“the most important thing is not clicking the shutter, it is clicking with the subject”
This quote has really struck a cord with me recently and made me analyse the way I take photographs. I noticed that a lot of the time I tend to hold my finger down on the multi-shot feature and just take continuous photographs, especially when shooting fast moving people or objects, but this is most definitely not the best practice.
Alfred Eisenstaedt is thought by many to be the father of photojournalism and one of the greatest photographers of all time. He was the master of candid photography and usually only carried around one camera.
This image of children imitating a drum major really shows his skill in really capturing the moment, perfectly showing it to it’s full potential.
I decided that I need to step up my game and really start working with the subject I see through my lens, as Eisenstaedt suggests, and I got the perfect chance to try this out a few weeks ago at Cantelowes skatepark in Camden.
Ashley and a few friends chose a wonderfully sunny day to go there and skate, i’m not comfortable with bowls and know that it gets busy there so I decided to try out my camera instead.
To begin with I followed the skaters around the bowl with my camera but, although my pictures weren’t bad, couldn’t seem to get any impressive shots. The sunshine wasn’t helping as the stark contrast between the over exposed sunlight and dark shadows in the bowl made it really hard to find the right exposure levels.
After a while I started to watch the skaters more closely and understand their movements and where I could get the best shots of each individual skater. Luckily I’ve skated with and watched Ash and Milan a lot and found it really easy to predict their movements making for plenty of good photographs but, as much as I love to shoot them both, I really wanted pictures of everyone there.
I noticed there were certain areas of the bowl where every skater would get high or try something interesting and so decided these would be the best areas to train my camera on. I also noticed that certain skaters, particularly the more experienced ones, were practicing certain moves over and over so that they could perfect them. This was exactly the information I needed to really improve my photographs!
I trained my camera on these sections, depending on the skater, which meant I could set my shutter speed and focus ready for the subject to make their appearance into frame.
It took a bit of practice to really get the timings but eventually I managed to get some shots that I’m really proud of, not only that but all the shots I was taking started being useable rather than having a lot that i would never use.
I’m really proud of myself for the improvements i’ve made from just one day, and not just me, Ash learnt to drop in too with help from a good friend from Newtons Shred. A very successful day!
I am trying to be a lot more aware of my surroundings from now on, and not just when I have my camera on me. I really think that learning to recognise memorable moments will help improve my photography immensely.
I think there is a lot to learn from other photographers, both old and current, and so plan to do lots of research into others, particularly other nature photographers. I’ll be sharing my research with you all in future blog posts, probably once a month, and use their influences in my own photoshoots. I think it could make for some very interesting results!
You can see the rest of the photographs for this shoot right here on my facebook!
Fashion is always a big thing at festivals, I’m never quite sure why as it usually gets very cold, wet and muddy (at least in the uk) and, with lack of showers, it is hard to keep yourself looking presentable. But if you really must make sure you look your best at all times, here a few tips for you to really get into the festival spirit fashionably.
DO wear flowers in your hair. Festivals are notoriously ‘hippie’ themed and everyone loves a flower headband.
DON’T forget a big hat. Keep the sun out of your eyes whilst still looking stylish (or maybe a bit silly).
DO wear sensible shoes. Sandals, Vans, Toms or Converse at the dryer festivals, an awesome pair of wellies at the wetter ones. Also bring a pair of flip flops for those quick, late night toilet runs.
DON’T wear a floor length skirt. Even if the ground is dry, the portaloos get disgusting. Do you really want it dragging through god knows what on those floors? The answer is no.
DO bring some uber cool, hippie shorts. Not only are these really really comfy, but they look pretty awesome too. Perfect for relaxing at a festival.
DON’T be afraid to go ridiculous on your outfit choice. There’s always someone in fancy dress bringing a smile to everyones face, if you don’t mind the attention than why shouldn’t it be you?
DO wear lace. It’s always extremely popular, and that’s because it’s just plain pretty! Plus it’s a good way to keep cool at the hotter festivals.
DONT wear high shoes. Your feet will be in agony by the end of the day, and if it rains then you have no chance. Even if you think they’d be fine, even the slightest heel will feel like torture by the end of the day.
