Stamp Winner + Photo Tip

Stop

It was so much easier to take a photograph of Jovie a few months ago. She was less jumpy, wiggly, and rambunctious. But now and then, after 10-20 shots, I’d get one good one. Thank goodness for digital, right? My tip for today isn’t how to make your moving child stay still (duct tape might help) but it’s about staying on their level.

When I take my kids’ photos I like to get down on their level. If you want to make them look small or helpless then getting a shot from the top is great but for fun kiddie shots that you want to scrapbook or hang on the wall you need to get down with them. Try it out and see how you like the results!

Although a nice camera is always nice, you get more control of your equipment and you can get better lenses too, other big parts of photography is how you use light (very important!!), post processing (from back in the film days to now this is a huge part of a photographer’s activity) and your own skills, point-of-view, and artistic feel. The same picture can look totally different based on how it’s cropped for example. The same model can look different based on the angle of the camera. I’ve seen photos using a point-and-shoot that looked like it was done using a high end camera. So taking nice photographs is not just for those with a nicer set of equipments.

Page Details:

I used the Color Room’s sketch and colors for this page, #18. It’s a very busy sketch but I think I toned it down just a tad bit. For the page I used some stickers and also did a tad bit of stamping. The photos are of Jovie, moving around like crazy, with not a single good shot. When it was nice and clear the pose wasn’t right or the facial expression was off. But, this is what the page is all about – the memories of her little active life as a 13-mo-old baby and me trying to capture every minute of it.

The layered papers are October Afternoon and Sassafrass Lass. This type of layout makes really good use of scraps, just a bit here and a few there. The stamp that I used is from Waltzingmouse: Victorian Frippery. I also wanted to use some road symbols for the “stop” but didn’t have one. I just have a don’t enter one from American Craft. So I used it instead. Plus I like the look better. Whatever, right? It’s my page {::SMILE}. I also still have a few of the Friendly Forest stickers from Colorbox and since the colors fit I used them too. I like adding none related things to page. I just think it makes the page more fun.

Oh, the ripped edge… accident. I added a staple under the red scalloped paper. Ended up not liking the staple and stuck the AC camera on it instead. The rip… well, a bit of paper curling made the rip more like a part of the page.

Stop

Ok, for the blog candy winner… congrats AMY!! Please post a comment here or send me an email using the Contact Me form on the top of my page and I’ll let Dawn and WPlus9 that you’re the winner. You can then pick a favorite set!! Congrats again and thank you all for the comments and for playing along!!

Candy Winner

Amy's Comment

Palette #18, the Color Room at Ning

Photographing My Cards

Natural studio

There is sun in the UK, folks!! I just had to say this since I’ve heard people say that it’s just dreary here with no sun at times. I mean it’s no sunny Missouri (when it’s not raining) or Southern France even but there is sun light in the daytime. Maybe it’s new to me or maybe I’m just a shady kind of gal but I like it. It’s good for my skin tone… tell you more later…

When the girls and I saw the house for the first time the one thing that really got me excited was this bay window. Natural light, baby!! The above was how I set up my little “studio” for all my cards since I’ve been in the UK. For the above setting the end result looked like this post here.

Here’s another card that I took with the above setup courtesy of Miss M:

Emma's Card

I made the flower for her but she did everything else herself. This was a birthday card for one of her classmates.

Emma's Card

Both cards used WPlus9‘s stamps. Ok, isn’t my kid good at trimming or what?

Photography is about light and even if you get or make one of those mini light kits the lightings are usually from the sides and some are also from the top and/or front. So if you can find a window/area that can give you this type of lighting shoot your cards there! The nice thing about my window is that it faces the south-west so it gets nice smooth light for most of the day.

In the evening I do get some direct evening sun which I can use to shoot pictures like this (picture is grainy due to Photoshop post-processing). See how the sun light highlight M’s shoulders:

M Looking at Her Scrapbook

She’s such an awesome model… and loves her scrapbooks that I made her too {::SMILES}.

Love + Rule of Thirds

I know it’s past Valentine’s day but love’s everyday, right? Yesterday I did something dumb. I emailed Emma’s teacher and told her that M would be out that day due to strep. Monday afternoon M asked what lunch would be Tuesday (I told her she’s going back to school that day) and I saw the “NO SCHOOL” right under Monday. Wow, I wonder what her teacher thought of that email he he… What kind of stupid things have you done?

So yesterday while Jovie was napping I got this page put together. I finally opened the Crate Paper paper kit that I got at the Creative Keepsake Expo in October. Another simple page. I didn’t cut anything on this page. Everything was cut and paste. Other things I used were Prima dried flower (or whatevere that thing is), K&Co rub-ons, Crate Paper chipboard (different than the paper kit), buttons, twine, and rhinestones.

