Finishing Our Wicker Baskets Using Unique Products

Stake Basket

Choose eight long, medium willow shoots to serve as the basket’s “stakes.” These are the vertical pieces that form the structure of the sides of the basket.

Use your knife to sharpen the end into points. Insert a stake alongside each of your spokes, pushing each one down into the weaves as close to the center as possible.

Bend the stakes so they are pointing upward toward the sky.

Use knife, to trim the spokes back so they’re level with the edge of the weaves, then tie the stakes together at their tips to keep them in place.

Weave two rows of three rod wale. This weave requires three weavers, which are woven among the stakes to set them in position. Find three long, thin shoots. Sharpen the ends into points.

Insert the shoots into the base of the basket on the left side of three consecutive stakes.

Now do two rows of the weave as follows: Bend the far left weaver to the right in front of two stakes.

Pass it behind the third stake and out to the front. Take the next far left weaver and bend it to the right in front of two stakes. Pass it behind the third stake and out to the front.

Continue weaving this way, always starting with the far left weaver, until you have two rows of three rod Wale.

Untie Stakes

Add weavers to the sides of the basket. Find eight long thin shoots. Use your knife to sharpen the ends into points. Insert one, when you start with new shoots you will always sharpen them first.

Now insert one weaver into the basket behind a stake.

Bend it over the next stake to the left, pass it behind the stake to the left of that one, and pass it back to the front. Now insert a second weaver behind the stake to the right of the starting point of your first weaver and do the same – pass it over the stake to the left, under the stake to the left of that one and back to the front. Continue adding weavers this way until there is one weaver next to each stake.

When you insert the last two weavers, you’ll need to lift up the first weavers a bit to make room to add the last weavers underneath. Use an awl or a long nail.

This type of weave is called French Rand, it’s a popular weave that results in even, upright sides.

Weave Sides

Take weaver and pass it in front of the stake to the left, then behind the stake to the left of that, and bring the end out to the front. Take the next weaver to the right of the starting weaver and pass it in front of the stake to the left, then behind the stake to the left of that, and bring the end out to the front. Take the next weaver to the right of the starting weaver and pass it in front of the stake to the left, then behind the stake to the left of that, and bring the end out to the front.

Continue weaving this way around the whole basket, always starting with the next weaver to the right.

When you get back to the start you’ll see that there are two weavers behind the last two stakes.

Both weavers need to be woven around the stakes. Do the bottom weaver first, then do the top weaver.

For the last stake, do the bottom weaver first then the top weaver.

Continue with French Rand until you’ve built up the sides as high as you’d like them to go, then trim the tips of the weavers.

Secure weave

With a row of three rod wale. Find three long, thin shoots. Sharpen the ends into points.

Insert the shoots on the left side of three consecutive stakes. Now do one row of rod wale.

Bend the far left weaver to the right in front of two stakes. Pass it behind the third stake and out to the front.

Take the next far left weaver and bend it to the right in front of two stakes. Pass it behind the third stake and out to the front.

Continue weaving this way, always starting with the far left weaver, until you have a row of three rod wale.

Finish Rim

Bend one of the stakes to the right and pass it behind the first two stakes. Pass it in front of the third and fourth stakes. Pass it behind the fifth stake, then pass it back to the front.

Repeat with the next stake to the right of your starting stake.

The last two stakes won’t have other stakes to weave around, since they’ll be woven into the rim.

Instead of weaving around stakes, follow the same pattern,- but thread the tip in and out of the border. Cut the tips of the woven stakes even with the side of the basket.

Making handle

Make the base. Find a thick shoot to use as the base. Bend it over the basket, holding the ends in place, to find out how high you want the handle to be.

Cut it to the size, leaving several inches of extra length on each side. Sharpen the ends into points and insert them into the basket next to two stakes directly opposite each other.


Insert five thin shoots into the weave alongside the handle. Sharpen the ends and insert them deep into the weave so that they lay right next to each other.

Wrap the handle with the shoots. Gather the shoots and wrap them around the handle like a ribbon until you reach the other end of the handle. Make sure the shoots lie flat right next to each other. Tuck the tips under the top of the woven rim.

Secure the sides of the handle. Insert a thin shoot into the weave alongside one side of the handle. Bend toward the handle and wrap the base of the handle several times to secure the shoots are in place. Keep wrapping tightly until the base of the handle is secure, then pass the end of the shoot under the last wrap and pull it tight, then trim the tip. Secure the other side of the handle the same way.

Now that we have completed our first wicker basket, we will continue a more challenging basket. Let’s see, what we will have for the month of June and what products we will use. Please follow to learn more about baskets.


26 May 2016

Inside Out – Entertainment That Teaches?

