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Well, I guess it's about time to have my portfolio reviewed. It's been just over a year since I began uploading regularly. I wanted to feel my way into a bit and actually have something to be reviewed before posting here. I have experimented with photographing various things, and establishing my personal boundaries with regard to choice of subject matter. Decided I didn't want to shoot photos just to sell them, and would only take photos if I found something beautiful in them. See my "Does stock photography change your eye" thread regarding that. I have gone from being a prolific iphone camera hobbyist to investing in a mirrorless Sony a6000 and trying to up my game and perhaps sell a few photos professionally. I do think this practice has evolved my photography and I find it as thrilling as ever to produce and/or edit images on a near daily basis. I give credit to the very generous helpers here in this forum for any and all of my successes.  I was sort of "shooting in the dark" there at the beginning. I do not yet have much control over the camera and have relied heavily on auto settings.

 

I continue to ponder where to bring it all next, what to do with my photos, what to shoot and for whom.

 

Let me know if you have any tips or insights, or ideas about how to move forward. Thanks a bunch!

 

Kristin aka The Blinking Eye

 

 

 

https://www.alamy.com/portfolio/kristincato

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Please click on the link I provided rather than my number of images under my picture to view a highly curated selection, though maybe a falsely more flattering one.

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You appear to have found a nice balance between "sell-able" content and personal vision. Following your bliss seems to be working out.

 

I too use a Sony a6000 for most my photography these days. I keep it in A (aperture) mode so that I can play a bit with depth of field. Otherwise, the only adjustments I make on a regular basis are exposure compensation, ISO, and focus area (wide or flexible spot). I like DMF (direct manual focus) rather than straight AF because I often like to tweak focus manually. I love the the a6000. It's the best camera I've ever owned, and a real bargain.

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23 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

You appear to have found a nice balance between "sell-able" content and personal vision. Following your bliss seems to be working out.

 

I too use a Sony a6000 for most my photography these days. I keep it in A (aperture) mode so that I can play a bit with depth of field. Otherwise, the only adjustments I make on a regular basis are exposure compensation, ISO, and focus area (wide or flexible spot). I like DMF (direct manual focus) rather than straight AF because I often like to tweak focus manually. I love the the a6000. It's the best camera I've ever owned, and a real bargain.

 

That is super super helpful, thank you! I seriously just barely know know how to make any adjustments, so I'm going to look closer at the things you mention. It's also gratifying to know you like it so much. I bought it at the suggestion of several people in this forum. I love the tiny size.

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6 hours ago, The Blinking Eye said:

 

That is super super helpful, thank you! I seriously just barely know know how to make any adjustments, so I'm going to look closer at the things you mention. It's also gratifying to know you like it so much. I bought it at the suggestion of several people in this forum. I love the tiny size.

 

Hi Kristin, glad you're enjoying your Sony. Just to add to what John has written above:

Exposure compensation

The camera assumes that the scene it is photographing is this tone:

1middlegray.png

18% grey is also called middle grey since, as you can see above, it looks to be about halfway between black and white. Your camera’s assumption that everything averages out to a sort of dull grey is why it usually underexposes bright scenes or over exposes dark ones. The average value is either darker or lighter than middle grey, but your camera doesn’t know that. So as John mentions above, he uses exposure compensation to get around this.

 

For example, if you're photographing a black steam train, the camera will try and make it grey because it doesn't know it should be black. So you need to apply negative exposure compensation to darken the scene. If you're photographing snow, the camera metering will set the exposure so the snow looks grey - you need to apply positive exposure compensation and lighten the scene. (By the way, you'll get the same problem if you just use your Auto setting on the camera)

 

Aperture Priority

I also use my camera on Aperture Priority all the time. It is actually an auto setting still in a way, because the camera automatically adjusts the shutter speed to suit whatever aperture you're using to try to correctly expose the scene. The Aperture or F number sets the depth of field in the picture you're taking. So if you use a large aperture, say F2.8 or F2, which lets a lot of light in, the depth of field is really shallow. And this is good for e.g. portraits, because you get to throw the background out into a soft out of focus. If you're taking a landscape and you want everything to be in focus - say from some plants right in the foreground to infinity, you need to use a much smaller aperture, say F16 or F22 (you then can end up with softness due to diffraction, but that's a whole other topic!). This is one of the reasons landscape photographers use a tripod apart from for composition - if they're using a smaller aperture, less light is coming onto the sensor so the shutter needs to stay open longer and there's more risk of camera shake spoiling the image. Most lenses have an aperture at which they're sharpest and it's normally in the range f5.6 to f8. And f8ish is a good starting point for taking most pictures, depending on the light available and the depth of field you want.

