Bonnie Marcus Holiday Card Collection

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The holiday season is one of my favorite times of year at the Bonnie Marcus Collection design studio!  All of the holiday card designs that we’ve worked so diligently on throughout the year are finally available to our customers!  I can hardly wait to see which are everyone’s “favorites!”  (Of course, they are ALL my favorites!)

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This year’s collection was inspired by my love of everything that sparkles!  When I launched my business 10 years ago, I hand-sparkled all of my invitation designs to make each one a special work of art. I am thrilled that the advanced print methods at the KODAK Picture Kiosks could replicate the beautiful texture of the glitter that we use in our designs. Your friends and family will love these new beautiful, festive, sparkling card designs!

Another trend that has inspired our new holiday collection is my love of chalkboard-style design, which makes one nostalgic for the simpler days, before email and smartphones were our primary methods of communication.  Our chalkboard-style holiday card designs are definitely some of my favorites!

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One of the questions I am frequently asked is “How do I make sure that my holiday card stands out from the crowd?”  (What they are really asking is “How do I make sure that my card ‘makes the mantle’?”)  Many families receive hundreds of holiday photo cards during the holiday season!

To make sure that yours stands out from the crowd, my suggestion is to start with a theme in mind – something that is special and unique to your family. What are your family’s passions or pastimes?  If it’s sports, I would suggest taking your family photo at a favorite stadium.  If it’s boating, consider taking your photo out on the water.  Choose something that is representative of you and your family…. and don’t forget to include the family pets as well!

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Another tip is to make sure that you take lots of photos – both group photos and individual ones. With 3 little boys in our family, there is a high probability that one of the boys will be making a funny face in every group photo.  So…. to guarantee that you’ll be greeting card ready, make sure that you take individual shots of each family member as well as group photos, because you may opt for a card that has individual photos of each child, if the group photo didn’t turn out exactly how you had envisioned.

It may also be helpful to do a little advance research and choose a few designs that you love prior to even taking your photos.  Perhaps the card you love will set the tone for your photo shoot.  Whether your design style is modern, traditional, nostalgic, religious, or high-fashion, there are such a wide range of options available on the KODAK Picture Kiosk – I’m sure you’ll find one that is perfect for your family!

Designing our photo card is actually a “family activity” for my children.  They love helping to create the cards on the KODAK Photo Kiosks at our local Target.  The machines are very easy to use, and our favorite feature is that you can view your photos in color, black & white, and sepia tones, and then choose the one that looks best with your layout.  My kids love “designing” their own cards at the kiosks, and I love being able to have them print while we shop – instant gratification, no shipping charges, and one more thing off the “to do” list!

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EXCITING NEWS!
I will be giving one lucky fan a fabulous exclusive Bonnie Marcus Collection tote bag filled with $100 worth of stylish goodies – from a fashionable iPhone case (4 or 5 avail.) to designer post-it notes, chic thank you notes, stylish stationery sets and more!  For a paper lover, this is truly a dream come true!  The winner will definitely have their stylish stationery needs satisfied in 2014 (and beyond).

To enter to win, head over to the Bonnie Marcus Collection Facebook page and look for the post about the sweepstakes. Leave a comment about your family’s most memorable holiday “Kodak Moment.”  One Bonnie Marcus Collection fan will be chosen at random.  Good luck!

UPDATE: The sweepstakes is over and the winner of the Kodak moments Holiday Gift Box is Montana Griffin!

Cheers to a joyous, meaningful holiday season!

All the best,
Bonnie
Owner, Bonnie Marcus Collection “where fashion meets paper®”

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Film Friday Guest Post from Photographer Jan Scholz

I started photography after moving to Maastricht in the Netherlands, as a spare time activity, taking pictures around town with a digital SLR. Soon afterwards I turned towards portraits. From then on photography became almost an obsession, consuming most of my spare time.
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The main reason why photography is so fascinating to me, is that I can create my own world and use it as a stage for emotions, stories and scenes, that matter to me, that I find beautiful. I often do not have a defined concept for a shoot and just let myself be driven by what I find, the location, the light, the model.
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I switched to film after I already had a very good grasp on digital cameras and photoshop. The reasons are multifold, and include: I love the look of film right from the scanner. I always loved black and white photography, but when I was shooting digitally I was never happy with the conversion and the resulting tones, regardless of the tools used. My first scan of a simple black and white negative was already a revelation. Film is like a beautiful canvas the image is painted upon.

