Oct 2013 10

Each month we like to find out more a little about our members. This month, our spotlight turns to Florida as we feature Fred Holmstock of Land and Sea Imagery.

Fred picked up his first camera when he was only 6 years old. But more than just “taking” pictures, Fred was curious about, and began to study the whole photographic process including the physics and mathematics of light & lenses, as well as the chemistry of the photographic development process.   At the same time and throughout high school, he continually worked at taking more visually interesting photos.   Later, at the University of Florida, Fred was a Journalism (Broadcast) and English (Film) major, but never lost his interest in still photography. Winner of numerous local and regional photography contests, including the Kodak International Snapshot Award (KINSA) in 1980, he eventually pursued a career in television broadcast and computer animation, which ultimately led him back full circle to his initial passion, still photography.

Delicate Sunset
I asked Fred where he receives his inspiration from, he replied “Mostly landscapes, and anything visually interesting…  with emphasis on the word “anything”.
He is the epitome of an amazing artist striving for the perfect photo with his next answer. I asked him what his favorite image of his is, and he said, ” My favorite image of all time is the NEXT one I take because it will represent an accumulation of all my previous photographic knowledge and ability.”
Photographers always like to know what’s in the camera bag, when I asked Fred, he replied ” I use both Nikon and Canon bodies and have a variety of lenses for each.  Most people ask why, but I have found that my Nikons are better suited in certain situations and my Canons in others.  Suffice it to say that I’m ambi-camera-dextious.”
Fred continues to photograph images in and around south Florida and elsewhere, some of which are then enhanced using computer software that he wrote and developed for the computer graphic and animation sequences produced by his broadcast television production and computer graphics businesses.   The software he created is a proprietary bilateral filtration algorithm, and is part of what he uses today for the enhancement and effects seen in some his images.   Sometimes compared to PhotoShop and other digital image manipulation programs and photographic styles such as multiple image HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography, Fred’s process uses only a single image (exposure) which utilizes the image data that already exists to enhance the image through relational and proximal digital pixel value modifications that result in changes and variations of bit level luminance, chroma and pixel density to create effects not readily available or achievable with standard ‘off the shelf’ software.
Currently, Fred is taking on an ambitious challenge.  He is photographing unique American geography and geology locations that too few of us have the opportunity to see and appreciate. He is venturing out west  to complete this portion of his project by photographing several scenic areas in the southwestern United States.  The name of the project is Land & Sea Imagery: American Landscapes.  You can view more information on this project by viewing his Kickstarter page HERE.
Thank you Fred for sharing your beautiful images with us and we wish  you well on your photography journey. You can check out more of Fred’s work on his website Land and Sea Imagery or on his Facebook Page also by the same name Land and Sea Imagery  and of course, track his progress and add support with his KickerStarter page. 


Oct 2013 09

It’s time to enter the digital age and integrate your photo books with your online presence.  The Pixpublisher photo book editor now supports the insertion of QR codes into your photo books.

What is a QR Code?

For those of you that don’t know what they are, QR codes are a trendy new form of barcode. There are many free apps available for all smartphones and tablets that allow you to use the device’s camera to read them. QR codes contain a web address, and scanning them will open the user’s browser and take them to the associated website.

Why would I use a QR Code?

Why would you want to add a QR code to your photo book? You would only do so any time you want to direct viewers to a web address. There are many reasons why you might want to do this such as:

  1. To direct people to the website or social media page of the photo book’s author.
  2. To direct readers to a page where they can download or purchase the photo being displayed next to the code
  3. To direct people to where they can buy a copy of the book
  4. To direct people to a site containing additional information (e.g. you have a picture of a car, the code next to it may go to a page containing detailed specifications on that vehicle)

Basically, any time you would like to insert a website address into a photo book, a QR code lets you do this visually (a graphic rather than a string of text) and quickly (the smartphone will take you there automatically instead of you having to type it in)

To add one, just follow three easy steps:

1. Drag a QR code onto your page

Click on the text tab to the left of the workspace. In the upper left corner you’ll see a square that looks like it’s filled with random black dots. Drag that square over to your book and drop it on the page.


2. Enter the address.

Click on the QR code you placed in order to select it. Once selected, a toolbar will appear beside it. Click in the input box and enter the web address you want the QR code to send people to. When the address is entered, you’ll see the pattern of random dots change to represent the address you entered.



3. Adjust the appearance

The last step (optional) is to make any adjustments to your code ‘s appearancein order to make it suit your photo book. You can make it larger or smaller, or adjust the background and foreground color.



Be careful not to go too extreme when adjusting the appearance of your codes. For a QR code to be useful, smartphone apps need to be able to recognize them as such. If you make your code so tiny you can barely see it, or set the background and foreground colors to ones that are so similar as to be barely distinguishable, your code may not work properly.


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.


(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.



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.



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.


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.



(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.



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.


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.


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.

famous-maple (1)

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.



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.


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.


photo (2)


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.



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


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