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Earning Something with Touring Photography? Sensor Size?

Old 10-31-11, 12:42 PM
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Niles H.
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Earning Something with Touring Photography? Sensor Size?

Any hints on earning a little through photography while touring? Has anyone done this?

Also, how important is sensor size here? Do magazines (or other potential clients) have a preference for images that come from larger sensors? How often would one be seriously disadvantaged with images from a compact camera having a smaller sensor (1/2.5" or 1/1.7")? Is micro 4/3 large enough, or might there be some preference at time for larger (APS-C or larger) sensors?
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Old 10-31-11, 12:53 PM
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If you like Canon equipment then I've been finding a lot of good and informative info at photography-on-the.net

I've thought about this as well, but I suspect you'll need to have some success prior to photo-cycle-touring, I'm not too sure how financially lucrative the bulk photo sites are these days.
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Old 10-31-11, 03:15 PM
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You can sell photos taken on a phone camera - if they're of bigfoot or aliens.

If you're trying to compete with stock photo's of landmarks and landscapes taken with medium format film, great glass, tripods, and a butt load of knowledge and talent, you'll be under-gunned with almost anything that you can take on a bike.

If you've been commissioned to write an article and get photos, consult with the photo editor of the publication.
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Old 10-31-11, 08:18 PM
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You will need a low noise-hi rez sensor camera, a dSLR or a mirrorless camera with an APS-C sensor, or possibly a micro 4/3rd camera. This will not fit in a shirt pocket, or be inexpensive. Check the camera reviews at the Luminous Landscape site to see if any of the smaller mirrorless micro 4/3rds or APS-C camera have sufficient image quality. Sony has a line of mirrorless APS-C sensor cams, the NEX line but the lenses are not really any smaller than for dSLRs, this increases the bulk.
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Old 11-01-11, 02:13 AM
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It's not so much about sensor size as dpi (dots per inch )of the image you produce. You will need 300dpi for a magazine. THe confusion is, you can produce a 300 dpi image from a camera phone, in Photoshop, only it will look terrible. Personally, I'd go for anything over 5 or 6 megapixels, anything under and you'd struggle. That said, I used to be able to print A4s off a 3 megapixel camera, but, and it's a big but, it had a great lens.
Pixelcount is a bit of a myth in this respect, as you could have a 15 megapixel camera with a terrible lens, and get big images, but which have no clarity. For me, over about 5 megapixels, and then the lens starts becoming the important thing.
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Old 11-01-11, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Gotte View Post
You will need 300dpi for a magazine.
Have things changed recently? The last time I talked to a magazine about digital photography, I think they said 300dpi was overkill and they only needed 150-200dpi...

That said, if you're trying to sell to a major publication, you'll probably be competing against professionals who have expensive high-quality lenses and expensive high-resolution digital SLRs. If this doesn't deter you then, as rogerstg mentioned, it's not a bad idea to contact some of the people you think you might sell to and ask them what they want. If they regularly deal with freelance submissions, they'll likely have a canned response that tells you exactly what they need in terms of image size, file formats, etc.
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Old 11-01-11, 10:21 AM
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Check out this article over at travellingtwo.com called Make Money While Travelling: Stock Photography. It will point you in the right direction.

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Old 11-01-11, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Gotte View Post
It's not so much about sensor size as dpi (dots per inch )of the image you produce. You will need 300dpi for a magazine. THe confusion is, you can produce a 300 dpi image from a camera phone, in Photoshop, only it will look terrible. Personally, I'd go for anything over 5 or 6 megapixels, anything under and you'd struggle. That said, I used to be able to print A4s off a 3 megapixel camera, but, and it's a big but, it had a great lens.
Pixelcount is a bit of a myth in this respect, as you could have a 15 megapixel camera with a terrible lens, and get big images, but which have no clarity. For me, over about 5 megapixels, and then the lens starts becoming the important thing.
300 is a general ballpark which is accepted across the industry. Obviously, it depends what type of publication and how they intend to use the images. A newspaper, for example will accept a much lower dpi (on the whole), as will a mag only using a small image, but to cover all bases and all uses, I'd go with 300dpi.
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Old 11-01-11, 11:33 AM
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From what I've read, image quality depends a lot less on sensor size and DPI than on lens quality. Micro 4/3 should be okay--I really enjoy my Canon 40D, as it includes many pro features and can be had for around $500 gently used. Definitely a noticeable upgrade from the Rebel XTi, though either body fitted with L glass will produce print-quality photos.
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Old 11-02-11, 12:10 AM
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folks, 300dpi doesnt mean anything on its own. Its like saying my bike has really high gearing, its top gear is with a 53 tooth...so is it 53/11 or 53/14
A by B inches @300dpi is what you need to know.
I can send you a photo at 300dpi that is 1/2inch X 1/2inch @ 300dpi, or 11x14@300dpi.

my cameras are about 9x12@300, but then you get into lens quality, how the shot is processed by the camera, so in the end, its not just about the numbers of pixels and file size, but all kinds of factors, including but not ending with "is it a crappy photo" at whatever resolution?
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Old 11-02-11, 05:34 AM
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Note that dpi is a printer capacity and printing is done by the magazine not you. As long as you have sufficient pixels for the required size, that is good enough. You should look at the quality of the pixels.

Capture the picture in RAW if you can, you keep more of the dynamic range than jpg. There is some debate as to whether 14bit RAW is any better than 12bit. The consensus is the that dynamic range is the same for both but you can extract a bit more underexposed detail with 14bit.

Modern sensors are good enough that lens quality makes a difference. Try and use the pro grade lenses or the better std ones rather than cheap kit zoom lenses. A decent macro and a wide aperture wideangle for interiors are handy. Unless you are seriously into wildlife, taking a big telephoto is a waste of space. Wildlife photography takes a trip all to itself. A good tripod, cable release and a flash that you can use off camera are all useful.

If you are going to take commercial photographs you have to start thinking commercially. Will this picture sell? You will have to adopt some commercial photographic cliches but avoid some of the arty amateur photographer cliches. Being original is really hard but the bike can get you to original points of view and give you the time to stop where a car-based photographer might not.

Good photography can take planning and time. You may want to stay at a location to catch the right light, or be at a public event at a particular time and place to capture action, eg closeups of a marching band getting kitted up rather than the usual distance shots of them marching past.
I've taken nice portraits of people I have met but have never sold them. There might be a market for creative portraits outside the studio, esp with things people value, eg craftsman working, farmers with their horses or tractors, family shots showing the house. You will need a mechanism to get good mounted prints to the client within a short time.
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Old 11-02-11, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
Good photography can take planning and time. You may want to stay at a location to catch the right light, or be at a public event at a particular time and place to capture action, eg closeups of a marching band getting kitted up rather than the usual distance shots of them marching past.
I've taken nice portraits of people I have met but have never sold them. There might be a market for creative portraits outside the studio, esp with things people value, eg craftsman working, farmers with their horses or tractors, family shots showing the house. You will need a mechanism to get good mounted prints to the client within a short time.
+1. When I rode x-country in '99 I was doing a lot of photo work at home. Had even sold some prints and had a few in a popular jury show in this area. Mostly urban "street" stuff, all in B&W. I took a 35mm and a Mamiya 345 with 3 lenses on the trip. Probably shot close to 100 rolls of film in almost 4 months. When I developed it, I was disapointed with a lot of it. Much of it looked like I was riding my bike, stopped and tried to take an interesting photo. The best of the body of work was taken when I had time to really see and think about what I was shooting. Usually on days off or after the day's riding was through.

As noted, there are already so many scenery photos out there taken by pros with great equipment that it that would difficult to compete unless you happen to capture something unique. I think you would have a better chance with out-of-studio portraits.












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