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Archive for February, 2012

Synopsis of American Idol Top 12 Girls and what to look for in the overall Top 12

Tonight, American Idol’s showcased the Top 12 girls. And all in all, they kicked some serious butt.

The girls far outshined their male counterparts and put on a pretty good show overall.

That being said, here’s my thoughts on how that elimination might go.

Should be safe for sure:



Should be safe:





It could go either way:



In danger of leaving:





Now for my projected Top 12 + wildcard overall finalists in random order:

Voted in:











Judges 3 wildcard picks:




And just one last side note:

Although her performance was not the best, I would really like to see Baylie squeak into the Top 13 somehow. I think she is far better than she showed and would prove it given the chance to do so.

Synopsis of American Idol Men’s Top 13

Last night, American Idol’s 11th season kicked off the voting rounds with the Top 12 (and one additional second chance contestant to make it 13) and it went pretty well.

As I understand it, nearly half of them will be voted out tomorrow night. So there was little room for error.

That being said, here’s my thoughts on how that elimination might go.

Should be safe for sure:



Should be safe:



It could go either way:






In danger of leaving:





Now tonight we’ll see what the ladies have to offer.



Photography Made Easy With These Helpful Tips

Do you wish you could take better pictures? The art of taking great photographic shots is explained within the hints contained in this article.

When using a camera that takes film, consider what brand of film you would like to use. Film brand is a matter of personal preference, so find the brand of film that works best for you. The differences between brands are so small that you shouldn’t let them get in the way of personal preference. It’s your choice.

Make sure that your arms remain next to your body when you hold a camera, and make sure that the sides and the bottom of the camera are supported. Doing this minimizes the blurry shaking sometimes seen in photos. Placing your hands under your lens and camera will prevent your camera from being accidentally dropped.

Even with drastic technological improvements in cell phone cameras, lighting is still an issue for most of them. The vast majority of cell phone cameras lack flash capability, so you need to pay special attention to how your subject is lit. If you zoom in close, you will eliminate excess shadows and sunspots.

Don’t be in a rush to take the picture. Ask your subjects to pose for you rather than trying to capture moments spontaneously. You have noticed but many family photos you look at do not turn out the way people want them to because of quick surprise pictures and candid photos. You could get better pictures during family events if you get people to pose.

Minimize the fuss when you set up to take your photographs. You can often create a gorgeous picture without playing around with the different motion and color settings.

In many parts in life, we’re trained that everything has to be centered and even. In a society that values perfection, it can seem logical to frame your photos with the subject perfectly framed in the center, but you should actually try placing the subject off-center for a more interesting shot. Be aware of the auto-focus feature, which can lock the view to the middle of the lens. Override this by focusing manually, locking the focus before you capture the shot.

Use care when packing your photography equipment in trip preparation. Be sure to take all of the lenses that you will need, as well as spare batteries, a tripod, extra memory cards, and any cleaning accessories. But don’t pack too much here. Only take the equipment that you will need. Anything else runs the risk of getting lost or damaged.

When going on a trip, begin taking pictures the moment you leave. The destination itself should provide plenty of picture-taking opportunities, but if you treat every part of the trip as a photo opportunity, you might get some really interesting shots. In an effort at documentation of your trip, use the airport as a good source for subject matter as well.

Manually set the white balance. Most cameras have a default white balance setting, but if you wish to have full control over your image, then you’ll want to set this manually. By adjusting a camera’s white balance, you can change the color and mood of any image.

As you take different pictures, accompany each with a brief, written note. When you look at the hundreds of pictures you took, it might be hard to remember where you took all of them, or how you felt at that moment. Record the photograph’s number and the details of the shot in a permanent log.

To be a good photographer, you need the talent, as well as the knowledge. As an amateur photographer, you should pick up as many tips as you can.

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How To Effectively Make Use Of Your Camera

Do you want to get into photography, but you’re not sure where you need to start? Do you question if you are taking your shots correctly or if the lighting suits the mood of a photograph? Even if you already have photography experience, you can always use some extra advice, and this article is filled with tips that you can you use when taking pictures.

