10 Ways to Make a Living from Photography

The post 10 Ways to Make a Living from Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

10-ways-to-make-a-living-from-photography

It has never been harder to make a living from photography than it is in this day and age. But that doesn’t mean the game is over for you as a photographer. There are still plenty of ways to make money from photography if you are willing to make the effort and have a well-thought-out plan. So here are 10 ways to make a living from photography.

10 Ways to Make a Living from Photography

Portrait photography

Portraits can be a great little money earner for any photographer. There is even more opportunity for those photographers in smaller towns. Yes, there may not be as many potential customers but the competition will also be much smaller. From the initial shoot fee to prints (digital or analog) and frames, there is an opportunity to make additional sales on top of just the portrait shoot. So any portrait photographer has a few potential steady income revenues.

The overheads to start with are also fairly minimal as you can offer location shoots or even set up a small studio in your home to keep you going until you can get a proper space to work.

10-ways-to-make-a-living-from-photography

Event photography

Event photography is another good genre of photography that offers great opportunities for earning money. Events can be anything from birthday parties to trade events or even company events like Christmas parties.

The advantage of this genre of photography is that there is always going to be a demand for it. So if you can get a good reputation, then word of mouth can spread and get you more and more work.

10-ways-to-make-a-living-from-photography

Photojournalism

Similar to other genres of photography, there is always a steady supply of work for a photojournalist. Being a photojournalist is hard work, both physically and, more importantly, emotionally. But it can also be one of the most rewarding genres of photography as it has the power to change the world.

If you are willing to make the sacrifices needed and are good at capturing photos that tell stories, then this genre of photography could be for you.

10 Ways to Make a Living from Photography

Wedding photography

A few years ago, weddings would have been one of the top earners in this list of 10 ways to make a living from photography. But like most genres of photography, things have changed.

Less than a decade ago, an average wedding photographer could command $2000 plus per wedding and easily shoot 30-40 weddings a year. Unfortunately, the influx of photographers who undercut each other in price has had a detrimental effect on wedding photography. There are photographers now offering to shoot weddings for a few hundred dollars.

Nevertheless, wedding photography is still a market that has lots of opportunities to make money.

10-ways-to-make-a-living-from-photography

Product and food photography

As long as people are making things to sell or eat, they will need images of their products to help sell them. Product and food photography is a great source of income and a steady stream of work for any photographer.

It can be a little mundane for some, but I actually enjoy the process. I really like that I can shoot at my own pace and control every aspect of the shoot. This is not something anyone who works as an outdoor photographer gets to experience. From local restaurants to design companies, there is an endless amount of work available if you can find it.

10-ways-to-make-a-living-from-photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography can consist of things like:

  • Shooting lifestyle campaigns or adverts for tourist boards and companies.
  • Photographing hotel rooms and venues.
  • It can consist of both interior and exterior shots with or without people.

I find it works really well combined with my editorial work as I often find myself getting an audience with someone in a position of power in these areas through my various commissions.

10-ways-to-make-a-living-from-photography

Editorial photography

Editorial photography was a great source of revenue for photographers.

This changed with the introduction of digital photography all those years ago, which led to the slow demise of staff photographers. It is cheaper and easier to use stock images than it is to send a photographer out to photograph a feature. The other benefit of using stock photos for an editor is that they can see exactly what images they are purchasing.

There are still higher-end magazines like National Geographic and agencies that will commission a photographer for an editorial feature, but they are few and far between.

10 Ways to Make a Living from Photography

Stock photography

Gone are the good old days of being able to make a living solely from stock photography. But all is not lost.

Assuming you are getting work from one of the other aspects of photography on this list, you will be accumulating a body of images that you can more than likely put with a stock agency. Whilst this won’t make you rich, it could provide a nice additional income. Just make sure to get model release forms where possible, and find the right agency for your style of photography.

10 Ways to Make a Living from Photography

Prints

Selling prints is another good revenue stream, whatever your genre of photography is. Big names aside, most of us photographers are not going to be lucky enough to sell prints for thousands of dollars. But, again, like stock photography, if you have a body of work, you might as well try to earn an income from it.

10 Ways to Make a Living from Photography

Sports photography

Sports photographers will always be in demand as long as our love for the various sporting games continues. If you can get yourself in with a good agency or accreditation and get those awesome shots that are grace the pages of newspapers and websites worldwide the next morning you can make a very good and steady living. To get to that level will take time and a lot of hard work.

But there are also lots of opportunities at the local level of photographing such as school sports days or even local sporting events. These are much easier to get into and can provide a steady income to supplement your other photography work.

10-ways-to-make-a-living-from-photography

10 Ways to Make a Living from Photography: Conclusion

Whilst many photographers specialize in one specific area of photography these days, most photographers have to be willing to offer a few of these services. I shoot a lot of editorial and food photography and some commercial projects. I then use stock and print sales to increase that revenue stream.

Whatever genre of photography you specialize in, it’s important to diversify your work. Not only because of the income but also because you might make contacts that will lead to other jobs within your chosen genre.

Remember to price yourself accordingly and try not to work for free. Always keep in mind that if you don’t respect your work enough to be paid for it, why should someone else?

Do you have any other ways to make a living from photography that you’d like to add to this list? Share with us in the comments!

10 Ways to Make a Living from Photography

The post 10 Ways to Make a Living from Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

11 Tips for Shooting Travel Stock Photography to Make Money

The post 11 Tips for Shooting Travel Stock Photography to Make Money appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

Stock photography is a tough industry to master. The competition is fierce and prices have been falling over the last decade. But if you are willing to put the effort in and have a long term plan, you can certainly reap the rewards. As a photographer who has been involved in stock photography for over a decade, I have certainly seen the highs and lows. So here are my top tips for shooting travel stock images and how to make money from it.

shooting-travel-stock-photography

1. Include people

Picture buyers are always looking for something new and fresh. Including a person can often be what makes your images unique to the thousands of others that already exist. Including a person in the shot also gives the image some context and shows more of an experience rather than just documenting a place.

Some scenes are busy enough that you don’t need someone to pose. But if you do need someone, don’t be afraid to ask a stranger. Rarely have I found that anyone says no. I always offer to send them a copy of the image to sweeten the deal. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the more generic-type shots. It more about maximizing your sales potential by shooting a variety of different images.

shooting-travel-stock-photography

2. Get a model release

So once you have included a person when shooting travel stock photography, it is a good idea to get a model release. If the person or people are mainly unrecognizable, or if you intend to sell your shot for editorial purposes only, you won’t require one. But be aware that some stock agencies will require a model release even if it is someone’s hand showing in a photo. Of course, there are times where it simply isn’t feasible, for example, if you are photographing a crowd of people. Getty Images have a great model release form that you download here.

shooting-travel-stock-photography

3. Shoot portrait and landscape

When shooting travel stock photography, you should always shoot a landscape and portrait version. Not all scenes work in both landscape and portrait, so sometimes it might not be possible. But if you can, it will come in really useful.

