Feb 2015 12

Each week we like to feature ideas and inspiration for your photo books. This week we wanted to focus on a special kind of Valentine’s Day Photo Book. A photo book made with your favorite recipes to give to your children, family or friends.  With just the right amount of love, a 1/2 cup of planning, and a pinch of amazing photographs your recipe photo book will be the perfect Valentine’s Day Gift.

Here are some tips from our guest Blogger, Kayle from The Cooking Actress.

Hello! My name is Kayle and I am an actress, bride-to-be, a home cook/baker, and writer of the food blog, “The Cooking Actress” ! If you’re not familiar with food blogs I will sum it up for you: I have a website where I share recipes I’ve made (that either I have created on my own or have adapted from another source) along with photos of the food I’ve created and any tips/tricks you may need so that you can replicate the dish for yourself!

If you like  cooking and/or baking as much as I do, I’m sure you have some method for storing recipes. Whether it be in a word document, on old recipe cards, etc.-we all have something. But maybe you’re looking for a more visually appealing and fun way to keep your recipes? Or perhaps you want to give a gift to someone just starting out in the kitchen (ie a bride-to-be, your son/daughter, a friend who’s always admired your kitchen prowess, etc.)? Whatever the reason–I suggest you try making a recipe photo book with AdoramaPix for all your favorite recipes!

Here are my top 5 tips for creating your recipe book:

1. Take Beautiful photos of the Food!

We eat with our eyes first and AdoramaPix‘s photos are such high quality that you should take advantage! One tip for food photography are to use natural light (camera flash never looks good)-I always photograph food next to a large window. Also try to keep it simple-remove any random things from the field of the picture, try to just make the food look good and don’t distract from it (that’s not to say that playing with props in food photography isn’t fun! By all means have a glass of milk next to some cookies or fresh herbs scattered around a savory dish, just make sure that you don’t see your mail just sitting in the background, etc.) If you really want to get fancy play around with photo editing to help correct any lighting or sharpness problems in your photos (there are a few free photo editing sites-such as picmonkey, ribbet, and canva). For a photo book ,I would recommend including 1 or 2 pictures of each recipe–1 photo of the finished product and 1 optional photo that may include step by step process shots (you can make a collage of various shots using one of the aforementioned photo editing sites).


balsamic32.Have a Consistent Format for Recipes.

I typically like to have the recipe title (In a larger font towards the top of the page), how much it makes (this could be 4 servings or 24 cookies or whatever would apply), and then 2 main headings: Ingredients and Preparation. Under the ingredients I list all the ingredients used in the recipe and under preparation I detail the process you go through to make it. Some people also choose to note how long the process of the recipe takes (sometimes, for a bread recipe for example, the process can take over 24 hours–mostly inactive time but it’s good to know how long it will take so you can plan accordingly).


3. Be Specific.

You know what you mean when it comes to certain things for your recipe but other people may not. Try to go into as much detail and be as specific as possible when explaining what goes into making your recipe.

4. Keep it Simple!

Having a clean, simple, layout of the pages will make it easier to read and nicer to look at.


5. Be Yourself.

You know your audience-make a photo book that appeals to you and/or anyone you would give the recipe book to. If that means you add some extra embellishments or a silly font-then go ahead! Life is too short to be true to yourself, even for something as small as making a recipe photo book. I’m myself 100% of the time and that’s what makes my blog different from every other one out there-there’s only one me! And there’s only one you.

There are so many options in the kitchen and there are just as many options when creating a photo book with AdoramaPix-so go! Have fun! I’ll make myself some cookies and think about maybe sharing some of these recipes in book form for Christmas next year. :)


For some of the best recipes and mouth watering food photography out there, make sure to check out Kayle’s Blog – The Cooking Actress. For more inspiration on making photo books, please make sure to check out our inspiration gallery HERE. 

