Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Colour Your World With These Great Photos With Swatches from iPHOTOS.com

"Man needs colour to live; it's just as necessary an element as fire and water." — Fernand Leger

Perhaps that statement from the French artist might be a bit hyperbolic. Few could argue, though, that a life without colour would be rather dismal. Colour is happiness. It's sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.

And we are beginning to see it reviving all around use. The most difficult part of winter for me, besides the lack of invigorating sunlight, is the boring blandness of the monochromatic palette.  Therefore as spring arrives, how awesome it is to see the emerging colours — buds and blooms infusing the landscape with passion and vigour. The liveliness captures the spirit and we fill with energy.

Colours in spring and summer are everywhere, beginning with pretty crocuses and greening trees, through to perky daffodils and glorious tulips then finally the riotous kaleidoscopic hues in lush gardens.

It's probably the vibrant crimsons and golds of the autumn leaves that make summer's demise more palatable than it would be otherwise.

Colour is clearly a welcome part of existence. We appreciate it's natural beauty outdoors and make use of it to warm our indoor world as well.

My husband and I recently renovated a couple of rooms in our house. One of the most thought-out aspects of the remodel was obviously the colour scheme.  Choosing the paint for the walls is an important decision since you're going to be living with that shade for a while. It creates the mood for the environment — calm and soothing, rejuvenating and vibrant.  You need to consider the usage of the room, whether it will be a gathering place for socializing and entertaining, or a quiet shelter.

Once that's settled, then decisions will be made on the accents. This means finding complimentary tones that blend, yet add interest.

It might surprise you to know that online graphics services are so versatile they can even inspire you in this creative project.  On iPHOTOS.com for example you can find an amazing assortment of pictures with accompanying compatible swatches. 

These can obviously be used in web design to coordinate colours for a more aesthetically-appealing result (a topic I will be covering in a future blog).  According to Buffer 90% of an assessment for trying out a product is made by colour alone.

However, these images would also help you make essential choices for many other design projects — from quilting to home decor. Virtually any place where you want to ensure a nice blend of colour.

The pictures in the collection can also guide you if you are creating printed products with the photo portion to coordinate any other colours you might use in the design. If the item is attractive people will be more inclined to look at it longer.  Matching the  hues will go a long way to making that happen.

Here then is the unique collection offered at iPHOTOS.com which will enliven your designs with colour. The ways in which you do this is only limited by your imagination:

iPHOTOS.com Colour Scheme Photos

Friday, April 21, 2017

Who Doesn't Love Mom? Here are Some Awesome Clipart Collections to Celebrate Her.

"A mother is the one who fills your heart in the first place." — Amy Tan

In just a few weeks we celebrate the women with children — whether they held them close to their hearts from conception, or loved them from the moment they physically held them there.  They are the soft loving arms that provide comfort and protection when the world wrongs us, or simply because a hug is important.  They are the stoics standing strong and confident when we fear or when pain might overtake us. They are our multi-taskers, our organizers, our rocks.

Mother's Day then, is a time to say thank you to all the moms for doing their best to love, support and guide their offspring. Today's featured clipart collections here will recognize this special event.

But first, let's consider motherhood. As most women,  I can approach this from both sides, since I have had one and been one.  From the moment I became a mother life got a whole lot better. For me anyway. I can only hope my children are as pleased and proud of me as I am of them.

Parenting as they like to say comes without a guide book. There are many factors that come into play that make the experience unique with each and every child. I know I wasn't perfect, but really, all any mom can do is follow her instinct, love her children unconditionally and make sure they always know it.

I was first welcomed into my own mother's arms in the last part of the baby boom.  Having already given birth to her 'millionaire's' family a decade previously, the announcement of my impending arrival came as a bit of a surprise to Mom. Or perhaps that's a bit of an understatement. To say she was less than thrilled was apparently more accurate. Yet, undoubtedly from the moment the nurse handed me to her that feeling changed. The process of pregnancy and childbirth makes the bond between mother and child something very unique.

