Instagram Inspiration

As the old adage goes, “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” Today, these words have never been truer. Digital technology has long made an impression on our imagery, and while the tools are changing, the rules for aesthetics remain.

With the rise of micro-publishing platforms like Instagram, there has been an increase in the widespread sharing of traditionally outstanding photos in an innovative space. Photographers, individuals and brands everywhere have become publishers in their own right and have given new life to visual storytelling.

instagramIcon

Since publishers are known for their storytelling, Instagram enables them to extend the reach of their already compelling work. It offers a new perspective, and, if done right, can increase audience loyalty and readership. How, you ask? Read on!

Continue your Content

For starters, you can leverage Instagram for posting between publishing. It’s a quick, easy way to give your readers a sneak peek at what’s coming up in the next edition, or to solicit feedback on what they might like to see more, or less, of.

Keep it Simple

Your posts should be unique to you, so don’t overanalyze it. Share images that are easy and fun, and that speak to you specifically. Fill your frame with photos that matter to you and focus on the framing. The right crop can make all the difference.

Share your Story

Take advantage of Instagram’s hashtag feature. Beyond using common themes to create a steady stream of conversation about your channel or publication, you can also include popular hashtags to insert yourself into broader discussions about #travel, #photography or even #throwbackthursday.

Every time you post, you become more readily visible to audiences all over the world, exposing your publication to viewers with similar interests, and ultimately attracting new readers.

 

Recommended reading:

How MagCloud Publishers Leverage Instagram

How to create a big Instagram following

Creating Conversions: How to Maximize Instagram for SMBs & Publishers

MagCloud’s Favorite Instagram Users and Hashtags

Publishing Poetry

Established by the Academy of American Poets, the United States celebrates National Poetry Month throughout the month of April. Ultimately, the purpose of the dedication is to draw individual and media attention to the art of poetry.

Image Courtesy of Parnassus Review
Image Courtesy of Parnassus Review

As artists, we know that poetry takes on many forms. While some keep free verse journals, others compile intricate sonnets and visual poems. Regardless of where on the spectrum your collection lies, though, there is a publication designed to make it shine. There is no time like to present to celebrate your own poetry, so read on for publishing pointers.

Maximize your medium.

Since the layout of a poem can be as important as the words themselves, the first step to publishing it determining the best place for your poetry to call home. Composing poetry on glass or wood and then uploading photos can completely change the perspective in your book.

Think outside the lines.

Tell a visual tale with your story by writing in different shapes. Graphic layouts are ideal for acrostics and outlining the silhouette of a character, or tracing the landscape of your setting, can significantly increase the visual appeal of text without imagery.

Face the font.
Create a language of your own by changing the fonts throughout your text. Don’t stop at style though, increase the size, change the color, and indicate significance with bolding, italics and CAPS. Each aspect of your font can add emphasis to your words and your tone.

Image Courtesy of Great Lakes Writers Festival
Image Courtesy of Great Lakes Writers Festival

Structure your space.

Like with lines, spacing can increase the drama on a page without any images. You can control the chaos with specific kerning or create a world of context by increasing the length of your lines. Sometimes the white space between the words introduces a meaning more powerful than the poem.

Don’t stop with words.

Each picture you include brings 1,000 words of its own, complimenting the existing artwork with even more context. Ebooks can deliver a digital space where the possibilities are endless; complete your composition with videos and sound recordings for a visceral experience.

Have any tips of your own? Share them below!

Recommended Reading:

Passion: Poetry – Inaugural Edition

Anthology of Mad Dog Poetry

The Inquisition of Poetry: Volume 1

Spring Snapshots: Making Your Photography Bloom

Image Courtesy American Meadows
Image Courtesy of American Meadows

For many, spring is the light at the end of the winter tunnel. Yet for photographers, it is the light at the end of the lens that makes spring most welcome. We find ourselves drawn to the season’s bright colors and warming up to the wanderlust that takes over the coming months.

Whether publishing a photography book or a travel magazine, spring deserves its own place on the page. Especially in an increasingly digital space, we know that outstanding content is best accompanied by outstanding imagery.

