Hi, all! I’m Monica Shulman and I am a photographer in New York City. I also write Ciao, Chessa! — a lifestyle blog focusing on art, photography and travel. Thank you Adorama for inviting me to share on your blog!
I’m a bit obsessed with creating gallery walls and I’ve decided that I need more walls in my home. The wall above the dresser in my daughter’s room was a sad, empty space that taunted me for months. I thought about leaving it blank but one rainy afternoon, while we were lying on the floor reading some of her favorite books, my girl stopped me and staring at her existing gallery wall she started calling out everything and everyone she saw in the photos. Soon this became one of her favorite activities. She walks around our apartment (especially in the kitchen), points at photos and talks about them and the people in them and I tell her the story of the day the photo was taken. I started thinking about the kind of pictures that I wanted to put up on that little wall and soon the stories started to unfold. I use Instagram (A LOT) to capture the moments of my life and with a toddler running around sometimes the iPhone camera is the only practical way to take pictures because I simply don’t have the time or the hands to use my dslr. And so the idea for my newest gallery wall started to form. I had never printed my Instagram photos before but I knew, after years of working with Adoramapix, that the quality would be amazing and would not disappoint.
I used my own gallery wall tutorial as a guide:
(1) get all the necessarily materials (I LOVE painter’s tape)
(2) choose the frames and photos
(3) frame your wall using painter’s tape
(4) choose a layout, and finally
(5) hang the frames
The best part of creating this wall was choosing the images and once I decided that I was going to print pictures from my Instagram feed the fun really began. I love mobile photography because it has allowed me to take photography in general less seriously all the time. For the first time ever, as a photographer at least, I have finally learned to relinquish a bit of control (just a little) and in doing so I’m actually having more fun and have gotten better at capturing quiet, spontaneous moments and the images that I chose for this wall illustrate that. All of the photos are taken from behind or above when my daughter didn’t know that I was there, when she was in her own world, doing something wonderful and fun – jumping in puddles, running fearlessly toward the waves, sleeping peacefully in her beloved crib. I’m always, always there with her, watching her, letting her run and encouraging her to be adventurous and live playfully, even when (perhaps especially when) she doesn’t know I’m right behind her.
I’d highly recommend printing some of your favorite phone photos. If you think about it, these are the times when you feel the least self-conscious about your photo-taking skills because after all, it’s just a phone. The majority of my favorites happen to be Instagram pics but the idea behind mobile phone photos is the same…they are real, seemingly inconsequential but actually quite meaningful moments. I used Adoramapix and the prints look great in the 10×10 and 5×5 size.
I’m curious to know what you think. Do you have any tips for creating gallery walls or favorite apps for your iPhone or android? Share them in the comments!
This month we kick off What’s App Wednesdays. t’s a blog post each week dedicated to photo apps for photographers. For those that have smart phones and take pictures every day, knowing what to do with those photos after the capture is just as important as taking them. First up, FX Photo Studio a Mac based software app fromMacPhun. MacPhun has been around for awhile and is making great strides in the Instagram and Mac communities.
FX Photo Studio bloomed from theiPhone app that has been among the top iOS photography apps since its release about 4 years ago. Depending on your level of photography, it’s available in both Pro and non-Pro versions with over 170 photo filters and effects. The possibilities are limitless. Today we are focusing on the Mac version software. When you load the software and open it up, you are greeted with a sharp looking interface that is uncluttered and easy to navigate.
The attention is always on your photo allowing you to easily navigate throughout the app while never losing site of your original image. You can see a few of the effects and filters from these screen captures. They have the staples such as B & W, Vignettes, Sketch, etc. Some of the more fun ones I enjoyed were Ancient Canvas, Atlantic Beach and Vintage Blue. What’s great is the horizontal bar on the bottom let’s you preview your image within those filters without having to navigate away from the original image. It take a little time to figure out a system that works best for you each user, but once you see the filters and effects are categorized, you catch on quickly. You are also able to apply the effects to only certain parts of your image.
I enjoy the fact you can either apply a filter and be done, or you can manually adjust and tune to your liking. So it’s perfect for the novice and it’s perfect for the perfectionist. You are able to share quite easily within the app to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. It can handle large files but if you are looking to have it handle batches of large amounts of photos, it is not quite capable to handle large amounts.
Here are some amazing samples of different :
Tilt Shift + Glendale
One of the promises that I made after I had my daughter (among the many) was that I would no longer let my personal photos collect proverbial dust in the vortex that is my archiving system. Vacation photos, holiday photos, family photos…if they weren’t for clients or as part of a photography project, once I started shooting digital I would rarely make prints. Everything changes when you have kids and for me that included not just how I make memories but what I do with them once I’ve recorded them. To this day my family goes through old albums and I love when my dad posts old photos on Facebook…especially when I’ve never seen them before. Making prints of memories is important!
So I solved the problem of my personal photos taken with my dslr because I started to make books and prints for gallery walls but what about my iPhone? I have over 11,000 pictures on it! (#issues #hoarder) I’ve made prints of those before too but I wanted to make a special photo book just for Lucia.
