Monday, September 3, 2012

First Newborn Photo Shoot

I was chatting with the photographer at my sister's wedding, and he mentioned they were looking to partner up with a photographer that did maternity and baby photography, and since they knew I was a photographer, they asked me to put together a portfolio and send it to them so we could discuss a potential partnership. Needless to say, I was over the moon excited, so I called my friend who had a 2 week old baby (how lucky for me!) and she was gracious enough to allow me to come over and photograph their adorable little baby for some images to use in my portfolio. For my very first newborn shoot ever, it was great! I didn't get pooped or peed on, the baby was incredibly well-behaved, and baby loved the camera!

It was incredibly fun, and the images I walked away with were such treasures! I can't wait to have the opportunity to photograph some more babies! I have some maternity shoots coming up, so check back here in a couple weeks to see how those went!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Finally in Shutterstock!!

After 7 tries (yes, 7! Its embarrassing!) I was finally accepted into Shutterstock Images! After 7 attempts, I didn't really have high hopes for it. I always thought to myself, "if they reject me that many times, the quality of images must be spectacular, and my pictures will probably just look crappy. I don't expect much in the way of sales, but at least I'm in". Well....I have been in there for 5 days, and I have 5 sales already! I had 2 sales the first day, 1 sale my second day, no sales my third day, 2 sales my 4th day, and no sales my 5th day! I can't wait til tomorrow (I have images pending, so hopefully they get approved!) to see what happens! Not bad for only having a portfolio of 7 images, now 12 images! I am very very excited about being involved with Shutterstock, and I know this is going to be a lot of fun!!!

Ok, shameless plug inset, but if Stock photography has been something you have been thinking about trying, I would encourage you to try it! You have nothing to lose, and its something that you can easily do in hobby time! Believe me...I have 2 little kids that keep me hopping, and I still manage to get pictures up! I have several links here on my blog for several stock sites, so I would encourage you to check them out, and give it a try! Don't worry about signing up with all of them, but start with one and see how you like it. I have one friend who started with Stock almost 10 years ago, got a handful of pictures up, then left it, but those pictures still are making her money. Its a great "fix it n forget it" kind of thing if that is what you are looking for. Anyways, do be warned. If you decide to try it, it is addictive!!!! Trust me....I am so hooked, I am now known as "the girl with her camera permanently attached to her face", and that is just what my friends say! I don't think I want to know what strangers say....ha!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Deep Thoughts

I have been taking great strides with my photography lately, really trying to absorb knowledge and tricks and tips and doing what I can to increase my skills. There is so much out there that I didn't know! Well, I still dont' know most of it, but I'm getting there. I came to the realization that I don't think outside the box very well...I used to think I was a creative person, but I am realizing my gift isn't so much in creativity, but ingenuity. Not a bad thing....I'm like the McGuyver of the photography world! Well, maybe not...haha! Anyways, I have been trying to become more creative and think in a way that hasn't been done a million times already. How can I create interesting and unique images? I see all these stunning pictures, but I can't figure out how they did it? My husband said something interesting to me....he expressed his disappointment in photography and that these days, with photoshop etc, what you see in a photo isn't even real. He went on about how in the "olden days", you took a picture, and what you saw was real. Now, you don't know what is real, and he doesn't like it much! I had an epiphany. I was struggling with how to create these stunning images with a "snapshot" approach, but it couldn't be done, and I realized that I had to start thinking in layers (thank you, Photoshop!) OK, so how can I layer different images to create something spectacular? Well, I don't know, but I am going to find out! And I thank my hubby for his mini-rant, because it freed my mind up from its snapshottish trap! See ya later, off to play with photoshop!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

First Sale!!!!!

