Wednesday, 28 November 2007

To sell or to give away photos - that's a difficult question

Recently I've done a shoot at the Perth's Biggest Office Party, a not for profit event that is run each year in the Perth CBD. Several thousand people turned up for music, fashion and of course beer to help support this years charities Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and The Greater Good Foundation. The highlight of the night was the fashion show showcasing fashion and jewelery from around Perth.

With all these interesting things happening, it was relatively easy to get some really great shots of the event, the models in the fashion parade and as well as the performers.

Two beautiesHunk with spiky hairSparkersBreath taking dancers

Now, here comes the big question... when I am being approached by the subjects who ask me for the photos, do I just give them freely or do I actually charge them a fee? The argument goes both ways. We can argue that I should give them freely as it was actually a non commissioned shoot. I was given a free press pass. Like many photographers there, I had access to many places which allowed me to capture some really amazing shots. As an amateur who is starting to go into freelance photography work, this was like serving my apprenticeship. So naturally, I would love to market myself and my service. Giving out free high resolution photos does seem to make sense.

Then again, I was told by my peers (other photographers, both professional and amateurs) by giving out free hi-res photos, I am actually responsible to help destroy the market. I can also see the logic to this side of the argument.

I really don't know which way I'll end up going, but right now, I feel that I should charge for the hi-res photos even if it mean just charging for a really small and nominal sum.

I will love to hear any comments from you readers about your views and opinion on this subject matter.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

"Sales Notification from RedBubble"

When I opened my inbox today, the above subject quickly caught my attention. Great, great, I made my second ever sales today. Oh, I meant, I sold another of my photograph from the RedBubble website today. The feeling was initial one of extreme excitement. After all, I have been disappointed for a while now that I haven't been making any sales since the first one 3 months ago.

I felt like a teenager who has just received his first pay check from a summer holiday job. Of course, the real difference is, I am a grown up, trying to make some "passive income" from my photography hobby.

My feeling quickly sunk when I read the details of the email. This time round, all I will receive in monetary term is barely enough for me to go get a MacDonald Big Mac Value meal. Well, something is better than nothing right? A big mac, fries and a coke is better than pimping for attention in some photo sharing sites like Flickr and Zooomr right?

I certainly hope that this is the start of a "successful" part time career for me. I really hope to kick start my career as a photographer. In the meantime, you can always support me by buying some of my photos :)

All my photos are for sales. My RedBubble website is:

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Hobby, Passion and Obsession

What can start up as a hobby, can quickly turn into a passion, and passion into obsession (or a career). I am talking about my hobby in photography. I am finding myself eat, sleep, daydream, and breath photography these days. Photography has grown from a "healthy" hobby to a really unhealthy one - literally.... I am obsessed with it. There is no one day that will go by without me thinking if I can just look at some photos, or go out and shoot some. I am sleeping less, all because I stay up late at night till wee hours in the morning to surf the internet browsing photos in Flickr or Zooomr, or reading some photography related blogs.


I think that photography is like a deadly virus. Once it gets into your blood, it controls you, your life and your soul. There is always the best photo out there to capture, there will never be enough shots good enough to satisfy our hunger for more images and thirst for seeing the world with new perspectives. Some may even say, photography is like making love. You just want more of it. You will never get tired of having just one more.

So, I am now going to get just one more, just one more best photo ever from me tonight.

"How to Keep Your Job and Be a Part Time Photographer"

I just came across this blog post by alex. Hmmm, the title caught my attention immediately. What is so interesting is that I found this on Digg... which means that a lot of people have read this and voted this post on Digg.

It seems like the advancement and the affordability of digital cameras (especially SLRs) have helped cause a world wide phenomenal... an sudden huge increase in people taking up photography as a hobby or even doing it professionally.

Photography used to be an expensive hobbies. Only the rich and the determined shutter bugs would bravely take up this expensive hobbies. Since the evolution of the digital age, photography has been made relatively affordable to the mass population. The technology has also starting to come about, giving relatively newbies or noobs the ability to create impressive images.

