woensdag 11 november 2015

How to use photos to increase website traffic

Met oog voor detail © Artstudio23.com
A good image is always intriguing, and makes people think, feel

Add an image to bring your post to life.
LinkedIn is spot on. Using images will really help to create more brand awareness.

I was recently asked to be City Facebooker for two weeks for the local page of Dutch tourism board (VVV Breda). Being a photo specialist and a writer I kept posting photos about my walks, bike rides and much more. Showing the things I saw, that caught my eye. I combined cultural moments with 'just' outdoor autumn shots of my beautiful city. I chose special moments, epic photos and wrote little stories to it.

Choose the right image

By choosing the right image I increased the actions of the 4500 community of the Gek op Breda (Crazy about Breda) page with an average of 85%, with 101% being the highest peak during my two week job. Over 21.000 actions were measured per week.

How to get that traffic

1) Make sure you post a good epic photo! Low quality photos never contribute to your brand's name. Invest in buying the best images available.

2) An epic image will make people think, feel, love or hate it. It will draw attention.

3) Therefor: go easy with stock photos. Think twice before buying a (cheap) stock photo. The average price of a good quality stock photo is € 35,- Please keep in mind that when you hire a professional image maker (not necessarily a photographer, also other people with visionary occupations like graphic designers and journalists might be able to do the job) you often can buy photos for the same price.

4) No overkill. Go easy on photos. Twitter: max. 2, Facebook: max 9 (preferably 2, 3 or 4, depending on landscape, portrait or square size) per post. Less is still more.

5) If you really want to share more images, create an album or share an album link to your website. Make sure the album cover photo is an appealing one. This image will pop up when you share the link.

6) Use b&w (black & white) photos now and then. To stand out of the crowd a monochrome picture can really do the trick. This can also be an old historic photo of your brand or company.

7) Respect copyright. If you do not know if you can use that photo, make sure you find out. Always add the correct credits. When unsure, do not use the image.

Mooi hoe zo'n schildersjas een verhaal vertelt © Artstudio23.com
How a painter's coat tells a story

How to choose from a 1000 holiday pics

Storytelling with pictures - holidays or weddings, go for epic photos

How to choose the perfect photo series from a trip? When you took a 1000 photos or more, how do you choose the right photo story, e.g. to create a photo book?

Being an analog photographer from the 90's, I know how to work without this luxury problem of the digital era. We used film, 36 exp. max and on most occasions, even weddings, we used only 8 to 10 rolls. We just never made it to the 1000.

Now what can you do cut down the number of photos:

1. Try not to shoot that 1000 photos. Really, limit yourself to a certain number of photos per day or occasion, let's say 25 max. This can be done and will make you more aware of which moment you really want to capture.

2. Delete the bad ones immediately.

3. After the holiday or wedding let the photos simmer for a while. When you look at them with a fresh mind a few days later, choosing will be easier and will go much faster.

4. Divide the photos in topics. Start by sorting the best photos of the places you went to, and choose max. 10-20 per topic. Ofcourse this depends on the trip. A beach holiday has less 'places' by number than a six-week jungle trekking.

5. Not more than 80 pages per album. After 25 pages most of your audience will be bored. The best choice is 40 to 60 pages, with 80 to 100 photos in total. If you're really want to challenge less is more, create an album with only 20 pages/40 photos.

6. Or just pick one. Think of the iconic photos you know, often those single photos tell a complete story. Why do you need more pics to tell yours? Your goal: only to take epic photographs.

7. Learn how to tell a story. Invest in a course or workshop to learn about the tips & tricks of picking the right photo.

Storytelling with pictures - holidays or weddings, go for epic photos
Don't go for just postcard landscapes, zoom in, take close-ups of details you noticed

Storytelling with pictures - holidays or weddings, go for epic photos
When you do take a landschape photo, try to find something different, like these shades of umbrellas without sunbeds

Storytelling with pictures - holidays or weddings, go for epic photos
All these pictures were made by our 11 year old son: look fresh, with pure eyes 
Children look at life in a pure way. The greatest gift is to learn how to see fresh.

Invest in storytelling with Artstudio23. If you still cannot choose, we will be more than happy to create your holiday or wedding album for you. With nearly 20 years of experience, Artstudio23 knows which photo works best and which ones to skip. It's all in the eye. Melanie & Hans know how to see life with pure eyes.

donderdag 15 oktober 2015

Bali Beach Beauty

January 2013, I am walking on the beach near the Gaia Oasis resort in Bali. I am attending a women's retreat and the freedom of a walk is too appealing for me not to go out on my own now and then. It's my first time in Bali. Overwhelmed by its beauty, the sweet people and the purity, I am puzzled.

Why is there so much rubbish on this beach?

