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Photography Gift Ideas to give this Christmas

shutterstock_149302625 If a loved one you’re buying a gift for this year is a real photography enthusiast, they’d no doubt really appreciate something related to their favourite hobby. There are loads of different things you can opt for that are to do with this theme, and we’ve come up with a list of some of our favourites.

A camera

Cameras are the obvious choice for photography fanatics, and there are loads of different varieties out there to choose from. It’s a good idea to research what they’ve already got and what styles of photography they’d like to try, so that you can get them a camera to help them achieve this. This Zippi Manual Photographer’s Cheat Sheet provides a great reference point if they usually stick to digital ones, too.

Camera accessories

If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to a full blown camera, how about looking into camera accessories you can buy to accentuate what they already have? This can include anything from useful options – straps, protective cases etc, to more fun options, such as different lenses. Fisheye lenses are really popular and interesting for example, and you can pick them up for a decent price at lots of high street stores, too.

A photography lesson/experience day

If they’re just starting out with photography, how about a photography lesson? This can be a great way for them to learn new, essential skills to start them off on a great foot on their new hobby. Or, if they are more advanced but want to improve still, an advanced lesson or lesson with a pro could be just as great!

A professional photo shoot

Or why not give your photography enthusiast loved one the chance to be on the other side of the camera for a change? Booking them a professional photo shoot is a great way to help them feel pampered and special, and it can also provide them with a unique insight into portrait photography which can be useful if that’s a particular branch of photography that they’re interested in pursuing further.

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Photo gifts

How about buying them a special item with one of their very own masterpieces printed onto it? You can upload your own photos onto pretty much anything you can think of these days, from your standard wall canvases, to things like mugs, cushions, key rings, mouse pads and t-shirts. Choose their favourite photo and print it onto something useful, sweet or humorous for a really thoughtful gift!

Books on photography

Books by or on famous photographers are a great gift for photography fans as they provide a useful insight into their lives and work. You could also choose to opt for a book on a particular photography style that appeals to them. Additionally, another good idea when it comes to buying a book on photography is to buy them an actual guide book regarding a particular style or camera so that they can learn more.

Contributed by Jai Patel

The Basics of Instagram

Everyone seems to have gone Instagram crazy and more and more people are creating accounts. I thought I'd give people a simple a quick guide to Instagram and getting to grips with some of the basics. Basics of Instagram

Firstly Instagram is an app based social media platform. Yes you can visit the website and comment and like various photos up as things stand at the moment you can't upload their so the first thing is to head to the app store and download the app. From this app you can create your account and search for people that you know are on there and follow them.

The real thing Instagram is for is photo sharing so get sharing. The first thing of note is the fact the camera built into the app is pretty poor, it has no zoom function (this I'm sure will change soon) so I always take a photo using my phones camera and then editing it before I head to Instagram. You also need to be aware that the photos it uses are square so just keep that in mind when your about to upload.

Here's a little video I've created with a few of the basics and a walk around of the app.

When it comes to the description of the photo it appears around 200 characters is ideal and DON'T take in hashtags it's too difficult to read and looks a mess, add those to the end of the description. Just below the description you have the choice of which Social Media channels you want to share it to. You can set it to share to either your Facebook personal page or a Facebook page but not both.

You'll also note that at the moment you can't add links to descriptions and I imagine that at some point Facebook will add this feature. With this in mind Instagram has no SEO advantages and doesn't generate any blog traffic unless they click the link on your profile.

Well that's the Basics of Instagram covered I think. Any questions please drop me a comment.

 

Podcasting - Publishing

This is the second post regarding podcasting and the first post about podcasting basics can be found here. alt_lod_logo_500

This post is about publishing your podcast and where to host the audio file.

The first thing to do is install a plugin on your Wordpress blog. Over on LoveAllDads we use a plugin called Seriously Simple Podcasting which as the name suggests is very simple. To begin with you create a profile for the podcast and this will also generate a podcast feed which you'll need for iTunes.

