How to Get a Million Instagram Followers for a Day

Are you a photographer trying to get more Instagram followers? One of the most common tips you hear for growing your tribe is to share your best work. As actor Steve Martin famously said, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

It’s fantastic advice. Unfortunately, even if your pictures make the Mona Lisa look like a finger painting, it’s easier than ever to be ignored. Instagram now has over 500 million users posting more than 52 million pictures every day!

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Should Photographers Join Instagram?

When Instagram started out, it was meant to be a place where people shared basic moments of their daily life. As it grew in popularity and saw everyone from movie stars to presidents sign on, posts became more curated. Top names in the photography world from National Geographic to Magnum photographers joined too.

Although some argue this was the death knell of Instagram, an end to sharing our unfiltered selves through Gingham-filtered glasses, others saw an opportunity. Photographers found it inspiring to be part of a global social network, one where everyone speaks the same visual language. And companies found a new channel to market their goods.

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Some naysayers think Instagram, which is a mobile-first social network, is a second-class platform. What photographer wants their pictures to be viewed on a tiny mobile screen? The fact is that today almost 80% of social media time is spent on mobile devices.

Whether you are a pro trying to market your business or a hobby photographer wanting to interact with like-minded people, you need to be where your audience hangs out. Instagram is that place.

Something Terrible about Instagram

Steve Martin’s advice about getting discovered was great, but it doesn’t work as well in the Instagram Age. There are plenty of photographers who struggle to find an audience. P.T. Barnum gave some more pertinent advice when he once quipped, “Without promotion, something terrible happens…Nothing!”

On Instagram, you need to be proactive when trying to build your following. Unlike Facebook, there is no Share button to help new people discover you. Also, the Instagram algorithm doesn’t do much either to put your pictures in front of new people. The majority of engagement on your feed usually comes from your followers, not people who randomly stumble on your work.

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As a result, the best way to introduce your photos to a new audience is to get other Instagram accounts to share your work. There are two ways to go about this. You can ask other photographers to share your work. Or even better, you can get featured on hubs.

Leverage Hubs to Build your Tribe

Hubs are Instagram accounts that feature other people’s photographs. Think of them as a sort of variety show that shares what is happening in the world of Instagram. Each hub is like a channel. For instance, there are nature hubs, architecture hubs, street photography, and food photography hubs to name a few. A hub can be owned by an individual, a group of people, or a business.

This photo below I took in Malaysia was featured by the FreedomThinkers feed. According to their website, their mission is to inspire their viewers to travel the world. That aligns with mine so I was happy to share my image on their account.

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Some hubs are run just for fun as a way to create community. Other hubs are backed by a company and exist to market a product or service. Either way, they’re a great way to expose your work to a new audience.

To get a hub to share your photo, just include the relevant hashtag in the caption of your photo. You can usually find out which hashtags to use in their account bio. If the hub owner likes your photo, they will share it and credit you by sharing your name and IG feed address. The exposure you get can, in turn, drive traffic to your personal feed, resulting in an increase of followers.

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How to Go Viral on Instagram

Instagram is like the news, once one channel breaks a story, others quickly report on it as well. Many hubs copy their featured photo selections from other hubs. This creates a domino effect that can give you massive amounts of exposure.

For instance, my “Dark Towers” photo was featured on more than 20 hubs. One of those was on the Game of Tones feed which you can see below. I didn’t ask all of the hubs to share it, many featured my image because they saw it on another hub. Those hubs together had a combined follower count of over a million.

Having that many hubs share your picture doesn’t happen every day. On the other hand, it’s not uncommon to have at least a few different hubs share your photo at once.

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5 Killer Tips to Get Seen on Instagram

It doesn’t matter if you are a total newbie or seasoned pro, or if you have 100 followers or 100,000. There is a hub out there for all levels and types of photographers. Here are some tips for getting featured:

1. Know your hubs. To get featured you need to put the hashtag and/or tag your photo according to each hub’s request. Don’t just blindly tag a hub because it’s popular. Ask yourself if your work fits the style and quality of the hub.

2. Focus on your location. Geographic hubs are a great place to start. Look for ones that focus on a region like your city, state, province, country, or the place where you are traveling. Some examples are @ig_nycity or @uk. An added benefit to local hubs is that you can actually meet people in your area.

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3. Search according to types of photography. Consider genre hubs like @nightphotography or @urbanromantix. They are great for discovering like-minded photographers.

4. Try for small hubs when you start. If you are new to photography and/or Instagram, start small. Aim for hubs with less than 10,000 followers at the beginning.

5. Share with brands. Don’t disregard business hubs. These are some of the largest out there. For instance, the magazine Travel + Leisure @travelandleisure has over 2 million followers and regularly features photos from other IG feeds, as does @travelchannel.

The Super Secret to Instagram Exposure

This is my final and most important tip. Follow the hub you’d like to be featured on along with the admin of the hub.

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Some hubs will even direct you to “follow [insert name of hub admin(s)] to be featured.” The hub admins want exposure just like everyone else as they want to increase their follower count too.