Inside Out is a Disney-Pixar animated film which successfully uses graphics and humour to show what is going on inside someone’s head. This promises to be an entertaining way to teach emotional intelligence.

General scenario of Inside Out

Growing up can be a difficult time. This is true for 11-year-old Riley. Her father starts a new job on the West Coast and so she is uprooted from her life in Minnesota when the family moves to San Francisco.

Riley’s mind is portrayed by five small characters called Joy, Fear, Disgust, Sadness and Anger. These are personified in the film as human-like creatures who live in Headquarters. This is the headquarters of Riley’s head where executive decisions take place. She responds to events according to which little figure is taking charge.

The emotional characters in Inside Out

  • Joy is a light-hearted optimist trying to ensure Riley is happy.
  • Fear is awake to any hazards and is concerned to keep Riley safe.
  • Disgust wants to show Riley what physically and socially poisons her.
  • Sadness dwells on the unhappy side of things.
  • Anger cares a lot about protesting when things are unfair.

As Riley’s emotions struggle to adjust to her new life, chaos ensues in Headquarters.

Portrayal of core memories in Inside Out

Riley’s past experiences are stacked as core memory balls in long-term storage. Each of these can be called on but sometimes they get dumped and lost. The memories are coloured and distorted if touched by one of the emotion characters. For example, an experience is remembered differently by being turned blue if touched by Sadness.

The view of Inside Out regarding the causes of behaviour

Inside Out suggests that the emotional figures can make Riley feel what they want according to which of them is in charge of the controls and which can touch a core memory. Children need to learn to recognise how emotions affect the way we all behave and learn to put names to them. In addition, there is the useful point that we can misremember the past according to our current feelings.

Riley is shown to be a victim of her emotions. She appears to have no choices. According to Inside Out, it is the specific situation one finds oneself in that determines one’s emotional response. What emotional attitude we adopt comes from experiences in life or rather the way these are remembered. In line with the story of Inside Out, core memories can be coloured by which emotion currently in charge touches them.

An alternative view to that conveyed by Inside Out

In my opinion the film omits the important dimension of personal choice. Perhaps this was necessary because of the simple nature of the plot. Is Riley to be thought of as a mere robot just responding to which emotion is the strongest at any one particular moment? A different view is that we ourselves are in charge of which emotion rules us. According to this standpoint, each person has volition (free-will). In other words, we can make personal choices which can go beyond what might be expected from experience and current adversity.

Did Riley have to snap back at her parents when they tried to talk to her after her unhappy day at the new school? Did anger have to be in charge?

Was there no other response available to her other than to abruptly end the phone call from the old friend? She had been told there is a new girl on her old team who played really well with Meg. Did social disgust have to rule her mind at that point?

Had she no choice other than to roll over and face the wall after Dad tries to cheer her up by acting goofy? Did sadness really make her do this?

Rational thoughts

Just as our core memories can be coloured by our emotions, so can our thoughts. I feel afraid so I am likely to think about dangers around me. However, it also works the other way around. My thoughts can affect my feelings. So if I reflect on my situation and think about it from a wider perspective, I may feel differently. For this reason, I believe our natural passions need not dominate us.

Riley is only a child, and her responses to what happened to her are perhaps only what we might expect from a child. As an adult she might look back and think that when her parents tried to talk with her perhaps she could have discussed the reasons for the house move instead of snapping at them thus ending the conversation.

When Meg spoke about a new friend, perhaps Riley could have thought about the new friends she might expect to make in her new school and talked with Meg about their keeping contact instead of rudely ending the call.

In addition, when her father tried to make up with her by acting goofy perhaps she might have thought about making the best of her new circumstances and get his help to do this instead of turning away from him.

Learning to relate to people is not just about recognising emotions that they and we feel. I would say it is also about learning reflection and self-control. Should children be learning this also?

What is truly human about us is our rationality, our ability to see and know, if we try, what is true and what is good, and also our ability freely to intend, think, say, and do it” (Emanuel Swedenborg, spiritual philosopher)

As a clinical psychologist, Stephen Russell-Lacy has specialised in cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy, working for many years with adults suffering distress and disturbance.

26 May 2016

What Is the Role of Animatronics?

Animatronics is a process of building mechanized puppets or full-size costumes that resemble animals, dinosaurs, or other imaginary creatures, and made to look quite lifelike. The idea behind animatronics was first created by Disney Studios back in the 1950s for use in some of their early films. Plus, it is possible to combine the mechanized movements with other special effects in an attempt to create the more convincing look and a greater level of realism.

In addition to using this technology in the film studios it is a common sight in many of the popular theme or amusement parks, which many feature birds or other creatures in special shows to entertain guests.

What features are involved?

