Website Design – Hardware and Software Tools You May Need

Omaha Web Design

Before you get started with your new website or editing your current site, you need to consider which hardware and software tools you may need to support your efforts.

When it comes to hardware needed this can be very simple or reasonably complex depending on your particular needs. Of course, if you plan to create a new website (or even view your new website later) you need a computer. Simple enough, right? Not necessarily. We prefer to work with Apple Macintosh (OSX Leopard on MacBook Pro) as we do a lot of intensive graphics work and have previously invested in Adobe Creative Suite software (Photoshop, InDesign, Flash, Dreamweaver, etc.). It is just as easy to create your new website using your Windows PC but we would suggest you stay away from using Windows Vista (any version) and migrate to Windows 7 or stick with Windows XP. These operating systems are just much more stable and reliable.

Another consideration for hardware should be some sort of backup hard drive or removable USB memory stick(s). It is important that you back up all of your website data to a removable drive in the event your computer crashes, is broken or is stolen. When you create website files, most of your data will be stored on the website hosting servers but, in many cases, you will have many other “builder files” that usually never make it to the hosting servers. If you lose this data you will be forced to start from scratch in many cases. Another piece of hardware that many forget about is a HD Video Camcorder. If you plan to include video on your site, you should be investing in something half decent; you can normally pick up a good video camera that also captures “still photos” for under $500.00.

When it comes to software needed, this can be somewhat more complicated, again depending on what your website design goals are. At the very least, you will need some sort of text editing software, FTP (file transfer software), graphics creation software and then a variety of other tools as you progress.

Here are some of the most common subjects you should consider when planning the design of your website product.

COMPUTER

Do you currently have a computer that can process large files (i.e. – video files) quickly and efficiently?

WEBSITE SERVER

Are you planning to host your own website portal? If so, do you know what type of hardware and server software you will need?

BACKUP HARD DRIVE or USB STICK

Do you currently have some sort of backup hard drive equipment or plan?

VIDEO CAMERA

Will you be creating custom videos for your website and, if so, do you have a HD video camera ready to go?

MOBILE WEB DEVICES

Are you planning to make your website “mobile web friendly”? If so, do you have an iPhone and an iPad? Android phone? Blackberry device? These will be needed for testing purposes!

WEBSITE CREATION SOFTWARE

Do you have any website creation software (i.e. – Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft Front Page) installed, licensed and ready to use?

GRAPHICS EDITING SOFTWARE

Are you planning to create your own website graphics or edit pictures? Do you have the necessary software (i.e. – Adobe Photoshop or Photo Studio)?

DATABASES

Are you planning on creating a database for your website and, if so, do you know which software to use for this purpose?

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

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Source by E. R. Woody House

5 Tips on Making Your Own Unique Wedding Favors

Omaha Web Design

Everyone would like to make their wedding favor as unique as possible. You may find it quite hard to find a really unique wedding favor. To this end you will probably think of making or designing your own wedding favor. The followings are some tips for you to make your own wedding favor.

1 Candle

Candle is a traditional idea of ??wedding favor. Most people will have the perception that this idea is too traditional and it will not be something special and unique. However, it is not the truth. There is a kind of candle which is in the shape of "Double Happiness", a Chinese character which is usually used for wedding. This is already quite a unique wedding favor.

A candle can be even more unique if you make the candle yourself. If we think of the above example of "Double Happiness" candle, it is the shape of the candle which makes it different from a traditional candle. You can start thinking of your unique candle by considering the shape of it. Since candle should be something like ice it can be made in any shape. By making different shapes of the candle, a new and unique wedding favor will be created.

2 Wedding CD

If you love singing you can make a wedding CD of your own. You can have a professional musician to write your theme song and you can sing this theme song yourself. You can then sing this song and make your own wedding CD. No one will doubt about the uniqueness of such a wedding favor.

3 Calendar

Everyone will need a calendar. A calendar wedding favor is something useful, and at the same time very unique. You can use your wedding photos to make this calendar. You may use twelve photos for the twelve months. If you can manipulate graphic software such as Adobe Photoshop, you can even design and make this calendar yourself. You can also ask your wedding invitation designer to design this calendar for you so that the design can match your wedding invitation and wedding theme.

4 Chocolate

It is also quite common to use chocolate as wedding favor. One of the way to make it unique is to make the package of the chocolate to match your wedding theme. As in the case of calendar, you can either make the package yourself or have your wedding invitation designer to design it for you.

Besides considering the package, you may also take advantage of the technology of printing on chocolates. You can print your photos on the chocolate (and it is edible of course) and it will be certainly very special unique. It will not be difficult for you to find companies which prints photos on chocolates if you search in Google.

5 Diary Book

You can also make a diary book as wedding favor. Again, you may need to have your wedding invitation designer to design this for you. However, you may still need to have your own input for the diary book. It will be very sweet of you if you can put your wedding day, as well as the birthday of your guest in the diary. You will need to make the diary one by one in this case.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

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Source by Jerry Leung

Does Photoshop Seriously Damage Your Photographic Talent?

Omaha Web Design

Are you a so called Photoshop specialist photographer who can correct an image that was destined for the 'Recycle Bin' and produced an image that could be uploaded and sold through Microstock?