But not only portrait and landscape, try to capture some different compositions. For example, place your point of interest on the left or right. Leave room above and below. You are already at the location so you might as well cover as many possibilities as you can. You never know when a buyer will ask if you have that image in a different crop. Doing this will mean that for example, your image may get used as a double-page spread or a front cover.

11 Tips for Shooting Travel Stock Photography to Make Money

4. Leave space for copy

It is important to shoot images with dead space to allow for copy or headlines to be put in. Sometimes this can mean breaking those all-important rules of composition you have spent years perfecting. But it’s worth it to make those sales.

As mentioned above, you can always shoot multiple versions of the same shot. Try to imagine where and how your image will be used in a publication (or even a website), and compose your shot with that in mind.

Image: There was plenty of free space at the top of this image for the copy to be placed.

There was plenty of free space at the top of this image for the copy to be placed.

5. Choose the right agency

This might be pretty obvious, but it’s important to submit your images to the correct stock photography library. If you shoot travel stock photography, then a specialist travel site is best. If you shoot still life, then an agency that specializes in this would be more successful.

Beyond that, spend some time researching the agency that you are thinking of submitting to. For example, are you happy to see your images sold for a few cents? Consider what your commission rate will be as well as they vary greatly from one agency to another.

shooting-travel-stock-photography

6. Think carefully before submitting to Microstock

Every single person I have ever spoken to who submitted to microstock sites regrets doing so down the road. Of course, there are probably some photographers out there who are very happy with their returns. The problem is that you will need such a huge collection of images with a wide coverage to see any returns that will be worth your time. This is because microstock sites sell images for cents. Ask yourself, would you prefer to sell one image at $25 or 250 at 10 cents?

11 Tips for Shooting Travel Stock Photography to Make Money

7. Find fresh angles

If you really want to make your images stand out and catch the buyer’s eye, photograph it differently! Every picture buyer has seen the classic shot of the Eiffel Tower, and it has been on the cover of hundreds, if not thousands, of publications. So the same is not likely to catch many prospective client’s attention. It’s not always easy, but if you can capture something different or unique, you might end up with a few sales from it. This could be as simple as photographing something from lower down or higher up.

11 Tips for Shooting Travel Stock Photography to Make Money

8. Unique location

As well as finding fresh angles, find new locations. Iconic locations such as London or New York, are constantly changing, so there are always potential new places from which to capture photos. This could be from a new rooftop bar with a unique view of Manhattan or new art installation on the streets of London. Even if your location isn’t ever-changing, finding somewhere with a view that not everyone photographs can be very useful.

shooting-travel-stock-photography

9. Quality over quantity

This is often a bit of a contradiction when it comes to stock photography because stock photography is a numbers game. The more images you have, the better your chances of making a sale. However, the key is that they have to be quality shots that people would be willing to pay for. This is the reason that it will take most stock photographers a few years to get a wide enough coverage of images to see a decent return.

Try to always shoot the best locations at the best possible time of day. More often than not, this will be sunrise or sunset, but you will need to assess each scene individually. Your aim should be to capture each shot in a way that you can sell it.

11 Tips for Shooting Travel Stock Photography to Make Money

10. Stay local

Shooting good travel stock photography doesn’t always mean jetting off to far-flung locations. You can often produce great travel stock images a lot closer to home. If, like me, you are lucky enough to live near an iconic place (for me it is London), then you already have endless photo opportunities.

Shooting locally has other benefits as well.

You can revisit locations easily if the weather wasn’t great. You don’t have to worry about the additional travel expenses that eat into your profits. In fact, you will probably find that your local shoots end up having a far better ROI (return on investment) than traveling to other places.

11 Tips for Shooting Travel Stock Photography to Make Money

11. Do something different

Another way that you can try to capture different types of images is to use different technology. For example, drones have now been around a while and can offer a completely new and unique view of something that may have been photographed a lot. But there’s no denying it’s getting harder and harder to fly drones in many places. So if it’s something you are interested in, it’s probably a good idea to get a license. But drone images do sell pretty well, so it is worth considering.

shooting-travel-stock-photography

Conclusion

For most people stock photography will never be the main source of income. However, with some preparation and planning, you can certainly make some extra money from your hobby or profession. The key to being a successful travel stock photographer is to treat it like a business as much as possible. Keep your costs as low as you can, and shoot as often as you can.

Do you have any other tips you’d like to share? Do you make money from shooting travel stock photography? Share with us in the comments!

 

shooting-travel-stock-photography

The post 11 Tips for Shooting Travel Stock Photography to Make Money appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

Gear Review: 4 New K&F Concept Filters Put to the Test

The post Gear Review: 4 New K&F Concept Filters Put to the Test appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

I have always been an advocate of carrying as little camera equipment as possible. In fact, most people are surprised to hear how little I carry with me on any trip. Besides the obvious weight to carry, it also means more things to lose or have stolen. But whilst carrying less is always better, there are some things that I simply can’t live without. Filters are one of the sets of accessories that I always take with me as they are essential for my photography. So when given four new K&F Concept filters recently, I was very excited to put them to the test.

k&f-concept-filters-put-to-the-test

Why should you use filters?

As advanced as digital cameras are these days, they still occasionally need some help to capture photos the way you want. Often the big issue in photography is light. Too much of it, not enough, too harsh, in the wrong place…if only you could control outdoor light like in a studio.

Filters can help a photographer control light in varied circumstances. There are lots of filters that all fill different objectives. Two of the most common filters are neutral density filters and polarizing filters.

Polarizing filters

Polarizing filters help to remove unwanted reflections from non-metallic surfaces. For example, if you are photographing water or through glass, they can help ensure you keep reflections to a minimum. In addition to this, they also help to boost the saturation in images (especially blues and greens). So, they are very useful for photographing things like waterfalls.

Neutral Density filters

Neutral Density filters help to reduce the amount of light that enters the camera. This allows you to select a slower shutter speed to create motion blur (when photographing water during the day or moving clouds). However, even in day to day photography, you may sometimes find ND filters useful to help avoid overexposure at wide apertures.

k&f-concept-filters-put-to-the-test

Square filters vs screw-on filters

There are two types of filters these days – square filters and screw-on filters.

Square filters are either square or rectangle and attach to a holder attached to your camera. As the name suggests, screw-on filters screw onto your lens directly.

There are pros and cons for using both. Historically, I have always used square filters, so this was a good test to see how I get on with using screw-on filters instead.

