Google Tasks for Photographers

Google the vast behemoth does indeed rule. All photographers– amateur and professional–are dependent upon the multitude of features it offers. Whether you’re a photographer who has a business of his own or an amateur who wants portfolio exposure, everything you do on the Internet affects your exposure on Google.

The primary rankings for photographers are dependent upon both the images they upload to their website, blog, social networking site, microstock, fine art selling website appears in search results. Where they appear is dependent upon many factors from what you upload, how you name it, how substantive the information is, how frequently you post information on blogs/websites and, more recently, how you set up Google Plus.

The most recent development in the search engine–a must for photographers to initiate–is Google Plus and the associated Authorship program. Deciphering the information to get a higher search engine ranking for your platform is at best challenging. The number of ideas you need to succeed in Google’s placement of your portfolio and associated contents runs in the mulitple digit range.
Here are the tasks that you should do to keep up with Google SEO:

One-Time Tasks  Setting up Google Plus, Getting the right domain name, Setting up a  blog using Blogger as a resource to increase your rankings, Google Authorship information/set-up, YouTube Account Set-up

Yearly Tasks  Everything you Wanted to Know about Duplicate Content but were Afraid to Report–Searching for copyright violation/duplicate content/images on all websites.
Reporting violations to Google TOS regarding your content.

Monthly Tasks  Updating Platform on all Google listings, including Facebook, Website Directories (Technorati, for example), YouTube…

Daily Tasks  Naming your images, image sizes,  blog posts, SEO basics, Survivial HTML, watermarks

What tasks have I missed?

Retro Car and the Rule of Thirds

Holiday 88 front end

Composing part of a vintage auto is a fairly straight-forward task. If you study the above photo almost all of the important parts of the it–the whitewall tire, the word “Holiday,” the headlight all follow the Rule of Thirds.

The composition of a photograph should follow this rule, a rule which not only applies to photography, but also to video on almost every device. Placing objects one-third from the left side of the frame is just the beginning of this rule. The rule of thirds allows objects to be placed in four places in the frame:

1. one-third from the bottom
2. one-third from the top
3. one-third from the left side
4. one-third from the right side

Which third you are going to place your subject/object is up to you. Most of the time your aesthetic sense will tell you.

There are a few exceptions to the Rule of Thirds, one being a frame that includes a symmetrical scene such a train track placed in the middle of the frame and sliding into a sliver at the horizon. 

Canon T5i’s Top Ten Features not much Different from the T4i

Canon Rebel T5i with open viewfinder screen

Last month, Canon introduced the EOS Rebel T5i , a camera that’s likely to become one of the most popular around.

Despite it’s size (it’s a dSLR, so it’s much bigger than a point-and-shoot), the images it can capture with APS-C 18 MP sensor are nothing less than stunning.

Here’s what the camera has to offer:

1. APS-C sensor, which is big by point-and-shoot standards, a huge factor in producing acceptable   images for microstock and/or POD websites at 100 percent resolution.

2. Shoots at 5 fps, making catching thrilling action shots much easier.

3. ISO to 12,800 (though I wouldn’t set it greater than 3600 because the noise elimination in post-processing is almost impossible with an ISO that’s any higher).

4. HD movie mode for video buffs.

5. Touch-screen is 3 inches and, as you can see in image, pulls out so that you can easily display your images without having to turn your camera around.

6. Some in-camera post-processing, which permits you to tweak with a choice of 7 filters.

7. Reduces noise by permitting you to merge 4 shots in-camera.

8. Contains 9 auto-focus points for a sharper image at small apertures.

9. Gives images finer details with 14-bit A/D conversion. 

10. New updated kit 18-55 mm kit lens, now with image stabilization for sharper subjects/objects. 

Many are saying that the Canon Rebel T5i isn’t much different from its predecessor the Rebel T4i, which is absolutely true.

Photo Sets–What Type of Photography Does a Hotel Buy?

Building reflections are a popular hotel photography theme

Building reflections with squares and lights

Building with beautiful clouds reflecting on it

Building reflection with compelling clouds

Reflection of classic building on a modern building

Reflection of brown building on glass building

Reflection of one modern building on another

Photo sets are more important than ever. With photography being so hot these days, hotels are slapping it on walls all over the world. It’s simple and chic, characteristics of the hotels wanting to sell themselves as hipster boutique. So, what type of photography does a hotel buy?

