Tutorial Tuesday | Getting Kids to Smile at the Camera

Ever wish you had a few tricks up your sleeve for getting kids to smile at the camera? I’m here today to help!

It’s often hard to get natural smiles from kids… and let’s face it, simply saying “cheese” often leads to the some of the cheesiest of smiles. So what to do?

I’m the first to admit that bribery goes a long way, but the last thing we really need is blurry photos due to a sugar high and smiles covered in chocolate. Right? So… instead, here are a few tips that will help you get some natural smiles.

  1. Chit Chat — I have found that some kids are shy or nervous about making sure they smile, just like the practiced at home, which can look fake or forced. If I just randomly bring my camera down and start chatting about school or what they ate for breakfast or who their favorite super hero is, I can get them talking and they’ll smile without thinking about it and then the don’t even notice when I bring my camera back up and start snapping away.
  2. Catch them off guard — On occasion, I will say something out of the blue that kids aren’t expecting or make it seem that I’m trying to get a cute smile out of one of the children and end up getting great smiles out of everyone because it lightens the mood and takes the focus off of having to force a smile. This helps to get great natural smiles.
  3. Distraction — Distraction works really well when kids aren’t cooperating at all. My favorite technique is to ask them to make a silly face or a tiger face and I make faces too. The kids get distracted and start laughing or smiling on their own.
  4. A little humor — My son always makes a funny face when I go to take his photo. Always. He always looks constipated, but as soon as I say the word, he can’t help laughing hysterically. Of course, I’d never say that to a client, but other jokes work great. For example, if a kid is picking his nose, I ask if he has some tasty cheese-boogars that he can share.
  5. It is what it is — Many of my clients want picture perfect smiles, but I’m more of a lifestyle type person myself. I absolutely love photos where my kids aren’t smiling, whether is a posed shot or just a quick capture. I’m drawn more to eyes than mouths, so I’d rather avoid squinting eyes from big smiles. Sometimes kids just are who they are and I strive to capture them in the moment. If I don’t get smiles, it’s no biggie… I get a lot of great shots anyways.

Want some examples of these tricks in action? Here is a layout I created using a few photos of the silly faces my daughter makes…

Next time you are photographing kids and find that you’re struggling to get a natural smile from your subject… give a few of these tips a try, and see if they don’t help you capture a fantastic shot or two!


FarrahAbout the Author  Farrah Jobling is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She lives in Denver with her amazing family — Mike, Nicholas (9), Claire (7), Hope (2 yr old puppy) & Kringle (9 mo old bunny). She works from home as a photographer and enjoys scrapping her personal photos.

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Tutorial Tuesday | Photography Tips for Shooting in the Dark

As the Northern Hemisphere eases its way into winter and the days get shorter and shorter, the amount of light available for our photography decreases significantly. Don’t put your camera away for the season and let your scrapbook go empty, however. Grab it back out of the closet and take great photos with these shooting tips!

Low Light Photography Tips

EXPOSURE TRIANGLE — We already know that light is the most important consideration for taking great photos. You’ve heard about the “exposure triangle” with regards to photography — which refers to ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. To make the most out of our settings in low-light conditions, we’ll need to increase our ISO, open our aperture as wide as we can, and lower our shutter speed to as slow as we can get it without incurring camera shake. A tripod can be useful if you need a very slow your shutter speed. Make sure you double-check your white balance, too (one of the disadvantages to using ambient light is that indoor light has more of an orange-ish tone to it).

FLASH — Use a flash. I’m not a huge fan of the onboard flash, and my camera body doesn’t even have one… but sometimes, we have to do what we have to do so we don’t miss capturing something. If you have an onboard flash, explore some options for diffusion or direction. If, however, you have an external flash, try pointing it up and behind you to avoid direct flash and red-eye.

ALTERNATIVE LIGHT SOURCES — Get creative with other light sources! Ipads, flashlights, or even the moon can give you enough light for a great shot. Here are a couple of examples…

Turn your photo black-&-white and increase the contrast! It can be tricky to get the coloring just right without a great light source (and/or your photos might have more graininess with a high ISO)… but you’d never know that in black-&-white! Black-&-white images also look GREAT on scrapbook layouts…

 

I hope these tips will help you create photos — and scrapbook layouts — that you love (easier and faster)!


FarrahAbout the Author  Farrah Jobling is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She lives in Denver with her amazing family — Mike, Nicholas (9), Claire (7), Hope (2 yr old puppy) & Kringle (9 mo old bunny). She works from home as a photographer and enjoys scrapping her personal photos.

 

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Tutorial Tuesday | Creating Star Bursts

 

When I first started out in photography, I was always amazed when I managed to capture camera lens artifacts such as star bursts, sun flares, or bokeh in my photos. They seemed to appear randomly and I had no idea when and why they were occurring. Eventually I took a look back through my photos, studied the camera settings, and then started experimenting. I now have a few tips on how you can capture star bursts such as the one in the photo below (taken at the beach just after sunrise)…

 

 

So what causes these star bursts? Simply put, star bursts are caused by the diffraction of light hitting the blades of your lens. The effect is magnified the smaller the opening through which the light passes into your camera. That is why it is easier to get this effect using a wide angle lens with a small aperture opening (i.e. higher F-setting). You can use any light source — including the sun, of course — or you can experiment with other light sources such as street lamps, night lighting, car headlights, Christmas tree lights, etc.

