Monday, March 30, 2009

Top Ten Great Links For Photographers

Spring celebration

1. Photocritic: This site by Haje, is one of the most informative sites for photographers on the Net. I have purposefully linked to an article about contrast. Contrast to me is one of the most important elements in presenting a photograph. Here Haje tells you how to adjust the contrast to really give your photo some bang. I would not stop here with reading. He covers a variety of photographic subjects and I am an avid reader.

2. Srobist: There is one over riding rule about photograph and it is all about light. I try to work with the light around me from the sun, ambient light and finding the best perspective found in natural light. The strobist takes you into the world of strobe lighting. With many how to's and examples of results all photographers can learn from the Strobist's fine tutorials.

3. Photopreneur: This all around site tackles many quandaries for photographers. Most of the articles are about monetizing your photographs. I always appreciate the advice I find on this excellent site. The helpful hints I find here are priceless.

4. Digital Shot: This blog has a variety of contributors that offer all kinds of information on photography and processing. You will find lots of information about free photo editing programs for those who constantly try to reach the creative edge.

5. fotohacker: A variety of photographic advice and yes hacks. Learn what others do to help make the picture taking easier, more professional and creative. Good read for camera geeks.

6. Photoshop User TV: I like this video presentation, because it gives you time to absorb the content on some very excellent tutorials. This show does have a lot of promotional content that mostly I am not interested in, but the tutorials are top of the line.

7. Make TV: Now, most of this site is just a distraction, but interesting so. It is like visiting the 12 dimension of all things visual. If you want to know the cutting edge, walk on this thin line of perception of things to come. Or are they really here? Am I behind the curve? In the mists of all this are some ideas you can really use.

8. Earth Bound Light: I picked earth bound light for its tips of the week. Be sure to hit the previous buttons so you can find the content that interests you. I like this because I am sometimes more illiterate about camera technical knowledge than I should be. Here are easy to read articles that will help you understand some of the technical aspects of the camera, lens and filters that you use.

9. TZPlanet: This eZine has interesting content. It is more of a variety magazine and offers some relaxing reads and links to beautiful pictures by excellent photographers.

10. Beyond the Obvious: Paul presents his thoughts on life and photography. What I like about this blog is he brings home the idea of being personable about his photography. I really like his stories behind the photograph that gives insight to the viewer about the shot. A lesson can be learned for all of us photographers. It is important to connect not only visually but with words.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ten Top Cures For Photo Block

A lesson in patience

If you are not out photographing you are not refining your craft. I am amazed at the many used DSLRs out there with a very small number of shutter clicks. In a day I usually do more shots than some people put on their camera in two years. So if you are one of those who has a camera gathering dust, here are some suggestions.

1. Always take your camera with you. Having your camera handy will make you more apt to use it. And, you just might run across that 100,000 dollar shot.

2. Look at the clouds. In photography the sky is not the limit. When you find those beautiful cloudscapes look for a place to take a picture.

3. Go to Parks, Zoos, Events. I am always finding new places to shoot, and returning to places I have shot before. Not only will you have an enjoyable trip you may get some of those awe inspiring pictures.

4. Listen to the Birds. Now, this might seem crazy, but when I hear those birds sing I just have to get out with my camera and spot birds and take pictures.

5. Post a picture a day. No matter what photo sharing network you belong to make it a habit to post a picture every day. For every photo I post I take a hundred. I can take a hundred pictures in less than hour. If I am at an event it is not unusual for me to take 500 pictures in an hour. One of those is likely to inspire me to process the photo. Have a shutter and click it.

6. Take your camera to work. I know some may not be allowed to take pictures at work. But if you can do. And, on the way to from work and at lunch you might find some exciting photo opportunities.

7. Compose pictures in your head. No matter where you are or what you are doing think about how you would compose a shot. If you do not have a camera with you, compose away. And, remember always to have your camera with you.

8. Pick a theme for the day. I am a photo opportunist and shoot whatever I find. Sometimes however I go out in the day and think lets do some macros, or river shots. I use these as guides but this does not limit the subject matter that I might find interesting.

9. Take a ride out in the country. There is nothing like exploring new places. Take that road that you have never been down before. Do some serious exploring, and if you can get lost. I personally find new and interesting sights while lost.