Animatronics can vary significantly with basic to very complex designs. The most basic animatronics are built with basic sound recording features and have the ability to make one or two simple movements. For the more advanced designs it is possible to include software that can complete specific moves, and can even be remotely controlled. On the most complex designs the engineers will create the costumes using the latest special effects technology that includes realistic skin, highly flexible joints, and lifelike actions or sounds.

The creation process starts with a designer sketching out the ideas on paper. Once the initial concept is created, the engineering team will provide detailed plans to start on the construction of a scale model which is known as a maquette. If this first concept is approved, it is possible to move on to the full-scale model which includes the built-in electronic controls and moving parts. The design team finishes the model using special paints, materials and textures in order to create the realistic looking skin.

Many of the animatronics rely on LEDs, servos, and connecting wires to help create the realistic sound effects. Creating the costumes with the servo connectors is great for plenty of reasons, including the wide availability of these components and the relatively low-cost to use. Plus, it is possible to use connect sensors in certain projects to help benefit from the convenience of wireless control.

Future of animatronics

The future of animatronics is still very strong, but because of the time and cost involved in creating the full-size models, many film studios rely on computer animation to help with special effects. There are still many companies that have the sole purpose of creating animatronics for entertainment purposes, such as use in theme parks or amusement parks.

26 May 2016

4 Principles of Designing the Perfect Logo

Unfortunately, many people underestimate the concept of designing a logo. When they watch an icon, they fail to admire the work that has gone behind it. But contrary to such perception, developing a good illustration is a tall ordeal because scarcely do people connect with a poorly created design. Anyone can create an illustration but icons aren’t just an illustration; it’s a graphical representation of a business or entity. They aren’t just symbols as they are much more than that. What a business is all about, what it does is all illustrated through an icon.

So what makes a good illustration anyway?

Many people wonder what it takes to design an eye-catching logo. Is it the colour, typography or is it some unique element that only designers are aware of? But in reality, all it takes to design a perfect logo is creativity.

Keep it simple

The major mistake that most people make is to overcomplicate their designs. No one wants to see designers showing off their designing skills by over elaborating things that nobody can understand. The best thing to do would be to keep it simple yet creative. Think of the most popular illustrations around and you will see that they are simple.

Think about the psychology behind colours

Every colour represents a different emotion related to the brand. Some of the more prominently used colours are the emotion they evoke are:

• Yellow: Appetising, friendly and warm.
• Orange: Cost efficient, fun and innovative.
• Red: Aggression, passion and danger.
• Pink: Flirty, girly or feminine.
• Brown: Rustic or rural.
• White: Simple, clean and pure.
• Black: Class and sophistication.
• Violet: Dignity, luxury and wealth.
• Blue: Success, calmness and trust.
• Green: Environment-friendly, fresh and natural.

A brand should define a logo; not the other way round

One should remember that an illustration shouldn’t define a brand but it should be the other way round. The icon should convey about the business and its kind.

Think about the future

Any business icon should also be relevant many years down the line. So any designer should keep in mind that such illustrations should be timeless.

There is immense competition in the graphic industry. Aspiring creative minds are constantly churning out innovative ideas so the margin for error is small. You have to update constantly and reinvent yourself to match industry standards. Getting stagnant isn’t what designers are all about and not what artists should aspire to achieve.

26 May 2016

Logo Design and Its Relevance

A logo is a graphic representation of a company or an organization and what it does. For instance the logo of Facebook is a white f on a blue background which can be easily identified by everyone and quickly sticks to the memory. Hence, a company logo is something unique and special which enables a customer or potential clients to identify what sort of business a company does. They are a basic aspect of a company and all business concerns and organizations as expected to have one.

A well designed logo can help a business get more customers whereas a poorly designed logo will drive away potential customers. This is because when it has to do with printing of business cards, brochures, flyers and other hard copy marketing materials, the logo will be on them. Therefore, logos are used as a visual representation of a company’s overall identity.

In the corporate world, Logos can be found in every place. They can also be seen in household appliances, stationery, on the packets of snacks and edible meals etc. These are some of the reasons why they are very important.

As customers gain more knowledge and trust with a particular product brand, they are more likely to react to experiences with a logo which can lead to more deals or a more meticulous view of the interior of the product. More so when you have a good logo, it depicts a level of advanced skill and ability which could help attract potential customers to a business rather than to a close competitor who has no logo or those with low quality logo.

Small organizations frequently make use of low quality logos while placing more emphasis on their size and using clip arts for their design. It is not recommended that businesses redesign existing logos for purposes such as letter heads and complimentary cards. A logo should befit a company and should not just be visually appealing alone.