Wheeeee!!!!!! I am so excited!!!! It was 87 days since my very first stock photo was approved, and everyday since, I have been uploading, keywording, uploading some more, hoping, praying, waiting, more uploading, LOTS of shooting, etc etc.... and FINALLY, I went to check my download stats, not actually expecting to see anything, but there it was.....1 subscription download, 0.36 cents earned. YIIPPEEEE!!!!! OK, its not like I could afford anything with that, but its a start, with many more sales to come! The part that surprised me most was the fact that it was an image that I didn't expect. It didn't really have a lot of image views, but I guess that doesn't really matter, because it was the right image for the buyer! I just wish I could find out where and how it was being used, but I guess it will always remain a mystery.
http://www.123rf.com/photo_13762831_delicious-barbequed-steak.html

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Streamlining Work flow and Uploading for Multiple Stock Agencies

I am in heaven! I follow a fabulous microstock blog (http://www.microstockdiaries.com/) and while I was perusing, I found a link to ProStockMaster, which is a fantastic software for photographers that submit photos to multiple Stock Agencies. I haven't figured it all out yet, but you can title, describe, and keyword wach picture ONCE and then upload to multiple agencies all at the same time, saving you TONS of time! Personally, I don't like keywording. The only thing worse is keywording the same image 5 times a day in different agencies. This software is amazing in saving time and energy! I would highly recommend you check it out! ---> http://www.prostockmaster.com/ 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I Now Have Images in Other Stock Agencies!

Last week was a little crazy at my house. I decided to try my luck at getting in with another stock agency. I uploaded all my pictures for review, and then the waiting was torture, and I found myself uploading more pictures to a different agency, and then another, and another! By the end of the day, I had applied with 4 new agencies, and by the end of the week, was accepted with 3 of them! I was very excited at this success! To view my profiles and portfolios, I have attached links to each of them: http://www.123rf.com/profile_racheld32, http://www.bigstockphoto.com/search/photographer/RachelD32/, and last, but NOT least,  http://depositphotos.com/portfolio-1594065.html.

I am thrilled to be able to participate with this other wonderful agencies, and I look forward to increasing my portfolios and getting those sales!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Confession time....I'm broke. Stay-at-home Mom = single income, so that means I don't have the money to spend on fancy photographic equipment. Someday I will, but in the meantime, what do I do? What does a photographer who is just starting out supposed to do to? Its a vicious cycle....you use what you have and get OK shots that don't really sell, so you don't get the money needed to get new equipment, so you can't get the "money shots", so you continue to use what you have. Do you take out a loan? Maybe. But if you are like me and not want to go into debt, what can you do? Well, I stumbled onto a FABULOUS site for the photographer that doesn't have the cash to spend on expensive equipement, but still wants to up their game. www.diyphotography.net has some fantastic videos and suggestions for making your own studio equipment without spending the big bucks! Its something that will tide you over til the money starts rolling in and you can afford to buy the nice stuff! Personally, I can't wait to get into my basement and start building my studio!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Encouraged, Yet Challenged

I have been plugging away at Stock photography, and I have been very encouraged by my success so far....and I use the term success loosely, as my definittion of sucess right now is to get pictures approved and into my portfolio at Dreamstime. I am currently at 13 photos, which to me is encouraging because I know the skill level that I am competing with, and so that is where I am challenged! I used to think I was a pretty good photographer, as I had a handful of pictures turn our really well, but the majority of them were "Crappy snappy's". As I began to learn about photography, and various techniques, I realized I really didn't know anything about photography. That was a painful realization, as I was someone who prided myself in having an interest in photography. Well, I have been learning a lot, and I look at pictures that are already on Dreamstime, and I see where I need to be in terms of skill level, and I take it as a personal challenge!! I can do it! I can be that good, and I can learn and become a wonderful, successful photographer! I really want this to become more than just an expensive hobby, I want this to be my career, and I want to be a success!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I am excited! I have been submitting photos to Dreamstime Stock, and now have 7 images up for sale! I have several pending, and a computer hard drive full of images that need to be edited and submitted, and more ideas for images filling up my brain! I decided to expand my microstock options and have turned back to Shutterstock in the hopes of getting some images up there also. I have been advised that different stock agencies cater to different markets, so my best bet of making some money in this business is to broaden my horizons and get as many images up on as many different stock sites as I can. Stock photography will likely never be a replacement income (too bad!) but if I can make enough to take trips and get new camera equipment once in awhile, that would be lovely!

Monday, April 2, 2012

More rejection...

