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Posts Tagged ‘Images’

ALL My Products Are on Sale This Weekend!

I’ll keep this brief…I know the weekend is here!

For the next three days (October 8 – 10, 2010), I’m putting my money where my mouth is by discounting EVERY product I have in a pretty significant way. Why? Simple. I am committed to your success and want to make it as easy as possible to get moving forward in starting your online business, or, if you’re already selling online, to help you shift to the next level!

I also value you as a member of my list or reader of my blog. There is a LOT of BS out there in the Internet Marketing space, and I want to provide as MUCH real value as possible, and for the next three days, for less!

So here are the details…

For the next 3 days, the following products will “ring up” with a $20 discount off their regular price:

Copywriting Basics that Work: (http://copywritingbasicsthatwork.com)

Create Audio Products: (http://createaudioproducts.com)

Public Domain Code Book: (http://www.publicdomaincodebook.com/home.html)

Build Your Business Using FREE Tools Video Series (http://www.pdxspecialoffers.com/)

Leveraging Social Media for Online Success Video Series (http://www.pdxspecialoffers.com/)

Niche Market Research Video Series (http://www.pdxspecialoffers.com/)


ALSO, for the next 3 days, the following products will “ring up” with a $30 discount off their regular price:

Easy Money Picture Project: (http://www.easymoneypictureproject.com)

Limitless Blog Content: (http://www.limitlessblogcontent.com)

Public Domain Explained: (http://publicdomainexplained.com)

Public Domain Profit Centers: (http://www.publicdomainprofitcenters.com)

WordPress Mastery Step-by-Step: (http://wordpressmasterystepbystep.com)

Creating Powerful Photo-Based Videos Video Series: (http://www.pdxspecialoffers.com/)

Creating E-Book Products from Beginning to End Video Series: (http://www.pdxspecialoffers.com/)

Photoshop Product Creation Tips and Tricks Video Series: (http://www.pdxspecialoffers.com/)

Product Creation Strategies Video Series: (http://www.pdxspecialoffers.com/)

This offer will NOT extend past Monday, October 11th and will not be repeated again. So NOW is the time to take advantage of these prices and invest in quality products that will help you build your online business!

Tony

Digital Versus Physical

As Information Marketers living in this digital age, we can easily become myopic with our product creation, meaning, we often focus on creating digital products without considering the physical alternative. There are a few, extremely valid reasons for this. For one, digital products provide instant access with zero additional effort once they’re created. Certain types of digital products can also be created very quickly. I’ll be honest, nothing beats finishing a teleseminar or webinar, knowing you just created a quality product in a relatively short period of time. So what about physical products then? Should you consider adding a physical product line to your existing business? It depends…

While we cannot look at all aspects of physical product creation in this post, I would like to explore one option that is dear to my heart…image-based products. Because of our “bent” toward the digital, when we think of artwork or photographs, we often see them as playing a secondary role in our product creation. We use them for our product covers, header graphics, Powerpoint slides and Animoto videos. Seldom do we consider them as products, except as collections on DVDs or as an upload to our favorite microstock photo site.

However, a quick search on eBay will show you that image-based physical products, prints for instance, are very much alive and well. They can also be quite profitable. And that’s where the Public Domain comes in. When it comes to selling physical prints, nostalgia rules the day! I’ve seen it over and over again where individual prints of a certain image ALWAYS outsell collection CDs or DVDs that include the same image. It has been my experience as well.

So, what does it take to make and sell prints online or offline? You need to understand what people want to buy, a source for the content and a delivery mechanism. If this process sounds familiar it’s because it’s the basis of pretty much ALL successful selling. When it comes to prints, the easiest place to research to see what is selling is eBay. With 65 million people visiting per month, you can get a pretty good feel for what’s hot and what’s not. As for the source of your content…you guessed it…the Public Domain! There are many online sources for finding great, high-rez images to use for your prints. I share many of the best sites in my book, Easy Money Picture Project.

When it comes to the creation process of your prints, you have a few options. You can print them yourself using a large-format printer, although I wouldn’t recommend this approach if you’re just starting out. There are also a number of excellent online companies that can create the prints for you. If you want to go high-end with your prints (like canvas gallery wraps or metallic prints), I would recommend using BayPhoto or MPix. On the other hand, poster prints may be a great option for you as well. My two favorite sites for poster prints are Shortrun Posters and Print Pelican. For instance, at Shortrun Posters, you can prints 18″ X 24″ posters on 80lb. cover stock for $2.00 each. That’s a tough price to beat! And if you don’t need a large size like that, consider this…two 11″ X 14″ prints will fit on an 18″ X 24″ sheet. So you could get full-color 11″ X 14″ prints for $1.00 each. Hopefully you can see how HUGE this is for profit margins. Upload your digital file and in a few days, you have your prints!

