The world through a lens – Sharon Lisa Clarke

I never thought as an untrained photographic artist I would be able to sell my images. As a lot of my creations are photo manipulations I refer to myself as an artist rather than a photographer. I still work mainly with post processing and don’t have the photographic knowledge of many of my colleagues, but it works for me.

I have only been taking photos for about seven years. I took a few images with a friend and started to mess about with them. I’ve never thought of myself as artistic but to my surprise I started to produce some half decent art work. I noticed my friend was selling on Photo4me so I joined, and  it wasn't long before I had a sale. Over the years I have sold 33 images on Photo4me and I’m proud of my achievements. I have sold all over the world through other outlets but mostly through Photo4me in the UK.


My proudest moment so far was when my Egret image was featured in Peter Andre’s 60 Minute Makeover on national TV.  I also had an image selected to be on display at a Hospital. It's strange to think someone has your photograph or artwork hanging up in their home, it still amazes me.

  


The secret to my sales I think is my diversity. I have created images from most genres, ranging from Flora, Architecture, Wildlife, Sea-scape to Abstract and Digital montages. I’m a big fan of Topaz software and prefer post processing images rather than taking them. I love messing around with an image in Photoshop or creating something new digitally.


My advice is to stick at it and imagine what your image would look like up on the wall. Is it art? Would you buy it? Be diverse and open minded as buyers may love something you would not choose personally yourself. Art is very personal and it’s hard to predict what a buyer wants. Take time to look at other portfolios as you can learn a lot and gain inspiration. I view the world through a lens and everything I see is seen as a piece of art.


The dream now is to get the chance to photograph polar bears in their natural habitat, but if I can't I can appreciate all the beautiful images out there to see.

Sharon has amassed a magnificent collection of over 1500 artwork images on the Photo4Me platform and would appreciate your feedback and comments on the platform. View all her work on her members page.

Replicative images -- Planes

With the increase of members and images, so has the content, in particular airplanes. There has been a massive influx of these images from recent air shows. 


What we will accept: Images of planes will need to have some sort of emotional attachment, something artistic to the image, they will need a second element to the picture. It could be scenery, lighting, be creative! The picture will need an “edge” to it. Something different.


What we will decline: Turning a "blue sky shot" from colour to B&W, a blue sky with the underbelly, a flyby, depending on the composition a plane on a runway and etc. 


To be even more specific;


Acceptable Lighting: Good light on the plane and a nice sky in the background, (not plain grey cloud or a clear blue sky), there should be an artistic element to the shot. B&W pictures will be assessed on artistic value as well as lighting and tones.

Silhouettes: Where the aircraft is an element in the image rather than the focal point.

Acceptable Viewpoints: Images that have the belly or the back of the plane will more than likely be flagged unless there is an emphasis on the detail of the under belly or if it is not the main focus of the image. Normally there should be a hint of the cockpit, front of the plane or the top of the plane is the focus. 

Aircraft on the ground: Will be considered if creatively shot, for example use of a wide angle lens, but backgrounds should be clean of distracting objects. A run of the mill plane taking off will probably not make the cut, there would need to be an artistic element to it.

Creative Elements: Depending on the aircraft type and situation, prop driven aircraft and helicopters should be shot with shutter speeds to blur the rotating elements of the subject. However it’s more preferred than a necessity, if you have the rotators, make sure they don’t look like a model Photoshopped into the image, there should be at least a hint of a blur.

From what I’ve been told --- Typically shutter speeds of no more than 1/400th and ideally no more than 1/250th second should be used, and helicopters may require considerably longer.

General Environment: No clutter around plane or oddities in taking the picture, Example -- A control tower sticking out the top of an aircraft fuselage (unless shot at slow shutter speed to blur background and thus separate from subject).

Unique subjects: Images which do not confirm to the above would only be considered if there is some uniqueness to the image, such as rarity of subject matter, location, etc. This should be made clear in the title and description such that if flagged for review there is a justification for the image to remain on the site.

Images with Multiple planes: Should respect the guidelines above, but as long as there is an artistic feel to the image it should be accepted.


Conclusion, snap and shoot images from air shows will not be accepted and will be flagged as replicative. 


