Sell an Unwanted Camera

Not every camera is collectible: indeed many are garbage. Searching eBay for your model, and then looking at the completed listings will give you an immediate picture of whether your camera is trash or treasure. If it’s trash, take it to a charity shop. If it’s desirable, press on.

Try to find out how the thing should work, and check that it does. Instruction manuals for most cameras are available on the Internet for free. eBay listings frequently make statements along the lines of, “I can’t test it because I don’t have a film”. You don’t need a film. Make a visual inspection for damage; check that levers, buttons and dials all move. If the camera requires batteries, buy and install some: they are very inexpensive. A camera that works will always sell for more than one that doesn’t, and if you cannot confirm that a camera works, it may not sell at all (unless it’s something special).

Describe the camera to the best of your ability. List any faults, and specifically state what you have checked, and what does or does not work. Flag-up anything you are unsure about. Don’t include loads of copied technical information about the camera: it’s patronizing. The chances are that anyone looking at your camera will already have some knowledge, and if they don’t, they a likely to be capable of finding more information.

Take good photographs from all angles.

A good description (in pictures and words) will gain the confidence of a buyer. Your text needs to show that you have described the item honestly and completely. Omitting details can look like you have something to hide. Don’t use words like rare or mint unless you are completely confident they are appropriate. You’ll look like an idiot if you describe something as rare when it isn’t, and your credibility will be shot. In any event, just because something is rare does not necessarily make it valuable or desirable.

Take the effort to spell check your description, and write in full sentences, not text speak. If you don’t bother with this step, then you are likely to look like a dumb seller, and most people try to avoid dealing with idiots.

Set a fair postage charge. Camera collectors know what an item costs to post, and if your charges are unreasonable, they will bid elsewhere (there are some 17,000 options in any week).

Be clear about returns. Remember that if the buyer wishes to return the item because it does not match the description, they have a legal right to do so. Rejected goods remain the seller’s property, and it’s your responsibility to pay for their return: you cannot expect a buyer to pay for your mistakes. Your listing will create confidence if it says returns are acceptable if the item is not as described.

eBay is the place to hunt-out a good deal, and one of the most critical aspects of successful selling is setting the right starting price. More research is required. Search eBay for your model, and look at the sold listings. This will inform you what buyers are actually willing to pay. Never look at the items listed for sale: they may not achieve their asking prices. If you opt for buy-it-now, set the price just below what others have achieved. This will encourage buyers to act quickly for fear of missing a bargain. If you prefer to take bids, set the start price as low as you can stomach. The whole point of an auction is that there has to be more than one person interested, and if your start price is low enough, you will spark competition. Some profit is always better than no profit at all. Don’t use a hidden reserve: it just annoying.

The time at which your listing ends is important. Not everyone has Internet access while at work, so don’t exclude bidders by listing items at unsocial hours: early morning, late at night, or during the working day.

Now you may decide that all this effort just isn’t worth the bother. You could be correct, but if your camera is desirable and valuable, then not taking the effort can waste whole lot more time. If the item doesn’t sell, or ends up being returned, then whatever effort you’ve put into selling will have been wasted. More than that, the venture can leave you out of pocket (refunding return postage costs), and blemish your seller rating through negative feedback.

Make Breathtaking Photos

Pick Your Spots Carefully

If you take your time to review the stunning photos captured by your colleagues, you will start to discover certain patterns. There is a particular one that emerges from the pile of the miscellaneous others – unique perspective.

You can easily notice that some of the photos of world-famous architectural masterpieces are simply more stunning than others. Why? Because a photographer picked an interesting spot to take photographs from.

Practice Composition

Every great photo follows the rules of great composition. If you are completely unfamiliar with composition in photography, the first thing you should learn is the rule of thirds. You should look at your photo as if were a tic-tac-toe (3×3) board. If you check the work of your colleagues, you will soon discover that they place interesting objects on the intersection of these lines.

This bit takes a lot of practice. Start by using the grid system most DSLRs and smartphones already have. After some time, you will develop an instinct to place the objects of your photography spontaneously in these spots.

Play with Lighting

Lighting is also one of the factors that plays a crucial role in the making of a stunning photo. If you are a beginner photographer, you should start by learning a few tricks, such as when to position the object behind and in front of the light source, how to leverage lighting to emphasize something on the photo, etc.

If you like to take photos of landscapes and city scenes, try focusing your photography efforts on taking pictures during the golden hours. During the early morning and evening, the light is perfect for photography, and there are many pro photographers who swear by this rule. If you take photos indoors, you will have to invest into some lighting equipment to play with.

