Getting the best out of your product shots


No matter what you are selling, the quality of your product photographs can seriously affect your sales. This applies to all businesses, big and small, right from the stay at home mum who runs a sideline making jewellery and selling it online, to big companies with stores nationwide.

Product shots can be used in a number of ways:

  • online for web sales and for use as a virtual marketplace;
  • offline within brochures / flyers / magazines;
  • within shops as part of a display; etc.

Selling the lifestyle

One simple product shot can tell a story and sell a lifestyle… for example, for companies who sell kitchens, their images tend not to just sell the product but the lifestyle too, adding in little touches such as a chopping board with colourful peppers on them, or a bottle of wine / coffee maker.

From that one image, you can imagine yourself in that kitchen, smelling freshly brewed coffee or enjoying a glass of wine after a hard day’s work, so you already have an empathy with the product.

Or maybe you are selling bath time products. A shot of your lotions, creams and gels etc placed next to clean white towels in a Scandinavian style bathroom immediately sell the lifestyle of fresh air and cleanliness.

It’s not just about styling

You may have the background spot on and have conjured up a certain look and feel, but your actual photograph could really let you down. Taking a photo from the wrong angle or using incorrect lighting may turn a luxurious looking product in to something that looks cheap.

Fuzzy images or shadows falling in the wrong place can not only distort the look and feel that you are trying to capture, but can send out the wrong impression – ie. that you don’t care enough to showcase your products at their best.

Do you want your company to look like it is “cheap” or that you don’t value your customers? Then shoddy, sub-standard product shots will send out that message, loud and clear.

Photos with a “wow” factor

So, what can you do in order to display your products and company in the best way?

Firstly, use a specialist company. They will be able to stage shots for you (if you want their input) and will have the very best lighting and photographic equipment to really do your products justice.

This doesn’t need to be as expensive as it sounds, either. For example, there is one such company offering Product Photography In London for as little as £7.99 a shot. Services such as these typically colour correct the photographs and retouch minor imperfections if needed in order to showcase your product – and the lifestyle – to its very best. Images are typically then supplied in the size and format you require.

Of course, if you yourself are a keen photographer, you could look at investing some time and money in to professional training and specialist camera equipment. There are plenty of courses that can set you on the right track so you can produce some good looking shots.

As with all things, of course, using the services of a specialist may give your product images that extra something that makes potential customers choose your products over your competitors’. The choice is yours!

New Moms’ Tales: Tips For Recovery After Pregnancy


In Asia, specifically, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong, women have traditions that go back centuries, such as “sitting month”, also known as “Zuo Yuezi”. The month-long (often 30 day) regimen incorporates rest and a specific diet designed to help women recuperate from the rigors of giving birth. Women are believed to be particularly susceptible to cold, according to Yuezi theory, after childbirth. Warming foods – ginger, chicken, and pumpkin – are believed to be beneficial. During the rest period women stay home for 30 days and do not usually shower or wash their hair.

In India, women also observe a period of confinement, generally for 40 days. This tradition varies from community to community, but the tradition began as a method of preventing infection and helping new mothers recover from the rigors of labor. Women are usually served foods with a rich butter (known as ghee), turmeric, fenugreek, and black cumin seeds, which help new mothers build strength, produce milk, and work as an antiseptic. Additionally, a woman’s stomach is cinched in a belly wrap to help restore her uterus to its pre-baby shape.

In Africa, the baby sling is ancient history. A simple cloth used to strap the baby to the mother’s back, allowing baby and mom to remain connected, while giving moms the freedom to take care of business. This highly convenient and simple method of “attachment parenting” has the added benefit of helping colicky babies feel more comfortable.

In Latin America, “la cuarentena”, a 40-day quarantine very similar to that practiced in India and Asia, gives moms and babies quality one-on-one time to bond. During this period, foods are restricted to those approved for new moms (e.g., chicken soup and carrots) and moms are directed to get lots of rest and to abstain from sex. Even errands are taboo and others handle them, because a new mom’s body is believed to be “open” or more vulnerable. To keep moms healthy, they wrap their neck, head and abdomen in the “faja”.

In North America, the “Lotus Birth” fad has taken off.  It’s believed that by leaving the umbilical cord attached to the baby post-birth, the absence of a wound creates less chance of infection.  Belly wraps are also on the rise, as doulas, midwives, and other birthing practitioners evangelize their benefits. The stretching and thinning of the rectus abdominals affects about 15% of new moms. This condition causes these muscles to resist knitting back together post-birth, which causes a crunch-resistant stomach bulge. Belly wraps can provide abdominal relief and help those muscles heal. Belly wraps are also great for helping to minimize stretch marks, which are just tiny tears on the skin’s surface.


