Sunday, July 18, 2010

False Billing Blowers at it again! Gotta give them an A for persistency!

As most small businesses are aware - false advertising billers are numerous these days. I only cottoned on to these organisations (and I use the term very loosely) - a few months back when I was receiving a call every day about such and such guide that I had apprently agreed to advertise in months ago. These calls started after I placed an ad in the local news paper. Obviously these scum like creatures check the paper for legitimate businesses to target.

I thought they had stopped but today I was delighted to receive another phone call from a woman called 'Tony' from a private number regarding the Children's 'Support Guide. She was ringing with regard to the 2011 guide to see if I wanted to advertise with. I then told her I wasn't interested. She then responded with a 'I'm confused sorry'....I explained that I wasn't interested again. She then told me that she could take me off the 2011 list but I had already agreed to the 2010 print and it had already gone to publishers. I laughed and told her that I hadn't agreed to that either and she informed me she would contact her supervisor to see what I had said. I told her that she was welcome to do so. I soooooo want her to call me back.

For those of you who aren't aware of these people. They generally ring about an ad that you agreed to months prior. Obviously this isn't the case and you never did. They are betting on that you become confused and make you think as though you have forgotten something and as you don't want debt associated with your business you generally pay up. Apparently some of them even send you a 'copy' of the guide or journal with an 'invoice' to pay. Do not be tricked - this is not proof of distribution and usually yours is the only copy that has ever been printed. Generally they are asking for payments of around $425 dollars. That seems to be their standard amount. They also have names that are very familiar. Emergency Services Guide, Child Support Guide, SES Guide, the list goes on and on. They also at times record you and try to get you to say the YES word so they can attempt to use that next time they call to solicit you into payment!  It is by the way illegal to record you without your knowledge so you can hit them with that as well if they try it on you.

Basically if you've not signed anything - don't pay it. If you  havn't initiated it - don't agree to it. Once you agree to one you seem to get a 'we've got a live one here' and you will get endless harassing phone calls.

I've even been sworn at by one of these people when I told them I knew what they were trying to do.  The next time one calls I am going to ask for their phone number so that the ACCC or the police can ring them back on my behalf. I also make a habit of reporting them to the ACCC along with their phone number (if its not private as they usually are) with the name of the so called journal and any other information I have.

It just makes me grin and think of the Karma factor.  This  blog is in the hope that it stops someone from being a victim. Word to the wise people. What losers.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

AnK Photo Shoot

I organised a little while back in the piece when it was raining and people couldn't get out of their cattle stations to do a mutually promotive (omg is that even a word?!) photoshoot with AnK Bowtique. It took forever for us to figure out a mutually convenient time - but eventually we did! And that was the weekend at the start of these school holidays!

AnK Bowtique make the cutest and most photogenic little accessories for girls. Just cute as! And I had an absolute ball for 3 days taking photos of friend's little girls modelling them for us! Kristy and Angie put my obsessive compulsive organising to shame! Everything was colour coded and bagged and labelled to the extreme! I don't honestly know how they kept track of everything. I was very glad that all I had to do was chase the little ones around and press the button!

Thank you very much to all of the lovely mums who made the days as well. We couldnt have done it without your little princesses!

We pretty much took over the entire botanic gardens (well okay maybe that's not quite the case) with kids, mums and tulle! And had some awesome props that I had pre-organised or begged or borrowed from other mums.  Here is little Miss I sitting on an awesome shabby-chic style fence chair we borrowed from the lovely Robyn!

And how cute are these two? What a perfect moment caught in time. Awww you can really feel the love in this photo!

I also got to do the Marschke family photos that weekend. I love these guys! Mum is really good to talk to - a very funny lady - and the kids are just adorable! Here's one I love of the 3 oldest kids with lollypops on the grass!

Another busy week ahead - another family shoot with a newborn and a 60th birthday party on the weekend. No rest for the wicked! And I get to fit in motherhood, housewife and part time teaching duties with all of this!!! Superwoman!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Mind your own aperture!

A couple of people have asked me about how to use their camera better. Here are a few of the things I found helped me when learning about my first DSLR.

1) Read your manual - put sticky notes in it - keep referring back to it if you don't understand a button or a word.

2) Google and find a DSLR dictionary and print it out - will give you a list of words you might read about your camera - you will have many 'ooooooooooooh that's what that is' moments. Well worthwhile.

3) Be brave and take it off Auto! Go out to do a few purpose shots using full M (manual mode). Try to use subjects that do not require speed for this. (Avoid children and animals - think still life!) Also revert to Manual for your lens (that is - take it off Autofocus). It may take a while but eventually you will get good at taking a photo this way. I shot in manual only for the first 3 months of owning my camera. It only got easier from there!

4) Av (Aperture) and Tv (Shutterspeed) - You will see these two options for shooting on your mode dial. I currently shoot in Av mode at all times. And work with  my lens on autofocus usually. Aperture was something that perplexed me the most!

Basically the easiest way to explain it is the amount of the photo that will be in focus. How low in f stop you can go is based on your lens (not your camera). You will see with your lenses that there are numbers like this f4.5 on it. Basically the f stop (number) shown on your lens is the lowest value it drops to. Generally the more expensive the lens the lower it can go. All lenses will function from this lowest aperture to a much higer one. The smaller the number the faster your lens can go in low light. Av mode will use the aperture you select and automatically adust shutter speed to match. Generally portrait style photos use a lower aperture around f7 or f8 and landscape photos use higher aperture.

This is based on the fact that for portraits you will want the person in focus but the background not - and for landscapes you will want pretty much the whole picture in focus.

A quick note though. I always watch my shutter speed- try  not to drop below run the risk of blur with handholding. Adjust your apeture and lose some of the focusing depth or change your iso.

5) What the ISO?
ISO is the same as when we used normal cameras and used different 'film' values - its the speed on which the image is transferred from the cameras sensor to the 'film' per say.  Remember when we bought 100 or 400 film? For nice clean crisp images without lots of 'noise' - try to keep your iso around 100. Digital cameras have the ability to use high iso speeds however the higher you go the noisier or 'grainier' the image will get and the worse it will enlarge. Unless you have a very high quality camera and good editing software this will always be the case.  

When I mentioned that you can up your iso to keep your shutter speed above 80 in Av mode -  up it a little bit - see how it changes the shutterspeed automatically. See if it's enough and up it again if you need to. Don't forget to change it back though.

6) How do I do all this? Read your manual and see which dials do this. I could go into details but I own a Canon and not everyone does. :)

7) And last but certainly not the least! TAKE PHOTOS! Take them all the time. ALL THE TIME. I have taken millions of photos on my trust worthy 'ol 50D.

It also helps to use RAW mode so you can edit more in your photos - use digital photo professional or the software that comes with your camera for editing.....but I'm not going to harp on because if you wanted to read this for info I  have probably just filled your head with enough for the moment!