Professional logos should be grand and attractive to potential customers. They are heaps of decisions for typography, visual components and shading. A logo should serve as a visual representation and be designed in a manner that will give a feeling of importance for an organization. For instance a company that build cars should not have a house in their logo as that will give customers a wrong impression as the logo does not correspond with the line of business of the company.

A logo speaks volume of the quality and status of a company. Just placing the logo on an advertorial is enough to make clients reach a decision concerning the company. It is of essence that you have a quality and professional logo that will represent your company well.

26 May 2016

How Professional Framing Brings Out the Best in Your Portrait

Having portraits taken can be an expensive venture. Professional framing helps protect your family photos and brings out the best in your portraits. Whether you’ve had a formal sitting with your photographer, or have blown up a casual shot that captured a unique moment for your family, having your images matted and framed turns a simple picture into a piece of art that complements your decor.

Professional framing experts will discuss what you want to get out of your finished project. Keep in mind that they have extensive experience choosing the right mat and frame for various projects and will be able to suggest color combinations and mat choices that will enhance your portrait. Professional framing entails choosing the right sized frame and mat, colors that help draw the eye to the main focal point-the image-and a frame style that complements your portrait.

It may be tempting to choose an elaborate frame, or to select colors that match your decor. While an elegant frame may be suitable for a formal portrait, consider a variety of choices before settling on a particular style. Your professional framing artist will be able to help you choose a total package, which includes a mat and frame that work together to bring out the uniqueness of your piece.

Professional framing artists will be able to point out the advantages of particular colors and materials. For portraits, lighter colors are an excellent choice for matting. While it may be tempting to choose bold, dramatic colors, a more neutral color like cream, light gray, or beige is a better choice for the main part of the mat. If you choose a double mat for your portrait, it’s possible to add a brighter accent color. When choosing colors, remember that the purpose is to enhance the photograph. The mat and frame should come together to work with the portrait and draw the eye into the composition, rather than jumping out or distracting from the image. A pale, neutral background with a thin line of a bolder color draws the eye inward, toward the center of the portrait. Conversely, if your portrait has a very dark background, a darker outer mat might be possible, with a light inner accent color to draw the eyes inward, toward the picture.

Look at your portrait and consider what is it that you love about the photo. Is it the way your son’s shirt brings out the blue in his eyes? The way the light highlights your daughter’s hair color? What draws your eye most? Consider the colors. A common mistake is to match the most prominent color in the portrait with the accent color. Instead, consider picking up a secondary color for the accent. Doing so will bring depth to the portrait without distracting from the composition. Professional framing rounds out the job by adding the final border of wood, plastic, or metal. The frame holds the portrait and mat together and brings the entire piece together. When you’ve spent the time and money on having a beautiful portrait taken, professional framing adds the finishing touch.

26 May 2016

10 Mistakes To Avoid That Will Instantly Make You A Better Photographer

Mistake 1. Combining Light & Shadow

A good example of the mistake of combining light and shadow into photographs can be seen when family photos are taken outdoors. They might be in a really nice location, but the one orchestrating the photograph fails to appreciate how the light from the sun, as it filters its way through tree branches and foliage, is going to impact on the resulting image.

An example of bad lighting is where you’ve got your subject in “some some, some shade” and it just ends up being a really, really bad place to take a photograph of someone. And this is what happens with typical family orchestrated portraits, taken outdoors

The ideal to aim for is something more neutral, such as taking your subject (i.e. family members) and placing it/them all in shade, and then adding light with your external flash – the key is to start with the right location (such as in the shade), so that you don’t have any shadows falling on your subject and creating a really strong and visually off-putting combination of bits of shadow and bits of light.

Mistake 2. Wrong Location

This tends to happen when the elected photographer (again, typically a family member) is too shy to get their subjects to move to a location that will help result in a more appealing photograph. They’ll tend to make-do with any old location, if their subjects are suddenly all together. What then happens is they’ll end up with something in the background that totally ruins what could be a really nice photograph – such as random cars that aren’t out of focus enough to truly stop them from being a visual distraction. Or, there are rubbish bins, or just something that detracts from the overall appeal of the resulting photograph. And, most of the time, all the photographer had to do was move their subjects (e.g. family) to a spot only a few meters away, or turn them to a slightly different angle, and they would have had either a clutter-free background, or at least one that would have blended nicely behind the main subjects, without being an eye-sore or unwanted distraction.

Mistake 3. Focus In The Wrong Place

Many a time, people have managed to compose a really nice photograph, but the elements you’d want to see clearly just aren’t in focus. You have to be aware that the eyes of those viewing the photos are going to go to whatever happens to be sharp and bright.

Examples are flowers, where the head of the flower is blurred and out of focus, but the leaves (nice as they are, but which most likely aren’t the main feature to show off) are the parts that are in focus. So, the focus was good on the leaves, but as it was the head of the flower that was meant to be the main subject, the focus was clearly in the wrong place.