Photo Editing is a Must

All of the stunning photos that have been captured in the modern history of photography were tampered with. Lightroom and Photoshop can make a stunning image out of the ordinary and “meh” photographs. You should definitely start post processing your photos if you want to end up with diamonds in your hands.

On the other hand, many photographers don’t have time or simply don’t want to get involved in image editing. If you belong to this group of people, you can outsource your image editing to professionals with years of experience in image post processing software.

Start Learning Exposure

We have saved the hardest for the end – exposure. Since you can control the exposure with ISO, aperture and shutter speed, you will have a lot to learn about how each of these affect your image, and eventually be able to take incredible photos.

Learning exposure is very important because you will end up taking photos in tricky lighting situations, and that’s where your knowledge will really shine. If you want to see how exposure affects your photos, load them into any image editing software and check the histogram. The graph to the left indicates that the image is too dark, while the graph shifted to the right indicates the opposite.

On Camera Flash

Flash units work by means of a capacitor charged by battery. When triggered, the capacitor releases its full charge instantaneously from the flash tube, ionizing the gas inside. Concentration of the light output depends on how large the capacitor and on the square in the voltage at which the product operates, and is normally quoted as the guide number.

The restrictions of full flash illumination are the types of frontal lighting. Put simply, the lighting is almost shadowless and it also falls off equal in proportion on the distance from the camera. A common purely flash-lit photograph is likely to feature flat illumination over the main subject and a dark background. The result is clear, sharp, and with good color separation, but is usually missing in ambiance. Typical good purposes of full-on flash are close-ups of colorful subjects, simply because these may benefit from the crisp precision and powerful colors afforded by flash illumination.

One of several special challenges in altering the style of light digitally would be to make the effect of bright, sharp light, but there is however software available that will assist. One of the fundamental question in image editing is when far you need to go – that is certainly, just how far you ought to get off the original the way it was shot. In principle, anything may be changed; in practice, you should consider whatever you personally feel is acceptable and on how much effort it can be worth to you personally.

With daylight photography, the most important hurdle is bringing light on the picture. If you’ve waited for any break in the clouds to brighten up the scene, you will be aware that you’ve got an interest in this – and to an extent this can be accomplished digitally. The challenge, as you possibly can check by comparing two versions of the same view, overcast and sunny, is usually that sunlight affects everything as well as in many ways, down to tiny shadows and the glow reaching into shadows from sunlit surfaces.

Although clouds reduce brightness when they block the sun, the quantity depends quite definitely for the type of cloud. In the event the clouds are indistinct and spread across the sky, light loss is on a simple scale from the light haze through thin high stratus to dark gray, low clouds. With distinct clouds, however, just like scattered fair-weather cumulus, the light levels can fluctuate rapidly, particularly at a windy day. Light, white clouds usually produce a simple fluctuation of about 2 stops while they pass in front of the sun from bright to shade in one step. Dark clouds with ragged edges, or two layers of moving clouds, cause more problems, as the light changes gradually and often unpredictably. In the initial case, two light measurements are all that’s necessary – one in sunlight, the other for a cloud passes – as soon as this is accomplished, you can simply change the aperture in one to the other, without using much more readings. When it comes to more intricate moving clouds, constant measurement is essential, unless you await clear breaks and apply only these.

Bad Habits That Can Ruin Photography

SHOOT FROM EYE LEVEL

Amateur shutterbugs tend to hold the camera at head-height. However, this will produce predictable results. When shooting in a location, learn to ‘work the scene’. Drop to your knees, or even lie on the ground, searching for fresh angles. An aerial perspective can be stunning. Remember that the best tool of composition is your feet.

FAIL TO CONSIDER THE BACKGROUND

Look for a simple background behind your subject. For example, avoid having a telephone pole (in the distance) that appears to protrude from a person’s head. If you have a long lens, you can employ a narrow depth-of-field to blur the background. This will isolate your subject from the clutter beyond, achieving a degree of separation.

CENTRE THE SUBJECT

Ignore the rules of composition at your peril. If you want your photos to stand out, learn and use the Rule of Thirds, rather than place your focal point bang in the middle, like most folks do, (in blissful ignorance). Or, add dynamic by tilting your camera at an angle. Don’t forget to try different types of framing: portrait orientation versus landscape orientation. Or even a really wide panoramic crop.

