Apr 2014 01

Just a reminder we will be closed for the observance of Passover Monday April 14th through Tuesday April 22nd. Please plan your orders accordingly. You will still be able to place orders online during this time, however they will not be processed until we are back on the 23rd. As always, thank you for your patience and your business.


Mar 2014 27

Each week we like to inspire members to create new and unique photo books. This week, we would like to suggest making a personalized ABC photo book for your child.

Children love to look at photos of themselves, their family and their world. As your child learns their ABC’s wouldn’t it be wonderful to have them learn through their own experiences?

For example, why not showcase the family pet?


When designing the ABC photo book, it’s best to isolate the letter and make it big. Then with a different font color spell out the word. You can even color match the items in your picture to the letters. For example, I chose the baby’s eye color for the color of “H”.



When designing,  use their  emotions you have captured throughout the book.Or maybe you would like to showcase them when they were just newborns – feel free to pull images throughout their little lives. There is no right or wrong way to build your alphabet. Just be creative and use images from their world and what they are familiar with to help in their learning.


The ABC personalized photo book is a great way for your littles ones to learn  not only about the alphabet but about their world. The smaller photo books we have like the 8×8, 6×6, 6×4.5 or even the 12×6 are perfect for little hands.

- Written by Libby for Adoramapix


Mar 2014 25

There is so much to learn when starting photography. Not only do you need to become one with your camera, you’ll need to know how to handle the digital post processing. While there is a plethora of tutorials and blog articles to help you with post, we thought we would share with you the mistakes that are often made. Here are 5 items to avoid.

This is one of my favorite families of all time. They are fun and full of life.  I saw the ivy wall and knew I wanted it to play an integral part of their family portrait.

Here is the image straight out of camera – the original. I grew up with film and so I’m comfortable with getting the image pretty darn bang on in camera. However, like most digital files, it could use a little more sharpening and punch to make it shine. original

1. Over Sharpening

One important step is sharpening your images. However, with anything in the digital world, less is often more. If you use an action or a preset  make sure you tweak it. Every image is different and applying the same sharpening method to every image will yield unsatisfactory results. Notice how the ivy almost seems to take over the image? This action would have been fine, if toned down to about 60%.


2. Filter Fail

There’s no doubt about it, the birth of instagram has given its followers a new passion for the filter. However, this is not always the best idea for your images if you want to keep them classic. While this look is trendy now, you have just outdated your client’s photos. Keep it clean and you’ll keep it timeless.


3. Color Saturation

Spring is the perfect time to punch up those colors. Careful though, you want to retain natural looking color  not color that looks like it came from a cartoon. Plus, the more you saturate the more you lose detail in your blacks and blow out your whites. originalsaturation

4. Spot Color

This was a very popular process to do in the early 2000′s. It was when digital was booming and photographers were just starting to have fun with color. However, as mentioned before, stay away from fads you are outdating your images before you  even hand them to your clients.  It also tends to take away focus from the main part of the image – your client.  This is not to say I haven’t seen some very clever uses of spot color, but for the most part I would stay away from it.originalspotcolor

5.  Vignette

You want to bring attention to the main subject in your photo by using vignetting. However, with most post processing, you can over do it. Instead of using an action or preset to do this, you can subtly bring attention to the subject by lightly burning in certain areas to draw in the viewer’s eye. originalvignette

The great thing about photography and post processing, is it’s constantly evolving. I have been a professional photographer for over 13 years and I can tell you I have made every one of these mistakes. However, I hope my mistakes will be your learning  tips.

- Written by Libby for Adoramapix



Mar 2014 20

Each week we focus on photo book design ideas that can help you with your wedding photo books, baby photo books, engagement photo books, etc. This week, we turn the spotlight to creating your own custom stickers and applying them through our online software PixPublisher. This is perfect for scrapbookers and photographers who want to add their logo to their books. Here is a simple tutorial and perfecting the customized sticker.


Mar 2014 18

Black and White Portraiture is and always will be timeless.  I recently came upon an article on Fstoppers about Black and White portraiture from John Schell, a lifestyle photographer based in San Diego, California. His images were breathtaking and his advice insightful. I asked John if he could share his knowledge with our members.

