Favorite Cameras to Use for Photography
Photography is not just a hobby. It’s a passion. After all, there may be a need to invest on the pieces
Moving from the US to Chile
They say that change is the only permanent thing in this world. Moving from one city to another
Credit Cards to Collect Miles
If you are a traveler, like myself, you would certainly find it really convenient to purchase your tickets online using credit cards

5 of My Best Tips for Getting Through Airport Security Fast

airport

At one point or another, we may have experienced getting stuck at the airport security due to reasons we can’t seem to understand. At times, it is hard to comprehend why airport officials have to stop us just because we bring liquids, and other personal items.

As a traveler, I have gone through all types of delays and getting stuck at different airports. However, wherever you may be, and where you are headed to, airport rules are basically the same. Therefore, I would like to list out 5 of my best tips for getting through airport security fast:

Tip #1 – Dress comfortably

Airport security dictates the need to remove shoes, belts, and other metallic accessories when passing through X-ray machines. Thus, if you want to get through fast, make sure to dress accordingly. (more…)

Why I Left My Corporate Job to Travel

corporate job

To some, the decision I made to quit my corporate job in order to travel is simply unbelievable. After all, at a young age, I have already achieved things that some of my older colleagues are still trying to obtain. I am at the peak of my career, and, I must say, I am successful. Because of this, many of my friends seemed surprised when I decided to submit my resignation, and finally do the thing I want the most – travel.

Travel is not just my escape – it’s my happiness.

Granted, the complexities of work are undeniable. Existing in the corporate world means a lot of sacrifices. I always had to brush shoulders with people I barely know. I barely manage having a time for my own. At the end of the day, I occasionally feel headaches and stress after spending long hours at work. (more…)

Siesta Key’s Version of a Holiday Snowfall

I believe there is so much beauty in the world around us and as an avid travel photographer; I am fond of capturing the world around me in the most authentic fashion possible. For me, there is no greater escape than burying myself behind my lens, and losing myself in the breathtaking scenery all around me. From the mundane to the magical, I believe each moment is worth a million words. And the use of my great travel photography has allowed me to capture all of the magic in the world around us.

This Thanksgiving holiday I traveled to Siesta Key, Florida to spend a lovely holiday with my brother and his wife. Though this wasn’t my first adventure to this unique hidden gem on the planet, it was my first holiday on this great island. As a Chicago native, I will say I was a little hesitant over Florida’s ability to truly capture the Christmas spirit in such a hot climate. Many of us northerners will tell you, nothing compares to our winter wonderland up north. And though the cold can be very taxing during the Holiday season, nothing is more beautiful than watching the leaves change colors and the Christmas lights reflect off the first snowfall.

So I confess to misunderstanding why my brother made the choice to leave Chicago for this tiny gem. Yes, it’s beautiful. But I never believed you could truly retain the Christmas cheer without a beautiful snowfall. I have always felt Holiday charm was reserved for the colder climates.

But after my recent trip to Siesta Key, I must retract all my previous beliefs that it was impossible to achieve an authentic Holiday season without snow. As I drove onto this tiny island I was blown away by this city’s ability to maintain the Christmas spirit without the snow. You see, this place is unique in the sense that Siesta Key beach is composed of white quartz sand. In my opinion, it is this island’s version of a year round snowfall. You can see exactly what I’m talking about at this live feed of Siesta Key . But I must say, these images do not do the sand justice. Take my word for it, once your slide your toes into the fine white quartz sand, you’ll never want to leave. For the northern folk who require a fine snowfall during the holiday season, you’ll almost want to give it up and settle into this much more eloquent, and warmer climate.

The Holiday charm was even captured just a few miles up from the island of Siesta Key, in the beautiful St. Armand’s Circle, a local shopping district in Sarasota, FL. You can see it’s breathtaking beauty at this website, live from St. Armands Circle . According to my brother, it’s a quaint and charming circle, a true gem for the local residents and tourists to escape to. During the Holiday’s the town does a wonderful job of decorating the entire circle with beautiful Christmas lights, trees, ribbons and wreathes. The photographs I captured in this lovely place are one of a kind, a true twist on the Christmas Holiday.

Photography Can Lead to a Happier Life

I have to start out this blog by saying that I lead a pretty happy life, and I use this blog to tell the world just how much I love what I do. I’m a freelance photographer, and I travel the world taking pictures. On my blog, I recently enlisted the help of a company called CINeSYN that makes explainer videos to help me make better blog entries, and I think it has worked because the hits on my blog are going up. Many of my friends and colleagues are always asking me why I’m such a happy person, and I wanted to use this blog to answer their question. Taking pictures is what makes me a happy man, and I encourage everyone to grab their camera and go out into the world and start photographing things. Taking pictures can make you a happier person, and here are the reasons why.

