Friday, June 20, 2014

Adorable Animations to Honour Graduates

The time of year has arrived when students will soon be packing up their books and heading off to summer jobs or a few weeks of down time. For some, the time after though is of special  significance as they are looking back at part of their education path and towards the next step.

As such, graduation is on the minds of many right now. The classes of 2014, whether they are advancing into the professional world from university, or into Grade 1 from kindergarten, all have reason to celebrate. Milestones, particularly when they mark academic achievement or personal growth, are worthy of recognition.

Graduation is a proud moment, something to get positively animated about. Whether you choose to do that in a presentation, on a blog or personal emails, these adorable images will add a good deal to your message:

AnimationFactory Graduation

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Some of the Best Sites for Graduation Images

Summer is upon us. Days are long, nights are short and things are heating up.

Eager to get out and enjoy it all are schoolchildren. Classrooms are full of restless, energetic youngsters, daydreaming through windows full of sunny, blue skies.  Teachers find ways to take lessons outside as often as possible as a means to calming the exuberance. In the waning days of June, educational events are geared towards spending more time outdoors at field trips and track meets, picnics and play days.

And at the end of it all are graduation celebrations. It seems hardly a heartbeat ago that I attended these events for my children,  the first when my oldest made the big transition into Grade 1 from kindergarten,  more than 35 years ago. 

Each educational milestone since has been bittersweet. There is happiness and satisfaction in seeing the growth and development towards the reality of an independent adult. But there is also sadness. With each door that closes on another graduation,  the little boy or girl I'd known got closer to a life separate what we'd always known. Over time I came to see that each year was a move towards moving away.

When they graduated high school and left for higher learning, I was shocked by the many tears I shed.  But it had become clear to me that  the door of possibility that had opened for them now had changed the life I'd cherished for so many wonderful years. Though thrilled over their success, I knew things would never be the same again.  When their post-secondary educations were complete, however, I had adapted enough to be able to rejoice completely in their accomplishments.

Graduations are big achievements.  so, in celebration of this momentous occasion in a child, teen or young adult life, here are some terrific graduation illustrations for personal and promotional projects: Graduation Illustrations Graduation Photographs Graduation Images

Acclaim Images Graduation Illustrations and Photos

ClickArt Online Graduation Illustrations

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Great Ideas for Family Photography Poses

As years pass, as people come and go, keeping a pictorial history of  our familial unit is something I believe should be done on a regular basis. With the addition of three new babies this year, it's a given that while the adults have remained fairly constant in number and appearance,  an essential component of who we are as a whole is missing.

As someone with a little photography experience from years of working at a community newspaper, I have some idea of what I like to see in my pictures.  When it comes to family portraiture, I like to keep it casual, relaxed poses with plenty of shiny, happy faces in interesting groupings.  As I'm looking for images that will display my beautiful children and their family on the wall of our living room, spending too much time on moody little shots of hands, etc. really doesn't suit.

I was surprised then, a few years ago when we last had pictures taken,  to see how much effort our photographer was putting in to these types of photos. While I appreciate creativity, it was just not the style I wanted. For example, my son and his wife looked wonderful in one of them; it would have been my choice for framing. The problem however, was that it was only the legs of their three children that were included. An original idea, for sure, and  charming, but almost useless when one is looking for a family portrait.

Obviously, different people like different things. It's important, therefore, to know what you're looking for when having a sitting done. Discuss what you want, and what you don't. Be firm. Look at examples of their work and of other people. Don't be afraid to make a suggestion or too if you see something you like. The following links offer some ideas for family portrait poses that might give you some ideas:

50 Outstanding Family Poses

DPS Unposed Posing for Photographing Families Naturally and Fun

Stress-Free Posing, the Family Edition

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

So What's the Deal With Those Keywords?

For many of the years that I worked in journalism, finding graphics was done by leafing through a clipart book.  Dozens of pages of images, divided by categories, were scrutinized before finding the right illustration to highlight a feature article or advertisement.

The arrival then of online graphics services was welcome, as with a few simple words we could nowminimize the number of results. All, however, wasn't perfect.  While Juliet may have known that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, when people are searching for a rose on a clipart site they will most assuredly be calling it a rose.

Ensuring that the hunt for the perfect image is as simple as possible means attaching appropriate words to that image. And adding the appropriate keywords to an image is a worthy task for those in the business. When first looking at an image, keyworders need to consider its potential, how it might be used, who might be interested in it and what can be done to help a diverse group of users find it.

However, this is a human science. As such, images can be open to interpretation. For example, while finding photos of  stressed, dazed businesspeople when searching for 'rat race' makes sense, just using the the word 'race' will also bring a few rodents into the mix.

Ultimately, because of the many variables and variations that must be considered when keywording an image, keep in mind that what narrows down a search for some will inevitably broaden it for others. It's wise, therefore, to use all the tracks at your disposal. On sites such as  for example, every effort is made to help customers separate the keywording wheat from the chaff. For instance an Advanced Search option for the aforementioned example for race enables searchers to eliminate any images that have the keyword rat by adding it to the exclude box.

Other options allow people to look within categories or search strictly for colour or black and white images.

So, for just a bit of coffee break fun, here's a challenge.

As World Cup fever is everywhere, let's look at this cute soccer cartoon from The number of keywords attached to it is over 50. See how many you can think of.

Monday, June 16, 2014

How to Self-Publish Your Book

Once upon a time... 

I had the idea that I would one day write a bestseller.  My imagination was vivid,  I delighted in  good writing and loved to spin out a short story or two of my own from time to time.

In high school, there was enough encouragement from teachers to suspect that I could perhaps give it a try, but a detour into journalism meant more time spent detailing facts than creatively turning words into fiction.

Back in the day when this plan was first forming, too, one had little option for publishing unless someone read what you wrote, and liked what they read. The cost to self-publish was high and without a big-name firm attached to your work, the chances of even a modicum of success were unlikely.

Big publishing is no longer necessary to bring your work to the attention of others, however.  As with so many things these days the internet has provided opportunities for all would-be authors to realize their dream and potential. While there are options for publishing physical books that are affordable,  the most popular method these days seems to be the eBook.  And with the wealth of online sources for images there's no big outlay of cash to have your published work illustrated.

If seeing your work in print has always been a dream of yours here are a number of informative sites to get you started in the self-publishing business:

How to Self Publish and eBook

Publisher's Weekly Self-Publish an eBook

Publish eBooks

Self Publish an eBook

How to Make Money Self-Publishing an eBook

Publish a Kindle eBook

How to Self-Publish

wikiHow Self-Publish a Book

10 Steps to Self Publishing a Physical Book