June 30, 2010

Photography Tips - Part 3

Today we're adding text and clip art to our photos.  Once again, just watch the video to see how the photos/posters/headers were created.  Everything you see was done using all the free parts of Picnik.

1) Easy Peasy Collage for a Blog Header


Watch the how-to video:


2) Poster or Invite


Watch the how-to video:


Thanks for your excited comments about this photography week.  I wasn't sure if it was something you guys would like or if it would be a snoozefest.  It makes me so happy to know you're learning stuff and liking it. 

Tomorrow I'm going to give you a bunch of fun ideas for taking pictures.  I'm also going to list some great links for learning more about photography.  See you then!

June 29, 2010

Photography Tips - Part 2

Alright!  Today we're going to do some simple editing.  This can take a good photo to a great photo.  I LOVE to edit.  When taking photos, I think the most important thing you can do is get a really clear picture.  Then, you can edit to get anything else you need. 

I'm going to show you three before and afters and there will be a video following each one so you can see exactly how I did it, using Picnik.  That way you can get familiar with the program by watching without having to find where all the buttons are yourself.  The videos aren't crystal clear, but I think you'll still get the idea. 

1) Baby Editing
BEFORE:


AFTER:


Watch the how-to video:


2) Glamour Editing
BEFORE:


AFTER:


Watch the how-to video:

3) Cloning and Burning
BEFORE:


AFTER:


Watch the how-to video:



I hope you've got some new ideas to help you edit your photos.  Let me know if you have more photo-related questions.  We've got two more days of photo fun ahead.  I'm going to show you how to add text, clip art, give you some photo-taking ideas, and share with you some of my favorite photography links.  Thanks for coming over!  Now go have a PICNIK!

June 28, 2010

Photography Tips - part 1

I've had a lot of photography-related questions roll in lately, so I wanted to do a few posts about taking pictures.  If you're already a pro, then you have the next couple of days off.  If you're interested in taking better photos, then I think you'll like the next few days.  Here we go!

The first part of today's lesson comes directly from a reader's question:

...the reason I am contacting you is for tips on how you took the toy photos for labeling your sons toy bins. I think that using some of them as art work is an awesome idea, but I don't know how you got such great photos of the legos and other toys. Can you please give me some advice for doing this? Did you set them up in a box or something so that there aren't any distracting background images? Any tips you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


First of all, let's talk a little about about lighting.  I only use natural light.  No flash.  I look for a spot in my house that is bright, preferrably with indirect light.  Let me show you what I mean.  Here's a room that is bright right now.  See how the shadows are softer?  They are fuzzier?  That's a great time and spot for photos.


You want to avoid places or times where the shadow appear to be harsh and the sunlight is direct like this.


If you don't have a lot of windows in your house, you can open the garage and sit at the edge, where you're still in the shadow, but it's still bright as well.  Okay, so now you've found a bright spot to photograph.  We want to block out distractions.  Grab a piece of tagboard like this.


You 'll notice that if you put your tagboard on the ground like this and your object on top, you have kind of a limited view.  You can only photograph the top of the object like this.


Or you might end up not getting only tagboard as your background if you shoot the side of the object.


That's why you'll want to lay your tagboard against a wall as shown.  The book is holding it there.


Now you can get down and get a great shot of your object.  Problem solved.


We're not done yet.  Don't go anywhere.  Now let's apply all of this to taking pictures of people outside.  (You can only handle so many pictures of nectarines, you know.)  Enter Rex, sporting his wife beater around the house. 

You walk outside to take a picture of him and this is what you see.  Where should you shoot?


Well, let's try it out.  Here are some totally unedited photos taken in each spot.

Option #1: While you want your photo to be bright, you don't want harsh shadows.  Obviously this is unavoidable at times...you're at Disneyland and she wants her picture taken on the princess ride, blah, blah, blah.  But, if you are trying to get a great picture for a purpose then avoid the noonday sun like the plague.  Let's see our other option.

