Tag Archives: Seattle

Creating a Picture Book using Amazon Comic Creator

Creating A Picture BookCreating a Picture Book using Amazon Comic Creator

If you try to make a picture book and get it published the more pictures you add the more expensive the book. It is so easy to price yourself out of the market with publishing anywhere that I know a lot of photographers have basically abandoned creating picture books for themselves. Previous versions of the Kindle, and the problems with creating an e-pub also mean that our pictures basically sat on our hard drives or in places like Smugmug or Flickr where we were lucky to sell anything.

The good part is that when Amazon moved into the comic book market allowing independent comic book creators to self publish to Kindle directly, that opened the door to photographers using the same tools to create an awesome picture book along the way.

Some caveats, your pictures need to be 800 X 1260/1280 in size, and have a max size of 126K, so you need to set your DPI at 96 to make sure you can keep your pictures at the right size to work with Amazon Kindle. Over the last couple of days I have gone through my archives of China and some of the cooler photo shoots to create books for Amazon Kindle. The fun part is that one of them sold within the first 24 hours of being posted so I am really hoping to see how sales go with Amazon Kindle.

The book I used for this project is FU We Are: Seattle Punk Rock, a picture book about the Seattle Punk Rock scene I have been trying to get published for the last two years. It took an hour or so to build it for the Amazon Kindle system, without having to argue with publishers who are becoming increasingly gun shy about taking on projects that might not have any economic output. Now given the price of publishing, I can understand that. The Seattle Punk Rock book is somewhere on the order of 130 pages, and there isn’t a popular band in there, but there is a lot about the Seattle Punk Rock scene.

Even if you never sell a copy you are only out about 2 hours of your life, and using Amazon Comic Creator for picture books is about as easy as anything I have encountered in online printing anywhere for any reason. No haggling, no pain, easy to use, there is also a really handy video of about 15 minutes that walks you through the whole process. I did pre-stage everything for this, but honestly, set aside an hour or two to make this happen and you will have your kindle ready picture book uploaded and for sale very quickly.

 

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Setting Keywords and Captions in Smugmug

Flickr Tags and KeywordsSetting Keywords and Captions in Smugmug

So many of my friends and fellow photographers have been asking about how I get so many picture views. In general I pay close attention to what I am taking pictures of, and while I do tend to overshoot with too many pictures of the same pose, I really try to take a good quality picture. The other side of this is understanding how communities work at Smugmug, and other sites like Flickr and Deviant Art. Smugmug is a semi-closed community, where the search engines do not tend to index them as much they could, so there are two ways to get hits to your gallery.

One blog with at least 400 words what you took pictures of, why they are awesome, and link back to your gallery or have a small gallery included in your blog entry like I do here. The search engines are able to build a context around the pictures and will then go check out your gallery so they will end up in Google. Each person with a link @smugmug.com will tend to have a low Page Rank unless they do this, making it hard for people to find your galleries from the internet.

The other part is the internal audience to Smugmug, Flickr or anywhere else. I would say that 90% of all my traffic comes from internal audiences, not from search engines. Internal audiences are people on the site looking for pictures. People will search Smugmug looking for keywords about your pictures. From what I have been able to gather, the search feature of most of the picture storing sites is geared towards those keywords, popularity, and the captions that go along with them. That is why you will see keyword clouds for just about every photographer on Smugmug.

Setting Keywords and Captions is the most important thing you can do with Smugmug or any picture site. You should stick to somewhere between 15 and 25 relevant keywords about what the picture is about. It is generally a bad idea to use keywords that do not describe your pictures because you want traffic. With the changes to Smugmug, it is sometimes hard to find out where to set keywords and captions not just for the pictures but for the galleries as well. So I made this sweet little video to help you the photographer understand how to set keywords and captions for your galleries and individual pictures. Hope you enjoy it. Feel free to share it to anyone you think might be interested.

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2013 The Statistics Year in Review

Behai Park Beijing China2013 The Statistics Year in Review

We all know that being a photographer means that you have to be an attention whore in a number of ways. We need to get people looking at our pictures online just to even think about getting started selling them. That means we need to stand out from the crowd, we need to keyword and tag what we are doing, as well as dealing with age gates, other photographers, linking and embedding, and all the processes that help us literally stand out from the crowd.

According to the blogs on Flickr and Smugmug something on the order of 3.5 million pictures are uploaded daily on those sites. Instagram if you use it and Facebook are more than billions a week. It is very hard to stand out from the crowd, and 2013 is the year I took SEO (Search Engine Optimization) seriously.

And it paid off, this is the first year I sold pictures, and sold enough pictures to pay for all my hosting plans at DA, Smugmug and Flickr. Here is how the numbers work out.

Flickr:

Starting number 700,000 ending number 10,223,640

Total picture views this year

Sales – Nada, Flickr really needs to figure out a way that others can purchase our pictures. While linking back to Getty Images is cool, that has turned into a dead process for me because of the pictures I take. I don’t do stock pictures, and that complicates Flickr for me. So no sales and unlikely to have any sales via Getty any time soon.