Happy People Have Pictures On Display

Picture taking just makes people happy overall, and one way to tell whether or not someone is happy is to see how many pictures they have on their walls and in their homes. As a freelance photographer, I enjoy taking pictures of my friends and family members, and my own apartment is covered in pictures to the point that there is no room for anything else on the walls. The reason why pictures being on display is important is because it reminds me, and other people as well, of happier times, which is something we all can use reminding of once in a while.

A Calming Hobby

Taking pictures can really help keep people calm because it takes a lot of concentration in order to capture the right moment on film. As a photographer, I have to be still, take deep breaths, and do what I have to do to keep my nerves steady.  Believe it or not, my whole body has to be calm and relaxed or I will lose the shot I’m trying to take.

A Chance to Explore New Lands

I have been all around the world taking pictures, and getting chances to explore new places in search of the right photograph has made me very happy. People who feel that their life is boring should look into photography, and they will get to see places they have only dreamed of.

Capturing Moments of Time

When I take my pictures, or someone else takes pictures, they are not just snapping photos, but capturing moments in time that will never be forgotten. Some of the most tragic events in the world have been captured on film, and they serve as a reminder that a moment in time that changed the world forever.

Helps People Use Their Imagination and Creativity

Pictures are not just raising a camera up, looking through the viewer, and then snapping a photo. Photography is actually an art form, and is considered to be just as valuable and inspiring as painting. When people take pictures, they have to be done in a certain way, which is going to make the photographer be creative and use their imagination. Some of the most amazing photographs in the world are unusual ones that clearly took a lot of effort to create, and that use of imagination is something that got the photographer a lot of praise.

By using the services of CINeSYN.com, I’ve been able to improve my blog immensely. I make my living being a freelance photographer, but the truth is that I really do love what I do and am a pretty happy person because of it. I have been all around the world taking pictures, and I encourage people to take up photography because it can make them a happier person as well. Photographers get to travel the world and put their creativity to the test, and anyone would be happy doing that even if it is not their profession.

 

My Tips For Traveling as a Photographer

When setting out to travel as a photographer, there are a number of things you have to recognize so that you can get the best out of your experience. One of them is the essential task of preparation, from which lenses to take, to purchasing the camera body that will be right for you. If you don’t already, you should know how important negative space, focal points, depth of field, and perspective is. You want to draw the eye of the people looking at your pictures so you want them to be engaging and stunning.

Light can be used to help you tell stories creatively and even evoke emotions. Knowing things such as how to direct available light and being familiar with different types of light during the day such as midday sun, firelight, and magic hour can help you do this. J. Bell Photography has notable photography in a category called Natural Light on his site where there is high quality images displayed of women in the gleaming natural light from the sun taken in Burton, Texas. This showcase shows how light can be utilized to capture edgy or elegant stylistic photos that are both vivid and vibrant.

You always want to research the location as well, which can be done by browsing through practical guidebooks or searching the vast resources of the Internet. There are many websites that give invaluable information about locations and an in-depth analysis into the weather and setting of such places. Surprisingly one may find that there have already been many people before who have documented such experiences in these locations and have written about their first hand experiences with them in forums or blogs. In some cases people will have already noted the areas that are difficult to access for photography and even outline the best times of the year to travel.

Packing is an area you want to pay close attention to, because you wouldn’t want to carry too much or too little. A light fleece jacket could prove useful considering they have many pockets that could be used for storing small essential gear such as multi-tools. Having a laptop on hand would be smart for those who would like to back up their images or do on-the-go editing. However, sometimes even a laptop isn’t enough to make all photographers feel as if they’re going on a safe trip, so they opt for bringing a portable hard drive in addition to their laptop for a secondary backup.

Getting inspired also never hurts, and can help gather new ideas and perspectives as you go about photography. Inspiration can come from viewing the portfolio of other photographers or from looking at your own work. At some point in time you have to acknowledge the great work that other artists have done if you want to think of yourself of an artist. Reading books, attending photography classes, and visiting art galleries are other ways you can get inspiration. Don’t underestimate getting inspired if you want to discover the best of your abilities.

My Passion for Stock Photography

I’m a freelance photographer that loves to travel around the world. I often get calls to take pictures of stock products. The clients that call about them usually have their own website, and sell things online.

I have any private clients that I take photos for. Some of them are older clients that keep going through me for photos, and I still get new customers every now and again. I love the freedom of my lifestyle and being able to choose where I go. I let my customers know where I’m traveling next, and if any of them want to meet me there, or if they live in the area, they can book an appointment with me for their stock photos.