Use other photographers to get inspired. Paying attention to other photographers’ work and their different styles will remind you of the endless capabilities of capturing those special moments.

Carefully read the entire manual that came with your camera. Manuals that come with your camera are often dense and large. People tend to place them at the back of drawers or they get thrown away. However, the manual is an important source of information and should be taken advantage of. Doing this can drastically improve your photos and solve the common problems and questions that come up.

While you are traveling, photograph memorable souvenirs that you have purchased on-the-go. Take photos of the shop where you made the purchase, or snap the item on its own with an interesting backdrop. Photographs showing you with your souvenir, or the place you purchased it, can place the objects in the context of your travels and remind you of the moment you made the purchase.

There are times when the available light is far from ideal for shooting a great landscape photo. You may not be able to find a better place. In this case, what should you do? Photo editing software, like Photoshop, can help you to adjust and perfect the light in your photos.

When you travel somewhere new, try getting ideas of what you will be shooting. To get more tips on how to start, go to a postcard rack. Study the postcards, taking note of the subject matter and the way the photographer shot the pictures to take advantage of some specific qualities of the subject, then use these techniques when taking your own photos.

Digital cameras normally contain a built-in flash, that automatically turns on when the natural light is too low. This is good for a quick spur of the moment picture, but for something more professional, use a external flash unit which is designed to give you a broad lighting range. For this option to work, verify that your camera carries a “hot shoe” for accommodating the flash unit. A professional camera shop can help you find the right unit that will sync to your camera.

Pick out photos that are distinctive or demonstrate a new way of looking at a familiar subject. Although memory cards hold thousands of pictures, keep your photo albums down to just the ones you like most.

Explore the various makes, models, and brands of equipment to find which works the best for you. Most photographers go with the Big Two: Nikon and Canon. However, there are other reputable equipment manufacturers out there.

Fiddle around with different shutter speeds to learn their effects. You can take action pictures without any motion blur by using a faster shutter speed. This is important for moving events, like sports. On the other hand, slowing down your shutter speed will produce extra motion blur you can use to enhance artistic effects. Photographs of waterfalls and streams look especially nice when you use this technique.

Before you start snapping pictures, come up with a concept. To create the best shot possible, you need to plan out all aspects of your portrait. The more careful you are when it comes to detail and execution, the better your photograph will be. If you approach it in this manner, you will be encouraged when you see better results.

If photography is a hobby for you, take your time learning new techniques and experimenting with the features on your camera. As your photography skill begin to improve, start learning different techniques for developing your film.

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Great Ways To Take Amazing Photos With Ease

The basics of photography don’t come naturally to some people. This is generally because such people are not knowledgeable of where to get expert photography advice. As you read this article, you will learn much about the art of photography that you did not know existed.

Learn to distinguish immediately whether a photograph is under or overexposed. A general method to apply in these situations involves learning to interpret the histogram and adjusting your camera’s settings based on those results. The histogram graphs the light in your picture. If the exposure is wrong, the graph will be heavily weighted toward the dark or light side. Checking the histogram after the first photo in an area will allow you correct the exposure.

When shooting a wedding, warm up by taking pictures of small details, like an invitation or a purse. Take a picture of some flowers. You might get some great photos when you are doing this.

This is a tip you can use in photography. Learn about the shutter speeds. The shutter speed settings you will find on your camera are: P,M,A & S. The “P” setting represents the program mode. This setting is your automatic one. The shutter and aperture speed are automatically set up for your use. If you are less than professional, this is often the best setting.

Good composition is necessary for a great photo. There are some that are naturally gifted in finding the best composition for a shot, but others will have to work for it. For instance, placing your subject at the center of your shot is the norm, but you can create interesting effects by off-centering your subjects.

Keep images balanced. The best way to make your photos look professional is to stay with a good balance of things in the photo. Specifically, make sure the subject is in focused and properly framed, cut distracting elements out of the shot, and don’t orientate the horizon.

