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Sheila Smart

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Posts posted by Sheila Smart

  1. Generally speaking, you only need property releases if you take snaps within the property itself (such as inside buildings and not on the foothpath outside) but I assume that there are different rules for each jurisdiction and particular buildings.  There are, of course, exceptions such as the Sydney Opera House where you will need property release if the SOH is the main subject of the work but not if its just part of the Sydney landscape.  I do have a property release for the SOH but the restrictions are so tight it was really not worth having!


    As far as Alamy is concerned, you just tick No when it asks if you have Property Releases and leave it up to the purchaser to obtain releases if they feel it necessary.  



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  2. Recently I had a case of photographer's block so I just sat down with a couple of good photographer's hard copy books to give me inspiration and on Sunday, I strolled down to the beach where I live accompanied by my husband on a warm autumn day (too warm due to climate change!) and took this pic.




    Hopefully I will snap (excuse the pun) out of my block!



  3. Like Linda, I pursue infringers and the first thing I check when I find one of my images unlicensed on a company's website, I see if they have a Facebook page and if the image is also appearing on their FB page, they get a "double whammy" letter of demand!  One particular image (which is USCO registered) was shared on several other commercial Facebook sites (all without obtaining a license) and they ALL received letters of demand and I was successful in settling about 50% of them.  

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  4. Thanks for your responses.  I certainly don't expect to sell any prints as in my own past experiences, folk do not buy prints from exhibitions, possibly due to the subject matter of my work.  I have sold prints from an exhibition I had in a local restaurant but that was mainly local landscapes and the buyers were friends who went to the restaurant!  A few years back, I had an exhibition at the Brick Lane Gallery in London which was a complete waste of time and money. The complete lack of communication by them after I had paid for the space indicated exactly where their interest in art lay.  


    Anyone who exhibits regularly can tell you that it is an enormous amount of work involved, not just the expense of printing and framing, or placing them on canvas, delivering them to the venue but also arranging the backdrops to hold the prints plus gallery fees for the space involved.  The thought of it makes my head spin!  Hence the reason for the "virtual" exhibition.  

  5. I have always said I would never do another exhibition and even asked my husband to talk me out of it for just thinking about it but I have been debating exhibiting my work in virtual form – rather than spend a whole heap of money on prints and canvas and hanging in an exhibition, I will just burn my work to DVD (or whatever) and having a large monitor placed in an exhibition with the DVD on repeat. I am thinking of doing it in the same format as my latest Youtube offering where the black and white image gradually changes to colour.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nauqlh0WsA0&feature=youtu.be which will, hopefully, keep the public interested for more than two seconds!


    I am sure that exhibiting in this format must have been done before and would appreciate it if anyone knows if this is feasible and if galleries accept this form of exhibiting one's work.



  6. Regarding FotoSketcher, I emailed David, who produced the software, regarding any plans to have a Mac version and here is his response:


    Unfortunately, there won’t be a Mac version of FotoSketcher. I did have plans in the past to port it to the Mac, but due to technical (and now also contractual) reasons, I have had to abandon them.  The good news is that it is still possible to run FotoSketcher on a Mac, although it requires a little expertise. Some Mac users have reported running FotoSketcher successfully using Crossover, Parallel Desktops or WineHQ.


    I have no idea what the last three are or what you would have to do!



  7. This challenge was far more difficult than I had anticipated!  Not only the choice of excellent work but my 9 kilo cat, Teddie, who insists on sitting just in front of my computer touch screen, decided to turn around and swiped my screen with his tail and deleted the post just as I was about to finish....ahhhhhhh.  You might have heard the expletives from 12,000 miles away! Anyway, here is my pick of the many great entries.  I have tried to make them as varied as possible.   The vote closes on 7 May 2014. 



    John Morrison - lone dog on beach




    Paulette - Dunes in Namibia





    Kumar - traffic lights




    Phil Robinson - Barcelona




    Russell Watkins - Broom




    GS Images - A match just after lighting




    John Mitchell - cubist stairs




    Terry - car park, Sheffield




    York Photographer - Circles




    Colin Woods - yellow watering cans


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    I too dabbled with painting watercolours, and it didn't quite work out. So, what types of photos (i.e. what kinds of subject matter) best lend themselves to digital manipulation with software like fotosketcher?


    I guess Sheila should answer this one. 

    I can't try fotosketcher because I have a Mac, and it doesn't work on a Mac. So I can't see what is possible with it.

    I find with my other painting software that usually landscapes and florals work best.  Other still life. 


