Friday, August 25, 2006

School Photos

I had my first full day of school portraits. We did the grades eight and nine. Most of the kids were pretty good and easy to get along with.

There was one jerky eight grader first thing in the morning who just refused to smile. He said he didn't smile for anyone. I told him to smile for his mom and he said he wouldn't even smile for her.
He then continued to try to get his little buddies to not smile as well.

The friends weren't nearly as lucky though. I got one laughing at me when he thought I wasn't ready to take a picture. He was annoyed that I could be so sneaky. Now guess if he's going to have an id card with a smile on it for the rest of the year.

I guess out smarting an eighth grader isn't really worth bragging about, but he was just so Hecking annoying.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Back to School Shoot

The series of stock shots I did of Becky two weeks ago or so are now mostly online and ready to sell.

In fact this morning the first one sold on the first business day it was available! It is a picture of becky pretending to go into the school.

I had a small screw up with the model release, I forgot to write her name on the top line. Only the bottom half of the release was filled in propperly. What a pain. I really wish I could have had them all uploaded propperly three weeks ago. With less than three weeks to go, there isn't really much time for people to use my pics before school starts. I think that they will sell pretty well though. Becky is a cute girl and there aren't a lot of good teen shots. It doesn't surprise me at all how fast the first download came.

By the way, I'm already doing better than last month and there are still 10 days left!


Sunday, August 20, 2006

I found an online word processor that looks pretty slick. It is called

It can create documents in your choice of these formats:

- Microsoft Word
- OpenOffice
- zip

You can use it to post to all sorts of blogs. You can add photos to your documents and you can even check your spelling. Since it is online, you can edit your documents on any computer connected to the internet. You can also have colaborators on documents using different computers. Regular wordprocessors have this feature as well, but I've never used it.

This website seems like it would be especially good for people who don't want to pirate MS Office, are not willing/able to download Open Office, or are travelling without a computer and can't find a cafe with a propper word processor.

I wrote everything before this using writely and it looks like I may have to get used to how it formats things if I want to post to the blog with it. I have cleaned it up a little so that it looks better after the fact in blogger.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Going Postal Turns 20

I love getting letters. It seems hard to understand why the term "Going Postal" has come to mean losing one's temper.

It turns out that 20 years ago a postal worker, Patrick Henry Sherrill went on a shooting rampage systematically killing 14 people, then committed suicide.

I guess he delivered lots of postcards but only received bills. That would push anyone over the edge.

From the article:

"Postal workers are no more likely to resort to workplace violence than workers in other jobs. A commission on workplace violence found 0.26 workplace homicides per 100,000 postal workers from 1992 to 1998. By comparison the rate was 2.10 per 100,000 for retail workers, 1.66 in public administration, 1.32 for transportation and 0.50 for private delivery services."

I can see why retail workers would go postal. Talk about a thankless job for no money.


Friday, August 18, 2006

A great victory for hezbolla

The Hezbolla in Lebenon have claimed victory in the war they were wageing with Israel. May I be the first to wish them many such victories in the years to come.

25 Cent Fortunes

I read a good article about royalty free stock photo websites today. I found it interesting for lots of reasons, especially because they highlight success stories.

There has been some concern over the fact that microstock agencies are devaluing stock photography. I've read a few articles by people worried about this very topic.

I think they are missing the point and that they aren't really discussing what is bothering them. Here is a quote from one of the more thoughtful of the articles.

"Like many photographers, John sees new shooters moving into the field every day. They have their expensive new Nikons (or Canons) and are more than happy to blaze away with a piece of long glass on auto-everything and practically give the shots away for free."

The proliferation of high-quality digital cameras is diluting the profession right into the ground. Everyone has always wanted to be a photographer, and now everyone can. Sort of."

I think what photographers like John are worried about more than the fact that people are selling shots for a dollar rather than hundreds of dollars is that his photos are having to compete with tens of thousands of other people's photos who are doing it in their spare time.

In the article John even went on to complain about people putting free tutorials online that allow people to learn from someone else's 20 years of mistakes.

The business is changing. But more than that, it is changing in a way that allows more people to become customers of the business. Proponents of royalty free sites such as all say this.

Kelly Thompson, vp of marketing for says, "What's really exciting is the small and medium businesses, the nonprofit groups, the church groups, —they flock to us by the tens of thousands, and they’ve never bought a stock photo before."

Antagonists of royalty free like, Betsy Reid, executive director of the Stock Artists Alliance said, "If IBM wants to use an image for an international campaign, no photographer in the world was ever going to offer it for a dollar,"

This is disingenuous at best. Companies big enough to international campaigns can get in to trouble by using non-exclusive stock images. Microsoft has had several screw ups because they cheaped out and didn't get exclusive rights to stockphotos on various occasions. Had microsoft purchased exclusive rights no one would have been the wiser. Large companies with international campaigns need to be sure that they are the only ones using the picture. Royalty free does not do that. If a right leaning political party use a royalty free photo of a family, there is nothing stopping a left leaning party from getting the exact same photo for their ads.

