I'll be posting some random thoughts here about my photography: my travel plans, technical information behind some images, stories about how certain pictures were captured, etc.  The timing of the postings will also be random as my priority is capturing new images rather than writing about existing ones.  I hope you will feel free to comment on any of my postings and I appreciate you taking time to read my entries.

 

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Microstock Earnings through May

June 22, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

My monthly microstock earnings came in at $921 for May. Fotolia earnings exceeded $100 for the fourth consecutive month. iStock earnings fell to half the level of the previous month. Shutterstock earnings continue in a downward trend.

Following is a summary of my monthly earnings:


Youth Baseball Portraits

June 17, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Each season, I capture photographs of players who play for my travel baseball team. This season, I'm managing a 10U team--so all of the players are ten years old. I rarely photograph people, so this gives me an opportunity to shoot some portraits of willing subjects. Well, at least their parents are willing!

In fact, the last time I set up the studio lights was for last season's portraits. As a result, I had some difficulty getting the Cyber Commander to synchronize with the receivers. In other words, I was unable to set the device up in such a way that I could control the power of the strobes from the camera using the commander. Although it's been several years since I purchased the kit from Paul C. Buff, I decided to try calling the company. To my surprise, my call was answered promptly by a knowledgeable representative who was able to address my problem in minutes. Now, that's great customer service!

Here is one of my favorite pictures from the session:

Rafe SlagerRafe SlagerRafe Slager of the 10U Orland Par Warriors baseball team in Orland Park, Illinois on June 2, 2017 After posting a few pictures on photography forums for critique, I received questions about how this photograph was lit. So, here was my set up:

LightingSetupLightingSetupUse this to share your lighting setup or to document your setup for future reference. Email me at kevin@kertzdesign for comments and/or suggestions. Not for commercial use. For the background, I unfolded a 5'x7' Botero collapsible background and clipped it to some netting inside one of our batting cages. I lit the background with an Einstein strobe and placed a red gel on the strobe. The main light was an Einstein strobe placed inside a large softbox. I asked a parent to hold a large piece of white foam board at an angle that provided fill light. Fill light is even more important when the subject is wearing a baseball cap!

CLICK HERE to view more images from the photo session.


Learning to Make Money From Your Photos

June 12, 2017  •  2 Comments

Each month, I share my microstock earnings in this blog. As a result, I receive many questions from photographers asking how they can make some money from their pictures. I almost always try to help. 

Recently, I came across another photographer, Steve Heap, who maintains a blog centered around the very topic of "making money from your photos"! The website is called "Backyard Silver". Through this blog, Steve shares his microstock earnings--and those earnings are approximately two to three times the amount that I am currently earning. More importantly, Steve's blog provides numerous articles that will help an aspiring microstock photographer to become more successful. For example, one of the things that I learned from his blog is how using "Microstock Submitter" can enable me to submit my images to more agencies far more efficiently.

One article that I would recommend starting with is the "Top 10 Ways to Sell More Stock Photos." I've been selling images through microstock agencies for more than five years now, and I learned some new things from that article.

In any event, I recommend that you visit Backyard Silver and take a look around. The site contains a lot of valuable information...from the Popular Posts to the How To Articles. And for those of you just getting started, you might want to order the "Getting Started in Stock: 2017 Edition of the guide to microstock photography" Kindle book from Amazon.


"Florida State Capitol" Wins Photo of the Day!

June 09, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

This morning, my "Florida State Capitol" picture won Imaging Resource's "Photo of the Day". CLICK HERE to view Imaging Resource's Photo of the Day page.

This image was captured during my tour of the state capitols. At this point, I've photographed 49 of the 50 state capitols. My next and final state capitol is Juneau, Alaska. To view some of the favorite capitol photographs, please CLICK HERE.

This marks the 42nd time that one of my photographs was recognized by Imaging Resource as its "Photo of the Day". Click here to view all of the winning entries over the past few years.

Florida State CapitolFlorida State CapitolImaging Resource's Photo of the Day for June 9, 2016


Take a Closer Look

June 05, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

I was anxious to photograph something, so I desperately looked for a subject in my front yard! I came across an ordinary green leaf. I was skeptical about whether I would create any interesting photographs of this rather ordinary subject, but that's all I had at the time.

