Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Hello,

I am new in Photography but have gotten heavily into it. I take photo's daily as much as possible and spend a great deal of time learning how to post process the photo's in Photoshop better and learning the in's and out's of the program.

 

I'm left with a few questions after going through countless other photo's from good photographers. First, I notice their photo's are crystal clear and usually devoid of noise.

 

I've tried using reduce noise to reduce the noise in my photo's, as well as using a small surface blur, and even tried using a second layer with the image on top of the first layer as overlay or screen to increase contrast. I've tried using high pass also.

 

While those things seem to work to a minor degree (Nomatter what I put the settings to) the images don't turn out like what I see with the professionals. While they look nice, if zoomed in to max resolution you see issues. If I use reduce noise or blur to fix the noise, it becomes too blurry.

 

I'm using a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge to shoot photo's, using pro mode so that I have as much control as possible and even doing zoom manually to get the sharpest picture possible. I have the ISO setting at 50 or 100, sometimes 200 if it's dark.

 

I realize shooting with a high ISO will cause noise so I keep it as low as possible and try to shoot in well lit area's. I adjust the shutter speed to allow only as much light as necessary to avoid blurry pictures, and in the settings I tell the camera to save the raw dng files so that I have more to work with post processing.

 

I realize I need a better camera, but I don't have enough money at the moment to upgrade. I was hoping to make money with what I have so that I could buy a professional DSLR camera.

 

So, the questions I have for you guys are:

 

1.) What is the best entry level camera? I don't have a lot of money to spend, but I need something better than this Smartphone I imagine. I've read the best entry level is the Nikon D3300 or D3400.

2.) How much better is an entry level DSLR over a Galaxy S6 Edge? Will the photo quality improve greatly?

3.) What kind of post processing in Photoshop do you normally do to make images look their best? Are there any good tips on making images crisp/clear and noise/artifact free?

 

Thank you in advance for your help!

 

 

Edited by wolfcry044

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

A cell phone will not take pictures suitable for Alamy stock.  I've  had photos from Micro 4/3rds (Panasonic GF1), crop frame APSC cameras (Nikon D50, D300, and Sony a6000, and full frame cameras (Sony a7) all pass Quality Control, but it's going to be easier with either the crop frame APSC cameras or the full frame cameras with a 35mm frame sized sensor. 

 

If you have no experience with either photography or with photofinishing programs, you might consider at the least working your way through a program's tutorials while working with a trial download of the program (generally 14 day to a month).   Better to take a course if you have them available.  Second suggestion would be to take art classes to get some ideas about composition.  If you've been an art student, you have some advantages over those who haven't studied art. 

 

Making enough money from stock photography to buy gear probably impossible without having over a thousand varied, good photographs in your portfolio, which will require getting a fully qualified camera with at least a one inch sensor to begin with (and it's always going to be easier with a larger sensor since you can crop and still meet the size requirements). 

Edited by MizBrown
Added more suggestions.
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is the Nikon D3300 or D3400 good enough?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The D3400 (newest) is an excellent camera, and is perfectly suitable.

Crop sensor Nikons or Canons, are much cheaper to buy if you look for used ones however.

 

You can pick up a suitable, used DSLR for under £100, and then get a decent standard zoom lens.

By suitable I mean 6 megapixels or better, and a standard zoom lens is about 18-50mm - get the best one you can afford - good lenses trump good cameras!

The bigger the sensor, the better the quality, which is why smartphones are not suitable for Alamy, due to their tiny sensor.

Those sharp images you've seen were doubtless taken on very expensive super sharp lenses, by photographers with decades of experience.

You don't need to spend huge amounts, and don't worry too much about the competition, just practice and develop a good technique.

Use a tripod at first, to keep camera shake to a minimum, possibly a shutter release cable - these cost very little - then practice, practice, practice!

 

 

Here is a link to Alamys 'How to pass QC' - it's a pdf file, and it outlines all the dos and don'ts.

