Sunday, June 30, 2013

Five tips for buying photo gear on eBay


I love eBay. You can find just about anything on eBay. Specially if you are budget conscious, but who isn't these days?

The great thing about eBay is that it allows you plenty of choices; new, used, re-manufactured, local, global, etc. Since it is a bidding site it also keeps sellers competitive. Even with all these pros you need to be fully aware of what you are purchasing and from whom. The final burden of caution rests with the buyer. Here are five tips I have learned about using eBay to shop for photo gear.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pinterest, the modern mood board


As a graphic artist I have worked in print shops, sign shops and screen printing shops among others. Today I work as an illustrator in my own shop as a tattoo artist. The one thing all these jobs have in common is the need to translate a customer's idea into a tangible visual product. The problem is that most of my customers either do not have the visual language to explain their concept or may not have a clear concept of what they want to begin with.

The opposing problem to this is when I try to explain a concept for an illustration or layout and the customer has no visualization skills. There is nothing more frustrating than having to draw something out only to have the customer say, "it's not quite what I had in mind," or worse still, "I don't like it," with no further explanation. As I often point out, I can draw a hundred versions of something and still not give the customer what they want. Unless, that is, I have some inclination of what the customer is looking for.

That's where mood boards come into play.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Orphan works and what it means to you


Like other serious photographers I tend to browse through a variety of photography blogs and sites. I am also an active member of social sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and a few others with photography sub-groups. Not only are these sites a great way to learn they are also a great way to stay in touch with and share ideas about the business of photography.

For some time there have been discussions (and scares) about what is termed orphan work and how it impacts photographers who use the internet as a marketing and networking tool to showcase their images. The most recent scare was when Instagram declared they would have rights to images posted on their web site by default. Meaning the could do what ever they wanted with your images. The mad rush to removeimages and resign from Instagram caused them to rethink their policy very quickly. However, the current ruling on orphan work as set forth by the copyright office is still one that all photographers need to be aware of.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Documenting your equipment


Photography equipment is expensive. When a piece of gear gets lost or broken because of our own fault it can be depressing. In this situation there is no one to blame but our own stupidity. Specially a hard working photographer who's all over the place. If the loss is due to someone else's negligence it would be nice to get compensated for that piece of gear.

I love doing street photography. In those situation I try to travel as light as possible for comfort and to minimize risk of loss or theft. In these situations you need to report the loss or theft immediately in order to maximize the chance of recovery. Obviously the more information you can provide the appropriate officials the better.

That led me to think about how to make critical information about a piece of gear readily available when I was away from my home base. This is where today's technology is a boon.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Share the love


Early May of this year my wife and I went with Pat Cook's group, Beyond the Photo with HDR, to Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT. It was a great event with so many photo opportunities. Since the seaport is considered a living museum there were plenty of things to do and places to visit.

Along the waterfront there are a variety of shops visitors can explore. Many of them with a knowledgeable tradesman who will give you a little history lesson or demonstration of the crafts and trades from the late 1800's. I was so enthralled by many of these demonstrations that I spent more time listening to these folks rather than take pictures.

In particular there was the cooper's barn. A cooper is a tradesman who builds and maintains wooden barrels and casks. On this particular day there was a gentleman by the name of Sam giving a demonstration to a group of eager kids. It was fun watching eight and ten year old kids banging away at the metal bandings of a barrel under Sam's supervision.

As I was watching I had set up my camera on a tripod off to one side of the workshop hoping to get some nice shots of all the barrels and tools on display. Did I mention that the seaport is very accommodating to photographers? So long as you do not sell them commercially, that is. Strict rules on that, but that's a different story.

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