If you have an idea for an inspirational photo book, please feel free to email

Feb 2015 10

A lot of photographers live in snowy climates but they don’t let the cold put a hamper on their outdoor sessions.  If you have an opportunity to photograph a maternity session in the cold climates, you’ll need to do just a little extra preparation to help the mom-to-be. You’ll want to take as many precautions as necessary as this is a pretty delicate session.

Here are five tips from our members on photographing maternity sessions in the snow.

1. Be Prepared You don’t want to have an 8 or 9 month pregnant woman walking around a lot in rugged conditions, so scout out your location first. Make it easy to get to. Pull right up to the spot if you can and use as many different angles in this one spot as possible. The photographer should be doing all of the moving, not the subject. You’ll notice in this post all images are actually taken within one location. Also do all your metering before your client steps out of the vehicle. This will save time and you will be readyonce your client is in position. vancouver-maternity-photography-5 2. Help the Client Wherever your client walks in the snow, help her. Have her steady herself on you or if she brought her partner, have them help. You do not want anyone to slip or fall during the session. Also, make sure to recommend boots with traction or appropriate foot gear for the mom-to-be. vancouver-maternity-photography-8 3. Get Creative Your time is pretty short, before noses turn pink and fingers go numb. So include the family pet or maybe a pair of shoes for the new little one. This will give you different looks — all are sentimental. Discuss it with your client prior to the session, so everyone knows what is expected and what to bring.   vancouver-maternity-photography-1

  4. Keep the Car  and the Client Warm When you find your location and pull up to it – take short breaks for everyone to head back into warmth of the car.( Have blankets and warm drinks ready. )You can do a quick change as well, although don’t make it too complicated. Also, feel free to have your clients put hand warmers in their mittens and boots. Always carry some back up ones for your winter shoots, your clients will be grateful if they forget to bring their warmers. vancouver-maternity-photography-7 5. Play in the Elements It’s snow! It’s fun, have your subjects have fun with it. They agreed to a winter session, so they are pretty much assured it will be cold. End the session on this note though, you don’t want your subjects playing in the snow and then getting all wet with more photos to capture.vancouver-maternity-photography-4 Special thanks to AdoramaPix Ambassador Erin Gilmore of Erin Gilmore Photography for the wonderful images. Thank you to our members who offered these 5 tips through our social media channels on how best to handle maternity sessions in the snow.

-Photographs by Erin Gilmore Photography

-Written by Libby with suggestions from AdoramaPix members

Feb 2015 03

Imagine a kiss to your loved one starting a hashtag and a movement. That’s exactly what happened to photographers David Walter Banks and Kendrick Brinson.

The pair, who met in a photojournalism class at the University of Georgia, were  in Nevada with a group of photographers when a friend snapped a photo of the them kissing. It was a glimpse, a gesture, a moment in time snapped.  At that moment, little did they know what type of sweet impact it would have on their lives.

Later while working on a project in, Kansas,  they decided to re-create the photo and they have since done the same in Mexico and Greece  as well as their recent move from Atlanta to California.  After this, the pose took off for them with the hashtag #brinsonbanksing. You’ll find their poses and others replicating the pose with this hashtag, #brinksonbanksing , most notably on Instagram.

20140413_BrinsonBanksing_Us_001 (1)

The two had a long distance relationship for a bit, but then finally tied the knot in 2012. Both worked as newspaper photographers, and decided to merge their love for each other and their photography. They started their own commercial photography company called Brinson Banks and headed out west.



The couple says they see this movement as an ongoing project and an extension of their love,  love of travel and love of photography. ‘I’d love to be 50 and still doing it,’ Banks said to CNN Photos. ‘It’s more fun as we get more of them, all the little memories. It’s one of those projects that will just grow greater.



Whether they are in a wheat field or have their loving dogs hanging right beside them, one thing is for sure, each image represents a sweet moment in time, a milestone, a documentation of their journey called life.

*This story was originally posted HERE on CNN photos. Rewritten with the permission of Brinson and Banks.