After capturing some rather boring pictures of the leaf, I took a much closer look using my Nikon 200 f/4 Micro lens. Before long, I concentrated on a section of the leaf near where the stem meets the leaf. The "scene" reminded me of a river of yellow flowing between two very steep green hills.

I've always liked the color combination of green and yellow. I held a small Nikon flash unit behind the leaf to help bring out the colors and the texture of the leaf.

At first, I made sure to line up the stem so that it was aligned vertically. However, that straight line led to a boring composition. In the end, I decided to let the line run diagonally through the frame--which almost always leads to a more interesting and dynamic composition.

Green leafGreen leafCloseup of a green leaf in Orland Park, Illinois on May 20, 2017 Out of this single, ordinary green leaf, I created a series of pictures from a photo shoot that lasted about 90 minutes! It paid off to take a closer look.

To view more images of this leaf, as well as some other photos of a pine tree and grass, please CLICK HERE.


My Mini Kitchen Studio

May 28, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Over the past few days, I've been playing with my macro lens. While walking around the neighborhood, I spotted some subjects to photograph. Unfortunately, it's been very windy here in Chicagoland. Strong wind and macro photography generally don't go well together.

So, I decided to bring a couple of the subjects inside. This eliminates the wind and allows me to more carefully compose the pictures as well as to control the lighting and backgrounds. To accomplish this, I quickly set up a little studio on my kitchen table!

Here's what it looks like:

#1: Nikon D800 Camera

#2: Nikon 200 f/4 Micro Lens

#3: Nikon SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander (to trigger #4)

#4: Nikon SB-R200 Wireless Remote Speedlight with Diffuser

#5: Wimberley Plamp

#6: Scissors (to trim unwanted pine needles)

#7: Foam Board (white on one side and black on the other)

#8: Gitzo Tripod

#9: Pine Tree Branch (my subject)

Truth be told, the flash unit (along with the commander to trigger it) probably wan't necessary for creating these pictures. I haven't used these pieces of equipment for a while, so I thought it would be helpful to get the practice with them.

Here are a few of the images of this subject:

Pine tree budsPine tree budsBuds on pine tree in Orland Park, Illinois on May 18, 2017 Pine tree budsPine tree budsBuds on pine tree in Orland Park, Illinois on May 18, 2017 And, here's an image of another subject using the same set up with the foam board flipped to its reverse black side:

Curly grassCurly grassCurly grass in Orland Park, Illinois on May 18, 2017


Microstock Earnings through April

May 23, 2017  •  3 Comments

My monthly microstock earnings came in at $938 for April. Fotolia earnings exceeded $100 for the third consecutive month. iStock earnings bounced back after a disappointing March. Shutterstock earnings fell dramatically--posting the second lowest monthly earnings in a few years.

Following is a summary of my monthly earnings:


Microstock Earnings through March

May 23, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

My monthly microstock earnings once again exceeded $1,000. Fotolia earnings exceeded $100 for the second consecutive month. iStock earnings fell after a strong start to the year. Shutterstock earnings are in a gradual decline, but still far exceed that of the other agencies that I deal with.

Following is a summary of my monthly earnings:


"Orangutan" Wins Photo of the Day!

May 18, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

This morning, my "Orangutan" picture won Imaging Resource's "Photo of the Day". CLICK HERE to view Imaging Resource's Photo of the Day page.

This image was captured during my last trip to the Brookfield Zoo. I recently posted a blog entry about this particular photograph.

This marks the 41st time that one of my photographs was recognized by Imaging Resource as its "Photo of the Day". Click here to view all of the winning entries over the past few years.

OrangutanOrangutanImaging Resource's Photo of the Day for May 18, 2017


A Single Dandelion

May 12, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Last week, I created a number of photographs using different perspectives of a single dandelion clock. All of these pictures were created with my Nikon D800 and Nikon 200 f4 Micro lens.

Dandelion clockDandelion clockDandelion clock in Orland Park, Illinois on April 28, 2017 Dandelion clockDandelion clockDandelion clock in Orland Park, Illinois on April 28, 2017 Dandelion clockDandelion clockDandelion clock in Orland Park, Illinois on April 28, 2017 Dandelion clockDandelion clockDandelion clock in Orland Park, Illinois on April 28, 2017 Dandelion clockDandelion clockDandelion clock in Orland Park, Illinois on April 28, 2017 Macro photography allows a photographer to capture images of ordinary things in a way that is not ordinarily seen.

 

 

 

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