[SL] Blogger Support

Surreal Red: Perfect for Winter Photos

Surreal Red is a rental property with the idea of having a sense of community.  This community features well-decorated, snowy landscapes and homes.  There is also an icy waterway with places for ice skating.  This place is great for photos, or if you’d like a snowy place to rent for the holiday season!

TP TO SURREAL RED!

Hope this helps your snowy sim find!

Lyrical Ember xx

Getting more out of Flickr – Part III

flickr-part3

Flickr-time again, after Part I and Part II, this will be the last blogpost in my series of ‘How to get more out of Flickr’, unless of course things change, questions arise and there is need to explain some more,  I may come back with another Flickr-related article. Which leads me to a different subject without trying to sound arrogant: thanks  for all the input and feedback I have received in private messages! It is of course always possible to directly comment to a post on a blogpost as this, but for all kinds of reasons people find it easier or more comfortable to do it out of the public. I will come back to ‘commenting on blogs and why it is not a bad thing’ in an article in the future, this post will cover  Flickr “groups” – or communities, captions/titles of your images and how to block unwanted individuals from your stream. As always, still assuming you as blogger are familiar with  Flickr and well, I found out by now this blog is being read by non-bloggers as well, so…for all you people on Flickr, here we go – I will post images in this blogpost to illustrate what I mean here and there!

So many groups, so little time..

Groups in Flickr are best to be described as ‘communities’ which share collections of images relating to eachother. There are hundreds, maybe thousands!, of groups for images regarding Second Life, so it is no wonder it gets confusing and at times, in some groups, even messy and frustrating.
There are groups for literally everything, I am sure if you come up with  a topic, chances are there is already a group for it. I will try to keep it short and comprehensible so I will give some examples of the most used categories by bloggers to add their pictures in, knowing this short list is by far not covering all of them:

* Second Life in General, vague, but usually large groups that collects and shares all kind of images as long as they are made in Second Life.
* Fashion Groups, a wide variety of groups all collecting/sharing images from Second Life as long as they are featuring fashion. I include in this group also groups made by designers, to (have)show off specifically their works.
* Destination/Landscape groups, seems simple: Second Life pictures from cool, interesting places, buildings, art installations etc.
* Home and Garden Decoration Groups, need I say more?
* Artistic/Photography groups, filled with pictures – works of art even – by SL photographers, graphic designers and such, often with a specific theme and ever so often known for their ‘award’ system (more about that later…).

Click to enlarge

Easy check on activity of group, including the rules!

Flickr Groups -II

Check discussions for news and updates about the group

Flickr Groups -III

More information on the group, its topic, theme and rules/guidelines incl. the accepted safety level (Adult, Mature, General)

Groups are excellent to share your work in, as lots of people use those groups to look for things they have interest in, so you know upfront the audience is the right one for what you have to show.
And this is also where many frustration comes from.
A group always has an owner and in most cases also one or more admins, since most groups have rules/guidelines, to make sure the collection of images reflects the purpose of said group and keeps it interesting for their members/viewers.
A much heard sigh of frustration comes from admins/owners (I happen to be both for several groups) and is:
‘ people who just dump their pics in a gazzillion groups without bothering to check if their images fit the theme, topic and/or rules, guidelines ‘.
On the other side I have read the frustration of bloggers about adding pictures to up to 200 groups and how time consuming that is.

I can only ask you, as a blogger, do you really….really! need to upload your pictures in  over  a 100 or 200 groups?
Are you sure all those groups, every click you make, helps in  your blog getting attention? How many of those groups are actually alive and kicking? Do you actually know all the rules and do you think on every ‘tick in the list': yeah, this is definetely a group that will appreciate my work?

I have made mistakes, they happen…when busy, not paying enough attention it easy to just click on your group list and voilá, pic is in, while it wasn’t appropriate to the theme and such. Mistakes aside, I am sure – as admin and group owner and after having spoken to fellow admins of other groups, most of the non-topic added pics are no mistakes, but well..how to say it nice…not paying enough attention to adding images and appear to be mindless adding to as many groups as possible.
And this does not help your reputation. At. All. In fact, it works against you. You don’t want to be remembered as the ‘repeat offender dumping pics in a group without sticking to guidelines’? I may hope not, I would like to think you post images so people appreciate you and your work AND click on the links to your blog!

So, in short, as the images in this post show:
* Check the groups description and rules, make sure joining is not only good for the group but also for you (why  post in a ‘Adult Fetish BDSM For Furries’ group if what  you do is Kawaii fully clothed cute girls fashion? Or why post a landscape in a group dedicated to portraits?)
* Check the groups photo-pool, this will give you a good idea on the managing of the group, if it’s a mess of random off-topic pics, who would want to follow that? Are you the only one posting recent stuff, that would be sign to leave.
* Don’t random tick all groups when uploading, give it some thought. Don’t be that repeat offender!

Flickr Groups -IV

Award groups, P1/C2  with sweeper active!?