For those who are more technically-inclined, it is interesting however to note that the number of rays on the star burst is usually directly related to the number of blades of your lens. For lenses with an even number of blades, the number of star rays will be that number (that is — an 8 blade lens can create a star burst with 8 rays, etc.). For lenses with an odd number of blades, the number of star rays will be double the blade number (so a lens with 5 blades will create a star with 10 rays).


The following tips will help you to create star bursts…

1. Camera and lens

You can achieve this result with a simple point and shoot camera… but it is easier with a DSLR (I am not sure what is possible with all different models of phone cameras). Also, try experimenting with different lenses. The effect is usually easier to obtain with smaller focal lengths… so the wider the view the better.

2. Time of Day

It is possible to achieve this at any time of day… but I have found it is easiest early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is not too overwhelming. If you shoot during the day, however, you should always make sure that you do not look directly into the sun — even through your camera’s view finder.  🙂

3. Camera Settings

You will ideally need an aperture setting smaller than f9 (i.e. f9 and above). Also you will want a wider focal length… so use your 50 mm,wide angles lens or telephoto lens at the widest angle.

4. Angle to the Light Source

This is where you will need to experiment and move about. Look through your view finder or screen while moving around and changing angles. You will be surprised at the difference a few degrees up or down or a few feet to the left or right will make. Walk around until you get the effect you desire. As a final tip, you may find it easier if you partially block the sun as I have done in some of these photos.

Here are another couple of recent photos of mine (with the camera settings I used listed on them)…

 

 

I have been experimenting trying to get star bursts in my portrait photography… but still need more practice, as you can see. 😉

 

 

To finish off, here is a page for my Word of the Year book (my word is “breathe”), which I created with one of my starburst photos…

 

 


AvatarAbout the author  Carolyn lives with her partner, eldest daughter and 3 rescue dogs on 5 acres of paradise in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Her camera, along with an assortment of lenses, is never out of sight. When not taking photos, she loves cooking and gardening and of course scrapbooking.

 

Tutorial Tuesday | Importing Photos into Lightroom

How many times have you opened your new Lightroom (LR) software and shut it because you found it too daunting? How many times have you tried to drag images over to LR, like we so easily do in Photoshop (PS), only to realize nothing happens? If you are anything like me, your answer is more than a few times! 🙂

We’ve all heard it time and again — Lightroom is a powerful program. It’s a game changer. And… it truly is. But how do we harness its power if we can’t even complete the initial step of getting started? Well, this post is here to do just that — to help you get your pictures into LR.

The first thing you need to do to get started is open the program. Once you have it open, click on the “Library” button at the top (see image, below). Then, press the “Import” button.

[Please note that my screen (shown above) might look a little different than yours… as I already have pictures in my LR.]

Next, from the left side panel, you will now need to select the photos that you want to import into LR. Photos can be on your hard drive… or on an external hard drive… or on a memory card. Wherever your photo is, you need to browse on this left side panel and select that source (as shown below)…

Using the image above as an example… suppose I were to select “Year 5 — April” as the source. LR will now show me all pictures contained in that folder. This is where you can select the specific photos you want to import. You can choose to select one photo… or a few photos… or even all photos in the folder.

Another thing to note — that top panel (see next image). I shoot in Raw, so I choose the “copy as DNG” option… which is the suggested option for Raw files. For JPEG images, I always choose the “Add” option.

Now we come to the right side panel (again, see next image). Here, there are two steps that I usually complete. First is to select the “Don’t Import suspected duplicates” box. You don’t want to import the same photo twice, right? 🙂

The other step I complete using the right side panel is very important — the destination step. This is where you tell LR where (and how) to save your images. I save my images chronologically… so my files are saved by year and by month. You can organize your files however you like, creating a filing system that works for you.

Now you come to the very last step. You can just press “Import” (as shown below) and tada ….. your photos should start uploading in LR. At that point, once the photos are imported, you are all set and can start playing with the program more! 🙂

Hopefully this “first step” tutorial is helpful in getting you out of the starting blocks, and on your way to using Lightroom. If you have any questions, definitely feel free to reach out to me using the comments on this post, and ask away!


PallaviAbout the Author  Pallavi resides in Mexico City with her husband and her ever-growing little son, Rajveer. She has previously lived in Calcutta, Pune, San Francisco, Chicago, and London. She reflects all these places in her pages as she captures her everyday stories. She is an alumnus of Northwestern University. Currently, she is learning photography and working towards getting to a healthy weight. Her days are full and she loves it that way!

Tutorial Tuesday | Capture the Everyday

I’ve been following a few photography challenges this year, and even if I don’t do them every week (or at all, let’s be honest!), they are slowly influencing me and helping me see my daily world with new, creative eyes. A few days ago I was doing our laundry and decided to capture this everyday, mundane task as artistically as possible, and in as many different ways as I could think of. And it was so, SO fun!
Capture the Everyday

Of course, some of my images didn’t turn out… but that’s OK because experimenting was part of the fun. I decided to implement various photography techniques — like macro, changing angles and perspectives, long exposures, purposeful blurs, compositional “rules” like leading lines, centered compositions, repetition/pattern, texture, rule of thirds, etc.

