Thursday, February 23, 2012

5 Reasons You Should Be on Pinterest

If you are involved in any image or graphic centric field, you need to be on Pinterest.  Pinterest is a rapidly growing social network where people “pin” their favorite images to virtual boards to share with their friends. When people see an image they particularly like, they can “repin” it to one of their own Pinterest boards. Here are five reasons why you need to join:

1. Entertainment - If you enjoy art, photography or design, what could be more fun or refreshing than spending a few minutes each day looking at the images selected by your friends?

2. Community - Like any social network, Pinterest is a way to find and interact with people who share a common interest in a particular type of imagery. Online interactions strengthen real world connections and often lead to new real world connections.

3. Discovery - New trends in design and photography will be visible on Pinterest long before they are reported in the mainstream press. If you make a point to follow the trendsetters in your field, you will be able to see the evolution in their artistic sensibilities as it happens.

4. Exhibition - The items that you choose to post and repin demonstrate your tastes and skills to your followers. Over time, you will gather a collection of followers who appreciate your unique point of view.

5. Optimization - When you pin images from your own website or blog to a Pinterest board, the image links back to your own site. Those links and the links from every repin will lead people to your site and improve your search engine results.

Your strategy on Pinterest should be, to quote Seth Godin, to be interested and interesting. No different than any other social interaction.

Here is a link to my boards on Pinterest. As you will see, my interests include portraits, places, paintings and photo book ideas.

Black River Imaging is also on Pinterest.

Hansol Kim is someone I enjoy following on Pinterest.

What are your thoughts on Pinterest?

The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printers, direct marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

3 Marketing Mistakes Photographers Make

Eastman Camera by The Javalina on Flickr
Next week the Wedding and Portrait Photographers Association will be holding their 2012 conference and trade show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Each WPPI event draws thousands of professional photographers looking for ways to improve their photography skills and their business skills. Most of them are making the following three mistakes on their web sites which limit their search engine results and their web traffic.

1.  Building the site in Flash - Adobe Flash is a powerful tool and the websites that utilize it are dazzling for those who visit the sites from full sized computers. But the world is going mobile with 7% of all web traffic coming from smart phones and iPads. Most of those devices are not able to view your website.  

2. Blocking image copying - Many photographers block the ability to right click an image or copy an image which protects their copyrighted work from misuse. By doing so, you also prevent your fans from sharing your work and spreading the news about your talent. If you were to watermark low resolution images and allow people to link to them, your work could be shared on Pinterest, Facebook and other sites where potential clients would see your images and studio name. Those links bring people to your website and improve your search engine rankings.

3.  Image only sites - Many photography sites feature images so strongly that they neglect any captions or text explanations. People love stories and a short caption can put an image into context and give it more meaning. It also helps the search engines know how to classify the images. When you are adding an image to your site, consider adding a caption and be certain to name the image and include your copyright information in the alt text field that the search engines read.

Are you making any of these mistakes on your site?

The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printers, direct marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Price of Canvas

The Card Players by Paul Cézanne
The Card Players by Paul Cézanne
The most expensive painting ever sold is Paul Cézanne’s The Card Players which was purchased in 2011 for over $250 million by the royal family of Qatar. This masterpiece of French Post Impressionism, finished in 1893, measures approximately 38 x 51 inches. What were they thinking?

A new canvas of approximately the same size can be purchased from for $251.10. For an additional $82.13 you can order a master oil paint set with 8 colors, a painting knife, three brushes and an instructional DVD. With the canvas, the paint and couple of passes through the DVD, could’t they have created their own painting of two card players?

The difference is the art! The original painting was made by the hand of a creative genius who saw the world in an exciting new way. It was painted after decades of devotion to painting which started with drawing classes, was strongly influenced by the Impressionists and evolved into something completely new. 

Portraits by Natalie Licini
Portraits by Natalie Licini

The difference is the art! That difference is important today when couples and families decide how to capture and preserve the memories of their senior year, their wedding and other important milestones. Most of us know a friend who owns a professional style camera and takes pretty good pictures. If they take some pictures and burn them to a DVD, we could use the kiosk at Walmart to order a photo book.

Albums by Black River Imaging
Albums by Black River Imaging
The difference is the art!  A handmade leather album crafted from portraits captured by a talented professional photographer reflects the years of devotion that the photographer dedicated to learning the art of photography. The portraits reflect the attention to detail required to capture the beauty of the event. The pages reflect the care the artist dedicated to selecting, cropping and retouching the images during the album design. The final album shows the loving care of the photographer and the craftsman who assembled and bound it all together.

Like any fine art, the value of portraits will increase with the passing of the years. Sharing memories with your friends, your children, and eventually your grandchildren, makes them grow richer each passing year.

Invite your friend with a camera to preserve the memories of your next birthday party. Hopefully you will have many more. Use a real professional photographer for those once-in-a lifetime events.

Aren’t your memories worth it?

Portraits by Dawn Shields
Portraits by Dawn Shields

The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Small is Happy!

Most of the time, we are told to dream big. Set big, bold goals and work hard to achieve them. This is generally good advice.

However, when it comes to being happy, smaller joys may be better. Recent psychological research by Ed Diener reported in the Harvard Business Review finds that the frequency of positive experiences are a better predictor of happiness than the intensity of positive experience. How good your experiences are doesn't matter as much as the number of good experiences you have.

As you pass through each day, a dozen mildly pleasant events will contribute more to happiness than one amazing event. Don't sacrifice all the little joy's of life to reach the big goals. The little joys are what makes life truly happy!

What small joys have you experienced this week?

The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions.