Camera Art (and free download!)

It wouldn’t be Two Weeks of Photography in true Lil Blue Boo fashion without some clothing involved! I knew I wanted to do an outline of an vintage camera and I left the artwork up to my talented artist friend Stephanie Corfee. As usual she came up with something fabulous! I added a little bit of Andy Warhol inspiration for color/multiple print and I ended up with this fun little number!

Camera Art Free Download for DIY crafts and clothing #photography via lilblueboo.com

 

The best part? Stephanie has a surprise for all of you…..she created some awesome camera graphics that you can download to make something of your own!

Click through the graphic below:

Camera Art Free Download for DIY crafts and clothing #photography via lilblueboo.com
You could silk screen them, iron-on transfer them, or make some cute stationary! I’ve linked up a few of my tutorials on silk screening and iron on transfers in case you are new to Lil Blue Boo!

Screen Printing 101
Screen Printing with Contact Paper
Pirate Matryoshka Transfer (with Download)
Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp/Label Patches

photography via lilblueboo.com

 

Camera Bag Insert (A Tutorial and Free Download)

Camera bag insert for purse free tutorial pattern diy via lilblueboo.com

 

Every photographer needs a stylish camera bag. The designer camera bags are all so darn expensive, and well they resemble so many bags I already have up on the top shelf of my closet. I’ve got so many large handbags that would be awesome camera bags that I created an insert that to convert them! This way I can change my camera bag easily to keep up with latest bag trends! The insert has adjustable and removable dividers as well so that I can store different lenses or even carry a camera and a camcorder all at once.

This Marc Jacobs handbag is easily transformed…….

 

Camera bag insert for purse free tutorial pattern diy via lilblueboo.com
……into the perfect camera bag!

 

Camera bag insert for purse free tutorial pattern diy via lilblueboo.com

You can make camera bag insert out of your favorite fabric or just plain black nylon like I did. I’m often putting juice boxes in my bag for Boo too and I wanted one that was water resistant. The materials for this project cost me around $5.

Materials needed:
32″ Velcro
1.5 yards of Fabric or Woven Nylon
1/2″ foam
Heavy poster board or thin cardboard

There were so many steps to this tutorial that I thought it would be better to create a downloadable PDF that could easily be printed off. Just click, download and print this 9-page tutorial off and make your own!

 

 

Camera bag insert for purse free tutorial pattern diy via lilblueboo.com

Point & Shoot Tips with Under the Sycamore

Point & Shoot Camera Tips from Under the Sycamore via lilblueboo.com  

We feel pretty cool that Ashley from Under the Sycamore is guest blogging today! Not only is she a very talented photographer, but this gal can craft like you would not believe. Her blog is filled with unique DIY projects, beautiful photos, lots of tips and ideas, and really sweet stories and adventures from her life as a mom to 4 little ones. She seriously rocks!I asked Ashley to do a guest post dedicated to those that don’t have Digital SLR cameras. She takes awesome photos with her Point and Shoot camera and is going to share some of those tips here with us today. Please welcome Ashley from Under the Sycamore to Lil Blue Boo! 

 

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How to Make the Most of your Point & Shoot Camera

 

 

by Ashley Campbell 

 


Point & Shoot Camera Tips from Under the Sycamore via lilblueboo.com

 

It is an honor to be posting here today – as long as it is on photography and not sewing! My best sewing tip would be to buy lots of extra fabric to cover your mistakes! So I’ll stick with a camera related topic. I admit I LOVE my dslr. It is actually hard for me to imagine life without it. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t pick it up to capture some part of my everyday life with 4 kids. However, there are times that it just isn’t practical to lug a dslr with me. It also isn’t always possible for every mom to even own a dslr, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle in regards to your photographs. Today I want to share with a few tips on how to make the most of your point & shoot (p&s) camera – even without much photography knowledge. So here are a few tips...all with my p&s and primarily on the fully automatic mode with the flash off.

1. Look for unexpected angles

 

By looking for new angles you are able to take something very ordinary and give it some bang. In the photo below I laid on the ground and shot into the afternoon sun as my son swung above me.