In order to do your wanderings justice, it’s important to strengthen the foundation of your photography beforehand. Pack your rucksack full of handy tips and tricks, like those included below, and then go on. Indulge your senses in all that the new seasons have to offer. When you return, share some of it with your readers.

If you’re already out the door, you’ll find a few tips to get you started below. We hope you enjoy these handy tips and links.

  • Get close to the scenery. It was Robert Capa who said, “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”
  • Leverage the light. Use golden hours like early morning, late afternoon or early evening for the most dramatic effects.
  • Speaking of lighting, watch your white balance. Compliment the natural beauty by turning off your camera’s white balance for the truest, clearest color.
  • Dress for the occasion. Pack on the layers for changing temps, but don’t pack so much you can’t enjoy your journey.
  • Get back to the basics. The Rule of Thirds never goes out of style, so align your subject along the intersections of nine equal squares within the frame for more drama.

For further inspiration:

OneLight Field Guide: A field guide to complement the accessories in your camera bag and make the most of whatever light you may find yourself in.

Composition Rules: A short review of composition rules to help you make better photos.

Fine Art Photography: Eye on Fine Art Photography’s Spring Issue features inspiring photography of places like Wakulla Springs, Yosemite, flower fields of Carlsbad and beyond.

Denim+Grace: Denim+Grace is a Photography Magazine created for Photographers and filled with content from leading artists in the industry.

Digital Compact Photography: A must have magazine, if you are using a compact digital camera and not an SLR. Full of hints and tips, for learning to take the perfect photo using a compact digital camera.

The Canon Spectrum: This magazine gives DSLR camera users a little bit of information on the different lenses that one should use for each kind of photography subject as well as recommendation of a wide price range of recommended lenses.

 

Recommended Reading:

Summer Wanderlust

Travel Photo Tips and Tricks

Q+A with Professional Photographer James Worrell

Celebrate Camera Day

DIY Gift Ideas

From cookbooks, to calendars, to a poster of your favorite Instagram photos, use MagCloud to get a jump-start on your holiday gift giving by creating your own masterpiece.

cookbook_templateCookbooks

Recipe collections are a popular MagCloud publication type, serving the purpose of business promotionscommunity fundraisers, and wedding favors. With options for ordering print copies and downloading onto mobile devices like the iPad, MagCloud cookbooks are easy to keep close at hand in the kitchen. To help you get started on your own cookbook, check out our prior blog posts with templates and instructions for Adobe InDesigniWork Pages, and Microsoft Word.

Calendars

calendar_templateCalendars are a great way to relive the special moments of the past year, memorialize a one-of-a-kind summer vacation, highlight business accomplishments, serve as a collectible fundraising idea, or show-off your dog Kai’s greatest moments. Whatever your inspiration is, we’ve made it easy to get started. Select from one of our pre-designed templates or read our recent calendar blog post to design one yourself. And with a 28-page Standard format calendar costing only $5.60, it’s an affordable gift idea as well.

Posters

poster_templatesGive your child’s artwork, favorite New Year’s resolutions, new product offerings or your best-of wedding photos the rock star treatment with our Poster format. MagCloud’s full-color Posters are printed to order so there are no minimum order requirements – you can order copies of your poster as you need them, and come back to order more when you run out.  And if you want to make your poster gift extra special, read our blog post and watch our video for tips on framing MagCloud posters.

Share your DIY printed gift ideas in our comments section below.

It’s Calendar Season!

CalendarSeason

The holiday season is almost upon us! If you’re thinking of ways to cherish memories, gift your friends, family or clients, consider creating customized calendars!  Every year, we share new ideas or templates for calendars and this year is no different.

You can easily create calendars to send to loved-ones or to have clients remember you year-round by dropping our monthly grids into one of our standard templates in your favorite software. Simply put your own personal images on the cover, left-side pages and back (remember to rotate them on their side like the image below) and insert the grids on the right hand pages in order. We’ve included 13 months (December 2013-December 2014) so that you can easily create a 28-page saddle-stitched calendar.