You need to be familiar with your tools in order to work efficiently. Take the time to learn everything you can about your camera.

You need not stand directly in front of an object to photograph it. Explore different positions relative to the subject. For example, shoot the object from above, below or at an unusual angle.

You can capture all sorts of emotions and feelings with photography. Photography allows for story telling, where the photographer is able to capture the essence of people as they truly are. Some of the most moving moments in photographic history have not been smiles but rather anxiety, oppression, and fear. No matter what the subject, everyday or globe-shaking, the most important aspect of great photography is to capture the real emotions.

Many photographers pay attention to the background of a landscape shot and neglect the foreground, but the foreground is what the viewer will see. Ensure that the foreground of the photograph has a striking frame and considers depth in the shot.

The focus-lock feature is an important tool on your camera. Most cameras will automatically focus on whatever appears in the center of the frame, so if your subject is off-center, you must tell the camera to focus on it. You can do this by pressing the shoot button with the subject of the shot in the center and then moving the camera until you have found your picture. Press the shutter down the entire way to capture the image.

It bears repeating: Photography is, sadly, a mystery to many. Learning more about the subject boosts their confidence and makes photography more enjoyable. Follow the advice given to you here, in order to get the best shots and have the most fun.

Learn more–

5 Photography Project Ideas

By Josh Austin

If you stop challenging yourself your photos will, sooner or later, become boring. Taking on a really interesting photography project can be a brilliant way to counter this.

The 5 photography project ideas I’ve described below are amongst my personal favourites. They might seem demanding at first, but I promise that once you apply yourself to them the ideas will begin flowing, and your motivation will go through the roof!

1. The Invisible Self-Portrait

Shoot a collection of items that represent you. Ok, so technically this is ‘still life’ photography! But thematically it helps to think of it as self-portraiture, and I love the way the two genres merge. This project is about both self-expression and the use of objects to convey a story.

Think hard about the items that really say something about you. You might like to choose things that are all closely connected to make a strong personal statement. Alternatively, it can be interesting to represent the more disparate elements of your life, through an eclectic mix of items.

Don’t be too safe. If your life is a bit of a mess at the moment, don’t create a perfectly ordered, neat arrangement! If you’ve just broken up with someone, maybe you could choose items that represent that person, and the fact that they’re no longer around. It’s catharsis!

I once put to together a still-life/self-portrait with just items belonging to close friends and family. It was an expression of how the people around me are a big part of my identity. In another image I used items that represent all the places I have lived. The centre-piece was a chair from the family home where I grew up.

It won’t take long before you’re brimming with ideas! This is such a great project for exploring the use of symbolism in photography, which will really help to improve all of your still life work.

2. Fire and Ice  – Capturing The Seasons

Photograph the same location in summer and winter. It’s amazing how much the seasons transform the landscape, whether urban or rural. Everything from the light and the vegetation, to the presence of human life changes!

Think of the street you live on in mid-summer: Perhaps there are some trees in bloom; flower baskets hanging out of windows; blue sky and bright sun reflecting off the cars; people in shorts, skirts and shades strutting down the street; kids messing around etc.

Now how about in December: A sheet of white cloud covering the world; perhaps a layering of snow on the ground; one or two huddled figures wrapped up like Eskimos; Christmas lights zig-zagging down the street; the glow of street lamps etc.

It’s really cool to see the exact same location, shot from the same angle, in completely different conditions. If you live in the country, the contrast between all the natural colours of summer and the barren sights of winter is very striking. You should end up with a really interesting collection of shots.

3. The 7 Ages of Man

Shoot portraits of 7 people at different stages of their life, from youth to old age. This is one of my absolute favourites! Now, you don’t have to choose exactly 7 people; I’d say any number from 5 to 10 would be fine. The idea is to capture something telling about the age of each of your subjects.

This project clearly relies on a certain amount of continuity.  What makes the finished results so interesting is the way they record the trajectory of life, not just physically, but in more subtle ways too.