DO plait your hair. You wont have anywhere to really shower and dry shampoo is only so good, plaits are a great way to keep your hair looking nice and tidy whilst still pretty.
DON’T wear ridiculously short shorts. This picture was probably the most unpleasant i’ve seen, but no matter how skinny you are I really do not want to see your bum, or your frilly knickers. I don’t even understand how this is a fashion at the moment.
DO wear the merch you buy. I mean, why not? You probably spent a lot on that t-shirt or bagtanned, you may as well show your support.
DON’T wear body paint unless you don’t mind the suntan lines. I personally wouldn’t want pale dots up my legs for the next few weeks.
DO make sure you’re comfortable and happy in what ever you wear!
More festival Do’s and Don’ts coming up soon!
I have recently been thinking a lot about my old love of photography. I have a big, old DSLR and I’m always taking far too many photographs, but yet I do nothing with them.
So I’ve decided now is time to get back into photography, start seriously editing again and maybe even adding a few to my shop. Of course I will still be sewing (although i am finding it hard to stay motivated with it right now) but I also want to start selling prints.
If anyone knows of anywhere I could get prints done cheaply and easily that would be amazing (for the uk), I have a few places in mind but any help from photographers out there would be greatly appreciated.
I absolutely love messing around on photoshop with an image, it is definitely one of my favourite things to do, and so last night I decided to experiment with a few images I took of Ash longboarding. You can click on the images to see them a bit bigger.
I started off with a more simple edit, just adding texture, adjusting the colours slightly and playing with the levels.
I like how I made this feel slightly grungy but with Ash really popping out of the centre with his bright colours. I’m glad I managed to catch him as his arms made such a nice line and his board had started to slide. I also really love the concentrated look on his face with his tongue sticking out (although he hates it), it really makes me chuckle. 🙂
The next photograph I decided to be a little more adventurous and play with the background by taking out all the colour. I wanted to really make him stand out as the background is quite busy with all the leaves. I also cropped it slightly to create a better line and draw your eye to him even more.
Again I’m really happy with how this one turned out, I think the contrast between the background and Ash works really well. The only thing is I still find the background very busy and so I think I might need to play around with it even more, maybe by adjusting the contrast or blurring it slightly. But Ash really likes this one too and has set it too his facebook cover photo. 🙂
The last one I edited I decided to do something a little crazier and this is probably one of my most elaborate photoshops to date! I decided to add this bright orange texture to make ash look as though he was on fire in a way. I wanted to create a really dramatic image that would convey the power and energy used to do the slides Ash was trying.
Again I do really like the image even though its a lot different to my usual photography. I think the meaning I’m trying to convey really does come out and it is definitely not subtle. I still can’t decide if maybe it’s a little too much though and I think the lighter section in the middle could be more focussed on Ash.
What do you think about my photographs and edits? I would love to hear some constructive criticism!
After months of promising a competition finally I have gotten round to it.
Up for grabs is this cute, summery tote bag, a great addition to any summer wardrobe! Perfect for adults and children alike. 🙂 Even The Penguin Theory’s Penguin wants it!
Myself and The Penguin Theory Mascot realised that he doesn’t have a name, this upset us both greatly. We racked our brains for a suitable name but just couldn’t decide on one so we want YOU to help!
So how can you help? It’s SIMPLE!
Just comment on this blog and/or this image on facebook with the name you think would be perfect for him and that’s it, done!
Of course don’t forget to follow and like so you know if you’ve won or not! 😉
Each person can enter twice (once on facebook and once on here) and I will put all the names into a hat (or most likely a bag) to be drawn in a weeks time.
The Penguin Theory
I’ve been looking into possibly expanding to screenprinting.
I really want to look into it as I have a few designs that would take too long appliqueing to be viable, however I know the materials can be a little costly. I’d also prefer to make my minecraft ties printed rather than appliqued because, again, i’m losing money (and after all this is trying to be a business) taking the time to sew everything on. I will probably still do the odd applique work, but I really feel this would be the next step in my business for the plans I have in my head.
I found some good looking starter kits for around £70-100 and am tempted to spend some of my christmas money on them but don’t want to invest too much into something that would end up being a failure as I really can’t afford that at the moment.
