How To Create Framed Photos For Clients

Gifting clients framed photos is a great way to show you care. With most images going directly to the Internet now, fewer individuals have physical photographs on hand. Due to this, a framed photograph makes a great gift. However, if you’re looking to offer a framed photograph to your clients, you don’t want to just print the picture off and slap it into a frame. There are other ways to class it up, including the addition of a mat board.

The added mat board will help with the presentation while offering a professional look to the photograph. Whether you decide to cut the mat yourself or pay a professional to do it for you is your call, but whatever you decide to do, presenting clients with framed photos is a great way to secure a lasting memory of an important moment.

What Are Framed Photos?

elegant framed photo of nature

Framed photos are exactly what the name says. It is a photograph printed off in physical form. It is then inserted into a picture frame for safe keeping. This makes it possible to display the photograph or to put it up somewhere and share the memory with others who see the photograph.

As fewer photographs are now printed, having a physical image on hand is desirable and shows you go the extra mile as anyone can tag a client on Facebook or send a link to the digital file. Whatever you decide to do, though, just know your client will appreciate the framed photo. They can then do what they want with the photograph and place it anywhere for display.

Importance of Framed Photos

framed photos of important memories

The importance of a framed photograph is the significance of the memory attached to it. A photograph is a window in time and instantly takes a person back to that moment in time. More pictures are being taken now than ever before. There are smartphones now with five cameras built into the device to provide the best-looking image possible. Yet, despite all of this, fewer images are being put on display in a physical form.

Often times, an image is taken and uploaded to a social media account without being viewed ever again (until the social media account reminds you of the photograph a year later). With a framed photograph, you’ll always have the memory right in front of you. So, whether it’s celebrating a marriage, a birth, or even the purchase of a new vehicle, if an image is framed and put on display, there’s usually an important moment behind it.

Tips and Tricks for Framed Photos

framed photos displayed in a showroom

If you want the best looking photograph possible and the highest quality display, there are a few tips and suggestions you need to follow. Framing your photographs is easy and doesn’t take much time of effort. However, this simple gesture shows your clients how much you appreciate them. You just need to decide how elaborate you want the framed photo to be.

Printing the Photo

what you need to create framed photos

First, never print it on a traditional computer printer or on computer paper. The paper isn’t designed for that kind of quality, and the ink from your printer is not designed for that either. If you have invested in a photo printer or even a computer printer designed for a photograph, you can use this. You will need to purchase photo paper though. When selecting the photo paper, there are different grades to consider (five stars being the highest, but also the most expensive). You also must decide if you want a matte finish to the paper or if you want glossy. This shouldn’t have too much of an impact on the price of the paper.

A traditional photograph is going to be 5×7 or 4×6 although there are different sized papers to choose from when buying photo paper. It comes down to the size you’re interested in. Do note, the larger the photograph the more expensive the entire framing project will cost.

If you don’t have such a printer, you need to save the full resolution image onto a flash drive and take it to a local print shop. Your local Walmart will print the photograph. Most corner drug stores, such as Walgreens or CVS, can help you out with this. If you expect to do framed photos, regularly it will become more cost effective to invest in a quality photo printer.

Mat or No Mat

mat and no mat framed photos

Now that you have the printed paper, you need to decide if you want a mat or no mat. A mat will provide the photograph with a professional appearance and help draw interest to the photo. This is something you can cut on your own or you can take it in to have a professional cut the mat.

You will need to invest in some additional equipment, and cutting the mat may take some practice, but it’s worth it if you want to present the image in a more professional appearance. If you don’t want a mat, you can skip to the “Framing” step.

Cutting The Mat

things you need to cut the mat yourself

If you’ve decided on a mat, you have three options. The first it to pay a professional for the mat. The second is to purchase a pre-cut mat, and the third is to cut the mat yourself. If you are using a standard 4×6 or 5×7 photograph, you’ll find loads of pre-cut mat options that work just fine and will save you money over paying a professional to cut the same mat. If you’re using a different size photo or you want to alter the size of your mat, then cut the mat yourself.

Cutting the mat yourself will take a bit of math, but it isn’t that tricky. First, select the mat board you’re interested in. There will be a color side and then the back, white side. You will want to pick up a mat board that fits into the desired frame size. Let’s say, for example, you bought a frame that is 7×9 and you want to place your 5×7 photo in it. Not a problem at all. First, purchase your 7×9 mat board (or cut it down to this size).

On a clean, flat surface, place the mat color side down. You now need to measure out the window. With a 5×7 you’ll have an inch border on each side (an inch board on top, an inch border on the bottom, and left and right). However, when you’re measuring out the border, you need to give some overlap. If you make the window exactly 5×7, the photograph will flop out. Instead, you want a quarter inch overhang on all sides (you can make the overhang smaller, but a quarter of an inch is easier to work with without covering up much of the photograph).

So, measure 1.25 inches on the back of the mat and, using a ruler and a pencil, draw out the border. With the 1.25 inch border all the way around, you’re ready to cut it out. You can purchase a small mat board cutter from your local arts and craft store. With this cutter, you’ll notice the razor blade is angled inward.

Also, if you look at a professional cut mat board, you’ll see there is a white angled space between the colored mat and the photograph. It slopes up from the photo to the colored portion. This is because of the angle of the blade. So, take your measured mat board and keep the color facing down. Slide the border portion into the mat cutter and line the line up with the mat cutter’s ruler. The blade will have a small line right where the blade starts.

Position this on the perpendicular pencil line, then cut down until you reach the opposite perpendicular pencil line. Repeat this process for all the cuts until you’ve cut the window out.

Frame the Photograph

ways to frame the photograph

If you cut out a mat, go over the colored side of the mat and use a white eraser to remove any dirt or pencil marks. You may also have some hanging threads on the mat. You can use a knife or sandpaper to smooth this out. Place the photograph behind the cut-out window and tape it down with masking tape. Now, insert it into the frame and close the frame. You now have a professionally framed picture that you can give to your clients.

Conclusion

how to create the display of your framed photos

Whether you’re interested in framing the photograph on your own or you want some professional help to create the display, a framed photograph can instantly connect you with your clients. This single photograph shows how important they are to you and will constantly remind them of the framed memory. So, no matter what the event is for, if it’s worth framing, it’s worth saving and sharing. It doesn’t cost much to go with a professional for a small photograph, and it costs even less to frame and display the image yourself. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll always be able to draw in that important connection to your clients with framed photos.

10 Ways To Make Your Portfolio Website Standout

portfolio website shown on a laptop

If you are considering a career as a photographer, you need to be prepared to not only produce high-quality work but to market yourself as well. Many novice photographers think their work alone will provide them with a successful career, however, marketing your work is just as crucial.

Even if you’re already a photographer, knowing more about how to advertise your work and earn more clientele is always useful. This article discusses the importance of a portfolio website and tips to constructing a successful one.

What Is a Photographer’s Portfolio?

potfolio website builder software

Photo credited by: colorlib.com

A photography portfolio is a display of a photographer’s work, more recently done online these days. Before the web, photographers would keep physical folders of their work and distribute them, but today with the benefit of the internet, online portfolios are what a photographer’s work is judged by.

Portfolios comprise the best works produced by the photographer and display how well a photographer captures moments. Photography portfolios should be displayed on a web page that’s easy to navigate, captures attention, and provides up-to-date contact information. A portfolio website is a considerable advantage to a photographer’s career.

The Importance of a Portfolio Website

building a PORTFOLIO WEBSITE

Photo credited by: programmerfriendly.com

Any budding photographer needs to know how to build a portfolio website to showcase their work. Portfolios are necessary for people pursuing a career in photography. Potential clients and companies are constantly seeking photographers for a variety of reasons, but the very thing that can make or break a photographer’s career is their portfolio.

Having a portfolio is essential to a successful career for professional photographers. Showcasing your work and talent has huge benefits for landing more jobs. People can see that you have experience, knowledge, and skill by having a portfolio website and this is a sure way to increase public awareness about your photography business.

However, just merely having an online portfolio doesn’t mean that a photographer will obtain clients. It’s imperative to have a strong and persuasive portfolio.

Within thirty seconds a client will decide whether to choose a photographer for work and if the portfolio doesn’t stand out amongst the many photography portfolios on the web, a photographer can miss out on opportunities. To avoid this, it’s beneficial for a photographer to stay up to date on how to attract clientele.

Portfolio websites offer an increased appearance of professionalism and prove that the photographer takes their work seriously.

People want to hire photographers that care about capturing aesthetic moments and value how they edit and craft their work. A portfolio website can benefit photographers by giving clients certainty in their choice to work with a photographer.  

10 Ways to Make Your Portfolio Website Standout

man creating a portfolio website

Photo credited by: aquent.com.au

1. SHOWCASE YOUR BEST WORK FIRST

Only showcase your best work. By putting your best work on the main page of the site, this gives clients the opportunity to see what you’re capable of. People make decisions quickly, and it only takes moments for a prospective client to reach out or make a pass on your work. Highlighting the best photographs will give you a step up.

2. BE PICKY AND ONLY USE RELEVANT WORK

Sometimes it’s hard to be picky of your own work, however, being critical of the work you share is a valuable skill and beneficial to your career. Be honest with yourself when choosing your work. Consider using work that might correlate with future projects.

For instance, if you want your primary focus to be showcasing condos and property for real estate agents, you wouldn’t choose portrait photos of people to display this ability. Choose work that captures what you want to be photographing and projects that interest you.

3. USE OPTIMUM PORTFOLIO WEBSITE BUILDERS AND ANALYTICS

By using the best website tools, your work will stand out. There are website builder tools online that make it easy to build your best website. Consider looking at other portfolios of photographers you admire and find out how they built their websites.

There are even websites that offer analytic tools that show and track who’s viewing your portfolio website and how they found your page. This insight will help you see what advertising techniques work. This gives you the ability to adjust how you advertise yourself.

4. MAKE YOUR SITE EASY TO NAVIGATE AND CLEAN

Make sure your website is organized and designed well. Have your work cleanly displayed and make it easy for the user to navigate. Too often online portfolios that have great work are passed up on job opportunities because the site was unattractive and wasn’t easy to use.

By having a strong platform to display your work, you’re giving the user a stronger urge to use your skills.

5. PROVIDE CONTEXT

Having short blurbs or a few sentences explaining the purpose and target goal of a project you worked on helps the client understand why you were capturing a certain moment.

