Nokia N8 – Two Week Photography Review

Nokia N8 includes a 12 megapixel camera and Ziess lens

For a phone, the Nokia N8 offers an incredibly powerful camera and video package in a smartphone about the same size as an Apple iPhone. And for two weeks, I shot several hundred photos and dozens of videos on the smartphone’s 16 Gb of internal memory.

But let me jump back for a moment. About a month ago, a person named Chris reached out to me from WOMWorld.com and offered me the opportunity to try out the Nokia N8. The Nokia N8 boasts a 12 megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss lens, so I jumped at the chance to do a test and review.
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Facebook Fan Pages Free and Fun

Facebook Fan Page Graph

The continued rise of Facebook means that all marketers — even those who have traditionally ignored social media tactics — are trying to figure out how to tap into this techno-social phenomenon.

One of the easier (and more affordable) ways to test the social waters is to set up a Facebook Fan Page. Plus, it’s free to get started.

I recently set up a fan page for my books (I’ve published three) and my CD-ROMs (again, three published). My books and CDs are resources that provide anatomy reference for comic book artists. Yeah, it’s a unique niche, I admit.

Setting up the “Photo Reference for Comic Artists Fan Page” was free and easy. If you were able to sign up for Facebook and set up a profile, you can figure out how to set up a fan page. For content, I uploaded sample photos from each of the books. It’s basically the same stuff that I have posted over in Flickr galleries and on my personal website.

Photo Reference for Comic Artists

So once you do that, you need to let people know about your page. Right now, I am promoting on the cheap. Basically, I shared the link with everyone in my Facebook Friends list who would be remotely interested in the page.

To my surprise, I got a dozen people on the first day, and then it quickly picked up from there. In less than two weeks, I had hit 200 fans. Not bad for word of mouth (WOM) promotion.

At that point, I had an audience. So I started uploading extra photos, like behind the scene shots that nobody has ever seen. As I posted pictures, people started giving it that thumbs-up “like,” which is a virtual endorsement. That resulted in more people signing up to be fans of the page. In the social marketing space, it’s all about relationships, so virtual approval is hugely important.

As a marketing channel, Facebook Fan Page is an free and easy way to begin spreading your brand message. Facebook even offers some rudimentary statistics and demographic information. It’s not very useful at this point, since my trends are just creating an initial baseline of information. At 10,000 fans you get access to more detailed analytics, but it’s unlikely that such a deep vertical like my books has that much of a broad-based appeal. But you never know.

Next month, I’ll try Facebook’s built-in advertising network to drive more awareness of the fan page. But for now, I am content recruiting fans organically, as they discover my page through their actual social network.

The next few weeks will be focused on posting new information and photos to get people engaged with the fan page. I’ll try running contest, just to see if people will participate. It will be at least six months before I get information about book sales, so I won’t know if this actually helps my long-term goal of selling books.

Stay tuned. More to come. Oh, and don’t forget to become a fan!

LINKS – NOT NECESSARILY ENDORSEMENTS:

7 Tips for Better Flickr Traffic

Since I first discovered the analytics features in Flickr, I have been obsessed with my stats. I just can’t help myself. Stats and analytics fascinate me. (Note: Stats are only available to Flickr Pro users.)

Here are a couple of observations regarding Flickr’s chocolaty goodness:

  1. Post consistently. My stats hovered around a depressingly low number for many months. The key to getting more views on photos was to actually upload photos more consistently. Sounds obvious, but the reality is that people in a social community tend to interact more with people who are contributing consistently.
  2. Give the people what they want. If you know what photos get the most traffic, that means there’s an audience for your work. If people like your dog photos and label them as “favorite” then keep posting your dog photos.
  3. Share timely events. My stats skyrocketed recently when I uploaded 388 photos in one batch. (Thank you Flickr Uploader!). I attended the Long Beach Comicon 2009 and uploaded my pictures within two days of the con. My average views went from 500 a day to over 5,000 per day. That’s a HUGE increase in traffic. Not all of it is sustained, but I have definitely increased my daily views significantly.
  4. Include links to your other sites. The traffic from Flickr to my personal website BuddyScalera.com is increasing. The more people look at my Flickr photos the more they go check out my webpage. I saw a pretty nice jump when I uploaded that batch I just mentioned. Flickr users tend to check out my photo reference books, which is good.
  5. Join groups & create groups. I belong to dozens of informal Flickr groups. Plus, I’ve created two Flickr groups, which has increased my overall photo traffic. Since I have particular photography interests, it makes sense for me to contribute to certain groups. But some of my interests didn’t already have a group, so I created Long Beach Comicon – Official Flickr Group and Comic Book Creators & Pros. One complaint: they don’t give administrators much access to group analytics, beyond giving a list of members.
  6. Participate. People are sharing their photos online because they want the world to see their pictures. Give people feedback on their photos. If you share a comment, people will want to see your photos, which will increase your base of viewers.
  7. Contact ’em. There’s a “friending” feature on Flickr called “Contact.” Basically, it’s like friending someone on Facebook, except you get a feed of new photos that is being uploaded by your contacts. If you like someone’s work, you can check out their work in thumbnails as they upload the images. And unlike Facebook, people on Flickr are uploading photos, so you don’t have to wade through dozens of throw-a-sheep and super-poke invitations.