We don't want dissuade you from posting and trying to sell images of planes, far from it. We still want images of planes and plane-like themes however we want to push the limits of creativity and artistic merit for the subject.


Many thanks for your understanding.
Mike & Jon




Uploader - update

Hi all, 

I know the uploader has been super flakey of late especially if you are running windows 10.

It's been completely rebuilt from the bottom up and will be vastly more reliable than the old system.

It is about 50% there now so I would hope it will be live in about 2 weeks time.

Thanks for your patience. 
Jon

Plugging in your profile into your website

Good morning/afternoon everyone,


Many thanks to Simon for getting this up and running.

We're happy to let you know, that we have a Beta version of a plugin for your website. What this plugin does, is take your profile and you can place it into your website with ease. 

Check it out if you're interested.

https://www.siphilp.co.uk/photo4me-widget-beta-testing


If you have a question, there is a reply area at the bottom of the link.


Enjoy!

Jon & Mike

Details page and Uploader news

Good morning/afternoon everyone,


After the summer vacations, Jon and I are back, hard at work on the site with many projects underway. 


Details page

Over the past week or so, we have been played around with the layout of the details page making it more friendly to use and informative for the customers. This went live yesterday, check it out and let us know what you think!

http://shop.photo4me.com/339620/canvas


Uploader

We are unsure of why the file sizes are not being accepted by the server but being accepted by others. We have pretty much eliminated the possibility that it is the picture itself causing the issue, we think it has to do more with the operating system the pictures are coming from. Rather than spend time on trying to figure out why it happening when we can't see it in front of us, we decided to do a complete rebuild (this has been unexpected) although the uploader is over 4 years old, it got pushed to the front of the projects list. 

We hope that all bugs will be fixed when the new uploader goes live. We don't have release date yet, but it is well under way and we'll update you accordingly.


Thanks for all the hard work you put into the site and we always appreciate your involvement in the community.


Jon & Mike

What you see is what you get

If you take a look at the details page, which over the course of the month has done some extensive work, we’re now starting to show the customer what the products would look like finished.

http://shop.photo4me.com/105066/framed-mounted-print

Today we finished the Framed Mounted Prints display.

We’re going to roll out all the other product displays when they are done.

We hope this will help customers visualize what the product will look like before making purchase.

Let us know what you think!

Jon & Mike

A new buying page

We have been working on a clearer buying experience for the customers for some time. 

We hope you like the new layout and we hope it will increase sales. There are more tweaks including bug fixes to come later this week.

Here you can see it in action:

http://shop.photo4me.com/485824/acrylic

Enjoy
Jon & Mike

Linking an image in your portfolio to a Facebook page/group

Photo4me allows you to choose an image from your portfolio and share it on social media easily with a link back to your portfolio. This is relatively straightforward to do in a few simple steps. 

  1. Login to your account and click on your home button and choose portfolio. 
  2. Click on the image you wish to share.
  3. Click on the Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ link) at the bottom of the image.
  4. Login to facebook then at the top left, choose where you wish to share the photo, I chose in a group, then typed in the name of the group and selected it.
  5. You have the option to write something for it and also set privacy if you're sharing to your timeline.
  6. That's it, nice and simple!
  7. For Twitter simply choose that icon, then input your Twitter login details and change the text if you wish to. 
  8. For Google+ it's exactly the same again.

Ratios for the site

As mentioned, here is the new updated ratios.




The number of sizes available is relative to the number of different sizes we offer across all of our products.

So if you take 1:1 has 14 different size selections. There might be 5 sizes in prints, 6 in canvas, 4 in framed prints and 7 in acrylics. But there is duplicates in sizes but after a size is counted, it won't be added again to the total.

When creating your files, anything with 3+ "different sizes avaliable" gives a good spectrum of size options. 1-2 size sizes avaliable really limit the customer in their choice.


Danger Zone means that if possible, keep the ratio below that level because there isn't many products which can be made and sent out and they are not at all popular.


There is a tolerance of 10%. This means that if there is a square picture but off by a couple pixels, it would bring up all the square products that would be within the 10% tolerance. It would bring up all the square and all the products within that boundary.