November Newsletter 2016

November Rain

(Queue Guitar Solo) Maybe? Sorta? No? Fine.

Never mind. Moving on. Yes the weather can be a little cold and wet, but you can still take advantage of the nice days by using the atmospheric conditions or to create beautiful long exposure images. Two fine examples of this are Steve Cowe's exceptional image of Storm Force or for a more recent upload - Mark Leader's image of Welcombe Mouth

News from the community

Congrats to Steve Clark who, in one order, sold his image of 02 Bristol Balloon Fiesta for a record 18 times. Great job, client was really happy with the final result!

Stephen Mole is hosting an exhibition at the Fairhaven Gardens from November 19th to November 27th. Pop-in and say hi if you're in the area! 

Well done to Tony Murtagh who's picture of the Hungarian Parliament at night has been selected in the final 12, out of an entry of nearly 1000 photos, in the Viking Cruises calendar competition for 2017. Now Viking ask for the public to vote for their favourite photo. The winning picture will feature on the cover of the calendar as well as inside. Now you can help and vote for Tony here.

What's happening?

Our American friends will celebrate their Thanksgiving on November 24th which kicks off the Christmas shopping holiday on the 25th; we'll get into that a little later.

This month we have "Bonfire Night" or "Guy Fawkes Night" and of course Remembrance Day.

Most of us know or are familiar with the story of Guy Fawkes however for those in other parts of the world who may not be so familiar, a quick history. On November 5th 1605, Fawkes (and others) had planned to blow up Westminster because he opposed King James (who was Protestant) and wanted to replace him with Princess Elizabeth, (who was Catholic) so to pull off their plot, the plan was to assassinate King James by blowing up Westminster -- makes sense right? His plan however was foiled by someone who wrote an anonymous letter and the Kings Guards captured Fawkes in the basement of Westminster guarding a stockpile of gunpowder. So on the day of his capture, November 5th 1605, to celebrate the King's escape from assassination the population celebrated by lighting bonfires, a tradition which continues to this day. -- The story was romanticised in the 2005 movie V for Vendetta staring Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving and Stephen Rea, if you haven't seen it, I recommend it.

There will be plenty of opportunities to catch a great photo of the bonfires and fireworks. Please however refrain from taking pictures of your TV during the BBC telecast (or any other TV program/station) and trying to sell the images. They are the copyright of the media outlets and cannot be sold. In case you are wondering - yes that has been attempted before.

Remembrance Day. A day of reflection and thanking all the veterans and soldiers who have fought and are currently fighting in war, combat or peace keeping missions. Although we have images for sale depicting poppies, World War's, other combats and remembrance, it is not to profiteer off death, but to give artists a platform and the general public a chance to express their gratitude and so that we never forget those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our way of life.

If you know anyone who is suffering for the effects of PTSD, please get them to contact the good people at The Veterans' Mental Health Charity

Lest we forget... From us here at Photo4Me, Thank you.

The big shopping event this month is the Black Friday and the Cyber Monday specials. Started in 1932, it is considered to be the beginning of the Christmas shopping season although now we're getting advertisements before halloween. -- You can already buy Christmas pies in some stores, do they keep that long?

Anyways, moving on. Most major retailers open very early as the date follows the day after American Thanksgiving as they have a long weekend, Friday and Monday off work and school. Now Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become more of a global phenomenon and we've jumped onto the spending spree over here.

I still remember what happened a few years ago, on the news, the chaos... Yes... So we have that to look forward too, maybe do your shopping online. Which you can also remind your followers that it's easier to buy a beautiful canvas online than go out in the cold and buy it in a shop. =)

What's new this month?

Most of the month has been dedicated to working on the uploader and working on the social sharing functions so that you can add hashtags for each image you upload. 

For more of an explanation, same as before you can share it right away on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest but now you'll have a cap of 90 characters you can add on Facebook and 31 for Twitter to create your own hashtags or jump on to popular hashtags of the day. We have also dropped the countdown from 10 seconds to 5 seconds.

Second thing we have done, was we have found a way to lower the prices of Framed Prints so we hope that this will create interest in the product and which will increase overall sales. Good news for all!

Top effort everyone!

A couple things crept up this month so best to address them here.

Someone asked us about their accreditation when we sell one of their images. On every sale that we make, we send a 8 x 11 piece of paper with the product -- like a letter of authenticity. It will give a quick thank you to the customer, the photographers name, title of the image, a description of the image and a small bio of the photographer. This is why we say it is important for you to fill out all that information when you've signed up.

Avatar and Bio can be found here.
Title and description - that's when you upload, so give it something more than, "It's a nice picture I took." People want to know where the image was taken, what car they are looking at, what shipping lane the ferry takes, etc etc.

Regarding the decline of images, we are given a dropdown menu that has pre-loaded text written in. If we had to write up each decline, we would be there all day doing just that. If you have a question, please feel free to ask and we'll reply the best we can.

One decline that gets disputed a fair bit are blown sky's and digital noise.

Blown Sky: Also includes blown highlights or blown area. We know there is no sky in your picture, but that area in the water, that has no detail or texture and is still "blown" will cause problems in print.

Noise: Also includes grain texture added to the image. We know that it's been added and it looks great as a thumbnail, but when we blow that up to size and print on a product, it looks really pixilated and takes away from the image -- it looks like you're looking at a TV from the 50's with static interference. Adding grain is possible to achieve, but you must walk a really fine line when applying the texture.

Last thing we've seen a lot of is flowers. We'll be the first to admit that we are no flower experts here, but we have seen a lot of "point, shoot and upload" of flowers recently so we have no choice but to be tougher on them during the upload process, they can't be just a picture in a garden with distractions in the back ground. Images for the most part that have already been uploaded will be grandfathered -- unless of course there are some serious issues with the image, but going forward we will be tougher on flowers. (A sentence I never thought I would have to write).

New members help
We see it all the time, and we will keep repeating this.

When it comes to primary key phrase and keywords. This should be 2-3 words that describe your image. When we say “describe,” it means what would someone look up. Don’t say, “sun” or “blue” or “sea” or any general word. We also see nonsensical gibberish like "snowdonia wet sun drive." Ask yourself, “What are you looking at?” Better yet, put yourself in the customers shoes, what are they looking for and what would bring up your picture with their specific search? Rarely will we see someone in our traffic search for something so general looking for the examples given above. A customer knows what they want and they want a specific thing.

Where - Where is this picture taken?
What - What are they looking at? 
Be as specific as possible.

If it's a beach, which beach? What town? Put all that into the keywords, mix it up, combine these keywords. What is in your description? Add those wordings into your keywords. String 2-3 words together.

I would highly recommend you go through your pictures to avoid just generalities. If your keyword is to general, customers will never find your lovely images.

We have instructed our moderators to be very observant and will kick back images which are too general in their keywords.

For more help with keywords, see the FAQ here.

We’re always looking for something to report or to announce, anything that would interest the community. Would you like to write up a blog? Start a photography club in your area? Have any tips? Locations? Advice? Let us know and we’ll be more than happy to read and even put it into the newsletter.

Have a great month everyone, and thank you for being part of the community. 

Best wishes,

Jon & Mike

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