Amazing USB flash drive is a business card on steroids!

Here I am showing the front and back of my newest marketing product - a USB thumbdrive/business card that I can hand to or mail to my clients and prospects. It has gotten a lot of positive feedback from my recipients. In fact, a couple business owners have asked me to create one to better market THEIR products and services!

Here I am showing the front and back of my newest marketing product – a USB flash drive/business card.

Every so often, an amazing product grabs my attention that I just gotta have!

Recently, I was contacted by USB Memory Direct to try a sample of their USB flash drives. I've seen these at trade shows where exhibitors give them away with their logo and website imprinted on them. I always thought they were a pretty cool way of promoting a company.

When I visited the USB Memory Direct website, I was blown away by all the unique styles, shapes and colors they offered. I was even more impressed that companies like, Yelp, Sunoco, Kodak, Intel, Toyota and many other Fortune 500 companies were using them. Now I could finally join the “big boys” with my own custom flash drive!

USB Thumbdrive Business Card

I customized the front of my USB flash drive/business card with my own photo of Cleveland and my logo. The back of the card has additional space for a custom message.

I chose a business card style flash drive that gave me a TON of room on the front and back to encourage the recipient to plug it into their computer and watch our marketing videos and read a PDF listing the services we offer. I even include clickable links within the PDF that will automatically open any web browser to take the viewer to specific pages on my website for information about each service.

With this “business card,” I have a great way to grab the attention of a potential client at a networking event, Chamber of Commerce meeting, party, etc.

Oh, did I mention that the recipient can also use the card to save THEIR own digital files? With 8 GB of storage, there's still plenty of space to add their own documents and photos. Even if they delete my marketing videos and PDF, they still have my contact info on the front and back of the card! And you can bet anyone who sees my card will be curious about the unusual style flash drive with the scenic photo of Cleveland on it.

My flash drive/business cards have gotten a lot of positive feedback from my recipients. In fact, a couple business owners have asked me to create one to better market THEIR products and services!

I am so impressed with the quality and functionality of these flash drives that I asked to become a reseller for USB Memory Direct. You will pay the same price if you order through me and get the personal attention of a local representative who can also handle your special graphic design and marketing needs.

Want to discover how these USB flash drive/business cards can take your marketing to the next level? Contact me here.

 

Lauren and Josh – Dancing with the Stars?

(NOTE: You can spin the video all around by clicking on it and moving your cursor in any direction.)

Lauren and Josh Allen decided to celebrate their one-year anniversary with portraits taken in their wedding attire at Huntington Beach… in DECEMBER! All I could say was BRRRRRRR!

Lauren was a SpectraLight Photography SpokesModel when she was in high school and took AMAZING photos. I was thrilled when she called and asked me to do something unique for their anniversary photos. We created poses that were inspired by the hit TV show, “Dancing With the Stars.” #DWTS

Fashion Photography from my Art Institute of Pittsburgh days

Lynn Agee was an amazing model during my college days at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

Lynn Agee at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh – posing for a class photo assignment at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1978 or 1979.

The route to my degree in Specialized Technology – majoring in Photography/Multi-Media allowed me to explore the field of fashion photography while at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (AIP).

Two main challenges were finding models on a budget (Hey, I was a student paying for most of my education!) and finding unique locations to impress the profs.

I was fortunate to have a roommate who had an attractive girlfriend who was willing to pose for some of my class assignments.

Lynn Agee was an Interior Design student at AIP without formal modeling experience. She also had a car (which I didn't) so we were able to scout out some pretty cool locations around Pittsburgh.

The location for this particular assignment was Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts – a performing arts center and concert hall located in the Cultural District in downtown Pittsburgh. After all these years, I can't recall how I was able to finagle time at this prestigious location!

Lynn chose her outfit, I lugged in some tungsten lights to match the illumination on Lynn with the color temperature of the lighting in the hall and the result were some stunning photos of a beautiful subject – both the model and the building.