Your final PDF should be on it's side, like this.
Your final PDF should be on it’s side, like this.

Get started with a Blank Standard Template for your favorite software HERE.

Download the monthly grids as images HERE.

Bonus! Download monthly grids as images for an 8×8 Square calendar HERE.

Need some inspiration on what kind of calendar to create? Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Great memories from 2013
  • Summer photos to keep the memories going year-round
  • Pet photos to keep at your desk or share with friends and family
  • Fundraiser calendar to raise money for your cause
  • Photos of the family and kids to send to grandma and grandpa
  • Branded calendar with motivational quotes to keep your clients remembering you year-round
  • Calendar to promote your art work

What type of calendars will you create? Tag us in a Tweet, Facebook post, or Instagram  with a picture of a 2014 MagCloud calendar you created for a chance to win 5  free copies! Calendar must be received by 10/30/2013 12 a.m. PDT. U.S. residents only.

MagCloud Pet Love

MagCloud Team PetsHere at MagCloud, we love pets, so it’s no surprise that some of our team members have published “Puppy’s First Year” photo books, created wall calendars or even made custom placemats for their furry friends.

Whether you have a goldfish, a Peterbald cat, a purebred Great Dane or a rescued mutt, there’s bound to be a product that will help you pay tribute to your furry (and sometimes fur-less) companions.

petphotobook

Create a Photobook

Using cool action shots, fun Instagram photos or ‘selfies’ of you and your pet, you can create beautiful square photobooks to commemorate your pet’s first year, or as a gift for your favorite animal-lover.

Blank templates to get you started with MagCloud’s square product are available in the Getting Started section of the site. Or if you want a little more help with design, you can use our partner Poyomi. Poyomi is a web service that lets you take your desktop or online photos and easily lay them out as a calendar or photo book of many sizes and have them printed and shipped on-demand via MagCloud.

MagCloud_flyer_paws_stackMagCloud’s Flyer Product to Promote your Pet Cause

If you’re involved with a pet service, cause, or adoption agency, MagCloud’s glossy flyer product is perfect for pet adoption flyers or event promotions. We personally love a good ‘yappy hour,’ or ASPCA fundraiser. You can spread the word for your cause or event for as little as $0.24 a copy when you order 20 or more digest-sized flyers.

Posters Turned into Personalized Placemats

montyplacematMonty, MagCloud’s unofficial mascot and Canine Consultant even has his very own personalized placemat for a water bowl in his office. Using the poster product in a landscape format we created a custom graphic that looks like a sketch of a place setting on chalkboard. While the poster isn’t 100% waterproof, it does hold up well, and at $2 for a new one, it can be changed out seasonally, or swapped for holiday and sports-themed versions.

You can download this image to create your own–just place it in any MagCloud 18 x 12″ poster template in your favorite software and add your pet’s name in white text.

Enjoy Pet Photos Year-Round with a Custom Calendar

SATO Fundraiser CalendarCalendars aren’t only for a new year, you can still create a custom photo calendar to enjoy through the end of 2014. We’ve modified our 2013 calendar templates to go from July 2013 to December 2014 in our Standard (8.25″ x 10.75″) and Small Square (8″ x 8″) formats for InDesign CS4 and newer, and Apple Pages. Just download the template for the size of calendar you want to create in your software of choice, add your photos and use the included instructions to export a PDF for uploading to the MagCloud website.

InDesign CS4 and newer: Standard template  |  Small Square template

Apple Pages: Standard template  |  Small Square template

If creating your own calendar file in InDesign or Pages isn’t for you, then this could also be a great time to check out our partner Poyomi. In addition to photo books, Poyomi lets you create a calendar just by uploading your photos from your computer, SmugMug, Picasa, or Facebook, and then you can have it uploaded automatically to your MagCloud account.

Discover and Enjoy other Pet-Centric Publications

If that’s not enough pet-mania for you, Monty has picked out some of his favorite publications available in the Pets Category of the MagCloud Shop.


Pup Culture May / June 2013Pup Culture

Everything Pet in the Northwest–We cover pet health, welfare, events, and just about everything else for our readers in the upper-left-hand-corner of the map.