Gear Review: 4 New K&F Concept Filters Put to the Test

The filters tested

The four filters tested for this article are:

 

Packaging

My first impression of the filters was of the beautiful and secure packaging they arrive in. They come in a hard cardboard box with the filter itself placed in a hard plastic case inside the cardboard box. The filter is further protected inside the plastic box wrapped in a plastic bag and placed on a piece of foam. The plastic box that they come in makes them really easy to get in out to use when needed as the lid flips open. The circular polarizing filter comes in a slightly different plastic box which twists open but is still secure inside due to some rubber ridges. This stops the filter rattling around the case.

I will need to stick some small stickers on the plastic boxes and write the filter on them to make them easier to find – something that is currently lacking on the plastic boxes. Other than that, the packing is very impressive.

k&f-concept-filters-put-to-the-test

k&f-concept-filters-put-to-the-test

Build and ease of use

The frames of all of the filters, except the circular polarizer filter, are made from an aluminum alloy (the polarizer filter has extra-tough magnalium). Even though they are very slim in design, they certainly feel rigid with no real bending even when forced.

The glass itself on all the filters is coated optical glass (to help reduce reflections) that is waterproof and scratch-resistant.

k&f-concept-filters-put-to-the-test

Performance

Overall, all of the filters performed very well. As someone who has always used square filters, I was skeptical about the quality and how they would affect the image. I deliberately headed out during early afternoon as I wanted to test these filters in harsh light. Below are the images taken using these filters.

Gear Review: 4 New K&F Concept Filters Put to the Test

Circular Polarizer Filters

I conducted the first test with the circular polarizer. Below are two images taken from the same place only seconds apart. The image on the left was with no filter. In the image on the right, you can see how the reflection from the water has been removed using the K&F Polarizer Filter. In addition, you can see a boost in the blue in the sky a little. There is a very slight vignette on the top left corner, but this is so minor that it can easily be removed in post-production.

Gear Review: 4 New K&F Concept Filters Put to the Test

ND2-ND32 Neutral Density

I conducted the next tests with the two ND filters. Both filters easily screwed in and were subsequently easy to remove with no jamming at all. Both filters performed very well with no color casting or vignetting. I also didn’t come across the X cross-issue that might sometimes occur with variable ND filters.

Image: From the left: ND2, ND4, ND8, ND16, ND32

From the left: ND2, ND4, ND8, ND16, ND32

ND8-ND128 Neutral Density

The thing that I found so useful with these variable filters is the ease of transporting them and the amount of space saved in my camera bag. To be able to carry two ND filters that cover such a wide range is definitely something I feel is worth including in my camera bag.

Image: From the left: ND8, ND16, ND32, ND64, ND128

From the left: ND8, ND16, ND32, ND64, ND128

ND2-ND32 Neutral Density and Circular Polarizing

The final filter tested was the ND filter with the circular polarizing filter. Whilst I was really impressed with the other filters, this is the one that I really found useful. Normally in a situation like this, I screw on my circular polarizing filter, then screw in my filter holder ring, put the holder on, and add the filters I need before I’m ready to shoot.

This filter does all of that. You can see below how using the filter gives you a longer shutter speed to achieve smooth water, and also removes much of the reflection as well. This helps bring out the details on the river bed.

Image: No filter on the left, ND16, ND32

No filter on the left, ND16, ND32

Conclusion

As mentioned, I have always been skeptical of using circular or screw-in filters. However, I am thoroughly impressed with the K&F Concept filters I tested out. The image quality is superb and the added benefit of just using one filter and adjusting the gradient without having to stack filters is really useful.

The thing that really impressed me about these filters is how premium they look, feel, and perform. In fact, I did not notice any difference between these K&F Concept filters and my very expensive current square filters.

Another huge benefit of these filters is the cost. For example, at the time of writing the 5-stop variable ND and CPL filter is priced at $89.99. In other words, you are getting six filters for that price. Individually purchasing good quality filters will be a lot more expensive. This will obviously help anyone starting out and wanting to build their accessories up without spending a small fortune. I, for one, will be adding these filters to my collection.

Note: The author was given the K&F Concept filters free of charge to test out. But he is not paid or affiliated with K&F Concept and his review is honest and unbiased and based his personal experience of using the products.

 

k&f-concept-filters

The post Gear Review: 4 New K&F Concept Filters Put to the Test appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

The post How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

There is nothing quite like when you sell a travel story to a magazine. Seeing all your hard work in print gives you a great sense of satisfaction. Editorial work has changed a lot over the past few years, and you must prepare yourself for some rejection. However, if you follow this simple process of selling a story, and don’t give up, you will reap the rewards.

Also note, once you have built up a few relationships with editors, things get simpler. Once editors know and trust you, they will be far more receptive to your pitch for a story.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Publication research

Once you have an article idea, it’s always a good idea to research the type of magazines that may be interested in printing your story. Magazines differ significantly from one another. To give your story the best possible chance of publication, aim to pitch it to the right place.

For example, if your story is about walking, then pitch it to magazines that specialize in hiking or outdoor activities. Go to your local shop and flick through the magazine you intend to pitch to and see if it would be the right fit.

Also, research their submission process. Many publications have clear guidelines on how to submit work.

Image: An example of a travel article in 360ºMagazine by Jennifer Bell.

An example of a travel article in 360ºMagazine by Jennifer Bell.

Find a fresh angle

When you have your list of possible publications, ensure your story is fresh and unique. You don’t want to pitch ideas that are the same or similar to articles already recently published.

Most publications publish their articles on their website too, so check that what you are pitching is different. Also, remember to check upcoming articles as well. It may be that your article idea is set to feature in the next few issues.

The publication’s media pack is usually a good place to search for this sort of thing.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Destination research

Now that you have your angle and a list of preferred publications, it is time to research your topic. Researching your topic is one of the most important aspects of any shoot, and one rarely mentioned when discussing selling a story to a magazine. Many photographers will have you believe everything just comes together out in the field. But the reality is very different.

If your story is on the best museums in a certain city, then make sure you have a list of the museums you plan to visit. Write down everything from the best times to be there to the most important exhibits. If your angle is about hiking, then plan your walk to factor in the best times at viewpoints for photography.

The more you research, the better your shoot will be.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Prepare for rejection

If you want to be successful in any industry, you have to accept rejection along the way. Even as a pro with years of experience behind you, not every pitch will be successful. If only it was…

The key is not to take rejection personally. Don’t let it discourage you from pitching a different story to the same publication. If you are lucky and the editor gives you some feedback, take note of their suggestions, and work on these areas. Never get angry or burn your bridges with anyone as you will have an impossible task to win them round again.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Shoot plan

Once you’ve got your angle and completed your research, its time to start putting a shoot plan together. Your shoot plan should be more than just a list of locations – think of your shoot plan like an encyclopedia of your shoot. Include anything relevant like opening times, best times to shoot (sunset/sunrise), and logistics of getting to your required shoot locations.

