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Photography App Tops Apple’s Best of 2011 List

December 14, 2011

At this time every year, Apple releases its  iTunes Rewind list where it names the best-selling apps of the year. While most people may believe that app games would dominate the list, that turns out to be false. It seems that the cameras in mobile devices are users’ most favorite toy and that interest has pushed photography apps to the top of the best of list!

So which app won the coveted “App of the Year” award for 2011? The Instagram app of course! The popular Instagram lets users apply stylized filters to their photos so that each picture has its own unique look. As they write on their website:

It’s a fastbeautiful and fun way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures. Snap a photo with your iPhone, choose a filter to transform the look and feel, send to Facebook, Twitter or Flickr – it’s all as easy as pie. It’s photo sharing, reinvented. And it’s free! Currently we have 11 different custom filters that we wrote to transform the colors, mood, border, and tonality of your photos.

So with Instagram, amateur photographers need only their iPhone and the app to create visual masterpieces from what used to be merely grainy snapshots with poor lighting. In addition, the Instagram community is lauded by many as a supportive place to nurture creativity and share users’ best of everything Instagram shots. Technologies like the iPhone and Instagram app have made the world of photography accessible to so many when in the past the cost of high quality photography equipment was a huge barrier for most people. Encouraging people to be creative is a worthwhile endeavor, and Instagram has figured out how to do it. Get the app on your iPhone before the holidays and see what masterpieces you can create using Instagram.

Check out some of these amateur photographers who have posted their pictures in the Instagram community. You won’t believe your eyes!

Beauty and Style News from London

December 7, 2011

The royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton focused the world’s attention on London this year, and that will continue in 2012 as the Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee and the summer Olympics get underway. While London has always been one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, it has now unseated New York as the fashion capital of the world. There’s quite a bit of beauty and style news coming out of the UK this week, and we thought it fitting to summarize the top stories for our readers!

  • The Duchess of Cambridge (aka Kate Middleton) personal hair stylist breaks from his longtime salon employer – the rumor is that James Pryce, the man who created the famous demi-chignon she wore on her wedding day, couldn’t agree with salon owner Richard Ward on the amount of publicity the salon could garner from his ongoing relationship with Prince William’s bride. Mr. Ward continually wanted details about Duchess Kate so that he could publicize his business. Mr. Pryce reportedly was more interested in keeping his relationship with the beauty intact and wouldn’t play the PR game. Who knows if the future queen’s mum Carole and sis Pippa will continue to patronize the Ward Salon now that Mr. Pryce is on his own. It’s a tangled web of a story!
  • Kelly Rowland, star judge on the UK edition of the X Factor, has a beauty mark (mole) on her face that keeps on moving – Madonna had the same type of moving mole phenomenon when she was in the throes of her early career. Ms. Rowland now shows hers on the left cheek, the right cheek, closer to her eye, closer to her mouth, just about anywhere she wishes that little mole goes. Marilyn Monroe was also famous for her facial beauty mark. Maybe it’s time to get out your eyeliner pencil and experiment with your own beauty mark this holiday season!
  • Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham won the celebrity designer of the year award at the British Fashion Council Awards 2011 – she may have been weeping during her acceptance speech but there was no doubt that Ms. Beckham was anything but “rubbish” as she walked away with the coveted award this year. While not everyone can wear clothes the way Posh can (a size zero is difficult to achieve and maintain!) there’s no question that her dress designs are pretty to look at and flattering to some women’s figures. The exposed back zipper is her signature design element, and that she designs form fitting styles is an understatement. Posh Spice has clearly evolved into a style maven, and she does get points for her collections of beautiful clothes!
  • Cheryl Cole, former judge on the US edition of X Factor, launches new line of shoes that she claims look good and won’t kill your feet! These are rather brave words for a woman who claims she owns a pair of  the highly coveted (and crazily expensive) Louboutin’s that are so painful to wear that she can only do so a few minutes at a time. (Sidenote: we love shoes as much as the next woman but we seriously disavow any shoes that cannot be worn for more than a few minutes!) She has eight styles in her line now, and intends to debut a few more in the new year. Ms. Cole continues to look for the next break in her career, and maybe high heels and boots will do it!

