Monthly Archives: August 2016

Tips Buying Photography Equipment

Buying photography equipment can be a very confusing, expensive and frustrating experience. No sooner have you made a decision (after having carried out much research and working out the best deals etc), than a new raft of cameras, lenses and equipment are launched and you either have to start again with the research or (if you’ve just purchased) you might feel justifiably annoyed because your brand new and expensive camera has just become “old news” and doesn’t have the features that the new version comes with.

It’s difficult not to get caught up in this frenzy to own the very latest “super camera”, and many people do end up buying far more often than they intended. And that’s why eBay is such a great place for smart photographers!

eBay is packed with nearly new equipment which owners are unloading to help pay for the next big thing! Think of it: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the kit – not a mark on it in most cases and much of it may still be within the warranty period!

If you are on a budget but want top quality equipment, buying last seasons gear at rock bottom price on eBay can be a very smart strategy.

But how to make sure you don’t end up buying a broken, scratched, damaged camera and being ripped off..?

Here are my recommended steps to getting great photography equipment on eBay:

Check out the latest gear and see which models have just been updated or superseded by new versions. This will give you an idea about which models you can target.

Go to eBay and register for a free account. Also sign up for a PayPal account if you don’t have one (this is by far the safest way to pay on the internet and most eBay sellers will require payment by PayPal).

Search for your item by typing in a keyword at the top of the home page, for instance when I was looking for a great Nikon SLR to move up from my D40X I searched on the keyword: “Nikon D80” but you could also search on “SLR”, “DSLR”, “Nikon camera”, “digital SLR” etc. Searching on different keyword phrases and mis-spellings may find more products because some sellers don’t put good keywords in their auction listings – and that’s good for you because maybe less people will find the listing so you will have less competition when you bid.

Look at the listings for the model you are interested in and read the descriptions. Shortlist those which you think are most promising and click on “watch this item” at the top right of the auction description page. This will send the listing to your “My eBay” page so that you can monitor bids and information on your shortlisted cameras.

Some auction listings will give more information than others – if you don’t find specific information, you can ask the seller by clicking on “Ask a question” at the upper right of the listing page under “Seller info”.

Look at the sellers feedback for similar items – click their id under “Seller info” and look at any bad feedback the seller may have received over the last year or so. I advise caution if the seller has less than 99% positive feedback. If the seller has only sold a few items, the positive feedback should be higher – at least 98% and preferably 100%.

Also check to see that the item being sold qualifies for eBay Buyer Protection (this will be shown on the listing).

Look at all the photos for condition – BUT some sellers show “stock” photos so if in doubt ask the seller what the condition of the camera is.

Look at lots of listings to get a feel for what questions you need answered.

If everything checks out and you decide to bid, set a budget and stick to it! How much are you willing to pay for the camera. What is it worth to you? Decide and don’t go above this price when you bid.

One way of setting a realistic maximum bid price is to go back to the search results page and refine your search to find only “completed listings”. You can do this by checking the “Completed listings” button under “Show Only” on the left sidebar of the page then hitting “search”. Note: you must be logged in to do this. The search will then return only sold items where the auction has ended (some will have sold – these will be shown in green) and some will not have sold (this can be because the reserve price was not met or no-one bid for the item). The green listings will show the kind of deals people have made and give you a target price.

Remember – if you don’t get the first or second or third camera you bid for, there are always more being listed all the time.. Be patient to get the best deal.

Other ways you can tip the auction in your favour: subscribe to an auction sniping service such as hotsniper. This service will record your maximum bid and bid in the last few seconds as the auction ends – it will bid in increments to get you the lowest possible price and it does it superfast – no-one bidding manually will be able to compete so you may snag a real bargain! The other advantage is that you do not have to be there for the auction – hotsniper will automatically bid for you whether your computer is on or not – and you won’t be tempted to break your decided budget!

If you use an auction sniping service, you could target auctions which finish at times of day when others may not be able to bid – during working hours or in the middle of the night etc.

