As we are quickly approaching the middle of August, and stores are starting to display and advertise “Back to School” (a term usually music to parents’ ears, but maybe more-so this year), it’s a grim reminder that vacation season is also quickly coming to an end.
The corporate world is different than school, obviously; but there’s a certain freshness as most are back from their children’s dictated leave for a break from the hustle and bustle. A time when all employees are back in the office together for the first time in months, gives it that back to school feel to it.
Just like the yearly school photos, now is a great time to update your own business headshot for your company’s website or your LinkedIn profile.
I like to do on-site sessions, giving it an environmental feel to the frame. It is up to you, as I also have a studio on site where you are able to come as well, if you’re looking to get out of the office.
Click on the floating “Book Now” tab on the right side of the screen to book a free consultation.
That, according to my parents, was my first word. Growing up I was fascinated by them so much, again according to my parents, I would point and yell, “Boat, boat, boat!” every time I would see one. I remember a class photo in elementary school, maybe grade 1 where I was wearing my favourite shirt… a captain’s shirt. EDIT: I found the photo, and it was actually 1 year before I started school.
Digging around, I even found a book I wrote in kindergarten. As a former English teacher and proofreader, I sincerely apologize for the apostrophe. In my defence, I was 5.
Looking back throughout my life, I have spent my entire life next to or near a large body of water. Even family vacations and trips were usually on or near the water. With the major exceptions of driving through the prairies to the Rocky Mountains and then BC from Ontario. The 2 times that weren’t spent near a large body of water, would be my 3.5 years in Sudbury at university. But that is offset by the fact there are 32 lakes within its city limits. Most recently, in Pocheon and Yangju, in my last 4.5 years in Korea. The 1 kilometre wide Han River wasn’t that far away at 25 minutes, and the Yellow (West) Sea was only an hour and change away by car.
Taking the ferry to Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Saint Pierre and Miquelon were highlights in my life. My grandfather’s power boat was always fun. Even in Korea, I managed a couple of ferry rides, one to Nami Island, which was far too short to enjoy, and a trip to Hongdo, an island south west of Mokpo in the southwest corner of the Korean peninsula.
Fast forward to 2021. I have become a little more planted back in Canada. My wanting to establish my photography business here in Nova Scotia, Canada, I felt I needed a rebrand. One that was a little more identifiable to Canadians and one where people who didn’t speak Korean, could read my name.
One of the things that I realized was, and it’s going to sound strange, is that it was (and still is a little) weird to hear and speak English all of the time. I was raised speaking English, I had taught English for 17 years, I wrote a Business English Textbook, I edit materials, apps, and scripts that are written in and for English… and yet, hearing it on the streets in an English speaking area of Canada is strange to me. (Insert shoulder shrugging emoji here)
But this weird feeling made me realize that the logo that I have been using to promote my photography in Korea as well as my watermark wasn’t going to cut it here. For the most part, it would just look like a bunch of squiggly red lines in a circle, with no meaning.
Here is the original logo that started with Leigh MacArthur Photography. It is a personal stamp that I had done. These stamps are traditionally used with a red ink, hence the red. It is merely a macro photograph of a real stamp. Let me break it down for you…
In this colourized version, the blue is 맥 which in Korean is “Mac”. The yellow is 아, which is pronounce as “ah”. The green is 더 which is pronounced as “daw”. Which is my last name: 맥아더 (MacAhDaw) or MacArthur. (There are no similar ‘th’ sounds in Korean, so it often gets replaced with either a ‘d’ for the voiced dental fricative or an ‘s’ for the voiceless dental fricative.) The purple 리 is pronounced “Lee”, or in my case, Leigh. Plain and simple, this is just a stamp of my name in Korean. I added English script to it a little later to add to the watermarks on the photos, often followed with a copyright.
So to avoid going through the complete transition that the logo has gone through, I will fast forward to earlier this year. I was looking to make some business cards. I went around to several print shops in the local area, and was a little underwhelmed at what they could offer me. Queue the Google search.
The first name that came up was an address that I hadn’t seen before in my short time here in Kentville. So I went on a hunt to look for it. I found it, but was closed. So I went home and did a little more digging into their website. Some of the designs that they had done were really cool. Then I came across this:
Coins to me are really cool. I don’t have a collection per se, but any coins from different countries or what I think are cool looking coins are kept. The graphic designer I “found” has designed a coin! How cool was that. Well, I just had to meet her.
Bonnie Ross, I learned, has won a number of awards in graphic design and has just the other month had designed a new gold coin with an emerald! The selling price is $4400! The crazy part is that it sold out before the mint had told her that it was up on their site.
I had told her I was looking to do something that would tie me to the area a little more. Knowing nothing of me personally, the first thing she suggested was using a sailboat within my name as a logo. I thought that was a great idea, I had thought of trying to use a tall ship, much like the Bluenose II. We tossed around some ideas, I had thought of using the sails as the M in MacArthur. I worked and worked at it for days. I sent off what I had done, and she asked if I wanted her to give it a go. I said please. The first thing she came back at me was pretty close to what I had decided to be the final product.
