The new Canva app for iPhone – is it worth the effort?

Canva-logo

 

The new Canva app for iPhone was released a few weeks back – so have you all tried it yet? Probably not -it’s only available on iOS at the moment. That shortcoming aside, it appears to have most of the same features that are available on the full-blown version.

It’s great in many ways – you log into your on account so you can access to everything that you’ve already made. It’s still the same kind of easy-to-use thing you expect from Canva, and it comes with a variety of preloaded formats, so you can choose the right size and go.

Like most app versions of a full desktop program, it has its shortcomings too. A biggie is that there’s not the full range of pre-formatted sizes (although it does include the most popular), and you can’t create a new canvas with your own custom dimensions. Another big thing is that I can’t use any of my own photos that I’ve uploaded to Canva before (although I can upload new ones from my phone’s camera, or search through Canva’s imagebank). And I also can’t layer up photos to create my own overlays, or even have more than one photo in a canvas. You can’t use any of the backgrounds either – so only text, elements, and layouts. The image on screen won’t shift when you tilt your phone sideways, so you can’t make it larger that way. You CAN zoom in with the two-finger spread though.

On the plus side, there’s an expanded range of preset filters (and some different ones too) that pop up when you tap on an image that you’re using. However, I couldn’t seem to change the intensity of the filter, or access advanced image settings (even though the option showed on my screen. But I’ve got an iPhone4 – maybe I just need a new phone?).

Lastly (on my phone at least), it appears a bit temperamental and it’s thrown me out twice without warning.

I don’t have a paid account, so there are some Canva For Work things I can’t test, but I do wonder about. Can I still create an image with a transparent background? What about the one-touch resizing to suit every occasion? Is any of the functionality that’s missing on the free version above, available on the paid version (especially being able to access your own uploads)? And I would imagine that you can’t use your own fonts either (because they’re all stored on your computer, aren’t they?).

So yep, not quite the full quid. Overall though, it’s a handy thing to have on the go if you need something quick for Instagram or Facebook, but I wouldn’t be relying on it for producing all your graphics.

 

I would LOVE to hear your experiences with it! Have you had any glitchy moments, or has it been smooth sailing? Do you use it as your image editor of choice on your phone? Or have you figured out some greats hacks and workarounds on its shortcomings? Let me know!

Julie x

Review: The Photographers directory

review: photographers.com.au

photographers directory

Have you ever stumbled across a website and thought, “hmmm… this has potential!”? That’s exactly how I feel about this offering from photographers.com.au.

Essentially, it’s a directory site. So, if you’re a photographer yourself, you can put your own details up there, and depending on what level of support you choose, you can be found through the search bar which sorts photographers via category (product/studio, wedding, food, nature, portrait, etc), and via location. The basic listing is free, and it ranges up to $32AUD/month for a Professional Plus account. If you have a paid account, potential customers can pick you up from seeing your work featured on the home page. When they click on your link, they’ll be taken to your profile page on the site, which has more examples of your work that you’ve uploaded, a short “About” section, any testimonials you’d like to include, and various other sections for listing awards, high profile clients, and contact details.

If you’re a member of the public, You can search by category and location, although you can’t search by name (but then there’s always Google, if you’re looking for someone you know 😉 ). Then once you’ve found a few potentials, you can request a quote from them; and after you’ve used one, you can leave a review and a star rating for the next person too.

 

The site is very easy to find your way around in. For photographers who’d like to join, it’s easy to set yourself up with a directory listing (and a teensy bit amusing as well). There’s a fab blog to boot, covering lots of the issues that are common to creatives – several years worth of posts such as “How should you respond when a customer asks you for a discount?”; “At what point does creative photography become misleading?”; and “Is imitation the best form of flattery?”

 

Having said all of that however, the site does have a few issues. The clunky branding for one. For a photography site where the image should be king, there’s just too much going on on the home page. From the patterned background, to the drop-shadow on the edges on several of the boxed areas, to the inclusion of the map of Sydney. Then there’s the tiny writing in the menu, the very generic blue search box, some boxes with rounded corners and some with square, and the ‘Meet Some of our Members’ section laid out like a real estate showcase (not to mention the techy glitch of weird characters showing up where there should be quotation marks). Aesthetic things, to be sure – but I think that if you’re dealing in images, the aesthetics have to be top notch. Make it cleaner, make it neater.

 

photographers.com.au

 

Overall however, I think it’s worth having a look at – it seems to be well-populated already, which means that there’s lots of good, dynamic stuff happening. If you’re a photographer yourself, or even if you’re someone who needs a photographer for your next profile shot or product shoot, maybe this is the place to investigate.

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This post was supported by photographers.com.au; but please rest assured that my opinions are honest, and entirely my own.
I only ever share things that I think will benefit my readership.