If the name of the admin is not stated in the bio, look at the last few photos posted in the feed. There is often a note saying which admin selected the featured photo.

The Golden Rule of Engagement

Once you know who the admin is, friend them, visit the admin’s feed (not the hub), like a few of their photos, and then comment on one or two of their pictures. Be sure to write something that proves you aren’t a robot. In other words, don’t just leave a thumbs up or “Great shot!” comment.

Most importantly, don’t be human spam. Do not ask the admin to view your feed. Do not ask them for feedback on your work. And never ask them to feature your photo.

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If you take the time to interact with the admin’s photos, it’s possible they will visit your feed. And if they like what they see, you just might get featured. Reciprocity is the Golden Rule.

In the end, the hub admins are like gatekeepers, the editors of social network magazines. You want your photos in front of their eyes. Get them to know who you are. Connecting with a hub admin is the single most important thing you can do to get featured, besides creating amazing work of course.

Are Instagram Hubs Worth the Effort?

Some might say social media is a waste of time. It’s undoubtedly better to be out with your camera than staring at your phone.

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In my case, that Busan roof topping photo that was shared on 21 hubs got me a few hundred followers. It doesn’t really matter, though. Life is not a popularity contest. Whether you have one fan or one million, the most important thing for any photographer is to create.

On the other hand, the act of creating is deeply bound with the act of sharing. There’s nothing wrong with photographing what you love and keeping it for yourself.

But if you want to share what you’re passionate about with the most people possible, then let the world know. Or as writer and producer Dan Harmon put it, “Find your voice, shout it from the rooftops, and keep doing it until the people that are looking for you find you.”

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http://digital-photography-school.com/million-instagram-followers/

How to Promote Yourself on Facebook

Facebook Ad Tips For Photographers

Although there is no guarantee that paying for Facebook ads will boost your photography business, it can be a powerful promotional tool as it gives you so many options.

If you are paying good money to advertise on Facebook, though, it’s important that the adverts work hard for you.

Here’s a brief guide to the essentials of setting up a Facebook ad for a wedding business (the principles apply to other genres too, though it maybe harder to specify such exact targeting).

1) What Do You Want to Achieve?

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Once you click to create a new Facebook ad, you are given a range of options.

While I could set up an ad to get more Likes for my wedding photography Facebook page, I actually want to get more people to visit my website, so I select ‘Send people etc etc.’ It’s worth checking out the other options on this page as there are some powerful marketing tools.

Click ‘Help: Choosing an Objective’ if you are unsure.

2) Supply Website Details

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Then it’s just a question of entering your website address. Be very careful of any typos or spelling mistakes, as the ad campaign will totally backfire if people can’t reach your site.

A good tip is to load your site’s home page (or other relevant page) and then copy and paste the address from the top web browser window, rather than manually typing it in.

3) Set the Region

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This done, choose the geographical area you want to target. Choosing a whole country is a very grapeshot approach – and as a photographer in the south west, I might not want a booking in northern Scotland – so it pays to be specific.

This is also a good way to target affluent areas. Next, set the age of your target market, their gender, and interests. I’ve chosen women.

At the risk of stereotyping, it tends to be potential brides who respond more emotionally to wedding ads, though there are plenty of same sex couples need photographers, too! Common sense suggests I should choose ‘engaged’ as a relationship status, rather than already married.

4) Interests, Behaviours and Budget

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For Interests, I’ve also chosen relevant topics and I have tried to target the ad at Mobile Device Users.

More and more people are seeing Facebook ads on smartphones or tablets and since I am mainly asking them to check out my website, there is a good chance they’ll click through (people are generally less confident about making payments on mobile devices, though this is changing).

Then, I specify how long I want the ad to run for, and how much I want to spend.

5) Text and picture

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Now for the fun bit. You’re limited in how much you can write, so keep the headline and body text punchy and enticing – sell the benefits of what you offer, rather than just describing it.

Emphasise a unique selling point (in this case, last minute bookings) and choose a strong image that will also work on smaller and mobile-device screens. I select ‘Learn More’ as the call to action button, to get people to visit my site. Then review the ad and bingo!

https://www.learningwithexperts.com/photography/blog/how-to-promote-yourself-on-facebook

6 Ways To Market Yourself Better With Instagram

Market Tips For Instagram

If you think you know all about Instagram – that it is just a way for hipsters to swap heavily processed snapshots of their cappuccino – then think again. Because it’s purely based around images, Instagram has become one of the most effective social media vehicles for photographers; unlike Facebook, you’re not competing with silly memes or news stories, or all the general chit chat and background noise you get on Twitter. It takes a while to learn how to use Instagram effectively though, so here are some tips to ensure you make the most of the big I…

1) Be There and Don’t Be Square

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Instagram have made its name with distinctive 640×640 square images, but you can now post images in other formats too. This is particularly good news if you want to post a landscape image, as you won’t have to crop bits off, and it also makes posting video a lot easier. Indeed, posting video that wasn’t recorded with Instagram apps used to be a real headache; given the growing importance of video in advertising, this change was probably inevitable. So if the square format restriction put you off in the past, you now have more flexibility.