Make a note of other potential locations you can visit. It’s also worth putting together some contingency ideas in the case of bad weather or unforeseen closures. The key to a good shoot plan is to make it as easy as possible to capture the shots you want to take.

The last thing that you want to be doing is rushing around, wasting valuable shooting time.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Image variation

The reason that a shot list is so important is it ensures you cover the shots that you need to capture, and will also give you variety. Your images should include a range of details, people, buildings, landscapes/cityscapes, food, and anything else that would be relevant to your story.

The more variation and options you can provide an editor, the more chance you will have of selling your story.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Tell a story

The big difference between a story and just documenting a place is the story you are trying to tell. You want to try to make sure your piece isn’t just a photographic list of places. The key is to take the viewer on a journey with you. It is also important to take notes of all the necessary information that accompanies your story. People’s names, places, names of food dishes – you never know what might be needed.

The final piece should be a coherent story that has a variety in the shots.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

The pitch

Some people prefer to pitch their idea before embarking on their journey. While this is a safe option in regards to knowing you wouldn’t be wasting money unnecessarily unless you already have a relationship with an editor, it can be difficult. Even if an editor does like your idea, it is very unlikely they will offer you a commission straightaway. Any agreement will usually be on a speculative basis so they will not be under any obligation to buy your article afterward.

I personally believe you are best to pitch a finished piece that’s ready to go to press. Whatever approach you decide to take, the pitch is the most crucial part of the process. You’ve put in all that hard work and investment, so it’s important to get your pitch just right so you make a great first impression.

Your email should be direct and well thought out, showing off your knowledge of your subject. It should be backed up with the credibility required to give the editor confidence in you and your work. Take your time composing your pitch email and run it by friends and family for feedback. It’s okay to send a follow-up email a couple of weeks later but don’t keep pestering the editor. If you haven’t heard back after a couple of emails, assume it hasn’t been successful.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Submission

If you do get that great bit of news that your story has been accepted, make sure to follow all submission guidelines. Otherwise, your piece will more than likely be rejected. Your text should be proofread to avoid any spelling or grammatical mistakes. Even if you are just providing images, typos make you look unprofessional.

The majority of publications will also have strict guidelines for images, so be sure to follow these. It’s a good idea to read these before you start your edit as there will usually be guidelines on color space, sharpening and even cropping. Many publications prefer to do this in-house.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

What next?

So you’ve sent your pitch and nothing even after the follow-up. You can either try another publication or go back to the drawing board with a different story. However, even if your story has been successful, be sure to go back with other ideas. Even if it takes time, going back to the same editor might be a little easier now that they have seen your work.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Publications have limited space for freelance photographers to pitch stories. Inevitably there is also a huge amount of competition for any available space. The best way to give yourself a chance is to really research the publication and pitch something that would be too good for them to turn down.

Do you have any other tips about how to sell a travel story to a magazine? If so, share with us in the comments below!

 

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

The post How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

The post How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

There is nothing quite like when you sell a travel story to a magazine. Seeing all your hard work in print gives you a great sense of satisfaction. Editorial work has changed a lot over the past few years, and you must prepare yourself for some rejection. However, if you follow this simple process of selling a story, and don’t give up, you will reap the rewards.

Also note, once you have built up a few relationships with editors, things get simpler. Once editors know and trust you, they will be far more receptive to your pitch for a story.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Publication research

Once you have an article idea, it’s always a good idea to research the type of magazines that may be interested in printing your story. Magazines differ significantly from one another. To give your story the best possible chance of publication, aim to pitch it to the right place.

For example, if your story is about walking, then pitch it to magazines that specialize in hiking or outdoor activities. Go to your local shop and flick through the magazine you intend to pitch to and see if it would be the right fit.

Also, research their submission process. Many publications have clear guidelines on how to submit work.

Image: An example of a travel article in 360ºMagazine by Jennifer Bell.

An example of a travel article in 360ºMagazine by Jennifer Bell.

Find a fresh angle

When you have your list of possible publications, ensure your story is fresh and unique. You don’t want to pitch ideas that are the same or similar to articles already recently published.

Most publications publish their articles on their website too, so check that what you are pitching is different. Also, remember to check upcoming articles as well. It may be that your article idea is set to feature in the next few issues.

The publication’s media pack is usually a good place to search for this sort of thing.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Destination research

Now that you have your angle and a list of preferred publications, it is time to research your topic. Researching your topic is one of the most important aspects of any shoot, and one rarely mentioned when discussing selling a story to a magazine. Many photographers will have you believe everything just comes together out in the field. But the reality is very different.

If your story is on the best museums in a certain city, then make sure you have a list of the museums you plan to visit. Write down everything from the best times to be there to the most important exhibits. If your angle is about hiking, then plan your walk to factor in the best times at viewpoints for photography.

The more you research, the better your shoot will be.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Prepare for rejection

If you want to be successful in any industry, you have to accept rejection along the way. Even as a pro with years of experience behind you, not every pitch will be successful. If only it was…

The key is not to take rejection personally. Don’t let it discourage you from pitching a different story to the same publication. If you are lucky and the editor gives you some feedback, take note of their suggestions, and work on these areas. Never get angry or burn your bridges with anyone as you will have an impossible task to win them round again.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Shoot plan

Once you’ve got your angle and completed your research, its time to start putting a shoot plan together. Your shoot plan should be more than just a list of locations – think of your shoot plan like an encyclopedia of your shoot. Include anything relevant like opening times, best times to shoot (sunset/sunrise), and logistics of getting to your required shoot locations.

Make a note of other potential locations you can visit. It’s also worth putting together some contingency ideas in the case of bad weather or unforeseen closures. The key to a good shoot plan is to make it as easy as possible to capture the shots you want to take.

The last thing that you want to be doing is rushing around, wasting valuable shooting time.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Image variation

The reason that a shot list is so important is it ensures you cover the shots that you need to capture, and will also give you variety. Your images should include a range of details, people, buildings, landscapes/cityscapes, food, and anything else that would be relevant to your story.

The more variation and options you can provide an editor, the more chance you will have of selling your story.

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Tell a story

The big difference between a story and just documenting a place is the story you are trying to tell. You want to try to make sure your piece isn’t just a photographic list of places. The key is to take the viewer on a journey with you. It is also important to take notes of all the necessary information that accompanies your story. People’s names, places, names of food dishes – you never know what might be needed.

The final piece should be a coherent story that has a variety in the shots.

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The pitch

Some people prefer to pitch their idea before embarking on their journey. While this is a safe option in regards to knowing you wouldn’t be wasting money unnecessarily unless you already have a relationship with an editor, it can be difficult. Even if an editor does like your idea, it is very unlikely they will offer you a commission straightaway. Any agreement will usually be on a speculative basis so they will not be under any obligation to buy your article afterward.