How-to use the Adobe colour picker to choose a colour palette

adobe colour picker

Helloooo! Here’s a fresh video for you today – it’s one of my favourite colour-picking tools that I share with my clients. There are lots of colour picking programs around, but I like sharing the Adobe colour picker because it’s easy to use and has some useful features – you can extract colour from your favourite image, you can tweak sample points, and you can save your palettes. (You can also share your favourite palettes with the Adobe community, and you can also explore other people’s palettes too.)

 

Enjoy!
Julie x

 

Small biz: Surviving a PR nightmare

Surviving a PR Nightmare

Guest post by Matthew Quinn

All businesses work hard to build their brands; often startups work tirelessly just to get noticed when they are starting out.

Despite all of the measures that businesses take in order to protect their company’s name, mistakes do happen. And, in the digital age and social media revolution, a simple tweet or Facebook update could be detrimental to the company’s image.

Public Relation nightmares come in varying degrees. For example, in February 2016, McDonald’s faced a lawsuit over their “deceptive” mozzarella sticks that lacked cheese, and this was extremely damaging to their brand. On the other hand, some companies experience small controversies whenever their employees say something damning on social media, which usually leads to said employees’ termination.

Regardless of the degree of a PR nightmare, here are some things that you may want to keep in mind in case your business, no matter how small it is, faces adversity in the future.

Breathe

This may seem like something rather trivial but this is quite possibly the most important piece of advice documented in this list. When you see something unfolding before your eyes, compose yourself. Don’t respond immediately – think about how you need to provide constructive feedback.

For instance, if it is a review from a journalist or another industry expert, take the criticism on board and thank them for their feedback while looking to resolve the issue professionally.

Respond quickly

Responding quickly will help to minimize the damage. A day without responding is too long, and people, specifically consumers and the industry on a whole, want to hear your side to the story. By not replying quickly, you might as well as admit liability. After all, if you’re not at fault, and you haven’t done anything wrong, why would it take so long to respond? In short, you should prioritize matters such as these.

You can use social media to respond to customer feedback. Most companies use Twitter in order to provide quick responses to issues. Oil and gas construction firm Unaoil, for example, used Twitter to respond to the biggest scandal that the firm has faced since its inception. They even left the tweet a pinned tweet at the top of their wall so people could see it. Using social media to respond to controversy is a good way to get the message across to the world from your company’s point of view.

Launch a positive campaign

Bad PR doesn’t stick around forever especially if you try and counter it with something positive. Try doing something for the community or supporting causes that benefit the world. Remember the Coca Cola ad that was under fire last year because many saw it as “white people handing out soda to poor Mexicans?” Coca Cola didn’t intend for the ad to be interpreted, so they needed to act quickly to turn a negative into a positive. So, they launched a positive campaign about wellness titled ‘Coming Together’.

It’s important to make sure that you always take into consideration the feedback you receive from your consumer base as it could affect future business. Your target audience is your business’ lifeline, so make sure to always keep them happy and reply in a polite manner, and use the feedback to improve the way you do business.

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Disclaimer : tractorgirl collaborated with Matthew Quinn to bring you this post. But rest assured I only ever share things I genuinely believe in, and that I think will be useful for you!

This was me, six years ago

 

six years ago

 

I’ve been thinking about how far I’ve come in the last couple of years. On my down days, I feel like I’m pedalling that same bike around that same circuit.

Except I’m not.

Just like Karen Gunton’s lighthouse analogy, it might seem like we’re going round in circles, but we’re actually spiralling upwards. We can tell, because the view changes as we go.

Here’s a little something I wrote six years ago, when I had the tiniest Etsy shop with the baddest photos. Scarlet was my alter-ego, who spent a lot of time sighing and looking out the window, wishing things were better.

 

KAPOW.

Super Scarlet was back in business.
“This is it.” thought Scarlet. “Today is the day.”
Today was mid-winter solstice. “The longest night means that tomorrow, the days will start getting longer. Time for a spring clean.”
She grabbed pencil and paper.
Time to make a to-do list.

Finish 3 more cushions
Make 5 new bags.
Sort some business cards.
Tidy that garden. (oh my, have you seen it of late?)
Sort that bookshelf.
Fix those broken toys.
Do those clothing repairs.
Vacuum that filthy floor.
Wash that school uniform for tomorrow.
Do those dishes…

Oh.

Um, OK. now to prioritise.
Hmmm. She turned the list upside down and sighed.

 

Um, No.

Sure life with a family is a juggle – it always is and nothing’s going to change that. But seriously? Those house jobs are not your business. If you’re serious about your business, that list will stay right way up. No, it’s not easy, and of course you have to be flexible. Factor that stuff in to your timetable. If you’re serious, you’ll find a way to make it all fit.

 

Remember this:
There’s never enough time to do everything.
It always comes down to priorities.

 

Happy solstice x