When it comes to taking portraits (of a person, pet, whatever), it’s not uncommon to see that the photographer has managed to get something either in the foreground or the background in sharp focus, but then they’ve made a total hash of the face and eyes of the subject, which is frustratingly blurred. When viewing the photos, you want to see the detail of the person and don’t want to be impeded by the facial details being blurred and out of focus – this is often what ruins an otherwise nice portrait photo.

When taking a portrait, ALWAYS make sure you have tac-sharp focus on the person’s eyes. If you’ve positioned the person at a slight angle to you, using center-point focus, lock it in on the closest eye to you. The key to good portrait photos is to get the eyes in crystal clear focus (UNLESS you’re aiming for something creative and artistic, that is!

Mistake 4. Wrong Aperture

Using a wide aperture (low f-number), to create a shallower depth of field, enables you to use selective focus to determine what is in focus and what will be blurred and out of focus. This approach helps you to dictate what those viewing your photos will look at.

For example, if you’re photographing a pilot standing in front of his or her plane, you want the pilot in focus and not the plane, because you want to draw the viewer’s attention to the pilot – the one who flies the plane – and, in this case, not so much the plane. If it were the plane you were wanting to draw the eye to, you probably wouldn’t have the pilot in foreground of the shot… he/she may be in the plane, but it’s going to be more obvious that the plane is the main subject of the photo, as you photograph the plane in its environment (such as about to taxi onto the runway); the background would be secondary to the plane, so you’d allow the background to become out of focus.

Of course, if you purposefully wanted to capture both the pilot AND the plane in clear focus, with the pilot standing in front of the plane, then you’d shoot with a narrower aperture, such as f11 or all the way down to f22, depending on how far the pilot was standing in front of the plane.

Learn to use your DSLR in Aperture Priority mode, to learn how to take photos with a low aperture number (f-numbers such as f4, f2.8, f2, f1.4, etc.), as these will allow you to explore selective focus, to get away from the “point-and-shoot look”, where everything is in clear focus.

Mistake 5. Bad Composition

Landscape photography is a good example where the average photographer tends to come away with poorly composed photographs. The problem usually stems from them not knowing what their subject actually is. If you were out at Niagara Falls, it’d be fairly obvious that your subject will be the stunning waterfall, and so that is what you would want as the star attraction in your frame. However, problems can arise when there are multiple candidates for being the main subject – is it the autumnal colors of the leaves? Is it the flowing stream as winds its way down into the valley beyond? Is it the valley? If you know what your subject is, it will help you to craft a better photo.

You can sometimes get interesting photos by angling your camera. This is using a technique known as “Dutch angle”, “Dutch tilt”, “canted angle”, “oblique angle”, or “German angle” photography, to produce a point of view that’s pretty much like what you see when you tilt your head to one side. It is a technique that can be used to add a dramatic effect to an otherwise ordinary subject matter.

Another cause of bad composition is not getting down to the level of your subject to take the photo. Photographers can get a bit lazy and shoot everything from the height that THEY stands, regardless of the height of the subject they’re photographing. If photographing, say, kids or animals, you’ll often be rewarded with better images, if you make an effort to get down to their level – even going as far to lay on the ground, if you have to, in order to get the shot, so you can portray in the photo what it’s like to be at THEIR level. If you can get LOW, below your subject and shoot UPWARDS, it has the effect of making your subject look much bigger, and/or more powerful.

Another composition mistake is trying to shoot every subject from head-to-toe. This is typical of portrait photos. Images can be more interesting if you get in close, either physically closer or with a zoom lens, to photograph your subject(s), say, from the waist, upwards

Always centering subjects in photos is a habit that can create routinely poor photos. If you don’t center subjects in the frame, you get to take your viewer on a journey through your photograph, which can help make your images a little more compelling. For instance, you photograph a monument… instead of placing that monument in the center of the frame, step back enough so that it can be positioned to either side (where you think it looks better), and then use leading lines (such as the shape of the land, or a fence, or a road, or path), to lead your viewer’s eye from the far side of the image, up to the monument (or whatever your subject is), where they may spend a little while taking in the details of that subject, before their eyes naturally travel back along the leading line, to where they started – at which point, they’ll either be done looking, or they may take another visual walk through your photo, if it’s compelling enough to them.

Mistake 6. Don’t Shoot Tight Enough

If you take a photo of someone, for example, and you show the person from head-to-toe, plus a lot of what’s in the background and surrounding that person, then the photograph tends to be about the environment that your subject is in – it could be the person is wearing a football kit and is on the pitch, with the goal posts in the background. If, instead, you focused in really tight, so that you fill the frame with your footballer, as much as possible (from the waste up, for instance), then the resulting photograph will now be more about the person, than where they are.