Capture the Everyday

This was truly an eye-opening experience and I never thought photographing something as mundane as the laundry would be so fun and could bring so much variety in the images.

Capture the Everyday

To add some cohesiveness to the photos I took, I edited them all with The Basics Lightroom Presets (#1) by Dunia Designs.

If you, too, want to see — and document — your everyday life with new eyes, why not try something similar?

  • Grab your camera and focus (pun intended!) on some daily aspect of your life — a task (like my laundry), an object, a place, etc. You don’t need much time to do this; 5-10 minutes is plenty to do this sort of creative exercise
  • Try to look at your everyday event like an explorer would when discovering a new civilization. Forget everything you know about this thing and try to see it with fresh eyes, as if it were the first time you laid your eyes on it
  • Then… simply grab your camera and start playing! Change your angles, take a wide shot to capture the whole environment (or the opposite — come closer and do a close-up shot), play with light and shadows, experiment with the composition rules and have fun. Maybe you won’t produce a masterpiece but you will definitely start seeing your world with new eyes!

I hope you’ll have fun experimenting and being creative, and I’d LOVE to see the result if you try your hand (and eye) at it! You can leave links to photos in the comments, below… or if your photos actually result in the creation of a scrapbook layout, you can post it in TDP’s gallery and then link me up here!

 


ChloéAbout the author  Chloé is in charge of PR and communication for her small town by day, is a digiscrapper “by night,” and a photographer whenever the light is beautiful. She lives with her man and fur-babies in a small town of Alsace (in the northeast of France), where she loves to read, watch good TV shows (TWD being her absolute favorite), and just hang out with her friends — no matter if they are close by, online, or away in her Swiss hometown. She recently became quite obsessed with her BuJo (bullet journal) and can’t wait to discover how much it’ll help her improve her (so far non-existent!) organisational skills!

Tutorial Tuesday | Playing with Color to Change the Mood of Your Photos

Playing with Color to Change the Mood of Your Photos

 

This tutorial is about playing with color in post-processing to change the mood of your photos… but first, I want to give you a basic idea of white balance.

White balance measures the color of the light. DSLR cameras have the ability to preset various white balances. White balance is the setting on your camera that is telling the camera what kind of light you are shooting in. It’s called white balance because the goal with this setting is to make anything white (or neutral) actually look pure white with no other color contaminating it. The color temperature is how white balance is measured — in degrees kelvin. For a lot of my shooting scenarios, Auto White Balance (AWB) is just fine. If I need minor changes, I can always do that in Photoshop’s Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) when I open my photos, so I will save the in-camera discussion for another day, and for now, we’ll just stick with AWB.

Once we have a photo, we can use color to change the mood of our photos (and/or scrapbooking layouts). We can create a fun, bright, white-light look for a summer afternoon… or a dark, moody feel for Halloween… etc.  An over-saturated, high-contrast look could give the feel of an urban travel layout, while a de-saturated portrait might draw attention to the subject’s soulful eyes. The warmth of an image can even change the feel of the season — a warm tone is perfect for the beach, while a cooler tone works best for the winter scenes.

Easy ways to change the mood of your photos with color

1. Increase/decrease the saturation & contrast — The degree of saturation in your photo can give a feel for a location. Urban scenes tend to have a more dramatic look, using higher saturation and contrast… while a more rural setting tends to have lower saturation & contrast. To change the saturation and contrast in Photoshop, use Layer –> New Adjustment Layer –> Hue/Saturation and/or Contrast.

Playing with Color to Change the Mood of Your Photos

2. Turn your photo to black & white — Ted Grant once said, “when you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black & white, you photograph their souls!”  Sometimes our subjects (specifically, my daughter; choose your battles, right? hee hee) are wearing mismatched outfits and/or obnoxiously bright colors… and yet, that smile gets us every time. If you want to eliminate distracting backgrounds, you can change the photos to black and white! It’s an easy way to focus on the important parts. Black & white photos can also work really well when you’re scrapbooking and you’re using elements and papers that have different colors than in your photo, but happen to have just the right sentiment for your overall layout. There are many different ways to turn a photo to black & white, so feel free to use your favorite method. For a quick and easy method, just click on Image –> Adjustments –> Black & White.

For instance, looking at the picture below — ok, really?!  Neon green and hot pink? MY EYES! Who buys them these clothes, anyway? 😉  BUT… by changing the image to black & white, we lose the distraction of the bright colors and instead see a sweet moment between brother and sister.

Playing with Color to Change the Mood of Your Photos

3. Change the temperature, change the season — The warmth/coolness of a photo says a lot about the season. Warmer tones indicate summer, while cooler tones feel like winter. Sometimes AWB can be fooled (especially in the winter). Snow is white, not blue… correct? Or maybe, on occasion, we actually want an overall blue tone for our whole scrapbooking layout, as we journal about the long winter months, etc. A summer evening sunset can be full of vivid colors, but might look a little dull when we pull the photo into Photoshop.

Sunsets can be tricky; they can go from bright and glowing to dull in less than a minute.  I missed the best of this sunset, below, by a minute or two when I was photographing it. Not to worry, though. To change the temperature of the photo, I simply used a photo filter. To do this, click on Image –> Adjustments –> Photo Filter (I used warming set at 85).

