Monday, January 30, 2012

Annual Blog Reader Survey and Giveaway!

It's that time of year again... we're running our annual blog reader survey and celebrating our "blogiversary" with a giveaway! We want this blog to be posting the content that YOU are interested in reading about, so we put out a little survey every year to gather some information about what you like about it and what you don't. The survey is completely anonymous, most of the answers are multiple choice, and it should only take a few minutes of your time to complete.

As a thank you for your time and responses, we're also doing a corresponding giveaway...

The winner will receive:
* A 2TB External Hard Drive: Western Digital My Book Essential
* A copy of the new book Fearless Photographer: Film In The Digital Era
* And a 2012 KEH Photo Calendar


To enter:
Just complete the survey and then come back to this post and leave us a comment letting us know that you completed it. (If you don't want to enter the giveaway, we would still appreciate your survey responses).

For an extra entry, "like" us on Facebook and "follow" us on Twitter and leave a separate comment below letting us know that you did. 

When leaving a comment below, if you do not have an account on one of the selected profiles, choose the "Name/URL" option and fill in your name (and website if you have one).


Rules:
Survey and giveaway run 1/30 through Sunday, February 12th.

A winner will be chosen at random and announced on the blog (as well as on Facebook) on Tuesday, 2/14. Winner must respond within one week to claim the prize. Winners will not be contacted directly unless an email address or website with a listed email address is left on their comment.


More info. about the prizes: 


2TB External Hard Drive by Western Digital- This sleek external hard drive features a dual USB 3.0/2.0 interface for wide-ranging compatibility and fast transfer speeds. Automatic, continuous backup keeps your data safe. Provides ample storage space for your photos, music, movies, and other files. Comes with password protection and hardware encryption to secure your data. Compatible with PC with Mac computers. Portable, black, and software included. System Requirements- PC: Windows XP, Vista, 7; Mac: OS X Leopard, Snow Leopard.


Fearless Photographer: Film In The Digital Era- A photography reference book by Joseph Prezioso and Ingrid Nelson. Released 2012, 207 pages. Chapters on: Film cameras, why to choose film, camera maintenance, film stocks, the hybrid workflow, developing film, pushing film, movie films for still, prints, weddings on film, assignments, and resources. 

 2012 KEH Photography Calendar- 8.5x11" wall calendar. 15 different photographs.



Ready?

* Take Survey Here *

Thanks and good luck!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Photo Equipment Quirks

Even though we always suggest getting a users manual with your newly acquired photographic gear, many people do not. This often leads to returns for items that are "broken", when really the item is in fine working order. Many cameras have quirks or tricks to them that you may only know about if someone shows you hands-on, or by reading the instruction book. While we still suggest getting an instruction book or users manual, here are a few of the top offenders for having photographic equipment quirks...


Pentax 6x7- If tripped without a battery, or with a dead battery, the mirror will hang up in mid travel. To reset, press the Safety Device Release Button (located below the left strap lug) with a pointed object, and press the shutter button for one blank exposure.  Insert a new battery after the mirror has been reset.


Pentax 6x7 TTL Prism- The meter prism must be attached to the camera body before the lens is attached to ensure proper meter coupling. Motor will appear to be inoperative if not done in proper sequence.


Mamiya RZ- The dots around the shutter release button are for the following: Red = release lock, orange = manual/emergency 1/125th sec., white = regular/on.


Mamiya M645- If this camera is fired without a battery and locks up, hit the battery check button to release the mirror.


Bronica- This camera likes silver oxide batteries best (rather than alkaline) for the most reliable functionality.


Lenses with push/pull focus ring- This lens has a push-pull focus selector. Simply push or pull the entire focus ring to switch between auto focus and manual focus. (For more info. on this topic, see "the locking collar" on this post)


Nikon (FM, FM2(N), FE, FE2)- The advance lever must be in the “stand out” position to expose the red dot on the top plate of the camera body in order to function. If using the camera with a motor drive however, the advance lever must be in “flush position” (against the camera body) to work correctly.


Leica R (R3 and up)- Leica R cameras (models R3 and up) require a 3 cam or 3rd cam (R-only cam) lens for proper meter function. 1 or 2 cam lenses are for the standard and SL series cameras respectively, and will give inaccurate meter readings on the later R cameras. 3rd cam (R only) will not mount on early (non-R) Leicaflexes.