 

If you're not ready for DSLR stock yet, then look at Stockimo, it's the place for mobile phone stock photography here at Alamy.

 

As for post processing, always shoot RAW, keep ISO as low as possible, don't over sharpen and don't use too much noise reduction - if you're having to apply too much, you should probably bin the image.

 

What Alamy wants are clean, decently sharp, well exposed images, nothing more, just make sure your initial QC of three images, informs your future workflow and when accepted, stick to it - check images at 100%, clean up dust spots etc.

 

Best of luck from one newcomer to another :)

 

Gareth.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Gareth
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you. Very good advice, and I appreciate anything I can get to get me started on the right track!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have an android device, I don't use Iphone. The site you sent looks to be only for Iphone.

 

While I realize this probably isn't good enough to take professional photo's, I have to say the S6 edge does a pretty good job. Apparently not quite good enough though. My images are getting accepted on shutterstock, but not Getty. I'm guessing Getty has higher quality standards?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, wolfcry044 said:

I have an android device, I don't use Iphone. The site you sent looks to be only for Iphone.

 

Oops!!

Sorry about that, you are correct. I am a dummy! :unsure:

 

Quote

While I realize this probably isn't good enough to take professional photo's, I have to say the S6 edge does a pretty good job. Apparently not quite good enough though. My images are getting accepted on shutterstock, but not Getty. I'm guessing Getty has higher quality standards?

 

I'm sure most modern smartphones take decent enough photos, but you are correct, not quite good enough unfortunately.

I don't have a smartphone....just a dumb one, but if you could take a photo of the same scene with a DSLR and a smartphone, and compare them side-by-side at 100% in photoshop, the difference would be quite an eye opener - the larger sensor produces much cleaner images, sharper, less noise, better dynamic range - all the things that Alamys clients want.

 

I'm not well versed in those 'other' places, ;) but I'm of the opinion that Alamy has some of the highest standards - not insurmountable though, just a matter of having appropriate gear and putting in the hours.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tried 500px and their standards are also very high. I think I have some pretty good photo's but the darned limitations of my smartphone seem to be creeping up on me. I live in the Philippines (Moved here a year ago) so a great place to take photo's... tropical islands and very beautiful. Unfortunately getting gear here, or money is deuce hard. 3rd world and all that. I brought this S6 Edge with me from the United States a year ago.

 

Anyhow, I really appreciate all your advice. I will see if I can get a decent DSLR around here somewhere. Getting used stuff here is easy and cheap, but not when it comes to technology like a good DSLR camera I'm sure.

 

I'm still learning about DSLR camera's, will pretty much any DSLR be better than a 16 Megapixel smartphone camera? Even if the camera is 5 or 6 megapixel?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd love to go to the Philippines, sounds gorgeous....maybe one day - I am jealous!! :D

 

Quote

....will pretty much any DSLR be better than a 16 Megapixel smartphone camera? Even if the camera is 5 or 6 megapixel?

 

The simple answer is yes. 

Although megapixels are important - (the minimum for Alamy is 6mp....that's 3000X2000 image size) - it's the physical size of the sensor that really makes the difference, but I would look for something with at least 10mp just to be on the safe side.

 

The Samsung S6 edge sensor is described as 1/2.6 in, which is 5.5mm X 4.1mm. Compare that to a Canon crop sensor of 22.2mm X 14.8mm with 16 megapixels.

The Canon sensor has much more light per pixel than the S6. The pixels are more spread out meaning there is less noise and cleaner images - the sensor heat due to high pixel density is a factor in sensor noise. This is why full frame cameras cost an arm and a leg....medium format cameras are even more - just look up the latest Hasselblad! :o

 

In photography at least, size does matter....I'll leave you to fill in a suitable innuendo!! :D

 

But don't sweat it too much, I've only been photographing for nearly two years, and I love every minute - I think enthusiasm is the most important factor of all - if you love it, you'll improve quickly and deal with any obstacles.