Playing with Color to Change the Mood of Your Photos

4. The proper use of selective color — I have a love/hate relationship with selective color. There are times in which selective color can really make or break a photo. To create a photo that is partially black & white, open your image in Photoshop and then duplicate the image onto a new layer. Use the tip from #2 (above) to turn the top layer to black & white. Then, use a layer mask to selectively add color back to your image.

Playing with Color to Change the Mood of Your Photos

5. Bam…..whhaatttttt? Mix it up and do something unexpected — Play around with different color overlays, seasons, or a combination of all of the above to create a photo for your AMAZING layout. There really are no rules, so just have fun!

Here is a layout I created using photos from a series… in which the kids were in the bright green and pink shirts. I changed the photos to black & white, because I love the more muted yellows and how the black & white photos help to tell the story instead being a distraction with clashing colors.

Playing with Color to Change the Mood of Your Photos

 

And here is another layout I created. I added a soft yellow layer over the photo to really highlight the poem by Robert Frost…

 

Playing with Color to Change the Mood of Your Photos

 


FarrahAbout the Author  Farrah Jobling is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She lives in Denver with her amazing family — Mike, Nicholas (9), Claire (6), Hope (1.5 yr old puppy) & Kringle (3 mo old bunny). She works from home as a photographer and enjoys scrapping her personal photos.

Tutorial Tuesday | Intentional Blur in photography

Tutorial Tuesday | Intentional Blur in Photography

In many cases, blurry photos are a bad thing: photos are supposed to be in focus and sharp to be considered good. I usually follow this “rule” but I’ve been trying to be more creative recently and I’ve decided to create intentional blur in my photos. And I found out that the result could be awesome, fun, and creative (as is often the case when you break an artistic “rule” on purpose!).

Let’s discover the 3 types of blur you can have in photography (all images are retouched with Dunia Designs‘s The Basics Lightroom Presets):

Camera shake: when your shutter speed is too slow to handheld your camera, you get camera shake. It can be “bad” when it’s distracting from the subject of your picture, but it can also be a fun technique when done on purpose. I took this very abstract image, for example, with a 3 seconds exposure and while spinning my camera in front of Christmas lights.

Tutorial Tuesday | Intentional Blur in Photography

Cynthia Haynes is a photographer I discovered recently who is known for her long exposure / intentionally blurry pictures, and she has some pretty inspiring shots!

Bokeh: this type of blur is created by using a very big aperture (very small f/number, like f/1.8 for example) and it’s usually in the backgound of something sharp, but you can also create bokeh “by itself”, on purpose. Last week we had some spectacular sunsets, and I obviously had to snap some pix after work. I started with the classic, in focus, shot.

Tutorial Tuesday | Intentional Blur in Photography

Not bad, but not very original either, right? Then I decided to manually un-focus and create bokeh with the sun reflection on the river. You can’t see the landscape any more, but you get an abstract picture where light and colors are the most important things.

Tutorial Tuesday | Intentional Blur in Photography

Here’s a more classic example of bokeh, that I created by focusing on the puddle right in front of me with a very big aperture, so that the background (and a bit of the foreground too, since the depth of field is very small) is out of focus.

Tutorial Tuesday | Intentional Blur in Photography

Movement blur: this happens when your camera is steady (because your shutter speed is fast enough for you to handheld it or because it’s on a strong support like a tripod, a table, etc.) but that your subject moves faster than your shutter speed. This is the technique you use to photograph fireworks, for example, that’s how you create those gorgeous “flowers”.

Tutorial Tuesday | Intentional Blur in Photography

You can also use this technique to show movement and gives a sense of speed. That’s what I did (without even knowing, I was just starting to take pictures and had absolutely no idea what I was doing! LOL) while photographing the Tour de France in our little town in 2005. I got on the first floor of a building, right above the road, and since the day was cloudy and dark, my camera (in auto mode) selected a shutter speed too slow for those speedy athletes.

Tutorial Tuesday | Intentional Blur in Photography

If I had do take that picture again, knowing what I know now, I’d definitely try to use a technique called panning where you follow your moving subject with the camera. That way, your subject will look sharp and the environment around it will become blurry, kinda the opposite of the image above.  It’s a perfect technique for races of all sorts because of how much it materializes speed.

I hope you’ll enjoy playing with intentional blur and find these tips helpful! Don’t hesitate to comment with your questions or post in the forums!


Chloé

About the author  Chloé is in charge of PR and communication for her small town by day, is a digiscrapper “by night” and a photographer whenever the light is beautiful. She lives with her man and fur-babies in a small town of Alsace (in the northeast of France), where she loves to read, watch good TV shows (TWD being her absolute favorite), and just hang out with her friends — no matter if they are close by, online, or away in her Swiss hometown

Tutorial Tuesday | Better in Black and White

I love the look of black and white photos on a scrapbook page. They have the aura of looking “artistic” and work particularly well when mixed with colored photos.

If you are wondering how can you improve your black and white photography to make your photos pop… today’s Tutorial Tuesday is for you! 😉

Here are a few simple tips:

1. Take your photos in color.

Don’t use your camera’s black and white conversion option. Your favorite photo editing program (whether it be Lightroom, Photoshop, or some other similar program) provides a lot of flexibility to convert a color image into a black and white image. These options are much more limited, however, if the original photo is taken in black and white.