Rollei S and T series cameras- The shutter must be cocked before collapsing the lens. Attempting to collapse the lens before cocking can cause damage.


Rollei Twin Lens Cameras (later models)- In order the activate the film counter and engage the camera, the film must be placed under the sensing roller (the silver roller at the bottom of the camera closest to the film spool) before being put into the take-up (empty) spool at the top.


Mamiya 6 and 7- To fire the camera you must advance the shutter, attach the lens, and then pull the textured button on the bottom of the camera down to open the curtain. In order to remove the lens from the body, you must first cock the shutter, then close the curtain by turning the crank on the bottom of the camera counter-clockwise. Then you can push the lens release button.


Fuji GS645- To close the camera, you must set the lens on infinity, advance the shutter, and then push the “closing” bar. (This is also true for many other folding cameras)


Pentax K2- To change the film speed, first set the exposure factor control dial at “1x”. While depressing the ASA ring lever, turn the ASA ring until the ASA number of your film is opposite the orange index mark.


Nikon AF 35mm Cameras- If you see an “FEE” error code flash on the camera's LCD screen, you must set the aperture ring all the way to the minimum aperture (the number on the aperture dial that is red or orange) in order for the camera to read the minimum aperture on the lens. (For more info. on this topic, read "The Top 2 Camera Error Codes")


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Alpha Elk: Getting the Shot


My younger brother and I met up for a west coast road trip and along the way I planned a few hikes to get out, camp, and take photographs. One evening my brother and I were collecting wood for a bonfire in the forests of Northern California. Just before sparking a match to some kindling, I happened to look up to the view of 30 elk, mostly female. They were visibly nervous, and the only way for them to move up stream was past us. My brother and I tucked ourselves into the forest and allowed them to pass.

Elk are one of the largest deer species in the world. They are rivaled by moose and brown bear when considering the largest land mammal in North America. Males will test dominance with the violent act of antler wrestling. Dominant bulls usually follow groups of cows during the rut, but at the time of this encounter, we didn’t know that.

We exited the woods after the group had passed just in time to see the bull approach. With a snort and stomp from the alpha elk, we found ourselves back in the forest, camera in one brother’s hand, gun in the others.

I ended up taking many photos of the herd of elk, but only three shots of the alpha for fear of annoying it. The alpha appeared much more agitated by our company then the rest, so we were cautious to stay on its good side. Luckily, it was magic hour lighting and the sun was slightly diffused by a low cloud line. My post production was kept simple with a bit of added contrast and desaturation.



Contributor Bio:  Brandon Hauser was born in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he received his first camera. This became his favorite hiking companion and eventually brought him to California to pursue an education in photography. After graduating from Brooks Institute of Photography, Brandon was offered a job in Alaska where he now resides. His work has become a part of the Juneau, AK city museum and the Alaska State Council on the Arts. Southeast Alaska has pushed him and his photography to new heights and his love for the land becomes stronger every year as does the itch to never stop making photographs.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Scanning Film: Outsource It or Do It Yourself?

You may have been in the situation where you had a photo shoot and your film is ready to be developed, but you don’t just want prints and negatives. You want to be able to edit your photos on your computer, share them online, and be able to print them on your inkjet printer whenever you want. For all of these things, you will need digital scans.

When it comes to scanning your film, you have a few options. Each has their own price point and set of pro’s and cons.

scanning at home with a flat bed scanner


For at-home scanning:

You can just have your negatives developed (by yourself or by a lab) and then scan them at home. You can use a flatbed scanner with a negative light (usually LED) that will allow you to scan strips of negatives in usually any size from 8mm to 8x10”. Most flatbed scanners have low dynamic range (the amount of shades of gray from white to black). The higher the dynamic range, the more information or detail your scanner will be able to pull out of the shadows in your negative. The other flaw of most flatbeds is sharpness. Negatives must be held flat for the image to be scanned sharply and most of the film holders that come with flatbeds are flimsy and won’t hold a negative perfectly flat. There are third party film holders you can purchase that will make this a little better however. Flatbeds are usually the most inexpensive way to scan your film. Tip: It will also be handy to have a dust blower on hand, as you'll want your flatbed as clean as can be. Any dust on the negative or glass will show up on your scans.