“Sassy Mama Nstasha Takes Us Around The World Post-Partum: Traditions and cultural Differences!” from Sassy Mama The Go-To Guide For Modern Mom:

Vivian Dubois, a mom of twin daughters, loves learning all that she can about being a mother and enjoys spending time with her family and friends. To get to know more about the author, connect with her on Google+.

Wine grapes of the world – The best varieties and vineyards

As the most important component in every type of wine, the humble grape shoulders a lot of responsibility and makes a huge difference to any wine’s final colour and taste. Even before harvesting, crushing and fermentation takes place, the weather, soil minerals, time of harvest and pruning can significantly affect grape quality, which means that certain varieties fare better, and therefore, will taste differently compared to where they are grown.

With wine tourism growing in popularity, more and more people are choosing holiday destinations purely based on their favoured type of red or white. So if you’re a fan of fine wine, you might want to check out these famed grape varieties and vineyards.

Vineyard image by quirky, shared under a Creative Commons License

Cabernet Sauvignon

Perhaps the world’s most famous and widely-planted red wine grape, Cabernet Sauvignon is an adaptable variety, which performs best on well-drained, low-fertile soils. Its intense blue berries with thick skins produce deep coloured, full-bodied wines that improve with ageing.

The true home of Cabernet Sauvignon is the Médoc region of Bordeaux, where the wine’s plum and black cherry qualities with hints of olive, vanilla and toasty cedar shine through. Here the grape has also been combined with Merlot and Cabernet Franc to create one of the greatest and well-travelled blending partnerships the wine world has ever seen.


Even though this is another widely planted grape variety, flavours differ greatly depending on where Chardonnay is planted. It is suited to a range of soils, but performs extremely well where high limestone content is present.

Burgundy is where the grape made its name with crisp Chablis and full-bodied Meursaults taking centre stage. But it has enjoyed great success in the warmer climates of Chile and New Zealand, where Chardonnay varieties often produce intense fruity flavours such as peach, pineapple, melon and grapefruit.


Although this variety hails from France, the Malbec thrives in high altitude vineyards featuring infertile and rugged terrain.

It’s now one of the most popular red wines in South America, particular Argentina, and in a country that loves red meat, the rustic and spicy nature of Malbec is a perfect mealtime companion. However, in other winemaking regions across the world, Malbec is commonly used as a blending grape.

Sauvignon Blanc

Another versatile white wine grape, Sauvignon Blanc can happily grow in brisk vine-growing regions as well as warmer climates, providing there is a cool breeze every now and again. But the gravelly soils of Bordeaux are perhaps the grape’s most suitable environment.

Featuring distinctly grassy flavours with hints of gooseberry and blackcurrant, this light to medium-bodied wine also performs well in Australia and South Africa..

So, if you haven’t considered visiting a certain destination based on your favourite type of fine wine or grape variety, it would probably be a marvellous and eye-opening experience.



How to Save More Money by Smoking E-Cigs

Smoking cigarettes on a daily basis has become a very expensive habit to maintain. Because of tobacco taxes, and rising prices in the tobacco industry, an average pack of cigarettes will usually cost around $5. The days of cigarette vending machines or a cheap pack of cigarettes are long gone. To make matters worse, with the difficult economy and the sky-high gas prices, maintaining a smoking habit is just too expensive for most people. However, there’s no logical reason why smokers should be deprived of this small source of enjoyment simply because the government has decided to take advantage of them. E-cigarettes have opened up a new possibility for a lot of smokers who are looking to save money without having to cut back. Because of the nature of e-cigs and how they work, a smoker is able to get the same level of enjoyment at a much lower cost.

For someone who smokes a pack of regular cigarettes a day, the monthly cost averages to around $150. A 2 pack a day smoker is spending around $300, etc. This is as much, or more, than a utility payment. In a year’s time, a pack a day smoker is spending upwards of $1800. Because of the way e-cigarettes work, an equivalent smoking amount can be easily determined through the amount of puffs is afforded from the replaceable cartridges. With a lot of brands, it is set up so that one cartridge equals the same amount as one pack of cigarettes. This makes for a much easier way to calculate savings. For example, a top brand of e-cigs may charge around $12 for a pack of 5 cartridges.