Do you justify your Photoshop expertise by explaining that the landscape shot was ruined because it had an overflowing litter bin in the foreground? Or are you the portrait photographer telling me how you had saved your embarrassment of a reshoot because they had cloned in a corner section where the background was missing? It's absolutely fantastic that we can all use Photoshop to correct our mistakes. But my question is – Should we make the mistakes in the first place? I come from the days of film and one of the first things that you were instilled to do was let your eye roam around the viewfinder.

Then when you were happy with what you saw, you took the picture. Notice I did use the term we. I admit on a bad day I am just as guilty as anyone else. What we need to do is to pay more attention to the shooting of the image and less to the post shoot correction techniques. In other word stick your camera on a tripod if possible and let your eye roam around the viewfinder looking for anything that you can see that should not be there. It's so easy to simply shoot what you think that you see only to find that object that has crept into the picture that is clearly visible on the monitor. How did I miss that when I took the picture? I ask myself. That's when I also think, thank goodness for Photoshop.

A very experienced photographer once explained to me that when he 'went digital' he got lazy when taking the shots. He had heard before going digital Photoshop solved all your picture taking problems. Like a lot of photographers he began to relly on the qualities of such a superb piece of software. He ended up spending more time working on the images in Photoshop than he did actually taking the shots. He simply had taken for granted the fact that simple mistakes could be easily rectified. But he also realized that every minute spent checking the picture at the time of shooting saved him ten minutes work in Photoshop. He began to wish that he had stuck with film and thought about returning to his old ways.

But after analyzing his situation and evaluating his photographs he realized it was not the digital image that was the problem. It was his technique; he had assumed that this was how you approached digital photography. So now he has reverted back to his old style of shooting by taking more care when taking the picture. Not only has his picture taking improved but he has a lot more spare time.

Let's suppose that you had decided to shoot a still life set up totaling a bottle of wine, a glass of wine and a few grapes. You spend your time getting the composition looking just right and started to shoot away, changing the perspective and moving in closer. You must have at least ten saleable images. You transfer the files to a folder on your computer and open each file. But your excitement turns to horror as the first image has a dirty great thumbprint on the glass slap bang in the middle of your picture. So you decide to rectify the mistake in Photoshop. It'll only take ten minutes or so. That's ten minute per image time ten of course. So in fact it will take you the best part of two hours to correct something that should have been spotted at the shooting stage. Incidentally, when I shoot any shiny objects I always move the objects wearing white cotton gloves.

What you should be doing is simply tweaking the image. Maybe giving is a slight increase in contrast or burning in, very slightly, the label on the bottle. Just the odd corrections that make a good image become excellent. Remember that you can not make a silk purse out of a pig's ear. The same goes for Photoshop.

So maybe you can save the once in a lifetime picture by adjusting it in Photoshop, sometimes mistakes can not be helped. Think of the potential market for a portrait photographer that can make the model look thinner and younger. Photoshop has set the Industry Standard and is a superb tool in the photographers Arsenal – Providing that the Photographer has the knowledge to use it and realize its limits.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

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Source by Gordon Ball

Creating Unique Joomla Templates With Photoshop

Omaha Web Design

Uniqueness is pretty important for us, and in the case of websites well it's what matters. From a developer's point of view, the design of the websites could spell the difference of "wanting to visit it" or the opposite of it. People have an uncanny ability to be unresponsive with dull designs (yes, you read it right. People respond better with better designs like kids) so it's imperative that you find ways in order to make it unique and worth looking into.

There are pre-made designs in websites with Joomla platforms, but of course since it's not that unique people will tend to have negative feedback on your website so sooner or later you'll need to find ways to make your website look more personalized.

We'll there are a variety of ways to make your template unique. One popular method is to use images and convert them as layouts for the template.

Creating unique and personalized websites becomes a lot easier with the help of Photoshop. Photoshop is an Adobe program which allows a user to create an image file by basically creating a collage of images, vectors and text, this will be the tool to use in order to create a unique Joomla template. The overall result will then of course become your planned layout which will later on be converted into a template.

After the whole designing process is complete, the conversion process takes place. Usually, training and understanding of programming languages ??in web development like PHP and HTML is required. That is the reason why PSD to Joomla Coders are usually hired to make your life easier. As long as you have the design or layout, once you've passed it to them all you have to do is wait for them to finish the conversion process and pay them.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

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omaha web design + search engine optimization + mobile apps



Source by Albert Vannatta

Converting PSD to Joomla Template

Omaha Web Design

The internet is home to millions of websites all advertising different products or services and competing for your attention with their attractive website designs. Many websites advertise free templates that can be downloaded and used for your own website and others that offer professional looking templates for a small fee. The problem with these services is that they are common through the internet with many websites using the same themes. There is so much competition on the internet between businesses and by creating an original website it will enable you to have an advantage over the millions of similar looking sites. One way to make your website unique is to use your own photography as a theme for your site. This article will show you how to convert PSD files to Joomla templates to enable you to make your website one of a kind.