Consider writing about why you felt inspired to do that shoot and how the outcome emerged. Avoid writing long paragraphs and wordy sentences; however, brief commentary is appropriate for an online portfolio.

6. USE HIGH DEFINITION PHOTOGRAPHS

Using high definition photographs makes your work stand out and look neat. Clients can see detail and quality better in high definition than in other formats. It’s highly recommended that you use high definition pictures. The best portfolios only use high definition work.

7. USE SOCIAL MEDIA

Using social media buttons allows people to share and access your work more easily and makes it more accessible to the public. It’s a great way to advertise your work. Consider linking your website to your social media pages such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Having an Instagram or Facebook page for your work in conjunction with a portfolio also increases the volume of traffic to your portfolio website.

Having social media attached to your portfolio website also gives people the ability to share your work, which not only provides advertising but also increases trust with potential clients. If clients see you have a large following on social media, this shows that you’re likable and marketable.

8. UPDATE REGULARLY

Update your portfolio regularly. By doing this, you’re constantly showcasing the most up-to-date photographs and your strongest work. The more practice you have, the better quality your work becomes.

Consistently using new works will help others not only see your best, but it will also provide an opportunity to showcase the clients you have already obtained. This gives your portfolio credibility and assurance to the potential client that you’re a solid photographer and have credible clientele.

9. HAVE A BLOGGING SECTION

Having a blog connected to your portfolio allows you to share what’s going on professionally in your life. Update your blog with your experiences, the outcome of your photo shoots, and things you have learned from your experiences being a photographer.

This adds depth to your work and makes you relatable to the client. It also allows people insight into who you are as a person which helps expand your influence.

10. PURCHASE A DOMAIN NAME

Buying a domain name can make your portfolio stand out. Choose a domain name that’s catchy and easy to type. This makes your work strongly accessible on the internet and allows it to stand out compared to other portfolios. Using your own name can also be helpful.

Make sure you stay on top of keeping your domain name by staying current with renewal fees as you can lose your domain name if you accidentally forget to pay renewals. This could result in someone else taking your domain name, which would make it difficult to recapture traffic.

Conclusion

portfolio website shown on a mac desktop

If you’re going to pursue a career in photography, you will need a strong portfolio website. Presenting your best self to the market gives you a leg up over other photographers and will increase the likelihood of getting future work. If you want to earn money in this industry, you need to actively and effectively promote yourself.

Portfolios should be regularly updated with your best work and needs to be constructed so that clients can find and like your photographs with ease. Your job is to make sure clients feel satisfied with your work, skill, and talent. Your portfolio should be a platform that encourages people to hire you.

Having a portfolio website also gives credibility to your business and makes you look professional. This will not only increase clientele traffic but also your hourly rate as a photographer. Appearing more professional also makes clients feel at ease with purchasing your time.

Being relatable with potential clients by blogging and captioning photos will boost your influence in the market.

People want to work with photographers that can give them quality photographs they can connect to. By giving people insights into your career and inspirations, this offers considerably more outreach and draw to your work. Using social media can significantly increase website traffic on your portfolio website.

Without a strong portfolio website, it may be difficult finding work and obtaining new clients. Portfolio websites keep photographers employed with consistent clients and continuous work. They are necessary and important and will surely benefit your photography career.

How To Sell Stock Photos Online: It Is Easier Than You Think!

Professional photographers make their living off of great imagery. Whether taking pictures of models or of travel, these individuals can take just a handful of exceptional photographs throughout the course of a year and make enough to live comfortably. How do they do this? They sell stock photos.

Many top photographers make seven-figure salaries and often bring in additional commissions whenever their images are used in magazines and other print publications. Most of these photographers have not only been trained in college, but also have worked under other big-time professionals in order to learn their craft.

Now, you can always go back to school to learn more about photography and gain the additional skills required to become a professional. However, if you’re looking to simply make a few dollars off of photography you don’t need to work with major models or pay thousands of dollars for modeling agencies to send individuals to you for shoots.

Instead, you can make good money. All you have to do is sell stock photos. In fact, there are plenty of professionals out there whose livelihoods come strictly off stock photos. If you’re interested in either making a few dollars or potentially turning it into a full-time career, then you should know it is entirely possible to make the money you need if you sell stock photos.

WHAT ARE STOCK PHOTOS?

collection of photographs

Photo credited by: stockphotosecrets.com

Stock photography consists of photographs that can be used for several reasons and by several companies. The photograph isn’t ad-specific or made for a specific company. It is a general picture companies can use for their advertising or other campaigns.

For example, a stock photo may be of two people talking over coffee, or someone thinking as they write notes on paper. It can be two people shaking hands or someone running a race. Stock photos don’t necessarily have to be of people either. The photographs can be of a dog looking at the camera or of fall leaves on the ground. Basically, the images can be just about anything and everything.

Stock photographs are stored in a catalog and someone (often a company) looks over the stock photographs to select images they might want for their websites or marketing approaches. They select the photographs they want, pay a usage fee and then have the ability to use the photos. The images can be used for websites or printed literature. They may even end up on a billboard or some other place.

When you sell stock photos, a company rarely buys the complete photograph. Instead, the company buys the rights to use the photograph. This way, you can continue to make money off of the same image as often as you find people interested in using it.

Stock photographs often have usage options. This depends on the stock service you sign up for and submit photographs to. The usage rights may limit the use of an image specifically online, in print or the like. There may be different fees based on the size of the photograph or other aspects of the image. You will need to read through the stock photo website specifics for this information as each differs. Whatever you do though, you can sell stock photos and make money off of your photographs.

THE NECESSARY GEAR

 NECESSARY GEAR for taking photographs

Photo credited by: medium.com

Some professional photographers may look down at stock photography because it may not be as artistic as some work seen in major magazines. However, some stock photographers can make hundreds of thousands of dollars when they sell stock photos.

Now, to make this kind of money off of stock photos, you must anticipate what companies will want to use and create great-quality images that will serve their needs. This means you must produce a high-quality image with quality lighting and editing. You can’t just take pictures with your cell phone and expect to make money off of them.

Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t use your cell phone, but you’ll be better off using some specific gear. That said, you don’t need to go all out with the gear, especially as you first start out. But, if you’re serious about making money with stock photography, you do need to invest in some hardware.

CAMERA

You need a good camera. Ideally, you’ll invest in a DSLR. There are some mirrorless cameras that are smaller, such as the Sony a700 lineup of cameras. These are exceptional cameras although often these cameras cost even more than a DSLR.

You can get a base DSLR camera for less than $500, which is more than enough for taking stock photographs. What you’re looking for is a camera that records in both JPEG and RAW formats. You want a RAW file because it is not compressed at all and there are stock photography services that will want full resolution, non-compressed files.

TRIPOD

You don’t need to get artistic with your photography. Investing in a lot of camera equipment isn’t necessary with stock photography. Instead, you need to focus on clean, crisp images that can be used in several ways (you’re creating an image for a general audience as the more companies that can use the image the better.) For that, you could use a tripod. Make sure it can handle the weight of your camera. If you plan on taking travel photography and want telephoto lenses, make sure you pick up a tripod that can support the weight. As long as it can, most tripods will work.

LIGHTING

Lighting is critical. If you’re taking outdoor photos, it can be tricky on what kind of lighting you need to shoot in. If you want warm tones, then you’ll find the lighting is best right before sunset or right after a sunrise. For other types of photos, you’ll want to look for a cloudy day that diffuses light, so there are no harsh shadows falling across people’s faces. Even watch photos under trees, because if it is summer, and the sun is high, you’ll be in danger of getting dappled shadows that come out like splotches on people’s faces.

For indoor pictures, you’ll want to invest in a lighting kit. You can purchase excellent LED lighting kits now from camera stores and through Amazon for just a few hundred dollars. Studio lighting would cost 10 times this (if not more), and LED lighting doesn’t run hot, so you can use the bulbs longer. Make sure you study up on how to use your lighting sources, though, as this can make or break your photography.

PHOTO EDITING SOFTWARE

You’ll need to edit your pictures to clean everything up a little, such as that piece of dust you didn’t see on your lens or a hair flying out of place. Or, it could be as simple as bumping up the contrast in an image. Your best bet is to look over what is selling on stock photo websites. This will help with the kinds of images you need to capture and the way the images need to look. Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom are the two best programs out there for this, but there is a steep learning curve and it could take some time to get proficient in them. There are other basic options out there to consider that don’t cost as much.

HOW TO SELL STOCK PHOTOS ONLINE

HOW TO SELL STOCK PHOTOS ONLINE page

Photo credited by: facebook.com

If you are serious and want to sell stock photos online, then there are several ways you can go about it. By following these tips and suggestions you’ll increase your potential for making money and improving your photography along the way.

SIGN UP FOR ONLINE SERVICES

There are dozens of online services where you can list and sell stock photos. Each website will have different specifics to consider. If the website requires you to pay money to list photos, do not use it. It should be free for you to join.

That said, many of these websites will require you to submit images to be reviewed. The review process may take several weeks if not longer. Make sure you only upload your best photographs. Some websites will give you more money if you only upload your images to their site.

When first starting off, it’s best to upload the images to all the stock photo services, then monitor your success and adjust accordingly. If you find most of your traffic comes from one site, you can eventually take the images down from the other sites so you make more per download with the individual online site.

HAVE MODEL RELEASES SIGNED

When working with models, you can’t just take pictures of people and toss the images up online. That’s a good way for the stock company and you to end up being sued. Instead, you need to have a model release form signed by the people with whom you work.

If there isn’t a model release form, then most websites will not allow you to upload pictures of people. You can find general boilerplate release forms ready to go online. You need to take advantage of these release forms and make any necessary adjustments so it is specific to you and your model(s). Be sure it gets signed. Once you have the completed and signed form in hand, some websites will require you to upload it so the company has it on file.

KEEP TAKING PICTURES

It takes a while before you make money on stock photography. While you can make a good living when you sell stock photos online, you will need to have hundreds if not thousands of photos available for download. So never stop taking pictures.

CONCLUSION

CONCLUSION logo

Photo credited by: stock.adobe.com

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to make some additional income or you want to turn it into your full-time career, you can make money when you sell stock photos online. To do this though you need to take it seriously and put in your best effort. Look over what is selling and then create your own photographs off of this. Eventually, if you stick with it, you can make some solid money.

