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December 6, 2013


Self Publishing in the Digital Age

reading your ebookSelf publishing has been around as long as there has been publishing. There has always been a niche for those who for any number of reasons can’t or don’t want to publish their media through third party channels. With the advent of the internet and technology, self publishing has become increasingly popular in recent years.

There are many different ways to self publish, including desktop, print (traditional media) and electronic publishing. Self publishers also have many reasons to employ alternative publishing methods to the traditionally accepted third party publisher. A desire to have something published and seen immediately is a popular example. It is also a new avenue media artists can explore in order to gain a better understanding of their craft through working through the different steps of publishing that they normally would not have contact with via traditional publishing.

Opportunities in self publishing vary widely. Media can be published to attract interest from traditional publishers, galleries, festivals, collectors and interested organizations. It can act as a sort of electronic calling card so that the media’s target audience can have a point of contact, examples of previous work and other information. Self publishing is also a popular method for those wanting to make a strong public statement.

By self publishing media electronically a new level of freedom and opportunity is provided for the artist. Traditional consumption and distribution models largely no longer apply in a world where information can be inexpensively published and disseminated instantly around the globe.

In times past, established publishers could largely slam the door on new ideas, but such limitations are all but gone as artists are more easily able to bypass traditional channels of publication. The downside to all this freedom is that the responsibility of actually getting media to the mass market is solely on the artist; additionally, ease of publishing has created a much larger number of artists in competition.

The internet, and it’s virtually infinite networking capabilities, is vital if you are to succeed in actually reaching significant numbers of your mass target audience. Using the tools mentioned in “Working with others”, networks can be built from scratch to encompass regional, national or international audiences. Further, the instantaneous nature of the internet provides a vehicle for the sort of rapid, quality feedback from peers and audiences that is lacking in more traditional publishing mediums.

By self publishing, the artist can maintain control over much more decision making as to the presentation and experience of the work. Without constraints imposed by third party publishers, it is possible to provide the work in exactly the form intended. Obviously, when the artist publishes the work directly, there is no additional input to alter the original work.

Self publishing is also much less expensive than traditional methods. By making use of new technologies such as Print On Demand publishing (POD), books can be printed in smaller numbers at an affordable price. POD prints books after receipt of the order, as opposed to the traditional method of pre-printing in mass-quantity.

December 6, 2013


Complete Financing Photographic Business

photography businessWe are today firmly ensconced in the Media Era, with numerous modes of communication. This communication need not be vocal or written; after all, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” If you take up professional photography as a vocation, you are entering the world of small business. While there will be many issues to mull over, the primary issue is invariably business finance.

Photography Business Finance

Business finance in your world is linked to many factors. Remember:

  • Only those photographers who have the financial acumen to generate income will survive.
  • As a budding photographer, you need to be ‘loaded’, i.e., have your own money or have somebody set you up with ‘venture capital’, what the proletariat calls ‘seed money’.
  • You need a clear path charted as your business plan before you consider financial transactions.

Your Business Plan

Any owner of a business will have a figurative two-column document as his business plan.  One panel shows his aim and requirements; the other lists his assets, shortfalls and recovery plan. This is the blueprint he will show investors which is why this business plan must be pellucid; it is of crucial importance insofar as business finance goes. While imponderables in business militate against standardization of a blueprint, he can surf the web to cull a template and modify it to suit extant circumstances.

In the photography business, the major costs incurred tend to relate to equipment as well as studio locality and business plans generally hinge around these primary issues. It is prudent to assess costs related to equipment and studio locale on the conservative side initially, focusing on becoming successful early through man-material management. This type of progressive planning tends to reassure investors, both existing and potential. Photography is entirely service oriented and the ability of the man behind the lens is a major factor in customer retention and overall success.

Tapping the Money Market

Once free from getting all aspects of the business plan in order, divert your attention to locating venture capital and / or investors. If you have no intentions of an avant-garde approach, you will obviously be focusing on the average investor, to whom you can provide justifiable average returns initially. If you go in for low intrinsic value business loans, you will need a great credit rating and solid collateral. Graduates just out of college will, in all probability, lose out at both ends.

Your creativity should fetch you handsome rewards. The ‘in’ thing in financing today is crowdfunding, where you induce numerous individuals to invest relatively small sums of money through one or more of over 2,500 crowdsourcing websites! 4just1.com and Acumen.org are two such sites; each such site has its own list of requirements, quantum limits, pros and cons, etc. They will take up a fair amount of your time, so be prepared.

American Express has a facility that they call the OPEN small business credit card, which you obtain after going through formal standard operating procedures. The money obtained from Amex can be used to support your foray into the business world. A good record at Amex could come in handy at some later stage. Do also try and obtain grants, borrow from your near and dear or deploy your own saved money from other sources.

December 6, 2013


The Value of a Great MUA for Your Next Photo Shoot

professional makeup artistWhile there is no denying that Photoshop can work wonders for photos that are taken at professional photo shoots, the role of a makeup artist is still vital to the success of any campaign. Every shoot should have an MUA, especially when you can find one for free.

Why an MUA is Crucial!

Take a look at some of the reasons why your photo shoot cannot go without a professional makeup artist.

  • Cameras tend to clear away at least half of the coverage and makeup that a model wears, especially if it is not applied properly and of poor quality. However, if you have a makeup artist on hand, she typically knows some of the best products on the market and knows that caking on makeup isn’t the answer. Instead, she will take her time to provide more coverage and throw in some color that will make the model standout in every photo.
  • Using Photoshop on all the imperfections of the skin, whether it is acne, dark circles or bags under the eyes, will take hours to do. An MUA can help to eliminate many of these marks that you want to hide.
  • Models tend to enter into a photo shoot more comfortable and more confident when they have had their face ‘put on’ by a professional. Many think of it as an opportunity to get pampered and have their beauty truly stand out. You can certainly see the difference when comparing photos of women who did their own makeup versus those who had a professional apply theirs.

Getting an MUA

Part of the challenge that most face when searching for a photo shoot MUA is that they fail to realize that beauticians don’t do makeup and that not all makeup artists do hair either. However, if you can find one that does have experience in the other you can save yourself a whole lot of time. Take a look at some of the ways you can find an MUA.

  1. Through MUA schools – Remember that students are always searching for experience for their portfolio, so this is a great place to start when looking for an MUA, especially one that is free.
  2. Online – There are several online resources that can point you to talented MUAs. For instance, Model Mayhem allows you to search in your area for an MUA that has the experience and background you are looking for. It will even help you to find some that want to work for money, or simply want a copy of the photos taken to add to their portfolio.
  3. Sales pros – Every so often you will find a company that has sales reps who are trained in makeup, such as Mary Kay. However, keep in mind that even though these reps aren’t allowed to charge, many of them are not makeup artists, so you have to be weary of which ones you work with.
  4. Pay!! – If you want to avoid the headache and not think about the makeup on a shoot, then your best bet is to hire an experienced MUA for money. When you work with someone who knows what they are doing you don’t have to deal with mistakes and inexperience quite as often.

Now that you know why you need an MUA and how you can get one for your next shoot, start looking now!  Never underestimate the value of a great makeup artist.

December 6, 2013


The Definition of Beauty as Dictated by the Media

unrealistic retouchingMost individuals realize by now that the majority of advertisements have some form of alteration causing them to look further and further from reality. Whether they are photoshopped to have a skinny waistline or airbrushed to give the appearance of perfect skin, these photographs are causing young individuals to aspire to the physically impossible.

Research done in the UK has found that more and more individuals have become consumed with the ideal of being as perfect as many of these models, and it is causing them to develop serious problems with their body image. And, as many know the UK is not the only nation to be feeling such pressure to be perfect. More individuals are seeking the aid of cosmetic surgeons, using steroids or diet pills, and even developing eating disorders.

A specific study has found that a third of females would actually forgo an entire year of their life to have their ideal shape or body weight. Another found that a fourth of individuals are actually depressed about their physical condition. Survey results in a recent study also explained that the hardest part of being a female was the societal pressure to look good.

Scientific evidence tells us that this negative body image is driven by the increased exposure to these perfect images. It is the inundation of these altered images that have shifted the vision of perfection throughout the globe.

Because extreme alterations can be intentionally misleading, the perception of what is beautiful has been greatly shifted. Take for instance the Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts Lancome advertisements for foundation makeup that were pulled by the Advertising Standards Authority for being too misleading. These women are beautiful without makeup on, so there was no need to manipulate their photos so drastically. Lancome, owned by L’Oreal, could not market their product as such because they could not guarantee this same flawless outcome.

While the majority of individuals know that images used in advertisements are altered and enhanced, it is still a disappointment. The pressure to look perfect is still there.

When these advertisements were banned, it sent a message throughout the industry that their practices needed to be rethought. Not only did they need to demonstrate more honesty, but they need to be more transparent, which can help to ease some of the public’s need for perfection.

Even though increased transparency and honesty in advertising is important, it is also important to help our culture shift from its basis on appearances. This is the only way to help give the youth of today positive examples of beauty, improve their self-esteem and give them the body confidence they need. Perhaps this can be done through confidence training in grade school or with explanations of how media functions to market products for our young children.

While there are many who would claim that this issue is miniscule in the bigger picture, ignoring it will only further cause this health problem to build. We need to all take steps now to help the future generation grow up in a culture that promotes self-confidence and not false ideals.

August 12, 2014


My Experience with Derma Rollers

As someone who is constantly interacting with make up artists and professional photographers, I am extremely mindful of my own appearance, in particular my skin. As someone who has had acne in my teenage years, I have been struggling with mild acne scars on my cheeks and forehead. Even though they have become less obvious with age, I’m still constantly trying to reduce their appearance. I recently came across a beauty product called the derma roller and I’m happy to report that my experience with it was quite positive. I detail my experience and my advice regarding this product in this post in case there are any of you out there who is thinking of trying this treatment.

