10 Holiday Crafts That Don’t Involve Glitter

10 Holiday Crafts That Don’t Involve Glitter

Glitter!

It’s the holiday help-all that keeps on giving — on your clothes, furniture, even eyebrows — long after you have completed the crafting task at hand.

While the ever-present seasonal sparkler brings a dose of cheer, evoking images of frosted wonderlands, the romance of the New Year’s ball-drop, and the glitz of gifts and champagne — it’s a pain to work with and is easily overused.

If you want to avoid the substance entirely or simply want to tone down busy holiday decor with something more rustic and subtle, here is a list of easy arts and crafts — 100% glitter-free.


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1. Creative Wrapping

Make wrapping paper with textiles or book pages. Get more great gift wrapping ideas here and here.

photo courtesy of Carol Gibert

photo courtesy of Carol Gibert

2. Mason Jar Crafts

Turn mason jars into candle holders (can also fill with pebbles, buttons, seashells)

3. Cinnamon Stick Santas

Spice up the tree with cinnamon stick ornaments.

4. Cork Ornaments

Turn your wine drinking into a craft project with this cork ornament.

5. Sheet Music Letters

Cover block letters with sheet music for classic carols.


‘Tis the season. Gift the creative in your life something special – check out our curated holiday gifts


6. Wire Trees

Give Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree a run for its money — make an adorable wire tree.

7. Fragrant Fire Starters

Light up the fireplace with pinecone fire-starters strung with twine.

8. Sheet Music Wreaths

Deck the halls with boughs of music with these wreaths made of burlap sacks, sheet music, and/or twigs.

9. Earthy Ornaments

In lieu of an overly-precious glitter-doused doily, make snowflakes using twig, sprigs of pine, buttons, and twine.

10. Wooden Table

Get ambitious and create a rustic coffee table using wood logs.


‘Tis the season. Gift the creative in your life something special – check out our curated holiday gifts


 

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How Photographers Can Make Extra Money During The Holidays

How Photographers Can Make Extra Money During The Holidays

While we’ve already established that it’s perfectly ok to take a break during the holiday season, the raw reality is that a lot of creative types literally can’t afford to do that. Bills need to be paid, gifts need to be purchased, and tax season is coming up quickly. If your usual kinds of work — commercial, wedding, whatever — is extra-slow during the chilly winter months, the lack of income can be an extremely stressful and even scary experience. But there are ways for photographers to make extra money during the holiday season. It just takes a little creativity and, possibly, some hustle.

Here are a few ideas for how you can drum up extra money:

Make portraits. If you’re usually a wedding photographer, portraiture if a fairly natural next step. Consider contacting some of your recent clients to see if they’d like to do a “first Christmas together” or a New Years’ Eve shoot. These shoots tend to be short and sweet, and even if you just sell a few of the images, it can be a way to turn an otherwise lazy Sunday afternoon into a business venture. You might be surprised how many of your clients didn’t realize they wanted to sit for a portrait until you send them a polite email. You can even add a line about portraiture in your digital holiday cards (you are sending out digital holiday cards, right?).

Offer gift certificates. As Ann Rea pointed out, gift certificates are a smart way to help your clients get what they need for the holidays. There are a lot of benefits to gift certificates (cash in hand with the promise of work later, basically no overhead, plus, they make people like you!), so there’s really no reason not to have them.


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Look for second-shooter work. During a season when a lot of people travel, other photographers in your area might need a hand with a reliable second shooter. Hit up your contacts to see if anyone needs help with some of their events. The offer might be hugely helpful to a photog in a bind with too much work (yes, there is such a thing).

Copy this guy. Selling your Instagram photos might seem like a weird thing to do, but for photographer Daniel Arnold, it was the difference between not making rent and padding his checking account by $15k. Basically, Daniel offered a firesale on his Instagram images — and tons of people took him up on it. Now, this might not be your exact course of action, but if anyone’s ever expressed interest in purchasing your iPhoneography, now might be a good time to let people know, via Instagram, that you’ve got pieces for sale.

Shoot some stock photography. Stock images are a huge industry as everyone jumps on the content marketing bandwagon. If you find yourself with good light and something that might illustrate a blog post, set up your equipment and start firing away. Light Stalking has smart tips on how to make sure yours are the most popular photos on the site.


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How To Do String Art

How To Do String Art

When I was a kid, we had a couple of pieces of string art, made by an aunt, framed and hung in our house.

I mean, it WAS the 1970s, the heyday of string art.

But whereas the 1970s craze was all about making a string art owl from a kit (which we had), or a string art sailing ship, also from a kit (which we had), you can now do quite a bit better.

A lot of the imagination that you can bring to string art now comes from how simple technology is to use. Can you imagine what my aunt could have created if she’d had access to clip art and a printer? Google Image? A Cricut?!?

