The number of images generated on social media is staggering. Between Facebook and Instagram, consumers post nearly 2.5 billion images every week, according to Engadget, the tech blog. While Facebook has revamped its feed to make it more image-oriented, it’s hardly the most visual of social media platforms. That honor goes to Pinterest.
Pinterest is an image-driven social media platform. You “pin” something interesting — hence the name — and share an image and a link to the original content you found online. You can pin just about anything you can find on the Internet. You can also create collections of “Pinboards” — like tagging. The site is arranged by categories for the convenience of visitors and followers. Pinterest users can repin your pins, and whenever someone does this, that pin will show up in the newsfeeds of all the Pinterest users following the user who repinned it.
Advantages of Pinterest to Businesses
Pinterest offers businesses the following advantages.
User engagement. Many social sites are about getting followers. Pinterest users are almost self-engaging because the Pinterest usage model revolves around finding content and sharing it with small groups. Pinterest users are strongly interested in what’s new and trending — a tendency they share with the rest of the Internet but which they exhibit to an unusual degree. That’s behavior that translates into the kind of influencer that marketers want to attract, and it means the legions of followers who don’t actually engagement that you find on Facebook and Twitter, are a lot less likely on Pinterest.
Industry trend tracking. Pinterest is a great way to find out what’s about to be big. Since Pinterest users are usually more concerned than the rest of the internet with both quality and freshness, the site functions as a future barometer of online taste. For designers who want to make and sell products, or for marketers, Pinterest is a good place to start looking for pointers. Businesses that stand to gain the most out of Pinterest are visual and creative disciplines like:
Writers and bloggers
Consultative businesses that thrive on Pinterest publish educative illustrations and Infographics that simplify and explain complex processes.
Branding style. Just being on Pinterest makes your brand look more modern and aware. But what you do with your Pinterest presence projects the image you want for your brand . And if you successfully generate engagement on Pinterest, you could see people liking and repinning your content, creating their own conversations about your brand.
Visual link building. Links built through images are among the best when it comes to engagement. Pinterest images automatically link back to their origin, meaning images you pin from your website lead straight back to you, creating visual links.
Local search engine optimization. Local links are what local businesses love the most and marketers are learning to embed these in the descriptions and comments. That way Pinterest pulls in local customers, as well as engagement across a wider geographic area.
More than 2 million passwords for some of the most popular spots on the Internet — including Facebook, Twitter and Google — are now a matter of public record, according to a fresh report from SpiderLabs, a research arm from security firm Trustwave.
SpiderLabs says it uncovered the bounty of potentially valuable (and often ridiculously simple) log-ins during its latest Internet sweep for the Pony botnet controller, a malware-spreading set of programs which the researchers say they’re increasingly encountering online. This means the passwords were not leaked by Facebook and the like, but from thousands of infected computers that collected the data when users logged onto their accounts.
Whether or not the passwords are current or out-dated is unknown, but the attack appears to be “fairly global,” SpiderLabs reports. “At least some of the victims are scattered all over the world.”
Shooting Stars Admit it, you are enamored by certain stars; you follow and keep track of all of their movements. I’m a sucker for stars too, but more of the celestial type. There is a certain magic to shooting at night and capturing what can’t be seen with the naked eye. Hopefully these tips will inspire or help you improve your night visions.
The Right Stuff In order to successfully capture the night I would recommend a digital camera from the last 2-3 years, a sturdy tripod, and a cable release. I tend to shoot wide, 18mm-21mm, to include more of the sky. However when shooting wide, it is very important to incorporate an interesting foreground. Trees, rocks, and structures will add more dimension and scale against the night sky.
Get Out Of Town Get away from all the light pollution of the city to better capture the starry skies. If you can’t see the stars, then neither can your camera. This shot was taken 40 minutes north of NYC, at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. The three crosses shot (later in the blog) was taken in the remote town of Las Cruces, Baja – and revealed more stars than I had ever seen or imagined.
The 500 Rule For Better Celestial Skies
There are two ways to interpret stars – either as star points or star trails. Digital capture has made photographing star points, or celestial skies, easier than ever. A good starting point for capturing a celestial sky is a 25 second shutter speed, ISO 3200, at f/4. That was the exposure details of the Milky Way shot over Independence, California.
How do we figure out our exposure?
The most important factor is time. The earth rotates and when we capture star trails we are actually capturing the rotation of the earth – the stars remain constant.
There is a simple equation that will tell us how long we can expose until the stars start to trail. It was originally called the 600 Rule, which is probably safe for viewing on the web. But if you want to print or view the images at 100%, I recommend using the 500 Rule, where you divide 500 by the focal length of your lens.
500/24mm = 20 seconds
500/50mm = 10 seconds
The more telephoto the lens, the more it will zoom in and magnify the movement of the stars.
Now comes the balance of ISO and Aperture. The two factors to consider is how fast and sharp your lens is wide open and how high can your camera’s ISO safely go? I typically like to stop my lens down at least one stop – so from f/2.8 to f/4, and there is often a big difference between the noise at 3200 ISO and 6400 ISO.
As a fledgling photographer I began looking at other’s work, specifically the headshot industry here in New York. I saw one thing that was repeated over and over again. Blank lifeless images with absolutely no juice coming towards the camera. Why didn’t I see the same thing when I looked at celebrities in magazines? Was it the photographer or the celebrity that made the difference in those shots? I believe now that it’s a bit of both, but it was then and there that I decided it was my mission to create interesting expressions for my clients.