Well, out of the 30 some images I uploaded to Dreamstime, I thought there were 2 or 3 that FOR SURE would be accepted, but they weren't. Every single one of them was rejected, and for about 10 minutes, I was kinda bummed, then I remembered the advice that I got from one of my Dreamstime pals.... "be prepared for rejection...a LOT of rejection!" and I made the decision to NOT be disappointed, but seize the opportunity to learn! I read the reasons for rejection, and it wasn't that they were bad images, they jsut weren't good stock images. I felt better. The rest of them had their own issues, but I am learning, and I refuse to give up! The successful stock photographers that I see on there are the ones that stuck with it, and refused to give up, even when their acceptance ratio was incredibly low! I realised that mine is very low, and that its a numbers game as much as a skill game, so I took some more pictures and practiced and experimented, and little by little, I am improving as a photographer! I WILL be a success, I WILL be skilled, and I WILL be happy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Mastering Your Digital Camera" workshop

Went to my very first photography workshop, and loved it!!! It was put on by some fabulous local photographers who have been published in almost every photography magazine there is, and it was all about learning what the zillions of buttons on the DSLR cameras do. Learned everything I needed to know about exposure, aperture, ISO, Depth of field, and shutter speeds...and that was just the morning! In the afternoon, we had the chance to play around with some specialty lenses, lighting, and learned the how-to's of light diffusers and filters. My Christmas and birthday list grew a LOT by the end of the day! It was such a privilage to be able to learn from some of the best in the industry, and to rub shoulders with people that I hope to be like someday!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Greatest Day in My Photo Career (so far)!

Well, one of my dreams has come true today! I have been struggling to get into Stock photography for almost a year now, and I got my first image accepted this morning! I am so excited right now, because I finally feel like I am moving forward! OK, OK...I know it is only 1 image, but after a year of nothing, 1 image is a start! I know there are many more images to come, and as I learn and grow, it will only get better and better! Can you tell I am all euphoric? I can finally call myself a Stock Photographer! Wheeee!!! OK, enough of the craziness....I am not really crazy. Really! Just super excited, and ready to run out and take more pictures!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Shopping for a Macro Lens

So laast weekend, I went shopping for a macro lens. I was so excited....like, SOOOOO excited!!! I couldn't wait to buy one (I have been wanting one since before Christmas) and even had my gift certificates all ready to hand over. I arrived at McBain Camera, walked in, and when the young gent asked if he could help me, I proudly said "yes, actually....I am looking for a macro lens." He pulled out their vast array of lenses (I almost had a heart attack of joy) and he asked my price range. I told him....he almost cringed. Apparently, I had slightly under-estimated the cost of those suckers, and while there was one that was in my price range, it was a lower quality lens, and I knew that while I COULD purchase that one today, I knew in the long run, I wasn't going to be as happy with it as the one that was 1 step up (and almost double the cost!) I was crushed.....like, REEEEEALLY crushed....I had been expecting to walk out with one and take lots of interesting photographs that evening. So I was grumpy for a couple hours, then decided that waiting was indeed the right decision. I would rather wait and save my pennies and spend it on a lens that I will be really happy with instead of settling for second best.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Stock Photography

So while I work on getting my photo business some actual paying customers, I have started to get into the stock photography business. I have signed up with Dreamstime Stock Photography, and am excited to get some pictures up on their site and being sold to wonderful customers! Stock photography is a great way to go for me, as it allows me the freedom of being home with my kids, but also allows me to earn some cash to afford all the fabulous photography equipment that I want! However, getting images accepted may be tougher to do that I expect, so I am trying to keep an even head and be realistic about the whole endeavor. While I may not have the cash at the moment, I may need to spend some to make some! If you are curious about stock photography and would like to check it out (and perhaps try your hand at the stock photo world, you can click on the little pink counter icon on the top right hand side of my page, and that will take you right to their site, or click on this link to go to their homepage: http://www.dreamstime.com/res4544293-dreamstime. Good luck!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Real Estate Photography

So I have been having a ton of fun, exploring the world of photography, mostly as forms of expression through photographing nature and landscapes. I have enjoyed photographing people also, and feel honored to be included in those special moments for people! I have been exploring some different aspects of photography, and have decided to pursue Real Estate photography, as there seems to be a need with nobody to fill it! I originally got the idea while house hunting for our second home, and as it was with shopping for our first home, there were a number of listings with terrible photos, and I thought, "aren't you trying to SELL the house?" I found that I couldn't even consider those listings because the poor quality of the photos were too distracting! I said to my hubby that those particular realtors should just take those photos down, let me in there with my camera, and just let me do it. I have begun to realise that not every realtor likes to take the photos, particularily if their skills lie elsewhere! It occured to me that these realtors could use someone like me who loves to take pictures and could save them time and money but helping their properties move faster by having more attractive photos! I am very excited about this new venture, and am busy preparing things (and myself) to begin this adventure!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Photographer Community