10. Go out on bad weather days. Snow, rain, fog, all make great photo shots. Don't be a sunny day shooter. All days are prime days to take photos.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Top Ten Camera Every Day Tricks


Sometimes, we just think about photographing with a camera as a tool for nature,landscapes, family portraits and professional work. I thought I would share some other ways I use my camera to help myself out in life.

1. Car repairs: Or for that matter anything you take apart and put back together. I use the camera to pictures every step of the way when I take things apart. When you reassemble you have a guide and don't have to worry about which screw went where. I also use the camera to take to auto part dealers to show them the part I need especially if I do not know the name.

2. Reading the fine print: If you are getting old like me some of that small print is just hard to see. Take a picture of it and blow it up. I can't tell you how many microwave dinner directions I have read doing this when I have misplaced my glasses.

3. Finding that small object: Have you ever dropped a small screw and find it as difficult to find as a needle in a haystack? Use your camera to take pictures of the area that the item was lost sit down and blow up your photos searching is much easier this way.

4. Giving someone directions to your house: Send them an email with picture landmarks they can follow. This makes life easier for everyone.

5. Finding things in dark places: Use your camera as a third eye and utilize the flash. Under couches, and in hard places to look. It is much easier to use your camera than crouching down for a look see.

6. Telling someone how to fix the computer: You are at home talking to your friend, and they just can't get what you are trying to tell them what to do. Take a series of pictures and email them how.

7. Borrowing something from someone: Have you ever returned something and someone said it was damaged. Take some pictures of the item before you borrow or rent it, being able to show what condition the item was when you borrowed it can be your best defense.

8. Car accidents: If you unfortunately have a car accident. Be sure to take pictures. Not only might this prove your innocence it may also show that you did not do damage that could have happened later.

9. Your wallet: Take pictures of all the documents you keep in your wallet. If you ever lose your wallet you will know everything that you lost. And it could help you in canceling credit cards and replacing valuable information.

10. Documenting injuries: Sometimes bad things happen to good people. It can be important to document injuries that happened in accidents or other situations. Since injuries heal, it is good to have a photographic record.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Top Ten Twitter Diversion

I couldn't help myself and thought I would share this, even though off the subject of Photography. It takes the whole top ten in one shot.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Top Ten Dangers in Photography

car 12 spin out

Getting that shot can be more dangerous than you think.

1. Photographers are risk takers there is no doubt about it. Somethings if we were saner we would think is the shot really worth it. Below is a a short slide show showing one of the dangers I have faced in getting that shot. A ton and half of car was spinning out of control toward me. The car ended up five feet from the unprotected spot were unperturbed I continued shooting.

Its not really bravery perhaps more like stupidity. And, I will be there through out the season getting more shots like these.

2. I did not take this photo and the larger version can be found here. Wonder what was on the photographer's mind when he was snapping this raging bull.

Orchard Mountain Falls.

3. Here is an account of a photographer breaking his leg doing a landscape shot. It reminds me of the time I took this shot and landed flat in the creek, miles from any road or even a trail. It could have been months before anyone would have found me, as it was I did limp the five miles back successfully.

Snake in the Grass

4. In May I will be leaving to go on a photo shoot in the Midwest, including Yellowstone and other national Parks. I hope to get some nice shots of grisly bears. It is my intention to do this as safely as possible, but... I am always looking for that spectacular shot. Here is an account about photographers who met their untimely fate photographing bears. I will try to keep that in mind, but I do have a tendency to get a little too close to wildlife.

5. Combat Photography was and does remain one of the most dangerous occupations. This picture is from an army obstacle course used for training in WWI. The article (a history of combat photography) that accompanies the original photo can be found here.

6. And another video to remind me to be careful when taking those racing shots.

7. If you did choose to be a Paparazzi photographer the rewards might be high, but so might the dangers.

8. You should also play it smart and know your rights as a photographer when facing those legal and illegal challenges when you shoot.

9. And even if you know your rights as a photographer don't think it protects you against someone who just does not want their photograph taken.

