photo posts

The Web Never Forgets

I recently read an article called "Think Again Before You Post Online Those Pics Of Your Kids" that made me think. It made me think A LOT about what I have been posting about my family and friends on social media. How many of you have posted a funny video of your kids that might be slightly embarrassing for them, but it is just too good not to share? I know I have. But what I have failed to do is to think about how many will view and share that particular video, and for how long it will be available for anyone and everyone to see.  The carbon footprint, so to speak, that we leave behind of ourselves on social media is there for the public to view forever! That ‘fun’ video you posted of your kids will be on the internet for your kids’ friends to view forever, even when they are teenagers and most likely do not want anyone to see it.

In trying to keep my kids safe, I have always been very concerned with what my kids share on their preferred social media platforms (which, incidentally does NOT include Facebook). I often tell them that what they post will be there for an eternity. I have put down a long list of ‘rules’ of what is okay and what is not okay on their social media; there can be no indecent photos, no bad language, no mean comments, no bullying, no connecting with strangers, no rude comments about myself or their dad, and he and I both have to be a ‘friend’ of theirs, so we can keep tabs on their social media activities. But in all honesty, I haven’t given much thought to the longevity and potential reach of what I post on social media. Of course, I don’t post anything about my kids maliciously, but rather to share what is going on in my life, which includes not only my activities but also those of my kids. My family lives in Europe and it is an easy way for me to connect with them and vice versa for them to see what is going on in my life here. But here is the thing: How do my kids feel about what I post about them on social media? I am embarrassed to say that I have never asked them…

Social media hasn’t been around that long (Facebook started in 2004, about the time when most current middle school students were born,) so it is hard to say how growing up on social media can affect your kids’ privacy and security. However, it’s time to consider the issue seriously. What we as parents post on social media about our kids shape their online image, which is there to stay forever. My daughter turned thirteen in the fall. As any other young teenager, she is concerned with her image and wants to be portrayed in a positive light whether it is on my social media or at school.

After reading that article, we decided that it’s time we sit down with our kids and draw up guidelines for what they are comfortable with being posted on social media. Working together on deciding what to post and what to avoid will create a mutual respect and appreciation, and at the same time teach great social media etiquette. In my household, we have set up a family meeting for this Saturday to make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to posting on our social media.

With that said – Good luck and happy posting!

Style. Shoot. Eat.

One of my first jobs in photography involved shooting food for a company of restaurants. Throughout the years, I learned a lot about food styling and choosing the right props. If you’ve ever needed to take some food photographs or think this is something you might want to try, here’s a few quick tips for you to get started. 

1)     Practice, practice, practice.

I know this isn’t something many of you want to hear, because it takes a lot of time, hard work, and effort to practice, BUT I promise you this is THE only way you’ll hone in on your own style, craft, and skills. Whether you’re using a DSLR, digital camera or your phone, it’s important to play around with different settings ahead of time so you understand the best way to way to use your tools. Not all photos need to be taken on a fancy camera, the best camera is the one you have with you.

2) Research and Planning

Many food photographers and stylists will tell you that you have a very short window of opportunity to get the shot once the food hits the table. To a certain extent they are correct. Hot dishes in particular are going to look their best when they are still hot and fresh out of the oven. That doesn’t mean, though, that the food’s first appearance in front of the camera has to be once it’s fully camera-ready. All you need is some planning and good time-management.

If you’re photographing for a client, take a look at the menu ahead of time to assess items which will photograph well. Consider dishes with lots of colour, texture and height for maximum “wow” factor. 

You should create a shot list to ensure you are going to capture all of the items on your client’s wish list and are going to cover all sections of the menu (starters, mains, desserts, etc.). Determine where you want to stage the shoot before the dish arrives and then choose multiple angles to shoot when it does. If multiple dishes arrive at once, decide the order of the photoshoot based on the temperature of the dishes. Salads will generally look the same in photos whether the photo is taken in 5 minutes or 20 minutes. Ice cream, on the other hand, is just a bit more time sensitive.

3) Lighting is everything!

Sometimes you’re just stuck with a crappy weather day and there’s nothing you can do about it. Sometimes you have to shoot at night or in a dimly lit restaurant. Natural light is usually best for food photography but direct natural light can also give you really hard shadows. You can mimic daylight or have someone provide more light (with the flashlight on your phone) or less light (with a sheet of paper or diffuser) if you have to. Experiment and find the best light you enjoy working with.

