Thursday, September 29, 2016

Navel Gazing

It's hard to believe that only a year ago, the idea for Janusian Gallery was born in a tent in Vermont. After returning home, we drafted a business plan for a "someday" business that included an online gallery, merchandise, and a brick-and-mortar presence. We decided on a name and a taped our logo on our home office door.

We hunkered down and spent months planning and creating hundreds of photographic designs and illustrations. We opened accounts with print-on-demand vendors Zazzle, RedBubble, Society6, FineArtAmerica, and Crated and turned these designs into more than 10,000 products. The sales started coming in, from all parts of the world.

We became proficient in social media to make our products known to others who may be interested in acquiring them. We were invited into the Merch by Amazon program, which further extended our reach. We help found the Concord Arts Community Meetup group, to introduce ourselves to the local community. We learned that a passive income business is largely a myth: you have to work really, really hard to earn customers and their loyalty. We lost a lot of sleep while trying to balance building our business with holding down full-time jobs.

We're very proud of what we accomplished in Year One and can't wait to see what the future holds. (Hopefully that physical gallery, as we still swoon every time we pass certain downtown storefronts.) We thank everyone who supports us and cheers us on: we truly couldn't do it without you.

- Lynne Guimond Sabean

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

New Design: Christmas Angel Cartoon

We're pleased to announce our newest Christmas design:
It's available now on Zazzle and coming soon to our other print-on-demand sites:

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Janusian Gallery's on Amazon!

We're thrilled to announce that 25 of our favorite designs are now available for sale on Amazon!
Just Google "Janusian Gallery amazon" and you should find us! We're already having problems with counterfeiters, so please make sure that you're buying only t-shirt products specified "by Janusian Gallery" as the seller. (Sometimes, imitation ISN'T the most sincere form of flattery....)

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Tips for Taking Outstanding Fall Foliage Photos, From a New England Photographer

A Q and A with Janusian Gallery co-founder Lynne Guimond Sabean (also of Sabean Photos) on how to capture the colors of autumn. Lynne originally published this article in 2004 (!) and has been refining it since then.

Q. Why do trees change color in the autumn?

A. As the days get shorter, trees slow their production of chlorophyll. The dominant green color that we usually see in leaves breaks down. As this happens, other colors that were actually there all along - such as red, gold, and yellow - are revealed. This process takes only a few short weeks each year. But while it'’s going on, it offers an abundance of “"photo ops" for professional photographers and hobbyists alike.

Q. My fall foliage photos never look the way they did in real life”. How can I make them better?

A. The best images -- whether they'’re landscapes, portraits, abstracts, events, etc. -- are superior both artistically and technically. On the technical side, lackluster image quality usually results from:

  • equipment malfunction (or using inappropriate equipment for your particular situation)
  • processing mishaps (at the lab or while using your photo software), and/or
  • user error (Are your hands steady? Are you shooting directly into sunlight?)

The type of camera, lens, software, and printer you use also affects picture quality. Your local photo dealer can provide valuable guidance on making the most of the equipment you have, as well as suggest any additional gear you may find useful. There are also a number of fabulous photo forums and vendors offering quality advice.

If you think your final prints/files don'’t match the quality of the images that you carefully shot, all is not lost. Take your negatives (yes, we know people still shooting film), slides, or digital files to a custom photo lab and explain what you were hoping to achieve. They can adjust by hand the colors, contrast, and exposure levels of your shots. You will pay a nominal premium for this service, but the quality is worth it and they can frequently salvage your valuable images.

Finally, study images you like and try to figure out what makes them “work”. Is it a clever angle? Unusual lighting? Keep these images in mind when you are composing your next shots. We're inspired not only by the creative images and videos we find online, but also by bricks-and-mortar galleries and museums.

Q. On which days should I take my fall foliage pictures?

A. The best time to photograph fall foliage is when leaves are at their peak. At this point, most of the leaves have changed color, but they have not begun to fall from the trees yet. However, weather conditions (such as rain, wind, cold, and/or unseasonably warmth) can dramatically affect how quickly trees change colors in any given year. Consequently, it's difficult to predict exactly when foliage will peak in this autumn. There are a number of online resources that report on foliage conditions as the leaves change. Use them to help plan your next shoot.

If you've mistimed your trip, take a drive in another direction. You may be pleasantly surprised to find peak color only 20-30 or so miles away.

To avoid the biggest crowds, visit on a weekday. And if your schedule allows it, shoot for two or more days. This makes it easier to take pictures at different times of day and in different parts of the area. (It also allows you to do other things besides just take pictures.)

If it rains -- or even snows! -- don't despair. You can always shoot colorful "abstracts" through your vehicle'’s windshield -- or out a barn door -- while keeping dry inside. (Just be sure to protect your valuable gear from the elements.) Once it stops raining, the air is very fresh and clean, and you can get some spectacularly clear images. Take close-ups of leaves with raindrops clinging to them… and watch for a rainbow!