2) Upload Your Best Images Regularly

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A neglected Instagram feed will put followers off, so as with your other social media properties or indeed your website, you need to keep it populated with good images. Think of yourself as a curator of your best work, rather than regarding Instagram updating as a chore. It’s essential if you want to build any kind of following.

3) Be Consistent

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Again, as with Facebook, if you are using Instagram for business, don’t mix messages. It’s going to look weird if you are regularly posting serious documentary or travel images, and then start posting goofy selfies or trivia/smut. Or if you start posting heavy human-rights stories when you are known as a wedding or pet photographer….

4) Keep Your Personal Information Updated

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It is particularly important you do this with your contact details, and they should include details of your website and Facebook and Twitter pages. It’s all very well generating lovely images and having a great looking Instagram feed, but it will all come to naught if potential clients can’t hook up with you.

5) Don’t Forget Captions

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A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it can be worth even more if you provide an illuminating or entertaining caption. You can use hashtags in your write-ups to attract people who are interested in similar things (eg weddings) or people in your area. Words and pictures work very well as a package.

6) Make It Easy to Share Your Images

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Don’t get too obsessed about protecting your images or making them hard to copy. You want people to share your images, and start talking about you. If you are that worried, make images small to begin with, so they can’t be used at any decent size, or watermark them, but try and do this subtly. Heavy-handed watermarking can put potential clients off.

https://www.learningwithexperts.com/photography/blog/6-ways-to-market-yourself-better-with-instagram

How to Use Social Media For Photographers – It’s Not Just Facebook and Twitter

Unless you are a really into social media, it’s easy get to get tunnel vision and just focus on the two main channels, Facebook and Twitter. Both are great ways to promote your work and reach out to customers but there are other channels that can be useful for photographers. Here’s a quick reminder of other social media services to consider.

Instagram

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While you may associate Instagram with lots of ‘retro’ photos of people’s morning cappuccino, Instagram is actually about sharing and enjoying photography. So it’s a perfect way to get your work out there.

If somebody likes one of your images they are likely to talk about it and share with their friends – and because Instagram is all about images, you don’t have to compete with all the other trivia that people see in their Facebook newsfeeds. Share new images on Instagram every time you have done a shoot and link it back to your main website or other online platforms.

Common sense suggests it’s best to post images around late afternoon/evening in the territories you want to target, or at the weekends, but with the rise of smartphones, people are now on Instagram all the time. Use Iconosquare to find out when your account is most active, and other important information.

Google +

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It’s easy to forget about Google + and dismiss it as a wannabe Facebook, but it’s becoming more and more important as an image-sharing platform. Being active on Google + and posting good content on there can also help improve your Google rankings, for free.

Research has suggested that most people look at their Google + accounts in the mornings, before the beginning of the work day, but you can post anytime. It’s worth being on Google + just to raise your presence on the Google search engine, and again it’s free.

Pinterest and Tumblr

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Pinterest may not be for everyone, but it’s useful for wedding and portrait photographers as there seems to be a lot of brides on there, looking for ideas for the big day.

As with Facebook, there is a lot of other information to contend with – everything from recipes to random pictures to clothes patterns – so you need to be posting quality images to make sure you get people’s attention.

It’s important you provide full contact information with your ‘pins’ so potential customers can easily get in touch. Tumblr is another good way to post portfolios of work, though it seems to be slightly waning in popularity.

It’s worth putting regular work on there though, as research also shows that people spend more time on Tumblr than they do on Facebook.

LinkedIn

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If you’re a commercial photographer, don’t forget LinkedIn. It’s a great way to keep in touch with business contacts and make new ones, and photography-related jobs are regularly posted on there. You will need to pay for a professional account, but if you only get one job a year off LinkedIn, it should soon pay for itself.

https://www.learningwithexperts.com/photography/blog/social-media-for-photographers

Improve Your Website’s Performance With These Photo Optimization Tips

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Much has been written lately about slow page loading times on news websites. People are increasingly consuming news on mobile devices, often with limited bandwidth.

Earlier this year, Google announced that they now use “mobile-friendliness” as a ranking signal in mobile search results and even adding an extra second or two of load time has been shown to increase abandonment rates on websites.

Sites that aren’t optimizing for performance on all devices and connection speeds are limiting their own audience growth. Every time someone can’t find your site or they’re too impatient to wait for a page to load, you’re losing a potential reader.

Fortunately, the INN Nerds aren’t content to just complain about it, we’re here to help fix it!

Let’s Start with Photos

The average web page now weighs in at just under 2 MB, and images are the main culprit. Photos on the web are essential elements of storytelling and connecting with your audience. But if your photos aren’t optimized, they can also weigh down your web pages and make them slow to load. To improve the overall performance of your website, photo optimization is a great place to start.

What is Photo Optimization

Photo optimization involves compressing the file size of photo using a tool like Adobe Photoshop. We want the highest quality photo with the smallest possible file size. Too much compression can impair the quality of the image. Too little compression can result in a large photo file size which slows the performance of our web page. Optimization is finding the right balance between quality and file size.