    I do use the CS6 watercolor filter a lot, but only to fix images that aren't worthy alone.  Like I've said before. If I have an image I've cropped and need it to be larger, the image gets soft when enlarged. I can run it through the watercolor filter (say, birds, butterflies) and it works.  I like to offer larger images on FAA just in case a buyer wants a large print. Since I usually go on and do other things to the image after using the CS filter, like adding textures and such, it works for me.  I usually don't use painting filters with the exception of CS6 watercolor filter for anything with eyes, noses, etc.  But since I can't see what fotosketcher does, I can't say about that one.



    Hopefully, I can answer this one!  When I look at a particular image, if I can see what, say, someone like JMW Turner would see if he saw the same image through his own eyes then I take it through an "oil painting" or "water colour" software.  Both my husband and I are huge fans of Turner and whenever his work is shown at exhibitions here, we are first at the door! At the moment, I am working on a shot I took in NZ North Island in 2012 and when finished, will send a link.  Here is the original on my website 142711936.WfGVCMAd.Turneresqueyachtinmis


    Taken at dawn at Bay of Plenty when I noticed a beautiful mist appearing over the bay in front of our campervan.  Worth falling out of bed for! I will upload my JWM take on this later!


     Before finding Fotosketcher, I used to use an old Microsoft software which someone sent me about ten years ago and which now won't work on my CS6 but Fotosketcher is ten times better and much more realistic.  Landscapes seem to convert well 




  9. Caught this interview on Carolyn Wright of Photoattorney's website explaining to photographer, Ben Long the vagaries of copyright infringement and licensing arrangements.  It can be found at http://www.lynda.com/Design-tutorials/Discussing-copyright-international-level/160107/170938-4.html


    Photoattorney is my US IP attorney and am familiar with most aspects of her interview but what I didn't realise was one can claim damages under DMCA legislation even if the work is not registered if the infringer removes your watermark.   If you have a spare hour, it's most informative.



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    I uploaded it on WIN7 without any problems.   Subsequently ran a scan which showed no threats....

    AVG gave me a threat warning when I tried to download fotosketcher. After the threat was supposedly dealt with, I downloaded the program but couldn't get it to work on my computer. Oh well, guess I'm not destined to be the next J. M. W. Turner.  B)


    Apparently it doesn't work on Mac so if you have Apple, you are out of luck.


    I'm using a PC. Might try downloading fotosketcher again when I'm feeling brave. But I have mixed feelings. My father painted watercolours, and I know how difficult it is. Turning photos into paintings by digital means seems a bit like cheating to me.


    Painters have been using photographs as derivatives for years so its payback time!!! :)



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    I uploaded it on WIN7 without any problems.   Subsequently ran a scan which showed no threats....

    AVG gave me a threat warning when I tried to download fotosketcher. After the threat was supposedly dealt with, I downloaded the program but couldn't get it to work on my computer. Oh well, guess I'm not destined to be the next J. M. W. Turner.  B)


    Apparently it doesn't work on Mac so if you have Apple, you are out of luck.




    I have had a couple of sales on Artflakes but it took three emails to them before they responded to my question regarding the amount of commission they paid on the last sale where I had placed a 30% commission.  The full sale price of the print was $290 approx and I received $50.00 approx. Does not compute!  I was eventually advised that the commission was on the base price, not the selling price.  Hmmmm...






    30% of the base price?  That's rather low.  Can you decide the percentage at Artflakes?




    I usually choose 40% or 50% markup depending on the image, but then I've never made a sale through Artflakes.


    Had I realised that it was a percentage of the base price, I would have raised the percentage but that would make prints out of reach of most folk.  I prefer the FAA model where you place a price on what you want to actually receive for the print, not on a commission basis. 



  13. Allan,


    At the moment I am busy preparing a submission for FAA.  They seem to give rather a nice presentation of ones work and $30 per year is not much to pay for that. 


    When I have it all up and running I will repeat the process on a European site.  I was thinking Artflakes, but I am certainly open to other ideas. I will have a look at PHOTO4ME.


    What is what you describe as a "commercial hit"  if it is not yet a sale?


    One problem I have is rather slow broadband, at the moment it takes 3 mins per image to upload to Alamy, OK if you are doing 10-20 at a go, but tedious if you have a lot.   BT Infinity has finally arrived in my street and their technician is coming to install it on May 8th so that should be a big improvement.

    I have had a couple of sales on Artflakes but it took three emails to them before they responded to my question regarding the amount of commission they paid on the last sale where I had placed a 30% commission.  The full sale price of the print was $290 approx and I received $50.00 approx. Does not compute!  I was eventually advised that the commission was on the base price, not the selling price.  Hmmmm...



  14. Also ran scans with no threats shown. I have been testing the software this afternoon and am so far very impressed. I have also been trial-ing  Topaz and Snap Art 4 over the last few weeks, so far I am liking FotoSketcher best and not just for the price! I'm particularly liking the results when combining effects (tutorial page here http://fotosketcher.blogspot.fr/2013/08/fotosketcher-250-complete-tutorial.html)  and if it becomes possible to add photoshop brushes in, as David says he is working on in the comments on this page, then I will be extra happy.


