Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rejection Is Not Failure!

Have you ever taken a photograph that you’ve instantly fallen in love with? I know I have. A photographer, whether professional or amateur, is conscious of more than just the object they are photographing. Sometimes you are not even photographing the object in front of you; you are photographing the mood, ambiance, or even the emotion of a scene. When other photographers look at it they oftentimes will see exactly what it was you were trying to convey.

When I took this photograph, I was so pleased with how it turned out. I fell in love with how the light made these rose petals seem to glow. They seemed to me almost transparent and fragile against such a dramatically dark background. Of course I wanted to share it with others. What better way to do it than turn it into a greeting card.

I submitted it and waited as patiently as I could for it to be released to the public. After nearly six weeks of waiting as the reviewers deliberated the fate of my card, the email with their decision finally came—DECLINED!

My jaw dropped to the floor, “But I was so proud of this photograph!” I thought.  I was told the petal in the foreground was out of focus and didn’t meet the standards for a good greeting card. The photographer in me argued, “But that petal SHOULD be out of focus. This is a photograph about romantic light—not just about a rose!”

I am not a professional photographer, so I knew I needed some extra help to see things objectively. Some said my photo was lovely; others gave me some constructive criticism to improve my skill in photography.

As I processed the information, I made an important breakthrough:  

"A Greeting Card is NOT a Photograph!"

A Greeting Card Designer may use a photograph as an element in their card, but that is all it is—an element!

Someone purchasing a work of art is buying a ‘technique’. If it is a photograph, they want it because of what the photographer achieved “in camera”. On the other hand, someone purchasing a greeting card is purchasing a ‘message.’ They are not interested in how the look was achieved, they are looking for something to convey their own special message to their recipient.

Once I was finally able to grasp this concept, I started searching through my old photos for an ‘element’ to add to my greeting card. I eventually found a picture I had up until that moment considered a scrap photo. Yes, they were rose petals, but there was no ‘wow’ factor. 

That was how the Photographer in me viewed it. But I had to start thinking like a Greeting Card Artist. What was stopping me from changing the background and deepening the color to give it the mood I was trying to portray?

As I sat down to work, I turned off the inner-photographer that was berating me for committing this photographic atrocity, and began to tweak, cut, clone, paste, and patch. I grudgingly admitted it was looking pretty good . . . but I still preferred my ‘real’ photograph.

Then something magical happened—I added the words. I stared at the finished product, stunned. It was beautiful! (at least I think so!) I compared it with the original. To my surprise, there was no comparison.  I had just created a ‘Marketable’ greeting card!

This has a bit of blur because it's just a screen capture. CLICK HERE to see actual card.

So the moral of this story is: Rejection of a greeting card is not the rejection of a photograph. A photograph is not a greeting card—it is only an element of that card, even if it covers the entire surface! 

Now I am off to change the name of my 'junk photo' folder to my 'elements' folder!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Behind The Design - Garden Snails

Snail Mail Greeting Card
When you see an intriguing keepsake or greeting card, do you ever wonder: "What's the story behind this one?"

Nearly every day, my children come running to me, "Mom! We've got a photo opportunity for you!" On this particular day they were especially excited. "We found SNAILS!" So I grabbed my camera and headed outdoors. This is one of the photos I took. It looks so elegant and lovely, but that's not how I felt about it that day . . .

Now imagine my surprise when I stepped out onto my front porch and was greeted with a scene like this:

Snails EVERYWHERE! The 14 snails in this picture were just a few. Altogether there were between 35 and 40 of them. It looked like an infestation. I like little creatures, but 40 is too many even for me to handle. EWW! They were climbing all over each other, up the walls, in the grass . . .

Then one of my children pointed at our picnic table. "Mom, it's a snail race!" And sure enough there was a team of them racing to the top:

 Looks like number 5 is burning rubber! Nothing left but the trail (right)

After I got over my initial shock, I settled in for a photo shoot. One of my sons picked a flower and set it on the ground. Within a minute they were there to devour it:

Needless to say, I won't be looking at snails in the same light again!

Greeting Card Universe offers a variety of cards featuring snail photographs. Take a look at these and wonder, "What's the story behind this one?" Or better yet, DON'T!:


Of course I have to share a few of the gift items I designed for this set: 

And this one is my favorite:

Garden Snails On Gerbera Daisy Fine Art Photograph wrappedcanvas
Garden Snails On Gerbera Daisy Fine Art Photograph by PhotographyTKDesigns

You can view the complete set here: Garden Snails On Zazzle 
Follow my 365-Day Photo adventure on Facebook!

Friday, October 7, 2011

2012 Calendar of Unique and Beautiful Flowers

2012 Calendar of Unique Flowers
Now that flower season is coming to a close, I decided it was high time to start organizing all of my flower pictures. I had no idea just how many I had! Is 22GBs too many?! Yet I can't seem to part with them.