Trying out a new beauty product can be quite confusing and daunting. Though making the decision to forge ahead is half the battle, that leaves the question of which product brand is best, both for its ease of use and budget-friendly price. To assist in making this decision regarding derma rolling, some tips and experiences have been detailed below.

At First Glance

DermarollerAt first glance, all derma rollers may appear to be the same; they all have a similar appearance, and are all created for the same purpose. Individuals who purchase an inexpensive roller ($15 or less) will quickly see that quality and quantity are closely related when it comes to derma rollers, as cheaper models may quickly lose needles or begin to rust.

Though this can be extremely discouraging, anyone finding themselves in this situation should give derma rolling a second chance and conduct some more in-depth research regarding different product brands and purposes. Because different models contain differently sized needles, with unique spacing and needle amounts, customers should always research the best brand and model for their needs.

A Peek into Microneedling’s Background

Upon closer inspection, potential customers will discover that the microneedling industry has a rather short, but interesting history. Although this technology was initially used exclusively by dermatologists in Germany, companies began to mass produce rollers to be offered to the public. Due to the high demand for derma rolling, however, the market became flooded with poorly-constructed imitation products, whose needles fall out and cause more harm than good.

Because there are so many poor examples of derma rolling companies, and so few great examples, consumers should do their homework before purchasing a roller. This includes identifying company origins and product materials to verify efficiency and quality.

A Quick Aside on Needle Length

Before beginning any research on brands, it is important to become familiar with needle length and what that means. Needle length should not exceed 1.5 mm for at-home microneedling application—both for safety purposes and to achieve the best possible results. Needles exceeding 1.5 mm are known to be far more painful during use, as they puncture the skin more deeply and are more apt to cause tearing. Longer needles are also capable of puncturing nerves or causing severe damage, and are best left to professionals or seasoned microneedle users.

Though it may be tempting to choose longer needles to speed results, longer needles may actually cause additional scarring. To avoid the potential drawbacks of microneedling, try to stick to using a roller containing needles of 1 to 1.5 mm.

On to Brands…

Two different derma needling brands are known for their quality and trustworthiness: Dr. Roller and New Spa. Each of these companies is regarded with respect among beauty production companies, and have an easily identifiable background and history.

Dr. Roller

Dr. Roller’s product is considered a high-quality derma roller, typically running customers approximately $40. This particular brand regularly receives high praise from users. Manufactured in South Korea, it is relatively inexpensive (as far as beauty treatments go), though it is well-constructed and extremely durable. Potential customers seeking a quality, less expensive derma roller, however, may want to keep looking.

New Spa

New Spa’s brand derma roller possesses high customer satisfaction ratings, and boasts a price point that is almost half of Dr. Roller’s budget model. Most customers saw a very real reduction in acne scarring after using this model. One customer, in particular, found New Spa’s roller to be an excellent beauty tool. After twice-per-week use for three months, this customer found a marked difference in acne scarring, including deep pitting. After 1 year of use (and 3 separate rollers, as suggested by the manufacturer), the customer discovered a 50-70% difference in overall scarring, rendering deep scarring almost invisible under a thin layer of makeup.

Conclusion and Tips

Though derma rolling can be unsettling, the process is made far easier by utilizing the information listed above, as well as the following tips:

  • Always choose quality over price; a low price tag frequently means an ineffective roller.
  • Do not use needles exceeding 1-1.5 mm in length, as these can cause scarring and other damage.
  • Read as many user reviews as possible before choosing a roller that is right for you and your needs.
  • When researching brands, pay attention to the reliability of the brand, including its manufacturing location, history, and longevity.
  • You can also read more derma roller reviews (e.g. at Aquilah.com) where best derma rollers are compared. This will give you more confidence when making your purchase.

Using these tips and tricks, you should be on your way to a safe, effective derma rolling experience.

April 4, 2014


How, why & where to get internet phlebotomy training & certification ?

Training to be a phlebotomist is one of the most preferred options by those seeking to just break into the healthcare industry. As most of these people are often adults with work commitments and family obligations, setting aside regular hours daily can be hard. This reality has forced many to consider the option of getting phlebotomy certification online. However, before joining any certification program online, there are some important questions you need to get answers to first. The most important ones have been addressed in this guide. Continue reading…

April 4, 2014


Guide to Phlebotomy Classes & Training Programs

The demand for certified and competently trained phlebotomists has given rise to a large number of training programs around the United States. Owing to the nature of their work, it is important that a phlebotomist be trained well in various aspects of laboratory safety. As such, as they collect blood from patients, they will not put themselves (or their patients for that matter) at risk of infection. This is why it is important to evaluate different phlebotomy training programs before choosing the one which is most appropriate for your needs. Continue reading…

April 4, 2014


How does one become a certified phlebotomist?

A phlebotomist is a healthcare worker whose primary responsibility is to draw blood from patients in hospitals, blood banks or other health care facilities so that it can be analyzed for disease or as blood donation. They use needles, tourniquets, disposable containers as well as alcohol and gauze to perform their work.