PSD is an image file created by Adobe Photoshop that allows an image to be altered by the user in a number of different ways. A PSD file is layered and the individual layers can be added or subtracted as you like and the colors changed or altered. Once you have edited your file in Photoshop you can convert it into a Joomla template and create your own own original website. There are a number of different ways to convert the file and will depend on your knowledge of website design. If you are unable to perform the conversion yourself then it is a good idea to take advantage of the many web design companies that can handle it for you. You will need to provide them with the necessary PSD file and they will then create a custom Joomla template that you can begin using right away. There is usually a charge for these services and may take up to a couple of days.

When converting PSD to Joomla template you will need to give unique names to the individual layers of the PSD file in order to allow Joomla to convert it correctly. Once you have given unique names to the individual layers you can then log onto one of many conversion sites and upload your image. Once the conversion is over you must download and open the zip file and copy the newly created folder into the Joomla website folder of the WAMP server. You must then go to template manager in the admin panel of your site to view the newly created template in your template list box. Set this template as your default and you have finished creating your own unique website. Converting PSD to Joomla template should only be attempted by experienced web users as the online conversion sites can occasionally have small bugs in the conversion process that will leave people scratching their heads if they are not sure how to correct it. If you are unsure it is better to enlist the help of the professionals, rather than spend hours on end searching for a tiny coding error.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

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omaha web design + search engine optimization + mobile apps



Source by John D. Edwards

Compare Nokia N93 and Samsung E900 – Cool Outside, Tough Inside

Omaha Web Design

Nokia and Samsung are the big daddies in the mobile market. Both the companies have great market share all over the world. Over the years, Nokia and Samsung have bought some feature rich handsets to woo the customers. Response has been amazing! While Nokia is known for its performance and user friendliness, Samsung is famous for its class and exclusivity. Nokia N93 and Samsung E900 are two cool mobile phones which are going great guns nowdays. These two handsets are not mere mobile phones, they are power- machines.

First come to the Nokia N93. The Nokia N93 is a 3G smartphone from Nokia's unique N-Series range. The handset is a great instrument for those avid photographers who love to record everything happening in day to day life activities. The phone houses a 3.2 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss Optics Tessar lens. Additional features like autofocus, flash and 20 x digital zoom provide the extra support to make your photos and videos more appealing. The phone is loaded with Real Player Media Player as well as a built-in music player. The music player supports a large number of files such as MP3, AAC, AAC +, eAAC + and WMA. Other features include direct TV connection, stereo FM radio, visual radio, voice commands, voice recorder, voice dialing, handsfree speaker, push-to-talk, Nokia XpressPrint, Nokia XpressShare, Nokia Premiere Elements 2.0, Photoshop Album Starter Edition , Bluetooth, Pop Port, EDGE, USB, Nokia Web Browser with Mini Map, RSS feeds etc.

The Samsung E900 is also a feature rich phone equipped with a smooth slider opening mechanism. The handset comes with touch sensitive keys with light display. The bright and clear 262k color TFT screen supports a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels. Camera feature is acceptable with a built-in 2 megapixel camera with 4 x digital zoom and flash. MPEG4 and H263 videos can also be recorded with the phone. Like the Nokia N93, the Samsung E900 also features direct TV output. Another key feature in the phone is its document viewer which helps you view Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF. The integrated music player plays some terrific music for you. Connectivity is superb through Bluetooth and Mini USB. Among other noticeable features may be made of WAP, GPRS, Apple iTunes compatibility, handsfree speakerphone, voice memo, Quad Band support etc.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

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Source by Day Kevi

How To Take Stunning Portraits

Omaha Web Design

There are a few specific ways to discover how to take portraits of people, and I'm going to share some of those tips with you today. Lighting, composition, camera settings and your lens are the right places to start when you begin to take portraits of people. Lighting and your lens are the first two considerations.

Without good lighting and a specific portrait lens, your portrait photography can become less than stunning. It is important that you take note of this list I am about to give you so that your portrait photography lasts forever.

Photographing the eyes, skin tone and facial expression are the key essentials that make up a good portrait of somebody. The beauty about portrait photography is that you can do it as a candid photo as opposed to a portrait shot in a professional photography studio. Someone's cheery facial expression combined with high-quality lighting and a good lens can be a key ingredient in successful portrait shots.

You do not always require a studio to take high-quality portraiture. You can shoot portraits outdoors, or inside even if you do not have a professional photography studio. I have taken many photographs of clients in many assisted situations. They have all been slightly different portraits but they are still portrait photography. A different place does not signify they are not portraits.

So what are these diverse places and situations? I have shot photos of people on the stage, collecting their citizenship certificates from the mayor, reading underneath a tree in a garden, celebrating their birthday, taking their vows of marriage and smiling at their loved one when they did not think they were having their photograph taken. All these separate situations make up portrait photography. So let's begin …

What Is The Best Lighting for Portrait Photos?

Let's start with the most significant thing in portrait photography. If you want to discover how to take good portraits then this is where you begin. Lighting will either make or fracture your portrait photo. You need exactly the right amount of lighting to highlight the human being you're creating photos of.

Lighting also has an effect on mood and feeling. When you opt for lighting that is soft and dim this may create a more romantic feeling. When you go for lighting that is very bright and high in contrast, this is ideal for things like sports portrait photography. If you want to create a romantic sentiment in your shots then think about softening your light. Creating gentle light can make portrait photography more interesting.

