LUMIPro Chats With Peep Sideshow!
Interview conducted by Sammie Ansar
This month I had the pleasure of chatting with Peep Sideshow! She was so amazing to work with. Come rain, shine, or crazy differences in time zones we had an amazing time chatting. She is one of the most down to earth people I have come across in Second Life. I hope you all will enjoy the interview as well...
Sammie: I am so excited to have the opportunity to interview you! So first question… How did you hear about Second Life, and what got you started?
Peep: I learned of Second Life when I was in another virtual world. That world, Utherverse, was limiting in what you could do so some friends and I came over to SL. I never looked back.
Sammie: What are some of the things that you love about Second Life? What keeps you coming back?
Peep: What I love most is the sheer creativity. I am constantly in awe of the creations of some of the residents, whether it is fashion, home & garden, an immersive sim or music. I have often said the only limitation in Second Life is your imagination.
Sammie: I understand that same feeling. I just wish I had more imagination! :) You are so involved in blogging and photography… How did you get started?
Peep: I have always loved photographing in Second Life from the very beginning. I really sucked though lol I stumbled upon a few blogs early on - Strawberry Singh, Chic Aeon and FabFree. I was so amazed by the images and information in those blogs that I just kept working on the photography without ever considering a blog. Eventually a few friends encouraged (badgered) me to start my photography business in Second Life. My blog was born as a way to publicise my business.
Sammie: Lets talk about your blog first… Pics by Peep is just amazing, what do you enjoy most about blogging?
Peep: I am not a creator in Second Life at all - I can barely edit! My blog is my attempt at sharing my creativity with other residents of Second Life through staging and creating an image. But most of all what I love the most is the friendships I have forged via my blogging. I have met people through my blog I probably never would have otherwise and my life is so much richer for those friendships.
Sammie: Don’t worry you are not the only one who can barely edit. Sometimes I have to get help. I never thought of a blog as a means of self expression it almost makes me want to start one.
Peep: “DO IT!!!!” :D
Sammie: What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a blog?
Peep: Always blog what you enjoy, credit what you blog (clothing, props, location, poses) and never beg a creator for review copies! I would suggest that if you are only getting into blogging to get free stuff you are blogging for all the wrong reasons. Although I do blog for a few designers and events I spend far more on what I blog than what I am gifted. Have no expectation of being given items to blog and if you are fortunate enough to be chosen for or asked to blog for a designer or event, be grateful for what you are given.
Sammie: How has blogging changed for you over the years?
Peep: I’ve only been blogging for about a year and a half but it has changed during that time. It did start as a showcase for my business, but I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing! Over time it has become my exploration of Second Life - through fashion, home and garden, information, the occasional tutorial and if you look closely, an insight into the person behind the page.
Sammie: Do you have any inspirations when it comes to blogging?
Peep: In terms of people, I have been inspired by other bloggers such as Strawberry Singh, Rwah Resident, Caoimhe Lionheart, Wendz Tempest and Alexa Maraville. I am also inspired by the fabulous creators of Second Life. And often I am inspired by my mood. It is sometimes easier to express myself through a photo and a few lines of text than actually speaking the words.
Sammie: I understand that feeling completely, I am not always good at expressing myself, and photography lets me do that. You take some amazing photos; how did you get started?
Peep: Lol Well, I would argue the amazing part, but I really did start just taking snapshots in Second Life. I have always been amazed by this virtual world and I wanted a record of not just the beautiful landscape but the incredible characters who inhabit it.
Sammie: Why do you take photos now? Are you trying to say something to the world?
Peep: I take photos as a form of creative expression. When I do a portrait it is with the intent of making the subject I am photographing feel like they are the most amazing person in the world. I try to get to know a bit about the client before I start shooting so I can try to portray their personality, a sense of who they are. My belief is that a picture is not just a photograph; it is a perfect memory brought to life. I don’t know that I am trying to “say” something to the world, but if you look at one of my photos and it doesn’t evoke some sort of emotion or feeling, I have failed.
Sammie: I understand those feelings as well. I think sometimes we get so close to a photo we wonder what others will get from it. What advice would you give to new photographers in Second Life?
