My image “Surfer at Lynmouth” has been chosen by Picfair as one of 25 to receive special attention in their “Hot and Cold” themed presentation and has earned me a Picfair award – I am really excited and what is more, it has attracted a lot of attention as a result. Thank you Picfair.
I have continued the floral theme and having done with the Tulips decided to look for another subject – I didn’t have to look very far so soon after Saint Valentine’s day – I spied a bunch of roses on the window sill that had been received by my wife on the 14th of February. I must admit being a little curious where they came from – maybe I should investigate, but I have been so busy. ( I know where they came from really, and this time they were bought with her as the first thought – honest!)
So there were these roses and it was a bright and sunny day, so I decided to take them outside and photograph selected ones against an out-of-focus green hedge, but it turned out to be a bit breezy and I was going to have to use a very slow shutter speed if I was to use an iso of 100 for maximum quality – I wanted to shoot in the shade as the direct sun would have given harsh shadows. I decided to photograph them on a window sill inside of the house. I needed something to fill in the shadows on the inside because there was too much contrast between the window light and the inner side.
At first, I tried a home made reflector (flat baking tray covered in crinkled cooking foil) but I wasn’t quite getting the effect that I was looking for so I used used a speed light type camera flash connected to my camera with a curly cord so that I could move the direction of the light around for best effect.
In the end I really only used one or two of the roses for this project, partly because the leaves of some of the roses were starting to split – you often don’t notice that sort of thing unless you get very close up, or are editing the results at 100%! I have posted a few here but to see the whole collection, visit my website using the link below. You will find them on pages 7 & 8 – Enjoy!
I’ve had a bit of a busy day today, sorting out some more Tulip photographs – I do hope that I am not boring you…..
All taken in natural light with a reflector opposite the main source and coloured card behind the flowers. Oh, I did have fun…
I definitely got my moneys worth out of them and what is more, my wife thought that I bought them for her (no, I don’t think that I managed to fool her really!) I had two attempts at photographing them over two days.
I would like to think that they have a different feel to them despite using some similar methods. I went for a more three dimensional effect this time.
Experimenting, yet again with a range of coloured backgrounds – all A2 size coloured card from Rymans – (other stationery shops are available). I have even tried a bit of focus stacking, but I haven’t processed them yet so I’ll save them for another post.
I was quite pleased that I achieved the vibrant effect that I was looking for and now I have distributed them onto Fine Art America – where people can make framed prints, bags, phone covers, duvet covers and a whole lot more from my photographs – and, if I’m honest other peoples photographs and other artworks:-
I have also put them on Photo4Me
You will remember that I wrote recently about joining them. I have well over 100 photographs on there now.
And, 500px Prime
God loves a trier!
In addition, I have also shown them on Flickr, Pinterest and on my Facebook Fan Page – See I told you I had been busy.
The camera club that I belong to Beeston Camera Club is always on the lookout for new and interesting ways in which to engage the members in activities as well as turn up for the great variety of interesting and varied speakers which have been hand-picked from fine photographers from near and far. One such activity was to create a photo project which was to be constructed from three separate photographs. We were sent some examples but the brief was very open (and essentially open to interpretation). The resulting works were presented to the members at a “members evening” last Thursday, the 11th February 2016. Several members produced works for the event. The result was wonderfully diverse in terms of interpretation. I contributed five works and had great fun doing them – here they are:-
This was my first attempt. It is made up of the same image but in the three instances the image was given a different treatment in Photoshop with Nik Color Efex pro 4 and Nik Silver Efex pro 2 plugins.
Next, I decided to use some square images that I had produced. This time it is three separate images/compositions and they were given different treatments in Photoshop and Nik Plugins. It started as just the three squares but it looked a bit long and thin so I extended the canvas above and below and coloured the extensions black. I think that it looks quite effective, but then I don’t let ’em out until I am happy with them! I was only going to enter one and this was my choice, but was encouraged to send more, so I sent my first work together with three further works after contributing this one.
I thought of a wine theme with this one. The larger background image is of Saint Emilion, the very famous wine region – part of the Larger Bordeaux region in Aquitaine, France. I have been there several times now and it is always a pleasure. It is a beautiful village, even if you are not interested in wine you will enjoy a visit. The grapes on the vine was actually taken outside of Bordeaux (not far) in a village called Villeneurve de Duras in the Cotes de Duras wine area, not far from Bergerac – it is one of my best sellers on Shutterstock and has sold all over the world. (I did take some photographs in the centre of St. Emilion and some of those have sold too). The third photograph was a still life photograph that I made and then put it through Smart Photo software from Anthropics to give it an older look.
A while ago I went out and picked some flowers – the Oxalis and the Keria grow in my garden – the clover from the Local nature reserve and I photographed them on a white high-key background in a light tent. The textured background was the back of a red granite grave stone. I changed the blending properties on that layer and altered the opacity (and probably the brightness). The flowers were placed onto the background by copy and pasting them.
Finally, the theme for this one was waterfalls. The background image was an abstract of flowing water from Aira force, approachable from the north side of Ullswater, Cumbria. Aira Force is a National Trust managed series of lots of waterfalls. The image in portrait format with the bridge is the first substantial waterfall that you come across as you ascend Aira Force – I would have been happy with just this one, but there are more falls – lots more culminating in a huge wide torrent at the top. The other photograph was taken at Watersmeet near Lynton and Lynmouth, Devon and is within the Exmoor National park.
I am sure that I haven’t done my last three in one composition; I enjoyed myself so much with this photography project that I am keen to explore more possibilities – why don’t you give it a try?
Congratulations to my friend Jacqui Jay.
Living the dream of many. Good luck.
Imagine every French estate agent whose window you had ever seen, every French food seller, wine merchant, travel agent and language teacher were all in one place at one time. That’s what you get at the France Show.
Held at London’s Olympia, the show is bigger than I could have imagined. Damon and I were there yesterday. What a day.
With a move to France on the horizon, we thought we could pick up some valuable advice and make some useful contacts at the event. There were plenty of financial experts, giving tips on how to finance a move. We could sell up here but it would be better if we could keep our Brighton home and rent it out.
The show also hosts Britain’s largest French property exhibition, but the floor given over to French living was the most fun.
We signed up for a wine tasting, and were…
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I wanted to tell you all about a new web service that I have just joined; it is called Photo4me and it’s brilliant.
I know, it sounds a bit like Phones4U or something like that – that put me off for a bit because I thought that it might be a little gimmicky. I was looking for somewhere else to sell my photographs – another market so to speak. I am glad that I finally looked into it as I am really excited at the prospect of selling through their site. Hot on the trails of me joining 500px Prime and Fine Art America, I decided to sign up with Photo 4 Me.
Photo 4 Me is a U.K. based photo site where you can put any of your photographs (preferably those which would look good as wall art) onto their site. If they get through the “quality control” phase can be sold. Where they differ from traditional stock libraries is the product fulfillment function of the site – if someone wants to buy your image they have the option to have them presented as a canvas print, a large print, a framed print, an acrylic print, a box print or a wooden print (a textured layer that shows the grain of the wood through your image – it is very effective). All of these prints are available in a large variety of sizes to suit every wall – they sort out the production and delivery of the goods with your image on it to your customer; all you have to do is put your image on there and set your profit margin and the minimum and maximum amount that you expect to receive for your artwork. You get paid 30 days after you make a sale through PayPal (so you would have to set up an account if you haven’t got one).
It is possible to put your images up on the site but not have them go forward for sale – I suppose that you would build up your collection online as you might with other sites like Flickr.
It is free to join whatever path you take.
When you first start out, you can submit up to ten images per day which they look at closely after thirty images they begin to trust you a little more because you will have learned what sort of standard they expect by then. After that the site sort of polices itself; if the standard of your images falls another members are encouraged to flag it up in order to keep a consistent standard, but let’s face it, your images are not going to sell if you’re not giving them your best stuff.