 

Best of luck to you, looking forward to seeing some fantastic images of the Philippines from you very soon! :)

 

Gareth.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WOW, where to start?

 

Going with a good used DSLR is a good start.

 

I've only bought one new DSLR (NIKON D100) in the early 2000's

and the most licensed image I have on Alamy was shot with a used

KODAK / NIKON DCS 620 that I picked up in 2002 (when new the

DCS 620 cost $30,000 and I got it used for $400) but do not touch

any used KODAK / NIKON's

 

I would look for a used 12MP NIKON,  I still work with a D700, which

can be had cheaply these days, I have many images on Alamy that

were shot at 3200 ISO with D700's.   I also had many FUJI S Pro bodies

but they are getting old and don't hold up well. 

 

GET the best Glass you can the newer NIKKORS can be really great

and I'm not talking about F2.8's or fast glass, again these can be

had at a good price.

 

Remember: A PHONE IS NOT A CAMERA......

 

Next learn the basics of LightRoom and PhotoShop, BASICS

Get a good book.

 

If you learn to work with a NIKON D700 and get a decent Zoom

the 24-85 f2.8-f4 can be a really good zoom for the money, used.

 

Currently I work mostly with NIKON D800's, but that is a bit more

DSLR then you are ready for.

 

Good Luck,

 

Chuck

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there anything I should watch out for when looking for a DSLR? For instance, important camera features that I will want to make sure is included before I Purchase? I'm looking through the very small selection of Philippine DSLR's on various site's my wife was browsing but I don't know enough about the camera's yet to know which would be good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, and is there a big difference in Canon and Nikon? What are the Pro's and Con's of both?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Wise words Chuck.

 

He has tremendous experience, and knows way more about photography than me that's for sure!

 

The D700 is a great camera - it's a full frame camera, so it will get cleaner images at lower light than an equivalent crop sensor, and prices seem very reasonable too - B&H have one in condition 8 for around $640 - obviously condition/shutter count determines price - there would surely be better deals out there if you don't mind a few scuffs etc.

 

As for features, well....these days most DSLRs will do most photography disciplines more than adequately. It's only when you specialise that you need to consider special features like high burst rates for sports or wildlife for instance.

 

Pretty much any DSLR made in the last ten years will do a decent job of most areas of photography.

 

Lenses?....that's another matter however!

I think Chucks advice is sound. He knows more about Nikons than I....I'm a Canon shooter....and now for the age old Canon vs Nikon debate...:D

 

I've read/watched a lot of reviews for each, and in my humble opinion the difference is negligible....(bracing myself for onslaught! ;))

They say that Nikons perform better in low light - better image quality, probably true of more recent newer models....Canon are lagging behind sadly.

A good example is the Nikon D850 - a tremendous camera in every way, and really showed that the DSLR is still viable.

Canon had no answer to this - all they came up with recently were two rather cheap, entry level cameras....but the word is they're both gearing up for a proper mirrorless, full frame camera soon....hopefully with the EF and F mounts.

 

Anyway, it all comes down to which system you choose to invest in - that's either the Canon EF or Nikon F lens mounts - and the availability/price of the lenses.

 

I could be wrong, but Canon has the biggest range of lenses - the EF system has been around since the eighties - but the Nikon F mount has been around for longer still, so maybe there are more used options available.

 

A friend of mine who was advising me on purchasing a camera a while back said "Fix a budget in mind, then double it, and then add another two hundred pounds (sterling)" - not saying I took his advice, but photography isn't cheap - I would say that for under five hundred dollars you're in the crop sensor department, if you can go more you might get a used full frame, 

Here is a kit of what Chuck recommends: Nikon D700, condition 8 - £399, Nikon 24-85mm f2.8-4 condition 9+ £254 - total £653

This is from WEX photographic here in the UK, who don't always have the best deals, but it's something to start with. All prices are quoted in Pounds sterling UK.