 

Point & Shoot Camera Tips from Under the Sycamore via lilblueboo.com
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2. Change your angle often

 

This is probably my favorite tip. Every angle you shoot from tells a different story. Lay on the ground, stand on chairs, get eye level with your kids…just keep moving. I wrote a post on my blog on this topic in regards to using a p&s camera, if you want to see more examples go HERE.

 

 

Point & Shoot Camera Tips from Under the Sycamore via lilblueboo.com 

 

Point & Shoot Camera Tips from Under the Sycamore via lilblueboo.com

 


3. A p&s camera works best in bright daylight
 

For most p&s cameras you will get the brightest and sharpest pictures when you are shooting in bright daylight. This type of lighting isn’t always great for a portrait sessions, but for everyday action shots it works nicely. If you are wanting to capture action, plan to do it when you have a lot of light.

 

Point & Shoot Camera Tips from Under the Sycamore via lilblueboo.com 

 

Point & Shoot Camera Tips from Under the Sycamore via lilblueboo.com
4. Take advantage of the camera’s small size

 

Since most p&s cameras are fairly small, you can attempt shots that would be a lot harder (if not impossible) with a dslr. In the photo below my son & I are swinging together. I put my camera on the self-timer mode and held it between my collar bone and chin. It took a few attempts, but I got a shot that is unexpected and fun. Please ignore my son’s feet…he has an disdain for shoes.

 

Point & Shoot Camera Tips from Under the Sycamore via lilblueboo.com
5. Learn how your ISO function works

 

Without getting very technical…let me explain a bit about ISO. When you have tons of light (bright sunny day) you can use a low ISO number. When you don’t have much light you will have to increase the ISO number. The higher the ISO number gets, the more digital noise (fuzziness, grain) you will see. Increasing your ISO is a way to take a photo without using your flash. In the photo below my flash was off, but my ISO was very high. You can tell the photo is grainy, but I prefer the grain over what this image would have looked like using a flash. If you are curious that is one of my sons at an indoor waterpark.

 

Point & Shoot Camera Tips from Under the Sycamore via lilblueboo.com
6. Pay attention to where you focus

 

In the two photos below you will see a huge contrast in lighting. I wanted a pic of my daughter so I just focused on her (pressed shutter button halfway down) and took the picture (pressed it all the way down). The camera took into consideration all the bright light in the background and set the exposure according to that light. When I saw how dark it was I re-shot the picture. On the second photo, I focused on the stroller wheel – pointing my camera down so the sky wasn’t in the screen. After I focused on the wheel I moved the camera up without releasing my finger. Once I had her in the frame I fully pressed the shutter button down. This time the camera set the exposure for the area the stroller was in, leaving the sky overexposed. You can’t see the blue sky in the 2nd photo, but you can see my cutie. I decided the cutie was more important than the sky, the camera had chosen the sky. I did not change any settings on the camera between the 2 photos.

 

Point & Shoot Camera Tips from Under the Sycamore via lilblueboo.com

Photography, capturing the moments that make up your days, should be fun. If you don’t own a dslr…don’t let it get you down. Practice with your p&s and learn ways to ‘trick’ your camera into getting the shots you want. Have fun with it!

Ashley & Lisa, thanks for having me! You two are amazing!

 

 

 

Scenes from a Shopping Trip

Took my camera to L.A.’s garment district today:


Welcome:


As always there are so many little nooks to explore it becomes overwhelming:


Lunch:


Color:


The “per pound” store:


I think these have been here for a while:

30 new spools of thread:


A tiny peek at some new inspiration:

12 Steps to Better Child Portraits with Park Ave Photography

We are so excited to have Holly today on the blog! Holly is the fabulous photographer behind Park Ave Photography. She is a pro at boutique photography and working with kids. I’m sure you have seen some of her images in your favorite online stores. She is going to share with us some of her tips for taking pictures of young children! Please welcome Park Ave Photography to the blog!

