Because Jayne works as a counsellor, she needed a headshot which gave a serious, sympathetic impression – a cheesy grin would not have been appropriate!
Design Cuts have provided me with a copy of their latest bundle in exchange for this review.
The Comprehensive Texture and Patterns Collection is available for $29 (or around £27 including VAT) until 3pm UK time on Tuesday 6th June 2017. Once the bundle has expired, some of the items may become available in the Design Cuts Marketplace.
Design Cuts say: “This is our most varied and comprehensive textures and patterns bundle ever. Inside you can discover: rough vector textures, gold/glam textures, seamless paper textures, ombre paint, clean line patterns, watercolour textures, cardboard, felt, kraft, fabrics, colourful patterns, crayon patterns, subtle grungy textures, painted papers, vintage papers, natural backgrounds, modern clean backgrounds, space textures, geometric patterns, hand-drawn patterns, marble surfaces, ink textures and even 3D patterns.” Note that the preview graphics have been provided by the designers for presentational use only.
This really does seem to be a massive collection of all kinds of patterns. The majority include either jpg or png files, which can be processed by most photo editing software, but if there is a pattern you particularly like then you should check that it doesn’t require special software, such as Illustrator or Photoshop. Design Cuts specify software compatibility in the product descriptions.
Long Buckby & Brington Baptist Church have a website but I added a WordPress.com blog, using the Sequential theme, to display the photographs taken by myself and other church members and visitors.
Design Cuts have provided me with a free copy of their current deal, The Totally Diverse Vectors Collection, in exchange for a review of this bundle.
The collection costs $29 (or around £28 including VAT) and it will be available until 10th April 2017.
[UPDATE: This deal has expired – but some of the resources may be available separately in the Design Cuts marketplace.]
What are Vectors?
Vector graphics are made up of paths (lines, curves, angles and shapes) rather than pixels. This means that, unlike a jpg or png image, a vector graphic can be reduced or increased in size without becoming jagged and pixelated. Vector files have a number of different file extensions including ai and eps.
Here’s one of the birds from the Pretty Peonies Botanical Collection by Feanne, which is included in the Design Cuts deal. As you can see, the image is made up of numerous nodes which are joined up to form curves. This means that, not only will the graphic remain smooth when it’s enlarged, but also the individual parts of the picture can be manipulated.
This article looks at how to:
- either avoid, or purposefully include, blur due to camera shake or movement of the subject, camera or lens
- freeze motion.
Slow Shutter Speeds
For this exercise I used shutter priority mode (something I don’t normally do) which means that I set the shutter speed and chose the ISO, and the camera chose the aperture needed to properly expose the photograph.
Design Cuts is an online market place for downloadable design resources. They gave me the opportunity of receiving a free copy of their current deal, The Inspiring Artistic Design Collection, in exchange for a review of this bundle. [UPDATE: This deal has expired – but some of the resources may be available separately in the Design Cuts marketplace.]
The collection costs $29 (or around £28 including VAT) which Design Cuts say is 99% off the full price of thousands of best selling design assets. Of course, a typical small business owner or blogger will have a particular style for their brand, so you may wonder whether the bundle is still good value for money even if you would only use a fraction of the resources.
I decided to see how someone might use assets from the collection if they had one of a couple of styles for their website. If your brand does not fall into one of these categories, then you’d need to look at the other items to see whether you feel that this bundle could be useful for you.
If self-hosted WordPress was both inexpensive and maintenance free, then I doubt I would even consider the alternatives.
What’s most likely to scare people away from using WordPress is the fear that they will lose their website if it is hacked, they make a mistake or something breaks. This is why it’s important to have a contingency plan.
You can minimise the danger of your site being hacked by keeping your plugins up to date. The WordFence plugin has a number of security features which include emails to tell you when an update is required. When you log into your WordPress dashboard you’ll be prompted to carry out the update, which is easy to do.
However, it’s impossible to 100% guarantee that your website will be safe.
Many hosts keep backups so, if something did go wrong, then your host may be able to simply replace your site with a copy taken before the problem occurred, and this would probably be your first port of call.
However, you should also be keeping your own backups in case this isn’t possible.
Whenever a photograph is taken, a decision has to be made about how much light is needed to achieve an acceptable exposure. Often the camera will automatically select a shutter speed, aperture and ISO to control this. However, the photographer may decide to select one or more of these variables themselves.
The aperture of a lens refers to the size of the opening through which light passes. A certain lens will have a maximum aperture (the size when it is as wide open as possible) but can be set to close down to a narrower size.
If two photographs are taken under the same conditions, using the same shutter speed and ISO but with different apertures, then the photograph with the smaller aperture will appear darker. A small aperture lets in less light than a large aperture.
The progression of apertures (in “stops”) is as follows: f1.4, f2, f2.8, f4, f5.6, f8, f11, f16, f22, f32… Closing down the aperture by one stop halves the amount of light reaching the sensor, so the shutter has to stay open for twice as long to let in the same amount of light.
(diagram from Wikimedia Commons)
The photographs below demonstrate the effects of changing the aperture. Not all lenses can achieve every possible f stop. For the experiments shown below, I used a lens whose widest aperture was f2.8.
I love colour and can spend ages playing with different colour combinations, but I find that it can be very difficult to narrow down all the different options and come up with a colour scheme that is more than just a unco-ordinated mix of beautiful colours.
If you are serious about using colour in the most effective way and would like to do some research, then I would highly recommend a series of three articles by Smashing Magazine:
- Part 1: The Meaning of Color covers the moods, emotions and symbolism of certain colours e.g. yellow giving a sense of cheerfulness and blue representing calmness.
- Part 2: Understanding Concepts and Terminology defines terms such as “hue” and “tone”.
- Part 3: Creating Your Own Color Palettes introduces some traditional colour schemes based on the colour wheel and links to some online resources for creating a colour scheme.