Quick Tips for Outdoor Photography

written by Georgia Schumacher 1 April 2014

PhotographyIf you love being in the great outdoors, then taking a nature or landscape photography class might be right up your alley. While it might seem like an easy specialty to master, there's more to it than meets the eye. However, it's possible to improve your skills, if you're willing to put in a little time and effort. These quick tips will have your photographs looking professional in no time.

Early to Bed, Early to Rise

While natural lighting is always preferable, not all light is created equal. The light around the middle of the day is too harsh and won't show your subjects to their best advantage. The light just before sunrise and just after sunset is the best for getting great shots of landscapes and nature, but be quick as it will soon get too light or too dark.

Horizon Horrors

This might go without saying, but in photos, the horizon should be, well, horizontal. One of the common problems in outdoor photography is forgetting to keep your horizon straight. Take that extra moment to make sure that you're shooting level and your photos will thank you for it.

Shutter Speeds

Think about the optimum shutter speed for your subject. If you're tackling landscape photography then a longer shutter speed is generally best. However, if you're looking to get some great wildlife shots, then you'll want a fast shutter speed, especially if you want to catch animals in motion. For longer shutter speeds, it's more or less vital that you use a tripod to keep your camera still and ensure your photos don't come out blurred.

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

Nothing shines through in outdoor photography more than a true passion for nature. However, it's still important to prepare and do your research. If you're trying to capture a particular species (be it animal or vegetable), make sure that you'll be able to find it in the area you're photographing at the time of year you're going. It's also a good idea to thoroughly explore the place where you're shooting, especially if you're looking for great landscape photographs. Taking this extra time will help you to get amazing shots that really have that wow factor.

Get Serious about Your Photography

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in photography, consider taking photography classes at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division. We have several photography programs available online, and our photography classes are designed to allow you to explore the elements of image production and manipulation, learn how to use a wide range of professional camera and lighting equipment, and gain the ability to capture a moment through your lens that evokes emotion.

Read More

- http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-tips/landscape-quick-tips/
- http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/2010/09/08/10-quick-wildlife-photography-tips/

7 Apps for Military Members and Families

written by Georgia Schumacher 29 March 2014

Mobile appsAt home or on the road, our military men and women require numerous ways to stay connected with family, loved ones and colleagues. Although the military lifestyle is just as complex as it was 50 years ago, mobile apps can help by minimizing stress, improving quality of life, and increasing overall happiness.

Mobile apps can be especially beneficial for our military students, who in addition to all the responsibilities of their everyday lives, must fit in attending art school into their full schedules. In addition to well-known apps like Skype or Zillow that military members may find helpful, these 7 apps have been specifically designed with the military in mind.

1. US Army News and Information

If you’re a military member, this official Army app makes it easy for you to stay up-to-date to access news stories, photos, podcasts, and videos from Army.mil as well as peruse the Army Live blog and digital edition of Soldiers Magazine.


VAPP can connect veterans and their families to resources for transitioning through the various stages of a military career. This app makes it easier to locate nearby community, state, and federal services, and can assist veterans in seeking counselors, finding employment, pursuing education, and starting a small business.

3. Base Directory

If you just moved, Base Directory (previously Military Traveler) provides a list and contact information of the businesses and services near your military base, including gas stations, banks, libraries and more. You’ll be able to choose your home base and adjust it when needed; you can also save the bases you frequent most on a Favorites List for easy access in the future.


POS REP, short for Position Report, is a proximity-based social networking app that's designed to keep retired military members connected with their friends and colleagues. In addition to staying in touch with those that you served with, this app can help you and other veterans find new peers in your communities.

5. Military Discounters

Based on your location, Military Discounters can help you and your family members find discounts nearby. Choose from categories like automotive, travel, retail, law, entertainment, attractions, restaurants and more!

6. Military By Owner

The Military By Owner application helps military families in their PCS house-hunting process. It provides options for both rentals and discounted purchases for which you may qualify. Use the map interface to find and save properties near your current location or near important bases.

7. MyMilitaryLife

MyMilitaryLife can assist families in navigating the special challenges and important life events that veterans and active military members face. These include being deployed, transitioning out of the military, having a baby, moving, raising kids, finding employment for you or spouse, continuing your education, and much more. Based on the information you provide, MyMilitaryLife can provide you with customized to-do lists and connect you to helpful organizations or websites.

…And One More App for Current StudentsMobile App

If you’re military student at our art school, we also recommend you check out The Art Institutes app for quick and easy access to your online classroom when you’re on the go. Read and respond to classroom discussions, check deadlines, and make sure you’re aware of our latest news and announcements!

How to Prepare for a Career in Interior Design

written by Georgia Schumacher 27 March 2014

Interior DesignAspiring designers with a flair for color, an interest in fashion trendsm, and the skills to produce unique styles may wish to pursue an interior design degree. These degree programs involve a great deal of detail-oriented coursework that immerses participants in the history, theory, and application of many design concepts and prepares them to apply those concepts in the real world.