Consider these two images:

Photo of Delicate Arch

Not Optimized. Width: 1200px, Height: 800px, File Size: 939 Kilobytes

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

Optimized. Width: 1200px, Height: 800px, File Size: 107 Kilobytes

The second photo has a file size of less than 12 percent of the first. You can probably see a slight degradation in the photo quality. But most people would not notice the difference between these two on a web page.

On the web we should never use any photo with a file size like 939 Kilobytes. This will slow the loading of the page, especially on slower connections and mobile devices. We want to keep website photos under 100 KB if we can, and much lower for smaller images. For example, here’s the same photo reduced in dimensions:

Delicate Archive in Arches National Park

Not Optimized. Width: 300px, Height: 200px, File Size: 192 Kilobytes

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

Optimized. Width: 300px, Height: 200px, File Size: 14 Kilobytes

The file size of the second photo is less that 10 percent of the first image, yet most people would see no difference in photo quality. If you have a web page displaying a number of similar-sized images, for example a gallery page or a series of stories with thumbnail images, smaller photo file sizes can add up a huge reduction in page loading time.

How to Optimize Photos in Photoshop

Best practice for optimization is to start with the highest-quality source photo, then resize and compress it for the web. Start by cropping and resizing the photo for the space it will fill on your web page. If the photo will be displayed in a sidebar widget that’s 300px wide, there’s no reason to upload a photo wider than 300px for that space. Reducing the size of the photo by itself will reduce its file size.

After the photo is cropped and sized, in the File menu go to Export -> Save for Web:

Save for Web dialogue box in Photoshop

Here you can select which photo format to export (always use JPEG for photos), and how much compression to apply. Medium is often the optimum setting, but this is a judgement call. If you don’t see a preview of both the Original photo and the JPEG export, click the 2-Up tab at the top. Now you can try different compression settings and see a preview of the results, including the file size:

Optimized image in Save for Web dialogue in Photoshop

Once you’re happy with the image quality and file size reduction, click Save to create your web-optimized photo. This will not affect your original image, which should be archived for possible use in the future..

Tip: If you like keyboard shortcuts, in Photoshop you can launch Save for Web like this:

  • Command + Shift + Option + s (Mac)
  • Control + Shift + Alt + s (Windows)

Optimizing Photos without Photoshop

If you don’t use Photoshop, there are any number of other tools for optimizing website images.

Compressor.io is a free online tool. You can drag and drop a source photo into it, and download a compressed version of the image. Compressor.io doesn’t have any cropping or resizing tools, and you can’t adjust the amount of compression. In our tests, Photoshop does a better job of balancing photo quality and file size. But if you have a photo sized correctly for your website, it’ll do in a pinch.

If you’re comfortable using the command line, there are a number of tools available to you for optimizing different image types.

Your Photo Workflow

If you’ve produced photos for print, you know it’s important to maintain the highest quality photo throughout the process. But with today’s cameras, the highest quality photo is likely to be 5000 pixels wide, and more than 20 Megabytes in file size. Such a photo is great for print, but a problem on the web.

Best practice is to safely store the original photo files in their highest resolution, for the day when you need to resize or reuse them in another context. Use the original photos to crop, size, and export for the web, then keep the originals safe for future use.

https://nerds.inn.org/2015/11/23/improving-website-performance-optimizing-photos/

11 Quick Food Photography Tips to Make Mouth Watering Images

One of my first jobs in photography involved shooting food, including doing shots for a cookbook. I learned a lot about food styling and choosing the right props. If you’ve ever needed to take some food photographs or think this is something you might want to try, here’s a few quick tips for you to get started.  Feel free to add your own tips or ask questions.

Food Photography Tips

 

#1 – PICK THE FRESHEST INGREDIENTS



If the skin looks wrinkled, scarred or damaged take it out and get a new one – or angle it in a such way so as not to see the bad side. This seem obvious but sometimes it’s easy to miss. You’re often photographing these things really close up so even the tiniest flaws will show up. Check them over closely and be ruthless when you buy our vegetables.

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#2 -LIGHTING IS EVERYTHING!


Backlight is key to texture and making it appetizing looking. This will also allow any steam to show up in the image.  Steam or smoke will show up prominently when lit from behind. Notice how much more appetizing the corn and bean salad looks in the second image, and the only difference is the angle of light. The one that has the light skimming across it from behind makes the salad look crisp and fresh, the other one just seems flat and unappealing.

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Lighting from the front and to camera right, notice how flat it seems?

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Lighting from behind makes the salad glisten and look more appealing to the eye.

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Dramatic lighting doesn’t have to be fancy, this was shot on my kitchen floor using light from the patio window.

#3 – KEEP IT SIMPLE


Take out stuff you don’t need. Take out things on the table that are distracting and pair down to just one plate of food.  If the food once cooked is unattractive only show a portion of it. Brown soup doesn’t really seem visually stimulating but if you have to do something with it, get creative with props and cropping and when in doubt follow the “more is less” rule of thumb.

