Your websites need wonderful photos & videos.

  • Paid stock photo sites. They are expensive. They have extensive legal pages which describe where and how you can use your purchases. I have tried repeatedly, and can never tell exactly what makes up allowed use. Their enormous libraries are nice, but you can lose a LOT of time looking for the right images or videos.
  • Free stock photo sites like Unsplash have large image libraries, although they are short on people pictures. Model releases are not mentioned. They get the images with Creative Commons releases but I hear stories of unauthorized photos being uploaded. I’m left feeling concerned about possible infringement issues.
  • Take your own photos & video. That removes the infringement concern, but requires you to take your photography seriously. Serious photography has a learning curve and is made easier with the right equipment.

Photography equipment decisions.

  • Affordaable. When starting out it may be necessary to limit your expenses. As a beginner it is hard to see why a piece of equipment from one manufacturer is cheaper. As I upgrade to better equipment the issues with the cheap stuff become obvious. My camera starts to droop no matter how much I tighten the screws. My tripod is easy to tip over. Leveling & squaring the image is harder. The issues can be worked around, but it takes extra time for setup changes and even more time for retakes. Post production will take more time plus software with it’s own learning curve.
  • Professional. You can spend a lot of money on professional equipment. As a beginner, you don’t know the vocabulary of photography equipment and will buy the wrong stuff even when money is no object and you are trying to get the best. I just bought four of the “same thing” before I got the one I actually need. There will be lots of returns in the next week!

Buy the best gear you can afford. Be sure its the right gear.

I bought some cheap LED lights that came with their own stands. Yes, you can extend them to 50″, but they are so “tippy” their placement keeps changing. They do work as a back light so it was not a total waste of money.

I bought an expensive, name brand, swing arm mount for my Canon camera. According to the specifications, it should have been fine with the weight. Unfortunately, especially at maximum extension, that is not the case. The camera keep sagging & is bouncy when you trigger the shutter. The bounce problem can be fixed with a remote shutter, but now you see how the wrong solution can also be a problem.

The lesson here is that photography gear is more specialized for the type of shooting situation than I realized. Manufactures make equipment to satisfy the most customers possible. Their marketing departments push that to extremes. “Yes you could do that.” Could is NOT the same as Should. it requires experience and working with equipment in your specific shooting situations to find the best solutions.

These domains will require improved skills & equipment.

Elgato Key Lights solved the reflection problem

Two years ago I splurged on a Black Friday sale and bought two Elgato Key lights. I didn’t appreciate them until I needed to photograph our collection of framed Lyman Byxbe etchings.

The problem with photographing framed art is the reflections from the glass. It does not add professionalism when you a large part of the picture is washed out by the reflected light.

The solution to the reflection problem is to place the lights on each side of the frame, level with the artwork.

Side lights to eliminate reflections from the glass.

By taking the two Elgato Key Lights off their stands and using two table stands to hold them, the light is down low and off to the side like it needs to be. The flexibility of the Elgato mount system made this possible.

The Elgato Multi Mount system will solve photography problems for these sites.

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