Huge Commission Rate Increases

First and foremost, we at candidtag want to thank everyone for the huge amount of support and positive feedback we have been receiving across the entire web community.  We have recently been featured on BBC Travel, PetaPixel, and Reddit where we received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback.  All that being said, some of our users felt that our commission rates were too low, and we have responded by making very significant increases in the commission rates that we offer photographers.  The updated commission rates are as follows:

Sales Range Commission %
0.00 – 49.99 50%
50.00 – 99.99 55%
100.00 – 199.99 60%
200.00 – 299.99 65%
300.00 and up 70%

With commission rates now

starting at 50%, we believe that the added incentive for photographers will result in more photographers using the site.

Winter Photography Tips

While I consider myself modest when

evaluating my photography skills, if there is one thing that I am truly an expert at, it is winter photography. Born and raised in Chicago, I have endured some of the toughest winters seen by the lower 48, and here are some pointers that I think will really help young photographers make excellent images during the winter time.

1. Better safe than sorry. When it comes to preparation, you are better safe than sorry.  Dress warm, put on one or two more layers than you think you need.  Bring a hat, gloves, scarf, two pairs of socks, facemask etc.  You don’t want to find yourself rushing, or even passing on more compositions or angles simply because you are too cold.

Lonely Tree by Santo Rizutto

2. Tis the season. Take advantage of things that are only around during the winter time.  Snow, whether it is fresh on the ground or falling out of the sky, makes for fantastic images. Furthermore, Christmas lights, trees and other holiday decor will add important context to your holiday photographs.

Manzella Cascade Gloves

3.Gear Up. Make sure that you have the right gear for the season. Photography gloves are a great addition to your gear collection, keeping your hands warm while still giving you the ability to move the controls on your camera. Try the Manzella Cascade gloves, pictured right.  Also make sure that you have a warm jacket, hat, pants, boots etc, and anything else you can find that will make you feel comfortable and not let the winter weather get the best of you.

4. Tis the Off-Season.  For most places, the winter time is the off-season for tourism. Take advantage of the empty streets, and shoot places that you normally wouldn’t dare because of the heavy influx of people.  Super Bowl Sunday and New Years are great days for photographers to capture the most touristy locations without the people. Hope you don’t like football!

A Matrix of Lights by Christopher Schoenbohm

Portrait Photographer Portfolios – Kris Kesiak

For today’s inaugural installment of Portrait Photographer Portfolios, we proudly welcome Kris Kesiak.  You can check out Kris’ website, flickr page, twitter, and facebook.  Kris is a ridiculously talented portrait photographer from the UK, let’s all give him a big candidtag welcome!
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I’m 32, was born in Poland and have lived in Glasgow for almost a decade now. I’ve been taking pictures for as long as I remember there being some sort of camera around, probably since I was 10 or so. First money I ever made was by taking portraits of people when I was about 16 but I never really thought of doing it professionally until only a few years ago. I graduated from University in the meantime (English major), worked as a teacher, moved to Glasgow and, cutting a very long story short, ended up running a small graphic design & print business which I still do alongside being a freelance photographer.
Lost in Music • Upside Down (Boy You Turn Me)
What equipment do you use? Specifically, camera body, lenses, flashes, strobes etc.
My main body is Nikon D700 (LOVE this camera). I also got an ancient Zenit 11 (first SLR I ever owned) and a Nikon D40. My main lenses are Nikkor 50mm f1.4 and a Nikkor 24mm f2.8 and I’ve got a couple of Nikon SB 600s along with a lot of Lastolite portable kit (on and off camera softboxes, stands, etc).
How much time on average

do you spend post-processing, and what software do you use?

I mainly use Aperture with various plug-ins and, for heavier retouching, Photoshop. It’s hard to tell how long post-processing takes as it really depends on the nature of the shoot – portraits with a lot of skin work involved are most time-consuming.
How did you get into photography, and have you had any formal training in photography?
I don’t remember any particular moment where I first thought “wow, I love photography”, it’s just something I’ve always enjoyed, it felt natural. I’ve not had any formal training apart from a couple of evening courses dealing with more technical aspects of photography.
Which photographer has influenced you the most?
I would have to say Herb Ritts. I love the fact he worked mostly with natural light and had an amazing eye for beauty and form. His work is absolutely timeless in my opinion.
The Other Side
If you had only one lens to use for the rest of your photography career, which would it be?
The 50mm f1.4, no doubt. It’s lovely, especially on a full frame camera – super sharp, fast, bright and with beautiful bokeh.
This is one of my absolute favorite shots of yours:
Can you describe the moment you took this shot?  Were you trying to get the baby to make this pose? When you took the shot, did you know right away that it was a great one?
Glad you like it. My approach to photographing children is basically letting them do what they do and keep snapping. That’s exactly what happened there, her mum was at her side and we were all chatting to the baby, laughing, etc and I guess at one point Kiera (who was 4 months old at the time) just got fed up and started blowing raspberries at us. It was very funny and I remember thinking at the time it was going to be a great shot.
Which photograph that you have taken is your favorite?
I think this shot is one of my favourites: 
I've Seen It All

 It’s my gran arranging flowers in her veranda. She’s had a really hard life and I think you can see it in her eyes here. It’s quite personal.

