Category Archives: Photography TIPS

Small parts and moving objects…

I have a number of friends and family that have had babies or are expecting the arrival of their little ones soon.  With that, I thought it would be a great time to give parents out there a few ideas on what to capture as you get snap happy with your camera!

Here are just a few small parts to remember when you go to take photos of your little bundle of joy.

1. The little hairs on their head…

2.  Rolls and wrinkles…

3. Those small hands and tiny fingers

4.  Feet and toes

And don’t forget those moving objects! ;) Babies don’t always have to be still…and you know more than I do…they won’t be! =)

So to all you new parents out there…enjoy your new ones and just keep taking pictures!

Don’t look for that perfect shot…it’s just about capturing these moments as you live and love them.  And hopefully one or two of those shots will perfectly express your life and love … and that’s all you need. =)

You”ll treasure those forever!


Until next time…

Camera phone love: Take better pictures with your camera phone (part 1)

I do love my camera phone! And you should to. It’s light weight and you usually have it everywhere you go! Have you heard the saying that the best camera is the one you’ve got! Well, it’s true! People often ask me what kind of camera do you have? And follow with “I want better pictures but I don’t have a great camera yet”. Sorry folks! If you’re waiting to take great photos with a great camera, you’ll be grossly disappointed. Most photographers will tell you it’s not all about the camera! Truly…It’s about the person taking the picture.

So today, I thought I’d help you…the person behind the camera with a few tips on how to take better pictures with your camera phone.  This is really a 3 part series on Camera phone love! First, i’ll be discussing the phone settings you can look at to help bring about better pictures with your camera phone.  Part 2 will discuss what the person taking the pictures needs to think about when taking pictures with a camera phone. And part 3 are the numerous apps available to you on your camera phone and ideas on what to do with all those pictures you’re accumulating.

So first things first, let’s make sure your camera phone is at its optimal settings for the best end result possible.

1. I suggest reading your phones manual. Usually the camera phone section is a very small section of the booklet and  so it won’t take much to look over but you’ll be surprised what you didn’t know about your camera. I couldn’t find my manual and so looked it up online. Nowadays, you should be able to look up any manual rather easily.

2. Make sure you are shooting at your camera’s highest resolution possible. This will make sure picture quality will be at its best.  Hopefully your camera phone allows you to modify the picture size and picture quality. My phone’s picture size goes up to 5M.  And the picture quality allows you to choose from normal, fine to superfine. If possible, go to the highest megapixels allowed and superfine quality.

photo from

3.  When possible, set your white balance. If you’re unsure which setting would be best, just go through the different options. Usually you’ll see your screen change accordingly as you change your white balance settings even if you haven’t taken a picture.  Of course, I do recommend taking a picture of the same thing at different white balance settings so you can see what each setting does to your photo.

Typically, if you are taking shots outside in an overall sunny day, you’ll want to use the sun (daylight) setting. Unless it’s cloudy and overcast, then you’ll want to use your cloudy setting.  The icon that looks like a upside down lightbulb is your tungsten setting and this is used for indoor shots with your incandescent light bulbs (your 60watt light bulbs).  This is the white balance setting that will usually get rid of that yellow tinge in your indoor shots.

4. Never use your flash! I’ve never seen a decent photo using the camera phone’s flash.  If you can choose your camera’s ISO setting…I would do it here. ISO settings on a camera phone usually go from 100 and possibly up to 1000. My phone doesn’t allow me to change any ISO settings but there a number of apps you can install on your phone that will allow you to do so. Or move to where more light is hitting your subjects.

5. If your camera has an exposure setting then use it! My camera allows you to modify the exposure setting from -2 to +2. Basically brightening or darkening your photo because (+) will help bring in more light and (-) will stop light from coming in. If you’re taking a picture and it looks like it could be a little brighter, you can easily just boost the exposure +1 or +2.

6. One last thing, you can make your camera a little quicker at taking that shot by setting focus mode to Infinity instead of Auto. Ty it! You’ll notice your camera will be a tad quicker at taking that picture in Infinity mode versus Auto mode.  This may not completely stop you from having the streaks or blurs because of low light conditions or moving objects or people but it won’t hurt and may actually help. This tip works best if you aren’t trying to take any real close up shots (less than 2.5 ft in front of you).  If you are doing extreme closeups you may want to return your setting to Auto mode. It will just focus better.