Warning Labels on Magazine Photos?

November 30, 2011

We remember years ago when there was an uproar in Congress over warning labels on record albums. It was Tipper Gore vs. Dee Snider (from the rock band Twisted Sister) and she wanted a ratings system akin to what’s used for movies and films, and he said it was a violation of free speech. She won and since that time music (and now video games) is given a warning label advising of its appropriateness for various age groups. We won’t weigh in on this battle from long ago, but we do recognize the importance of giving parents a heads-up if there’s foul language or violent imagery in a song or game.

Something similar is now being proposed for the photographs we see in magazines and on the Internet. This time it isn’t about cuss words and guns and blood. Now it’s a system to rate photographs based on how much the photo has been altered by post-production tools. We all know that when we see the beautiful woman on the cover of Vogue magazine that the wizards behind the scenes have used Photoshop (or other software) to erase any wrinkles or blemishes, narrow and smooth out waists and legs, and otherwise make impossibly perfect the human face and body. Those perfect images are then held up as the ideal woman or look, and normal, unretouched people cannot live up to those manipulated images. Some people blame these perfect images for the increase in eating disorders among young women. So Dartmouth scientists have developed a computer program to tell us how much an image has been manipulated (or how little) and they believe this type of rating system will forever change how we view these perfect specimens.

Here are some examples of how much an image can be changed by retouchers – it is startling!

So what does everyone think? Do we need a ratings system for photographs now? Or should common sense remind consumers that what they see isn’t always what is real?

Business Building: Why Your Company Should Use a Professional Photographer

November 23, 2011
Gigi Creative Talent new website October 2011

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and many businesses are nervously waiting for the start of the busiest shopping weekend of the year. Some retailers have already started their Black Friday sales – the Gap sent out an email early this morning advertising up to 60% off merchandise starting today. But improving sales in this still-dismal economy takes more than just price-cuts and discounts. American businesses have had to get increasingly creative to attract the attention of cash-strapped consumers, and that doesn’t only apply to retailers. So it’s time to get creative to build your business and one of the first steps is to hire a professional photographer.

  • Professional photographers have the right equipment and know how to use it. They understand lighting and composition in a way a lay person likely never will. They know which lens to use, which setting and angle to choose, and they have the creative talent necessary to capture the image you’re trying to use to sell your business and its services and products.
  • Professional photographers bring in other creative talents to help create the images you need for your business. If you’re a law firm the photographer may bring in a hair stylist and makeup artist so that your attorneys’ pictures don’t resemble driver’s license photos or mugshots. If you’re a clothing retailer the photographer may bring in a wardrobe stylist to create combinations of your products that will tempt and move the viewer to buy. If you’re an online only company the photographer may bring in a web design consultant to help determine the best use of photos for your website to attract more traffic and convert visitors to paying customers. A professional photographer has a wealth of resources that would take your company much valuable time to locate and vet. Don’t waste your company’s resources when you can use a professional to pull the pieces together for the best results.
  • Professional photographers use post-production tools to optimize the captured images. We’ve written about photoshop and the magic that can be done to make a photograph pop. (As long as it isn’t used with a heavy hand as we’ve see done to many celebrities on the covers of fashion magazines!) The professional photographer will use all his skills and talents to produce a final image that your company can use repeatedly in its marketing efforts.

Whether you sell products or services, it’s important to have marketing materials that create an urge to buy in your customers. Websites, brochures,catalogs and print advertising are all essential tools to attract and retain paying clients. Many small businesses believe they can get away with using stock photography for their marketing materials but the truth is that consumers are bombarded with so many images via the Internet that your company must do something to set itself apart from the others. That’s one reason why a professional photographer should be used to create custom images for your marketing materials. Using a professional photographer to boost your company’s sales is an investment and not merely an expense because once done you will have the marketing images you need to make your sales efforts a success!