I personally believe you are best to pitch a finished piece that’s ready to go to press. Whatever approach you decide to take, the pitch is the most crucial part of the process. You’ve put in all that hard work and investment, so it’s important to get your pitch just right so you make a great first impression.

Your email should be direct and well thought out, showing off your knowledge of your subject. It should be backed up with the credibility required to give the editor confidence in you and your work. Take your time composing your pitch email and run it by friends and family for feedback. It’s okay to send a follow-up email a couple of weeks later but don’t keep pestering the editor. If you haven’t heard back after a couple of emails, assume it hasn’t been successful.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Submission

If you do get that great bit of news that your story has been accepted, make sure to follow all submission guidelines. Otherwise, your piece will more than likely be rejected. Your text should be proofread to avoid any spelling or grammatical mistakes. Even if you are just providing images, typos make you look unprofessional.

The majority of publications will also have strict guidelines for images, so be sure to follow these. It’s a good idea to read these before you start your edit as there will usually be guidelines on color space, sharpening and even cropping. Many publications prefer to do this in-house.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

What next?

So you’ve sent your pitch and nothing even after the follow-up. You can either try another publication or go back to the drawing board with a different story. However, even if your story has been successful, be sure to go back with other ideas. Even if it takes time, going back to the same editor might be a little easier now that they have seen your work.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Publications have limited space for freelance photographers to pitch stories. Inevitably there is also a huge amount of competition for any available space. The best way to give yourself a chance is to really research the publication and pitch something that would be too good for them to turn down.

Do you have any other tips about how to sell a travel story to a magazine? If so, share with us in the comments below!

 

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

The post How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

6 Reasons Your Photos Might Be Lacking Sharpness

The post 6 Reasons Your Photos Might Be Lacking Sharpness appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

Capturing sharp photos needn’t be difficult. Most amateur photographers who struggle to capture sharp photos make one of the common mistakes listed below. The good news is that with a little bit of practice and knowhow, you will be able to take sharp photos most of the time. At the very least, you should accept that you will make mistakes and have blurred photos from time to time when starting out. Instead of getting frustrated, try to analyze each blurred photo to understand why it might be lacking in sharpness. In the meantime here are 6 reasons your photos might be lacking sharpness.

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Reasons your photos might be lacking sharpness

1. Shutter speed too slow

Often this is the number one culprit for photos lacking sharpness. There are three potential mistakes when it comes to shutter speed. The first is simply the question of are you using a fast enough shutter speed for what you are photographing? For example, a cheetah running will need a much faster shutter speed to freeze the action. Whereas, a statue doesn’t. So the first thing you should do is understand what shutter speed you need for the subject you are shooting. As an example, you might be able to get away with something like 1/60th sec when taking a portrait. But for someone running, you will need a shutter speed of something like 1/200th sec.

The second issue is around the lens you are using. As a general rule, your shutter speed should at the least be the same as your lens focal length. So for example, if you are shooting with a 200mm lens, your shutter speed should be at least 1/200th sec. However, there is a slight caveat to this rule. Image stabilization in modern lenses is very good. It can allow you to shoot below the minimum required. But, to be safe, stick to this rule.

Lastly, how fast you need for your shutter speed also comes down to you. If you have steady hands, then you may be able to shoot sharp photos at a slower shutter speed than someone else. Test this out by photographing a scene at different shutter speeds to determine how slow you can go.

Image: Closer inspection of this photo reveals that there is a lack of sharpness.

Closer inspection of this photo reveals that there is a lack of sharpness.

2. Not using the correct aperture

Your aperture determines your depth of field. This also has a major impact on the sharpness of your photo. For example, if you are photographing a landscape scene with a shallow depth of field like f/2.8, then only a small part of your scene will be sharp. Depending on where you focused, only things along that distance will be sharp. So in this scenario, where you want more of your image to be sharp, you need to use a smaller aperture (i.e., higher f/number).

For something like landscape photography, you need to use an aperture of f/8 or smaller.

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3. ISO is too high

Even though modern-day DSLRs have hugely improved in the amount of noise that appears in photos at high ISOs, unfortunately, it still does affect sharpness. If you set your ISO too high, your image will begin to look soft and as a result lack sharpness. Always remember only to raise your ISO as high as you need to.

Better still, if you can, use a tripod and keep your ISO low.

Image: This photo was taken at 6400 ISO. When zoomed in, as you can see the noise is making it feel...

This photo was taken at 6400 ISO. When zoomed in, as you can see the noise is making it feel soft.

4. Haven’t locked up mirror

A lot of amateur photographers may not be aware of this potential issue when using a tripod. Every time that you click the shutter button, the mirror inside the camera flips over to allow light to hit the sensor.

When you are using a fast shutter speed, this process doesn’t cause any problems. But when you are photographing using a long exposure where your shutter speed is very slow, when the mirror flips over, the vibrations can cause a lack of sharpness in your image. You can either use the function in your DSLR menu to “lock mirror” or shoot in live view mode for the same effect.

Image: An example of the lack of sharpness even when using a tripod when the mirror hasn’t bee...

An example of the lack of sharpness even when using a tripod when the mirror hasn’t been locked.

5. Poor quality tripod

Just like anything else, there are good quality tripods and poor quality tripods. Of course, buying a better and more sturdy tripod might be expensive, but isn’t that a price worth paying for sharper photos?

A poor quality tripod will put your expensive equipment at risk because it may not be sturdy enough even to withstand a gust of wind. However, cheap material can also be prone to vibrations, which, in turn, can mean a lack of sharpness in your photos.

So don’t take the risk. Ideally, invest in a good quality carbon fiber tripod.

6 Reasons Your Photos Might Be Lacking Sharpness

6. Not using a remote or self-timer

Even the faintest of touches can cause camera shake when photographing at long exposures. This means that even when you press the shutter button to take a photo, you are causing movement. The only way to be sure that your photos will not suffer from camera shake is to use a remote release or the self-timer on the camera. This will ensure you will not have to touch the camera when you take the photo.

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By far the best way to ensure that your photos are sharp is to use a tripod. But whilst that is not always possible or convenient, by following the advice above you can still ensure that your photos will be sharp.

We hope these tips help you achieve sharper photos! Do you have any other tips to add to the reasons your photos might be lacking sharpness? Share with us in the comments!

 

Reasons-Your-Photos-Might-Be-Lacking-Sharpness

The post 6 Reasons Your Photos Might Be Lacking Sharpness appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

6 Great Lightroom Tricks You Probably Didn’t Know About

The post 6 Great Lightroom Tricks You Probably Didn’t Know About appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

Adobe Lightroom is an essential tool for any photographer. Whether you are a professional or amateur, Lightroom can make your workflow faster and more efficient. But there are also a whole host of editing tools available. Some of which you may not even know existed. So here are 6 great lightroom tricks that you probably didn’t know about.

