Tips for Getting Great Winter Landscape Photos

written by Georgia Schumacher 18 February 2015

Do you love snow-covered mountains and icy lakes? Spring will be here before we know it, and, for those of you in colder climates, there may only be a few weeks left to capture this breathtaking winter beauty.

Winter landscape photography can be fun and rewarding, but can also bring a unique set of challenges. These challenges include the need to find contrast and patterns in a snow-covered setting, to use appropriate exposure levels, and to protect yourself and your equipment from cold, snow, and dampness.

1. Expose Snow Correctly

Snowy landscapes are difficult to photograph well. In an attempt to avoid overexposure, camera settings often reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor, resulting in snow that looks drab and gray. Adding +1/3 or +2/3 exposure compensation forces the camera to let in more light, bringing the snow back to pure white, which can be very effective in high-contrast winter scenes.

2. Look for Contrasts and Patterns

Photos of winter landscapes need more than snow to make them interesting. Look for dark elements that contrast with the whiteness of the snow, such as evening shadows or the bare skeletons of trees, and include them in your composition. Also, keep an eye out for interesting patterns, such as criss-crossing branches, rocky features, rough tree bark, and long shadows, which can add texture to your photos. Landscape photography classes can teach you how to compose images to highlight the most interesting elements of a scene.

3. Stay Warm and Comfortable

You’re unlikely to take your best photographs if you are shivering and your fingers are numb with cold. Wrapping yourself up in gloves, a hat, and sturdy boots before heading out reduces the risk that you will have to cut your photography session short due to extreme cold. If you’re driving in snowy conditions to reach the perfect shooting location, bring a charged mobile phone, blankets, water, and snacks in case you break down and need to call for help.

4. Protect Your Equipment

Rapid transitions between very cold and warm environments can cause condensation to build up in your photography equipment. When you come in from a winter shoot, wrap your gear in a towel so that condensation can be absorbed as the equipment gradually warms to room temperature. This simple step protects your camera equipment from the harmful effects of moisture so that it will stay in good working condition for many seasons to come.

Interested in studying photography? Explore our photography programs!

How to Find Gifts for Your Fellow Creatives

written by Georgia Schumacher 11 February 2015

GiftSearching for the perfect gift is always challenging, but adding a little creativity into the overall process makes it much more enjoyable. From modern online tools to tried-and-true investigative techniques, it's easy to select a meaningful present for the artist in your life.

Helpful Shopping Strategies

Plenty of methods allow you to brainstorm gift ideas, and many apps make it easy to narrow down gifts by interest and even personality type. The days of wandering throughout the mall helplessly are over thanks to the following strategies.

Peruse Blogs: Blogs are the magazines of the internet, and they can provide major insight into your recipient's wish list. Check out the ones he or she frequents for product listings or insightful reviews.

Shop Small: Some of the best customized gifts are found at local boutiques and gift shops, and they're worth visiting to get an idea of possibilities. Shopping small is an excellent way to support your community and local business owners as well (many of whom are artists themselves).

Get Personal: Gifts.com allows you to narrow products by gender, age and interests. Simply choose the most applicable trait that relates to your intended recipient, and let the site show you page after page of options. In addition, stores like Uncommon Goods provide filtering tools that let you narrow gifts based on hobbies and pursuits.

Employ a Decoy: If all else fails, lovingly trick your gift recipient into helping you "shop" for someone else -- say, someone who has a lot of the same interests as he or she. You can always get some useful information through this technique, and it's a great way to avoid a gifting disappointment in the making.

Creative Gift Suggestions

Leave those boring gift cards to the amateurs, and score bonus points by thinking outside the traditional gift box.

DIY: What's more meaningful between two artsy types than a do-it-yourself gift? Whether it's a classic painting or handmade jewelry for Valentine's Day, that personalized touch makes any gift more memorable and cherished. A handwritten card is a sweet accompaniment.

Inspirational: Artists need their muses, which is why an encouraging present is a wonderful idea to brighten up a home office. Consider quote displays or a cleverly designed teapot to help fuel productivity. Design magazine subscriptions or books, cameras, and record players are excellent choices to inspire, as well.

Decorative: Many great gift ideas center around the home, and these are easily tailored to the recipient based on aesthetic preferences. A wall tapestry, colorful knitted throw or framed art can help spruce up a living space, while scented candles add to a creative atmosphere.

Practical: Creative types have a reputation for keeping things a little messy, so why not help organize a work space with some stylish accessories? Whimsical bookends, unique storage supplies, or a versatile wall organizer can help reduce clutter while adding some visual appeal.

Memorable: Surprise your loved one with an unexpected day of fun. From stargazing with your sweetheart to taking your bestie on a road trip to see his or her favorite band, the experience is something you can share together.

Gift-giving is meant to be enjoyable for both the giver and recipient, and with the help of some planning and personalization, shopping for that artistically-inclined loved one has never been simpler.

You're Invited: February 2015 Student Events

written by Georgia Schumacher 2 February 2015

calendar

There’s a lot going on at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division this month! Register now for these online events and find even more webinars on the Campus Common Events Calendar!

Upcoming February Events

Illustrator Bootcamp 2: Drawing, Color & Type
Tuesday, February 3, 2pm ET
Designed for students in Color Theory and Design Fundamentals. Topics include vector drawing, mixing, and modifying color and using type.

Photoshop Bootcamp 1: Presenting Artwork
Tuesday, February 10, 12pm ET
Designed for students in Observational Drawing and Perspective Drawing. Topics include how to format and present scanned or photographed work in a professional manner, basic workflow, and introduction to Layers.