Like every other parent, I love photographing my children. My oldest daughter, Peyton, was born 5 years ago, and with her birth came this fascination of capturing her every expression and milestone. Okay, okay, I am also guilty of buying those over-the-top outfits and dressing her up like my little doll to take pictures. When Peyton was 18 months, a few online boutiques asked if she would model their clothing. It became something fun for us to do together, and after a few years of doing this, we found a routine for it. It used to take 40 minutes to do a shoot, and I would take over a hundred photos to get only 10 good shots. Now we can go out and shoot 35 great shots in less than 10 minutes. Here are our steps to a successful photo shoot.

12 Steps to Better Child Portraits with Park Ave Photography via lilblueboo.com

Step 1: Plan it all out ahead. Being spontaneous is great, but once a shoot goes bad, trust me, they never forget.

Step 2: What time of day is your child happiest and alert? If it is 2:00, then make sure he/she is fed and bathed by 1:00.

Step 3: The invite. “Hi honey! Do you want to go ____________?” This is where you come up with something fun to do. Some examples would be picking flowers, playing red light green light, seeing how many balloons it takes to fly, hiding objects and finding them, blowing bubbles, counting and feeding ducks at the park, or any kind of pretend role playing.

Step 4: Now that you’ve gotten a “yes” it is time to get dressed and do up the hair. Be sure to talk about how much fun you are going to have and let them know taking pictures is also part of the plan. “I’m bringing my camera so I can take pictures when you fly away with those balloons!”

12 Steps to Better Child Portraits with Park Ave Photography via lilblueboo.com

Step 5: Introduce the reward system. “If you’re a good girl today, we’ll go get some ice cream later.”

Step 6: Pick a location that will be safe and fun with good lighting at the time of day you have chosen. It needs to be a location where they can move around freely.

12 Steps to Better Child Portraits with Park Ave Photography via lilblueboo.com

Step 7: The car is packed up with your camera equipment, a tote with props, wet wipes, drinks, and a change of clothes. Why a change of clothes? The clothes they have on for the pictures may be cute, but when they take them off, it signals that they are all done.

Step 8: Before you try to photograph your child, make sure your camera is on the correct settings. Then forget the camera for a while, and take time to connect and enjoy each other. Whatever event you have planned will set the mood for your photos. What you want to capture are the expressions that are a result of your precious time together (and maybe that really cute outfit too!).

12 Steps to Better Child Portraits with Park Ave Photography via lilblueboo.com

Step 9: When everyone is relaxed and happy, this is a great time to bust out the camera. If you have had a series of bad photo ops with your little one, it may take longer for them to warm up to you. They know what you are up to, but they are willing to play along when they know it’s going to be good for them too. After several fun shoots together, they will soon forget the days of you making them sit, smile, and say cheese.

Step 10: Make suggestions for poses, but let your child lead you. You are simply the admirer here full of compliments and by no means the boss. If he/she wants to be close to you or held, bring a helper to distract and play. Toddlers often look down at the ground and run. Rather than chase them around, have a helper bounce a ball high in the sky or find a location near an airport to get them to look up into the sky with expression. Kids love spotting planes in the air and they can’t help but to smile at them. No matter what, if you get to the point that you aren’t having fun, put the camera away. You never want it to be a bad thing. There is always tomorrow.

Step 11: Shooting between 15 and 40 minutes is about all you should expect. Be sure to shower those babies with hugs, kisses, praise, and a fat reward afterwards.

12 Steps to Better Child Portraits with Park Ave Photography via lilblueboo.com
Step 12: Show them the finished product. My daughters love looking at the silly pictures as well as the pretty ones. We actually have names for certain facial expressions, dance moves, and poses. Most of them are pretty goofy like “The Scuba-Scoob” or “Spanky Hanky”. Someday when Peyton is grown and dealing with real life issues, I’m going to tell her to bust out the Scooba-Scoob, and we will both crack up.

So in case you haven’t looked at it this way, taking pictures with your children can be quality time you spend with them. The best part is, you have the photos to remember those times forever.