Choose the lighting that is well-matched to the situation. Wedding photography that has filtered lighting can work very well. However if you are photography some kids in the park, then you may want to choose a bright and colorful lighting effect. Something that is vivid and vibrant can represent happiness and liveliness. A sense of fun can be enhanced by the right lighting.

So what about situations where lighting is poor? I have been in many situations before where it has been almost no lighting and I have not been able to use the flash. In this situation you may want to turn your ISO up to the highest setting. If you can use your flash then do it.

Do not stand too close to the person you're photography and fire the flash at the same time. Depending on what flash that is on your camera you may be able to have different intensities of flash light being fired. Or if you have flash built into the camera you may not be able to control the intensity of the light. This depends on the camera on the sort of flash you have. If you stand too close to the person you are going to overexpose the features on their face, produce small, vivid areas of light on their cheekphones and nose. No matter how hard you try it will not be able to remove it easily in Photoshop.

If you are creating photos of someone at a party at night-time, and the flash is the only source of lighting you have, then make sure you stand back from the person. Any closer than 3 meters may overexpose the person. You also do not want to blast them with an eye full of extreme, dazzling light. I prefer to shoot with a long telephoto lens and use the flash simultaneously. I like to stand back and zoom in, and increase my flash up to the maximum intensity. Whenever I've done this I have found that I have a nice light over the person's features.

Bouncing the flash is a great method to enhance portrait photography. When you bounce the flash you basically twist the head of the flash up to the ceiling, or towards a wall, and allow the light to reflect from that source back to the person. Bounced light is softer and a lot better for portraits. It is a wonderful way to get better portraits at weddings, birthdays and celebrations.

Always remember that your lighting must be well balanced. You need soft lighting over your person's face to create an appealing portrait photo. Even if you have the best lens and camera in the world, it will not help you at all unless you have the light spread evenly across the people features. This emphasizes the eyes and smile.

Color Portrait Photography

Color portrait photography covers many things. Wedding photography is a classic example of this. As I have spoken about your lighting and things that you can do with your lighting, I will now cover color.

The secrets and techniques to color portrait photography are of course your lighting but is also color matching. For example, if you want to generate a beautiful color portrait then you would not only expose the light in a good way, but you would make sure that the colors match. This is a big secret that photographers have up our sleeves. Let me explain.

Color portrait photography is successful when all the colors complement each other within the one image. If you want to create a color portrait that is striking then choose colors that go well with the person's skin tone. Let's take the example of a woman with blond hair, light skin and green eyes. If you were to dress her in black it would not look good on her at all. However earthy Greens, light pink, blue and purple, will suit her complexion. Someone who has black hair, dark skin and brown eyes may be suited to other colors. They may look fantastic in white, black or other different colors.

The secret that portrait photographers use when creating beautiful portraits are "color matching" when recommend what to wear. If you're photographing many people in your portrait photography then it always looks nice to dress people in either the same or very similar colors. A family photographed on the beach might look nice all dressed in white, blue and yellow. It does not have to be the same white, blue and yellow, but if you keep with the same color theme then you will begin to create stunning portraits.

Camera Settings for Portraits- Accurate Camera Settings For Portraits Depends On Your Lighting.

It is rather tough to inform you what the ideal camera settings for portraits really are. You see digital camera settings are the way they are because of the lighting that you have to work with. If I advise you that F-14 and a shutter speed of 1/80 is the best setting then your portrait shot could possibly be misleading if you are photographing people at night time with the flash, for example.

However I can tell you that your aperture can have a huge impact on your portrait photography. If you are creating photos of someone close close and want to blur the background then I would support you to look at a big f stop. F 4 might be a better place to start. When you zoom into someone's face and you use a big aperture, you may see that the background is totally blurry. This works very well when there are distracting subjects in the environment that you want to remove. It works very well when you just want to capture on the person's eyes.

So what about shutter speed? Again it depends on the lighting you have to work with. It also depends on if you are taking candid portraits or whether you are shooting posed portraits. The difference will be the amount of speed and movement. Candid portrait can at times be tricky in low light and this can create difficulty in getting the precise shutter speed. The camera may be telling you that it wants you to slow down the shutter speed. However, you know that if you do, you will completely blur the person. And that may not be ideal for the setting.

If you are photographing your portrait photo in studio lighting then these things are not going to be a big setback. You will always still need to watch your shutter speed because even the smallest movement at a slow shutter speed can create out of focus pictures. Decide on the shutter speed that is quite fast so that you will not have to be anxious about blur from any movement.

So as you can see camera settings of portraits is not a black-and-white topic, excuse the pun. You need to work out the right camera settings to your portraits based on the lights but you have to work with. As I mentioned portrait photography covers a wide range of areas and conditions so it is ideal that everything is well exposed and that you have the exact shutter speed to match the movement.

Which Is the Right Lens for Portrait Photography?

Being a professional photographer means I have many lenses to choose from. I have many lenses because it gives me the ability to be adaptable in each situation. This does not mean that you have to rush out and acquire different lenses yourself. I recommend trying out ports with one lens so that you get comfortable with how your lens works with portrait shots.

