Adoramapix

Jan 2013 17

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.

veronica-armstrong-photographer

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.

veronica-armstrong-photographer

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.

veronica-armstrong-photographer

Stop conforming.

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.

veronica-armstrong-photographer

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.

Jan 2013 22

 

An Instagram Adoramapix Gallery Wall

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

Choose your prints. I love the quality of the 10×10 prints from Adorama.

 

Make a grid of your gallery wall using painter’s tape.

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!

See my original gallery wall tutorial here and see more walls in my home here.

You can find me on Twitter or connect on Facebook and Pinterest.  Thanks for reading!

Jan 2013 28

Final Photo Book Checklist

I wish I could tell you that every photo book I’ve done has been a wondrous masterpiece – inspiring the amazement and admiration of all those who are fortunate to gaze upon it. But admittedly even I make mistakes sometimes (gasp!). Honestly, I don’t think I would feel qualified to write my photo book review blog if I didn’t hit a few bumps along the way (and learned from those mistakes). It enables me to share my experiences with you and hopefully I can help point out potential issues ahead of time. My blog is all about encouraging everyone to make a photo book and to not be intimidated to give it a go. I’m a firm believer in trying everything at least once (okay correction – most things at least once). I bet when you see your photos in a designed book (or when that special someone gushes over the professional-looking gift you made them) you will be quite addicted to photo books as I am and will want to make more and more! I have repurposed these tips from an earlier blog post, but this time with AdoramaPix in mind.

Here are some of my best tips. Before you hit that order button make sure to go through this checklist!

1) Consistency – typically I advocate using no more than one to two font styles in your books for a cohesive look. Go back and make sure that you’ve been consistent in both font size and type. I usually use one font for the main narrative, and a different font for the titles. I have accidentally used a different font on a couple pages of a book before, but luckily they didn’t look that noticeably different (except to me because I knew!) Had I checked more closely I would have caught it. When using AdoramaPix, I just copy the same text box and paste it on the new page so I know that the size and font have remained the same without having to reselect any settings. AdoramaPix’s text tool also automatically remembers your last font and size selected, so it makes it easy to be consistent. Change your mind about the font you want to use? With AdoramaPix, you can select more than one text box and make changes to all the text boxes on that page with a single action. Just make sure to go back and double check that your global font change hasn’t altered your layouts unexpectedly;

2) Alignment- are your photo boxes and elements aligned properly? There are two features I recommend checking in AdoramaPix. If you hover over an image, you’ll see an “X” and “Y” coordinate. The “X” represents the horizontal coordinate while the “Y” represents the vertical coordinate. So, if you want to make sure two photos are aligned on the left, make sure the X numbers are the same. If you want to make sure the photos line up at their tops, make sure the Y numbers are the same. You can also turn on the “moved objects will snap to grid lines” feature which will make sure the photos align with the grid when you lay them out;

3) Margins – did you put anything too close to the edge? Most programs have guides that show you a safe zone. Anything inside those borders will print, but anything outside may get cut off when the book is printed and bound. Sometimes this safe zone is rather generous, but the printers have to have some leeway. If you have chosen one of your photos to be printed as a full bleed (where your photo fills an entire page or spread) make sure there’s nothing on the edges of the photo that is essential. If there is, then you may want to think about making the photo a bit smaller than the entire page (and add a background) so you’re guaranteed no image loss. When you check the book preview the software will give you a warning if you have elements too close to the edge so you can go back and make any edits before ordering;

4) Gutter – “mind the gap” – similar to #3, typically I suggest to folks not to place anything important in the center of the spread, especially text or people’s faces. With AdoramaPix however, there is no split or gutter, so you’re free to design across the center of the spread which is great if you want to do a full page bleed (where a single photo spans both pages of a spread). Still, whether or not you want to put someone’s face in the middle of the spread is a personal preference, as you may not want to have the focal point of your image appear with a crease down the center;

5) Spelling and typos – use the software’s spell check where possible (AdoramaPix’s is built-in and you’ll see a red line appear under a word the software doesn’t recognize). If it’s not available, copy and paste your text in your own word processor (like Microsoft Word) to double check your text. For more on the right way to add large amounts of text from an external source such as a document you already typed in Microsoft Word or Word Perfect, check out the link. I can’t stress this enough – if you choose to paste directly from Word or an e-mail, chances are you will also copy some formatting code that will be “invisible” to you and will not show up as an error in the preview, but will only show up after you get the printed book – eek! It also may be helpful when possible to have someone else check your narrative or captions – spell check won’t catch errors such as missing words for example;

6) Photo Quality – AdoramaPix has a photo quality indicator that pops up telling you your photo is not of sufficient resolution, but keep in mind that it’s not an indication of whether your photo is too light or too dark or whether your subject has red eye for example. So make sure to scan through your pages to see if any photo stands out in a bad way, or appears off in comparison to the other photos. Sometimes you can’t tell a photo is a bit off (such as one photo being considerably darker than the others), until that photo is put along side another photo. I have often gone back after running the preview to adjust some photos and re-upload them to the book. Some photo companies have some photo editing tools within the program, but many do not or they are very limited. Err on the side of brightening your photos – most photos end up printing darker than what you see on your screen (it’s hard for printed matter to match the luminosity of our computer screens). Don’t have post-processing software? Check out my posts on free photo editing tools here.

So, there you have it! Be sure to run the photo book software preview before you order while keeping these tips in mind!

Are you new to photo books? You won’t want to miss my “How To” series on photo books. This is the best place to start and has my best tips! Happy Photobooking!