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Thank you Holly for the awesome tips! You can follow Park Ave Photography on Facebook to see all of the amazing clothing she gets to photograph and her beautiful photography. 

 

photography via lilblueboo.com

 

An Interview with Shey aka "The Camera Strap Girl"

Two Weeks of Photography with Lil Blue Boo wouldn’t be complete without talk of accessorizing your camera ….perfect timing for a spotlight on Shealynn Benner aka “The Camera Strap Girl.” Shealynn, also known as Shey, is an amazing mother, talented photographer, savvy businesswoman, voracious reader…..and the owner of *Shey*[B] Camera Strap Slipcovers. Shey makes the most beautiful camera strap covers and accessories ranging from classic to one-of-a-kind couture. Here’s just a teeny sample of the eye candy you can find in her shop:


I first met Shey over a year ago and let me warn you…..she’s REALLY likeable. She’s one of those people I wished lived right next door. She’s down to earth, hilarious, and super smart. She has built a successful business from the ground up and is a huge supporter of others trying to do the same thing. She has some amazing posts on her blog about what has worked for her and what hasn’t…..a must read for any small business owner!


She doesn’t just make camera straps either….she’s always coming up with new things. I love the stamped ID tags she has for her covers, the point and shoot bags and the rad guitar straps!

I was so excited when Shey agreed to do an interview for the Lil Blue Boo Two Weeks of Photography and give everyone a little peek into her creative world! Thank you Shey! I LOVE creative people…..make sure to check out a few of my favorite posts from Shey’s blog too!

Behind the Scenes (I love seeing how other businesses work!)
So I’ve Been Thinking Of Starting a Business (innovation and accepting competition)
iPhone Photos (yes even her iPhone photos are gorgy!)
Preparing (Shey’s hubby cutting fabric….so sweet)
The Chair (an unlikely photo prop)

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Interview with Shealynn Benner aka “The Camera Strap Girl”

I love the nickname “The Camera Strap Girl”….how did you get started? What keeps you inspired?

Ah, yes. The Camera Strap Girl. Kinda fun to be known as her. :) I think Kim of Today’s Creative Blog thought that up, actually. I thought of the idea of making camera strap covers when I was on a photo shoot. We were living in North Carolina at the time, and I was in downtown Raleigh photographing a model. It was really hot and humid, I was sweating and my camera strap was literally rubbing my neck to an almost bleeding point it was so raw! I just remember thinking (continuously) that there had to be a way to have a more comfortable strap. Now over 2 years later I guess I know. ;)

Everything inspires me. I love magazines, clothes, anything really. I think outside the box all the time. I am always thinking “will that make a good camera strap cover? let’s try it!” I love designing! So fun! I love watching something come from nothing. It’s my most favorite feeling in the world. Well, as long as it comes out good… haha!

Your shop has been so successful, what are your tips for someone wanting to start a small handmade business of their own?

First of all, I think it’s really important to love your product. When you love your product, chances are others will too! Make sure you are definite in what you want to make. Then advertise and do giveaways. If people love your product, they’ll want to know who you are, so set up a blog if you don’t have one. Sign up for Twitter. Twitter and my blog have really been key for my business. I have made friends from both of them in real life, and I get a lot of recommendations from both. But I have also advertised all over the blogosphere too. When people begin seeing your blog buttons on sidebars often enough, they get to know you by the sight of that button.

Also, don’t be upset if you don’t have a lot of sales at the beginning. It takes time to grow a business! It just takes dedication and persistence. Owning your own business is like having a baby. Babies don’t grow up over night. You nurture, love, feed and learn along the way.

Pace yourself. Once you start getting busy, know your limits. I have 2 children They are the center of my world, but I sometimes let work over shadow everything. This shouldn’t happen. Of course we are all human, so we have some mess ups, but then we try again. What I also mean about pacing yourself is take things slowly. You don’t need to advertise everyone all at one time. I have done this before and it was so stressful once the orders began pouring in. Life gets hard to balance. Figure out what works for you and stick to that.

What camera equipment do you use? The photography in your shop is stunning….do you have any tips for product photography you can share?