Do any crafters out there know much about screen printing, more specifically if it is worth while?
Although I’m not sure how much longer I want to work in the pub, I do really love the people there. Sure there is the odd annoying, rude customer but the friendly customers (and hilarious staff) are the ones that make it all worth while!
There are a lot of the regulars that are great to have a chat with but there is one gentleman in particular who is the jolliest man you will ever meet, he loves his ale and always exclaims ‘marvellous’ in his deep voice when you hand him his pint. He actually knows about ‘The Penguin Theory’ and follows my facebook page ‘liking’ most of my statuses on there.
He always asks how the sewing is going and has recently started telling me that ‘This is the year penguins will fly’.
I absolutely love this phrase and have now changed my blogs tag line to this because this IS the year the penguin theory will get off the ground and start flapping it’s wings! It’s just so perfectly fitting that I had to steal it (although he has stated that there’s ‘no need to steal for your blog, you have a gift’).
It’s people like this that really keep me motivated. The fact that so many seem to believe I can do it (and not just people from work, friends and family too and of course my boyfriend is a HUGE help) is really a big confidence booster. Without everyone’s support I would have probably given up by now, but the hard work is paying off and sales are being made. I am really starting to believe in myself now and, as long as I keep up the hard work, I know I can make something of myself.
So heres to you Michael! When I’m rich and the penguins are soaring, I will buy you a drink!
I’m going to be running a competition in the next week but am having trouble deciding on the prize to give away.
The choices are a funky Tie or a cute Tote Bag but I can’t decide which!
Maybe I should give the winner a choice of either one? (I will be making both eventually anyway)
Please help me decide which by either commenting on here or choosing an answer on this poll on my facebook!
And of course don’t forget to follow my facebook, twitter and blog for the actual competition 😉
‘Till next time!
So apparently I have reached 100 posts on this blog (this is #101).
I’ve decided this means it’s time to do something drastic and so i’m thinking seriously about an Idea I’ve had for a while.
Did you know that there are 18 species of penguin in the world. 13 have declining populations, and 5 of them are considered endangered.
I love animals, when I was younger I wanted to be the next David Attenborough (actually I still do!) and so when ever I’ve heard about an endangered species I’ve wanted to help in some way. There are so many beautiful and amazing creatures out there and some of them are close to disappearing forever just like so many unfortunate, forgotten species before them.
I’ve always wanted to Donate to charity and have always vowed to if I made enough money. This isn’t a reality right now as I can barely afford rent as it is, so I’ve been thinking of a way to use The Penguin Theory to help others.
I particularly want to help wildlife charities (as nature is a big big love of mine) and charities that help poorer communities or disabilities to hopefully help someone else realise their dream (after all that is what The Penguin Theory is about)
I still have a lot of planning to go with this idea as that is all it is at the moment, an idea.
So stay tuned for the New Year when I will hopefully be telling you all about my plans and making them a reality!
‘Till next time!
Welcome to the new launch of my blog!
It even comes with some fancy new banners on mondays, thursdays and Saturdays!
Monday is now the ‘Back to work’section of my blog and will be here to help you and I learn how to do well in our careers. From finding a job, to promotions and even running your own business!
This first instalment will cover an aspect of the crafting business, that I am obviously interested in, craft fairs.
Craft fairs are essential to any maker as they seem to be the best way to make money and are able to reach a wide and local customer circle.
Yesterday was my first real craft fair and, although not a complete failure, there are definitely a lot of improvements needed to be made.
This instalment will take examples from the fair I attended yesterday and give you tips on how not to run your stall.
1. Get everything ready before hand
By everything I mean everything. Have all of it packed up and ready to go the night before at the latest. In my defence I was pretty ill and worked a 14hr shift the night before, but I ended forgetting to take a few important things (such as my info poster, carrier bags and even half my stock!).
Save yourself the panic of trying to get everything together that morning because you will definitely forget something.
2. Think about the little details.
Everything from decorations to levels and even packaging. You need to make it look and feel professional.