Hopefully this post sparks some ideas for you. Over the next 90 days, I will be sharing more Physical Product creation strategies. Until then, get started with this one!

Finding Treasure at the National Archives

One of the greatest treasure troves of works in the Public Domain is the National Archives (NARA). NARA’s “job” is to archive Federal records that are judged to have continuing value—about 2 to 5 percent of those generated in any given year. As you would imagine, this has resulted in a growing massive collection of materials, diverse in form as well as in content. There are approximately 9 billion pages of textual records; 7.2 million maps, charts, and architectural drawings; more than 20 million still photographs; billions of machine-readable data sets; and more than 365,000 reels of film and 110,000 videotapes. All of these materials are preserved because they are important to the workings of Government, have long-term research worth, or provide information of value to citizens (like making money from new products created with them).

While the materials currently available online are but a fraction of NARA’s total holdings, there is still tens of thousands of works available to you online right now. And…if you want to have even MORE fun, I would highly recommend making a trip to the National Archives in College Park, MD. With 6 floors of Public Domain goodness, you will be like a kid in a candy store. It is truly an amazing experience. What is great is that they even allow you to bring in your digital cameras, video cameras, laptops and scanners…all for the purpose of duplicating the “hard copy” editions of the content. One of my personal highlights so far was being able to scan original prints by Ansel Adams taken of our most popular National Parks.

The National Archives has a comprehensive Archival Research Catalog (ARC) available online. Search the ARC HERE. Click on “Search Options” and then click on the “Digital Copies” tab at the top. Now you’re ready to search through ARC’s online records. You can also explore the National Archives online exhibits HERE and HERE.

A Public Domain Army

When people think about finding Public Domain content, they often never consider military sites for content. Honestly, most even overlook government sites altogether. Because military content is created using tax-payer dollars, most of it is actually in the Public Domain…and it’s NOT all about war or protecting our interests.

For instance, some of the best Public Domain-based content I found related to photography was found on a military site. The best recipes I found for preparing meals for large groups was from a military site. I think you get the picture.

I recent found a wonderful resource for military content…this one largely focused on history…with thousands upon thousands of documents, reports, and records. Not only does this site include recent documents, but also ones from centuries past (you should see some of the amazing photos!). To shortcut to time and effort, use the Search Digitized Material button to keep your search focused on materials that are fully available online.

Check out the Army Site HERE!

Why You Will *NOT* Make Money from Public Domain Content!

You may have noticed lately that I haven’t been talking about Public Domain content as much now as I have in the past. So what happened? Have I given up on the Public Domain? Have I milked it for all its worth and now am onto bigger things? Have I gone underground and am keeping all the new tricks to myself? Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is that I have (temporarily) shifted away some from teaching about Public Domain content because of YOU!

You see, I discovered a growing trend with many of my subscribers that really concerned me. They would hear me talk about the Public Domain and share what’s possible with the content and get excited. They would invest in my Public Domain courses, find TONS of great Public Domain content, but then, something happened. It is this “something” that concerned me, and it is the PRIMARY reason why you will NOT make money from Public Domain content!

I found that many of my customers…perhaps even you…didn’t DO anything with the Public Domain content they found. It just sat there on their hard drive taking up space. Tons of ebooks, images, magazines and more…all with great potential, all doing nothing to make them money.

I wondered, “What about the blog posts and articles you were going to write using PD content? What about all the product ideas you had using PD content as the source? What about the books, e-books, videos, audios, posters, membership sites and all the other wonderful products you can create using Public Domain content? Quite honestly, I was puzzled. I wondered why so many would take those important first steps of action, but then stop. A little investigating revealed the answer. And this discovery is what shifted my business.

What I discovered was that few people actually knew and understood what their next steps should be. They found great content, and in some cases, even created products, but didn’t know how to get those products online. They weren’t sure how to build the websites and set up the download pages. They didn’t understand how to get traffic to their site (if they had one) and, in many cases, the idea of using social media was confusing at best. It seemed that even knowing the right tools and software for creating those products was elusive.