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Another reason are the beauty of old film cameras. They are a joy to use, their simplicity, their vintage feel, the big, bright view finders to look through, the sound of the shutters, the feel of the mechanics when forwarding the film. All these factors are not measurable in megapixels, dynamic range or frames per second, but they inspire me and contribute to the joy I have when photographing. Maybe I am stretching it a bit, but I think they also have a positive impact on most people I photograph. Especially using a large format camera tends to fascinate people, they feel like being part of something special.

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The limitations of each camera, each format is forcing me to approach photography in a different way. I take different pictures with a fast and mobile 35mm SLR than with a slow and stationary Large Format Camera. Going out with such a tripod based camera and knowing that I have just 10 or maybe 20 pictures to take, will make me photograph completely differently than with a 8GB card in the DSLR. It turned the way I photograph upside down. I look a lot more carefully, re-consider every composition and pose again and again before clicking (or not clicking) the shutter. This taught me a lot and I believe I learned most I know about photography and composition after switching to film.

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For most formats and applications, it’s probably true that digital has outrun film in terms of resolution, but in terms of “look” and tonality I am yet to be convinced. It’s a very personal opinion and decision. There are good reasons for digital and film, and everybody has the liberty to use whatever one likes and finds convincing. You can throw a lot of reasons pro-digital at me, it will not change how I feel about using film, for a multitude of reasons.

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My choice of film has been a little journey. I started out by buying and trying all sorts of films and after some time settled for a small selection suited for the situations I mainly photograph in. I believe my “signature film” is KODAK PROFESSIONAL Tri-X Film, developed in HC110. It offers smooth tones, with the right amount of “punch” in the contrast.
- Jan Scholz

Guest Post for Film Friday: Photographer Tanja Lippert

My name is Tanja Lippert and I am a 100% film photographer specializing in weddings, fashion, commercial, music & fine art photography. I’m also one of the hosts of a very special show on the Framed Network called FILM!

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I live in sunny California, but travel worldwide for photography assignments. I am very passionate and committed to my craft. I love adventure, creativity, traveling, spontaneity, teaching and inspiring others. I am a dreamer and a hopeless romantic at heart. I thank God that he has blessed me with creative gifts and abundant love. On top of all that, I am pretty much a big dork!! I often get asked, “Why do you still shoot with film?” The answer is pretty simple. I am a huge fan of the quality, richness & “magical” look that film has to offer. My favorite films to shoot include Kodak BWCN 400, PORTRA 160 and PORTRA 800.  I love the creaminess of the BWCN 400 and the fact that it is process C41 makes it easy for labs to scan this film and it is really beautiful!  The PORTRA 160 is my favorite portrait film to shoot, the skin tones are beautiful and it has a creaminess to it that I love.  The PORTRA 800 is wonderful film to shoot in both low light and sunlight, it has a beautiful saturation to it, while still keeping skin tones looking natural and amazing!  Shooting film “connects” me to my subject and surroundings and makes me more acute to what is happening in front of my camera. There is no reason for me to be distracted by viewing the images in the back of my camera all day, so instead, I am focused on looking through the viewfinder; waiting for just the right moments to capture.

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So many of those moments came during the filming of this season’s FILM Show. We spent eight days in the desert of Las Vegas shooting everything from muscle guys and muscle cars to beautiful models and beautiful scenery to a real wedding to getting shoot whatever makes our hearts happy.  I chose to shoot one of the Assistant Producers in a series of “beauty” pictures because one of my favorite things to shoot are women.  I love to make them feel special and beautiful in their own skin.

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When I started shooting fashion work back in 2001, digital was not even an option. I learned photography on film and have NEVER switched. Despite the pressure of the photographic industries and all my fellow photographers, I have held steadfast and true to my love of film and have NO plans on ever switching. By using one of the best film labs in the world to scan my film into high-resolution digital files- I get the best of both worlds, film & digital. I get the look and beauty of FILM CAPTURE along with the convenience of digital (like utilizing Photo Shop when needed and being able to show my work on the internet and share digital files with my clients). Yes, it is true that film is more expensive to shoot and requires me to be an EXPERT at my craft. That is exactly why I will continue to shoot with it. For me, photography is still an art. It’s MY art. It’s my blood, my sweat and my tears. It’s also my joy and my love. I would NEVER dream of sacrificing the quality and look of the images I produce for anything. I know that every photographer has his or her opinion about which is superior, film or digital. For me, film is what makes my heart happy and emotionally ties me to my images.

http://www.tanjalippertphotography.com

http://instagram.com/tanjalippert

https://twitter.com/TanjaLippert

Tori Johnson: DIY Kid’s Magnetic Educational Photo Board

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As a mom of a rambunctious two-year-old I am constantly on the lookout for do-it-yourself ideas that are fun, affordable and educational. When I saw this idea on Pinterest I thought it was the perfect DIY to try out and I immediately had a cool idea on how to make it even better…use PICTURES instead of flashcards! Another bonus, you can do this entire DIY for approximately $30! Can’t beat that!