Crop overlay options

Cropping your photos can sometimes mean the difference between a good photo and a great one. You can access the Lightroom crop tool by pressing R on your keyboard in the Develop module. Perhaps you already knew that, but what you may not have known is that when your cropping tool is open, you can change the overlay that shows on your image.

By pressing “O,” you will be able to get a whole host of different overlays on the image to help you crop effectively. Everything from the “Rule of Thirds” to the “Fibonacci Rule” can be accessed to help turn an okay photo into a great one.

Lights Off Mode

Sometimes when you are editing a photo, it is easy to get distracted by all of the side panels and options available. A great way to really see your photo is by looking at it in the “Lights Out” mode. By pressing the “L” key once on your keyboard, everything dims except your image. Pressing it one more time, you will see just the image on a black background without the distracting side panels. Press it a third time to make the side panels re-appear.

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Full-Screen Mode

Another useful trick, especially when working on smaller screens such as laptops, is to view your image at full screen. Because of the screen size, naturally the actual photo you are working on looks pretty small on a laptop screen.

To get a better view hit “F” on your keyboard and you’ll get to see the image as big as possible on the screen.

To come out of full-screen mode press Esc on your keyboard.

Know if your image is clipped

One of the key elements of taking a photo or post-processing it is to ensure that your highlights and shadows are not overexposed or underexposed to the point where there is no detail in those areas. This is a term that is known as clipping.

It can be difficult to judge by eye if any areas of your photo suffer from this. Thankfully, Lightroom’s clever tool can make it much easier to see where this occurs.

Click the little triangles on the corners of your histogram, and if there are clipped areas in your photo, they will show in red for highlights and blue for shadows. You can then tweak the different sliders to correct these issues. You can also access the clipping highlights by pressing “J” whilst in the Develop module.

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Please note that on older versions of Lightroom these sliders might be different.

Pick and organise

I have over 100,000 photos in my collection. They are for a variety of assignments and clients, and they need organizing in a way that makes it easy for me to access them. One of the most useful aspects of Lightroom is being able to organize and flag your photos effectively. The three easy ways to organize your photos are 1) flagging them (i.e., putting a flag on the ones you want to), 2) adding 1 to 5 stars, 3) color-coding them in red, yellow, green, blue and purple.

You can access these by using the following shortcuts:

  • “P” flags a photo (to unflag a photo press “U”). You can also reject a photo by pressing “X”
  • Add stars by using the relevant number key between 1 – 5 (press zero to remove stars)
  • Color code your image by pressing 6 – 9

How you use these ultimately depends on your workflow. However, for example, you may decide to utilize the colors like a traffic light system (i.e., Green for the ones that you love, yellow for the okay ones and red for rejects). Alternatively, you may simply star the ones you really like with 5 stars. The choice is yours.

Speed up your editing

Often whenever you are at a location, you will take multiple photos. Sometimes you may even take a set of photos from the same scene. When it comes to editing them, it wouldn’t be very efficient to edit each one individually as the light and conditions won’t change much in a few seconds. Lightroom has a couple of great options to help.

Whilst in the Develop module, if you click on the “Previous” button (at the bottom of the right-hand panel), Lightroom pastes the same settings as the last image you were on to the selected image.

If you select multiple images on the film strip in the Develop module, you’ll notice that the “Previous” button changes to “Sync.” Press this and whichever image is selected will be used as a basis to paste the adjustment from to all images you’ve selected.

Once you have clicked on “Sync,” you’ll get a pop up where you can select which settings you want to add. This is a great option when, for example, you shot a scene in burst mode where all the conditions are similar from one photo to the next. You can always make further adjustments to a photo if needed.

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Conclusion

These are just some of the simple yet effective editing tools that you may not have known about in Lightroom. There is so much more Lightroom can do. If you learn how to use it, it will become an invaluable software in your workflow.

Don’t forget to let us know your great Lightroom tricks below.

 

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The post 6 Great Lightroom Tricks You Probably Didn’t Know About appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

7 Ways To Take Your Photography To The Next Level

The post 7 Ways To Take Your Photography To The Next Level appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

It easy to stagnate as a photographer. It’s a lonely hobby where you often work alone spending hours in pursuit of one photo which may not materialize. You can begin to lose interest and become lazy. This loss of interest can manifest itself in your photos which, in turn, demoralizes you further. As with many hobbies, the great thing about photography is you can reignite your passion. So here are 7 ways to take your photography to the next level.

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1. Photograph Something Different

One of the things many photographers are guilty of doing is photographing the same things over and over again. If you did the same thing again and again, eventually you’d get fed up with it. So, a great way to boost your passion for photography is to photograph something completely different. For example, if you are a travel photographer, spend some time photographing wildlife. If you take portraits, start photographing food.

Not only will this help reignite your passion, but it can also add more skills to your repertoire. You never know, you may find a new passion you never knew you had.

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2. Work On a Brief

Remember when you were at school and had to work on projects set by the teacher? It required you to learn about the subject, think about it and create a piece of work to present to your teacher. The concept of working on a brief is the same. You are given a topic or subject to photograph, and you take photos that answer the brief.

The project could be anything from a simple task of documenting a local event, to photographing a remote tribe in another country. Many people who take up photography as a hobby take photos of things that they come across rather than a specific brief. Working on a brief can help focus your photography and make you think about things differently.

Ask a friend or family member to set you a brief. It could be on anything. After you receive the brief, go about creating a set of images that respond to it.

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3. Set Yourself a Challenge

Another way to improve your photography is to set yourself challenges. These can help diversify your portfolio. For example, you may have lots of photos but are missing some nice close-ups. So, set yourself a challenge to capture one close-up image every day. Perhaps you have a weakness in a specific area of photography? Set yourself a challenge to improve that one element.

If you are a shy person and struggle to approach people to take their photo, set yourself a challenge to photograph ten people in one day. You’ll be surprised how much more confident you feel after doing so.

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4. Read, Watch, Follow

One of the best ways to improve your photography is to be inspired by photographers whose work you admire. Follow photographers on social media whose work inspires you. Look at the work of the masters like Ansel Adams, Steve McCurry, and Robert Capa. Read books such as the ‘Bang Bang Club‘ and watch documentaries and movies about photography. Even flicking through photography books or magazines can help inspire you. However, remember the objective should be to be inspired, not copy someone else’s work.

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5. Get a Photo Buddy

Photography is usually an isolated hobby and can be difficult to judge how well you are doing. Having someone who shares your passion can help motivate you while also giving you someone to bounce ideas off. You can learn from one another and push each other to capture better images. If you don’t know anyone who has a passion for photography, join your local camera club where you can meet likeminded individuals.