Can you relate? Is this where YOU are in your own business? I think you will agree that it would be irresponsible of me (or anyone else) to ignore the problems you might be struggling with. And so, because of these revelations, I’m changing how I approach my product creation, my interaction with my subscribers and customers and with YOU! No, I haven’t given up on the Public Domain. As a matter of fact, it is playing a key role in some of the new projects I’m working on right now! The task right now, however, is to see YOU succeed even MORE with Public Domain content!

So I’m curious…what roadblocks are YOU facing with taking the next step? What is the ONE THING you believe would make all the difference in the world in helping you become successful (or more successful) online? Please post your thoughts and comments below. And if you would, please also share this with your friends and subscribers through the Twitter, Facebook and Digg links. Thanks!

Print and Photographs Online Catalog Updated

For months the curators and technologists at the Library of Congress have been working together on a spectacular (and welcome) revamp of the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. The online collection can now be found at the easy-to-remember address of www.loc.gov/pictures/ — with many images available for downloading.

Some of the new features include creative new ways to browse their 1.25 million online prints and photos, such as grids that give a quick overview of dozens of images at once and even a slideshow format that lets you toggle bibliographic information on and off.

The interface is reminiscent of other existing sites that offer powerful ways to search for and display images, such as the ever-popular Flickr.  In celebration of this new milestone, the LOC has posted a new set of highlight images from the Library called “Meet More Treasures.”  They consider it a thank you to all of those who have found value and pleasure in the Library’s priceless collections of more than 14 million pictures (both online and in their physical collections). I for one am grateful since I’ve found value (in the form of income) and pleasure from this site. Many of you have as well

Alice Invades the iPad!

I just discovered an amazing new app for Apple’s iPad that I have to share here. It’s called “Alice” and is best on the bestselling classic, Alice in Wonderland. But this isn’t your typical re-hashing of Alice and the rabbit…oh no. Chris Stevens and Ben Roberts of Atomic Antelope, Ltd. have re-imagined this 145 year-old story from Lewis Carroll in a fresh, unique way by marrying together the power of storytelling with physics. The result is an experience that looks like it was scripted straight out of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (my all-time favorite movie).

So what makes THIS version of Alice in Wonderland so unique? It’s the way you can interact with it! You tilt your iPad one way and Alice grows…you tilt the other way and she shrinks. Shake your iPad and the Mad Hatter’s head bobbles. Heck, you can even throw cards at the Queen of Hearts! “Alice” is truly a magical book experience that very well could define the future of children’s books.

The best part of this “new” creation is that it just goes to demonstrate, once again, that ANYTHING is possible with Public Domain content. Just apply your own creative innovation to it, like Chris and Ben did, and you end up with a runaway best-selling app (not an easy task). You can learn more about “Alice” on the Atomic Antelope website. And to get an idea of just how fun this app truly is, I’ll close with the “Alice” promo video.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gew68Qj5kxw[/youtube]

Choosing the BEST Colors for Your Designs

As many of you know, I worked as a graphic designer for 18 years, mostly designing book covers for publishers and authors around the world. During that time, I developed a great understanding and appreciation for the power of color and its effect on the consumer. It’s a topic that I’d like to share about briefly in this post for one simple reason…I see many in the Internet Marketing community creating websites, e-book covers or Powerpoint presentations without any regard to the effect their color choices are having on their visitors or prospects. In other words, “because it looks cool or pretty” is NOT the reason to use a certain color scheme…grin.

Color has a language of its own and that language should be understood by anyone who expects to use it to its best effect. Many good website designs or product covers have been spoiled because the colors used said one thing and the words and illustrations another. Color has three dimensions: hue, intensity, and value.

Each of these has its part in the message of color, but the message of hue is most universally understood. For example, red suggests heat; yellow, light; blue, cold; purple suggests darkness; orange suggests flame; green suggests the blending light and coolness that conveys rest. Of course, these examples are just that…examples…because color can have multiple meanings. For instance, red can also mean “stop” and green “go.”

Intensity of color is measured by its brightness or dullness. The usual danger is that of using colors that are too bright. In general, it may be said that a full intensity color should never be used for backgrounds or for large spaces. Dull or neutralized colors are better for these purposes. The primary reason for this is that having a large area of bright color can be distractive. Your eye doesn’t know where to land because of the huge area of bright color. When, from a selling perspective, we want the reader’s eye to land on our website headline or book title.

