Articles by Alistair Cotton

Fuji X100s - the ultimate walkabout stock camera?

I've been a fan of Fuji's higher-end cameras ever since I dumped a Nikon D70 for an end-of-line S3 Pro.Fuji's S3 Pro was based on an even older end-of-line Nikon film body and had some quirks that made it almost impossible to shoot in raw. Well, that's not true - the S3 could shoot three consecutive RAW files before the camera locked up and “buffered” for the better part of 30 seconds.I forgave the S3 Pro and used it as a primary camera long after it should have been replaced simply because... continue reading

Iconic photos

Despite being such a young “art”, photography has already notched up its fair share of masters. Someone has even taken the trouble to document a lot of their work on Wordpress blog with the title Iconic Photos.Each photograph is accompanied by explanatory text around the photographer and the situation the photograph was created in.For example, legendary portrait photographer Yousef Karshis featured on the site with his picture of Sir Winston Churchill. The text explains how Karsh annoyed... continue reading

Nikon launches retro Df as DSLR camera sales slow

As it's wisely and frequently been pointed out, the best camera is the one that is with you. My Nikon DSLR is not huge by pro camera standards - but it's still too big to go with me all the time.The camera in question lives in a big green backpack alongside other photographic “essentials” - a 70-200 f2.8, wide zoom, filters, flash triggers and a SB flash. That's just the stuff that fits in the bag. There are mono pods, tripods, studio flashes, background sets, large reflectors, small reflectors,... continue reading

Photoshelter 2013 trends de ja voux

Photoshelter has released its 2013 What Buyers Want from Photographers survey.It's an interesting read - so if you have 10mins or so - it's well worth the time.It prompted me to remember a blog post I wrote about a few years back that was also publishedon DT entitled "Anti Stock" - and whack out some more words on the subject on my Durban Photographer website. continue reading

Sharpening the creative saw – Vega’s Wedding Photo Course

Over the past few weeks I’ve been attending Vega School of Brand Leadership’s Wedding Photography course in Durban, South Africa. It’s likely that wedding photography is the most demanding of all photographic assignments. So it stands to reason that if one can learn to deliver excellent creative photographic work in the pressure cooker of a wedding environment, one can probably cope with any assignment outside a war zone.The Vega Durban photography course has been an enjoyably fair mixture... continue reading

Blogger goes ape over agency “extortion” letter

Copywriting expert and blogger, Ryan Healy has posted about what he feels are extortionary tactics used by a traditional stock agency to claim damages from images used on websites unlawfully.As a copywriting professional, Healy paints a compelling picture of how he used a RM stock image unlawfully by mistake, why he feels he has been treated unfairly by the agency and why he further feels the agency is charging too much to settle the matter.In the comments section of his blog, I tried to play... continue reading

Resizing photos fixes broken histogram?

Excessive image editing in Photoshop for stock photography, web design and print has a habit of making a histogram all blocked and bitty or something like an old toothbrush – so knackered-looking - nobody really wants to use it.However, there are times when excessive editing seems to be the only way to pull some value out of an image. There are also plenty of examples of really good-selling stock images that almost certainly have received their share of histogram abuse. But how do those clever... continue reading

Model release form for all agencies

Yuri has had an excellent model release form available on his site for a while now.However, when I tried to use it towards the end of last year there were some problems and DT and another agency rejected the form.I've updated this MR form and reposted it as a download on my blog here. (I'd just repost the blog from my site here, but it mentions other agencies and would probably not be acceptable.)If there is anything wrong with this new version that agencies don't like, please let me... continue reading

Antistock

"Stock is not art." Well, that's one of the first rules of stock photography.Shoot something on white. Business people with a bit of blue. Make em sharp. Make em saturated. Shoot the best quality you can get from the highest megapixel camera with the sharpest lenses.So how come this guy http://www.terryrichardson.com seems to be busy shooting for some pretty important brands and personalities?And is this really what he shoots with? http://www.terryrichardson.com/contacts.htmlIt's... continue reading

An easy way to remove stray pixels in Photoshop

We all hate rejection.No matter how thick my skin gets I still hate getting images rejected by stock agencies. Sometimes though, it’s all for a good reason and something great comes out of the whole learning experience.Yesterday was one of those days.I’ve been trying to get a whole lot of model isolated on white images accepted at all the microstock sites this week. They were shot in studio with four lights. The background was over-exposed by enough stops to make it look white for... continue reading

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