I took time to sort them all by color and tagged them so it would be easier to find what I was looking for. The obsessive compulsive in me coming out? Perhaps. As I was going through them, I picked out some of my favorites and decided to do something useful with them instead of letting them sit in the dark recesses of my computer to gather virtual dust. I turned them into 2012 Calendars and am currently making matching gift sets for each of the photos. I'm enjoying this project immensely. 

I thought I'd share some of my favorites. Don't worry, I didn't upload all 22 Gigs! 

A Poppy Bud Caught In A Spring Shower - Gift Set Coming Soon

Dandelion Yellow Flower - Gift Set Coming Soon

Delicate Pink Rose - NEW! Click Here To See Gift Set

Gerbera Daisy Caught In The Sunlight - Gift Set Coming Soon

Pink Rose Petals - Click Here To See Gift Set

Peach Dahlia With Raindrops - Gift Set Coming Soon

Bloomed Out Gerbera Daisy - Gift Set Coming Soon

Blue African Daisy - Gift Set Coming Soon

Beautiful Red Lilly - NEW! Click Here To See Gift Set

Crushed Yellow Daisy  - NEW! Click Here To See Gift Set

Pretty Purple Petunia - Gift Set Coming Soon

Daffodil In The Snow - Click Here To See Gift Set

Cosmos Pink Flower Summer Rain - Click Here To See Gift Set

Thimbleberry Blossom White Flower - Click Here To See Gift Set

Gerbera Daisy Orange Flower In Rain - Click Here See Gift Set

Tulip Red Flower Springtime - See Click Here To See Gift Set

Pink Rose Delicate Spring Flowers - Click Here To See Gift Set

Dandelion Clocks Summers Flowers - Click Here To See Gift Set

Gerbera Daisy Yellow Flowers  - Click Here To See Gift Set

Milk Thistle Spiny Purple Flower - Click Here To See Gift Set

Orange Dahlia Summers Flowers - Click Here To See Gift Set

Purple Clematis Summers Flowers - Click Here To See Gift Set

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Komodo Dragon

This has been such an exciting week! I was so thrilled to hear that the photo I entered in our local zoo's photo contest made it into their top ten! I don't know if he stands a chance to make it onto the cover of their calendar or not, but either way it's exciting to have made it this far. 

When I took the photo, I didn't expect it to turn out half as well as it did considering I had to shoot through a glass window into a dimly lit room.  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Guest Post by: Jo Reason - Fotografia del Ecuador

Here is some helpful information for anyone interested in Travel Photography. Thank you, Jo Reason, for sharing your experience:

Travel And Photography Go Hand In Hand ~ by: Jo Reason

Travel and photography go hand in hand. The downside is the amount of gear you can take with you. Camera, lenses, flash, accessories, loads of cables, this often includes a laptop. All this adds to the weight you carry. 

A camera can open up a world or close it depending on the religious views of the locals. If a person doesn´t want you to take his/her photo then we should respect that, whatever the reason may be. I once had tomatoes thrown at me in a market in Ecuador back in 2004. The women were selling the tomatoes sitting on the floor and here I was taking their photo. I didn´t ask so I gave them no chance to say no. I took the shot, but it´s a little blurry due to the movement of the camera as I was dodging flying tomatoes. This was back in the time of me only having a film camera. 

There is a huge difference between travel snapshots and travel photography. I haven´t met anybody who is on a holiday, whether it be backpacking, family holiday or extended trip without a camera. Everyone thinks they are photographers just because we have digital cameras in their hands but there is a huge difference between a snapshot and a photograph. A photograph can often take time to set up, planning, being there at the right time, with the right light, etc, that’s not to say that there are some great photos taken by people with no or little knowledge of photography. One of my aims is to take photos from different angles. There are many photos out there that all look the same.

During your travels you get to see such a wide variety of places, people, food, etc. much more than you would staying at home and it puts you into unique and memorable circumstances that often will stay with you the rest of your life. For most of us it´s important to record these moments and what a better way than to take a photograph.

I have spent many years travelling all over the globe. I have learnt many, many things from all this travelling. Mostly respect for other cultures, patience and I have made many friends. The photographs I have taken home from all of these trips have given me many memories.


Jo Reason is a British photographer and web designer, who has lived in Spain, USA and Ecuador and of course Britain. She has spent many years traveling and photographing the world and also spent time working as a tour leader in South America. She now lives with her husband  in Ecuador.

If you enjoyed this article see more from Fotografia del Ecuador here:  (main site)

@joreasonable  (twitter)

Friday, September 2, 2011

New Website Finally Up And Running

I just launched my new website: Photography TK Designs this week. It has been a learning experience to say the least! Come check it out and see what you think. I am now accepting requests for custom greeting cards and personalized gifts.

Soon we will be adding information about family photography and photo restorations. Stay tuned . . .