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#4 – USE SIMPLE PROPS INCLUDING RAW INGREDIENTS


Simple plates, cutlery, etc. and raw ingredients make great extra props. When I did a lot of food photography I had a cupboard full of different plates, placements and bowls, but only one of each!  Stick to non-patterned plates and bowls so the food stands out more.

If you don't have props use raw food bits
If you don’t have props use raw food bits.

#5 – SHOW A BEFORE AND AFTER SHOT


Showing steps in the cooking process including chopping, in the pot or in process helps people understand the final image. Show one shot before, and one after it’s cooked or step by step images. This works well for things that just don’t look all that great cooked.

Super green soup in the pot before blending shows the ingredients well.
Super green soup in the pot before blending shows the ingredients well.

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After blending it doesn’t look like much so use the before and after, and prop with raw ingredients to help its appeal.

#6 – SHOW IT COOKING


Along the lines of #5 showing it cooking is sometimes better than showing the finished product.

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In the pot and human element added. This was actually photographed on my deck in mid-winter. Can you guess what the background is?

#7 – ADD A HUMAN ELEMENT


Adding a hand stirring a pot or holding a plate allows you to show scale and adds a human element which is often more appealing and real to viewers.  (see photo above)

#8 – DON’T COOK IT COMPLETELY


When meats and vegetables are fully cooked they keep cooking after you remove them from the heat. So to keep them looking plump and juicy remove them from the stove or oven a bit early – take your photos, then put it back it to finish cooking before you eat it. This will keep things from looking shrivelled.

#9 – KEEP THE PLATES CLEAN


This goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. The plates and props holding the food must be absolutely 100% pristine, clean, flaw free. When you shoot close up, like most food requires, any imperfections will show up and look like the dish is messy or incomplete.  Like this one.

Oops!  I should have cleaned the pot better.
Oops! I should have cleaned the pot better. Notice how messy it looks?

#10 – VARY YOUR CAMERA ANGLE


Try different angles of view when shooting your food items from directly overhead, tilted, shooting into the edge of the plate or table, and so on.  Get creative and try to show it in a different way than most people would see it.

A little tilt and diagonal lines just adds interest. Notice the back lighting again?
A little tilt and diagonal lines just adds interest. Notice the back lighting again?

#11 – ADD A BIT OF OIL


To make vegetables glisten brush them with a bit of olive oil, or mist a salad with water. It will make them look fresher.

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These veggies were marinated in oil and herbs so notice how they glisten so nicely?

#12 – BONUS TIP FOOD SHOTS EATING OUT


Yup I’m one of those people that takes a photo of my food before I eat it, especially if it’s particularly nicely presented. I feel I owe it to the chef who took such great care in preparing it. Perhaps it my food photography background and I just can’t help myself!  I often just use my iPhone but when I do have my camera I will usually set it up before I eat it and take a few shots.  Here’s a couple of mine.

Okay let’s see how you put this to use!

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French toast at the Byway Diner in Portland, Oregon.

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Cafe latte and beignets at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans

7 Tips for Better Food Photography

For the past couple of years, many of my monthly photography assignments have been food related. This type of assignment has its benefits! Aside from eating really well, and discovering a ton of great new restaurants, I’ve been able to gradually raise my food photography game with the best possible coach- experience.
 
Here are seven basic tips to help elevate your food photography game.
 
 

1. Fill the Frame


Beautiful, sweeping table scapes a la Pottery Barn are always cool, but often times restaurants and environments where you would shoot food commercially just don’t have the beautiful, highly styled environment to make a zoomed out shot work. Closeups are usually more appetizing and get your idea across more quickly and effectively. How to shoot an effective closeup?
 
Choose a featured item (in this case the beautiful slice of fresh apple), lock focus on it, and build your shot around that. Use a shallow depth of field to de-emphasize the little bit of background that you will see. Side note: a red linen was used because green and red are a classic complimentary color paring and help balance the green and red in the overall image.
 
 

2. Go Vertical


One thing I see beginning photographers doing a lot is shooting only about 10% of their shots in the vertical camera orientation. Do something different and shoot vertically! Some subjects like these “goat cheese popsicles” dictate a vertical composition by their shape.
 
Other times, it may not be as obvious. Magazines and cookbooks like vertical compositions because they can easily be a full page print or if you’re lucky, a cover shot which often times pays the photographer a usage bonus.
 
When in doubt, try to capture a horizontal and vertical version of the same dish and have both in your library. (Another common color wheel combination, is blue and orange).
 
 

3. Use the Foreground and Background for Depth


In many cases, food photographers show background items out of focus (salt and pepper in this photo), to give a sense of place and context to the image. You can expand on that by adding the hint of an object like this glass in the foreground. This will help give your images a three dimensional quality and anchor the edges of the image visually.
 
Similar to landscape photography, think “foreground, middle ground, background”. If you have all three, you’ll have an enhanced sense of space and depth.
 
 

4. Backlight It


This eggs benedict photo was made with a very simple lighting setup- a shoot through umbrella from behind the food and a large handheld reflector in front. If you can use daylight through a window and a reflector in front, all the better. Soft backlight (light coming toward the camera) is probably the most common way to light food. Look at your favorite magazines and cookbooks and note the direction of the shadows. Backlight helps define the texture and edges of garnishes while not looking too flat or boring on the front of the dish.
 
