Tips

5 Things You Can Do with Your Photos

The combination of camera phones and social media, collecting pictures has been easier than ever.  The question is: what do you do with all of those images that you’ve compiled and saved on your computer?  Well I have a few ideas for you so that you can do a little photo organization and give those photos the love they deserve.

5 things to do with your photos

1. Make a lovely photo book

You can pick a theme and go from there.  If you have a lot of photos from a trip, or family, or an event, upload them to your favorite photo book site and make a lovely memory book.  The best part is that you can generally add a title to the spine of the book, so you can end up with a nice collection of books that you can easily distinguish from your bookshelf.  Photo books always make lovely coffee table books, also.  If you take a lot of photos, you can always organize them by year and make a Year in Review photo book.

2. Share them in a photo community

There are so many photo communities online to join, you could share your images with others.  Websites like Flickr and Google+, for example, have groups you can join to share your work, get constructive criticism, and even participate in contests.  You never know, you could inspire others and you can get inspiration from others.

3. Use digital albums

The cool thing about digital albums is that you don’t have to select one image to frame, you can select multiple images!  You save pictures on a memory card and then put the memory in the frame–simple as that.  Then you have a collection of images that rotate.  This is great to keep your wedding photos, family, and any other special photos on display.

4. Share your gift with others

Print them and put them in a collage for a friend or loved one.  You could also use your photos to make a personalized give for someone.

5. Scrapbook

If the photo book isn’t your thing, you could get those creative juices flowing and make a few scrapbooks!  The nice thing about scrapbooking is that you have a lot more flexibility to add other personal items, like concert tickets, to the book.

Bonus: Computer Screensaver

Why keep your photos hidden?  Put your favorite photos in an album and then set that album as your screensaver preference.  Now when you’re taking a break from your computer, you can reminisce as your photos scroll.

 

Any other ideas?  I’d love to hear them!

6 Photography Projects to Do with a Friend

Looking to keep your creative juices flowing?  Why not do a photography project with a friend.  (The more friends the merrier, actually!)  You and your photography-loving buddies can pick a project and share your work with each other, compete against each other, or just accumulate a huge compilation of images and make a fun photo book.  The sky is the limit here, friends.  To get you started, here are a few projects that I think may get you and you camera going!  Don’t forget, sharing is caring.  I’d love to see your work!

Photography Projects

 Project 1: ABC Project

Pick a theme and go out and find something to photograph that represents each letter.  In the past, I did that for Christmas.  It’s a lot of fun talking about which letters you and your friend(s) are having trouble finding.  (Oh how tricky letters like “q”, “x”, and “z” can be in this project!)  Depending on how you want to do it, you can get pretty competitive with this.  Still, it gets you looking at things you wouldn’t normally look at for photography.  Great for creativity and practice!Selfie Saturdays

Project 2: Selfie Saturdays

Don’t underestimate the possibilities of a selfie.  Sure you can hold your camera phone out in front of you and snap away.  However, this is an opportunity to really get creative with your self-portraits!  Try things that you never tried before.  The beauty of selfies is that you don’t have to explain any weird poses to any other subject, nor do you have to worry about wasting anyone else’s time while you experiment with your shots!

Project 3: Photo Scavenger Hunt

This works great if you and friends are going on a trip, or just everyday life.  You and your friends can compile a list of things you want to search for and then go to town!  See how many things you can shoot before a set number of days, or see who is first to fine all of the items.  Get creative with your list!

Project 4: Photo Shoot Fridays

Offer to photograph a friend or a family each Friday for a month.  This doesn’t just provide a perfect opportunity to practice your photography, but it’s also doing a service for someone else.  As you share your work with your friend(s), also share tips from your photo shoots.

Project 5: A Month in Time

Pick a specific time in the day, or time of day, and photograph what you’re doing at that time, every day for a month.  Maybe you want to pick 2:30pm.  Then every day at 2:30pm, you stop what you’re doing and take a picture of what’s going on at the moment.  Or, you pick mornings.  So every day for a month, you take a picture of something you’re doing each morning.