A large sheet to cover the table is a must! Also play with arranging boxes under the sheets to create different levels and to add a bit of interest. Try and think of exciting ways to display your products, little bowls, stands or anything you can hang your items from. As you can tell from my images I forgot to pack those kinds of things and so had trouble really arranging my stall. It didn’t look the neatest it could have done but I don’t think it looked terrible. I will definitely think more about how I can really show off my items.
You also need to think about what you’re going to do if you make a sale. Customers will expect a bag at the very least. If you want to think about wrapping you products as well that’s also a good idea.
3. Take someone else with you
Craft fairs usually last a few hours and there’s not really a point when you can leave your stall unattended. You will most likely need the toilet and/or food whilst there and so will need to leave your stall at some point. Plus it’s always fun to go have a look around at the other stalls and
spend too much money see what they have for sale, maybe swap a few business cards.
If you can’t get anyone to keep you company you should definitely pack yourself some drinks and snacks. Usually you will be able to ask the stall next door to just keep an eye on your table whilst you nip to the loo at least.
Unfortunately I couldn’t take anyone with me and forgot food and so was feeling pretty rough by the end of the day, especially as I was ill as well.
4. Have a varied stock
Don’t just cater to one price bracket. Have smaller, cheaper objects as well as the larger/more expensive ones. It’s always good to have something kids can spend their pocket money on, or adults can buy without worrying about how much money they will have left. With smaller objects it will be a lot easier to make more sales, how ever you should still have some more expensive items as then one or two sales could cover the cost of the table. The table next to me had lots of little items and sold a lot of products, I had forgotten all my smaller products and didn’t make my first sale until a couple of hours before closing.
5. Be polite and engaging
If work in sales and retail has taught me anything, it’s that if you’re smiley and engage the customer in conversation they will ultimately feel welcomed and be much more open to spending money. Think about it, would you buy from a grumpy stall holder who didn’t really seem interested in your custom? Of course not! Engage the customer in conversation, ask them how their day is, if they’re enjoying the fair, talk about yourself and explain your products and what makes them special. Take an interest in the customer and they will take an interest in you.
6. Business Cards
A lot of people might not buy on the day but might want something later on. Take business cards and hand them out as often as possible. I was a little slow on the up take with mine, I just kept forgetting about them. But there were a couple of potential customers who seemed really interested in commission pieces. If they do get back to me it’s possible I can make back all the money I spent on my stall!
Plus business cards are useful to swap with other crafters. You can keep in the loop together letting each other know of upcoming craft fairs, advertising each others wares and generally giving each other support.
Always always always have a float. People will be paying money for things, if you don’t have enough change to give them you may well lose a sale. Deciding how much money to take is hard and really depends on the event and your prices. I took £30. £10 in pound coins and the rest in £5 notes.
8. Multi-buy Deals
Everyone loves a deal and, if it doesn’t mean you’re under selling yourself, there is no reason why you can’t have one on your stall. Maybe you have some little hair grips that are £3 each. Why don’t you sell 2 for £5? It shouldn’t affect your price so much that you will lose out and more people are likely to end up buying a second hair grip that they wouldn’t have necessarily have bought before! Of course these deals aren’t for every shop, but it’s a good way to get a few more sales under your belt.
9. Offer Solutions
If someone wants one of your items but isn’t sure, why don’t you offer your services to create one that suits them perfectly? I had one woman want my cupcake apron but it was too small for the child. She almost bought my pink and brown striped apron but wasn’t sure if the child would like it as much. I said I could make her the cupcake apron in a larger size if she wanted and gave her my email. I missed out on doing this with a few other people which could have resulted in more sales, if not on the day then at least in future.
10. Enjoy yourself
I was a bit mopey all day due to my insides trying to fight to get out, but sitting there and looking bored is not going to attract customers. Sure you’re sat there for a long time and it can get boring, but at least don’t let everyone else know you’re bored. Maybe take some work to do with you. The table next to me were busy sewing little ornaments whilst running their stall and got quite a few good comments about it. People like to see the artist at work and it means you can add even more stock to your table. Of course not every craft will allow you to do this in which case you’ll have to find some other way to keep yourself amused.
I have a lot to do before my next craft fair and a lot more stock to make. I did manage two sales though and handed quite a few business cards so hopefully I will see interest in my products picking up in the next few weeks.