Oh, thanks! I use a Canon 5D. I love it! My husband got it for me for Christmas last year. I am so busy lately that it’s been hard for me to get it out and take fun pictures, but I’ll be getting it out more and more here pretty soon. The lenses I use are called prime lenses. Meaning they don’t zoom on their own… essentially, the photographer is the zoom. I have found that they take incredibly sharp pictures and I really don’t mind being the zoom. I have a Canon 35mm 2.0 lens and a Canon 50mm 1.8 – that’s it. I have studio lighting I use on occasion but not that much.


Taking pictures of your products is so so important. In my opinion it’s one of the most important things to owning your own business where photographing a product is involved. You must have lighting of some sort. If not studio lighting, then make a light box and use fluorescent bulbs. You can handmade them for really cheap ($20 or less). Or if you prefer (like I do) use natural lighting. Natural lighting provides all you really need with no equipment… plus it’s free! When customers visit your website they want to see a crystal clear picture of what you are selling. I guarantee you that if your pictures are bright, clear and a realistic picture of the colors, textures, etc. of your product, you’ll be way more likely to get a sale than if your product was photographed under a chandelier with tungsten(orange) lighting or if taken by a flash, which is way too harsh.

Thank you so much Shey for sharing with us today some of the secrets to your fabulous camera strap business and peeking into your creative world! Want to know more about Shey? Make sure to visit her blog!

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Happy Saturday! Shey has offered a generous discount to all of you too! Enter 15OFF for 15% off your entire order until October 29th in her *Shey*[B] Camera Strap Slipcovers store!! Thank you so much Shey!

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P.S. One last thing! Make sure to check out the 2011 Creative Estates Conference that Shey is organizing….I’ll blog more about that soon as it comes together but I’m so excited because I’m a featured speaker with some amazing women! So thrilled! Lil Blue Boo will also be a part of the handmade market! It’s is going to be so much fun and we would love to see you there! -Ashley

Actions with Paint the Moon Photography

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So, I’m pretty excited about today’s guest blogger. I have been following Annie of Paint the Moon on Facebook for a while and her photography is ridiculously amazing! Take a look at this…

All about photoshop actions from Paint the Moon Photography via lilblueboo.com

All about photoshop actions from Paint the Moon Photography via lilblueboo.com

Lucky for us, Annie sells her actions and textures!! I am a customer of Paint the Moon and I’ve been thrilled with how user friendly her actions are. Here is an example of one of my pictures straight out of the camera on the left, and the edited version using Paint the Moon’s Passion Fruit Tea from the Coffee House Bonus Set on the right. I love the feel of the edited version, and if I can use actions so can you!

All about photoshop actions from Paint the Moon Photography via lilblueboo.com

 

A little about Paint the Moon


Paint
the Moon offers Photoshop actions to help bring new life to your images and take hours off of your editing time. Offering professional editing tools that help you do everything including extensive retouching, essential workflow edits, and beautiful and unique artistic processing. Using Paint the Moon actions will make complicated processing amazingly quick. Paint the Moon actions are also highly customizable for just the right look and are a breeze to use.

Also offering vintage and fine art textures to add a unique and high end look to your final images. Included with every texture purchase is my exclusive Textures Rock action set that makes applying textures and customizing the final look super easy.
Paint the Moon also offers video tutorials to help guide you through the editing process (new ones are now being added weekly) and beautiful free actions and textures to try before you buy.

Now, some of you may be asking, “what the heck are actions!!?” Well, I will turn it over to Annie to explain that to you! Be sure to watch the video at the end and there’s a little discount too that will make you VERY happy.

Please welcome Annie to Lil Blue Boo!!
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Tell me about Photoshop Actions and How They Can Rock my World! :) 

by Annie

Paint The Moon Photography

Photoshop actions are simply a recording of all the commands used to create an effect in Photoshop or Elements. They can be replayed at the click of the “Play” button, saving you hours of time in editing as well as creating complex effects with little to no effort. Actions can be used to do simple corrections like increasing contrast and brightening an image, or can do complicated techniques like skin smoothing and selective color popping. They are also a wonderfully easy way to add an artistic flair to your images without needing to go through the tedious steps of creating the look from scratch … black and white looks, vintage looks, intense color pop, you name it. They can take a ho-hum image and turn into a WOW image in seconds, and can save an image otherwise destined for the trash into a keeper.

