iPhone Olloclip review

Olloclip and iPhone Like Peas in a Pod

My friend, artist extraordinaire,  inventor and all around super hero Dan Burkholder is always on the leading edge of trends.  As such he is a fanatic with iPhonography.  He teaches workshops on the subject that get filled quickly, speaks about it in his travels,  heck he even wrote one of the bestselling books on taking pics with your iPhone.

Me on the other hand…well I have been slow to “convert”.  I didnt even have an iPhone until a year ago.  My biggest challenge with taking pics with my phone was how I was stuck with the single attached lens.  Admittedly I really like having a pocket size camera that I always had with me.  The quality is actually better than my first full blown pro DSLR but I found my self wanting a different set of lenses.  That is where Olloclip comes in.

The story of Olloclip is very cool all by itself.  Being a business geek and entrepreneur I love the fact that they raised the initial investment capital using kickstarter.  What I like best about this product is the wide angle lens.  It seems my phone gets used mostly to capture in promtu landscapes and cityscapes.

There is no need for me to balst out a long review, I would simply be rehashing what has been said many times already. You can see reviews from the big dogs in the industry on the Olloclip website review page.  If you like shooting pics with your phone and want to step up your image options check out the Olloclip.

Ollocip iPhonography


Stock Photo Review: Depositphotos

Depositphotos Review

For the last six months or so I have been using more stock images through the online stock houses to illustrate some of our other magazines.   Another thing I have used online imagery for is for unique stock backgrounds to paint.  It generally is not a big deal to create something quickly but there are times where I just want to cruise some sites and check out images for background purposes, a brainstorming type of activity.  When I find something totally cool that I may have fun with, I might buy it.  Backgrounds and textures are an addiction of mine much like books are; I have far too many to ever make use of but I still collect more.  I shoot textures almost daily and paint backgrounds weekly as well as sell backgrounds and textures so it seems weird that I buy them.  Half the fun though as I mentioned is seeing a large variety of images in one place to get the creative juices flowing.  Sometimes I run into a texture or background that I can use for a totally different purpose than what I was initially looking for like this fractal design that I am going to make a Corel Painter 12 brush from, or the tree frog illustration further below that I can use for the top of my email sign-up form on my Eco Village magazine.

fractal backgrounds(Fractal design background for a Corel Painter 12 brush)

One of the things that I noticed right way as I began researching companies is that there are way more stock photo sites in existence now compared to a few years ago. One of the rising stars that popped up during my research was a company called Depositphotos.   I won’t profess to have done a ton of due diligence on any specific company, them included.  I usually find some things I like about the user interface where I am looking and rock and roll. I am a visual creative and dyslexic so ease of use seems to be a big deal with me.   I like the way things are laid out at Depositphotos and it is intuitive which helps those of us over fifty to feel almost normal when attempting anything new online.

Tree Frog illustration(tree frog illustration I can use on the Eco Village Magazine opt-in form)

Another thing I like is outward communication, that is, the phone number is listed at the top of the home page and there is a chat box as well.  I have underestimated the importance of that for years with our own sites and just recently completely redid the Digital Paint Magazine site to make it more communication friendly.  I haven’t actually called the number at Depositphotos as I have not had a need to but it does add a nice layer of transparency which I like.

Depositphotos boasts 14 and a half million files and nearly one million customers. They have been around since 2008. They have been around long enough to have the bugs worked out of their system and to have a great group of images that don’t break the bank.  Like many other stock image companies Depositphotos has subscription plans or the opportunity to buy credits for less frequent purchasers.  Overall I have enjoyed my perusal of the site and came up with a few new ideas of fun things to create while I was there.  If you find yourself in need of some inspiration or images to paint cruise over and check out Depositphotos Blog  to see what you might come up with.

Royalty Free Stock Photo

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Time Stealers Keeping You From Creating?

Web Resources for Time Management

I have been cranky lately.  I think the reason why is because in the last few months I have succumbed to one of the challenges that many face; my business is getting in the way of my creating art.  I love to create.  Photographic imagery, painting, papermaking and writing, I have to have one or more of those outlets daily or I get bearish.

In our business,  sales on digital art educational materials and the Digital Art Academy are down, the Digital Painting forum is down, the magazine is booming and commissions and print sales are way up.  I am not sure why some are up and others down… as a marketing geek it is irritating not to know.  In fact specific to commissions, I have found that when I have more commissions than normal, I still get cranky.  Why?  I am not creating just for me.