 

Wow....I do seem to waffle on a lot....sorry about that....hey are you still reading this?....:D

 

Gareth:)

 

(All the above opinions stated above are my own, and probably worthless....)

Edited by Gareth
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The advice is awesome. Reading all of it. Soaking it in.

 

Need to learn more about lenses. So basically for the most part, a good lens will make a cheaper entry level camera perform well? Do you need special lenses for different situations or will one good lens cover most situations?

 

What about shadows? I notice shadows are a big problem often, do you use a soft external light to get rid of them, a light on the camera.. or ?

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, wolfcry044 said:

So basically for the most part, a good lens will make a cheaper entry level camera perform well? Do you need special lenses for different situations or will one good lens cover most situations?

 

Yes, I would say this is true. The lens is probably the most important part of any camera system - it's the bit that gathers that all important light.

The higher the quality of lens, the less distortions/chromatic aberrations/flaring etc. and the sharper the image will be - regardless of what camera you put it on.

 

As for which lens, that's a big topic, but I would refer you back to Chucks response earlier, a decent standard zoom like the Nikon 24-85mm or similar.

If you're going to start with one lens, it's probably best to stick to standard focal length zooms like this - something reasonably wide at one end to a standard or medium telephoto at the other.

These lenses are great general purpose lenses - good for landscapes/architecture/portraits/street photography, and a good walkabout lens since they're usually quite light.

All brands will make a decent lens in this range, Canon, Nikon and third party lenses like Sigma and Tamron all have an 18-50mm lens in their lineup.

It's probably not a good time to talk about crop factors, but it is important when talking about focal lengths - suffice to say that any given lens's focal length must be multiplied by the cameras crop factor to get a true focal length - so a 50mm lens on a crop sensor Nikon D3400 is actually equivalent to a 75mm lens - Nikons crop factor is 1.5, but on a D700 (full frame) it is a 50mm - crop factor of 1.

 

In terms of what makes one lens better than another - there's a huge amount of theory about lens construction which can't really be summed up here, but you'll hear people talk about how 'fast' a lens is - this is referring to the maximum aperture the lens has. This is like the iris of an eye, it controls the amount of light that passes through onto the sensor.

Adjusting this creates many different effects, but in general the faster the lens (the widest the maximum aperture - lower f number) the better.

The main use of aperture is to control depth of field - that's how much of a photo is in focus from front to back.

As you open up the aperture, the depth of field decreases - this can be useful if you want to isolate your subject from the background which will appear blurry - perhaps you've heard the term 'Bokeh' - this is the word used to describe this blurring of background - so it follows that a lens with a large maximum aperture will be able to blur the background more than a lens with a narrower maximum aperture, for example a 50mm f1.2 will produce a more pleasing background blur than a 50mm f1.8.

The catch is that fast lenses are usually much more pricey, the example above: the Canon 50mm f1.2L costs around a £1000 in the UK, whereas the 50mm f1.8 costs £100

 

Of course when you photograph a landscape, a narrow depth of field is of no use, so all DSLR lenses will 'stop' down to a minimum aperture of at least f22 - though this is generally not recommended due to other issues creeping in such as diffraction, which will make the images appear soft and out of focus.

 

Most lenses, even those with fast apertures are generally sharper when stopped down a couple of stops from their maximum however - my Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 is sharpest from about f4 and starts getting soft at around f9 - this is called the lens's sweet spot - every lens has a setting that is optimum for quality. There's plenty of resources online that go into this.

I rarely venture past these settings, and so for landscapes I'll usually stick it at f8 or f9 - nice deep depth of field, and nice and sharp too.

 

Ultimately faster lenses let in more light, and so are better in low light situations - more light=more detail=sharper images, because you can compensate by bumping up your shutter speed a few stops.

 

Most modern lenses will have image stabilisation too, which offers more flexibility in challenging light conditions - allowing you to drop your ISO which will get you cleaner images.

