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What the Heck is Graphic Design?

November 1, 2016

Many people know me for the photography side of my business, so as I opened my studio last week, my open house brought up the subject of the other half of what I do: Graphic Design.

I got a lot of odd looks until I started to explain, but in all fairness “graphic design” is not a real descriptive title. So, “What the heck is graphic design!?” What services can I provide to you with this half of my job? It’s simple, but quite diverse!

Website Logo © Noel Photography and Design

Website Logo © Noel Photography and Design

Graphic design is basically the artistic side of media, or creative ways to get information out. We work with both typography, imagery and other graphics to make a wide variety of work. Often graphic designers are seen in the advertising world making: logos, brochures, signs, magazine\book layouts, business cards, packaging material, social media graphics and other marketing materials. However, our diverse skills allow us to do other types of graphic work like wedding and event invitations, stationary, t-shirt designs, posters, book covers, photo books, and other personal media. Some designers, whether with a coding partner or solely, even design websites.

Save the Date Design © Noel Photography and Design

Save the Date Design © Noel Photography and Design

With that kind of list it’s difficult, even as a designer, to put a label on us. The combination of typography and imagery makes the sky the limit in what a graphic designer can do. My favorite part about having both photography and graphic design in my business is the fact that the two overlap. My skill and interest in both helps me to be better at both my jobs. Plus offer more functionality and creativity to my clients.

So, whether you’re getting married, starting a new business, or somewhere in between my services can apply to you! Now let’s get designing.

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More questions about graphic design services? Drop your questions and comments below. Thank you all for reading! Follow me here on WordPress by blog or email, and be sure to give the Facebook page a “LIKE.”

Happy Creating!

Noel

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NEW Products Available with Noel Photo. and Design! (1 of 2)

October 6, 2016

For those who follow the Facebook page, you may have caught that Noel Photography and Design now carries some brand new photo products! *WOO HOO!* Several holidays and events, like Christmas and graduation, are around the corner making this the perfect time to announce what’s offered and the unique details of each item.

It took me some time to choose my product selections, because I really wanted to find some one-of-a-kind, quality pieces for my clients. Well, that’s exactly what I did! So without further a due let’s dive in. To keep things simple the photo products, totaling around 7, will be discussed in two separate posts. This post will cover:

Acrylic Block Prints | Canvas Prints | Brushed Aluminum Prints

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ACRYLIC BLOCK

This quickly became one of my favorite products. Frankly, because it’s so simple and clean, but it leaves a BIG impression! First of all, it stands on it’s own. Making it easy to display your favorite photos anywhere in your home. What an awesome alternative to the wall or in a frame!

Image © Noel Photography and Design

Image © Noel Photography and Design

But what really makes this product unique, however, is it’s overall look. Can you say, “3D?!” Nothing brings a photo to life like brilliant, 1-inch thick, crystal-clear acrylic. This product literally lifts your photos off the page, make your guests take a second look.

Product Specs:

  • Photo prints on premium, Kodak photo paper
  • Photos are then covered by 1-inch thick, UV protected, clear acrylic
  • Product stands alone, no hanging system required.
  • The back is covered in opaque white to match any decor, and to stop the sun from shining through and obstructing the view.
  • This is offered in two perfect sizes for your space: 4×4″ or 8×8″
Image © Noel Photography and Design

Image © Noel Photography and Design

 

CANVAS PRINT

Canvas prints are one product I just had to include. They’ve been popular for many years and for good reason. At an inch and a half thick, these durable prints bring dimension to your walls, and artistic texture to your prints. This classic is super easy to hang, because they don’t really require any special equipment to do so. They are great pieces for those looking to create gallery walls, or some even lean canvas images against the wall from a shelf. They are very versatile!

Image © Noel Photography & Design

Image © Noel Photography & Design

Did I mention durable? I did, but let’s take a second look. Not only do they print on thick, stretched canvas, but they come with a protective satin coating. This finish not only helps to protect your photo, but it also provides a subtle gloss to give your photo a great sheen.

Product Specs:

  • Photos print on thick, durable, poly-cotton blend canvas
  • Eco-friendly protective satin coating
  • Canvas is stretched over a 1.5″ thick wooden frame
  • No special hanging system required
  • Available in three great sizes: 8×10″ 11×14″ and 16×20″
Image © Noel Photography and Design

Image © Noel Photography and Design

 

BRUSHED ALUMINUM PRINT

The brushed aluminum prints are modernly stunning. They combine a crisp, clean look with the industrial texture of brushed aluminum! Prints will show texture in the light and white areas of your photo. So, whether you choose a color or monochrome photo it’s sure to grab the look of metal.