Although it is a very common job, very few people understand what it entails or what sorts of qualifications are necessary for the job. This guide provides all the details you need to answer these questions definitively and more. Continue reading…

January 17, 2014


Essential Hairstylist Toolkit – straighteners, curlers and more

These days, the fashion hairstylist’s toolbox has expanded greatly from merely having hair sprays and hair dryers. Portable hairstyling tools is becoming a Big Thing in recent years. The convenience of styling hair at home and on the go has spawned a whole industry dealing with such hairstyling tools. The tools are styled after typical ones you would find in a hair and beauty salon but have extra design features which suit them for self use at home or on the go.

The most popular hairstyling tools include:

  1. Hot air brushes
  2. Flat irons
  3. Curling irons and wands
  4. Hair dryers

Hair Straightening Flat Irons

ideal flat iron example

Hair straightening flat irons have come a long way since the days all you could expect was the regulation, ceramic hair straighteners. Today’s flat irons are designed to treat hair even as you straighten it such that at the end of it all, your hair strands not only look straight but bear a glossy sheen as well.

For people with smooth, long hair; the infused plate irons are the best choices. Most of the infused plate designs are made of ceramic material which, due to its porous nature, can retain some oils inside. The oil is transferred automatically to strands of hair when the hot iron is passed through. For the best results with your smooth long hair, look for infused plate irons which have anti-frizz serum and conditioning oils.

If your hair can be more accurately described as kinky, frizzy or coarse, the best straighteners are vapor straightening irons. These go a step further than infused plate irons by including a removable vaporizing cartridge which spreads moisture when the device is in use. The moisturizing action works well to make even the kinkiest of hair strands much lighter and remarkably longer than you would expect. Though vapor hair straighteners are much more costly than other brands, the results more than justify this dearer price tag. In-depth reviews of hair straighteners are easily available from sites like hairstraightenereviews.com

Hair Curling Wands

Every DIY hairstylist needs to have a hair curling wand or two stashed somewhere in the bathroom. Not only can these handy tools give your hair natural loose waves but with a little bit more effort they will produce amazing, tight spirals. As a matter of fact, you can also use a curling wand to straighten your hair if you are in a bind about what to use.

Before choosing a hair wand, consider several reviews and go for one which is most satisfactory according to the following criteria:

  1. A curling wand should heat well enough and uniformly in order to adequately and naturally curl your hair
  2. Does the hair curling wand have the right size of barrel to achieve the effects you want for your hair? In general, curling wands with thin barrels make for tighter curls while thicker ones result in more loose curls and waves.
  3. Check and examine how easy the wand is to hold and use. This is an important criterion for DIY hair wands, more than you can say for wands meant for use in a hair salon.
  4. Look for quality assurance guarantees on the packaging. The more ironclad the guarantees are, the more assured you can be that the wand will give you service for a long time.


January 15, 2014


The travelling and maybe migrating photographer

As a digital artist and photographer, I travel around the world quite a fair bit, so I’m relatively immune from culture

shock. However, traveling is one thing and staying permanently in another country is another. My boyfriend is from New Zealand, and for various reasons, I’m seriously considering migrating to New Zealand to be with him instead of having him stay with me in the States. Well, my plans are not set in stone yet, and lately, I find myself comparing life in the States with that in New Zealand. Here are some of my considerations:

Cost of living

Daily Shopping - I find prices for groceries and household stuff to be on the

new zealand immigration

high side. Even things that you think

should be cheap because they are produced in abundance in NZ like milk and cheese tend to be more expensive than that in the US. On top of that, I find the variety of groceries and most other goods to be far less than that in the US. Eating out is definitely more expensive too.

Driving – Cars, both new and used tend to be more expensive than that in the US. To put things in perspective, a used car of about 10 years old will set you back $5000 in New Zealand. Car insurance is also very expensive – more than $300 per year, but the consolation is it is not mandatory so you can save on that if you choose to.


This is an area I’ve never really managed to come to terms with. Imagine living without insulation and heating in winter! Yes, most houses do not come with these and double glazing is rare too. Generally, the houses that I’ve lived in are also not in very good condition. This is why I begrudgingly pay the $300-$350 per week rent every time.

Migration Procedure

This is arguably the greatest hurdle I am facing. I obviously don’t have $2.5 million to invest in New Zealand, so the investor category is not for me. I’m looking at the skilled immigrant category. According to this website that details the requirements of migrating to New Zealand, the NZ government uses a point system to assess applicants who have submitted an expression of interest. However, I’m not exactly sure the exact criteria used in computing points. Since they select candidates out of a pool of applicants for interview, there could be some factor of luck involved depending on

how stiff the competition is within a pool of candidates?

Well, I guess I’ll take things one step at a time and see how they go.

Update soon.

December 6, 2013


Open and Free Licenses

Creative CommonsThis article focuses on open content licensing along with tenets governing it and questions we know it evokes, before weighing it against free licensing.

At the outset, let’s presume you intend to pass on part of your workload to others, for whatever reason. You could wish to introduce an element of fun in your work and observe the unpredictable outcome, perhaps following unanticipated twists and turns of events as matters progress. You could be part of a band who wishes to allow followers download songs you have sung, or a published scholar keen to follow the circulation of your works in various educational institutions. People have a plethora of reasons to create a work of art or cultural artifacts; such variety is proved by the manner in which they interact mutually.