My passion For Photography

My number one passion has always been photography. I do take private photos, such as family photos, class pictures, etc. However, I take more of the stock type of photos. I don’t mind doing stock photography. I get to make a product stand out and show its true beauty. Whether I take photos for jewelers, crafters, websites that sell car rims, etc. I’m very precise when it comes to the photos. I like to make sure everything is just so. When shooting images for websites that sell on such as my client finishlinewheels.com, you have to get into the head of the customer. Understanding how they think, and how you can create a story or a message that relates to them.

Ever since I was a child, I have loved taking photos. I always took pictures of everything; from flowers, animals, to my family, I always had some sort of camera in my hand. As I got older, I learned that I was really good at it, and that I should start up my own business.

After I take the stock photos, I will then edit the photo to make sure it’s perfect. Especially a stock photo, they can’t have any flaws as they are going on a website. With a stock photo, it will be a photo to catch someone’s attention, and to make them want to purchase the product.

Some people think that products are just photo shopped to look better, and then when you get the product, it looks nothing like it did online. That may be true for very minimum people, but when I take my photos and edit them, I make sure the product still looks how it will when the customer receives it. I nor the business owner of the product would want to disguise the product to make it look better; that is faulty advertisement, and I would not condone it.

Joy of traveling For What You Love

I have this overwhelming joy that I feel when I travel to different places. I love to see the world and all it has to offer. When I get to take photos and capture memories for people, or even help a customer sell his/her product, it makes me feel even better about myself and what I do.

I love seeing the happiness on my customer’s face when I turn in my finished work. I have yet to let a customer down, and with how much I love what I do, I don’t foresee that ever happening.

Tips for Taking Photos of Home Interiors

If you’re looking to sell your home, you need some good interior photos. These are usually the first things potential buyers look at, and often decide if they want to visit your home based on the photos they see. When it comes to good photos of your home’s interior, a series shot on your camera phone (no matter what the megapixel is) is probably not going to cut it. Instagram filters may do wonders for making a mediocre meal look gourmet, but when it comes to advertising your home to potential buyers, it’s worth taking the time to do it right. The way your home is presented may affect whether or not someone applies for a mortgage to purchase, or if they just keep looking. Not all home interior photos are effective for actually selling your home, so consider some tips on how to stage your home and compose the photos.

Clean Out the Clutter

Potential first time home buyers are looking at your home and specific details to get the most savings by tax credits or grants, not your personal items. If you have clutter around the house, they won’t be able to see what they’re buying! Remove all items that have no place being out, such as kid’s toys, laundry scattered about, paperwork, and so on. Look at pictures of homes in magazines and you see that they have absolutely no clutter whatsoever. You don’t want to make your home look like no one lives there at all, but imagine what type of image you’d like to see of a potential new home for you and your family.

Along with the clutter, it’s good to remove overly personal items. Home buyers need to see themselves in this home and they can’t do that if your personal touches are all over. Take out family photos, framed awards and certificates, and any plaques or decorative items that have the family name. This can be especially important in a kid’s room. Remember that you can put everything back once the pictures are done, or you can take this opportunity to start packing for your move. Learn more about first time home buyers at Rateline.ca

Taking the Photos

Again, a potential homebuyer needs to see the home itself, and not your personal items. When taking a picture of a bedroom, stand in the doorway and get a wide shot of the whole room, not just your bed. A homebuyer wants to see the windows and floor space. Do the same in the living room; your photos shouldn’t be just your furniture but get as much of the wall spaces and floor space as possible. Light coming through windows can interfere with good photos, so stand with your back to windows or close all blinds and curtains.

It can even be helpful to take photos of newer appliances and other high-end features that might sell your home, such as a new hot water heater, new kitchen appliances, or a built-in pool in the backyard. You can include these features in your home’s listing but photos can show homebuyers what they’re really getting for their money.

How a couple of “sneaky tactics” allow me to run my business from anywhere around the globe

If you’ve been paying attention to my blog, you’ve probably discovered that there are a handful of things I absolutely, positively am in love with.

One of them happens to be telling unique and emotion packed stories with my photography (which is why I am a freelance photographer in the first place) but the other is complete and total autonomy. There is nothing quite like knowing that you’re going to wake up without an alarm clock for the rest of your life (and don’t even have to own one if you don’t want to) being able to travel to all corners of the globe on a whim, and being in complete and total control of your own time – the most valuable asset that any of us have.

And while it certainly took me a bit of time to create this kind of real freedom, it’s gotten to the point where things pretty much take care of themselves and unable to focus on really enjoying a lifestyle that most people can only dream of.

