Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Help-Portrait 2013, Giving a Photo, Not Taking a Photo

Hey, everyone! 
Just wanted to check in and say hello to all of you! My team and I are SO excited about this year’s 5th anniversary of Help-Portrait. It’s insane that 5 years have already passed. I never had any idea of what this would become. But you guys have taken a very simple idea and made it a reality all over the world. My favorite thing to do is to browse all your photos and stories on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The photos and videos are just mind-blowing.
Isn’t it crazy how such a simple thing can change lives? We take our cameras for granted but so many people in need don’t have that luxury to have their photos taken. But that’s why we’re here.This is about them, not us. The portraits you give to them are priceless. They will remain treasures for the rest of their lives. Please remember that as you grind through the details and logistics of planning your HP event and as you fix that annoying printer that never seems to work. In the end, it’s all worth it.
We’ve heard time and time again from photographers that this is the greatest thing they’ve ever done with their cameras and equipment and we agree.
It’s an honor to get to serve, and by doing so, we receive way more than we ever attempt to give.
- Jeremy Cowart
Founder/ CEO
Help-Portrait, Inc.

Google Canada honours Newmarket businesses

The Internet has changed the business landscape dramatically and Newmarket businesses are adapting and thriving, according to Google Canada.
Google presented the town with an eTown award today at CDA Dance Academy in recognition of community members leveraging opportunities on the Internet and investing in online resources to grow their businesses and connect with customers.
Cassidy’s Flowers & Gift Shoppe owner Henry Startek was among the crowd at the presentation.
No longer are people limited to dropping by his store on Main Street to make a purchase, as the Internet provides the option to order online, he said.
He embraced the web 15 years ago and the business has grown to serve not only the local community, but customers in the United States and as far away as Germany, Mr. Startek said.
The Internet has only yielded positive results for his shop, which has been around since 1905, he said.
Newmarket is one of five communities across the country recognized by Google. The others are Halifax, Saint-Sauveur, Que., Canmore, Alta. and Whistler, B.C.
Newmarket was chosen based on research Google did with independent firm Ipsos to analyze the online strength of local small businesses in Canada, Google Canada spokesperson Andrew Swartz said.
Examining a variety of factors, including how businesses have adapted web-based technologies and engaged customers in social media, he said Newmarket stood out with the best.
The town is proud and honoured to accept the award on behalf of its residents and businesses, Mayor Tony Van Bynen said.
As the third most densely populated municipality in Ontario next to Toronto and Mississauga, Mr. Bynen noted the town recognized the need to explore technology to sustain Newmarket’s future in its economic development plan.
He credits the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce for the work it has done over the years in helping prepare its 850 members for the change and opportunity of the digital age.
It is a unique source of pride for the chamber to have Newmarket recognized as one of the strongest online business communities in Canada, chamber chairperson Steve Hinder said.
“The chamber’s focus is on leading business, leading communities. We believe strong communities and partnerships can drive economic development and community transformation,” he said, adding the award validates what the chamber has been doing since 2009 to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies through its programs and services.
It’s important to grow and change with the times, CDA Dance Academy owner Chantal Chretien said.
Her studio has used the Internet to highlight what it does and communicate with current and potential clients.
“We have online registration for parents, so its easier for them to register and look up all of the classes on the website,” Ms Chretien said, noting parents are reading their email more and seeking information through a variety of digital sources.
The dance studio also uses social media, YouTube and online newsletters to engage with its clients, she said.
Following the award ceremony, Google Canada led a workshop at the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce office to teach interested businesses how to use online tools and develop strategies to promote their businesses on the Internet.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The One Stop Shopping in Support of Easter Seals Ontario

Dance Media Aurora Newmarket was privileged to be the media event coverage company to handle this amazing event for Easter Seals Ontario for the One Stop Shopping Event in support of Easter Seals Ontario at the Newmarket Community Centre Lions Hall on November 9th, 2013. Watch our quick presentation we also provided to organizer Judy Brunton. Get involved with Easter Seals and show your support to this great non profit organization.
One of this years Ambassadors was present and we had the honor of capturing him

This spirited nine-year-old has enthusiasm and energy to spare. With a passion for music and performing, Tai loves to sing, dance and play the guitar and the recorder. As an outgoing and friendly grade-three student in Markham, Tai has lots of friends at school and cites music and gym as his favourite subjects. He also loves to be active and is eager to participate in just about any activity, particularly basketball, sledge hockey, Glee Club, swimming and sit skiing.
Tai was born with an incomplete spinal cord injury, also known as Transverse Myelopathy, causing partial paralysis in his legs. As a result, he is unable to walk and uses a manual wheelchair for mobility. He also uses a walker for short distances and is just learning to use forearm crutches. At home, a stair glide gives Tai access to the upper level and a porch lift helps him get in and out of the house.

Helping Kids with Physical Disabilities Succeed !

