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Everything posted by Marianne

  1. PDN Magazine is closing - and as this blog article from Photoshelter mentions, that leaves us with very few photography magazines. The blog article and interesting commentary I remember when I took photography back in college, even the magazine racks out in western Massachusetts were crowded with so many offerings. Of course that was 40 years ago...what a different world we live in now ...but even a decade ago, there were still so many options... and there were bricks and mortar bookstores where you could stare at the racks and pick from scores of beautiful magazines on any topic that took your fancy. It's amazing that some of the oldest stock photo agencies left weren't even around 15 years ago. Anyway, I didn't see any discussion about it here so thought I'd start one. PDN runs two of the biggest photo trade shows in the US - PhotoPlusExpo in NYC - where I've taken some amazing classes by world-class photographers, and you get to play with all the new gear too. - And WPPI for wedding photographers. They are still going to be running the trade shows ... but who know for how long? I used to belong to the Professional Photographer's Association (a nationwide group of local county and state-wide associations) and it got to the point where they couldn't get some of the major Photo giants to come to their trade shows even in the NY metropolitan area and so attendance suffered - I just wonder what will be left for those who want to learn this craft - will it be all YouTube videos? Your thoughts?
  2. I generally do a google images search for all my Alamy licensed images, also tineye, and I search Amazon uk and google books for my name. I have googled ISSN/ISBN for .... as well. If I come across one of my images online during the year, I make a note of it and search to see if it's in print too. Too bad newspaper articles (including the Daily Mail's Sunday Magazine) aren't in the scheme...but I'm quite happy as an American that I can collect from it. I wish the US had a similar scheme, since I've shot for several local magazines, and licensed my work to several national ones as well, and licensed a work for several books, all directly, as well as via Alamy and other agencies. Good luck with your search everyone!
  3. Glad you're safe, hope that there are no more huge fires this year. So frightening to think of such large areas being decimated. I watch a tv show Dr. Blake Mysteries that takes place in Ballarat, so I think I have some idea of how lovely it is. With Netflix, Amazon, and PBS (the US Public Broadcasting System) purchasing the rights to so many shows abroad, it's really nice to get an idea of what shows and life is like outside the U.S. I've been taking photos since I was 6 - that's over 50 years - took some classes in high school and my senior year in college I really spent a lot of time diligently shooting and developing photos in the darkroom, then took a couple of classes in my 20's. I always loved photography, but other than a brief stint as a journalist the year after college, did not start shooting professionally until 2006 when I sort of fell into it. Photography has always been a part-time profession for me since I also write, but by now I guess I should be an "expert," though no matter how long you work at something, I think you can always learn more and get better. I think taking photos that really make you proud takes patience, skill, inspiration, some talent, and sometimes a bit of luck as well. More for the OP: @The Blinking Eye Kristin, even if your goal is to shoot fine art, or an amazing emotional editorial images, and even if you only shoot things that inspire you, every photo is not going to be a winner. Shooting stock regularly, whether the subject is exciting, beautiful, or simply utilitarian helps build the skills you need to rely on when inspiration strikes. I think the one way that shooting stock has changed my style is that I tend to look for copy space. Actually, that started before stock, when I shot some covers for a local magazine. Shooting commercially requires you to think of the requirements of the end user you are shooting for. When I'm shooting photos for a calendar, I need to think about how the image will work in a square format. These are constraints that change how I shoot, but they also make me work harder for the shot, and it doesn't stop me from looking for other types of images that satisfy my artistic inclinations, even if they do not meet the needs of the end user I have in mind. I shoot a lot of travel, something I've always loved, and since I began shooting stock I've shot a lot more nature than I ever did before. And I even sometimes sell fine art prints of those photos that have a lot of copy space, because I do my best to make the composition interesting. So, I don't think stock has hurt my artistic vision. Inspiration waxes and wanes, that's part of the creative process, and making photos that people actually use is worthwhile, for me. Today I saw a friend who teaches in a city school in a poor neighborhood far from any beach. Like me, she loves Cape Cod, so I gave her a New England lighthouse calendar that has one of my images in it. She's got it up on her wall at school and she was telling me how it sparked conversations and enabled her to teach the kids about lighthouses and the sea, since none of them had ever seen one before. You never know how your photos will affect someone. It's fun when you find out.