This equates to the same as paying $12 for 5 packs of cigarettes. When broken down, this is only about $2.40 a pack. As anyone can tell, this is less than half the regular cost of cigarettes. There is also the option of buying cartridges in bulk for better deals. At these estimates, a pack a day smoker could keep $75 a month from what they’ve gotten used to spending on cigarettes – while a 2 pack a day smoker would be saving $150 a month. This brings to mind the well-known phrase “a dollar saved is a dollar earned.” If you have gotten into the habit of spending that money anyway, it can easily be seen as an increase in income. When calculating these savings throughout the course of a year, it becomes clear that they will make a great difference in your financial life. A pack a day smoker will save upwards of $900 a year, while someone who smokes 2 packs a day will save around $1800. Now those savings are nothing to shake a stick at.

If you were to start using e-cigs as an alternative to smoking regular cigarettes, for the savings, this is also a great way to start saving money. As you’ve worked your budget around this money already, there is no reason that you should not take the saved money and stick it away somewhere. If you are able to keep up with it and hold on to all of that money, there is the funding for an upcoming vacation. Wait a couple years and you have a down payment on a new car. Or, if you’ve already got a solid savings plan set up, why not use the extra money to treat yourself to something special each month? The possibilities are endless.

Enough is Enough; it’s Time to Find Your Soul Mate


It is said that a soul mate is that one person who fits you perfectly. You connect like a key in a lock, you can be honest and you know each other inside out. It’s the person you’re destined to spend the rest of your life with, who makes you feel whole. We spend a lot of time looking for the one person who we connect with on a deep level, but often the wrong people end up together. Despite knowing the connection isn’t quite perfect we settle. Whether you’re alone right now or in a relationship you feel isn’t right it’s time to allow yourself to be fully happy.

Finding Your Soul Mate

The law of attraction, like attracting like, can be used when looking for your ideal partner. When you focus on positive thoughts it results in positive results (negative thoughts attract negative so be wary of what you think). This is a simple rule that can make a huge difference in your life, so it’s one that is worth working on. Increasing your positive thoughts and behaviour can empower you at work and in your personal life. So the first thing to do in order to attract your soul mate is to believe they are out there and believe they will be looking for you too.

Examine your Current and Past Relationships

You can learn a lot about what you want in a soul mate by looking closely at the relationships you’ve been in and the one you’re currently in if you’re not single. Think about what worked and what didn’t in those relationships, the things you liked and what drove you apart or caused problems. Use them to understand what you truly want in a partner and use your findings when thinking positively about your final relationship. The purpose of this is so you’re able to unconsciously send out what you’re looking for through your own energy and thought.

Know and Love Yourself

It’s never going to be perfect if you don’t actually love yourself so this is something you do need to work on if you’ve not fully accepted who you are and embraced it. If you criticise yourself the negative energy that results will only serve to spoil the law of attraction. If you find it hard to love yourself you will need to work on it. Make lists of the great things about you, forgive yourself past errors, change things you hate and accept your flaws. Once you forgive and accept let go of all those negative thoughts about yourself and concentrate only on positive things, only then will your soul mate find your positive signals.

Is the Relationship You’re in the Right One?

If you’re in a relationship and you’re having doubts about whether they are your soul mate or not there are ways you can find out. Psychics are used by millions of men and women around the world to help discover whether relationships are long lasting, or whether new ones could be coming around the corner.

Using a psychic is a great way of working out what you really want from a relationship. It sheds light on your inner needs and desires, looks into the future and boosts self-confidence. What they may also do for you is help you to understand if your current relationship is going through a small rough patch (something even soul mates can’t always avoid) or perhaps help you to discover that the connection isn’t the one you thought or hoped for.

Learn About Your Wants

A psychic will never be able to inform you exactly who your ideal partner is but they will be able to open up the doors, bringing you closer to meeting your soul mate. With a reading they may inform you of events that are around the corner, chance encounters or open your eyes as to what is standing in front of you.

However, it’s important to remember the energy you give off will have an impact on the future. If you work on loving yourself and focus on positive thoughts you’re far more likely to end up with the one you’re meant to be with. Use your positive energy and the information provided by the psychic to refocus your energy on where they need to be. If you’re feeling lost, confused or losing hope these actions will get you back on the right path, leading you to light and happiness.

Shirley Miller has been writing and researching into relationships for the past fifteen years. She is fascinated by people and relationships and a firm believer in soul mates and the law of attraction.