All About Online Volunteering: A Connections Club
Tuesday, February 10, 7pm ET
Natalie Hruska, the Volunteer Club Advisor, will lead the discussion on how to start volunteering online and connect with organizations looking for help. Attendees are also invited to share their volunteering experiences during the meeting.

Photoshop Bootcamp 2: Basic Designing
Monday, February 16, 6pm ET
Designed for students in Color Theory and Design Fundamentals. Topics include painting, drawing shapes, and manipulating color.

Welcome to Connections Tour
Tuesday, February 17, 7pm ET
Julie Minnaugh, Student Community Manager, will walk you through how to create a profile, network with peers and faculty members, and become involved in your student community via Connections!

AIGA (The Professional Association for Design) Chapter Meeting
Wednesday, February 18, 7pm ET
Guest Presenter, Kristen Ulfer, the Creative Director at the Houston Zoo, will discuss her career in graphic design and share insight into the career field and her experiences designing for the Houston Zoo. Visit the AIGA Organization group in Connections to learn how to become a member of the AIGA Interest Group.

Art Foundations Student Orientation: How to Succeed
Monday, February, 23, 1:30pm ET
Designed for all students taking an Art Foundations (FND) course, this webinar can help you get study tips, learn how to write critiques, and get a jump start with course expectations. Take a guided tour of where and how to get help when you need it.

Kappa Pi First Annual Art Exhibition
Tuesday, February 24, 7pm ET
This event will feature the art of Kappa Pi members. All are welcome to attend! The deadline for submissions from Kappa Pi members is February 11. Selected submissions will also be shared in Connections. See the Connections organization page for details.

Internship webinar picture

Unlocking the Mystery of the Internship
Thursday, February 26, 8:30 pm ET
Presented by the Graphic Design Department, this webinar will help you learn the secrets of finding the right internship that can help you develop your talents and skills.

Register for any of the above events via the Campus Common Events calendar.

Weekly Meetings

Math1010 LIVE!
Held Mondays, Thursdays, & Saturdays.
Each webinar is a 60-minute informal study session with a full-time math faculty member in which you can ask math questions, enrich your grasp on the class material, and gain useful assignment guidance. By attending a Math LIVE! event, you may also be eligible to receive bonus points in your math course.

International Game Developers Association (IGDA)
IGDA meetings weekly on Wednesday at 9pm ET. Learn more here about IGDA meetings and why all students interested in game design are encouraged to join!

In Case You Missed It

The Student Activities Night was Wednesday, January 21, and included presenters from the following groups:

• Online Volunteer Club
• American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Interest Group
• Student Photographic Society
• International Game Developers Association (IGDA)
• Graphic Design Group
• National Technical Honor Society
• Kappa Pi International Honorary Art Fraternity

View the event recording now!

Introducing Our Portfolio Gallery (And 5 Reasons to Start Using It Today!)

written by Georgia Schumacher 27 January 2015

We’re excited to announce that The Art Institutes has partnered with Behance ─ the largest online portfolio site ─ to create a dynamic new portfolio gallery. As a student or an alum, you’ll now have the opportunity to share your work with one another, with clients, and with potential employers on one easy-to-access platform.

Portfolio site

Here are 5 great reasons to create a profile on the site and use it regularly!

1. Gain Exposure for Your Work

After putting your blood, sweat, and tears into your pieces, you owe it to yourself to give your work the exposure it deserves. Gain a following by uploading your work to the site to let everyone see what you’re capable of creating!

2. Connect with Potential Employers

Your creative talents can take you far in life, so join the site to showcase these skills to potential employers. Hiring managers, recruiters, and potential clients are checking out the works of art on display, so don’t miss your chance to get discovered.

3. See What Your Peers are Doing

A lot of very talented people teach at, currently attend, and have graduated from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh ─ Online Division. Check out the amazing pieces created by these members of your creative community and get inspired by the incredible works they’ve produced.

4. Manage Your Online Portfolio

It’s important to keep on your online presence up-to-date, but with so many different places to upload your work, this task can be daunting. Combat this by managing your online portfolio here and syncing it with your other existing accounts on sites like Behance and LinkedIn.

5. Get in Touch with Other Creatives

Whether you’re looking for someone to partner with on a project or simply want advice from an established professional, use the site to contact students and alumni with any questions you have about their work, creative inspirations or for advice on getting started in a particular industry.

Ready to get started with the new Art Institutes Portfolio Gallery? Sign up here and get to work!

Save the Date ─ The 2015 Commencement Ceremony

written by Georgia Schumacher 23 January 2015

Attention graduating class ─ your big day is almost here! The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division commencement will be hosted on Friday, June 19, 2015, at 12:00 PM at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall, 4141 5th Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh President George Sebolt as well as the deans, the department chairs, and faculty members will lead the procession into the auditorium to the accompaniment of Pomp & Circumstance.

Please mark your calendars, and note that an email invitation will be sent out in March with more information for all pending graduates and those who graduated during the 2014-2015 school year.

Everyone is invited

Tickets are not needed for entry, so you may bring as many guests as you’d like to the ceremony. Spread the word to your friends and family now, so everyone can make the necessary arrangements to attend!

A call for student speakers

We are also looking for prospective graduates to deliver the student address for the June 2015 Commencement. If you’re interested in delivering the commencement address, please email a copy of your speech to Jeff Braun at jbraun@aii.edu by Friday, May 22, 2015.

Can't make it to Pittsburgh?

Don’t miss the chance to celebrate all that you’ve accomplished! If you won’t be able to travel to Pittsburgh for graduation, you can still participate in your own local campus commencement ceremony. Please contact your Academic Counselor for details.

Get social

As graduation approaches and your excitement builds, don’t forget to tag your relevant Instagram photos, Facebook posts, and tweets with #AiGrad!