Using Texture to Enhance Visual Experience

When we look at an object with attractive textures, we have this urge to reach out and touch it. We remember the pleasant feelings these textures triggered before so we want to experience it again. We may also remember being pricked by objects with sharp surfaces so we might be wary when we are near them. These are called 'sense memories' and can be very powerful. Showing texture in your photographs can give it a tactile dimension which can hook a viewer's interest.

There are many kinds of textures we can represent in a photograph. Although texture connotes a physical sensation, emotional experiences can be triggered by their appearance. Let us analyze a few textures that may be used in a shot:

rusty 1024x768 Using Texture to Enhance Visual ExperienceSmooth – Smoothness is considered a very pleasant and calming texture. A baby's skin, rose petals and silk are just a few examples of subjects that are smooth. There are many things you can do with a camera to make a subject appear smooth. For example, by using a slow shutter speed, you can take a picture of a waterfall and make the moving water appear very smooth.

Rough – objects with rough textures, such as rusty metal or old tree bark, may not be as pleasant as smooth skin but they can also evoke vivid tactile sensations from the viewer.

Sticky or slimy – this texture may or may not be pleasant to the touch but it can provide great impact when captured in a photograph. Imagine looking at a picture of a hand covered in honey and you can probably almost feel what it would be like as if that hand were yours.

Frame your shots wisely when showing off texture. Finer textures, such as the stubble of a man's chin, would be more prominent if you get a close up shot or do a tighter crop. On the other hand, if you want to present texture in a larger scale like the cracks on a dry riverbed, it would be better to step back and capture more of the scene. A great way to highlight texture in your shot is to shoot contrasting surfaces such a soft stuffed toy lying down on rough cement.

Lighting is crucial in successfully presenting textures. Sidelighting is often used because it brings out all the little details. Angling your light source shows the facets of the subject's surface due to the highlights and shadows that are formed. The strength of the light is as important as its angle. Bright light can erase fine details such as fiber, sand or fuzz but it can show off large and prominent textures such as the rough façade of a crumbling wall.

Use texture to add visual interest and emotional impact. If your shot can get a reaction from a viewer then it will have been successful in enhancing the viewer's experience.


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How To Take Pictures of Your Pets Like A Professional

Pets can be great subjects for your photos. They can be cute and cuddly or slimy but interesting. Pet photography is a booming business and there are a lot of professional pet studios catering to all the pet lovers who want to capture images of their beloved animals. You don't have to go to a studio to take great shots of your pet. After all, you know your pet better than anyone else and by following a few tips, you can capture your pet's personality and beauty in your shots.

fur 228x300 How To Take Pictures of Your Pets Like A Professional

• If possible, use natural light – indirect sunlight as from a window, or a bright but cloudy day would be ideal. Avoid direct sunlight, though, because it can be too harsh and the various details of your pet's fur or scales will disappear. Studio lights can make your pet appear too 'posed' or unnatural.

• Go to your pet – do not wait for your pet to move to you. Most likely, they will be too busy playing or running around to pose nicely while you take their picture. Which is why a lot of pet photos are of them sleeping or resting. Go to them and try positioning your camera to their eye level so you have an idea how the world looks like through their angle of view.

• Do macro shots – pets vary in shapes, sizes, textures, and colors. By focusing on a certain spot on your pet, you are showing off its uniqueness. There are details you notice only if you go closer. The scales of your pet snake might look exquisite with a macro shot. Your turtle's shell can be very fascinating when you capture its texture and cracks. Animal eyes are often the focus of shots because of all its intricate details and colors. Just make sure your pet is comfortable with you and the camera leaning so close to it.

• Patience is required – it is hard to convey to your pet how you badly want it to sit still as you take its picture. It probably keeps moving and running away from you and it is important to keep your cool. As much as you want to get that perfect shot, you have to consider how your pet feels with you constantly sticking this big object on its face when all it wants to do is sleep under the bed. A little pet psychology might be in order which leads me to the next related tip:

• Trick and surprise your pet – for your pet to stay in one spot, you can offer it something it might want such as rawhide or its favorite toy. The prop can even be part of your shot if you want. Pets also have this habit of moving their heads fast as they look around in curiosity. Surprise them into looking at the camera by suddenly calling their name. Timing is important, of course, because they will lose interest quickly and look around again.

• Show their personality – each pet has its own unique personality and there is no one who will know them better than you. Is your pet frisky and likes to run in fields? Go out with your camera and pet and take a picture of them running with their tails wagging in happiness. This could also be the time to practice doing motion blur techniques or frozen action shots.

The more you take shots of your pets, the more they will get used to it and there might even come a time when they will pose perfectly still as you take their picture. But until then, keep shooting and remember to hug your pet after the shoot for a job well done.


