Posts Tagged ‘hints’

Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

On this morning’s BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme there was an interesting piece about holiday photographs. The interviewees first commented on the vast number of photographs that are taken nowadays, then went on to advise listeners to take fewer photographs and instead to enjoy the moment for what it was. Well actually they urged us to take less photographs, so we corrected their grammar for them.

The piece was directed at amateur photographers, not the pros and semi-pros that make up the fotoLibra membership, but there were still Lessons To Be Learned for us all. For a start, they urged listeners to do what we’ve been asking you to do for years — try and photograph things that are ephemeral and change, such as streetscapes. Photograph your bread. Photograph the baker’s shop. It may not be there next year.

It was worth listening to, and for the next seven days (ending Monday 5th August) you can hear it by clicking here Click where it says ‘Listen now 180 mins’ and scroll through to 2:23:56.

Some years ago in Assisi we saw two gay men photographing a stuffed toy bear in front of the cathedral. Intrigued, we asked what was going on. “This is Hector,” they told us. “He’s been photographed in front of the Eiffel Tower, Niagara Falls, Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, Tower Bridge — he’s been all over the world.” And they had a photographic record of his travels. I have a sinking feeling that they went on to publish a very successful book about Hector’s travels.

We never know what’s going to sell. That’s why we don’t impose our tastes on what members upload to fotoLibra. But we will ask this:

  • • Don’t photograph sunsets, photograph things seen in sunsets
  • • Don’t photograph the Taj Mahal, photograph the hawkers and vendors in the street leading up to it
  • • Don’t upload 20 photographs of the same object at fractionally different angles — ‘sisters & similars’, as they’re known in the trade. Upload only the best
  • • Please take more photographs of people — not just portraits, but people doing things

At the end of every year we do a round-up of all the fotoLibra Pro Blog postings throughout the year. Though we say so ourselves, it’s a useful reference to the way fotoLibra works.

Two articles in particular should be read by every fotoLibra member:

GREAT EXPECTATIONS tells you precisely what to expect when you go on line to try and sell your photographs. It’s based on the fotoLibra experience, but we don’t think it’s going to be that much different from any other agency.

THREE HUNDRED PIXELS PER INCH tells you why this is an upload requirement for fotoLibra, and how to achieve it. Yes, we do know resolution is an irrelevance as far as screen-based media goes, but read the piece carefully and you may just comprehend why we demand it.

So we’ve happily been sending links to these and other various blog postings, only to find people complaining they’re always directed to the same (and not necessarily relevant) entry.

The reason appears to be that we used to abbreviate the URLs of our blog postings. We never knew it had a restricted shelf life, but certainly on the fotoLibra site all the carefully input abbreviations over 6 months old defaulted to the most recent blog post.

So we’ve laboriously rewritten the links coding for the fotoLibra 2009 Pro Blog Index for the whole of 2009.

And now it should work for you. Sorry!


Shots of Redemption

April 3rd, 2009

We’ve just released Version 4.5 of the fotoLibra Submission Guidelines, which detail precisely the requirements we need from images uploaded to fotoLibra.
You can download the regular lo-res version from here, but if you would prefer the hi-res version and don’t object to a 2.4 MB file, download the fotoLibra Submission Guidelines HQ version here.
Whichever you choose, you’ll probably be fast asleep before you reach page 15, so as it’s quite useful to bear these thoughts in mind when you next pick up a camera I’ve reproduced that page here.

•• The following tips from fotoLibra’s founder apply to the majority of photographic situations, but were written mainly with outdoor photography in mind. He makes no claim to be a photographer himself, but he does know what sells.
•• Portrait (vertical) images outsell landscape images by about 60:40.
•• Photograph people’s fronts, not their backs.
•• Most books and magazines are portrait in orientation, and buyers and designers often like to see large blank areas (sky, sea, fields) where headlines and copy can be dropped in.
•• Jigsaws demand the opposite; lots of colour, lots of detail, all in sharp focus.
•• If you see a wonderful photo opportunity, take it in both landscape and portrait formats.
•• Interesting skies are important.
•• If you can get back to the location, take it in spring, summer, autumn and winter, snow and sun, dawn and dusk, mist and fog, rain and shine, storm and stress.
•• Use a tripod wherever possible.
•• When using digital, always shoot in RAW and convert to JPEG later.
•• Make sure your horizons are level and your sea doesn’t slope.
•• For those who are trained in perspective control or are experienced with rising front cameras, converging verticals can be corrected in a photo manipulation program such as Adobe Photoshop or Irfanview.
•• If you have uploaded a large collection (over 200 images) covering a particular subject, please tell fotoLibra about it.
•• Make use of reflections in water, even in wet roads and pavements.
•• Look carefully around and beyond the subject of your photograph, especially at the edges of the frame, and check what’s intruding into your shot.
•• Take photographs in the early morning and late evening, not at noon.
•• When the light is flat with few shadows, photograph details which need low contrast, such as inscriptions, carvings, etc.
•• Please do not upload photographs of sunsets. They do not sell. Scenes shot during sunsets are fine, but not when the sunset is the subject of the image.
•• Exceptions prove the rule.
•• Every picture must tell a story.
•• Take your time.