Photography Marketing Guide For Beginners: Know The Basics


Social media and blogging have made photography marketing fun. There is nothing more impressive than a stunning photo on Instagram or your blog. Combine it with great marketing, and you will gain (and sustain) customers.

You first need to start with knowing your customers, having consistent branding, identifying your goals, formulating your message, finding your platform, and letting your customers know how you can solve their problems. Your website is an integral piece of your marketing. Design it so it is SEO-friendly, user-friendly, and optimized for mobile.

FINDING YOUR MARKET IN PHOTOGRAPHY MARKETING

FINDING YOUR MARKET IN PHOTOGRAPHY MARKETING

Photo credit by: fashionangelwarrior.com

The most critical parts of photography marketing are the basics steps: knowing your market, crafting the message, and deciding what medium you will use to communicate the message. First, conduct industry and market research to determine your market demographics and market size. Determine how much of the market you want to capture.

When you research your market, you must get to know their pain points, your competitors, and your competitive advantage. One mistake new business owners make is marketing to a general demographic, for example, people from 24 to 54 with some college and an average household income or $75,000 per year.

Demographics, like averages, are not concrete. It is a general description. Create personas (also called avatars) to represent one of your customer types. A persona is a fictional character that embodies specific characteristics of a customer type.

HOW TO DEVELOP A PERSONA FOR PHOTOGRAPHY MARKETING

The best place to build a persona is from your current clientele. You have the information needed to market to them and the benefit of surveys and their comments. If you do not have customers yet, use secondary data that you can find on the Internet or get insight from another photographer. Here are some data elements you need to build a persona correctly.

  • Name
  • Job title
  • Job description
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Salary
  • Location
  • Education
  • Family description
  • Goals
  • Challenges
  • Values
  • Fears

Develop a persona for each marketing segment. Each marketing segment should have its own persona, and each message should apply to one persona.

BENEFITS OF CREATING PERSONAS IN PHOTOGRAPHY MARKETING

BENEFITS OF CREATING PERSONAS IN PHOTOGRAPHY MARKETING

Why create personas? You will develop a level of intimacy that does not exist when looking at the generalized population. You will:

  • Have a better understanding of your customer’s needs
  • Understand what’s important to your customer
  • Allow you to get better leads
  •  Build a better product solution that fits your customer needs
  •  Gain a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t work

DISCOVERING YOUR MESSAGE IN PHOTOGRAPHY MARKETING

Once you have fully developed your marketing persona, you know their needs, pain points, and what problem you can solve for them. The next step is crafting a solution to their problem. Some may wonder if this is an overkill. “All I want to do is take pictures,” you may think.

Photography marketing is about gaining customers for your photography business, and not your love for photography. It is essential, but not for turning your passion into a business. It’s all about your customers.

Craft a message that resonates with your target customer. Create it from your customer point of view using a tone and language they understand. Use the following checklist to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of your message:

  • It clearly states a solution
  • It is written in a tone and language the customer understands
  • It feels natural
  • It is original
  • It makes the customer happy
  • It needs no further explanation

WHAT’S THE BEST PHOTOGRAPHY MARKETING CHANNEL FOR YOU?

Whether you are blogging or posting a social media post, you are only targeting one persona per message. You want to educate, engage, and empower your audience.

Educate them with tips and facts they can use on a shoot and in their everyday life. You can write a blog about capturing the best picture with their smartphone, or you can tell them how to avoid common photography pitfalls like the “raccoon eyes” effect.

Next, you want to engage them—not only through entertainment but also relating to their struggles. You can feature a story where a mom came in flustered because she was late and had a fussy baby, but then she and the baby left with smiles. Capturing a cute shot of your silly pet will engage your audience as well.

Find ways to empower your market. Clients will trust you more if you share some “trade secrets.” Informational blogs about what to wear, the best poses to hide imperfection, or how to look taller (or shorter) would help gain trust. Why? These are useful even if they do not use your service. It shows your passion for what you do and that you care.

YOUR BLOG IS YOUR CORE PHOTOGRAPHY MARKETING CHANNEL

Make your website an interactive brochure for your business. It should engage customers, help guide them through your site, and invite them to interact more with your site.

Showcase work on a blog you regularly update. Educate, engage, and empower your audience with information. Of course, each blog targets ONE persona.  It ensures that everything you are doing goes toward your overarching goal to gain (and keep) clients.

WEBSITE SEO

WEBSITE SEO

Photo credit by: qoura.com

Did you know that internet users prefer to click on an organic link that is a paid link? Search engine optimization in photography marketing is improving your website chances of ranking high in organic page results by following best practices.

OPTIMIZING YOUR WEBSITE

OPTIMIZING YOUR WEBSITE

Photo credit by: vidapaper.com

Think SEO from your website’s conception to its implementation. Find a website platform that is SEO friendly, like WordPress. Here are a few reasons Google loves WordPress:

  • It’s a content hub, and Google loves content
  • WordPress content is usually optimized
  • WordPress is optimized for mobile

USE KEYWORDS

USE KEYWORDS

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Use unique keywords on each webpage and each blog post. Not only do you need to pay attention to your keyword, but you also need to use keyword phrases. Google is now interested in more in the content than just the keyword. Put your focus on a particular topic.

WRITE CONTENT WITH OVER 1000 WORDS

WRITE CONTENT WITH OVER 1000 WORDS

Photo credit by: lifehack.org

Your content length matters. As a photographer, you rely on your pictures to tell the story. Google loves 2000 word blogs. It loves it because people like to read long blogs. Don’t fill it with fluff. If users seem to like your content and spend more time on your site, Google will reward that. Ultimately, Google’s goal is to answer the user’s query.

GIVE ALL WEB PAGES TITLE NAMES

GIVE ALL WEB PAGES TITLE NAMES

Photo credit by: collegeinfogeek.com

Verify your blog posts title name is unique, descriptive, and an easy-to-understand page title. Create a page title 70 characters or fewer. The Google police will not penalize you if you have over 70 characters; however, you risk the title truncating in the search results.

OPTIMIZE YOUR IMAGES

OPTIMIZE YOUR IMAGES

Photo credit by: codecondo.com

Add alt tags to your photos. Search engine spiders like them, and they enhance your website accessibility. Anyone that is visually impaired can have the pictures description read to them.

Luckily, images added to your posts enhances it for the search engine. Include the keyword in your alt tag. Here are a few more tips about optimizing your image:

  • Your image should align with your post content
  • Verify your image file name aligns with the image and post
  • Add OpenGraph and Twitter Cards for your shared images

PAGE LOAD

PAGE LOAD

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Your page load speed is a factor with Google. As you know, images can be quite large. Compress the images on your site. You can also reduce the load time for images by pre-sizing them to their display dimensions. If you don’t, the system has to resize them before they load on your website.

OPTIMIZE FOR MOBILE

OPTIMIZE FOR MOBILE

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Google prefers sites that are optimized for mobile. When you design your site, use a fluid layout. Fluid layouts adapt to the device used to view your website. You also want to make navigation seamless. If your buttons or menu items are close together, the user may hit the wrong key. It is very annoying not to have enough room to select a menu option.

Think functionality when designing for mobile devices. Think of the actions you want your users to take. One example of a functional design is displaying a photo with navigation controls, the ability to contact someone by phone and book an appointment from a smartphone.

Do not skimp on your mobile site. Your mobile site should be just as content-rich as the desktop. Take the time to layout your content so that your mobile users enjoy the same benefits as your desktop users.

MAKE YOUR WEBSITE SKIMMABLE

MAKE YOUR WEBSITE SKIMMABLE

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Most users skim instead of reading a site. Structure your content so that it is “skim-friendly.” Create titles and headlines that overview the story. If appropriate, add captions to your images. While this may not directly affect your search engine optimization, the time your audience spends on your site does. If readers cannot quickly overview your content, they go to the next website.

CONCLUSION

Photographers have a natural marketing edge because they are creative and love to tell stories. Use that to your advantage. Don’t forget you are running a business, and you need to know your market. Marketing your business appropriately will give your business the best chance for success.

Wedding Photography: Pricing Guide For Beginners

Working as a wedding photographer is an exciting way to exercise your creative photo skills while also capturing one of the most special days in people’s lives. There are plenty of opportunities within this niche to tailor your business. If you make best use of your unique specialties and interests, then you will undoubtedly build a wide customer base.

If you are a new photographer, setting your prices is one of the initial challenges you may face to gain business and grow your portfolio. It can be difficult to assess your skills in relation to other providers in the current market.

For those entering the field of wedding photography and want to know how to determine their fees, we have put together this comprehensive pricing guide just for you.

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES

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JOB DESCRIPTION

Wedding photography is a job that comes with hefty responsibility, but also long-term rewards. If you get into this business, then you’ll bear the responsibility of capturing many couples’ special days, but your ability to snap their beautiful moments will result in extraordinary photos they’ll cherish for years to come.

Specializing in wedding photography means you will take photographs of the stages before, during and following the actual marriage ceremony. Wedding photographers use creative and innovative ideas to capture unique snapshots that cater to their clients’ expectations. Photographers also will process the and produce the final images to provide to the client.

It is vital for wedding photographers to discuss and carefully examine a client’s wishes for their special day, understanding what shots, angles and backgrounds need to be included in the final wedding album. Wedding days can be chaotic, so anyone working in wedding photography needs to create succinct, beautiful shots around even the most challenging conditions.

Aside from the duties performed on location, anyone who is self-employed in wedding photography must attend to the daily operation of their business. This includes creating contracts for client signatures, marketing their services, attracting new clients and staying on top of market expectations to cater to client demands. A wedding photographer must not only be able to capture excellent, unique shots that please their clients, but they additionally must edit, develop and convey the final product to the customer in a timely manner.

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

There is no specific educational background required to work in wedding photography, but it is helpful to gain all the knowledge and professional insight you can. Many photographers go through post-secondary photography educational programs to enhance their skills and their offerings to clients. Some clients will prefer to work with a photographer who has education in the field.

With that being said, in the world of wedding photography, creativity and technological prowess often outweigh educational credentials. Still, it is always a good idea to learn as much as you can about the business, so you can offer the most comprehensive services possible. Completing an associate degree, bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in photography will prove invaluable in helping you grow your business. Even taking courses in photography styles and techniques will give you a competitive edge.

BUSINESS ACUMEN

Besides the creative and technical knowledge required to be a success in wedding photography, you will need to have a certain amount of business acumen to run a thriving venture in this field. You need to possess solid knowledge regarding the financial, marketing, pricing, legal and contractual aspects of your business. Copyrighting your photography is essential to protecting your work product.