Because I promise you that designing your piece is by far the hardest part of making string art, and even that isn’t hard. I know you’ve got access to Google Images and a printer, after all!

So no more kits for you! I’m going to show you how to make string art the completely DIY way–from scratch, by hand. It’s going to be awesome. Here’s what you need:

Tools and Supplies

  • Wood, cut to size. I can always find some scrap boards to cut down over in my Garage of Mystery, but other good sources of wood are Craigslist, Freecycle, or your local Restore. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to score a finished plaque!
  • Nails. For this particular project, I’m using 1 1/4″ ring shank underlayment nails. They’re a little thicker than you need, but I’m doing this project with kids, and that extra width helps them keep their grip. Feel free to use whatever nails you like and have on hand.
  • Embroidery floss. This is another supply that you might just find that someone you know would LOVE to give you. There are a surprising number of people in this world who’ve given up cross-stitch!

Directions

1. Prepare your wood. This step can take a lot of different forms, depending on what wood you choose and the tools you have available. You can use everything from a pre-finished plaque to a pallet board, but whereas that pre-finished plaque is ready to go, but also pricey and unsustainably sourced, something like pallet boards or scrap wood might need to be cut to size and sanded down, but they’re free and keep more resources out of the waste stream.

If you’re preparing your own wood, don’t skip sanding it–if this is one of your first woodworking projects, you’ll be surprised at how much nicer your wood looks after it’s sanded. My secret trick is to round the edges of the wood piece while I’m sanding it. It won’t replace the services of a router, but just sanding all the edges makes the finished piece look more professional.

Staining and sealing the wood is optional, but if you choose to do so, remember to use water-based stain and sealant.

2. Create your template. Create a template for your string art on typing or notebook paper. You can draw freehand, of course, but Google Image is also your friend, and I love using my old-school Cricut. I mean, it can draw me a parasaurolophus at the size of my choosing! How AWESOME is that?!?

3. Nail directly onto the template. Place the template onto the plaque, and then begin to hammer nails right through the paper, following the lines of the template.

Try to keep your spacing and the nail heights even, but don’t stress out too much. The one thing that you DON’T want to do is pull a nail out and leave an empty hole. Just work with where you’re going!

Watch, as well, for narrow spacing. You can see below how I modified my parasaurolophus, as I noticed while I was hammering nails that some of my spacing–the tail, for instance, and certainly the legs–was going to be too narrow to look nice when wrapped with string:

Try to remember, though, that nobody is going to be looking at your project as closely and critically as YOU are, so roll with any imperfections that come along.

Once you’ve hammered in all the nails, tear the paper away. I had to get into a few little nooks with a pair of tweezers, but it wasn’t difficult.

4. Wrap with embroidery floss. Now for the fun part! Wrapping the nail art with embroidery floss is the MOST fun, and you’ll find that even kids who are too young to hammer nails (although don’t dismiss their abilities without really thinking about it–you’d be surprised at how young a kid can handle a hammer!) can have a ball wrapping nails with yarn or embroidery floss.

Tie a knot around one nail (secure it with a little white glue to be safe), then wrap the floss around the perimeter of your piece to outline it. Weave in and out of the nails, wrap it completely around some nails, take a break to go back and forth across your piece–feel free to have fun!

Once the perimeter is wrapped, go back and forth across your piece at every angle, with no discernible pattern, to cover the surface area with embroidery floss. After a bit, you’ll be able to notice spots that have gaps and you can easily cover those. This takes a LOT of embroidery floss, so be prepared to use at least an entire skein, and possibly more, depending on the size of your piece. Tie the floss off around a nail, and again, dot the knot with a little white glue to make sure it holds.

When you’re finished, you can continue to embellish your piece (not everyone I know is as science literate as I am, so I made a label for my string art parasaurolophus), and mount a picture hanger on the back so that you can hang your new masterpiece in a place of honor.

And now you can make another one as a gift for someone else!

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The content for this post was sourced from www.craftingagreenworld.com

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How To Boost Your Confidence Before A Holiday Party

How To Boost Your Confidence Before A Holiday Party

boost your confidence

For some people, holiday party season is the best. You get to take time to meet new people, catch up with family and friends, and even socialize with coworkers who you may not otherwise talk to often. For others — introverts, shy people, or even extroverts suffering a crisis of confidence — this aspect of the holidays is borderline unbearable. The small talk, the long days (how often are corporate holiday parties almost immediately after the close of the business day?), and the constant stream of unfamiliar faces can be entirely too much.

But the difference between nervously pacing in the moments before getting in the car and confidently handling the situation might be as seemingly-trivial as a change in how you’re standing.