But if you’re ready to “peel back the curtain a little bit” and discover some of the sneaky tactics I use to create this kind of freedom, I’ve decided to do a bit of a tell all post. I don’t know if I’m going to share all of my little tactics, but I’m going to share some of the most important and powerful ones I use on an almost daily basis.

White index cards have revolutionized my productivity

Yes, I’m talking about your standard, every day, run-of-the-mill index cards here.

I use them for pretty much everything – from jotting down quick notes to using them as impromptu bookmarks and a world of other applications – but they serve a single function that has completely changed my productivity forever.

Before I started using white index cards, my to do list was about a mile long. It had almost everything and anything on it, stuff that I knew wasn’t all that important but it felt like it belonged on my to do to list all the same.

A while ago I really decided to focus on cutting back as much as humanly possible across the board, and everything started with my to do list. Now, I can only use a single white index card per day – and once the spaces filled the space is filled.

Video marketing has been a powerful tool for building my business

It might sound a little bit crazy, but as a freelance photographer I’ve been much more focused on still shots and then moving pictures. I probably should have jumped headfirst into the world of video marketing (and YouTube marketing, more specifically) earlier – considering the fact that I have all of the clips necessary and skills to boot – but I definitely was late for this boat.

I need a ton of different clients thanks to the videos that I share on YouTube 100% for free (though I started to experiment with a pay for YouTube views service to “seed” my content), and many of them have become long-term clients that I don’t think I would have gotten otherwise.

Video also allows me to better showcase my personality than the written word – something that I’m still trying to get the hang of it – and I feel a lot more authentic sharing with a video and probably anything else.

As I mentioned above, these aren’t the only sneaky tactics I use – but maybe I’ll share some more in a later post!

Custom Photography for a Spy Software Website – Who Knew?

I wanted to share this one with you as I found it really interesting. A few weeks ago I got an email out of the blue asking if I could do some shots for a website. Normally webmasters are just looking for free or at least very cheap stock photography so I was definitely curious. It led to a very unique assignment, at least for me.

The website in question was in the cell phone monitoring market called SpyzRus.com. What I found interesting, apart from the spying bit, was that it does not sell anything – it is basically a resource site. It focuses on a lot of information, guides and user reviews of some of the big spy phone software products. I was really intrigued why they would want to hire a specialist photographer – and the expense that involves.

The site owner is a guy called Michael and he explained that he is attempting to really stand out from the competition with unique photos and an overall different approach to the whole review model. He hated the fact that virtually all of his competitors are using the same boring stock images – in fact most use photos and banners directly from the manufacturer’s websites. I certainly see his point and it marks a shift that I have been aware of for quite a while – and it is great news for photographers like me.

Standing Out from the Crowd

Some forward thinking website owners are finally seeing the value of custom, unique photography. It can be another part of the branding process if done well. Remember than all online markets are relatively new – the internet itself is young in terms of developed markets. I think things are definitely changing.

Most website owners and developers have been content to use free stock images. How many times have you spotted the same photo on several different blogs? If you want to stand out, do something a little bit different.

When you think of the branding value plus the value in search engines of having truly unique and copyrighted photos, hiring a pro photographer might be worth the cost. Let’s hope this is going to encourage people to invest a bit more in their website development.

As far as the photo shoot itself, for me it was more or less another day at the studio. Mostly shots of different phones and tablets plus I was able to include some previous work with models – still good stuff but saved myself some time.

The big thing is that the results on the website were great. Just seeing the effect it had, creating a website with professional quality photography – it made a bigger impact than even I imagined. Comparing it to the competitors was a revelation – the difference in quality was really significant.

Now all I need to do is convince more website owners that stock photography is not the way to go if you really want to stand out in a crowd. By the way have you even heard about spy phone software? It was a new one for me and a bit of a frightening education. I didn’t think that stuff would have been legal but apparently it is!

So my takeaway is that I need to convince more website owners to go a step further with their site photography. Showing them two examples of websites, one with dull stock images and one with vibrant originals should help to convince at least some of them. That’s the plan anyway.

Photography and Carpet Cleaning – Guess Cleanliness Makes a Big Difference!

“A picture is worth a thousand words”. No matter how old this Arthur Brisbane’s expression might be, being a professional, freelance stock and private photographer, I certainly believe in it till date. Be it marketing, advertising, personal portfolio or any other promotional shoot, a picture stands out of all the other tried and tested techniques because of its ability to speak by looking into your eyes.

It is pretty natural for our eyes to capture the essence of a photograph first before proceeding to the text section. It is just the way a normal human brain functions. When it comes to product photography, both customers as well as businesses have preconceived notions that must not be played with. Even I won’t! It is just that I feel if a good image speaks a thousand good words, a badly clicked picture will cry out a hundred thousand bad words. This is the reason I strive for the greater goal, or in case of private clients, a better service in terms the finest quality photographs.