10. Finally the biggest risk we all face as photographers is a hard drive failure. Make sure you have back ups of all your work. The risk you take out in the field getting that shot may be lost forever.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Top Ten Things to Monetize your Photos

The eye of the tiger

1. Remember the idea emotion not emulsion. “Kodak sells film, but they don't advertise film. They advertise memories.” This thought from Theodore Parker is a good reminder of how you should approach photo sales. The more a photograph means to someone the more it is likely to sell. People connect sentiment with photos and this should not be lost to the photographer. A personal approach with all of your clients should be one of your highest priorities. Wedding and event photographers have captured this idea intently.

2. Do what ever it takes to make sure your site is personable and friendly. Some gallery sites I have seen show the pictures, but do they show your character. Let people develop a sense of you by being as sincere and honest as you can.

3. Use Twitter. If you do not have a Twitter account you should have one. Networking with potential customers can add a positive impact on your sales. Follow me if you like. Besides photographers, I try to network with possible clients and users of photography.

4. Make people aware of your reputation. This can be accomplished with an about page. It is your resume be honest and do tell them about your accomplishments. Attribution is an important factor in making sales.

5. Once you have a client continue to follow up with them. You should not do this to the point of being obnoxious but to a degree to show them you care. Sometimes I will send them a gift out of the blue, just to let them know I am still thinking about them.

6. Make cards and postcards. I find these are big sellers when you exhibit your work. It can make the difference between a flop and a success. You can capitalize on the impulse buyer who may not want to spend on a signed limited edition print. I make mine at Zazzle were sales from online offset my costs for what I offer at exhibits.

7. Folding cards and stamps. These could be particularly useful for Wedding photographers. You can make customized Wedding invitations with stamps at Zazzle.

8. Make calendars. I make calendars for both promotion and for sales. I like QOOP for their nice large linen calendars, and Zazzle for the smaller calendars I offer.

9. Tell people about the promotions that your third party sellers are offering. For the next two days Zazzle will be offering a half off promotion on posters, if you enter this coupon on check out ZAZZLEPOSTER. Zazzle offers frequent coupons that can really cut your costs. And, they are also great for your customers.

10. Enter contests. When you win contests it reflects positively on your ability as a photographer. If you do not win, look at the winners what did differently. Not only does this improve your photography it helps you to be known in wider circles.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Top Ten Dumb Photography Questions.

This is the thing

I really enjoyed an article on Wild Shots, and it inspired me to write this.
Really, I am much politer than this when I answer questions. But sometimes I have considered answering like this.

1. Did you use Photoshop? No, that is the raw image out of the camera.

2. Your camera takes great photos what kind of camera do you use? If I put the camera on the ground what kind of pictures would it take.

3. Did you take that picture? No, I copyright everyone’s pictures. Actually, KoKo the monkey took this one.

4. I would like to sell your picture as wall paper can you send me a high resolution image? Sure, as soon as I take some pictures of flying pigs.

5. What camera settings are using? I don’t know I just twist the dials.

6. What is the best picture you have ever taken? The next one.

7. Will you teach me how to use the camera, I have an hour next week? Sure, I can condense everything I learned in 40 years in an one hour lesson.

8. Where do you take such spectacular pictures? Could you move over a second you just blotted out my picture with your face.

9. What type of film do you use? Well, this camera is digital, so I buy it from Polaroid.

10. Do you mind If I borrow your camera, I am going to my school reunion party? Sure, but I require a rental fee of 10,000 dollars.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Top Ten Photography Myths

happy New Year!

1. The best times to photography is early morning and late evening.

False. Yes, these are exceptional times for photographing, but all daylight hours are good. It is a matter of planning of your shooting. Evenings and early mornings are great for landscape shots, but great shots can be made during other hours of the day. I usually take walks through the woods in mid day when the lighting is usually better because of the over head canopy blocks so much of the light. Later in the day and earlier lighting may be inadequate.

2. You should always shoot with the sun on the the side of your shot or behind you.

False. Sometimes shooting directly with the sun in front of you can make for some great shots. Silhouettes are best made this way. And sometimes you can catch the shimmering of light that causes a photograph to reach an ethereal quality.