According to Science of People founder and body language expert Vanessa Van Edwards, one of the best ways to boost your confidence is to address what’s really making you nervous, and then, essentially, fake it ’til you make it.
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“Fear likes to dress up as things that it’s not,” explains Vanessa, who calls all of those pre-party worries — that you’re awkward, that you’ll be disappointing, that no one likes you — “gremlins.” They’re nagging and they’re plentiful, but in the end, they can be defeated by as little as changing the way that you’re sitting, standing, or otherwise carrying yourself. Because, scientifically, your body responds the same to a real threat (“like a snake or an accident,” says Vanessa) as it does to, say, “an awkward pause” or “someone who gives you a dirty look at a networking event.” This response “emotionally hijacks” your brain, making it impossible for you to conduct yourself in a normal, convivial way.

“When something makes us afraid…we can’t move past it. So we have a hard time connecting,” she explains. To get back on track, then, you have to examining your fear, and then physically fight the fear response.

First, allow yourself to really feel your anxiety. But, instead of judging yourself for it, ask yourself what is triggering your response. Why do you feel this way? What is causing these feelings? Are these rational, actual fears? This introspection can help you get support, get reassurance, and reframe the feelings.

Next, says Vanessa, focus on that reframing.

“Your fear is there. We’re not going to try to repress it — believe me, that only makes it worse,” she explains. Instead, “name and tame” your fear.

Simply by rating how afraid you are and turning that negative self-talk into “clarifying self-talk,” says Vanessa, gives the fear less power over you. Instead of denying its existence, you admit that it’s there — and then move past it.

If you’re still nervous or afraid — which you probably are — the next step is to use your body to fool your mind.

“Our body is a positive feedback loop,” says Vanessa. “When we go into low-confidence body language, we actually begin to feel more low-confident. We produce the stress hormone that makes us feel worse. So we get worse and worse and worse,” she explains. “Whereas if you feel confident, and you stand confident, you produce the exact hormone you need to perform well.”

So, strike what Vanessa calls a “high power pose,” wherein, essentially, you take up a lot of space. You can do this either before you leave for the party, or even in the bathroom or a private place (just make sure you’re alone). Just by acting out confidence — performing it with your body — you’ll be telling your brain that you are safe, and that it’s ok to emotionally connect with others. Then, since your brain won’t be blocking your ability to socialize and connect, you might find yourself more affable and amiable in whichever social situation you might find yourself, which will definitely give you that much-needed confidence boost.

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Tips For Photographing Holiday Lights From A Photojournalist

Tips For Photographing Holiday Lights From A Photojournalist

Looking for holiday photography ideas? Photojournalist Rick Friedman suggests strategies and settings for shooting holidays lights in the city.

When I asked award-winning photographer Rick Friedman if he would be willing to shoot a few photos of Boston during the holidays to demonstrate photographing lights and long exposures his first response was, “Topher, it’s literally 2 degrees outside.” But in the end, he’s just too nice of a guy — and a photographer devoted to his craft — so he decided to help me out. Not only that, Rick provided a few tips on how you can best capture the holiday spirit from behind the lens, no matter the weather.

People often underestimate how difficult it can be to get the perfect shot in the wintertime. Like any shoot, you should plan shoots in advance, but it’s even more crucial in the winter months. “In a northern town like Boston, the golden hour lasts about 20 minutes and so does the blue hour or the time after the sun sets… so this time a year, it’s all about moving fast,” says Rick. It’s also crucial to have the right equipment, especially if you are attempting to shoot holiday lights during the blue hour or later, when a long exposure is essential. According to Rick, anyone who is looking to capture holiday lights needs a tripod, a camera release and also needs to use “mirror-up setting” to ensure a stable, quality shot. It’s also smart carry extra batteries as long exposures have a tendency to take a lot of out them.


‘Tis the season. Gift the creative in your life something special – check out our curated holiday gifts


The most important element of a great wintertime shot is also the most obvious — if you are freezing, you’ll focus more on your icy hands and the state of your gear instead of capturing a great shot. “Make sure to have your gear accessible and your settings where you want them so you don’t spend your time taking your gloves on and off and playing with your gear,” says Rick. Instead, organize your gear and bring extra layers. Without this extra step of preparation, you’ll end up an icicle without any good photos to show for your efforts.

Boston Christmas

Massachusetts State House

To set up for this particular shot, Rick stepped out of the warmth of the mayor’s holiday party, walked across the street, set up his Gitzo tripod and secured his Nikon D800 with a 17-35 mm lens on top. “I noticed the ambient light on the tree and the state house matched up well,” says Rick. Measuring the light is as simple as using your built-in meter to measure each spot. Rick also set his ISO to 800, used an F/18, and played around with this shutter speed until he felt it was right. This particular exposure wasn’t very long — around 3 seconds. If Rick were to have brought the ISO down, it would have narrowed his depth of field and made the flag entirely too blurry. To finalize the image, Rick did very little work in post production. “I brought up the clarity just a bit, opened the shadows with Lightroom and added a little saturation, maybe 10 points in total.”

Looking for holiday photography ideas? Photojournalist Rick Friedman suggests strategies and settings for shooting holidays lights in the city.