Pictured: Nikon Super COOLSCAN 5000 ED  (35mm film & slide scanner)

Your next at-home option is to get a dedicated film scanner like a Nikon Coolscan (I recommend the Nikon Coolscan 4000- I love this scanner for 35mm), a Minolta Dimage, or an Imacon. These scanners are your best option for high quality at-home scans. These machines are set up for film-only and not for documents or prints like a flatbed is. Some film scanners just scan 35mm, but the higher-end models can also scan medium format (and sometimes large format) film sizes. Dedicated film scanners can scan entire rolls of film, a single slide, or a film strip. The better models include digital ICE to remove any dust and even multi-pass scans. In multi-pass scans, the negative is scanned several times, each time for a different highlight or shadow level so that you get a file that has all of the highlight and shadow detail in it. This feature increases scan time but creates the best scans. Depending on your DPI setting and multi-pass setting, a roll can be scanned anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour (multi-pass increases the scan time greatly).

At-home scanning takes time and effort. You will have to color correct and watch out for dust. If you are only shooting a few rolls of film here and there, or just want the ability to scan right away when you develop your rolls, then this option is great. If you're shooting a lot of work on film where a good chunk of it needs to be scanned in (such as a wedding photographer) however, then I would recommend considering outsourcing your scanning to a lab, or even have the lab develop and scan your film at the same time. If you are like me and have over 30 rolls a job to develop and scan, then this is a great time saver.

scanning process options, computer screen


For photo lab scans:

Having your lab scan your film is definitely time saving, but more costly than doing it yourself. With labs, you don’t have as many options as you would with doing it yourself, but you do still have options.

Most labs scan on one of two kinds of commercial scanners, a Fuji Frontier or a Noritsu. Both scanners are awesome but both have different ways of reading color and rendering sharpness. Some photographers prefer the Fuji for color and the Noritsu for black and white. Your best bet if you're planning on outsourcing a lot of scanning it is to send the same roll of film to a few different labs and then compare the results before you choose which lab as your go-to lab.

scanning at a pro photo lab


I have found that the machine the lab uses is not as important as the person doing the scanning however. The lab employe that is doing the scanning has more control over how your image will look then anyone else. A good lab will talk to you about how you want your film to be scanned, how much contrast you like, your color tone, etc. For example, do you want your images to look cool or warm? These are options a good lab will offer you.

Watch for labs that don’t color correct or watch for dust on your film. The scans you get back should be clean and free of dust. One dot of dust here and there is fine, but if you are getting dust all over your scans, find a new lab. The scans you get back should be good enough to blog or print. (This is of course when we are talking about professional photographic labs and not the scans you can get at your local drug store photo lab.) Having a good lab do your work will create a relationship and consistent end product for you and your clients.

Most labs offer two different sizes of film scans- 6 megapixels and 11 megapixels. Average cost at a good lab for the 6 megapixel range is $15 for a develop and scan at the same time. An 11 megapixel scan will cost more since it takes the lab’s machine longer to render the images.

Labs I personally recommend: Richard Photo Lab, North Coast Photo Lab, and The Finer Image Photo Lab (I use all three of these labs and get great work from them).

While labs may cost you more out of pocket, it can save you time and energy. And on the flip side, if you like to experiment with your film or have complete control, then purchasing your own scanner and doing it yourself is a great option. Which ever way you decide to go, the scanning features that you need to especially pay attention to (or ask about) are the scan size (file size), dynamic range (image shadow detail), and digital ICE (dust detection and removal).


* Find scanners for at-home scanning on KEH.com: Nikon Scanners and Minolta Scanners
* Click here for more places to buy and develop film



Contributor Bio:  Joseph Prezioso is a professional photographer who has been shooting for over twelve years and went from shooting film, to 100% digital, and then back to film again. He says, "By trade I am a wedding photographer, I shoot over 30 weddings a year and this year they were all on film. My career started as a newspaper photographer though. I was 16 and like Jimmy Olsen. I learned on the streets shooting next to veteran photographers for the AP and Boston Globe (I worked for some weeklies but I got to cover a lot of cool events that the big news guys covered too!). Film is something I have fallen in love with, its the medium I learned on. Film will always be something special to me. It feels more versatile and creative in my hands then when I am using digital."  