Smugmug:

Total picture views for the year 4,649,198

Sales – enough to pay for hosting and a small craft beer, which is not bad because this is the first year I have ever had sales. The interesting is the graph below, you can see the obvious difference between understanding Smugmug keywords and its internal audience and those days I did not understand them. The midyear point is an amazing turn for people looking at my pictures.

Deviant Art

Starting Number 112,000, ending number 236,927

Total picture views for the year

Sales – enough barely enough to pay for hosting, but this is also the first year I have sold pictures on DA so that makes it special. I mostly sold electronic downloads there, no prints.

Total picture views for the year are: 14,297,765

Facebook and Google Plus

After a small ruckus caused by my pictures from AMDEF 2013 this year, I had to move all the photography over to a page. I was effectively shutdown in Facebook for something like 30 hours this year because people would flag them as porn or something else. While I have had thousands of picture views on both sites, I had to move everything over to a fan page to keep the flaggers/trolls at bay and not upset their fine sensibility, or run afoul of Facebook’s solid issues with Nipples. Seriously Facebook has almost a deviant psychosis when it comes to nipples, or at least some of their users sure do. Although I am ok with it because a lot of other international and national photographers also found themselves shutdown at times. So I am not going to count them this year because of the transition from timeline to fan page.

All other sites, I don’t really post much to 500PX or Instagram or others so they don’t really count. All the numbers are below 10,000 and insignificant in comparison to what is happening over on Flickr, Smugmug and Deviant Art. 2012 was in comparison a pretty paltry year, with maybe a couple hundred thousand picture views, and with the millions of picture views this year along with making enough coin to make hosting payments I really cannot argue where this year ended up. Remember to do all the SEO you can to help you stand out of the billions of pictures that are uploaded weekly.

 

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Rolf Armstrong Pinup Artist from the Art Deco Age

Rolf Armstrong Pinup Artist from the Art Deco AgeRolf Armstrong Pinup Artist from the Art Deco Age

We always want to find something inspiring and wonderful when we are doing art. Ideas of those that have gone before us and cut new ground are often something that we use when we are working with our own ideas. Sometimes we simply need an idea book, and today I am going to propose getting to know Rolf Armstrong. He is one of the original Pinup painters, and his work is simply the staple of what happened later with Vargas and other pinup artists from the 1940’s on through the 1960’s.

Rolf was quite simply one of the most popular pinup painters of the Art Deco age. He spent some time in Seattle, Michigan, and went on to school in New York and Chicago. Paris and then onto other places as a war started and raged across Europe. He was also on the board for commercial artists during World War 2, eventually to die in 1960. His work is storied and he usually worked with live models to keep the ideas fresh in his head.

His work was often found on sheet music, magazine covers, and World War II propaganda. He started the ground work for what would later on become one of the staples of art and photography, the classic Pinup. Truly a visionary, he has some of the most amazing art work you can follow along for your photographic art idea books. Or even if you are a painter, the style, vivid vibrant colors, and posing are all there. Truely the originator of an art form it is always good to know a little art history when you are looking to be inspired for your next art or photographic session.

The good part is that there is a lot of data about his work online so you don’t need to go out and purchase any books. There is an amazing Pinterest of his work right here, along with the obvious Google Image Search function to help you out. He makes for a good place to start your pinup idea book if you are interested in the Art Deco style like I am. He is a good artist to start with and take a look at his work, his life, and the times that he lived in. His World War II art inspired thousands of bomber girl pinups that lived and died over the skies of Europe and the Pacific.

Have fun looking him up and learning what you can learn about some of the very earliest pinup work out there.

 

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2013 Year in Review for Studio5Graphics Top 10 Galleries

Chantal Water Nymph

2013 Year in Review for Studio5Graphics Top 10 Galleries

2013 is basically going down as the best year ever for sales, views, gallery show, and love. It has been a great and wonderful year and all because people found me and decided they liked what I was doing. Of course there are a lot of Y-Chromosome pictures this year, but also some surprise sleeper hits along the way. Overall this is has been my best year, and I owe it all to you, a couple of walled gardens, some of the most amazing models to walk the planet, and finding time to do this.

Top 10 Most Popular Galleries for the year

1. Chantal Water Nymph – one of the most stunningly wonderful and talented models I worked with this year coming in at 200,000 picture views for the gallery alone.

2. Steamcon V Cosplay – the most outrageously fun three days I had this year was at Steamcon and you should go if you get the chance clocking in at 122,000 picture views

3. Pinup Model Ange

e in a Bikini – this was the surprise sleeper hit of the year, taken over another photographers shoulder and just hanging out because I was between models, the lovely Angee is clocking in at 86,000 picture views. I am sure this will tick off the primary photographer but then there we are, this happens when you are at a group shoot.

4. Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con 2013 – they let me hang out with the regular show photographers and ended up with thousands of amazingly cool pictures. They were surprised that a photographer would show up from the west coast, so the good folks at Wizard World made me feel right at home and I can’t thank them enough for that.  They are clocking in at 82,000 picture views.

5. Pinup Model Anika in front of an Impala – beautiful model, beautiful car clocking in at 66,000 picture views for the year. Sometimes you have to choose between the car and the girl, in this photo set you didn’t have to.

