From the Lucrative Traveler Conference in San Antonio, TX
Since you couldn’t be with us in San Antonio for our workshop, I asked Sue Wright — a freelance writer and photographer — to fill you in on what we’ve learned. You’ll find her second report below. (And if you missed yesterday’s, you can read it in our archive: http://www.thetravelwriterslife.com/?p=113)
Director, Great Escape Publishing
Three Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Digital Camera By Sue Wright
Dear Travel Writer,
We’ve parted ways. The Lucrative Traveler Conference in San Antonio has come to a close. And though it was a little sad to say goodbye to the wonderful people I’ve met during this whirlwind program, I left the hotel feeling encouraged and invigorated. We really accomplished a lot in a short period of time.
Every one of the folks here has left with a concrete, practical plan of action — for writing saleable articles, launching a money-making import-export business, and taking the kinds of photos that sell the best.
Some, I feel certain, will follow through quickly and — this time next year — be living a life they’ve only dreamed of until now. A life where they can vacation anywhere, anytime, and make a six-figure income while they’re at it.
You see, over the past three days, the participants have immersed themselves in the money-making secrets and techniques our expert speakers have revealed.
And in so doing they’ve not only shaved years off their learning curves… but they’ve uncovered profit-making possibilities they’d never thought of before (and wouldn’t have at all, were it not for the guidance the experts here offered so generously).
Though you couldn’t be with us, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out. If you’re ready to embrace the freedom, flexibility, and wealth this triple-barrel approach to travel offers, then I encourage you to take a look at the Lucrative Traveler’s Toolkit.
It’s everything we learned here in San Antonio… only you get it in the comfort of your own home… and for 80% off.
I’ll tell you how in a minute. But first, I want to get to today’s FREE conference lesson —
HOW TO BUY THE DIGITAL CAMERA THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
Rich Wagner, our resident camera expert here, is a professional photographer whose images hang in public corporations and private foundations from San Diego to Boston and in homes from the Americas to the Far East. I can’t imagine anybody more qualified to dish out advice about cameras and photography.
The only hitch is: He really believes people should do their own research to figure out what camera best fits their budget and needs.
That’s all well and good, but when you type in “camera buying guide” at Google.com, you’re rewarded with more than 31 million results.
So we all but pinned the man down and demanded some guidance. We got it, too!
Before you head out to buy a camera, ask yourself three critical questions —
1. WHAT DO YOU WANT THE CAMERA FOR?
At times, a compact, point-and-shoot camera is your best choice. It’s easy to carry and discreet. And many of them take excellent photos. (In fact, some of the photos our past photography workshop attendees have sold have been snapped on small, digital point-and-shoots.)
On the other hand, if you want to sell the images you create as fine art prints (which means enlarging them quite a bit), to any of the larger stock agencies, or even for reproduction in one of the newsstand glossies, a compact camera puts you at a significant disadvantage. In this case, you’re better off with a more high-powered digital SLR (that’s a Single Lens Reflex camera, meaning you can remove and change the lens).
2. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH YOUR PICTURES?
Here’s where resolution and megapixels come in. If you’re going to just email your photos to friends or view them on your computer (or, nowadays, on your iPod or cell phone), you can get away with a lower resolution — say 1 or 2 megapixels.
On the other hand, if you’re planning to print or edit your photos in Photoshop, you’ll need at least 3 megapixels. For 8 x 10 prints or larger, you’ll need, at the very least, a 4-megapixel camera.
What’s a megapixel? Excellent question. And one Rich answered handily:
A megapixel is a unit of measurement. It defines the “resolution” of a photo, so to speak. The higher the megapixel count, the clearer your picture. At least, that’s the conventional wisdom.
But Rich let us in on a secret you won’t find “on the street.” Turns out, what’s really key in determining the clarity of your photos isn’t the megapixel alone. The thing you want to check into when you’re shopping for a camera is the size of a camera’s sensor.
It’s the sensor that actually determines the ultimate quality of the image you are photographing — a 5-megapixel compact camera doesn’t produce images anywhere near the quality of those produced by a 5-megapixel SLR.
The larger the sensor size, the better.
3. HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT TO SPEND?
Your budget will, obviously, impact your decision as you choose a camera. If you don’t want to spend more than $500, you’re going to have to stick with a compact point-and-shoot.
Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As I said, lots of participants in AWAI’s photo workshops have taken and sold photos with their small, inexpensive cameras.
So why, you might ask, spend more and move up to a digital SLR?
Rich offered the following advantages (which, depending on your point of view, can also be disadvantages) to owning an SLR. It will give you —
- interchangeable lenses — while the ability to change lenses increases your flexibility and creative opportunities, you now have more equipment to lug around and more things to spend your money on.
- larger sensor size — larger sensors produce higher-quality images. Unfortunately, the larger the sensor, the more expensive and bulky the camera.
- greater ISO sensitivity — again, there’s no real disadvantage here except that cameras with greater ISO sensitivity tend to be nicer cameras (read that, more expensive and typically heavier and harder to carry).
- more durability — durability comes with weight and size.
- more extensive manual control and ease of use — while more control features offer greater flexibility, your learning curve becomes larger as you have to learn how to use the extra features.
No matter which type of camera you choose, Rich recommends you do two things, which will immediately — and consistently — increase the quality of your shots:
1. Set your camera to take the highest quality photos and leave it on that setting. You can always scale down a high-quality photo into a smaller file, but you can’t do the reverse.
2. If you’re using an SLR (this doesn’t apply to compact cameras), set your camera to shoot RAW photos instead of JPEGs. The images will be more vivid. This is especially important if you want to submit your photos to stock agencies or for reproduction in high-quality publications.
LORI’S CAMERA RECOMMENDATIONS
Rich said that, historically, three companies have produced first-rate, quality equipment and continue to do so today: Canon, Nikon, and Olympus. But he was reluctant to recommend one camera model over another — too many personal variables, he argued.
Lori Appling, the director of Great Escape Publishing, felt no such compulsion. She marched up to the front of the room and gave her recommendations for, as she put it:
“Three cameras that aren’t necessarily the best ones on the market… but which have fit my budget and with which I’ve been pleased.”
- Compact — Pentax Optio S5i (5 mp; tiny — fits into an Altoids case)
- Sophisticated Point & Shoot — Canon Pro1 (8 mp; has a pivoting LCD screen — “very handy for capturing candid shots,” she explained)
- Digital SLR — Canon Rebel XT (8mp; lightweight; easy-to-use; fairly cheap)
One more gear recommendation before I leave you for today…
WHERE TO BUY PHOTO EQUIPMENT
The photo experts here stressed, in no uncertain terms, that you should NEVER pack your cameras and check them in as luggage at the airport.
What should you carry your photo equipment in? And where can you get equipment, anyway? Two recommendations:
MORE PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR SIX-FIGURE TRAVEL
You know, I’ve delivered here only the tiniest fraction of the practical advice, on-the-ground guidance, and proven know-how our expert presenters shared over the past three days.
I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s revolutionized the way I look at travel… and life, really.
I can see, in concrete terms, that there truly is a way to turn passions into profits… big profits. In our speakers we’ve seen it in action. It’s a way to make $100,000 or more a year traveling the world, enjoying amazing freedom and flexibility.
And you can get started today. There’s no reason to miss out on this opportunity to start profiting from something so simple as reporting on what you experience when you travel… snapping a few photos… and buying some good-value souvenirs.
It’s been a real pleasure corresponding with you. We here at AWAI look forward to hearing about your successes, so get started today!
Freelance Writer and Photographer
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]