3. Its best to shoot on cloudy or overcast days.

False. Any day is great for photography. It is always the ability of you to manage your shots with the light at hand. Cloudless blue skies with green landscape can make for very striking photographs. Wildlife photos with excellent detail can also be achieved on bright days. Light and shadows under trees can make for interesting compositions.

4. Its rainy or miserable outside and you think it is a bad day for photography.

False. Some of the best atmospheric shots can be made on days like this. Get your camera and go. And, just a thought; sometimes you might end up with very grainy photos and you might think of deleting them. Take a second look on your computer, some of these may turn out to be great shots after processing. The shot above was one someone would might delete because it was so grainy before processing.

5. I can't take great shots because I have a cheap camera.

False. Any camera can produce great shots. All cameras do have their particular limitations, but even with the cheapest point and cameras can produce some excellent photographs. Learn the limitations of your camera, or better yet learn the wonderful capabilities that each camera possesses. Some of my most published photos were taken with a cheap point and shoot. Even one that ended up in National Geographic.

6. Its important to have a collection of filters and polarizing lenses.

False. Many great photographs are taken without any filters at all. While polarizing filters and other filters may have their place, the first filter you should have is a UV filter to protect the lens itself. I personally like taking photographs through clear glass as much as possible.

7. My photograph is not good because a good photographer told me how bad it was.

False. While it is helpful to have have a critical appraisal of your photographs, always take criticism with a grain of salt. You decide if you like your photograph. Take criticism as a means of improvement. And, just a little secret when sometimes you do get some negativity, it can be a sign that your photograph may be really good. Some photos that I have negative comments on proved to be my most viewed photos. And without earnest criticism you will never improve.

8. I have a photographer that I admire I will never be able to take shots like him/her.

False. Be persistent and take lots of shots. Work hard on your composition, and post processing skills. Try to figure out how the photographer achieved his shots. Emulate his style and look carefully at the post processing. Sometimes the learning curve may be long, but you can reach the goal. And most importantly, it is up to you to develop your own style. Style is your fingerprint on the craft. By understanding others your own style will evolve.

9. My photographs look flat and uninteresting, I can't take a good photograph.

False. Sometimes simple adjustments to light and contrast can improve a photograph dramatically. As you develop more post processing skills, you will be able to tell what each photos needs. Sometimes the processing comes quick. Sometimes you may spend hours working on a single photograph. And remember, I make take a hundred pictures before I select one for processing. The biggest mistake I see other photographers making is that they will take one or a couple of photographs of one scene then leave. I tend to spend hours at one location finding the right nuance of light to make a photograph special.

10. I have already photographed that scene, I don't need to go back.

False. I find myself always returning to the scene of the crime. Above is one of my favorite places to photograph. I have photographed it in all seasons and in all manners of weather. I am always amazed that I can bring back something different. The photo above was taken in the middle of a rain storm. Just goes to show any time is great photography.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ten Top Warnings You are Addicted to Photography


1. Everywhere you go you are always composing compositions even if you don't have your camera with you.

2. You keep your camera in the car and every time you stop at a light you are photographing until someone honks behind you.

3. Before you go to bed at night you look at camera lenses and new cameras. You make camera purchases well beyond your means. You justify this by thinking peanut butter sandwiches and ramen noodles will be just fine for the rest of the month.

4. You drive a 1992 Tempo in bad need of repair, but your camera bag holds over 8,000 dollars in equipment. And you think, if you will get a needed radiator, or a 500mm lens. You purchase the 500mm lens.

5. You have 20 gigabytes of memory cards and that is never enough for a full day shooting.

6. You go to the mountains with ten gallons of water in your trunk. Sometime, you will get that radiator fixed, but right now you got to get that picture.

7. You tell everyone that you are a photographer, but they tell you they have a camera too. The next time you see them you tell them again you are a photographer.

8. Your camera is sent out for repairs and you are going through withdraws. You find cold sweats and hallucinations cannot be cured by aspirins.

9. You buy camera stuff you will never use. And, your camera bag has a nice heft To it. Most of the pictures you take are skewed to the right, because your right arm is now longer.