Here is our picture in the shade.  No harsh shadows on his face and the camera will compensate for the fact that it's a little bit darker.  It will expose the photo well.  (Plus, he isn't squinty-eyed from staring at the sun.  He's just squinty-eyed because he's sporting his cheesy grin.)


Okay, last plug for natural light here.  I took these two photos at the same place and time.  The only difference is that I used the flash on one and not on the other.  See how the flash creates all those dramatic shadows?  (Now I realize that you have a bit of an advantage here if your camera is nicer.  You can take a picture in a dimmer area and still get a pretty good, clear shot.)  This is the look he gives me when I ask him to look at the camera.  Mouth is always dropped wide open.  Very cute and natural, right?


I love talking and learning about photography.  I got my first DSLR when Rex turned 1 and I tried to learn everything I could about it.  I still have lots to learn, but if you have any photography related questions, let me know and we'll lay it all down this week.  Okay?  Tomorrow we're going on a Picnik.  I'm going to show you some tips on using this free software to improve your photos.  I love the ease of this program, plus you don't have to feel left out because you don't have Photoshop.  See you tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping by.

June 27, 2010

Sunshine Sunday - mountains

I grew up in Wisconsin.  Now I live in Utah where we are surrounded by mountains.  Even though I've lived here a long time now, the moutains still feel new to me.  They are amazing.

Last week we went on a little family hike.  Whenever we go on a hike I am in awe that this is our backyard.


Baden loved it.  He had a lot to point at.


I love seeing how tiny Rex looks compared to these huge trees.


My three men.


I like to let them get ahead so I can sneak in a few more pictures of them.


Once again I love the size comparisons.  Big rock.  Little boy.

We made it to the falls!  I even got a picture of myself with the boys!  That's pretty rare.


Everytime we head to the mountains I wonder why we don't do it more often.  What beautiful things do you have where you live?

June 26, 2010

Sharing Saturday - Your Questions

Hey guys.  We've got a few more reader questions we need your help with today.  Two of them are urgent!  We're calling in you as the expert.  Tell us what you know!




1) I have a question that I desperately need an answer to! My three, almost four month old only likes ONE kind of pacifier. It's the kind the hospital provided and I could buy more online but a) they're ugly and b) I would love to just run to the store and pick up a bunch of paci's. How do I get her to take other pacifiers?


 

 
 
 
 
2) Our anniversary is coming up and I would appreciate some inexpensive, yet thoughtful ideas of things to do for the hubby.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
3) Potty training.


 
 
 
 
If you have any questions you want to ask everyone, just drop me an e-mail and I'll add it to the list.  Let me know if it's urgent and we'll get it in fast, okay?  Thank you SO, SO, SO much for sharing.  I love reading everyone's suggestions and advice on Saturdays.  Kind of makes me feel like we're all sisters or good friends sharing great info.  Have a great day!

June 25, 2010

Feature Friday - Hot Rocks

About a month ago I saw this fun idea on eighteen25.  You bake rocks and then color on them with crayons.  The crayons melt as you do it. 
I thought this would be really fun for me Rex, so we rounded up some rocks from the yard and threw them in the oven.


It was really cool.  Now, you obviously want to make sure your child is old enough to NOT touch the rocks when told not to.  Rex is acutally really good about listening to my warnings, so I figured he could handle this.


I think this is a great, easy summer activity to do with your kids.  You can pick up a set of crayons in the dollar bin and rocks are free.


Rex picked this rock as his favorite.  He's been keeping it on his nightstand.


So, ready to give it a try?


Just stop by eighteen25 for the instructions.  They have a lot of fun summer ideas and a lot of easy, fun tutorials on their site.  Thanks for reading.  We'll have some more of your questions to answer tomorrow for Sharing Saturday.  See you then!

June 24, 2010

Welcome to Baden's Room!

