Oct 2013 07

The fall season is a busy time for photographers. Many families start scheduling their end-of-year portrait in time for their holiday cards and newsletters. As a photographer one of the most common questions I get asked is “What should we wear for our photo session?”

The best way to answer that is with photos, of course! I also have a few rules that work for any season and any venue. The key is to keep it simple, coordinate colors and perhaps the most important, be comfortable.

Rule #1 Pick two or three main colors to coordinate everyone’s outfit

The key to having a unified family photo is to coordinate colors with everyone’s outfit. That means selecting two to three main colors and then picking tops and bottoms that reflect one or all of those colors.

In the photo below, we see blends of  grey, maroon and blue. And even though the colors are not identical they are within the same color hue, which adds subtle distinction and yet unifies at the same time.

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(stock photo)

Rule #2 Add accessories to highlight or cover-up

In the “What to Wear” board below I’ve included a scarf for mom using a color that coordinates with the daughter’s top. The scarf gives a bit of color pop for mom and red is a great color to bring out the blush. Scarves can also help disguise some minor flaws in the neck or upper torso area. As for jewelry, I recommend taking off your bulky watches and bracelets as they add too much weight and detract from everyone’s faces. Keep earrings and necklaces simple and coordinate them with what you are wearing.

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Rule #3   Use the same color hue for tiered coordination

In the second version of the “What to Wear”  board I made a subtle change from the board above.  In this example I picked tops for the boy and girl that are in the same color family.  This creates a ‘team within a team’ effect.  Even with identical twins I prefer they dress differently but within the same color hue to provide this subtle distinction.  This rule works well when you have a multi-generation portrait.  Use colors and color hue variations to achieve a coordinated look.

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Rule #4   Use plaids and prints with caution

Plaids and large prints can be distracting in a photo.   If you choose to have a plaid or print rather than a solid color top be sure to choose subdued patterns. If two or more people are wearing plaids or stripes it’s important that they work well together.  Avoid T-shirts with logos and large symbols on them because they distract the eye from the person’s face.  Flowery or paisley prints should be very subdued.  Below is an example where a small print works well.  The girls’ dress has a subtle print and yet ties in nicely with the mother’s dress color.  The blue in the father’s shirt adds a nice pop of color and compliments the red tones nicely.

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Rule #5   Keep it comfortable

Most of all when you are having your family portrait taken be sure to dress with comfort in mind.    I advise people to wear clothes that they can move freely in because when you’re comfortable it’s easy to have a natural and relaxed expression.  If you have uncomfortable clothes it will show in the grimace on your face and you will look stiff and unnatural.  Make it a point to try on what you’re going to wear before your photo session to avoid any unnatural creases, folds or tight areas that might cause discomfort.

 

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(stock photo)

Next time you’re going to have a family portrait session be sure to review these handy tips.  And let us know if you have a great tip that works for you.

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Tina Case is an Adoramapix Ambassador and is a writer and photographer out of the San Francisco Bay area.  She co-writes for the photography blog Moms Who Click where she shares photographer tips, tricks and interviews.  Tina shares her parenting stories and more on Yahoo! where she is a featured “Parenting Guru.” Check more of her photos at Tina Case Photography, on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Oct 2013 02

Each week we will give you a quick tip to enhance your photo book making through our PixPublisher online software. We decided that since it so robust ,we will take a little time each week to hi-light some of creative elements.

We are excited to announce a fun new addition to our PixPublisher. In addition to adding regular text captions to your photo books, Pixpublisher now has support for dynamic chat bubbles. Give your photo books some character with our new chat bubbles. We have both talk and thought bubbles in a variety of  shapes and styles. Just drag and drop one onto your photo book, double-click inside and start typing. It will automatically change size and shape to accommodate your text or any changes to your font size or style.

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Sep 2013 30

Oh hello Fall, we’ve missed your cool temperatures and beautiful colors. It’s easy to to be so inspired this time of year with Mother Nature’s grand show of changing colors and temperatures.  When it comes to photographing the Fall, there are a few items you may want to think about to step out of the box of just snapping a picture. Here are 5 tips to get you going.

1. BUMP IT

Try tweaking with the saturation a bit. You don’t need to go overboard here but  a slight bump in both the saturation and contrast will make the image pop. Nature already puts on a fabulous show so a slight bump is more than enough to make your image speak.  For those of you that are  little more advanced, you can also change your in camera settings to give you more vivid colors.

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2.  Change It Up

It’s easy to get caught up  and take all your images from the same angle. So now is the time to try something different, your subject isn’t going to move on you so take your time and change it up. Try getting close to the ground and maybe focusing on what’s in front of you while throwing your background out of focus. Not everything needs to be in focus with fall photos, depth of field can really make your images take on a whole new feel to them.

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3. Follow the Story

Nature has a way of incorporating itself onto buildings and fences. This can tell a beautiful story. Break away from just photographing trees and leaves. Try finding other fall stories, like vines that reach across an old stone house or moth changing its colors for fall. Open your eyes and you’ll see there’s more going  on around you than just the change of the leaves.

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4. The Golden Light and Overcast

Those evening moments just before the sun sets illuminates a warm glow. This is the perfect time to go out and photograph foliage. When this happens, incorporate as much sky as possible. Also sunrise is another fantastic time to catch the beauty of the season. However, more often than not, skies are overcast or it’s foggy. Don’t let this deter you. You just need to think differently. Catch the fog in the mornings with just a peek of color shining through your image. This can make for a moody image. Or, if your day is overcast, simply go up close to your subject, eliminating your background. You can still catch colors and tell a story by isolating your color.

