Tag Archives: social networking

Visual Edge: Practical Tips for New Photographers

There are times when the moment captures the photographer. When this happens, savor the reality, close your eyes, see the vision, embrace it, then take the shot…Sanny Leviste

SF Bay Area Winter Sunset 3280 by Sanny Leviste

Pressing the button is the easy part of photography. Like in hunting, bagging a trophy involves your whole being. You should see the canvas in your mind and compose it with all the elements of the masterpiece you envision. You must have, at the very least your weapon of choice. Do not rush. Know your camera well and practice using it often until it becomes like an extension of your body. If you know your equipment well, your camera will respond consistently and be a dependable ally. It will treat you well.

Make sure you have all the battery power you need. Often, two batteries will not be enough particularly when you use the external view finder/ monitor. They consume power. Lenses on automatic mode and image stabilizer functions left on consume battery power at a higher rate. Having three or four batteries is a good thing, so long as they are charged. If you also use video (for cameras that have the function), be prepared to have more batteries and memory disks. In our excitement, it is easy to forget  those little but essential components of the camera. When these components are missing during a shoot, it will be like driving without gas and really mess up the shoot.

Two very important accessories to have are tripod and remote timers. The tripod will hold your camera steady for long exposure shots while a remote will allow you to take pictures without the usual camera shake. Some remote timers can be programmed to trigger the camera hundreds of times at specific intervals so you can make a video of clear images in succession for time lapse photography. The remote will also allow the photographer to be in a blind for wildlife photography.

Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras have interchangeable lenses. It is advisable to have both wide angle for short and medium distance shooting, and a zoom lens for medium to long range shooting. Point and shoot cameras often have most of the range of the DSLRs but mostly operate on automatic mode. This is acceptable for many photo situations but lack the creative options that are readily available for the DSLRs. They are however less expensive and will do a decent job in many photo situations.

In any situation, it is best to know your camera like an extension of your body. It is important to understand the different functions of your camera, specially in relation to manual operations and speed of adjustments. This knowledge will make the difference between ordinary pictures and exceptionally fine ones.  Familiarize yourself with the camera so that you can make full and efficient use of it when opportunity presents itself or for remembering and documenting situations.  In many cases, the combination of the camera and the telephone or the portable  computer has allowed many business and social opportunities to unfold.

Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing what to look for and where to find it is essential. Since photographers deal with light and shadow, ask yourself constantly what it is that you want to see in the photograph. In composing photographs, take note of the effect of items and colors that may distract the potential viewer’s eyes, unless of course, that is the objective. Photography to me is a form of digital painting. The screen is my canvas and I set my camera on manual mode to get the hues, the play of light and shadow that unleashes the vision that I want to share. Paint that image in your mind and constantly seek opportunities to improve on that image. You will find many possibilities in the field, usually within a few feet from where you stand.

Often I am asked what camera I would recommend for beginners. It really depends on what the user needs it for. There is no need for a fancy camera with all the bells and whistles if it will only be set aside for display purposes. A cell phone with a camera function will do and will often create opportunities to capture images that the user wants or needs to share.

We can spend hours and days, even years discussing the benefits of one camera over another like hobbyists compare their toys, We can talk about lenses, accessories, equipment, techniques, experience etc. but in the end I really believe the photograph is a document and it indeed speaks more than a thousand words if well taken. It is like a passport that is neither real or fake – only efficient or inefficient. It can be like a flyswatter used on a fly instead of a 45 caliber that would punch a hole through the table but would still miss the fly, or a martial artist using a chopstick efficiently against an aggressor having a knife or a gun. The document produced by the camera can be the source of affection or the source of hatred…or simply annoying. But I know also that the same document called the photograph can be a source of education, of pleasure, of joy.  In the right hands, with attitude and disciple it can be one of the most creative instruments that can change lives, communities even nations. That document called a photograph can inspire people to correct a past and create a future. In the right perspective the images produced can raise funds for a cause and manifest the vision, creativity, ability, discipline and foresight  of a leader who can share in the universal language of visual communication dreams and inspiration for all.