George Washington Statue

Incorporating street and car lights into your holiday lighting shot will make for a vibrant, energetic shot. In the image above shot in The Boston Public Garden, Rick considered several lighting variables including the tree lights, moon, street lights, car lights and of course, the remaining soft blue sky of the “blue hour.” He used a shorter exposure of around 10 seconds to freeze the car lights and still keep the tree lights sharp and bright. “In a shot like this, it’s all about timing,” Says Rick. “What I did here was wait for the light to change and the cars to pass which froze the man across the street (he’s waiting for the light) and gave me the steady line of light from the cars that you see in the photo.” The F/20 was crucial to capturing the blue sky, “If I would have stopped down 1 or 2, the moon may have been brighter, but I would have lost the blue which is what really brings this shot together.”

Looking for holiday photography ideas? Photojournalist Rick Friedman suggests strategies and settings for shooting holidays lights in the city.


‘Tis the season. Gift the creative in your life something special – check out our curated holiday gifts


The Boston Public Garden Lagoon

The same lagoon during summer

The same lagoon during summer

In the summertime, this pond is a beehive of activity as you can see in Rick’s photo above. In the winter, it becomes one solid sheet of ice and at night, a place to go to get some peace and quiet. “The key to this shot was a shorter exposure time given the lamps and other lighting sources,” says Rick. The exposure time was about 15 seconds and his ISO 200 with an f-stop of 14. Similar to the photo of State House above, Rick captured this image with the basic gear – a  tripod, the D800, 17-35mm lens and a cable release.

Below, you’ll find several other images taken by Rick in the last few weeks. 

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Little Rock bridge lighting

Little Rock bridge lighting

More About Rick: 

Rick teaches dynamic, intensive, interactive “Location Lighting Workshops™” designed for portrait photographers, photojournalists, corporate and event photographers, wedding photographers, and serious amateurs who want to improve their knowledge of lighting. To see his schedule of events and participate in one visit his website.


‘Tis the season. Gift the creative in your life something special – check out our curated holiday gifts


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John Greengo’s Camera Buyer’s Guide (2018 Edition)

John Greengo’s Camera Buyer’s Guide (2018 Edition)

I’ve just complete preparations for my latest Camera Buyer’s Guide video, available for free through CreativeLive, and change is afoot. For the third time in my photographic life, I’m seeing the tipping point where a new type of camera overtakes the market.

The first change I saw with my own eyes was in autofocus, first introduced around 1985 it wasn’t until about 1990 that it became mainstream. There was both a lot of excitement and snickering during this change. The second revolution was the transition from film to digital. The early roots of digital go back to the 1970’s. Mainstream digital cameras with interchangeable lenses launched with the Canon EOS D30 in May of 2000. It was a mere four years later that the majority of my colleagues were shooting digital.

We are now at the mirrorless tipping point. In my Camera Buyers Guide I do a complete rundown of everything you should know about when purchasing an interchangeable lens camera. I, of course, go through the differences between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras very closely. To illustrate the change over I wanted to show a comparison of Mirrorless vs DSLR cameras available from all the major brands available today. The slide is a revolution of Mirrorless, nearly double the number of DSLRs available.

A Shift in Demand

Available models don’t indicate current usage, but it does show market direction. Anecdotal evidence from my in-person classes and tours suggest that about 25% of users have left DSLRs behind. With Nikon and Canon’s new full-frame mirrorless introductions, it’s game on for everyone.

This sea change is important. Just as it was for autofocus and digital because it forced users into a new set of lenses. Yes, I know, there are adaptors and you can use your older lenses, but there are always limitations. If you want the full experience you have to go all in, new camera and new lenses.

The mirrorless cameras have reduced the flange back distance (mount to sensor distance) in order to both save space and give lens engineers greater latitude when designing lenses. This gives us the potential of smaller systems or greater resolution, but likely not both at the same time. The early mirrorless cameras touted their small size, but that was mostly due to their small sensors. Now in the world of full-frame mirrorless, we’re seeing cameras that are bit smaller than their DSLR cousins, but the lenses are just as big, if not even bigger. What’s going on?

Choose the camera that is right for you. Learn more.

I’ve seen this coming for a few years. As the pixel race zoomed upward it was obvious that lens quality had to go up with as well. There’s no sense in wasting pixels if it’s only illustrating how soft the focus of the lens is. Both Canon and Nikon were releasing a torrent of new lenses that were replacing perfectly good lenses. But the new ones were sharper, paving the way for higher resolution sensors. Today we see sensors with 42MP, 46MP, and 50MP from Sony, Nikon, and Canon respectively. These sensors require top notch lenses, which generally means big heavy glass.

