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VENETIAN VISIONS: MY NEW PHOTOBOOK IS NOW AVAILABLE

May 2021

VENETIAN VISIONS

Experimental photography of Venice through the lens of a Venetian artist, Victoria Schaal. Book in Italian with English translation.

My camera and I have travelled all around the world. We experienced the Asian megacities, tasted the charm of Africa, spent light-hearted summers in the Dolomites, climbed some of the most notorious volcanoes, but the greatest challenge has always been photographing Venice.Perhaps when you love a place and are accustomed to it, it is harder to grasp its deepest soul…

Available on Amazon.it and Amazon.com

 

 

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Selected as a Leader in Contemporary Art 2020: an immense privilege!

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Let’s fight Coronavirus despair with creativity…indoors!

Hi everybody. As these difficult times overwhelm our days, let us try to stay positive. Negativity, fear and despair undermine our creative power but we must fight! 

If you are, like I am, in a country where you are urged to stay home or, like my family and friends, in lock-down, get on with creative projects and fight depression and boredom with your talent. After all, you can do it safely indoors. 

This is a good time to catch up with stock photography, video, illustration and audio.

If you are not yet a contributor, quarantine is a good occasion to give it a shot. Prep up your work and upload it from the safety of your home. You will make some money too. Due to the confinements, internet entertainment is booming, as people need information, distraction, leisure and fun without going out. Hence, content is highly needed at this moment. Naturally, creations depicting everything revolving around the disease are selling like crazy but you don’t need to focus on corona if you don’t wish to. There’s plenty of material being published online right now that aims at ‘distracting’ people from our current plague. So go for it!

Join me on Shutterstock 

Perhaps you’ll be thinking that staying at home limits your creative possibilities. Wrong!

Let that creative juice out and you’ll see there are a lot of interesting shots to be made in your house. You can improve your table-top photography skills. Have plants on your balcony? Learn how to shoot them properly. Or get cooking and then photograph your dishes. If you are confined with your clan, set up a family home life shooting…. 

Time goes by slowly when you stay home for days. Take advantage and learn some new skills or software.

Get started with new types of art or learn new creative software. It’ll help with boredom, make time pass and very likely it’ll be useful in the future! This situation will appease eventually. Human history is full of diseases. Our ancestors have suffered from epidemics but humanity has survived. We will too. 

 

Stay safe, respect the quarantine rules, don’t over watch the news.

And keep creating! 

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VENETIAN VISIONS: MY NEW PHOTOBOOK IS NOW AVAILABLE

May 2021 VENETIAN VISIONS Experimental photography of Venice through the lens of a Venetian artist, Victoria Schaal. Book in Italian with English translation. My camera and I have travelled all around the world. We experienced the Asian megacities,…
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Creative Block? Try Hypnosis

Do you ever have a creative block? You know … Those days when you feel completely uninspired… when you spent so many hours on a chair that your butt has become square shaped and all you produced is good enough to wipe off your desk the stains of those dozens of coffees or glasses of red wine you had to fuel your imagination?!

If you say no, you’re no real creative. If you say yes, then welcome to the club.

Now… I know some solve this problem with procrastination. ‘Today’s no good. I’ll just leave it till tomorrow‘. And fair enough, it’s generally a good choice. But sometimes you have deadlines and projects and expectations and clients and so on… so you gotta produce something and it better be good!

So what can you do? To some people a nice walk in the outdoors does the trick, I know of many who get liquid inspiration from a bottle while some prefer a brief one-to-one with Maryjane..

But these don’t always work and some are not very healthy either.

There’s a healthier way to get inspired. Don’t get high on substances, get high on your brain.

If you’ve never practised meditation, it is time for you to try. Yeah I know, the title of this post is hypnosis. But you see, you always need to start with a little meditation to be able to advance to hypnosis.

Meditation sounds easy and in fact it actually is at its most basic level, which is achieving relaxation. However, meditation can be used for more complex achievements such as coping with grief or trauma, overcoming phobias, suppressing addictions, and much much more, like problem solving.

Creative blocks can be huge problems, especially when you’re on a tight deadline and your boss is prepping a firing round.

