Not your average stock images : The Photo Forest

I’m SO excited to announce that my ridiculously talented friend Nora is launching a wonderful new not-your-average stock photo site – The Photo Forest.

 

everybody-needs-beautiful-photos

 

Nora first came up with the idea when searching around for good stock photos and yet again being disheartened by the lack of quality, REAL-looking photos. Stock photos seemed to be always too slick, or too bland, or… something. And the good ones were being used by EVERYONE.

Nora is a photographer herself (besides being a totally kick-ass graphic designer at norawendel.com), and went out in search of real scenes and real people doing real things to fill that gap. But as many photos as she could take herself, she wanted to build something bigger and create a community at the same time.  So, she dreamed up the fab idea of creating a membership site where other photographers could contribute, and visitors could put in requests for whatever photo they wanted! So, if you want a picture of a teddy bear sipping a pina colada next to a swimming pool – request it, and someone will take that photo for you. How good is that!? It’s a fantastic concept, and nothing like it anywhere else.

 

what-photos

 

Here’s what Nora has to say –

“I’m on a mission to revolutionize the stock photography industry by providing custom on demand stock photos to lifestyle, wellness and smaller niche businesses that are underrepresented in big name stock photo sites.

At The Photo Forest we are about DIVERSITY -in all forms of the word! Race, size, economics and more! Our aim is to provide Real Life Stock Photos through our platform so that every business can have beautiful imagery to market themselves with.

The other important aspect of The Photo Forest is the community that I want to build and engage with – there will be a members only community where we can share what we are looking for, how we have used the stock photos, ask for advice and also talk to me and my team on how to make The Photo Forest better in terms of design, functionality and usability! I will be open and honest with all members about the inner workings of The Photo Forest so that everyone can understand how it works and feel included in some big decisions. It’s totally going to be community over competition.

So far there is no other stock photography site like this out there and that makes it even more exciting as I and all our members get to decided on how we want this to work!

What started your interest in photography?

I have a passion for photography – when I lived in India I used to do real life situational photoshoots for travelling yoga teachers and I really loved that – but that was location dependent and I have since moved to Cape Town in South Africa – so for the last year I have been trying to come up with a way to still be a photographer but be able to work from anywhere. Yep a total digital nomad 🙂

I started making some photo packs and sold them through my website norawendel.com. As part of that I did some market research into what type of photos people where looking for and couldn’t find. I called it #RealLifePhotography as that was my style – shooting situations as they were in life. – When I  started to get more and more feedback from my market research about the struggles people were having finding niche photos or photos that represented diversity like coloured women, or women over 50, or photos of plus size people – I knew I was onto something.

How does it work?

The whole idea of the platform is that members get to request the themes of the photos they really need and can’t find anywhere else. Since this has never been done before I can’t say exactly how long it will take from request till download of the photo to your computer- however I am estimating that it can take anywhere between a week to three weeks – it really depends on the photographers and how many photographers pick up the request! Each photographer can choose which request they want to go out and photograph and every photograph is reviewed before it is released to the members. As much as possible will be automated but we will still be reviewing each photo submission form the photographers to make sure they align with what we represent  – reality and diversity!

How soon are you launching and what have you got already?

Keep in mind though that there will already be more than 1000 photos ready to be downloaded when we do launch in October, and this number will be increasing as the requests come in and the photos get taken. It will be a continuous cycle of new content on a monthly basis, likely even a weekly basis depending on the amount of request that come in and the amount of photographs our carefully selected photographers submit to the platform.

Overall it’s going to be one juicy platform!”

 

the-first-community-stock-photo-site

 

Want to find out more? Check out The Photo Forest here! ->

www.instagram.com/thephotoforest

www.thephotoforest.com

www.facebook.com/thephotoforest

 

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.

*

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.

Music + pictures 4 : alt-J ~ Hunger of the Pine

Music + pictures {or even more simply, “music pictures”} is a collection of beautiful from around the interwebs while I’m on holidays for January – at the beach, camping, with my family.

Have a fab New Year, and I’ll be back on the 1st February.
{p.s. I’ve just joined Instagram, so if you’d like to find out a bit more about me and where I live (and holiday!), I’d love for you to come and join me. I’m at tractorgirlmakes.}

 

 

Driven to the edge, full of fear and hope and yearning for what you can’t have.

alt-J ~ Hunger of the Pine.

 

 

 

 

blossom via japanesepaperplace.com

blossom via japanesepaperplace.com

{via here}

 

original butterfly by jonathon mccabe

original butterfly by jonathan mccabe

{via here}

 

little houses by freekhand via society6

little houses by freekhand via society6

{via here}

 

waves via 4-designer.com

waves via 4-designer.com

{via here}

 

{unknown artist via tumblr}

{unknown artist via tumblr}

 

The crafted object : Quality ~ it’s in the details

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe famously said “God is in the details.”