For now though it’s time to keep sewing and planning for my next craft fair!
‘Till Next Time!
Sorry I haven’t posted in while. It’s been rather hectic on my end.
We had a bit of a shock on Wednesday as we both got back to the flat and realised we had both forgotten our keys.
We rang the estate agents and learnt that they didn’t have a spare key, the landlord wasn’t in London and the maintenance guy was on holiday until monday. An emergency Locksmith would have cost us nearly £70 which we just didn’t have the money for. This left us in a bit of pickle.
Luckily we managed to stay at a friends house in Enfield for the night and he mentioned that we were welcome for as long as we were stuck. I had to go to work in jeans and my nice expensive Topshop boots but I guess that wasn’t the end of the world.
One of my work mates said that if we were still stuck then she could ask her husband and his boss if we could use one of their ladders as we had (luckily) left one of our windows open.
Cue 6pm Thursday night. It was just getting dark and we’d arrived back to our flat. A white van pulled up and several men bundled themselves out, grabbed a ladder and were in and out of our flat in a matter of minutes! We were definitely lucky that we’d left that window open although it is a bit scary to see how easily and quickly it could be broken into.
It was so nice to be home after all the palaver and now I think neither of us will be forgetting our keys in a hurry…
‘Till next time!
So I was busy editing photographs from my most recent product photo shoot and noticed that I had extremely bad bags under my eyes (i haven’t had a lot of sleep recently). Obviously looking tired isn’t the best when trying to sell a product and so i decided to try and use my mediocre photoshopping skills on them. I was rather impressed with the results and so I thought i’d make a short tutorial for anyone else who might have the same problem.
This tutorial uses Photoshop CS5 and is surprisingly simple to do.
There’s actually a tool especially for doing things like this, you can find it at the top of the second ‘section’ of tools on the left. Right click and you should be able to see ‘Healing Brush Tool’ in the drop down.
As you can see, i’ve already zoomed in close on my face so that I can see what i’m doing.
Next you have to select the area of face that you want to use to fix the bags. I always choose just under the area you’ll be fixing as it helps it blend a little better together. To select the area you just have to hold down ‘Alt’ (I’m on a mac but I think it’s the same on windows too, please let me know if it isn’t). A little target should appear so , whilst still holding ‘Alt’, click on the area you’re wanting to use.
I chose to click on the very most left hand side of my face as I knew I’d be drawing over the eye bag from left to right.
You can take your finger off the ‘Alt’ button now and just draw normally, following the bag under your eye.
Ignore the fact that it looks incredibly obvious at this point, that’s normal, when you finish and let go of the mouse button it should all blend in nicely with photoshops magical powers.
Tada! You’re no longer looking in need of sleep!
Now you just have to do the same on the other side.
Of course this can sometimes take a few tries to get it right, but it seems to work perfectly almost every time for me.
I also finished off my picture by adjusting the brightness and contrast, fiddling with my eye colour a bit (just a vanity thing there) and desaturating the background.
I hope at least someone out there will find this useful, this was rather fun to make so I might even do a few more tutorials in the future! 🙂
‘Till next time!
I’ve finally added a new Item to my shop!
I know I said in my last post that I was working on an apron but I found out that I don’t have the right coloured thread for the top stitching so I decided to make something else instead.
I was looking through all my materials and found some with a Christmas theme left over from gifts i’d made the family last christmas. Etsy has just had a big push on ‘Christmas in July’ and there was lots of advice telling shop owners to get festive items in their shops nice and early, so I figured I may as well get some in my own shop in preparation.
As there wasn’t a lot of material left I decided to make a tie. I made ties for all the men in my family last christmas and they seemed to be a big hit! My grandpa actually got the tie made from the same material as this one and seemed so proud to have it! It made me really happy to see him so excited to wear something i’d made!
I really like this material, it’s festive but sophisticated at the same time. I think it makes a tie that’s perfect for adding a bit of fun, festive cheer and can be worn to any kind of event, whether serious or more relaxed.
I also incorporated the penguin I spoke about in my last post. I’ve sewn it onto the back of the large end and think it works really well!