To run a successful wedding photography business, you must be able to have positive interactions with people. You need to be professional, warm, and understanding, working with families during a very exciting, but often stressful period of wedding preparation.

NECESSARY EQUIPMENT

PHOTOGRAPHY ESSENTIALS

PHOTOGRAPHY ESSENTIALS

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No wedding photography business is complete without the proper equipment. Having quality cameras, lenses, lighting equipment and mounts is essential. The more education you possess in the field, the better equipped you will be to navigate the various pieces of equipment needed to serve your purposes.

WEB AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

WEB AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

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You need to learn how to create a website and market yourself online to grow your business. Using professional website services to enhance your marketing outreach is a great way to do that. Having a proper website where clients can login and access their photo samples is key.

As far as software goes, you cannot run your business effectively without using top-of-the-line editing software and technology to fine tune and enhance your photos. Getting the Adobe Suite or Photoshop can pose quite an investment, but it is worth it several times over for the capability it will give you to develop your photos and produce amazing images. It’ll even help you salvage a photo that might have been less than great straight out of the camera.

PRICING GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS

EXAMINE YOUR COMPETITORS

EXAMINE YOUR COMPETITORS

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The first thing you need to do when figuring out how to set prices for your wedding photography is to examine your competitors in your specific geographic location. Look at the competition and see what those businesses charge for their services.

Make an Excel spreadsheet to record your findings as you conduct opposition research and average out your pricing accordingly. Depending on your knowledge, education and experience, you can compare your services to those of your competitors and determine whether you should charge at a high level, middle set or low range on the pricing spectrum.

IDENTIFY YOUR CLIENTELE

IDENTIFY YOUR CLIENTELE

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Part of creating a booming wedding photography business is deciding which clients you want to serve. Your prices will correlate directly with the clients you are able to attract. If you want to shoot elaborate weddings for top-tier clients, your prices should be higher. If you are more interested in catering to regular families, then charge a more inexpensive rate. You also may serve a mixture of both and set your price points right in the middle.

There is no right or wrong answer when identifying what clientele you wish to serve. It depends on your preferences and how those fit in with your business goals.

DO SOME CALCULATIONS

DO SOME CALCULATIONS

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As you get started with your wedding photography business, you may find that you need to alter the original prices you set so you can achieve an optimal profit. This is part of the process of trial and error, and it is perfectly normal for beginners.

Take the time to calculate your net gains after spending money on equipment, travel time, client meetings and other pertinent expenses. You need to set a price that allows for these expenses, while still providing you with a solid profit.

STICK TO AN HOURLY RATE

STICK TO AN HOURLY RATE

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As a general rule, especially for beginners in wedding photography, stick to an hourly rate rather than an overall project rate. If your photo sessions take longer than expected, there is more work to complete or more expenses than you originally assessed, charging by the hour will enable you to receive a profit — no matter what curveballs are thrown your way.

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO OFFER PROMOTIONS

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO OFFER PROMOTIONS

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Promotions are a great incentive to grow your wedding photography business and attract new clients, especially when you are a beginner. Plan promotions and deals around the holidays. However, be careful not to offer your services for too little. The best way to do this is offer additional photos or session time rather than cutting your actual project fees.

EXAMINE YOUR OBJECTIVE

EXAMINE YOUR OBJECTIVE

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As a beginner, you need to examine your objective for your business when setting your prices. When you are brand new to the field, your main aim will probably be to bring on as many new clients as you can. Set your prices accordingly, and as your portfolio and experience grows over time, you can adjust your fees to reflect your enhanced expertise.

CREATE PRICING PACKAGES

A great way to cater to multiple clients without under-cutting your wedding photography business is to create pricing packages that meet a variety of budgetary constraints. If you are just starting out and want to work with a diverse client base, you will probably have customers who can afford to pay more than others.

So as not to reject any new business that comes your way while still turning a substantial profit, create different packages to cater to an assortment of client needs. For example, your fees for 4 hours of services would be less than your fees for a full package offering 6 to 8 hours of photography for an entire ceremony.

BE REALISTIC

When you are just starting out in wedding photography, without experience, you will need to start at a lower price range and work your way up. If you do well and gain more clients, you can close this gap quickly. Start with a marginal number at which you can still draw a profit and work your way up from there as you build your portfolio.

You do not want to set your prices so low that potential clients do not value your time, nor do you want to set them so high that potential clients balk and run. It’s best to start at a solid rate based on your expertise and education and increase it as you grow a satisfied client base.

CONCLUSION

Entering the world of wedding photography is an innovative and inspiring venture. You will have the chance to meet a variety of clients on their special days as you capture their special moments and preserve them for a lifetime. Assess your knowledge and background, examine your competition, identify your goals and hone in on your pricing objectives that best meet the needs of your business and clients alike.

The 8 Best Stock Photography Sites To Sell Your Pics On

While there are so many hobbies to explore, photography is the only hobby that has practical and mental benefits. You can explore your creativity and create beautiful memories in the process.

However, many people do not know that they can make money with photography. Like any business, photography comes with extra costs like cameras, accessories, and lenses.

Making money with photography will be an excellent way to cater to these costs. Here’s a detailed guide on what you need to know about stock photography and the best sites to sell your photos.

THE 8 BEST STOCK PHOTOGRAPHYSITES

Here are the top stock photography sites to sell your photos.

GETTY IMAGES

GETTY IMAGES

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Getty is known for its quality photos and unmatched standards. Being one of the top sites gives you an advantage of selling your work at a higher price, unlike other places. The site has a moment collection contract where you earn 20 percent of the listed price.

Getty is renowned for quality imagery, and it’s an ideal place to build your portfolio. Another great feature is the editorial classification of images. Architectural or travel photographers will find this a plus as you don’t have to remove stuff from the photo. You can classify it as editorial only and sell it.

Getty appreciates creative freedom and does not reject work because the subject is not in focus. The agency recognizes the artistic value in work and overlooks the technical aspects. However, Getty has a disadvantage in that the contract is exclusive. You cannot resell the images anywhere else.

ISTOCK

ISTOCK

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iStock also known as iStockphoto is part of Getty Images, which increases its reach and brand recognition. The best part with iStock is that you can sell your work to other agencies as the contract is not exclusive.

You get to earn a higher percentage with this site as you can sell exclusively through iStock. With this, you get the right balance between access to a broader market and reasonable earning options.

Nonetheless, with iStock being a microstock site, you get to earn a minimal amount for each sale. This means you could get a mere $1.60 for an image that sells for $12.

Another disadvantage is that iStock uses the same submission platform like Getty. You’ll have to deal with poor customer service and extended content review times.

SHUTTERSTOCK

SHUTTERSTOCK

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Shutterstock is one of the popular stock photo sites online. The fact that it’s usable, yet versatile makes the website a useful place for businesses with varying photography needs.

You’ll need to complete the application and verify your identity using a government-issued ID.

As a contributor, you need to upload ten images, seven of which need to be approved. If your submission does not meet the criteria, you’ll need to wait for a month to submit again. The best part is that you can access the critique form to talk With other photographers on what works and what doesn’t.

Shutterstock has a three-part series which allows you to use the right keywords to make your images searchable.

500PX MARKETPLACE

500PX MARKETPLACE

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The 500px marketplace is a photography community-based platform.Also, a stock photo site allows you to list your photos. With this platform, you can create your portfolio and showcase it.

Experienced editors are responsible for all the photo submissions. They are responsible for reviewing and approving photos for licensing. The 500px marketplace is free to join, and you can earn more than 50 percent of the sales of images submitted to the market.

ADOBE STOCK

ADOBE STOCK

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Adobe stock is a new entrant in stock photography. One of the aspects that make it stand out is the seamless photo upload option. All you need is to drop the photos in the publishing area, and the software does the rest of the work.

You can then add titles and keywords. The integration of Adobe CC and Adobe Stock makes things easier.

Unlike other submission platforms, Adobe Stock has a modern content dashboard and submission platform. You can get access to an easy to navigate interface, individual stats on each photo, and real-time sales. What’s more, you can make any edits afterpublication.

Their quick and consistent review times makes Adobe a winner. You can have your submissions reviewed in two days. While their earnings are not as ideal, you’ll stick get a few dimes for sales made.

You might find Adobe Stock a bit strict as you need to meet the technical execution and quality. The site pays attention to images out of focus. They are also stringent on what you may term as intellectual property.

Also, you may find your creativity limited with Adobe Stock as they are only looking for content that has a wide-market and general interest.

Adobe Stock doesn’t have an editorial only submission. Your submission won’t get approval if you don’t have a release for something.

ALAMY

ALAMY

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Alamy doesn’t have a lot of rules like most stock sites. The site doesn’t have as many buyers, but it’s a competitive stock photo agency. Also, Alamy pays 50 percent on each sale, which is a significant advantage.

The site doesn’t offer exclusivity which means that you can sell the images to other places to maximize your profits.

Furthermore, the site deals with customers across different countries and industries, which allows you to upload any type of content that you deem fit.

DREAMSTIME

DREAMSTIME

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Dreamstime is a favorite stock photo site. Major brands like Samsung, Google, Walmart and more use it for their images. The site has strict quality control criteria for all its pictures. You’ll need to submit high-resolution photos.

All you need is to set up an account and submit your photos as samples. Exclusive images attract up to 60 percent of the net sales. You can opt to be as an elite contributor or work as a non-exclusive contributor.

Once approved, the photos will be available for sale.Dreamstime has one of the highest payoffs as you can get up to 50 percent royalty off each sale.

123RF

123RF

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123rf has over 68 million photos and is one of the best places to sell your photos online. The site has a revenue sharing model that allows you to earn more by uploading more photos. Moreover, 123rf has a contributor level which depends on the number of downloads you’ve had in a year.

STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE

Stock photography involves the sales of images that are subject to usage license. They are for commercial purposes and are available on stock photo websites. Clients then access these images and buy them to use in a magazine article, a blog post, a book cover, or for other uses.

As a photographer, you can set your desired price point for each image you upload. However, this depends on the medium it will be on, its use, commercial purpose, and other factors that defer from one site to another.

Photographers Mdo not sell the images, but they have a license for specific uses. Also, they retain the copyrights. These licenses can be expensive depending on the photographer, and some sites are willing to spend thousands of dollars on quality photographs.