Use a white or silver reflector to kick some light back in from the front (camera side) of the plate.
 
 

5. Experiment with Focal Length


There’s a big difference between moving in with your camera and zooming in with a telephoto lens. When we zoom out or use a wide angle lens and move physically closer, it’s easier to show more of the environment. This Thai restaurant had an environment that went along with the dish nicely and gave an editorial feeling.
 
If your goal is to isolate the dish and make a more compressed photo, move physically farther from your subject and let the telephoto lens do the zooming.
 
 

6. Act Fast


If you don’t have the benefit of a professional food stylist helping with the photo shoot, time is of the essence. Hot dishes make herbs and garnishes wilt quickly. Sauces can run away from you in a hurry and oils can separate out of them.  Have a simple, reliable setup that you can execute quickly and without letting the food sit for too long.
 
Alternatively, you can shoot a “stand in” dish before bringing in the “hero” plate. Use a simple, repeatable lighting setup or daylight to speed things up. (see #4).
 
 
 

7. Include Some Action


When shooting static subjects, a bit of action can always add some interest and dynamism. Flames burning, liquid pouring, hands lifting something etc, can all add a spark of motion or interest to a still photo. Some off-camera flash mixed with a slow shutter made the above image an easy one to produce in a limited time frame.
 

Things to Know About Protecting Your Images Online

It is the digital age and therefore vitally important to have a presence on the internet. Photographers, both professional and novice, are using the internet more than ever to showcase their skill.
 
Photo by Maja Petric
Photo by Maja Petric

This is imperative from a business and marketing standpoint, but with every great tool comes those who exploit it. Photographers are stuck between marketing themselves in the most essential way available and putting their products at risk to be stolen online.
 
Other than keeping photos off the internet completely, the options for keeping our property entirely safe are limited. Here are the things you should know about protecting your images online before clicking the “upload” button.
 

Social Media

 
From a marketing standpoint, social media presence is imperative for business growth. Sharing your photos with visitors on Flickr, Facebook and Pinterest can offer a boost in sales or audience that you wouldn’t be able to obtain otherwise.
 
Even if you take photos as a hobby and not a career, chances are that you’re sharing them with your friends on your personal social media sites.
 
Many have speculated about social media sites and their Terms of Service that state they have certain rights to your content. Most of these have been disputed and the sites have assured users that their content rights belong to them. Facebook’s Terms of Service, for instance, state that you are granting them a license to use that content to display to the audience you’ve shared it with. In other words, you aren’t granting them a license to use your photos as they see fit.
 
By Dominik Schröder
By Dominik Schröder

 
The bigger issue with social media is the privacy settings. Your page may be completely private as far as the settings go, but you still have a profile picture and you can still find your photo via hashtag search.
 
The main point to keep in mind is that your photos on social media are not safe, regardless of your privacy settings. Also keep your photo content in mind. Environmental shots being stolen and portraits being stolen are equally illegal but have different ramifications for the subject and photographer.
 

Imitation is NOT the Sincerest Form of Flattery

 
There are many articles out there about image sharing and photographers being grateful if their image is shared without regard for crediting or copyright. This is the idea that image theft is flattering and talent validating; if someone goes through the trouble to steal your photo it must be a great shot.
 
This logic has too many holes to discuss all them. The bottom line is that using a photo without permission or crediting the source is theft. For many photographers their photos are their livelihood and stealing their work is taking money directly from them. And depending on the license, attribution isn’t enough to use the photo.
 
By Jeremy Ricketts
By Jeremy Ricketts

 
Consider where your photos are being used. If you aren’t trying to protect your photos in some way, you are opening up your photography to a variety of thieves. You may not be affected negatively if your photo is stolen and used for a T-shirt print or a blog article, but what if your photo is used in an advertisement for an adult film site?
 
This is a very real risk and has happened many times, especially with photos shared on social media. Do not allow your photos to be used without your consent whether it be personal or professional photography. The risk of stolen photos is not just damaging from a fiscal standpoint.
 

Copyrights and Credits

 
The good news is that your photos are automatically copyrighted. The second the shutter closes copyright is already attached to your photo. Unfortunately, registration is required in order to enforce your rights, usually it must be within the first three months it was created, and it requires a fee.
 
Because of this, you can contact anyone who has used your photo and demand they stop using it. Photographers might need to jump through some hoops if the case goes to court, but luckily the automatic copyright will force them to stop using the photo. Compensation, on the other hand, might be a different story if you haven’t registered your work.
 
By Breno Machado
By Breno Machado
 
For those who aren’t as concerned about redistribution for their photography, there are six different Creative Commons licenses that will inform those using your photos what is allowed and what isn’t.
 
The important thing is to be clear on how you want your photos to be used so users are aware if you want to be attributed or if you don’t allow your photo to be used whatsoever. This is an important distinction to make for professional photographers especially.
 