In the next post “Camera phone love: Taking better pictures (part 2) I’ll be discussing ways to compose your shots and what to think about being the person behind the camera.

Here’s a photo of a camera phone in one of my maternity sessions…

And finally, but not least, if you have the iphone and want to learn more about using your camera, check out this awesome 2 day FREE creative live workshop that begins tomorrow! Youtube video here (about the workshop).

Until next time…

Friday’s Short & Sweet Inspirations: What to Wear {fall}

I’ve decided to try and have a Friday’s Short and Sweet Inspirations…

Today’s inspiration is for those looking for more ideas on what to wear for your fall portraits.

Have a great weekend!

Until next time…

What to wear (family portraits)…

SO I haven’t been great at posting these the way that I had hoped. I did say i’d try to post these (“what to wear”) on a weekly basis but I realized it would  be an amazing feat if I could even post these once a month.  Anyway, here are photos that I’ve come across from a couple of my favorite photographers where wardrobe definitely caught my eye. Hope they give you some great inspirations to your wardrobe ware!

If you take a look at this family’s photo session*, you’ll find that they went on the  matching route but I just loved how they did it. They always had something that broke up the monotony yet still tied everything together.

Here, mom and dad didn’t go for the usual white top but they tied in to their sons’ black ties.  Then, their daughter had the gray cardigan (another monotony breaker) to complement her white top and the black in her parents and brothers’ wardrobe.

I just love this! The perfect blend of the formal and laid back style in one. A very cool look!

Here’s a family**  that illustrates my idea of wearing clothes that coordinate but don’t exactly match. Of course, it does help A LOT when the whole family looks like models but I just love how everything works together. The colors and styles. You can see how the girls (mom and daughters) are wearing skirts/dresses that have various prints/patterns but together, they work! The prints don’t overtake the shots and there’s another layer of symmetry with the dresses/skirts length.

Not being a fashion expert, I can’t tell you exactly why it does work but honestly, all you need is to see that it does and use it as a springboard to your wardrobe plans. This is probably a great example of how there are NO sure and hard rules on what you should or shouldn’t wear; rather, like i’ve said before…go with clothes that make you feel good. If you feel good, you’re pictures will look good!

So tell me what you think! Did you like these wardrobes as much as I did? Do you have any wardrobe recommendations or tips you wouldn’t mind sharing?

Well, until next time…

Photos taken from a couple of my favorite photographers…

*  from Tara Whitney’s “Just Be Blogged” Photography Blog

** from Dana Grant Photography site

Photography Tip: FREE Photo Editing Software

You’ve heard of Photoshop but have you heard of GIMP? GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program that works just like Photoshop except it’s freeware meaning you can freely download and use the software. If you don’t have or want to spend the money on Photoshop or even PaintShop Pro, this might me the answer you’re looking for.  Before I had Photoshop, I used GIMP. Although GIMP does NOT support the CMYK color space there are current developments of CMYK plug-ins to support its use.  This shouldn’t matter for most people but for those that combine photos with graphic designs to create press products (i.e., business cards, greeting cards, stationary, etc.) the ability to work with CMYK is a big deal.

Here’s what GIMP’s screen (version 2.6.6) looks like…

If you’ve used photo editing tools such as iphoto or picasa, you know how easy it is to edit your photos.  GIMP requires a bit more know-how but it allows you to do so much more than these automatic photo editing tools (like those I just mentioned). If you’re adventurous and the type to just go for things and learn as you go, this will be right up your alley.  The installation is pretty straightforward.  On GIMP’s site, there are plenty of instructions on how and what else you’ll need to download and install it.  If you’re not tech saavy like me, i’d recommend having  someone to help you download this application.

The best way to learn to use GIMP is to just use it! (Like anything else really).  Well, I hope this post finds to be helpful.

Click HERE and you’ll be linked to where you can download GIMP for Windows.

Click HERE and you’ll be linked ot where you can download GIMP for Mac OS X.

For photographers, here are tutorials by the GIMPguru I think you’ll find very helpful.

Until next time…

Family portraits and…what NOT to wear?!

I recently took family portraits with a friend photographer living in Athens, GA.  It was a lot of fun but i’ll have to say that preparing for the shoot was a bit stressful.  It took me a few weeks to pick what my whole family would be wearing.  I don’t know about you but I didn’t want to leave it totally up to my husband to decide what he’d wear that day let alone give me some advice as to what he thinks I or the kids should wear.  Not that he doesn’t dress well… but since we don’t often take family portraits, I wanted to make the most of this time we had.   It’s probably a good thing that he doesn’t have an opinion either way and leaves it up to me to decide.  I did ask him once to be sure to make him feel included…”What would you like to wear [to the shoot] honey?” and his response was “Whatever you’d like me to wear.” (My husband knows me so well?)

