Tag Archives: Business

Inspiration? What about all the other photos on a subject?

Mushrooms have been done before! Don't let that stop you doing it your way.

Mushrooms have been done before! Don’t let that stop you doing it your way. Inspiration is about expressing yourself – letting your passion out. Just do it!
Click image to view large.

Nothing’s new under the sun – except your way of doing it…

I have often been told that you need a ‘big/new idea’ to start a successful business. And, I have often replied… “what rubbish!” I agree that successful businesses need good ideas. Some businesses work with new ideas. But no business ever worked with just a big/new idea. The other ingredients are very important too. You need an angle on good customer care. Your product should be good. You need to sell it right… Well, you get the point. There is much more to a business than the idea. So it is with photographs.


 
I put a picture of mushrooms here for a reason. Look at Google images: mushrooms  External link - opens new tab/page. Google tells me there are “About 77,000,000 results”. Yes, seventy seven million images of mushrooms. They are pretty interesting subjects and there are lots of ways to think about them. There are even more ways to photograph them if you work all the different angles too. Getting the right shot means you have to have more than one pop at the subject.

When struggling for inspiration you don’t need a big/new idea to make a great photograph. You just need to put something of ‘you’ into your shot. Your idea is good enough. If you do it well your viewers will like your image regardless of all the others. Do not be put off. Have a go anyway. Your interpretation and your art will make it worthwhile.

Photography is fun! But more than anything photography is about expressing yourself and your passion. So, instead of being put off by the other images – look at a few and be inspired.

Post Processing Defined

The growth of a multi-billion Pound industry worldwide in software and post-processing work has been phenomenal in recent years. However, the camera manufacturers are in rude health. The mobile industries are active and growing. The Internet is hosting more and more online facilities for processing. Websites that are using images, photographic processing and social networking in images are growing daily. The post-processing industry is quite possibly one of the largest computer industry interfaces with the public.

Find out more about post-processing in our new article in the Photographic Glossary.

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
See also: Profile on Google+.


Photography Tips to Improve Your Online Selling…

Online selling? Make your product shots interesting

Selling online? Make your product shots clean, interesting and good looking.
Click to view large.

Online selling? Better sales – great looking products

Selling online is about getting your product noticed. Nobody will pay top dollar for your product when others look better? A great photo is essential to your sale. Here are some questions to ask yourself. Does your product photo…

  • Look great?
  • Look clean?
  • Show everything important?
  • Show the product is in great condition?
  • Represent the true colour?
  • Show only the product?

Make your buyer think, “Yes, I want THAT one”! If lots of people want it then you can get a high price. If your photograph is dull, cluttered, dirty and with poor colour… forget it. Someone else will make the sale. Here are a few tips to help you get your online selling product looking good.

Photographic background for online selling

Make sure that your background is looking good when online selling. White is a colour that looks crisp, clean and bright. It can lift the mood of your shot immediately. It is also a neutral colour so it goes well with most others. It will not clash with your product and will look great.

You can buy large white card sheets cheaply from a local art or stationery suppliers. Look after it and you can use it hundreds of times for your online selling backgrounds. You might also try this technique for white backgrounds… Simple photography in the bath – high key shots.

Use a card bent in the middle so you can see it below and behind the product. Or, use two boards jointed with white tape to hide the join. This gives the feeling of infinite white space around your product. Clean crisp white to infinity in your image is a great way to display a product for online selling. Online catalogues use this technique a lot.

For very brightly coloured or white products, use another neutral colour. Off-white, cream or black cards are great as backgrounds. They will not distract buyers from your product. Black is good for focusing the attention on the subject. Cream is a slight contrast from yellows or very bright colours. Make sure your colours and background are sympathetic to the subject. If they clash your online selling will bomb.

Distractions…

Make sure there is only your product in view. Other items are a distraction for the buyer. They will wonder why it is there and what it has to do with the sale. Online selling relies on your product being the centre of attention. Simplify the scene as much as possible. Present the product as a centerpiece.

Make your online selling products interesting

Try to present the product in an interesting way. If there are multiple items in the product you can arrange them artistically. If you have only one item take it from an interesting angle. Try to think how most people look at the object and take the shot from a different viewpoint. If you normally look down on an object, look at it from below. If you normally see it from the side take it from above and so on. If someone sees the shot from a different view they will often spend more time looking at it. That is when you will be most likely to make a sale.

Warning: Check your photo for unexpected reflections or body parts. Many Internet joke sites have unfortunate pictures of people who did not notice dodgy additions to the shot!

 
• eBay Photography the Smart Way •
Creating Great Product Pictures that Will Attract Higher Bids and Sell Your Items Faster.
It stands to reason that you should present a product well. Nobody will buy awful looking products. Great sales rely on a great looking product. It’s quite easy to improve your skills.

This book will help you to get to grips with making your product look outstanding.   • eBay Photography the Smart Way •

 

Show the product in full

Consider if you need more than one view of your product. Some sites allow you to have several photos. Try to capture it from all sides without too many shots or you can cause indecision. With one picture, shoot from the best side so it presents well.Online selling pays off if you spend a little time presenting it in full and from the best angle.

