Archive for Blog

Why You Should Own Design Annuals

Blogon February 7th, 2011Comments

Print magazine has a great design annual; design annuals are great to have because they always feature the best of the best work. However, one may not realize is that the work that can be displayed in it may be a few years old by the time they are published. Once it needs to be produced, published then entered into the contest, several months until it is published in the magazine. There is nothing wrong with a design project that is like that. However people should be aware that if they expect to use the design as inspiration they shouldn’t expect to use it as the current design trend. Many design annuals have featured what became to be known as classic design art and without that annual may not have ever gotten the exposure that it did. When I collect my design magazines, if I don’t keep every issue, I make sure to keep the annuals so that I have something to compare my work to. Reflecting on any design annual from any design magazine would help in any way, when you may be lacking in design inspiration.

I would never advocate using a design annual to steal great ideas, but to use these ideas to reinvent another idea. As a designer you are not here to create new ideas from scratch, you should be influenced by old ideas to create new ideas from scratch, you should be influenced by old ideas to create new ones.

You can find design annuals usually at the end of the year after major contests have ended. All of the major design magazines put out design annual issues, you can find those from CMYK, Print, Communication Arts, HOW, Graphic Design USA and Graphis.

Barrister Home Remodel

Blogon January 31st, 2011Comments


I recently acquired a home interior project for a new client. This was a great experience for me to photograph an entire home interior, not just a single room of a house. This house featured a complete remodel of the kitchen and master bath, besides the updating of many of the other rooms of the home.

When photographing the interior of a home, it is best to get even lighting and equal brightness. Harsh shadows won’t help to create the beautiful room that you will see with your own eyes. The use of multiple flashes can certainly help with an even tone. Bouncing the light off the ceiling or using a Sto-Fen diffuser. It is also a good idea to photograph at the beginning or last 2 hours of sunlight in the day, so you can avoid harsh shadows with midday sun.

Image Recovery

Blogon January 24th, 2011Comments

It is always best to backup your images and files, best in triplicate. Incase computers or hard drives crash, it is easy to backup when you have files to backup. But what would you do if you weren’t able to access your images from your memory card? You would think that your images are lost forever.
However because of modern day software, it is likely that even if your card is corrupted data recovery software can most likely save your images. I have had this problem once with a memory card that wouldn’t read, and several image recovery programs were not able to save my images. Sadly that card had run its life and could not be saved.

Luckily I recently was able to save a majority of images from a friend’s memory card. We are still not sure why some of the images became corrupted, but with the use of Data Recovery II program many were able to be found on the card, even though they weren’t visible through the computer before using the recovery program. If your card does fail or your images do not show up, it is best to do nothing else to the card until you can use recovery software. Any addition to the card can worsen the chance of recovering your images by changing the state of the file. It is best to not change anything when you come across a problem.

Depending on the type of card, many professional cards come supplied with data recovery software. Specifically Lexar supplies Image Rescue 4 recovery software currently on their professional compact flash cards. Data Rescue II as shown above is also a good choice for a recovery program. I would suggest using a well known professional program, since there are many online websites that offer image recovery I would be wary of using those that may not provide the best results of recovery.

Image recovery software will be a lifesaver when you need it. Don’t wait until you need it to be shopping for the best recovery program, its better to be safe than sorry.

Eastern State Penitentiary

Blogon January 17th, 2011Comments


Other than Alcatraz in San Francisco I didn’t think I would ever get the chance to visit an abandoned prison. Thankfully many years ago I discovered Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. My discovery came via the haunted house that they have September through November. Besides having a haunted house in a real life prison, they have daytime tour all year. These tours are self-guided with a headset that can be rented with much more information about specific places you are visiting in the prison.

I do love visiting this place because of the history that is there, built in 1829 it was the most expensive building built in its day in the United States, at $780,000. It was built with state-of-the-art plumbing, sewage systems and 450 centrally heated cells. Eastern State actually had running water before the White House did. Since it was such an architectural marvel of its time, visitors came from near and far. One of the most notable visitors was Charles Dickens, who stated that Eastern State and Niagara Falls was his only reasons for visiting the United States. In 1858 over 10,000 tourists visited the prison. As the prison was first built as a solitary confinement prison, when that was out ruled in later years it helped to allow the prison to expand even more.

