Photographer Spreading the Word. Work is For Sale

It’s been a busy old week. Having spent three glorious sunny days last weekend catching up with the gardening, when the weather turned cool I came indoors and began  working on actually being found on the wonderful web. As we no longer have effective agencies to sell our work, us creatives have had to find creative solutions to the question ‘how do I get seen?’ Of course a WordPress blog and a website is a start, but experience has shown me it’s not enough to get you off the ‘starving artist’ income I’d like to avoid.

So I investigated Squidoo. The first day was a nightmare. This none techy person was alsmot driven to the point of baldness and rescued by advice from Zazzle people and my partner. The second day I mastered some of the technique need to build a Squidoo lens. Now I’ve got something to tell you about! I’ve made three lenses so far. (go on, cheer!).

Lenses are very specific. Apparently, the more focussed they are, the more successful they are. So I have one on Digital flower art, one on Photographic Flower Art and one all about hellebores, which I featured in a recent WordPress post. They are quite good fun to do, once you learn the system.

I’ve not stopped taking photos, needless to say! So todays offering is an arum lily. My partner brought them for me (yes, he’s a sweetie, though that might ruin his street cred). It’s not an easy flower to photograph, I’ve found. But I’m fairly satisfied with the result. What do you think?

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Preparations For More Choice on Website

I’m busy. Very. And not just with Christmas. I’m busy preparing to put out on sale some of my best work on my website. I’ve had a lot of enquiries about pictures I show but don’t yet sell, so once I’ve got my collection sorted, ensured they print well and uploaded them all into the right file (and anyone who runs a website will know what a long, tedious job this can be)  I’ll let you know and you can go have a look. I’m aiming to keep prices reasonable, considering the quality of printing I’ve gone for. I order from a professional lab using top quality products that, they assure me, will last fifty to seventy years. That’s a lifetime! I’ve been really pleased with all the work they have done for me so far, and they are definitely better than anyone could produce on a home printer, so I’m sticking with it. Quality matters when you’re looking at it daily on your wall or giving it as a gift.

It’s also my birthday on Thursday, but I can’t really get enthusiastic about getting any older!

So today I’m posting some of my Christmas pic experiments. One day I’ll get around to producing my own cards, but the time isn’t yet right.  One job at a time, or I’ll have too many projects on the go all at once. Let me know, please, if you like any of my experiments. I really appreciate anyone taking the time to comment. I know how precious time is!

Playing With Light

 

zoom burst

 

 

I’ve been pondering all day what to blog about while sorting through all those files. Then it came to me. The primary necessity for photography or art is light. So that’s what I’m looking at here. I love light. In fact I’m prone to SAD in winter, I need it so much. In photography, the light, as we all know, can make or break a shot.

I also love fire. Fire IS light. So I played have played with it quite a lot. Candles, fires, fireworks. They all attract and delight us but aren’t easy to shoot well. And there’s always the question of what mood do you want the finished shot to have? This can affect the angle of the light and the shot and aperture settings as well as choice of subject matter. In the first photo, Zoom Burst, I simply Focussed on my light ball with the camera on quite a long exposure and zoomed out with the lens as the exposure was running. If you have a point and shoot, I’m afraid you won’t be able to do this one. But for those with DSLRs, this is fun to try.

In this next one, I was simply working towards very ambient, quiet images for an agency who sell photos for book covers. They wanted soft, darkish pictures that could be used for fiction.I liked the shadows cast by the candle and the softness of the overall image. I played around with the colour settings in Photoshop as rendering natural colours was not the focus here.

 

Candle Sconce

The next shot is totally different. Here we see a friend wielding a length of Kevlar rope, soaked in paraffin and lit. He then whirrs it around to give a brilliant light show. I set my camera up, resting it on the back of a chair and took long exposures. In Photoshop, I used curves to accentuate the light and lose the surrounding grass etc so that you get the vividness of the light show without the distracting background.

 

Light Show

And below, you see an extract of the flames because I zoomed in as much as I could. I stayed well back physically, of course. My friends playing with fire should be treated with caution. 🙂 Once back at Photoshop I simply boosted the contrast a little so you can see the patterns. This has been used as a background shot.

 

Zooming In

 

There are many, many more ways of playing with light, of course. There are no sunrises and sets here (except my parting shot). No clever sparkles or smoke glares. But there are a few ideas to get your juices flowing and, as it is Saturday night, I’m off through the gate into the sunset.

 

See You Soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great News! Sales go Live on Website.

