Friday, January 8, 2016

3,000 Photos of Friends Having Fun

It's Friday. For some,  this one is the end of the first week back to work after an extended festive holiday. Certainly then a cause to celebrate. We made it to the other side.

No matter how much you love your job, by the time Friday arrives it's time for a change of pace. Not just for a break to recharge the batteries,  but to tackle some of the work you have at home as well as to connect with family and friends. From family dinners, to special occasion invites and house parties, we fill the spaces in between weekend responsibilities with fun, love and laughter.

And it all begins tonight. Before us are two whole days to fill however we choose.

What I love most about Friday,  however,  is that my husband and I have set it aside as a time to catch up. When we have walked in the door at the end of the day,  put away coats, emptied out lunches, we grab a cocktail and head for our chairs to chat. Points of interest, recaps and anecdotes fill the time before supper.

Also on the list for discussion, though, are plans for the next two days, whether we intend to do  little more than read a book between chores or spend an evening out listening to music.

This weekend we look forward to hosting a small dinner party to be followed by a games night. It means that there's extra work in the cards for me tomorrow, but the reward is worth it.  One of the best things we can do to enrich our lives is to enjoy a wide circle of friends and interest.

So, hey,  it's Friday, the perfect time to get on that.  With that in mind I decided, then, to have a little fun with a photo search and see what great images can be found on various sites when I combine the words party and friends. Here are the results:

iCLIPART.com

iPHOTOS.com

Clipart.com

ClickArt Online

Thursday, January 7, 2016

How to Become a Professional Photographer

For most people a camera is a toy, a hobby used to record momentous occasions, candid moments or good times.  We use it to record the special times, the places we've been and the people with whom we've shared it all.

I've certainly never considered myself anything more than an avid amateur photographer. At least in the years during and since working for a local newspaper where in addition to editing and writing I photographed everything from the grip-and-grin shots to sporting events. 

Prior to that even the label of amateur didn't apply. Looking back on those grainy shots of the past I'm really sorry that I didn't know a little more about what makes a good picture. Tiny subjects in the centre of the photo,  boring landscapes, and absolutely no concept of lighting and contrast were the hallmarks of my work. It didn't help either that my first camera was a Polaroid.

A few years in journalism, however,  showed me that had I considered it, I might have not done too badly as a photographer. I enjoyed it and what I lacked in technical knowledge, and it was plenty, I made up for with a good eye. Or so I was told.

Entrenched as I was in the career I had at that point it didn't seem to make a lot of sense to pursue an interest. However, when our daughter announced that she wanted to study photography, post-secondary, it seemed as good an idea as any for our artsy girl.

Though she did well in the program,  her graduation coincided with digital photography and smartphones. Now everyone's a photographer and the challenge comes in how to get your name and your work noticed.

If you think you have what it takes to make the transition from amateur to professional photographer here are some tips that might help you succeed:

How to Become a Professional Photographer from wikiHow

100 Tips from a Pro

How to Become a Professional Photographer

Know When You Are Ready to Become a Professional Photographer

This link shares some myths about the career choice you are making too:

20 Myths About Becoming a Pro Photographer


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Tips for Designing Appealing Static Ads

A new year begins and with it the season of sales. Retailers are offering promotions and discounts to clear out inventory and encourage consumers to spend.  Following the heady commercial pre-Christmas days,  bargains and special rewards are the only ways to entice people to part with money in January.

As winter winds blow and snow storms through, staying home, cuddled and cozy,  is far more appealing than heading out for an item you might want, but don't necessarily need. The carrot dangled before you better be a big one to change that view.

My husband and I (well if I'm to be honest, my husband) are currently in the middle of a fairly extensive renovation project. A dismal back kitchen and its upstairs room have been on the honey-do list since we purchased the old century house 35 years ago.  Honey must have decided that it's do or die time as he has finally thrown himself into the project screw guns blazing.

As he struggles through crawl spaces, insulates in sub-zero temperatures, and copes with other miserable tasks, I am doing by part by beginning the search for furnishings.  As this room is all about sunlight, we have decided to keep it simple, anticipating  it will be used for quiet afternoon reading, or pre-dinner cocktails before the fire.

Having found some 'design your floor plan' websites I now have a fairly good idea what I'm looking for. The question, then,  will soon be where to get it. While price and style are obviously the key selling points, I must first find my way to those right choices. This is where advertising comes into play.

It's not enough to offer a promotion; you need to tempt and titillate. Creating an ad that's appealing to potential clients, not just in an economical way, but aesthetically, is one of the most important things you can do for your business.

So as the dull buying days of January loom before us, here are some great tips for designing ads to help your business stand out,  as well as a few examples of those who got it right:

10 Tips for Designing Static Ads

100 Brilliant Print Adverts for Inspiration

Print Advertising Design Tips

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

90 Inspiring Photos for a New Year

When a new year is upon us I often think of it as a time for change, not just within myself but in the pattern that seemed to define the previous year.

For example, 2006 has been stuck in my memory as a time of extreme tragedies and profound sadness. Loss and grief seemed to be everywhere. As editor of a community newspaper I saw most of it and to this day, listing the things that happened raises the eyebrows of people who didn't know.

As we counted down to 2007 then  I celebrated what I had to believe in my heart would be a better year.

And it was — remembered only for its optimism, hope and good times.  From that point on I put a lot of pressure on a new year that followed a less than satisfactory one to be kinder.

Looking back on 2015, however, I wasn't really sure what to expect. For the most part it had been 'normal', a mix of what's expected in life.  The year took a nose dive in December, however, and I strode into January with the great need to leave it behind me.

And that's when the above quote struck me.  With the arrival of 2016 we are all just moving on really. Not getting a fresh start, but grown just a little wiser from the experiences of the previous year.  Life will lift us, then occasionally try to take us down.

It will also, however,  provide us with the inspiration to keep going. We will learn from mistakes, gain strength from the lessons and heal through its many pleasures.

So as you embark on a happy and healthy 2016, here are some words of wisdom and beautiful photos to which you can add your own favourite quotes for inspiration to keep on going on should times get hard:

Inspirational Frames

Landscapes With Motivational Quotes

Inspiring Backgrounds

Monday, January 4, 2016

780 Photos of Walking for Fitness and Fun

Well, first I should probably extend a belated Happy New Year and wishes for all the best in the upcoming year.  2015 ticked away its final minutes on a Thursday evening, leading into a long weekend for everyone.

For a fortunate few, today, Monday, Jan. 4 is actually the first day back to work after an extended break between Christmas and the new year. Back to the grind, back to routine, back to reality.

That reality often includes as well a return to exercise and healthy eating which might have lapsed over the holidays, or the resolve that you are going to finally set yourself on a positive lifestyle track.

I fall somewhere between these two groups. I know what I should eat and have made the changes at this point that I feel are most important without taking all the fun out of life. Well, my life anyway. I do a bit of yoga, walk when I can, make it a point to take extra trips up and down our stairs and sneak in some lunges and squats during the work day.

But I know that if I want to maintain the level of health I currently enjoy, without medications, I'm going to probably have to step up my game. Since years of resolutions have proven only that I succeed quite well at not following through, for this year  I only made a promise to myself that I would add one healthy lifestyle habit to my short list. The plan then is to either up the game each consecutive year or add something new.

For 2016 I intend  to walk a little more, a little faster, a little farther than I have been. For inspiration, here are some great photos of dedicated strollers:

iPHOTOS.com

Clipart.com

Acclaim Images

ClickArt Online