Spot MagazineSpot Magazine

Everything Pet in the Northwest–We cover pet health, welfare, events, and just about everything else for our readers in the upper-left-hand-corner of the map.

Animals VoiceAnimals Voice

Features articles about the history and plight of pit bulls. Also: Wild Horses, Factory Farming, Whales and Dolphins, Endangered Wildlife, Horse Slaughter, and other news and information regarding the rights of animals


Pony PalsPony Pals

July’s issue is full of great pony stories, summer tales, art, horse themed crafting projects, and a great tale about Equitarian Initiative in Haiti.


Shelter Pet MagazineShelter Pet Magazine

Everything Pet in the Northwest–We cover pet health, welfare, events, and just about everything else for our readers in the upper-left-hand-corner of the map.

InstagramAnimal lovers: be sure to stay tuned for a MagCloud Instagram pet contest coming your way soon!

Summer Wanderlust

summertimewanderlustWhether you’re planning a big family vacation, or a small weekend staycation during the summer break, wanderlust seems to be an epidemic during warm summer months. In the Travel and Vacation Category of the MagCloud storefront, you can find all sorts of great publications to help inspire your travel whims, help you plan your trip, or inspire you to document your family adventure when you come home. And if you don’t get to travel anywhere this summer, you can always enjoy a good read on your lunch break and take a mental vacation.

So in honor of our own summer wanderlust, today we’re featuring some of our favorite travel-inspired publications on MagCloud.


LittleIndianalittle Indiana Quarterly Magazine

little Indiana: Where to Stay, Play, and Eat in Small Indiana Towns (population 15,000 and less). Just like littleIndiana.com, the magazine takes things to a whole new level! Find information about Indiana’s restaurants with outdoor seating, mom and pop ice cream shops, a young couple that renovated a building and restored a downtown, memories of summer from a town that no longer exists, a business on the brink of closure, and plenty more! Don’t miss regular features like “From the Hoosier bookshelf” and the Indiana trivia crossword puzzle.


toandfromTo & From: The Paris Issue

To & From Magazine merges travel and lifestyle.
The newest issue features Paris, “the City of lights.”


Tourism TattlerTourism Tattler: Kenya

The July edition of Africa’s premier Travel Trade Journal features Kenya, plus articles on Business, Conservation, Events, Hospitality, Legal and Marketing issues.


BVI NewbieBVI Newbie

A quirky and colourful guide to the BVI for residents and visitors. This books uses tongue-in-cheek commentary and bubbly design elements which keep the reader entertained and at ease when the time comes to move to Nature’s Little Secrets. This handy guide book also provides step by step instruction for several unfamilliar practices and/or procedures visitors often face while in the Virgin Islands.


Don’t just read about others’ adventures, publish your own.

Rather than let those sunny summer memories fade with your suntan at the end of the summer, start planning now to chronicle your summer adventures and photos into a cool summer recap magazine, or travel photo book printed through MagCloud. You can create a personal memento in magazine format to easily share your memories with family and friends in print and digitally.

Save and scan ticket stubs, itineraries and after your trip, compile all of your pictures and memories into a Square photo book or scrapbook using Apple Aperture  or Photoshop to share with your friends and family! If you’re not a big designer or super savvy with software–not to worry–you can try out our partner Poyomi’s on-line tool for photo book design.

Need some inspiration? Check out some of these great examples published on MagCloud:


DisneylandDisney Vacation 2013

To & From Magazine merges travel and lifestyle.
The newest issue features Paris, “the City of lights.”


 Hawaii Trip 2012Hawaii Trip 2012

A 8″ x 8″ book of photos from the Splonskowski family 2012 trip to Hawaii

Celebrate Camera Day

iStock_000018371321SmallerHappy Camera Day! There’s no better time than the present to get inspired to publish your own photography creation or cruise over to the MagCloud Shop and check out some amazing photography magazines.