Peep: The best advice I can give is to just keep trying new things out. I know my first photos were terrible, but I didn’t give up. I learned to use the custom settings in the Snapshot menu, bumped up my graphics settings to the highest levels my computer could handle and dived into Windlight - which opened a whole new world to me and just drove my passion for photography. I had an innate understanding of composition, but I have kept on tweaking and trying different things (although I have to say I tend to use the Rule of Thirds more than anything else). And don’t get discouraged if you don’t have mad Photoshop or GIMP skills. There are simple web-based post-processing sites you can use - I still use PicMonkey.com along with Photoshop. And there is no rule that says you have to post-process at all, so don’t let that hold you back.
Sammie: Do you have any photography inspirations in either Second Life or Real Life?
Peep: In terms of people who inspire me, in addition to the bloggers I mentioned earlier I have to include Skip Staheli and Moos Hultcrantz. My other inspiration is a beautiful location. I love to wander around sims and shoot the wonderful beauty that can only be found in Second Life. I am not a photographer at all in Real Life, but I do find myself mentally framing a shot when I see something that inspires me.
Sammie: So how about we talk about the hud that brought us together, LUMIPro! How did you hear about LUMIPro, and what made you decide to purchase?
Peep: I blame Colleen! She mentioned it several times on a forum we both belong to. I had been trying to find a lighting system and a pose system and LUMIPro ticked all the boxes.
Sammie: I know Colleen loves LUMIPro! I think we all have our own special love affair with LUMIPro. :) Do you have a favorite LUMIPro feature?
Peep: Do I have to just pick one??? I guess I have to say my favourite is ability to pose and light my subject anywhere. It allows me to venture away from my studio and not have to worry about rez rights.
Sammie: Oh a new studio! Will it be open to the public, and if so, what can be found there?
Peep: Yes! I have always had an open showroom so people can see my work and pick up information and a gift card if they want. I even have a gift available - my one attempt at pose making lol. I will have my studio up in the air, though, so my clients can be assured privacy. There is nothing worse than having someone drop in to gape at you while you’re being flipped through a dozen poses!
Sammie: Have you tried the new beta? What do you think?
Peep: I have and I LOVE it! The one thing I found tedious about the previous versions was only being able to manipulate one lighting feature at a time. With the new slider system I find myself experimenting even more with lighting (one of my favourite things about photography).
Sammie: If you could pick a new LUMIPro feature what would it be?
Peep: The only thing I can think of is the ability to store camera angles. I hate when I need to move something in a shot and lose the perfect camera angle I had!
Sammie: I have a sneaking feeling that is something that will come in the future. You have always been an amazing supporter of LUMIPro what would you say to someone who might be wondering if the hud is worth it?
Peep: First, go to the LUMIPro World Headquarters and try it out. Second, check out the LUMIPro blog and Flickr account to see some of the amazing photos people have created using it. Third, know that the support is fantastic and you get lifetime updates so you never have to purchase a new version. And last of all, save up and just do it!
Sammie: Now that we have discussed both your passions, and of course LUMIPro, do you know of any good resources for people breaking into the photography/blog world?
Peep: I would recommend the SL Blogger Support blog ( http://www.slbloggersupport.wordpress.com) and in world group for bloggers. Even if you’re not a blogger they have a great resource page for bloggers which includes a section on Second Life focused photography tutorials. Strawberry Singh also has a similar page on her blog. http://strawberrysingh.com/ But if you are in the inworld group you can always ask a question - the bloggers in the group are very helpful and there is almost always someone online who can help you with a SLurl, a location, where something came from, when an event opens and on and on and on.
Sammie: I saved for mine, and I think it was the best investment I made. So tell us what does the future hold for Peep?
Peep: I have had some big changes in my Real Life which has forced me to take a short hiatus from my blog. I am also in the process of moving my showroom/studio, so I’ve been a bit slow to get photos taken. But I have every intention of getting back to a regular schedule soon (although sadly, I probably won’t be able to blog daily). I can’t imagine a time, though, when I am not spending time in Second Life and sharing my virtual life on my blog :)
Sammie: One last question, even though I know the answer, would you recommend LUMIPro?
Peep: Not only would I, I HAVE! I recommend it to anyone who is serious about photography. I know there are other systems out there, but LUMIPro is the complete package, so no need to look further :)
You never know who I might interview next! So until next time happy shooting!
Check out Peep’s links here:
Peep’s Blog: http://picsbypeep.com/
Peeps Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/peepsideshow/with/14019715193
Peeps New In World Studio: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/5th%20Avenue/102/172/21