Award groups are groups, just like others, in which their rules require you to give ‘awards’ to other groupmembers. It is to encourage views on pics of their member and to show appreciation. Often these are groups for artistic works, not so much for bloggers or destination-pics.
P1/C2, is Flickr-speak for: ‘if you post 1, you have to comment on two other pics in the group’.  Often those groups have the warning : *sweeper active*, which is Flickr-speak for:  ‘we check if you comment as you should and if you don’t your picture and you will be removed‘ .
I am not judging or saying this is a bad thing, it is a way of managing groups and if you willingly and knowingly join an award-group, you have to follow their rules (as you do for other groups) and yes, this means time and effort.
To be honest, I very much doubt the Award groups are suitable for blog pictures, be it fashion, tech or destinations.

Captions/titles and blocking

A short paragraph to end this lengthy post.

Captions/titles of your images are more important than you may think. An image titled “untitled”, “IMG_23456″ or “Snapshotbrkfjt_0034k” does not exactly give the impression you care about your work. You don’t need to be overly clever, but give it…again, some thought. A colour, the day of the week, the weather, a song-title, the title of your blog-post, the name of an item or the location you posted. It shows you care and show you think about what you post and it triggers people to look and maybe click to your blog.

And last, I promise, it is possible to block someone from your stream in case you really do not wish someone to comment, favourite and/or share your work. Simply go to their stream and open their profile (top right in bar) and choose: block.
They can always see your work, but they cannot Flickr-mail you, they cannot follow you (but yeah, they can look you up and look at your pics) and commenting and sharing is no longer an option. Not a perfect block, but it is something.
Thanks for reading, my next topic will be about Facebook and Twitter and why they are not so much TeH EviL as they may seem!

Happy snapping and uploading!

Photoshop or not to photoshop that is the question

Spreekbeurt 2_001

Hello my name is inkie Loudwater from Holland First I like to  thank [SL] Blogger Support for letting me be one of the contributors on this blog. In advantage I say sorry for my poor English writing I have my spelling check on but that does not sort out all my  mistakes.

In the past view years the [SL] bloggers group and this blogsite has bin a never ending source  of bloggers  wisdom. For me  being an internet and bloggers noob, help was and still  is needed to navigate me trough all the steps needed to be a second life blogger. From windight settings trough the right place to shop and where to take the best pictures  you name it ,this group of bloggers always come trough on every question asked.

My first post is a “lecture”  about the Photoshop buzz.

When I started blogging years ago I never heard of Photshop did not  knew it existed, like I said noobish in start and still at heart. So I saw beautifull second life pictures and I was in oohh and ahh in admiration and I thought that were shots straight from the camara in to the blogs. I even felled  depressed that my pictures did not even came close to the wow pictures I saw around me.

Then some  second life photographers started to show before PS and after PS pictures on Flickr, on their blogs and on FaceBook. Duh!! finely I found out that publishing  ooohhh and ahhhh pictures is more then “snap snap” taking the pictures, it takes editing skills and patiance  as well. Thank you all for doing that it shows the power of the Photoshop tools and gave me the feeling there was hope for me to become better in presenting my pictures to the world.

Buying a photoshop program is not cheap and for me blogging on a budget not an option to get myself a new version. It took me some web searching but finely I got myself a free photoshop CS2  and I was over the moon so happy Thought this was it “the” magic tool that would lift my pictures to a higher level, to a level of awesomnes I had seen on Flickr and other blogs.

But.. when   it comes to editing pictures in photoshop I suck…..

All the turtorials in the world can not help me I am a PS basket case…..

When it comes to second life I  shop like a madd woman so my bloggers to do list is as long as my rl arm and because of my rl demanding job my sl time is on a budget 2nd : I am impatient I love to play dress up every day and taking pictures of every new outfit but working on one immage in PS is not really my cup of bloggers tea. So after hours of swearing and cursing behind my pc going trough PS turtorials I stopped trying and I only open my PS program to use the liquify tool to round up the sl square edges of my pixel Barbie.

To edit my pictures I use the free PhotoScape tool it’s very simpel to use so I can do my snap snap photos and when I am lucky I can do 1 post each day and still have time to shop some more. For all of you who are on a budget or don’t want to spent that much money on a photoshop tool here are some photo editing tools from the web for free. Some of them are an online tools so no download needed other are free as downloads.

Fotoflexer Very easy to use and very handy when it comes to add text to your pictures. It is on line free to use service so no need to download anything

PhotoScape This tool I use a lot to get more depth , to optimize  the lighting and to get a finer detail on my pictures. It is very users friendly even I can use it. You can download it for free and once in a while they are updating and renewing the features and when they do,they sent you an update you can download for free as well. Sasy Scarborough made a turtorial how to use this tool when it comes to making lay outs

Picmonkey No use of downloading this is an online service to edit your pictures. There is a payed more advantaged option available as well but the simple version is free to use.

Gimp GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring It works on many operating systems, in many languages. Type in Gimp on YouTube and there are many turtorials how to work with this program. There are even turtorials where  features you can use on Photoshop  can be found on Gimp. On the blogsite Through Salamander’s eyes more to learn about Gimp Free to download.

Pixlr A free starters option and a membership option with an online and a download option.

Ribbet Free standard options to use and premium features available as well in a premium account. For now the premium is free as well for a limited time.

IPiccy This free online  tool got a liquify option as well

Succes  editing your pictures and have fun while you shop until you drop.

P.S. For the credits where to shop  go visit my blogsite Pixel Styles

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