Friday, November 30, 2012

Marketing Tips for Photographers

No matter what your professional field, it's a super-competitive world we live in.  This would be especially true for people in the arts, where everyone's hungry and having the talent simply isn't enough. 

In a recent interview with pop megastar Justin Bieber,  TV personality Oprah Winfrey noted that he was unlike stars before him as he is a true product of marketing.  Some headlines that erupted after are proof of that very thing, having edited  Winfrey's remarks to a more succinct, but somewhat misleading statement. To paraphrase the examples: "Oprah says Bieber unlike any star before him."

Sort of puts a whole different spin on things doesn't it?

I haven't caught the "Bieber Fever" and at risk of upsetting the 'Beliebers' I just happen to have an opinion, shared I know by many, many others, that there plenty of equally talented, adorable people out there who simply haven't managed to hitch a ride on the PR machine.   It's not to say I don't think the boy has talent; it's simply that he would never have attained the phenomenal celebrity he has without the right people behind him and great marketing.  Now there's the real talent.

It can be a full-time job on its own, but artists trying to break through need to know marketing. It should be a strong component of every post-secondary arts program in my opinion.  Being the best, may, but probably won't be, all that's necessary to get you noticed, let alone rise to the ridiculous level of fame the Bieb has.

While the following links focus on how to market yourself as a photographer,  they also generally offer sound advice for everyone trying to promote themselves and their work:

Professional Photographer 101 Marketing Tips

Digital Photography School Silent Marketing Tips for Photographer

Photography Bay 10 Internet Marketing Tips for Photographer

Digital Picture Zone Can Facebook Help You Become a Professional?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Colouring Christmas Images

With heads full this time of year — of  Santa and sleigh, gifts and goodies, naughty and nice — it's little wonder youngsters can be a tad excited.  Taking their thoughts away from Christmas isn't an easy task, despite what other tasks need to be addressed.  Heck, with so much build-up (the hype begins practically on the heels of Halloween now) I even find it difficult to focus on anything else.

That's why gearing kids' activities to the holiday season is a bit of a help.  Creating a crafty Christmas present for Mom is sure to be more interesting right now than working on just any old project. Getting your child's hands into a batch of shortbread batter, rather than modelling clay, is always fun.  And colouring a picture of Santa is probably going to keep youngsters entertained much longer these days than colouring some less festive-themed image.

So, if you're looking for a resource for the latter, here are two great sites with lots of options to keep busy minds and hands on task while you're busy decorating, baking and wrapping:

iCLIPART.com Christmas Colouring Pages

Crayola Christmas Colouring Pages

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Winter Photography Tips

Winter fun was a topic in an earlier blog this week,  which included links to some wonderful photo collections of people enjoying the season outdoors. So, now that I've convinced everyone, and perhaps myself, how great it is to play in the snow, it seemed appropriate to discuss capturing those times for posterity.

My hubby has always loved snowmobiling. On the excursions years ago when, young and foolish, I was able to be tempted to hit the trails with him,  his request was always that I ride along with the camera too.  He could never get enough of winter photos,  especially on one of those perfect days— cold, crisp and clear,  the  dazzling sun surrounded by an azure sky,  the snaking groomed paths cutting through sparkling snow.

Unfortunately, our photographic remembrances of these times are a little hit and miss.  There are unique challenges in winter weather conditions — snowflakes on the lens, keeping the lens from fogging up and tricky lighting to name just a few — that sadly turned what I'd hoped would be a great shot into just another landscape picture.  Too bad I didn't have these helpful sites then:

PictureCorrect Tips for Taking Great Winter Photos

Digital Picture Zone Brilliant Ideas to Take Pictures of Winter Landscapes

Digital Photography School Photography in Extreme Cold

NY Institute of Photography Winter Photography Tips

Digital Camera World Winter Photography Tips

Shutterbug 10 Cool Winter Photography Tips

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Backgrounds and Elements to Make It Personal

Merry Christmas. Season's Greetings. Happy Holidays. These are the messages conveyed to family, friends, neighbours and acquaintances at this time of year in the proverbial Christmas card.

As a self-described Christmas junkie, I've never quite understood why I'm less enthused by this particular aspect of the holiday season. What I do know is the idea of sitting down to the task each and every year, seems more burdensome than hauling out and setting up decorations, putting up a tree, baking, buying and wrapping all rolled together. Even receiving cards, while it's certainly a nice change to get something other than bills in the post, isn't that important to me.

Suffice it to say, I don't approach the task with enthusiasm but rather perfunctorily. No sweet sentiments, no cute, family year in review are included.  Though there was a little effort put into it years ago when the kids were home and I organized each of us to sign our own names to the cards, now that the birds have flown the nest, it's simply a hurried signature representing my guy and me.

I have admittedly felt a tad humbled by the people who take the time to extend a personal message at this time of year.  So, whether out of a sense of duty, or a sense of guilt, I've been rethinking my viewpoint of late. And it has struck me that there is nothing more personal, and maybe more fun, than actually creating my own message. With so many wonderful background and element illustrations online, it's really as easy as saying Merry Christmas to design your own special greeting card or flyer.

Whether it happens remains to be seen. But if it does, these are some great sites I found to get me started:

iCLIPART.com Christmas Backgrounds

iCLIPART.com Christmas Elements

Acclaim Images Christmas Backgrounds

Clipart Guide Christmas Backgrounds

ClickArt Online Christmas Background

Monday, November 26, 2012

Snow Much Fun

Well, it arrived this past weekend.  Sure, it was to be expected, but it still doesn't make me any more of a fan. As usual my initial response was to huddle inside and pretend it wasn't happening.

I wasn't always like this. When I was a child the first snowfall of the year was cause for celebration. I was eager to bundle up and run outside to enjoy different kinds of outdoor activities than those popular in warm weather — building snowmen, making snow angels and constructing snow forts. My friends and I waged battle from behind the walls of icy fortresses, lobbing snowballs back and forth with surprisingly superb marksmanship.  (This, of course, was back in the day when it was considered fun, not violent).

In those days, actually, when it came to snow, the more, the better. It was necessary for skating, skiing, snowshoeing, sledding. Cold, what cold.  Being outdoors was fresh and fun.

Then I grew up, and nights of driving home from work through a haze of blowing and drifting snow quickly ended my love affair. It was akin to swimming through a milk bottle, a white, dense space with no idea where I or anything else was.  Further taking the romance out of the relationship was the shovelling, scraping and shivering.

However,  I can't deny even now that there is a certain beauty to a fresh snowfall.  A new blanket of  white brings a clean look to the grey reality of fall's final days, and the crisp air refreshes the lungs.  Now perhaps these photo collections will remind me of its beauty and again of how great it is to play in it too.

iCLIPART.com Snow Fun Photo Collection

Acclaim Images Snow Collection

National Geographic Your Snow Pictures

NZ House & Garden Readers' Snow Photos