More on Flickr in the future. In the mean time, check out 10 Tips to Boost your Flickr Profile. Very good article about increasing Flickr traffic.

My Books Get Three Stars

Two of my photo reference books received a three (out of four) star rating by a reviewer from Comics Buyers Guide (CBG). In the September, 2009 issue of CBG (#1657), the reviewer wrote, “I would recommend these books and photo reference to all prospective artists.”

Whoo! That’s good stuff. CBG is the world’s longest running magazine about comic books, so hopefully it inspires people to check out my books. You can advertise all you want, but a good review from a respected reviewer and publication goes a LONG way.

So far, I have published three photo books, which you can check out on my buddyscalera.com website. More to come in the future!

Flickr & Picasa Your New Photos

I’ve been posting more pictures these days to photo sharing sites. My two current favorites are Flickr and Picasa.

Picasa (owned by Google) offers some nice sharing features, including the ability to embed your photos inside your blog. It makes it easy to share a gallery…except on WordPress. (Unless I pay for a WordPress upgrade.)

At least I can embed a preview image that links to the Picasa gallery:

Random Photos by Buddy Scalera

Flickr (owned by Yahoo) is also a cool service, but it only allows you to insert a link to your gallery. That’s sort of old school, considering all of the cool things you can do with widgets and code.

Flickr has a really vibrant and engaging social network, which is one of the reasons it’s so popular. I can join groups where I can share my photos and I can track photographers I like.  By comparison, Picasa’s social community is a little weak.

On the other hand, Picasa offers many cool features, including the ability to upload video and embed slideshows. For the same features, Flickr requires you to pay $24.95 to get the premium features, which include basics like the ability create multiple galleries.

If one of these sites offered the right package, I’d certainly be willing to pay. Of course, I want to pay according to my needs. So, I’d pay $12 a year for upgraded consumer services on Flickr. And if I wanted pro-level services, I’d be willing to pony up $24.95. With only two choices (free or $24.95), I’m sticking with free.

On the Picasa side, I’d like to see Google do a better job of integrating their other services. I already use many Google services, so I’d pay extra to have them synchronized. Again, give me some pricing thresholds, and I’ll choose the one that makes the most sense.

Flickr & Picasa Your New Photos

I’ve been posting more pictures these days to photo sharing sites. My two current favorites are Flickr and Picasa.

Picasa (owned by Google) offers some nice sharing features, including the ability to embed your photos inside your blog. It makes it easy to share a gallery…except on WordPress. (Unless I pay for a WordPress upgrade.)

At least I can embed a preview image that links to the Picasa gallery:

Random Photos by Buddy Scalera

Flickr (owned by Yahoo) is also a cool service, but it only allows you to insert a link to your gallery. That’s sort of old school, considering all of the cool things you can do with widgets and code.

Flickr has a really vibrant and engaging social network, which is one of the reasons it’s so popular. I can join groups where I can share my photos and I can track photographers I like.  By comparison, Picasa’s social community is a little weak.

On the other hand, Picasa offers many cool features, including the ability to upload video and embed slideshows. For the same features, Flickr requires you to pay $24.95 to get the premium features, which include basics like the ability create multiple galleries.

If one of these sites offered the right package, I’d certainly be willing to pay. Of course, I want to pay according to my needs. So, I’d pay $12 a year for upgraded consumer services on Flickr. And if I wanted pro-level services, I’d be willing to pony up $24.95. With only two choices (free or $24.95), I’m sticking with free.

On the Picasa side, I’d like to see Google do a better job of integrating their other services. I already use many Google services, so I’d pay extra to have them synchronized. Again, give me some pricing thresholds, and I’ll choose the one that makes the most sense.

Men & Boys Book Promotion

Just did an interview with the Pulse to promote my new book Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: Men & Boys. This is my third pose file book for comic book artists, illustrators, animators, and everyone else who wants to improve their artistic craft.

Hope you like the article: The Boys of Scalera’s Comic Artist’s Photo Ref

Men & Boys

Comic Artist's Photo Reference: Men & Boys

Men & Boys Book Promotion

Just did an interview with the Pulse to promote my new book Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: Men & Boys. This is my third pose file book for comic book artists, illustrators, animators, and everyone else who wants to improve their artistic craft.

