It’s time: Color It Red 2016

red-dog-news-color-it-red-2015-best-in-showAs a result of many requests Color It Red will continue with Color It Red 2016. This will be the fifth annual edition of this very popular photography contest. Over the years more than 400 world-wide photographers have entered with more than 150 having their work displayed at For the second year in a row the Juror’s Choice Award will include publication in a future issue of Shadow & Light Magazine. Places 1, 2, 3 will have their selected entry displayed in a full-page format in a future issue the magazine.

You can get full details and the opportunity to take advantage of the Early Entry fee by clicking the “Color It Red 2016” tab at the top of this page.

Color It Red 2015 Results:
Best in Show:  Les Levres Rouge, Carla Berger (pictured, above) (Shadow & Light Magazine Showcase Portfolio, Think Tank Urban Disguise 40 camera bag)
First Place: Dia de los Moo-uertos, Amy Ditto (Think Tank Perception Pro camera bag, LensWork Gift Pack)
Second Place: The Curtain Opens, Dale Niles (Red River Photo Paper $150 Gift Certificate, LensWork Gift Pack)
Third Place: Harbor Reflections, Julita Lucas (Think Tank Gift Pack, Red Dog News Showcase Gallery Placement)
Fourth Place: Diner Abstract, Barbara Leven (Think Tank Gift Pack, Red Dog News Showcase Gallery Placement)

Good luck!

Email Newsletters: an introduction: part two

Guy at computerOK. You’ve decided this something you want to do. You are an artist, after all. Right? You create work you want to be seen, and possibly even purchased. In the last post we talked about deciding to even do this: send out a newsletter, that is.

The decision has been made, but where do you go from here? Now, you need to decide on a platform. There are many from which to choose, many being perfectly acceptable. Here are a few guidelines to address when selecting the platform for your newsletter (ESP, email service provider), :

Who Is Your Audience?
Before choosing an ESP, it’s important to understand the scope of your needs. How small/large is your target distribution list? Will you need support tools to help build that list? Your strategy for gaining new prospects will need to be addressed at the outset.

What Would You Like to Send Them?
After you’ve identified your audience, you’ll need to figure out the types of email you’d like to send them. When selecting an email marketing platform, you should look for one that offers ease of use in creating emails, along with the ability to customize your content. For example, will you be sending the same email to everyone on your list, or do you need to personalize the content for different types of users?

When (and How Often) Do You Want to Send?
Companies of all shapes and sizes tend to love email marketing because it is reliable, consistent, offers high return on investment (ROI), and is highly scalable when the right formula is reached. We also need to remember that in the beginning we might not want to inundate our readers with too many offerings. I feel it’s best that if you consider yourself a strict newbie you should start out with maybe a quarterly campaign. You can always move it to more frequent release, which signifies success rather than cutting back on releases which could denote a loss of business and/or interest.

Why Are You Emailing Your Customers?
Part of the email marketing software selection process should be to evaluate the level of social media integration you’d like with your email program. Combining multi-channel marketing strategies—like email + social—can help achieve higher message penetration rates than a single channel approach. It also allows for a two-way conversation in your direct-marketing efforts. After all, email is just having a direct, albeit, one-way conversation with your audience. Incorporating social media elements like Share buttons, Facebook and Twitter feeds, etc., can turn that one-way conversation into a more engaging back and forth with your customers.

How Much (Service, Support, and Features) Do You Need?
Not all providers offer the same level of service. While most will give you the basic tools along with a means for submitting support tickets, others provide additional services (or even full service) options at an additional cost. Depending upon how user-friendly your provider’s email-building and -sending tools are, and how complex your email campaigns are, you may not need more than the basics.

This is just a group of suggestions to get you thinking in the right direction.

Next: Platform comparisons…

Email Newsletters: an introduction: part one

What is a Newsletter, and Why Would You Want to Offer One?

red-dog-news-email-newsletters-graphic-01I have been involved in newsletters for more than 25-years, in both print and electronic formats.

For the sake of this post, however, I’ll be talking only about email newsletters (electronic), since this is the product that the majority of small businesses like you and me should be utilizing.

In addition to the content on your website (that is a whole other topic!), from time to time you should be sending out broadcasts about new work, trips, your wonderful insights, etc. When you are in the beginning stages of setting up your newsletter, you will ultimately be offering your audience a way to subscribe so they can receive your notes and newsletters.

At this point you may be thinking, “What is the point of doing all this work?”

A good question deserves an even better answer… your email list.

When you offer a subscription to your newsletter, you’re enabling yourself to be able to capture email addresses. It’s important to capture email addresses because:

  1. It’s a great way to communicate with your audience on a more personal level. There’s just something about receiving an email from somebody that makes it extremely effective at getting a point across, or making people take some kind of action.
  2. An email list will never die. In other words, if you have an email list, you will always have a way to communicate with your audience. Blogs and websites can die. RSS readers and feed subscription services could vanish. But, those email addresses will never change and you can always keep your audience informed of what you’re up to, even if you go completely off the radar.
  3. It’s where the money is.