31 Days Project

This is an abbreviated version of Project 365.  Every day for a month, you take a picture of something.  Anything!  (Ideally something that you’d want to remember, however.)  At the end of the project, you can look back at your month in photos!  To keep each other going, share photos with each other on your social media platform of your choice.

7 DIY Photography Hacks and Tricks

For all of you photography fans out there, this was one of the coolest things I’ve seen lately.  I’m sure you’ve heard of life hacks–things to make life easier by using uncommon objects–and possibly photography hacks.  Well quick little video list shows how you can do some REALLY cool things with basic everyday/inexpensive objects.  Definitely makes me want to get out there and try some of these!


 

 

Selfies with Style!

One of the pitfalls of being the photographer is that we’re frequently left out of the pictures!  Now, I love being behind the camera, but being in front of it can be a lot of fun, too!  That said, trying to figure out ways to be part of the creative process and behind the scenes for that creative process can be a challenge.  Not only that, but it can get boring and a bit mundane.  Well, I’m happy to say that I was completely inspired by a photographer who not only mastered the selfie, but also made it dynamic!  Check out his video below showing his process.  Hopefully it’ll get your creative juices flowing the way it did mine!



 

How to Look Your Best in Photos

We’ve all been there at one time or another.  It’s time for a photo and that momentary panic strikes.  The self-doubt questions start invading:

What’s my good side, again?  
Does this make me look fat?  
Do I look too skinny?  
What do I do with my arms?  
Don’t blink!  Does my smile look fake?

Don’t panic.  Here are some tricks of the trade to help you look and feel more confident in your photos.  After all, most of the time the goal is just look nice in the picture, right?  I mean, who wants to be tagged in a Facebook picture where everyone else looks radiant, but you look like you’re in pain?  Not I, that’s for sure!  Given that photo ops vary, let’s look at how to look one’s best in different circumstances.

How to Look Your Best in Photos

Selfies

  • Position the camera so that you’re looking up at it or straight ahead.  Looking down at the camera can produce some unflattering angles.  Looking up helps to reduce the appearance of a double-chin and it will help make your face look thinner in general.
  • Beware of your background.  You want all eyes of you, not your unmade bed or some random person doing something silly in the background.
  • This should go without saying, but use the front-facing camera if possible.  You’ll know exactly what you’re getting.
  • If you don’t have a front-facing camera, you can cheat by standing in front of a mirror so you can see your preview screen in that.  (Most of the time, the quality of the front-facing camera on a phone is lower quality than the back-facing camera.)

Group Photos

  • Try to stand on the side where your “good” side is exposed.
  • If you’re concerned about appearing unflattering in your outfit, try to position others in front of (or around) you so only the parts you’re comfortable with is showing.
  • If you have to sit, be careful about bulges.  Kneeling is more flattering.

Solo Portraits

  • Turn your body slightly and position your feet like the letter “T”.  Your weight should be on your back leg and your forward let should be slightly bent, with the forward foot pointing toward the camera.  This will make the forward leg look thinner and the torso appear thinner.
  • Wake up your arms!  Keeping your arms flat against your side will make your arms look bigger than they are.  To make your arms look thinner (or at least more natural), put your hands on your hips.  You can also stick your thumb in your belt loop, hold something, or rest your palm on your thigh.

In General

  • If you have an idea that pictures will be taken, wear at least a little bit of makeup–even if it’s just colored lipgloss.  The added color helps to keep your lips from washing out.  Eyeliner will help make your eyes pop.
  • CHEAT!  Practice different positions in front of a full-length mirror to see what you like and what you dislike.  THEN… take pictures of yourself.  Alter the angles and see the differences.