Different lenses give different effects. A 50 mm fixed focal length lens is a good focal length for portrait photography. You can get up close to someone without making their nose look too huge as a wide angle can sometimes do. In fact I suggest staying away from wide-angle lenses for your portrait photography. You have to be able to get a good head and shoulders shot, medium crop or good vertical length shot. You can achieve this using a couple of lenses.

I guess I would have to admit that my favorite portrait lens is the 70 to 200 mm cannon telephoto lens. I am a Canon user however I have used Nikon in the past and found both of them excellent. Nikon also has a 70 to 200 mm telephoto lens that I found excellent. At this focal length you can take remarkable candid portraits and you can also use this lens to take clear studio shots too. You almost certainly do not need a focal length that is so long if you are working in the studio. Your 50 to 70 mm range will probably do quite fine.

Why do I like 70 to 200 mm? Basically because it gives me the versatility of zooming in quite close up to someone and it also gives me the flexibility to take candidate shots in social situations. I find the flexibility and adaptability of this focal range very clever indeed. I know photographers that take a couple of cameras to a wedding because they have numerous lenses that they want to utilize. I find the 70 to 200 mm range does the job just fine.

These are pricey lenses. This is a professional capability lens so I propose becoming very familiar with the lens you have before buying something like this. I also have a 24 to 105 mm lens that works very skilfully for portrait photography too. I only prefer to use the 70 to 200 mm as many times I do candid shots. Having that additional focal length of 200 mm lets me to get a little bit closer than I could with a 105 mm.

I have also taken ports with the 50 mm lens that have worked superbly. However I can not really do this in a candid situation. I simply can not get in directly enough without being noticed. When I have done animal portraits and ordinary human portraits, I found that the 50 mm prime lens was a clear lens to use. If someone knows they're going to have their picture taken then they will definitely sit still for you. The 50 mm prime lens is sharp and clear for posed portraits up close.

In a nutshell I guess I would have to say that it is dependent on the sort of portrait photography that you are doing, as to what lens to use. Try and acquire a lens that works perfectly for the type of portraits you take.

Creative Portrait Photography Ideas

There are lots of creative portrait photography ideas that you can use easily and swiftly. Here are a few ideas that you can use. I use them in my portrait photography so please feel free to use them as well.

Candid portrait:

People talking over lunch or dinner

Watching boats at a Mariner

Playing with the cat, For example throwing the Ball

Feeding the ducks at the local creek or pong

Sitting on the riverbank waiting for a fish

Doing an activity they like, like perphas painting, playing their sport etc

Posed portrait photography:

Leaning up alongside a beautiful old tree and looking at the camera

Relaxing on a park bench with stunning leaves behind them

Being photographed, tightly cropped, with nature on all sides of them

Sitting with their child, both looking at the camera

Do not forget to combine black and white into the mix. Black and white portraits can provide a beautiful, timeless look to your photos. And, in a basic sense, everyone looks great being photographed in black and white. When you come to your post processing, reduce a little of the mid tones, boost your contrast and you will have a good black and white photo.

These are just some ideas that you can use to produce lovely inventive portraiture. You will find the more you do it the more creative ideas come. It really is just a matter of preparation and application. You will be successful in no time.

Just remember that the key to taking sharp portraits is good lighting, knowing how to use your camera, being aware of the camera settings for the light and being proficient to work well with people.

You also need to be a person person when you specialize in portrait photography. Your clients want to feel comfortable and safe in your hands. Always treat them with respect and kindness and you will get better portrait photos every time!

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

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omaha web design + search engine optimization + mobile apps



Source by Amy Renfrey

I Hate Photoshop!

Omaha Web Design

I was cruising the web today and I stumbled onto a blog post with the title … I HATE Photoshop! It could actually have said – How my photographer is ripping me off!

I thought that her hating Photoshop made an interesting title so I read the post.

Turns out it was written by a bride who had hired a photographer for her wedding – for 4 or 5 hours (her words, she was not sure how long).

After the wedding, she was given all the negatives. In her opinion, photographers who keep the negatives and try to sell photos later are a scam. By the way, giving the negatives in the analog world is the same as giving them a memory stick or CD file of the photos in the digital world.

So, she was given all the negatives.

She had kept them, the negs, for quite a while – did not say how long – because she had no retouching software. Finally she got a copy of Photoshop. She was now "retouching" over 500 black and white images. (The photographer shot half in BW and half in color.)

The reason she "hates" Photoshop is because of the boredom involved in retouching 500 photos! Hmmm … have to wonder how good this photographer is if she has to retouch ALL of them! (Fortunately, the software was given to her as a Christmas gift, so I guess she could not hate it for the $ 600.00 + price tag!) She never mentioned the steep learning curve or the time to do the retouching, or the cost for printer ink, photo paper and so on …

BUT … she was not "scammed" by some photographer! One who had actually PAID the $ 600 for the software, took the TIME to learn how to use it, took the TIME to retouch all the photos, edited, then PAID the costs to print them, then took the TIME to compile them into an album . (we will not even get into a discussion of the cost of the equipment, training, and the hundred other miscellaneous details that went into creating the photos in the first place.)