Prezioso's most recent book Fearless Photographer: Film in the Digital Era was released earlier this month. Check it out and stay tuned for an upcoming giveaway to win a copy!  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Photos of the Month

Rafael
Rafael, by: Lance King
Untitled, by: Girish Sharma
Faces of Van
Faces of Van, by: rob704
unedited beauty
Unedited beauty, by: xazzz
at the end of my rope...
At the end of my rope, by: Lori C.
The Perfect Tree...
The Perfect Tree, by: dsfdawg
Tree
Tree, by: Nora Vrublevska
Around Kendall
Around Kendall, by: Dan Squires
Bergdorf Goodman Holiday Window Large Format Photo Shoot
Bergdorf Goodman Holiday Window Large Format Photo Shoot, by: Shawn Hoke
Analog
Analog, by: abe.o
urban renewal
Urban renewal, by: Chris/ sprite_pixie
Just a Day...
Just a Day..., by: Lindsey/ snaperture
Pine Flat Peace
Pine Flat Peace, by: Sequoia Creative
Peeking | Asomándose
Peeking/ Asomandose, by: Eduardo Romero
Mists of Avalon
Mists of Avalon, by: John Cothron

* All photos submitted to the KEH Camera Flickr Group.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Identifying Wood Types for Large Format Cameras

One of the unique features of some large format cameras is that they are beautifully crafted out of a variety of woods. For someone who isn't very familiar with the different types, this guide will help you in identifying the different wood options. (Keep in mind that colors, shades/tints, and wood grain can all vary within one wood type, but this is a pretty good general representation of the woods.)


Cherry: A slightly yellowish wood, sometimes with pink tones. Color becomes darkened by sun or time. Used in both 4x5 Wista Field and Zone VI Classic cameras.
Mahogany: A reddish brown. Used in Zone VI Classic cameras.

Rosewood: A rich reddish brown. Often confused with Mahogany but will have black or white rings in the wood grain. Usually richer, redder, and darker than most mahogany samples. Used in 4x5 Wista Filed cameras.
Walnut: A traditional brown. Used in Zone VI Classic cameras.

Ebony: A darker brown, often smoky or blackish. Used in 4x5 Zone VI cameras.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

5 Reasons You're Not Booking Photography Sessions

If your calendar is looking bare and your phone is mysteriously silent, there may be more than just the slow economy to blame.  It may be time to take a hard look at your business to see what needs to change to get paying customers walking through the door.  Here are some of the roadblocks that we have personally run into with our business or that I've seen other photographers hit in the past.

copyright Erik Reis/ iStockphoto

Who's That?
If you've just started your photography business and you're expecting a rush of anxious customers at your ribbon cutting ceremony, you're probably going to be disappointed.  The steady stream of customers will instead likely start off looking like a slow drip.  In the beginning, people don't know you're there and don't recognize that you do quality work so why would they book you?  Even veteran photographers face this challenge when they move their studio to another city.  Either way, you've got to establish a solid customer base as fast as you can.

Quality To Price Mismatch
We probably all dream of clients who spend like price doesn't matter.  That's more fairytale than reality though.  Clients do care about how much they spend.  Even the higher end clients who have the money to spend are not going to just hand it over to you if your images are not up to par with their expectations.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard veteran photographers tell a group of start-up photographers that they should set their prices wherever they want to and just look for the clients that will pay them the price they randomly decided on.  If you had a couple thousand dollars to spend on portraits, would you choose the kid next door or the one who has mastered his craft across town?  I'd choose the master, and I think you would too.  Try to price appropriately for your skill level, and you'll have a much better chance booking clients.

Bad Reputation
Good news travels fast, but bad news travels faster.  That principle holds true for what people are saying about your business.  While you may do a hundred things right when dealing with a customer, the one thing you do wrong will be the first mention your business gets when your customer starts talking to friends.  Your reputation is even more on-display now than ever before with Google reviews, Yelp, Facebook, and other websites built to collect customer reviews.  If your customers are complaining about the same issue frequently, it's probably a process that needs fixed.  If you're consistently delivering albums 6 months late, either farm them out or start staying up late to get them done.  Apologize where you've let a customer down, and work toward re-building your good reputation.

Weak Portfolio
Having a great portfolio is about more than just collecting your best "wow" images.  Having 100 amazing close-ups of flowers isn't going to impress a client wanting you to take portraits of their family.  Not only does a strong portfolio need good images, it needs the type of images that you're wanting people to pay for.  I'm pretty sure you're not going to get your next paid gig shooting a field of flowers.  If your flower images look better than your wedding images, put some serious time, energy, and money into developing the skills you need to take better wedding images.