  4. Well said. There have been a few studies, particularly of people in creative fields, that show you are unlikely to produce your best work until you have had about ten years of deliberate practice. So, get out and shoot. I started painting and drawing with pastels, taking some classes at a local art center, this year. I haven't done either since high school (painting)/ college (pastels), so I'll be in my 70's before I'm any good LOL and that's if I practice regularly. I actually decided to take the classes because I feel like I'm in a creative rut with my photography. It happens from time to time, and I find taking classes in another art form helps get my creative juices flowing. I'm liking it so much I'm thinking of drawing or painting when I hike, come spring. That's the nice thing about photography, you can bundle up and take beautiful photos of the snow in winter ... I wouldn't want to be drawing or painting en plein air in January! (Well, at least not here in NY --out in California the OP has much better weather) Guessing Ballarat is balmy this time of year for you William since it's your summer. Hope you are safe from the fires.
  5. Congrats Chris and Mark! Chris, getting pickier about what you shoot and thinking about whether it is worth pressing the shutter, even if digital storage is seemingly endless, really makes for a much easier time in post. Those wildlife images are wonderful, and I'm sure you need to take plenty of each to get the right image of the subjects you decide to shoot. For years I shot way too much ...I was taking bracketed images of landscapes, LOL...and simply reviewing and culling my shots took forever, but with all the advancements in LR/PS that's really unnecessary most of the time. It's a lot easier to cull 600 photos from a trip rather than 3,000. My next goal is 2,000 - which means uploading about 700 more images this year, and that is daunting. I can't imagine uploading 3,500 in a year! You are certainly driven. Here's to everyone meeting their 2020 goals! And congrats again!
  6. The more you shoot, the more competent you become, and that helps you to think less about the technical stuff, and really concentrate on your vision. Experiment, have fun, shoot for stock and for yourself. Some photos are artistic, some are useful, some are both. You have a good eye, I don't think you'll lose it shooting stock.
  7. If you think your images are losing their distinct style, then go out and look for a way to marry that yearning for beauty and emotion with a hunt for keywords, and you will find that stock makes you a better photographer, because those photos will have intention. Your recognition that shooting for stock gives your photography a purpose is an important insight. Keep that in mind when you shoot, think of how your photos of protests can help get those messages across, something that wouldn't happen if you just took photos of protests for yourself letting them sit on your hard drive. Editorial images have value - possibly greater value than you might realize - as do beautiful photos, and simply useful photos. Personally, when I take a photograph of a sign, or some other boring thing, and it sells, I get a kick out of knowing that I was right - that something most people wouldn't even click with their iPhone actually had the potential to make me $$. Now, if that's all I shot I'd go slowly mad - but throwing in the occasional boring but salable subject is a great way to increase your stock photo portfolio, and make some extra $$. And, if you feel that stock isn't for you, there are always POD sites. Your protest pix may be less likely to sell there - but great for your landscapes and scenics. No one spends hours researching and keywording images for fun. The point of stock photography is to make money. If you just want likes, stick with Instagram. I"m not being facetious. Honestly, if you don't get anything out of it, then chalk it up to experience and take your work in another direction. Join a camera club in your area, a great way to get feedback on your work. I get where your head is at. I was that way once too. I was always involved in journalism in college - edited 2 college newspapers and a magazine - but as much as I loved photography, I never wanted to shoot for the paper, preferring to simply write. I didn't like something I loved - taking photos - to have the pressure of deadlines and to know I had just one chance to get it right. It took the fun out of it for me. I wanted to shoot artsy stuff, not journalism. A year after college, I was working for a small suburban newspaper and I had to shoot photos to go with my articles - and that meant shooting every day. I didn't have the luxury of worrying about the perfect shot and was it artistic enough - I shot photos and wrote stories on deadline every day and my work improved tremendously. I then went into law and didn't start working as a stock photographer until I was in my 40's. After changing careers, I did some writing again for local magazines and newspapers, and I often had to shoot images to illustrate my work. It was fun because I wasn't afraid. That work, together with commercial assignments, and shooting stock, all made me a better photographer. Sometimes my subject is inspiring, and sometimes it's boring (I've spent more time than anyone would like to shooting bathrooms for builders and contractors), but I know my job is to craft the best image that I can in the time I have. It's a job, but one I love. If I didn't, I'd go back to law. It pays much better.