Jan 2015 29

Looking for inspiration for a Valentine’s Photo Book? Look no further than our Photo Book Design Corner. Each Thursday, we give you information and inspiration for your AdoramaPix Photo Books. This week, it’s all about what the heart wants. Here are few clever ideas when creating Valentine’s Photo Books.

Just Us – It can be as simple as creating a book with your favorite photos of the two of you together

Compilation – Some people have created collections of poems, love letters or religious or inspirational quotations.

Proposal – A combination of photos and text ending in popping the question. This works best if your significant other isn’t one of those who likes to skip the end of books they read.

1st valentine – For new couples, a recap, for longtime couples, a nostalgia book.

Reasons why I love you - List the top 10 reasons why your sweetheart is your sweetheart.

Love Story – Chronicle the major milestones and high points of your relationship.

Shared passions –Some hobby or interest the two of you share.

Family Valentine – Collaborate with kids and/or grandparents to put together a book that talks about the things you all love about each other – yes even siblings.

Throughout the years – From when you met to today.

Nostalgia – Pictures from when you first met and started dating, perhaps with captions about special milestones and things that drew you to each other.

To help you get started, we have about a half dozen Valentine’s Day photo book templates. You can view them HERE.  Of course, you can use any template you choose or start from scratch and use our backgrounds and stickers to decorate the pages.

Our “True Love” template features bright red backgrounds with whimsical hearts.


Our “Sweet Love” template features a lighter background with bright colorful red hearts for pop.


No matter what template and theme you go with, your Valentine is sure to love the photo book from AdoramaPix that will last as long as your love for each other.


Jan 2015 27

With blizzard warnings and snow falling, photographers shouldn’t shy away from taking amazing photographs during the winter months. Guest Blogger, Christopher O’Donnell, share his winter landscape expertise with our members.

A snow-covered scene is a favored subject for most photographers, not just those who focus on the landscape. Snow has the ability to add interest and texture to any environment, and the opportunities to expand your creative horizons are endless. In particular, falling snow or windblown scenes create a surreal environment that is not only visually attractive, but can evoke a deeper, emotional response to your photography.

Five Islands, Georgetown, Maine. Last sunrise of 2010, New Year's Eve.


Black and white photographers are particularly fond of snow, as it expands the tonal range and contrast to a landscape that lacks any variation until the spring bloom. The smooth transition of tones across the curvature of snow can transform the topography, allowing you to capture a landscape under a stunning blanket of white.


However, the unique conditions that snow provides also comes with their own workflows in order to capture a scene in the manner you intend – in particular, two challenges that you are often met with are obtaining the proper exposure for snow, and how to capture snow as it falls.

Why Does My Snow Look Gray?

Whether you choose to process your image as a black and white or in color, snow doesn’t look quite right with many shades of gray. This doesn’t mean that you should eliminate all of the darker tones – in fact, shadows can add depth and texture, which helps define the variations and curves across your scene. However, some values of your image should be near to pure white (without being overexposed) to act as a reference point. If your entire snowscape is just varying levels of gray, then your snow will appear “dirty” and underexposed, which is most likely not your goal.

An easy way to judge your exposure in the field is to look at your histogram. Overall, are your tones gathererd to the left (underexposed) or to the right (overexposed)? Shooting “to the right” is not only preferred in most situations, but will put you in a prime position to fine-tune your exposure in post process, if neccesary.

Snow Exposure Levels

By comparing the exposures between these two frames – more specifically, the histogram – you can see that the longer shutter speed allowed for more light to hit the sensor, thus eliminating the “grayness” of the snow that is seen in the shorter exposure to the right. The snow appears more natural and pristine when shot at 1/400ths, and the blocked shadows (underexposed areas) are now eliminated.

The histograms of each image can tell you much about your exposure, and is a fantastic tool that I use often in the field. You’re not always able to tell for certain how correct your exposure is just by looking at your LCD, and your histogram will let you know how well your image is exposed without any guesswork.

