Photoshop challenge: can you find the 16 changes made to this Album Cover?

Remember this Beatles album cover? Can you find the 16 changes I made?

Click the image to enlarge. My first passion is using Photoshop to “fix” images that have poor lighting, eliminate color casts, remove funky things in the photo (signs, poles, tree trunks coming up from behind people’s heads, or even removing people), as well as eliminate the clutter around the focus of your subject. 

In Photoshop, I like to create either original compelling images to attract attention, or “fix” a company’s products photos. As you know, the images displayed on a website, blog and Facebook reflect on the brand of a company – because those images are the first impression the potential clients may have about the quality and image of your company.

If you want to see more examples click here.

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How to Increase Member or Client Participation

Here’s three tips on how to make your organization stronger and get more involved…


Many businesses rely on building customer participation for added business, and clubs rely on membership participation to host events to raise funds.

1. For a group to be more involved they need to be engaged with each other. How? A. Involving more people on committees is a physical form of social media marketing – they tell others and are more engaged .B. Rotate who is in charge to keep things fresh and to avoid inner circle clicks. C. Reach out to the shy members and participants, they will typically be your hardest workers and they probably joined to meet people just like you with your similar interests.

2. Increase the number of activities your group does. But wait, everyone is already busy! That said, people pick what to do to be busy based on their interests. The more your group interacts with each, the better the “value” of the interaction, then the more involved they become. Additional activities could be as simple as a impromptu meeting at a breakfast place on weekends, meeting for a happy hour once a month, or a have a picnic in the park. It doesn’t need to fancy or complex, just provide more opportunities for your members to socialize and get to know each other better.

3. Most important – you need to improve communication between members in the organization.  Members working on projects, organizing or attending events, or just meeting for social activities – everything runs much smoother when communication is improved, and member contact information is easily accessed. With a smart phone app called the EZ Member Directory, (click here to check it out), members can easily contact each other, photos can be added for each member, for either security identification, or just helping members recall names with photos at social events.

Good Brand, Bad Value = Out of Business

Campfire VittlesI went to an interesting new little place for lunch called, Campfire Vittles. The place at lunch time had three people in it. As branding consultant for many different types of companies, here’s my quick take on how they might be more successful –

The good: Campfire Vittles has a great idea, logo and a unique campsite mural and chuck wagon atmosphere. The hot dog was very good, with lots of topping choices — it was a meal in itself.

Areas for improvement: If they specialize in just hamburgers and hotdogs, then the hamburger needs to be like you might get at Applebee’s (thick and juicy). My hamburger was just ok, about like I might get at Burger King. To set themselves apart from being a fast food place with very limited choices — they need to be the gourmet of hamburgers and not a small step above a fast food place with a limited menu. People will come back for food that is a good value. As cool as the outdoor mural of a campsite atmosphere is, people won’t come back unless the food brings them back.

Another improvement: Instead of serving the lunch in a brown paper bag which looks like a take-out bag — they should serve it in a pie tin like they did out on the trail from a chuck wagon, that would be a much better way to present the food. Branding is about communicating value. If food is presented in a paper bag it doesn’t have the same level of perceived value of something served on a plate.

Those are just a few thoughts on how to improve their customer’s experience.

Here’s a follow up three months later: They closed and are out of business. FYI – 85% of all new restaurants fail in the first three years. This one was just one of thousands …

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Speak of Value – Not of Features

Value-based textWriting for marketing materials: Communicate Value-based vs. Feature-based copy.

Text to sell a new car written by engineers or product designers would read something like this:  “The new hybrid engine is connected to the transmission via a unique flywheel off-load gearing system, the large 8 caliber nitrogen filled piston brakes are functional for stopping the 19 inch wheels. We have a 24/7 fully staffed service department and towing service.”

A marketing copywriter would take this approach with value-based text:

You can significantly lower your monthly costs on gas because of the improved efficiency of the new hybrid engine. This vehicle helps reduce accidents and lowers your insurance expenses because the extra large brakes dramatically shorten the vehicle’s stopping distance. To give you peace-of-mind, this vehicle has an automated feature that tells you when to go in for service when a component needs to be checked.

Why branding makes money

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 8.22.16 AMBrands add value to all kinds of products and services — from machine shops to surgery centers to restaurants — all are figuring out how to get to the top of the narrow boundaries of their categories and become a brand associated with a buzz (word-of-mouth referrals).

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 8.19.13 AMWho understands it? Every single Web site sponsor, advertisers and like-companies they link to. In fact, the Web makes the case for careful and strategic branding more directly than any packaged good or consumer product ever could. How? Why? Anyone can have a Web site. And today, because anyone can … anyone does! So how do you know which sites are worth visiting, which sites to bookmark, which sites are worth going to more than once?

The answer: branding. The sites you go back to are the sites you trust. They’re the sites where the brand name tells you that the visit will be worth your time — again and again. The brand is a promise of the value you’ll receive.

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Letting it flow… (MY first blog entry)

Hopefully this will not only be an inspiration site for others, but also for me as well to create and publish. Besides, why create if you can’t share it with others? While some would argue you create to release the creative fires burning inside, I agree, but I also like the opportunity to share and get feedback. Feedback that is constructive is very helpful because us creative types can fall in love with your own work and loose objectivity of it’s real value.

On the other hand, comments analyzing creativity also come from those with different personal experiences and how they see the World. So what is this blog all about? Just having a place to express ideas and images that may provide contemplation, evaluation of technique and the ability to share ideas – oh, and a link to my website hoping that those in need, find me indeed.

Update May 2013: Ha, now looking back 4 years ago when I wrote this, I sure didn’t add much vale or interest on my first Blog!

Five years later on March 2014: If you actually read this blog I would be curious to know,  send me an email:, thanks!

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