12 Tips for Travel Photography

written by Georgia Schumacher 21 May 2015

travel photography

Summer is almost here, and it’s time to enjoy sunshine, warm weather and of course summer vacations! Whether you’re planning a road trip across the country, a tour of state parks, an exotic beach escape or an exciting urban getaway, your travel plans are photography gold.

Don’t forget to take your camera and use this opportunity to get some amazing shots of an entirely new terrain. This is a great opportunity to hone your skills and expand your portfolio.

Worried that taking summer classes will stop you from taking a trip? Remember, you’re taking classes online, so as long as your destination has an Internet connection, you’re set! So, go ahead; pack your bags and use these 12 tips to get incredible photos on your trip.

1. Start Early

Not only can you capture incredible sunrise views when you get out of bed early, you can also photograph spots that will be buzzing with people later in the day while they’re still empty.

2. Book a Room with a View

Make it easy to get outstanding shots by choosing a hotel offering picturesque views from your window.

3. Never Put Your Camera in a Checked Bag

Unfortunately, some baggage handlers have sticky fingers, so it’s not wise to let anything valuable out of your sight.

4. Invest in a Lightweight, Sturdy Tripod

A tripod can make the difference between good pictures and great ones, so find one that you can easily fold into your bag.

5. Travel Light

You probably have a lot of great camera equipment, but you can do without most of it on your trip, so pack only essentials.

6. Capture Cities at Night

Urban areas are always beautiful, but especially alluring at night when construction and other distractions slip away into a twinkling skyline.

7. Conduct Background Research

Find out what the area has to offer before you get there, so you can create a comprehensive photography plan that includes all the best sites.

8. Schedule Time for Photography

Serious photography requires a certain time dedication, so block off a portion of your vacation schedule to focus on your craft.

9. Make Photos of Family & Friends Count

If you’re traveling with friends and family, you’ll certainly want to take pictures of them, but be sure to line the frame up so that some of the local scenery is in the background. Otherwise, the image could have been taken anywhere.

10. Head Off the Beaten Path

Popular tourist destinations are great, but if you really want to capture the culture, head to places that the locals go.

11. Ask Permission

Never take a close-up photo of a stranger without asking for permission, as this may feel like a personal violation to them.

12. Use Your Photos

After putting in so much time and effort to ensure you get a great shot, you definitely need to show them off! Put some in your portfolio, enter your favorite in a travel photography competition, or have a few framed for your walls.

To learn more about photography, explore our online degree programs or request information to see what you could be learning in our photography classes!

How to Become an Expert at Online Learning

written by Georgia Schumacher 14 May 2015

Desk set up for online learning

Preparing to start your very first online creative arts class? Or maybe you’re a seasoned online learner looking for ways to enhance your experience? Either way, it’s important to make sure you understand how to best approach online learning and the ways it may differ from a traditional classroom setting. Use the five tips below to achieve success.

1. Take Advantage of All Available Resources

Opting to take classes online doesn’t mean you shouldn’t receive the same benefits as students taking the traditional route. Enhance your educational experience by using all resources available to you. For example, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division offers a number of benefits to students, such as career resources, technical support, a counseling center, and more to help support your educational journey.

2. Stay Organized

Online learning is much more independent than a traditional classroom format, so staying organized is key. Carefully review your syllabus at the beginning of each course and mark all important dates on your calendar, so you don’t forget important deadlines. Designate an area of your home as a place for studying and keep all your course material there, so you don’t lose track of books, papers, and any supplies you need. Our mobile app can be a helpful tool for staying organized!

3. Connect with Your Peers

It’s always nice to have a study buddy or someone to chat with about the class or your assignments. You don’t have to lose this social element just because you’ve opted for online learning. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division has an exclusive social network called Connections, allowing you to interact with your classmates and teachers, participate in student groups, and become part of this creative community outside the classroom. Take advantage of this opportunity to really get to know your fellow student-artists and make new friends.