Regarding #3, you may or may not have heard this expression before: “The Money is in the List.”

It’s an expression that has been used in the Internet marketing industry since the birth of email (or “snail mail” for that matter), because it’s true. But you do need to be careful when you decide to use your list to make money. You really don’t want it to be all about the money.

Once you make it “all about the money” is when you will begin to lose subscribers by sacrificing your credibility. What you want to do first and foremost is to create a product that helps and informs people. Once you do this and you have gained respectability then it will be time to begin your effort to make money. Online karma does exist.

Regular or Irregular Delivery

You can setup an opt-in form to capture email addresses on your website and only email your subscribers when you have to. This, however, is not such a good idea and I will tell you why.

Imagine signing up for a newsletter and not receiving anything from me for weeks or months. What do you think you would do?

  1. Forget who I was and think my email is spam.
  2. Unsubscribe from the list because you’d realize that there’s really no point of being on it.
  3. All of the above.

What you write in your emails doesn’t have to be “news”- it can be anything really. But, it’s important that you contact your subscribers on a consistent basis and provide them with some kind of useful information in order to keep them around.

Remember: All it takes is one click to unsubscribe from your list.

Eureka! The Purpose Of Your Newsletter

Sometimes, a really great (forgotten) notion…

frustrated-tbaAs I was readying myself for this trip to California, I thought I had done the necessary things: made a list and checked things off as I completed those tasks. Upon my return I noticed on my list that I had to dig out of my trash at the office, that I didn’t check off “Back up hard drive.” Sometimes, a really notion… never makes it into a great reality.

Needless to say, my external hard-drive took a nosedive off a dining room table never from which to recover.

“Ahhhh,” I said to myself, “I am sure I backed everything up right before I left.” NOT!

I don’t have to tell you how I felt when I got here and realized the last backup I performed was about one-month prior to leaving.

Lesson learned! Besides having to rebuild quite a few other things, I had to almost build the just-released Red Dog News #159 from scratch. For that reason I am very appreciative of templates and hosted services that are very far away from my clumsiness and slight of mind.

In future posts I will talk a bit more about the trip, which was wonderful, educational, soothing (even amid all the chaos!), and extremely fulfilling on so many fronts.

I’ll never swim Kern River, again…

For quite a long time this has been one of my favorite songs. Written by Merle Haggard, and covered extremely well by both Emmylou Harris and Dave Alvin, the song talks of a time when when:

“I’ll never swim Kern River again.
It was there that I met her.
It was there that I lost my best friend.”

Kern River rapids

Well known for its swift currents, Kern River has long mystified poets and songwriters alike. As I was making my way from Berkeley and my salon with Taiyo Lipscomb, Sharon Wheat and a few of their photo-friends (more about that later), to Torrance and my presentation at Paul’s Photo this weekend I decided to take a detour and spend a couple of nights in Bakersfield.

It wasn’t until I got here that I realized, “Wait! I think Kern River is pretty close.” Bakersfield is in Kern county, after all. After a bit of location research I found a spot just about a half-hour from my motel and drove there this afternoon. Upon arriving at the campgrounds the sign I saw spoke of Haggard’s lament.

No Swimming-Kern River

Yeah, I know it’s a bit schmaltzy, but… I was meditating on Merle’s lyrics and couldn’t help myself!

Tim's Feet in Kern River

“Now, it’s not deep nor wide,
But it’s a mean piece of water, my friend.
And I may cross on the highway,
But I’ll never swim Kern River again.”


A day at the beach, Stinson that is…

Well, as you might have guessed, we made it from Albuquerque to California, without any problems. Although the drive was tiring, we made it in two days. We stopped first in Barstow CA, then the next day it was up to Northern California, where I dropped Ann off for her three-week residency, at Chalk Hill.

Once that was accomplished, I made my way down to Fremont, where my brother, Larry, lives and stayed there for a few days, and then I booked an extended stay at a Airbnb house, around Berkeley, where I will be participating in a salon hosted by Shadow & Light Magazine photographer, Taiyo Lipscomb, this week,

During my stay around Berkeley, I took some time off and decided to have a day the beach. Born as a Californian, the one thing I miss most about this state is the water. As many of my fellow New Mexicans can attest to water is something that is not in plentiful supply in my adopted state.

It took almost one-hour to get there, lagging behind campers, RVs, and other traffic diversions. Even after the slow journey, however, once I descended down the very curvy road and saw Stinson Beach in the distance, a grin crept over my face.

It was a beautiful day. The ever-present early morning fog was in the process of leaving the area and there were quite a few people joining me at the sandy beach. I had a great time. Take a peek…




Goin’ to the Hotel California

red-dog-news-california-vacation-158Well, not really! As I mentioned in our newsletters, I will be going to California for a few weeks to visit family, friends, and I am sure I will make new friends. I will also be giving a couple of talks and doing portfolio reviews.