It’s not that you shouldn’t shoot in one way versus the other (head-to-toe versus up tight), but consider shooting both types, in order to give you more options – once you get the photos printed or onto your computer, with a bit of reflection, you might find you prefer one style over the other. But, if you only shot one way, such as always trying to get everything in the frame, from head-to-toe, then you’re missing out on achieving a totally different feel or look to your images.

It doesn’t matter what the subject is… if it’s a car, for example, take one photograph showing the entire car, which will include some of the surrounding environment, and then get in really close and tight, and photograph an appealing section of the car in isolation – it could be just one side, or a diagonal shot either taken from the front nose section looking toward the back, or from the interesting back end of the car, looking forward.

Mistake 7. The Wrong Use Of Flash

First of all, a flash unit at full power can be really harsh, which can result in the loss of interesting features and details of your subjects. So, if using flash, turn down the power, such as to -1 stop. You’ll know when you’ve used too much flash, because people will be commenting on the fact you used flash to take the picture. It should be used to enhance the subject(s) in the photo, not to become the main feature or talking point of the image.

You should also take time to learn how to use your camera during the day, as much as at night. If you’re taking photographs outside on a bright sunny day, flash can help to get rid of some of the harsh shadows that may be present in the background or shining onto your subject(s).

If photographing someone outside, in the sun, and you find a small pocket of shade, you might end up with the sun shining down on them and, while you may get the sun adding a nice portion of hair light to the top of their head, the rest of your subject may be lost in a silhouette. By adding a subtle amount of flash, you can capitalize on the hair light coming from the sun, and kiss just enough light with your flash, to illuminate your subject from the front, to take them out of the dark silhouette. The result will be a nicer portrait, overall.

It can be very effective, when outside on a sunny day, to position your subject so the sun is coming from behind, and then you use your flash to help illuminate them from the front. With the sun shining down from the side, it can tend to add really dark shadows, particularly around the eyes, giving your subject a kind of “raccoon look”. This is something you can avoid, with the use of a flash, and simply positioning them so that they are between you and the sun, with the sun directly behind them.

Another problem with photographing people looking into the sun, is they all invariably end up squinting into the camera, which is never a flattering look to have in a photo.

Mistake 8. Not Aware Of The Shutter Speed

Photographs that have captured, say, a sportsman in midair as they’re about to touch down and score a try in rugby; where they’re frozen, with no image blurring, will have been shot with a fast shutter speed. Conversely, when you see a bit of motion blur in the photo, such as the movement of the arms and legs of a marathon runner, then these will typically have been taken with a slower shutter speed – the shutter stays open fractionally longer, giving enough time for the camera’s sensor to record the movement of the limbs at various different points as the athlete moves along.

It all depends on the speed of the subject, as to how fast or slow your shutter speed needs to be, in order to capture either some movement in your photo, or to ensure that there’s no motion blur and the subject is completely frozen in that moment. A person jogging along might allow you to capture motion blur at 1/40th or 1/50th of a second, as you pan with them. But, a motorbike or race car may require 1/100th of a second or so, in order to get a similar result.

Mistake 9. Trying To Shoot At Night Without A Tripod

If you know you’re going to be photographing at night, take a tripod along, as you will most likely be needing to use slower shutter speeds. You don’t want to discover a fantastic photographic opportunity, only to be prevented from capturing that moment because you didn’t have a tripod – and because you couldn’t hand-hold the camera, as the outcome would have been photo-ruining blurring, due to having to hold the camera during the slow shutter speeds.

There are some places you go where they don’t allow tripods, in which case you will need to make the best use of whatever stable platform is available – this could be a ledge or a wall, or, if you’re forward thinking, you might be able to arrange a mini tripod in a backpack, which pokes out just enough to let the camera appear like it’s just sitting very well behaved atop your bag… But, in general, if you can use a tripod, it’s often the best choice. Camera bean bags are another option – you just have to scrunch your camera down into them, to get it level, but that can solve a problem of not being allowed to take a tripod somewhere, and yet still manage to get your camera onto a level base, to take your shot.

Mistake 10. Standing By Walls & Bushes

If people know they’re going to have their photos taken,

they inevitably find a wall or a bush and reverse themselves right up to it and then wait there until you take their picture.

If you’re using flash, or outdoors in bright sunlight, and you let them remain in front of the bush or wall, this will most likely result in them having a harsh shadow around them. The bush or wall can also merge with your subjects and you may not get sufficient separation between subject and these background objects, resulting in a rather cluttered portrait.