4. Participate in Class

Taking the online learning route isn’t an excuse to be invisible in class. Sure, this option allows for increased flexibility, but you won’t get the most from your experience if you don’t engage with your classmates and instructor. A certain level of engagement is required in your classes, so make sure you post questions and comments about your readings, your artwork, and the artwork of your classmates in online discussion boards. Of course, you'll also want to respond any inquires from your peers about your comments or your work. Furthermore, if you need clarification on an assignment, have a question about a grade you received, or just want to talk about the course material, feel free to contact your instructor. In fact, they expect you to do so!

5. Fully Commit Yourself to the Program

Many people mistakenly believe online classes are easier than their traditional counterparts, but this certainly isn’t the case. It’s important to take your coursework seriously or you won’t succeed. Adjust your schedule to balance your school obligations with your work and family responsibilities. Set aside designated times throughout the week to work on assignments, so you don’t fall behind.

Want to know more about online learning at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division? See a full list of online programs, request information here, and be sure to check out the online classroom demo on our homepage!

Simple Ways to Impress Your Freelance Clients

written by Georgia Schumacher 5 May 2015

Simple Ways to Impress Your Freelance Clients

If you’re looking for a way to be your own boss and spend your days doing work you’re passionate about, freelancing might be the answer. If you’re working to get ahead in the freelance market, use the 10 ideas below to make a great impression on your clients.

1. Promptly Respond to Client Inquiries

When a potential client contacts you for more information, there’s a very good chance you’re not the only freelancer they reached out to. Respond to the inquiry as quickly as possible to show that you’re excited about the possibility of taking on their project. Not only does waiting too long make it seem like you don’t want the job, it also means the work is likely go to someone else in the interim.

2. Don’t Overpromise

As a freelancer, you always want to make the client happy so they don’t take their business elsewhere, but don’t make promises you can’t deliver. It’s much better to be upfront with the person if their expectations aren’t realistic or you simply don’t have the time to completing a project. Overpromise too many times and you can find yourself in danger of burning bridges.

3. Keep Up with the Latest Trends

Trends change at the speed of light. Whether you’re a freelance photographer, web designer, fashion stylist, or holding down any other type of creative job, it’s imperative that you stay on top of the industry’s latest big thing or you’ll risk becoming obsolete.

4. Exude Confidence

Why should a client trust you with their project if you’re not even sure you can handle it? It’s only natural to be a bit intimidated by big projects or new opportunities at first, but this is how you learn and grow your skills! Learn to emanate confidence, even when you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. Impress your clients with your level of assurance to make them feel comfortable trusting you with this job and ones that come up in the future.

5. Never Miss a Deadline

Don’t agree to a project deadline unless you’re sure you can meet it. When you fail to submit work by its due date, you brand yourself as unreliable. This is not a way to retain clients. Earn bonus points by making a habit of submitting your work early.

6. Create a Robust Online Presence

There are lots of talented freelancers in your field, so stand out from the crowd by presenting yourself as an industry leader. Write regular blog posts about the latest happenings in your industry, frequently update your online portfolio with your latest work, and use your social media profiles to promote yourself and share updates relative to your field.

7. Go the Extra Mile

Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most. Impress your clients and earn word-of-mouth referrals by making a point to go above and beyond what’s expected of you. You’ll outshine your competition and create loyal clients.

8. Conduct Background Research

Take the initiative to learn a little bit about prospective clients before meeting with them. This is a great way to show your enthusiasm for the project. It also allows you to be prepared with relevant ideas to present.

9. Be Open-Minded

The client has the final say. You may not agree with their ideas or love everything about the finished product, but, even after you’ve shared your recommendations, you may still need to compromise. While you may be the expert in your field, your client is the expert on their individual or business needs and goals.

10. Double Check Your Work

No one likes to receive sloppy work. Make a point to review your finished product a few times to make sure there aren’t any errors. Remember, a project filled with mistakes can make you look like an amateur and distracts from your hard work and talent.