Broken Booking Process
The booking process should be a no-brainer.  If a client is ready to book a session, you've done your job and it's time to collect on all your hard work.  There are times when this step can break up the entire deal though.  Did you forget to include a phone number or email on the website?  You'd be surprised how many times I come across photographers' websites that literally have no way to contact the photographer.  There are more subtle ways the booking process could be broken too.  I've seen cases where a customer is faced with having to fill out a complicated contact us form and decides to skip all the effort.  If you're taking days to respond to voicemails or emails, customers often move on to find someone else.  We've even forgotten to record an "on vacation" voicemail greeting and lost frustrated customers.

Change Is Good
If you see yourself in one of the scenarios I just described, fix it now!  If you're not sure what your problem is, you may need to do a little research.  Ask your friends.  Ask previous customers.  Change things up, and try something new in your business.  Bottom line: stop blaming and start fixing!



Contributor Bio:
TJ and Larissa are passionate about the business of photography, and they have recently made it their goal to be named one of the top 10 wedding photographer teams in the world. They are located in Southern Illinois. Read their other guest post 5 Ways Photographers Are Wasting Money On Marketing.

Website: http://www.larissaphotography.com/
+ Their photography education blog: http://www.larissaphotography.com/blog/

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Photo Charities: Part 2

A few years ago we posted about seven different charities that are making a difference through photography. Since then, we have also posted about numerous other charities and organizations that are also either working towards change or shining some light on an individuals life by way of photography. Today, we have nine more to add to the list of places to check out and consider donating some of your time to.



The Tiny Light Foundation- A non-profit organization that provides professional photography for children and families that have been faced with a life altering diagnoses. "Our mission is to provide and capture memories that will help provide a family with one less thing to worry about." (Located throughout Canada)






The Pablove Foundation- The mission of The Pablove Foundation is to fund pediatric cancer research and advances in treatment, educate and empower cancer families, and improve the quality of life for children living with cancer through hospital play, music and arts programs. We fight on in order to amplify one simple message: kids get cancer too. The Pablove Shutterbugs program teaches children living with cancer to develop their creative voice through the art of photography. The photography program runs for eight-weeks for pediatric cancer patients in the Los Angeles and New York areas.





Images for a Cure- Images for a Cure is an annual event promoting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, our beneficiary charity. The event normally takes place during the fall (usually October, in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month). Each participating photography studio agrees to donate 100% of their session fees for that day to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, via our FirstGiving page. (U.S.)



Shoots for a Cure- Shoots for a Cure, formerly known as Think Pink Photography, is a charitable organization that serves two main purposes – celebrating life and supporting the cause. Now that TPP has changed, we support all types of cancers. Through our professional photographer network, we are helping cancer patients to celebrate life with charitable photography sessions. Sessions are available to document the fight before or during treatment or to celebrate the victory when treatment is completed. (Worldwide)


Tiny Sparrow Foundation- A non-profit organization dedicated to providing lasting memories through the beautiful art of photography to the families with children who are facing life threatening illnesses. With the help of photographers nationwide, we are able to give a beautiful album that will carry the love, joy and everlasting memory of each individual family. (U.S.)


Inspiration Through Art- A non-profit organization dedicated to empowering young people to give back, and make a difference through the beauty of art. Through our own artistic talents we are able to come together as one, to let children around the world know that they are loved, despite the challenges they face everyday. Our mission is to help provide and capture memories for families who are dealing with hectic schedules due to having a child who is suffering from a serious illness or life altering disability. We offer photography sessions for children or families as well as care packages. (U.S.)


Dog Meets World- An ambitious effort to put photos in the hands of all kids and families in need, often for the first time. When traveling take along "Foto" the unifying pup prop and a portable printer and give out tangible joy as a photo diplomat. Each photo shared plants a seed of peace. (Worldwide)


HeARTs Speak- HeARTs Speak was created to harness the power of art to effect social change, to connect artists with shelters and animal relief organizations, and ultimately, to save and better the lives of animals and people. We connect Rescues/Shelters with artists with the intention of breaking down the myth that animals from Rescues and Shelters are inferior in some way. Professional Photographs greatly improve adoptability, and ultimately will increase the number of animals adopted and reduce the numbers that are euthanized. (Worldwide)





The Giving Lens- An organization that focuses on blending photography education with giving back to local communities. We offer photography workshops in various locations around the globe, where we work alongside local Non-Profit organizations that are doing exceptional work. You will capture life, improve technique, and experience our earth during the trip. (Worldwide)



P.S.- There's a great little series HERE where photographers talk about their own experiences with "Giving Back with Photography".