You can solve such an issue with a meditation that focuses on the problem you have. The broad explanation of how it works starts with total relaxation. For a brief time you will allow yourself to relax physically and mentally, letting go of all thoughts and issues and emotional interference. After you have cleared your mind, you will see how easy it’ll be to focus on just the one problem you have, without stress.

Like most things in life, the more you practice meditation, the more effective the experience will be. It’s easier to start with short meditations ranging from 5 to 20 minutes. When you get more experienced you’ll manage to meditate for longer.

Auto-hypnosis is harder, although I noticed that the beginner’s luck is common. Many people told me that the first time they tried to auto-hypnotise themselves, it worked and they had amazing experiences. It was the same for me, the first time was astounding and seemed rather easy peasy to me. Yet, I was wrong. It took me several attempts before I managed to enter in a hypnotic state again. But this didn’t stop me from trying and it shouldn’t worry you either.

Not entering in the hypnotic state is no biggie, failure simply translates to a deep meditative experience or a simple short doze. Both are refreshing experiences and both can unleash your clogged creative juice.

You may try to meditate on your own. However, auto-hypnosis without any external help requires a lot of experience and skill. It’s for pros really.

What I use are guided meditations and hypnosis sessions with specific videos.

There’s a plethora on YouTube. You can choose the ones you like based on what you want to achieve and your experience level. An expert on YouTube is Michael Sealey whose videos are all over the hypnotic and meditative categories. However, there are many others who are equally good.

Here below I embedded two videos I really like and that work on me.

The first is a meditation and I highly recommend it to newbies and those of you who have a particularly stressful time.

The second is a hypnotic session. I chose it because I found it quite effective on me and rather easy to focus on.

However, if these don’t work out for you, have a look yourself. As I said there are thousands of good guided sessions on YouTube. And above all, please don’t give up on it if it doesn’t work perfectly at your first attempt. You can’t just go to the Olympics and expect to win a gold medal straight away. You need practice and training.

Happy meditation 🙂 and let us know how it went on the comments!

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Famous blogger Rachel Lerch interviews Victoria Schaal on stock photography industry

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Stock photography agency employee: Best Ways to Make Money

If you, like me, have enthusiasm for digital photography burning in you, a profession in digital photography would certainly be a fantastic suggestion!

Yet, making money with photography is easier said than done!

Stock Photography is definitely a way to make money.  There are numerous companies that require images that are substantial to their jobs yet do not have much time to take these images as a result of their busy routines. They decide to buy stock images as opposed to employing a specialist digital photographer, not just to conserve cash, however time too due to the fact that these images prepare to make use of.

I’ve been contributing for years and I learnt a couple of things about stock photography.

Moreover, I worked as a Marketer for one of the largest agencies too. So let me transfer to you some of my knowledge. Learn more about me here

Exactly what is stock photography?

Stock pictures are not photographed for a certain customer or usage yet portray a much more basic idea. Purchasers obtain wanted image, stock digital photography agents obtain a portion of every image offered on their site, and also professional photographer obtains continuing to be percent.

How to sell stock digital photography?

young-man-doing-acrobatics-in-water-in-tropical-location

You require your pictures to be of its finest. You should ensure that there are no noticeable sounds or grains in your stock pictures. They have to be free from spots, as well as unneeded background products. There are stringent standards you require to comply with. In order for your images to be thought about stock picture top quality, they have to be small, effectively taken, skilfully revealed as well as with high resolution.

Stock photography is the highest quality requiring photography. 

As such, see it as a gym to learn and practice photography at its toughest level. When in the future you decide to move towards more artistic creations or perhaps photojournalism, your standards will be amongst the highest. Learn more about this on this other article I wrote here

You will certainly additionally require software to edit your stock pictures.

You needn’t purchase the extremely expensive Adobe license to use Photoshop. You can download an older version of Photoshop for free, which is great if you want to start out without investment.

