Do you have a Contact-Me heirarchy? You should, and you should let people around you know.
For urgency: phone –> text –> Twitter DM –> email –> Facebook
For complexity: email –> phone –> Facebook –> text –> Twitter DM
It’s mostly dictated by how I handle notifications. On my phone, only Calls and Texts buzz/beep. Twitter and Email get notification icons, but nothing sensory. Facebook doesn’t get anything until I check it manually.
What about you?
In the meantime, I wanted to mention big news from Courage Church, where I serve on staff. Up until about 2 weeks ago, we’ve been known as Real Church, but we have since announced our name change to coincide with the announcement of our brand new campus in Southwest Detroit, i.e. Mexicantown. This campus will join our existing two campuses, in Midtown Detroit and the city of Hamtramck.
We’ve taken possession of a beautiful older church building, and will spend the summer months getting it in shape for our October 7th grand opening.
So, to recap, two big pieces of news:
- Real Church is now Courage Church (roar!)
- We are opening a brand new campus in Southwest Detroit on October 7th
Yes, huge news!
As of now, I’m kind of our only graphics and web guy, so if you’re looking for a new church in the Detroit are and have some graphic/web/video skills, I’d love to talk
In the meantime, check out our very first promo card as Courage Church, and visit our new website. Please pardon the dust — I’m still filling in content and styling.
Her name is Callie Curry, and she goes by the tag name Swoon. Her art are basically lithographs of carved plywood. Paper, pasted with Wheat Paste onto walls.
Seriously, this image has haunted me for a year. It’s so intricate; the more you stare at it, the more you see. I’ve never seen another one like it, although apparently she’s done other ones too. I had assumed it was done by a Detroit artist, but she must have just been passing through town.
Here are a few articles about her:
Phew. Mystery solved. I’m going to try and get in touch with her. Anyone out there know her?]]>
Let’s start with a photo of my buddy Chris goofing off on some swings. It was a quick candid, and I didn’t really prep for the shot, so the mechanics are a little blah. But whatever … it’s a fun pic that isn’t meant to win any awards. End of story, right?
But no! I have a whole arsenal of photo tricks to pull. And they’re all pretty bad ideas.
NO. If you can see it, you’re doing it wrong.
Yuk. I feel like a peeping Tom.
NO. It almost never makes sense, actually.
Tilt shift is an effect that exaggerates depth of field to make a scene look miniaturized. It’s done with special lenses that actually…tilt. It is not for highlighting your front door.
NO. Never ever ever fake depth of field.
It never looks right, no matter what the fancy software tells you. This is an extreme example, but my phone actually has a setting that will do this.
NO. How’s the weather down there in the pit of hell, Chris?
Canned vintage effects (artificial cross processing) are overused and often poorly executed. If you want to be unique, your best bet right now is to actually go for accurate colors. Also, FYI, taking a vintage pic of your laptop is like looking for a wifi signal in Amish country.
NO. Be aware of your device’s upload settings. Otherwise, you might compress Chris into stained glass.
Also note that a lot of uploading services do a number on your pictures if the original resolution is to high. Try to upload pictures that are pre-sized, so the upload service (or Facebook) doesnt have to resize for you. If you know you’re only going to post your phone pics online, lower the camera resolution.
So, I hope this has been instructuful. Instructing. Instructional. Whatever. My one wish is that people would stop trying to make their pictures awesome with canned effects. Let them be awesome on their own, and just see what happens. Embrace real life. That’s how you learn and get better. Yeah? Yeah.
Ok, share your ugly-effects horror stories below. And thanks Chris, for being my unwilling volunteer.]]>
However, when I visit a museum or social gathering, I’m always stunned by how many high end cameras I see around me. Weddings where guests bring better cameras than the hired photographer, even.
But you know what? A lot of those photos end up on Facebook, and many of them are not beautiful. Clearly the problem isn’t having bad equipment. The photographers themselves will admit that they’re often frowning later at their computer, unsure of why their pictures aren’t turning out the way they want. It’s frustrating, because you’d think that an amazing camera and lens should make for great shots.
Unfortunately, while gear can set you up for success, there’s an aesthetic element that transcends electronics, and I think that’s the problem. You can’t just snap a picture every time your eyes see something cool, and expect a 2D image to capture the power of a 3D world. Why not? Because your eyes are connected to your brain, which in turn is connected to all your senses, plus your memories, and your heart. That’s what makes the world real … and beautiful. Pictures have no memories, nor do they have senses other than sight, or any heart of their own.
So what do you do? You create heart, and memory, and sensation. You do it with composition — with framing.
When your eyes are drawn to something, ask yourself what you’re actually drawn to. What is your brain locking in on? A subject? Colors? Mood? Once you figure it out — and you usually can — make sure that that is the main subject of your photo. It takes a few seconds of thought, but it’s better than filling a memory card with hastily-taken tourist shots.
Make sure that what you love about the scene, and what you want people to remember, is being treated correctly in your composition:
Also, don’t be afraid to turn on that LCD screen to get a preview of what the 2D image will look like. Some people might call that cheating, but whatever. The picture is worth more words than their opinion is.
So, there are some quick thoughts on framing. Do you have any tips or thoughts of your own? Think I’m full of crap? Share below!