For more information on freelancing in the creative arts, check out our past blogs on the topic: 4 Keys to Starting a Freelance Business and How to Grow Your Freelance Business.

7 Ways to De-Stress

written by Georgia Schumacher 22 April 2015

Feeling stressed about upcoming deadlines or a busy schedule at work or in your online classes? There’s nothing fun about being under pressure to complete a project. In fact, stress isn’t just unpleasant, it can also be detrimental to your health. Stress can have a negative impact on your body, mood, and behavior, so it’s important to find a way to combat stress before it takes it toll. We suggest using these 7 tips to de-stress and allow yourself to relax a little!

1. Get a Second Opinion

There’s nothing more frustrating than a strong case of creative block. You can spend hours staring at a project, willing a great idea to pop into your head, but that won’t make it happen. Step aside and ask someone who isn’t involved in the venture for their opinion. Sometimes a fresh perspective is all you need to stimulate your creative energy.

2. Take a Walk

When you’re on deadline, going for a walk may seem counterproductive, but it can actually be the opposite. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery for inspiration. You never know when you’ll pass something that triggers the great idea you need to pull your project together.

3. Block Off Time for Projects

It’s beyond stressful to keep losing great ideas due to constant interruptions. Avoid this by blocking off a set amount of time to work on projects. Unless it’s urgent, avoid all distractions and don’t respond to any calls or emails during this time period. Relax and enjoy the ability to see what you’re capable of creating when you focus on your work.

4. Switch Up Your Work Area

Whether you’re working in a dorm room, library, or a cubicle, it’s easy for your scenery to get a bit mundane. Reignite your creativity by making a few easy changes, such as moving your desk to the opposite corner, changing your screensaver, or hanging a new poster on the wall. Sometimes the little things can make a huge impact.

5. Visit with Friends

When you’re super busy with a class or work, you may inadvertently isolate yourself from your friends or family. This may add more time into your schedule, but it can also increase your stress levels. Spending time with your closest friends can reduce your production of cortisol, a.k.a. the stress hormone, so clear an hour of your day and meet your crew for lunch.

6. Turn Your Phone Off

Your smartphone is a constant distraction. Incoming calls, texts, emails, and social media notifications never stop, meaning you always feel pressured to check your device and respond accordingly. Put your phone aside and enjoy being present in your current situation. It’s a lot easier to relax when you can concentrate on the here and now.

7. Listen to Music

Pop your earbuds in and soothe your mind by listening to some music, as it fills your brain with neurochemicals like dopamine that help you calm down and unwind. Generally speaking, classical music is the most relaxing, but anything you enjoy will decrease your levels of stress hormones, slow your heart rate down, and lower your blood pressure.

You’re Invited: April Student Events

written by Georgia Schumacher 2 April 2015

calendar

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division is buzzing with fun and exciting events this April! Register now for these online events and find even more webinars on the Campus Common Events Calendar!

Upcoming April Events

The Lodging Industry – From B&B’s to Luxury Hotels
Tuesday, April 7, 2pm ET
15 year Marriott Hotel veteran Lee Heron will discuss the lodging industry from bed & breakfasts to luxury hotels. Discuss the different brands and learn about the many types of positions: front office, housekeeping, sales/marketing, human resources, food and beverage, revenue management, and security. See actual positions open right now and explore the overall growth and development of hotels.

Culinary and Hospitality and Events, OH MY: Let’s Talk Job Positions and Skills!
Wednesday, April 8, 7pm ET
Do you have what it takes to be in the Hotel Sales, Culinary, Hospitality, and Event business? In this faculty-led workshop, you will learn the different types of job titles and businesses in which you can work. We will also review the skill set and personal attributes a person must hold to be successful in these types of positions.

Writing an Effective Hospitality Resume – Tips and Tricks!
Tuesday, April 14, 7pm ET
Ever wanted to know how to write a resume that will make you stand out? This workshop will review the purpose of a resume and the basic rules for writing a resume. We will identify resume types that are industry specific and help to define skills, experiences, and educational background for effective resumes.