10. You bargain with the auto mechanic. You tell him you will do a great photograph session with his family. If only he would replace the radiator and blown head gasket at a discount.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ten Top Photo and Art Mantras

This side of tranquility

Mantras of Composition as I see it. They are simple but infinitely complex.

1. The first rule of composition is look at many pictures, look at the ones you like and decide what you like about them. And look at them more and often. They are your best hints for effective composition.

2. The rule of thirds has been roughly said to be a tit tat toe box. And, you should arrange element of interest near the intersecting lines. Take the rule of thirds a little bit different in your mind lay the grid down and think foreground, mid ground, and far ground. Strong foreground elements are very effective even in large landscape depictions.

3. Think of a photograph as a way to lead the eye. To have an interesting photograph think what point does the eye fall on first, then second and third.

4. Always look for vanishing points. A vanishing point is where the photograph leads the eye to infinity. Effective vanishing points can inspire the viewer to look longer and deeper into an image.

5. Be sure to have effective contrast and lightness. Look at your photo over and over again. Simple contrast adjustments can not only increase clarity, but keep your photography from looking flat. Look at the black and white points of your composition. Ask yourself do they help lead the eye? And, effective contrast increases color tonality in your image.

6. Remember that light and darkness is what makes a photograph. In essence photographing is the capture of light. And, light will lead the eye. Look for light that creates a tunnel effect. Look for light that emphasizes light and contrast. Always think how can I use the light to the best advantage.

7. Look at the direction your composition leads the eye. Does it lead it from corner to corner, or front to back. What is the most appealing you have to decide. Take more pictures so you can also think at this at home.

8. DOF is depth of field. Narrow DOF has clarity of the focus on the object of most interest with the background or the foreground becoming unfocused. A wide DOF averages the focus over the whole image. DOF is controlled by the Aperture setting on your camera. Setting your DOF can be one of the major factors in deciding on a composition. Narrow DOF is primarily used in macro photography, but it can also be effective in landscapes. When you have a path of sharpness through a less focused area you create a path for the eye to follow.

9. Composition by color can be very effective and vivid. Look how framing colors and color differences can lead the eye. Every photograph is a journey. Think how colors complement the journey's end.

10. Remember there are no real rules. What works best in one case may not work in another. The ultimate goal is capture spirit, to evoke a feeling to inspire the viewer with thought or awe. Remember that as a mantra.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ten Top Tips to Prevent Blurry Images.

A thoughtful mind

There is nothing better than a tripod or monopod to help steady your camera. But if you are like me, the inconvenience of lugging them around and setting up have led to alternatives.

1. Most shots of mine are hand held. Practice your shutter pushes so you only flex the muscles in your finger pad to cause the shutter release.

2. Click the shutter when you are slowly exhaling. I did hold my breath but this works better.

3. In low light situations I find using the camera timer to actuate the shutter helps you to eliminate even the slightest movement.

4. If you are using a point and shoot and focusing through the LCD pull the camera strap taunt and you will be able to steady your camera better.

5. In very low light situations sit down, cross your legs, put elbows on your knees.

6. With lens magnifications over 150mm use a lens with image stabilization. I find under 150mm image stabilization is overkill.

7. Use the fastest shutter speed you can in your lighting situation.

8. Open the aperture up to let in more light.

9. Use trees, rocks, banisters, poles as stabilization helpers. Bring a short piece of rope to connect to your camera strap and a stable object. With the strap around your neck and a connection to a stable object works nearly as well as a tripod.

10. Take lots of pictures. You can always delete ones that turned out blurry. And that is my most important advice. Sometimes, I will take a hundred pictures to get just the right one.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Top Ten Crazy Things I just happened to Photograph

I started this post with the idea that I would also tell you some of the crazy things I have done to get a shot along with some crazy shots I have taken. Well, just like a kid I started to think of all the crazy photos I have taken. I guess my own craziness will have to wait for another post.

1. This photo got nearly 5,000 views on Flickr. And was done with a super duper 3.2 thousand mega pixel camera. So pardon the quality. I called this competing for the Darwin Awards for obvious reasons.

2. Also from my early days of photography, so excuse the mess. If you have lived in a cave most of your life you may not know that this is Rev. Jerry Falwell's Church. And the Druid Society wanted to make sure their street was clean. When the Church moved I think the Druid group decided they have cleaned up the neighborhood enough.

