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Short Film Profiles a Classic Camera Collector

The smell of old cameras is a unique and appealing one

Every day is a struggle for me not to type "Ebay.com" into my browser and blow a whole bunch of money I don't really have on old cameras. Watching a video like this makes it that much more difficult.

The Collector from Green Renaissance on Vimeo.

The film itself is extremely short, but it profiles a classic camera collector the film maker met while shopping in an antique store. He has more than 1,000 older cameras in his collection, including a couple amazing field cameras you can briefly see in the video.

Im not a big collector of things in general, but seeing all that old gear is a real reminder of just how much tradition there is in this photography thing we're so fond of. We worry a lot about image quality tests and autofocus performance, but people were out there making great photos before we had any of the fancy technology we have now. And there will be people making pictures far in the future, when our fancy toys seem about as advanced as a rock and occupy the shelves of local antique stores.

Do you keep a collection of older cameras? Share some photos in the comments!

Short Film Profiles a Classic Camera Collector
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

The Collector Video

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Skillshare teachers Dan Rubin and Tyson Wheatley dish on making better mobile photos

Photo: Tyson Wheatley

Like it or not, there are 60 million new photos uploaded to Instagram every single day. If the iPhone changed digital photography when it was released in 2007—Instagram’s launch in 2010 revolutionized it.

“I loved it right away and it made me shoot every day,” says Dan Rubin, co-founder of The Photographic Journal. “I think the ease of sharing instantly made me feel like taking pictures where ever I went.”

Although the purpose of the app has remained relatively consistent in the past four years, Instagram shooters have gotten much more sophisticated. Dogs, breakfast and selfies still eat up a considerable amount of bandwidth in the Insta world, but plenty of users doing more with the app.

Skillshare teachers and Instagram enthusiasts Dan Rubin (Mobile Post-Production: Editing Your Photos) and Tyson Wheatley (The Possibilities of Instagram: Sharing Your Best Photos) dished on eight tips to improve your iPhone photography and Instagram feed.

1. Good Instagram Photos Take Planning

Just like shooting film or digitally—capturing good photographs for Instagram requires planning. Occasionally there are happy accidents, but according to Wheatley these are rare. “It’s about putting yourself in a position to get a good photo,” says Wheatley. Location scouting, experimenting with angles and, of course, planning around the light remain very important for capturing a great photo for Instagram.

2. Take a lot of Photos

Getting an amazing picture to share on Instagram doesn’t take just one shot. Both Wheatley and Rubin said they shoot throughout the day, often taking 10-20 frames of a single subject.

Rubin says he finds the new “favorite” photo feature in iOS 8 particularly helpful when he is shooting for Instagram. “It’s only been a week and a half that I’ve had iOS 8, but I started [using favorites] and now it’s part of my workflow,” he says. “It is very similar to my Lightroom workflow for my DSLR.”

Photo: Dan Rubin

3. Try Shooting Outside of the Instagram App

Rubin and Wheatley both typically use the native camera app on iPhone or Android, rather than the Instagram camera when shooting for the social network—it’s easy to access from the home screen, allows them to take multiple shots of the same scene without much fumbling, and offers for more control than the Instagram camera.

“Using the Instagram camera, you have basically got one shot. It’s closer to taking a Polaroid,” says Wheatley. “I want a little more control over the selection process.”

The native iPhone camera allows you to set focus and select what you are exposing for in your frame. Trying to shoot in low light? Rubin and Wheatley both recommended Cortex Cam for these situations.

4. Golden Hour and Blue Hour Still Count

While Cortex Cam can be useful for image capture in dark spaces it goes without saying that smartphones perform better in well-lit spaces.

“You always have to be really cognizant of light because lowlight and backlight are really problematic for the iPhone,” says Wheatley. “Golden hour and blue hour those are going to be your best time for creating photos. I think you need to think about programing your day around them. I know I certainly do.”

5. Hold Your Phone Horizontally

For Wheatley holding his phone horizontally, like he would with an SLR, is a no-brainer. “I find it’s easier to frame the image later if I’m going to be cropping it,” he says. “I don’t ever shoot in square because you can just be limit yourself in the editing process.”

Photo: Tyson Wheatley

6. Try Third Party Editing Apps and Edit in Phases

Flexibility came into play the minute that Instagram allowed importing images from the camera roll,” says Rubin. “Once that happened it meant photographers weren’t restricted to just using the Instagram filter set.”

Rubin believes many of the current editing apps are a direct result of Instagram freeing users from the preset filters—and while VSCO is still the gold standard for most mobile shooters, there are plenty of other apps that are great for micro adjustments. Here are some of Rubin and Wheatley’s favorites.

-Snapseed: Free full feature editor, with a selective adjust option that allows you to place adjustment points on one area of an image and adjust brightness, contrast and saturation individually.

-TouchRetouch: $0.99 clone tool good for getting rid of blemishes in an image.

-Anticrop: $0.99, works like Photoshop’s content aware fill. “Rather than cropping in, you are cropping out,” says Rubin. “It doesn’t really work all the time, but for things like skies and lakes, anything that is plain enough, it does a fantastic job.”

-Afterlight: $0.99 full feature editor, an old favorite of Rubin’s. Wheatley likes to use it to add a white border around photos that don’t fit the standard square Instagram crop.