With the help of years of professional experience, natural artistry and, above all, a business sense, I aim at serving the business world with full passion, dedication and love. Until now, I believed that it is the appropriate lighting, the right camera settings and the final editing that make pictures appear crisp and beautiful. However, a recent campaign for Lack’s Cleaning Service proved me all wrong, and made me believe that something like utterly clean and as good as new carpets can also bring about a lot of difference to the images.

For promoting their services (and naturally, mine as well), Lack’s asked me to do a complete before and after photo shoot for them. I managed to capture some photographs of the matted living area of a house downtown before being cleaned. While it might be a normal thing, but the busy room appeared quite dirty from the naked eyes, and even more dull from behind the lenses. Despite the artificial lighting and all the required equipment, I wasn’t pretty happy about the shots I clicked. It seemed like a lot of editing job thrown hard at the top of my head.

A couple of hours later, when Lack’s finally pulled their truck mounted machines out of the place and the cleaning job was done, I was simply awed by the first view I got of the completely transformed room. The moment I stepped in, the only thing that came to my mind was, “Am I in the same place?” This was something that was definitely bound to make an impact in the before and after section.

A couple of years ago, a friend gifted me a beautiful carpet, which he bought from India. It was the center of attraction of my living room and earned me quite a few proud comments, until it was all dull and mudded. I was lured into purchasing some chemical-based products, which claimed to be the best and carpet-friendly. Though they did not cause any damage to my carpet, I wasn’t pretty happy with the final results. All I got was a somewhat wet, smelly and an average looking carpet.

During my casual roaming session on the campaign site, I came across some 100% natural carpet cleaning products. I also got a first peek at how steam cleaning was able to suck out the dirt and grime stuck deep in the carpet fibers and that too without using the chemical products I had used. After doing the math, I was quite depressed at the amount I had spent when I could have a neat and clean carpet without any traces of water and strong odor of chemicals, which lasts for days, had I used steam and natural cleaning products as these guys do. Well, better luck next time!

These cleaned carpets were four shades lighter and as good as new, and that too, without any sogginess under my feet and an irritable smell inside my nostrils. My camera provided me some of the best shots without much artificial lighting and preset shoot modes. The carpets were actually helping with lighting up the environment and making it more natural for a photo shoot session. The pictures captured were near perfection and ready to go into the portfolio without much editing.

It was indeed a great experience capturing the beauty of the carpets and above all, I would love to add some happy customer faces to the portfolio as well. Click, Click!!

Billing solution for my Europe photo shoot

To provide a service to others is to give a lot of yourself. As a photographer, I do more than just take pictures. My primary goal is to communicate through my lens to reveal volumes of information to the viewer of my photos. When it comes to collection of payment for my services, I sometimes hit a barricade because my invoicing is haphazard, at best. I have learned the hard way that a verbal commitment to pay, or a handwritten bill is not only unreliable, it does not reflect the quality of my work.

My photo shoot in Europe is a perfect example. I live two continents away, so the planning and execution of the actual shoot were like other projects I have done in other countries. However, the volume of the subject and equipment was more than I had experienced. This job required travel, shipping equipment, purchasing additional photography supplies on site, as well as work performed plus daily expenses. I had assistance from two crewmembers and, fortunately; they were not paid by me, but by the client instead.

When I returned home, the second phase of my project took over my time and energy. I had to select, refine and produce each photo in digital and print form. When all the work was complete, I had to make an invoice. Because this trip was more complicated than my prior shoots, I needed a lot of help to prepare a clear and fair explanation of my charges. I managed to collect all the expenses, enter them into Microsoft Excel and calculate the totals. However, transferring that information to an understandable invoice was quite a challenge. I can line up a scene, models and photo-perfect moments with ease. But typing an invoice is not the best part of my talent. Fortunately, I discovered Microsoft Word invoice templates that were not only free, but also user friendly.

Don’t get me wrong, it still took quite some time to get the job done. Entering everything in a clear and understandable way, making sure it looks nice and matches the rest of my stationery… But the good news is, that is the type of work I only have to do once. The next invoice will take me minutes to create, since all I need to do is change description of my work and the prices. I now feel that my billing paperwork reflects the quality of the services I provide. And, of course, it makes it easy for the customer to understand the specifics of the charges for my services.

Since I received my full payment for the trip within two weeks after sending the invoice, I am happy with the success of my newfound invoicing system. On my future photo shoots, I will be more organized and professional in the administrative portion of my services. The templates also give me a way to keep track of the entries in an Excel spreadsheet.

