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Steve Bower

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About Steve Bower

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    Photography, woodworking, travel,

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  1. Steve Bower

    New Freedom

    Annie (Milleflore Images) Given the high quality and uniqueness of your portfolio I'm sure a popular search using the obvious keywords of your best sellers provides multiple pages of high quality images, however, not all popular searches are so fortunate. I shoot nature and landscape (something anyone can shoot) and "crapstock" shows up by the second page on many of the Popular searches of the obvious keywords for nature. Case in point: Look up the most popular photos using the keyword (keywords) "Osprey bird". Check out that second page, even part of the first page. Maybe my portfolio is an exception but "Crapstock" is a issue that should be addressed. IMO
  2. Steve Bower

    New Freedom

    Some good arguments and analogies, however in Phil's restaurant (SS) they offer the crap and the fancy foods all at the same price. Wouldn't you rather go to a restaurant (AS, IS) that only offers the fancy food especially if they offer it at (approximately) the same price as the other restaurant? I would!
  3. Lucy, I viewed your whole portfolio and I was quite impressed. You really have a very obvious artistic flair which shows through even in your photographs. However, the majority of your portfolio is made up of backgrounds and patterns. I think your performance as a contributor is based more on your artistic talent and Photoshop ability rather than on your photographic skills. IMHO. As Farbled pointed out, those that have received the harshest critiques included in their forum titles. phrases like "instant earn", "why not selling", etc. Upon review of their PHOTO portfolios we find a complete lack of basic photographic skills and apparent lack of artistic ability. We that learned the craft through years of study and practice, tend to take exception to this entitlement mentality (yeh, I know it's a bit immature). These are not people that went to the (old time) critique forum looking for help in improving their photography skills but those apparently trying to make a quick buck without putting in the work. This is not the old "community" of photographers and artists. it's the new Shutterstock created by SS corporate decisions to accept anybody and review nothing (or very little). None of us like it and it's showing up in the forum, big time.
  4. Steve Bower

    How to sell Photo?

    Assadul, I do a lot of nature photography (to include insects) because I love it. But to be honest, they (insects) don't sell well. My first recommendation would be to pick a different subject but if you are like me (you want to photograph what you love regardless off the payout) I have a few tips that might help. 1. Get closer, through either a longer lens or just plain stealth. 2. Improve your lighting, either use a diffused flash or approach the insect from the direction that provides the best ambient light. 3. If possible use a tripod, especially with a long lens. 4. If you're really interested in macro photography, invest in a macro lens or at least extension tubes. 5. Learn as much as you can about photography, as others have already suggested.
  5. Steve Bower

    ideas for getting highest number of selling

    Lucy, I appreciate your thoughts. As I stated in my opening sentence "I don't always agree with Richard. . .". I try to be tactful but as Patrick stated in his post, "these individuals don't put much effort into their photos". If these images are the OPs best efforts (his "newborn pic"), maybe photography should not be his best choice for a profession nor a hobby. Saying "nothing" does not help the OP deal with the reality that he or she does not have the gifts or talents needed to make money here. We can't all be mechanics, construction workers, computer programmers nor photographers. Learning our strengths and weakness' is part of life, the sooner we learn what they are the better. I agree, a "tactful" nudge in the right direction is best.
  6. Steve Bower

    ideas for getting highest number of selling

    Lucy, I don't always agree with Richard but I totally share his frustration. You started in 2008 so you know how hard it was to become a contributor and how nit picky they were in their subsequent review of our uploaded content. Do you really believe any of the OP images would have been accepted when we started ten years ago? Admittedly, we all "started" with little to no knowledge of photography but we had to learn before we became "stock photographers". That is no longer the case. Anyone with a cellphone is good enough, regardless of their photographic knowledge. Richard is totally correct, "Shutterstock is totally to blame" and ultimately will suffer (along with all of their contributors) for their "stupid" shortsighted corporate decisions. Try looking up "Most Popular" for Tai Chi, martial arts, or one of your other "niche" using the most obvious key words. Your portfolio may be so unique that you have been spared but I think you will find that by the second or third page, spammed keyworded "terrible pictures" have clogged out your good images. If so you may also share some of Richard's frustration.
  7. Steve Bower

    Why allow something like this?

    My Question Is, Do these portfolios actually generate any real income? I Realize the upload process must have been computerized and the portfolio doesn't represent a lot of man hours but how can this be cost effective? Are these portfolios subsidized in some way by SS to inflate their numbers? I'm sure I'm not seeing the obvious but where is the logic for the contributor to upload this mess and for SS to allow it????
  8. Steve Bower

    shifting to mirrorless

    Richard, This is a big decision that only you can make. Based upon your past posts you've been thinking about making the switch to mirrorless for quite some time. Any opinions we offer are just that " our opinions". However, I too will muddy the water with one more (opinion). Have you been able to try out any of the cameras you are considering. Like Martin suggests "buy what feels good in your hands". That is a primary consideration. Based upon your portfolio, your interest lies primarily with food photography and is limited to stock photography. If that is correct, it may NOT be necessary to spend the extra money for a full frame camera whose greatest claim to fame is high ISO performance, huge pixel count and great Bokeh. Again, your decision! If macro photography is really of interest, you might be better served by the 4/3 format (Olympus and Panasonic). They both uses a much smaller sensor and offers 2 stops of additional depth of field over a full frame sensor which is a big advantage in macro photography. In addition, between the two companies (Olympus & Panasonic) they have a selection of lens that rivals the lens offered by either Canon or Nikon for their DSLRs. While this may not be a major concern, the weight savings (created through the use of a smaller sensor in the 4/3 format) over a full frame camera is a huge benefit in the field. I switched from a full frame Canon to the Olympus (4/3 format) and in my opinion, it was the best move I could have made. That being said, I do not shoot food and have no idea what your priorities are. Regardless of your decision, it is going to be expensive. If at all possible, try out each of the cameras you are considering. Good Luck!
  9. Steve Bower