Pet Photography: Bringing Your Images To Life

I absolutely love animals–especially dogs.  I don’t think I’ve ever come across a dog that I didn’t want to immediately cuddle and kiss on the head.  (Thankfully, I’ve never been bit!)  With the cuteness of animals, it’s easy to want to photograph them and share that adorableness with the world.  Believe me, I’ve done that plenty of times!  So how do you get those money shots of your lovable pet?

how to photograph pets

Introduce yourself and your camera

It may sound silly, but pets know when something’s up–which can make them very wary.  If you’re shooting a pet that isn’t yours, put in a little bonding time with the animal first.  Keep your camera nearby and slowly start taking pictures.  The pet may need to be eased into having its picture taken.

Drop down to eye level

You’re able to better show an animal’s personality by being at eye-level.  The eye-level pictures also create a more intimate images.  This might encourage the pet to come over to you, but that’s okay.  Give it a little attention and then get back to the task at hand–pictures, pictures, pictures!

Intrigue them

After taking a few pictures of your pet looking into the camera, make a funny noise (while still behind the camera) and watch their expression change.  Keep snapping away as you make different noises and/or call the pet’s name.  Be warned, however, depending on the pet, you may only get a shot or two in before the pet actually comes over to you to investigate!  Then just get cuddles a-plenty. =)

Use treats and toys

Much like with little babies, if you wave a toy around the camera, the pet will look at the toy.  The same idea applies with a yummy treat.  You’ll probably need to take breaks so that the animal can still enjoy the toy or treat.  Giving the pet a little playtime will allow it some breaks between shots that will keep your little star happy and available to keep posing for you.

 

pet photography

Meet my sweet pup, Chloe!

Happy snapping.  I’d love to see your work!

7 Tips for Taking the Perfect Selfie

Realizing that I didn’t have any decent updated pictures of myself, I decided to bring out the good ol’ tripod and steamer for my backdrop!  It was selfie time!  If you have Facebook, Instragram, or even a camera phone, odds are you’ve taken the ever-popular “selfie”–or self portrait.  While there are all kinds of reasons for taking pictures of yourself, there are things you can do to make your self-portraits better!

Selfie Tip

Tip #1: Use a tripod (or other sturdy, flat surface)

To avoid blur and have more freedom as to how much of you is seen in the picture, prop that camera on to your trusty tripod.  No tripod?  No problem!  A nearby table or bookshelf can work, also.  Keeping the camera in your hand can be pretty limiting.  Reclaim your freedom!

Tip #2: Eliminate distracting backgrounds

If you don’t have a backdrop, using a plain wall works well to keep all eyes on what’s important in the image–you!  It’s easy to forget about what’s happening behind you… until you see the image later and see that you were photobombed by some random stranger (or ugly building, or shiny glare.)  The only thing that should be distracting in your pictures should be your gorgeous smile! =)

Tip #3: Use a remote or timer

If you have a camera remote, man, oh man, the fun you can have with self-portraits!  If you don’t, having a timer on your camera is almost as wonderful.  The remote makes is easier to keep snapping pictures without having to go back to the camera after each shot.  However, using the timer means you don’t have to try to hide the remote, ninja style!  Both are great in helping you move away from the camera and give you flexibility in what’s in your picture.

Tip #4: Cheat with a mirror

Setting up a mirror under the camera can help you to see what the camera sees!  More importantly, a mirror will help you position yourself and pose in ways that look flattering and nice.

Tip #5: Crop, crop, crop

Just because you shot it, doesn’t mean it’s perfect.  Crop that image so that your subject (*ahem* you, of course) is the main thing in the image.  Experiment with how much to crop.  A tighter crop is usually better, as it forces the viewer to only see what you intended–you!

Tip #6: Keep shooting

Even if you feel like you got “the one” keep shooing.  Partially because that “perfect” shot isn’t always perfect, and partially because that sense of security could lower your guard and inspire other fun keepers.