-VSCO Cam: Free with In App Purchases. This full feature editor is the preferred photo-processing app of most mobile shooters and where Rubin and Wheatley say they do most of their major adjustments: sharpness, cropping, temperature, white balance, exposure, contrast and sometimes applying a VSCO preset. “I love the selection of presets, they suit my editing style and that helps me have a more consistent look to my images,” says Rubin.

Wheatley says he avoids doing any editing inside Instagram, but Rubin will occasionally use a preset in his final edit. “It’s a whole lot easier now because of the extra control. You can apply one of those filters and then you can dial it down,” he says. “Sometimes I’ll add the tiniest bit of Rise or Valencia, but at like five or six percent to give a slight edge when I post.”

Photo: Dan Rubin

7. Hashtags: Keep them Specific and Creative.

Hashtags can be incredibly effective, but only when they are used correctly. Spraying your photo with 12 broad and random hashtags (#girl, #blessed, #love, #photo, #togs, #bestagram, #instamasters, #hastag, #instagood) is not a smart. It comes off as spammy.

“Hastags are part of what makes Instagram such a creative and fun place to be,” says Wheatley. “But if your strategy is to get people to see your photo and like it, then you are doing it wrong. If you are going to use a hashtag use one, and use the right one. Find a cool one or start your own.”

8. Connect with the Community

“I don’t think it can be understated that the real power of Instagram is the community,” says Wheatley. “That’s not just about meeting people, but being inspired by people. I think a lot of the photography you see has been born from the community.”

Both Wheatley and Rubin say that the online Instagram community is incredible and something that many people aren’t actively engaging with. “That is such a deep layer to this app,” says Rubin. “There is a massive world of people who are enthusiastic about what they see. Not necessarily photographers … but people who want to get together and wander around with their cameras.”

Attending an Instameet (or hosting your own) can be a great way to start connecting with that larger Instagram community. “Reach out, see what is going on and be apart of it—even if it’s just every once in a while, it can ben fun,” says Rubin.

You can sign-up for Rubin and Wheatley’s new Skillshare classes here.

These classes are part of the three new photo-centric video classes aimed at perfecting mobile photography skills. Mobile Post Production: Editing Your Photos, The Possibilities of Instagram: Sharing Your Best Photos, and Food Photography: Capturing a Morning Worth Eating are the first in a set of photo programming that Skillshare will roll out throughout fall.

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No Ad App Replaces Ads With Photos

A clever app that replaces ads with great photography

For one month starting mid-October, No Ad, a new augmented reality app which has been generating a lot of discussion around the Internet, will be swapping mainstream advertisements posted throughout the New York City subway system with photographs from the International Center of Photography.

No Ad App Replaces Ads With Photos
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

No Ad App Replaces Ads With Photos

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No Ad App Replaces Ads With Photos

A clever app that replaces ads with great photography

For one month starting mid-October, No Ad, a new augmented reality app which has been generating a lot of discussion around the Internet, will be swapping mainstream advertisements posted throughout the New York City subway system with photographs from the International Center of Photography.

No Ad App Replaces Ads With Photos
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

No Ad App Replaces Ads With Photos

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It's not quite like the old days...of 15 years ago

Like many photographers, I still enjoy shooting film quite a bit, but find it very impractical for shooting anything other than personal work. Canadian Photojournalist Mike Drew, however, took a challenge to go out and shoot his regular newspaper beat using analog photography.



Luckily for Mike, it ends up being a relatively slow news day, but there are some reminders about how tricky shooting film has become. For instance, he has to drive 25+ miles to get to a place that will develop the film in an hour. And then, rather than making prints like they used to do, he has to work with low-res scans from the processing shop.

Ultimately, there's nothing really that surprising about how all of this goes down, but it's a nice reminder of how things used to work. Even now, though, modern technology changes things up and lets Mike send his photos via mobile data from his car.

The interesting part is that film photojournalism was absolutely the norm 15 years ago. This isn't like those photographers who go out and do wet plate (which is also awesome). We weren't churning butter by hand and riding around on those bikes with one big wheel and one small wheel during the film era. We were watching Friends and listening to Hootie and the Blowfish. Boy, a lot sure has changed.

If you want to shoot film, here are some films you should try before they go away.

From: Reddit

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It's not quite like the old days...of 15 years ago

Like many photographers, I still enjoy shooting film quite a bit, but find it very impractical for shooting anything other than personal work. Canadian Photojournalist Mike Drew, however, took a challenge to go out and shoot his regular newspaper beat using analog photography.



Luckily for Mike, it ends up being a relatively slow news day, but there are some reminders about how tricky shooting film has become. For instance, he has to drive 25+ miles to get to a place that will develop the film in an hour. And then, rather than making prints like they used to do, he has to work with low-res scans from the processing shop.

Ultimately, there's nothing really that surprising about how all of this goes down, but it's a nice reminder of how things used to work. Even now, though, modern technology changes things up and lets Mike send his photos via mobile data from his car.

The interesting part is that film photojournalism was absolutely the norm 15 years ago. This isn't like those photographers who go out and do wet plate (which is also awesome). We weren't churning butter by hand and riding around on those bikes with one big wheel and one small wheel during the film era. We were watching Friends and listening to Hootie and the Blowfish. Boy, a lot sure has changed.

