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!
It’s mid January and by now you might be a little New Year’s resolution-ed out. I’m not. I love fresh starts and new beginnings, especially when it comes to photography. The start of a new year is the perfect excuse to assess your progress and set attainable goals. Here are some of my personal photography goals for 2013. Hopefully they get you thinking about what you hope to accomplish as a photographer in 2013.
Don’t follow photography rock stars.
I could spend hours staring at the work of my favorite photographers. It’s inspiring and fun. However I notice a lot of photographers emulating the popular internet photographer du jour’s style and suddenly the blogosphere is saturated with a ton of clones. I understand that trends come and go. I don’t want to be one of them. Through trial and error I’ve learned that emulation (as it relates to the artistic qualities of photography not technique) doesn’t get a photographer far.
I don’t want to be a clone of Miss Three Million Facebook Fans photographer. I’m happy for her success and enjoy her work but I am not her. That’s okay. The less time I spend comparing myself to someone else the more time I have for personal growth. It’s impossible for me to discover who I am as a photographer while I’m constantly forcing myself under the shadow of someone else. Not in 2013.
Master off camera flash.
I adore good flash work. My Speedlite will not conquer me. I recently upgraded to a full frame camera and adore the flexibility the high ISO gives me but I refuse to let my flash get dusty. Natural light is beautiful but with proper technique so are other light sources. I want to explore them all.
In 2013 I will learn how to use off camera flash properly.
I’ve mastered the technical basics of photography. I know where my work is strong and where my work is weak thanks to a critical eye and a few helpful portfolio reviews. It’s time for me to take risks and stop worrying about how my work will be received by my peers. It feels great to hear positive feedback from friends and family but if the work doesn’t speak to my soul then it isn’t worth doing.
Photography is my passion. This year I will shoot what I want how I want. If clients book me that’s fantastic. If they don’t that is okay too. Eventually I will find a clientele that is a good fit for my photography style. If I don’t then at least the walls of my home will be adorned with pretty art.
What are your photography goals for 2013?
Veronica Armstrong is a guest blogger for Adoramapix. She is a freelance photographer and writer.. a double threat. Her young ones keep her busy but she never loses her passion for family, photography and education. Thank you Veronica for your inspirational words and motivation. If you would like to see more of her work you can go HERE.
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.
So you’ve been thinking of starting a photography based Project365.. Snap out of it (pun intended). This was my third successful year of attempting the task and the second (almost successful) year of blogging daily.
Click HERE to see last year’s blog post.
What’s different this year to the previous year?
Last year, photography filled my life outside of work, marriage, parenting and friendship. It was my Alone Time. This year, Life itself got in the way. I had to close my business and it was very stressful to blog each day knowing that the “tone” of post was not upbeat. However, Photography became my therapy. I did continue to take photos daily but blogging proved difficult.
How did I get back into the groove?
Having my followers request my posts was a major support. Comments on my blog and/or Twitter encouraged me to post when I could, even if it meant skipping days.
Any other visible changes to the your Project365?
I attended Blographer hosted by Adorama in New York, got home and immediately changed the look of my blog to reflect what it was. It was a PHOTOGRAPHY based Project365. Learning to identify your audience also helps.
Did I follow themes or techniques this time around?
If you read last year’s blog post for AdoramaPix, you see that I recommended that you try not following a theme, not stress about technique, just own your photo and update your blog. Well this year I discovered “Little People” and fell in love all over again with my passion. They allowed me to story tell through my photography, the one thing I love to do. So while it was not a theme per say, I did find myself wanting to post more scenes with them on my blog.
What other factors may have had an influenced your Project365?
Instagram. I opened an account on Instagram and began to share my love of my city, New York. My followers grew quickly and I suddenly, I found another voice, one where I didn’t feel the need to share my feelings. @dhannylovesNYC
Will I do a Project365 again next year?
You betcha!!! Evolving as a writer, as a photographer, as a person.. Having the ability to return to past posts and just smile or cry. One of my most popular post on Google is a post on First Love. Whenever I read it, I learn a little more about myself and my relationships. So yes, I will do another Project365. Possibly follow a similar pattern of diary posts.
Words of advice on beginning a Project365
Just do it. Figure out the WHY you want to do it. Changing my view on maybe it is good to have a Theme, to hone in on your skills. Think of it as an open diary that doesn’t always have to involve a photo. Remember that it is YOURS. We, your audience are not there to judge but rather there to take a peek into your world.
Wishing you all good luck. Remember to tag me @DPixel so I can add you to my list of Project365 blogs to follow… Happy New Year, Pix
Around this time of year we begin to think about spending time together, family traditions and the holidays. The kids are off of school, we start making all kinds of holiday crafts, the kitchen fills with sounds of laughter and the smells of holiday baking.
As photographers, we sometimes fall into the trap of forgetting to take snapshots and family photos during these occasions. However the best photos that we can take are the ones that bring back memories when we look at them years later and the ones that mean something to us.
It’s the little things
Small faces covered with chocolate, sticky fingers, messy clothes, smiles & laughter. In my family we bake cookies every year for the holidays, the tradition of holiday baking gives us so many opportunities to capture photos of our families in their element, relaxed and enjoying themselves. Focus on the details and worry about cleaning up the mess later!
The holidays are full of so many things worth remembering. A few years from now you wont care what type of camera you used to document all of the smiles and fun, or how much staging you put into each photo. Relax and be patient, give your subjects a little space and capture the moments as they happen naturally.
More than Memories
Don’t leave your holiday photos trapped on your computer. Why not take your traditional family recipes and photos of holiday baking and turn them into a photo recipe book? Create a family heirloom that you can pass on to your children when they have families of their own.
AdoramaPix Contributor: Rebecca Sims is a British transplant living in the bustling city of Chicago with her husband and son after the three years that they spent living together in Germany.
Her blog, Bumbles & Light, is a place where she shares her love of photography, writing, cooking, and creativity.