The full-frame mirrorless revolution isn’t about size, it’s about image quality and performance. The short flange back distance will allow sharper lenses and the introduction of lenses. The likes of which we’ve never seen before e.g. Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM. These high-quality lenses are going to fill your bag very quickly. One of these lenses poised to be matched to a high res sensor is the Sigma 105mm f/1.4 HSM Art lens. A portrait bokeh master if there was ever one, this lens weighs a whopping 3.6lb(1.6kg) and uses 105mm filters. Back when I was a young photographer I heard stories about a favorite portrait lens from Nikon, the 105mm f/2.5. The rumor was that it had a lot of National Geographic covers to its name. That little lens weighed only 15oz (435g) used 52mm filters. Our collective definition of a great portrait lens has changed dramatically.

Full Frame is the new Medium Format

With the increase in quality and the requisite increase in lens quality and size, full-frame cameras are now doing the job that the medium format cameras did back in the days of film. For the average photographic enthusiast, a full frame camera and a bag full of lenses is becoming too much. The increase in lens size is something I’ve talked about before. In the 80’s lenses had filter sizes of 52mm to 62mm for most average lenses, in the 90’s it was 67mm to 77mm and now it’s 77mm to 82mm. We are taking higher quality photos than ever before, but it comes at a heavy cost.

It’s hard to argue against quality, I know I’m always looking for the best when I can. But there is a cost to quality, especially if you are in this game because you love it and you’re not trying to make a buck. Heavy gear slows you down, limits your mobility and limits your creativity. The pull to full frame is strong, most of the pros shoot full frame, the YouTubers all talk as if full frame is the Holy Grail. Every mention of a lens has to mention the full frame equivalent. All the cool kids seem to be shooting full frame. Indeed the force is strong.

Full frame isn’t right for everyone, you need to assess what you want to do and what will meet your needs. There will always be a camera or system that can achieve higher results, but at what price are you going to pay for it? I’ve joked about it before, but I’m serious, if you want to find the perfect camera system for you it’s very easy. Go to a camera store and go to the bag section, find a bag that you can live with, day in and day out. Take that bag over to the camera counters and see what camera and lenses you can fit in it. It turns out, that’s what we end up carrying around more than our cameras, it’s our camera bag.

Fuji Fan

This is why I’m such a big fan of the Fujifilm system: they are the only manufacturer that is dedicated to the APS-C sensor. Yes, Nikon, Canon, Sony, and Leica all make APS-C cameras and lenses, but they are split in their dedication to the system. They have other competing products that share the lens mount. They don’t make a full range of dedicated lenses, instead suggesting that you use a lens designed for a different, larger system.

The new Fujifilm X-T3 has many people calling it the best APS-C camera ever, and they may be right depending on your needs, the Nikon D500 is still standing strong. While the full frame cameras pull the majority of the attention, this is where I think a lot of enthusiasts would be best to start. This is why I’m excited about what Fuji is offering, a compelling product with a lighter footprint.

Choose the camera that is right for you. Learn more.

The End of an Era

My prediction for the next several years is that Nikon and Canon will accelerate their pivot to mirrorless. This means more mirrorless cameras and fewer DSLRs and accompanying lenses.

The recent Photokina trade show was a hallmark example. The only new SLR introduced was a medium format Leica that will sell in the $20k+ range. When was the last time we went without a major manufacturer introducing a new SLR? My bet was the early 1960’s. The introduction of new DSLR’s are about to dry up, save for a number of low-end tweaks to the system.

There are many current DSLRs that are likely to be the last of their kind. A Canon 5D Mark V, I think is quite likely, but not necessarily a Mark VI. A Nikon D900 I wouldn’t be too sure about. As Nikon and Canon move to mirrorless, that’s less R&D time and money for the older systems. A lot of the lenses available today will be the last of their kind as the shift to mirrorless progresses.

We are seeing the end of a generation; I’m both a little sad and also very excited. The mirrorless systems are clearing hurdle after hurdle in catching up to SLRs. There are only a few categories that are still being won by DSLR’s. For all these reasons (plus more that I’ll talk about in my Camera Buyer’s Guide) you’ll see why I’m recommending that most people start the camera decision process with a mirrorless as the default choice.

 

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3 Effective Ways to Improve Client Communication

3 Effective Ways to Improve Client Communication

improve client communication

No need to ask a therapist: communication is key for a healthy relationship, whether it’s romantic, familial or professional.

As a creative entrepreneur, how should you approach client communication with current and potential clients? To help you figure it out, CreativeLive has teamed up with HoneyBook to bring you new classes on the ins and outs of being a creative entrepreneur. Meanwhile, here are some ideas for good client communication:

Choose the smart way to do it

Although you might like to be available for your clients at all times to help with questions or concerns, it might not be the most effective way to create a lasting client relationship. When you’re signing up a new client and getting their information, you could choose to include questions about their preferred methods of communication (email, a phone call, face-to-face, text message, Slack, video chat, etc), and what times or days are best to be in touch.