If you want to shoot film, here are some films you should try before they go away.

From: Reddit

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GoPro Hero4 Black Edition Action Camera With 4K Video

GoPro gives all their cameras a refresh, teaches them some new tricks

When it comes to action cameras, the GoPro is the king. And while their new model didn't make it out quite in time for Photokina, they have three new cameras ready to go right now, and they're pretty interesting.

Hero4 Black
The most interesting new addition to the GoPro family is the Hero4 Black edition. The focus for this camera was clearly just maximizing performance in just about every aspect. It now does 4K video at up to 30 fps, 2.7K video at 50 fps, and 1080p video at 120 fps, which means slow motion in HD is a go.

It can now also capture 12-megapixel still shots at 30 fps bursts as well. Even the Bluetooth and the Wifi have been bolstered to make connecting to the app simpler and more robust. The audio system has gotten a total overhaul, and the new Night Lapse mode actually gives you some exposure control for shooting time lapse videos at night. That's a big step for GoPro.



Hero4 Silver Edition
In previous models, the silver edition was simply a cheaper, more basic version of the black, but that's not the case here. The Hero4 Silver is quite a different camera. You lose some of the higher-res capture, it maxes out at 1080p at 60 fps.

The big addition here is the touchscreen display that occupies the back of the camera. If you've ever gotten a little frustrated trudging through the GoProp menus with a tedious number of button presses, you probably understand why it's such a big deal. You can use the touchscreen just like you would on any other digital camera, to set up shots and navigate menus. It's like they integrated the LCD backpack add-on, but made it a lot better.

Aside from that, it has the same basic setup as the Hero4 Black in terms of connectivity, control, and accessories.



Hero
The Hero is GoPro's new entry-level camera, which is set to cost just $129 and is intended to get people hooked on the action camera train. From a features standpoint, it's pretty much like buying a GoPro 2, only the body has been redesigned and shrunk. It does 1080p video at 30 fps or 60 fps if you don't mind 720p resolution. It's still totally waterproof inside the case and does, well, pretty much everything the Hero2 did. This clearly seems like a way for GoPro to try and combat the army of knockoffs that some companies have been marching out over the past few years.

The GoPro Hero4 Black costs $499, while the Hero4 Silver with the touchscreen costs $100 less.

Look for a full review in the coming weeks, but until then, which one would you prefer? Is the extra imaging power worth more to you than the built-in LCD display?

GoPro Hero4 Black Edition Action Camera With 4K Video
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

GoPro Hero4 Black Edition Action Camera With 4K Video

read more


GoPro Hero4 Black Edition Action Camera With 4K Video

GoPro gives all their cameras a refresh, teaches them some new tricks

When it comes to action cameras, the GoPro is the king. And while their new model didn't make it out quite in time for Photokina, they have three new cameras ready to go right now, and they're pretty interesting.

Hero4 Black
The most interesting new addition to the GoPro family is the Hero4 Black edition. The focus for this camera was clearly just maximizing performance in just about every aspect. It now does 4K video at up to 30 fps, 2.7K video at 50 fps, and 1080p video at 120 fps, which means slow motion in HD is a go.

It can now also capture 12-megapixel still shots at 30 fps bursts as well. Even the Bluetooth and the Wifi have been bolstered to make connecting to the app simpler and more robust. The audio system has gotten a total overhaul, and the new Night Lapse mode actually gives you some exposure control for shooting time lapse videos at night. That's a big step for GoPro.



Hero4 Silver Edition
In previous models, the silver edition was simply a cheaper, more basic version of the black, but that's not the case here. The Hero4 Silver is quite a different camera. You lose some of the higher-res capture, it maxes out at 1080p at 60 fps.

The big addition here is the touchscreen display that occupies the back of the camera. If you've ever gotten a little frustrated trudging through the GoProp menus with a tedious number of button presses, you probably understand why it's such a big deal. You can use the touchscreen just like you would on any other digital camera, to set up shots and navigate menus. It's like they integrated the LCD backpack add-on, but made it a lot better.

Aside from that, it has the same basic setup as the Hero4 Black in terms of connectivity, control, and accessories.



Hero
The Hero is GoPro's new entry-level camera, which is set to cost just $129 and is intended to get people hooked on the action camera train. From a features standpoint, it's pretty much like buying a GoPro 2, only the body has been redesigned and shrunk. It does 1080p video at 30 fps or 60 fps if you don't mind 720p resolution. It's still totally waterproof inside the case and does, well, pretty much everything the Hero2 did. This clearly seems like a way for GoPro to try and combat the army of knockoffs that some companies have been marching out over the past few years.

The GoPro Hero4 Black costs $499, while the Hero4 Silver with the touchscreen costs $100 less.

Look for a full review in the coming weeks, but until then, which one would you prefer? Is the extra imaging power worth more to you than the built-in LCD display?

GoPro Hero4 Black Edition Action Camera With 4K Video
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

GoPro Hero4 Black Edition Action Camera With 4K Video

read more








Chris Pratt Bad Headshot Photo

A bad photo was a good thing for actor Chris Pratt

Almost everyone has a photo of themselves that they don't like very much. In some cases, it's most photos, and that's why we like to stay behind the camera. But, even the Hollywood set has some awkward pictures lurking in their past, as demonstrated by Chris Pratt when he appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show.