The value of color is measured by its lightness or darkness. The lighter values should be used for backgrounds because they look larger; the darker values for the material which is to be emphasized. Of course, there are exceptions to this from a stylized design perspective. But let me ask you a question that drives this point home: “How many of the top 25 websites online have “dark” backgrounds?” (The Top 4 are pictured below). Enough said.

Of course, Colors should normally be used in harmonious combinations. There are of two types of these combinations; the combination of allied colors and the combination of contrasting or complementary colors. Allied colors are those which contain some part of the same primary hue. Two shades of green, or of blue, form an allied combination. Brown and yellow make a good combination. In the same way a pair of complements, as red and green, yellow and purple, blue and orange, may be used. For the best effect and result for your designs, never use complementary combinations in their full intensity. Two complementary colors in full intensity form the crudest of all harmonious color combinations. Red and green is perhaps the worst of all combinations and the most frequently used and abused. A quick glance at the illustration below should be enough explanation for this warning.

My favorite website for choosing the best color schemes for any design I work on, whether it’s a WordPress theme or a book cover, is Color Scheme Designer (http://www.colorschemedesigner.com). It allows you to generate endless combinations of allied and complementary color schemes. And best of all, this amazing tool is free. If you are creating ANY kind of design – website graphics, banners, book covers, logos, etc. – Color Scheme Designer should become your newest best friend. Have fun with it!

Finding Elusive Images in the Public Domain

How often have you tried to find an certain type of image in the Public Domain, and no matter what you try, you can’t seem to find what you’re looking for? It can be pretty frustrating for sure! Just the other day, I received an e-mail from one of my UK customers who was experiencing that exact dilemma. She e-mailed me to ask:

“I purchased your “Easy Money Picture Project”.  As you are US based it’s not surprising that your links to internet sites for public domain are going to mostly contain US public domain material.  I am in the UK, I know most of the US material can be used here OK but I am interested in old images of the UK & I didn’t know whether you had come across any sites that contained such images or any UK websites that contained content from the UK.”

To be honest, I had never researched images specific to the UK, so I thought it would be a good exercise for my research skills. After spending 2 or 3 minutes with Google, I sent her a few of the results I discovered:

“Here are a few starting points for you:

  • http://www.historyworld.co.uk/
  • http://www.oldukphotos.com/
  • http://grumpystumpy.com/
  • http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/

Hope this helps!”

She responded back the next day with:

“I’ve just quickly linked to the sites you sent me & had a quick look & they look as though they will be very helpful, why couldn’t I find them? Must be doing wrong searches!”

I responded to her that searches can be tricky and offered keyword phrases I used to find the websites I sent her. After writing my response to her, I wondered how many MORE of you have encountered similar frustrations? So I thought I’d write a post to share the methodology behind how I research.

I’ve found that there is no rhyme or reason to why websites use the text they use in describing the contents on their websites. The sooner you learn that fact, the sooner you can move into conducting and enjoying meaningful research online.

First of all, you need to be aware of variations on your keywords. You can use a thesaurus if you get stuck. For example, let’s consider the keyword “photograph.” Photograph could also be displayed as:

  • Photography
  • Photo
  • Picture
  • Pic
  • Image
  • Graphic
  • Illustration
  • Still
  • Poster

To this end, you will notice in the screenshot below how this website uses the word “advert” for advertising, so if you were searching for “vintage UK advertising,” you may not find this site because of the variation.

Now, in the case of our case study, I simply used two keyword phrases:

  • “vintage UK photographs”
  • “old UK photographs”

Again, there are a number of variations for “old” and “vintage.”  The same holds true for “UK”: United Kingdom, Britain or British Isles…and don’t forget specific locations, such as “Gloucestershire” or “London.” I think you get the idea.

Another trick I want to point out is this…when you find a site you like in Google, very often you will see a link for “similar sites” in your search results as seen in the screenshot below. CLICK that link! It will reveal even more related sites for you. Of course, you can also use SimilarSites as I mentioned in a previous post, if they offer suggestions for your sites. In the case of the UK sites, they didn’t offer any results.