Dance Media Aurora Newmarket

Monday, November 4, 2013

Instagram for Small Biz

follow us on Instagram as well at www.instagram/stephenplumley
For our last Instagram-themed Small Biz Social Friday post, we’re giving up tips for getting more followers and Likes on Instagram. We’ve got a lot of advice for you — it’s the motherlode of Instagram tips!! — so let’s get straight into it:
1. Post at the right time. Before you post your photo to Instagram, there are two things to keep in mind: your audience’s time zone and what time they’re most often checking Instagram. Most Instagram users login in the morning, and in the evening, on their way home from work or school. In fact, according to analytics company Simply Measured, the best time to post on Instagram is on Wednesdays between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm.
For brands, the least favorable time to post is in the middle of the night because an Instagram photo typically has a life of only around 4 hours before it gets buried in followers’ feeds.
Post at times throughout the day that you can assume your audience has down time and is checking their accounts. For example, if you’re a company whose target audience is high school students, post your photo in the afternoon during the time high schoolers are on their lunch break. Or, if you’re a business with lots of New York City- or London-based followers, think about posting during rush hour when you know folks are stuck on trains or busses and have nothing else to do but check their phones.
2. Use popular hashtags. Depending on the industry you’re in, there are popular Instagram hashtags that can be used to get more visibility on your photos. The best way to discover popular hashtags for your industry is to use Google, of course! A simple Google search will tell you all you need to know.
Some of the most trendy Instagram hashtags you’ll find include: #tbt (throwback Thursday), #instadaily, #photooftheday, #instagood.
Keep in mind: Don’t go nuts with your hashtags! A hashtag paragraph, as I like to call it, at the bottom of your photo is not savvy. It can look a little overzealous and cluttered. Instead, stick to using 1-3 relevant hashtags per photo.
14 Tips For Getting More Followers and Likes On Instagram
3. Use your photo captions to ask questions: One of the best ways to get more likes on your Instagram photos is to use your photo’s caption to ask a question. This is a great way to drive not only photo likes, but comments, too.
4. Host a contest on Instagram: Hosting a contest is often the most effective way to boost engagement and get new followers fast on any social network. Since Instagram has grown in popularity, it makes it one of the best social platforms to run a contest! Test using a tool like Statigram to create ad run a challenge on Instagram.
For best practices and tips on how to host a successful Instagram photo contest, click here.
5. Share teasers: For product-based businesses, upload photos to Instagram that feature teasers of a soon-to-be-released product or an exciting event that’s around the corner. Teaser photos are great for catching users’ interest and for driving photo likes! Check out a great example of an Instagram teaser photo from the California-based clothing company The Hundreds.

Don't forget to add shadow to your portrait with "Loop Lighting"

We began our study of lighting patterns for portrait photography with broad lighting, short lighting, and split lighting. Now let’s move on to loop lighting. In portrait photography, this lighting pattern tends to be one of the most popular. It is easy to set up and is flattering to most subjects’ facial types.
Remember that it is shadow that defines form in a photograph. This is such a key concept, we even name all of the various lighting patterns by the shadows they create!
While we always have to think about the light in photography–never forget the shadows!
In a “loop lighting” pattern, we adjust our light so that the shadow of the nose shows up on–and forms a little loop upon–the subject’s cheek, traveling down as far as the corner of the subject’s mouth.

We’ve been discussing the lights and shadows as if the light source was even with the face–the eyes to be more specific. This creates a shadow with no upward or downward slope.
In loop lighting, we want a slightly downward angled shadow (not too much) so we raise the light slightly above eye level. We want the end of the nose to cast a rounded–looped–shadow down from the nose to around the corner of the mouth or even a bit shorter.
The shadow goes off to the side; it is not directly under the nose. The area between the upper lip and the nose remains unshadowed.
Of course, shadows are cast directly opposite from the light, so to get a shadow going to the side and down, we need a light positioned on the opposite side and up.
Start with the light off to the side at approximately 45 degrees from the camera. Then tweak and adjust from there. Depending on the subject’s face, the best angle may be a bit more or less than 45 degrees.
Pose your model. Set your light a bit above eye level, move it to about 45 degrees to the camera, and see where the shadow from the nose falls.
If needed, move the light up and down and side to side until you get the desired shadow shape. Depending on the shape of your model’s face and nose, this adjustment could go from 45 degrees to as little as 30 degrees. Or in some cases it could even go past 45 degrees.
Keep in mind that you want to keep this shadow small. The light should travel down the nose (with the opposing shadow between the nose and cheek) and continue from the bottom of the nose creating a loop-shaped shadow running toward the corner of the mouth.
This lighting pattern is good for people with oval-shaped faces. Because of the downward sloping angle of the “loop” it will visually lengthen the face a bit. And, to a lesser extent, it can give the appearance of slightly higher cheekbones.
Grab a flashlight and your favorite subject. Have them sit on a chair, and start experimenting with light and shadow. Figure out how they have to angle their face for short and broad lighting. Determine where the light has to be for split lighting, and then adjust it to create loop lighting.
Which do you think is better for their face? Why?
The concept of “loop lighting” may seem so basic and easy to understand that you will most likely want to skip the exercise, but don’t. Get comfortable with not only understanding these portrait photography photo tips, but actually doing them. That’s when the learning starts.

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