Yup … photographers who actually want to charge a fair price for their work – and do not give it away – are a real scam! For those of you who do NOT have a sense of the ironic – I'm being facetious!

How many brides out there never actually get a wedding album because they want to save a couple bucks and "print them themselves"? And never do? How many brides do get an album – but it's a crappy one because they do not have a $ 600 piece of software? Or do not have the knowledge, or will not take the time to do all the work?

As professionals, we know, or at least we SHOULD know, the amount of work and effort involved in creating a beautiful wedding album – or the hardcover books that are popular these days. We know that the bride will very rarely put in the work involved to do the job right and will end up with either no album or a substandard one at best.

So when you take the easy way out and give the bride the negatives or the camera memory stick – or a CD, whatever, you really are ripping them off. They are NEVER going to be able to see their album the way it should be seen or enjoy it the way it should be enjoyed. You've cheated them. And, they will never even know!

By the way, you've cheated yourself as well. None of their friends or relatives are going to see your work as it should be seen. Do you want YOUR reputation and future bookings to be dependent on an amateur who "HATES Photoshop?"

I do not. Stand your ground and charge for your work, everyone will be better off for it.

You may reprint or republish this article at will as long as it remains intact and unchanged. Including the author bio box.

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Source by Danny Eitreim

Photoshop Plug-ins: Making Photoshop Even More Powerful

Omaha Web Design

Adobe's Photoshop software is a very powerful image editing program that is by far the market leader for editing image files. I use Photoshop extensively when creating, and editing images for the web sites that I design. Almost all professional photographers and printers also use Photoshop to create all of the wonderful images that appear in magazines, billboards, and even on television. I am not the best artist in the world, but with Photoshop I have enough power to create brilliant images with tools that are built-in to the software.

The coolest thing about Photoshop is that even as powerful as it is out of the box, there are many different plug-ins to make Photoshop even more powerful. The Photoshop plug-ins can be grouped into a few major categories which include 3D, color management, digital asset management, photographic, retouching, and special effects.

The Photoshop plug-ins which are available can help perform tasks much faster and more efficiently than performing these tasks by hand. The 3D plug-ins are used to create 3D images and type very quickly and elegantly. The color management Photoshop plug-ins can create new colors to correspond to the printer that you are using, or the monitor that you are using to create your graphics. The digital asset management plug-ins are used to organize all of the digital images that you have created so that finding the correct image is much easier than without it. The photographic ones give many different professional lens techniques that you can apply to any picture to create amazing effects.

The retouching plug-ins can intelligently change the contrast, color, sharpness, and many other common filters to make a picture look as crisp as possible. The special effects plug-ins are my favorite, because they can make a rather plain image into something fantastic. If you use Photoshop on a regular basis, then you need to look at some of the plug-ins that are available, because they can make your life much easier, and your graphics look much better.

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Source by Gabriel J. Adams

Web Design – A Guide to Breaking Out in Website Designing

Omaha Web Design

Website designing is a large market to break out in. With the digital age well upon us, it seems like ever person left right and centre is trying to get a break when it comes to technology. There is always someone trying to outdo another, which makes the competition a very large and very difficult thing to overcome. Luckily, you have these tips to follow, ensuring you’re on-par with the competition and in some cases, get you noticed by the bigger fish in the designing pond and start your website design path today.

1. Keep it simple – Colours and flashy logos can be enjoyable, but after a while it can become an eyesore for frequent viewers of your site. This could eventually deter others from visiting and eventually avoid your site altogether. In some cases, having a sleek design can pay off, but ultimately if your visitors can not accomplish what they wish to do due to your design, then it hinders more than helping your goal of becoming a website designing king.

2. Consistency is key – As well as keeping your site simple, you need to keep it simple all the way through the site. You can’t simply have one page being flashy and bright, with the next page being dark and bland, otherwise you will leave visitors wondering if they’re still on the same website, causing confusion. That’s not to say that every page on your site needs to have the same layout, but instead you should create different layouts for specific pages, all the while keeping the same colour schemes for your design, which is what most website designing entrepreneurs go for.

3. Keep mobile friendly – As stated in a previous number of articles, it is absolutely essential to keep all your websites mobile friendly. An extremely large portion of website browsing is done through handheld devices such as tablets and smartphones, showing that it is important to keep your site optimised for mobile viewing. Optimising for mobile viewing, in most cases, will result in a more responsive website design when it comes to desktop viewing, making for a smoother website look.

4. Communicate quickly – In a world that is extremely fast-paced, the internet is to exception to this golden rule. When visiting a website, people typically want their information fast, and if they need to invest too much time, will most likely leave the page as soon as they clicked the link that bought them to it. It is recommended to make your information quick, simple and easy to read and digest for viewers, boosting efficiency and creating more traffic.

5. Include images – We all know the age old saying; “one picture speaks a thousand words.” And this saying also applies to designing a website. Choosing the right layout and photo’s can really help click with the target audience, and help with recommendations and referrals to other visitors. It should also be noted that not only images should be used, but also info-graphics, video’s and animations. If you are not invested into a stock image subscription, it may help to invest into one. If you are also proficient with Adobe Photoshop and other related applications, it can also be helpful to design your own photo’s to avoid copyright issues.