You’ll notice that in the properly-exposed photo to the left, the tones are gathered to the right, which is a desired result when your frame consists of mostly snow. Opposite this image is the underexposed version shot at 1/1600ths, and the histogram reflects this well with most tones gathered on the left side.

Of course, the distribution of your tones is entirely dependent on your intent, and also the content of your image. This scene is filled with snow, so it makes sense that most tones are to the right. However, if you’re shooting a snow scene with other elements – such as buildings, tree lines, or water – than you’ll need to read your histogram critically to avoid over or under exposure.


When One Exposure Isn’t Enough

At times, you’ll come across a snow scene that is impossible to expose correctly across the frame – most often when the sky is present in your composition. You’ll have one of two results – properly exposed snow with other elements over and/or underexposed, or snow that is not exposed properly with the remainder of your scene looking accurate.

This is an unfortunate limitation of your camera – not being able to combine different shutter speeds within the same frame – but can be conquered if you know the proper workflow. Depending on your scene, you can either exposure blend or use GND filters to correct your exposure throughout your composition. Click here to read more about either of these methods.

Photographing Snow as It Falls

Much like photographing any moving object, falling snow requires that you use a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the motion. The exact shutter speed can change greatly depending on many aspects, both with your camera and the elements in your frame – the amount of available light, speed of snowfall, and your combination of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO all have a part to play in both capturing flakes as they fall while having your image being properly exposed. It’s a delicate balance, and will take some adjustments in the field, but is attainable with practice and knowledge of how changes in your manual settings can affect both your exposure and how your scene is rendered.

A common issue that many photographers encounter when photographing the snowfall is a lack of available light. Since snowfall usually occurs during overcast, the amount of natural light you have is limited, which can ultimately affect your shutter speed. If you can’t obtain a fast enough shutter speed, your flakes will appear as streaks across your frame – or if your shutter is very slow, the flakes won’t register at all.

If you find yourself challenged to freeze motion and also have your image properly exposed, there are several changes you can perform – widen your aperture, increase your ISO, or try a shorter focal length. All of these steps will gradually increase the amount of light that enters your camera, thus allowing you to capture the falling snow


For the images above, I used a 300mm prime lens and focused on the tree, which was about 50 feet away. I took some test shots with an ISO of 100, but none of the shutter speeds were fast enough to freeze the action, which prompted me to increase my ISO to 800 for this series.

As you can see, the slow shutter speed of 1/40th that I obtained with an aperture of f/16 was not fast enough to freeze the flakes as they fell. Instead of increasing my ISO further – which I could have done without much noticeable noise – I decided to widen my aperture. In this side-by-side comparison, you can see that as my aperture widened, the snowfall looks quite different as my shutter speed increased. If I were to choose one image to use, I would select the f/5.6 aperture – it’s fast enough to render the falling snow without streaks, but my depth of field isn’t too shallow where I lose many flakes as they are thrown out of focus.

Creating Layers with Snowfall

However, there’s more to photographing falling snow than finding the best shutter speed. Your chosen focal length has much to do with how your snowflakes will appear – most importantly, their size and layers. Longer focal lengths compact your distances and increase the size of falling flakes, which will give you varying degrees of snowflake weight, and will also produce a layered effect.


Also note that the longer your focal length is, the more shallow your depth of field will become for a given aperture. In the image above, I used a focal length of 300mm set at f/4, which gave me multiple layers of snowflakes at various sizes – yet many are out of focus and transformed into soft bokeh, which adds texture and depth. By using a longer focal length, you can create multiple layers of snowflake interest by flattening the distances – even during a very light snowfall.

By knowing how to achieve the results you want, you can avoid much frustration in the field, allowing you to focus on the creative aspect of photographing snow.


Christopher O’Donnell is a very talented landscape photographer residing in New England. He share his passion for photography and education on his website  This blog post originally appeared on the site.  It has been modified and approved for our site by Christopher O’Donnell.

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