The Fun Side of Finding a Job in the Creative Field: The Little Extras that Can Make All the Difference
Tuesday, April 14, 7:30pm ET
This faculty-led workshop will primarily focus on ways to get yourself noticed and build your brand, including how to create a resume that reflects who you are as a designer, ideas for amazingly different business cards, and fun leave-behinds for interviews. We will also discuss unexpected places to find jobs and unexpected careers for designers (and others).

Meet a Sommelier and Discuss Wine and Food Pairing!
Wednesday, April 15, 7pm ET
Stefano Buttò from Northern Italy will share his experience as a wine consultant and broker in California including Europa Village Winery, Miramonte-Winery, La Bella Vita Restaurant, EAT Marketplace and Cellarz93 Restaurant. He currently manages Meritage at Callaway, a restaurant that specializes in local and organic ingredients. This workshop will discuss wine and food pairing and latest trends in wine.

Meet the CUL-HRM Online Program Directors
Thursday, April 16, 7pm ET
Meet the Hotel & Restaurant Management and Culinary Management Program Directors – Gaye Warren & Seth Selke—in an open call in townhall forum! Introduce yourself and discuss anything on your mind, including concerns, questions, and ideas regarding your program experience or portfolio.

All about R&D – How to Get Your Product to Market!
Wednesday, April 22, 7pm ET
Did you ever wonder what it takes to bring a product to market? This workshop will review the research and development (R&D) process. Chef John Fuente is a current R&D Chef with 28 years of culinary experience. Faculty member and Chef Alisa Gaylon is also an attorney, and, together they will discuss the legalities of creating and developing new products.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Chef Certification
Thursday, April 23, 7pm ET
Join us for a presentation by faculty member Chef Collen Engle, CEC (Certified Executive Chef) and CCE (Certified Culinary Educator), to learn more about American Culinary Federation certification, the different levels available, what it represents, and how to achieve it.

Foundations Student Orientation: How to Succeed
Monday, April 27, 1:30pm ET
Recommended for all students taking an Art Foundations (FND) course, get helpful 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.

Portfolio Prep Q&A
Tuesday, April 28, 8:30pm ET
This event is focused on Graphic Design/Digital Design students, but faculty members and students from other programs are welcome. This webinar will include:

• How a portfolio is used in the graphic design industry
• General expectations for a portfolio 
• When and how to prepare for your portfolio course
• Examples of professional portfolios and relevant resources

Weekly and Recurring Meetings

Graphic & Web Design Career Series
Thursdays at 7pm, ET
The Web & Graphic Design Department is hosting weekly webinars during the month of April for the annual Web & Graphic Design Career Series. This event features top industry professionals and designers speaking on critical industry topics and creative inspiration. Get the full details here.

Math LIVE!
Mondays at 7:30pm ET, Thursdays at 11am ET, & Saturdays at 11am ET
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.

The Mad Professor's Drawing Room
Sundays at 3pm ET, Wednesdays at 5pm ET and Fridays at 12pm ET
Login to your computer, put on your headset, and take part in an open studio with faculty member Nina Stanley! Spend the first 20 minutes drawing short gestures, then work on a long pose for another 45 minutes or so. Come for the whole time or just for a little bit – the choice is yours!

International Game Developers Association (IGDA)
Wednesdays at 9pm ET
Learn more here about IGDA meetings and why all students interested in game design are encouraged to join! Design Bootcamps This month, our bootcamp events include

• Illustrator Bootcamp 2: Drawing, Color, and Type
• Photoshop Bootcamp 1: Presenting Artwork
• Photoshop Bootcamp 2: Basic Designing

Remember, you can register for all of these events and find pre-recorded events on the Events page in the Campus Common!

To request disability related accommodations for a virtual event please contact the event organizer in advance at jminnaugh@aii.edu.