Not only did I get an “A” for this assignment, but I grew to love the challenge of fashion photography created on-location – one of many experiences that continues to serve me well as a portrait photographer creating glamour photos, high school senior portraits and family portraits throughout the U.S. today.

Here are some videos of high school senior girls that show how my portrait style has evolved since Lynn's photo shoot.

High school senior SpokesModel photos created in the Cleveland area.

High school senior SpokesModel photos created in the Cleveland area.

Do you like this article? Please comment here and share on your favorite social media sites!

Cleveland Arctic Plunge – Another one for the “bucket list”

Call it “midlife crisis” or just a little insanity. Last Saturday was my latest “bucket list” moment as I joined dozens of Northeast Ohioans for the 2015 Arctic Plunge at Edgewater Park near downtown Cleveland.

After jumping out of a perfectly good airplane two years ago, I thought it would be fun to dive into the frigid waters of an icy Lake Erie to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Team Fox (Parkinson's Disease), University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and Westshore Critical Incident Response Services.

Before taking the plunge, I videotaped my fellow “plungees” (plungers?) as they entered the water like sheep being lead to their slaughter. There were plenty of whoops and laughter as they proceeded in single file down the narrow channel that had just been carved out of the frozen lake by an excavator.

Then it was my turn. I peeled of my winter coat and pants, removed my socks and shoes, turned on my chest-mounted GoPro camera and ran into the lake in my t-shirt and shorts. Good times!

Surprisingly, while the water was cold, it really was quite bearable. The biggest issue I encountered were the chunks of ice floating on and below the water surface. I had a number of cuts and bruises on my lower legs when I finished.

When I got back to the registration tent, someone called a paramedic to attend to my bloodied legs. While he doused the cuts with hydrogen peroxide (which I couldn't feel due to the numbness of my legs), I asked him how many people his crew had treated. Almost apologetically he said, “Well, you're about the only one.” Proud moment for me – NOT!

Have you ever jumped in a frigid lake for a good cause? What was YOUR experience like? Please comment here.

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Low camera angles can add visual interest to portraits

Senior-Pictures-Cleveland-Ridgeville-Olmsted-Tori-Pishkula

Sometimes, you just gotta “take one for the team” to get an interesting portrait. Click the photo to see it bigger. (Photo of me lying on the ground by Colleen Pishkula)

Over the years, I've found some of the best portraits require climbing a ladder or laying on the floor or ground.

Olmsted Falls High School class of 2015 student, Tori Pishkula, her mom, Colleen, and I set out for a “photo safari” in The Flats near downtown Cleveland this summer to create something a little different for Tori's senior portraits.

When we came across this lift bridge, I fell in love with it's massive structure and metal girders criss-crossing at 90 degree angles. When I viewed Tori and the bridge at Tori's level, the size and “power” of the bridge just wasn't obvious. Laying on the ground and shooting up at Tori with the bridge rising up behind her solved the problem.

Notice that I positioned Tori slightly left of the center of the photo so as not to block the view of the entrance to the bridge. I also posed her close to the camera so she stands out beautifully against the background. Most amateur photographers would typically place the person at the entrance of the bridge where they become lost in the photo.

Do you have any photo-related questions that you would like to have answered? It can be about composition, exposure, Photoshop techniques, cameras… the sky's the limit! I will answer them here and sometimes create a video to give a better visual explanation.

Just post your questions in “Comments” under the title of this post.

My ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has surprise ending

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Yep, I knew it would happen eventually. I've been waiting to be asked to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge but I never thought it would come from our Australian foreign exchange student from 24 years ago – Rebecca Freeman Haines! I asked her to do the ice bucket honors. She came all the way from Australia to be with us!

In this video, I weathered a bucket of ice water dumped over my head and then challenged my neighbors at Cypress Station in North Ridgeville and my co-workers at University Hospital’s Eye Institute Reading Centers to also support this worthy cause.

Watch the video to the end to see a surprise in my ice bucket.

Also included in this video are VERY COOL celebrity challenges from around the Internet including President Barack Obama, Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James, professional ice hockey player Paul Bissonnette, “The Besties” – Brittany and Brittani, Jimmy Fallon with Rob Riggle, Horatio Sanz, Steve Higgins and the Roots.