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Less is More: Using Minimalism in Your Shots

In the world of art and design, minimalism is a style where the subject is trimmed down to its bare essentials. If you were to research on minimalism, you will find it is used in various forms from architecture to paintings, even writing and music. It is also a popular style in photography because not only can a photograph be stunning in its simplicity, but it can also push the photographer to improve his skills.

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We have some nice surprise update features planned for the coming months

Things that are close to launch include expiring events and custom shipping increments for self fulfill products. We also have a nifty marketing initiative coming with the ability to change price groups on a time line so you can run specials for limited times.

i.e “Save 30% on all photos if you buy before ______”

Please feel free to email us if you are interested in Beta testing any of these features.

Thank you

Ilan Artzy
President.


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Site update completed

All the features discussed in the previous update letter are now live on the site. Please feel free to reach out to us for more info if needed.


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Abstraction in Photography

Abstract art presents a figurative representation rather than a literal or recognizable reality. It is a major form in the visual arts that goes way back before the birth of photography. It was used in paintings and sculptures even in the early days of civilization when humans would draw geometric shapes to symbolize reality, such as an activity or an animal. The world of painting is rich with abstract art and one can learn so much from other artists who have become renowned for their genius in practicing this style.

Photography has caught up with the other older visual art forms and although the medium is different, the essence of abstraction remains the same.

There are many definitions of abstract art. On one end it can be only partially removed from reality which means that certain aspects are still somewhat recognizable, and the other extreme is total abstraction wherein the subject can no longer be identified. As photographers, we must truly exercise our imagination and creativity to capture subjects in an abstract way, to look at them beyond their usual realistic countenance. We can do this by noticing their shapes, color, lines and tone and composing these elements in a conceptual way.

Quick Tips to Make Something Look More Abstract:

white 1024x767 Abstraction in Photography1. An effective method is to crop out visual references that will immediately identify the subject. You may frame the shot in-camera or crop it in post-processing but the main objective is the same. Go closer to the subject, if you can, until it no longer looks familiar. This photo of a white plastic handle has been composed so that only its shapes and curves are visible while the rest of the handle is cropped out of the frame.

2. Find something in your subject that shows clean shapes or lines. If you are shooting nature, for example, take advantage of the sky, rock formations or sand. Man-made structures such as buildings are also often used in abstract photography because of their obvious lines and shapes.

3. Look for repeating patterns in your subject that you can focus on because they provide a sense of balance to the shot. You can experiment by breaking the pattern with an element which would then add tension to the shot. Find out what would work best in the composition.

4. Light and shadows is a great tool in creating an abstract shot. They can form to create fascinating shapes and can also be used to evoke a particular mood. Images that are low key or predominantly dark may give the viewer a feeling of suspense or trepidation. Shots that are high key or well lighted can induce a feeling of lightheartedness or cheer.

5. Use colors to give more impact. These can help by either defining shapes or by blending details into something unfamiliar. Furthermore, colors in their many varieties in hue, saturation and value can also trigger off emotions from the viewer.

Since abstract art is non-traditional, it is not immediately embraced by the majority of viewers. There are some who may not like the abstract form so do not take it to heart if you receive lukewarm reactions from a few people. Ask yourself who you are shooting for. If it's for a client and they do not like it, then find another technique. However, if you are shooting for the love of it, then ignore those who do not understand or appreciate this art form. When you practice shooting abstract shots, you are sharpening your composition skills and flexing your creative muscles and these are essential if you want to grow as a photographer.


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Site updates planned for next week

Facebook/Twitter sharing widget

Enhanced SEO features and Meta tagging for Gold members

Default setting enhancments

As many of you know marketing has always been a strong part of our product offering. In recent years social media has become popular with even the biggest brands. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have gained steam as legitimate brand building marketing tools for businesses. If you are not already looking at these platforms to help grow your business, we strongly recommend that you do. We have had many inquiries about people looking for an effective way to enable sharing on these sites in a way that helps them promote their business.

Announcing our new Facebook/twitter sharing widget
In an effort to help our clients brand themselves and benefit from word of mouth and referral marketing, we are launching a new Facebook/Twitter sharing widget on the site that will facilitate promotion of your images. We will be adding Facebook/Twitter share buttons to your site that will enable people to post links to your gallery on their personal or business Facebook/Twitter pages. When someone posts a link on their Facebook or Twitter network it is then broadcast to all their friends and contacts. Those friends may re post or “like” the post as well. All of this leads to more promotion for you.

By default, we will be adding these buttons to all galleries next week when we go live with these features.