What tends to happen, when people have their photo taken up against a wall or a bush is that people viewing the photos will get somewhat distracted, as they may find their minds are caught between looking at the people and looking at that bush or wall. By all means, if the bush is attractive, you can have it in the background, but just bring them far enough away from it so that you can use a wide aperture (small f-stop number), combined with a longer focal length, to have the bush nicely defocused in the background, while letting your subjects take the starring role, as should be the case.

26 May 2016

How to Find A Good Wedding Videographer

There are plenty of individuals and companies that are making wedding films. If you are searching a videographer for your wedding, then the internet would be the ideal place to look and choose the right one for you. It can be daunting to find a videographer at a geographic location of your choice, because there are so many websites to choose from. When you identify the website, you can always view samples of their work. Every filmmaker has personal style so make sure you fully agree with the wedding videos that they have made. It is possible some of the videos are too long; so you need to focus on the content and its quality as they will give you a much better idea of what the final video will be like. The activities of the wedding day needs to be captured candidly as they happen, carefully selected with a natural perspective of the entire wedding day.

Recently couples have become more enthusiastic about shorter wedding movies that faithfully contain every moment of the wedding ceremony such as the first dance, the toasts, cake cutting. As a matter of fact the quality of the video is a huge part together with the emotional content of the wedding day. Your focus here should be on the equipment that the studio is using so they can create stunning, cinematic and good looking wedding movie.

In order to have the best possible wedding film you need to hire a studio that is able to supply at least two cameras and more videographers to successfully emphasize those special moments. Checking the prices of their packages is something that is a very logical question and depends on the videographer and the options you choose. Wedding video editing means a lot of extra work so it is better to pay a bit more and make sure the quality of the wedding video is adequate and contains the additional costs such as; extra copies, extra hours of filming and more videographers.

After all this consideration and the decision on whom to hire it is important to think about what music do they use and to see if they are respecting the copyright law on the wedding videos. A good rule of thumb is that the sounds and the theme music are appropriate to the actual events, like the ceremony, the venue and recipient of the guests. Additionally, you will certainly want to have a special coverage from the event and this is most often arranged separately.

26 May 2016

Right Way to Choose a Professional Graphic Design Company

We all know that an image can tell thousands of words. But which words the image will tell depends on many things. The most two important aspects of a photo are composition, and lighting. To tell the story for our purpose, rightly, right arrangement of objects and people are very crucial. Suppose, you need a picture of Niagara falls for your next marketing campaign for a specific product. You send your best photographer to shoot the appropriate photographs, but the model of your product could not turn up there for her schedule problem. The easiest solution for this particular problem is to shoot the photograph of the model later in the studio and place her figure on the Niagara Falls photograph. We can also add the image of the product or any other necessary objects, texts, effects/special effects, blah, blah, blah… later, using image manipulation and graphic design software.

Can we do the image manipulation ourselves?

The answer is yes or no. Yes, if we know all the techniques required to do this photo manipulation. If we have a dedicated graphic design section, then we do not need to go outside for this service. Maintaining an in house design section increases overhead cost. But if we do not have that facility, we cannot do it ourselves. Also, photo editing and graphic design is a tedious and time consuming job which most people like to avoid. Firstly, one must know the software like Photoshop. If you need professional work, one should have in-depth knowledge, and should know the tricks & tips of image manipulation. For this reason many photographers, prefer to hire graphic design firms to do the necessary photo editing. Because they want to spend their time on their main job of shooting. Also, they need some time for their own marketing.

This is just one example why we need photo manipulation and image editing service provider firms. There are numerous situations when we need to hire a graphics firm.

How to choose a quality graphic design firm?

Deciding which firm to select is a matter of confusion. Because there are lots of firms around the globe. Which one provides the best quality and competitive price? Well, I would like to express my opinion on some criterion you can give more emphasis on.

Experience of the graphic design company:

Choose a company that has many years of experience. Experience matters a lot both for quality and price. Normally, a firm with several years of experience should have more expert employees, who can help in generating high quality and effective outputs with minimum time. When you get high quality within small amount of time, the price for the production becomes lower as well. If you get the outputs in short time without compromising the quality, it will help in meeting your deadlines. Large companies prefer and select large companies for their graphic design works.

Ability to deliver high quality outputs:

An old and large company with many years of experience, generally has several expert professionals who can deliver very high quality of works. Generally, they have experienced QC personnel. These expert personnel can monitor and help other professional graphic designers in generating high quality outputs.

Working process:

Look for a graphic design company which maintains a work flow that ensures high quality of outputs. Check if there is QC stages which is necessary for maintaining high quality. Some large companies have 2 stage QC. A graphic designer completes a work. A QC personnel checks if the output is according to the expectation and specifications of the client. If he finds any deviation, he directs the designer to correct or re-do the image manipulation. If he accepts the quality, a senior QC personnel checks the outputs and gives final approval before supplying to the client.