 

ISO

So you've got your camera on Aperture priority, but despite having the aperture as wide as your lens will allow, there's not enough light and the shutter speed is too slow, or you're photographing a fast moving object and the shutter speed is too slow. So you can bump up the ISO to a higher number to increase the sensitivity of your sensor, which increases your shutter speed. Except at higher ISOs you get more noise so it's a compromise between as low an ISO as possible and keeping a fast enough shutter speed. Generally speaking if the light is good enough, you want your ISO set to 200.

 

 

I hope this is useful if you want to get off your Auto settings. There are other settings I use, for focussing etc. but generally that's it, so it's not all that complicated. Hoping it makes sense, there's a wealth of information on these settings online. I'm old school though so I bought and devoured a bunch of photography magazines when I started out!

Stephen

 

 

 

Edited by Steve F
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Apart from aperture priority, you may find that the "program" setting (P) suits you with the metering on centre-weighted. I usually use it (on a Sony A58). At 3200ISO I downsize to the minimum, and I have some custom higher ISO noise reduction presets in Lightroom but that's about it. I think it would suit your sort of subject

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8 hours ago, spacecadet said:

Apart from aperture priority, you may find that the "program" setting (P) suits you with the metering on centre-weighted. I usually use it (on a Sony A58). At 3200ISO I downsize to the minimum, and I have some custom higher ISO noise reduction presets in Lightroom but that's about it. I think it would suit your sort of subject

 

The "P" (program) setting works well on the a6000 as well for most situations. However, I like choosing my own f-stops and shutter speeds. I guess it's a holdover from film days. I seldom use "centre-weighted" since the "multi" metering mode seems to be more accurate for most subjects, with the a6000 anyway.

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Hello Kristin,

First of all, I hope you're coping alright with the stay-at-home ordinances in our state.

 

Your gallery looks great to me, so much variety, and definitely lots of editorial content that can sell in my opinion. The a6000 looks like a very capable and handy camera. I considered at some point the a6400, but eventually went for the Sony a7ii, probably an overkill. Anyhow, I also start here a year ago in April. I have just 2 sales, but I am also not investing a whole lot of time on constant uploading. Like you, I am at around 350 images.

 

If you don't mind me asking, how many sales have you had? I know I've seen a few posts from you in the monthly sales topics.

Also, how did you get that profile link with your name on it? So far I've been sharing the ugly looking long link to the collection of photos in my name, but I don't like that.

 

Best regards

Alex g.

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4 minutes ago, AlexG said:

Hello Kristin,

First of all, I hope you're coping alright with the stay-at-home ordinances in our state.

 

Your gallery looks great to me, so much variety, and definitely lots of editorial content that can sell in my opinion. The a6000 looks like a very capable and handy camera. I considered at some point the a6400, but eventually went for the Sony a7ii, probably an overkill. Anyhow, I also start here a year ago in April. I have just 2 sales, but I am also not investing a whole lot of time on constant uploading. Like you, I am at around 350 images.

 

If you don't mind me asking, how many sales have you had? I know I've seen a few posts from you in the monthly sales topics.

Also, how did you get that profile link with your name on it? So far I've been sharing the ugly looking long link to the collection of photos in my name, but I don't like that.

 

Best regards

Alex g.

 

Thank you so much for the feedback! Yes, I feel we're sort of on parallel tracks! (and I'm doing find staying at home and taking daily walks with my camera)

 

I feel like I spend a lot of time taking, editing, uploading pictures but didn't even reach one photo per day average!

 

I have sold three photos with Alamy (one photo sold twice) and one photo with the S******o app, the latter of which oddly sold for the most $$$. I have 338 S******o uploads.

 

To rename your portfolio, go to your Dashboard and Go to your portfolio page.

 

From the "Get help setting up your page" link on the top of the screen, it says:

How to share your portfolio:

You can share a link to your portfolio page by clicking on 'Share this portfolio' underneath your bio. The first time you share this you can personalise your URL, but once you've chosen your personalisation and shared the link you won't be able to change this again.

 

Be careful to choose how you want to name your link. It's irreversible. But a great feature. I use it for resumes, grant applications, all kinds of things.

 

Good luck with your photos! May you have many sales.

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6 minutes ago, The Blinking Eye said:

Be careful to choose how you want to name your link. It's irreversible. But a great feature. I use it for resumes, grant applications, all kinds of things.

 

Good luck with your photos! May you have many sales.

Great,

I've just located that and chosen my portfolio name. Simple: alexg. Avoiding my difficult looking last name. 😃

3 sales is pretty decent then.

 

Take care!