Please take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge or make a donation to http://www.alsa.org/

Fireworks photos with a unique twist – these aren’t your mamma’s snapshots

 

Fourth of July fireworks get a new look with simple-to-use software that almost anyone can master in minutes! This photo was taken by North Ridgeville photographer, Mark Madere - a portrait and commercial photographer covering Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.

Fourth of July fireworks get a new look with simple-to-use software that almost anyone can master in minutes! This photo was taken by North Ridgeville photographer, Mark Madere (owner of SpectraLight Photography) – a portrait and commercial photographer covering Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.

For years I've been bored with photographing fireworks. Fighting the crowds to get a good spot, dealing with hot and humid July weather, bugs, crying children… the list goes on. I'd much rather stay home and chill-out with the Mrs. – UNTIL NOW!

I recently read an article by a photographer who captured some great fireworks photos. He gave the technical settings that he used for beautiful shots that were taken over a scenic lake. His photos inspired me to see if I could create images unlike any I've made before.

So I set out for the annual fireworks display in my town – North Ridgeville, Ohio. The weather was cool and comfortable for a July evening. I was able to stake out a spot by the lake where the fireworks would be launched. The bugs weren't annoying either (I think they preferred the taste of those around me.) And the crying children? It's amazing what ear plugs can mask out!

For 20+ minutes I shot photos with my Nikon D90 camera mounted to a tripod with exposures ranging from one to four seconds at f/11 at ISO 100. If you don't have a clue about the settings I just covered – have no fear! It seems that anyone can get decent photos with just about any camera – even with smart phones. If you already have photos you wish to add some excitement to – read on!

When I loaded the photos onto my computer – I was UNDERwhelmed by what I had captured. They looked similar to the old, boring photos I'd taken in the past.

I played with some Photoshop filters to see if I could add some pizazz to the images but nothing really excited me. I then opened a photo in an inexpensive software program (Star Effects by Topaz Labs) that I've used to spice up some photos from previous travels.  The two photos in this article were created with just a couple mouse clicks using Star Effects.

Topaz Labs is a company that has created several easy-to-use photo effects programs that can be used without even reading the instruction manual – well, at least after the initial install. It has a simple user interface that will have you creating photo masterpieces in minutes.

I found myself immersed for hours in the software as I created countless variations of each image.

To see how easy Star Effects is to use, I created this short video. Let me know what you think with a comment on this article.

SAVE 15% off Star Effects or any of their other Topaz Labs software using code “15topaz” at checkout: http://spectralight.com/TopazSoftware. Scroll down that page to see all the software titles available.)

Have fun!

NOTE: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, you'll help support this blog at no cost to you – allowing us to continue sharing information like this for your education and enjoyment. Win/Win! Thanks!

Mark’s embarrassing moment with John Lanigan on Majic 105.7

 

Now that John Lanigan, the popular and sometimes controversial radio host/DJ has retired, I thought I'd share an awkward moment I had with him during an on-air visit to Cleveland radio station WMJI.

I was invited to appear on a COSE sponsored segment where member businesses try to stump the DJs with the type of business they own. After guessing that I owned a portrait studio, John Lanigan then asked if I did nude photos. To be clear – I DON’T do nude photos although I have done several glamour sessions over the years – all done in a tasteful fashion. Any way, my mind began to race as I began to sweat while I quickly formulated my response. How do you think I did? What would YOU have said? Please comment below!

Click here for the two minute interview on WMJI

How to make a fashion book with Blurb

Blurb is a cool company that lets you make books about anything that interests you. (View a sample of my Blurb-made book – Picturesque Olmsted Falls – http://bit.ly/olmsted-book) And if you’re interested in fashion and style—and love to show it off—making a book of your personal fashion is a fantastic way to capture your sartorial genius for all time. Whether you want it just for yourself, so you can look through your greatest hits, or you’re a bit of an Internet fashionista who wants to make a book to sell, you’ll find these tips pretty helpful:

1. It’s all about lighting. To make your fashion really pop, choose natural light or studio light with a soft box (you can even make one from a lamp and last season’s white t-shirt). If you’re using a flash, you’ll probably want to bounce it or stick a diffusion filter on it.