Two requirements for the photography you want to sell to hotels and/or restaurants:

1. A set of photographs with a related theme.

Photos have to be similar to one another in a number of ways. The more focused the theme, the better the set. 

2.  Photos need to be sharp at 100 percent resolution with no noise or sensor spots.

Cleaning up your photos in Photoshop is an absolute must! Any spot seen by the buyer is a deal that’s bound to be broken. 

Last month, I traveled to a hotel where the theme was building reflections. When I saw the photos, I realized I could do the same set just as good as the ones I saw, if not better.

I posted the building reflections that I’ve shot around the world on Facebook and am now writing about them on this blog.

Lesson to be Learned: Check out the hotels to see what’s up on the walls. You might have a similar set of images with a related theme. If you do, you’re all set to put your work out there after a little postprocessing.

Overprocessed HDR

Overprocessed HDR occurs most often when you opt for the Grunge mode

HDR photography ranges from very realistic photos where the shadows and highlights keep more of their detail thorough subtle juxtapositions of a number of photos, each taken at different exposures.

When HDR photos are merged automatically with a few mouse clicks in Photoshop or Photomatix, it can look like a miracle has been created–bountiful color, multiple-dimensions and stark contrast seemingly sparkle within the frame. But some feel that the resulting photo is overprocessed, no matter how good it looks.

Many photographers and others in the business feel that HDR is simply overprocessing photographs, costing the medium its integrity, producing fake-looking images that are to a traditional photograph as a plastic cup is to a wine glass.

Now it’s time for you to decide by casting a vote below:

Does HDR processing compromise the stature of photography as art? free polls 

POD Websites–Are they Worth the Effort?

Fine Art America is a POD website

All the rage in the art world these days are POD websites, websites that take your uploaded photos and sell them on your behalf online. POD means Print on Demand, which is a process whereby the staff at the website does everything for you in order to sell the photographs you upload. The POD websites display your photo, and, if a customer orders it, prints it and sends it to the him/her. The POD websites can send your uploaded framed, strapped on canvas, glued to poster board, and/or a number of other ways for it to be hung on the wall inside the customer’s home.

There are a number of what are called POD websites in which you can sell your photographs without you doing anything but uploading them:,, and to name a few.

POD websites almost sound like magic, seemingly selling your photos after you have taken and processed them. But there’s more to it than that–the process of marketing your work, perhaps the most challenging task of any photographer from one who sells his work in a gallery or at a POD website.

Today the competition for a photographer at POD websites is daunting.Thousands of photographers sell millions of photos online, which means that your photo has to be not only compelling, but also different from the rest.

Consider how you can create photography that is both unique and that someone would want to hang on a wall in their home or business. If you find that perfect niche, one that is contemporary and addresses the greatest number of people possible, you can and will sell lots of photos.

Education Reform Thrives in Ras Al Khaimah

Creating an education system that encourages students to read is at the core of the education initiatives envisioned by His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, ruler of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Sheikh Saud believes that the UAE must recognize the important role education plays in the economic development and growth of the country.

Empowering People with Knowledge

The Ras Al Khaimah Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, a quasi-governmental organization founded in 2009, is at the forefront of the education reforms envisioned by Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi.

Calling education reform the empowering of the nation’s people with knowledge, Sheikh Saud has spearheaded an education initiative that begins with improving the quality of teaching through mentoring and monitoring teachers.

Working with the Ras Al Khaimah Education Zone, the Al Qasimi Foundation is also helping to access English language instructors in RAK schools. The goal of this research is to identify and address any gaps or deficiencies.

Investing in Education

To further education reforms, His Highness supports investing in education institutions, including private universities in Ras Al Khaimah such as the American University and the RAK Medical and Health Sciences University. The goal of this initiative is to give everyone in the emirate the opportunity to pursue an education.

In a nation where literacy is already near 100 percent, the education reforms demonstrate the commitment of the government to improve upon the education opportunities already available to residents. Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi referred to the Higher Colleges of Technology and its limited course offerings to illustrate the need for other colleges and universities to offer students a broader range of choices.

Focusing Attention on Reading

Teachers in RAK’s government schools report a lack of student interest in reading. At least one teacher attributed this to social activities such as cell phones and video games drawing students away from libraries.