Image © Noel Photography and Design

Image © Noel Photography and Design

The best part? Not only are these prints unique, but extremely functional. Though they have a metal design they are super light for hanging. Plus, with a UV-cured ink prints can hang virtually anywhere around the home or office. Including bathrooms and covered outdoor spaces!

Product Specs:

  • Photos are printed directly onto brushed aluminum
  • Inks are UV-cured to add extra protection against light and water
  • Aluminum Diabond backing for stability and an overall light weight
  • Special hanging system is included
  • Comes in three sizes: 8×10″ 10×15″ and 16×20″
Image © Noel Photography and Design

Image © Noel Photography and Design

 


I am very excited to start getting these stellar products out for clients. So please feel free to drop any questions my way! As always thanks so much for reading. Remember to follow along here on WordPress by blog or email, and on Facebook by giving the page a LIKE. {Especially to see the debut of the next set of new products!} Until next time…

Happy Creating!

Noel

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I Can Not Deliver Unedited Images.

August 29, 2016

Every now and again I get potential clients looking for photo services that don’t, or won’t, include editing (or what some refer to as “post-production.”) Part of my job is being flexible because it’s a career with many uncontrollable variables. However, this is just one company policy I refuse to budge on as a professional photographer, and someone who claims to be an artist.

As clients, I urge you to do the same when looking for your photographer of choice! Understandably, many potentials ask this question, because for some it lowers the service cost. So, why do I beg clients to WANT the post-production? What’s my hype over editing?

canon-207403_1920

Public Domain Image

It’s because post-production is more than just adding a pretty filter. It’s what the work says about the artist, their professionalism, and their ethic behind their work. Those who do post-production recognize that during a fast pace session, images may not be 100% perfect out of camera, and we have to skills to get it there after the fact. One, because we know what was missing when the shot was taken, and two, because we posses the technical skill and software to change it. Typically speaking, the reason to seek out an artist to do photos is because we have vision and skill. Otherwise, what’s the point?

To put it bluntly, asking a true photographer to skip post-production may mean you’re not really looking for a professional, or even an artist of photography, at all. That’s completely fine! But be willing to keep in mind someone who won’t do post-production may not be at the level of quality you’re expecting. Making the potential that your final product will be less than satisfactory.

Let’s face it, “Great Aunt Betty” or the “kid down the street” can take a few snapshots with a “nice camera” and hand them over. But will they have the skill to produce an image in which any “hiccups” can even be fixed?…A house is only as good as its foundation and the same goes for photography post-production.

Now, in addition to skill, let’s also consider “time.” Professional photographers spend hours, yes hours, going through photos and editing. We can afford to spend this kind of time and attention to your photos, because it’s our job! Now think about your schedule. Will your full-time job, kids, significant other, and thousands of other responsibilities allow you to put proper work into your images? Or will they sit untouched and unseen? I am the queen of “I think I can do it all,” but as I am unfortunately reminded of often: There are only so many hours in a day, and we must sleep.

Therefore, I beg you. Be willing to spare the little extra money to hire an “A-Z photographer.” Ask if they do post-production and how much. Allow them to take a task, they’re already prepared for, off your plate and create something amazing. You only get one chance to preserve a memory, therefore, if your images are important to you they should be equally as important to the person taking them.

“So, I apologize for the inconvenience, but no, I can not deliver your images unedited. Your photos are important to me, and when you receive them I want you to already be in love: with my service, my creativity and with your memories.”

Public Domain Image

Public Domain Image

Now for those still sold on an unedited route. One topic photo clients need to consider when they seek unedited images are the legal considerations. Yes, legal. Scary word right? It can be if you’re unprepared, yet plan to self-edit. Did you know?…

“Under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976, photographs are protected by copyright from the moment of creation.”

That means, from the time the individual snaps the photo it’s protected by Federal Copyright Law and may not be reproduced, shared or altered (edited) by anyone but the maker without consent. While “Great Aunt Betty” will not likely take you to court, an artist who changes their mind and feels cheated might. So before you perform a photo shoot with someone willing to deliver unedited images, be sure they will also be willing to give proper, written documentation for you to self-edit the photos.