Like those early times of my existence, the relationship between Mom and me remained a mixed bag through the years. We often butted heads.  The first time I heard the reference of oil and water was with regards to us. Yet, as I got older and had babies of my own I began to unravel the mystery of Mom, discovering that she was simply doing the best she could. Let's face it. Raising a teenager in the late 1960s and early 1970s couldn't have been easy. 

Even at our worst, however, it was always to her I ran when I needed something. It was always to home I came when I needed a boost. It was Mom I missed when I was under the weather, Mom I phoned just because I needed to hear her voice.

And these days what I wouldn't give to be able to hear it again. I was blessed to have my mother with me for 60 years. Yet, no matter when, the loss of the family matriarch is never easy for a family.  Though frail and fretful towards the end of her journey, though saying goodbye to her husband of 70 years took away some of the spark from this once spirited woman,  she was still the mother who gave everything in her to give to raise her three children. For that she will be forever missed and forever loved.

Moms aren't perfect. They don't always have the answers. They don't always do what you need or say what you want to hear. They will make mistakes. But having had one, been one and now having watched my daughters become them I know that there is no greater love, no person who will sacrifice more or fight harder than your mom. Remember her this Mother's Day in a way that shows you know.

And if you need clipart for projects to promote our honour this special event here are some terrific collections:

With tens of thousands of new images added weekly there is always fresh, exciting content available for any project.  The Mother's Day collection alone is extensive with over 2,000 images.

Pay one fee and download what you need from over 20 million images.  From vintage to banners the Mother's Day collection has something for everyone.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Warm Your Heart With Awesome Animal Photos from iPHOTOS.com in Celebration of National Pet Day

Today is National Pet Day.  It might be a dog or cat you have, it might be a bird or rodent, it might be a lizard or snake, but today is the day to really show them how much joy they have brought you. Make that walk extra long, throw a special treat their way or just spend a little extra time snuggling. 

From here, in recognition of their special day, the collection of photographs to be shared at the end of this post will feature our feathered and furry friends.

The  pooch has always been my preferred choice of pet. Even when they weren't exactly everything one might hope for.  The first dog we owned when I was a child was a nasty-tempered fox terrier-chihuahua cross. Despite his diminutive size he possessed a ferocity that held strangers at bay and often had my young chums quivering.  Tiny  accepted pats on his terms. Picking him up was never an option. Crawling under the covers at night, he nibbled on any toes that might have brushed against him.

Why we kept him is anybody's guess. But just like a curmudgeonly old uncle will do, he managed to somehow earn our affection. When we ultimately had to say goodbye it  broke our hearts.

Since then there have been many dogs in our homes, all with unique personalities. While memories of them always bring a smile one make me shake my head as much as thoughts of that first one.  He was a holy terror. So much so that I only have one picture of him.

 Why he allowed himself to be snuggled between my young friend and me (one the right) on that day I have no idea. Since it often seems dogs are smarter than us, perhaps he thought it would be fun to leave me with this memory so no one in future would believe the stories I told about him.

In truth, getting a picture of any pet isn't easy. All that charm and energy can result in a lack of cooperation. If you've tried and failed, here are some tips that might help.


• Digital Photography School offers nine tips to getting that perfect shot of Puff and Spot. 

• Exposure Guide suggests some ideas to capture great photographs of your pet, along with some technical tips.

• Digital Trends spoke to pet and landscape photographer Josh Norem about working with animals as subjects and how to make the most of their personalities.

I had some success once with our beloved husky-cross Ani.   Which was fortunate, since having a nice portrait of your pet can be more important than you might think at the time.  The camera just happened to be in my hand after she stole a ball from a neighbouring pooch.  She laid down, proudly protecting it between her paws as she kept a close on me crossing the lawn, unsure of my motives. 

With her gazing straight into the camera lens it became a favourite following her passing, and now holds pride of place on a wall in our living room. 

Photos of people and pets reflect the special relationship and bond that we form with our animal friends.  iPHOTOS.com has a great inventory from which to choose. If you need something in recognition of National Pet Day or for other promotions or projects celebrating animals there are plenty of options from which to choose.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Be the Life of the Social Media Party. Here are 8 Sources to Create Your Own Memes

#TGIF #FridayFeeling #FridayNight #FridayFunday

Today is Friday, for which hashtags express one fairly clear emotion. That is if "Yippee!"can be considered an emotion.