The idea of using the Korean logo as a part of the new logo, she explained was to include my international history in photography. It was actually my wife’s idea to move it to the right side and treat it as if it were the moon. The addition of the blue… that blue. I have obsessing over that shade/hue of blue for the last few years. It blew my mind, as Bonnie had, naturally, no idea of this obsession. I also asked to use the original sketch that lead to the idea for the big logo which is now on the back of my business card.
Even in the word mark, the use of the Korean logo as a reflection of the circled M was more than just a nice touch.
I am more than ecstatic to not just have a new logo, one that my wife said when I first showed her the first draft, “Yes, that’s a professional logo. You can see that it’s professional.”, but to have a logo designed by one of the top graphic designers in Canada is beyond my wildest dreams, and the cherry on the top, is the honour to be able to consider her a new friend.
I’ve come full circle with boats. So it’s time to guide it through without sinking.
Many of you are familiar with a number of applications to display your photography to the masses. Some are photographic centred, while others are not. Some of the photographic centred apps have been purchased and are now run by companies that are not necessarily photo-oriented and have become money driven.
I have been a huge fan of Dayflash since I first learnt about it from an online magazine and ventured over for a look. There have been quite a few articles about the next “Instagram killer” app and naturally I was skeptical. After all, I have lost track of all the supposed IG/FB killers out there only to fade away without a whimper, or accept and embrace the fact that they will never be IG but, hey that’s okay, too, this is where the creatives really hang out and share… I’m looking at you VSCO. 😉
I signed up, thinking at the very least, “Let’s get another portfolio out there to maximize the eyes on my work.” It wasn’t very long before I was sold. The image quality on Dayflash vs. IG, and definitely FB was miles (kilometres) ahead. The other thing that I absolutely loved about Dayflash was that if you were to post a horizontally framed photo with an aspect ration greater than 4:3, it would automatically rotate the photo, so that it filled the entire screen instead of shrinking it to 1/3 the size.
Dayflash tries its best to showcase your photo using the entire screen, or at least as much as possible. There is only one photo per screen. To view the next photo swipe up or down like you would on IG. If you want to like it, simply double tap on the photo, or touch the name at the bottom and a transparent pane shows a like button and a comment button. Compare that to the wasted real estate over at IG for promote buttons, likes, and hashtags.
The other major and wonderful feature of Dayflash that’s under the hood, is that the feed is, and they say – will always be (according to their website) – chronological. There is no algorithm to try to figure out and either play or cheat. You post it when you want and the same number of eyes (which is 100% of the community) have the opportunity to see your work.
The other, albeit somewhat of a selfish pleasure, thing that I love about Dayflash is their hashtag, or keyword system. Despite yours truly’s ability to go on and on here in my blogsphere (do they still use that word?), I am absolutely horrible with my key-wording and hashtags. On Dayflash, hashtags are not supported. How can people find others with similar interests? You enter a limited number of key words on your profile when you sign up. This is nice because you are forced to choose words that best describe your style or photos without the fluff like “#photooftheday” which will allow you to find people who are that much closer to what you are looking for.
They’ve recently added “Collaborations” – a system where you can find another photographer, designer, or model to work on any specific project you might have. They have also released a thing called the “Partner Program” which allows fans to donate or compensate you directly for your work, so that you may continue to do your work. It is currently under invitation only along with some requirements that must be met. They’ve also just released direct messages. The first message that I received was one asking if I would be a Dayflash ambassador. To which after some deliberation, I accepted. (My last venture as an ambassador with another app didn’t go so well. But that’s a rant for another rainy day.)
Here is some of the statistical differences between Dayflash and Instagram from someone who doesn’t have a large following on either. I put this photo up on both roughly around the same time frame. I think Dayflash got a few hours head start. But the numbers are interesting. As of the time of the screenshots, (roughly 2 days later) the view count is 175 – 193 in favour of Instagram. But that is the only category that they can really claim. Dayflash: Of the 175 views, it has gotten 57 likes (32.57%). Instagram: 193 views and 33 likes (17%)
Instagram has gotten 6 comments Dayflash 0 comments Of the 6 Instagram comments, 3 are my replies and the other 3 are spread between 2 friends. Whereas no one I personally know follows me on Dayflash.
Instagram says that 36% of the viewers were not following me. I currently have 345 followers, which works out to be about 69 people. I have “70+” followers on Dayflash so even at 79 people that would mean that the smallest number of people who don’t follow me that saw the picture would be 96 or 55%.
This is also on top of Dayflash’s superior photo quality, and the automatic full screen viewing of landscape (horizontal) oriented photos.
It’s not as simple as it was made to sound, but I did hear a presentation not talking about Dayflash in particular but any new social media outlet where the person said, “It doesn’t matter if the platform will be dead in a year.” Paraphrasing: If that’s where the people are for now that’s where you have to be. Now obviously Instagram is still where most of the people are, but if there’s a much better chance of a wider audience actually seeing my work somewhere else, that’s where I’m going. These days, (and it’s been almost a year) it’s Dayflash, and I’m very proud to be an ambassador.
Sorry Andriod users, at the time of this post, Dayflash is still only available on iOS. Although from what their website is saying, an Android version is on the horizon.
If you do use Dayflash, or have recently signed up. Head on over to @leighmacarthur.