Hope you like the article: The Boys of Scalera’s Comic Artist’s Photo Ref

Men & Boys

Comic Artist's Photo Reference: Men & Boys

THIRD PHOTO REFERENCE BOOK ON SHELVES HALLOWEEN

BUDDY SCALERA’S THIRD PHOTO REFERENCE BOOK ON SHELVES HALLOWEEN
Author Publishes Three Pose File Books in Three Years

PARAMUS, NJ – The third book in the “Comic Artist’s Photo Reference” trilogy by photographer Buddy Scalera will appear in national book chains and comic stores nationwide on Halloween.

Men & Boys

Comic Artist

The 144-page “Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: Men & Boys” features 1,000+ photos of actors in superhero poses, shot specifically for the needs of illustrators. The book is part of Scalera’s three-part series which started with “Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: People & Poses” (May, 2006) and then “Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: Women & Girls” (May 2008).

Each of the books in the series includes in-depth art lessons by respected comic book professionals, including David Hahn (Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four), Rafael Kayanan (Conan, Star Wars, Firestorm, Batman), Mike Lilly (Vampirella, Nightwing), Mark Smylie (Artesia), and Rodolfo Migliari (Green Lantern, Elektra, Kiss). Preview photos on www.buddyscalera.com.

Males of different ages and body types are featured in superheroic poses to help professional and aspiring artists draw accurate anatomy in their comic books, storyboards, videogames, manga, and more.

The 144-page softcover book and CD-ROM package retails for $24.95 in Barnes & Nobles, Borders, (ISBN-978-1-60061-004-2), comic stores, Bud Plant Comic Art, and Amazon.

“Artist’s can use these reference books to draw better foreshortening, shadows, clothes, and action poses,” explains author Scalera. “Many professional artists utilize photo reference to create superhero comics.”

Scalera is the creator of another photo reference resource, a three-volume CD-ROM collection of pictures titled “Visual Reference for Comic Artists” Vol. 1-3. He is also a superhero comic book writer with credits writing for Marvel Comics including Deadpool, Agent X, and X-Men Millennial Visions. Most recently he wrote the critically acclaimed mini series “7 Days to Fame” published by After Hours Press.

For more information and preview photos, visit: http://www.buddyscalera.com

INTERIOR PHOTOS:
http://www.buddyscalera.com/comic_artists_photo_reference_3/index.htm

COVER ART by Rodolfo Migliari:
http://www.buddyscalera.com/comic_artists_photo_reference_3/CAPR3_cov_500.jpg

Hulu & Pandora Got Me Through Book 3

Well, I finally got the “all clear” signal from my editor Amy. She told me today that all of my deliverables have been accepted and my book is moving to final production. Whoo hooo!

She gave the editorial thumbs up to the final pages and the CD-ROM on my third photo reference book “Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: Men & Boys.” I did this book at the same time as I was doing the last book “Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: Women & Girls.”Men & Boys

It was, I now admit, a lot harder to complete two books at the same time than I’d originally thought. My day job is busy, but I managed to juggle both and keep everything going. However, I did NOT account for was how much work kids are as they get older. Sports, parties, and staying up later means less time for freelance. I do my work on the weekends and that’s when the kids need me most.

BUT…! It all got done. I am exhausted, but satisfied. I’m looking forward to a short mental break, but I am also excited about getting started again.

These things kept me sane during the last two books:

Pandora.com – The best personalized-music station ever. Wow. Make a playlist and Pandora makes it better. I discovered a bunch of new music through Pandora.

Amazon.com – There’s a good alternative for buying music. I love iTunes, but I hate the DRM restrictions. Amazon sells complete albums for under $9.00 and there are no DRM roadblocks. I can listen at home or at work. Music I discovered on Pandora I bought on Amazon….if it was available. Amazon doesn’t have nearly as many songs as iTunes, but I that’s already starting to change.

Hulu.com – While I work, I keep Hulu.com playing in the corner. They have tons of shows from NBC and their affiliates. I caught up great shows, including 30 Rock, The Office, SNL, Family Guy, and Cops. I even discovered a genuinely scary webisode show called Devil’s Trade. It’s one freaky, creepy show.

iTunes – I still love my iTunes. I can’t live without my podcasts. They keep me going as I grind through 1000+ Photoshop files. My favorites include: KCRW: The Business, CBC: Search Engine, KCRW: Martini Shot, On the Page: Screenwriting, PC Mag Radio, NYT Science Times, Secret Identity, The Grim Reader’s Screenwriting Advice, the 60 Minutes Podcast, and the awesome Vodcast Tiki Bar TV.

So, I’m excited to be done, but I’m already looking forward to taking more pictures.

Now…sleep.