Pro-Tip: Take a day to just play around with your camera and a bowl of fruit- take that bowl of fruit around your house or studio during different times of days and shoot at different angles, make note of the time of day that produces the best quality shot in your opinion. It’s art and it’s personal so have fun with it. If you decide to go with the overhead angle, watch out for unwanted shadows!

4) Vary the camera angle

Just like human subjects can be photographed from more flattering angles, the same goes for food. It’s important to remember that the concept you see in your head might not always make the best photo. That’s one reason why I almost never shoot a dish from only one angle. Get the shot you think you want, but then take a few minutes to recompose and take another. Variety is important, particularly if you are shooting for a client. Clients like choices. Also keep in mind that different angles will be better (or worse) for different types of shots. Photographing rows of cupcakes from an angle just above them, for instance, can create interesting leading lines through the frame. Shooting a collection of ingredients, on the other hand, can often benefit from an angle directly above them. As with any other type of photography, choose your angles carefully. It is your choice of camera angle that creates a sense of depth, perspective, and scale. Choose wisely. Remember that an added benefit of shooting food is that it won’t get bored or frustrated with you while you take your time getting everything just right.

Pro-Tip: Add a human element. Adding a hand stirring a pot or holding a plate allows you to show scale and adds a human element which is often more appealing and real to viewers. 

5) Strength in numbers

Finally, one of the most important things to have during a food photo shoot is a group of patient friends who are willing to help move cutlery around, assist with providing more lighting (usually with the flashlight app on their phones) and sit around and wait (and wait.. and wait.. and wait..) until you’ve captured the perfect shot! As a thank you for their full co-operation, they’re often awarded with a table full of tasty dishes - which is usually more than I can consume on my own!

 Photo of previously mentioned awesome (and patient) friends in action :)

Photo of previously mentioned awesome (and patient) friends in action :)

I’m definitely one of those people that takes a photo of my food before I eat it, especially if it’s particularly nicely presented. I feel I owe it to the chef who took such great care in preparing it. I often just use my iPhone6, but when I do have my camera I will take some time to set it up before I eat it and take a few shots.  The best part of food photography is eating your subject afterwards. So have fun and experiment all you want. Practice makes perfect. Last pro-tip: The more you go out to eat, the better your photos will be!

Adobe Spark: Content Creation for Every Skill Level.

What better time of year to talk about one of my favorite (newer/revamped) products from Adobe, Adobe Spark, than on the 4th of July. It just seems fitting as I listen to all of the bottle rockets and roman candles being fired off by the neighborhood kids. No, Adobe Spark won’t blowup or light your neighbors overgrown lawn on fire, but it will help you put on quite a show for your fans, followers and clients.

Adobe Spark is comprised of a suite of apps which allow users to create social graphics, animated videos, and web stories. According to TechCrunch, “the Spark collection is effectively an upgrade and rebranding of a trio of apps Adobe already operated – its Adobe Post App became Spark Post, Adobe Slate became Spark Page; and Adobe Voice became Spark Video”. Along with the apps, Adobe also released a web version which allows its users to access the apps using their browser. Long story short, Adobe Spark lets your average, everyday user create stunning visuals and content without having to take a 2-year training course.

 

Spark Post

Spark Post allows users to create graphics for social channels in a quick and efficient way. It offers multiple professionally-designed templates, various themes, the ability to place and edit text, as well as an auto resize feature that adjusts your images automatically for different social channels. Once you’ve got everything looking extra pretty, save your image and upload for your fans and followers to enjoy.

Spark Page

Spark Page allows users to layout their favorite photos and information in a creative and unique way and share them with the world. Think of it as your own simplified web page. Users can upload photos from their own devices, cloud storage or use stock photography. You can then add motion or text to make a fun and informational viewing experience. Spark Page works great for showcasing products, events or for sending out your weekly newsletter.

Spark Video

Last but not least is Spark Video – which allows users to create stunning videos in a matter of minutes. Choose from a wide variety of themes and layouts to create engaging content that is sure to capture the attention of your viewers. Users can stitch together photos, videos, and icons and then add text to clearly communicate their message. You can also add music from your personal library or Adobe’s stock library to give your video the full professional touch.

