Friday, 30 July 2010

Yearling Foal - Candy Style

...and another from Dartmoor the other day

Cute as Candy

This was one of the youngest yearling foals I saw on my outing the other day. And it was just soooo cute! A bit unsure, venturing out on its own a little and shyly cautious with me - but still curious! Just like any other youngster :)

Yearling Dartmoor Pony Foal

I wanted to emphasise the cuteness so I went for the "candy" HDR effect I've seen in others' work, thinking it would do the trick. And I believe it has! What do you think?

This is another one that I'll offer to the Duchy Square gallery for inclusion in their upcoming exhibition devoted to this fine pony breed.

As a by-the-way, whenever I'm approaching and in amongst animals, I always try to move gracefully, while all the time "speaking" gently to them.

I reckon that when you make any sort of intentional but kindly noise, you're doing two things to reassure them:
  • you're letting them know you're not trying to sneak up on them (so therefore you can't fall into the "predator" bracket)
  • and by giving them gentle, kindly noises (what I mean by "speaking") while you're looking at them, they feel reassured - this "strange creature" seems to be trying to be friends with me!?

Of course, they'll still be wary -- but that wariness lessens the longer you are amongst them and still doing nothing alarming.

With that in mind, hopefully you'll be able to get more shots that don't just show the ass-end of fleeing birds and beasts! Happy (photo) hunting :)

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Mum feeding her foal

Here's the next from my trip onto Dartmoor yesterday. Yikes! More colour!

Yearling Dartmoor Pony Foal

A number of the mares in the small herd of ponies were still supplementing their foal's diets. Feeding seemed to be little but often, with some mums seeming quite impatient with their foals, maybe to encourage them to fend for themselves?

Dartmoor Pony: Mum feeding foal

This pair cooperated by feeding at a time when the sun had broken through the clouds. The way their coats lit up in the sunshine was gorgeous with the beautiful light showing them off to the best.

I'll take this one and yesterday's up to the Duchy Square gallery in Princetown (also home to Dartmoor Prison) ready for the Dartmoor Pony exhibition, starting in a few days' time.

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Dartmoor Pony and Lone Gorse

Here's a shot I managed to squeeze in today... (wot, more colour from the mono man??)

An hour on Dartmoor

I dropped off a picture for an upcoming exhibition at the Duchy Square gallery in Princetown today. On the way back, I stopped off at a couple of places to see what I could get. This is the first out of the digital darkroom and I like the way it's turned out.

Dartmoor Pony and Lone Gorse

I was lucky with the lighting, getting direct sunlight for 5mins and then cloud for 5mins, then back to sunshine again. It gave me plenty of time to walk among the ponies, preparing for "that shot", should it arise.

Maybe I got it, I won't know for a few days while I work my way through the rest of the shots I took. Watch this space for more!

I'd love to hear what you think of this -- as you know, I'm quite a beginner when it comes to colour...

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Thursday, 15 July 2010

A question answered about marketing your designs (in fact, anything)

As my regular followers will know, I sell my artwork via my website, via galleries and, in the last 6 months, via my online store at Zazzle.

A forum question

Zazzle maintains a forum for its shopkeepers and I take a fairly active part (in spurts, if the truth be known! My bad...)

Anyway, one of the newer storekeepers (with some great designs, by the way) asked if in order to make sales, she needed "to be on facebook, twitter etc."

I thought about it, being something in principle that I've been pondering on and around for ages. Here was her question and my reply
I don't really understand Facebook, Twitter etc. Do you need to be on them to get sales? 
The answer is probably "yes" to some of those places. Let me explain.

Two aspects to selling
The wisdom out there is that there are two aspects to making sales - first you have to have a product to sell, and second you have to put it in front of people's faces when they're in a buying mood so they can make their purchasing decision.Shocked

Product desirability
If your product is really fantastic, most folks who see it will make the decision to buy, even if they weren't particularly in a buying mood to begin with.
If the impression your product gives is of low "quality" for the price (maybe the image is placed poorly with important parts cut off or the colour scheme is unappealing) then it won't "fly off the shelves" - you might need hundreds of people to see it in order to sell just one.
So selling success is about the mix of effort you put into a) designing artwork / making product and b) promoting and marketing.

Best/worst product
You can have the best product in the world but if very few folks see it, you just won't make the sales you hope. Crying On the other hand, you can have the worst product in the world and sell loads - if your marketing / promoting is world class.Grin

Where to put effort
Assuming you always produce the best you can, you can't easily "improve" the product - so to increase sales, that only leaves promotion/marketing.
The key point here is to find the places where your Love potential customers go, so that you can arrange to get your "message" in front of them. To be a potential customer they must have money to spend, they must have a need/want for the product (now or soon) and they must be convinced by your sales/promo message that your product will meet that need/want.

So, to answer your question
So do you need to be on twitter, facebook etc?
The answer is quite simple... If you can reach lots of the people that fit the definition of "potential customer" above by using those channels then yes, you need to be on them.
Be realistic though, from scratch it does take time, effort and familiarity with the channels to build lots of fans/followers. And if you get it right, those fans/followers will include many of those highly desirable "potential customers".

But for the same amount of effort, you might find it better to stand on a street corner and give out flyers! Seriously, starting from scratch, you should consider Facebook and Twitter to be a long-term effort and you shouldn't expect quick results. If you decide to go with it, do apply yourself diligently to the task - half-heartedness just doesn't work.

In conclusion
There are many channels "out there", both in the real world and online, and you can put effort into pumping your sales message down any mix of them. The trick is in finding the mix that suits you, your personality and how you like to work, and which gives the returns you're after.

Sorry about what turned into a lengthy post! I hope it helped your thinking Smile

So there you are, how'd I do? Anything else I should pass on?

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Clean, simple architecture

I've still one or two to process from my trip to Athens. Here's one I've just completed... I hope you enjoy :)

Elegance in simplicity

I love the simple geometry and clean lines of this modern-but-ancient Greek architecture. In this shot you can see how a cylinder, a block and a triangle are the basic shapes used—as simple as the building blocks we used to use as children. Yet look at the elegance achieved by adding a just a few embellishments in the right places.

Around the Block

Another inspired title! ...or perhaps not ;)

(for Betty...) This is on the corner of Monis Asteriou and Konstantinou Tsatsou in Plaka, Athens.

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Hard at it - Zazzling away...

Dangit! I've spent too much time over the last few days, working on my Zazzle store. It really does suck up the time!! But it's worth it when those sales come in :)

QR Codes after-sales boost tip

I was beavering away on Zazzle and thinking about promotion in between while waiting for screen updates. I don't know why I didn't think of it before, but I realised that QR codes are perfect for the backs of greetings cards. I'd seen nothing about it anywhere else on Zazzle, so I checked out the Zazzle forum, and nothing there either.

So I posted about it on the forum and it got a great response. Thanks fellow Zazzlers, it's great to know when a tip is appreciated :)

If you haven't seen it yet, the tip is posted on the forum here: Pop along and let the rest of us know your great ideas for using it!

Quick Create tool

I've been using this tool on and off for a few weeks now and, as I've found, there are lots of gotchas. I'm thinking about doing another write-up (video tutorial??) for folks who have been defeated by those nasty old gotchas.

New style of graphics

What have I been beavering away on? Pretty much entirely on building up a stock of items using my non-photographic graphic art skills. I absolutely adore this blend of neon and stylised outlines colour and the way it comes out on dark backgrounds.

What do you think?

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)


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