Bring out all the good points. Product marketing aims for the ‘unique selling points’ of a product – the reasons why people want to buy it. So ensure you have these in the photo if possible. If not, write about it in your posting.

If there are accessories, additional products or extra items included, think carefully how to photograph them. Consider just listing them with the product on your advert. Extra photographs of something which is not the main product may weaken your message.

Lighting the shot for online selling

If using images straight from your camera beware of light casts. Indoors tungsten bulbs and fluorescent lights can strongly colour the scene. Choose the ‘Tungsten’ or ‘fluorescent’ setting in your ‘White balance’ menu. This will off-set the colour cast. You will get a more realistic colour.

If you get the lighting right your product will be much more likely to sell

The right lighting will help you sell your project.

Top: Underexposed, dim light with a tungsten colour cast - unappealing.

Middle: Nasty highlights, too bright, reflections, washed out colour - distracted buyer.

Bottom: Diffused light, proper camera settings - An attractive product.
.

The important part of your photograph is the light. Make lighting simple and bright. One diffused light, slightly off from one side is best. Try not to make it a hard light. That will cause harsh shadows and highlights and make it look ugly. Diffuse the light as much as you can so it is a soft light. Hang a piece of white cotton in front of the light, or use some other type of diffusion. This will allow the brightness but keep the shadows soft and flattering to your product. Also try to light your product to avoid unnecessary black spots. If the detail is lost, so is your online selling customer.

Harsh lights and flash both create over-brightness which is ugly and distracting. It puts customers off. Most people use flash – it’s easy and already set up in their camera. Unfortunately, it is often far too bright and harsh, sharpening the shadows and washing out the colours. Many cameras allow you to turn down the flash. Look through the menus for the flash control. If you are close to the product for the photo then the lowest setting is probably fine.

You may also need to diffuse the flash. You can put tissue paper over the flash panel and tape it on. Alternatively you can deflect the flash or point it at a wall/ceiling so the light is bounced around the room. This gives a nice even and diffused light.

If you used bounced light for your online selling photographs, be careful about coloured walls. They can cause colour casts. This leaves your product looking odd coloured and unattractive.

Look out for nasty highlights, bright sparkles and bright reflections. They are totally distracting and will put off potential buyers. Find a way to light your product to get rid of them. Good online selling requires your customer to like the product and not be distracted by the photography!

Taking the shot

Here is a quick checklist…

  • Make sure the whole object is properly in focus.
  • For maximum sharpness use a tripod – very important.
  • Make sure the product is spotless – really work on cleanliness.
  • Set white balance and lighting correctly to get the best colours.
  • Arrange your scene in a pleasing way.
  • Get close to fill the frame to provide the most detail you can.
  • Try not to lop bits off your subject – get it all in the frame.
  • Shoot and re-shoot… get it right.
Finally…
Practice for online selling

Don’t assume you will get it right straight away. Take a shot and look at it very carefully. Re-shoot several times if necessary. Download the shot and look at it on the computer. Be prepared to go back to get it right.

If you are serious about selling things online this is your chance to do it well. The key is good lighting and careful attention to detail. With practice you will get it right quicker, increase your business and have fun with your photography.

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Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

Record Shots – a definition

Record shot - old airliner cockpit

Record shot - old airliner cockpit

The way a photograph is taken differs according to the purpose of the shot. In this post I define what is meant by a record shot…

Definition: Record Shot(s); Record series;

Definition: Record Shot  | Glossary entry

Record Shot

 A record shot is where the emphasis is on creating a record of the photographed object. you are not trying to portray the object in an artistic representation.

A record shot for your own use

Take a shot of a bird in your garden. In its simplest form it just captures the bird as it is seen. However, professional photographers and competition judges what to see some interpretation of what that bird is like in nature. So the more interesting shots will show it eating, or fighting, or showing some natural behavior that is not just “being a bird on a stick”. Likewise, other wildlife are always more interesting when they are, so to speak, in action. These ‘in action’ shots are NOT what we would call a record shot. The record shot is the straight forward representation of the detail of the object, animal or whatever you are recording. It brings out the essential essence of the look and feel of the subject. It does not include behavioral or interpretive art.

Reasons for taking a record shot

A record shot may simply be a shot you take to remember you have been somewhere. It may show you have done something. Your shots as records could be, for example, a complete insurance inventory for your house. Then again, it could be the birds you are following in your garden. As you can see, there are a whole range of things you might want to take such shots for at home.

The record shot is important to the professional

Record shots are increasingly used in a professional context. It’s normal for such shots to be retained for future reference (archived). They often form a history of the condition of an object.

Record shots are frequently used to record items for valuation, especially for insurance or recovery purposes. They may also form part of the ‘provenance’ of an artwork – proof of its origin, history, condition and ownership. They are often used to record work-flow, project progress or to validate contract completion. The latter may include a record of progress for legal reasons.

Increasingly, the staff headshot is used for the records of the organisation. They may be used in the front office operations. Head shots inform the public who the staff are and their names. But the headshot is also used in the back office for personnel reasons and staff record-keeping. These shots have now become part of the rich lexicon of legal and professional management of the company.