Slough Birds 0425 by Sanny Leviste
Slough Birds 0425 by Sanny Leviste

So, go out there and seize the world through your photographs. Join contests. Share ideas. And when your first photograph is requested for a fundraiser, purchased for a home, featured in a publication, wins a contest or even gets stolen…celebrate with pure joy in your heart…and an ice cream cone…Because you have proven beyond doubt that there is a demand for your creative genius, appreciation for your passion and honest admiration (by those who steal your work) because imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery.
Then go out and take a difficult image using manual settings until you capture one that will make you smile from within.  Whisper to yourself with a grin and say “It wasn’t the camera folks”…

Announcing the Best of the North Holiday Display Photo Contest

You could win a Pizza Party for 10 of your employees or friends with the

Best of the North (Northern Michigan) Holiday Display!

We love our northern Michigan home, don’t you?  To showcase and encourage folks to shop locally and find out what’s new and fun in our winter wonderland, PhotoScramble is sponsoring this interactive contest.

Diversion Hats on Front St. decorated with this cool santa dude

We will be looking for the best business displays depicting the holiday spirit. So break out the lights, add some more tinsel and show us your holiday cheer!

What a Business gets: Business benefit from exposure as their photo, location, and business type will be on PhotoScramble . Best of all, they can create customer interaction by asking  their customers to vote for their business display. Customers can vote and share their Best of the North picture on Facebook, MySpace, email or it can be added into any blog post. Pictures are easily sharable so that each business that is in the contest will benefit from Social Media interaction and drive a bit of customer loyalty by allowing customers to have a voice in the contest. The most votes WINS!

This FREE contest is open for valid northern Michigan business only. Our staff photographers will be looking for the best holiday displays; or feel free to submit your business photograph to:


The new Simply Cupcakes on Front street looks so yummy!
The new Simply Cupcakes on Front street looks so yummy!

What a business WINS:

First Place Prize: A Pizza Party from Pangea’s Pizza for 10 of your employee’s or friends! Includes three (3) large pizzas of your choice, salad, dessert and soda.  Free delivery in Traverse City MI (Pangea’s reserve the right to limit delivery location) Valid 1.10.2011-1.10.2012. (Pangea’s Pizza on Front Street in Traverse City)

PLUS! The winner will be presented with a framed certificate naming their business the 2010 Winner of the Best of the North Holiday Display!

Winners will be announced January 10th, 2011.

Also, we would like to give a big Thank you to our friends at Pangea’s Pizza & Pub for donating a large portion of the Pizza Party to the winner!

Pangea’s Pizza 135 East Front Street  Traverse City, MI.

How to drive traffic to your website with Relevant Content

Just when we think we had a handle on all of the SEO/SEN and other content keywords need to get visitors to our site, we find out  that Google changed  the rules.

Instead of worrying about links and meta tags, now Google will rank websites that contain relevant content,  but just what is relevant content?

Relevant content is text.
Search Engines love quality relevant content. Readers “read” photos and graphics; search engine spiders crawl right past them. So under that photo or graphic include a caption explaining what’s in it. Adding a Contest, is a great way to  engage both your customer and the search engine spiders.

Relevant content is new  and frequent.
Search engine spiders are demanding creatures. They want original, relevant content to list for their readers–and lots of it. Provide original content with accuracy and frequency about topics readers search for, and your posts will be born relevant.  You can see what your customers are searching for by using the free service of Google Analytics.

Relevant content is formatted.
When your document follows a structured format, a search engine can follow how topics relate. Relationships between topics establish that keywords aren’t just mentioned–they are connected and relevant.

Relevant content is linked–Links in, links out, and links to yourself are relevant.
Spiders crawl the web by following links. Links draw spiders to related pages from blog to blog and within your blog. Connections in content are relevant.

Relevant content is error free and accessible.

Don’t make the mistake with open HTML tags, gross errors in spelling and unnecessary plug-in that trips the spiders. Promote your website in relevant places like social networking sites, forms and blogs:

Think of it this way:

Relevant Content  = More  Traffic
Traffic = Visitors
Visitors = Leads
Leads = Clicks
Click = Buyer
Buyer = Profits