While most kids play games and watch shows on the iPad my girl likes to go through the camera roll and scroll through old photos – “remember this day, mommy?” is one of her many catch phrases. So I teamed up with my friends at Adorama to make an 8×8 photo book of some of our favorite family memories as recorded by my iPhone and processed on Instagram.
The hardest part for me was selecting the pictures (no surprise). The book itself was so simple to make because the program online is very straightforward and you have full control over the style and design. There are many different templates to choose from for every size book available and in fact for someone like me who is terribly indecisive there are almost too many templates. I narrowed it down to five and then just went with my favorite. After selecting your images and loading them up to the website (a process that is very fast depending on your internet connectivity) you just drag and drop them into the space in your blank book and save as you go. Ta-da! I even cheated a bit and was able to drag a few photos into blank spaces that weren’t meant for images and I was able to play with the size a bit to make photos larger than the space allowed them to be. You can select photos from a number of different sources including Picasa, Flickr, your Adoramapix account and your computer.
I’ve been working with Adorama for personal and professional projects for years so it was no surprise to me that the quality of the book is top notch. The pages are printed on real photographic silver-halide paper with a lustre finish so the colors are bright and saturated with great flesh tones. For photography junkies like me this is a huge deal. They use real archival quality photo paper so it’s fade-resistant and you even have several paper choices. I also really like how thick and sturdy the pages are. Another really important feature for me when I made this book was that the HD glossy paper is fingerprint resistant! Hello? Amazing! I usually prefer matte paper for my prints but I was making this book specifically for my toddler to thumb through, carry with her, and put her hands all over it so this feature was a major draw for me.
Here’s what I did: so simple…
1. Visited Adoramapix.com and chose the perfect book size
Once I decided that I wanted to use my Instagram photos (since she loves them so much) I realized that the 8×8 format was perfect for the square-cropped pictures. Since I’m terrible at editing to make a concise collection I went with a 26-page book. Not too many, not too few. I felt like it was the perfect number of images to keep my toddler’s attention and just enough to capture the feeling of the general “theme” I decided to go with.
2. Chose my images
With so many pictures to choose from I had a very difficult task ahead of me so I just went with favorite images of the last year or so that were strictly of our family. A NYC-themed book of Instagrams is up next but I wanted to make this one for her first.
The front cover gave me the option of choosing four photos. I opted to leave the title off the front and put it only on the spine. You can choose from several different fonts and sizes.
The back cover. I loved that I was able to have one large photo on the back to balance out the four photos I chose for the front.
Thank you to Monica Shulman who inspires photographers and artists through her blog called Ciao, Chessa! . It is a photography and lifestyle blog dedicated to people who appreciate the little details that make life amazing. Since its birth in 2008, her blog has evolved into a place where she talks about art, photography, travel, motherhood, living in New York, and the people and things that inspire her.
We are excited to announce our first Adoramapix Instagram Video Contest!
Through the month of August, we want to see you post an Instagram video of what it’s like to open an order from Adoramapix. Show us your photo books, your prints, your canvas, your metal and your excitement! Making videos on Instagram is easy! We’ll have 6 winners. The most creative winner chosen by Adoramapix judges will receive a $250 Adorama gift card. Five entries with the most “likes” will win a free 16×16 metal print.
Tag your videos #adoramapix
Contest runs from August 1 – August 31- 2013
(This contest is 0pen to US residents only, Adoramapix 2013 Contest Rules and Regulations apply)
So have the rules changed now that smartphones are capturing more photos a day than dslrs? As a photographer you’re generally concerned with all the details, button and dials to make everything work and create an image. However with the smartphone, we get to take a step back and simplify things a bit.
Guest Blogger, Kate Hailey is a freelance portrait photographer in Seattle and an avid iPhoneographer. I noticed her work a few years ago and instantly was intrigued by the way she photographed with her smartphone. Over the past four years, she’s thoroughly enjoyed her photographic journey via the iPhone. She shares with us some tips on composition with the smartphone.
While simplicity is fabulous and many individuals use their smart phones to document their day to day lives by taking snapshots, I always make the effort compose my images with care.
I thought I’d share some of my best tips to master composition, “in camera” with your smartphone.
1. Rule of Thirds
There’s a long standing rule of not having your main subject, smack dab in the middle of your image. Envision a grid (pictured below), you have 9 segments in that grid, your main subject should be placed along the right third, left third, top third or bottom third. Whichever strikes your fancy, this is generally considered more visually pleasing. This concept also applies to painting and filmmaking.
2. Leading Lines
When we look at a photograph, our eyes are drawn along lines, pulled in, led left, reaching right etc… with leading lines we can direct the viewers eye.
3. Symmetry + Patterns
There’s something rather appealing about symmetry and something intriguing about patterns. Look for a scene that has balance and symmetry. Or to change things up, seek out repetition.
4. Point of View
We’re all different heights, so we all see the world a little different. If a scene looks interesting to you, but you feel like the angle is just not right, even after trying a couple of snaps. Stand up on something, sit down on something, or even lay on the ground. You never know how changing your perspective this way, might be just pay off!
Is the background of your image adding to or distracting from your main subject. If it’s distracting, then move your subject, if you can’t move your subject, then move yourself to a different spot where hopefully you can better capture your main subject.
I hope these tips help you out. All of these images were captured and edited on an iPhone4s. – Kate