Hoverfly on Thistle. Copyright caffimages.co.uk

I’ve cracked it. I’m not the best tech-head in the world, but I’ve got my website set up to take sales by paypal. Not all of them are for sale just yet, but my large, square format images are, as they’re my visitors’ favourites. Flowers for your walls! Reminders of spring and summer all year round! And they’re NOT print outs from a desktop printer, either. I have a top quality pro-lab printing service, tried and tested printing on Fuji-lustre high quality paper.

These prints make great Christmas/birthday presents. (as family and friends will attest). There was a stumbling block for these square shots until recently, and that was obtaining frames. But now even Wilkinsons has frames available in square format. I bought some for my exhibtion and they’re just fine. A 20″ frame with a 16″ mount sets off my pictures perfectly. If you’re desperately looking for a special present, something NOT available in every high street shop, come and have a look at my website at caffimages.co.uk.

Wish me luck, folks. It’s been a long, hard slog to get things this far. As ever, your comments are always appreciated!

Purple Dahlia Copyright caffimages.co.uk

 

More Exhibitionism

Arty lily

Well, an unexpected opportunity has arisen. I’ve spent the day rushing around to buy frames in which to mount some of my photographs. There’s a last-minute exhibtion starting in Leicester’s Fabrika and my photos will be delivered there in the morning. It’s all very exciting. A lot of hard work has gone into my collection and now it’s beginning to pay off. I’ve got a brilliant shot of an Eurasian Eagle Owl and three flower pictures. They will be for sale but it’s great just to get them out there and let others see them! This is one step closer to my website going live for sales. It’s slow going as there are still lots of other things I have to do as well as my photography, but slowly but surely I hope to get there.

Wish me luck, and please say hello if you’ve dropped by, here or at Fabrika I’d love to hear from you.

 

Remember spring?

 

 

Fire Photos Fan my Flames

Burning Man

Whew! It’s hot in here. I’ve slaved over a hot computer for two days to sort out my website. I’ve finally got organised enough to put some of my work up for sale. Building a website, for a photographer who is not a geek, has been a labour of titanic proportions. I thought starting off with just one set of postcards, already in stock, would be a good way to start. I tried to think through the steps needed to get this up and running. Add the pictures and relevant text, set up Paypal, follow the instructions on my site to make payment possible. It seems simple when put like that, but crikey, what a job! I’d far rather be behind the camera. But nowadays, no-one else is going to sell your stuff for you. I tried agencies, but they really don’t do a good job for most artists, as competition is massive and they tend to concentrate on the photographers that are already selling. That seems a bit short-sighted to me, as they risk losing their best earners and won’t have replacements if they don’t back newcomers.

Still, now I’ve chosen to do it myself, I’m less worried about agencies and their foibles and more worried about my brain going into meltdown figuring out how to make my website work! The heat is now on. Smouldering fire images adorn my site along with a payment method. Hooray!!!

Now I’ve learned how to do it, I’m going through my site, picking out the best images and they too will soon be on sale. I know how well they look from past prints I’ve had in exhibitions and given as gifts. I’m happy with the top quality printing service I’ve found producing Fuji acid free, guaranteed prints, so that’s as close as I can get to ensuring my customers will also be happy with my work.

Now all I need to do is cool down, get on with it,  and somehow let the world know I’m here. Wish me luck!

You could help, actually. If you have time to look through my photos, you could let me know which are your favourites. Which might you buy? Just follow the link to my site, caffimages.co.uk (link below) and leave me a message, either on here or via my site’s contact page. Thanks!

Spiral

Normal service resumed, almost!

Well, it looks as if I may fianlly be able to get down to business. A result from all those tests means I can now sort out treatment and hopefully be more consistent than I have been for years. I’m updating my website with new photos, barraging the agenices with new shots and even trying my hand at writing stories. I’m left wondering, though, wether agencies have a place for the serious photographer any more. They seems to change their minds more often than their underwear about what they want, but fail to inform their stock of photographers. So time is wasted taking shots that will never see the light of day. Despite patience that has lasted three years with a fledgling agency, they still do not communicate adequately, take months putting new images up and leave you with a sense of dissatisfaction. So I’m going to spend time entering competitions and promoting my own stuff more. Better still, I’m taking solace from my garden. Growing more food, more flowers and feeding the birds should give me plenty of photo opportunities and plenty of satisfation. Plants respond well to being treated well, reward you with food and blooms and seem to love showing off for the camera!

Tulip Tarda

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