2. Make a shot list. This is a critical step, and even more important if you are photographing models. Even if your model is just your best friend who owes you a favor, they’ll appreciate it if you know exactly what you want to shoot. Think about the poses you want to capture, the outfits you want them to wear, and the details that you want to highlight in every shot. 

3. White balance (WB). Accurate color and skin tones come from making sure the WB function on your camera is set to your lighting situation. (You can check the color looks right on the camera's screen to see if it looks right.) Not sure hoe to adjust the white balance? It will be covered in your camera's manual. You do still have it, don't you? 😉

Be sure the camera's white balance is set to the correct lighting you're shooting under to ensure the models's skin color looks natural.

Be sure the camera's white balance is set to the correct lighting you're shooting under to ensure the models's skin color looks natural.

4. Choose the right lens/zoom setting. If you’re using a wide angle, you’re going to distort your models face and body (and your model may never forgive you). If you have a camera with a zoom lens, zoom out to minimize distortion. You will then have to move farther away from the model to get their whole body in for those full length shots.

5. Keep it stylish. It’s a fashion shoot, after all. Play music, keep things moving, try new angles. Attitude, attitude, attitude. 

Try unusual angles. Shoot down from a ladder or lay on the floor and shoot up to make the subject look taller.

6. Dress it up. Make your book as fashionable as the clothing featured in it. Choose a simple design that doesn't upstage the clothing, but still looks chic. Pick a size and paper type that showcases the work brilliantly.

If you've ever paid attention to what’s on the “catwalk,” you know that fashion means different things to different people. Follow your own fashion obsessions and document them in a fashionable book. If you look good today in person, imagine looking great forever on the printed page with Blurb! Start your Blurb book now and Save 25% on print book orders of $75+ at Blurb.

If you want the best model portraits possible, that's where we can help. Check out some of our model shoots here.

Avon Lake Public Library to host my AlumaGraph(TM) exhibit

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Artwork by North Ridgeville Photographer Mark Madere of SpectraLight Photography

Artwork by North Ridgeville Photographer Mark Madere of SpectraLight Photography

I've loaned 17 limited edition AlumaGraphsTM for exhibition at the library. The artwork includes a fog-shrouded Golden Gate Bridge taken from Alcatraz, the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island appearing as if it were taken in a by-gone era and a unique rendering of a horseless buggy at Grand Pacific Junction in Olmsted Falls.

AlumaGraph(TM) Logo - photographs embedded on aluminum panels by Northeast Ohio photographer and North Ridgeville resident Mark Madere of SpectraLight Photography. Madere does portraits in Cleveland and surrounding areas including Olmsted Falls, Westlake, Rocky River, Avon Lake and more.

AlumaGraphs(TM) are photographs that are embedded on aluminum panels by Northeast Ohio photographer and North Ridgeville resident Mark Madere of SpectraLight Photography.

I discovered a unique way to “print” my art that sets it apart from all other medium. Instead of using traditional photographic paper, the images are rendered as AlumaGraphsTM – a proprietary process that transforms photographs into faux paintings and then melds them into aluminum. There’s nothing as captivating as a photo that shines on aluminum with a bright, clear, glossy base and brilliant color that pops.

I've always wanted to create stunning images of landscapes and unusual architecture. Unfortunately, I never did well in art class as a child. I knew what good composition was but just couldn't draw a stick figure to save my life! I then fell in love with photography and was finally able to capture amazing scenes with a camera where an artist brush failed me. Nevertheless, my images still looked like pictures. The digital process I now use has elevated my photographs to look like the paintings I wanted to create since I was a little boy.

Some of my work may be viewed at www.mark-madere.artistwebsites.com.

The library is at 32649 Electric Blvd in Avon Lake. The exhibit runs from March 1st – 31st , 2014