Friday, 19 November 2010

Well earned City-break...

The Bull Ring

When I was young, okay, a lot younger, my Mam and Dad used to take my brother, sisters and me to see our relations over here in the UK. We took it in turns, sometimes I was lucky, other times not. But I always remember Birmingham and the Bullring. It was a kind of mecca for shopping and what a dump it was. But not anymore. Birmingham is a city that has totally changed, and speaking with my architecture hat one, it has changed is fantastic ways. We recently had an opportunity for a few days in this city. We visited the Motor Heritage Museum, Cadbury World (an absolute must!) and did a bit of shopping, well, Mrs H did the shopping, I did the photography.


What I particularly like about Birmingham the mix of 70's and contemporary design that is fused together in the city. I could walk around it for hours, and have done on many an occassion. You can see this around every corner.

Bridge over the Canals...

It is a great place for street photography. The people are friendly and warm. I feel at home there. If you haven't visited this wonderful city, then go and do so as soon as you get the chance. 


Old and New

The double exposures are more or less straight out of the camera. I made a few tweaks in Lightroom; a touch of sharpening, slight de-saturation for an olde worlde feel and a nudge of clarity. the trick is to pre-visualize. I knew the shots I wanted to double expose before I left home.

If your camera has a double exposure feature try using it. Set it to two or more shots, if it has 'autogain' leave it at the 'on' position, this is probably the default setting anyway. All it does is divide the correct exposure for a given shot by the number of shots in the multiple exposure. In my case it was 2 shots, so the exposure for each was halved. Sounds complicated, but you can always check it out on the screen as you go and turn it off  and compare. There is also the manual option as well, where you just work out the exposure for yourself. Don't worry too much about it; just have a go.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Moo, Blurb and Etsy...

Those on-line book publishing people, Blurb hosted a series of seminars in London last Friday and I was there. They used a 'pop up' shop for the day and dressed it and populated it with their books and posters in only a day! Along with Blurb there was Moo, the company that prints those amazing Moo cards. I use their minicards for my photography work. I intend to use Blurb very soon for  my Project 52 book, but I had never heard of Etsy.

So, what did I think of the day.

Blurb first. There was literally hundreds of theie various books in all the shapes and formats available, from coffee table photo books to text boks. And everyone looked fantastic.

The seminar came in the form of a lesson in how to make a book using Blurb's 'Booksmart'  software. It could not be simpler; you download the software and the rest is reasonably intuitive. If you have ever done a powerpoint presentation, then the jump is easy.

I had a couple of questions. I am in the process of putting my first Blurb book together and I was thinking of making a small photobook as a proof; indeed, on the day,  Blurb recommended this approach. But the drawback is that if you want to make a bigger book, you then have to make the book all over again. I cannot help thinking this is a design flaw. It won't stop me using Blurb, but I would like to be able to copy accross the book, or just press a button and change the format

The second question was about colour and dark images. In a nutshell it was recommended that the images are brightened a bit because of our backlit monitors. I am going to increase the exposure in my shots by about a half to one stop. This could be trial and error, depending on what type of shot you take. They also recommended 300dpi as a minimum for photographs.

The big question; will I be using Blurb, most definitely.

Moo was next. nothing to say. If you don't already use them, then go to their website and get sorted. they have a huge array of business cards, minicards and holders; all great for any business. They also do a regular blog showcasing what people have used their moo cards for... you will be surprised.

This was a new one for me. Etsy is a craft / creative on line community for selling. I logged on when I got home on Friday night and was pleasantly surprised. There is everything on there, from apple cosies, yes, apple cosies... (I am still thinking about that one) to photographic prints to scarves to tee shirts to ceramics, mosaics, the list goes on.

I met a lot of people who have had great success selling their various item on Etsy and they only had praise for the site. So, I am going to give them a go. I am going to put together a set of my Infinite Ireland prints and put them up for sale there and see how they do.

For me the day was a great success, Blurb hosted it and took very good care of use with coffee, sandwiches and the odd beer or two in the evening.

Blurb website is here, if you are thinking of doing a photobook check out their website.

Moo are here, go nowhere else for your businesss cards.

Etsy are here, an amazing community of creative people selling their wares.

A big thank yuo to Blurb, Etsy and Moo for a very educational and enjoyable day. I shall definitely be back for more.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

just following those shoes again...

I am lucky enough to be attending a seminar run by Moo, those wonderful moo cards people, tomorrow up in London. Blurb will be there and Etsy. The topics include, marketing, photography and photobooks for a small busniness.

I am really looking forward to it, and it gives me a chance to take a day out in London! I'll keep you posted.