2. Look for contrast.

The best black and white images are taken by those who know how to look in black and white. Look for contrast in light and shadows. Look for a large range of lightness or darkness. Look for lines.

Black and white images are often more effective if they contain a true black, true white or both. What does this mean? It means that you need a part of the image to be “white” or “black” to ground the image. If this is not possible, you will definitely still need a wide range of grey; otherwise, the image will appear flat.

If you look at the following two image examples… the first contains black to ground the image, while the second contains white…

 

3. Look for patterns and texture.

Textures and patterns often look far better in black and white, because color does not compete for attention.

In the following photo, you can see the wonderful texture in the foreground sand and the shape of the old tree threatened by the rising ocean…

Likewise, the texture of the sand and geometric pattern of the wheel actually look more clear without color in this next image…

 

4. Try not to over or underexpose.

You can use your photo editing software to recover areas that are underexposed or overexposed, but it often creates noise in the photo which has the appearance of splotches or grains of discoloration. Noise will also appear in photos taken at high ISO settings. These defects are more visible in black and white than in color. It really does help to get the correct exposure in camera before taking the photo (and if necessary, using a tripod to steady your camera in low light).

For the following image, I used a tripod and long exposure (6 seconds) to soften waves at the beach…

It helped that my partner had no idea I was taking the photo. 😉

I hope that these tips can help you to take some better black and white photos. Please have fun experimenting with black and white! I’d love to see what you can do, so definitely feel free to link me up to any of your photos in the comments below. Next month, I’ll follow-up today’s post with another that will give some tips on using your photo editing program to convert color photos to black and white (and how to make these images really pop!).

I have one last photo of mine to share today… and this is one of my favorites. It shows our darling 12-year-old rescue greyhound, Zsazsa. She is good in any color.

 


About the author  Carolyn lives with her partner, eldest daughter and 3 rescue dogs on 5 acres of paradise in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Her camera, along with an assortment of lenses, is never out of sight. When not taking photos, she loves cooking and gardening. Her new organic vegetable garden has been well photographed.

Tutorial Tuesday | All About Bokeh

Tutorial Tuesday | All About Bokeh

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Most people have their trees up, sparkling with lights… and now they’re wondering about the best way to get some great photos. Getting great photos of holiday lights is easier than you might think! Here is a simple tutorial to get those great shots.

First, I need to tell you a little about bokeh.

Bokeh is defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light.” So what does this mean, exactly? In general, it means that while the in-focus parts of a photo are beautiful, the parts that are out-of-focus are just as beautiful. How do we apply this to our holiday lights? Easy peasy… we do what we never plan to do: we take a purposely out-of-focus shot.

The secret to shooting bokeh lies in its definition: out-of-focus points of light. You need four things to shoot great holiday bokeh: (1) pin-point highlights (twinkly lights on the tree), (2) low ambient light (your only light source should be the tree lights themselves), (3) a lens able to open to a large aperture (f/2.8 or wider), and (4) a short focal distance (or rather — enough distance between the lights and where your lens is actually focused).

TIPS:

  1. If you have a tripod, use it; if not, rest your camera on a steady surface.
  2. Turn off all other lights and use a higher ISO. I recommend ISO 800.
  3. Use your widest aperture. I recommend f/2.8 or wider.
  4. Keep your shutter speed high enough to avoid camera shake if you aren’t using a tripod. This will vary based on the amount ambient light available. I used SS 1/400.
  5. MANUAL focus! The key here is to manually take your lens out of focus to force your lens to a shorter focal distance.

 

Here is my example:

bokeh8

 

Don’t have a DSLR? No worries! You can still get great bokeh photos with a point and shoot camera (or even a cell phone camera). The key here is to trick your P&S (or phone) into taking a photo at a shorter focal distance. The answer? Put your camera on macro mode. Macro mode has a little tulip icon. I have an iPhone 6S and use the Camera+ app, which also has a macro mode.

Here is an example using my iPhone:

 

bokeh4

 

BONUS TIP:

Want to get even more creative? Try making shaped bokeh!

To do so, I dug out my paper punches and punched a few shapes into black paper. I also used my DSLR and lens, as I haven’t figured out a way to do this with my phone’s camera.

 

bokeh1

 

First, cut out a circle of paper the same size as your lens…

 

bokeh2

 

Punch a shape in the middle of the circle (fold the paper circle in half if your punch is short and you can’t reach the middle).

Next, tape the circle to your lens as shown below… and then follow the same instructions listed up above for “normal” bokeh photos.

 

bokeh3

Here’s a look at the result… isn’t it fun?

 

bokeh6

 

You can try some other fun shapes too…

 

bokeh7

 

Hopefully, this will help you capture some great bokeh photos this holiday season. Give it a try!

 


FarrahAbout the Author  Farrah Jobling is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She lives in Denver with her amazing family — Mike, Nicholas (8), Claire (6) and Hope (1.5 yr old puppy). She works from home as a photographer and enjoys scrapping her personal photos.