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Source by Darryl Jackway

Making Your Perfect Wallpaper

Omaha Web Design

So, you've found a beautiful image that you'd like for your wallpaper. It most probably is small. The nicer images on the web generally are. Here's why: Many pictures do not look very good when viewed at their actual size. When down-sized, they do. On sites where users rate these images, they consider the small version first. As a result beautiful images generally come in small sizes. This is not a good thing if searching for wallpapers though.

Describing the problem

If there just was a way to increase the size of these images and not lose quality. But wait a moment, you could say. It's not just that, I would also need to crop some part of my favorite images and then resize them to fit my screen as best as they can.

Let's see, what were the requirements again?

  1. Resize the desired image without losing quality to fit at least one dimension of the screen
  2. Allow for enlargement of at least 150% with no noticeable degradation in image quality
  3. Possibility to crop these images and maintain the aspect ratio of my screen if possible

Solution: Automatically enlarge the images

First, use Photoshop of course:

  1. It has resizing
  2. Has sharpening
  3. Cropping

Well, cropping works nice, a little bit of overhead always opening Photoshop every time you want to try another image, but hey, it works. The only problem here is the resizing part. Photoshop really blurs the whole image even for upsizing to 120% times the size of the original image. That's very poor quality enlarging. This means that if you find a 800×600 image (an average size for the good quality images on deviantart) it would be too blurry to fit on a standard 1024×768 screen. This looks really bad. Photoshop is the best thing out there, many people could argue, and it could not do that? How so?

Sharpen it

Here's where the Photoshop expert comes in. But do not just upsize it, sharpen it too. It will certainly look better, you'll see. And he's right, for this very small enlargement, sharpening can do the trick for some images. Not all, but it's ok. Still, there is no satisfying solution when it comes to resizing images to 130% times their original size, and there are a lot like that.

To make things short, you could try every possible sharpening / upsizing solution for Photoshop and it would not get much better but for very few images that are not even that good looking in the first place.

Specialized upsizing programs

There are some specialized commercial programs out there, most boast to make perfect enlargement at 1000% times the original. It looks just like some marketing hype, and actually, it really is. Sad, but true. Even so, they are better than what you can do in Photoshop. They simply fail to keep their promise when it comes to just 200% times enlargement. Why's that? It's because they were targeted for upsizing images for print.

This is still awful. Images that are so small in the original that they would need 1000% enlargement certainly would not have enough detail to satisfy my walling desires.

Reshading

That's where reshade.com comes in. It pretty much solves the upsizing problems I mentioned. The algorithm offered here for free makes even a 200% non -grading enlarging possible. There's also a crop feature and the possibility to "quick add" an image for resizing (like for pages on del.icio.us).

So, there you have it, your perfect wallpaper, reshaded and maybe touched-up a little in photoshop.

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Source by Vlad Hosu

Using Selection Techniques in Photoshop

Omaha Web Design

When you use selection techniques, essentially you are setting apart a portion of an image so that you can make changes to it. Or you may want to include that portion with other images. That portion is considered a selection.

With the selection, you can still utilize the tools used to edit images and other commands. The selection portion is protected and is considered a "mask". This part of the image is protected in Photoshop. You will see an outline of this on the screen.

Using a tool icon, you can make a selection. Whatever tool you will be using will be in the Options bar. Use Windows and Options if you do not see t hem. You will not see all of the tools right away. You may have to click on some tools in order to see the ones that are hidden.

Use the Ctrl-H function to show and hide the outline. Using Select, then Inverse will make the image inverted. If you wish to reverse the image, choose Select> None. To save what you have done, choose Select, then Save Selection.

If you need to include more on what your are currently working on, use the Shift key. To remove from a current view, use the Alt key. If you need to add more to a current image because of color, choose Select, then Similar. If you need to move a selection or part of it, use the move tool and drag it to where you want it. If you want to feather a selection, use the Feather checkbox. Using this will allow your selection to look softer.

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Source by Sean Mize

How To Make Your Breasts Look Bigger In A Picture Without Using Photoshop

Omaha Web Design

A software application program, like Photoshop, for instance, becomes a wise investment when you want to know how to make your breasts look bigger in a picture. This program comes with many editing tools to allow you to change your look any way you want. Even without makeup and a few flaws, Photoshop can make you look beautiful nonetheless. Photoshop editing is a service now provided by almost all photography studios, but even you yourself can edit your photos so that you will look like you have bigger breasts in your pictures. All you have to do is make a one-time investment to purchase the software program and you’re all set to have bigger breasts in your pictures.

Yet even without the aid of this revolutionary software, you can do so much to have bigger breasts in photos. Here are some of the ways how to make your breasts look bigger in a picture:

1. Straighten up. Simply assuming the correct posture when you sit or stand can significantly improve how your boobs will look like in the pictures. Straighten up your back and bring your chest a little forward, then make sure to tuck your tummy in as you would not want to make it look like your tummy is bigger than your breasts!

