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Photography/amateur camera question


QUESTION: Good Morning Mr. G,
I want to start freelancing and was wondering where to start with digital cameras.
I'm sure you get this a lot, and it is a very involved answer.
But I am looking for your personal opinion...
Any advice would be awesome...

Thank you!!!


ANSWER: Hello, Briana,

Please know I am female! And no, I don't get this question very often.

You are right. This is an involved question, and I have only a few minutes at the moment. I can write more when you respond.

First, start thinking of yourself as a professional. Don't call yourself an amateur. Study the photographs of people whose work you particularly admire, and analyze why you like their photos. Practice, practice, practice! Take a gazillion photos. On a given day, decide what you want to photograph and go do it.

Market your photos on stock photo sites and art sites. When you join an art site, you can sell prints. Stock photo sites allow you to sell the electronic file. Look at other works and see what sells.

I hope this helps. Get back to me, and I will elaborate. I have to run now.

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QUESTION: Good Morning Pat...sorry about the mix-up on your sexual identity!
...geez ha

I am very intrigued with what you have written back to me; simple yet
very understandable.
I've always had a passion for photography and I haven't had the chance to
indulge myself in it until now.  I am saving up money for an SRL..I enjoy working with these I remember from High School! ah

But I really do appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule
to help me out in this conundrum!

Thank you again,


ANSWER: Hello, Briana,

Don't worry about the mix-up. My name is ambiguous. I'm used to it.

If you are truly serious about becoming a freelancer, by all means, get an SLR. I'd aim for a minimum of 10 megapixels.

One thing I will mention is that if you are really on a short budget, Nikon and Canon are expensive because they are expensive to begin with, and the lenses are expensive, because the image stabilization has to be built into the lens. If you are on a limited budget, you will do better with Pentax, because you can use any old lens that will fit a Pentax. I have some truly ancient lenses that I use, and they work fine. Some lenses are hand-focus only, and I don't mind.

I can give you specific recommendations of where to look for stock agencies, and art sites. Please be aware that an art site that is large may get a lot of exposure, but there is also a lot of competition.

One way to get attention is to enter the LACDA Snap to Grid exhibit every year. It's a little expensive, but people from other art galleries may see your work and invite you to display there as well. This is all done through the internet; you don't have to produce a physical print for anyone.

I think Dreamstime is one of the better stock photo companies. Also, if you display on flickr, they have a stock photo company affiliated with them.

For art sites, I like deviantART, flickr, Red Bubble (you can sell a lot of greeting cards there, and though you don't make much off one, it adds up if you are really good; they are in Australia), Art Wanted, Art Limited (in France; they have a lot of black and white work, and if you like black and white, you can convert in a paint program), Fine Art America, and some others I'm not thinking about at the moment. Shutter Freaks has one of the best keyword programs; if you exhibit there, your work will come up well in the search engines. deviantART is huge; over a million artists. So you will have plenty of competition if you go there. I go to a bunch, anyway. I have made more money there than anywhere else except Printfection, which primarily makes T-shirts and related products. Also, if you are into posters (and have enough megapixels for that), AllPosters and Zazzle are popular places. Can't think of any others right now, but more may come.

If you like photomanipulation, Worth 1000 is a good site. Also, there is a site that does competitions where you have to take a photo within the week of the contest, with a digital camera. That one is called DPChallenge. Sites such as Renderosity generally don't sell prints, but you can exhibit there if you want.

The web site of each of these can be located through a search engine, so I'll let you do that.

I hope this helps.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Good Afternoon Pat!
I wanted to let you know that I took your advice!...
I got the digital SLR, Canon EOS Rebel T3 1100D....not quite sure what that all means...yet!...I don't have a computer at home for the moment
So I haven't been able to do much research for this camera...yet!! ha
But I took it on a pheasant hunt yesterday with a bunch of friends and started much more manually involved then
I thought...but I love it!
I was wondering if you could give me any advice on what or where to start with starting to learn how to effectively use the camera.
I believe strongly that experience is knowledge...but I know that your knowledge of this facet of life would be much more helpful
Until I start practicing more.....
I really do appreciate all the advice you've given me.
Thank you so much Pat


Good evening, Brianna! :)

Good for you! Take lots and lots of pictures! Learn to know your camera. Many things need to be SET UP manually, but you can use the camera automatically in many cases, afterwards. You should have a manual. It probably seems overwhelming, because there are so many things you can set or fiddle with. Take it a little at a time. Read a few pages, then try out what it says. A day or two later, read a few more. If you have questions, find another Canon Rebel owner and ask them. Since I don't own one and have never used one, I wouldn't be that person. But there are lots of people who use one.

Don't feel discouraged. It took me months to figure out why my AV setting kept giving me poorly exposed pictures. I had inadvertently changed a setting. I have two thumbwheels on my camera, and they do different things, depending on WHICH setting I was using. In the meantime, I DID give it manual exposures. Now that I know about the problem, I sometimes deliberately use the setting to get better exposure under strange conditions. So I'm glad it's there.

You have embarked on a wonderful adventure. Enjoy every minute of it. Learn to look for unusual things to photograph. Even the mundane things you see every day can lend themselves to interesting photos.

You might appreciate a web site called DP Challenge: They have lots of contests where they tell you what to shoot, and you have a day to a week to do it. You can then enter the contests and comment and judge other people's work. This will give you some ideas of the possibilities, and some guidance, as well as feedback.

You're welcome! Take care. When you have some photos online, let me know where, and I'll take a look!


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Pat G


I can answer questions about the artistic aspects of photography, and tricks for shooting landscape, scenic, macro, and animal photography. I am familiar with Pentax SLR cameras, both film and digital. I have also done work in urban photography and creative photography, and I am familiar with creative uses of filters and lenses. I am familiar with composition and color theory, and know how to make use of light. I can answer questions about things like lightning photography and moon photography. I spend time studying the techniques of the well known photographers. I work exclusively in color. Although I travel anywhere and everywhere in pursuit of landscape and scenic photography, my main area of expertise is the American southwest, and I am familiar with many scenic areas. I also have familiarity with the plants of the Sonoran Desert, having studied not only their appearance but also their uses, including ethnobotany. See my educational credentials for other art that I do.


I have spent the last ten years as a semi-professional photographer, selling my work on the internet, and having won international honors. The gallery of my most recent work, where I usually post frequently is I will take questions about how I did various photographs.

The first prize I won for my art was when I was in third grade. I have a bachelor's degree in art from Ohio Dominican University, where I learned mainly ceramics and glaze calculation. I have also done various kinds of fiber arts. In addition, I do digital landscapes, abstracts, and fractal art.

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