Permission is required from me to ensure that unknown people, or others I don’t really care for, may freely replicate, alter and restructure my work. If I decline such permission, stringent copyright laws are invoked, which may severely constrict progress towards our proposed goal. I select and affix an open license to my output like Creative Commons; Free Art License where media content needs to be published, or a GPL General Public License when software needs to be published.

Unlike copyright viewed in totality, Free Licenses are no guarantee of my exclusive privileges in making the most of the object. They officially permit one and all, including me, to make full, free and maximal use thereof. Moreover, the license aids in guarding me against my innate desires: the risk filled untested application of constituents of personal bonds like faith, camaraderie, openheartedness and more, blindly taking them to be reliable indicators of sincere relationships.

Most European nations as well as the USA regard your output as copyrighted, unless specifically stipulated otherwise. Should you want to rework or distribute it, you will have to explain what your aim is. Others may wish to take your past work as their baseline and build upon or re-circulate it and cannot, therefore, afford your reworking it. In order to reassure them that you have no such intention, the best option is to select a license. Such a license will specify how, when and for how long you, its creator, will permit others to distribute, replicate or alter your work. It will also stipulate all conditions whereby you, as the new author to be, may utilize that output to create something afresh and list the effects of the manner of your release of the new creation.

Since open licenses aid in making most issues clear, they are best utilized if selected early when on the creative path. If you are considering a collaborative venture, or planning to build your effort on another person’s creation, it would be ideal to consider extant circumstances at the time of release of your work. In the former case, the right license puts each collaborator’s role in the task in the right perspective, clarifying individual expectations while describing how this project could be related to other works.

It is not unusual to find people who first think: “What do I stand to gain here and how do I maximize it?” Such people exploit all free material, yet keep results close to their chests. These predatory instincts can be forestalled by a license. Today’s open licenses are so worded that people have no choice but to share all consequent work produced under the given conditions and materials used.

An Open License

  • Provides the public enhanced rights compared to those the author could traditionally offer. For instance, the writer may allow access to his output gratis; legally permit redistribution to set the base for derivative work.
  • Clarifies and stipulates how a work can be used and prevailing conditions required.

In effect, an author may permit his work to be re-circulated gratis, limited to applications that are not commercial. Such permission automatically authorizes the applications stipulated. The open license takes the author out of the permission loop.

Free License

We have discussed only open licenses so far. You may have come across the term Free Licenses. Understanding the significant difference between the two is important. When the term ‘free’ is used, it has a dedicated meaning. Free software (some call it copyleft) must mandatorily provide the user:

  • Freedom to analyze and employ the work.
  • Freedom to replicate and pass the work around to others.
  • Freedom to adapt or / and revise the work as required.
  • Freedom to allocate adapted works, effectively pushing forward derivatives.

Free and open are thus independent terms, with political overtones and significant practical consequences.

Note: It is incumbent upon the license to make certain that authors of works that are derivatives may only share out these types of works under that very license or its equivalent.

December 6, 2013


How to Become a Successful Fashion Makeup Artist

fashion makeup artistTo become a successful fashion makeup artist, you are going to have to keep up with the trends. However, keeping on top of all the latest in the makeup, clothing and accessory industry is only part of what you will need to be a great makeup artist. You have to adopt an eye for unique creations that you can display, using your model to display your fashionable designs and ideas. Take a look at some ways in which other makeup artists have launched themselves into a successful position in the fashion world.

Get an Education

The best place to start with your future career is by getting an education and attending a great makeup school that offers courses specific to print fashion and runway makeup application. These courses will help you learn techniques for high fashion application and can help to inspire you to create new and innovative designs. Not to mention, they can help you to build a better understanding of the application of makeup on various colors and types of skins so that any model can be a work of art. Some schools even offer job placement options in runway or print, which can help to open a lot of new and exciting doors for your career. Just be sure that you ask about this placement so that you sign up in time for these opportunities.

Get Public

In order to get the attention of clients, you have to make your skills public. Start taking photos of your creative makeup skills, even if your friends and family are your models. These images can be used to help launch a website or to create a professional Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr account promoting your talent. After you get your public accounts up and running, you can start writing articles for free directories about makeup services and methods to draw attention to your accounts by linking the two. You can write about what you are studying, tips you have for other makeup artists or any relevant topic that you believe will draw attention to you. This should help to bring you more work, which will expand your portfolio even further while you study and prepare for your fashion makeup career.

Get Experience

The main goal that you should have during this time is to gain more experience as an artist. Reach out to anyone in the fashion industry and ask them for assistance, whether it is even just to shadow them one day. This will help you network and gain experience so that when you are done with school you may already have the ideal contact to get you into the fashion world. Of course it is important to recognize that some of this initial experience may require you to offer your services for free, but the long-term rewards will make it all worthwhile. Be patient and enjoy this crucial time building your skills and getting your foot in the fashion makeup door, you will certainly be glad that you did.