Bidding and buying on eBay is very safe now, especially with all the safeguards which have been built in to eBay and PayPal over recent years. I personally have never failed to get a great deal and only once had to get my money back (which I did with no problem). Why not get yourself a great camera for a rock bottom price – and have some fun pitting your bids against others.

You can even make this into your own small business and resell the equipment for a profit. Improve the listing – make it look great with really good photos and presentation and get a higher price than you paid!

Have fun!

How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

Everyone wants to have amazing wedding photos to look back on and remind them and their family of their happy day. Choosing the right wedding photographer is a very important decision in your wedding planning.

In order to get the pictures of your dreams you need to be sure that you find the right wedding photographer. This may take some trial and error, but it is worth spending some time to be certain that you find a person who fits with your needs and your personality.

Here are a few tips on how to choose a wedding photographer.

Recommendations are a good place to start. Ask friends about who photographed their weddings. Look at other people’s wedding pictures and find a style that you like. You can even browse the internet or local wedding forums for photographers and get some ideas that way. No matter how you do it, visiting photographers that have been recommended is much better than simply looking through the phone book for names.

Once you have made a short list of photographers it is time to meet them. The first thing that you want to see when you are interviewing photographers is a portfolio. Take a look at some of the weddings they have photographed in the past. Do you like the pictures? Are they well done? If you have a particular style of photography that you like, then look for that in the photographers that you interview. In essence you are looking for a photographer whose work, style, and personality matches what you want your wedding pictures to look like.

As you are interviewing photographers and looking at portfolios, you will also want to be asking about proofs and albums. Some photographers ensure that their customers get proofs of all of the photographs taken. Others only offer a larger formal album. Still other photographers provide customers with digital proofs and the rights to reprint any pictures.

Some photographers offer a combination of these different options to suit you. If having all of your wedding pictures is important to you, then make sure that you find a photographer who will give you all of the proofs. If you want to be able to reprint your pictures yourself, then look for a photographer that provides digital proofs with options to reprint. Making sure that you get what you want in this area is important for preserving your memories down the road.

Lastly, you will want to make sure that your wedding photographer has a contingency plan in case of emergencies. What happens if he or she is sick on your wedding day? What about a family emergency? The majority of photographers have a contingency plan, but it is best to ask anyway, just to be sure.

In general, the photographer usually has another professional who will photograph your wedding, but if your photographer does not have a contingency plan then you may want to reconsider your choice. After all, the last thing that you want to be worrying about on your wedding day is what will happen if the photographer is ill.

I hope these tips on how to choose a wedding photographer will help you to plan your big day!

Baby Photography Tips

Baby Photography Tips #1 – Make It Convenient To Capture Precious Moments

When it comes to baby photography, bear in mind that it best to keep your hand. Doing this creates an advantage for you to easily photograph precious moments of your baby.

This is because there will be times when your baby’s position or posture, or probably something that he or she is doing could be one that is extraordinarily memorable and you want it captured and stored in the form of digital images.

When you’re in the mood, you’ll find yourself anticipating precious moments or lovely postures of your baby to take great photographs of.

Remember, make it convenient for yourself to photograph precious photos of your baby when the unpredictable yet precious moment comes!

Baby Photography Tips #2 – Are Your Images Personal Enough?

A great tip you can implement is to make use of items that are memorable and precious to you by using them as background subjects. Use the things that bring meaning to you and plentiful precious memories as inspirations.

Baby Photography Tips #3 – Keep The Background Simple

Another important photography tip that works extremely well is to use simple backgrounds for portrait shots. The simpler it is, the better your shots.

Maintaining simple backgrounds allow your photography subject to be kept in focus, away from distractions in the background.

Baby Photography Tips #4 – Using Natural Light Is Best

Making use of natural light for baby photo shoots are definitely more flattering as compared to using a camera’s flash.