That’s right, I had to create it for them. I couldn’t leave it up to my clients to do it on their own. It was my work and I was going to infuse it with life if it was the last thing I did. It became my responsibly, so no matter how stiff or uncomfortable anyone was, they weren’t leaving my studio without what I considered a Peter Hurley headshot. No way, no how. This was my domain and my biggest weapon became the squinch.
My biggest fear was that other photographers would find out about the squinch.
It is getting ever easier to record anything, or everything, that you see. This opens fascinating possibilities—and alarming ones
ABOUT halfway through Dave Eggers’s bestselling dystopian satire on Silicon Valley, “The Circle”, the reader meets Stewart, a bald, silent, stooped 60-year-old who has “been filming, recording, every moment of his life now for five years”. Stewart is the first of the novel’s characters to make all his actions visible to anyone with a computer who cares to look—the first “transparent man”.
Cathal Gurrin, a computer scientist at Dublin City University, is not quite that transparent. But to those with access to his archive he is pretty see-through. Mr Gurrin is a “life logger”, someone who thinks that if, as Socrates claimed, the unexamined life is not worth living, the life which is digitally recorded with an eye to potentially endless re-examination will have much to recommend it. Patterns in their data, they hope, will reveal opportunities to be healthier, happier and more effective.
Testing is one of the secrets to ecommerce success. But if you’re on a deadline or have limited resources, the pressure to get the email message done may outweigh all other concerns.
The good news is testing doesn’t have to be hard. There are plenty of simple A/B tests that deliver good results with very little effort. You won’t need an advanced degree in testing methodology or fancy analytics skills. And the best part is the results. These tests have made a major difference for thousands of email marketers — they will move the needle for you, too. Here are five easy tests you can run to improve your email marketing results.
1. Subject Lines
Subject line tests are the simplest, fastest tests. They can generate good results.
2. Call to Action
The call to action is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Get your call to action right, and you’ll have a successful email on your hands.
Have you, like so many other marketers, collected more than an email address on your opt-in forms, but rarely, if ever, use the data you’ve collected?
4. Delivery Times and Days
Timing may not be everything, but it sure can help — as in “double your click rates” kind of help.
Designers love their software. From using Gimp to Photoshop, designers spend hours crafting on the computer. Unfortunately, many designers neglect an important design tool: sketching by hand with pen and paper. Drawing by hand can bring clarity to the design process and help designers generate ideas, get organized, and visualize their concepts.
Additional Tips for Using Pen and Paper
As you develop your design on paper, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Sketch, don’t polish. Keep your designs rough and unpolished on the page. This makes it easier to scrap ideas, start over, or make changes without feeling like you wasted time. Use your pen and paper to design, use your software to produce.
Embrace chaos. Let your ideas flow freely from your brain to the page. Don’t worry about keeping things neat and tidy. Focus instead on getting your ideas down and organized.
Don’t be afraid of mistakes. If you make a mistake, embrace it. Draw over it or write yourself a note, but don’t scrap the entire page. Look for ways to innovate with your mistakes. Sometimes great ideas are born from mistakes.
Carry your designs with you. Keep your sketches and ideas in a notebook and take it with you when you go places where you might have new ideas. You never know when an idea will hit you.
Far too many Halloween photos are just a child in costume standing in front of a wall and lit with a straight flash. Making it spooky is essential to making your Halloween photographs stand out.
Light From Below
Most of the light we see comes from overhead lighting or the sun. When we use lighting from beneath a subject it breaks expectations and creates a feeling of uneasiness. The heavy use of this technique in movies throughout the years has increased this connection between low lighting and danger.
Hold a flashlight under your subject’s face to cast odd shadows over their features
Place your subject on a clear pedestal (or upside down plastic food container) with a glowstick underneath it.
Turn Your Camera Upside Down
Turn your camera upside down so that your flash fires downward. This is especially effective if you have a swivel-head flash and can bounce the light off of the floor.
Change the Color
We are used to seeing white light. That is, light that does not cast a color-tint. However, tinted lighting can be very spooky. Red, green, and blue lighting all have a very eerie feel to them.
Try taping colored cellophane to your flash or to a flashlight to add an odd color to your images. Just remember that colors other than white light may not register correctly on your camera’s light meter. Bracket your exposures or overexpose a little bit.
Glowsticks are great ways to add eerie colors to your images. You can place them behind objects, under clear pedestals, or inside pumpkins to give a wonderfully spooky color glow in small areas.
Blacklights are a mainstay of Halloween. However, they can require a bit of planning to make your images work. Check out my in-depth article on blacklight photography for instructions.
It’s nearly Halloween. It’s not too late to get started on holiday email campaigns, but there’s no time to waste. Thanksgiving comes late this year, pushing Cyber Monday all the way back to December 2. The usual holiday rush will feel even more rushed.
Follow these tips for your holiday email campaigns and you’ll be celebrating in no time.
1. Start as Early as Possible
2. Don’t Be Shy
Last year the average online retailer mailed 5.3 emails between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday
3. Don’t Miss Out on Free Shipping Day
4. ‘Tis the Season to Re-engage
5. Send a Holiday Gift Guide
Everybody’s busy, so make it easy for them. Holiday gift guides are an ideal way to do this, and often end up being an online retailer’s best-performing campaign of the season. Experian reports their clients received “48 percent higher transaction rates for gift guide emails when compared to other promotional mailings.”
Borrow a valuable tip from Experian’s study of holiday gift guides and include the word “Best” in the subject line promoting your holiday gift guide.