Do you prefer natural lighting or some form of strobes/flashes?
Strobes are great and you can get really creative with them but personally I prefer the quality of natural light and, if I can get away with it, I will shoot with a reflector only.

When did you just know that you wanted to make a career out of photography?
As mentioned before, I never really thought of it being a career. I just kept taking photographs throughout the years because I thoroughly enjoyed doing it, I built up a portfolio, had it online and all of a sudden, couple of years ago, people started getting in touch with me offering money to shoot this or that. It all happened very organically and I’m still trying to get my head around it but it feels fantastic to now be able to make money doing something that’s been a hobby all my life. 

Have you ever had an absolute disaster occur during one of your shoots ie out of batteries, camera breaks or some other form of adversity? If so, how did you deal with it?
I was doing a cover shoot for DIVA magazine a couple of months ago, we were on location in this abandoned Victorian prison in Glasgow and all of a sudden my strobes stopped working. I changed the batteries, tried everything but it seemed like the camera wasn’t communicating with the strobes anymore (I was shooting in commander mode), might’ve been some frequency disturbance or something, don’t know. I tried not to show I was in complete panic and just relocated to another part of the building to take some natural light shots while at the same time trying to figure out in my head how to fix the strobe situation. After 15 minutes or so I checked the strobes again and, weirdly enough, everything was back to normal. The funny thing was that those natural light shots were among the best ones taken that day.

Stella Bartram
Anything else you would like to mention to our readers?
If anybody has an idea about what happened to those bloody strobes in that prison, I’d be eternally grateful! :-)

Candidtagging Tips – Part 1

We are going to proactively title this post “Part 1″ since we anticipate doing many many more of these posts, since this is, after all, what this blog is all about.

The concept of taking pictures of strangers is nothing new, however, only after Candidtag came along have photographers been able to able to profit from it.  Candid street portraits are a great way for photographers

to improve their skills.  Rather than taking pictures in the same places of the same people, Candidtagging forces the photographer to make new images, and experiment with new scenery and subjects.  Street portraits are a great way for photographers to gain real experience in photography.  Photographers that do this will find that they are well prepared for any lighting and scenery situation since they have dealt with so many diverse combinations before.

Here are a few tips to improve your candidtagging, and there are plenty more to come!

  1. It’s OK to pose- Just because the site has “candid” in it, doesn’t mean you can’t ask your subjects to pose.

    2011/07/24 Olga

  2. Take Lots of Pictures- While we would never condone the run-and-gun approach to photography, taking lots of pictures can really help you grow as a photographer, and you will find that you are far more likely to capture that perfect moment.  By taking lots of photos you will be able to get a better sense of which shots worked and which didn’t work and why.  Gathering this information will help you put yourself in more likely to succeed positions the next time you are out.  We are fortunate to live in the digital era where taking extra pictures costs you nothing. Take advantage of this.

    Licking her Finger

  3. Use a Zoom Lens – As I mentioned in my 5 Tips for Great Portrait Photography, a bokeh can really differentiate an image between what’s considered amateur and pro.  In addtion to being able to get a better bokeh, a long lens is a great way to separate the photographer from the scene.

    Some Kid and Mr. Bokeh

  4. Don’t Be Shy- Life is too short to be shy!  Don’t be afraid to approach someone and ask for their permission to take a photo.  Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of eye contact.

    January 9, 2010 - Joey

Thanks for checking out the first installment of candidtagging tips!  Come back soon!

5 Tips for Great Portrait Photography

If you are wondering how to create striking portrait images, you have come to the right place. In today’s post I would like to give my five most important tips to making great portraits.

  1. Bring out the Bokeh – While getting a bokeh just right takes some practice, it can really bring attention towards the part of the portrait that you would like to emphasize.  Also, point and shoot cameras are incapable of shooting at low f-stops, so using a dslr to take a picture with a very out of focus background adds not only drama, but a sense of professionalism to the photo.

    What to my wondering eyes should appear ...

  2. Capture it in the Camera- We’ve all broken this rule.  You take a picture with what you think is a minor flaw and you think to yourself, “it’s ok, I can fix that in photoshop”.  This is

    really bad practice that we all need to break immediately. It can lead to putting little effort into the shoot itself, and expecting to produce a quality photo from something that simply is not.  While being proficient in photoshop can be a great asset to photographers, it is important to remember that we are photographers first, and that is the skill which we should primarily seek to improve.

    The cutest boy in the world

  3. I say it’s all about the Eyes- The eyes are the most important part of almost any portrait. Think about it, no other body part expresses as much emotion as the eyes, and it’s no surprise that when shooting a portrait you should focus on them.  Often, the eyes tell the story of the portrait, and can even lead the viewer into looking a certain direction.


