Microstock Photo Rewards and Rejections

I’ve submitted many photos to microstock sites (sites that sell stock photos) and have had many rejections. All my rejected photos are perfectly good – even excellent.  However, the microstock sites have their specific criteria, and they are very, very picky.  Rejections are either for the noise of various kinds or content.

I’ve developed a technique that works to clean up the photos for submission that I will share with you in an upcoming post.  As for the content, now that’s a different story, and you have to learn what these sites want before shooting and uploading.  The microstock sites themselves will have content guides to help you.

With all the difficulty and prospects of rejection, why bother with microstock sites?

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Winter = Cold = Clarity!

wintertrees

 Winter, Cold Weather, and Clarity

For clarity in your photos, the cold of winter is one of the best times available! You will consistently get sharper, cleaner-looking outdoor photos in winter than at any other time of the year. Why? Continue reading

Native ISO and Noise

ISO Settings In Your Camera

ISO settings can drastically affect your photos and you should know where to set the ISO in every circumstance.

Your goal as a photographer is to both get the shot and to have an acceptably low-noise photo as a result. High ISO levels result in higher noise levels in your photos. The best ISO level for the least amount of noise is your camera’s “native ISO.” Native ISO (also known as “Base ISO”) refers to the ISO level that is where the camera sensor’s “fullest” light level corresponds to the same level of fully exposed film. The details are unimportant, but it is important to know the following: Continue reading

Photo Artifacts in Stock Photography Submissions

“Artifacts”

If you’ve ever submitted a photo to a stock photo site such as iStockphoto, Bigstockphoto, Fotolia, or any of the stock and microstock photo sites, then you may have heard from them that “your photo has artifacts.” But what are these “artifacts” they speak of? And, more importantly, how can you get rid of them?

Some Guidelines (from my experience)

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Expose to the Right? NO! Go left!

Exposure

“Expose to the right” has been a popular saying and method of exposure for digital photographers for years, and it works in some cases. I’ll show you how to go the other way and make it work also. Maybe the time of “expose to the right” is almost over (in some cases). Here’s why… Continue reading

A Chromatic Aberration Eraser in Lightroom

Chromatic aberration (purple fringe or other color anomalies around bright to dark transitions) is an annoying thing in photos and can easily sneak into one of your’s!

You can see it in the photo I have here around the dark legs of this structure. It is the magenta lining on the left and the aqua on the right of each of the legs. Click on the photo to see it larger if needed.

You may miss it the first time looking at the photo because you’re interested in the composition or overall color, sharpness, etc. (as you should be). But, looking closely, you will find it in almost all of the photos you take.  It is sometimes an aqua, magenta, blue, or yellow lining of darker objects on lighter backgrounds. In older cameras, it was purple, giving it the nickname of “purple fringe.” Fortunately, in Lightroom, there are two or three ways to get rid of this annoying item.

Here are the three ways that I get rid of chromatic aberration using Lightroom: Continue reading

Film Grain – Is It Cool?

Film Grain?

I’ve seen plenty of high-end photos with film grain visible in them. If you get right up to them and look, you can see it. I saw it in a Peter Lik photo when I was in on of his galleries in Waikiki and I thought “how could the great Peter Lik allow film grain in his photos?” But I realized shortly after, that great photographers do have film grain in their photos — usually because they shot on film!

So is it cool to have film grain in your photos? The answer is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no”. But, generally yes.

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Neat Image Noise Removal Optimum Settings

I’ve tried all of the popular software packages for removing noise from my photos and I’ve found that Neat Image works the best. But, for as good as it works, there are settings that can be made that will make it work even better. Here’s what I’ve experimented with and found out about setting up  this fantastic software.

First I would recommend that you get a noise profile for your input device (camera). There are profiles available at the Neat Image website and they are easy to install. This improves the profiling. If you don’t have a profile installed though, auto profiling works just fine too. Continue reading

What is your steadiness limit?

Who wants to use a tripod all the time? Sure it gets you blur-free shots, but how awkward carrying the thing around. Some places don’t even let you bring one (certain parks, monuments, busy areas, etc.). But how do you know if you’re going to get blur (camera shake) if you’re hand-holding your camera? You have to know your “steadiness limit.” Here’s how. Continue reading

Lightroom + Focus Magic Workflow

Focus Magic Rescues Blurred Photos

When I have a photo that needs to be corrected for focus or motion blur, I use the stand-alone version of Focus Magic. I also use Lightroom first and have integrated Focus Magic into my workflow shown below. Please use it whole or in part as you need. I’m not going to show you each detail, but all the information you need will be in here. The part that is different from my standard Lightroom workflow is shown in bold. Continue reading

90% JPEG Quality

Here is a short but useful piece of advice when it comes to saving your JPEG files:

Save them at 90% quality.

It saves space on your hard drive like you can’t believe.
It saves you time when uploading to your photo site(s).
They look the same as if you saved them at 100%.
You take advantage of the JPEG compression algorithm, using it for what it was meant, where at 100% you do not.

Downsides? Continue reading