USEFUL TIPS TO SELL STOCKPHOTOS

While some will argue that stock photography is not as profitable like it was some years back, few people are making a profit from this. Getting a license for your photos as a beginner photographer can be daunting. Here are some helpful tips on how to sell stock photos.

GET TO KNOW THE VARIOUS KINDS OF LICENSING

Stock photos are intellectual property. Customers’ obtain a license to use them for a specific use. The photographers keep the copyrights, which means that they can reuse the stock images and make sales of the same photos.

It’s essential to understand that you can charge more money based on the terms of your license. You’ll need to read the fine print before signing on any contract. Ask questions if you’re unsure about what each license offers.

There are mainly two categories of licenses, rights-managed, and royalty-free. These categories have their exceptions and limitations, which you need to understand.

DETERMINE THE TYPE OF STOCK PHOTOS YOU NEED TO SHOOT

Some people get into photography as a hobby, where they create art for themselves. However, a few photographers produce images for paying clients while maintaining theirartistic integrity.

If you fall in the latter category, it’s crucial to understand the demand for the different genres of stock photography and create photos that clients will purchase for commercial use.

Do your research on the kind of photos that are popular on blog posts, magazines, and social media posts. You’ll need to create these images to sell online.

INVEST IN A QUALITY CAMERA AND LENS

Any photo doesn’t count in stock photography. You need to invest in a quality DSLR camera and lens that gives you sharp images. High-resolution images will get you paid more than ordinary pictures.

Remember that clients want full-color images that are bright and clean. These photos should appeal to the mass. Forget about post-processing techniques like Photoshop, over-saturation, or cropping photos. Keep your photos neutral for clients who want natural images with a sharp focus.

USE KEYWORDS

Getting more sales doesn’t come easy, there are different tactics you need to use to make this happen. Apart from creating high-quality photos, you need to zero in on a particular niche based on the subject matter.

Also, you need to describe the photos using keywords, tags, and titles to get these images in front of potential buyers. Find out some popular search terms and use this on your photos. Nonetheless, avoid using too many keywords as you may get a penalty when uploading these photos.

CHOOSE THE STOCK SITE WISELY

With multiple agencies to choose from, it’s critical to work with the right one. Some photo sites are microstock agencies which tend to offer a lower price for photos uploaded on their websites.

Big agencies like Alamy and Getty will offer higher rates and are open to negotiating the amount depending on the use.

However, you should note that some agencies have an editor who will only choose the photos their clients would like. Some agencies are unmanaged and can accept all your photos as long as they meet the set technical guidelines.

EXPECT REJECTION

You’re likely to get multiple rejections before any agency accepts you, do not give up. Although this will feel like a disappointment, it will make you a better photographer once you apply the suggestions and feedback offered.

Remember the first batch of photos is the hardest, but it gets easier after being accepted.

BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE STOCK AGENCY

Stock agencies work to promote your work as a photographer. If the agency accepts your first submission, strive to build a relationship with them. Find out if they have current picture needs or if they’re looking for location-specific photos.

STAY UPDATED

Things change in an instant thanks to technology. It’s essential to stay up to date with the Latest trends and news in your photography genre.

For example, if you’re a travel photographer, check to see if there’s a new direct flight to a famous destination. As a lifestyle photographer, look at the trends that brands are using.

HAVE A PORTFOLIO

In photography, you’ll have failures and successes. Some photos will be more profitable than others will. Learn from the failures and build a portfolio based on the shoots that sell more. After a while, you’ll have a sense of the type of shots you should focus on and those you should forego.

The stock market is competitive and crowded, which might make it difficult to make a living as a stock photographer. However, there is an opportunity to create a steady source of additional income by publishing photos you shot without a purpose.

Moreover, you can upload photos shot for client assignments. Use the above guide to learn how to make sales in stock photography and the best sites to consider as a photographer.

Playing With Your Monitor Color Calibration Tool: User Guide

MONITORS HAVE TAKEN QUITE A FEW STEPS FORWARD

IN RECENT YEARS. 4K DISPLAY, CURVED MONITORS, AND OTHER INNOVATIONS ALLOW PEOPLE TO SEE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL IMAGES ON THEIR COMPUTER SCREEN AND TELEVISION.

If you haven’t calibrated your monitor, though,you might not be getting the most out of it. There are ways to tweak the colorsettings to allow for an even brighter, crisper image that will take yourgaming, watching, and photography to the next level.

Ahead, we’ll cover some of these tools and tellyou a bit about how to use them.

GETTING STARTED

monitor for calibration before jumping right into using your monitor colorcalibration tool. Prepping this way will give you a chance at the best and mostconsistent results.

  • Turn your monitor on and let itsit for about a half hour before you start calibrating. This will allow themonitor to settle into a comfortable state and will display the colors how theyalmost always look to you.
  • Make sure the lighting isn’toverly harsh in the room where you’re calibrating. Some light is fine, but youdon’t want any glare messing with your results.
  • Locate the display settings onyour monitor, and cycle through them to understand what they do. These settingsare often on the monitor’s control panel, but you might have to open externalsettings yourself.
  • Restore your monitor to itsdefault resolution. Don’t mess around with “Theater” or “Reading” mode justyet.

Calibration Tools for Windows and Mac

Those who are serious about using a monitor color calibration tool will probably look for an external device, but that doesn’t represent the majority of computer users. The built-in tools from MacOS and Windows will work just fine if you just want to make your monitor look as good as possible with limited work and cost.

Even those who might want a professional touch should start here, and make sure they’re fully optimizing the monitor’sresolution before turning to an external monitor color calibration tool.

Of course, the number of display choices you’ll have will depend on the type of monitor you bought and how much customization it allows.

You might see a lot of terms that are foreign to your throughout this process. Thankfully, these operating systems will beable to help with some brief explanations. Don’t get intimidated by the options at first glance – you don’t have to be a tech wizard to calibrate the color on your monitor properly.

MacOS Calibration Tool

MACOS CALIBRATION TOOL

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You will find the MacOS monitor color calibration tool displayed as the Display Calibrator Assistant under “Display.” Do a quick search in Spotlight if you can’t find it right away. The term “calibrate”should bring it up.

The Mac monitor display settings are a bit more intuitive than the Windows ones. They will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to create the display settings you want. You can fiddle with gamma, white target point, brightness, contrast, etc.

Once you’re done, just hit continue and make sure to save the changes you’ve made. Vuala! You’ve optimized your monitor’scolor settings in only a few minutes.

Windows 10 Calibration Tool

WINDOWS 10 CALIBRATION TOOL

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If you’re using Windows 10, search “Display Color” in the search bar and click the result that pops up. You can find the same calibration tool under the “Appearance and Personalization” tab on olderversions of Windows.

Windows has a step-by-step guide as well, but it isn’t quite as easy to navigate as the Mac one, in our opinion. You’ll see the same options here: gamma, color balance, brightness, etc. After you lock-in, your settings Windows will give you a sample image to use to make sureeverything is to your liking.

Your calibration settings will save as a .ics file on your computer. You can revert the changes you made at any time, and cycle through different calibrations you’ve saved over time.

Type “color management” into the search bar if you want a full view of the options you’ve saved. Choose the monitor attached to the computer, and you’re all set!

Online Calibration Tools

ONLINE CALIBRATION TOOLS

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Several websites allow you to customize your monitor’s color settings even further than the operating system tools can. These are a bit of a step up, but still, don’t have the same possibilities ofthe hardware we included below.

Here are some of the more popular and useful websites you can visit to get more customization over what you see when you look at your computer screen.

The Lagom LCD Monitor Test Pages

THE LAGOM LCD MONITOR TEST PAGES

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The Lagom LCD Monitor Test Pages is particularly useful because of its ability to save settings for test purposes.

These can be useful when you’re on the market for a new monitor, as you may be able to test the image quality in the store before you buy. Just save the images to a USB drive and take them with you onyour monitor search.

The site uses patterns to begin testing your monitor’s response time, contrast, and other settings. You can cycle through these tests in any order, but it’s probably best to stick with what the websiteprovides.

The Lagom LCD Monitor Test Pages are comprehensive and detailed, which can be intimidating at first. Once you get over the website setup, though, it should be easy to understand and complete.

Photo Friday

Photo Friday

PHOTO FRIDAY

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Photo Friday  isn’t as detailed as The Lagom LCD Monitor Test Pages, but some people  prefer simplicity. As you can probably guess, this website is geared towards photographers and allows you to adjust the contrast and brightness of your screen on a single page.

Once you’re finished, you’ll notice the most difference in black and white tones. These will be a lot crisper than they were before you made the changes using Photo Friday.

Online Monitor Test

ONLINE MONITOR TEST

Photo credit by: raymond.cc

The Online Monitor Test is very similar to the Photo Friday site, but with a few different styles and display options. You’ll be mostly dealing with brightness and contrast here, which are the most common settings these online monitor tools provide.

Online Monitor Test is specifically useful because it can alert you to damaged pixels and other problems with your monitor. You can also utilize this tool across a dual-monitor setup.

W4ZT

W4ZT

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The W4ZT tool isn’t anything special when you compare it to the likes of Photo Friday and The Lagom LCD Monitor Test Pages, but it offers a lot of the same features. We included it here because it’s extremely intuitive and easy to use. You might want to try this tool out if you’re having problems with some of the other websites we’ve suggested.

THE MONITOR CALIBRATION AND GAMMAASSESSMENT PAGE

The Monitor Calibration and Gamma Assessment Page

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The Monitor Calibration and Gamma Assessment Page specifically focuses on gamma, which is a massive benefit to this tool. In fact, you might want to use this one in addition to something like W4ZT or Photo Friday to make sure you’re getting the best of both worlds.

This site is easy to understand as well, so you shouldn’t have much of a problem navigating the options. There are some test patterns here that will give you the best gamma settings your monitor can hope for (without using external hardware, that is).

Calibration Hardware

CALIBRATION HARDWARE

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Calibration hardware is a bit more of a hardcore option than the free websites and operating system tools we included above. You’ll probably only need these devices if you’re a photographer or serious about the way your monitor looks.

On the other hand, these devices will take limit the amount of “user error” involved with calibrating your monitor. Our eyes aren’t perfect, and we tend to see colors differently than other people do. This means that the display settings you think are best might not look asrich and vibrant to someone else.

Color calibration hardware takes this subjectivity out of the equation. They will truly get the most out of your monitor’s capabilities and will present you with the best color calibration across the board.