My feeling that I had to make an invoice is now changed to I will make an invoice. I use sophisticated equipment in my work so now my invoices can reflect the same quality as my photography.

How Travel Photographers Can File for Injury Compensation

Photography as a profession is very popular these days. Because of this, there is also an increase in the numbers of travel photographers that roam around Canada to practice their profession. One risk that travel photographers may face is getting injured as they are traveling to different places. This is why knowing a good personal injury lawyer in advance would be a good idea for any travel photographer.  He can get advice on getting better insurance benefits and precautions that he can take to protect him and his family.

One way that a travel photographer could get injured is by going to risky sites such as cliffs or mountainsides in search of a great location. Because photography is a highly competitive field, travel photographers may even take risks like rappelling down a mountainside to get a unique view of the cliff or the surrounding valley. This kind of risky activity may result in the travel photographer falling off a great height and breaking bones in the process. If the photographer survives the fall, his next problem could be paying for medical expenses. Some may think this is extreme, but I actually know of a colleague in Toronto who got into this exact type of injury.  Luckily, he had Toronto injury lawyers to intercede on his behalf which paid for his hospitalization and other medical expenses.

Know that even if you have accident insurance, your activities as a travel photographer might not be covered by this personal accident insurance. If your employer (like a magazine firm for example) is responsible for asking you to take risks to get good photos, then you might have a case against that employer if they are liable. If you inform your employer in advance about your fear of getting into accidents but the employer insists on the risky shots anyway, that could mean your employer is liable for any accidents or related injuries.

Another risk you face in the area of personal injury law is medical malpractice. Sad to say there are many instances when a hospital, doctors, nurses and other health professionals do not make the correct diagnosis.  They may also provide the wrong treatment or even prevent you from getting the correct diagnosis and treatment. If this kind of medical malpractice occurs in your case, you might also need an injury lawyer to help you get financial compensation from the offending party if they are indeed at fault.

With all these risks that travel photographers face, an employer should make it a point to only assign projects that won’t endanger the photographer. If the employer insists on risky photography projects, you have the right to refuse taking that job. If you do get injured by the employer’s decision, it is wise to get legal assistance right away so that your medical expenses will not surpass your means to pay. Your lawyer should help you find out how to file appropriate charges against your employer.  This is particular true if your employer’s business decisions have put you in danger that resulted in physical injuries to you.

My time in Sydney and the Recruitment Agencies who helped pay for it

I thought I would write a quick post on my time in Australia and a fun way to fund part of it.  I love Australia and Sydney is a great city full of life and good people.  I have a number of good friends who work and live around Sydney, they know what I do for a living and I often get a call about a little side project from time to time.  It’s a fun way to break up the trip, it earns me enough money to pay for a few things and I love meeting new people.

This particular project was pretty simple, but an important one for the company involved.  I was to meet with Constructive Recruitment who are a recruitment agency, Sydney.  They were in the process of having a new website built for their business and needed a number of photographs.  The photographs were of their RPO Services division initially and then the rest of the team I was told.

The photos were just headshot of the whole of team for inclusion on the websites as their profile Bios.  When having professional head shots taken for a website they need to be clear and styled in the same way as to not look out of place when combined together.  This is not an easy task on a hot day with all the guys and girls in suits and the sun blaring down.

Everyone is keen to get the best shot possible, as you can understand and each of them were going to use the same photos on their LinkedIn profiles to keep consistency.

The shoot took most of the first part of a sunny Tuesday, and was a nice little earner. What I didn’t realise was they had a number of other offices around Australia. Their Mining Recruitment Perth division, their Mining Recruitment Brisbane division and a host of other teams in these locations – all needing headshots for the site. What was awesome about this is I was going on a tour of all of these cities while here – so I asked for the job, and they gave it to me!

It still amazes me how awesome it is when these things come out of the blue, effectively paying for my trip.

One of the most profitable opportunities with stock photography is people, websites need the human element.  I make a considerable portion of my income from the photographs I sell of people – business people in particular.

The photos I was commissioned to take of the Recruitment Agency in Sydney gave me the opportunity to increase my portfolio.  I asked if some of the guys wouldn’t mind being photographed in a number of other poses for this purpose and a few agreed.  So with this I have managed to spend a few days taking photos of people, getting paid to do so, travelling to various cities and building up my stock photo library whilst doing it … so where next!

A guest post from a beginner learning the basics with travel

As photography becomes more of a hobby for me, I am creating more time to practice as I travel around the UK for various business meetings

And, what’s surprising is that I’m not using my SLR, I’m actually using my iPhone5S which is producing some stunning shots (well, they look that way to me). Taking photos as I travel makes use of my time but also creates some great photography opportunities from locations such as central London and other cities throughout the UK. I am very much into city based photography right now which if allowing me to focus on specific landscapes and buildings.

Getting some perspective

As my photography eduction goes, I am really at the beginning of my journey. Some of the basics I’ve started with include perspective. Before I ‘got into photography’ I’d simply point at the area of interest without any thought as to the results. Now, I’m learning about perspective – simple shifts in the way I take photo’s make a massive and interesting difference. I hope to translate these shifts into content on our main business site. I recently created a business blog post which included a stock cityscape image which achieved the desired effect but I’d much rather have taken this myself as a more natural photo. The actual shift in perspective is nothing overly complex if I’m honest. The technique simply means that rather than take the image straight on, I’ve started to move the camera above or below, right and left. The results are impactful because the overall feel of the image changes.

Grid lock

There is a grid feature, which is selectable on the iPhone, that is also really helping grow my photography. A grid isn’t exactly something new but I read an article which discussed the important focus points of the photos – these points are where the grid intersects. The reason is because the human eye naturally looks to this point when looking at photographs. This simple feature has grown my photography so much over the last few months. It really is these simple findings which are a great help for people to get started.

Lastly for todays post, I’ve also tried to consider the background within the images I take. I appreciate this might sound like and obvious thing to do but, in the past, I’ve always taken photo’s of the object, place or person without too much consideration of what is or isn’t being taken surrounding the photo. As an example, I took a shot of a taxi but here’s the thing, it wasn’t the taxi I was interested in! It was actually the building behind the taxi which was a famous London landmark. The landmark was slightly out of focus but, in my opinion, it was this fact which made the shot so much more interesting to me. As I said previously, it is my intent to actually use some of these photographs within certain sections of our main site content. Although I am not sure exactly how or where just yet.

For those of you reading this article with more experience in photography, I’m sure you’ll be thinking this is real basic stuff. For me though, these simple techniques are really keeping me interested and have vastly improved my results in so many ways. And not just for my photography as I travel around but also for the photographs I take of the family.

The iPhone is somewhat limited in terms of options when compared to my SLR but I figure the basics are needed before any of these huge range of features become useful. The other areas of interest to me are image editing apps which have a huge effect on my content. I especially like the Instagram filters, they provide some really easy and transformational effects.

Let’s see how I progress.

Maintaining my Clients – Keeping in touch while traveling

There is no better feeling than being able to travel the world while you are doing the job you love. Traveling while very enjoyable, can make running a business very difficult, especially when you are not always available to take calls for the next order. I get questions all the time about how I keep up with my clients. There are times when I am not near a phone, and times when I am not able to get to a phone for a few days. This is especially true when I am in countries that do not have widespread cell phone service your companies. Plus, I’m all over the global working with people remotely.Understanding how to work remotely, and organize a remote working team.  In situations like this, it is easy to miss the opportunity to take on a client, or to visit beautiful places that add to my portfolio. For a life like mine, missing an opportunity is not an option.

 

While voicemail provides some of the features that are necessary to keep my business going, it makes me feel I am doing a disservice to my clients, especially when these messages go unanswered for a week.  Rather than making my clients feel as though I don’t care, or that I am too busy for them, I decided to search for an alternative method of communicating when I am not available to speak to them.

 

Contracting with a 24-Hour Answering Service

Contracting with a 24-hour answering service is the best thing I could have done. Now, my clients get to talk to a real person at any time, no matter if it is day or night. The answering service is able to record the information in a document of my choice, which I can then access through my email whenever I get the chance.

 

Another advantage is that they can inform potential clients where I am, which lets them know that I am not ignoring them, I am simply out doing my job and cannot be reached at the time. This brings a personal feel back to the inconvenience of having to leave a message. Clients are also more relaxed when they get to leave a message with a real person who is courteous, professional, and can answer certain questions.

 

Saving Time with Billing

Some answering services are able to handle billing, as long as it is included in the contract. This makes my life and my clients’ lives more convenient.  To make matters even better, it helps reduce the amount of paperwork that I need to carry while I am on a trip. All I have to do is print out invoices and paid balances whenever I get the chance.

 

Increasing My Freedom

I never really thought that such a simple change could increase my freedom to this level, and allow me to experience a greater, more frequent opportunities to photograph the beautiful places I have always wanted to go. Even though it is a small and inexpensive change such as companies like Flat Answering (which, is the company we use) , it has opened doors to a lot of opportunities that I would have never had before.

 

How Stock Photography Can Sell Houses And Pay For My Travels

As you know i’ve been involved in lots of different roles as a photographer which has given me the opportunity and freedom to travel which has been great.