He tells a funny story about moving to LA and getting some head shots from a photographer he meets at the West Hollywood post office.

The story is entertaining and the picture, perhaps, even more so.

But, it just goes to show you that sometimes even a bad photo can get the job done.

Chris Pratt Bad Headshot Photo
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Chris Pratt Bad Headshot Photo

read more


Chris Pratt Bad Headshot Photo

A bad photo was a good thing for actor Chris Pratt

Almost everyone has a photo of themselves that they don't like very much. In some cases, it's most photos, and that's why we like to stay behind the camera. But, even the Hollywood set has some awkward pictures lurking in their past, as demonstrated by Chris Pratt when he appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show.



He tells a funny story about moving to LA and getting some head shots from a photographer he meets at the West Hollywood post office.

The story is entertaining and the picture, perhaps, even more so.

But, it just goes to show you that sometimes even a bad photo can get the job done.

Chris Pratt Bad Headshot Photo
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Chris Pratt Bad Headshot Photo

read more








Permits to shoot on wilderness lands could cost up to $1,500 under new rules

A new set of rules proposed by the U.S. Forest Service that would restrict wilderness filming had photographers and lawmakers up in arms this week.

Oregon’s Statesman Journal reported that the U.S. Forest Service had proposed new guidelines calling for stricter regulations on commercial filming and still photography done on the 36 million acres of federal wilderness area. The rules would require members of the media, commercial outlets and non-profit groups to apply for special use permits (which could cost up to $1,500) except in cases of breaking news. Photographers and filmers shooting without a permit could be fined up to $1,000. The ambiguous language of the proposal made it unclear if the same permitting process would apply to SLR hobbyists or iPhone shooters.

"This proposed rule is vague and could have a major impact on the way the media captures, documents, and promotes our public lands," U.S. Rep Peter DeFazio told the Statesman Journal. "What does the Forest Service plan to do next—monitor Instagram accounts and fine users that post pictures of our wilderness areas?”

Others worried about the proposed rules infringing on First Amendment rights.

“The Forest Service needs to rethink any policy that subjects noncommercial photographs and recordings to a burdensome permitting process for something as simple as taking a picture with a cell phone,” U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden told the Oregonian. “Especially where reporters and bloggers are concerned, this policy raises troubling questions about inappropriate government limits on activity clearly protected by the First Amendment.”

Troubling as the guidelines may be, especially considering the current wording appears to include all forms of still photography, it’s important to note that they aren’t new. In fact, they’ve been in place for the past four years. According to wilderness photographer Moose Peterson, the wording found in the directive is very similar to what one would find when applying for permits to lead photograph workshops in national parks.

Acting Director of Wilderness for the U.S. Forest Service, Liz Close told the Statesman Journal that the new rules were drawn up from the 1964 Wilderness Act and is simply meant to preserve the character of these federal lands.

The proposal is open to public comment until Nov. 3. Read the full text of the directive here.

Badlands
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Badlands

Queen's Chamber, Bisti Badlands, New Mexico. Photo: Flickr user QQ Li (Creative Commons)

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Permits to shoot on wilderness lands could cost up to $1,500 under new rules

A new set of rules proposed by the U.S. Forest Service that would restrict wilderness filming had photographers and lawmakers up in arms this week.

Oregon’s Statesman Journal reported that the U.S. Forest Service had proposed new guidelines calling for stricter regulations on commercial filming and still photography done on the 36 million acres of federal wilderness area. The rules would require members of the media, commercial outlets and non-profit groups to apply for special use permits (which could cost up to $1,500) except in cases of breaking news. Photographers and filmers shooting without a permit could be fined up to $1,000. The ambiguous language of the proposal made it unclear if the same permitting process would apply to SLR hobbyists or iPhone shooters.

"This proposed rule is vague and could have a major impact on the way the media captures, documents, and promotes our public lands," U.S. Rep Peter DeFazio told the Statesman Journal. "What does the Forest Service plan to do next—monitor Instagram accounts and fine users that post pictures of our wilderness areas?”

Others worried about the proposed rules infringing on First Amendment rights.

“The Forest Service needs to rethink any policy that subjects noncommercial photographs and recordings to a burdensome permitting process for something as simple as taking a picture with a cell phone,” U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden told the Oregonian. “Especially where reporters and bloggers are concerned, this policy raises troubling questions about inappropriate government limits on activity clearly protected by the First Amendment.”

Troubling as the guidelines may be, especially considering the current wording appears to include all forms of still photography, it’s important to note that they aren’t new. In fact, they’ve been in place for the past four years. According to wilderness photographer Moose Peterson, the wording found in the directive is very similar to what one would find when applying for permits to lead photograph workshops in national parks.

Acting Director of Wilderness for the U.S. Forest Service, Liz Close told the Statesman Journal that the new rules were drawn up from the 1964 Wilderness Act and is simply meant to preserve the character of these federal lands.

The proposal is open to public comment until Nov. 3. Read the full text of the directive here.

Badlands
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Badlands

Queen's Chamber, Bisti Badlands, New Mexico. Photo: Flickr user QQ Li (Creative Commons)

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A new iOS 8 app gives photographers all the control

Like it or not, the iPhone camera is one of the most popular cameras in the world at the moment, but its native camera app has some shortcomings. Manual, a new app from Little Pixels, gives photographers the same control of their iPhone that they would find in a DSLR.