Of course, you’ll be paying for these tools rather than getting them for free. They can be quite expensive as well, though there are a couple of cheaper options for those who want to get the most out of their monitor on a tight budget.

The company Datacolor makes some of the more popular color display tools on the market. They come in varying levels of priceand effectiveness. The most expensive one will cost you more than $$, while the cheaper models are closer to $.

As you can expect, the more you spend on a monitor calibration tool, the more you’ll be able to get out of your monitor.

These tools work with accompanying software that makes the process relatively straightforward. After you install their software, you will hook the device up to your screen and connect it to the computer through a USB. From there, the software will walk you through the process and accurately calibrate your monitor.

There are some discount devices out there as well for around $, but these don’t do as good of a job as items such as the

Datacolor Spyder series. We suggest spending a bit more if you’re going to go this route since you’re clearly looking to reach your monitor’s full potential.

Photography Insurance: Why Its Essential For Every Photographer

One of the critical differences between amateur and professional photography is an artist’s preparation for the unexpected. While it might sound trivial, many photographers learn the hard way that things can quickly go wrong on many photo assignments. Whether you are hurt on the job or accused of not working hard enough, there is any number of things that can cause an appointment to go south. That is why photography insurance is vital for any professional that knows to prepare for the worst. Sports, animal wildlife, travel and journalistic photographic professions all require some form of insurance due to the dangerous nature inherent in each job. On the soccer field, someone could trip over your tripod. A stampede of animals could smash your equipment. Rough luggage handlers could accidentally destroy your delicate equipment. Or protesters might unintentionally knock your camera from your hands. Whether it is equipment, medical bills, or court costs, you will need to pay something.

WHAT DIFFERENT TYPES OFPHOTOGRAPHY INSURANCE CAN YOU GET?

Photographer taking pictures

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If you are a professional photographer, several types of insurance should consider — especially for jobs that take place within the public sphere. It is easy to take out a policy claim on an item you added to your home insurance, but there other plans that are also available. Some types of protection on this list are more specialized than others toward specific event planning. We also included some extraordinary insurance claims you can take on photography equipment for both professional and amateur use.

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY INSURANCE

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY INSURANCE

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Whether you travel for work or pleasure, there is no denying that it is easy for camera equipment to get stolen in a foreign country. As such, it is important to get travel photography insurance. If you have add-on equipment for your home insurance, then you can likely take on travel policy. Unfortunately, this will probably raise the price of your home insurance while you are abroad. If you are working professionally, you will need to buy a specific add-on for traveling abroad to cover potential damages or issues.

EQUIPMENT PHOTOGRAPHY INSURANCE

EQUIPMENT PHOTOGRAPHY INSURANCE

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Photography equipment is breakable. When professionals take their stuff into the public, they always risk damaging it or losing it. You may drop your camera, or unexpected weather might destroy your equipment. If you shoot in a public place, there is a high chance someone might bump into you, especially in crowded, crazed settings. When filling out an equipment policy make sure to price everything fairly — not too high and not too low — and list each item separately. Photography equipment insurance not only pays for damages, misplaced, or stolen camera equipment, it also provides you replacement equipment in case you need to finish a job before your new camera arrives. Most of the time they trade the old models for the new models. Again, this difference is what separates the amateurs from the professionals: being able to keep on working even when disaster strikes. Now you do not need to worry about your camera when trying to get that perfect shot.

GADGET INSURANCE

GADGET INSURANCE

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While gadget insurance policies are more in the realm of amateur insurance policies, they can still be helpful for personal cameras and devices. One problem with taking out an insurance policy on an item with your traditional home insurance is the price limit. Some things will not go past $2000 for their claims. If you have a much more expensive camera, then we recommend taking out a gadget insurance claim. The policies allow for more flexibility with price, as well as replacement and repair features.

INDEMNITY PHOTOGRAPHY INSURANCE

INDEMNITY PHOTOGRAPHY INSURANCE

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Everyone makes mistakes, but for photographers, it can often be fatal. Photos are hard to recreate; in fact, they are often irreplaceable. If you lose the images to an expensive shoot, it will be up to you to recreate the entire shoot. And if you do not have indemnity photography insurance, then the money will come out of your pocket. This type of insurance covers for extra studio time in case of emergencies. You can also use it to protect yourself against slander charges.

PUBLIC LIABILITY PHOTOGRAPHYINSURANCE

PUBLIC LIABILITY PHOTOGRAPHY INSURANCE

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Sometimes accidents happen with models, or other unpredictable photoshoot accident occurs. If someone gets hurt during your photoshoot, — whether by you, someone else or your equipment — then you will have to answer. When this person sues you, your public liability insurance policy covers most of the legal costs. While this type of insurance might not be essential for solo individual, it can never hurt in case something comes out of left field.

EMPLOYER’S LIABILITY PHOTOGRAPHYINSURANCE

EMPLOYER’S LIABILITY PHOTOGRAPHY INSURANCE

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If you are an employer that has a staff photographer, — not freelance, but the staff — then you will need an employer liability insurance policy. These types of systems are in case your employees are hurt or become ill while on an assignment. Since you the employer, the employees expect you to keep them safe in their workplace environment. This type of insurance policy is not optional; it is mandatory. You can be fined up to $2500 per day for each day you do not have employer liability insurance.

PHOTOGRAPHY WEDDING INSURANCE

PHOTOGRAPHY WEDDING INSURANCE

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This type of photography insurance is one of the more specific plans relating to particular events. Whether you are a regular wedding photographer, or if it is your first time, it can never hurt to be too careful. Since families can be a bit emotionally distraught on their wedding day, it never helps to have an insurance policy if they decide to blame you for the flaws of the wedding. Wedding photography insurance policies are kind of like umbrella statements that contain similar protections as other photo contracts listed. Specifically, most wedding insurance policies offer public liability for third-party in case of injuries, indemnity against potential negligence claims, equipment insurance for cameras, and interruption service in case some sickness or event prevent you from attending the event. Weddings can often be the perfect storm of dangerous situations for professional photography — high emotions, drunk patrons, crowded dancers. Make sure you protect your livelihood before taking on a job.

WHAT ARE THE BEST PHOTOGRAPHYINSURANCE PLANS?

WHAT ARE THE BEST PHOTOGRAPHY INSURANCE PLANS

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If you are interested in professional photography insurance but do not know where to begin, then we compiled some useful websites for you. In our opinion, these companies offer some of the best insurance plans available for photographers. However, they each offer something different for potential customers. Take a closer look.

NEXT INSURANCE

NEXT INSURANCE

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Next Insurance offers general coverage plans for their professional photographers starting at $21 per month. For this price, you get equipment protection policy for your camera, public liability coverage, property damage coverage, and advertising claims. While these claims might be a little narrow, they do cover most of the issues that arise within professional photography. And you can customize your policy options for more or less coverage. For the price, you cannot beat this value.

PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS OFAMERICA

PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS OF AMERICA

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The Professional Photographers of America offer mainly equipment-based insurance policies for their photographer. If someone steals your equipment, or it breaks for whatever reasons, the Professional Photographers of America will replace your camera or studio equipment. This type of photography insurance is much more customizable than Next Insurance and can cover up to $15,000 worth of material. It is unfortunate that they do not offer any other professional plans.

ALLSTATE

ALLSTATE

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Believe it or not, Allstate is one of the best insurance companies for photography-related business policies. The insurance company offers plans that cover your equipment in case of a natural disaster, robbery, or accident. They also provide third-party liability coverage in case someone gets hurt, Allstate will help cover the medical bills. And, if your work equipment or space is damaged, Allstate will provide you with a temporary replacement while it files your claim.

HISCOX

HISCOX

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Hiscox is a photography insurance company that deals primarily in liability policies. Like Allstate, they are flexible with the size and scale of their systems. If you have a broken memory card one job, then Hiscox will play to re-do the shoot. Or, if someone gets hurt while shooting, then Hilcox will help with the medical bill.The pricing for this option depends on where you live and what type of professional photographer you are. Sometimes when shooting assignments, the most unexpected things go wrong. Someone might trip on your tripod, or you might spill juice on someone’s rug. All of a sudden, a routine job has turned into a dangerous lawsuit situation. Photography insurance provides some peace of mind for this problem. We hope this article convinced you that photography insurance is a worthwhile investment if you are a professional photographer.

Eight Best Travel Tripods For An Excellent Photography Experience

Whether you are amateur photography taking a trip to europe, or a profession photojournalist snapping shots in the amazon, you know the importance of an excellent portable tripod. Since you will likely fly with the camera tripod and carry it around, the tripod will need to be a reasonable weight and collapsible. More than that, it will need to be able to take a beating. Durability is one of the critical factors for finding the best travel tripod. On this article, we collect a comprehensive list of the most useful camera tripods.

HOW WE RATE THE TRAVEL TRIPODS ONTHIS LIST

Not all travel tripods are created equal. To find the best travel tripod, we created an accurate set of grading criteria. We rate the cameras tripods on this list according to three important factors: price, functionality and tripod material. For each of these factors, we ask crucial questions to determine whether they are worth their cost. We then rank them on the list accordingly with a scoring system of one to five stars. The product that scores a five is genuinely the best travel tripod.

  • Price — How much does thetripod cost? Is it worth the money charged? What is the overall value of thetripod?
  • Functionality — How does thetripod hold up when it used? Does it help take useful pictures? Or is it clumsyand awkward?
  • Tripod Material — Whatmaterial does the manufacturer of the travel tripod use? Is it sturdy material?Will it last a long time? Or will it break easily?

TOP EIGHT BEST TRAVEL TRIPODSLIST

1. MeFoto GlobeTrotter Carbon C2350Q2T

MeFOTO Classic Aluminum Backpacker Travel Tripod Kit - Titanium (A0350Q0T)

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Overall you will be hard pressed to find a travel tripod that is more durable than the MeFoto GlobeTrotter Carbon C2350Q2T. It strong enough to hold almost every type of DSLR (unless you take sports photography). This tripod is also at the top of our list because of its fantastic usability. With secure panning technology and a monopod feature, the GlobeTrotter is unmatched in tight spaces or fast-moving shot. The GlobeTrotter currently costs $$, which is a bit of an investment.But it is worth the cost.

The only real downsides of the GlobeTrotter is its ball head. For some users, it has broken early on for them. Luckily, the piece is relatively inexpensive and easy to replace.