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However, to keep things under control and as a client relationship best practice, it’s a good idea to state your own communication preferences from the very beginning. If you want clients to call you only during your working hours, mention that in your website or your email signature. Get a phone number that is only for your business and let it go to voicemail outside of your set work hours. Or, don’t offer a phone number at all if you prefer to stick to emails and social media. Just because you are no longer in a 9 to 5 job, making yourself available to clients at any time could be stressful and make you a less happy entrepreneur. This can be especially difficult if you don’t always have internet access. HoneyBook‘s project management platform includes a client messaging system so you can keep all client communication organized and in one place.

Automate to save time (and skip the stress)

Find a client communication system that works for you. There are plenty of methods and strategies out there, so step out of your comfort zone and experiment until you figure out which one feels most natural to you. HoneyBook allows you to set up automatic responses to new inquiries so your potential clients get a speedy reply and feel taken care of from the very first contact with you. Save even more time by setting up follow up emails, thank you emails and task reminders on HoneyBook.

You might find the formalities of doing business intimidating or complicated. HoneyBook is built specifically to do the work for you by streamlining and automating all the required paperwork and processes.


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Your contract and invoice templates are tailor-made for your business—all you’ve got to do is send in your business process details to HoneyBook. Less time spent on the admin stuff means more time to focus on doing great work for your client. Now that’s effective client communication.

Listen up—and ask questions

Of course, enjoying good communication is a two-way street. That being said, the client is paying you, so a lot of the responsibility falls on you. Whenever you connect with your client–whether it’s on the phone, via email or in person–you want to be clear and make it known that the client’s needs have been heard and understood. If you don’t completely understand their requests, it’s your job to ask for more details so there’s no confusion when the delivery date rolls around.

improve client communication

It’s critical to be a good listener to have stellar communication skills with your client or the company your working with. Let them talk through their ideas before you interrupt with your suggestion. If you find that your client loves to tell you about his kids or dog or wood carving hobby, listen and ask questions. Same goes for responding to email inquiries. As branding expert and HoneyBook educator Ashlyn Carter points out, your response is a chance to make a great first impression on your potential client. “State their problem back to them in their own words–people buy when they feel heard and understood,” Carter says. In all your communication with the client, being a good listener and showing you have high emotional intelligence is a surefire way to build trust and strengthen your business relationship. It will create the best experience for your client, too.

Talking business doesn’t have to be as serious as it might sound. Get a clear understanding of your client’s needs. Why does he or she need your product or service? Keep in mind that your client is just another person trying to get stuff done, and you’ll find it easier to connect and communicate if you add a personal touch to your client communication.


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How to Make Mason Jar Lid Ring Christmas Ornaments

How to Make Mason Jar Lid Ring Christmas Ornaments

If you enjoy canning, don’t you have SOOOOO many Mason jar lid rings?

Those Mason jar lid rings, also called screw bands, can be re-used (unlike the lid tops, which you aren’t supposed to re-use at all), but only until they start to rust or get bent or dinged, something that seems to happen with my rings, at least, after very few uses.

Sigh.

Fortunately, there are loads of ways to repurpose these rings so that you’re not just adding them to the waste stream. And since it’s December, my favorite way to repurpose ANYTHING this month has to be Christmas ornaments!

These Mason jar lid ring Christmas ornaments look a lot harder to make than they are. If you’re artistic, you’ll love using these to show off your skills, but even if you’re not–hey, that’s why clip art, stickers, and patterned paper were invented!

Supplies

To make these ornaments, you will need:

  • Mason jar lid rings. Repurpose ones that are no longer suitable for canning. Don’t can? You know someone who does, or check on Freecycle or Craigslist–there is someone out there who would LOVE to give you their dinged-up canning supplies.
  • Ribbon. Stash ribbon is fine, but twine, hemp cord, or even thin chain would work.
  • Mat board or thick cardboard. For these particular ornaments, I used mat board scraps (does it still count as hoarding if you really do use the stuff someday?), but thick cardboard–something thicker than card stock or food packaging–would also be fine.
  • Decorative paper. Use scrapbook paper, old book pages or sheet music, or even wrapping paper.
  • Image for the ornament’s front. My daughter traced the inside edge of a Mason jar lid ring, then created several pieces of original artwork for our ornament fronts, all of which I photocopied onto card stock so that we could make multiples. Anything fun and creative would make a beautiful ornament, however. If you’ve got scrapbook supplies, dig them out!
  • Spray paint (optional). It’s not eco-friendly, but if you want to change the color of your Mason jar lid ring from rusted metal, this is your best option. I’ve made these ornaments both ways, and while I do like the painted ornaments better, it’s not necessarily worth the time that it takes to paint them.
  • Glue. You need an archival glue suitable for paper and a separate, sturdier glue for the rings. I used spray mount for the former and hot glue for the latter.