If you are conducting your baby photography attempt indoors, make sure to use soft directional light.

However, if you are photographing outdoor, it is best that you conduct your photo shoot during the early morning or early in the evening. Refrain photographing while the sun is high up and when light is harsh. This creates shadows, and also isn’t flattering.

Baby Photography Tips #5 – You Have Got To Be In The Pictures Too!

Like it or not, it is true that when your child grows up, he or she will be very interested as to how you and the rest of your family members look like way back then. Therefore, take as many pictures of your baby and family members as you possibly can. Your child will thank you.

Fashion Photography Tips

We see them all over the place; in television advertisements, in magazines, and on the runway. They are the beautiful men and women who strut their stuff while showing off the latest styles from the hottest fashion designers. These are the fashion models of today and tomorrow, and the subject of high fashion photography. It is through photography that these models and fashionable clothing are brought to the public. Therefore, these photographs must be taken with a certain level of precision and a special attention to color, style, and lighting composition. Learning a few key fashion photography tips will help to make this possible.

High fashion photographers such as Mario Testino and Eva Mueller may not be as famous as the models they shoot, but they are actually sought out more than their model counterparts by fashion magazines and designers. While the dream of huge paychecks and hobnobbing with the rich and famous might appeal to the aspiring fashion photographer, it is not easy to become successful in fashion and model photography. For every one talented young photographer who makes it big, there are hundreds are left dreaming about the moment their photo will be chosen.

Here are a few fashion photography tips for anyone interested in getting started in the field of fashion photography. The first thing you must do is study your subject. As with any field, you can never learn enough. Read as many fashion magazines you can possibly get your hands on. There are a number of fantastic books on the subjects of fashion and model photography available. They can be purchased cheaply online at sites like Amazon.com or even cheaper if you get them used on eBay. You will also need a good camera, a tripod, and a lighting system. One of the more often overlooked fashion photography tips, is to ensure that you always have plenty of film and extra batteries available.

One of the most important fashion photography tips to focus on is having a portfolio. You need to start assembling a portfolio of your work and you need to keep this portfolio handy at all times. You never know when you will have the opportunity to show your work off to someone in the fashion world. Sharp, vibrant images on a 4 x 5″ transparency will best show off your work, so focus on them when putting your fashion photography portfolio together. If any of your work has already been published regardless of whether it was a local magazine, newspaper or contest, add a tear sheet (literally a sheet you torn out of the magazine) is a great addition to a portfolio. You should have a minimum of 20 photographs in your portfolio and showcasing different styles.

In this day of the internet, it is wise to display your fashion photography talent online as well. Setup a simple website displaying your work and submit your digital photos to online contests. Also, submit them to online fashion gallery websites. This will help tremendously with getting your work seen and showcasing your talent around the world. Probably the most important of all the fashion photography tips is to get your photographs seen by as many people as possible. There is no better way of doing this than by putting them online.

Remember that most fashion magazine editors are looking for your personality in the photographs that you take. Each fashion photographer will captures the essence of a fashion design and model differently. Most importantly, if this is your dream, do not give up, ever! Keep learning the latest high fashion photography tips and keep working to get your photographs on the cover of my next hot fashion magazine.

Indoor Portrait Photography Tips

Here are some indoor portrait photography tips that does not require you to have access to expensive studio lightings, but will still be able to produce professional indoor portraits.

What say you if there are ways you can conduct indoor portrait photography at the comfort of your own home? Although with only one light source, you can still take photographs that look stunning. All you’ll need is an angle-poise lamp.

8 Tips For Indoor Portrait Photography

Photography Tips #1 – Background

To begin, position your subject to be sited in front of a light absorbing black velvet. The velvet creates a black background for your photo shoot. As to support the velvet, you can use about anything to hold it up. A bookcase for instance, is good enough.

Photography Tips #2 – Lighting Tips

After your model is comfortably sited, adjust the lamp so that it is positioned just slightly above his/ her head. Also, have the lamp positioned towards the right side of your model. This light setting will create a classic and stunning portrait photography result.