Monday, January 9, 2012

Top 10 Tips for Traveling With Photo Gear

Today, guest contributor and photographer Mark Olwick shares his top tips for traveling with photo gear...


Some lessons learned from traveling with photo gear are learned the hard way. I’ve been traveling with my gear for many years, usually dozens of flights per year through airports large and small, so I thought I’d share some tips I’ve learned along the way.
  1. Travel light. I can’t stress this enough. When it comes right down to it, you really don’t need a ton of lenses, nor do you need two or three of everything as a backup. If you have a critical component that would end your photo trip, then yes, it’s good to have a backup, but think long and hard as to what that is. One zoom can do a lot, but primes are (in general) lighter and take up less space. They’re also usually faster and better quality than zooms, so it’s a trade-off. If you use Lightroom or similar, look at what focal lengths you use the most. You might be surprised as to how few you use.

  2. Keep the size of your bag in mind. Not all airplanes are created equal. The overhead bins on a Regional Jet or an ATR-45 are much smaller than your typical 737. They may end up checking your bag if it doesn’t fit, and that can mean rough handling. I fit everything into my Think Tank Airport Antidote 2.0 and it works great. There are many other similar bags that work well too, but keep in mind airline’s strict weight limits. Some airlines in Asia and Africa for example, have extremely low weight limits, even for carry-ons, so research each airline that you’re flying on and find out before you have to pay hefty baggage fees. And if you find yourself over the weight limit, offloading some of your gear to a jacket with big pockets usually gets you around it.

  3. Backpack, shoulder bag, or roller? If you take the advice in #1, I find a backpack to be the best, but if you’re really packing for an expedition, then I’d recommend a roller like the Think Tank Airport International. Some of those walks through airports can get very long if you’re trying to carry 40 lbs. of gear on your back, so save yourself and just get the roller. Note: I usually use one bag to get my gear to my location and then have a “shooting bag” such as a Domke F-2 to carry around just the gear that I need for that day. The canvas Domke bags fold to be very compact and are lightweight.

  4. What if you have more gear than you can carry on? Then a hard sided case, such as a Pelican case, is by far the best solution as a checked bag. Keep in mind though, that baggage handler thieves have come to realize that valuable things are usually in Pelican cases, so one tip is to put your Pelican case inside a duffel bag and secure it shut with a lock and cable. It’s not quite so obvious that way.

  5. Security. One of the benefits of some bags is that they have built-in security cables or are lockable. Keep your gear locked with TSA-approved locks at all times. There have been instances where people have had their gear stolen out of their carry-on in the middle of a long international flight as they slept, so keep those locks on at all times. I also purchased a coated metal luggage cable to lock my bag to a fixture in my hotel room while I go out at night. PacSafe also makes a metal mesh net that you can put over your bag that does the same thing. It’s not 100% fool proof, but it is definitely a deterrent.

  6. Going through security. Security people have a tough job, so do what you can to make it easier on them. Organize your stuff inside your bag so that it’s easily identifiable when it goes through an X-ray. If it’s a rats nest of cables on top of everything else, that looks suspicious and can get you pulled aside. If that happens, just keep your cool, be polite and never ever lose your temper. There are good and bad security people, so if there’s a problem, politely ask to see their supervisor and calmly explain things again.

  7. Traveling with film. This may not apply to everyone, but I’ll toss it in anyway. I always have my film in my carry-on and let it go through the X-ray. In countless airports through first and third world countries, I’ve never once had fogged film. Having said that, if your film is ISO 800 or above, or you’ll push it to that, definitely ask for a hand check. Make it easy on them – have your film in a transparent Ziploc if that happens so they can quickly see what it is. If you’re shooting large format, keep the boxes sealed but keep your changing bag handy in case they still want to open the box. The KEH blog has a whole separate post on traveling with film, so I’ll leave it at that.

  8. Tripods. I always have mine in my carry-on or strapped to my backpack, but then I have a super compact tripod – the Induro CT-014 (if you’re looking for that holy grail of lightweight, sturdy and compact, this tripod is it). If you have a larger tripod though, you may be in trouble. In Japan they measured my tripod as I went through security. I don’t know what the limit is, but I was under it. If you put your tripod in your checked bag, then you may want to consider keeping the head in your carry-on. That way, in the worst case scenario that your bag gets stolen, you can still pick up a tripod locally and use your head and plates. Another thing to watch out for if you carry your tripod on the plane is whether it has the sharp metal tips on the legs. Even if they’re retractable, they could cause some raised eyebrows and not be allowed on.