Where does it come from? And how these bits and pieces spoil the purity of Bali. I can't really get it. If you live in a true paradise on earth, why spoil it? But next to rubbish I found old offerings and other pure items like this shell. The shell had two holes and when I took photos of it, all of a sudden the sea took it back. All photos below were taken with a DSLR camera, the above one I took with my phone. Before I could take a picture with the 'better' camera, it washed away again.

This is a symbol of what Bali is to me. Bali washes away all you don't need. Bali purifies you. Just by being there, you are cleansed. When I am walking I earth. The ocean washes away your bad energy. On my last day of this trip I find out why I find offerings remains, as the locals pray at sunrise and leave the offerings on the beach. When I took the photos I didn't know this, so I was wondering what it was, as I kept seeing the same shapes and forms.
In the beginning I was mostly shocked by the plastic rubbish, but when I took a closer look, it made a pretty photo 
Remains of offerings
Part of the retreat was a visit to Omunity, where I met founder and inspirator Zanzan for the first time. He turned out to be a very wise and special man, and I made a promise to come back and learn more about him and his village. He e.g. told me that there now was a program to keep Bali clean, and to get the people to clean up their rubbish, not to throw it in nature and let it rot.

The most important men of the village of Sudaji were also encouraging the local people to clean up and not leave any plastic around. I love these local programs, as they work far better than the ones set up by the government only. Zanzan and his people are doing a great job as I learned later on my second visit in 2014.

The beauty of the beach is like a poem of pieces of rubbish
There were much more pretty things on the beach, both artificial as nature items, like rocks and coral. Even when you think a place doesn't look pretty, take a closer look. Really, go closer. Try to see the detail. When you can see details, you will see beauty too.

I am not saying the rubbish can stay, please clean the beach, but when you do encounter something like this, do not judge and try to really see what's there. The shell in the top photo is pure beauty. I held it and admired it and then... it was washed away. I couldn't see where it went, but just by noticing it, I felt good.

When you look at beautiful things, you'll create positive energy. 

dinsdag 22 september 2015

History & Flowers

Commissioned art work 'Belcrum' 3 pieces of 585x205 cm

Commissioned art work 'Belcrum' 3 pieces of 585x205 cm

Commissioned art work 'Belcrum' 3 pieces of 585x205 cm

History & Flowers Fine Art

Commissioned art work 'Belcrum' 3 pieces of 585x205 cm.
Mauritsstaete, van Rijckevorselstraat - Breda, the Netherlands.

Get your own digital design from € 750,- ex. VAT and printing.

zondag 16 augustus 2015

How to take photos at a fashion show, surviving the photographers pit

10 tips to get that stunning photo at a fashion show

1) Be On Time
It's all about planning. Make sure you are there way before the show starts and when you've found the perfect spot:

2) Mark Your Spot
Put your tripod there, or leave your bag, or mark it with tape and !!!!! write down your name with a lot of !!!!! to make sure others do not dare to take it.

3) Make Friends
Really, shouting at your fellow photographer doesn't really help you. Make sure you bond with a few of your colleagues, so you can e.g. take turns when you need to eat, pee or just stretch your legs.

4) Do Not Wear High Heels
I've seen the most fashionable lady photographers balancing on high heels in the pit, standing, sitting, even half lying down, and they all sighed: 'My feet are killing me!!' So better wear or bring an extra pair of sneakers.

5) Make Sure To Bring Extra Batteries, Body, Lens, Memory Cards
and keep these at your side. I know, a little obvious right? But when a photographer ran out of batteries during the show and walked off the platform ruining the film of the guy standing next to him, he didn't make friends.

6) Be Invisible
To me being polite and rather invisible got me more good photos than being a rude and emphatic photographer. Might depend a bit on which mood you're in.

7) Work Out
Yes, as in excercise. Taking photos of five shows at AFWL meant standing in the same spot for over 12 hours. Hardly any room to move your feet. I did a few on-the-spot lunges etc to keep the blood flowing, and after a few weary looks from my collegues they admitted they had sore backs, legs or worse, cramped hands from holding the camera all day and so much more. You're not alone in this!

8) Find Your Zen
Not joking. When you are in the same spot for a long time, with more waiting than action time, you need to be able to find your zen, to be mindful and happy as otherwise your photos will suck. If you are stressed, you'll use the wrong lighting, shutterspeed or other and you'll be even  more pissed. Om.

9) Know Your Gear
You don't have to be a professional photographer, but you must know the right camera settings to take your best photo. Which aperture suits your style? f 1,8 or f 5,6? Shutterspeed? Lens? My Canon colleagues were having more trouble finding the right white balance than me (Nikon D700). Always try to shoot in RAW. This way you can adjust the image perfectly afterwards.