  4. Capture Candidly-  Having someone pose for your picture gives you a chance to set up and gather the corect settings in attempt to capture something “perfectly”, however, we need remember that photography is an art and not a science.  More often that not, a candid image expresses more emotion, and expresses a more real experience to the viewer.

    Snowfall - No. 12

  5. Shoot Early, Shoot Often – Back in the film days, photographers had to pay for each roll of film that they used.  Think about the advantage that we have today with manufacturers being able to cram more and more space into smaller and smaller devices. Take advantage of this!  If you find yourself questioning whether or not a scene might look interesting from a different angle or with a different pose, it can’t hurt to take it. As they say in sports, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.

How To Become a Professional Photographer

In the not so distant past, the answer to the question, “How do I become a professional photographer” was a very complicated one. You see, becoming a great photographer not only required great skill, but it also necessitated quite a large budget. Purchasing a good camera, lenses, flashes, tripods etc, required a would be professional to make

a huge investment in pursuing his or her craft as trade. That is simply not the case today. The costs involved in producing professional quality photography equipment has declined drastically.  Yesterday’s photographers would likely die to have equipment half as effective as some of today’s BOTTOM SHELF consumer merchandise.

Nikon D3100

This leads us to the question, “What Separates Professional Photographers from Gadget Junkies?” This is a much simpler question and can be answered in a word, experience. Experience is what separates amateurs, hobbyists, and gear snobs from professional photographers. This can cause quite the dilemma for photographers trying to cross the barrier and call themselves “pros”.  How can an inexperienced camera owner gain practice if it’s the lack of practice that’s holding them back in the first place?  Let’s face it, you aren’t gonna win a wedding contract with a portfolio filled with pictures of your dog/cat/mom/etc.  Many of us have resorted to doing portrait shoots free of charge under the condition that the photos taken can be used to boost the photographers portfolio.  This is simply not fair.  You paid for your camera, you spent hours reading tutorials online about aperture, exposure, ISO, white balance, focal length etc. You spent your valuable time before the shoot researching the setting, during the shoot taking pictures, and after the shoot post processing.   This is a business model that simply won’t last.

The italics now should serve as a disclaimer that the below content is promotional and should be regarded as such.

Candidtag allows photographers to gain experience and profit from their work at the same time. Candidtag allows photographers to work at becoming professionals, while getting paid. Furthermore, Candidtag removes all risk associated with a professional contract.  If your equipment malfunctions while out on the job, no big deal. You can pick up where you left off.  Sign Up for Candidtag today, and jump on the fast track to becoming a pro!


How to Earn Money from your Photography

Welcome to the Candidtag blog! Before we go any further, you should Sign Up for Candidtag. Candidtag is a free service that allows photographers to make money for taking pictures.  But i’m going to assume that you already knew that, and you know exactly How It Works.

In today’s inaugural post I would like to to talk about my frustrations as an amateur photographer trying to turn my favorite hobby, photography, into a profession.  I am, and always have been, my toughest critic. When I first got into photography it was all about impressing myself.  I sought

out new sights. I searched for new places fresh to my own eyes. As I became a more experienced photographer, and a better one, I started to post my pictures on facebook, and some friends started taking a liking to my work.  As I stringently critiqued my own work for things like an improper application of the rule of thirds,  blown highlights, or other flaws that only a photographer would notice, my friends didn’t seem to care. My friends seemed to like the photos that they could connect with, images that were relevant to them.

My friends began reaching out to me about purchasing my photos because the subject was a building they walk past every day, their old college campus, or a path they used to walk down as a kid.  I vividly remember receiving a message from my friend wanting to purchase a canvas of a photo that I had taken very early on in my picture taking career.  I literally told him that I had messed up so many things in the  photo that I could not justify charging someone money for it.  He insisted on purchasing it anyway.

After selling a few photographs I seriously considered pursuing photography as a full time career.  As my photographic skill and experienced improved, however, the interest from friends and family stayed the same. People only seemed to be interested in photographs that they could relate to.

I began doing portraits for friends and families because portraits, after all, are relevance to the extreme.  This went pretty well until I ran out of friends interested in having portraits taken. This didn’t bother me too much though because I was more interested in taking the pictures that I wanted to take, not those that were being demanded by clients.  It seemed like I had to choose between taking the pictures that would sell, or taking the ones that I wanted to take. What I realized is that only the greatest photographers have the luxury of being able to take the photographs that they want to take and still make money from them.

This single realization is what sparked Candidtag.  Candidtag allows photographers to capture the images that they want to, while keeping those images relevant to their clients.  It combines the freedom of art which can only be expressed when it chooses to, with the extreme relevance to the audience as a portrait session. If you haven’t done so yet, I invite you to Sign Up and discover what many other photographers are starting to find out.