There are a whole lot of electronic cameras in market with fantastic attributes. Personally I like my Nikon D3200. It’s the best in terms of price/quality ratio and the easiest for beginners in the range of pro cameras. Nikon produced later versions like the D3400 which is a great DSLR and amongst the cheapest. DSLRs can be expensive to start out and the cheapest with a lens included goes between 250 to 380 Dollars. However you can also go for a second hand one. I always advise to buy used electronics either via Ebay because they protect you from scams or via Facebook if you can meet the seller, thus try the camera. However, it is always safer and better to purchase a new one. Amazon has interesting prices and options. Remember that you should always invest more on lenses rather than cameras.

I recommend this little book to practice all kinds of photography. I love it cause it tells you in bullet points exactly what settings to use in each situation and it’s small enough to be carried around and on the field. 

What are the top selling portfolios?

view-from-the-sea-of-posillipo-hill-naples-and-the-blue-waters-2

Difficulty in offering your stock images is its originality as well as adaptability. In order to increase your possibilities of selling you can either try to build a portfolio with a large variety of categories (i.e. travel, business, food, nature…etc.) or select a certain particular niche market. if you choose this approach, you generally need less photos in your portfolio but these pictures have to be exactly what your consumers are trying to find. You have to have the ability to have an extensive understanding of the niche market and also make sure there is enough demand for that niche. 

Quantity in your portfolio is also relevant. Most bloggers only give you tips about how YOU can improve your pictures. Reality is that the IT algorithms used by stock photo agencies determine heavily who and what is going to sell. If your portfolio is large, it’ll be shown more, thus you’ll have better chances of selling. The more you sell, the more the algorithm will show you. 

There are a bunch of stock digital photography recruitment agencies where your images can be offered. These websites have standards on what you ought to get in order to make an effective image entry. Generally, Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Dreamstime and Istock require at least 4mp but 123RF will ask for 6mp.

I advise you to put your keywords directly in your files metadata rather than pasting them as you upload your pics on every site. It’ll save you a lot of time!

Last but not least

Remember, there are people who manage to live out of stock photography. They are only a few but you can be one of them. It just takes time and patience. You’ll likely need years to create a 10 000 photo portfolio but if you stay put, you’ll achieve it.

Start with small objectives. Reaching 100 pictures is a milestone. When you get to 500, you’ll start seeing a real progress in your earnings. 1000 photos truly changes your earnings report so work on that for now. 

I’m out for now, drop a comment or email if you want more info. Please do not use this article in your blog unless you ask me first.

Learn more about the World Stock Photography Market 2019 by viewing the new report on the industry here.

 

 

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VENETIAN VISIONS: MY NEW PHOTOBOOK IS NOW AVAILABLE

May 2021 VENETIAN VISIONS Experimental photography of Venice through the lens of a Venetian artist, Victoria Schaal. Book in Italian with English translation. My camera and I have travelled all around the world. We experienced the Asian megacities,…
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”How Do You Like It?” Book by Victoria Schaal

February 2019

HOW DO YOU LIKE IT?  

Customer Services: Personalisation or Standardisation?

Abstract: This research faces two practical questions, which have arisen in the past decades and have not found a concrete solution yet: how do individuals expect customer services to be delivered and which is the most effective approach to retain customers.

The importance of customer retention is now widely recognised and the vital role of customer services in it has been agreed. Yet, the bridge that links customer services and customer retention is a field still mined by discussions and arguments.

Scholars depict two main approaches in order to retain consumers: standardisation and customisation. Although academics have produced extensive studies on these approaches and have evaluated both, none has gathered primary data on the matter in order to reach a more realistic, reliable and applicable conclusion.

This dissertation explores the numerous academic works, but also attempts to obtain results through the production of an inductive qualitative research aiming at interviewing consumers in order to discover concretely what are their preferences and the reasons behind their reactions and behaviours.

The results of the research provide concrete answers to this dissertation’s questions: they indicate the exact expectations customers’ have in relation to how customer services agents should serve them and illustrate how individuals’ favourite approach changes depending on subjective factors. Furthermore, this dissertation can serve as a basis for future studies on the topic, as well as represent a priceless starting point on which organisations may train their customer services. Based on academic theory and the research’s findings, it attempts to provide guidelines to create a successful training program for businesses aiming at customer services improvement and consumer retention.