Quality is being purposeful and attentive to all those little things that many of us rush over, and is the reward for those of us who choose to heed we see.

 

Rebecca Hannon - 'cobblestone' brooch - front and back {via RebeccaHannon.com}

Rebecca Hannon – ‘cobblestone’ brooch – front and back

{via RebeccaHannon.com}

 It’s in the interiors and undersides of objects.

 

 

yumiko higuchi {via yumikohiguchi.com}

yumiko higuchi

{via yumikohiguchi.com}

 It’s present in immense skill and precision.

 

 

thyme tealight - {kanimblapottery.etsy.com}

thyme tealight – {kanimblapottery.etsy.com}

{kanimblapottery.etsy.com}

 It’s in the understanding of materials, and how they look when the light catches them.

 

 

Molly Hatch  cups {via MollyHatch.com}

Molly Hatch cups

 {via MollyHatch.com}

 

yumi okita -

yumi okita – cross’s wave moth

{from irohandbags.etsy.com}

 

And NONE of it is made by casual fiddlers or doodlers.

 

Build your vision, build your skills by years of long, hard work; 

and one day quality will appear, as if by magic. 

 

 

Photography : Amy Giese

Amy Giese : Glitch and Digital Photography

I always love me a bit of well-constructed glitch (which is kind of a contradiction in terms I know, but do you know what I mean?).

At its purest, glitch is a machine-driven, random alteration of sound and/or visuals – mostly resulting in nonsensical waste. But when the aesthetic of that technology is harnessed and utilised, it can become a beautiful thing indeed, presenting the world from an altered viewpoint which can be both incredibly expressive and thought-provoking.

It’s what Amy Giese does with her photography. Using various filters and post-image manipulations, she cuts and weaves her images of the everyday into moments of beautiful expressiveness.

 

atgiese - move

atgiese – move

 

Although she’s been making photographs for over 15 years, like many artists it’s been a convoluted path, and she has supported herself and her artwork by working in restaurants throughout much of that time. It has been a lot of hard work to get to this point, and now she is excited to be teaching photography and exhibiting her work regularly.

College was the first place she really discovered photography. “I took art classes, but only did painting and drawing (horribly, I might add!), but I always loved creating.”

 

“And when I took my first photo class in college, it was like a bolt of lightning hit me – all these ideas in my head actually showed up in the film, which never happened when I drew. It was magic.”

 

 

atgiese - motion blur

atgiese – motion blur

 

She loves the history of photography; to see what others have captured on film and how those ideas have developed. “I have always been drawn to the fundamentals of how the camera sees the world differently than human beings do – long exposures, overlapping frames, the play of light and shadow.”

It’s also this sense of altered perception that has drawn her to her favourite artists – “I’m drawn to people who find a way to re-interpret the physical space of our existence in such a way that I see the world through new eyes. Alberto Giacometti was an early influence, particularly his paintings. The photogram projects of Susan Derges are haunting and beautiful. The installations of Ann Hamilton seem to blow my mind every time. And the use of sound in a specific place of the duo Cardiff and Miller makes me reevaluate how I move through the world.”

 

atgiese - geometric water

atgiese – geometric water

 

atgiese - ocean storm

atgiese – ocean storm

 

Her camera phone is a tool of choice, because of its portability and its immediacy. One of her favourite photographs is Morning Commute “because it was one of the first images I made on my phone where it exceeded my expectations of what a camera-phone could do. It captured the feeling of riding the bus into work, early in the morning perfectly.”

Another favourite is Ocean Storm “because of the place and what an editing app pulled out of the moment. It’s a beach I go to every year, and the colors and weather are epic! Somehow the fractured pattern of triangles really captures some of the emotion of the location for me.”

 

atgiese - broken clouds

atgiese – broken clouds

 

atgiese - blue sky

atgiese – blue sky

 

Based in Boston with her husband and their cat Winifred, she spends her spare time fixing up their house and scouting Etsy for new and interesting things to bring into the mix. She loves being barefoot and dances while she cooks dinner, occasionally singing songs to her cat and/or husband.

Her best piece of advice? “I respond the most to negative feedback – someone saying what doesn’t work, pointing out something that I didn’t see, poking holes in an idea.

“The best advice I ever got was to not take criticism personally, but to use this feedback as fuel to improve.”

 

You can find more of Amy’s images in her Etsy shop, atgiese.