3. Well, I do not mean to dwell on the religious aspect of Lynchburg. But I did find this guy walking up Wards Road one day. I guess everyone has their own cross to bear. So why not make a public display of it.

4. Again from my early days of photography in the digital age. So again excuse the quality of this point and shoot camera which cost over a thousand dollars and had a magnificent 3.2 megapixels.

Yes, this is an un-retouched photo of a hugh shoe. I just wish I had not lost the picture of the giant lady who died in in a hard drive failure.

5. This is more sad than funny. I took this photo one week before a boy, and maybe this one drown after jumping of the bridge. Oddly, this is the second time that I took a picture before someone drown. The other case was when a boy fell off a boat. I talked to him when he launched their boat. Later that evening I heard of the drowning.

6. Don't you wish you always had a camera when those unusual sights happen? This picture ended up on the cover of Imagine Driven Magazine.

7. Well, Shanti wanted a cracker at the National Zoo. I think she was getting her point across and I do not think this was a planned trick.

8. Yes, another one of those crazy things you see at the zoo. Again, this picture was taken with a low mega pixel camera in the early days of digital. He was giving the hippo a cracker, but I originally named this photo how to become an amputee.

9. Well this Red-Tail hawk is having a nice dinner of squirrel. Then on cue another squirrel just has to take a look and see what's for dinner. I generally use quotations with photos. And found this one pretty appropriate:

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations”
Oscar Wilde

10. I was watching for a climber to scale this cliff at Raven's Roost overlook (see the red rope). Unfortunately, he gave up before cresting the cliff.

I was somewhat surprised, and with my heart in my throat, as I took pictures of curious onlookers who stepped out on the edge of the world. This guy almost lost his balance on one foot.

The elevation here is 3200 feet and there is not much in between to break a fall.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Top Ten Sources for Photography

fluid and volatile

A list of my top ten photo resources that I use all the time.

Cameta Camera: This is my favorite site for buying camera equipment. Check their eBay store for great deals on factory demos that have been refurbished. I tend to like refurbished better than new, because all the cameras are gone over with a fine tooth comb and re-calibrated. These cameras are in new condition and generally 25 to 40 percent cheaper than retail.

2. Amazon: Whenever I check out Cameta Camera I also check the prices at Amazon. Cameta is an Amazon associate and sometimes you can get the same camera from them there cheaper than you can get one at auction. I like their customer reviews for the best unbiased opinions, but still take them with a grain of salt.

3. Adorama: A great place to shop for camera accessories and for photo presentations supplies. Prices are reasonable and they have a large inventory of everything imaginable about cameras, printing, accessories, lighting and presentation supplies.

4. Newegg: Sometimes the best deals on point and shoot cameras can be found here. I have always had a great experience shopping Newegg for both cameras and computer equipment.

5. Mpix: One of the best places to buy prints online. If you are looking for quality prints on a variety of premium paper Mpix cannot be beat. Their price for metallic paper is exceptional.

6. Flickr camera finder: There are many camera and lens review sites and you can blurry eyed reading the reviews. You also have to think how tainted these reviews are. I use Flickr for a resource to see what is most important. The output of the camera pictures. I also do my lens research on Flickr. I search the lens itself and look at the pictures people achieve. After all, pictures tell more than a thousand words, better than any review.

7. Zazzle: One of the best places to make, buy, and sell photo products. The quality is superb and they have a quick turnaround when products are ordered.

8. Blurb: Blurb makes superior photo books. Their book making software is easy to use and it is great for making books for clients and for books for sale. This would be also a great source for wedding photographers.

9. Picasa: The best free software for organizing your photos. You can quickly locate photos that may have gotten lost in the shuffle on your computer. They also offer some easy non destructive editing software and other perks.

10. Windows Live Photo Gallery: I use Windows Live Photo Gallery to get large resolution pictures to clients. It is also great to use in conjunction with Picasa. I also find their publishing tools very useful in photo uploads.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ten funny camera things no one should have.