If for some reason you prefer to turn the sharing buttons off, please send us an email request with your user name. Alternately you can visit the “Admin” section of the site once we are live next week and click “Customize Website” and then the “General” tab listed on the top of the page. Scroll down to where it says “Enable Facebook/Twitter sharing” and un tick the box.

Customized link appearance
You may also customize Facebook links to include a small thumbnail of the photo on the page being shared. If you prefer you can make it show your storefront logo or you can decide not to show a logo or picture preview at all and just present a link back to your gallery.

Allowing people to link back to your galleries is an amazing way to have people who see your work promote your galleries. It will also help you in terms of having back links directing to your site which will also help your search engine rankings.

Search engine optimization and Meta data control for Gold members. We have also added the ability for Gold account members to change their Meta-data on Event and Stock albums. This means that you will be able to change the title, description and keywords that a search engine reads for all of your albums allowing you to build stronger search engine popularity which in turn leads to more traffic for your site and images. As many of you know photostockplus.com does offer a search engine optimization package where we have experts analyze your site and submit it to search engines. You can find out more about Search Engine Optimization on our services page when logged into the site or by calling our office.

Default settings
We have improved the way our default settings work and are now allowing you to customize these on a defaults page that is located in the customize storefront link in the admin. Once you are in the “Customize Website” page you will have a link on top for “Default Event Settings”. This will allow you to set defaults to your events making for a smoother workflow for volume shooters.

We are very excited to hear back from you on this and look forward to seeing some amazing promotional results. We welcome your input on any and all of these matters as usual and look forward to bringing you more updates in the near future.

The PhotoStockPlus team www.photostockplus.com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1-866-268-9206 ext 239.


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A Closer Look at Macro Photography

Macro photography is one of the most popular techniques being used and if you haven't tried it out yet, now would be a good time. Simply put, it's taking close up shots of the subject and that means really close up. The world around us is full of fascinating details, mostly unnoticed since these are so small. By taking macro shots, we are bringing attention to the intricate and unusual features of objects that normally go beneath our notice.

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Shooting Flowers

Flower photos are flourishing in the world of photography. Flowers make great subjects since they are naturally pretty, full of interesting details, and as a bonus, some of them smell really good as you are composing them in the frame.

There are a few things to consider when you are shooting flowers:

flower 1024x833 Shooting FlowersLighting – flowers are quite delicate so avoid harsh lighting like direct sunlight which can erase tiny details such as the texture of the petals. Leaves and shiny petals can also reflect the sun which can cause overexposure. If you are shooting outdoors, cloudy or overcast days are preferable. If there is no cloud in sight, use some sort of light filter instead to diffuse the sun's strong rays. A thin white sheet can be sufficient although you will need assistance to hold it up while you are taking pictures. With studio lights, you have control over how the flower will be lighted. You can play around with intensity and positions where the light is coming from, such as sidelighting or backlighting.

Focus – flowers in their natural state are often surrounded by leaves and other flowers. They can be a great distraction since they will also fight for attention. A quick solution is to adjust your aperture to control the depth of field. A big aperture (small stop number) such as f/2.8 can keep focus on the flower while blurring away the background. This will also give the image some dimension.

Color – It comes as no surprise that some colors are named after flowers, such as carnation pink, orchid, cornflower blue, and lavender. Colors convey emotions and can create mood. Flowers can embody these emotions, which is why we connote red roses to love and yellow ones might symbolize friendship. Aside from possible meanings, the colors of flower petals are simply stunning to look at. Hues can range from a deep solid red to a very light yellow. The colors can be solid or a blend of shades. Color can make a flower look striking.

Flower Variety – there are thousands of flower varieties and they all bloom in different shapes and sizes, some prettier and some stranger looking than the others. From the ever popular roses to the more exotic orchids, you will not run out of options to choose from as your subject.

Arrangement – A single bud on a thin vase, a bouquet tied with a bright ribbon, or a vast field of flowers; these are just three ways to show off the beauty of flowers. You can present them as a still life composition or rooted in soil in their natural environment.

Macro – if you look closely, flowers are full of details up to the tiniest pistil. Some petals have intricate patterns while others have fascinating textures. Macro shots bring out those features that can easily be overlooked.

Taking pictures of flowers is an enjoyable process which you can actually make money out of. You may sell them as stock photos since a lot of clients look for flower photos to use as backgrounds, wallpaper, or magazine covers. Since they are very popular, it is easy for a flower image to appear cliché so this is where your creativity comes in.


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Using Repetition in Photography

The word 'repetition' in everyday life can be connoted to monotony which often leads to being boring or tedious. However, when used in photography, it provides structure which makes the image very attractive to viewers. We are seeing order as opposed to chaos and this is what hooks our interest and propels us from just looking at an image to actually experiencing it because of its emotional impact.

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