    One minus is that the software strips metadata.  I have brought this up with David and he is working on it.  



  15. I have just discovered a superb software to "convert" a photograph into a watercolour and/or painting in a most realistic fashion.  And best of all, its free!  The site is Fotosketcher http://www.fotosketcher.com/  I have actually donated to David's site as I am so impressed with this software.  Here is my first experiment with this software. http://fineartamerica.com/featured/portrait-of-the-rocks-sydney-sheila-smart.html






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    I don't have much work on these fine art sites and I don't spend a lot of time with them but I have made some good sales on FAA including a 24x36 on plexi, which had a nice profit. I’ve been with Red Bubble since 2009 and never had a sale or inquirery. I have sold some small prints and postcards on “Art Flakes” out of Germany but no big profits yet. The best site "I think" for fine art is Saatchi out of the UK. I haven't sold anything thru them yet but they have promoted my work. Another important note about fine art sites online is key wording is much more lenient!  There is no rank or ctr to hold you back and while some have unlimited space some only allow 12 keywords. As always make the best use of keywords with the fine art sites it is the best way to get your work seen and sold.


    I have had work on Saatchi for a few years and always thought that it was a UK based site but when I recently sold an image via Saatchi I was asked for my US tax ITIN which I do not have.  I was advised that the sale was in the US and that I would have to pay a percentage to the US Tax Office.  As an Australian resident, I do not think I should support Uncle Sam (no representation, no taxation!) and I asked them why Fine Art America has been selling my work in the US for many years and I have never had to pay US tax.  They could not explain why.  They did state that I could avoid paying US tax if I sold my work as limited edition prints but I would have to arrange the printing and delivery of them which was pointless as I place my work on print on demand sites so I would not have the bother of printing and delivering!  The sale eventually fell through as the original image could not be printed at the size the customer wanted.  


    If Australia and the USA have a tax treaty as Canada (where I live) and the US do, then you only have to pay Australian income tax. I got an ITIN about 15 years ago.


    I still need an ITIN to avoid paying Uncle Sam and after three rejections from the US Tax Office without any sort of explanation why each application failed, I gave up.  I went over each application with a fine tooth comb to ensure that I had answered all of the questions correctly but I still got the reject letter.  When I asked them to return my notarised copy of my passport, I got the same reject letter which would indicate that they hadn't actually read my letter!  As I don't use any US based stock library any more (Getty had an arrangement with the US tax office regarding foreign photographers), I have never felt the need to take on the US Government again although yesterday, I found one of my images on a US army site without the benefit of a license so I may well be doing so in the next few months!



  17. Thank you for sharing this, Sheila. I've always admired your work. Do you do any upsizing to make larger prints possible?



    Very rarely, Paulette.  My Canon 5DIII is pretty high res in any event so do not feel the need to upres any more.  If I do upres, usually on old images, I generally use Genuine Fractals (or whatever it is called these days as they changed the name).  



  18. If I could give a word of advice to those stock photographers thinking of uploading to sites such as FAA (and those who already have) - stop thinking "stock" and think abstract, minimalism and even black and white, all of which are probably not great sellers on stock libraries.   Before I upload anything to FAA, I ask myself "who would want this on their wall" (and pay for the privilege).  Also get Photoshopping!!  Use the "flood" filter or any Nik software to change images to "art".  Turn an image into a "watercolour" if you have some expertise in this area (and good software). And as Betty does so wonderfully, use textures as a background to the prints.


    To catch buyers attention amongst the thousands of images on FAA, your work must stand out.  I don't indulge in the FAA practice of "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" but I do sell quite well without it. 


    Present company excepted, there are many images on FAA which really are editorial stuff (which is admirable for stock but rarely saleable in print).   My biggest seller is this http://sheila-smart.artistwebsites.com/featured/sydney-opera-house-with-harbour-bridge-sheila-smart.html

    followed by http://sheila-smart.artistwebsites.com/featured/tree-abstract-sheila-smart.html


    I also promote my FAA prints on my website, with a gallery directly linking to my FAA site,  and I use their widget on my blog and I also add new uploads to my Twitterfeed.  All this helps with SEO and, hopefully, sales.



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  19. Sheila I think you are going to have quite a job on your hands selecting the finalists looking at the foregoing.


    Would it not have been easier on yourself to have had either abstract OR minimalism?


    They are two different subjects after all. Arn't they?




    A concerned friend.

    It's fine Allan.  A couple of years back, I was part of the jury of a photo comp based in California and I had to mark a score out of 5, of about 1,000 images.  Hopefully it won't come to that on Alamy.



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