I recently decided to join an online community of photographers, which is a great way for me to get feedback on my photos and advice on how I could improve it. I have loved being a part of it, and getting actual reviews on it! I was a part of one online photo community which had some great info, but nobody seemed to look at my pictures or had much to say, which was disappointing, as I want to grow and learn as a photographer. Hard to do that when nobody gives you any advice! I have enjoyed beinga part of this community, and if this sounds like something you might be interested in, go to www.fanartreview.com and find me!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Photo Contest!!

I just entered a photo contest, but I need your help! The winner is chosen by the number of likes and votes, so I need everyone's help to win! Please follow this link to vote for my picture! Thank you!

http://www.photoswinprizes.com/2012/02/09/the-dark-doorway/

My New Photo Project!!

I was doing some reading this morning about some ideas to kick-start creativity in photography, and this article stated that doing a 52 week project on a single subject could do that because if you are taking pictures of the same thing for 52 weeks and can't do the same shot twice, you are going to have to get VERY creative, especially by week 52! So I decided to tackle this, and I am going to do....(drumroll please).........52 weeks of self-portraits!!!!! I will be starting this project next week, so keep an eye out here, and on my facebook page (Rachel Duchesne Photography) for all the images! I hope you enjoy this as much as I am going to!!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Day in the City

So I was running some errands in the city the other day, and thankfully I had my camera with me, and decided to stop to take some pictures of the downtown skyline! I have been wanting to snap some photos of the Edmonton City Skyline for awhile, and finally had the opportunity! Now that i have had a chance to learn a few things about composing this particular image, i want to go back snd take more pictures! I think a night scene would look amazing.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Engagement Photos Shoot

So I had the pleasure of going to the High Level Bridge and the Legislature to do some engagement photos with a lovely young couple! The weather was fairly cooperative, as the temperature was cool, though comfortable, and the sun stayed hidden so we wouldn't have to worry about tough exposures and squinting. We had a great time, and though the couple was a little nervous about posing and having their pictures taken, but by the end, they were having as much as as I was! I think I need to spend some time coming up with a few more poses that look natural and fun! I had enough poses for what we needed, but if I were to do a bigger shoot, I would need some more variety. I was fortunate that the Bride-To-Be and I had a lot of the same ideas for poses and pictures, so working with them was a breeze! I look forward to doing the final edits and color corrections on the photos and turning the images my camera saw into my final vision of those moments! I am very excited about growing and learning from this experience (ie: on cold days, have a blanket for the couple to sit on while on concrete!) and taking that with me to my next photo opportunity.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words?

I am a member of a Photo community called Photo.net, and I was amazed the other day to hear people's responses to one of my images. I posted an image that for me, made me feel calm and happy and quiet, while another member posted that the image made him feel sad, lonely and solitary. I found it very interesting that the same image could evoke 2 completely different emotions! I began to think about emotions in pictures, and I realize that pictures that I really really like are the ones that evoke stronger emotions. I have seen some pictures and thought, "wow, that is a really beautiful picture" but there isn't much emotion in it for me, while I can see a slightly different image and love it because of the emotion I feel when I look at it. So now I am left wondering how one would take an image of pure emotion? Its the question of "what does the emotion confusion look like? what would anger look like? or sad? happy? compassion?" Can you guess what my next project is going to be?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My First "Gig"...

My parents are wonderful people! As soon as I told them I was getting into photography, they agreed to let me "practice" on them, doing portrait pictures! It was a very sunny day, and very windy! As I didn't yet have studio backdrops, we had to go outside, so thankfully it was warm out! Looking back on the experience, I would do things a little differently, but that is why we practice! I have learned the value of getting the image as right as possible with the camera, as Photoshop can only do so much! And I am also going to invest in a backdrop or two, with a portable stand....at least then I will have a Plan B! Learning aside, we had a lot of fun doing the pictures, and hopefully my folks had jsut as much fun (and will let me take pictures of them again!).