Wherever you are in the world, get your copy on Amazon.com  

United Kingdom, Amazon.co.uk  

Italy, Amazon.it

France, Amazon.fr

Germany, Amazon.de

Spain, Amazon.es

Japan, Amazon.jp

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Level Up Conference in KL 2018: Report

Last week I had the chance to attend the famous Level Up conference in Kuala Lumpur.

The atmosphere at Level Up was truly electrifying. Seeing all these youngsters showing their artistic creations was absolutely marvellous.

The conference talks were held by a plethora of speakers from a wide range of backgrounds within the gaming, digital art, software and hardware industries.

I found particularly interesting the presentation given by HTC regarding VR and their future intentions for the new technology. The speech was quite technical but luckily I had gone to a VR lab the week prior to Level Up to try it out as I wrote in my previous article. My first experience was quite…..hilarious. If you’re interested in seeing a ridiculous girl pretending to ski in VR and falling by herself, click here to watch the video.

A disappointment, however, arises from the lack of debate regarding the ‘side effects’ of VR.

We do not know how the human psychology will react once VR is easily accessible to everyone or even a future commonly found at home tech, like they all seemed to predict at Level Up. Controversial studies have been carried out and subsequent correlations have already been found between violent videogames and real life aggression. And this was with 2D on screen games, so what’s it going to be with VR games? And we also have lots of cases of gaming addiction, particularly in Asia where bootcamps are held for rehab from technology. So what’s going to happen with VR in the mix too?

I loved some of the games that were exhibited and was mesmerised by the new Prestige range of MSI laptops. In fact, I am very tempted to buy the P42: such a powerful laptop and yet so thin and light. A masterpiece truly. If you’re interested, you can have a look at its features here. After all, both 11.11 and Black Friday/CyberMonday are getting close so we won’t feel to guilty to buy a new toy if it’s discounted!

So all in all, the success of Level Up is totally justified. It was well organised, the location very neat and pleasant, the crowd quite varied and the speakers capable.

But to me, the best of Level Up was seeing so many young minds attending, each showing a great passion and a strong will to succeed in an increasingly competitive environment like gaming, apps and digital art.

In a way a contradictory but also reassuring observation I made was that several of these digital talents were still sketching on paper all the time, even during talks. It is nice to see that art evolves but the starting point remains traditional: the hand sketch.

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VR, my first time: amazing but disturbing

I live in Kuala Lumpur and at this time of the year the monsoon hits us hard especially during the afternoons and evenings. The rain floods streets and the humid heat renders the air stale and tiring.

So what to do on a Saturday night in this weather? Go to spend an hour at the VR lab.

Last Saturday was my first time (VR-wise) and my boyfriend suggested a ski game to, as he put it, ‘experience fully the power of VR‘. Sure. Why not.

As I was ‘experiencing fully’ the thing, he decided to film me in one of the most ridiculous moments of my young life. You can see it too here.

In conclusion, I found VR to be an extrordinary thing. It’s incredible how effectively real everything feels. I say feels and not looks, as it’s not the graphics that make you believe you’re in other dimension. It’s the whole interaction between the visual illusion and your brain that drives you nuts.

I did feel nausea when jumping on my skis, scared when some snakes tried to eat me, tired after a pub fight and I had a strong headache afterward. But it was totally worth a try and I will likely go again some time.

Yet, I cannot prevent myself from thinking about the potential consequences of VR on human psychology. Using it an hour at an arcade is no biggie but VR will likely become more and more affordable and am sure a good portion of the population will end up having it at home, always accessible.
Controversial studies and correlations have already been made regarding violent screen-videogames and real life aggression. And we also have lots of cases of gaming addiction, particularly in Asia where bootcamps are also held for rehab from technology. So what’s going to happen with VR in the mix too? How many individuals will prefer the virtual reality they build themselfves to their actual lives?

How many people who may already be prone to addicition, violence or psychological trouble will lose their minds with VR?

This is not a criticism. I leave these questions open as I am clueless of what’s going to happen. Yet, I do find that these questions are not asked enough.

Next week I’ll go to the Level Up Conference in KL and hope to find some answers.