Do you need help with your social media? We’ve got a team of professionals ready to take your business or product to the next level. Drop us a line at http://thinpigmedia.com/contact-us/.

Is Your Brand Cool or Warm?

Most social media platforms give users the options to apply filters to their photos upon uploading, but with so many filters now, it can be hard to decide which to use, if any.

Each photo can have a different feeling that you want to capture, and that affects how to treat the photo. There are aspects of a brand that should also influence the decision, especially when it comes to the temperature of a photo. The temperature refers to how much yellow (warmth) or blue (coolness) is present in a photo, and is a part of what is called white balance, which controls which colors are present in white areas. The temperature of a photo has one of the greatest impacts on an image and can greatly affect someone's impression of the picture. Warmer photos generally feel more inviting, cozy, and happy, while cooler photos feel clean and moody. When combined with other factors of white balance, photographers can create a lot of different effects, but for non-photographers experimenting, warmth and coolness is the best place to start.

  Here is the same photo with different color temperature white balance. The circles below the photo shows what "white" actually is within the photo. You can see that small changes in the temperature can affect the photo's impression while still looking great.

Here is the same photo with different color temperature white balance. The circles below the photo shows what "white" actually is within the photo. You can see that small changes in the temperature can affect the photo's impression while still looking great.

The best way to work with photos is to start with a color corrected photo and then adjust the temperature or apply filters afterward. The reason for that is because a lot of digital cameras, phones included, don't necessarily adapt well to various lighting situations, so the out-of-camera photo might be too yellow or blue. If you apply a filter to a photo that hasn't been corrected, the effect might be too strong and over-do the color. You don't necessarily have to align every photo filter applied to your brand voice, but it is certainly something to keep in mind if your social channel uses a lot of photos. This thought process can also be applied to any photos on your website or in any marketing channel.

If you want your brand to be inviting, friendly, or anything in that vein, then using warmer photo filters is a good choice. If your brand is more emotional or modern, using cooler photos might be for you. For brands that are described as straight forward, honest, or clean, color accurate photos would be your best bet. As I mentioned before, when you utilize other colors you can get other feels such as vintage or fun. Read our previous post on some other filter styles and how to achieve them in the VSCO app! 5 VSCO Presets To Up Your Social Style 

  Here is an even wider range of color temperature than the previous set. They all look great but all have a different vibe associated with each ranging from wintery all the way to opulent golden.

Here is an even wider range of color temperature than the previous set. They all look great but all have a different vibe associated with each ranging from wintery all the way to opulent golden.

If a photo is good, it doesn't always need a filter, but having a good photo also means that you can play with it more without worrying about going too far. Go have fun with your photos!

Clips: Apple's Answer to Snapchat and Instagram?

With rising competition between Instagram and Snapchat, Apple has entered this space with an innovative creative camera app that goes about it in a different way. Apple's Clips app lets users film social videos and edit them by combining clips, adding photos and videos, and sharing on any social network. The end result is similar to Instagram and Snapchat videos with filters, titles, and emoji stickers but its key differentiator and perhaps where it will truly shine is that it is social media network agnostic. Whereas a video created in Snapchat can only be shared on that platform, videos created by Clips can be shared on any network including via text messages and iMessages.

Another innovative feature of Clips iOS the ability to record subtitles by speaking into your device. The app will even time the appearance of words on-screen to match the cadence with which you speak including emphasis and speed.

Clips also hopes to succeed by implementing a more traditional user experience design. We have all heard the cliche that nobody over the age of 30 understands how to use Snapchat and Apple is responding by what some people are calling Dadcore UX. As explained by Mark Wilson from Co.Design: "It’s not beautiful UI. It’s by no means subtle. And frankly, there are so many buttons on the Clips screen–with upper and lower menu bars!–that it’s hard to imagine anyone not being a little bit overwhelmed compared to alternatives like Instagram, or even Snapchat. But it is designed with a very specific purpose that plays to Apple’s strengths–a massive user base that, with the right instruction, could learn to use the internet in new ways, too."

Similiar to last year's release of iMessage Stickers, it will be fascinating to see how brands will take this new tool to create engaging marketing for their audiences.