I for one, have jumped unto the bandwagon and took up digital photography about 2 years ago. Now I am at a stage where I think I would love to do some freelance work in the area of Wedding photography. There is something about wedding photography that I have always loved. Perhaps it is about capturing the magic moments, the laughters, the emotion, the tears and smiles are just so captivating. Or, perhaps I simply like looking at beautiful people and beautiful things :)

Well, the post has just re-enforced my beliefs that it is possible to be a part time photographer. After all, my passion for photography has only just begin and it is slowly growing hotter and more passionate by the moment.

Monday, 19 November 2007

I am jaded!

I've been recently thinking hard about my career so far. I think I've achieved pretty much what I've set out for myself since my teenage year. I've always wanted a career in software development ever since I wrote my very first BASIC program on an Apple IIe in my primary school. I have always taken computer programming subjects at secondary and high school. Progressed to University (or College for our American friends) to do a Bachelor in Computer Science, graduated and found a job with a small IT firm which paid me 'peanuts'. Did a few years of "apprenticeship" of "real world" programming and after a few years of "real world" experience, the "padawan" me graduated into a small development team leader and was responsible for delivering a rather major system for a large enterprise. I was going somewhere. Surely I must be proud that I've achieved what I've set out to do since my early teenage years.

Yeah, maybe for 5 seconds, I think I was on top of the software development world. Maybe I even believed I was ready to take on the next journey and get a job with one of the big global software firms like Microsoft or IBM. I even started an open source project to prove that I'm "good". My career progressed and soon I found myself promoted to the application design team which later became the solution architecture team. I too, became a solution architect.

Then why I am "complaining"? What seems to be the "problem"?

I've been trying to work this out myself as well. I think the problem lies in the area of career path and career choices. I am asking myself, what are the possible paths I have in front of me. I don't think I'll ever want to run an IT shop. I don't think I'm cut out to be some CIO, CTO or chief of whatever. I'm like to create, be creative and immerse myself with creative people. I don't enjoy management, especially at big corporate level where people seem to waste lots of time going to big and meaningless meetings rather than solving real issues; decisions coming out from meetings are often based on flawed or warped information or who shouts the loudest; non-stop fire-fighting seems to be the norm; roadmaps for business are more akin to Alice in wonderland than to reality... oh, here's my favourite one.... the business people always want new cool technology or functionlity - yesterday, and sulk when poor souls like me have to bring them back to Earth from Mars.

This is why I am so...... jaded! I need a break!

Oh well, I've just realised how great it is to be able to "vocalise" my frustration. I'm also finding blogging therapy helps. Well, this is really becoming my very own "Doogie Howser, M.D." Diary. It is great to be able to put my thoughts down and verbalise and visualise them, virtualise my responses before I put them into action.

Well, dear blog diary, I shall see you again tomorrow. I shall attempt to do drop a bit of my thoughts each day.

(please forgive me for my bad grammer and typo.... I'm still not used to proof reading what I type - I certain hope to improve in this area - I know, I know, I am lazy! ;)

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Beware of ID theft for Social Networking Service users

Interesting article from The West Australian that should serve as a warning:

"Facebook users at risk of ID theft: watchdog
24th October 2007, 7:30 WST

Facebook users are putting themselves at serious risk of identity theft, they were warned today.

Posting just a handful of personal details on the website can give fraudsters all the information they need.

Armed with information found on your Facebook page, they can open bank accounts and credit cards in your name.

BBC1 consumer show Watchdog conducted an experiment by setting up a fictional identity on Facebook.

The Watchdog team created a user called “Amba Friend”, accompanied by a cartoon picture of an attractive girl in her 20s.

“Amba” then contacted 100 people at random inviting them to be her friend.

Despite knowing nothing about the person, 35 of those contacted replied immediately - giving “Amba” and the Watchdog team access to any personal details they shared on the site.

One of them was Scott Gould, 23, from Devon.

His Facebook entry contained his date of birth and home town.

The team used these clues to find more information about Scott on other publicly available internet sites.

They were then able to open an online bank account in his name and successfully apply for a credit card.

The scam will be seen in tonight’s episode of the show.

When contacted by Watchdog, a shocked Gould said: “I’m very surprised about what you managed to do. I didn’t think it would be possible and I’ve seen with my own eyes what you’ve done with that little bit of information.”

Internet security expert Tom Ilube helped with the experiment.

He said: “It used to take two to three weeks to get enough information to steal an identity. Now it takes two to three hours.