In anycase, I would like to be making something from my photos rather than nothing. Sure it might not be worth pouring hours and hours into it, but it is worth having as a hobby and doing it little by little to build up a portfolio big enough so that it doesn't matter how little each download pays.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

I Sell Photos

I got a cheque in the mail today for $150 (approx. $200 aud). I sold two photos to a home decor magazine. They were photos I had of Perth. They wanted one, but I gave them five suitable shots to choose from and they decided on taking two!

I haven't seen the magazine yet, I'm pretty sure it is a quarterly and it may not have been published yet. They're going to send a copy to me.

It is really nice to sell a few photos.

I'm still looking for practice models.

-Gary Milner

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I Get Promoted

I spent most of the day doing data entry. I was recording what customer's photos were on what backup DVD. There are only a few more backup DVDs to be entered now, and then we'll be caught up for a couple of months.

Anyway, my boss asked me if I was interested in doing some camera work and invited me to be a photographer for the coming school shoots. They're starting with CHHS in a couple of weeks. The first week of school in fact, during registration. They go youngest to oldest.

I told him that I would. I think that it will be fun.

Taking Pictures

I got a new job today. It looks like I will really enjoy it a lot and learn a lot while I am there. Today was my first day and it looks like my main duties will be pretty repetative, but I think I will enjoy being there quite a lot.

In other news, I'm looking for people willing to model for me. You get free portraits worth mega bucks, and I get to practice posing you and photographing you. I'm looking for individuals, couples and small families. The only requirement is that you are in Medicine Hat.

Leave me a comment, or leave a message at my parent's or inlaw's house and we can set up a time.


Monday, August 14, 2006

The Bike Race

I'm thinking of sponsoring an underground bike race that goes from the teepee to Echodale, before the end of summer. The prize would be a slush at Echodale. I'm thinking I could get a few guys to enter.

I've been riding my bike a lot lately. By a lot I mean I've been on two or three rides around town in the last month. Medicine Hat is so small that bike riding everywhere is well within the relms of being realistic and an effective form of transportation. It can't possibly take more than an hour to get anywhere in the city by bike, and possibly much less. I think I'll time how long it takes to go to my parent's house from Tracie's parent's house.

There were a few times in Australia when I should have bought a bike. I should have bought one my first week in Perth and the same in Sydney. A bike in those two places would have served me really well.

Jeff says that he should have bought a bike his first week in Quebec too. He figures he could have purchased a bike for $25 then sold it for $25 when he left.

If you're interested in my little race, leave a comment or email me.


Thursday, August 10, 2006


I went to Calgary on Saturday night to pick my brother up from the airport. He was on a flight home from Quebec. An interesting thing about the Calgary International Airport is that it has two domestic terminals. One on each end of the building, with the international terminal in the middle.

It makes perfect sense to me, do design an airport this way.

I didn't know which side he was on, and of course i didn't know that there were two domestic terminals. I saw that his flight had landed, but I thought it might take a while to taxi and get off the plane. As time passed, I thought that I should walk all the way down to the other end several times, but changed my mind as I got to the international terminal. Finally I just went all the way down and Jeff was there.

The next day, we did a few errands and took a few pictures. I stayed another night and we had a really good time doing lots of stuff. It had been a long time since I last saw Jeff.

I would have liked to stay longer.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Becky the Model

The other day, I did a photoshoot with my sister-in-law Becky. I was doing a back to school theme so that I can have time to upload them for the graphic designers to do their projects before it is actually time to go back to school.

Becky is a good looking model, I only wish I was better a helping the models that work with me pose. I just have no idea. I really need to work on it, because although some portraits make good stock photos, you really need to have the models doing something.

I did a fashion shoot for a feature on 'fashion' for the Gauntlet, but being inexperienced myself and having inexperienced models hampered how good I could have made the photos.

I just realised that it is August first, hopefully it isn't too late already. Being August I have another month of success at istockphoto to report. July was my best month ever. I had 63 downloads over 31 days, I have 67 photos available for download, and 30 photos waiting for inspection. I have another 30+ photos to upload as soon as my upload limit is reset in a few days. I made $24.60 which is more than double the previous four months combined. I had my single highest day of downloads with seven and I also reached 105 total downloads.

I also was emailed a link to where one of my photos was used, This was the first use of my stock photos that I have encountered. It was nice of to email me the link.

I'm so pleased with the photos I did of Beck, that I'm sure that August with be another istock best month ever if they sell even half as well as the photos of Tracie.

-Gary Milner, Stock Photographer