Friday, November 20, 2015

Gorgeous Winter Photos

Apparently it could be an interesting trip this weekend.  Especially given that the universe appears to be conspiring against us.

My husband and I, along with our daughter and two grandbabies, are setting out tomorrow for a little mini vacation. For a couple of days earlier this week we worried that we might have to cancel as our little granddaughter appeared to have contracted some kind of bug and was really under the weather. Fortunately, she rallied so all systems seemed to be go again.

Then a quick check of the weather for our travel day threw us another curve. Apparently, after a glorious autumn of unseasonably nice temperatures, there's a winter storm watch.  As we're seasoned Snowbelt natives, the threat of snow doesn't generally concern us overmuch; my husband's comment when told the forecast was that he better put the snow tires on after all.

This is not to say that we don't take it seriously, just that given our Canadian winters, particularly as we live right in the path of any lake effect snow off the Great Lakes, we have had to learn to cope.

When the force of winter hits, though, we treat it with respect.  We intend to make our trip as planned, but we will be monitoring the weather and making whatever adjustments to our schedule and itinerary are necessary.

As we make our progress,  possibly through all of the ugly that winter can throw at us, we will do our best to stay positive. Perhaps even focus on the season's beauty too. Maybe these gorgeous photos will help us to put things into perspective: Winter Winter Patterns Winter Sunrises/Sunsets Winter Landscapes

Acclaim Images Winter Scenes

National Geographic Winter Landscapes

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tips for Taking Better Vacation Photos

One shouldn't wish one's life away, but I really can't hardly wait for this weekend.

A month or so ago, our daughter asked me if her father and I would be interested in going away for a couple of days before Christmas with her and the babies.  Her husband works a lot of weekends, and she operates a home day care during the week, so she thought it might be nice to go do something fun.

And, of course, what could be more fun than going away with Grandma and Papa?

The choice of where was a no-brainer. A short-drive from home is Frankenmuth, Michigan.  This pretty Bavarian town has long been a family favourite, starting when my husband and I were dating and with friends attended the annual beer festival in June, then later with our own kids where the focus switched to the Christmas wonderland that is Bronner's.

We all agree it has been the perfect mini-vacation destination.

As expected there have been many photos taken over the years of these frequent sojourns. I captured dozens of moments from our group of 20-somethings party visits. There are equally as many in our albums of our little ones posing with Santa, enjoying the hotel's amenities or posing next to unique landmarks. 

This will be the first visit for these particular grandchildren, though. Snce the bar has been raised on my photography standards of late, I'm hoping to capture some great pictorial memories of this milestone. 

Though I generally have a pretty good eye for a nice shot, it never hurts to see what suggestions the experts might have. Here are some tips I found for capturing great vacation photos:

Digital Photography School's Tips for Better Travel Pictures

iPhone Photography School's Vacation Photo Tips

Mashable's Tips for Great Vacation Photos

First Photography Tips: How to Take Candid Vacation Photos

Nikon's Better Vacation Photo Tips

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

3 Photo Collections of Christmas Presents

"Every gift from a friend is a wish for  your happiness." — Richard Bach

Let's face it, if most of us are to be honest we'd admit we love getting presents.  Knowing that someone took time from his or her busy life to find that perfect gift for you is a pretty special bit of information to have. 

Also, the suspense before the opening, that moment of surprise when you finally open it are rare moments in a life typically dedicated to thinking of others before oneself.

I'll be truthful. I don't expect gifts on my birthday, anniversary or Mother's Day. If they arrive, however, I'm as gleeful as a child on Christmas morning.

Which is the perfect segue to my next point. Dec. 25 is the one time I care less about receiving and am simply thrilled to watch everyone open the gifts I have given them. When it comes to the spirit of giving during the holiday season, it gives me the purest joy.  

So much so that I do get a little carried away. To the point where a few years ago my children told me it had to stop, that a four-hour marathon of unwrapping was just not fun any more.  I've done my best to listen, but the mountain of purchases now waiting for me to get them Christmas morning ready, with more yet to come, might suggest there's still a little way to go.

Pretty sure I'm not going to get there just yet, though. The day might come when for monetary or physical reasons I can't handle it, but for now, shopping for Christmas presents for my hubby, our kids, and their babies gives me great pleasure.  And I'm a firm believer in doing what makes one happy.

Thus, as we look ahead to the season of giving,  here are some terrific photos of holiday gifts and the accoutrements that enhance them: Christmas Presents

Acclaim Images

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

7 InDesign Tutorials for Creating Ads

No matter what the season, somebody's always trying to sell something. Whether it's bathing suits in summer or hockey skates in winter, back to school fashions in August or rain boots in April,  there are plenty of businesses wanting your business.

However, there's probably never more commercial enterprises letting you in on what they have to offer and at what kind of deal they're willing to offer it, than now.  Every store in every town, every shop on every corner has a reason to entice you through their doors for your Christmas shopping.

Competition is high, therefore. Creating the right promotion can make a big difference on whether or not people choose to spend their money with you.   Whether it's an excellent marketing strategy or catchy theme, whether it's a better discount or a promise of something extra, shoppers are drawn to anything that gives them that little extra.

The advertisements you use also need to attract attention. Designing one that catches the eye and interest of potential customers is imperative to success.  In my years at a community newspaper I was often surprised by how reluctant business owners could be in parting with dollars for advertising. To me it's the wisest investment in your enterprise you can make. Advertising is your introduction to the masses. It says who you are, what you can offer and what you do. Thinking that people will find you, or remember you, without it is short sighted.

If you're in the business of designing ads you've probably learned the benefits of InDesign for creating your projects. If you're an entrepreneur who likes to have control of the process from start to finish here are some great InDesign tutorials for creating ads:

Design a Print-Ready Ad in InDesign

Creating an Ad In InDesign CS5 Part 1

Creating an Ad in InDesign CS5 Part 2

Creating an Ad in InDesign CS5 Part 3

 Creating an Ad in InDesign CS5 Part 4

Speed Art: Full Page Ad in InDesign CS6

Create a Magazine Ad With InDesign

Monday, November 16, 2015

Perfect Illustrations for Retail Promotions

When I think about the type of clipart people might be searching for these days, what comes to mind are illustrations for discount and sale promotions.  Everyone's looking for a bargain. With Black Friday less than two weeks away and Christmas just around the corner,  the time to let them know about any is now.

I spent this past weekend getting a jump start on my shopping. Most of the stores were already offering various specials and discounts, in order to provide as many temptations as possible.

Obviously, it's pleasant to see something you like discounted. It won't, however, entice me to buy it if I wasn't looking for it. No, I tend to be a sucker for the 'buy one, get something'  kind of deal.  I can't tell you how many, soft cuddly throws I've bought because a particular retailer each year offers them at a highly-discounted price if you spend $50.

I might only be searching for one pair of earrings, but gosh if they're going to offer another free if I buy two, well, how can I possibly resist?  Purchase one sweater, get another for half price.  Yet another no-brainer.

Until I leave the store and the spell breaks. No longer bewitched by the power of retail and a fondness for fashion,  my mind clears and I am left with the fact that since I didn't need another throw, another pair of earrings, another sweater, these deals had actually cost me money.

It's smart marketing, this strategy to convince people to buy more than they want and think they are getting a bargain in doing so.  Otherwise, I have to admit instead to a vulnerability, an addiction, or plain stupidity on my part.

There's comfort in knowing many are like me.  The words bargain, deal, offer, sale, discount will reel us in every time. Here they are in illustrations perfect for promotional artwork: