I have just passed my Higher National Diploma in photography. It is a two year full time coarse with many elements from fashion photography, still life, commercial, macro advertising and stock photography to name a few. For myself the biggest learning area was working in a studio which I had never done before, learning how lighting works makes photography so much easier. I would highly recommend the coarse to any one who has an interest in photography, for a HND coarse a basic understanding of photography and photoshop is required or an NC coarse might be
As a photographer I can see an image in my head without thinking too much about it, which is what happened here, it was the light that caught my eye first but then the photography part of my brain kicked in. We have a path that leads you into the image, we have an old post on the third, nice cloud detail in a blue sky and finally the lighting that caught my eye, the shadow area was flat looking so I thought well I did'nt think I just knew to take multiple exposures that I could blend to make the image pop. I'm a big fan of Scott Kelby and in one of his tutorials he says about working the scene, just to the right of this path is beautiful loch that I went to photograph but half of my images were of the countryside around it.
Using my Sony A77 and 18mm lens I could not fit this curving path and the castle in to frame as there are buildings right at my back. I purchased a wide angle lens Sony's 11-18mm but Sigma do a 10-20mm that is very popular aswell.
Crop Sensor, your sensor size needs to be taken account at this point as my camera has a crop sensor my 18mm lens is actually 27mm and 11mm is 15.5mm. On a camera such as Canon 5D range that have a larger sensor 16mm is actually 16mm.
So you have a hard drive full of images, you might display some of them flickr, facebook or google images but would it not be great to show your images and make some money from your photography?
You have 2 main types of sites, 1 print on demand (pod) and 2 stock. I have already written about pods so for this post I will discuss stock sites. Stock sites are used by companies looking for images and it is cheaper to buy an image than pay someone to go take that image. What their willing to pay will depend on the size of the company and what the image is to be used for. If it was world wide advertising campaign you could be onto a good earner but if its just for a few hundred pamphlets their budget will be a lot less. The thing about photographs is they can be used in many different ways for example a photograph of a glass of wine could be used by a bistro, wine bar, nhs (drink aware), wine maker, wine retailer, vine yard, dentist (teeth staining), for cooking, well you get the idea, landscapes are popular for tourism, a man smartly dressed could be used a hundred different ways.
So now you want to sell your images, you need to select a stock site but be careful the payouts vary, the rights vary, the requested file types vary so a little research into which site you pick but I would recommend you look at Alamy, Shutterstock and Istockphoto to begin with.
We would all love to go on a 2 week safari with a top of the range camera with a 400mm F2.8 lens (over £8000 just for lens) but for most, a serious lottery win would be required first. So our options are, well we do have our own wildlife, for me a good image of a stag is hard to beat. Looking for something a little easier? Have a look at my image with the 2 bears at play in the water, captured with an entry level dslr with a Sigma 70-300mm lens, by zooming in to 300mm to get as tight as possible this image could have been captured anywhere, it was however taken at Blair Drummond, Scotland a local wildlife park. We have many wildlife parks and zoo's around us some are better than others for the photographer. The secret, well it's not a secret just common sense is composition, we don't want to any signs of an enclosure in the shot. Any DSLR with a telephoto lens is all that is required by photographer, but do try and get there for opening time, buy a program with the feeding times listed and try to stay the full day to increase your chances of getting that shot. Feeding stations for the birds in you back garden are great way to encourage more birds but set it up so you have a bare branch close by for the birds to land on to give you that photographed in the wild look.
As mentioned in a previous post I love my sony A77 with my only reservation being battery life. I'm not a fan off battery grips, I find them too bulky and make the camera too heavy and at over £200 there not cheap. Don't get me wrong if I liked shooting with a grip I would pay the money, I do shoot some weddings and I feel that is the only time I would use a grip, the two batteries will last all day (will have a spare just in case) and you do shoot a fair bit in portrait mode which is the other area that grips come in handy with a second shutter button.
So with my first wedding of 2013 only eight weeks away a battery grip has been ordered so I will have time to get my self familiar with it.
Most photographers have a story as to why they got into photography, for me it was when I captured this image in 2007 up until then my photography was point and shoot, my wife and I would go away for the weekend I would take my camera and grab some snaps if something caught my eye. I knew nothing of aperture or shutter modes I used auto mode for everything, I had never heard of raw. Back in 2007 we were coming back from a trip up north when we stopped off at a burger van on the A9 and there this stag was just yards away, I thought this was amazing I like everyone else grabbed some snaps and did not think much more about it. It was a couple of days later I put the images onto my pc and when opened this image up I thought wow I really like that. That was me hooked, I started buying magazines and learning how to use my camera properly, I started seeing things differently I saw photo's all around me. The more I learned the more I wanted to learn.
I started selling some prints to friends, I got asked to shoot a wedding, I was so nervous I felt ill but when I started shooting the buzz was amazing. I have now been published in papers and magazines, I have won a couple of competitions and have now shot many weddings without any advertising and I regularly sell canvas's and prints through online stores.
I have learned a great deal the last few years and I'm still learning and my photography is still getting better as my journey continues.
I have now owned the Sony A77 for a couple of months and I must say I am very impressed. There was teething problems on release but Sony have listened and a few firmware updates later we have a great camera. I am not going to go into all the details that you have already read about, you know it's 24m pixels give superb resolution and it is lightening fast. The view finder is amazing with info, spirit level and image review all possible without removing the camera from your eye. The sweep panorama function I thought like most others would be gimmick that would never be used but the 30inx7in jpgs are great and can be done where you would struggle to create a 2 shot stitch for example from a moving boat. I have used my camera in both the studio and on location in some testing weather conditions and it performed flawlessly every time. One more thing for the people that shoot jpeg's DRO (dynamic range optimiser) when used can save so many images by reducing blown highlights or keeping detail in deep shadows, it can make some images a little flat but a quick levels adjustment soon sorts that.
So now the bad bits, there is only one and its battery time, one battery will cover you for most shoots but to be on the safe side I purchased a spare battery. I might add a grip but I'm not keen on the extra bulk but I don't want to worry about having to change batteries during a wedding.
So all in I would highly recommend the Sony A77.
Expecting delivery of my Formatt Hi-Tech pro stop ND filter today. This will allow me to take longer exposure shots during the day. There are many reasons why you would want longer exposure times during sunny days for example you could capture the motion in corn stalks in a scenery image but I will be using it to smooth out the water in seascapes and waterfall shots as I love that smooth silky look you achieve when with longer exposure times.
Most new cameras will mean more pixels like the 24 million that you get with my new Sony A77, all these pixels gives you great resolution but it also gives you much larger file sizes which some pc's/laptops might struggle with. My laptop is 18 months old and I never had any problems processing my 14 million pixel images from the Sony A500 but with my new Sony A77, I need to save my RAW files as a JPEG before I use some plugins/filters. So be warned you might need to replace more than your camera..
Welcome to my blog. My photography is on a tight budget like so many others out there, but through this blog I hope to show that great photographs can be achieved by all.