The Secret to Award Winning Photography

Visit any online photo gallery to see which images get the most comments and awards. Would you like to know how they do it?

What you don’t know is the Web gallery picture has been altered. The secret to award winning photography is cleverly improving and correcting the original photograph through image manipulating software.

Starting With a Draft

Photography uses a workflow similar to writing. In writing, you start with a draft and manipulate the words until satisfied with the final product. You are right now reading the result of multiple false starts, rewrites, and editing.

Think of the camera image as a raw draft of an article. (Did you know there is an image format called “camera raw?”) Taking new shots is like starting over with a new draft. Once satisfied you have a good starting point for your photo, it’s time for the edit.

With film cameras, developers used various techniques to alter the print of the original negative. Dodging (blocking light) and burning (concentrating light) were popular methods of correcting exposure in the darkroom.

Digital cameras and Photoshop lets you skip the darkroom altogether. Correcting exposure with the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop is so much easier than the old method. Blemishes once hidden by painstaking airbrushing are gone in seconds using Photoshop clone and heal tools.

Digital Photo Editing

If you own a digital camera, chances are you have already captured an award winning photograph. Don’t believe me? Then try the following exercise.

Browse through your digital photos looking for a few good shots and open one in Photoshop Elements. Go to to download a 30-day trial if you don’t have this software loaded on your computer.

The first edit to think about is cropping the photo. If the photo shows a wide field with the subject standing in the center, cropping out the extra background brings the subject more in focus. If necessary, make the subject appear off center using the Rule of Thirds.

With cropping done, check for overexposed areas and use the burn tool to correct them. Conversely, use the dodge tool to lighten underexposed areas.

Other corrections to look for include checking the shadows and highlights, fixing any blemishes by cloning and healing and adjusting color levels.

Finally, consider adding an artistic touch such as a vignette. Maybe this photo would look better with a sepia treatment or perhaps in black and white. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the different filters provided by the software.

Notice how each editing step improves the overall quality of the shot. This is the secret to award winning photography.

You can spend over a thousand dollars on a digital SLR camera to get great results from your photography but don’t think it’s necessary to break your budget for award winning photos. Consider two other items first.

1. Use the Rules of Composition to improve your shot quality. Learning how to compose your shots will lessen the amount of editing needed later.

2. Create award winning photos by correcting and improving them in Photoshop software.

I look forward to seeing your top quality photos on the Web soon!

Microstock Photography Means Turning Digital Photography Into Cash

I have recently been asked on several occasions “Just what is this Microstock Photography I keep hearing about?” It may sound complicated, but you will soon find out just how anybody can make money from Microstock photography as revealed below:

Now you don’t necessarily need to be a world traveler to produce amazing photographs. While we have all seen the exquisite images of the monuments of the world these images are not the ones that currently win awards. A photo of a grinning child, if done well, is more likely to win an award than one taken of an illustrious monument. Photos that capture your eye, and hold it… photos that draw you in and make you remember better times… photographs that stay with you long after you have left them… these are the photographs that earn money. Photographs that transcend time and place are ones that will live on forever. It is these types of photographs that will undoubtedly yield a ton of money. If you would like to turn your every day photos into extra income I have a few tips that will help you get started.

Your every day life can produce images that can be sold over the Internet. You do not need to be a professional photographer, you simply need to be there and take the photo when you see that golden moment. Look around you, at your home, your family, your friends… these are the images that you can photograph and turn ordinary moments into extraordinary photos. With a bit of Internet research to see what consumers are purchasing, you can easily turn items in your home into incredible photographs which will earn you extra income. Read on to see a few more options that you can use to increase your monthly income!

Any photo that shows moments caught in time, endearing expressions, will sell like mad. These types of photos don’t require models or props or expensive equipment. Simple and true to life reality photos sell the most. Capturing life as it is with all its hardships and joys are guaranteed money makers.

Everyday acts such as laughing, shaking hands, yelling, walking etc make for great photographs. Again, these don’t require models or other professionals. Look to your family and friends and their interactions and always keep your camera ready. Quality photographs of everyday people are guaranteed to sell.

Another arena are photos of regular everyday items. These could be anything from the herbs in your garden to crayons on the table. To make these items work you need to photograph them in a way that gives them a new and exciting appeal that will attract the buyers eye. Whichever items you choose, always remember that you need to look at them in a fresh and new way in order to attract potential buyers. Something important to keep in mind is that if you are photographing a commercial item please remove the logo or photograph it is such a way that the logo will not show in order to avoid having the photograph be rejected.

Photos of food and beverage items are in high demand, especially by the food service industry. Photographs of mouth watering foods, fresh vegetables with dew on them, etc. are incredibly likely to sell. Always make sure your subject is front and center with no extraneous items to distract from it.

If you have the ability to think outside the box and be creative and combine that with your skills with a camera you will have the ability to earn an incredible income with this Microstock photography business. The key to being a successful stock photographer is being able to find the amazing elements out of the ordinary. Don’t forget that your photograph should attempt to capture the essence of your subject and portray it in such a way as to create a lasting memory to the viewer. Don’t hang around, just grab your camera and get started today!