I’m very proud of this Item and think it is the best tie i’ve made so far (quite likely with the help of my new snazzy machine!) . It’s now for sale in my shop right here. So if you’re wanting to do a bit of early christmas shopping please stop by!
I’m sure i’ll be making more festive Items in the future, the only problem is i’m not sure what kind of items to make, other than Ties and Aprons. I had also thought of making a stocking or two, or some kind of festive gift bag. What do you think I should make with my material? What would you want to buy this Christmas? Please leave suggestions in the comments below or fill in the poll on my facebook page 🙂 It would be very useful.
The 27th was my birthday and also happened to be the date of the Olympics Opening Ceremony. Obviously this meant a party was needed. I invited a few friends around, gathered some snacks and alcohol and made sure the tele was on the right channel. We played some fun olympic drinking games whilst watching the ceremony.
The ceremony itself actually surprised me, in a good way. I don’t know quite what I was expecting, but that wasn’t it. It far exceeded my expectations. At first I wasn’t so sure, the whole arena looked like a field and, although the performance was good, I couldn’t see how much they could do with the set as it was. But then the towers majestically rose out of the ground and the whole stage was transformed seamlessly.
Then later James Bond goes to see the Queen. At this point everyone in the room were arguing as to whether or not it was really the queen. Then she turned around. We were very impressed. Thinking this couldn’t get any better, we all stared in disbelief queen jumped out of the helicopter! We we’re all in fits of laughter. I’m just sad that they didn’t get a stunt double to actually parachute down.
Then it got even better with Rowan Atkinson appearing as Mr Bean. I was obsessed with Mr Bean when I was younger and I made sure no one spoke whilst he was on screen. I always find it amazing that he can create so much laughter without even speaking. He is truly a talented man.
Eventually we went out and about in Camden and had a good boogie.
If you read my last post you will have seen that I mentioned that my family had put a lot into the penguin theory. That is certainly very true, they’ve always been very supportive. It was my sister who first got me involved in making jewellery by taking me to a bead shop in Leeds. There were so many pretty shiny things I immediately wanted to make something pretty and bought lots.
When I first mentioned that I wanted to start sewing it was my mum who bought me my first machine last year. Just a small, cheap (for a sewing machine) john lewis model, but perfect for a beginner. I’m usually not the best at keeping up a hobby (I seem to get bored rather quickly and give up once i find something that’s hard) so I definitely didn’t expect anything more. But for my birthday this year my mum and her boyfriend completely stunned me. They bought me a brand new, full sized, 39 stitch, electrical sewing machine. For them to get together and buy me something it must have cost a lot and I can tell this is quite a good sewing machine. I’m so excited to use it!
It’s made me feel really motivated. The amount of money they must have spent on my hobby and has made me realise that I have to keep at it and do well, or more that I can. My aunt also bought me lots of books about selling online and at craft fairs which are proving to be very useful. In fact I think I will do book reviews of them all in the near future for anyone else thinking of buying them.
My family have always supported my sewing, buying things off me (my sister recently bought some bunting, my aunt bought some bibs), complimenting my products, telling all their friends to look at my facebook page. My boyfriend is even helping out, forcing me to do the admin and even helping when i’m stuck drawing a pattern, he really has been a life saver at times. I really am grateful for the support they give me and probably would have given up long ago if it wasn’t for them.
Yesterday I also got involved with the Olympics! My sister and her housemate had a spare ticket for volleyball so I of course decided to join. We saw the mens Swiss vs Russia and USA vs Poland followed by the Womens Australian vs Austria. Unfortunately we had to leave then as the others needed to get up early and so missed the last match, but it was an amazing experience! The atmosphere was electric and the players were brilliant. Lots of dancers came on during the breaks and got the whole crowd moving. Definitely was an exciting experience and I’m delighted that I had a chance to go.
On the way home we actually saw the swiss team going back to their hotel. We congratulated them on their win and managed to get a photo with them! They were super nice guys (and extremely tall!), definitely backing them for a medal.
For now though, I have books to read and a sewing machine to learn how to use! (I haven’t tried it yet as I’m reading everything in the manual before I touch it)
So until next time!