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Hi. Like AlexG I’m in a similar boat to yourself and started uploading last April, I’ve also had 3 sales here including one $$$ one. Looking at your portfolio makes me think I need to re-evaluate my own as I’ve, to a degree, gone down the more general stock route and your images really blow mine out of the water. Your earlier thread about stock photography affecting your eye struck a chord with me as I’d been having similar thoughts and I think a year in it’s starting to ring true in that although my grasp of the technical skills involved has improved the artistic qualities are taking a hit. I think I’m going to try and follow your approach a bit more in future and try and take fewer pictures in order to concentrate more on ones I like rather than just bumping up the numbers. 
Again its a very high quality portfolio you have in my opinion, thank you for sharing as it’s given me a lot to think about. 
Apologies for going off topic slightly. James :)

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15 hours ago, Bionic said:

Hi. Like AlexG I’m in a similar boat to yourself and started uploading last April, I’ve also had 3 sales here including one $$$ one. Looking at your portfolio makes me think I need to re-evaluate my own as I’ve, to a degree, gone down the more general stock route and your images really blow mine out of the water. Your earlier thread about stock photography affecting your eye struck a chord with me as I’d been having similar thoughts and I think a year in it’s starting to ring true in that although my grasp of the technical skills involved has improved the artistic qualities are taking a hit. I think I’m going to try and follow your approach a bit more in future and try and take fewer pictures in order to concentrate more on ones I like rather than just bumping up the numbers. 
Again its a very high quality portfolio you have in my opinion, thank you for sharing as it’s given me a lot to think about. 
Apologies for going off topic slightly. James :)

 

James,

 

I'm glad you find inspiration in my process! I see that we joined Alamy almost on the same date and started uploading last April. Do you have a portfolio link? I don't know how to find it on Alamy. It's not really fair to compare, because I feel like my sequential feed is not so strong. I see you are taking a different approach by setting up shots of objects, which is clever and practical! I haven't yet done anything like that.

 

That being said, I do feel I am hitting my stride, in terms of WHAT to shoot, at least. (HOW to shoot is a different matter... 🙂) One of the most helpful comments when I first posted in this forum was to go for "variety and quantity". But that's hard. I doubt I take fewer pictures. I have taken 6500 photos in the past year since I got my Sony camera and started uploading. So I have uploaded about 350/6500. That's a ratio of 5/100. I take time to edit and keyword. It's laborious. So only the very best get uploaded. The amount of hours I spend doing this makes it extremely non-lucrative, so I just consider it a means to become a better photographer and develop a portfolio. Depends on what your goals are, I guess.

 

Also, since I decided to only shoot things that interest me, I have found that there is WAY MORE that interests me than I thought. I don't have to settle and take photos just to get numbers up. I have been sheltering in place for more than a month, no car, taking frequent walks with my camera. So I only wander within a mile circumference of my home. I keep finding more and more amazing things to photograph, and that makes me more creative too!

 

Thanks for your comments,

Kristin

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5 hours ago, The Blinking Eye said:

 

 Do you have a portfolio link? I don't know how to find it on Alamy.


Hi Kristin,

You can click the number of photos that are shown under the commenter's name in this post, which will take you to their Alamy portfolio.

 

Cheers

 

Alex g.

 

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22 hours ago, Bionic said:

Hi. Like AlexG I’m in a similar boat to yourself and started uploading last April, I’ve also had 3 sales here including one $$$ one. Looking at your portfolio makes me think I need to re-evaluate my own as I’ve, to a degree, gone down the more general stock route and your images really blow mine out of the water. Your earlier thread about stock photography affecting your eye struck a chord with me as I’d been having similar thoughts and I think a year in it’s starting to ring true in that although my grasp of the technical skills involved has improved the artistic qualities are taking a hit. I think I’m going to try and follow your approach a bit more in future and try and take fewer pictures in order to concentrate more on ones I like rather than just bumping up the numbers. 
Again its a very high quality portfolio you have in my opinion, thank you for sharing as it’s given me a lot to think about. 
Apologies for going off topic slightly. James :)

 

Hi James,

You've got many great images. I really love the tree with rapeseed and the fabulous sky: 2BD77Y6 .

The landscape and street shots look generally fine. Good stuff with getting 3 sales in the first year, and good luck for the rest of the  year.

 

Regards


Alex g.

 

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42 minutes ago, AlexG said:


Hi Kristin,

You can click the number of photos that are shown under the commenter's name in this post, which will take you to their Alamy portfolio.

 

Cheers

 

Alex g.

 

 

I mean the curated portfolio. Like my link at https://www.alamy.com/portfolio/kristincato

looks different than the link under my picture.

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Thanks for your comments  Blinking Eye and AlexG. As far as a curated portfolio goes it’s yet another thing that’s on my increasingly long to do list. 
Thanks again. James :)

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On 23/04/2020 at 11:38, John Mitchell said:

 

The "P" (program) setting works well on the a6000 as well for most situations. However, I like choosing my own f-stops and shutter speeds. I guess it's a holdover from film days. I seldom use "centre-weighted" since the "multi" metering mode seems to be more accurate for most subjects, with the a6000 anyway.