Job Details

Prospective designers can expect to work with all areas of interior style including colors and textures, fabrics, lighting and furniture design, and placement. Such concepts are applied in a variety of settings from functional "bare bones" constructions such as offices to luxury hotels, homes, and apartments.

Designers may work with architects and builders as well as structural and mechanical engineers to visualize how a space will look and function. They meet and collaborate with clients to develop design visions and set goals for the desired layout as well as determine how long projects will take. This provides the basis for sketching preliminary plans, choosing materials, finalizing designs and applying the style to the finished space. A client follow-up is usually part of the process to ensure satisfaction.

Required Skills

Those desiring to become interior designers should possess the following skills:

• Familiarity with past and present design trends
• Ability to work well with others and collaborate to complete projects
• Artistic ability and a creative mindset
• Attention to detail that allows visualization and execution of design concepts
• Problem-solving skills that can be applied to a variety of challenges


Blue roomInterior designers may start their career paths with two- or four-year programs. Each involves important coursework that covers general education and business as well as design. General education courses may include art history as well as writing, communications, general history, and additional social science courses. These provide the necessary foundation for further coursework and for working with clients in a real-world setting.

Preparing to work with clients also requires a solid understanding of business skills and operations. Courses in sales and merchandising, business math and budgeting, entrepreneurship, and professional practice may all appear on a syllabus for interior design degrees.

The main body of design coursework covers a wide variety of topics and skills. Students are commonly expected to take classes in such diverse areas as architecture, construction documents and blueprint reading, building and structural systems and understanding municipal codes. These practical courses ensure that designers understand the concepts behind interior construction and will be able to look at the plans for a new structure and visualize designs for rooms that are not yet built. Specific areas of study such as color and design concepts, design research, interior finishes, textiles, interior lighting, and design drawing integrate with this foundation to provide the knowledge necessary for students to succeed in the field when they graduate.

Computer-aided design, or CAD, is a very common course for aspiring interior designers. Computers are a big part of just about every profession and are valuable tools for turning the mental image of a design into a reality. Students learn how to use a computer to make two-dimensional sketches of their designs. Further coursework in other areas will likely include three-dimensional design to aid in bringing interior styles to life.

To learn how to plan out a design in a specific space and apply it to both residential and commercial areas, students will take courses in spatial planning. This includes learning to understand the architectural concepts behind building design.

Courses in furniture and lighting design focus on the internal elements of rooms. Students gain an understanding of how to construct furniture pieces and use them as design features. Some furniture courses include the fundamentals of furniture engineering and manufacture. Coupling this with lighting design allows students to visualize the effects of lighting on an interior space and learn to use different types of lighting fixtures to create specific effects with light and color.

Program Length

Students can expect to complete 45-60 credit hours of specific design training as well as 15 hours of general education for an associate's degree. Bachelor's programs require around 51-98 hours of design work and 50 hours of general education. Most universities allow students to transfer from a two-year to a four-year program as associate's degrees typically include the necessary background for continuing design education.

Having a two-year degree can also open up the opportunity for graduates to work as assistant designers. This offers practical on-the-job training that hones skills and gives beginners an idea of what they can expect to encounter when working on their own. Internships provide similar experience that can be invaluable to designers who are just starting out.


Designers may choose to focus on a particular area of design as they study and practice. Common options include:

• Kitchen and bath design with specialized programs provided through schools accredited by the National Kitchen & Bath Association

• Universal design, which focuses on accessible renovations

• Lighting design for homes, offices and public areas such as museums and theaters

• Sustainable design with a focus on efficiency including energy and water conservation and the use of sustainable materials

• Working in home furnishing stores to help customers choose the right styles and designs for their homes

• Teaching in a design school

Licensing and Registration

Interior Design drawingAfter schooling is completed, some states require designers to become licensed. This is usually done by taking a state-approved test such as the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam. This allows designers to designate themselves as registered. To take the exam, applicants must have a bachelor's degree and at least two years of supervised experience working in the field.

Design students should check the laws in their state to ensure that the scope or title this particular profession isn't restricted. Some states will allow both licensed and unlicensed designers to work while others have laws about what titles can and can't be used. Certain states won't allow designers to work at all unless they've passed the licensing exam.

Careers Prospects

The job market for interior designing is projected to grow at least as quickly as other occupations: 13% between 2012 and 2022. This offers many opportunities for hard-working students and those who have already obtained a degree. There are always new buildings going up and companies and organizations are frequently looking to remodel. High-income areas with wealthy residents may provide some of the best prospects for those looking to work in specialized design services as this client base has the income necessary to hire a designer to decorate their homes or apartments.

Pursuing an interior design degree requires hard work and dedication to the education process as well as a willingness to apply oneself to practical fieldwork. Those who enjoy collaborating with others to create beautiful interior spaces will do well in this profession. As trends grow and change, some may wish to return to school to update their knowledge and remain competitive in the field of interior designs.

Don’t Miss the 2014 Graphic Design Career Series

written by Georgia Schumacher 26 March 2014

With weekly webinars taking place from April 3, 2014 to May 1, 2014, the Graphic Design Department at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division announces the seventh annual Graphic Design Career Series. Each presentation is open to current students via GoToWebinar.