 

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5. Tripod It

Have fun and keep it steady. You might want to catch movement with water and slow down your shutterspeed. In order to do this, you’ll need  something steady to put your camera on.  Or you may want to get in the image yourself!  Now is the time to experiment and take your time. If you don’t have a tripod, try setting it on your vehicle, a fence or a park bench. This is the perfect time of year to experiment with iso, shutter speed and aperture. Take your time, find what works for you and give yourself the freedom to play with Manual Mode.

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Special thanks to Jenna Van Valen of Roverexposed.com  for supplying some of the fabulous fall images. Written by Michelle Libby for Adoramapix.

 

Sep 2013 16

Everyone is bummed, Summer is officially over. But for any sports lover or photographer, there is one thing that makes colder weather and shorter days bearable: Football. Having covered football from high school to the NFL, I was asked to give five tips for covering football:

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PHOTO COPYRIGHT: PATRICK SMITH/GETTY IMAGES
1) Do Your Homework: Much like anything else, one must prepare. Find out what the story of the game is. No matter what the age of the players, find out who the all-star players are and what is everyone talking about between the two teams? Go early and stay late. Walk around the field and look for the cleanest backgrounds and try to determine when and where the best light is. All these little things can help in capturing the best image of the game.

 

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PHOTO COPYRIGHT: PATRICK SMITH/FOR THE BALTIMORE SUN
2) Get Moving: Everyone is jealous of sideline access at sporting events. But the reality is that sometime the best pictures come from where the fans are sitting. Don’t be afraid to get off the sidelines and roam around the field or stadium. There are pictures to be captured from different angles and capturing big plays, moments from a vantage different from everyone else will make your images stand out. Nonetheless, the sidelines will still always give you a more dramatic image in most cases.

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PHOTO COPYRIGHT: PATRICK SMITH/FOR THE BALTIMORE SUN
3) Feel the Emotion: Action images are always compelling, but can you feel how hard the hit was? Can you feel the dejection of an overtime loss? Or how about the pure joy of the quarterback winning the championship? Players body language and emotions are key to great story telling and sports are no different than any other story. Combining coming early and staying late with players emotions is critical to finding moments others are overlooking.

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PHOTO COPYRIGHT: PATRICK SMITH/GETTY IMAGES
4) Action Away from Action: Look for a way to humanize the sport. From youth to pros, at the end of the day, these athletes, and those involved, are no different than anyone else. Walk into the tunnel before the game, get access to the locker room before the high school game or get into the huddle (Note: Obviously all with prior permission from coaches/security). These are my favorite images to capture, because it helps show viewers a part of the game they rarely ever see.

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PHOTO COPYRIGHT: PATRICK SMITH/GETTY IMAGES

5) Have Fun: This is the best advice I was ever given. To some reading this, photography is a hobby, and to others it’s their livelihood. In the end, if you’re not smiling and having a good time, chances are your pictures are going to show that. Be proud that you have the amazing opportunity to be capturing the moments in front of you. Professional sports doesn’t mean better pictures. Share your tips, talk to others shooting the game and work together. I guarantee this tip alone will help you in being a better photographer and person.

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Patrick Smith is an award-winning freelance photojournalist currently based in Baltimore, Md., covering the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region and beyond. Patrick fulfills the needs of editorial, action, commercial, and corporate clients with his fresh eye for color, versatility and graphically compelling images. He continually documents news and sports for Getty Images, including NFL games. To find out more about Patrick and his photographs, visit his website www.patricksmithphotos.com or follow him on Twitter or Instagram.

 

Sep 2013 09

Fashion week is kicking off in NYC and we wanted to know what it takes to be a fashion photographer. As photographer Anderson Smith  tells us,  most of the work is done before the shutter is released.

1. Surround Yourself with the Best

Working with a good team is important. (make up artist, model, etc.) You want the best of the best that can pull off your vision and see it through as well as being able to rise to the occasion.

2. Recognize the Hero

The Hero. The hero is the item that you are selling in your shoot, rather it be the clothes, a handbag, jewelry etc. The focus should be on the hero. Even the model themselves can be the hero.

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3. Communication is Key

Communicate your vision by letting your team know what it is you are looking to do. Make sure everyone on set understands what you are trying to convey to get the shots you want.

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4. Tell a Story

What is your image saying? What is it conveying?  What is the message?  Take the approach of the viewer to bring them in to your world by telling a story within your shoot.

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5. Preparation is Key

Always have a road map, a plan of what you want to do. Pull mood images as far as ideas for lighting, posing, hair, makeup etc. Don’t go in blind, have a plan. The end result always comes out better when you do.

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Anderson Smith is a successful, fashion photographer based out of Atlanta, Georgia and has been a professional photographer for a decade.  He runs Anderson Smith Photography and has been published in numerous publications including,  Zink Glass Book, Raine En-Vie, The Huffington Post  and Fault Magazine.  He also hosts a one hour radio internet show on ArmadaFM.com at 1pm on Wednesdays geared towards photography and the creative community. If you would like to see more of his work you can see his website HERE or his facebook page HERE. 

 

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