Ability to supply the deliverables on time:

We all know that turnaround time is very important for a project. You have a deadline for your job where the manipulated images will be used. So, you need the edited images in time so that you can meet your deadlines and make your clients happy. A large company has the ability of scheduling works, according to the priority, to make sure that the outputs are delivered within the promised time. Ability to provide rush service is something you could be looking for.

Ability to handle bulk order:

If you have a large quantity of images you should be looking for a company, which has a larger numbers of professional graphic designer, who will be able to handle bulk order with a rush. Who can ensure on time delivery even if the order is large enough. If a firm has a large number of employees, they will be able to make changes to the production schedule according to the priority.

Work portfolio:

Check their portfolio to see their standard of work. Normally, they will keep their recent best works on the website. You can get an idea from the portfolio about the types of job they are capable of doing, and the level of quality you may get from them.

Quality of the sample or free trial work:

Some firms offer free trial offers. It is a good opportunity to check the quality and turnaround time of the firm. These are of course the most important aspects you would like. This will help you in getting confidence on the graphics firm. If they can provide you quality outputs in free trial order, it will be easier for you to assume what they are capable of doing.

Authenticity of the company:

Normally, an authentic company has many years of existence in the market. They may have more security facilities implemented on their website like SSL certification. SSL or Secured Socket Layer provides data encryption facility. This will ensure more security of your file transfer and other communications with the graphic design service provider.

Payment terms and refund policies:

Payment terms and conditions are important factors. Go for a company that work with a payment method and conditions that is convenient to you. It is better if they can accept PayPal, MasterCard, Visa card, Bank cheque etc. As for refund policy, some firms may also have a policy of partial or full refund if you are not happy with their work. You may like to have this facility, if you are working with a firm with which you did not work with before.


Confidentiality is a very important issue. Suppose Apple Inc. is going to employ a firm for some graphic design work for their new products. Surely, as usual, they would like to keep everything extremely secret. Select a company who promises 100% confidentiality of the work you are going to award. Some firms may sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) to guarantee the confidentiality of your information and work.

Customer care:

While selecting a graphic design company, the quality and availability of the customer is also a matter of consideration. Check if they are available when you need to communicate. You will find some company that provides 24/7 dedicated customer care support. That is advantageous for your project, because you will be able to promptly convey any instructions and changes you need. You will have peace of mind, if you can know the status of your work and get the outputs whenever they are finished.

26 May 2016

What Is the “Creative Filter” and How to Avoid It?

On an Indonesian island, 40 Thousand years ago someone had an urge to create amazing art on the cave walls. It told a story a story that survived and was shared. Since then we have been creating and admiring art, we’ve evolved in so many ways and now live in a world where everyone can express their personal creativity.

But who decides what is good or bad? Appreciation of art is such a subjective thing that one person’s masterpiece can be hated by others. In today’s world success is controlled by the subjective ‘Filter’ of the Art Critic, Publisher and Popular Media, only the lucky few get past it to succeed. When did this happen? 40 thousand years ago families and friends decided who was relevant, shouldn’t we leave it up to the public now too?

We are now in a creative explosion! Art and creativity are no longer the domain of the elite artist and creative professional. Now everyone has the tools to create art and the means to show their work to the masses through social media. Does this not mean that anyone with a creative talent should be recognised for their artistic contributions? I believe that Art is as relevant as the ordinary people who make it. Shouldn’t it be possible for the average person with a creative talent to make a living from their talents. Unfortunately, this still isn’t the case, we have come a long way but we are not there yet.

Success for most creative people is governed by what I like to call the ‘Creative Filter’. Let me give you a fictional example:

‘A young lady works 9 to 5 as a PA but she has always been creative, unfortunately, her job doesn’t leverage her talents. Outside work she has expressed this creativity in many ways, she is an amazing face painter, she designs her own clothes and draws pencil portraits of her friends and family. She applied for art college but they didn’t like her portfolio so she has resigned herself to never making it professionally, all of her friends and family think this is a crime and that she is an untapped talent waiting to be discovered.’

This is an example of the ‘Creative Filter’ at work. Some art teacher with their own objective opinion on who is relevant filtered another creative out to obscurity, this example could as easily have been a publisher, record producer, art critic etc. The creative world is full of ‘Filters’ and the world is full of untapped creative talent that needs to be recognised.

In my opinion, there is a solution, imagine a creative community where creatives of all disciplines can collaborate on projects to help each other get better or to create collaborative work. Once they are happy with their work they publish it and let the community decide if their work is relevant. Then they share their work on their social networks and get the people who always thought they should succeed to rate that work too. The community grows and, in turn, the relevance of the rating grows too.

26 May 2016