There is plenty to look forward to on this particular day of the week. Whether it's two days and nights of socializing, or catching up on household chores, or just kicking back and relaxing, after a full work week it's all going to be good.

Friday. The day of the night when the weekend begins. We can meet for drinks after work and extend it into the wee hours since there is no alarm the next morning, the  starting gun for the typical daily rat race.  The break is at hand, yet we can look ahead to two days off from the grind; those 48 precious hours are still there for us.

I enjoy working. I love the environment and the people who share it with me. I like what I do and find it satisfying. But,  I'd be lying if I said I didn't take great delight in the weekend. Beginning Friday.

I love my Friday date night with hubby. We have set the mood for relaxing,  with a moratorium on cooking supper, instead bringing in takeout pizza. We turn off the television, sip some wine and chat about events that have passed and those ahead of us.  It's the perfect lead in to Saturday and Sunday, as we look ahead to sleeping in, chilling with family and friends, completing tasks if we want, pursuing entertaining distractions and enjoying a little more control over the 'where we will go' and the 'when we will get there'.

So yes, when the work week calendar hits Friday, it just feels good to be alive. It's anticipation and realization. Even though the weekend isn't all relaxation for the majority of adults, it's a change and Friday is the prelude.  It's the promise of a cup of tea and a good read, of having that time for a quiet walk in nature or a sit down with friends.

Is it any wonder that across the board on social media sites, this day is the focus of celebration. It's exalted, adored and enjoyed. Besides the hashtags to promote the Friday vibe, endless memes have been created praising this particular day of the week, essentially as it heralds the time for the party to start.  While sharing some of the best is common, it can also be fun to create your own, just because you want to. Or perhaps you have your own witty or unique thought to share.

There are  many online meme generators created specifically for this purpose. The one above was done with iPHOTOS.com Image #408845 and memebetter.com  Here are a few examples you might want to try:

imgflip Meme Generator

Meme Generator

Make a Meme

Meme Maker


Meme Dad

Meme Creator

Meme Better

If none of the photos offered with these programs are quite what you're looking for, or you want to be sure that you are covered for copyright issues, you can, as I did, upload one of your choice.  There are great online resources for images that provide many options. If photographs are your preference,  iPHOTOS.com has over five million images that offer quality and diversity. When it comes to clipart iCLIPART.com and Clipart.com each have extensive inventories.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

295 Easter Egg Hunt Photos to Enliven Your Holiday Projects

April is upon us. The skies are crying, but the flowers are sprouting and the birds are trilling.  In a bold move, I've packed away the heaviest of my winter clothes and intend to do the same with the boots very soon.

While sunshine is always favoured over rain, they both work to brighten and clean the landscape. Grass will green, trees will bud and flowers will bloom. All in time this year for an Easter weekend that arrives as late in the spring as is possible.

With a wistful hope for sunny skies and balmy breezes then, I'm looking forward to the air of excitement and wonder that accompanies my ever-increasing contingent of beautiful grandbabies most of the time. Let alone when something celebratory is happening. 

Since five out of six of them are under the age of five, this year's Easter egg hunt promises oodles of fun.  And in the hopes of contributing to that as much as possible,  I've already been on the search for games and goodies to make their quest even more entertaining.

Undoubtedly, Easter is first a religious celebration, one of the holiest on the Christian calendar. It's intended as a time of mourning and reflection, as well as a time to rejoice.

But on the flip side it's a holiday that captures imagination. It's carefree fantastical fluff, with images of soft bunnies, downy chicks and painted eggs. After a winter of dreary white and grey, Easter's pastels put us in a playful mood.  Sporting light and airy spring duds we venture outdoors for festivities, including the annual egg hunt. The joyful smiles, the enchanting chuckles and lively exuberance of a pack of little ones scampering like little bunnies to discover what's been hidden in the various nooks and crannies of the garden, are as uplifting as spring itself.

Little Missy, the elder of our crew, is clearly team captain on outings such as this. She's first out of the gate and always first to discover. But as a true leader, she's equally happy to help those younger than herself.  Watching her encourage and guide them is absolutely heart-warming.

Her brother, our Little Mister, is full of mischief and action. He's a confident, mildly chaotic hunter/gatherer, who takes delight in distracting the others with charm and shenanigans. An alluring scamp he's full of smiles and impishness while cavorting around the lawn.  It's quite impossible not to watch him and laugh.

Sweet Bean, who's just a week younger than Mister, sees the world with eyes full of wonder. She takes a cautious approach to hunting, not wanting to miss one amazing thing out there. Her awe at each discovery often puts her behind the others as she pauses to appreciate what she's found rather than rushing on to the next.

Little Lola is only a year and a half. But there's nothing that brightens her adorable face more than following her three older cousins around. I can hardly wait to see her participate this year.  And I suspect will be thinking too about the next Easter when her baby brother can join the fun.

There is so much to enjoy at this time of year. But there is nothing more amazing than seeing the happy faces of delighted, beautiful children. Therefore, if you need something to advertise an Easter event, these egg hunt photos are sure to get attention:

iPHOTOS.com Easter Egg Hunt Photos

Friday, March 31, 2017

10 Tips to Consider When Taking Your Vacation Photos

Well, it's a momentous time of year. Calendar pages have been flipped and perused, decisions made and vacation days booked.

Typically, I tend to take my time off throughout the year as I see fit or as need dictates. This year, however, my husband and I have a different plan in mind. With an eye to a specific place we are focussing the majority of our holiday planning between the months of May and September.  Our decision is based on a need to hang out in an old haunt. To return to a stomping ground that shaped some of our best memories.

Because of my enjoyment of photography, we have revisited those memories over the years and often felt a strong draw to the place that created them. The pictures I took encapsulated a golden time in our lives — summers spent with our young family at a lakeside getaway. Friendships were made that have endured. Stories were written that we come back to with laughter when we meet those friends again.  And a resort town became our second home.

So, now it is time to write a new chapter. It's time to create new memories and to enjoy a little pre-retirement lakeside.  And since we're decades older than when we experienced extended sojourns there before, we're definitely going to need that camera in my hand again to help us remember every good moment.

As well as taking pictures of  friends and families, of our gatherings and parties, though, we can't ignore that we will be holidaying in one of the most picturesque places on earth. This is an area where sunsets are renowned.  The silhouettes of moored yachts rock and sway before the brilliant hues of pink and crimson. During the day butterflies dance in dunes, while gulls dip and dive from sand to surf. Boats cruise the water, kites dot the sky.

It's all just about as picture perfect as you can get. Yet, it can be challenging to do justice to even the most beautiful landscape when you're trying to capture it in a picture.  Knowing and understanding your camera is important for success, of course. But there are many other factors that I've discovered over the years, which are equally essential to consider.  Here are just a few of them:

1. Look with fresh eyes. One of the first lessons I learned about photography when working for a newspaper many years ago, was to try and find a way to see my subject differently than the rest of the world.  Sometimes that meant getting down on the ground. Other times the right shot came because I climbed on a ladder.  Ultimately, play with the angles and try to find unique ones that will change the way you see your subject.

2. Use the zoom. Getting up close and personal puts the focus on what's important.  Again in the newspaper business, it was desired when taking a picture that we fill the frame  and get rid of any extraneous details.  It's a lesson that's shaped a preference in my photography to this day.  No point in taking Uncle Bob's picture on the hill if we can't see it's him.

3. Don't miss the beautiful start or end of a day. No matter where you vacation, sunrises and sunsets will always be the perfect way to highlight your destination. Finding points of interest, such as a sailboat gliding by the setting sun, or early-morning runners moving towards the dawn, will make your photos even more visually interesting.

4.  Everything is worth the time. When taking vacation photos overlook nothing. When it comes to remembering that special vacation, everything is worth a shot — from the food on your plate to the twinkle lights on the patio.  Move in close to highlight something significant,  or zoom out to capture an environment in its entirety.