Today I'm taking you on a little tour of Baden's room.  Let me first tell you what I was aiming for when I decorated it.  I wanted it to be a really calm, soothing, quiet room when he would sleep well.  I didn't want things to be too bold or too cluttered.  I also tried to make everything I could.  I was worried that since he was my second child that I would never make another thing for him once he was born.  I guess I didn't have to worry about that one.  So, here we go!

When you walk into the room you see the crib.  I made the bumper pads and crib skirt because I couldn't find what I was looking for.  I painted the piece above his crib.  I saw the quote somewhere and really liked it. 


Here's a close-up.


I love leaves and trees.


About a year ago they had the cutest line of pink bird stuff at Target.  Of course there wasn't a blue option, but I copied the look of their birds and carried them throughout the room.


The curtains were clearance table cloths and I added a little blue to the top and brown to the bottom. I backed them with black-out curtains.


The inspiration for the room also comes from this window.  We have this rose bush that climbs up the house in the back and frames his window (courtesy of the original owners because my thumb is NOT that green).  Sometimes there are little birds that perch there.  The flowers just seem to appear out of nowhere in the spring.  They bloomed the day before Baden was born last year.  It seemed like they were waiting for him.


This rocker was originally pink gingham when purchased.  My talented mom my recovered it for me.  I made a little bird pillow to go on it.


Here's the other side of the room.  You know all about the frame (painted with marshmallows) from yesterday's post.  I bought the shelf unfinished and then painted it and added knobs to dress it up a little.


I bought the letter "B" and then decoupaged on some cute birdy scrapbook paper.  Then I antiqued the edges a bit.


Of all the things I made in the room, this one if by far my best and my favorite.  I love his two-toothed grin.


Thanks for taking our little tour.  Tomorrow I have a nice and easy Feature Friday you can do with your kids.  See you then!




June 23, 2010

Painted Frames

Back before I started having kids I remember seeing a frame like this in a boutique.  However, it was really expensive.  Today I'm going to show you how easy it is to make these two painted frames.  I've got a couple little tricks up my sleeve.



This first frame was really easy.  I bought an unfinished wooden frame.  (If you live in Utah, go to Robert's and use a coupon.  I love that place!)  I painted it the color I wanted and then added the polkadots.  Here's the little secret my sister told me and someone told her and on and on.  Lean in a little.  Okay?  Here it is.  Use a marshmallow!  Isn't that genius?  You can pick - small or large.  Just dip it in a puddle of paint and stamp it on.  I like to make them more random.  (Otherwise you start over-analyzing them and you'll end up in the cuckoo house.  Really.)


Then take one of those little square inkpads and rub it on the edges to make it a little distressed.  You don't need the fancy "distressing ink."  What's the deal with that anyhow?  It's still ink, right?  I always wonder about that one.  Alternatively, you could use paint to dry brush it also.


That's it.  You could do a clear coat spray over the top.  I didn't, but you can if you need another step :)

On to the next frame.  Who doesn't love argyle?  Anyone?  I didn't think so.  This is also a lot easier than it looks.  I drew a line from the top left corner to the bottom right corner of the frame.  (If your frame is a different shape, you might have to alter that angle.)  Then I took my ruler and lined it up with that line and drew one parallel to it.  (Continue till you have lines across the whole frame and do it the opposite direction as well.) 


Then paint in four of the mini diamonds that make one big diamond.  Once it's all colored in, draw the dotted lines on with a ruler and a sharpie.  No one will notice they aren't painted on and they will end up perfect.  Don't worry about each line being exactly even.  (Once again, that will send you to the cuckoo's nest.)

That's it!  Yeah, I still need to put photos in this one.  It's only been on the wall for a little over a year.  Give me a break.  I've been busy with.....stuff.

That's all for today.  Tomorrow I'm going to take you on a teeny tour of Baden's room (where these frames are hanging).  See you then!  Thanks!

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