After downloading your actions (which have an .atn extension), open your Actions Panel inside Photoshop. Go to Window>Actions to bring the window up if it is not currently visible. Click on the little arrow in the upper right hand corner of the panel. Inside this drop down menu select “Load Actions,” and navigate to your saved actions. Actions are cross platform compatible, so both Mac and PC users can have fun with the same actions. There are actions available for both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. Most actions compatible with Elements are also compatible with full versions of Photoshop, but not the other way around. So, be sure to check your version of software for compatibility before purchasing or downloading actions.
Once loaded into your Actions Panel, simply select the action you want to run and click play. It will go through all the steps in seconds, leaving you with new layers in your Layers Palette and a new look for your image.

The first thing I always tell people when trying actions for the first time is “tweak your results.” Not every action will work perfectly straight out of the gate on every photo. Individual photos have different tones, exposures, etc. that can affect how an action will look when finished playing. After clicking play on your action you’ll be left with a series of layers … some simple actions will produce just one layer, while other more in depth actions will leave you with many layers to go in and play with. Take a look at what you end up with … turn layers on and off, adjust the opacity slider on each layer, etc. as you watch how each layer affects your image. Maybe your image is too bright? Well, take a look and see if there is a “Make Darker” layer to help adjust this or a “Lighter” layer that you can turn off or lower opacity on. Is your image not showing enough contrast? Take a look through the action’s layers for a contrast layer, sometimes called pop, and adjust this to your liking. Many actions will have layers that are “creative” additions, such as a “Vintage” layer or a “Haze” layer … you can totally customize your look by adjusting these (on/off or changing opacity).

Doing this extra bit of tweaking at the end of an action will give you a custom look that fits your style and your individual image.

All about photoshop actions from Paint the Moon Photography via lilblueboo.com 

And some examples of before and afters to show some of the looks actions can accomplish with the click of a button or two.

 

 

All about photoshop actions from Paint the Moon Photography via lilblueboo.com 

All about photoshop actions from Paint the Moon Photography via lilblueboo.com

 

All about photoshop actions from Paint the Moon Photography via lilblueboo.com 

Now, a video from Annie at Paint the Moon! You can click on the video for a larger version.

 

 

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Now, something that will make you very happy! Annie has offered a generous discount to our readers!! Enter blueboorocks for 20% off your entire order until November 5th!! How cool is that!? I’ve got my eye on the Essentials & Miracle Makeover Bundle ;-)

Big, huge thank you to Annie for this amazing guest post!! Be sure to follow her on Facebook for updates on new products, tutorials, and beautiful imagery. You will surely be inspired!

 

Photography via lilblueboo.com

Hip Mom Jewelry Camera Necklace Giveaway

Our fabulous sponsor Hip Mom Jewelry is helping us celebrate Two Weeks of Photography with Lil Blue Boo!

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Hip Mom Jewelry specializes in personalized jewelry. Whether you are searching for hand-stamped sterling or gold-filled, or a special piece to celebrate a birth, wedding, or anniversary they are happy to work with you to create your own treasured heirloom.

Hip Mom Jewelry is generously giving away one of the Shutterbug Photographer Necklaces to one of you! Take a look at this awesome necklace you could win, featuring a vintage camera. I know you camera lovin’ mamas are going to love this! Ashley has one and I am seriously jealous!

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::This giveaway is now closed. The winner is # 35, Donna from My Sweet Things. Donna please email lisa @ lilblueboo dot come to claim your prize. Thanks!

Thank you to Hip Mom Jewelry for this wonderful giveaway!

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Finding Backgrounds & Locations

This is one of my favorite parts about photography! Finding the location. Here are some ideas to help you find the perfect spot for your photos. 