Here is John’s 5 tips.

There is an old quote which states, “if you want to shoot fashion, shoot in color, but if you want to shoot emotion, shoot in black and white.” I don’t know who first said it, but I tend to agree. I do love myself a good black and white portrait. There is something special about black and white imagery which has the ability to cut through all the baggage and display both the inner beauty and turmoil which can be so easily hidden away by color photography.

That’s not to say emotion and/or mood cannot be captured with a color photograph. Given the chance, however, when looking at two portraits side by side, nine times out of ten, the black and white portrait will hit me in a place where the color photograph just cannot reach.

When I first started shooting fashion, I was all about color and pop. The work I followed was very representative of the outdoor strobed look; vibrant, bright colors, deep skin tones, and an unlimited depth of field all set against deep blue skies. It’s an almost timeless, classic style and one that I believe, when done properly, is more a work of art than a simple photograph. My attempts to emulate (copy) it fell short and, despite my best efforts, I eventually decided to put my strobes away and piece by piece, sold all of my Stobist equipment.

In shooting natural light, I discovered, somewhat by accident, a love of black and white portraiture. These are my basics.

Step One: My Optimal Setup

What is needed almost more than anything is to find a location where your subject’s face is brightly lit, and the falloff of light starting about the ears or back of the head is pretty abrupt. What works best for me when shooting natural light portraits is to place the subject in an area of open shade, trying to find a place where they are surrounded on at least three sides. Place your subject in the shade and as close to the line of light as possible. (see diagram)  Bonus point are given if you can find a place where your subject is in the shade, you are standing in the sunlight, and there is something large and reflective immediately behind you like a building or a light colored fence.



Step Two: Shoot the Eyes

The key to a successful portrait is, in my opinion, the subject’s eyes. Deep and meaningful, fun and playful, dark and mysterious, no matter what the mood,in the eyes is where you will find it. This why, I feel that regardless of what you’re trying to capture in your portrait session, even if the intent is to keep them closed, I always aim for my subject’s eyes.

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Step Three: Camera Settings

My camera settings are simple. Using a fast lens, I try to shoot as close to wide open as possible – usually an aperture of somewhere between f/1.4 and f/2.2, maybe f/3.2 if the situation calls for it. Shutter speed is set to the situation and ISO is usually locked in on 400 or so.

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Step Four: Model Posing

This part is really simple. Like I said earlier, if want to capture outstanding images of anyone, a great place to start is with the eyes. Focus on the eyes, make sure they are sharp. Make sure that if you’re using a shallow depth of field, that at least the rest of the subjects face be in focus. Posing should be natural, moody. Ask your subject questions. Ask them to move. Ask them to think about a time when they were happiest or when they were saddest. Ask them to think about their favorite person, or someone whom they cannot stand. The connection between you and your subject is key. In addition, there really shouldn’t be any distractions within the frame. If you are taking a portrait, take a portrait – nothing else.

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Step Five: Post Processing

As I said earlier about the technical aspects of the camera, the same can be said for the post processing aspects. I am constantly learning new things and discovering my own way of doing things. As such, I am certain there are retouchers who will tell me that what I am doing is wrong, wrong, wrong. And they’re probably (definitely) right. I’m not going to get into any of that. My post processing is fairly simple; adjust exposure, convert to black and white, deepen the blacks and/or shadows via a tone curve (or sliders in Lightroom), perhaps add a bit of a fade, and then sharpen. After that (or before, whichever) you can retouch away any blemishes, even out any skin discolorations, and you’re good to go. If you want take it a few steps further, you could dodge and burn the image to make it really pop. The key here is to get most of it right in camera.

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The overall goal here is not to make something so technically perfect that it becomes a workshop in itself or a tribute to your technical ability. You want to capture mood, the drama, and the emotion. The eyes of your subject will tell a story; your job as a portrait photographer is to remove any obstacles which may prevent them from doing so.



John Schell is a Southern California based lifestyle and commercial photographer and staff writer for In addition to his photography work, he is also a social media consultant, an educator, and an avid (and unashamed) Instagrammer.

You can follow his artwork through these channels:


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