12 Days of December – Day 8 – Simple Holiday Photography Tips

decblog

The holiday season is full of color, scents, and lights. The Christmas season is one of my favorite times to photograph my home. I have learned over the years that some of the memories start to fade, especially the ones involving seemingly inconsequential things like your decorations.

Over the years, we have had many different Christmas trees, ornaments, garland, etc. I wish I had photographed them years ago… as it would be fun to look at what was trendy during previous years, what things I really liked at the time, and what those memories evoked (such as getting a kiss under the mistletoe, or my early morning coffee in a Christmas mug as I enjoyed a quiet moment before the kids came barreling into the room, etc.). So many of my old photos were of my family, or of what gifts we gave or received, or of our family pet. In some photos, you could glimpse bits of the decorations — the tree in the background, or the lights around the window, etc. — but they were never prominent in my photos. These last few years, however, I have made a point of photographing our holiday decor because seeing it really does evoke memories at a later date!

day8_decor

 

About Lighting

Lighting plays a big role in the look of your image. Decide what lighting best suits the mood of your photo. Indoor light bulbs generally are a warmer temperature such as with tungsten lights… but nowadays, more and more lights are being made with a cooler color temperature such as the fluorescent/daylight balanced bulbs. To keep it simple, when looking for light bulbs, remember that the higher the number (5000 K), the cooler the color temperature so the output is more of a blue, cooler tone. Conversely, a low number (2800 K) it will be a warmer, more yellowish hue. Neither light is better than the other; they are just a different color temperature on the Kelvin scale and will produce a cooler or warmer tone in your photo.

You may not always have a choice of what color temperature the lighting is in the room you are shooting… so instead, you may be able to adjust the color temperature in your photo editing software. I use Lightroom, and it is very easy to tweak the temperature. If I am shooting during the day, I leave the lights off and open the windows and doors to let in some natural light. If I am shooting later in the day, however, then I will need some help with lighting… so I turn on a few lights or use a speedlite. Most of my lights are daylight-balanced, but the temperature varies with different manufacturers. If I am utilizing lights in the room I am shooting, I try to shoot with that light either behind me, bounced off the ceiling (speedlite), or off to the side.  If there is limited light available, a flashlight or video light will also work in a pinch. I keep a couple handy for photographing food or small items.

Other Tips and Ideas

  • Photograph with some wide shots, taking in a lot of detail around the room. Don’t worry if the room is cluttered — if there is a coffee cup or beer can on the side table, or toys are scattered around the floor, because these all tell the story of that moment and of what was happening in that room.
  • Photograph with some close-ups, as well… capturing some of the details of your ornaments, cards, food, etc. Try varying your position…up, below, sideways…as not only do they each provide a different view, but also can vary the lighting which also provides a different look. I’m a big fan of shooting upwards or downwards (as in my sample image of the ribbon) which eliminates whatever else would be in the framing, had I shot it straight on.
  • If there are Christmas lights in your shot, adjust the aperture if possible (depending on the camera you use) to achieve different looks. For instance — open up the aperture to a low number (such as 1.8), which will blur the lights (as in two of my sample photos). Conversely, close down the aperture to a higher number (such as 14) to produce a starburst effect (as in the upper left sample photo).
  • Use a tripod, if available. If you are opening up the aperture (F-Stop) then I recommend using a tripod to keep the camera steady as it takes longer for the light to pass through and capture the image, so you want your camera to be steady. Alternatively, you can place your camera on a flat surface to minimize movement, and, even better, use a timer. The steadier the camera, the less chance of blurring your image.
  • Staging a shot can be fun, utilizing something as a backdrop. Don’t throw away old blankets, pillowcases, cloth napkins, etc… keep them for this kind of staging. I go to garage sales and pick up these types of cloth items really cheap — usually for under a buck.  Another great find is cloth placemats (or any material that isn’t shiny, which can cause glare in your shot). I found some small bamboo woven mats last year which I use to position small items on top of — such as 1-2 cookies. As a paper scrapbooker years ago, I collected a lot of paper, which also makes a great backdrop for small items.

I hope that I have inspired you to grab your camera and photograph your holiday decor so you’ll have those photos to look back on and remember for years to come. Enjoy the holiday season and keep that camera handy!

 


RaeAbout the Author  Rae is part of the creative team at The Digital Press and has been a scrapbooker and photographer for many years. She lives on the west coast with her hubby and her labradoodle, Taz. She’s addicted to chocolate, TV shows, and books!

Capture movement with your photography

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There are several ways to capture motion in photography. To capture motion, you must understand how to control your camera’s shutter speed.

What is Shutter Speed?

Shutter speed is the amount of time it takes for light to enter your camera. Adjusting the shutter speed changes how quickly or slowly the shutter opens and closes again.

There are two main purposes of controlling shutter speed. The first is to adjust the exposure when shooting in manual.  A faster shutter speed will let in less light, the image will be darker.  A slower shutter speed and the image will be brighter. The second is for a more creative purpost: To capture motion. This is achieved by freezing motion with a fast shutter speed or by allowing continued motion with a slow shutter speed.

Methods to capture motion:

  1. Stop action: use a fast shutter speed to capture a moment in time. This is ideal for capturing sports shots, fast moving kids and pets.
  2. Motion blur: use a slow shutter speed to capture motion. This is ideal for catching a waterfall, a city scene, fireworks, or a ride at the fair.
  3. Panning: use a slow shutter speed whilst following a moving subject. I find this technique a little tricky but has such fun results. Try following a car or child on a bike.