The $1.99 app allows photographers to independently control shutter, ISO, white balance, focus, and exposure bracketing. Although other apps have been released that give photographers this level of control, Manual is the first app that works with the phone’s native camera. So unlike an app like ProCamera, when you shoot with Manual photos are saved directly to your camera roll. The app also has a cool histogram that you can reference while you shoot.

Manual can be downloaded in the App Store.

Manual
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Manual

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A new iOS 8 app gives photographers all the control

Like it or not, the iPhone camera is one of the most popular cameras in the world at the moment, but its native camera app has some shortcomings. Manual, a new app from Little Pixels, gives photographers the same control of their iPhone that they would find in a DSLR.

The $1.99 app allows photographers to independently control shutter, ISO, white balance, focus, and exposure bracketing. Although other apps have been released that give photographers this level of control, Manual is the first app that works with the phone’s native camera. So unlike an app like ProCamera, when you shoot with Manual photos are saved directly to your camera roll. The app also has a cool histogram that you can reference while you shoot.

Manual can be downloaded in the App Store.

Manual
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Manual

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Is there still money to be made in stock photography?

Jessica Kirsh was looking for a way to help pay for college six years ago when she submitted her first photos to two microstock agencies. The income didn’t come quickly, and even though today she usually makes at least one sale daily from the 1,500 photos she has on ten microstock sites, the money is minimal. On some days she can sell a photo for $30 to $60, but that figure is often closer to 33 cents.
“People often ask me if it’s worth the investment of time and energy and disappointment from rejections,” says the Phoenix-based freelance Web designer and developer, who spends up to 20 hours a week shooting, editing, and submitting stock images. “But I have way too much fun with it to stop now.”
Today stock agencies are giving folks like Kirsh opportunities to sell images alongside those who make their living from selling stock. Yet the crowded stock-photo field makes it difficult to earn rewards.
“It’s a challenge to make money, because while the number of prospective buyers is growing, so are the number of contributors and the number of images,” says Sean Locke, a St. Louis, MO–based stock photographer. “It’s hard to be found in that haystack.”
Sean Locke’s dancer study. Photo: Sean Locke
Still, art buyers wade through the mounting mass of online images because they need photos to help tell their stories on pages and screens. “The demand for high-quality content among small and large businesses, advertisers, and publishers has really never been higher,” says Scott Braut, vice president of content at the micro-stock shop Shutterstock. Consider the scale of that agency: It has more than 35 million images in its collection and nearly 1 million customers in 150 countries.
In fact, microstock agencies, which generally sell only royalty-free images, are having a macro effect on the industry. “In the traditional market, it’s been getting harder as microstock puts downward pressure on prices, which in turn puts pressure on royalty rates and production budgets,” says Lee Torrens, a Buenos Aires, Argentina–based stock photographer who also runs the stock image library for Canva, an online design platform.
In today's media environment, royalty-free licensing—in which images can used without per-use payment—is a hit with buyers. The midstock agency Alamy, which sells both rights-managed and royalty-free images, sees much greater demand for the latter. “Clients more and more want simple, clear, flexible rights, and that traditionally comes with a [royalty-free] model,” says Helen Hicks, Alamy’s head of customer service and marketing. “The [rights-managed] model is more complicated and puts a limit on the extent to which the image can be used, which doesn’t suit the clients of today.”
Microstock Matures
Not all photographers are willing to sell their work royalty-free, much less as microstock. But in recent years, veteran stock shooters have been selling microstock, which they see as “another layer in the cake they need to have in their business,” says Ellen Boughn, author of Microstock Money Shots (Amphoto Books) and a photography consultant based in Bainbridge Island, WA.
And even in the burgeoning microstock image pool, standards are rising. “The quality level is now very high and agencies are now very good at surfacing the best content,” says Torrens, who also writes the blog Microstock Diaries. “The golden age of selling bad photos is clearly over.”
Moreover, agencies realize many buyers want photos that don’t have the clichéd stock-photo look of people posing in a studio. “My Web clients often use stock photos and they’ve been saying, ‘We don’t want anything that looks like stock,’” says Anne Stahl of San Luis Obispo, CA. A stock shooter herself, Stahl buys art for clients at her job at a digital agency and as an independent Web developer.
Jessica Kirsh’s shot of fans at a Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory parade. Photo: Jessica Kirsh
The trend toward cinéma-vérité imagery accompanies the explosion of photos captured via camera phones. Alamy is among the agencies with an app that makes it easy for mobile users to monetize their snaps. “The cameras on a lot of phones are better than a lot of the cameras that your amateur photographer might be shooting with,” says Alan Capel, head of content at Alamy. “Now, chances are it’s going to be viewed on a phone or on a tablet, or perhaps a computer screen, as opposed to in print.”
Brewing Discontent
While stock photographers and agencies need each other to thrive, sometimes the relationship can feel lopsided. “Many contributors are tired of agencies making deals that benefit only [themselves],” says Locke, a veteran stock supplier who was featured in a 2006 Popular Photography story on microstock.
He cites recent licensing deals made by Getty Images—which owns the pioneering microstock agency iStock—as particularly irksome for many shooters. Locke has parted ways with iStock and now contributes work to other agencies, including Stocksy United and Shutterstock, as well as his own firm, Digital Planet Design.
In March, Getty caused a stir among some shooters when it began allowing people to embed millions of its photos for free for noncommercial use on websites, blogs, and social media platforms. Getty—which did not respond to requests for comment—said in a press release that embedded images will include photographer attribution and, when clicked, will link back to gettyimages.com, where the selected image can be licensed for commercial use.
Anne Stahl’s picture of spa relaxation. Photo: Anne Stahl
Going Solo
Another option for stock shooters is to license images directly to clients through self-hosted sites, though this is not a realistic route for everyone. Torrens says many photographers underestimate what’s involved. “There’s little a single photographer can do to make their own direct sales channel competitive to a stock agency,” he says.
Still, Sandra Calderbank, an anesthetist in Asheville, NC, has found a way to independently sell her photos. Specializing in bird imagery, she counts nature publications and ad agencies among those that license rights-managed images from her website, www.scalderphotography.com.
PhotoShelter, which sells website tools for photographers, has helped Calderbank with search-engine optimization (SEO). She has also seen traffic rise from being a part of a virtual agency offering SEO benefits called Photographers’ Selection; the agency does not take commissions off of work sold.
Calderbank has worked with shops that do, but she prefers the control and increased revenue of selling directly to buyers. “I enjoy the personal contact with clients, including getting their feedback,” she says. “Direct communication has enabled me to customize my services for specific requests. People have shown they are willing to pay more for the images they like. The net result of selling fewer images—but for higher profit—favors direct sales in my case.”
Jessica Kirsch’s New York scene is at dreamstime.com. Photo: Jessica Kirsch
stock bird
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