It never hurts to be too careful!
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As always, thanks for reading and be sure to keep up-to-date with Noel Photography and Design: Follow me here by blog or email, and hit LIKE on the Facebook page!

Happy Creating!

Noel

 

 

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Why I Choose NOT to Use Digital Backgrounds for Photography.

July 15, 2016

Let me start off by clarifying “My images I create for fine arts and client photos are not completely free of alterations. In accompany with color and light adjustments, I will use {digital accents} to complete a photograph’s look, when appropriate.” In fact, I would say while never impossible, its rare when an image needs absolutely no post-production.

Then sometimes photographers get those “almost perfect shots.” The ones where just ONE thing is off or could be improved. Maybe it’s a dull grey sky in an otherwise colorful photo. Or a shot that could gain a whole lot of cuteness with a couple imaginary butterflies or bubbles. I mean really? It’s hard to avoid wanting perfection. These are instances where I find  “digital accents” acceptable vs dropping in a full digital background. (For those who’d like more clarification on what I’m referring to for a “full digital background” —> CLICK HERE, to see an example.)

 

 

“I see a clear difference in using digital aids to accent an image versus using digital resources to ‘BE’ the image.”

Fine Arts Composite Photography using Digital Accents. | © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

Fine Arts Photography using my own “Digital Accents” and composite photography. | © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

Instead, I want to focus specifically on the idea of using full digital backgrounds on other types of portrait photography such as: fine arts, weddings, engagements, family, children, seniors, and maternity. There is no doubt, when executed correctly, digital backgrounds can make some stunning pieces. It’s also hard to deny, however, they take away originality, realism, creativity, quality, and maybe even what an artist is being paid to do. Here is why I choose NOT to use full digital backgrounds for portraits:

 

YOU LOSE THE REALISM.

I find two sides to this reason.

The first is most obvious. “The picture can plainly look fake.” Maybe it’s because you live in Kansas, but there’s majestic mountains in the background, with a perfect ray of sunshine on your face. Or you’re an expectant mother standing in a field of tulips in the middle of October. While they make for nice looking images, it will be obvious to you, your friends and family they are fake. Will those unrealistic photos be wanted on the wall or in your albums??

Secondly, with client-portrait photography I feel my goal is to help clients re-live a particular moment in life forever. To enjoy those snapshots where we are “in the moment.” When you’re all dressed up on your wedding day you’ll want to be photographed in the places where you and your other half have all your memories. The places that will take you back to the magical day you said “I do.”

You will want to not only remember how you felt, but the time of year you were carrying your child. And as your kiddos grow, a posed shot dropped on a beach background will never compare to re-living the way they giggled as their feet squished into the sand. All those realistic things that will be hard to achieve with digital backgrounds.

 

QUALITY.

It was not long ago someone posted photos of their beautiful, new baby to Facebook and I of course had to take a peek. I had already planned to discuss this topic here, but it was ironic this image popped up as I was writing this piece. I scanned through the photographer’s album, but stopped quickly on one particular image. BAM! A digital background! It was so plainly obvious due to not only realism, but also the fact I’d seen this background for sale and even more so – the quality of the image! Lighting seemed peculiar and the background was pixelated, proving further that the only “real” thing in the photo was their adorable infant… It completely ruined the photo for me, but it got me to thinking back a few months to my own experience with quality issues.

When I first began using digital accents, I purchased a set of sky drops from a photographer I found online. Not only did it make me feel a little guilty to use someone else’s images, but the files I bought were much smaller than what my camera was producing for RAW\Original files. Making the two layers – theirs and mine – not really “compatible” for the production process. More often than not, purchased digital backgrounds (and accents such as skies,) are small files that can be downloaded directly from online. If something as small as a sky accent could ruin the quality of my images, I began to imagine what a full background could do!

It was settled. I didn’t want my images ruined because the original parts of the photo were printing clearly, while the accented parts poorly. I then decided if I was going to use digital accents, such as sky drops, I would be shooting as much of them as I could myself. Not only do I gain the quality that way, but also the creativity to make and call it my own. Leading to my last two reasons…

300 Proof Band Photo | © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

300 Proof Band Photo | © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

 

LOSS OF CREATIVITY.