  9. Backing up your photos. If you’re shooting digital, it’s a great idea to back up your files to at least one, and preferably two places before your flight home. Those are valuable assets! You can back them up to a portable hard drive or something like a Hyperdrive. I also don’t erase memory cards in the field – I keep them as a backup until I get home and back things up yet again. Memory cards are very cheap these days and it’s well worth the extra piece of mind. Note that if you’re traveling with someone, you may want to have them carry one of your backups just in case.

  10. The best tip I can give (aside from traveling light) is to always keep a good attitude throughout your travels. Be flexible, try to understand local perspectives, stay calm if you run into a “situation” with security. Plan ahead and try to envision realistic situations you might find yourself in. You can’t plan for every possible contingency, so relax and enjoy the fact that you’re traveling the world taking photos!



Text and photos © Mark Olwick


Contributor Bio: I have had a camera in my hands ever since I can remember - more than 40 years. Starting with a Brownie box camera, then 35mm, medium format film, digital and everything in between. I have two true loves in my life - photography and travel.

One of my earliest memories is lying on the floor in our living room reading maps and dreaming of faraway places. Through my photography, I want to capture the emotion of travel rather than the literal interpretation of it. The dream not the reality, and film usually gives me the look that is closest to the vision in my mind.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Anatomy of a KEH.com Product Page

For those of you who aren't as familiar with ordering off of our website, this post will break down a few of the features that you may have seen (but haven't used), or maybe even didn't notice was there.


1- (The envelope symbol) Click on this icon to directly email a specific product to someone. This is a great feature to use if you're giving someone a hint to let them know what gift you would like, looking out for a product for a friend, or even emailing yourself a reminder of a product.

2- (The printer symbol) Click on this icon to print a copy of the webpage you are viewing. This is a good option for those of you who may prefer to compare items in the "old fashion" hard copy way, print out a reminder of an item for yourself, or print a copy to send to someone (via snail mail).

3- ("Product Specifications") Click on the Adobe PDF symbol to view more information about an item. There may be scans from original product brochures or catalogs here and is a great resource for learning more about an item you're interested in. We currently have over 7,400 files available, but note that if you don't see this icon on a product page, that it means that we don't have a PDF file available for it. You also need to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer in order to view the files. Learn more about this feature here.

4- (Free Shipping banner) This icon will show up only when there is a "free shipping" promo available to let you know that the item you are looking at qualifies for the current promotion.

5- (Camera symbol/ 360 View) This icon will appear on products that we have 360° views available for. To use the feature, you will want to click on this icon and a separate box will pop-up that will let you virtually turn the product to view (360 degrees) around the item listed. Learn more about this feature here

6- (Letters/ product grade) This is where the grade of the product that is available for sale is listed. Click on the grade to read more about our grading scale and understand the condition that the item is in.

7- (Price) This is the current price of the item you are viewing. If the product has recently been marked down, you may also see a previous price that is crossed through along with the current (reduced) price.

8- (Shopping cart/ "Add to Cart" button) Click on this icon to add the item to your virtual shipping cart/ to purchase this item online.

9- ("Add to Wishlist")- Click on this icon to add the item to a virtual wishlist. We offer this feature so that you can keep track of the items you wish to purchase at a later date. This is a great tool if you're in the middle of researching which items you want to purchase, but have to finish the process at a later time. It's also great when you're debating between a few different items to keep them in your wishlist so that you don't loose track of them within all of our other listings. You must register (or already be a registered user and logged in to the website) to use this feature.

10- (Reviews) This is where you may see a star rating for a product that has been voted on and reviewed by another customer. If there are no reviews, you will see "Be the first to write a review". Click on "write a review" to leave your thoughts on a product that you have purchased for others to see. Let others know if you loved a product and why. These reviews are done solely by customer participation, and really help others when they are trying to make decisions about which items to purchase. It only takes a minute, so please remember to come back to the site and leave reviews for recent products that you have purchased. (You will also need to be registered and logged-in to leave a review, but not to view one)


Ready to see some of these features in action? Go to keh.com now.