“The reality is that for three out of 10 people, it would be easy to steal their identity.

“That’s why what we’re seeing is a growing number of fraudsters who specialise in online ID fraud, because it’s that easy to do.

“Starting with the social networking sites they don’t actually need a lot of information to build up your identity.”

Such sites - which also include MySpace and Bebo - are expected to have 230 million members worldwide by the end of the year, according to Watchdog.

It is possible to protect your privacy by adjusting your settings, but many users fail to do this.

A Watchdog spokeswoman said: “A lot of people using Facebook are trying to increase the size of their network and want to have as many friends as possible - to the point where they’ll befriend people they don’t even know.

“The program will show what easy prey they are for identity thieves."

So all ye social networking addicts, beware what you reveal in your profile pages. Don't dish out too many personal details. If you are still not convinced the danger of ID theft, watch the movie "The Net".

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Social Networking or marketing havens?

I have always ignored invites from friends asking me to join some online social networking services like Friendster and LinkedIn. However, recently the publicity surrounding MySpace and Facebook got the better of me and I decided to join both of them to see what they are all about. I didn't really go that far with MySpace after signing up. I was quite disappointed that I wasn't able to find any of my friends in MySpace. It seemed to be glorified personal profile page for many attention seekers or "movie stars wannabes".

I wasn't too interested in Facebook initially, but after hearing a few people at work talking about Facebook, I decided to sign up and check it out to see what is so special about Facebook compared with the other social networking service.

Interesting to my surprise, I was able to find nearly two dozen people I know of immediately after signing up facebook. I have even managed to find a couple of old University friends and 1 high school friend whom I've lost contact with for more than 15 years. Wow, I am surely impressed. To top this, Facebook is not just about finding people and customising your own profile page, it keeps people interested in allowing people to create software applications to allow friends to interact with: games, quizzes, virtual gifts, you name it. There are some hundreds of applications available for you to "play" with.

It seems like Facebook knows its target audience, it knows its consumers. I think it is pretty much targeting the Generation Y & Generation Z consumers. With more than 1 million users, Facebook is a rich and fat ground for marketers. It is not to hard to image that Facebook will be able to data mine user profiles and activities, allowing companies to market their products at specific group of users. Targeted marketing is the name of the game in the world of marketing these days. Demographic segmentation of users by age, gender, preferences, likings such as movies, music, food, etc... is made possible by Facebook's database of really rich personal profile data.

I believe this focus and targeted marketing will be most effective, more so than Google's AdSense which really relies on unreliable guessworks based on internet surfing profiles or scanning of keywords on web pages.

So is social networking simply a lure to gain profiles on consumers? I certainly think so...

My FujiFim S9500 - 14th Months on

I recently wrote a post about my beloved FujiFilm FinePix S9500 digital (bridge) camera on its first anniversary, entitled "My FujiFim S9500 - One year on".

Little would I know that in just over 2 months after I wrote that post, my camera's command-dial broke. Apparently, this is quite a common issue for this camera. I found a number of discussion threads in various photography and camera forums in which owners of this model of camera complained about their broken command-dial. In fact, someone in Flickr even posted photos of the steps he took to fix his camera's command dial. See his photos here.

Anyway, I contacted FujiFilm Australia and stated my case and they kindly offered to fix my camera for free as a gesture of goodwill. Well, FujiFilm is now back in my good books. After all, I have 4 different FujiFilm digital cameras and have at one time considered getting a FujiFilm FinePix S5 Pro body.

Has been quite a while since...

I last wrote on my blog. Wow, nearly 2 months of inactivity. Ok, a quick summary of the major happenings since my last post:

1. went to Sydney and Port Macquarie with my family in October for approximately 2 weeks. Had a great time there. Hope to post some photos here soon,

2. my Good 'o FujiFilm S9500 camera's command dial broke while I was shooting in Sydney. Apparently, this is common fault in this camera model but FujiFilm Australia said otherwise. More soapbox stuff on this topic later.

3. I got another gig to shoot a wedding. This time as an assisting photographer again. I am happy to get this wedding shoot. I love being a wedding photographer. I love shooting beautiful people and beautiful things. I do hope I get more gigs in the very near future as both Simoom and I are really interested in doing weddings.

Well, there you go... the major highlights of my life in the last two months :)