10) The Right Moment
Last but not least, it's all about the right timing. Make sure to shoot the model's walking in her nicest way, with the best leg up front. Sometimes models walk fast, sometimes they don't even stop at the end of the runway. So make sure you get that photo, with the clothing visible in its most perfect way.
The right moment
f 1.8
When you take photos from the side, that one leg has to be in front

I am back in London, to visit the Africa Fashion Week 2015 at the Olympia in Hammersmith. Being a professional photographer for nearly 20 years, I am thrilled to work with these beautiful and inspiring people again. Never before I was here for the full two days so I am so happy to be here. This time I am intrigued by the photographers' pit, the podium where all the camera people are during the show. Shall I? Or shall I stick to my story and take slow journalism, backstage and other pictures?

When they call for the photographers to take their place, I decide to go for it and see how it works in the pit. I find a spot at the right and had to tell the photographers behind me, who were setting their tripods up on the podium, that I will not be sitting down but will be standing up while taking pictures. A lot of my colleagues in the front sat down and stayed there for the rest of the time. I felt tempted to do so too, but decided the best view would be standing up, as I don't want to take photos 'up the models' nostrils'.

To be in this buzzing, over-heated and over-crowded spot is so not me
There are five shows in two days, you think you can always decide to leave your spot and come back. So you think. Wrong. When I return after my first show and see there's no bag on the edge, nor tripod or any other marking I decide to take that spot on the platform. Boy was I wrong. At some moment there's a little guy with a monopod who eagerly approaches the podium and starts telling us 'That's my spot! That's my spot!' in a loud way. I am shocked about his furious way of doing, as there was no marking, no bag, no nothing in that spot.

Anyway, I stick to my spot but apparently we have to allow him to be there, so we all move a bit to let him be. "Man, be polite" I tell him and he again starts about this being his spot. Okay, okay, we get it. More photographers behind me agree with me he's just very rude, but I do not want to be too annoyed by it so I focus on the upcoming show.

We were waiting for more than one hour prior to each show. Also the photographers in the perfect centre spot almost weren't leaving at all, just to keep that position. Anything for a good photo right? I now know why they are so eager to do so, as from the photographer's pit it's the most perfect position to watch the show. A true dream spot.

It turned out to be an obsession to most photographers, how to get that perfect view, how to be in that perfect spot. I e.g. noticed the models were turning right mostly, so being at the left side of the platform would've been better to get perfect photos. I also noticed a lot of the sitting down photographers were all aching in the end, complaining about sore butts, and more, as being in one spot for over two hours is really hard, and remember: this times five! So yes, it truly is hard work.

But I am glad I did it, what an experience, being front row in the photographers' pit for the very first time...

and some photos of the pit:

Me in the middle

donderdag 13 augustus 2015

My Book Story

Book of fables - Snow White and more fairy tales - now a flight map holder
I recently noticed that our son (16) was using my old book of fables by the Grimm brothers and other fairy tale writers: it's now a 'map holder', so he can follow flight paths when playing Kerbal Space Program.

Seeing the big red book again immediately brought back memories of my youth. This once was my favorite book, especially the title story of Snow White, the first story in the book.

The book was given to me by my parents for my 6th birthday in 1977.

Illustrations of Snow White being kinda scary

Its illustrations being typical 70's style, and they kind of scared me. Not sugar sweet Disney style at all! The images are more like paintings and the faces look very different compared to modern children's books.

Also seeing the handwriting of my deceased mother ... wow, what an impression that book still makes!

I wanted to share my book story with all of you, and if you have a good story about a book you have, please share it by using the hashtag #mybookstory when telling us about it, thank you so much.

I am writing, I am reading and I sure love books!


Cover Sneeuwwitje en de Zeven Dwergen - Lekturama Rotterdam

Worn from too much reading
Snow White and her Prince in the 70's

dinsdag 11 augustus 2015

Silver Woman

While attending the Africa Fashion Week in London I noticed that next to being colour fans, they love grey hair too, and boy do they look good with it!

Grey is the new blonde

Grey is the new blonde

Grey is the new blonde

Grey is the new blonde

Mr. Mahogany Sola Oyebade and Melanie E. Rijkers

Then model and designer Pinamoiselle wrote:
"Hi, I saw you yesterday at #afwl and I thought u looked beautiful with your silver hair"

Thank you!! :) :)

and yes, Sola and I both turned pretty grey since 2009 when I first worked with Mahogany International in London ;) No, not grey, SILVER foxes we are :)

maandag 10 augustus 2015

Redheaddays Breda Publicity Photography

Take 2 and 3 follow automaticly when you watch via YouTube

It's the 10th Anniversary of the Redhead Days this year - check out this awsome video of the making of the well known publicity photo for the 1st Breda edition in 2007: Bart Rouwenhorst covered with beautiful red hair...
a top photo still!
Roodharigendag Breda, 2007 publicity photo of Bart Rouwenhorst covered with red hair - ginger love