Posts Tagged ‘Adobe Photoshop’

After buying the spiffy new camera, the first accessory most photographers want to get their hands on is a mighty new lens.

It ain’t necessarily so.

This is a list of things photographers should buy in order to improve their sales. It is in the order of our suggested priorities at fotoLibra.

Remember, as a picture library / stock agency we’re not necessarily reading from the same page as our photographer friends. Most photographers want to create beautiful, stunning images, and of course we want to see those as well, but above all we want photographs that sell.

And if that interests you, then here is what we suggest you need to acquire.

  1. A decent DSLR or large format digital camera. The make is unimportant, as long as you’re comfortable with it. One famous old tip to get comfortable is to put the camera in a bag, then put your hands in and spend days looking odd and learning how to use it blindfold. Feel your way round the apparatus. Learn to use it without thinking, so it becomes an automatic, natural extension of your eye. Nowadays the camera back should deliver a minimum of 12 mexapixels.
  2. Adobe Photoshop, Elements, Corel Draw, GIMP, Irfanview or some other photo editing software. This is your digital darkroom. You must always shoot in RAW and then post process. It’s no use having a digital camera without photo editing software.
  3. A tripod. Your hands shake, I promise you.
  4. A subscription to fotoLibra. “Yeah, yeah, what a surprise,” you smile, but this is where you get regular lists of the photographs that buyers need, hints, tips, blogs and newsletters. A huge amount of storage space for your images. And all your sales and back office admin taken care of, leaving you to get on with pressing that shutter.
  5. Lighting, unless you plan only to photograph landscapes by available light (a very small market). At the very least, a separate and moveable flash unit. The flash built in to the camera is strictly for amateurs.
  6. A large roll of white paper to act as a neutral background, such as this. Professional picture buyers like plain backgrounds and cut outs. Cut outs are virtually impossible to achieve successfully without starting with a plain background.
  7. And of course Goalposts, on which you put the paper. You get to move them, as well. Properly called a “background support system’. Here’s one.
  8. Books from the fotoLibra Bookshop. I like the intelligent and elegantly designed Rocky Nook titles. You will never, ever stop learning as a photographer. Even Snowdon, one of the twentieth century’s most famous photographers, admits he’s still learning at eighty.
  9. Photography courses, such as those offered by Nick Jenkins at Freespirit Images. You will learn tricks and techniques which would never have occurred to you on your own.
  10. Apple Aperture or Adobe Lightroom. Post processing taken to new heights. I know it will hurt to spend money on bits and bytes before lovely, smooth, hefty glass and metal, but would you prefer to collect kit, or make a name for yourself as a photographer?

NOW you can start to splash out on more expensive lenses, camera bags and all that other non-essential kit. But armed with the Top Ten, you will have what you need to take photographs that SELL.

And my lens suggestion for when you finally buy a second?

Go for the widest aperture you can afford.

And if you don’t agree with this list, please post your own in the Comments!

I was pointed to a couple of blog postings yesterday, one called The Myth of DPI and the other titled Why DPI Does Not Matter.

Their arguments are logical and faultless. Their reasoning is sound. The message they are trying to get across is correct. But they are both wrong.

So why are they wrong?

Because they are writing about images on the web, and mentioning DPI. When you set the image size and resolution in Adobe Photoshop you never have the option of choosing the DPI of an image. This is what you get if you choose inches as your preferred units:

and this is what you get if you choose metric:

The option you have is of choosing “pixels/inch” or “pixels/cm”. Not “dots/inch” or “dots/cm”. Adobe Photoshop is concerned about your digital file. It doesn’t give a monkeys what you intend to do with it later. So it offers you ppi, NOT dpi, which is used in printing terminology. 300 pixels per inch equals 118.11 pixels per centimetre.

Our earnest bloggers are absolutely right in that ppi is irrelevant when you’re showing images on a screen. But dpi is relevant when you print those images, because then you can figure out how large you can print the image before those annoying little pixellations get in the way and become visible. 300 dots per inch is generally enough for the human eye to be tricked into seeing continous tone.

fotoLibra has always demanded that images uploaded to its site should be 300 ppi, for two perfectly valid reasons — and one utterly compelling one. You can read about them here.

I agree with my friends Ben Gremillion and Svein Wisnaes that resolution counts for nothing on the web. So it generally doesn’t matter, until you come to selling your photographs. When you are selling photographs to book publishers who need to print them at 300 dots per inch, it’s common courtesy to supply them at 300 pixels per inch.

Otherwise they might buy them from someone who took the trouble to go the extra step.