Record sequences and time considerations

Multiple shots are often taken for record purposes. This creates a complete record from all aspects of the item for a given time. Normally, the shots follow logical and straight-forward points of view. Thus, a record of a car might be taken one from all sides and above; one of the engine, boot (trunk) and interior shots.

A Record shot, or record series, are often taken periodically. This creates a complete set of time-period shots. This historical record sequence is used to determine changes, deterioration and updates – including repairs.

Record shot expertise

Record shots require their own expertise. Record shot photography provides a complementary background for other materials. Documents, reports and scientific work all require documentary images forming a record for the work. Artifacts and historical pieces are photographed for cataloguing, publication, preservation, valuation and repair.

Considerations when taking a record shot

Taking a record shot is not always straight forward. The photographer needs to provide a complete record of the item. All angles and aspects of the item need to be considered in a complete series. Also, one must be careful to ensure the photography does not damage it (e.g. camera flash can damage manuscripts and paintings). Consider that some items need careful handling, mounting or arranging. This is especially the case where historical artifacts need to be recorded for preservation purposes.

In insurance, engineering, science and medical records very specific or precise angles and perspectives are required. Record photographers often follow pre-set procedures to ensure representative comparable images. There is also a detailed set of metadata records required to go with this type of work. It will ensure the proper cataloguing and filing of the images.

Record shots are frequently the recording method in forensic and investigative science. Such shots are often used in court proceedings. High photographic standards are essential. forensic proof is a very precise science. The work must also include professional record keeping of the forensic photographic process itself.

The background in a record shot

It is simply impossible to separate out the detail in some pieces when there is a complex or difficult background. When taking a record shot you should be careful to pay attention to the background. Make it simple, appropriate, devoid of unnecessary detail. If possible provide a blank background, proper lighting and ensure effective use of contrast to separate the piece from the background. These are essential to make sure the proper details are preserved in your subject item.

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Focus on Imaging 2012

Focus on Imaging 2012 - The UKs largest photography show.

Focus on Imaging 2012
The UKs largest photography show.

This week the largest photography show in the UK was revisited upon the NEC in Birmingham. It was a good show this year! Amid the hype of new cameras, lenses and other electronic goodies was a great range of seminars, and of course, retail interests of all types.

This year Canon had a major stand back on the main concourse. They have released a number of great new products recently. This week marked the release of the new Canon 5D MkIII. I was firmly informed that this is a ‘new breed’. Apparently it is NOT to replace the Canon 5D MkII, which will continue in production. As impressed as I was with the 5D MkIII the differentiation between the two models was only one of a technological generation. Of course, its a great step forward – the new Digic 5+ chip looks like a powerful system. Nevertheless the new MkIII model was not a ‘hybrid re-invention’ – the representative failed to convince on that one. A big improvement is the contrast recognition. This allows auto-focus functions to work better in low light. Also, the much needed focus point improvements in the focus system looked great. Significant improvements in processing speed allow a number of software enhancements. These include HDR processing in-camera and faster frame capture at six frames per second. The remodelled body felt great, and the quieter shutter/mirror system was welcome. Even so, it is difficult to see how Canon can justify keeping the two models running side by side. For 5D first time buyers the big price lift is probably not justified unless the new features are right where you want your business to be focussed. With prices falling for the 5D MkII the differentiation into a new ‘5D range’ is questionable. Canon are no strangers to quirky strategy – it may prove an interesting route. The scheme worked with the flagship 1D range. A number of stands at the show were selling MkII bodies for around £1400! That represents a big price drop. Will the differentiation stand up between these two? Only the market will realise that story.

Elsewhere in the show were some great stands. As always the Sigma stand impressed. A great range of lenses for the major mounts – beautifully marketed and supporting some superb features. The somewhat odd Sigma SD1 flagship camera was on show, but did not seem to be a centre piece. It seems a great camera. A little under-designed in its looks, it boasts a 46 mega-pixel sensor. I was at the busy stand for about 20 minutes and it did not come out once. It was hidden in a side-counter under a pile of brochures all day. Perhaps Sigma do not believe in this product? I would like someone to prove otherwise to me. Something needs looking at there Sigma.

The Lowepro stand showed an astonishing range of bags and accessories. The great range of sling bags is in my opinion unbeatable. Sling bags can be carried over one shoulder but worn like a rucksack until wanted. Then it simply slides down into a side opening bag. A great idea and a comfortable way to carry equipment and be ready for the quick shot. Worth a look at this range for bags to suit almost every type of photographic equipment.
More after the jump…

As usual there were, aside from the main players, a wide range of side stands. They were showing all sorts of innovations, additions to ranges, specialist operations, services and discounted goods. Too numerous to mention these stands make the trip worth while. Every photographer loves a nifty piece of equipment or the quirky accessory. Several happy hours in these stands provided some interesting finds.

If you love photography, technology and accessories then this is the place to go. It was a great show with many new releases as icing on the cake for the technology buff. I was absorbed the whole day. I am already looking forward to next year.

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
See also: Profile on Google+.

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