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The greatest challenge faced by any photographer is being an editor of their own work. I am not referring to one’s Photoshop skills, but rather a shooter’s ability to filter through their body of work and select only the best. Whether it’s designing a printed portfolio or creating a new gallery on a website, it can be a difficult thing to turn a critical eye on one’s own photographs.

Here are some suggestions that may help develop and refine your skills as your own best photo editor.

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All photographs taken by and used with permission from Polly Chandler.

When Austin large format photographer Polly Chandler deposited a $2000-something cashier’s check to her bank for a sale she made for two of her valued prints, she never really thought it would eventually led to setting her back a couple of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately for her, she got screwed over by a horrible Internet scammer who not only scams her out of profits but her highly valuable prints as well.

It seems that those “Nigerian 419” scammers have upgraded to zeroing in on artists trying to make an honest living, and they’re not being shy about their new “business” either.

As Chandler tells Feature Shoot, she was corresponding through email with a man named Corbett Bonilla from England (remember the name and spread the news folks, we don’t know which photographer he’s going to scam next!) who was interested in purchasing two of her 16×20 prints. After many backs and forths to work out the details, this man finally sent her a Canadian cashier’s check, which she then deposited into her account with Wells Fargo without a second thought.

Even though she waited two weeks to send the man her prints, the funds from the check were already made available by the bank (and she says she was never informed by the bank that they usually put foreign and cashier’s checks on hold for a month) so she, like any of us would, thought that the check had come through and everything was fine.

Everything was far from fine, however, when the fraud was made known to her, a few weeks later, after she had already spent some of the money, sent the man her prints, and the bank’s charged her overdraft fees for the fraudulent check. And despite all the efforts she’s made to report the scheme and to reason with Wells Fargo, she still owes them $2,736.56!
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Every photographer goes through it, but sometimes we are reluctant to admit it. The lack of creative productivity seems to come with equal doses of frustration and shame. Such feelings hardly leave us inspired to pick up the camera.

Some will feel further frustrated waiting for that elusive spark of inspiration to strike. But the truth of it is that she rarely pays a visit when you or I find ourselves in this muck of non-creativity.

The great artist, Chuck Close been quoted as saying, “Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work.” His comments speaks to the truth of any creative effort which is that it’s often the work itself that draws us out inactivity and puts us into the heart of our expression and creativity.

Here are some tips for getting out and doing just that.

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I’m going to go out on a whim and bet that just about everybody has gigabyte upon gigabyte of stored photos just sitting there, confined to the dark storage space that is your hard drive(s). Polaroid wants to take that dark hole and make some prints out of them. They plan to open a chain of “Fotobars” which are essentially print shops designed specifically for our digital-obsessed age. Unfortunately, no alcohol, guys.

Instead of viewing your photos from a computer screen, you can take your collection of photos to a Fotobar where you can quickly transfer and edit them for print. The editing capabilities are of the simple and easy-to-fix variety, such as red-eye, brightness, contrast, and you can even slap on a filter to top it off. After that, you can choose from a variety materials on which to print your images, including wood, bamboo, or metal. Now, rather than going out to buy expensive art pieces or decor for your home, you can practically make your own.


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If you’re looking to get large prints made for that wedding, model or landscape you’re shooting then consider the fact that Bay Photo has a promo code to get 40% off of large prints. By definition, large prints are 16×16 or larger. The offer only lasts until February 15th, the day after Valentine’s Day.