stop overexposed compared with your subject, use a flash meter to check, you don't want to overexpose by more than one stop

    - Every session, make sure you set custom white balance (use a neutral grey card), this will ensure your colour balance is always correct and will save you a lot of time in processing afterwards. Don't assume it will be the same every session, always start custom white balance from fresh.

    - Use the highest shutter speed you can (1/250s on most cameras, unless you have a leaf shutter)

    - I personally don't use a tripod, it slows me down too much, but if you use one make sure your IS (Image Stabilisation) is switched off

    - Be careful what you wear if your object is reflective or you are shooting a flat object held flat with glass. Wear a black cape if necessary. Avoiding reflections is something I could write a book about!

    - If you're not shooting on white, and you don't want to set custom white balance (or can't), put a small piece of white card in the corner somewhere. You can use this to set white balance later in processing if you wish.

    - Shoot in RAW if you can, it will make life much easier

    - Make sure you have a decent monitor and CALIBRATE it regularly

    - I open all images in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) in Photoshop CC. Make sure the chromatic aberration and lens profile adjustment boxes are ticked. If you are shooting on black or white, you will almost certainly have some (or a lot, depending on the quality of your lens) chromatic aberration (CA) to deal with.

    - Use the icons above the histogram to show blown highlights and shadows. These will turn part of your image red and/or blue respectively in blown areas.

    - To make the remaining areas around the subject white that aren't already blown white, I first use the white slider (not too far), and then the adjustment brush (set at +1 exposure and +5 white) to paint the remaining areas red. Start with a larger brush, then repeat reduce the brush as you get closer to the image. This is a skill that you will perfect with practice. If you have a black background, you basically do the same but using the black slider, and a brush set at -1 or -2 exposure and a negative black brush (painting areas blue).

    - Don't destroy your subject shadows, these normally need to stay unless you want a complete cutout

    - Correct any perspective in ACR, it is much easier to do it there. I do it by drawing 4 lines when shooting books, maps, etc.

    - In extreme cases, you can use the pen tool in Photoshop CC to create cutouts (I try and avoid using the magic wand)

    - Go for square cropping when possible, this maximizes visibility in searches among other images, it makes your image thumbnail "larger"

     

    I could go on ... but it's late. I hope this is of some help.

     

    Marc

     

     

     

    • Upvote 8
  7. 46 minutes ago, Vincent Lowe said:

     

    I have over 11,000 on Alamy taken with a Nikon 18-200.  Never had a QC failure for CA - automatically corrected in Adobe Camera Raw.

     

    Yes, it can easily be removed in ACR as I said. Much of my back catalog was taken with a Canon EF-S 18-200mm, such a poor lens comparing it now against my current lenses, shocking really, but you can't turn the clock back ...

     

    I was just making the point that if you want to avoid CA, buy premium glass and try not to use it wide open. 

     

    Marc

  8. Virtually all my images are on a white or black background so I have always had to pay special attention in my processing to CA. I find it helps to attack it early on in the process, the only thing I do before ticking the CA box in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) is colour balance. The CA box will get rid of most of it, sometimes it needs further tinkering with CA sliders. It goes without saying you need to be zoomed in at 100% before ticking the CA box, so you can see what is happening. I then move on to other processing such as vibrance, contrast, highlights, etc.

     

    Quality of your lenses is very important to avoid CA. Poor glass = lots of CA, especially superzooms such as 18-200mm or 18-300mm lenses, etc.

    Good macro lenses and primes normally have excellent CA resistance.

     

    For extreme cases, lowering saturation of the CA area by 30-40% with a small brush can also help.

     

    Marc

  9. 2 hours ago, Sally said:

    Small sample size at over 23,000 images??? Is there any information about the distribution of portfolio sizes amongst Alamy contributors? 

     

    Total Alamy images = 115 million

    23,710 / 115,000,000 * 100 = 0.02%

    Yes, I would agree that is a small sample ...

     

    I believe there are several contributors with 100,000+ images and plenty of agencies with 1 million+ images. Most individuals starting out now won't get to 5,000 is my guess, most are likely to be disappointed quite quickly and will stop submitting due to unrealistic expectations, bar a minority of course, there will always be those with exceptional talents or dogged determination who will make a success of it. My biggest regret is that I only discovered Alamy in 2010 ... oh what could have been if I had joined from the beginning.

     

    Marc

    • Upvote 1
  10. I prefer to keyword all images in Photoshop CC, including the caption and separating each keyword or phrase with a semi-colon. That way, the keywords are imported into the Alamy Image Manager in the same order as I've typed them in orginally. Then, all you have to do in the AIM is pick your 10 supertags but there is no rush as the images are already on sale.

     

    Marc

  11. Maybe I gave the impression that I had a problem with the content or quality of the photograph ... I don't.

     

    It is the exposure card and reference number at the bottom that bothered me, the fact that someone would upload without cropping this. I, along with hundreds of other contributors, spend hours and hours inspecting each image individually at 100%, removing dust spots, correcting exposure, cropping, editing, etc. This contributor, and others like him/her, just uploads the content of a hard drive (several of them more like), job done.

     

    I could do the same as him, I have a similar number of images and the same extremely wide range of subject matter, but I would not feel able to upload the contents of my hard drives without editing. Perhaps I am too much of a perfectionist, perhaps he is right and I'm wrong.

     

    Marc 

    • Upvote 1
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