From the time an artist is born {metaphorically} we are ingrained to be different and stand out. Constantly looking for new adventure and creativity. While I have my professional reasons to not use digital backgrounds, I have a long standing promise to myself, as an artist, to be original. Even returning to the same outdoor location or using the same studio background can be made to look completely unique every time its used. Digital backgrounds prohibit perspective and lighting alterations, so expecting it to look different each time is next to impossible. There’s nothing more unoriginal than having the same photo reproduced hundreds of thousands of times. Not to mention, there will come a point that others will notice the lack of creative effort. For those who might have missed it above – The first red flag that the newborn photographer used a digital background was I’VE SEEN IT ADVERTISED 1,000 TIMES! Which means you can be sure it’s been seen by other photographers and clients at least 1,000 times.

 

IT’S NOT REALLY THE  WORK OF THE ARTIST.

Legally speaking, yes, 99% of photographers are purchasing a license to use digital backgrounds. It saddens me that as artists, people who by definition create and make their own visions, purchase someone else’s images. Images that take up a large percentage of a final product they then pass off as their own work. Instead of showing our creative abilities, digital backgrounds mostly show an artists ability to cheat nature and our imaginations with technical skills. I find that quite disheartening.


Well—- did I sway you? How do you feel about full digital backgrounds? Love them? Hate them? Leave your comments below, and as always, thanks for reading! Follow Noel Photography and Design here on WordPress by email or blog. Plus, for continuous updates, promotions and all things creative LIKE the {Noel P&D} Facebook page.

Happy Creating!

Noel

 

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When to Self-Print vs. When to Professionally Print Custom Invitations

June 28, 2016

It’s no surprise that weddings, or really any planned party event, can quickly become expensive. It’s also no surprise that invitations are one of the required expenses in order for people to show up! I always have clients looking for ways to make sure their invitations look amazing, while not having to sell the house, car, or labra-doodle to do so. But where do you draw the line?

Invitations come in so many options today and can be presented in about 1000 different ways from informal to formal. Regardless of your style, invites shouldn’t have to break the bank. After all, while they are definitely high on the list they are not the only important expense. Obviously, in the end it will be up to the host to decide where to spend their budget and how much they are willing to spend to get what they want. However, from a professional designer, here’s a few general tips on where to open the wallet vs. where you might save a buck:

 

Image and Design © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

Image and Design © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

 

THE INVITATION:

YES! Hands down, always professionally print the invitation. An invitation, no matter what style, is formal by nature and should be treated as such. Often it will be kept by your close friends and family, or at the very least, displayed on their fridge\message board for a significant amount of time. Plus, it has all the most important info your guests need: who, what, where and when!  Plus, most (not all but most) professionally printed items add a “coating” over the printed side. This helps make the invite resistant to scratches, scuffs, spills and etc. All things that could effect how the item reads if something happens. So plan to spend the money to make sure they are quality pieces that will last and withstand being mailed.

 

THE RSVP:

The RSVP is equally as important as the invite, but this time it needs to be able to get back to you in one piece. So again, plan to have this professionally printed. You will be expecting your recipients to respond with their answer in order for you to effectively plan your event. Like the invitation, professional printing will help to ensure your paper is quality to go through the mail (twice) and still be legible when it gets back to you.

 

SAVE THE DATE:

Typically I urge these to be professionally printed if they contain a photo. However, this can be a coin toss for the host.

If there is a photo, often times your recipient will keep it! After all, you chose a design that incorporated an image for a reason. It might as well look nice and be durable. On the other hand, while save the dates definitely serve their own purpose, it doesn’t have ALL your event’s info so it will likely get tossed once the invitation arrives. Making this is one of those budgeting decisions for the host!

Save the Date | Product Photo & Design are © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

Save the Date | Product Photo & Design are © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

 

INFO CARDS:

Don’t feel guilty if you skip the professional printing here. Unless you have an extremely unique invitation set that can only be matched by your professional’s set up, it’s a great idea to print hotel info, reception directions and registries yourself. These items are meant to be functional rather than a formal keepsake. More than likely your guests will be stuff registry slips in their purse or wallet to go shopping, hotel info will be reiterated to them once they book, and most will likely transfer addresses\directions to their personal devices for future reference. Therefore, these items serve a short lived purpose. So whether they are professionally designed, or your own creation, save a buck and print these simply and efficiently!

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Thank you all for reading and please drop any questions, concerns or comments below! Follow Noel Photography & Design here on WordPress by blog or email, and be sure to give the Facebook page a “LIKE!”