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6. Rent or Buy a Film Camera

There is no doubt that cameras are better and more powerful than they have ever been. You’ll find it hard finding many photographers who still shoot in film.

Still, one negative of digital photography is that it makes the decision of taking photos easy. Back in the days of film, every single photo you took cost money. Meaning, you had to be sure of what you were photographing to avoid wasting money. So you didn’t waste money, you had to think a lot harder about a scene. You had to think about your settings and if it was an interesting subject. You didn’t have the luxury of looking at the picture on the back of your camera.

Try it out. Rent film camera for a day, or buy a second-hand one, and see if it makes you think differently about photography.

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7. Go On a Photo Tour

Photo tours are quite common these days. Tours usually entail going to a country and touring it with the purpose of capturing photos. Ranging from a few days to weeks, tours are one of the best ways to boost your photography. You are away with likeminded individuals who share your passion, and you are joined by a professional photographer who can help you with your photographic weaknesses.

Nevertheless, arguably the most significant benefit of a photo tour is you are immersed in photography every day for weeks. If you keep practicing and doing something for hours every day, it’s natural for you to become better at it. So, if you haven’t tried a photo tour or workshop, give it go. It could be the best way to boost your photography skills and passion.

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Like any other hobby or profession, you need to continually challenge yourself, set goals and have the motivation to create great photos. Sometimes that comes naturally, like when you are heading to a fantastic destination. At other times you have to make an effort to push yourself to be able to take your photography to the next level. The above tips should help you on your way, but ultimately it is down to you to push yourself.

What do you do to improve your photography? Tell us below.

The post 7 Ways To Take Your Photography To The Next Level appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

5 Tips For Keeping Your Camera Safe And In Working Order

Besides the obvious cost of camera equipment, they are also a key part of photography. A damaged camera, especially when away in remote places, can mean no photos. Those missed photos might be something that you can’t replicate. So to keep your camera equipment safe and in working order is an essential part of photography. Here are 5 tips for keeping your camera safe and in working order.

5 Tips To Keep Your Camera Safe And In Working Order - Kav Dadfar Photography

1. Clean, repair, service

There’s an age-old saying ‘prevention is better than the cure.’ So your first step in ensuring that your camera is in good working condition is to keep it that way. Get into the habit of regularly cleaning your camera. There are plenty of camera cleaning products out there, and it only takes a few minutes. Wipe your camera clean of dust and any other build up of dirt. Carefully clean your lenses using the relevant material. It’s best to avoid touching or cleaning your sensor unless you are confident in what you are doing.

Even if your camera is working, if there is a minor fault with it, get it fixed rather than leaving. It’s also worth getting your camera serviced professionally every now and again. Yes, it might be an annoying expense to have to pay, but it is a small price to pay to ensure that your camera is in perfect working condition.

5 Tips To Keep Your Camera Safe And In Working Order - Kav Dadfar Photography

2. Be aware of the elements

Water and sand are two of the biggest dangers to cameras. Anyone who has a scratched lens glass or sensor due to sand knows the cost involved in fixing these things. However, there are ways to protect your camera equipment to ensure you minimize the risk. The first thing you need to know is how well sealed your camera is. For example, high-end DSLR cameras often specify that they are ‘weather sealed.’ While weather-sealing offers good protection from things getting into your camera, you should still be cautious.

  • Start by always carrying a plastic bag with you. They are great for protecting your camera from rain and water.
  • It’s also worth carrying a small towel at all times to wipe your camera clean. It is especially vital near the coast where the salt in seawater can be corrosive.
  • Avoid changing lenses, especially when windy. Dust, sand, and water can all get into your sensor. If you must change lenses, do it quickly and make sure you protect your camera from the wind.
  • Remember to wipe and clean your camera after you finish your shoot at these places as there may still be sand or water on your camera.

5 Tips To Keep Your Camera Safe And In Working Order - Kav Dadfar Photography

3. Know your surroundings

One of the dangers to your camera equipment is theft. With a little bit of common sense and caution, you can avoid being a victim. The key is to know your surroundings and take action accordingly. For example, if you are walking on a busy sidewalk, keep away from the curb and keep your camera away from the roadside where snatch and grabs on motorbikes happen. Alternatively, if you are sitting on an outside table in a restaurant, put your camera away in your bag or have the strap around your arm.

Even in quite countryside car parks, it’s important to take precautions. Don’t leave cameras or valuables on display. Hide them away, or better still take them with you. As long as you use common sense and know what it is happening around you, you shouldn’t have any problems.

5 Tips To Keep Your Camera Safe And In Working Order - Kav Dadfar Photography

4. Use your tripod wisely

My only ever accident with my camera was when I was using a tripod. As I rushed to put my camera on, I didn’t clip it in, and the camera fell straight into a muddy puddle. Luckily the mud stopped my camera bouncing off into the river that I was photographing, and it also avoided the rock that I was standing on. With a bit of cleaning up, I was able to use it straight away. I was fortunate on this occasion.

I am always astonished when I see people setting up tripods, and they don’t evenly distribute the weight, causing it to fall over, or people putting expensive DSLRs on cheap tripods that are not secure enough to take the weight.

Whenever you are using a tripod, the key is to take your time. Make sure your tripod is secure, and the legs are taking the weight evenly. When you put your camera on the tripod, hold on to the strap for a few seconds to ensure it’s not going to topple over. Only when confident it’s not going to fall should you let go. Be especially careful when there are high winds as a sudden gust can easily knock over your tripod and camera.

5 Tips To Keep Your Camera Safe And In Working Order - Kav Dadfar Photography

5. Store your equipment safely

Depending on how much photography you do, there are always periods when your camera is not in use. So, where you store your camera is also essential in keeping it safe. Avoid storing your camera in places where there is high humidity like laundry rooms. You should also avoid leaving it in direct sunlight. Try to store it in a cupboard rather than just leaving it out to gather dust. A great tip is to keep your camera equipment in your camera bag and place your bag in a cupboard. Not only does it protect against dust but also ensures everything is one place and out of sight.

5 Tips To Keep Your Camera Safe And In Working Order - Kav Dadfar Photography

Additional tip for keeping your camera safe

While you hope you never have to use it, it’s always best to ensure that you have appropriate insurance in place for your camera equipment. Make sure that it covers you for things like damage at home, in transit and even in cars. It’s also worth noting the details of their claims policy, so you are aware of things such as whether they pay for or replace damaged or stolen equipment. It is also important to know these details, in case you may have to wait six months for your equipment to get replaced. So always make sure you have insurance to cover your equipment.