2. Wear clothes that are flattering for small breasts. Halter tops push your breasts up and they make your breasts look bigger than usual. Other options include:

* Tops in bold and bright colors (yellow would look especially nice, more so if you fair-skinned)

* Tops with thin horizontal lines across the breasts

* Tops with a single thin line under the bustline

* Dresses with ruffles

* Blouses with small embellishments right at the center between the breasts

3. Don’t forget to wear a push up bra underneath your clothing. An alternative to push-up bras are gel bras or water bras. Just a friendly advice: many find water bras to be more comfortable.

4. If you want to wear something that’s cut very low, appear to have more cleavage using basic makeup tricks. Simply dab on some highlighter (gold eyes shadow in matte will look great) on the upper portion of the breasts to bring them out forward and apply some brown eye shadow powder along the line between the breasts for more cleavage.

All these tricks will make your breasts look bigger in picture, but don’t stop aiming for long term goals. Dream of permanently bigger breasts and work your way towards that dream. You can do this even without surgical intervention. Indeed, surgical breast augmentation is not the only way to bigger breasts. There are a number of breast exercises that you can engage in which help to increase your breast size while at the same time improve the shape of your breasts. Doing breast enhancing massages regularly also helps greatly.

Studies reveal consuming herbs like fenugreek and fennel can increase bust size, too. This is due to the fact that these have estrogenic properties. In most cases, women with small breasts have apparently insufficient amounts of estrogen in their body.

Consider investing on high quality organic breast enhancing creams and breast supplements, as well. There are many of these that women swear by their effectiveness. All these can be done even if you already know how to make your breasts look bigger in a picture.

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Source by Xiella Andrews

Image Manipulation – A Brief Look at The Shadow Making Technique

Omaha Web Design

Adobe Photoshop CS6 software provides a wide variety of functions and tools. When used properly these can be used to create the most amazing images and effects. Nowadays the extent of image manipulation capabilities has moved far beyond the time of simply removing people or adding people to images, its possibilities are now somewhat limitless. With technical Photoshop know how and a smidge of ingenuity and creativity you can now create whatever your heart desires.

To begin with, the simplest manipulation technique that one could use is shadow making. Shadow making is simply adding or removing a shadow from an object. Although at a glance this may seem an easy task, just adding a shadow to the object in front of you. Don’t be fooled, there is actually a science behind adding and removing shadows and the effect that is created. Without a shadow, there is no visual clue as to the scale and position of the object. The shadow also serves to anchor the object to its surface. Thus creating an impact on how we perceive the image.

By changing the length, direction and depth of the image, we can control how the brain interprets the image. For example adding a short narrow shadow would suggest that is midday, or leaving a space between the object and the shadow to create a levitating effect. Shadows also dictate the lighting in an image. Adding a shadow to facial features also create very important effects. The shadows on a face or an object are important as they give more information about the form and three-dimensional construction. If a face is illuminated by a hard-point source of light, the shadows will be clear. These shadows help to describe the structure and contours of the face more clearly than diffuse light. The direction of light is key to placing the shadow. Everything that faces the light source is bright and everything facing against the light is dark. When applying these laws to facial features you have to be careful, as a cast shadow is usually more elongated then the object itself, so to get the degree of realism that you want placing the right sized and shaped shadow is key.

All in all shadows can be used to serve many purposes, from dictating the height, depth and location of an object in an image to the lighting, brightness and level of contrast that the shadow provides. So what seemed easy at first actually turns out to be a slightly more complicated technique then one might think.

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Source by Emily Brown

7 Travel Mistakes to Avoid

Omaha Web Design

We are well into the summer season which means many people are traveling or preparing to travel. There are so many things to consider before traveling, especially abroad. There are also a lot of costs to involved, too. You will probably be tempted to cut corners in one way or another.

However, here are a few things you should not cut corners on while traveling to be sure you are not spending unnecessary money or getting scammed.

Misleading Hotel Descriptions

When searching for a hotel it is important to look at multiple sources. Photoshop and false advertisement can be very deceiving, so do not fall into that trap.

Hidden Fees

The cheapest flight or hotel price is not always the best deal. Most time the lowest prices for places come with quite a few hidden fees such as checked bags, resort or hotel fees, etc which could put you over budget.

Not Buying Travel Insurance

Many people opt out of buying even the most affordable travel insurance because they think that nothing will happen to them or overall, it is just not worth it. But, travel insurance can protect your luggage in case it is lost which happens more than you think. It can also pay for lost hotel reservations or even medical expenses you may endure.

Third-Party Discount Scams

Third party scammers typically push you to book using their services by tempting consumers with one-time only deals. Usually, these scammers take your money and do not follow through with services promised. One way to avoid this is to read the fine print and ask a lot of questions. Or just avoid third-party companies all together.

Currency Exchange Fee

Make sure to only go to credible currency exchange places and not some corner shop. Although

Free Vacation Offers

Scams on the internet and over the phone are extremely common, just remember that unless you enter some sort of credible sweepstakes there is no such thing as a free vacation in exchange for your credit card information. So, protect yourself from scammers as one of the red flags to look out for is a free vacation offer.

Packing Too Much

Make a list and pack pieces that can be made into multiple outfits. If the weather changes drastically you can always buy what you need, but depending on where you are traveling you probably will not need additional clothing, so save your money on luggage.

Planning a vacation can be stressful and a handful, but if you avoid these mistakes it can be very rewarding.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

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Source by Ted Quinn