Feb 2013 04

Snow can be tricky to shoot in, there’s so much white and when the sun comes out the light reflects all around making it difficult to expose properly. There is also the cold temperatures to deal with, making sure you are dressed warmly and that the moisture doesn’t damage your camera.

But the snow also makes for some wonderful photo opportunities, so there’s no excuse to not get out there and take some great photos of your kids!

Photographing in the Snow

Photographing in the Snow

Keeping your Camera Dry

One problem with shooting in adverse weather is keeping your camera safe. When shooting on cold, snowy days it is important that you keep your camera dry. You may want to invest in a specially designed camera sleeve, or in a pinch you could used a plastic bag with a hole cut in it for the lens to keep moisture (or an errant snowball!) off of your camera.

You also want to avoid condensation build up on your camera, so seal it in a plastic bag before you return inside. The condensation will form on the outside of the bag instead of the camera as it returns to room temperature.

Photographing in the Snow

Metering and Exposure

Taking photos in the snow can be a little tricky at first, there’s just so much white reflecting light back at you. Your camera’s meter tries to compensate by under exposing and you end up with dull, grey looking photos.

I prefer to change the camera’s metering mode to spot metering and expose off of my subject, I may lose some detail in the snow but I would rather see the detail in the subject I am shooting. Alternatively you could adjust your exposure compensation to over-expose slightly.

Photographing in the Snow

Capture the Wonder and Fun

Whereas adults seem to bore quickly of the snow and only notice how cold it is out, children are constantly fascinated by it. Step back and capture images of your children tirelessly playing: whether they are building a snowman, throwing snowballs, catching snowflakes on their tongues or simply watching the snow fall to the ground.

There are a multitude of different things you could photograph your children doing in the snow, from different angles. Why not try positioning yourself above them to take a photo looking down on them making a snow angel? Crouch down to capture them digging in the snow, step back to photograph a sledding scene or get in close for photographs of snow covered hats, gloves or eyelashes.

Photographing in the Snow

Remember to dress warm and have fun!

Rebecca Sims, Bumbles & Light, Rebecca SimsAdoramaPix 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.

Apr 2013 11

One of the promises that I made after I had my daughter (among the many) was that I would no longer let my personal photos collect proverbial dust in the vortex that is my archiving system. Vacation photos, holiday photos, family photos…if they weren’t for clients or as part of a photography project, once I started shooting digital I would rarely make prints. Everything changes when you have kids and for me that included not just how I make memories but what I do with them once I’ve recorded them. To this day my family goes through old albums and I love when my dad posts old photos on Facebook…especially when I’ve never seen them before. Making prints of memories is important!

So I solved the problem of my personal photos taken with my dslr because I started to make books and prints for gallery walls but what about my iPhone? I have over 11,000 pictures on it! (#issues #hoarder) I’ve made prints of those before too but I wanted to make a special photo book just for Lucia.

While most kids play games and watch shows on the iPad my girl likes to go through the camera roll and scroll through old photos – “remember this day, mommy?” is one of her many catch phrases. So I teamed up with my friends at Adorama to make an 8×8 photo book of some of our favorite family memories as recorded by my iPhone and processed on Instagram.

 

The book

 

The hardest part for me was selecting the pictures (no surprise).  The book itself was so simple to make because the program online is very straightforward and you have full control over the style and design.  There are many different templates to choose from for every size book available and in fact for someone like me who is terribly indecisive there are almost too many templates.  I narrowed it down to five and then just went with my favorite.  After selecting your images and loading them up to the website (a process that is very fast depending on your internet connectivity) you just drag and drop them into the space in your blank book and save as you go.  Ta-da!  I even cheated a bit and was able to drag a few photos into blank spaces that weren’t meant for images and I was able to play with the size a bit to make photos larger than the space allowed them to be.  You can select photos from a number of different sources including Picasa, Flickr, your Adoramapix account and your computer.

 

I’ve been working with Adorama for personal and professional projects for years so it was no surprise to me that the quality of the book is top notch.  The pages are printed on real photographic silver-halide paper with a lustre finish so the colors are bright and saturated with great flesh tones.  For photography junkies like me this is a huge deal.  They use real archival quality photo paper so it’s fade-resistant and you even have several paper choices.  I also really like how thick and sturdy the pages are.  Another really important feature for me when I made this book was that the HD glossy paper is fingerprint resistant!  Hello?  Amazing!  I usually prefer matte paper for my prints but I was making this book specifically for my toddler to thumb through, carry with her, and put her hands all over it so this feature was a major draw for me. 

 

Here’s what I did: so simple…


1.  Visited Adoramapix.com and chose the perfect book size

Once I decided that I wanted to use my Instagram photos (since she loves them so much) I realized that the 8×8 format was perfect for the square-cropped pictures.   Since I’m terrible at editing to make a concise collection I went with a 26-page book.  Not too many, not too few.  I felt like it was the perfect number of images to keep my toddler’s attention and just enough to capture the feeling of the general “theme” I decided to go with.


2.  Chose my images

With so many pictures to choose from I had a very difficult task ahead of me so I just went with favorite images of the last year or so that were strictly of our family. A NYC-themed book of Instagrams is up next but I wanted to make this one for her first.

The front cover gave me the option of choosing four photos.  I opted to leave the title off the front and put it only on the spine.  You can choose from several different fonts and sizes.

The back cover.  I loved that I was able to have one large photo on the back to balance out the four photos I chose for the front.

 

Thank you to Monica Shulman who inspires photographers and artists through her blog  called Ciao, Chessa! .  It is a photography and lifestyle blog dedicated to people who appreciate the little details that make life amazing. Since its birth in 2008, her blog  has evolved into a place where she talks about artphotographytravelmotherhood,  living in New York, and the people and things that inspire her.

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