  8. Took a fabulous trip to Sweden, Iceland, Russia & Estonia in 2011 with a friend specifically to shoot stock. My photos of sunrise in the Stockholm Archipelago, which I absolutely love, and which I got up at 4:30 AM to shoot, have been zoomed countless times, but never a sale here. I have sold fine art prints of the Archipelago and other places from the trip and licensed pix from Iceland & Stockholm itself elsewhere, but I had hoped to do better here since the trip was focused on Europe. Newer photos are now crowding mine out and there are nearly 11,000 of the Stockholm Archipelago alone on Alamy. The first time one of mine shows up is now page 3, and I don't think that particular image is one of the several that have been zoomed. I seem to get a few zooms a year, and sometimes mine have been the only ones zoomed, so I keep hoping for licenses here. They are some of my al -time favorite images. As a quick aside, I actually met my friend Ellen, with whom I took that trip, through this forum and/or SIF (they always seemed the same in my eyes, same great group way back when, many, like the OP (aka Ed), who are still here).
  9. ... it would be nice if you could get a program to do all the work for you but IMHO better to do your own research, since AI comes up with some whoppers.
  10. Once you find your synonyms, you can set up keyword hierarchies in LR so the next time you type PCH, it will automatically add California State Route 1, Great Highway, SR 1, Pacific Coast Highway, Cabrillo Highway, Shoreline Highway, Coast Highway so you only have to do the research once. It's a great time saver for those pesky British/American English terms that come up often, and for flowers, trees, and other plants that I photograph regularly, as well as for locations I shoot often; coupled with keyword sets it's a great time saver.
  11. The war against the press, in fact against everyone's freedom of speech in this country, and against people having actual facts upon which they can then base their opinions, is frightening. That, coupled with how much data corporations and the government collect on all of us, I think even George Orwell would be truly frightened.
  12. Not a clue but why buy someone's old and maybe not so well maintained camera when you can get the one you have cared for fixed? I was assuming the OP was weighing the benefit of fixing what he has vs. buying new. My point was that replacing a shutter isn't a big deal. But getting a newer model used from a reputable seller is another option.
  13. There should be a way for contributors to report inaccurate captions. Then, obviously someone on the Alamy team would have to check if the report is correct and determine if it's an honest mistake or if the contributors with the spam or inaccurate keywords is a repeat offender. Might require too much work on Alamy's part but I know of at least one other agency that has a partially automated system. They tell you an image has been flagged and you reply. When I started out I mistakenly tagged a building in Scotland, and after correcting my mistake it's gone on to be licensed countless times. Keywording takes knowledge and lots of research, and the forum here can help. I just know that I've had people approach me through my website for images of certain small towns on the east coast and twice now they've mentioned how hard it was to find those images, hence I've put many on Alamy as exclusive as well as licensing them directly via Photoshelter. I've also seen those images licensed here and, although properly captioned by me, have had newspapers across the country misidentify the town using a shot that could have been taken anywhere in the state. That's the other problem, rushed editors who settle for anything, as newspaper staffs dwindle and their staffs are no longer trained. l took a few classes toward a master's in journalism back in 1980, then got a job as a newspaper reporter and photographer. A year later I concluded that my efforts were better spent getting a law degree. Even then a journalism degree seemed like a luxury that would not pay for itself in the long run, and that's when tuition, room, and board were about $8,000 -10,000 a year at a private university - today it would be $40-60,000. Who has that kind of luxury when journalism jobs are dwindling and the US press is constantly under attack? Bloggers with no credentials are shooting photos with their iPhones, as are reporters from well-known publications, while professional photographers are jockeying with them to get a pro shot. It's a mess...