    Macro Lenses - Nikon Camera

    Based upon your portfolio, I assume you want to use the macro lens for insects and other nature subjects. If this is correct, I would stick with at least a lens in the 90-105mm range. In my experience, anything shorter won't allow you to get close enough without scaring your subject away. I've even used an 800mm lens (35mm equiv) to get some of my larger insect shots but that raises another issue, depth of field. Since most macro lens are prime (single focal length) you may find any 90 -105mm macro lens (from any of the major manufactures) more than adequate depending on you level of "perfectionism" and budget. Sorry, can't help you with the compatibility of the available lenses with your Nikon camera. I use to shoot Canon and now shoot Olympus.
  10. Philip Wonderful information and I can't agree with you more. However, from my prospective, there is one more aspect to the story. I've been uploading here at Shutterstock and a few other sites for nearly ten years but rather than uploading what the buyer wants I've uploaded what I love (Nature and Landscapes) and anything else that interests me or provides an opportunity to improve my limited photographic skills. Rather than uploading "everything", I put in my portfolio the best images I could produced of a subject or area. While I'm sure I could have made more if I had followed the current mind set (quantity over quality) I've still made enough (over those ten years) to pay for my photo equipment, travel and a number of emergencies (or that new BMW, if I wanted one). Thankfully, I'm not dependent on this "side hustle" for a living which I realize is a luxury that not everyone enjoys but I still Love photography and look forward to going out with my camera (everyday if possible). I guess I'm saying, the Love of Photography and what you photograph is part of the "process of making marketable photos". GREAT POST, thanks for all of the practical information, we all need it.
  11. Steve Bower

    A small gummy celebration

    Excellent use of your time and your flash.
  12. Steve Bower

    A small gummy celebration

    Martin, It must be that new Olympus camera. Great Job! It looks like you spent a lot of time in that candy shop (based upon your portfolio). Is dieting going to be your next big niche? Only kidding, of course. Quality, rather than quantity. What a novel idea. It would be nice if SS would rethink their corporate strategy and follow your logic.
  13. Steve Bower

    Portfolio Review

    Anna, It was not my intent to be overly harsh in my review of your portfolio but upon rereading it, I understand it could be interpreted as such. For that I apologize. That being said, you must keep in mind that Shutterstock is a BUSINESS. Buyers "judge" the quality of images everyday. They pick the best they can find and if your photos are not in that group they are not even seen, let alone chosen. You are competing with professional photographers for the buyers business and the only way you are going to be able to compete is to become one (a professional) yourself. Look at your competition's portfolios, especially those that shoot nature and landscape. Because It's all around us, everyone shoots it and the competition is fierce. You have to be good, very, very good. You asked Experienced Photographers to review portfolio. You asked "how does it look, are my photos any good" and finally requested help in improving your skills and sales. I know criticism is hard to take but if accepted in the right spirit, it is one of the fastest ways to improve.
  14. Steve Bower

    Portfolio Review

    Anna, Other than a love of nature, have you done any study (read any books, etc.) of photography? That's where you need to start. If you've spent any time here on the forum, I m sure you read that the current review process is almost nonexistent and almost all submissions are accepted. In the "old days" you had to have 7 out of 10 accepted (after a rather exacting review) before you became a contributor. If you were accepted you didn't have to ask "are my photos any good", you knew they were. SS made sure anything you uploaded continued to meet a high technical standard as they rejected anything that was not up to that high standard. You no longer have the "luxury" of this review process. I say all this to warn you. If others choose to review your portfolio, you may be subjected to rather brutal comments. Prepare for it! 1. You need to make images that have commercial value (i.e. tell a story, help sell a product or idea). 2. If you want to photograph nature, your images have to be better than the competition. Yours, regrettably are not. 3. You need to work on your compositions. You tend to either crop too closely or don't get close enough to your subject. 4. Do you understand the relationship between ISO, aperture, and shutter speed? Many of your photos (flowers) have far too shallow a depth of field. 5. Do you shoot only on "Auto"? You need to learn how to set the aperture and shutter speed of the your camera in order to create the image YOU want. 6. Have you read your camera manual? Study it! 7. Many of your images are under exposed. Did you really want that? If not, you should know how to change the settings in order to make the image you envision. There are many other comments that I could make but hopefully others will be "kind" enough to provide their input. Good Luck!
  15. Steve Bower

    Gear upgrade

    I suggest you read a few books on composition, learn basic photographic rules (i.e. rule of thirds, avoiding merges, etc.). Study your camera manual. Learn to operate your camera on something other than AUTO (i.e. Manual, Aperture priority, Shutter Priority), preferably all of them. Learn the relationship between ISO, aperture, and shutter speed and how you can use them to get the image you envision. Look for images that have commercial value (i.e. tell a story, help sell a product or idea). Learn at least a basic post processing program, and use it.