With some light snow on and off and occasional 10 minute snow storms throughout the day, we learned quickly that we couldn’t move anything on the table set up. If we did, you could easily see were we had disturbed the snow, which would have to involve more postproduction work in photoshop. A lesson in making sure its right the first time! With several set ups in various spots and with cold temperatures I wanted to keep the lighting portable and simple. Speedlights with some simple modifiers were the way to go. As we know, proper exposure can be tricky on the snow. A little over exposure kept the snow a crisp white, I found about +2/3 of a stop seemed to do the trick. You also have to consider your white balance, especially if you want to consider submitting your images to a magazine as they always look for color consistency. We had to consider how our images are going to look when we shot in natural light, with flash, in sunlight, in the shadows of evergreens, in a snowstorm, etc. The white balance was changing constantly. Looking back we wish we would have had the expo disk to make the job easier for post production. Facing all these challenges of shooting in the snow you have to also make sure you’re shooting in RAW format.
Sun up till sun down, it was a long day. We had two awesome table set-ups, an amazing ice bar, a gorgeous cake and the models. All this had to be shot between warming up! Being a wedding photographer, I find myself at complete ease during creative shoots. You just don’t get this kind of time and control at a wedding.
Winter shoots seldom seem to have a game plan set in stone. You find yourself shooting between set ups quickly, all according to the weather. If this is something your willing to take on, the biggest words of advice we have for you is to surround yourself with good vendors. Good, experienced people make a world of difference. Happy shooting my friends.
I wish I could tell you that every photo book I’ve done has been a wondrous masterpiece – inspiring the amazement and admiration of all those who are fortunate to gaze upon it. But admittedly even I make mistakes sometimes (gasp!). Honestly, I don’t think I would feel qualified to write my photo book review blog if I didn’t hit a few bumps along the way (and learned from those mistakes). It enables me to share my experiences with you and hopefully I can help point out potential issues ahead of time. My blog is all about encouraging everyone to make a photo book and to not be intimidated to give it a go. I’m a firm believer in trying everything at least once (okay correction – most things at least once). I bet when you see your photos in a designed book (or when that special someone gushes over the professional-looking gift you made them) you will be quite addicted to photo books as I am and will want to make more and more! I have repurposed these tips from an earlier blog post, but this time with AdoramaPix in mind.
Here are some of my best tips. Before you hit that order button make sure to go through this checklist!
1) Consistency – typically I advocate using no more than one to two font styles in your books for a cohesive look. Go back and make sure that you’ve been consistent in both font size and type. I usually use one font for the main narrative, and a different font for the titles. I have accidentally used a different font on a couple pages of a book before, but luckily they didn’t look that noticeably different (except to me because I knew!) Had I checked more closely I would have caught it. When using AdoramaPix, I just copy the same text box and paste it on the new page so I know that the size and font have remained the same without having to reselect any settings. AdoramaPix’s text tool also automatically remembers your last font and size selected, so it makes it easy to be consistent. Change your mind about the font you want to use? With AdoramaPix, you can select more than one text box and make changes to all the text boxes on that page with a single action. Just make sure to go back and double check that your global font change hasn’t altered your layouts unexpectedly;
2) Alignment- are your photo boxes and elements aligned properly? There are two features I recommend checking in AdoramaPix. If you hover over an image, you’ll see an “X” and “Y” coordinate. The “X” represents the horizontal coordinate while the “Y” represents the vertical coordinate. So, if you want to make sure two photos are aligned on the left, make sure the X numbers are the same. If you want to make sure the photos line up at their tops, make sure the Y numbers are the same. You can also turn on the “moved objects will snap to grid lines” feature which will make sure the photos align with the grid when you lay them out;
3) Margins – did you put anything too close to the edge? Most programs have guides that show you a safe zone. Anything inside those borders will print, but anything outside may get cut off when the book is printed and bound. Sometimes this safe zone is rather generous, but the printers have to have some leeway. If you have chosen one of your photos to be printed as a full bleed (where your photo fills an entire page or spread) make sure there’s nothing on the edges of the photo that is essential. If there is, then you may want to think about making the photo a bit smaller than the entire page (and add a background) so you’re guaranteed no image loss. When you check the book preview the software will give you a warning if you have elements too close to the edge so you can go back and make any edits before ordering;
4) Gutter – “mind the gap” – similar to #3, typically I suggest to folks not to place anything important in the center of the spread, especially text or people’s faces. With AdoramaPix however, there is no split or gutter, so you’re free to design across the center of the spread which is great if you want to do a full page bleed (where a single photo spans both pages of a spread). Still, whether or not you want to put someone’s face in the middle of the spread is a personal preference, as you may not want to have the focal point of your image appear with a crease down the center;
5) Spelling and typos – use the software’s spell check where possible (AdoramaPix’s is built-in and you’ll see a red line appear under a word the software doesn’t recognize). If it’s not available, copy and paste your text in your own word processor (like Microsoft Word) to double check your text. For more on the right way to add large amounts of text from an external source such as a document you already typed in Microsoft Word or Word Perfect, check out the link. I can’t stress this enough – if you choose to paste directly from Word or an e-mail, chances are you will also copy some formatting code that will be “invisible” to you and will not show up as an error in the preview, but will only show up after you get the printed book – eek! It also may be helpful when possible to have someone else check your narrative or captions – spell check won’t catch errors such as missing words for example;
6) Photo Quality – AdoramaPix has a photo quality indicator that pops up telling you your photo is not of sufficient resolution, but keep in mind that it’s not an indication of whether your photo is too light or too dark or whether your subject has red eye for example. So make sure to scan through your pages to see if any photo stands out in a bad way, or appears off in comparison to the other photos. Sometimes you can’t tell a photo is a bit off (such as one photo being considerably darker than the others), until that photo is put along side another photo. I have often gone back after running the preview to adjust some photos and re-upload them to the book. Some photo companies have some photo editing tools within the program, but many do not or they are very limited. Err on the side of brightening your photos – most photos end up printing darker than what you see on your screen (it’s hard for printed matter to match the luminosity of our computer screens). Don’t have post-processing software? Check out my posts on free photo editing tools here.