5.  Catch them by surprise. Candid shots are always a favourite. They capture the magic in a mood or moment.  It's wonderful to look back and see your loved ones happy faces of people who were blissfully unaware they'd been caught on camera.

6. Don't get caught unaware.  Keep your camera close in order to seize every possible opportunity for a great vacation picture.  While you can have a few situations or locations in mind that you know you want to photograph, never forget that there will be ones that your hadn't planned on. For these you'll want to be ready.

7. Patience as always is a virtue.  Find a place and wait. You never know when a story will unfold in front of you. How much more lovely a picture will your streetscape be when it includes the soft gentle kiss on the cheek of an elderly man by his sweet granddaughter.  Which will also take us to the next tip.

8. People. My husband was always a big fan of photographing the scenery of the places we visited. Pretty those pictures might have been, but it's the ones that include people in them that we return to time and again. Highlights of the landscapes we've seen are nice, but it's the faces of loved ones, some who might no longer be with us, that will be cherished through the years. Even strangers, as mentioned above, will make your photo more interesting.

9. Go for action. Sometimes you can't avoid those stiff, posed, formal shots. But since this is vacation photography it's so much better if you can opt for a little more fun and action in your picture. Don't just stand in front of the Trevi Fountain; toss a coin or indulge in a little tomfoolery in front of it.

10. Flip it. Don't just take horizontal pictures. Turn that camera on its side and zoom in for a nice, tight, vertical shot.  Some scenes demand it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Conversation in the Age of Social Media and the Safe Use of Digital Images

A comment was made in a business meeting recently that really struck me. There was nothing particularly deep or profoundly insightful about it. It was, though, a few simple words put into question form that brought home the reality of today's world.

"Who would ever have thought that we would be using images to express feelings and emotions?"

The query was prompted by discussion regarding  the emojis, animations and stickers that accompany iMessages, Facebook statuses and even emails.  Without tone to convey sentiment or reaction, we incorporate emoticons bearing every imaginable countenance. Hearts, broken and otherwise, reveal deep feelings of love and passion.  Those playful emojis, animations and colourful static images lighten chats and add an element of whimsy to our messages. It's a new way to communicate in the era of smartphones and the death of conversation.

The use of visual elements, however, is also in play in a big way in blogs.  The importance of adding a photo or illustration to the words one writes is well documented. There are many social media experts who speak to those benefits, which include the recommendation that a minimum of one image be included in a post to highlight the message or support it.  Pictures will make the blog more visually interesting and will help the author reach the target audience.

The addition of visuals will also improve Search Engine Optimization.  Be sure when using them, therefore that they are keyworded and titled.

Since digital media now plays such a large part in our communications, it's imperative that people understand the need to find a safe source from which to acquire it.  Searching for images on the internet is not the best route.  The ones that are found are quite likely not free to use and may contain a virus. It's often easy to miss the fine print that explains the image could be protected by copyright and including it in a blog or other social media posts could get the blogger into a whole lot of trouble. Maybe even sued.

The first step in protecting yourself is to accept that accessing quality digital media content which will be virus free and legally safe to use is going to cost  a bit of money. This is true whether you are CEO of a large corporation or owner of a mom and pop shop. It is true whether you are a teacher or a student. It is true whether you are a graphic designer or scrapbooker.

The good news, however, is that there are many very affordable options. Online subscription graphics services such as iCLIPART.com, iPHOTOS.com and Clipart.com offer a variety of plans to meet any budget or need. The content is royalty-free, meaning that once you have signed up you can use the images over and over without any hidden fees or extra charges.

These sites and other similar ones will have terms of use that explain what usages are permitted. In the case of the aforementioned, if blogging is your thing, a subscription to any of them means you can add the photos and illustrations to your posts provided they are there as decoration only.

If you just want to enhance your iMessages  there are fantastic sticker packs available for purchase. Vital Imagery Ltd., for example has several for sale on iTunes.

The important message here  is that no matter what you have to say and how you choose to say it, you better have legally obtained the right to tack that super happy face on to the end of it.