In honor of National Camera Day, we’re highlighting a few of our favorite photography-centric blog posts and some great publications on MagCloud dedicated to photography in all of its forms. Whether you’re a mommy-tog, a professional wedding or portrait photographer, a hobbyist or just a fan of beautiful imagery, you’re sure to find cool ways to use MagCloud or a publication in the Photography category that fits your interest.

Turn your photos into something amazing

Don’t let those photos just sit on your hard drive–they deserve to be in print. To help get you inspired check out some of our past blog posts about using your photographs for unique MagCloud projects:

Still needing some inspiration? Check out our Q&A with photographer Holli True.

Discover Photography Publications on MagCloud

Denim+GraceDenim + Grace

Denim+Grace is a Photography Magazine created for Photographers. The encore issue contains 94 pages of marketing, branding, posing and inspiration. With artists working in genres ranging from weddings to boudoir, children to seniors, and even iPhoneography- there’s sure to be something inspiring and enlightening for even the seasoned artist. Beyond our featured photographer articles and artist pictorials, the June 2013 issue includes an inside look at a new studio, a first-hand experience from an NYC Workshop with Sue Bryce, the highs & lows of being a business owner and so much more!


Lemonade and LensesLemonade & Lenses

Lemonade and Lenses’ second annual senior issue. Featuring Articles by Angela Richardson, Meg Borders, Brittney Zambrowicz, Amanda Holloway, Kalyn Yeager and Leslie Kerrigan.


moziMozi Magazine

Now available, Mozi Magazine’s Wedding Issue! This beautiful new issue is loaded with astounding imagery and inspirational content from some of the industry’s most admired artists, including Simply Bloom, Ben Sasso, Bobbi+Mike, Julie Paisley, Zach and Jody Gray, Totally Rad Actions, Design Aglow, Fotofafa, and more.


seniors style guideSenior Style Guide

Senior Style Guide Magazine Issue 5 features educational articles from Lindsay Horn, Brittni Shroeder, Kody Hadja, Andi Artze, Stephanie Newbold, Kristen Weigel, Feuza Reis, Lexi Vornberg and Addie Gibbons.


dcist exposedDCist Exposed

DCist Exposed is the Exhibition Program for the 2013 DCist Exposed Photography Show.


Lost FreedomLost Freedom

Lost Freedom is an inspirational magazine featuring young and inspiring photographers, writers, and artists.


What’s your favorite photography publication on MagCloud? Share it with us in the comments!

5 Ways to Boost Your Small Business this Summer

Business growth red graphic relaunched with a trampolineIt’s National Small Business week! While summer can be seen as a time to unwind, take vacation and spend more time with family, it’s also prime time for businesses to re-focus and refresh their company’s strategy and/or marketing plan. Here are 5 ways you can give your small business a little boost this summer.

Refresh your marketing collateral

Need marketing collateral but don’t have budget to hire a designer? With the wealth of free templates for flyers and brochures today, small business owners can create marketing material without having to enlist the help of agencies and freelancers.

Get creative with your summer sales

As many businesses hold sales throughout the summer, stand out by trying new things with your sales promotions. Get creative and think of how you can take giveaways and discounts to the next level (without breaking the bank). Instead of holding a typical giveaway or discount, you can surprise potential customers on social media with freebies or discounts. You never know, they may turn into loyal customers and big brand advocates!

Monitor trends

When was the last time you monitored current trends? With a smaller bandwidth, small businesses often focus more on day-to-day operations during the year, that typically makes following trends and issues that impact overall business strategies a second priority. Take advantage of longer summer days to catch up on current events and industry trends that may impact your business. It may transform or inform your business goals and strategy.

Network, network, network

With a high number of conferences, webinars, speaking and network events, summer is prime time to take advantage of networking opportunities. Meet with potential business partners and people who can provide new information to help you improve your business. Keep your company at the forefront of peoples’ minds by giving them engaging company brochures or eye-catching one-pagers.

Plan ahead, re-evaluate, set forth

Take advantage of summer business lulls to work on long-term business planning including re-evaluating your company’s strategy, goals and objectives. Are they still in-line with current trends and customer needs? Identify what’s working and what’s not to re-focus your business strategy so that you can gain an edge in your industry. After you have an idea of what your small business needs to stay ahead, set forth! Summer is the best time to make sure your company is on track to meet its goals for the rest of the year.