Tip #7: Experiment

If you’re taking a selfie, then you’re probably alone.  Experiment!  Make faces, laugh, sing, turn the camera to a different angle–whatever.  Take a chance!  You’ve nothing to lose, after all.  Worst case scenario, you end up with terrible pictures that you can delete immediately.  No one will ever know.  Best case scenario, you get some awesome pictures of yourself and your friends and loved ones think you’re a brilliant, artsy, photographer.  (Don’t worry, I won’t tell!)

The Power of Props

If you’ve even had someone take a picture of you, know how nerve-wracking it can be to just “do something” in front of the camera.  All of a sudden your limbs are these foreign objects that just don’t feel natural anymore.  Where do I put my hands?  Should my arms just hang here like this?  Does this look weird?  This feels awkward.  Ohmigosh, do I LOOK awkward?!  We’ve all been there.  (Okay, we’ll I’ve been there; I suppose I can’t speak for you lovely readers.  Haha.)

 

props

A simple solution: props!  Having something else to do with your hands and distract your attention can do wonders!  In the images below, Jen has a scarf she played with, and Trevor drank a beer.  Simple things to keep moving and keep things interesting.  Part of the nervousness a person can feel when in front of the camera is they feel like they’re supposed to “preform” for you.  All of a sudden, nothing feels natural and the person being photographed feels super self-conscious.  Having props helps them to do more natural movements as they interact with the item, and it distracts them from focusing on what they think they need to do for you.

The props you choose can be just about anything, too, which is great!  No need to spend lots of money, you can use things that are around the house or inexpensive.  Fun prop items are:

  • picture frames
  • pinwheels
  • bubbles
  • instruments
  • pets (and even people!)

So go, grab your favorite items and go to town! =)

Tips on Photographing Children

Photographing kids with logo

Planning on having a little camera time with a child?  Here are a few tips that have been useful for me.

 

Keep Your Camera Ready

If you’re looking to capture a particular pose, that’s okay.  However, there are SO MANY moments that are missed in-between the posed pictures if you put the camera down after your shot.  Unlike adults, most kids aren’t terribly concerned with looking “just right” for the camera.  They would much rather play, climb things, talk to you, and show you stuff.  Let them!  You’ll get more authentic pictures from watching your little one climbing the monkey bars or playing tag with his sister.

 

Anticipate the Connection

Sometimes it’s helpful to have the camera on the child, with your finger over the shutter…and wait.  Wait for the child to make eye contact with the camera.  Wait for the child to laugh at something funny.  Wait for the child to make a funny face in rebellion.  Just wait for it.  I have found this especially useful for the times when children are supposed to stay in an assigned spot (like in a wedding, or in a play).  Just hone in on them and wait for their little eyes to meet the camera naturally.  Sure, it might mean watching them through the view finder for a while, but it’s worth it when you get a gem of a shot! =)

 

Give Them Something to Do

If you give a child a toy or some fun prop, you get some fun pictures.  Kids like blowing bubbles, or batting at a pinwheel—let them explore the object and play!  The expressions you get will be genuine and livelier than just a standard “cheeeeeese” smile.

 

Get on their Level

Crouch, kneel, crawl…whatever is needed to have your camera at their eye level.

 

Highlight What They Like

If the child loves karate, ask her to show you some moves.  Dancer?  Fantastic!  Ask her to do her latest routine.  Animal lover?  Bring the family dog!  People are a lot more comfortable when they’re in their comfort zone.

 

Make Picture Time Fun

A lot of times the reason a child will shy away from the camera is because a lot of their experiences in front of the camera have been very stringent.  Sit there.  Hands like this.  Tilt your head that way.  Smile.  Smile bigger.  That’s too big of a smile.  Be still.  So many rules!  While there are definitely times when such structure is warranted, the majority of their picture-taking memories should be more of the “I bet you can’t make your tongue touch your nose” variety.  Even if most of your pictures aren’t keepers, you’ll definitely end up with some fun shots that are probably pretty representative of the child’s true personality.