December 6, 2013


The Impossible Truth of Digital Photography

impossible flower It is amazing how much technology has progressed over the years, so much so that we almost can’t believe the things that we see before our very own eyes. Images are manipulated and altered to become completely different than what they are.

Initially, the beauty of photography was the fact that it was able to capture reality with precision and detail, better than any other form of art. It was for this reason that we became accustomed to trusting what we see in photographs to be an actual portrayal of reality.

Visual Fiction in Today’s World

Shortly after the advent of photography came the development of visual fiction. Think of visual fiction as a fictional story, which can quickly develop out of a once non-fictional, or true, story. So too can we change photographs from something that was once entirely true into a work of fiction.

A good example of visual fiction is the Cottingley Fairies famous photo. For years, viewers were led to believe that this photo was real; however it was ultimately found that this photo was actually a fake. But, because this photograph was so widely recognized and publicized, can we truly say that it matters that it wasn’t real?

The general public, in response to visual fiction, has now begun changing their visual approach to photography; especially because they know that literally anything can be changed in a given image. We have now begun to understand that taking a photograph is no longer a perfect replication of reality, but rather an interpretation of it.

Computers aren’t the only way that photographs can be altered, changing their interpretation. The photographers themselves interpret the images they see, which essentially eliminates the objectivity of the image. Not only do photographers use editorial judgments when they take the photograph, but their prejudices, philosophies, intentions and personal preferences all affect the final image that is captured.

When Does Visual Fiction Cross the Line?

Because we have come to somewhat accept visual fiction, we have to ask ourselves when does visual fiction cross the line into too much fiction? Is there any artistic integrity in photography anymore? The truth is that the ethics of photography are still important, but so too are aesthetics.

Some would argue that depending on the message to be shared, in some cases aesthetics will trump ethics. For instance, if there is a documentary aspect to a photograph, perhaps ethics and maintaining the integrity of the photo would be important. However, if highlighting beauty is the message to convey, perhaps alterations and aesthetics are warranted.

Think about it, if you take a picture of the Grand Canyon and highlight certain features to make the image stand out – is there really an issue since everyone knows what the Grand Canyon is? So long as the main feature of the image is recognizable, adjustments to a photo can be done, right?

But, if you are truly searching to create a piece of fictional photography then the amount of changes and alterations to your photograph shouldn’t be of question, so long as the motives of the photographer are clearly portrayed to viewers. Only when photographers present their work with the blatant desire to deceive should their professional and artistic integrity be called into question, as well as their ethics.

September 10, 2013


What you need to know about DVR security systems

digital video recording systemDVR stands for Digital Video Recording which is an enhanced device that records videos that can later be saved in storage hard disk devices such as memory cards and flash disks as well as other memory storage devices. A DVR device is usually packed in a box like device that records videos in digital form that can be stored in different platforms and viewed via a monitor. It is therefore very convenient to the user as one can rewind the recorded video in case he/she missed something. It is very unlikely for a DVR device to operate alone as it has to be connected to a computer monitor or a TV set for it to be effective to the extent of enabling users to pause and rewind live TV coverage. In order to ascertain the quality of a particular system, you should consult a  good DVR security system review. A DVR can also be downloaded or installed in form of a programmed software to be used by computer devices.
Most developed security systems nowadays have opted for the usage of DVR since they come with more added functions than previous storage technological equips such as VCR that were widely used before but since the intrusion of DVR the demand for such VCR security systems reduced. Unlike VCR security system which needed tapes or cds to record, a DVR security system does not need one as the storage disk is implanted inside. Another advantage of a DVR is that one can play rewind immediately unlike a VCR where one has to wait for the recording to finish in order to playback a recorded video.
There some essentials of DVR security systems that need to be placed in order for the security surveillance system to be more accurate and effective. The obvious essential that is needed in a DVR security system is a recording camera that is connected to the DVR for it to record any activities for security reasons. In case one has many cameras then there is no need for one to purchase many DVR devices as most can multitask by recording many video recordings while saving them.  A monitor connected with all the surveillance cameras is also essential when one is using a DVR device for security concerns as needs to pause and rewind some video recordings. It is also essential for DVR security sytem is the installation of wireless network devices such as wi-fi and bluetooth into the system that will enable the user to be alerted in case a security emergency occurs. The DVR used for security surveillance should also have enough memory recording space of at least 100 to 300 of recording hours which can be overwritten in case the memory capacity is full.

September 10, 2013


Installing a Home Security System – DIY or hire a professional?


Most homeowners out there from time to time have wrestled with the idea of whether or not to install a home security system. Truth be told it is a very good idea and one that you should not overlook. And over time there have been debates as to which way to have the installation happen is the best idea. There is the do-it-yourself kind and than there is the choice to hire a professional.

Both have their merits. I mean doing it yourself will save you money and time. And hiring a professional will ensure that the job will get done properly. So which is the best way to go?