 

I like choosing my own fstops and shutter speeds too! I also was trained with 35mm film cameras, so I actually know what I want to do and have some idea of the effect I want to create, but have yet to figure out how to do it with the Sony controls! I just want a physical knob to turn.

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On 23/04/2020 at 02:50, spacecadet said:

Apart from aperture priority, you may find that the "program" setting (P) suits you with the metering on centre-weighted. I usually use it (on a Sony A58). At 3200ISO I downsize to the minimum, and I have some custom higher ISO noise reduction presets in Lightroom but that's about it. I think it would suit your sort of subject

 

Thank you. I have not gotten comfortable with the P setting or the different weightings of meterings. I didn't even realize that was a thing until you mentioned it. I think I did finally figure out how to focus on what I want to, but some of that happens randomly too. For the first half of the year, I used manual focus until I realized I could automate it! Then I forgot how to put it back to manual. This is how I flounder about. I get almost all my shots out in the field and it's no fun to fiddle around with menus and controls when I'm out and about.

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It sounds like you'd love the Fuji range of cameras. I have the XT3 and with physical knobs to set ISO, shutter speed and exposure compensation as well as a good old fashioned aperture ring on most lens' it feels very reminiscent of an old 35mm SLR. It was one of the main reasons I came away from Canon and think it's possible even more analogue than my old faithful Pentax ME super that I learnt on back in my early teens. It certainly brings back a lot of fun to photography :)

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22 hours ago, Bionic said:

It sounds like you'd love the Fuji range of cameras. I have the XT3 and with physical knobs to set ISO, shutter speed and exposure compensation as well as a good old fashioned aperture ring on most lens' it feels very reminiscent of an old 35mm SLR. It was one of the main reasons I came away from Canon and think it's possible even more analogue than my old faithful Pentax ME super that I learnt on back in my early teens. It certainly brings back a lot of fun to photography :)

 

Cool. Good to know. Yeah, I miss that aperture ring. And weirdly, I miss the process and discipline of imagining what the photo will look like in your head, and then setting controls accordingly. Now I just flounder about and go with what I see in the viewer if it happens to look good. It's like the opposite, starting from what you are seeing rather than what you want to see. It's easier, but covers up a lot of weakness in control. And I end up with a glut of wasteful shots that must be deleted.

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On 25/04/2020 at 05:21, Bionic said:

Thanks for your comments  Blinking Eye and AlexG. As far as a curated portfolio goes it’s yet another thing that’s on my increasingly long to do list. 
Thanks again. James :)

 

Setting up your portfolio is one of the funnest parts!

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You’ve some nice pics in your port.  A couple of observations - there’s no need to try and get the discoverability bar into the green.  This results in irrelevant tags, such as ‘Elizabeth Warren in Blue coat’.  I doubt any buyer will be searching for that.  Additionally, it could harm your ranking. Of my 4100 pics, only 53 are ‘in the green’. 
 

My second and final observation is, if you want more sales, shoot more ‘people doing things’ pics.  I realise sales are secondary for you, but I find the more sales I get, the more I want to upload, which is a good thing, right?!

 

Good luck with it! 

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1 hour ago, Colblimp said:

You’ve some nice pics in your port.  A couple of observations - there’s no need to try and get the discoverability bar into the green.  This results in irrelevant tags, such as ‘Elizabeth Warren in Blue coat’.  I doubt any buyer will be searching for that.  Additionally, it could harm your ranking. Of my 4100 pics, only 53 are ‘in the green’. 
 

My second and final observation is, if you want more sales, shoot more ‘people doing things’ pics.  I realise sales are secondary for you, but I find the more sales I get, the more I want to upload, which is a good thing, right?!

 

Good luck with it! 

 

Thank you so much!  I was wondering about that. Overtagging. My average CTR is .2   That stinks, right? 

 

How should I handle oversaturated topics like Elizabeth Warren, David Bowie, Frida Kahlo and the Golden Gate Bridge? I HAVE gotten zooms on two of those.

 

I realize it's the "people doing things" photos that sell which is not what I tend to shoot! I feel like the fact that I have ANY people at all in my photos is a coup, and I'm getting a bit better at it.

 

A few days ago, I asked three workers in masks at Best Buy if I they minded if I took their picture. One said no, he didn't want me to. So I moved on.

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2 hours ago, The Blinking Eye said:

 

A few days ago, I asked three workers in masks at Best Buy if I they minded if I took their picture. One said no, he didn't want me to. So I moved on.

 

...and two workers at Best buy remembered a polite photog.

The next photographer will thank you.

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35 minutes ago, Mr Standfast said:

 

...and two workers at Best buy remembered a polite photog.

The next photographer will thank you.

 

Yeah, one of the other guys seemed moved and asked me what I was taking photos for and we chatted a while. Which was really nice because there’s not much opportunity to chat with people these days.

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