Because the foundation considers strong reading skills essential to creating independent thinkers, reading-related programs are central to the proposed education reforms. His Highness is advocating a program to elevate reading scores not just for the benefit of his emirate and its students but also for the benefit of the entire country.

Partnering with the Private Sector

Education reform in Ras Al Khaimah includes private companies as well as traditional universities and academic institutions. An example was the RAK government venture with Core Education, a company from India, and Birla Institute of Technology. The venture has led to new courses for students in engineering, architecture and business. What’s more, Core Education has agreed to institute an MBA program in RAK.

Taking Education into the Future

Sheikh Saud has taken the first step toward education reform with the creation of a university council in RAK. The council will help education facilities plan and execute strategies to raise standards and improve education in the emirate. By working together, institutions of education and quasi-government agencies such as the Al Qasimi Foundation hope to establish minimum standards for education and innovative opportunities for students.

$ 40.00

Atlantic City Boardwalk before Hurricane Sandy in HDR

Sony DSC-HX200V 18.2MP Digital Camera with 30x Optical Zoom – Black – Long Zoom Cameras (Google Affiliate Ad)

Atlantic City before Hurricane Sandy in HDR

Last October Hurricane Sandy struck with vengeance, wiping out the much of the famed boardwalk.

Here is Atlantic City as it stood in the September before the hurricane. Top winds that hit the resort city were 77 mph, but that’s not what did the most damage. Sandy’s storm surge did.

The hurricane was a freak occurance in that it moved in from the east, which is the direction that produces the largest  storm just north of the hurricane (think of storm spinning counter-clockwise, causing strong easterly winds push water inland north of the hurricane).

The Northeast had not ever recorded a westward-moving hurricane moving into the area. Usually hurricanes move north-northeast quite a distance off the coast, missing the Northeast megalopolis, so this could have been a first-ever event. Records only go back to the end of the nineteenth century.

You can probably expect that a repeat of this event isn’t likely to happen for a  long, long time, climatologically speaking…but one never knows with global warming changing the earth and its atmosphere at a meteoric pace.

10 Things to Maybe Expect from a Canon 70D

Canon 70D

Coming in June is the Canon 70D, which is to cost about $1200, a bit pricier than the XSi and similar cameras.

These cameras are adding so many non-photography features that they’re sounding more and more like hand-held devices, with many of the same features, but instead of being options on a small smart phone, they’re added to a bulky dSLR camera.

 Here’s what you can expect from a Camera 70D (all based on rumors from American websites):

1. 21 or 24 MP sensor
2. APS-C sensor
3. WiFi
4. GPS
5. Weathersealed

Information is scarce on this camera, even though some early announcements were made that the camera will make it to market before June. These were rumored but never happened. June is next month and still nothing has been released.

The Italian website PAUSCaffe reports the following specs:

6.  that the sensor will be only 18 MP.
7. a burst speed of 6.5 frames/second
8. 3.2-inch LCD display
9. touch screen display
10. DIGIC 6 processor

Other Camera Reviews
Canon T6i
Nikon D600
Nikon S800c
Sony RX100

What a Difference a Day Makes–Sleeping on Your Art Work

Marilyn before with a red cast throughout the frame

In art, what a difference a day makes. Sleeping on your art work enables you to get up the following day refreshed so that you can look at your work in an entirely different way than you had the day before.

As a writing professor, I tell students not to submit their work the day they write it. It’s just a bad practice because after a certain point, the more they look at it, the greater chance they’ll miss errors, even obvious ones such as using the same word twice and/or using the wrong word like to instead of too.

As an artist–whether a photographer removing extraneous spots from an image before he/she puts it for sale online or a digital artist who’s forgotten to colorize a portion of his/her piece–you’ll see more of your work if you take a rest from it.

In the picture of Marilyn, a photograph I took in Palm Springs of the monument “Forever Marilyn” I went to bed thinking I was finished with the piece.

I  got up the next morning only to find I had missed applying the sponge tool to a portion of the background so that there remained a deep red cast in some parts of it.

When I got back to working on the photo, I also found those pesky sensor dust marks throughout the frame. Had I put that up on a stock or art photography website, no one would have bought it because of the undesirable red cast and because of the extraneous gray marks.

The image below is how it turned out after I finished working on it the next morning.

Marlyn tweaked after a good night’s rest

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