5 Tips To Keep Your Camera Safe And In Working Order - Kav Dadfar Photography

There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing an amazing photo opportunity in front of you and having no camera. However, with a little bit of care, forward planning, and common sense, you can avoid this happening to you by keeping your camera safe and in working order.

Anything else that you can think of? Let us know below.

Want more? Check out the latest photography tips on our blog.

The post 5 Tips For Keeping Your Camera Safe And In Working Order appeared first on Digital Photography School.

8 Elementary Travel Photography Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Out

Starting out in photography may seem like a daunting task. There are so many things to learn and practice that sometimes it can seem like an impossible task. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts and if you want to take better photos then you need to be willing to put the hours of practice and learning in.

The good news is that these days there are lots of resources online that can help you. To get you started here are 8 elementary travel photography mistakes to cut out when starting in photography.

temple in asia in golden light -  Travel Photography Mistakes

Mistake #1 – Setting Your Camera On Auto

It always amazes me when I see newbie photographers with the latest expensive DSLR, using the auto mode. Besides capturing better quality photos from a resolution point of view, the other main benefit of DSLRs is the amount of control that you have over the photo taking process.

Admittedly auto functions on cameras are a lot better these days. But often it means compromises which are not necessarily best for the image. For example, if your camera is setting your ISO too high you will get a lot of noise in your photo. Instead, you may decide that actually underexposing your image slightly, which you can then adjust in post-production, will be a better compromise than extra noise.

But the biggest reason you should avoid auto mode when starting out is that it will stop you from learning. You need to learn to be able to set your shutter speed and aperture. You need to learn when and how much to raise your ISO by because it’s the only way that you can have full control over the final outcome.

auto mode on DSLR -  Travel Photography Mistakes

Mistake #2 – Shooting in JPEG

I can’t see any reason why anyone would want to shoot in JPEG format with a DSLR camera. Unless you are on a specific brief that requires instant upload of the images to the client, capturing JPEGs shouldn’t be an option. The only reason that people use JPEG mode in the camera is to save disk space.

But ask yourself if it’s worth compromising the quality of the photo for the sake of buying a couple more memory cards?

If your camera has RAW files (which all DSLRs and most mirrorless and compact cameras do these days) that’s what you should use. It gives so much more flexibility when it comes to post-processing, supplying images to clients, and even printing them out.

Even if you plan to only use your images on social media you are better off capturing the images in RAW, post-processing them and then saving them as JPEGs.

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Mistake #3 – ISO Too High

A few years ago I remember bumping into an amateur photographer in Vietnam. As we got talking it became apparent that he didn’t understand what ISO actually was and how it affected his photos. He just assumed it was a number that allowed him to take photos in most conditions. So while his ISO was at 6400, his shutter speed was 1/4000th.

For those of us who were photographing in the days of film, ISO was the sensitivity of the film to light. So if you wanted to capture photos in darker conditions you would use a roll of film with a higher ISO.

This concept is exactly the same now in digital photography. The higher your ISO the more sensitive the camera’s sensor is to light. The downside of this is that the higher your ISO is, the more noise you will get in your image.

So while the amateur photographer I met was able to capture photos in any and lighting conditions, all of his images when zoomed-in were soft and grainy. So one of the biggest tips for any aspiring photographer is to always keep your ISO as low a possible and only increase it as much as you have to in order to get the shot.

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Image taken at 4000 ISO means noise and an image lacking sharpness.

Mistake #4 – Shutter Speed too Slow

One of the biggest struggles for newbie photographers is often capturing sharp images. One reason could be that the camera has been focused on the wrong part of the image. The other big reason is often that the photographer didn’t use a fast enough shutter speed.

At slow shutter speeds of 1/60th or slower, you simply will not be able to hold the camera steady enough for sharp photos. Even 1/60th for some people might be too slow so it’s worth testing this when you are starting out.

Start capturing photos of the same subject at 1/100th all the way down until the image is blurred. You’ll then know how slow you can go. But your shutter speed is also dependent on how fast the object that you are photographing is moving and the lens you’re using.

For example, you might be able to capture a photo of someone running with a shutter speed of 1/250th. But a fast-moving car would need a faster shutter speed to freeze it. If you’re using a 300mm lens you will also need a faster shutter speed (keep the shutter speed as a reciprocal of the focal length so 1/300th).

With experience you will learn what shutter speed you will need so make sure you practice photographing different moving objects.

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Shot at 1/40th of a second. This was not fast enough to freeze the action so the image is blurred.

Mistake #5 – Photographing at Midday

For any outdoor photography, light is often the key component of turning an okay image into a great image. As such photographing at midday when it’s bright and sunny will usually mean your images will look flat as the harsh light washes out shadows. So try to avoid photographing around midday and instead build your shoot around early morning or late afternoon/evening.

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The light is too harsh and so the image looks flat.

Mistake #6 – Not Being Ready

One of the great satisfactions for photographers is capturing those fleeting moments that would otherwise be missed. But to do that you have to be ready.

That means having your camera out of your bag, turned on, with the lens cap off. You should also get into the habit of adjusting your settings as you are moving around to cater for the conditions so that you are ready to capture the image when the opportunity arises.

rural farm with pigs in Asia -  Travel Photography Mistakes

Mistake #7 – Highlights / Shadows Clipped

One of the key tools for you as a photographer is the histogram. Even if you don’t fully learn or understand how to read one, the one thing you should know is how to use it to see if your highlights and shadows are within an acceptable range.

Highlights are bright areas in your photos and shadows are dark areas. If your highlights are too bright they may actually be completely white with no detail at all. Similarly, if your shadows are too dark they will be completely black. This is called “clipping”.

The best way to check this at the time of taking the photo or in post-production is to use your histogram. If any part of the histogram is cut off on the left there are pure black areas in your image and if it is cut off on the right there are pure white areas in your image.

By spotting this on your histogram you can either adjust your settings to avoid clipping or fix any issues in post-production.

photo with clipped areas -  Travel Photography Mistakes

The areas highlighted in red are pure white and the areas highlighted in blue are pure black. In other words, those areas are “clipped” and will have no detail.

Mistake #8 – Photo Not Straight

Whether you are an advocate of post-processing or someone who doesn’t believe photos should be altered, the one thing that you should always do is to ensure that your images are straight.

Of course, it is best to get things right in-camera when you are taking the photo. Some DSLRs have various elements to help you get your image straight when you look through the viewfinder or on the LCD screen.

But if you find that your image is not straight, make sure you fix it in post-production.

grid view on a DSLR screen -  Travel Photography Mistakes

Conclusion

Most people who start out in photography will make some of these mistakes along the way. The important thing is to learn from them and move on. But if you can cut these mistakes out from the start you’ll be well on your way to capturing better photos.

Have you made any mistakes that others should avoid? Please share your experiences below.

The post 8 Elementary Travel Photography Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Out appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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