When I started this I thought what are some of the odd things that I thought would appeal to every camera junkie. Things they would not want to buy. Well, some of those pin hole cameras you make yourself are pretty neat. And, just in case you can't help yourself a few are amazon ads for the addicted. Photographs used in this post are from product advertisements.

1. Right angle lens: A voyeur lens that lets you capture photos at right angles should you really not let people know you are photographing them?

2. Toss and catch camera: Imagine that expression you get when you throw that fast ball camera to an unsuspecting catcher.

3. The third eye skull camera: You must really read the description here of this unusual camera. What frightful looks you may capture.

4. Blackbird Fly camera, non focusing, non metering, and a superior flawed plastic lens. Found in a Japanese catalog without English translation.

5. A Maxwell Smart camera: Not a shoe a book.

6. And another camera to toss: Or you can hang it from a balloon, kite, or a 747.

7. A snap together camera: Tired of those model airplane kits, try a camera kit.

8. Another make your own camera: All you need is a printer and paper folding skills. And they have several designs.

9. Mickey Mouse Camera: for the fun at heart.

10. A digital camera pen: A necessity for the spy in you.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ten Top Essential Photo Promo Tools to Keep in the Car

Looking through Art and Photographs for sale
1. Moo Business Cards: These cards are nice. You can design them with a different picture on the back of each card. Fan them out and let the customer pick the one they like. This is great idea to let the potential client know the quality of your work.

2. Calendars: Keeping your work before the eyes of a potential client year long is excellent way to promote your art and photography. Each month is a reminder to make that contact.

3. Refrigerator magnets: I prefer the small ones with my phone number. Not only will the client see the your picture his visitors will too. They provide a constant reminder of your work.

4. Postcards: I always have on hand a collection of postcards in my car. I have made immediate sales right out of my trunk . And, it may suggest another way a retail agent may sell your work.

5. Portfolios: Nice 11x14 portfolios are great for displaying your work. Nothing says more a large picture that someone can see the quality of your work. This one holds 24 pages and is under 10 dollars.

6. Flip Books: These are particularly nice to keep in your pocket. Having ready access to show potential clients on the fly can make for a great introduction. A great promo tool for about five dollars.

7. Laptop: I use an Asus EEE It is a great little computer with a fantastic battery life. It is small and can easily show your pictures in a great slide show. I particularly like this because it is easy to carry and can be used as photo storage on trips. It is also great for giving your client a preview of what you have just taken. Its about the cheapest laptop and very well made and sturdier than most.
ASUS Eee PC 1000HE 10-Inch Netbook (1.66 GHz Intel Atom N280 Processor, 1 GB RAM, 160 GB Hard Drive, 10 GB Eee Storage, Bluetooth, XP Home, 9.5 Hour Battery Life) Black

8. Note Book: with 8x10s I use these to carry a couple hundred of my photos. Used with a standard plastic slip sheet a simple note book makes a great presentation. I buy sheet protectors at Sam's for about 8 dollars for 200. I have made immediate sales right from the note book.

9. Pencil Pen and note pad: Do I need to say more. I have always regretted when I did not have this on hand.

10. Bumper stickers: Great to put on the bumper of your car, and give to others to do the same. A great way to advertise your craft, and very inexpensive.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ten Top Burma Signs To Your Gallery

At the Natural Bridge Speedway

When I was young I always enjoyed seeing Burma Shaving Signs on the way to a destination. On the Internet highway you can use the same technique to draw people and perhaps customers to your Art and Photography. Here are Ten ideas using my site as an example. These ideas may not be new to you, but just be a reminder of things you can do:

1. Sign post ahead: Develop many portals through the internet that lead to your site. Here is an example of one portal I use. I have about ten more on different blogging platforms to increase the reach to my customer base. And yes, Photo Top Ten is one.

2. Always explore new places to place your signs. Social Networking is great to focus on the clients who may use your work. Twitter may prove to be a great resource.

3. Always explore the content of others on as many sites as possible. Be diverse and make sincere comments on their posts. Be sure to leave a link to your site. You may draw traffic from the owner and those that visit their blog or site. Sincere and honest comments are the best. If you do not have something good to say don't say it. An example. I leave 4 or 5 comments a day as the last thing I do before I go to bed.