stock bird

Sandra Calderbank’s shot of a male ruby-throated hummingbird hovering and feeding at a red flower is among the bird imagery she markets at www.scalderphotography.com Photo: Sandra Calderbank

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Is there still money to be made in stock photography?

Jessica Kirsh was looking for a way to help pay for college six years ago when she submitted her first photos to two microstock agencies. The income didn’t come quickly, and even though today she usually makes at least one sale daily from the 1,500 photos she has on ten microstock sites, the money is minimal. On some days she can sell a photo for $30 to $60, but that figure is often closer to 33 cents.
“People often ask me if it’s worth the investment of time and energy and disappointment from rejections,” says the Phoenix-based freelance Web designer and developer, who spends up to 20 hours a week shooting, editing, and submitting stock images. “But I have way too much fun with it to stop now.”
Today stock agencies are giving folks like Kirsh opportunities to sell images alongside those who make their living from selling stock. Yet the crowded stock-photo field makes it difficult to earn rewards.
“It’s a challenge to make money, because while the number of prospective buyers is growing, so are the number of contributors and the number of images,” says Sean Locke, a St. Louis, MO–based stock photographer. “It’s hard to be found in that haystack.”
Sean Locke’s dancer study. Photo: Sean Locke
Still, art buyers wade through the mounting mass of online images because they need photos to help tell their stories on pages and screens. “The demand for high-quality content among small and large businesses, advertisers, and publishers has really never been higher,” says Scott Braut, vice president of content at the micro-stock shop Shutterstock. Consider the scale of that agency: It has more than 35 million images in its collection and nearly 1 million customers in 150 countries.
In fact, microstock agencies, which generally sell only royalty-free images, are having a macro effect on the industry. “In the traditional market, it’s been getting harder as microstock puts downward pressure on prices, which in turn puts pressure on royalty rates and production budgets,” says Lee Torrens, a Buenos Aires, Argentina–based stock photographer who also runs the stock image library for Canva, an online design platform.
In today's media environment, royalty-free licensing—in which images can used without per-use payment—is a hit with buyers. The midstock agency Alamy, which sells both rights-managed and royalty-free images, sees much greater demand for the latter. “Clients more and more want simple, clear, flexible rights, and that traditionally comes with a [royalty-free] model,” says Helen Hicks, Alamy’s head of customer service and marketing. “The [rights-managed] model is more complicated and puts a limit on the extent to which the image can be used, which doesn’t suit the clients of today.”
Microstock Matures
Not all photographers are willing to sell their work royalty-free, much less as microstock. But in recent years, veteran stock shooters have been selling microstock, which they see as “another layer in the cake they need to have in their business,” says Ellen Boughn, author of Microstock Money Shots (Amphoto Books) and a photography consultant based in Bainbridge Island, WA.
And even in the burgeoning microstock image pool, standards are rising. “The quality level is now very high and agencies are now very good at surfacing the best content,” says Torrens, who also writes the blog Microstock Diaries. “The golden age of selling bad photos is clearly over.”
Moreover, agencies realize many buyers want photos that don’t have the clichéd stock-photo look of people posing in a studio. “My Web clients often use stock photos and they’ve been saying, ‘We don’t want anything that looks like stock,’” says Anne Stahl of San Luis Obispo, CA. A stock shooter herself, Stahl buys art for clients at her job at a digital agency and as an independent Web developer.
Jessica Kirsh’s shot of fans at a Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory parade. Photo: Jessica Kirsh
The trend toward cinéma-vérité imagery accompanies the explosion of photos captured via camera phones. Alamy is among the agencies with an app that makes it easy for mobile users to monetize their snaps. “The cameras on a lot of phones are better than a lot of the cameras that your amateur photographer might be shooting with,” says Alan Capel, head of content at Alamy. “Now, chances are it’s going to be viewed on a phone or on a tablet, or perhaps a computer screen, as opposed to in print.”
Brewing Discontent
While stock photographers and agencies need each other to thrive, sometimes the relationship can feel lopsided. “Many contributors are tired of agencies making deals that benefit only [themselves],” says Locke, a veteran stock supplier who was featured in a 2006 Popular Photography story on microstock.
He cites recent licensing deals made by Getty Images—which owns the pioneering microstock agency iStock—as particularly irksome for many shooters. Locke has parted ways with iStock and now contributes work to other agencies, including Stocksy United and Shutterstock, as well as his own firm, Digital Planet Design.
In March, Getty caused a stir among some shooters when it began allowing people to embed millions of its photos for free for noncommercial use on websites, blogs, and social media platforms. Getty—which did not respond to requests for comment—said in a press release that embedded images will include photographer attribution and, when clicked, will link back to gettyimages.com, where the selected image can be licensed for commercial use.
Anne Stahl’s picture of spa relaxation. Photo: Anne Stahl
Going Solo
Another option for stock shooters is to license images directly to clients through self-hosted sites, though this is not a realistic route for everyone. Torrens says many photographers underestimate what’s involved. “There’s little a single photographer can do to make their own direct sales channel competitive to a stock agency,” he says.
Still, Sandra Calderbank, an anesthetist in Asheville, NC, has found a way to independently sell her photos. Specializing in bird imagery, she counts nature publications and ad agencies among those that license rights-managed images from her website, www.scalderphotography.com.
PhotoShelter, which sells website tools for photographers, has helped Calderbank with search-engine optimization (SEO). She has also seen traffic rise from being a part of a virtual agency offering SEO benefits called Photographers’ Selection; the agency does not take commissions off of work sold.
Calderbank has worked with shops that do, but she prefers the control and increased revenue of selling directly to buyers. “I enjoy the personal contact with clients, including getting their feedback,” she says. “Direct communication has enabled me to customize my services for specific requests. People have shown they are willing to pay more for the images they like. The net result of selling fewer images—but for higher profit—favors direct sales in my case.”
Jessica Kirsch’s New York scene is at dreamstime.com. Photo: Jessica Kirsch
stock bird
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