Here are some fun examples:

web fireworks web flag web swim

 

I’m hosting a challenge over on the forums at The Digital Press so grab your camera and come play along! Check it out at The Drawing Board: Challenges. See you there!

 

Farrah About the Author:  Farrah Jobling is a member of the Creative Team here at The Digital Press.  She lives in Denver with her amazing family, Mike, Nicholas (8), Claire (5) and Hope (1 yr old puppy).  She works from home as a photographer and enjoys scrapping her personal photos.

Taking Photos of Your Hybrid Projects

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As a hybrid and paper scrapper, one of the questions I am asked most often is how I take pictures of my projects. It has taken me a good portion of my scrapping life to finally get the process streamlined and to a point that I am happy with it. To save you all the lengthy process of trial and error, I have a few tips that might help you. Today, my layout I’m working with is made using Little Lamm and Co.’s It’s My Party

Natural Light

Obviously, natural light will be your greatest ally when photographing your projects. You do not want direct sunlight because of the harsh tones and glare, but if you are able to find a place within your home with the most natural, indirect sunlight, you’ll be well on your way to good photos. I recently moved from my dungeon-dark old house to a house bursting with natural light (at least by contrast), so photographing my projects has become infinitely easier. In the library/computer room, I have set a chair just underneath the window for taking my photos.

 

Taking Photos of Your Hybrid Projects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Foam-Core Board

One of my secret weapons is a white foam-core board like you can find in the school presentation section at craft stores and office supply stores. They cost approximately $3 and last as long as you can keep them white. I place the board on top of the chair and then lay my project on top. I find that this allows the natural light to reflect off of the crisp white board without any weird color casts. Plus, if I need to adjust the temperature of the photo in post-processing, I have a true white neutral I can select for automatic temperature correction.

 

Taking Photos of Your Hybrid Projects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On occasion, I use an additional white board on the opposite side of my light source. So for me, it goes window, white board laying down with project on top, white board standing up against the edge of the bottom white board, and then me as the photographer. If I find I am not getting enough light on my project, I use the standing white board to bounce the light back on to my project.

Page Protectors

If I am photographing a pocket page, I take my cards out of the page protectors and lay them directly on top. This way, I still get the look and feel of the page protectors themselves without any of the glare of the plastic sleeves.

Taking Photos of Your Hybrid Projects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camera

I do not use my DSLR for taking photos and this is probably mostly due to laziness, but also because I have found that my iPhone 6 Plus camera works perfectly. When photographing 12×12 layouts or pocket pages, I set my iPhone to the square setting. If the coloring still seems a little dark, tap on the screen until the sun icon pops up. Then slide your finger up while this icon is on the screen to bump up the brightness. Conversely, you can swipe your finger down if you want it to be darker.

Position

When photographing my projects, I try to stand directly above the project with my camera. I try to make the camera completely parallel with the project so there are no weird angles or distortion with the photo. I usually end up taking about 5-10 photos just to make sure I get one that will work. Then I’ll take a few closeups if I’ll be doing a blog post. I typically keep the camera on the square setting when taking closeups, but that is just personal preference.

Processing

I have used both my computer and my phone for post-processing the photos. On my iPhone, I use the app PicTapGo. My go-to filters for project photos are Brightside (increases brightness), Auto Color, Crispity (sharpness), Cool it Down (I use only if I deem the photo to have too much of a yellow overtone), and Sweet Tooth or Sugar Rush (depending on the colors of my project) to increase the saturation. The fun thing about PicTapGo is that all of these filters are on a sliding scale. I hardly ever use any filter at its full strength, so it’s just a matter of playing around with the levels until you find what looks best. However, once you discover a combination of all these filters that works best for your lighting situation, you can save the recipe within the app and apply it to all future photos with the click of a button. For computer processing, I use the RadLab add on for Photoshop (it’s also compatible with PSE). RadLab is made by the same people who make PicTapGo so my method is very much the same. I bump up the brightness, decrease the warmth, and increase the sharpness, contrast, and saturation.

Ottlite

I mentioned before that my previous house had next to no natural light. Additionally, I am usually a late-night, last-minute type of scrapper so sometimes my photos have to be taken when there’s no natural light. Typical lightbulbs have a very yellow color cast and even with post-processing, I cannot make my photos look right. I discovered Ottlite, which is a brand of light bulbs and lamps that is supposed to be the closest to natural light you can get from an artificial light source. I have a desktop Ottlite Lamp that I scrap with and have attempted to use for the purpose of nighttime photos, but it is not quite bright enough. Ott lamps themselves can be quite costly, even with the use of a coupon but they also offer light bulbs that you can use with your own light fixtures. I went to my local big box craft store and bought three Ottlite bulbs for my ceiling fan. I waited for a sale and got all three bulbs for under $25.

Taking Photos of Your Hybrid Projects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, the Ott bulbs  give off much less yellow light compared to a traditional bulb. My husband jokes that it looks like an operating room when these bulbs are in use, but I find it provides the right color and brightness of light needed for my photos.