What else can SMB’s do to boost business this summer? Share your ideas with us in the comments section below!

Celebrating Dads and Grads

With Father’s Day this Sunday and the school year coming to a close, today we’re going to highlight some ways to use MagCloud to do some last minute shopping for Dad, and also how recent graduates can use MagCloud as they commemorate the past and look toward their future.

MagCloud Gifts for Dad

18 Month Photo Calendar

DadCalendarThe mid-year timing of Father’s Day is a perfect opportunity to create a custom photo calendar that your dad can enjoy through the end of 2014. We’ve modified our 2013 calendar templates to go from July 2013 to December 2014 in our Standard (8.25″ x 10.75″) and Small Square (8″ x 8″) formats for InDesign CS4 and newer, and Apple Pages. Just download the template for the size of calendar you want to create in your software of choice, add your photos and use the included instructions to export a PDF for uploading to the MagCloud website. With MagCloud you can order just a single print copy for your dad, or order additional copies for other family members.

InDesign CS4 and newer: Standard template  |  Small Square template

Apple Pages: Standard template  |  Small Square template

If creating your own calendar file in InDesign or Pages isn’t for you, check out our partner PoyomiPoyomi lets you create a calendar just by uploading your photos from your computer, SmugMug, Picasa, or Facebook, and then you can have it uploaded automatically to your MagCloud account.

Custom BBQ Recipe Book

If your dad loves to grill, pull together his go-to recipes into a custom recipe book. Click here to check out our recent post on National Barbecue Month for templates and tips.

Print and Digital MagCloud Publications

No matter what your dad is into, from cars or technology, to sports, cooking, or travel, chances are good you can find a MagCloud publication about it. Print copies always make a great gift for reading on the beach this summer, or if he has an iPad, get Dad an iTunes gift card that he can use to purchase digital versions of the publications he likes.

CarHeader

MagCloud Uses for Grads

Photobooks for Friends

PhotobookBefore you and your friends head off in various directions after graduation, commemorate the fun times you had together in a photobook. MagCloud’s 8.25″ x 5.25″ Digest product is a great size for displaying full color photographs in a nice compact format, and only costs $0.16 per page to print. Check out our blog posts about creating photobooks with Adobe Photoshop or Apple Aperture, or see our Getting Started page for instructions in a variety of other programs. You can also use our partner Poyomi to quickly turn your photos from Facebook or Instagram into a photobook without having to lay them out yourself.

Custom Thank You Notes

ThankYouNow that you’ve received all those generous graduation gifts, show your appreciation with customized thank you notes. MagCloud’s single sheet Flyers in our smaller Digest size are printed on a heavier cover stock that make them ideal for using as flat notecards, and the size fits perfectly into A9 envelopes. All you have to do is use the program of your choice to create a PDF that is either 8.5″ x 5.5″ for portrait notecards or 5.5″ x 8.5″ for landscape notecards, and upload that PDF to MagCloud. Then you can order as few or as many thank you cards as you need, for just $0.32 each (or $0.24 each if you order 20 or more). For instructions to create your PDF, check out the Software-Specific Instruction Packages on our Getting Started page.

Print and Digital Portfolio

Children's Sports Photography PortfolioFor those of you heading into the work world as artists, photographers, designers, architects, or writers, MagCloud is a great option for publishing your portfolio. MagCloud’s print-on-demand features allow you to order commercial-quality printed portfolios at an affordable price, across a range of sizes and binding options, in as few or as many copies as you need. You can even have copies of your portfolio shipped directly to an address list of potential employers using our Ship to Group feature. In addition to having high quality print versions of your portfolio available on demand, you can also make your portfolio available digitally for viewing in the MagCloud Web Viewer, and as a downloadable PDF, using the same PDF you upload for printing.

MagCloud wishes a hearty congratulations to all the graduates out there, and a happy Father’s Day to all the dads!