In 2014, this exciting event features top industry professionals and designers discussing critical industry topics as well as their creative inspiration. The discourse provides students with valuable insight to contemporary professional practice and career preparation. The talks will include:

Jenn Godbout 
Associate Director of Partnerships at Behance, part of the Adobe family
The Art of Self Promotion with Behance
Thursday, April 3, 2014 | 7:00pm - 9:00pm ET

Whether your goal is to work in-house at creative company, or build your own business as a freelancer – your online presence can make or break your career. Join Jenn Godbout from Behance, the leading online platform to showcase and discover creative work, as she discusses what makes an online portfolio successful, why self-curation is so important and how to make the best first impression online.

Sumaya Kazi 
Founder and CEO of Sumazi.com
How to Connect with the People You Don't Know, But Should
Thursday, April 10, 2014 | Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm ET

This insightful talk, How to Connect with the People You Don't Know, But Should will explore the power of networking. Sumaya will share her story of her path toward entrepreneurship, and how she utilized networking to become an award-winning entrepreneur. She will provide actionable insights on tools and ways to utilize networking to get ahead.

Bill Thorburn
Chief Executive Officer at The Thorburn Group
Branding as Storytelling
Thursday, April 17, 2014 | 7:00pm - 9:00pm ET

Bill has been honored to work with some of the world’s most prestigious brands: Coke, Harley Davidson, Disney, Formica, VH1, United Colors of Benetton, Nike, Porsche, LaCoste, Capital Records, and Hallmark. The work of Bill and his team has been consistently honored in every industry publication from Communication Arts to ID Magazine for the past 20 years, winning every award from a Cannes Lion to the prestigious Gold pencil. The topic of Bill’s talk is branding as storytelling.

Jeni Herberger 
Creative Pro Turned Corporate Guru and Founder of Creative Concepts
Creativity + Business
Thursday, April 24, 2014 | 7:00pm - 9:00pm ET

Jeni's talk, Creativity + Business, will address why creativity is a key skill in addressing today’s business challenges. Every designer must learn to approach the process with whole-brain thinking. Discover creative confidence – the natural ability to come up with new ideas and the courage to try them out. Learn the fundamentals of creative thinking and be introduced to tools that will spark inspiration and innovation.

Noreen Moiroka
Partner, AdamsMorioka, Inc
Being a Famous Designer is like being a Famous Dentist
Thursday, May 1, 2014 | 7:00pm - 9:00pm ET

If you Google Noreen Morioka, most likely this quote will come up many times. This was one of her answers 15 years ago when a student asked what it was like to be a famous designer. In her presentation, Noreen will share how, together with Sean Adams, they built AdamsMorioka on the simple test of who and what is the right project to work on. She'll share shortcuts to succeeding with clients, professional advice on building a business, and, most importantly, knowing who you are and where you should be headed. Plus Noreen has a few strong pirate jokes just in case you get bored.

Space for each presentation is limited. Register today using the Campus Common Events Calendar!

How to Grow Your Freelance Business

written by Georgia Schumacher 23 March 2014

Fashion Design Freelancer

For many of us, there's nothing we want more than to be our own boss. Whether you are a photographer, animator, or designer, or you run a one-person culinary or retail store, growing your freelance business is the key to successfully working for yourself and earning a living doing what you love.

You may be talented in your craft and passionate about what you do, but it takes more than that to establish and grow your freelance business. Here are some tips to help you improve your freelance business:

Develop Your Natural Talent

Creative skills are like a plant. Unless properly cared for and provided with nourishment, both will begin to wilt. By continuing to improve your skills and develop your career, you will strengthen your work, build credibility, and improve your self esteem. You could:

Find an art school where you can take classes online or at a local campus
• Attend seminars, conferences, or events in your field
• Submit your work to peer-reviewed shows or publications

Increase Your Rates

It sounds silly, but increasing your freelance rates will show potential clients that your work is high-quality and you deserve to be compensated accordingly. Many freelancers assume that they have to settle for low payments because of the vast number of freelancers available to interested parties. But just because there is someone out there who will paint a portrait for five dollars, doesn't mean all consumers want a portrait worth five dollars. Setting high, yet reasonable, prices for your work will attract customers looking for high-quality work from a trusted freelancer.

Promote Your Brand

Many people turn to online resources before making a purchase of goods or services. When they come looking, will your business be there? Make sure your business has a modern, fast and easy-to-navigate website that is in tune with your brand's visual and written messages. Be sure to include the following on your website:

• Samples of your work
• Contact information (phone, email, social media)
• Testimonials from happy clients
• List of services offered
• Any art school you've attended or any relevant degrees

You can also promote your brand and build positive relationships with your customers via social media. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram provide a personal connection with potential clients and can help them view you as a familiar, trusted business.

Network with Fellow Artists

Just because you are working for yourself doesn't mean you have to figure everything out by yourself. Join a group of freelancers online or in your area for support, ideas, and possible collaborations. Attend events at local art galleries or art schools. If you're an art school graduate, get in touch with other alumni. By networking with others in your field, you could even learn valuable information that could help your freelance business grow!