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Supplies:

  • Variety of Kodak photos
  • Oil Drip Pan (purchase at any auto supply store for approx. $10)
  • (1)  8x11in dry erase magnetic sheet
  • Variety of magnetic photo holders
  • Magnets
  • Scissors
  • Dry Erase Marker

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 First, I decided what the “categories” were that I wanted to feature on the board. I knew that these would change as my son got older so I decided to go with a magnetic dry erase sheet so that I could easily make adjustments. I then just cut it in to strips to use at my category names.

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After I decided my categories I found some pictures on the Internet and ones that I had taken as well that fit in to my categories. I then dropped them on to a USB and took them to my local Kodak Kiosk which is right down the street at CVS. Within minutes I had all my pictures printed out. What is so great about using pictures is it is much easier for a toddler to understand what you are asking them is in the photo because they are true-to-life unlike cartoons that you see on flashcards. Additionally, you can make basically any category you want vs. being confined to what is available on a flashcard.

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Then you just slide the photos in to their magnetic holders so they are protected from little grubby toddler hands.

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That’s all it takes! Now ask your toddler all sorts of questions to drive their development! Some questions that I ask my son are, “Which photo is a cow?” “How does a pig go?” “Point to the color green.” Among many others! You can also use your extra magnets to hang photos of your family on the board as well!

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 Tori Johnson writes about fashion, mommyhood and everything else in between on her blog The sTORIbook (www.thesTORIbook.com). You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

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Rebecca Szuniewicz: Calling all Photographers of any level!

Every year, in August, the Pittsford Carriage Association takes Walnut Hill Farm back to the late 19th century to host the Walnut Hill Carriage Driving Competition.  For five days in August the farm transforms, to a time where the horse and carriage was the main source of transportation, and also represented social status.

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I have attended this event the last couple of years.  It is a wonderful opportunity to get some beautiful and unique photographs.  The farm is decorated beautifully with thousands of flowers, which in itself is great for photographs. The carriages are restored pieces of art from early Americana, and are a must see! The outfits are truly remarkable and add to the authenticity of this event.

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And, of course saving the best for last, the horses!  They alone command attention and respect the minute they enter the ring.  They will definitely give you reasons to keep your shutter clicking away.  Once you start taking pictures of these majestic creatures, you won’t stop. Put the whole package together-flowers, carriage, outfit and horses, and you have yourself a brilliant afternoon full of tons of photo opportunities. And besides your photographs you will truly enjoy the afternoon at this unique international competition.

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The event takes place Aug 14th-18th at 397 West Bloomfield Rd in Pittsford, NY.  Walnut Hill is handicapped accessible (call ahead for a staffed golf cart to meet your car), provides ample free parking, and dog friendly.  For full details and schedule of events please visit www.walnuthillfarm.org

– Rebecca Szuniewicz

‘From Fleeting to Forever’ – New E-Book Makes Memories Everlasting

Michael McEnaney and his co-author Greg Scoblete have covered the photo and technology industries for a wide variety of print and online publications. McEnaney, a long time industry expert, was most recently publisher and editor-in-chief of Picture Business Magazine as well as the editorial director of the TechnologyTell network. 
Michael McEnaney

Michael McEnaney

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Is there anything more important than our memories? Most of us spend endless hours snapping pictures and recording video in an effort to preserve and recall the best moments in life. According to research analyst firm, IDC, consumers take about 266 million photos each day, or about 97 billion photos every year, and those numbers are expected to rise year-over-year.

While smartphones and digital cameras have made it easier than ever to capture every fleeting moment, they’ve also created some unique challenges: many of our cherished photographic memories are locked away on computer hard drives or camera memory cards never to see the light of day again. These images are not only gathering virtual dust, they’re also vulnerable to hard drive crashes that could erase them forever.