  14. Please do. I read the blog and it is really helpful to get things from an agency's perspective. A video by you would be quite welcome. Will you be traveling to PhotoPlus Expo in NY in the fall?
  15. I think I mentioned that back in the day when non-exclusives could have a certain number in the Signature collection, I made more money there with fewer than 100 images than anywhere else, because those Signature images sold often and for higher prices. They then changed their model and lost a ton of people, and now everyone's number are way down. Premium works. Especially if people don't want to search through 100 million images. You need to put your best work on the other micros in order to be invited to join their Premium collections, so a dilemma for those of us who want their best work on Alamy. It's insane that so few stock libraries have sales teams. Alamy's personal touch and unique library are selling points that they should continue to take advantage of and I'm sure they are doing their best, maybe expanding that sales team and going for those premium clients is a way to keep prices up, at least for that portion of the collection not mirrored on the micros - or even if images are similar to what's available elsewhere, that personal touch could keep clients coming back. And maybe that horse has left the stable. I used to shoot for dozens of local NY metro area publications, both commercial work for their advertisers and editorial assignments, but now most of them no longer exist. The few that remain put more images online, and print a much thinner magazine, and they pay about half of what they did back in 2006. One large multi-magazine client started bartering instead of paying and I stopped working with them. As advertising dries up, there are fewer assignments for commercial work, magazine revenues, which rely on advertisers, are drying up, and they manage to find people happy to work for free to get their work seen. In fact, I know of one publication where photographers have actually offered to pay them to get their work on the cover! It's not just Alamy that has dropped their prices. The profession has been suffering for years. Technology lets us license our work around the world - my first license here was to Moscow - and it made it easier for people like me who only started shooting locally for publications part time in 2006 (and who learned that stock photography existed in 2008), to get in the game. I worked for a photographer who shot for big agencies like Jupiter Images. She and I would work with editors on her shoots - one of them even offered to review my portfolio - I was nervous and working hard to put together a good one - and then they got bought out by G. Wish I had gotten in the game sooner - I worked with editors on my magazine and newspaper assignments and learned a lot, but in those days prices for stock photos on Alamy used in books and national magazines were often a tad more than I'd get for a cover shoot, so stock still seemed like the best place to place my images. And I could shoot things I loved and license them. It seemed too good to be true... Yes, I used to think that stock was a great way to generate a portion of my income, and I love shooting and have a backlog of work on my hard drives, so I'm still in the game. I also still get a thrill when I'm in a bookstore (a rarity in itself) and find my work in use in a book, in a puzzle, or on a calendar cover. But I hate it when that work has been licensed for far less than it used to be, and feel satisfaction when I know that Alamy or I have gotten a decent price for it. I'm not sure how to remedy the situation of falling revenues, and I know that I only see a things from my limited perspective, hence a video from James A @Alamy would be more than welcome. All I can think to do is to work harder and faster, grow my portfolio, and try to work with clients who still value my work.
  16. I had the same problem with my Nikon D700, just after the warranty ended. It happened while I was shooting kids jumping horses, suddenly the shutter would jam or the continuous shooting would stop working (and this was before I had a backup camera, but I still managed some really nice shots). Back in late 2009 or 2010. Anyway, Nikon fixed it for me at no charge ( it was a few weeks out of warranty). And they even rushed the repairs for me. Stellar service. I went on to take at least another 60K or so shots with it over nearly a decade (and got a backup camera). I sold the camera last year when I got a Sony mirrorless, and it was still in great condition. Never had a problem with the shutter again. So, I'd say if all else is good it is probably much cheaper to replace the shutter than to plunk down thousands on a new camera. I only sold it because my back, neck and shoulders couldn't handle the weight anymore. Call Canon and see what it will cost. It was a quick fix on my Nikon, they just replaced the shutter.