Tips to Help

 
There are many ways to help combat photo theft online. Some popular options are watermarking photos, only uploading low-resolution photos, splicing photos, disabling right-click functions, or layering images. Try using software that is easily downloaded and can protect your photos in bulk.
 
It will help by automatically adding watermarks, copyright disclaimers, invisible disclaimers or reduce image quality to the photos you would like to put online. All of these options require the thief to work harder for the photo, but doesn’t protect it completely. Altering the photo on an online platform is at least a way to advertise your product without giving it away, unless the thief wants to work hard for it.
 
by Chelsea Francis
by Chelsea Francis

 
You can also consider the platform that you put your photos on. Creating a website that requires a log-in to view photos or payment to download full-resolution photos might be a better option than putting photos on Flickr where some users assume a Creative Commons license when you might prefer a stricter copyright license.
 
Putting photos on a personal blog and not on a social media site can help keep your photos on a smaller stage where they aren’t in such a big search pool for thieves seeking personal photos.
 
Uploading your photos online is great for marketing your photography, showcasing your skill to other photographers, sharing personal photos with friends and family, or getting your name out there as a photographer.
 
The digital age is both a blessing for the creative world and a curse because of the ease at which someone can steal your work, but luckily there are a variety of different ways to protect yourself.
 
Being aware of the power of social media, what can happen with stolen photos, copyright rules, and how to keep your photos safe will better prepare you for the online world and how it relates to your photography. What has your experience been with online image theft?
 

Image compression: File types – RAW, S-RAW, M-RAW and JPEG

RAW


A RAW file is the image data exactly as captured on the sensor. Any settings you apply in white balance, Picture Styles and some other areas are only appended to the image as a small header file. This means they can be changed later in RAW conversion software such as Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (supplied with the camera).
 
A RAW file is often referred to as a ‘digital negative’ because the data can be processed and printed in different ways to produce different results – just like the negative from a film camera. Also, like a film negative, the RAW file never changes. When you open a RAW file in a software application, it is actually a copy of the data which opens. When you save this, it creates a new file on your computer. The original RAW file can then be opened again (as another copy) and worked on to produce a completely different result.
Advantages
  • Can be modified after capture
  • Maximum flexibility
  • Widest range of colours recorded
Disadvantages
  • Largest file size
  • Needs computer for processing

 

S-RAW


Introduced with the EOS-1D Mark III, S-RAW provides all the advantages of a RAW file, but in a smaller file size. An S-RAW file has approximately one-fourth the pixel count and approximately half the file size of a RAW image. Just like RAW images, S-RAW images can be adjusted and processed with Digital Photo Professional software (supplied with the camera). S-RAW will appeal to wedding photographers, for example, who do not need full resolution for wedding candids, but who do need the post-production control RAW offers.
Advantages
  • Smaller file size than RAW (so more images can be captured to a media card)
Disadvantages
  • Lower resolution than RAW

 

M-RAW

 
Introduced with the EOS 7D, and also on the EOS-1D Mark IV, M-RAW provides all the advantages of a RAW file, but in a smaller file size. Depending on the camera an M-RAW file has approximately between 55-60% of the pixel count and approximately two thirds the file size of a RAW image. Like RAW images, M-RAW images can be adjusted and processed with Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software (free in the box with the camera).
 
Shooting M-RAW files might appeal to wedding photographers who don’t need full resolution for wedding candids, but who do want the post-production control that RAW offers. It could also be of use to sports/action photographers who will get an increase in the number of frames when shooting in bursts due to using a smaller file size. M-RAW is also worth considering if you are not planning to make prints larger than A3 size.
Advantages
  • Smaller file size than RAW (so more images can be captured to a media card).
  • Increased burst shooting possibilities.
Disadvantages
  • Lower resolution than RAW.

 

JPEG


A JPEG image file is a RAW file that has been converted by the in-camera DIGIC processor and saved as a compressed file. It can be saved at different image sizes and levels of compression to give different file sizes. The camera takes the RAW file and applies the camera parameter or Picture Style settings to the image to create a new file.
 
These settings cannot be changed once the JPEG file has been saved. It is possible to make some colour and exposure changes to a JPEG file, but you will be working at 8-bit depth rather than the 12-bit or 14-bit depth offered by EOS digital cameras.
 
This may not be a problem if you are making minor changes to the file and printing at sizes up to A4, but it might be significant with large changes or bigger prints. Also, a JPEG file is compressed each time it is edited and saved, and can lose some data each time.
 
There are two aspects to every JPEG file: Large, Medium and Small refers to the image size (the number of pixels recorded); Fine and Normal refers to the amount of compression used when saving the file. Large/Fine gives the maximum quality; Small/Normal the lowest.
Advantages
  • Smaller file sizes (more images can be stored on a CF or SD card)
  • Images are easy to view, mail and print than RAW files
Disadvantages
  • Reduced post-processing flexibility
  • Reduced colour depth and resolution
  • Need to get everything correct in-camera (some computer processing is possible)
http://cpn.canon-europe.com/content/education/infobank/image_compression/file_types_raw_sraw_and_jpeg.do

Tips on Photographing Your Handcrafted Sterling Silver Jewelry

The best way to do this is, of course, digitally. Taking good quality pictures of jewelry for most is an unsolved mystery. However, there are some simple techniques used by the professional, which even amateur photographers can use to obtain dramatic results with minimal effort. The following examples show the basic setup that should allow anyone to achieve results they can be proud of.
 