The plugin allows you directly upload the podcast file but don't so this as your bandwidth will completely blow within a matter of hours and your host will either give you a massive bill or just pull the site. So head over to LibSyn which is where we upload our files.

Libsyn

LibSyn is a very reasonably priced hosting service that provides you with a whole range of add ons such as stats which come in very handy. Once you've set up the billing and basic details of the show you'll be able to create your first show. Click the Add New Content section and you'll be taken to what looks like a blog post section.

At this point you can upload your audio file and a description of the show and add things like tags, category and any artwork you'd like to use. Once the file has been uploaded just hit publish. The next screen will give you a Direct Download URL copy this link as you'll use this over on the blog. 

Now head back over to the Wordpress dashboard and click the Podcast tab and then new episode. You can write this part just like a blog and then at the bottom you'll find near the bottom a part that says Audio File, paste the direct download url here and then simply schedule or publish like you would a blog post.

So now all that's left is to get your podcast on to iTunes. Firstly grab either the feed url from the Podcast plugin or the feed from Libsyn either will work it just means when you upload to Libsyn it will automatically go to iTunes.

Firstly you have to submit your podcast to iTunes so open it up and head to the store. Along the top you'll see the Podcast tab click that and then under the Podcast Quick Links click Submit a Podcast

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The next screen will ask you for the feed and which category it should appear in. This initial submitting can take up to 2 weeks but generally it is quicker and Apple will email you once the podcast is on iTunes. Once they have authorised it from then onwards once you've published a new episode it will appear on iTunes within minutes.

And that is how you go about getting your podcast published. If you have any further comments please leave a comment and I'll respond.

Podcasting Basics + BritMumsLive Show

A lot of you will know that the annual parent blogging conference BritMums Live has just happened at you may have seen that the LoveAllDads Podcast won the Innovate BiBs award which we are very very proud of. trophy

Also during this conference the podcast team were asked to record a live show and also answer a few questions that people may have regarding podcasting. The session was to run for 45 minutes and time really ran away from us so I have created this post to hopefully help and answer a few questions.

Equipment

The first thing to get right is the sound, you can have the best topics to cover but if the sound is poor no one will listen. In an ideal World you’ll have a top of the range mic but not everyone can afford that. You can pick up a headset which simply plugs into the USB port of your laptop and generally that will work fine. Avoid at all costs using the build in microphone of your laptop as you’ll get so much background noise it will make it unbearable.

Software

As there is four of us on the Podcastwe use Skype to dial in to each other and then John records it using. In the words of John here’s how he does it.

I record it using a Mac program called Audio Hijack Pro which lets me record the Skype call. That makes a WAV file which I drop into Levelator - a program for fixing differing voice levels and adding a light compression. It just generally makes things sound better. After that I open the file in Amadeus Pro to add the head and foot. Here I also cut off the banner part - "It's Sunday the 20th of June... blah" - and add the music under it. Then I save an MP3 out of Amadeus. Finally I open the MP3 in ID3Editor to add the show description, title, show number, logo and so on. After that I save it to my dropbox and it’s ready to be published.

So that's the basics of how to record and edit the show, the next post will follow in the next few days and will be about where to host your podcast files and how to get them on your blog but for now sit back and listen to our live BritMums show.

 

 

Michelin ‘Living total performance’

For me one of the most important parts of a car is it’s tyres. It’s the only thing that touches the road so it’s important to get the best you can. The technology and development is always improving and changing. To help with the development the people at Michelin have created the a live experiment across Europe to see how people really drive in everyday situations.

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With this information Michelin teams around the world are sharing information and insights into how you use your car, to develop tyres that better match your real needs and challenges.

With all the work carried out by the initiatives past and present they have brought all that information together to create a tyre that delivers Total Performance for the everyday challenges you face. With MICHELIN Total Performance, all key performance factors are brought together in one tyre.

Over the past few years I seem to have gone through tyres like a racing car driver, this seems to have been down to the incorrect tyres for their use but now if you head over to Michelin website you can use their handy online tool to select the correct tyres for your car. For more information on the MICHELIN Total Performance please have a watch of this video

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