Take a fun, bright quilt or sheet outside and drape it over a large patio chair. Sit your subject in the chair (candy always works for me), snap away, and then crop out the background.

Finding photography backgrounds and locations via lilblueboo.com

A little editing and voila! A pretty portrait! 

Finding photography backgrounds and locations via lilblueboo.com 

Drive around! You never know what you might find in your area…

…like this graffiti wall.

Finding photography backgrounds and locations via lilblueboo.com

Maybe a nearby hotel with a lot of history.

Finding photography backgrounds and locations via lilblueboo.com

The laundromat makes for a great location!

Finding photography backgrounds and locations via lilblueboo.com

A bright door (matching shoes are a bonus!)

Finding photography backgrounds and locations via lilblueboo.com

Speaking of doors, a white garage door is such a great backdrop!

Finding photography backgrounds and locations via lilblueboo.com

How about about an open field (bring an extra person to keep an eye out for snakes!)?

Finding photography backgrounds and locations via lilblueboo.com

An amusement park has fun bright colors for your backdrop and your kids will be happy :-)

Finding photography backgrounds and locations via lilblueboo.com

Can’t make it outside for your photo shoot? Here are some of our favorite links for building your own backdrops!

Mom*Tog - For moms who love digital photography

Have fun!

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Tips and Tricks with Gayle Vehar

Gayle is back for a second day, yay! If you missed her post yesterday on shooting in manual, be sure to check it out HERE. Gayle will also be judging our “Nix the Auto” Photo Contest so be sure to enter!



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Tips and Tricks to Get Better Photos

By Gayle Vehar

www.momandcamera.com


Okay, so we all want better photos. As much as I love my digital SLR and using manual mode on my camera, most of these tricks aren’t limited to those with “big fancy” cameras–these little tricks can be used by ANY camera! So, let’s dive in!

1. Turn off your flash! It is almost impossible to use on-camera flash and get a beautiful photograph. That super harsh direct light fired directly at your subject just isn’t flattering! I refer to it as the Flash of Death. If possible (and it is if you have a DSLR) turn off the flash and look for areas of beautiful natural light wherever you are. When indoors, that beautiful light can be found near glass doors or windows. When outside, that light can be found almost anywhere. I don’t mean NEVER use your on-camera flash–by all means don’t miss your daughter’s birthday or first dance recital over it. However, if you learn to turn off your flash and find the pockets of beautiful light, it will improve your photos 100%!!

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2. Not all photos need to have your child looking at the camera and smiling. When I first started taking photos (okay–I sometimes still do it), I was constantly telling my children to “Look at me and smile!” We aren’t always smiling in real life and often when someone tells us to smile we present them with a fake (for the camera) smile. Don’t get me wrong–I still want smiles sometimes, but I have learned that capturing my subjects when they are not looking or even smiling is way more precious. It is then that they are fully themselves.

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3. Fill your viewfinder with your subject. If you follow just ONE rule, have it be this one. If the subject is my son, then I fill the viewfinder with him, but if the subject is just his expression or his feet then I fill my viewfinder with that. If my subject is my blossoming tree then I need the tree to fill my viewfinder. But if my subject is just the beautiful blossoms on the tree then I need to fill my viewfinder with beautiful blossoms!

4. Practice everyday! I know this sounds CRAZY. I mean WHO could take a picture everyday, right?!?! I honestly think the fastest way to get better at taking photos is to do it everyday and share with others the pictures you are taking. It is also the fastest way to improve your manual mode skills. If you aren’t taking photos everyday (or at the very least many times a week) you won’t remember what to do when you pull your camera out or improve your skills.

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I’d love to have you come visit me over at Mom and Camera! I wish you the best in your quest for better photos!

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Big, huge thank you must go out to Gayle!! She has a such a gift and we are very thankful that she shared it with us here at Lil Blue Boo. We feel so lucky that she took the time to write these posts for our readers. Be sure to follow along at Mom & Camera for more amazing tips and check out her store where you can purchase some of her incredible prints!

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