Directions

1. Trace the inside edge of a Mason jar lid ring. This will be your template for cutting the decorative paper back, the mat board middle, and the featured image on the front.

2. Make a beautiful ornament front. The Mason jar lid ring makes the perfect frame for your original art. Whatever medium you prefer, whether it’s watercolors, acrylics, markers, or charcoal, it will look adorable in this simple round frame. But don’t forget that you can also use stickers, cut-outs, clip art, or anything else you’d like in order to embellish these ornament fronts.

3. Cut all pieces to size. The ornament front, mat board or card stock, and ornament backing paper should all be cut to your template. You can pop them into the Mason jar lid ring to check the fit–sometimes I’ve found that I haven’t cut a piece carefully and have to trim it a bit. Better to do that now than when you’re racing the hot glue gun!

4. Glue the ornament front, middle, and back together. Spray mount gives the most archival result, but an ordinary glue stick is also perfectly serviceable.

5. Do you want to paint the Mason jar lid ring? If so, do it now! Spray clear sealant, with or without painting the rings, is another option.

6. Tie ribbon onto the Mason jar lid ring. A lark’s head knot is just about the easiest and most attractive of knots, and that’s what you’re going to do here. Tie the ends of the ribbon into a bow, and there you have your ornament hanger!

7. Glue the ornament piece to the Mason jar lid ring. I’ve tried several types of glue with this ornament, and none are really ideal. The most full-proof glue is hot glue, but you’ll have to work quickly. Lay out the ornament, face-down, and the Mason jar lid ring, flat side down and with the ribbon at the top, and then quickly dispense hot glue around the inside edge of the lid ring. Immediately set the ornament into the lid ring and press it down so that it’s flush against the flat side of the lid ring.

These ornaments are a great way to show off a kid’s artwork–or your own! A matching set of complementary ornaments also makes a nice handmade gift.

But of course, I like them best on my own tree, displaying all of our homemade love for the season.

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The content for this post was sourced from www.craftingagreenworld.com

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Best Cameras for Photography in 2018 Based on Level of Expertise

Best Cameras for Photography in 2018 Based on Level of Expertise

Good cameras for photography 2018

The often addressed but seemingly difficult to answer question, ‘What is a good camera for photography in 2018?’ plagues entry-level and advanced photographers alike. This is a challenging question first and foremost because all cameras these days are of good quality. But what is the best camera for you? If you’ve outgrown the point-and-shoot camera, you may be looking for the best DSLR camera or possibly the best compact camera. Your specific use case is extremely important in the decision, so I’ll give you a little help on that as well.

When you’re considering a new camera, determining what it will be used for will give you a good starting place for finding the perfect model for you. Especially if you’re getting your first camera or you’re not invested in a particular system already, the number of choices can be overwhelming. By considering your needs and being honest with yourself, you can narrow those choices down quickly.

The Entry-Level Model

If you’re a hobbyist or simply picking up your first camera to start working with something more capable than your phone, it’s hard to recommend anything other than a mirrorless camera. A few years back, I’d have suggested you opt for an entry-level DSLR but for the same cost now, you can get a more capable and easier to use mirrorless camera system.


Choose the camera that is right for you. Learn more.


The Sony Alpha a6300 or Sony Alpha a6500 are great options, or even the older Sony RX10 Mark II (or Sony RX100 if you are willing to max out on your spending). They have a modern styling and superior autofocus. They have all the bells and whistles of good low-light performance, WiFi connectivity and battery life, not to mention good lenses for pairing.

Both cameras have good autofocus systems that help to create great image quality when you’re just starting out and give you enough room to grow into the system should you begin to take photography more seriously down the road. Sony doesn’t necessarily create the best mirrorless cameras (there are Nikon, Canon and Olympus counterparts) but these are great options based on my experience.

Best Camera for Photography

The Intermediate Model

Here’s where things get a little trickier. Once you’ve learned a little about photography, your needs start to become a little more specific. You’re starting to have a style you like to shoot in, a subject matter that interests you, or perhaps specific features that make your life easier. It’s at this point that you need to decide which camera or full-frame camera best suit your needs. Nevertheless, I’m going to go out on a limb here and recommend a single camera for the intermediate user, especially the one looking to take their photography craft as far as possible.

This time around, I’m actually going to offer up an older model that still holds strong in 2018: the Nikon D750. This is Nikon’s true all-rounder and can be purchased at a great price point. This robust and extremely well thought out DSLR camera is still a favorite among many photographers. It may not be the latest release but it still packs everything you need into a compact DSLR full-frame camera. Even in 2018, this is a good camera for photography at all levels.

The Advanced Model

At the high-end of things, there really are no bad choices. All manufacturers have poured their best technologies into their cameras and the results are spectacular.