6. Jet City Comic Show photo booth – this is my favorite shoot of the entire year, there is nothing that compares to running the photo booth for a comic con. Lots of good people lots of fun and some amazingly good charity work with Comic Book Characters for Causes. They clock in at 62,000 picture views.

7. Grid Girl Rebel – ok, anyone who has shot Rebel knows that she is one of the most amazing young ladies out there. She runs Femme LTD here in Seattle getting people together so that they can make cool art and pictures. She clocks in at 61,000 picture views, which in my opinion just isn’t enough, she is that amazing.

8. Marilyn Outdoors Part 2 – another wonderful model clocking in at 57,000 picture views.

9. M.O.d and a Vintage Car – I know she didn’t like some of these, but darn it I am not photoshopping out things in a picture, or otherwise. The only thing I am using photoshop for is balancing color and exposure or resizing an image. She is a wonderful pers

10. Pinup Model Inspired – wonderful, simply a wonderful young lady and probably goes into the top 10 list of people who I really think are simply very cool for 2013. She clocks in at 54,000 picture views for the year.on to begin with and she clocks in at 57,000 picture views.

Those are just the galleries; I really should wait for a couple of days before I really start cranking the full end of year numbers for total picture views. But simply put it has been a wonderful year for having people taking a look at pictures, and buying pictures, along with my first gallery show this has just simply been one of the coolest years I could have. Just a big shout out to everyone involved, you are all part of this and should feel warm fuzzy along the way.

 

 

 

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Broken Doll Horror Themed Photo Shoot

Broken Doll Horror Themed Photo ShootBroken Doll Horror Themed Photo Shoot

As part of Crypticon Seattle’s 2014 show, I was fortunate enough to be able to do some advertising copy for them, and they said it would be cool to help them out and help me out by doing a blog post about doing advertising copy. This is just one of the galleries from the photo shoot, and it was awesome having a very bendy flexible model to work with for this shoot.

The idea was a broken puppet that would be forgotten and broken in a corner, with a ton of clarity to help set up the idea that this is a grim dark gritty issue.

It gives you a nice visceral feeling, and in some comments on facebook we definitely got a reaction about the ideas of women, horror, victimization, and everything else that would go along with that. In all it was a great way of seeing how people would consume and if possible get them to react to the picture. We are constantly flooded with images of sex, violence, horror, that getting people to react to anything is a small miracle. There is a long way to go with women in horror and coming up with some kick ass strong archetypes. But really the boyfriend gets chopped into bits and the movie ends up with fire, flame, and generic general mayhem.

Crypticon Seattle is one of the biggest horror conventions in the Seattle area so it is always interesting to see what their volunteers are up to when it comes to arranging a photo shoot. I was glad I got to participate in this one as it just ended up being a lot of fun, and there are a ton of smaller galleries to work with and for them to pick something for their advertising campaign. When I see the final proofs of what they are using I’ll post that along and see where we go from there. You know ad people, once they get their hands on an image it does not matter what the photographer intended, everything changes. And we so rarely get to see what the original image looked like. So here you are a super bendy flexible model to work with as a broken abandoned toy in a corner. We should all take better care of our toys, all the time.

Here is the gallery to go along with that as well so have some fun with it.

Broken Doll Horror Themed Photo Shoot

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Latex Electrical Tape Model

Latex Electrical Tape ModelLatex Electrical Tape Model

I know I really have not fallen off the face of the planet, but it has been remarkably busy which is something that any photographer would be happy with. Over the last couple of months I have done a lot of photography and while I have a little downtime it is time to write about some of the photo shoots I have been doing.

One of the most interesting photo shoots of the year has to be the electrical latex tape shoot I did with JohnMStudios and Miss Kate over here in Seattle. There was no MUA for this shoot, but covering someone in artistically designed electrical tape is something that I have not done before, and it is something that ended up being interesting to try out. The model Miss Kate was an amazing person to work with and has a high level of experience with standard modeling poses, if you get the chance to find her to hire her as a model it is well worth the time you will spend with her. JohnMStudios is one of the local photographers here in Seattle and has set himself up with covering people in electrical tape as his signature series, much like my own Ziegfeld Follies style recreations.

A couple of things I learned while doing this, is make sure your model does not have a latex allergy. Electrical tape is based on latex so you need to make sure your model is not allergic so you don’t have to deal with hives and itching later on. The other is that you have about three hours to do the shoot before the tape starts peeling away. In some of the later pictures they had to be deleted because the tape was peeling away from private bits of the body.

The other thing to do is to have a design board with a plastic surface so you can work out the larger designs. If you work them out on the design board, you can work out your idea there without making your model uncomfortable or feel like an experimental lab rat while you try to figure it all out. Any plastic coated board will do including a plastic cutting board from the kitchen if that is all you have available to you.

It is an interesting style, and unique to JohnMStudios so far as I have been able to find. It is always fun working with a photographer who has a unique idea that is not commonly found, and you get a chance to ride side saddle with them to learn the ropes, and pitfalls of working with electrical tape as a primary clothing choice.

It is worth trying out. Check out the gallery below to see what you think.

Latex Electrical Tape Model

 

 

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