Archive for February, 2012

Tuesday Tutorials

February 28th, 2012

It’s nearly the end of Tuesday, but either way, I am starting off my Tuesday Tutorial series with a video. The topic is something I’m constantly asked about…cameras. So I figured a video was easier than a very long blog post. If you’re thinking of upgrading your camera, not happy with your current camera, or […]

 

It’s nearly the end of Tuesday, but either way, I am starting off my Tuesday Tutorial series with a video. The topic is something I’m constantly asked about…cameras. So I figured a video was easier than a very long blog post. If you’re thinking of upgrading your camera, not happy with your current camera, or may have another camera related issue…check it out below. If I didn’t touch on your question, email me or comment below.

Be warned, it’s my first try at videos and though I’m pretty sure I’m not cut out to be the next Oprah, I think it gets the job done. It’s still a bit long, but way shorter than my first take, if that makes this any better. It’s about ten minutes.

As I mentioned above, here are some of the resources that I found useful in my search for a new camera.

Research
Amazon Reviews – Reading positives and negatives are helpful. It’s good to know a cameras’ downfalls before you own it and run across the problems yourself.
Steve’s Digicams – The resource for all things digital (camera). Useful reviews and sample images.
Ken Rockwell Reviews – I certainly don’t agree with every DSLR review Ken has, but the fact that he has messed around with everything gives him a perspective from having “been there, done that” with most cameras.

Books
Understanding Exposure

Local
Peace Camera – Where I get all of my used gear, reselling lenses I no longer need, and also bags, bags, bags!
Southeastern Camera – Another good local source. Never can talk to too many experts before a major purchase.
Southeastern Camera Rentals – Not sure about a lens? Renting locally has helped me tremendously.
Craigslist – If your city doesn’t have a Craigslist, check the classifieds in the paper or local news blogs.

Also check the slide show below, you’ll see some of my photos from before I was a pro and just using my point and shoot. Like I mention in the video, use your equipment to the limits of the technology you have and then start looking to upgrade.

 

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Photo Books – Great and Small

February 20th, 2012

As someone who has used her own child for photo sessions, to test out new gear & for learning activities…I have tons of photos of my son.  Lucky for me, he is still at the age where he’s very entertained by photos of himself.  Our home decor more than satisfies his need to laugh & […]


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As someone who has used her own child for photo sessions, to test out new gear & for learning activities…I have tons of photos of my son.  Lucky for me, he is still at the age where he’s very entertained by photos of himself.  Our home decor more than satisfies his need to laugh & giggle at himself in various stages of life.

This year as Valentine’s Day approached, I received an email from Shutterfly.  In the early days, I uploaded absolutely everything to Shutterfly as a way to share photos of the little newbie with friend & family.  My mom loved it because it allowed her to print & frame probably more photos of him than I have! As years went on, I eventually found myself using other services, but always kept my account active.  My friend Shirley from Wild Blueberry Ink has a shelf full of enviable Shutterfly book creations. Every time I visit I say “one day…I’ll finally put together Donovan’s album for his Xth year” (whatever age he happens to be on). But at this point, I need an encyclopedia sized volume!

About a week before Valentine’s Day, I opened the email to see a cute Valentine’s book.  Simple enough, just upload your photos, design a page using template elements & print.  Besides that, there was a 40% off coupon.  I thought it would be a great gift for Donovan, since he loves albums & I haven’t done nearly enough to keep updated with album prints around here.  I quickly put together a collection of my favorite photos from 2011 of him, and made a book.  Though I chose the regular shipping option (and estimated delivery was between February 13th and 17th) I kept my fingers crossed because Shirley said she always gets hers early.

I received mine DAYS early! It came out absolutely perfect. I picked the 8×8 size, because it’s great for kids.  Donovan approved, and has taken his book to sit & reminisce with on a daily basis since last week. If you need a great album & don’t have the time to design it all yourself, do yourself a favor & hop over to Shutterfly & pick one of their premade templates.  Many are designed by some of the top digital scrapbook artists & they make it so you really can design a book in 30 minutes or less.




Completing an album felt good, and now I need to tackle my “Years 0-6″ book, which I’ll be collecting for up until his 7th birthday in September.  I’m thinking of using Blurb for this album, because I have so many photos to add.  My plan is about 100 of my top favorite pictures of him as full page images, and then another 100 or so compilation image pages.  Where I’ll ever find time for this I don’t know, but doing a section per week sounds doable.

 

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Very Pinteresting

February 14th, 2012

It’s no shock to those that know me that I’m pretty crafty. To those who know me very well, it’s also no shock that I’ll start a project and get tired of it FAST if it takes too much time. Just take a peek into my knitting basket of unfinished great projects. A month ago, […]

 

It’s no shock to those that know me that I’m pretty crafty. To those who know me very well, it’s also no shock that I’ll start a project and get tired of it FAST if it takes too much time. Just take a peek into my knitting basket of unfinished great projects.

A month ago, I pinned a very cute Valentine’s idea. I pinned a LOT of Valentine’s ideas because I’m more of a “collector” than a “do-er” in Pinterest when it comes to some projects. This one, I was pretty sure I could do and had most of the materials.

Even better, I took photos of the process…which means blog post!

The project was chalkboard Valentine’s cards. Basic idea was stand a kid beside a chalkboard message, make sure their hand is formed for ‘holding’ a lollipop, and take photos. Print out 4×6, cut slits and be done. Simple, huh? And right up my alley!

First I had to locate a large enough chalkboard, because our Ikea easel wasn’t going to do the trick. I spent $5 at Office Max and bought a black science project board. Like most well-intended ‘pinners’, I found spare chalkboard spray paint around the house from my last great idea. ($8 saved!) I sprayed two light and non-precise layers over my black project board (after I duct taped the creases on the back so they wouldn’t bend).

Sorry, there are no photos from this portion of the show, as I quickly jumped in after only 5 minutes of prep (get board from the car, tape it, find paint!). I let the board dry overnight, because it got dark outside. Otherwise it would have been chalk-ready in about an hour. It dries super fast.

Next, I had to convince the highly skeptical boy that this was indeed a very rockin’ Valentine’s card idea…no Transformers, or Lightening McQueen…but he wouldn’t have to sign his name (and his friends’ names) twenty times. He was quickly on board. I set my board in the dining room near the wall of windows, wrote a quick message with sidewalk chalk & moved Donovan into place. From there it was simply snap, adjust the boy, coax him to hold his fist the right way, and coach him into not giving “that bored smile”.

After a quick edit, the photos were off to Target via their online printing service. I usually hate store prints because they’re glossy…but these were cheap so I couldn’t complain. In addition, I got a coupon for $1 off of ten prints. My total was $3.90! I picked three different looks (because I’m indecisive like that!).



As for tools needed, I have a cutting mat and an Xacto knife. You could also use a metal ruler, if you’re not so confident about your freestyle cutting abilities. I’m a pretty good cutter, so I freestyled it. From there it was about cutting the right angle to slip in the best tasting lollipop on Earth. A slit at the top of his fit and a slit at the bottom. After carefully placing them, we were finished! Overall the actual ‘work’ for this project on my end probably amounted to 45 minutes!

Making the slit not large enough results in forcing in the stick, which doesn’t work so well with photo paper! I only ripped one.  Because of the sharp object, and careful placing of the lollipop, I wouldn’t say this is one you can really get too much help from little ones.  Donovan did pass me the lollipops though :). All in all – I spent $12 for 24 custom Valentines.  Not bad!