SHOOT ONLY IN BRIGHT DAYLIGHT

Confession time… I am guilty of this. Because I trained back in the bad old days of film, when strong light was necessary to capture good images, I became a fair-weather photographer. Also, I used compact digital cameras for a decade, which were hopeless in low light situations. So I was infatuated with clear, blue skies, as cloudy skies often washed out into a white haze.

However, under a harsh, midday sun, shadows are short and therefore objects do not look three-dimensional, lacking form. Human subjects may squint into the sun, or blink. Worse, they may have an ugly ‘sun-dial’ effect under their noses! Better to pose people in the shade.

Landscapers should learn to work with softer, diffused light – this is mandatory for waterfall scenes. Thunderclouds overhead will introduce a sense of foreboding that blue skies cannot. Golden hour lighting will exude warmer tones and longer shadows.

DON’T READ THE CAMERA MANUAL

Same old story: you buy a new camera, put the box away and the camera’s manual stays inside the plastic bag. Perhaps you were too eager to use your new gadget. Well, now it’s time to dig out the manual, and attack it with a highlighter pen.

Be methodical, and diligently work through each function of your camera. You may find features you didn’t know existed!

Taking Great Food Pics for Social Media

For you foodie lovers who wouldn’t dare dream of eating a bite of a deliciously grilled meal until after the photo op is over, you’ll be happy to know that according to a 2014 study by Socialbakers.com, photos shared on Facebook garner more interaction than any other form of shared content. So when dining mates complain that the food is getting cold while you find the perfect shot, remind them that your food photos are actually bringing you closer to and connecting you with others. (Heads up: your mom may or may not buy that argument.)

Whether you snap food pics for fun or for your blog or website, you’ll want some seriously eye-catching photography. Fortunately, this doesn’t require blowing your budget on the latest camera. You really only need a smartphone and these 5 tips to taking great photos for social media.

  • Lighting. Lighting may be the single most important factor when taking a great photo. Make it easy on yourself by leaving your camera or smartphone on “automatic.” Natural light is best, but if a photo doesn’t turn out quite right, utilize the filters offered by either of the social media platforms. Just be sure that the source of light is always in front of your food-no amount of filters can fix backlighting!
  • Composition. The rule of thirds is a well-known photography guideline for a reason. Don’t put the main subject of your photo smack dab in the center-it’s just not that interesting to the viewer. Instead, position the subject either in the left or right third of the shot to add interest.
  • Angles. By simply shooting your subject from above, below or to the side at an angle versus head-on, you will instantly attract more attention.
  • Blurring. By using the blur tool – even just softly around the edges – you can instantly draw someone’s eye to a focal point that you want them to notice.
  • Tell a story. Above all, social media photos are used to tell stories. Use your pictures to tell stories about you, your life and what’s important to you. Pictures are still worth a thousand words. Done correctly, however, they’re also now worth an 87% engagement rate.

Photographic Darkroom

In order to maintain the darkness of the room, they are generally reached via several curtains or doors which are often able to help with avoiding any light pollution. This is a vital step to take to make sure the darkroom isn’t exposed to light in those times that a photographer is working on a task that could be very sensitive to light exposure. Film and prints are highly sensitive to light so it is important that the artist is able to remain in a highly dark environment to avoid any clouding or fogging appearing on the finished image.

A regular darkroom that is outfitted to complete the most basic tasks is likely to feature a wide selection of chemicals for developing the photographs, and an enlarger machine for helping to make the print. In the process of developing the film, the photographer is likely to expose sheets of photosensitive paper to a source of light using the enlarger, which is then followed by placing the photographs in an assortment of chemicals to help with developing and bringing out the image. Solutions are used to stop the development process and to rinse the finished photograph of chemicals. On completion of the development process and the paper is dry, it is then acceptable to expose to normal light.

Since it can be quite expensive to set up a darkroom, a photographer that is just starting out is likely to use a rented room for the process of developing the images. A rented darkroom comes fully equipped with all the necessary equipment for developing the photographs in a safe and efficient manner. A professional photographer is likely to refer working in a more private darkroom in the process of developing the film photography since this is often able to offer a more peaceful environment and therefore better for being able to focus on the job at hand.

Reasons to Watermark Photos

Branding

Your watermark can be a signature, a small photo or a logo. As such, it serves to brand you. When people look at your images, they learn something about you.

If you consistently show photos that appeal to them, they’ll get to know who you are and look forward to seeing more of what you publish.

Your images may be quotes or landscapes or funny stuff that you share.

Promotion

Watermarks on your photos promote. What do you want viewers to do? Where do you want people to go? What do you want them to see beyond the image?

Answer these questions to determine what kind of watermark you should create.

You may want to promote yourself, your business, a website or blog. Make sure your watermark reflects that.

For example if your business has a logo, choose that for your watermark.

Your signature would be a good choice if you are promoting you,

I chose to create a community on Facebook, and as such, use a logo of its name, which is both personal and business.

If you use social media with its sharing capabilities, your images can potentially be viewed by thousands or million of people. That’s a lot of promotion.

Protection

Certainly if your images go viral on the Internet, you want to protect your brand, so that people cannot simply take your photo and brand it as their own.

Although this latter point isn’t foolproof, because watermarks can ultimately be removed, it has some safety benefit.

In most cases, unless you are a professional photographer, you won’t need to copyright your photos.

If you’re like me, a network marketing professional, you will be using other relevant photos you find online that you want to put your own words to or your favorites quotes.

Create Frightening Photos

Choose a subject

Ask a close friend or family member to be your model for this scary shot, and set up a camera on a tripod. Firstly, take a photo of a room which can be used as the background in the completed image. Making sure that you don’t move the camera and without adjusting the settings, ask your model to position themselves in front of the camera in the same room where you took your background image. You will need to take a photo of your model on a prop that provides a raised surface from the ground to give the impression that they are levitating. A ladder, table or chair will provide you with the effect you need, but ensure safety precautions are taken at all times, and help your model on and off the platform. Make sure that you don’t move the camera when you are taking the photograph.

Make use of photo editing software

Using a photo editing program of your choice, load your digital prints and place both the background photograph and the image of your model side-by-side in the software. Using your mouse, place the image with your model on top of the original background image. Both photographs should be lined up correctly. Set the image opacity for the photograph with your model to around 50% by using the opacity tool in the control panel of the software program. Experiment with the different settings.

Use filters and layers

To create a ghostly image of a person levitating, use a layer mask from the control panel of your software program and use an eraser or brush tool to cover-up the prop that you used in your second photo. Because you used the opacity tool in the previous step, the area which contained your prop should be filled with the underlying background image to create a scary levitation effect. Save your image and send your levitation photography to family and friends.

Colors Theory

Primary Colors

Many of us know about the primary shades, we all have learnt about them in school. They are the colors that can’t be made by mixing two colors, they are primary colors of a color wheel. While a standard artist color wheel makes use of red, yellow and blue as primary colors many photographers think regarding RBG (red, blue and green) color spectrum.

Secondary Shades

Secondary colors are a result of the mixing of primary colors. On the photographers color wheel, these shades are orange, purple and green.

Tertiary Hues

Tertiary colors are created by combining the secondary and primary shades. For instance, when using the first yellow, blue and red hues wheel mixing the orange and red or green and blue would result in tertiary hues.

Complementary Shades

One of the most common links is between the additional hues. Complementary colors fall in the opposite from one another on the color board. These colors develop high contrast and grab the viewer attention.

Analogous Colors

Analogous hues are next to each other on the wheel. Making use of similar shades create a more harmonious shade scheme and low-contrast.

Monochromatic Hues

The monochromes are usually referred as black and white; monochromatic shades are made from hues of just one hue, for example, several different tones of blue. Monochromatic shades are low in contrast and usually create a soothing look.

About Photographing Clouds

The use of filters can help the photographer emphasize these differences. A UV filter is great to cut through haze and improve clarity. A polarizing filter is perhaps even better to isolate the different areas of the clouds and highlight their features. When doing black and white photography, a red filter is a plus to use to make the clouds really stand out and appear bolder.

A good time to photograph cumulus clouds is both before and after a storm. In California where I live, high clouds will normally precede an approaching storm front followed by more and more cumulus clouds as the cloud cover drops lower and the clouds thicken. At anytime during this process great opportunities for photographs exist. Here in California and other desert areas during the summer monsoonal rain season, thunderheads will often begin to build up over the mountain areas. These gigantic cloud formations stretching thousands of feet into the air are particularly beautiful to photograph as the sunlight plays upon their different features.

Always use a study tripod so that there is no camera movement. The evening is a great time to photograph thunderheads as the light at this time will give them a beautiful reddish glow. Also, scattered clouds at just the right particular height will take on some beautiful warm red to fuchsia colors. I love to photograph clouds that are categorized as “linear ventricular”. These clouds are long horizontally and have the shape of a “flying saucer”. They too are often found during the monsoonal season hanging over mountainous regions.