Running a business gets in the way.  It is a challenge that we all face.  There are a ton of things one must do to compete in our field and now it is even more difficult with internet marketing, SEO, social media marketing etc.  Like many, I just want to create.

For some artists a vision of a perfect world would be them hanging out in some exotic location creating till there heart is content.  Then they would send their wonderful pieces of art back to the studio where a long line of patrons await with bleary eyed excitement for the unpacking of the new creations.  There is a mad frenzy over who gets what, the clients with cash want to go first.  Credit cards are relegated to the end of the line and every piece sells at a premium.  Right.  In all successful small businesses time must be spent in marketing, sales, strategic planning an a myriad of other tasks outside of our primary skill area.

For me I have found that I have to schedule creation time.  Not a time for painting commissions, not working on hand embellished artist proofs and not pumping out prints.  A scheduled time for new stuff, time to peek through the idea book that continues to grow, and time to create one of the projects in the idea book.  It seems odd that I have to schedule time to do what I love the most.  Many of you know me well so you know that organizational skills are not my strong point (a gross understatement).  I am mach 3 with my hair on fire so I have to plan things out or I just go no where fast as my Grandfather used to say.

So I want to give you just a few blogs that I read daily that are tremendous resources.  These sits help me to organize, plan and market.  I generally read 10-12 blogs daily and the ones I read do tend to change a bit.  These are not new to you, I have spoken of them before but I thought now would be a good time to review them again especially for the newer readers.

Barney Davey and his Art print issues site is a must read.  Barney is one of the leading authorities in the Art Print Market and author of, “How to Profit From The Art Print Market”.  His blog in entertaining and informative.  If you want to learn to sell prints this is the place to go.  While you are on his blog spend some time checking out some of his other sites and be sure to go through the archives.  Keep your eyes peeled as we will be hooking up with Barney for a webinar in the very near future.

Dan Duhrkoop has an incredible blog called Empty Easel.  It is a great resource for independent artists.  Dan is also the creator of Foliotwist.  Empty Easel is also a daily must read.

Alyson Stanfield’s Art Biz Blog is one of my daily jaunts as well as a few digital specific sites that I really like.  For a list of other blog and web resources you can check out our blog posts from the 12 days of Christmas.

Easter and Birthday 50% OFF Sale

Hi everyone!

We will be having a 24 hour 50% OFF sale to celebrate Easter and the birthdays we have this month.

Any of the items listed below can be purchased for half-off from midnight April 24 to midnight April 25. If you would like more information on a particular product you can visit the sales pages from that product but dont purchase from those pages.

We are not going to set up a special button for the sale. We are slummin it and going to make it very simple as well. Send a paypal for the products you want to purchase to: topimages at msn.com.

If you dont know how to do that just send me an email and I will send a Paypal invoice out to you. It is very important to put, “EASTER SALE” in the subject line so I dont miss it.

All of the products will be fulfilled Mon and Tues after the holiday. I can only honor the 50% off for orders placed during those 24 hours. If you paid full price for one of these products in the last 30 days email me.
Artistic Impressions DVD series $97

Digital Painting Techniques DVD Series $247
Digital version sales page: http://www.digitalpaintingtechniques.com/

Digital Art Summit Webinar Tim ONeill $47
Download Part ONE-Painting Skin
Download PartTWO-Painting the hair and clothing
Download Part THREE-Painting the Background here
Download Part Four-Dodge Burn here
Also includes the chat transciprt from the webinar and QA session

2010 Digital Art Summit PDF’s 10 $97
Sales  page http://www.digitalpaintmagazine.com/blog/1116/digital-art-summit-pdfs/

Included in these PDF’s are the following artists:
Tim ONeill
Kirk Nelson
Karen Sperling
Heather Michelle
Darrell Chitty
Marco Bucci
Woody Walters
Michael Campbell
There are two video download bonuses just in case you did not get them. They are Daniel Tardent and Skip Allen.
The price is $97. There is 497 pages of information between all of the Artists. Note that this is PDF downloads NOT a physical product shipped to your door.

2009/2010 Digital Paint Magazine Back Issue
14 Issue download, 11 Issues from 2010 and the three issues published in 2009. $57

Mamarazzi Guide to Creativity, Book download version (Amazon at 14.97)

Word Press Video Tutorials $97
47 video tutorials that will tell you how to set up and use word press