The camera that I use is a Canon A520 Digital. It’s not too expensive, and if you go to our website you’ll see, it takes great pictures. The basic setup I use includes an “Ezcube” light tent to soften the shadows and eliminate glare, while providing a clean and clutter free background. I also use true color daylight balanced compact fluorescent bulbs as the main light source and clear acrylic risers to provide reflections for an added “professional touch”.
 
The keys to good jewelry photography are sharpness, lighting, and exposure.
 
Focus
 
It is worth getting out your camera’s manual to find out how to put the camera in “spot focus” mode. The normal focus mode of digital cameras is some sort of average focus mode. That means that the camera will look at a wide area of a scene and base the focus on that area. Since you want to control where the camera is focusing, it’s better for jewelry photography to put the camera into spot focus mode, this will allow you to control more precisely what the camera will be focusing on. However, even in spot focus mode many digital cameras can’t really “lock-in” on a small shiny object like gemstone jewelry using auto focus. So unfortunately, for close-up jewelry photography, you need a camera with good manual focus capability.
 
Another key to a sharp image is a tripod. It is absolutely essential to use a tripod or similar camera support when shooting jewelry. A sturdy tripod is better than a flimsy one, but any tripod is many times better than no tripod. Use a tripod.
 
Lighting
 
Another key to good jewelry photography is the lighting. Normally diffuse (soft) lighting works best for jewelry. You have probably already discovered that an on-camera flash does not lead to good jewelry photos. Not only is the camera’s flash too bright at such a close distance, but it is probably in the wrong position to actually light up the jewelry properly. An on camera flash will also create harsh and distracting shadows. Rather than flash, I like to use continuous lighting for product photography. Using continuous lights makes it easier to visualize what the final image will be like. I prefer daylight balanced compact fluorescent bulbs for lighting. These bulbs provide nice, natural-colored light and they produce very little heat so they can be left on for long photo sessions without over heating the photographer and everything else in the room. Even fluorescent light bulbs will need to be diffused and for that I, again, use a light tent as the diffuser. A small light tent makes it easy to reduce glare and control shadows for jewelry photography.
 
Exposure
 
Proper exposure is also a key to good jewelry photography. If your background is actually white but appears grey in your image or if everything in your image appears darker than you would like, the image has been underexposed. It doesn’t mean you need more lights or bigger lights, it means you need to let more light get to your camera’s image sensor.
 
The most likely reason not enough light is getting to the camera’s image sensor is that the camera’s auto exposure mechanism has set the exposure too low. The camera’s auto exposure system doesn’t expect to see a very light background. Since it assumes the background is grey rather than white, it exposes the image to achieve a grey background rather than a white background. The result is that everything in the image appears darker than it should.
 
The solution is quite simple. Adjust your camera’s exposure compensation setting to slightly overexpose the image. [Nearly every digital camera has an exposure compensation setting, but you may need to read your camera’s user manual to find how to adjust yours]. Once you locate the controls for exposure compensation simply increase the exposure until the image looks correct. When photographing against a white background you will normally need to increase the exposure by about 1 to 1 1/3. (Camera makers make this confusing by labeling the exposure adjustment setting as EV, Exposure Value.)
 
If you are comfortable with photography and understand how the camera’s aperture and shutter speed affect the exposure, you will want to pay attention to how the camera adjusts the exposure. If the camera increases the aperture it will decrease the depth of field.
 
A quick review:
  1. In order to ensure your images are sharp, make sure you know how to focus your camera. Digital cameras with auto focus are often difficult to focus precisely, especially when shooting small objects. Read your owner’s manual and be sure you understand how your camera’s auto focus operates. Most digital cameras are designed to easily focus on large objects but have difficulty on small subjects.
  2. Use a tripod, even the slightest movement when you are taking a picture will cause motion blur. The closer you get to an object the more obvious the motion blur becomes. Even an inexpensive tripod will make a big difference in the sharpness of your images. If you are going to be shooting a lot of images, it makes sense to invest in a good, stable tripod.
  3. To get the largest area of your subject in focus put your camera in aperture priority mode and set the aperture to the highest number possible.
  4. Use soft lighting. Your camera’s built-in flash will rarely give good results for product photography. For soft lighting either shoot outside on an overcast day or use a light tent or soft box.
  5. Use imaging software. Even inexpensive software like Photoshop Elements™ can make product photography much easier. It may seem like it’s faster to use an image exactly as it was shot. But in reality, it is difficult to shoot an image exactly how you would like it to appear in it’s final form. Imaging software allows you to crop an image, resize it, adjust the exposure, and even sharpen the image less than 60 seconds.
I hope this help a little bit in your quest to take great jewelry photos.

http://www.bizymoms.com/ideas/photo_silver_jewlery.html