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Neglected blog, and website

Almost a year since my last blog, and the website hosting is due for renewal, which leads me to wonder if I really need, or want, a blog and website?

I want to keep the domain, and email address, at least, but do I need a website? I don’t need any ecommerce for now, but I’d like to do something with this space. But what that will be, I haven’t decided yet.

There are currently 2 sites here, but will be downsizing to just the one now the diploma course is over. This poor neglected blog and website was the result of a college project and I think I’ll be ripping it apart, and rebuilding, once I decide how I want it to look, and what content I want to include. If you have any thoughts, requests, or preferences, please let me know in the comments. It would be nice to get genuine comments rather than spam…

At present, there is a facebook page, which no-one ever visits, and I fail to maintain. There is a photography website, another college project, that I’ve had to leave alone while the final marks were reviewed. But how much are those contributing to any meaningful web presence, and do I need one?

There’s no writing, or book promotion going on, so that won’t feature here. I am still loving the photography, and I think I’ll be focusing (pun intended) on that for now, until I decide whether I want to be running a business from home, or pursuing other things. With paid employment part time, and family commitments, it’s going to be difficult to fit everything in.

By the way, that Diploma course, passed it, with a distinction! Very pleased with myself, and allowing a day of smug self appreciation. I think I deserve it.

The plan in the meantime, is to try to add a blog post reasonably regularly, and work on the website. We’ll see how that goes, and take it from there.

blog and website

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Preparing images – Focus

It’s been quite an eye opener, the different requirements for the various photo selling sites, and there are numerous “How to” guides littered around the internet. This isn’t one of them, this is an anecdotal rambling about part of what I have learned as I started out.

First take some images that you are really proud of, that you think are the best you can take, considering where you are on your photography journey, and the equipment you have available. Don’t worry too much about having the right camera, tripod, lenses etc. These things will help, but they’re expensive and you can gather things like that as you find you have a need for them.

Take your images with the highest resolution you can, get a nice large file – several mb size is best. Most of mine start out over 10mb.

The first thing I do is to check if it’s an image I like, and is worth the time to work on to prepare for submission. I skim through using the Photos app on windows 10 which gives a nice viewer where I can zoom in and have a good look at each image. I delete loads at this stage.

Is it in focus?

Examine your chosen image in detail using something like photoshop – there are plenty of image manipulation softwares out there, some are free, some cost, but you will need to use something.

Look at your picture at 100% – yes, it’ll be so zoomed in you can only see a small fraction, but you need to go over it with a fine tooth comb, so to speak. Check that every detail in the main subject, or main area, is in crisp, sharp, focus. If it’s not, the image will be rejected. Pick a different image, or take more pictures. But trust me, some look beautifully sharp until you zoom in to 100%, then you can see the blur.

That rose, looks lovely at low resolution, looks great in print on a greeting card, but zoom in to the original image and the petals are fuzzy. This is not one to blow up to hang on the wall.

Yellow lilies with water drops

Whereas, these lilies (which have been passed as good for shutterstock, are beautifully crisp even at 100%.

So, first check your images are in focus throughout the subject area, and I’ll ramble on about other things to check and look for, another day!

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Greeting cards – new ideas

After a lovely day out last week, I have a few images that I think might make striking greeting cards to add to the range, but I’d love some input from you.

I’ve added the images to an album on my facebook page, and to a gallery on this website too. All you have to do is either like the images you would like to see included, or comment on the gallery – links to both are below.

Facebook album

Website Gallery

At the end of each month I’ll check the likes and comments and add up the votes and then decide how many new cards to add.

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Thank you

shop open

Thank you all so much for helping test the new shop. There were a few wrinkles to iron out, as I suspected, and as is the purpose of such testing. But I think we have them sorted now. Should you come across any issues please let me know and we can try to solve them as quickly as possible.

There has been extensive work behind the scenes, and repeated testing and edits, but there comes a time when you have to just take the plunge and declare, “It’s as ready as it can be.” So, with no fanfare, no blowing of trumpets, no rolls on drums, no applause…. I can declare the Sarah Barnard Webshop, Open!

open

Feel free to come on in, have a browse, and use the code open25 at checkout to get 25% off your order as an opening offer.

This offer is not valid in conjunction with any other coupon or offer, and can only be used once per customer. This coupon is only valid until Friday 26th May 2017.

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Greeting cards

This past week has seen a new idea begin to take shape. It all started last Christmas, when I was given a camera, my first DSLR – Thanks Dad! The beauty of digital is that you can take literally thousands of pictures, and then delete them all when they’re completely rubbish. But now and then, once in a while, there’s an image that sings, that stands out, and you fall in love with it.

First I set out to take a picture of a gull, in flight. They are magnificent hanging in the wind, wings outstretched. They’re almost boring sitting on the ground, hunched against the weather. I managed to capture some lovely images, and friends and acquaintances commented that one or two could be good enough to be commercial. Further opportunities came about, and I found myself planning trips out to capture particular images – usually wildlife, or nature in some form.

Wings up

I printed a handful, made them into cards and sent them to friends or family as birthday cards. The response was good.

Then, as part of the digital media course I am studying, we had to create an online shop. So, I thought, I have my books, and I’ve added some of Mum’s hand crafted items, why not have some of the pictures as cards as well?

The first few arrived a few days ago and I’ve been adding them a few at a time. There aren’t many of each print, and I think I’ll keep it that way for now. If you’re interested, check out the “Greeting cards” link on the left side of the page.

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