Since being built almost 200 years ago eventually through the use of the facility it began to deteriorate without the major upgrades of modern conveniences it was forced to close in 1970, when prisoners were moved to the prison at Graterford. Through the next 20 years the prison became neglected by the city, plans in the late 80’s to turn it into a shopping complex or apartments fell through (thankfully). In 1994 the prison reopened for historic tours and has slowly opened different areas of the prison to tours. This mainly is because of the donations of the members and tourists. In 1991 the first Halloween related tour began, later in 1995 Terror Behind the Walls became their main branded Halloween event. This Halloween event is possibly what the prison is most known for by many who know of Eastern State.

It is great to be known for scaring many tourists, but I feel that many more people should know the prison for the prison’s history it created, such as having Al Capone as an inmate for eight months. Eastern State is full of history, church-like arches and amazing photographic opportunities. I highly recommend a trip to Philadelphia just to see Eastern State Penitentiary.

My Jeep Wrangler

Blogon January 10th, 2011Comments


Throughout the few years that I have owned my Jeep Wrangler I have tried to photograph it in various ways. One of my favorite photography shoots was a long exposure snowy night scene. Especially because we were playing with flashes and light, which is what wrote the word Jeep in lights. The most common scene is for my Jeep to be muddy and offroading. That is certainly the most fun scene my truck as been in. Any chance I get I try to photograph nice cars, (mine included) especially classic cars. For tips on photographing vehicles please see my other blog entry Photographing at Car Shows.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Images

Blogon January 3rd, 2011Comments


High Dynamic Range (HDR) images have become a very popular way of creating photographs. These images generally consist of at least 3 to 9 bracketed images combined together to create a dramatic or realistic image. These types of images can be great for landscapes and images full of many colors.

HDR images can be used for portraits but it should be used sparingly, not every person or situation will warrant a great image in HDR. I would not suggest using it for a portrait of a newborn baby, as all the ones in their skin may not blend well in the HDR image. A lot of the dramatic color of the image relies on the post editing and how you use the tone mapping to change the look. There are many HDR images out there that it might not be known that they were HDR images. Many of these images are created using a program similar to Photomatix to combine all the bracketed images and tone map them to your liking. Using HDR images as an art form can yield amazing results.

Design Associations You Should Join

Blogon December 27th, 2010Comments

The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) is a great design association to be a part of. Of course their website includes many resources such as discounts to their events, competitions and of course member only access to their job listings. Also the AIGA design archive online and at your local AIGA chapter allows you to access their library.

Another design association you should join which is more directed towards advertising and design is The One Club. They help to educate and inspire students, by benefitting the next generation by way of scholarships, portfolio reviews and their annual student exhibitions and competitions.
The Art Directors Club (ADC) has been a great organization since their start in 1902, similar to The One Club, ADC helps to support all creative industries. Like AIGA, Art Directors Club has a job board via Coroflot which you can view all professional jobs, but must be a member to apply. Many of these resources cost very little and are worth it for the year membership or subscription. If you are looking for design resources many of these can help, with many free.

I have particularly visited the New York chapter of AIGA and they have so many great resources, such as their basement library with back editions of their design address books, from 1929 when you were able to contact any designer that was famous in that industry. Upstairs they have a backlog of all the posters/mailing promotions that they have sent out for all different events they produce. It is certainly a great resource to have available to you, if you are part of the AIGA chapter.

I had thought being part of a design association was just good to have something to say you are a part of, but once I attended some event I was able to realize it is more than just that, it is a great way to become involved yourself and become a better designer because of it. Design associations are great resources to be a part of. They certainly can help the networking aspect of being a designer, being part of an association allows you to attend events with other designers, even famous ones.

Design Job Hunting Online

Blogon December 20th, 2010Comments

Searching for a job online can be confusing, when not knowing the best websites to search on so that you are a top choice to be picked from the best. There are many job search websites that do general searches for all types of jobs. These can be good, but I find it is best to search strictly on design websites/forums. These websites can specifically cater to your design skill and find a specific job.