But if you’ve ever wondered which of the gigs with private clients provide the best paydays and allow me to fulfill ambition to travel (and be flexible with where I stay) then you can’t beat stock photography

It’s the gift that keeps on giving

I’ve been lucky to have a few stock photo’s really take off and these royalties come in nice and regular, drip feed over time.

The main sales seem to come from the larger industries like Real Estate, Motor Industry and of course Travelling

Good stock photo’s in these industries, get used over and over again on numerous sites.

The Real Estate industry for example, where you think most photo’s would be unique to the house or flat that’s being sold, still rely heavily on stock photo’s.

From the smiling pictures of the family happy they’ve just sold their home, to the happy couple first time buyers just getting on to the housing ladder.

Often these pictures are pulled from stock photo galleries like Houses and sellers stock photos

I’ve been lucky enough to get some of my own pictures on these sites which has been great for business.

This steady income is what funds my travels…. who do you think pays for all the nice hotels and beaches!

They don’t always get picked up, but the one’s that do, seem to end up on your typical estate agents or private housebuyers websites

Either way it’s good for me, because it helps spread the word and gets my images out there, and if that helps to sell some houses along that way that can only be a good thing.

The good thing about these stock photo’s are that once their taken and uploaded, you just leave them to run.

I’ve been offered (and have done a few in the past as my main bread and butter income) private client shoots to help present and showcase homes.

These are especially lucrative on the higher value properties where images can really help sell the deal, and when your talking about a million pound house, you want to attract the very best buyers.

The problem with these private clients is that there one off shoots. The images are fantastic and would sell brilliant as stock images, but there solely for the private use of the sellers.

It would take a few of these to keep my travelling going, and would mean I have to keep coming back to these types of clients.

On the other hand stock photography provides a perfect win:win

It always brings in recurring income and a couple of well placed shots and a bit of promotion from
Estate Agents helps them to tick over.

In the end as much as I love the intimacy and paycheck of private clients for selling houses, you can’t beat the ‘wage’ that comes in from stock photography. In the long run they earn more money and helps me keep my passion of photography, travelling and property going

How Jazz Fest Opened My Mind

Earlier this year on a whim I decided to head down to New Orleans and check out the Jazz Fest. I figured the venue would provide the perfect opportunity to beef up my portfolio of musician photographs.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, often known as Jazz Fest, is an annual celebration of the music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana. Use of the term “Jazz Fest” can also include the days surrounding the Festival and the many shows at unaffiliated New Orleans nightclubs scheduled during the Festival event weekends.

Immediately upon arriving I knew I had made a good decision to go to Jazz Fest. The atmosphere was electric and everyone was clearly having a great time. And talk about photo ops. I had more great shots of musicians within a few hours than I had in my entire portfolio previous.
My attention however quickly turned to the music and something magically happened. I discovered Jazz!

Billy Joel Has Still Got It!

Billy Joel was certainly one of the highlights of the festival playing a jazz infused version of the classic ‘Scenes From an Italian Restaurant’.

Discovering Nicholas Payton

For me though, the real magic happened with I discovered Nicholas Payton. Widely considered as one the greatest artists of our time, Nicholas Payton rocked my world with the sweet sound of trumpet.
Nicholas Payton was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and began playing trumpet at the tender age of four! And man can he play.

He can bring tears to your eyes, make you jump for joy, and set you to dancing in your chair all in a single song. Nicholas reminds me of Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Lee Morgan, Thad Jones and all the other brass masters in the pantheon of American music all rolled up in one.

Inspired to Learn How to Play Trumpet

I was so taken by the play of Nicholas Payton that right there and then I committed myself to learn how to play the trumpet, something I’ve always wanted to do.

I talked to a number of trumpet players at the festival about all the different types of trumpet and what was best for someone just starting out. Seeing all the beautiful horns the pros use of course made me want to run out and get the best trumpet available.

I got loads of advice but all agreed that I should just get a decent entry-level horn (like one of these) and find a good music teacher.

So that’s what I did!

New Beginnings

I picked up a horn that came highly rated by most instrument review sites (like this one) and am happy to report that lessons are going great. I’m even starting to sound half-way decent. Granted I will probably never be able to play anywhere near as good as the pros I saw at Jazz Fest but I’m having a blast!

I’ve really immersed myself into the culture of Jazz and that in of its’ self has opened up a new world for me. The biggest benefit though is that as a photographer I seem to see things now that I just didn’t before. It’s kind of weird but I feel like a part of my mind I wasn’t using before has been woken up. I’m really excited to see where this Jazz journey takes me!