Q. What is the best time of day to take foliage photos?

A. Sunrise and early morning are popular times. But if you just can't get yourself up that early, other times of day work well, too. For example, the late afternoon sun -- just before sunset -- can add a lovely golden cast to your landscapes and portraits.

Avoid taking pictures in the middle of the day under a bright sun. Shadows are harsher at this time and lens flare (those bright circles of light that you sometimes see on your photographs resulting from the sun bouncing off your lens) can be a problem. Sunsets can be lovely, too; try creating silhouettes by placing subjects between your camera and the sun.

Q. Which particular places will give me the best photos?

A. Your travel agent, AAA office, local chambers of commerce, and Travel and Tourism Bureaus can all provide advice. There are numerous picturesque sites and no matter where you go, you'’ll find interesting pictures just waiting to be taken. Don'’t concentrate on just the mountains or rural areas: you can get some very interesting shots in the cities and seacoast area, too. And at least once a year, I challenge myself to shoot for an afternoon only in my own backward.

Q. Do I need a professional-quality camera to get "postcard-perfect"” photos?

A. Absolutely not. Photographers invest in "the tools of their trade" because they offer better optics, top-of-the-line technology, interchangeable lenses, durability, and reliability. But it's possible to get decent results -- outside, under optimal shooting conditions -- with something as basic as a disposable or "point and shoot" camera. We know people who choose to shoot with plastic cameras or old-school Polaroid cameras to achieve a certain look.

Generally, the better equipment you have, the more consistent your results will be. But as long as you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your camera -- and shoot accordingly -- your chances for success are vastly improved.

Q. Will I need to bring along a tripod or any other special equipment?

A. That depends on several factors, including your subject, available light, camera settings, and the ISO that you are using. It certainly doesn't hurt to take the majority of your shots with a tripod/monopod and/or with a self-timer, even if the exposure time is relatively quick. These help minimize camera shake and other user errors that could affect image quality.

Some photographers use bean bags to help ensure a crisp shot. Roll down your car window, carefully balance the bean bag on the window opening, lean your camera against the bean bag and shoot away! (Don't have a bean bag? Just purchase a bag of cooking beans from the grocery store.)

If all else fails, lean against a door opening, fence, car, or stone wall. (Anything solid that isn't moving at the time.)

Q. Will I need to use any special filters to showcase the bright colors of autumn?

A. If you are using a disposable or point-and-shoot” camera, your choices are limited. (Although some photographers swear by placing a pair of polarized sunglasses in front of a lens as a makeshift polarizing filter.) On the other hand, if you are using an professional-quality camera, your choices are greater. For instance, polarizing filters can accentuate and darken a blue sky and bring out clouds. (Consider a warm tone one.) If leaves are past peak, a red-enhancing filter could prove useful, to liven up all the “rust colors. We're backing away from filters when shooting and are generally applying filter effects later in Photoshop.

Q. What else I should keep in mind?

A. Avoid "non-photographs": images that may have color in them, but no discernable composition or subject. Fall color is a feature of autumn landscape photos: rarely is it a subject in and of itself. Also:

  • You'll get the best possible compositions when you emphasize, simplify, -- and perhaps isolate -- a specific subject. Get up close and personal.
  • When you find a good subject, take several different pictures at various angles.
  • Look at things from an unusual angle. Toss leaves into the air and shoot them as they waft to the ground.
  • Eliminate or minimize distracting elements: utility lines, trash cans, etc.
  • Go off the "tourist path": go where the locals go and see what the locals see.
  • Edit ruthlessly. Don't expect every photo to look like a postcard. Take chances and don't be afraid to break "the rules".

A superior photograph combines technical brilliance with creative composition. By following these tips, you're well on your way to making memorable fall foliage shots.

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

New Design: Christmas Peppermint Candy

It's beginning to look a lot like... another new Christmas design from Smell My Feet and Janusian Gallery. This one features a Kawaii-style cartoon illustration of a peppermint candy, with characteristic red and white swirls. Its available now on Zazzle and soon to our other print-on-demand sites.

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Monday, September 5, 2016

The Backstory: "You are My Sunshine" Collection Redesign

Sometimes, we create and post designs we like at the time, but are lukewarm about weeks or months later.

This happened recently with our "You are My Sunshine" collection.

However, after a weekend in the sun and away from the PC:

Lynne knew exactly how to refresh it:
What's inspiring YOU these days?

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Friday, September 2, 2016

New Design: Holiday Reindeer: Now at Red Bubble!

Guess who flew in for the holidays? He even brought his own mistletoe!
Now available at RedBubble; coming soon to other POD sites. UPDATE: We're posting to Zazzle this weekend.

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