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All of the above is why I co-authored a new eBook titled From Fleeting to Forever: Enjoying & Preserving Your Digital Photos and Videos, that explores the many remarkable things there are to do with your digital images and, just as importantly, how to protect them for future generations. For just as digital photography has created a new set of challenges, it’s also unleashed a wave of new creative services for reliving and enjoying our digital memories. The e-book includes chapters on how to better organize you growing photo/video collections, how to share your images safely and privately in the digital era and how to ensure that you can pass your digital photos down to future generations as easily as you would a shoebox full of prints.
The idea for eBook sprung from a website I launched with fellow journalist and the other half of the co-authorship on From Fleeting to Forever, Greg Scoblete. The site is www.your-digital-life.com and as you’ll quickly find we provide visitors with a daily dose of information on post-capture suggestions,ideas, services and deals in an effort to keep your images and videos alive and more a part of your everyday life. We feel strongly about the notion that they’re your memories so why not relive and enjoy them as frequently as you can?
During the book’s research stage, I began realizing that this was a subject matter that had potentially very wide appeal since everyone we talked to immediately agreed that they never know what to do with their images and videos after they capture them. A lot of people also told Greg and I that more often than not, the person who took a particular picture for them—or of them—was the only person who ever ended up seeing it.
Above all, the eBook stresses the importance of printing your images and the joy inherent in turning your digital memories into lasting keepsakes. And ultimately, when it comes to your digital photos, the truth is there’s no better way to store them for the future than to print them. Not all of them, of course, you’d go broke, but certainly the keepers.
And if printing at home simply isn’t an option for you, retail photo kiosks remain a great option and Kodak’s Picture Kiosks (Retail Systems Solutions) are still a dominant part of this landscape at retailers such as CVS, Target and Bartell Drugs.  Wi-Fi connectivity (www.Kodak.com/go/mobile) has now become a standard part of the kiosk mix so getting prints from the images on your mobile phones has never been easier.
From Fleeting to Forever: Enjoying & Preserving Your Digital Photos and Videos is available now for $6.99 at Amazon, Sony, iTunes, Kobo, Apple and Barnes & Noble bookstores. It will be available at other e-book sellers soon.

Printing is Alive and Well by Joe LaBarca

Today’s Wednesday Works comes from Joe LaBarca

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On Wednesday Works, we’ve discussed topics relevant to both the retail and professional photography industry. While we’ve talked about how as an industry we can drive printing, just as important as driving printing is the media on which you print.

First, why so much discussion of printing when some say printing is dead?  If you look at the statistics of number of pictures printed and compare to the number of pictures captured, it’s a very logical assumption because the number printed is such a low percentage.  However, let’s go a little deeper to understand why printing in general, and printing on silver halide photographic paper in particular makes so much sense.

In the beginning, there was film, and negative film required a print to be made.  While a seemingly obvious statement, as a result, you could say that 100 percent of images shots became prints. Consumers today still want prints, but they have the choice to print or not to print. So they don’t ask for every print, but rather, the “keepers” that they want to have around for months, years, and generations.  This includes consumer snapshots, as well as professionally captured images from important events such as weddings and school photography. While the amount of prints made today is certainly less than those made during film’s peak years, the number of prints made from digital is growing and the growth is accelerating, according to InfoTrends, in its January 2013 Consumer and Professional Imaging Analysis titled “Road Map 2013: Photo Printing Trends.

So let’s get the math straight – the percentage of images printed is smaller than ever because of the explosion in the number of images captured.  Many in the industry estimate that nearly 400 billion images were captured in 2012.  That’s four times more than the roughly 100 billion from film’s heyday.  And with this number growing the number of images printed will also grow even as the percentage of images printed versus captured continues to decline.  A fast rate in growth of images captured with a slower rate of decline in images printed versus captured, means images printed will grow.  And this growth could mean that prints from digital might actually meet or exceed the number of images printed during film’s peak in the not too distant future.  Bottom line: a very small percentage of a very large number is still a very large number.

So, as a professional photographer or a professional lab, how will you print this growing number of digital images?  Knowing that people want the “keepers,” as a professional lab or a professional photographer, you should consider what paper would ensure that these images last a lifetime. While there are many choices in digital printing technology, KODAK PROFESSIONAL ENDURA Premier Paper, is optimized specifically for digital printing and reflects the newest emulsion and dispersion/dye technologies to provide further improvements in an ongoing stream of benefits to the labs and the consumers. A technical paper presented to the International Symposium on Technologies for Digital Photo Fulfillment provides the technical specs of ENDURA Premier, as well as the benefits of this silver halide paper to both wedding/portrait and commercial labs. Among those benefits: the latest in efficiencies for high speed, low cost digital printing, providing consumers with greater color gamut and improved image quality. At the same time, the paper maintains the critical characteristics of excellent flesh tone reproduction and all-around image longevity that, in my opinion, simply cannot be matched by any of the other digital print technologies available today to professional labs and their clients.