(top Photo Credit)]]>
Because of a patent dispute between HTC and Apple, Sprint’s new flagship Android phone was held up in customs. They were supposed to ship to pre-order customers (like me) on May 18th, but the date was pushed back because the phones weren’t allowed out of the warehouse until customs cleared them.
Sprint had nothing to do with the debacle (AT&T/HTC phones were held up as well), but they took the brunt of customer anger due to the delay.
In the end, the phones were delayed less than a week. Instead of arriving on Friday May 18, they came instead on Wednesday May 23. Much ado about nothing, you could say.
Still, because of the delay, Sprint sent all their pre-order customers a free phone case that arrived the day after our phones, and an apology letter. Even though 1) the delay wasn’t their fault; and 2) it was barely 5 days delayed.
That makes me feel good about Sprint, despite all the funny business that’s come and gone over the 15 years I’ve been with them. And it’s how I want to treat my customers.
If I ever have any customers. lol…
BTW: The phone is amazing, and apparently pre-order customers are still the only ones who have them. I’ll do a review soon.]]>
But first a definition.
Working for Spec is when you submit an entry to a creative job posting, in hopes that your submission will be picked and you’ll be paid. You typically submit a final product, not a quick concept or portfolio/resume. You’re not submitting a bid … you’re submitting finalized work. It might be a graphic, or a page of written copy, or a company name and branding strategy.
Just to be clear, it usually means that you spend a lot of time on something without knowing if you’ll be paid or not. Sounds crazy? It is, in hindsight. But to amateur creatives, or people just getting starting, it looks attractive because the jobs are plentiful, and the risk is low. Or so you think. They don’t cost money to enter, and if you lose, you can just move onto the next job.
Except, after about the 5th time you spend half a day working on something that isn’t chosen, you start to develop an inaccurate picture of the creative industry. You receive little to no feedback on your work, and usually can’t even see the winning entry. Sometimes the client abandons the project without bothering to tell the creatives that are busily preparing entries for consideration. The whole thing seems pointless, and you’re left with a pervasive malaise about creativity in general. And that is a big price to pay for a so-called low-risk endeavor.
It’s not supposed to be that way. If you work, you should be paid. If you’re donating your time, it should be your choice. And if you’re still learning, then you shouldn’t call it work.
Spec Work is none of those things. It’s clients robbing creatives of time and effort. And the organizations that facilitate it are essentially bookies, stringing creatives along with the promise of the big score. I know, because I was caught up in it for about 6 months. I won a $250 job, and was hooked. But after that $250, I probably spent another 40 hours on many more projects, none of which panned out. You do the math. I gave up on my creativity because I was so disillusioned.
But really I was just deceived.
SO, stay away from companies that facilitate spec work. The biggest one I know of is Crowdspring, but there are others. Business may look like it’s booming, but it’s built on the back of discouraged creatives.
And now, your thoughts. Have you ever done spec work? Used a spec work site? Disagree wholeheartedly with me? Let’s hear it below!
Give me a low res copy of your logo to vectorize or revamp, or a branding assignment around an existing logo, and I’m all over that. But starting from scratch? Tears. Only tears.
I think the problem with logo design is the commitment it requires to really get right. You have to get into the head of your client, and into his enterprise. You need to know his audience, and his industry. You need research time and creative time and artistic time … Something that always seems to be in short supply when you’re freelancing on the side.
The problem could also be that I can’t draw for crap. Say what you will about advancements in computer-aided drawing, but my thought is if you can’t draw it on paper, you’ll probably do a worse job of it on the computer.
So between time shortages and talent shortages, I’ve decided to skip the tears.
What are your thoughts? Ever designed someone’s logo from scratch?]]>
Client: I know you’re almost done with the site, but I’ve changed my mind and need you to start over. If I’m paying $400, I need to make sure I really like it.
Sound familiar? Projects have no closure, and clients never seem happy. Worse, as the project drags on, the designer’s morale plummets while he watches his virtual hourly rate drop below minimum wage.
The alternative, of course, is to charge by the hour. Doctors do it. So do lawyers, plumbers, car mechanics, and babysitters. So why not designers?
I don’t know why not, so that’s what I’m doing from now on. Now the client AND designer are empowered. The client is forced to organize their thoughts and prioritize their needs, while the designer is compensated according to his effort. It only works if the designer is honest and does good work, so references are key. I’ve tried to provide a few in every area I’ll work in, and can provide more if necessary.
I imagine there are exceptions. Wedding photography comes to mind because those are highly-budgeted events, and there’s a certain amount of tradition you’re not going to overcome. But for most things, I feel like hourly might be replacing plastics as the future.
It’s funny. I used to balk at the high price of handmade furniture when compared to prices at IKEA, until I started doing my own woodworking. Then I got it.
Craftwork takes time. And effort. And financial investment.
With all that in mind, I’ve decided to stop offering photography services for free. This doesn’t affect anything I’ve done in the past, or any promises that are currently pending. But in the future, if you’d like me to come do some photography work for you — which in most cases I’d love to do — I’m going to have to ask for compensation. It keeps me from giving you second-rate product and dragging the project on, and keeps you from taking advantage of me.
As we all grow in family, career, and faith, I hope you’ll agree that our time grows more precious as well.]]>