The coolest program (so far!) is being set up by Shadow & Light Magazine “Showcase Portfolio” photographer, Karen Scheunemann. It is going to be at Paul’s Photo, June 13-14, 2015. They are in the process of getting information about about my talk: “Crossing the Threshold: How to Share your Work and Get Published,” but you are quite welcome to let them know you want to sign up, if you live in the area or are going to a tourist (like me) there.

You can click on the “Current Issue” button to pick the new Special Edition: Summer issue of Red Dog News. This issue is all about summer fun with your camera! I had previously mentioned that a new Red Dog News would not be published until June 26, but I couldn’t wait that long.

I am also utilizing a new format, and would like your opinion on its merits.

I hope you have an absolutely wonderful summer. I will be posting here from time to time during my trip to keep you posted and following my adventures.


Rx for Sloppy Newsletter Syndrome

Guest post by Alyson Stanfield/art biz blog

ArtBizBlog-Newsletter FixThere’s an epidemic going around.

Don’t panic. If it strikes, you won’t need to rush to the ER or be quarantined. But you will need to take immediate action.

Your physical health isn’t in peril, but the health of your art business is at stake.

The epidemic is SENS – Sloppy Email and Newsletter Syndrome. Let me explain the symptoms so you can self-diagnose.

• Symptom 1: Missing Name

This is the most destructive of all the SENS symptoms. I’ve lost count of how many artist newsletters I receive without the artist’s full name in them. Sure, your first name might be there. Or your last name. Or it might be in the footer. But I shouldn’t have to search for your full name. Go look at the last email or newsletter sent to your list right now. Where does your full name appear? If you scroll down, does it appear again to remind readers of the sender?

Your name is your brand. You have to associate your name with your art.

Can you imagine forgetting your name on a postcard? Or a wall label?

Prescription: Make your full name clearly visible in your newsletters and emails!

• Symptom 2: Image Anemia

At a time when images rule cyber-space, why would you, a visual artist, neglect using images of your art in your email correspondence?

In addition, why would you use tiny images when you have the whole width of the email column to fill? We’re no longer afraid of scrolling, and your email is competing with a lot of other bright shiny objects in our inboxes.

WOW us!

Prescription: Images of your art: the bigger, the better.

• Symptom 3: Text Failure

Take your pick of text mistakes:
Your text is too small … your text is too light … your text lines are too cramped.

Any one of these can make it harder for your recipients to read what you have to say. Together they amount to #failure.

Prescription: Larger, darker text with sufficient line spacing.

More >>>>

Creativity and artistic stagnation

Creativity. What does it mean to you? To me it means letting your self go. Getting out of the box. Pushing the envelope. Walking the path less taken. Opening your mind to accept new ideas and directions. Is it the release of creativity and artistic stagnation? Is that creative in and of itself? For those of you who follow the Red Dog News blog you have read similar posts from me about creativity.

Gail Suttelle Graphic ImageJust a few months ago my creativity was definitely stagnated. I was publishing Red Dog News and I had just started Shadow & Light Magazine, but that was it. I really (In my mind) wasn’t being creative, although there are those who would disagree. It took a walk through my house to reignite my creativity. Just as I was walking around turning out lights and locking doors, something caught my eye (pictured, left). It was a graphic image created by the outside power pole-mounted security light, which is very bright. The light came into our enclosed back porch and the image was created by the shadows of window frames, shade pulls, etc. I hadn’t done any new photography for quite a while but that image ignited my creativity.

Suttelle GraphicI immediately went into the room and started rearranging furniture so I could create what was in my mind. I set up tableaus of stuffed animals (pictured, left). I worked for about an hour setting up different scenarios until I had exhausted my ideas for the night. It was almost midnight! That did it for me, however.

From that point on my creativity has surged, but not necessarily by picking up the camera. Lately, I have been spending quite a bit of time going through my archives and re-imagining the finished images with a different “eye.” I have been very surprised and pleased by what I have found.

One “new” series is “French Noir.” Over the years I have been to France about a half-dozen times and have quite a few photographs from those trips. At the beginning of this year I spent about a week sifting through negatives and digital files and came away with about two-dozen pictures that I knew were good but needed some help. The door was opened and I gladly stepped through it.

The point being that we are all creatives and even though our main focus: be it printing, photography, writing, etc., may seem to get stale from time-to-time, we just need to get up and get out!

LensWork 117Brooks Jensen writes about this in the new issue (pictured, left) of LensWork, “Your Artwork, and Then Your Other Artwork.” He writes about using photography as an expansive tool and creative outlet in ways that don’t follow the norm. This is an article well worth the price of a single issue.

Whether you release your artistic stagnation and turn your creativity loose by creating bookmarks, prayer towels, silk-screened fabrics, or more, the message is in the act.

Go ahead… take one of your favorite images and do something entirely different with it, rather than “just” printing it. You’ve already done that!