Specifications

  • Maximum load amount:twenty-six pounds
  • Maximum height: one hundredsixty-three centimeters
  • Minimum height: forty-onecentimeters
  • Folded length: forty-onecentimeters
  • Weight: 3.7 pounds
  • Material: Carbon fiber

2. BENRO TRAVEL ANGEL FTA28CV1 9X CARBON FIBER SERIES 2 TRIPOD

Benro Travel Angel 2 Series Carbon Fiber Tripod w/ V1E Ball Head (FTA28CV1)

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The Benro Travel Angel FTA28CV1 9X Carbon Fiber Series 2 Tripod is another option you cannot go wrong with when buying. The product costs $$, so it is a little more expensive than the GlobeTrotter. This price range is one of the reasons it scores a bit lower. The Travel Angel also only feature 180-degree turning capabilities, will the GlobeTrotter features 360 degrees. Still, there is plenty to like. The spike feet are particularly useful at mounting the tripod to the ground. You can also convert it into a monopod.

Specifications

  • Maximum load amount:twenty-two pounds
  • Maximum height: sixty-seveninches
  • Minimum height: nineteeninches
  • Folded length: nineteeninches
  • Weight: Four pounds
  • Material: Carbon fiber

3. VANGUARD VEO 265CB

Vanguard VEO 2 265CB Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod with VEO 2 BH-50 Ball Head for Sony, Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm Mirrorless, Compact System Camera (CSC), DSLR

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If you are looking for something close to the professional grade quality of the Benro Travel Angel or the MeFoto GlobeTrotter but much cheaper, then the Vanguard VEO 265CB is perfect for you. The VEO costs $$, which makes it a lot cheaper. Overall this price drop does not affect the quality of the durability of the product, though it does miss out on some of the features the higher end models have. For example, the Vanguard VEO 265CB can only eighty degrees.

But unless you obsess over the perfect shot, you probably will not notice this flaw. Some areas of the VEO, like the ball head, are superior to the GlobeTrotter by offering friction control technology. It is also very light compared to the others models.

Specifications

  • Maximum load amount: eighteen pounds
  • Maximum height: fifty-nine inches
  • Minimum height: seven inches
  • Folded length: sixteen inches
  • Weight: three pounds
  • Material: Carbon Fiber

4. NEST TRAVELLER NT-6294CK

Ikan NT-TL65-AL | 65 Inch Nest Traveler Aluminum Tripod

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The Nest Traveller NT-6294CK is another tripod model with affordability on its mind. Like many of these tripods, it can take a beating. Typically the Nest prices the Traveller around $$-degree leg locks allow for optimal rotation and rubber feet ensure that the tripod will not slip on hard ground. Like the other three-legged models, the Nest Traveller can be transformed into a monopod as well. Unfortunately, the Nest Traveller is relatively heavy compared to some other models, which hinders its portability.

Specifications

  • Maximum load amount:forty-four pounds
  • Maximum height: sixty-twoinches
  • Minimum height: seven inches
  • Folded length: seventeeninches
  • Weight: Five pounds

5. GITZO TRAVELER SERIES 0GK0545T-82TQD

Gitzo Systematic GT5533LS Series 5 3-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod, 88 lbs Capacity, 57' Max Height, Long Century Traveler Backpack for DSLR Camera

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If you are willing to spend the big bucks, the Gitzo Traveler Series 0GK0545T-82TQD is the probably the best quality travel tripod you can find. Unfortunately, this quality comes with an incredibly steep price tag. The tripod is engineered to turn at 180 degrees. The g-lock technology allows for endlessly adjustable length placements that will never falter. The Traveler is without a doubt the most durable tripod on this list. The Gitzo Traveler cost a whopping $$$.

While the Gitzo Traveler is indisputably a fantastic travel tripod, there are several other models toward the top of the list that do everything it does. Still, if you want the best money can buy, then look no further.

Specifications

  • Maximum load amount:twenty-two pounds
  • Maximum height: one hundred and thirty-three centimeters
  • Minimum height: fourteen inches
  • Folded length: fourteen inches
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Material: Carbon fiber

6. 3 LEGGED THING PUNKS! COREY ALUMINUM TRAVEL TRIPOD

3 Legged Thing Punks Series Billy Carbon-Fiber Tripod with AirHed Neo Ball Head

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The 3 Legged Thing Punks! Corey Aluminum Travel Tripod is another excellent option for customers looking a for a more affordable entry-level tripod. Though the Corey tripod only costs $, it features five section legs, a quick release plate, and two section column. The make the tripod out of aluminum which means it is a little more substantial than some of its carbon fiber cousins. But the aluminum material also says it is more durable than other models.

There are a few downsides. At fifty-eight inches, the 3 Legged Thing Punks! Corey Aluminum Travel Tripod might be too small for some individuals. Faulty screws are another problem that affects a lot of people. As such, you should make sure your model is functional before using it. Otherwise, you might not be able to return it.

Specifications

  • Maximum load amount: thirty pounds
  • Maximum height: fifty-eight inches
  • Minimum height: four inches
  • Folded length: fourteen inches
  • Weight: four pounds
  • Material: aluminum

7. MANFROTTO MKBFRA4-BH BEFREE COMPACT ALUMINUM TRAVEL TRIPOD BLACK

Manfrotto MKBFRA4-BH BeFree Compact Aluminum Travel Tripod Black

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The Manfrotto MKBFRA4-BH BeFree Compact Aluminum Travel Tripod Black is a better tripod for lighter cameras. It can not carry much weight, but the pressure does take stable. The Manfrotto prices the BeFree tripod at $, which makes it one of the more affordable models on this list. It features 180-degree swivel technology for optimal visibility while shooting.

Unfortunately, this low price rubs off on the quality a bit. The ball bearing on the BeFree tripod is not durable. You will likely need to replace it within eighteen months of buying. The legs are also a bit flimsy. They have been known to break when used roughly. As such, you should make sure that you treat the device carefully.

Specifications

  • Maximum load amount: four kilograms
  • Maximum height: One hundred and forty-two centimeters
  • Minimum height: thirty-four centimeters
  • Folded length: Forty centimeters
  • Weight: One kilogram

8. PRIMAPHOTO BIG TRAVEL KIT TRIPOD

PrimaPhoto PHTRBRD Gear Traveler Big Tripod (Red)

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The PrimaPhoto Big Travel Kit Tripod is nothing special. But if you are on edge about investing in travel photography equipment, then this tripod can be an excellent product for you to test the waters with before going further. The PrimaPhoto Big Travel Kit Tripod costs around $. It features all of the ball head sockets, adjustable legs and monopod features as the other tripods. This product is excellent for learning how to operate a travel tripod. Then, when you are ready, you can upgrade to a better model. But remember, there is a good chance it might break on you.

Specifications

  • Maximum load amount: Eighteen pounds
  • Maximum height: Fifty-four inches
  • Minimum height: Seventeen inches
  • Folded length: Seventeen inches
  • Weight: Four pounds
  • Material: Aluminum

BUYER’S GUIDE FOR FINDING THE BEST TRAVEL TRIPOD

If this is your first time buying a travel tripod for your camera, then it is easy to get bogged down in technical specifications. While these numbers might seem irrelevant, they are essential when you choose a tripod. The most important thing you should keep in mind is what type of camera you have and whether or not it will be a good fit for the tripod. Your price range should come in a close second as this will determine what model you can buy. You should also consider:

  • The size of the tripod — Are you planning on flying with this tripod? If so, you will want one that can be stored easily in your luggage and carry-on. If you are taking pictures around you down, the size might not be as big of a concern.
  • The weight of the tripod —Travel usually mean a lot of walking. When you’re already holding an expensive camera, then every extra pound begins to add up. If you plan on doing nature photography, then you should try to get the lightest tripod possible. It willsave a lot of back pain in the future.
  • The strength of the tripod —This is important if you have a larger camera. Some camera tripods cannot hold the weight of the DSLR camera they are carrying, especially if the lens is big. Make sure you check the maximum load amount to determine how much influence the tripod can bear before collapsing.
  • The durability of the tripod— When you carry a tripod around for a long time while traveling it is bound to get banged up. Pay close attention to what material the manufacturer uses on your travel tripod. This material will often indicate how durable it is. For example, aluminum is more durable than carbon fiber, but carbon fiber is lighter than aluminum. These are the kind of tradeoffs you need to consider.
  • Height — If you want to take shots of people while standing up, you will need to make sure you check the height of the tripod. Some travel tripods are so affordable and portable because they will not extend. As such, you have to find surfaces to put these smaller tripods on. If you know there will be a lack of surfaces to steady yourself on, you should pay attention the height.

The best tripod is a bit of a subjective phrase since there is a bit of preference involved. With that said, there are expensive tripods that are naturally superior to cheaper ones. While obviously, amateurs are not likely to drop $$$ on a new tripod, there is a model out there for everyone. No matter what your price range is, some models offer unique and helpful features for their users. We hope this list helped you find the best travel tripod out there. Happy traveling!

5 Best Affordable Cameras For Beginners And Professionals Alike

If you want to get into photography, you will need a camera. While you can easily shell out over $1500 just for the camera, that may not be your best option. As a beginner, you will want to get comfortable before spending that kind of money. We give you the best affordable beginner camera options here.

Starting a career, hobby or just filling the time by taking photographs can be a rewarding experience. As with anything else, though, we all have to start somewhere. Even if photography is your passion, you may not be able to jump right in and purchase the highest quality, top of the line model camera.

STARTING A CAREER, HOBBY OR JUST FILLING THE TIME BY TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS CAN BE A REWARDING EXPERIENCE

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Do you even know what kind of camera works best for you? Maybe you are a DSLR type of picture taker, or you may end up preferring a mirrorless camera. You surely don’t want to cough up a couple of thousand dollars only to find out you like the other type better.

This guide will showcase the best affordable camera for beginners. Cameras that won’t break the bank while you are just getting started. You will need a camera and equipment that will suit your needs while pushing you to learn more and expand your craft. That’s exactly what we will do here, today.

HOW WE COME UP WITH OUR RATINGS

star ratings chart

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Our rating system is a star system that is based on a lot of different aspects of the camera world. Cost is going to be a major factor in our determination, as beginners generally need to save money wherever possible.

We look at the cameras offered at the economy and entry-level range and compare them side by side, apple to apples. We look at features, lens selection, reliability, functionality, viewports, batteries if they are a part of a kit, and several other facets that many beginner photographers may not even think about.

