Friday, January 23, 2015

Ideas to Inspire Music Photography

Well, the weekend is soon upon us — two days and nights to pursue the things you love, whether it be the party life, catching up on household tasks, social times with friends, or quiet time with a good book at home.

Mine is shaping up to be a mixed bag of all of the above. Scheduled are visits with kids and grandchildren, meeting up with old and dear friends,  a few hours dedicated to baking, laundry and other assorted chores, as well as a bit of a date night with my sweetie.

And while we are both becoming more homebody than party animal at this point,  part of this 'date' involves going out to hear our son and his band.  Music, for us,  is always a highlight.

Not to perpetuate a stereotype, but I've often thought it's our German lineage that has contributed to our love of music. Culturally Germany is known as an important musical nation, the birthplace of famous composers, the home of renowned academies and festivals. My husband and I both grew up in households where people played, sang and enjoyed music.  It dominated every facet of our lives, few moments of inactivity not filled with melody.

It's little wonder to me then that as an adult, when I list my hobbies, music is near the top, second only to reading. A distant third is photography. Given that one pleasure is audio and the other entirely visual, it got me wondering how someone might combine the two. Obviously, it's simple enought o take pictures of people playing music, but I was imagining something a little outside the box. Happening upon a rather unique photo recently I decided to take a look at how others have managed this. Here are a few results:

Inspiring Ideas of Music Photography

35 Magical Musical Images Examples of Music Photos

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Design a Ready to Print Brochure in Photoshop

My daughter is in the process of starting not one, but two home businesses. The first, a cat boarding facility, is going to be years in the making, thanks primarily to a good deal of red tape.  The second, a daycare, is more  immediate.

She is obviously then in the throes of all the muddle of getting an enterprise started — from dealing with bureaucracy to creating her brand and incorporating it into all types of promotional materials.

When it comes to advertising first impressions are important. So if a company brochure is your introduction to potential clients, you want to make sure that it's designed to impress.

The main goal of a brochure is to not just tell people who you are, but what you do. It's a tool that can be broadly distributed at little cost. As they are relatively economical to produce too, you can even create several to focus on various segments of your business.

Not everyone has the time, or software to create their own brochure, but if you do, and want to give it a try on your own, here's a website that explains how to "Design a Ready to Print Brochure in Photoshop":

Whether you decide to have the brochure done professionally or in-house, there are important factors to consider before you get the project started. Here's an informative website with some great tips to consider:

Once you've got the key elements decided for design, selecting the right photos or illustrations will make your finished project picture perfect. Having completed the perfect brochure, the last thing you want is to find yourself on the wrong end of a copyright issue. There are a number of wonderful online resources for accessing images legally and within a variety of budgets. Here are a few favourites for illustrations and photos:

Acclaim Images

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Over 2,000 Awesome Zodiac Illustrations

Yoga class had ended and the group had gathered around a table for some ginseng tea and socializing. Relaxed and mellow the mystical vibe continued as discussion centred first around birthstones, then zodiacs.

I am a Libra, the sign represented by balanced scales. It is the adjective here that truly defines the personality. If you believe in this sort of thing. Which I don't. 

Yet, if I'm to be honest I am surprised how well any description of what being a Libra means defines me.  I want balance and harmony. I choose to avoid the storms, but will strive to calm them if I can't miss them.  I appreciate beauty and like to surround myself with it.  As a result I can be hyper-critical of others, moody and a bit of a control freak.

Libras too are known for their grace and elegance. I don't know about that, but I do try my best to be my best on a daily basis. It doesn't matter what others think, but I want to put my best face forward  for me.

So, while I'm fairly certain there's no scientific logic to explain it, while I suspect it's all a bit of  malarkey, it's accurate enough to be just a bit of fun. And as a Libra, I love fun.  There are the knowing looks when you tell someone you're horoscope. There is a glimpse in a newspaper to see how your day is going to pan out. 

And there are the intriguing symbols that represent our birth time in the year.  Here are some great collections of zodiac illustrations from,, Acclaim Images and TOONClipart

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Free Image Editors to Help You Work Magic

Whether you're a graphic designer or a grandma working on a special family memento, finding that perfect image to use in your project is easy, thanks to the diversity available  through a variety of online services.

That said, for novices (and there are still a few out there) delving into the world of graphics can be intimidating especially if using an image isn't going to be as straightforward as they hoped. For instance, there are times when a transparent background is required, and while a png may have one, depending on how the artist created the image, a jpg will have a background 100 per cent of the time.  Only with vectors, a format that can be altered without any loss of quality, is transparency of background guaranteed.

A cautionary addendum to this, however, is that in order to open a vector file, one does require advanced image editing software, something  everyday users might not have at their disposal. 

Professional software programs (like Adobe Illustrator and  CorelDRAW) are quality products providing tools to work one's own magic on an image. However, they can be rather expensive for hobbyists. The good news though is there are free options online for people for whom such an investment just wouldn't make sense. This link offers some examples:  5 Free Vector Graphics Editors.
For people with simpler needs, or for those who just don't feel quite ready to work with vectors, the popular word is Photoshop. This  program is finding its way into households as well as businesses, but with a price tag attached still isn't a practical option for everyone.  A great alternative is GIMP which can be downloaded at

A quick Google search also brings up a number of other free options, some specific to a task. This link ( is for Graphic Toolbox, a fun site that lists 35 free graphics programs.

While it's possible to find clipart that doesn't require editing, with a little work, creativity and imagination you can become an image editing wizard. Be fearless. Have some fun and create a little magic with your favourite image.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hundreds of Winter Sports Illustrations

It's not a common question you hear in the winter in this neck of the woods, but it was what I overheard a colleague asking another on Monday morning. "How was swimming this weekend?"

We live in the Great White North and it's only due to a recent influx of larger recreation centres with indoor pools in area towns that for a few hours on our off time we can enjoy a warm weather activity as snow blows outside. What is more likely to happen on a weekend, though, are hardy Canadians heading into the ice and cold to enjoy fun times on the rinks, slopes and trails.

Ice skating and hockey dominate in community arenas, where conditions are perfect even in a mild winter.  Snowmobilers head through town to fuel machines and bodies before riding the highways through the snow.  Trails in rural forests and wide open fields provide the perfect setting for cross-country skiers, while downhill fans head to the closest hills.

One of my favourite winter sights, however, is the horde of youngsters gathered at the hill by the river for tobogganing. It's been a hot spot for kids forever and the fresh look of rosy-cheeked tots accompanied by the  music of laughter is a bright spot on my walk home from work.

If you're looking for happy faces enjoying winter sports these illustrations from several online sources are perfect for a variety of projects:

Acclaim Images