4. Take an active part in the sites of others. Creating sign posts to you gallery and leaving good content will help you built respect among potential customers.

5. Get exposure in the local print media such as local Newspapers. Having exposure there may help potential clients find you.

6. Welcome when others want to blog about your site. Particularly when it may lead to other potential clients you may not have targeted.

7. Be active in local forums let people know about you. They may even feature your pictures in a picture of the day section.

8. Use meme sites such as Stumble Upon to direct others to some of your best work. Be sure to look at the work of others and give thumbs up to their sites. This has been so valuable to me I installed their tool bar.

9. Use tools like Google Touch Graph to get a visual read on your linking progress and discover new sites that you may develop more sign posts.

10. Whenever you explore and surf, think sign post and put your burma sign there along the way.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ten Photo Contests You Can Win

Mandarin preening

Perhaps you have considered entering a photo contest. Or perhaps you thought the odds were too high and never tried.

Here are ten photo contests you can enter. And can you win? Yes, I have won two of the contests below and to tell the truth I have only entered four contests in my photo career.

1. Smithsonian photo contest

From their website:

Fifty finalists will be selected, ten for each of the five categories. Smithsonian will notify the 50 finalists by February 28, 2009. From these 50 finalists, five category winners and a grand prize winner will be selected. The entries of all finalists will be published on March 2, 2009. At that time, readers can vote online for one readers' choice winner. The winning entries will be published in the print edition of Smithsonian magazine during summer 2009.

Category winners will be awarded $500. The readers' choice winner will be awarded $500. The grand prize winner will receive a four-day, three-night Smithsonian Journeys Grand Canyon Weekend Adventure for two from July 17-20, 2009, or the wholesale cash equivalent.
2. National Wildlife PhotoZone
A fee of 15 dollars to enter 20 pictures

From their website:

We are now accepting entries to our 39th annual contest. Cash prizes totaling $25,000 plus other gifts will be awarded to the winners in seven categories in three separate divisions: Professional, Amateur and Youth.
Prizes up to 10,000 dollars.

4. Tamron photo contest
Win a Tamron AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 VC Di-II Aspherical (IF) lens

5. Dream Assignment
Tell them about your dream photo assignment to win.
Win 50,000 dollars and a lenovo thinkpad w700
Sponsored by Microsoft and IBM

6. The Best of Citizen Journalism
Grand prize epson stylus printer R1800

7. National Parks Foundation

Share the Experience photo contest prizes not announced yet. Last year grand prize equaled over 40,000 dollars. I was lucky enough to have won second place.

8. National Geographic Your shot
No prizes here, but your picture may be published in National Geographic.

9. Burrad-Lucas
Prize: Olympus SP-57OUZ

10. Parents Magazine (from American Baby, Parents and Family Circle)
Themes vary each month.

Prize: Canon - PowerShot 8.0MP Digital ELPH

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Top Ten Reasons to Give Up Photography

Secrets behind mannequin photography

At times this has been so true for me.

1. You have looked at your income for the last month. You made a grand total of 24 cents. You think next month you might be able to afford a cup of coffee at McDonalds.

2. You are looking at that new lens you want which costs 700 dollars.

3. The last income you made the previous month was 50 dollars because of a copyright infringement settlement. You think that will show them.

4. You have two cars that are not going anywhere. Both need repair. To get one on the road will cost over 800 dollars. You wonder what locations I can reach by city bus.

5. A publisher contacts you. They really love your work. Unfortunately, they have no money to offer you for publication. They tell you it will be good publicly.

6. You won that Photo Contest last year. Nearly four thousands dollars in prizes. Some things you can't use. Now, the tax form comes. You thank God you didn't win more.

7. You did enjoy a good T bone steak. Now you think hot dogs, beans and rice are just dandy and should be everyone's special Sunday Dinner.

8. You go in a gallery and ask them if they would like to see your work. They say they only handle artists. You think I am an artist and walk out the door.

9. Someone tells you your photography is really great. Then asks. "What kind of camera do you use?" You begin to wonder what type of typewriter Hemingway used.

10. You drop your camera. The repair bill is going to be over two hundred dollars. You think forget the McDonald's coffee you are going to save up for repairs starting with that 24 cents.