There are many other lighting effects you can try out. So go wild with creativity and don’t limit yourself.

Photography Tips #3 – Fast Shutter Speed

Set your shutter speed to be relatively fast. I normally set my camera to 1/160 sec at f/2.8, ISO500. Also, it is advisable that you use a tripod to complement your photography.

Photography Tips #4 – Use A Tripod

The tripod will get rid of camera shake, hence refrains from ruined indoor portrait photographs. The indoor portrait photos produced will be sharp when you use a tripod.

Photography Tips #5 – Longer Focal Length

I normally use the 80-200mm f/2.8 lens and set it to 145mm. This is because longer focal lengths will result in a much more stunning indoor portrait photograph.

Photography Tips #6 – Take a Few Shots

Another thing you can do is to take a few shots just to test the exposure and general set-up. If you’re satisfied with the settings for the photo shoot, you can start your indoor photography session. It will be great if you can discuss with your model beforehand about the various poses and expressions he/she can do.

Photography Tips #7 – Experiment The Various Lighting Conditions

Different lighting angles will result in a different indoor portrait photography effect. All you have to here is to try the different lighting positions and see which one works well for you. Such lighting angles include the right side, above, the left side, below and from behind your subject.

Photography Tips #8 – Use A Reflector

Whenever the light is too harsh, it creates unwanted shadow that ruins your indoor portrait photography attempts. What you can do here is to use a reflector on the opposite side of the light source. The reflector bounces the light onto your subject, thus creating a much softer light illumination.

Buying Photography Equipment

Photography EquipmentWhether you are a professional photographer or a novice looking into taking up photography as a hobby, buying photography equipment is usually a major expense. Because of this, there are some things that you will want to make sure you know and things that you will want to think about before you make a purchase. Here are some ideas to consider when buying photography equipment.

How Much Do You Know About Photography?

This is a basic question, and one that you have to know the answer to before you buy an SLR camera and realize that you have no idea how to use it. If you don’t know a single thing about digital cameras, be ready to learn more about them before considering a purchase. If you are a professional, and you’re looking into getting a specific kind of lens you have never used before, speak to someone who has. Often not only are there guides and books available on various topics related to photography, there are usually also groups and clubs of photographers who are willing to share their expertise and experience with other photographers as well.

What Do You Need The Equipment For?

Professionals will often know the answer to this question, while some enthusiasts may be able to abashedly admit that sometimes they want a piece of photography equipment more than they actually need it. Knowing what kind of performance you want to be able to get from a piece of equipment, whether a digital camera, flash or new lens, can help decide on what model to buy, or even whether to buy at all.

What Is You Budget?

Sometimes when the need or desire is great, the budget set aside for photography equipment can be made flexible. Most times however, a person’s budget is fixed, and so should be considered when deciding on a purchase. Expect to spend more on high-performance digital cameras and equipment, specially if they have only been recently released. Second-hand equipment, specially when coming from a source that you know you can trust, is worth considering, specially if the equipment matches your needs.

Take Time To Think It Over

After considering the above, make sure to take time to think it over. Again, buying photography equipment can be a major expense, and taking the time to think over your purchase can help ensure than any money spent is spent well. Do additional research, and be willing to ask other photographers about their opinions about the equipment you are considering. Often you’ll hear different opinions which can help finalize your decision about your purchase, and can help you make the most informed decision possible.

Choosing Where To Buy

After you’ve decided on your purchase, the next step is where to purchase your photography equipment. Stores can be a good choice, as you can personally inspect the equipment and compare it with others with similar capabilities. Another alternative is to use online retailers and sellers, though you will want to take care when doing so. Make purchases only from trusted sellers, use only your credit card for transactions, and do not give more information than you need to, and avoid deals that seem too good to be true. This way you can find the best deals, and avoid sellers who are out to take advantage of the less cautious buyer.