What a Difference a Manicure Makes

November 16, 2011

It’s almost time to start the holiday party season and without question you will be photographed a time or two over the next six weeks! We always work with out clients to help them look their best both during and after a photo shoot, and we cannot stress enough the importance of having well-groomed fingernails. Whether you go for wild colors and styles or prefer a more natural look, a manicure is an absolute must every few weeks to keep your hands looking as good as the rest of you. Our resident professional nail artist Bernie Clark shares with you some of the hottest manicure looks from her recent jobs.

She doesn’t recommend Lady Gaga-like stiletto nails unless you’re getting into costume for a show.

“It’s impractical to have your fingernails sharpened to a talon-like point. You will be much better served with shorter, more rounded nails for your everyday look.”

Bernie does recommend getting creative with your manicure and choosing colors that compliment your makeup or outfit. Here are some examples of her work from various magazine photo shoots.

You can also go with a neutral manicure that will work with almost every outfit in every situation. You don’t always want to call attention to your hands but you do want them to always look good. It’s the attention to the details that make professional photographs look so good, but you can replicate the polished look in your daily life if you take a little time to do it. Our creative talent team knows how to make you look your best so give us a call before your next important event.

 

Fashion On Trend: Legwarmers are Back

November 15, 2011

It’s no longer the 1980s and the era of Flashdance, but legwarmers are back for Winter 2012! At last night’s Women’s Wear Daily fashion summit at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, fashionista Victoria Beckham showed us how to wear legwarmers (leather in her case) to winter-up her strapless dress.

Here are a few quick tips to help you integrate this fashion trend into your winter wardrobe:

  • Buy colorful legwarmers to create a sexy layered look with pumps and skirts
  • Wear legwarmers with skinny jeans to create a stylish boot look
  • Faux fur legwarmers are a must this winter! Not only will they keep you warm but will also create a unique look that will stand out at a party
  • Look for legwarmers with a cut-out heel to turn your favorite pumps into a stylish European-looking boot.

Legwarmers are an inexpensive addition to your current wardrobe and will help you to keep up with winter 2012’s most popular trends without spending a fortune on a variety of boots and accessories. Fashion on a budget is always a win and this is a flash from the past trend that’s easy to incorporate!

Holiday Fashion – Wear Red Shoes

November 14, 2011

It’s a no-brainer to wear a little black dress (LBD) to a party. Almost all women have one and it’s easy to buy one if you don’t already own one. You can find a LBD in virtually every shape and at every price point. It’s almost impossible to look bad in a LBD unless you buy one that doesn’t fit well or that is made from fabric that cuts and binds.

As with any clothes you purchase, always view yourself in the clothes from every angle you can, and sit in a chair in front of a mirror to see how you look from that position. If you’re covering your legs with your hands, or tugging at the hem, then the dress/skirt is too short and likely too tight. You should never feel the need to struggle to keep your clothes in the proper place on your body and if you do then they don’t fit.

Accessories can be very important when you wear a LBD. Watch out for too many accessories if the dress has any embellishments. The purpose of a LBD is to give you a sleek and flattering profile, and if you muck it up with too many bangles and beads then you’re self-defeating. If you must add some extra flash then do it with a purse or even better a pair of shoes.

In fact, that’s the hot trend this holiday season – a bright red pair of shoes! As you can see in the pictures of actresses Rose McGowan and Mandy Moore, a red pair of high heel pumps is the perfect foil for a LBD. Sure, there are any number of colored shoes you can wear with a LBD – it’s a versatile piece of clothing. But, to be on trend this holiday season ditch the metallic and the animal prints and go for some hot red heels. While we don’t necessarily recommend this for day wear, we can tell you that you will be a show-stopper at your next evening event if you pair your LBD with some ruby red shoes!

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