A do-it-yourself home security system is pretty easy to explain. You buy the security system package and you do all of the installation yourself. And depending on which system you buy you may not need that much technical knowledge. Wireless security systems are the easiest to do. They are simple burglar alarms that don’t really take that much effort to install. You will not need to use an mounts or security pads. And the coolest thing is that they are completely wireless. You won’t even need your tools. This you can set up in minutes, you won’t need several hours to do it.

The do-it-yourself security systems are that simple. But there are a few things to keep in mind. One being that you need to make sure that the system is set up properly If it’s not than it will not work the way it’s supposed to. So you need to keep that in mind when you are doing things yourself. Plus intruders are getting much smarter these days. And they know where your place of residence is most vulnerable. So with this they can skate by any cheap system and still get into to your home.

If you were to hire a professional they will know what you need and where to put it. Plus a professional will be able to install the system securely and properly. They will have teams coming in to hook you up with the latest gadgets and other valuable protection devices that your home might need. A professional will also hook you up with protection that is good quality and not some cheap system that sells retail on the market.

The only other difference with customers who buy the DIY systems is that they are concerned each day if they have enough protection. If a professional were to do it, yeah it would be more expensive, but you would sleep better knowing that you are completely secure.

September 9, 2013


How to Achieve Clean & Radiant Skin?

clean healthy skinIt is everybody’s wish to have a clear and radiant skin. However to achieve a clear and radiant skin, below are some practices that should be adhered to:

Keep your Skin Clean

Always clean your skin with products specifically meant for your skin type (normal, oily or dry). Gently clean your skin in the morning and clean thoroughly in the evening. This helps to remove accumulated dirt and makeup earlier applied on the skin. Always make sure you have no make on when going to sleep at night. Always invest in a good facial cleanser which is good for removing foundation and lipstick

Cleanse your skin gently

Avoid scrubbing your skin with a wash cloth but splash your skin with warm water. This helps to open skin pores. Then massage your skin with a facial cleanser using your fingers using your fingertips in a circular motion. After cleaning your skin, rinse it with cold water, pat it dry and apply cream.

People with acne should frequently wash their skins to remove excess oils that results in breakouts.

Carefully Handle your Skin

Below are ways of handling your skin with care:

Always keep your hands off your skin. Touching your skin with your hands exposes your skin to dirt, germs and bacteria. This in turn blocks the pores and cause breakouts

Avoid using make up and sunscreen products that are rich in oil

Always use products specifically meant for your skin type especially if your skin is easily sensitive and irritated. Here are further tips:

  • Avoid squeezing pimples
  • Always tie your hair and cover your hair to keep hair with oils that would result in breakouts
  • Always use clean sponges and brushes when applying makeup

Always Sanitize your Smartphone

Smartphone touchscreen easily spreads viruses in someone’s skin. All those germs land right on your cheek and jawline every time you chat away, causing pimples and irritation. Always wipe your phone with antibacterial wipes to keep it free of bacteria

Avoid dairy products

Dairy products lead to acne. These products include salad dressing, shakes and protein bars

Always sleep early

Always sleep early and have enough sleep as sleep deprivation will lead to pale skin

Avoid hot showers

Always avoid long steamy showers as it strips your skin of oils that are essential for your skin. It causes ruddiness and flushing in the skin as the blood vessels dilate so as to cool the skin.

Drink plenty of water

Water clears the toxins which cause blemishes and inflammations. It also helps in the circulation of oxygen and nutrients to the skin and prevents dehydration which may result in premature aging.

Visit a dermatologist frequently

Visiting a dermatologist should be done once in a while. This will help you to know your skin type, the best products for your skin and how to better keep your skin clear and radiant.

If your skin problems such as acne persist, the dermatologist will prescribe you treatment which will help treat your skin.

Eat a balanced diet

Always eat a balanced diet such as proteins, vitamins, food rich in fiber, carbohydrates and fruits in minimum portions every day. In addition avoid sugary and salty foods and always take as little as possible. These foods make your skin and radiant.

September 9, 2013


Can Visible Aging be Reversed?

reverse agingOne thing that cannot be prevented in life is aging, but although you cannot stop the aging process you can use some methods to slow visible aging. The appearance of our skin has a lot to say about our age. One of the most important things to any person and especially women is the body appearance. The natural process of aging is controlled by genes, but external factors like exposure to ultraviolet (UV)rays from the sun can speed up the process of aging. Exposure to the sun has effects on the skin and can result in changes in the way you appear.

One way of slowing visible aging is by the use of sunscreens. Numerous studies that have been done to compare people who use sun screens and those who do not and have proved that use of this products can help a lot to preserve the appearance of your skin and also slow down the aging process. It is recommended to wear sun screen every day to reap maximum benefits.If don’t ensure that you avoid direct exposure to the sun. Another helpful practice is to avoid exposure to sun rays between 10 am and 4pm when the is very hot and the UV rays are at peak levels. The use of sunscreens is also helpful in prevention of skin cancer.