  17. I had a blogspot blog and then switched to Wordpress.org when Photoshelter no longer linked to blogspot, paid for the whole kit and caboodle, name, professional templates, etc for 5 years and assumed it would motivate me. I got many more hits on my defunct blogspot blog that had not been updated than I got on my Wordpress blog which I hyped on occasion to my FB and 7,000 twitter followers, so when it came time to renew, I didn't. In fact, all the old posts I wrote that attracted more hits on blogspot were also transferred to Wordpress (there was some sort of app for that), so I concluded that the blogspot blog showed up higher in searches than the newer Wordpress blog.Thinking I may take up the blogspot one again, but not really getting that much out of it. But free is better, IMHO. I also found blogspot easier to use than Wordpress. I tried different themes on Wordpress and they got layered on top of each other and made a mess of the code. Just my experience, and I didn't post all that regularly, but my posts were mostly travel stories with photos, or reprints of articles I'd written (and the original articles also showed up higher in searches than my blog). Anyway, good luck. I used to follow and really enjoyed your old blog.
  18. Last and only time I met with the Alamy team was in Brooklyn back in 2010. It was super helpful and my sales increased nicely afterwards. I was still a newbie then and it helped al lot. With all the changes 10 years later, it would be great if Alamy set up another NYC meet. I did chat with folks at the PhotoPlus Expo a few years back, but the Brooklyn meeting was a presentation by Alamy's NYC and UK teams, as well as by Alamy customers. Super helpful. Had a zoom today on on one of my RM exclusive to Alamy images. There were 3,300 hits (it was a generic term one-word search) with 12 zooms, so I don't know if it will result in a sale - there were lots of more specific searches the week before that returned other images I took that day but not the one that was zoomed. But hopefully RM isn't dead. I assume that if a customer only wanted RF they'd omit the RM stuff. I uploaded all the images from that shoot - 10 of them - as RM exclusive as a test and fingers crossed they'll sell. It's funny, it was a small out of the way military museum in Connecticut with indoor and even better outdoor exhibits, so I figured that it was unusual enough that if people were searching for it, they might not find much, but the searches where it has come up are all for the same generic item, the locale is unimportant. Just happy I decided on exclusive for this batch. Also nice that people looking for generic terms are searching here and it looks like they tried a lot of ways to find it.
  19. Sheldon @dustydingo, Glad your trip was a success and that you managed to stay warm. Tallinn was beautiful in the summer when I was there, back in 2011, and I'd agree I'm sure it's lovely year round. Nice photos from your trip so far. Too bad you didn't get some snow - tougher for travel but so lovely for winter photos. And a treat for you coming from Australia I'd imagine. It was brutally hot when I was there in August, and being from New York our temps can get below 0 degrees Fahrenheit and above 100 in summer. I was quite impressed by your knowledge of flowers. Very thorough captions.
  20. Wool hiking socks. They wick away sweat and are great in both warm weather and cold. Darn Tough, LL Bean, Smartwool, all make them. Too late now you're probably back from your trip, but they are the best in future. Winter hiking boots that are waterproof. Thin gloves with a tech finger on the index finger and thumb under a pair of warm fingerless gloves, preferably with a foldover mitten. I got an awesome pair in Iceland for a frigid 5AM summer hike. Warm hat. My ears, toes and fingers get cold easily so I always make sure they are protected in the cold. Thin long underwear - either silk - packs easily and fits under normal sized clothing - or one of the super thin high tech fabrics. They also dry fast so you can rinse them out at night. Cashmere sweater - warmest wool you can buy and very thin for its warmth, so easy to pack. And wool breathes so you don't sweat. Sweat is your enemy in cold weather. I also like to have something with a hood. Bet Estonia was lovely at Christmas.
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