It is easier to search through jobs when it is in the design field and something that could be similar to what you are looking for, opposed to job listings for a rocket scientist when that isn’t near what you are searching for. One of the best websites and most popular for design jobs is Coroflot. Its listings are linked to Core77, AIGA, How & Print magazines.

Creative Hotlist is another great website that I had used very often. It allows you to post your portfolio to have potential employers view. Searching by region of the country, category or experience helps to narrow it down to your specific job. There is a lot of talent and many great job opportunities found on this design job search site.

If you have tried job searching on your own, but just weren’t able to find the right job for you. The Creative Group is a job placement agency which specifically deals with design and advertising jobs. Many freelance positions can be obtained from this company, if you would just like to add experience to your resume. They can also help place you in a full time job.

Using job resources that are most specific to your design field will yield the best results in finding a job that you would enjoy. Unlike jobs listed on CraigsList, you can be assured that none of these websites provide scam jobs.

Online Resources for Designers

Blogon December 13th, 2010Comments

The internet has become one of the best resources for designers. There is so much information that is out there that can be obtained, from meeting other designers you admire to learning about new designers you have never even heard of.

Smashing magazine is online magazine full of amazing resources, all involving design (fonts, freebies and psd files), coding (css, js and wordpress), wallpapers, photos and even shopping. There are many great articles pertaining to just about any design questions you might have. I really do love this website, this would be my top recommendation.

Core77 is another online magazine that I recommend, as many other sites you can find many job resources on here, additionally even a design directory of firms.

Do you prefer video (screen recording) of tutorials? Then Layers Magazine is just for you, it has everything to do with any Adobe program. The magazine keeps it updated by using the most recent versions of all Adobe programs

Orange32’s print section of their website is a great resource for designers, it includes charts about basic studio skills, like common bindings, scoring/folding. Quick reference keystrokes for QuarkXpress, InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator.

Other charts and information include:
U.S. Postal Service charts and requirements
Envelope mailing template
General paper information with U.S. and International/ ISO paper sizes
Pantone colors explained
Difference between RGB and CMYK
Bleeds/safety/proofs
Image Resolution – Scanning
Offset Printing
Thermography
Foil Stamping
Silk Screen Printing

Abduzeedo is a recent website that I have come across via Twitter, they have many tutorials, interviews and inspirations also of course including job searches. For the international designers the website is displayed in English and Portuguese, since it was founded by Brazilian designer Fabio Sasso. There are many writers other than Sasso, so you will find you fill of different design views. They really do have some amazing photography and photo realistic illustration work featured on their website.

Hopefully these websites are new resources for you to enjoy and learn from. These are strictly online resources, many print magazines have even more design information, just because we are in the digital era don’t forget about print.

Fall Foliage Photos/Tips

Blogon November 8th, 2010Comments

With summer ended and fall finally in full swing I thought it would be good to share some photo tips to creating a beautiful fall image. Depending on your location, the colors may start changing at the end of September.

Using Filters – This can be helpful to enhance the color of your image. Using a polarizing filter changes a dull image. Using the filter while shooting helps to cut down on post processing and this isn’t something that can be easily duplicated digitally.

Best Light Times – It is best not to shoot at mid day, because it will create harsh shadows. The “Golden Light” times are in the early mornings and early evenings. To avoid any haze or pollution, the air is clearest in the morning and after a rain. This is best for any panoramic shots, which can easily become washed out. If it is overcast, don’t be discouraged, foliage photos are still possible, just lessen the amount of sky in the photo. Perhaps use a telephoto lens to pick out some detail and ignore the sky.

Add Water – If shooting near a lake or pond try a long exposure, to obtain a reflection in the water.
Look Everywhere – It is very common to look upwards towards treetops when photographing foliage. But try a unique angle, by looking down. Many leaves will cover the ground during this time and they should not be forgotten.

Extra Tips:
Go For Dynamic Skies – Don’t be afraid to go shooting while large thunder clouds are in the sky. A pretty blue sky is very common, try something new.

Shoot a Lot – It gives more options, not every photo is going to be a winner.