stock bird

Sandra Calderbank’s shot of a male ruby-throated hummingbird hovering and feeding at a red flower is among the bird imagery she markets at www.scalderphotography.com Photo: Sandra Calderbank

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Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements 13

New features for Adobe's entry-level image and video editing software

About this time each year, Adobe announces the newest version of their intro-level photo and video editing software titles, Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements. This year, they're all the way up to version 13 and they have added a few new features.

Photoshop Elements picks up Photomerge Compose mode, which lets you copy and paste elements form one photo into another using a Refine Selection Brush to make edges nicer. They have an improved black-and-white conversion process and modes specifically for creating Facebook cover and profile photos. They have also ramped up the number of one-click photo filters and improved the cropping capabilities.

Premiere Elements gets some upgrades meant to make the video editing process a little simpler. They have added "Favorite Moments" mode to help edit short clips to share online and new video effects like titles and blur. Perhaps the most interesting new feature, though, is the Shake Stabilizer, which analyzes your video and smooths out the shakes automatically.

Photoshop Elements is in a very interesting position at the moment. Now that Adobe is offering full Photoshop and Lightroom for $10 per month, the gap between pro and intro software has narrowed pretty significantly. If anything, I wouldn't be surprised to see Elements going much further in the automated, one-click direction to make it really appeal to those who see Photoshop and Lightroom as too complicated.

Both products are available right now for $99 each. If you're upgrading from an older version, it's $79, and if you want both at once, it's $149.

Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements 13
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements 13

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Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements 13

New features for Adobe's entry-level image and video editing software

About this time each year, Adobe announces the newest version of their intro-level photo and video editing software titles, Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements. This year, they're all the way up to version 13 and they have added a few new features.

Photoshop Elements picks up Photomerge Compose mode, which lets you copy and paste elements form one photo into another using a Refine Selection Brush to make edges nicer. They have an improved black-and-white conversion process and modes specifically for creating Facebook cover and profile photos. They have also ramped up the number of one-click photo filters and improved the cropping capabilities.

Premiere Elements gets some upgrades meant to make the video editing process a little simpler. They have added "Favorite Moments" mode to help edit short clips to share online and new video effects like titles and blur. Perhaps the most interesting new feature, though, is the Shake Stabilizer, which analyzes your video and smooths out the shakes automatically.

Photoshop Elements is in a very interesting position at the moment. Now that Adobe is offering full Photoshop and Lightroom for $10 per month, the gap between pro and intro software has narrowed pretty significantly. If anything, I wouldn't be surprised to see Elements going much further in the automated, one-click direction to make it really appeal to those who see Photoshop and Lightroom as too complicated.

Both products are available right now for $99 each. If you're upgrading from an older version, it's $79, and if you want both at once, it's $149.

Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements 13
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements 13

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This will make you laugh...and maybe cry a little

The whole "stuff ____ says" video trend was really popular about a year ago, but this one has been circulating this morning and it hits so close to home, I thought we would share it.

There are so many statements that sound like nails on a chalkboard to a photographer that it's nice to poke a little fun at them.

Still, we can't expect everyone to understand everything about this photography thing with which we're so obsessed. Serentiy now.

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This will make you laugh...and maybe cry a little

The whole "stuff ____ says" video trend was really popular about a year ago, but this one has been circulating this morning and it hits so close to home, I thought we would share it.

There are so many statements that sound like nails on a chalkboard to a photographer that it's nice to poke a little fun at them.

Still, we can't expect everyone to understand everything about this photography thing with which we're so obsessed. Serentiy now.

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2014 Fall Camera Bag Preview

Carry your gear in style this year

Photographers aren't renowned for being the most fashionable creatures. We're great at capturing beauty, but we've also been known to lug around the same, worn camera bags for years--sometimes decades--at a time. But, the number of new camera bags hitting the market this year is truly impressive, so we thought we would round up a collection of the most notable new bags you may want to ask Santa for this year.

The selection runs the gamut from small, simple shoulder bags to huge rolling cases that are capable of dragging along most of the essentials you'd find in a full-on photo studio. There has never been a time when camera gear was as diverse as it is right now and that has led to all kinds of interesting bags that dont' follow the standard sack with straps formula.

Click here to launch the gallery

2014 Fall Camera Bag Preview
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

2014 Fall Camera Bag Preview

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2014 Fall Camera Bag Preview

Carry your gear in style this year

Photographers aren't renowned for being the most fashionable creatures. We're great at capturing beauty, but we've also been known to lug around the same, worn camera bags for years--sometimes decades--at a time. But, the number of new camera bags hitting the market this year is truly impressive, so we thought we would round up a collection of the most notable new bags you may want to ask Santa for this year.

The selection runs the gamut from small, simple shoulder bags to huge rolling cases that are capable of dragging along most of the essentials you'd find in a full-on photo studio. There has never been a time when camera gear was as diverse as it is right now and that has led to all kinds of interesting bags that dont' follow the standard sack with straps formula.

Click here to launch the gallery

2014 Fall Camera Bag Preview
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

2014 Fall Camera Bag Preview

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Lowepro Hardside Hard Camera Carrying Case

Lowepro aims for hard case protection without the foam.

Traveling can be extremely brutal on camera gear, which is why hard cases are sometimes desireable. But, they can also be impractical, which is why Lowepro has tried to make something a little more versatile with their Hardside camera cases.

There are three versions of the new Hardside cases, differentiated by size. The Hardside 200 Video is actually made specifically to carry GoPros and other action cameras, as well as the army of accessories that go with them.



The 300 and 400 Photo models are meant for carrying more traditional kit. The 300 can hold a DSLR with an attached lens as well as four-to-six other lenses or accessories. The 400 ups the ante to six-to-eight extra lenses/accessories, depending on the gear.

The outside looks extremely familiar if you've ever worked with hard cases before. It's a design that's used because it works. The shell is made from ABS Polymer and is totally waterproof when closed. It even has release valves built-into the latches for opening it and closing it in high or low altitudes, which can make pressure get crazy in cases like this.



The inside, however, looks different than many hard cases, opting out of the typical foam for a more traditional camera bag arrangement with modular padding to protect the gear. It's nice because you don't have to spend time cutting foam and you can rearrange as you wish. When you're on location, the padded section actually has backpack straps, so you can carry it around with you without the hardcase.

The Hardside 200 Video will cost $169, while the Photo 300 and 400 will cost $199 and $249, respectively.

These are almost certainly overkill for most photographers, but if you're traveling to remote and tough locations, waterproof, impact-resistant packs are certainly what you want.

Get The Case! w/ Mike Escamilla from Lowepro on Vimeo.

Lowepro Hardside Hard Camera Carrying Case
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Lowepro Hardside Hard Camera Carrying Case

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Halved Gear: Photokina 2014

See the new Photokina gear from a new perspective

For many photographers, our gear becomes like body parts. It's forever attached to us and we know how it works, odd quirks and all. But, not many of us know what's going on inside that gear. Beyond those tiny little screws that hold everything together is a complex world of intricate glass and overwhelming circuitry.

At Photokina, however, manufacturers want to give everyone a look at every aspect of their new products (and sometimes interesting old ones), so they take a saw to them and start cutting. The result is something that's a little bit painful to look at, but also incredibly interesting.

If nothing else, it may act as a reminder as to just how amazing the camera gear we're lucky enough to use really is, and how smart the people who made it really are.

CLICK HERE TO LAUNCH THE GALLERY

Halved Gear: Photokina 2014
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Halved Gear: Photokina 2014

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Moving photos by the two-time Pulitzer winner capture what life is like in refugee camps

With the Syrian Civil War in its third year and new allegations of chemical attacks perpetrated by the Assad regime in the news, two-time Pulitzer prize-winning photojournalist Muhammed Muheisen traveled to the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan to document lives of the displaced. Drawn to his striking compositions and ability to capture dignity and joy in the face of intense struggle, American Photo reached out to Muheisen to have him take over our Instagram feed (@americanphotomag) for the week of September 19 - 26.

instatakeover
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

instatakeover

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