Now there is ONE keyword phrase that, oddly enough, you probably DON’T want to use in your search phrase…”Public Domain.” Seems odd to say that being that this is the Public Domain Blog, but the truth is that it’s not a common word that many sites use. Yes, you can find Public Domain images using that phrase in your searches, but I can tell you from experience that you will not get the kinds of results you truly want if you include it. As a matter of fact, with this case study, my customer indeed wrote back and said she was searching using the keyword phrase, “public domain vintage UK photos” among others and wasn’t finding the sites I found. Notice that her search phrase is a variation of one of mine except for a noticeable difference…she included the phrase, “public domain.”

To learn even MORE methods for finding and using images from the Public Domain, check out, “Easy Money Picture Project,” my comprehensive book on how to profit from Public Domain images and photos.

Easy Money Picture Project

Amazing (and free) Image Editing Tools

An essential tool for any Information Marketer’s toolbox is a high-quality image editor. Of course, the King of the Hill for image editing software is Adobe Photoshop. Having used Photoshop for the past 18 years, I can safely say that, from a design perspective, we’re definitely joined at the hip…grin. I use it every day. The problem that crops up, however, is that Photoshop isn’t cheap and is often out of the budget range for many, especially if they’re just starting out. It doesn’t change the fact that there are still header graphics to create and photos to edit…ebook covers to design and DVD cases to finalize…but sometimes, having the best tools for the job simply isn’t an option.

There are some cheap and free software options out there, like Photoshop Elements or GimpShop. I’ve talked about (and promoted) these options before, but they are not the topic of THIS post. There are some new, amazing web-based tools emerging, that, in my opinion, could actually give Photoshop a run for their money. Adobe DOES offer an online image editor (Photoshop Express http://www.photoshop.com), but I’m not including it in this post. I personally prefer the other programs I DO include here. The point I want to make here as we begin to explore these new, online tools is that you have options…more now than ever before…and the best news is, they’re FREE!

Pixlr (http://www.pixlr.com):

Pixlr is perhaps my favorite online image editing software of all the ones I’ll be sharing today because it’s so well done. The look and feel is nearly identical to Photoshop (as most of them are), and quite honestly, it performs nearly ALL the same tasks Photoshop will. It even opens Photoshop PSD files and maintains the layers, which is a nice touch. None of the other programs offer that. It offers an extensive line of filters and editing tools, as well as everything else you would expect from a high-quality image editing software. The ONLY issue I have with Pixlr (if you even want to call it an issue) is that it doesn’t offer an option to show rulers or draw snap guides. And actually, none of the web-based programs I’m sharing here offer that feature (except for Aviary, which I’ll talk about a little later). It’s not a huge deal but it would be nice to have (Please take note Pixlr…grin). And…BTW…all the screen captures for this post were edited in Pixlr.

SplashUp (http://www.splashup.com):

SplashUp is another great online image editing option. While it doesn’t have all the features that Pixlr does, it’s still a great choice…especially if you don’t need all the extra features. It DOES have the ones that matter: layers and layer effects, some decent basic filters, etc. My favorite option in this program is how it handles type. Unlike Pixlr (where you have to enter the type into a type palette and then click “Okay” to add it to your document), you can type directly into your document…just like you would in Photoshop. The biggest bummer with this program? It doesn’t support Photoshop files. Pixlr does. In my book that’s a big deal, but that aside, SplashUp is still a great option for your image editing needs.

Aviary (http://www.aviary.com):

Aviary is more than just an image editor, it’s an entire suite of free online tools that includes an image editor, a color editor, an effects editor, a vector editor (think Illustrator), an audio editor, screen capture and more! Quite honestly, it’s one of the most amazing suites of online tools I’ve seen anywhere. When using the image editor (called Phoenix), you will notice, again, that the basic look and layout is similar to our standard, Photoshop (it doesn’t support PSD files however). What I love about Aviary is how they handle their layers. You can have regular layers (like images, text, etc) but ALSO access the Effects Editor and Vector Editor and add dedicated layers from those tools as well. This greatly expands the reach of Phoenix’s (the image editor) basic offering of tools. They also offer extensive tutorials, including how to create banners for Etsy (nice touch for one of their target audiences). All in all, this is another amazing suite of tools that is worth your time to investigate!

In addition to the three image editors I mention here, there are others as well, such as Pixinate, Picnik and SumoPaint. They each have merit, but speaking as a veteran graphic designer, the three I mention here should more than address ANY graphics needs you may encounter. What I would to you is to try out all three offerings I mention here and get a feel for what each one offers. You may prefer one over the others. Of course, the GREAT news is that you no longer have to stress about shelling out big sums of cash to address your image editing needs!

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