One of the good things about the site apart from the chance of supplementing your hobby or business, is that the members are very active in giving encouraging feed back; furthermore, there is a coloured camera system – when your image gets between 5 and 15 comments you get a green camera, 16-25 an amber camera, 26 + a red camera. There are also signs to show when it has featured on the Front (home) page gallery or is an editors favourite – so there is plenty to like. You get notified by email when you get a comment from a member, and for thirteen published images, I ended up with 200 emails – a bit much really, the good news is that you can turn them off in the settings.
I am really excited about this; I don’t know whether I will sell any photos but I think that it is worth a try. Perhaps you would like to assess my chances at :-
Perhaps you would care to tell me what you thought of the experience as a reply to this posting.
This is the photograph that has attracted the most comments so far and earned a red camera Yeh!
I am going through a bit of a floral phase at the moment. Not long after my fun with Lilies, Sunflowers and Gerbera came a couple of shoots with Tulips. These ones were labeled “Rainbow Tulips”, presumably as they were in many different colours. Now you could be thinking that I have an arrangement with a high-class florist but you would be wrong, these ones came from ASDA (for any American readers – Walmart own ASDA). On this occasion (the first of two) I decided to arrange them in a variety of patterns with a variety of backgrounds – I have a selection of A2 card in different colours. I used natural light with reflectors, indeed the sun was quite bright in my little studio so I had to make judicious use of the blinds to prevent harsh shadows. Camera on a sturdy tripod, lock up the mirror and slow exposures at between f11 and f16 – well the flowers were not going anywhere!. Enjoy…..
Of course, I had to have a fiddle about in Nik Colour Efex Pro 4 and/or Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 to finish them off. I’ll hopefully be able to show you the other ones soon – once I have processed them through Lightroom.
I rather like photographing flowers, so I decided to buy some and do just that. The ones that appealed to me the most out of those available on the day were a mixed bunch which included Lilies, Sunflowers, Gerberas and some kind of Brassica which I must admit didn’t seem quite so photogenic! I was inspired, in part, by an article written by Lee Frost in one of the magazines about creating “Fine Art” flower photographs, so armed with said magazine, flowers and various other props, I went ahead and here is what I came up with:-
I was quite pleased with the result but I wondered what they would look like in black and white:-
(looks better on a full screen and without the watermark, as you might expect)
I then decided (some time later) to have a play with some of the photographs in some photo manipulation software called “Smart Photo Editor” by Anthropics Technology Ltd – the Makers of Portrait Professional and again I was more than happy with the result. Smart Photo Editor allows you to put new skys, backgrounds, and make more adventurous editing changes with a couple of clicks. Many of the effects are a bit “over the top!” but you can get some good results if you don’t over do it:-
Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder; I like them and I hope that you do too, otherwise I wouldn’t be showing them to you – I don’t think that they will be to everyone’s taste but if you fancy having a play with some of you photographs on a dull rainy afternoon, you could do worse than giving it a try. Do a search for Smart Photo Editor or failing that, Anthropics and you can get a trial version for free. I think that the full price is £39.00 but they are always having sales and special offers – the last time I looked it was at the reduced price of £19.99. I have posted some of these on my Fine Art America page:-
One of the other things that I have been doing with my time recently is putting my photographs on a site called Picfair. Their tag line is “your pictures are valuable”, so I now have 461 photographs on there and more will follow. It is a stock site but it is not aimed at the out and out commercial buyer; there are many other reasons why people want images such as for personal or company blogs, publications, backgrounds for web pages, promotional materials but not for advertising such as billboards or pop-up adverts, or for incorporating into logos or merchandise. They have one licence for all and are open to amateurs and professionals alike. The way it works is that you join, put up your pictures, say how much you want for the licence which is on a royalty free basis, the buyer pays a bit on top of that and that is Picfairs way of making their money. You can charge anything from £1 to £1000 for the use of your images – your choice (although, there are not many at the higher end – most people charge between £3 and £30)
The site has a friendly feel to it and Benji Lanyado, the Founder and C.E.O. awards “Stars” to the photographs that he likes. These starred photographs gain extra prominence as you can specifically search for “starred” images. My last upload was awarded 17 stars and here are the images that Benji particularly liked:-
These images, and all of my other photographs – many of which were also starred on previous uploads, can be found at:-