 

I would recommend learning about the 'exposure triangle' - it shows the relationship between the main three factors of a photograph exposure, namely the shutter speed, the aperture and the ISO - it's very useful and indeed crucial to know how they interact with each other.

 

Quote

What about shadows? I notice shadows are a big problem often, do you use a soft external light to get rid of them, a light on the camera.. or ?

 

Shadows shouldn't be a problem so long as you get close to optimum exposure and you're shooting in RAW.

If you find you've lost detail in the shadows when looking at the images in camera, and you use Lightroom, or Adobe Camera Raw, or a similar photo RAW editing software, then you'll be able to recover details in shadows....and blown highlights too to some extent, though I've found it's always better to slightly underexpose rather than over expose - most of the time when a highlight is blown too far, it cannot be recovered, but you'll be surprised what detail can be recovered in dark shadows.

Of course there's always HDR....but that's become somewhat of a cliche - I personally don't use it, but it's a technique to gain as much dynamic range as possible - High Dynamic Range - but if overdone (easy to do) then it quite often will look fake and over processed. 

(Do a Google image search of HDR to see what I mean :D)

 

As for using lighting etc - reflectors/fill flash etc - this is quite an advanced topic....one which I am just beginning to delve into, so I'm not that experienced yet - I would master good camera technique using natural light first, steady hand holding, getting good exposure, using a tripod etc. Bounce reflectors are cheap however, and can give exterior portraits a nice professional look if used properly.

 

Anyway I seem to have rambled on yet again!:D

I hope all this is helping - don't forget that I'm still relatively new to photography myself - been shooting for a couple of years so far, but it's a passion for me now and not one I'll be quitting any time soon.So if I can at least help you out in some small way, even if it's just knowing that we're both beginners, then I'm only too glad to.

 

Thanks for reading my ramblings, and if I've made a mistake anywhere, please someone with more experience/knowledge correct me.:)

Edited by Gareth
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I notice I get a better image on my phone when I manually control all the settings rather than leave it on auto. Do you always manually control the settings for maximum quality or are there times you leave it on auto and let the camera automatically adjust? I noticed there are times when I have time to adjust all the settings but sometimes there's just no time to adjust as by the time I'm done adjusting manually the moment is gone or whatever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

You can work your way gradually towards 'going manual' with a DSLR - they will all have 'semi-auto' modes too - things like aperture priority or shutter priority and auto ISO etc.

These allow you to adjust for whatever you feel is the most important setting and letting the camera do the rest - for example, shutter priority is very useful when photographing wildlife.

If a bird is stationary, simply turn the main dial down to lower the shutter speed, since it's not moving (keeps ISO nice and low), and when it takes off, you can crank that dial right up to freeze the motion in flight with a higher shutter speed.

The camera will sort out the rest of the settings - it'll pick the optimum aperture and ISO for that situation, leaving you to just worry about that one setting - though the payoff here is a higher ISO and a noisier image....there's that exposure triangle again, it can be a bit of a balancing act.

 

Similarly, aperture priority will let you adjust the aperture to control depth of field or low light capability, while the camera does the rest.

I tend to leave my camera on auto ISO, and adjust the other settings to get as close to ISO 100 as possible - then if there are any light changes and the auto ISO raises a few stops higher, I know I can live with it and tweak it in post.

 

Most of the time, these modes do a pretty good job, but as you progress, and as you've indeed found with your phone, going fully manual is how to gain full control over your images - just takes a bit of practice, but the rewards are certainly worth it.

 

I still fumble my buttons, and I'm sure many others do too - though perhaps they won't admit it :D but once you've built up some button muscle memory, you'll be fine - although changing focus points in a hurry is a challenge, even for the most experienced tog! :D

 

There's nothing wrong with full auto however - cameras are awesome these days, they make a pretty good job of getting a good exposure, but ultimately you'll want more flexibility as you get more advanced. Aperture/Shutter priorities are a perfect step up from full auto, and even the most seasoned photographers use them too if the situation calls for it.