Happy Creating!

Noel

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Ways to Display Photos at Your Wedding

June 7, 2016

June marks the beginning of prime wedding season. For many couple’s this means finding creative ways to display their two lives becoming one at their big day. The following are a few of my favorite ways to see couples layout their love story!

NOTE: As with any photo project, remember to use copies of your photos and not originals!!! Personal scanners or a scanner at a photo lab can be used to make copies of original prints. 

 

Monogram Collage

Found on Pinterest by Delachic.

Found on Pinterest by Delachic.

A monogram collage is one of the ultimate ways to display individual and couple photos on your new shared initial. I especially love all the sepia or black and white photos as an alternative to mixed color photos. Doing so makes a unified statement that will match any other decor.

Another alternative to this idea would be first name initials for each of your baby photos, then your last name initial for couple photos. Smaller letters may be ideal for this version of photo monograms.

 

Jars Jars Jars!

There are countless ways to display photos in jars, plus hundreds of jar types to choose from. But here are a few of my favorites.

Upside Down Jar Photos

Upside Down Jar Photos

Using various shapes and sizes for your jars can make a localized display very visually pleasing. Plus, flipping the jars upside down gives them a whole new look! Consider adding flameless tea lights under the jars to add an evening glow.

 

Jar Frame found on Pinterest by alittlecraftinyourday.com

Jar Frame found on Pinterest by alittlecraftinyourday.com

A whole new meaning to “framing.” This is an easy DIY to add photos to your centerpiece mason jars. Simply apply an adhesive chalkboard label to the jar and paint over it to make a little window. Add in the centerpiece decor of your choosing and done!

 

Floating Vintage Photo found on Pinterest by Home Decorating Trends.

Floating Vintage Photo found on Pinterest by Home Decorating Trends.

This may be my all-time favorite of the jar displays, and an awesome way to incorporate a truly vintage feel. These photos are suspended in vegetable\olive oil in a mason jar. The oil won’t soak in to the photo, therefore, keeping it afloat. Add a small dried flower stem, like lavender or baby’s breath, for an extra vintage-romantic feel.

 

Clothes Line 

Like with jars, “clothes line” picture holders can be done in many ways and placed in various places. In front of tables, across old windows, between, around or hanging from trees and much more! Not to mention, clothes lines can be scattered with pictures or made into a timeline of your stories.

Clothes Line Pictures found on Pinterest.

Clothes Line Pictures found on Pinterest.

Use an old window to create your clothes line in a popular place, such as a drink station, dessert table, gift table, or wedding favor display. Scatter the photos or dedicate each layer to a “his, hers and ours” timeline.

 

Tree Clothes Line found on Pinterest by Bridal Guide Magazine.

Tree Clothes Line found on Pinterest by Bridal Guide Magazine.

Incorporate the outdoors in your outdoor wedding! Simply wrap a tree with twine and clothes pin your photos around the tree. Rustic Love!

 

Clothes Line Board found on Pinterest.

Clothes Line Board found on Pinterest.

Another easy DIY is to wrap a barn wood or stained board in twine to clothes pin photos to, or simply slip photos behind the string!

 

Photo Walls

This can be done to match any style of wedding. “Walls” also allow room for a large amount of pictures, or even framed images.

Pallet Wall found on Pinterest.

Pallet Photo Wall found on Pinterest.

Pallets are a popular trend that are rustic, easy and relatively inexpensive to get. Not to mention they allow for plenty of surface area to display large, framed photos and even accent decor pieces.

 

Shutter Photo Wall found on Pinterest.

Shutter Photo Wall found on Pinterest.

Shutters are a great alternative to pallets for a rustic\chic look. They also can be found in various colors! The small slats make for easy hanging, and adding hinges allow the shutters to be displayed anywhere at your wedding.

 

Wall Collage(s) found on Pinterest.

Wall Collage(s) found on Pinterest.

Looking for a more modern style? Create a collage wall using foam core boards, mod podge and copies of your favorite photos! Take an organized approach like the square images (above to the left) or a more scattered collage (above to the right.) Foam core makes for easy transportation and display at your event.

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What are your favorites for wedding displays? Leave your comments or questions below! Thank you all for reading and be sure to follow my blog here on WordPress or by email. Then hit the LIKE button on my Facebook page for more updates from Noel Photography & Design.

Happy Creating!

Noel

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