So after several days of  shopping for my outfit (it’s always hard for me to decide on an outfit though my kids can look cute in most anything), I finally decided on a spring color theme of yellow, blues and gray. Our clothes were a mix of new clothes and clothes that were already in our closet.  Of course, on the day of the shoot, my daughter decides she didn’t want to wear my suggested silver /gray shoes but wanted to wear pink sandals (definitely not in my color scheme…oh well).   And I didn’t even notice until I saw the pictures that my husband was wearing dark brown shoes (not exactly color coordinating with my theme here either).  So it (my planned color coordinating wardrobe) wasn’t perfect but it all worked out.  I think our family’s personality and dynamics totally came through this process and I loved the end result.

With my recent personal experience in being on the other end of the camera, I started thinking about how it may be a good idea to write about what you should wear in a photo shoot.

Although there’s no true, hard and fast rules as to what’s always right or wrong to wear…I think a better way to think about it is what not to wear!

1) Don’t wear anything you don’t feel comfortable wearing in the first place. You have to feel comfortable in order for your pictures to look good. If you don’t feel comfortable, you won’t look comfortable. So go with clothes that will make you feel good.

2) Don’t wear clothes that exactly match. We’ve all probably done this…everyone wear black tops and the khaki pants (or jeans). There’s nothing wrong with this but I think we need to be a bit more creative. Also, you’ll love the result of taking a little extra time to think about this and possibly working with your photographer for suggestions.   This doesn’t mean you can’t choose black, browns, jeans or the whites but mix it up a little. For example, here’s a great take on the khaki, black & white theme.

Here’s another example of coordinating but not exactly matching…

Does this look slightly familiar? Well, this set did visually jump start me on my color scheme.

3) Avoid patterns and logos that distract from the person in the photo. This includes TV characters on your kids’ clothing.  You don’t want the shirt or clothing to be the first thing noticed in pictures.

If you’re more casual, go casual. If you like to be a bit more dressed up, you can do that too.  Basically, keep it simple and keep it you!

Also, don’t forget about fun accessories like hats, cool shoes, boots, jackets, jewelry, scarves – you name it!

Stay tuned as i’ll be sharing weekly wardrobe suggestions to hopefully give you some ideas on your next shoot. =) So if you haven’t already, consider becoming an email subscriber or click on the RSS feed icon located at the top right side of the blog.

And just for fun…here’s a family portrait that’s just too cute… I had to share!

Until next time…


For the photographer at any level, I recently found this great community to share your photos online and in print called FOTOBLUR.

Fotoblur is a community of photographers that aims to encourage one another, vote for their “community favorites” to be featured on the home page and enjoy some great talent that might otherwise go unnoticed. What began as a small group of photographer friends in early 2007 has become  an international community of 2,500 members and is still growing.  The community has also created Fotoblur Magazine, an artistic photography publication through MagCloud (discussed in a previous post).

You can register for free and upload 1 image per day to your gallery. Of course, you can upgrade to a premium member for just $29.95/year which provides you with 5 photo uploads per day and several other benefits including a 1 year subscription to Fotoblur Magazine Digital Edition.  Online community members leave comments on your photos. For any photographer, it’s so encouraging to get feedback on your work. I’ve recently become a member and have really enjoyed it.  The first time I received a comment on an image I uploaded, I was so excited and found myself looking forward to seeing any new comments each time I logged in. Unlike other photography sites I’ve come across, I love that the site seems to focus primarily on the images and its photographers rather than articles and ads.

It’s rather addicting to sign in and browse through the photos that are shared. I love looking at the images and getting inspiration from not only the comments that people leave on your images but the amazing creativity that this community provides and encourages. If you haven’t visited this site before, please check it out. You’ll be in for a treat and I highly encourage you to share your photographs. It’s really a shame to have your pictures sitting in digital darkness in some unknown hard drive. That’s why I love digital photography and the online community that is created by the internet. Being able to easily share the work we do is awesome!

Here are a couple of the photos I have in my Fotoblur gallery.

Enjoy creating and sharing!

Until next time…