So, there you have it! Be sure to run the photo book software preview before you order while keeping these tips in mind!
Are you new to photo books? You won’t want to miss my “How To” series on photo books. This is the best place to start and has my best tips! Happy Photobooking!
I’ve pondered on writing this blog post for Adoramapix. I finally decided that as part of my grieving process it was important for me to let the words and the images spill out and for me to share my experience with members.
Last week, my 82-year-old father passed away. I live in Canada and received the call on a Sunday that it was urgent that I come to LaCrosse, Wisconsin, as my father was dying. As you can imagine, it was a long trip to Wisconsin in winter as images from my father and I filled my head. I remember the time we danced in the basement to Lawrence Welk or the times we went swimming in the summers.
I knew this week would be his last week of life. I knew I wanted to document it in a way that I would remember how I felt, what was going through my mind and most importantly, I wanted this last thread to connect me to him. So I used my iphone to document my grief.
I arrived in time to make it by his bedside. I was the last plane in before 10 inches of snow hit the area and the airport was shut down. I knew my father was waiting for me to arrive, he was hanging on and would not go anywhere without me, my siblings and my mother by his side.
Two days went by, as my family and I were with him, he squeezed our hands letting us know he understood what was happening. We made him laugh in those last 48 hours with tales from growing up. It was a bittersweet moment as I laughed through the tears and watched my mother hang on to him through the stories.
He passed away with dignity. I held his hand as he passed from this life to the next. We headed back to our Iowa farm as we entered the next phase of grief and death and I saw the most beautiful sunset surround our 160 acre farm. We now needed to plan his funeral.
As the sun rose the next morning, I was in charge of all things media related. This included writing his obituary and gathering his pictures. I hammered out 82 years of life into 4 paragraphs. It didn’t seem right as my father was so much more than this. He was a midwest farmer and teacher who was captain of his high school football team, raised a family, loved sports, served in the military, served his community and flew the American Flag every day. He was so much more than those 4 paragraphs.
I started to gather the pictures. The pictures were the most tangible things I had that connected me to him. I laughed at his pictures of him as a child running with horses. I saw what a handsome man he was in high school and university. I saw the young husband looking dashing on his honeymoon with his wife. I saw the proud father of his first born, then his second, then his third, then me. I saw the pride as he worked at his school. I saw the pride he had when he worked in the fields. A rush of memories came flooding back.
Nothing could have prepared me for seeing my father laid to rest. It’s not something one can prepare for or even fathom. I only had my iphone on me to snap a picture of the American Flag being presented to my mother. It was such an emotional time, I was glad I could capture it quietly.
I guess the reason I wrote this post is two fold really. I wanted to first and foremost grieve. I wanted to tell someone my father’s story. Secondly, I wanted people to understand how important it is to get images off your hard drives, your phones, your cds and dvds. You never know how important an image is until you lose someone important to you. Most times the photograph is all you have left of them. I have over 200 images I will be printing through Adoramapix. I am ordering regular prints and metal prints as well as putting together a photo book. I am helping my brothers and sister grieve and my mother. I am making sure my children remember their PaPa with these images. Most importantly, I have something tangible to hold on to with my father’s memory attached to it. A print is more than paper and ink, it’s memories, it’s sadness, it’s happiness, it’s love. It’s all these emotions and so much more. Because in the end, this life is temporary but we can preserve glimpses of a beautiful life through pictures and photo books.
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.
It`s spring and changes are happening. We have some exciting new updates that you will find helpful.
1: We have now added Genuine Leather to our line up of beautiful lay-flat photo books. Our premium line of photo books offers rugged durability with a striking presentation. It comes in square, portrait and landscape shapes and four different colors, onyx black, quarry gray, ruby red and saddle brown.
2 : Custom title functionality for Leather Lux & Genuine Leather photo books. Members can now select from default titles or enter your own title for the book. There will be 2 lines, each one contains not more than 18 characters.
3: We’ve added no foil embossing for Leather Lux and Genuine Leather cover photo books. So members will be able to choose stamping with gold, silver foil, or without foil (debossed).
4:Fixed import. Now our import will work faster and be more stable for large number of photos from our different import sources.
5.Fixed fit/fill functionality for rotated images. After applying fit/fill rotated by 90 degrees, the photo element will keep its rotation.
6. Fixed inner move in pan mode for rotated images.
We hope these updates and fixes will help you on your way to making beautiful photo books.