Once we have taken our comparison notes on the specs of each camera, we turn them on and test them out. We take video with them, indoor and outdoor shots, landscapes, portraits and we test the zoom, display quality (if they have a display). We even test the tactile response of the buttons, touchscreen (again, if equipped) and we make a note of everything.

We then upload all of the photos and compare them side by side for brightness, contrast, clarity, and focus. Finally, we break the cameras down and rebuild them. (not completely, we tend to lose screws). We see how easy they are to transport, if the lenses need special treatment or if we can just toss it in our backpack and keep going down the trail.

After all, the information is gathered, and the testing is complete we give our results a star rating, based between one and five stars. The higher the rating, the better the camera. We also understand that these cameras won’t hold up well (usually) to the high-end professional grade cameras, so the rating is on a sliding scale.

While our top pick here may be the 100th pick when every possible camera is considered, we don’t think about that, because you don’t think about that. We only offer the best of the best for your consideration.

If you are a budding photographer and are looking for ideas or inspiration about the rig you want to start off with, this is the list for you. Let’s take a look at what our hours of research uncovered. Hopefully, your first professional camera is on this list.

5 BEST AFFORDABLE CAMERAS FOR BEGINNERS

5 BEST AFFORDABLE CAMERAS FOR BEGINNERS

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Without further ado, here is the list of our top 5 picks for the best affordable camera.

SONY ALPHA A5100 (ESSENTIAL KIT)

Sony Alpha a5100 Interchangeable Lens Camera with 16-50mm and 50mm Lenses (Black)
  • Sony a5100 16-50mm Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3-Inch Flip Up LCD (Black)
  • Sony SEL50F18/B 50mm f/1.8 Lens for Sony E Mount Nex Cameras (Black)

The Sony Alpha series has garnered a lot of attention in the world of photography. The cameras were first dismissed as cheap beginner cameras that wouldn’t hold up under real use. That was quickly dissolved, and the cameras have continued to evolve and gain a devout following.

Using the Sony E-Lens system, the a5100 can now be used with over 100 lenses and extras. The mirrorless camera is lightweight for easy portability and transportation. You won’t want to go anywhere without it.

The Essentials Kit put together by Sony comes with everything a budding photographer could need. Batteries and chargers, memory cards, a tripod, lenses, straps, a carrying bag and even a copy of PaintShop Pro 9x.

The camera itself offers a high ISO range for great pictures in any lighting condition, autofocus with 179 focal points, full HD video and a 180 degree flip view screen for front facing picture taking.

Our rating: 4.8 of 5 stars

PANASONIC LUMIX FZ80

PANASONIC LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera, 18.1 Megapixel Video Camera, 60X Zoom DC VARIO 20-1200mm Lens, F2.8-5.9 Aperture, POWER O.I.S. Stabilization, Touch Enabled 3-Inch LCD, Wi-Fi, DC-FZ80K (Black)
  • POINT-AND-SHOOT LONG ZOOM CAMERA: 18.1-megapixel MOS sensor plus 60X zoom DC VARIO lens (20-1220mm) and POWER...
  • HIGH-RESOLUTION VIEWFINDER AND LCD DISPLAY: High-resolution 1,170K-dot viewfinder and rear touch-enabled 3-inch LCD...
  • 4K VIDEO CAPTURE: 4K QFHD video recording (3840 x 2160), plus exclusive LUMIX 4K PHOTO and 4K Post Focus with...

The Panasonic Lumix FZ80 is compact. While not as small as the G80, the FZ80 offers a 4k resolution, even in burst mode. Record in full HD and have the ability to take the camera with you virtually anywhere.

The small size allows you to toss the camera in your bag and go. You won’t have the use of extra lenses or other add-ons, but with the small design and powerful 60x zoom, optically stabilized lens you won’t need much else.

This camera is both cost effective and easy to learn. You will have the basics down in no time, and you will enjoy learning. Once you have mastered the Lumix, you will be itching for more, though, and that alone is quite detrimental. Since you can’t upgrade, you will quickly find yourself looking for a newer model to tinker with and learn.

Our Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

CANON EOS REBEL T6

Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm EF-S f/3.5-5.6 is II Lens + 58mm Wide Angle Lens + 2X Telephoto Lens + Flash + 48GB SD Memory Card + UV Filter Kit + Tripod + Full Accessory Bundle
  • This Photo4Less Top Value Camera And Lens With USA Warranty and manufacturer's supplied Accessories Kit includes:
  • Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR Camera Body -18-55mm EF-S f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens - 58mm High Definition Wide Angle Lens & 58mm 2x...
  • Transcend 32GB SDHC Class 10 Flash Memory Card - Transcend 16GB SDHC Class 10 Flash Memory Card - Photo4less DC59 Camera...

Canon enters the list with the EOS Rebel T6. The DSLR has been one of the top go-to cameras for beginners and intermediates alike. The easy to use camera system is capable of mounting dozens of different lenses and add-ons.

The camera offers an EFS wide angle, high definition 58mm lens and an ISO range of 12800 for better quality pictures in low light situations. The one downside is that the camera only uses nine autofocus points so you will need to learn to be quite accurate with your shots.

The kit includes more than most beginners need, but everything is essential, from the remote control to the wifi enabled, NFC scene intelligent auto mode. After a few attempts, you will be taking professional grade photos without much effort.

The Rebel T6 allows for video, filmed at 3FPS in ultra high definition and capabilities to extend the memory, flashes, and lenses. If you want to look professional while learning to be professional, the Rebel T6 is your camera.

Our rating: 4.7 of 5 stars

NIKON D3400 24.2MP DSLR

Nikon D3400 24.2MP DSLR Camera with Nikon AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens + 32GB High Speed Memory Card + Camera Carrying Bag + Tripod (Certified Refurbished)
  • This Certified Refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes...
  • Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera - A sleek and better built Nikon D3400 produces better image quality than your smartphone which...
  • Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens - F-Mount Lens/DX Format - 27-82.5mm (35mm Equivalent) - Aperture Range:...

Nikon enters the fray with a 24.2mp monster. The D3400 is a DSLR beginner’s dream camera. Not only will it save money but the stills are incredible, and the autofocus virtually ensures a great shot every time. You can feel like a pro right out of the gate.

You will lose features like tilting view screen, touch-sensitive buttons and silent operation, the D3400 more than makes up for the shortcomings. Variable focal lenses can be added to the system at any time, and you will have the option to choose from over two dozen models.

The D3400 is by far the best camera Nikon has to offer, but the slimmed down DLSR is a great tool to learn on while building your armory full of lenses and add-ons for a future Nikon camera body upgrade.

Our Rating: 4.7 of 5 stars

FUJIFILM X-A3

Fujifilm X-A3 Mirrorless Camera XC16-50mm F3.5-5.6 II Lens Kit - Silver
  • 24.2 megapixel image sensor
  • Enhanced Autofocus settings
  • Five mechanisms for facilitating "self-portraits": rear LCD, ergonomic grip, vertical command dial, Eye Detection AF,...

The Fujifilm X-A3 almost made a list just on its design alone. Retro-chic with modern touches makes this eye-catching camera look like a blast from the past. While you will almost want to find the leather case that unsnaps in the front like the Fujifilm cameras of the early eras, the X-A3 offers wireless communications.

Use this to link with third-party apps from your smartphone or tablet. You can turn your phone into a remote to snap pictures from anywhere.

Using the Fujinon lens system, you will have access to over a hundred lenses, flashes, remotes, accessories, and add-ons. By itself, though, the camera is still formidable right out of the box. Offering a 24.2MP autofocus lens and a high ISO rating for all light and direct light photographs, you can still record video and review all images on the wide-angle view screen.

You won’t have the bulk of a DSLR, and the small stature of the X-A3 makes if comfortable to carry anywhere at any time. If you like the retro camera styles, take a look at the Fujifilm X-A3. With turn dial, top post adjustments, and audible click-button shutter release, it is sure to please.

Our rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

BUYERS GUIDE

BUYERS GUIDE

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Knowing what to look for in a camera will go a long way to helping make that final decision. Besides your budget, there are three major things you need to consider before choosing your first camera.

While the budget will be a major deciding factor, ensuring you get the performance and features you need will far outweigh the initial cost.

WHAT TYPE OF CAMERA DO YOU PREFER?

Professional grade cameras tend to come in three categories: DSLR, Mirrorless, and Compact.

You have to consider what you will be using the camera for. If you are looking for something you can turn on, snap a picture, and move on, a compact camera may be right for you. They don’t have a lot of lens options; most have a variable focal lens that isn’t removable.

The compact, all-inclusive design means you sacrifice upgrades in the future, but you gain portability, which means you may be more likely to carry it with your at all times.

If you want lightweight but still need lens options, then a mirror-less camera may be suited for your needs better than a DSLR. While the debate between which is better is far beyond the scope of this article (as well as one that will never be resolved) mirrorless cameras are easier to transport, take amazing photographs and are beginning to include more and more lenses.

If you want all the options, then a DSLR might be what you are after. They are bulky, heavy and require packing and transportation usually in their luggage. You will, however, have the option of literally hundreds of lenses and add-ons. The picture quality is as good, or better than a mirrorless camera, though a DSLR may be more difficult to grab and go.

THINK ABOUT OTHER USES

Are you only taking pictures outside? Portraits? Still? Do you need video capabilities or do you like to take a lot of selfies? These are all things you need to consider and research if your desired camera can accommodate you.

If you like selfies, for example, you will need a camera with a pivoting view screen that you can flip around to face front. Video capabilities are important, but you need to also think about storage capacity. A video takes up more memory than stills. Make sure your camera can hold larger capacity memory cards.

Newer technology, like wireless communications, Bluetooth and near-field communications (NFC) will enable you to use smart devices, third-party apps, and cloud storage for your images, albums and videos.

Find out exactly what you need, and what you can live without, and you will end up with the best affordable camera for you.

IN CONCLUSION

IN CONCLUSION

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The final choice is always going to be your call. You will need a camera you want to use constantly, not one that sits in a bag at the foot of your bed being forgotten. It should meet all of your needs and still offer enough features and upgrades to push you to improve and want more.

Eventually, you will want to upgrade your camera, so having the ability to take your lenses with you is important. Find a suitable camera to start with (like one from this list) and then find out which higher-tired cameras use the same equipment.

Good luck, and happy snapping!