Advice for traveling abroad and shooting for SPAs

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by patent10021, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. patent10021 macrumors 68020

    patent10021

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    #1
    If I'm traveling abroad and want to shoot journalistic street, food, and landscape for stock photography agencies what gear would you recommend and how would you manage content and communication? Can you get away with a body, two lenses and a macbook air or iPad only?

    What are the best services to manage content? DropBox? Flickr? Having your own site is obvious but would you use a blog section on your site to highlight top photos live? Would you use a service like 500px?
     
  2. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #2
    Before you go anywhere with this, what agencies do you want to sell to and what are their standards and requirements? For Getty and iStock, you submit samples and they approve you as a contributor if your work is up to their standards. There are several established pro and semi-pro photographers on this forum who sell directly through distribution services, but a stock agency is a different animal. If you don't have gear and experience with it now, the chances of selling to an agency are slim.

    Dale
     
  3. phrehdd, Oct 7, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013

    phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #3
    The post before mine was dead on in that you need to take care of certain matters before simply going out and shooting and having an expectation rate that might be crushed by not taking care of the business side first. Perhaps you can use your next set of experiences shooting as samples of work.

    There have been excellent street photographers of the past who used 35mm rangefinder cameras with fixed focal length lens on the camera. The point being is that the photographer was more the driving force than the option of more than one lens. There is a trend of people going back to this style of work for street photog because small cropped sensor cameras with an unobtrusive lens works well for that genre of photography.

    Typical lenses for full frame cameras tend to be as first choice - wider lens such as 24mm followed by either a 35 or 50. Under some circumstances a slightly telephoto lens works well when there are challenges to getting close and also lends a different perspective within the image such as full frame using 85, 90, 100, 105.

    Today we are blessed with some very good zooms but they remain at a cost of slower apertures when wide open and also creating photographers that don't think their images out very well or exploit perspective and depth of field properly. However, in the right hands, excellent work comes from many who have patience to learn how to constructively exploit their zooms.
     
  4. Attonine macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    Location:
    Kent. UK
    #4
    You'v set your boundaries pretty wide; street/food/landscape. I enjoy street and photojournalism, for this I wholly subscribe to the 1 body and wide lens philosophy, for a straight portrait I may use a 50mm, but i like the wide angles. I have a friend who is a successful landscape photographer, and he uses a load of kit; tripod, big, very expensive filters, cable release, a variety of lenses, but usually wide and ultra wide angle. For food photography, what are you thinking? Street vendors, restaurant plates and presentation? I know nothing about food photography, but i do know those who do presentation plates use flashes and soft boxes and a load of other bits and pieces.

    Can all this be done with a body and two lenses? Probably, with a creative approach. Will you be able to produce the quality that will not only be taken on by agencies, but also sell? Well, you can try. Most of these stock sites only pay pennies if an image is sold anyway. For the agencies that pay real money, the barrier to entry is high, they require a consistently high quality of work.

    Be aware that if a person is in the image, for commercial use you will need a model release. No release and the image can only be used for editorial purposes, making it a much harder sell. Of course, you may find yourself in the middle of a spontaneous, violent protest that is being broadcast on the BBC and CNN, in which case you could probably easily sell your images directly to media outlets. But this situation would increase your kit requirement to include at least a gas mask and probably a stab vest and a good insurance policy that will not refuse medical cover because you were in such a place!

    Having a website is OK, but you need to try to make a name for yourself to get traffic and people looking at what you have to offer. You need to get in on the Facebook and twitter marketing stuff and submit work to competitions and publications to try to get some exposure. Without this the only people who will see your site are friends and family.
     
  5. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #5
    An example of the difference between an agency and something like 500px is this: A photo of a jar of honey can be purchased from iStock with the right to use commercially for $400. On 500px, a photo of a fruit plate can be downloaded for personal use only for $2.99 or purchased as a wall print for $200. In each case, the photographer receives a percentage.

    My advice: Get a camera and take pics on your trip. Relax and have fun.

    Dale
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6

    I allways wonder about people asking about "travel photography". Why woud you use different equipment then you would use for the same situations hear where you live? If selling to an agency you will get the best shots NEAR HOME. Why? Because you can wait for the shot until the light is right and reshoot and find a better model and have more control. So for photos of some far off place, the guy who lives there will have a huge advantage over you just like you have the advantage near you own home.

    My advice is to start shooting the kinds of stock images you like now and figure out what lens you like and then when you travel do exactly the same thing. But just figure you will not get the best light and weather and so on.

    That said a zoom lens is OK but it's those "in your face" kind of wide angle shots that people like now. I don't and like a 50mm lens best.

    One of the best Nikon lenses if you could only own one is the basic 18-55 VR. If you need smaler DOF buy the 50mm or 35m prime next.

    For Food shots I ALWAYS use a trios show I can stop down to keep it all in focus and will use a small square of cardboard as a reflector. I've also uses a sheet os white printer paper held near the end of the lens as a flash defuser. For food shots, you want a studio setup but can't have that so the next best is just a tripos and reflectors
     
  7. patent10021 thread starter macrumors 68020

    patent10021

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    #7
    Sorry I wasn't clear enough. I say traveling because I'm living in Japan and travel all-over. I'm able to shoot street, landscape and food all in the same day because those are the environments I'm in. 30 minutes away from traditional streets, electronic markets, old samurai stomping grounds and amazing food in the evening. You know how it is, Japan is crazy. I could even put on a radiation suit and venture into investigative journalism. :cool:

    I'd like to get one of the new FF mirrorless cameras but don't know if I could get away with just a wide lens. This is where I need your help.

    I'm working on all the logistics. Property and model releases, meta tagging out-sourcing , PS/LR work-flow, media management etc. I've been told micro-stock is a lot of work but I might as well turn my hobby into another source of cash flow. Worst that can happen is I have a great time.

    Btw, how do model and property releases work in foreign countries like Japan? Would I get them to sign in Japanese or English? What about shooting in areas that are world heritage sites? Also if the stock agency's releases are in English how would that work?
     
  8. acearchie macrumors 68040

    acearchie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    #8
    Interesting that you consider the 50 a not 'in your face lens'. I find since using an 85mm the distortion and uncomfortableness from being close to the subject makes it difficult to pick a 50 over an 85 however, there are some situations with limited space that call for a 50.

    I have recently got a 35 with the aim to use it as a more environmental portrait lens to give more context to certain situations so I do look forward to giving it a whirl!
     

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