Photo tip: When I was in college I took photography and graphic design classes. I was a mass communications major and those classes were required. What I learned there was the Rule of Thirds. I’ve used this rule of thirds quite a bit in my photos, esp. the ones I want to scrapbook, because I like to embellish on the blank area, just like what I did below, to the right of M. To me this rule of thirds work two ways. It makes my photos more appealing AND it gives me plenty of room to cake on some embellishment if I want to. Now, are all my photos taken using the rule of thirds? Close but not always.¬† I always post-process my photos in Photoshop/Lightroom, before I print a photo to scrapbook I always imagine in my head what the layout will look like (based on what embellishments I want to use) and crop accordingly. For the below, since the girls are leaning to the left it seemed more natural to have more white space to the right of Emma.

Love

Here’s a close-up of the butterfly and a peak from the side.

Love Close-Up

And last just another picture of the girls – yeah I know, my strep throat daughter holding her baby sister. This was Monday though, very close to the 48-hr quarantine period. This is my first experience with strep. I thought it’s highly contagious but we’ve been all over each since M got sick Thursday (at least when the Motrin was kicking in – when the Motrin wore off M was sickly looking and feeling). We didn’t know it was strep until Saturday. I did ask for her to not kiss us or share anything that’s been in her mouth (and to watch where Jovie’s hands land on M). So far Jovie and I have been fine. Is it just mild strep?

M and J

I hope you all have a great one!!! Take care!

My Softbox

I really didn’t want to make a card last night but I wanted to try out the softbox (photography lighting gadget) that I got for Christmas on a card.

The kit is nice. But putting the softbox together was total pain in my {flabby} ass. On the four sides of the softbox are these rods. They’re straight as can be but if you try hard enough they will bend so that they can fit into the sides of this thing called a speed ring. Well, after much work I got all of the rods into the holes of the ring. Putting the first rod in was easy. The second got a bit tough but manageable. The third¬† made me sweat a bit and the fourth… I had to go for an ice cream break. I almost used the box without the 4th rod in. I didn’t care. I was determined to try it but I finally got it in. How? I broke the manual’s rules. Even though it said to put it together before you hook it up to the light I put the box on the light stand anyways with the last rod loose. Then with all my might I bent the rod and stuck it in the hole. The good news, everything is now put together. The bad news, my softbox is tilted to the right by 45 degrees. Oh well, I ain’t taking that thing apart (takes MORE hand muscles) and put it back together again. How ’bout asking the hub? Well he was out when I did it and despite the crookedness it does work.

So far I love the softbox. I need to set it up now… got to read and experiment. That’ll be fun. I placed the softbox on the left, you can probably tell from the shadow on the right. I like. I can now leave my ISO (film) speed to 200. Why? The higher the ISO the more grain/noise your photo will have. It’s fine if your pics are just small for the web for example but if you want to blow it up, it’s not that pretty unless you want to use the noise for visual effects — which some do and does well. So now I have a little studio kit. I do need a few more things tho, like solid background (white and black for now), flash, and a brolly/umbrella.

Simple

Card created using stamps by Stampin’ Up!

Photography Tip: The Eyes

I think being in education makes me want to share whatever I find useful and this is one of them: When you do portrait types of photography focus on the eyes.

Crossed Eyes

This way you can capture crazy crossed-eyes pictures of your kid really really well. HA!

I wasn’t a fabulous photography student last semester but there’s one thing that my instructor said I was already good at: Aiming at the eyes when doing portrait type of photography. The eyes are the windows to the soul so in portrait photography it’s really important that the eyes are crispy clear — unless there’s something else that’s more interesting to focus on and there’s a different story you want to tell.

How do I take this types of pics? I give most of the credit to my camera, the Nikon D300/Canon XTi. They both have a very nice Auto-focus function. If you don’t have a dSLR, point your point-and-shoot to the face, push the shutter down half way to focus, hold your camera steady and click.

If you’re not sure how to set up your AF settings on your Nikon camera, check out Ken Rockwell‘s tuts. He’s got a few in there! If you have another brand, open up your manual and should be able to figure it out based on the info on Ken’s site.

Canon XSi Sensor

When I take pictures of M this is what I do: If the above is what I see inside my Canon/Nikon, I would aim the center of the circle right on her eye. My AF is always set to Tit (read Ken’s tut if you don’t know what Tit is) and I use the center AF sensor. Once the eye (usually the one closest to me) is in the middle of that circle I push my shutter button (that’s the one you push to take pictures) half-way down. I can then shoot the photo or I can continue to hold the shutter button half-way down (to keep the AF settings the way it is) and recompose/reposition the camera. By recomposing the eye is not in the center anymore but since I kept my shutter button pushed half-way down the eye will still be sharp when I get to taking the photo. One thing to keep in mind when you do this is to not back/forward with the camera. You can recompose side-to-side but not closer/further from the subject. Moving in/out will require you to focus on the object again (pushing the shutter button half way down). Once I am happy with my composition I can then push the shutter button all the way down and click! The result:

Miss M

There is one more tip when you do child photography (personal experience). Do learn to stop when the child has had it with you. Don’t end up with somebody like this:

Jovie Crying

Nothing was in focus.