Another way that you can use to slow down visible aging is by eating the right foods. Foods that contain high levels of antioxidants are the best to use. Antioxidants help to eliminate toxins and free radicals from the body. Accumulation of toxins and free radicals in the body speed up the process of aging. They also lower the body’s immunity and expose an individual to infections. Fruits and vegetable are among the foods that have high levels of antioxidants. Ensure that you limit your sugar intake and take adequate water. Water is very important in the elimination of body wastes including toxins.

A diet that has adequate fruits and vegetables in addition to taking a lot of water is effective in detoxification. Antioxidants also help fight cancer and other infections. Flavonoids, vitamin E, A and C ,beta-carotene and selenium are some of the most common antioxidants. Fruits and vegetables that are orange in color like carrots contain beta-carotene and are therefore rich in antioxidants. The same applies for berries like the blueberries. Apples and beans especially the red beans are other foods that are high in antioxidants.

September 5, 2013


Scar Removal Techniques

scar removalYou skin is the most visible organ you have. It displays your beauty and relative health. Many people go to great lengths to preserve the beauty and youthful nature of their skin. However, you cannot always be successful at even the most important of things. You skin will sometimes have scars on it. These scars can be because of injury, surgery and/or certain medical conditions such as acne.

The most common types of scars include keloid scars, contracture scars, hypertrophic scars and acne scars. Getting rid of these scars is a tricky affair. This is because scar removal techniques are often specific to the nature of the scar in question. You cannot just arbitrarily use any scar removal techniques to remove a particular scar. However, the most effective scar removal techniques are as follows.

You can also opt for the surgical removal of scars. This is usually an option for anyone suffering from deep scarring. It includes a variety of surgical methods. The first one is skin grafting. In this method, the surgeon carefully removes a piece of skin form one area of your body and uses it to repair the scarred tissue on your skin. This is the most common method for anyone suffering from burns sustained in fires and acid attacks. Other surgical treatment include excision, dermabrasion and laser surgery.

You should not opt for this technique if you have just recovered from another surgery. It will unnecessarily put a strain on your body. Moreover, you may worsen the scar. You are better off waiting for the surgically treated wound to heal itself before seeking scar treatment. At times, the scar simple disappears as the wound heals.

You can opt for a combination of subcision and microneedling. This is a multi-dimensional approach to your scar problem. It involves both subcision and micorneedling to be effective. It is not similar to surgical treatment because it involves the use of needles to sort out the problem. It does not resort to cutting up any part of your skin or body tissue under the skin. The doctor will first begin with a subcision. This involves the insertion of a tiny needle below your skin’s surface that will then break up the robust fibrous bands that are pulling the scar downwards.

The doctor then moves on to microneedling to finish the job. Microneedling involves the use of a roller containing several spoke like needles that create micro channels inside your skin. These micro channels not only break up the abnormal collagen under the skin but stimulates the synthesis of new collagen. This not only serves to remove the scar but also improves the overall appearance of your skin. Microneedling is now available for the average consumer through a product called the dermaroller. You can look for the best dermarollers on this page.

These are the most effective skin removal techniques. However, you can opt for other skin removal techniques such as prescription creams, gels and ointments. You can also opt for injections to treat certain scars such as keloid scars.

September 5, 2013


Stretch mark removal techniques

stretch marksStretch marks are mostly associated with sudden changes in body size. Natural body processes that are associated with sudden changes in body size include pregnancy and puberty. Sudden weight gain is also another major cause of stretch marks. They occur mostly around the abdomen, hips and thighs. Stretch marks affect both genders and are notorious for compromising the beauty of a person’s skin. Not every one that has stretch marks experienced sudden changes in their weight; it is unfortunate that stretch marks are a genetic thing. Getting rid of stretch marks is the dream of everyone but it is not an easy task. Health experts advise on a number of stretch mark removal methods that aid in the process of getting rid of stretch marks by preventing their formation as well as camouflage already existing ones.

Moisturizers are known to take care of the skin by keeping it hydrated. Stretch marks are known to occur when the skin is brittle and resistant to stretching. Regular application of moisturizers be it herbal or cocoa butter formulas is considered the most reliable way of ensuring the skin is hydrated. A well hydrated skin has a greater stretching limit than a dry skin since it becomes more pliant and develops a plastic like characteristic. The acquired elasticity is known to prevent appearance of stretch marks since it renders the skin resistant to tears. For best results, it is advisable that you moisturize your body around four times a day. When used on already existing stretch marks, moisturizers are known to improve their appearance. A combination of wheat germ oil, olive oil and aloe vera is considered the perfect homemade moisturizer safe for all skin types since it is made from natural products.

Another stretch mark removal method is through the use of products that contain retin A or creams that contain retinoic acid. Retin is known to boost the production of collagen which in turn aids the skin in the process of stretching. Further, retin is known to prevent the skin from tears during its stretching process. Products that contain retin are controlled substances and it is thus advisable that you use them as prescribed by the physician and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Glycolic acid also removes stretch marks by stimulating the production of collagen which in turn improves the elasticity of the skin. This product gets rid of already existing stretch marks as well as prevents the formation of new stretch marks.

Regardless of the stretch mark removal method you choose, always put in mind that fresh stretch marks are easier to manage than old stretch marks.