So, obviously, stick with the same gender for each picture! It’s also best to choose subjects who belong to broadly the same social demographic. So don’t start with a schoolboy, move on to a young lawyer, then over to a market-seller, a middle-aged hobo, a policeman and wrap it up with a wealthy pensioner!

Try to capture an expression or a pose in each of your subjects that says something about who they are at that stage in their life. The youngest subjects are often completely uninhibited and natural. This sometimes merges into various affectations in early adulthood, and then perhaps ‘professional deformity’ later in life!

Overall, this is a fascinating photography project to have a go at, and one that I often re-visit.

4. Freeze-Frame!

Shoot lots of different subjects… in mid-air! Capturing a split-second of time, that would never otherwise be possible to scrutinize and observe in any depth, is one of the true pleasures of photography. So this project is a fun angle on this aspect of photography.

It might sound odd, but reaction speed is actually quite a big part of taking pictures. You have to be able to seize on an interesting moment as soon as it happens. You only get one chance – then it’s gone!

Capturing things in mid flight is a great way to practice. It can be anything: a bunch of flowers tossed in the air; a person jumping off a bus; an item that you’ve thrown up against the background of a blue sky; your dog/cat leaping from a height; a moment of sporting action etc.

Photos like these always have a dynamism about them that viewers just love. It’s a great way to begin exploring the ‘decisive moment’ in photography; that instant when something really expressive happens that just begs to be captured.

5. The Photo Essay

Tell the story of an event in 5-15 pictures. We often talk about getting that ‘killer photo’, and saying as much as possible in just one still image. That’s great, but it’s just not always possible to tell the full story in one shot. Building up a picture of something through a small collection of photographs is a really fun skill to master.

So, what to choose as a subject? Well, it needs to be something that you can represent through a variety of shots. Personally, I love creating photo essays of events like sports matches. There’s a clear chronology to it –  starting with getting to the ground and finishing with the emotions of the winning/losing fans as they leave.

But it could be something really small too, like cooking a meal. You could begin with a few really nice close up shots of the ingredients – showing their textures and colours. Then perhaps move on to the cooking process, showing the ‘chef’ at work and maybe a picture through the oven door. Move on to the presentation of the food and the meal itself, with images of the happy diners talking and tucking in! Then perhaps finish off with a shot of an empty plate and a few contented faces.

Be sure to use a real mixture of images, with differing focal lengths, depths of field, angles of view, perspectives and so on. The idea is to build up a full picture using your 5-15 shots.

Best of luck with these projects – I really hope you enjoy them!

About the author:

Josh Austin is a photographer who runs the website Photography Art Café, a resource for helping beginner and intermediate photographers master the art of photography.

Branding mistakes

Today we live in a world which is full of madcap advertising and uncontrolled consumerism. For companies to stay ahead of the game it important that they must constantly change their branding and advertising. Everyday people’s attention span is gradually growing shorter. We can attribute this to the constant barrage of bill boards, television commercials and popup ads from websites to name a few channels. It is because of the race to stay ahead of the competitions, companies hugely underestimate what audiences really want to see, and it is at this point when they get it wrong big time.

One such company that made a branding mistake was Coca Cola. As one of the most successful brands in America, Coke is a symbol of true American values. In 1985 amidst huge hype, the company behind Coca cola released a new version of the classic soft drink.  The new version was a more ‘smoother, rounder yet bolder’. however, Americans saw this as interference rather than improvement – would you improve the American flag?, Would you edit the Bible? Answer was No? Americans then asked Why change Coca-Cola?

As consumers had already bought into the Coca-Cola brand any change was met with anger form the customers. New Coke failed to impress loyal fans and sales were poor. Cases of the ‘real thing’ were being sold on the black market for huge amounts of money. It was only a matter of months before Coca-Cola realised their mistake and reverted back to producing the original ‘real thing’.



“Jask Group are a British creative agency, specialising in Graphic Design, Web Design and Tablet Publishing for midlands-based businesses in Birmingham, Coventry & Solihull.”


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