There is one camera that truly stands out this year, however, and that is the Nikon D850. It draws on everything that makes Nikon the company they are and improves on it. The autofocus system is fast and accurate. The controls are at your fingertips so for most of your shooting you’ll never even have to look at the menu system. Nikon’s lens catalog is nothing short of stellar and this high resolution, full-frame sensor will get the best out of those lenses for you. Plus, it offers Nikon’s SnapBridge Bluetooth connectivity to make transferring images easier.


Choose the camera that is right for you. Learn more.


Use Case One

This photographer is somewhat of a “jack of all trades.” She has a lot of experience and needs a good camera of her own to get the job done. In the past, she has used her company cameras (Canon EoS Rebel) but is now doing more of her own freelance work and needs her own camera. She works a mixture of corporate events (fast autofocus, good low-light performance), some architectural work (a wide selection of lenses, including tilt-shift options), various editorial assignments from food to portraits, and some weddings.

She doesn’t mind carrying a little weight and just wants one camera system that will get all this work done and will be great for continuous shooting. The lack of tilt-shift lenses knocks Fujifilm or Sony out for her, so she’s looking at Canon or Nikon. As she is familiar with Canon, we’ll look at a Canon camera. She doesn’t need the resolution of the 5DS R or the burst rate of the 1D, so in this case, I would recommend the 5D Mark IV. This is the camera that will get all of her jobs done and offer an iso range, shooting speed and zoom range she is familiar and happy with.

Best DSLR cameras for photography

Use Case Two

Unlike our previous photographer, number two has little experience. However, he is eager to learn. He is looking for something easy to use in a small package that produces great quality. Although he’s not looking to become a professional photographer, he would like a camera that he can grow with. So, the demands of a professional do not need to be there, but the option to expand should be. He’s not fond of computers and if at all possible, would like to keep the need for post-production to a minimum. He’d also like to be able to share images directly to his phone as he will be traveling a lot over the coming years and wants to send pictures home.

In this case, I would recommend a Fujifilm X-T20. This is a small body that is lightweight and has some excellent lenses that our photographer can grow into. Because it is a mirrorless camera, he is able to preview his images in an electronic viewfinder before he shoots them and see the changes he makes in live view. Fujifilm is also famous for its in-camera colors and the in-built WiFi will allow him to share his images on the go. The 4k video feature will allow him to share images as well as video.

In Conclusion

Every camera in this article is capable of creating high image quality shots and some are more advanced than others but in 2018, nearly all cameras are fantastic machines. The recommendations on this list offers a dynamic range of options whether you’re shopping for an entry-level DSLR camera or simply looking for the best mirrorless camera out there. Once you’ve settled on a model or two, I recommend renting or borrowing to see how they feel. If you don’t like holding your camera, you won’t use it. Make sure it’s the right tool for you before you commit.


Choose the camera that is right for you. Learn more.


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Why Printing Family Photos and Photo Books is Important to Our Children

Why Printing Family Photos and Photo Books is Important to Our Children

Life is precious and fleeting. Memories that matter and bring us joy, need to be brought to life. So what happens when we grow up in a society of picture takers but not photo printers? We get a disconnect. Photo printing brings those moments back into our lives and they are tangible and easily accessible. They are shared when printed. They give children a sense of security and belonging when the photos are displayed throughout their own home.

So what happens when we don’t print? Well, we make it difficult for children to enjoy the memories that make up their small world. Here is a glimpse at children trying to get access to their favorite photos. It’s kind of a mess, with batteries not working, passwords needed and hundreds of photos to scroll through on the phone. Lots of time, a parent needs to step in to help out.


 


Photo Printing for Children

It’s almost as if we are denying access to our memories from the little ones, they do not have access to their own fond moments. So how do we remedy this trend? We decided to take these families, photograph them and then print out their photos from AdoramaPix. Instead of giving the printed photos to the parents,  we gave them directly to the children. Their reactions are priceless.

 

The reactions were immediate and joyful. The children were able to talk about the people in the photos, share them with siblings and parents and keep them close to heart.

familly looking at photos by adoramapix

There is a well-known study called  Phototherapy in Mental Healthauthored by David A. Krauss and Jerry L. Fryrear.  Within the pages of it, David Krauss, a licensed psychologist, says “I think it is really important to show a family as a family unit. It is so helpful for children to see themselves as a valued and important part of that family unit. A photographer’s job is to create and make the image look like a safe holding space for kids where they are safe and protected. Kids get it on a really simple level.”   Reread that quote. It’s such a powerful statement.

young family looking at pictures from AdoramaPix

When children see photos of themselves and their family it gives them security and a sense of belonging. The power of print is especially important for children.  We have a responsibility to print our photos not only for our children but for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

It doesn’t just have to be photos either, think of creating a photo bookof the session or even a collage from AdoramaPix.

Just keep in mind, there is no better time to start than right now. Spoil your children with prints of themselves, you’ll never regret it.

Article written by MICHELLE LIBBY

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