I think they're great....my tiny brain can only think of one thing at a time anyway! :lol:

Edited by Gareth
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife is pretty good about keeping an eye for deals. I just found a used D80 for 100 dollars but I'm not sure if the person has sold it by now or not. I'll have to take what I can get for now and move up when I get $$.

 

Your advice is as good as gold to me, thank you.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, wolfcry044 said:

I am new in Photography but have gotten heavily into it.

 

For what my 10 pence is worth .......... I would highly recommend you first and foremost learn the skill, art and techniques required then come back to Alamy, this is not the place to learn photography 

 

Sorry if that is not the answer you had hoped for, but here you will be competing with seasoned veterans, many with decades of experience in photography and marketing their work

 

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate your candid answer, but I would think that each person should be able to make his/her own choice as to whether to help someone who is new to the profession out with advice. Thank you.

  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I certainly don't consider myself as being in competition with anyone - the vastly more experienced, professional photographers here have nothing to fear from me! :D

 

I'm just plodding my lil' ol' way through this tough industry and hoping to help anyone I can, whilst appreciating that many here take this very seriously, as indeed they should - it's important.

 

I have a lot of respect for seasoned veterans, but I'm sure we can all agree that dedication and passion is something I would hope we all have in common, and to me that's the first, most important step....loving what you do - furthermore if you love what you do, you will learn fast, and develop the skills, and over time become proficient. Naturally I'm not suggesting that this happens overnight - it takes time and effort.

 

I'm not confident by nature, but when I decided to enter the world of stock a year ago, I had determination and passion, and I buckled down and learned the skills and now I'm here, and I'm nothing special - I just did what Alamy wanted.

 

We all have to start somewhere, and if I can I will help anyone that's willing to listen to my ramblings....which can go on quite a bit as my posts in this thread will demonstrate!:D

 

Hope everyone here has a fantastic day taking some beautiful images and being the best they can be :)

 

Gareth

[**Ramble mode disengaged, sleep mode engaged**]

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Gareth, I agree. You have a good night, and thank you again for all your help.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, wolfcry044 said:

I appreciate your candid answer, but I would think that each person should be able to make his/her own choice as to whether to help someone who is new to the profession out with advice. Thank you.

 

If I were you I would listen to Matt and Chuck and gain a lot more experience in the art and techniques of photography and processing of images before even contemplating submitting to Alamy.

 

Check out this thread.

 

Allan

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have sold a lot of photos taken with my D80. It is an older camera but a bit smaller than the new ones and I found that actually helped me. It was easier to handle.

 

Paulette

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Matt Limb said:

 

For what my 10 pence is worth .......... I would highly recommend you first and foremost learn the skill, art and techniques required then come back to Alamy, this is not the place to learn photography 

 

Sorry if that is not the answer you had hoped for, but here you will be competing with seasoned veterans, many with decades of experience in photography and marketing their work

 

 

 

 

2 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

 

If I were you I would listen to Matt and Chuck and gain a lot more experience in the art and techniques of photography and processing of images before even contemplating submitting to Alamy.

 

Check out this thread.

 

Allan

 

 

What people are saying here is that this isn't a "learn photography" site - it's a selling site. Any images you submit need to be able to compete with those fabulous images you mention in your original post - you'll do yourself no favours by uploading anything other than excellent, saleable images and in fact, you'll do your ranking (and hence your future sales) no good at all.

 

Get yourself a decent camera - here's a link to the relevant sensor sizes .. what you're using is the tiny thing in the bottom left corner, most folks here use full frame 35mm or APS C to achieve the required quality. A minimum requirement seems to be at least a 1" sensor.

Once you have that, shoot RAW files, and learn how to manipulate those files in Photoshop or Lightroom. (Other software packages are available etc etc)

Finally, make your submissions, it's a tough market, but with skill, determination and patience, you'll make sales. Good luck and happy shooting ...

:-)

Tony

Edited by TeeCee
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now