Here is a photo of my layout taken under regular light and without using any of the tips mentioned above:

Taking Photos of Your Hybrid Projects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is the photo of the same layout following all the tips shared above:

Taking Photos of Your Hybrid Projects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am by no means a professional photographer but this is the process that works for me. If you have any tips to add, please share in the comments. I would love to hear your tried and true methods.

 

Brenda

About the Author: Brenda Smith is a mother of two littles and wife located in Southern California. When she is not scrapbooking, you can find her working full-time, trying to finish up her college degree with online classes, or sleeping because there are never enough hours in the day. Hybrid scrapping satisfies her addiction to technology and her addiction to paper and glue.

Flourish in your Photography

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Everyone is at a different skill level when it comes to taking photos, but no matter how many skills we posses, we always strive for more. More knowledge, more inspiration, more mojo to try something new. Here’s that little push you didn’t even know you were waiting for. It’s time do some spring cleaning…of the mind. Get out of the darkness of winter and into the spring light. Grab your camera and try something new. Try that technique or skill you’ve been meaning to try for months now, or look up something new. Either way, it’s springtime and that means a fresh look at things. It’s time to really flourish in your photography.

I’ve been meaning to try to make an enchanted book photo, and this is the perfect time to give me a push.  I can’t wait to see what you all come up with, not only your photos, but how you scrap them as well.

Having trouble thinking of something?  Here are a few ideas to get started, but don’t feel limited to this list- anything goes.

  • Shoot at a wide aperture
  • Capture motion
  • Shoot a macro shot
  • Try a new editing style
  • Change your perspective or frame of reference

 

Now for the rules:

  • Scrap a page using a photo that you’ve taken with a new-to-you photo skill.
  • Pages must be created using 100% TDP Products and loaded in the gallery no later than midnight EST on April 30, 2015.
  • Leave a Comment in this thread with your gallery image/link.
  • Link your Comment in this thread in your spot in the Monthly Challenge Tracker Thread. You can find it here: April’s Tracking Thread.

04.02.15-Enchanted-book

 

FarrahAbout the Author:  Farrah Jobling is a member of the Creative Team here at The Digital Press.  She lives in Denver with her amazing family, Mike, Nicholas (8), Claire (5) and Hope (7 mo puppy).  She works from home as a photographer and enjoys scrapping her personal photos.

Listen with Your Eyes

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When I take my camera out and about, I always start out with the best intentions. I always plan to take my time and focus, pay attention to lighting or the rule of thirds or whatever, trying to get the best picture possible. But I have a weird confession to make. For some reason, I am totally self-conscious when I’m out in public taking photos. Even starting with the best intentions, I find myself rushing as fast as I can and taking quick pictures without spending time on getting the shot I really want. Sometimes I barely even take time to focus the camera. Isn’t that crazy? I know. It totally doesn’t make any sense at all. But unfortunately that is how I roll. Hahaha. Please tell me I am not the only one who feels like this? Actually I hope I am. I really hope that no one else has this quirk in their photographer persona.

I am always impressed by photos that make you feel like you are part of the scene. Photos so rich with story that you can imagine the smells, the sounds, the energy in the air surrounding them. I really believe that to capture shots like those, you have to know what you are looking for. You have to listen with your eyes. You have to take your time and find the moment. The moment that captures the feeling.

In this photo, the focus is on the sparkler and hands in the foreground. The woman is out-of-focus, but definitely still important… right down to the comfortable baggy sweater. But your eyes tell you to focus on the magic the sparks of light offered as well as the cupping of her hands around the base. You can almost hear the little pops and hisses as it burns.

Listen with Your Eyes

by Morgan Sessions

 

In this photo, the moment is captured as the wave slams into the rock, splashing into the air. You can definitely hear this with your eyes. You can also see the wetness of the rock and it is almost tangible to know how it feels to be standing there, taking the picture.

Listen with Your Eyes

by Justin Leibow

 

Here is a photo that also provides a very auditory experience through the visual. You can hear squawking of the gulls, the flapping of wings, and even the gentle lapping of the water onto the shore. You might even imagine a foghorn or a ship’s motor in the distance. There is a lot going on here.

Listen with Your Eyes

by Patryk Sobczak

 

And finally, this photo gives us a glimpse into another sort of story all together. Looking at the picture, you might be able to hear the clatter of silverware against plates, hushed conversations, a waitress taking an order, or the sounds of the cash register totaling someone’s bill. There is a lot of story here, from the worn wood of the table, the metal mugs, the toothpick holder and all of the other soft details. What do you hear?

Listen with Your Eyes

by Andre Freitas

 

Pictures like these make me want to overcome my inhibitions so I can step out and find some confidence behind my camera. I want to seize upon the small, visceral details that help to tell a story. I want to capture rich specifics in a scene. I want to take pictures that cause people to lean in and listen with their eyes.

Now I want you to head on over to the Challenge Forum and discover your mission.

 

Kimberlee

About the Author: Kimberlee is a lover not a fighter; a stay-at-home gran, a poet, and a lifelong learner. She grooves on saturated colors, Tuesday dance parties, optimism, glitter and sunshine. She colors outside the lines.  She is a dreamer. She is a collector of moments.  She is all about the story.  Kimberlee completed her MFA in Creative Writing and is currently working toward a M.Ed. in Instructional Design.