Fall Leaves And Children

October 31, 2009

The Fall Leaves and Pictures of Children

It’s late October in Michigan and if you have leaves in your yard to rake and young children or grandchildren around, you would be well advised to take advantage of this setting, and use it at as an opportunity to create some picture memories that may never come again!

My grandchildren are getting bigger now, and the interest and excitement that they displayed about playing in the leaves when they were very little has waned. They have their own ideas now about what to do with their time, and I have found that if you have to push them too hard to do something, you are not likely to get good pictures anyway.

In addition to that, the weather in Michigan does not cooperate every year so that the leaves are nice and soft and fresh when they fall on the ground. Everything changes fast after we have had that first hard frost. The leaves turn into their beautiful fall colors of yellow, red, orange, and brown, and then “hang on” to the trees until it starts raining, or the wind blows strongly, or we even get “snow.” If we are very lucky, we may get one or two days of beautiful soft leaves to rake or blow into a pile for the kids to play in that isn’t soaking wet and cold!

Another Great Shot To Share With Family & Friends

Another Great Shot To Share With Family & Friends

My point is to make you aware of the “short window of opportunity” that you have with young kids and the weather and the leaves to be able to photograph some very special memories. The weather changes fast and little kids grow up fast too!

And so, be prepared and keep your Canon digital SLR camera ready to go when the weather is just right and the leaves are falling. Think about dressing your little ones in something complimentary to these fall colors, rake up a soft leaf pile, turn the little ones loose, and begin to take those pictures.

If you would like to pick up a few tips, I would invite you to go to “My Portfolio” and on each picture when you click on it; I have tried to give a little information to help you. If you are looking to capture a picture to put on canvas there is one really important thing that I have learned, and that is that you will most likely want to have your picture have your child’s entire body in it, while showing the activity they are engaged in.

Print Children\'s Free Spirit On Canvas For Your Home

Print Children's Free Spirit On Canvas For Your Home

This will make it more interesting for displaying in a special place in your home, or as a gift for a loved one. Have some fun and laughter with the little ones in the leaves this fall, and come away with a treasure to keep and to share!

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer


Best Things to Look For When You’re Buying A Compact Pocket Camera

October 29, 2009

The technology behind digital cameras evolves so much from year to year that it’s hard to keep up with the latest models. A three year old camera is already ‘old technology’ even though it may still be taking great photos. The major names in digital cameras, like Canon and Nikon, bring out at least one new model a year in each of their ranges, usually with updated versions coming out through the year. So how do you know the best things to look out for when you’re buying a new compact pocket digital camera?

Size does matter: the whole point of a compact pocket camera is that it should fit in your pocket or at least slip comfortably into your handbag without weighing it down. It should be light too, so that you are more likely to take it everywhere with you to take photographs of your kids anywhere and any time.

However there is such a thing as too small. The camera should fit comfortably in your hand when you are taking a photograph and you should be able to press the shutter release without it being too fiddly. You also need the camera to have enough space for a nice wide screen.

The screen is important: the great thing about digital photography is being able to view your photos instantly on the screen. Having a clear wide 2.5 inch screen makes viewing the photos much easier, so that you can see if they are sharp and that you have all the detail that you want. A small screen makes it hard to see whether an image is in focus or not, especially if your eyesight isn’t as sharp as it once was!

Pixels: these days many new models of pocket cameras have at least 8 megapixels, which is ideal for getting quality images that will enlarge well. You don’t need more than 10 megapixels unless you are planning on poster size prints, but don’t choose less than 8.

A good zoom: Small cameras have to be versatile. You want to be able to photograph everything from a beautiful flower to your kids running across a stunning landscape. A 4x zoom is the best and if the camera also has a macro facility, that is even better for taking creative close-ups of all sorts of things from flowers to food.

A good place to start your search for a compact digital camera is the Canon Powershot range, which has loads more features besides the ones I’ve just mentioned. Start reading up on some user reviews to see what people like about them. Even better, go to a camera shop so that you can feel different models in your hands and see what you are most comfortable with.

Mum and Photographer

Mum and Photographer

Top Photographing Children Tips

October 28, 2009

TonjaEveryone who has children or want to take pictures of children knows that children can be unpredictable. Being unpredictable can be frustrating, but it does not have to be. Use the top photographing children tips next time you grab your camera.

Have Fun
Children can often feel your frustration so relax for your sake and theirs. Remember when children reach walking age and beyond they are up and consistently on the move. Do not expect them to sit for long periods of time for posed photos. Posed photo often look unnatural and are fine when the occasion calls for it. I think everyone has experienced when a child gets to be a certain age and knows the camera is on them they make silly faces. Keeping children busy, whether it’s props or toys, helps them relax and forget about the camera. This also helps you associate what the kids are enjoying during this time in their life. Included their friends to help capture their childhood moments and they will be able to look back at who they knew. You can even have the children take pictures to tell a complete story. When taking pictures of children on the move being able to take continuous photos can help you get just the right picture. If you camera has a sports or action mode use it during this time. If you have a camera shy child or a camera who acts up for the camera, then downplay the camera. Get involved with what the kids are doing but be ready to take photos at a moments notice. Taking pictures at a moments notice is excellent advice for the teenager who does not want to stand around to have their picture taken. The use of a zoom lens if you have a DSLR camera or just the zoom on a point and shoot can take you out of their element for the natural shots.

On their level
Since children are all different heights, it is important to get on their level. We all have probably seen a picture of a child taken from adult height. The picture doesn’t usually show the child in the best way, maybe the top of their head is mainly in the picture or they look smaller then they are. Getting down on their level helps you focus on their world. The picture is more natural and contains backgrounds from their height. Take the time to focus on the child’s eyes. This draws people in when looking at a photo. Pictures taken of different body parts can capture a mood or illustrate how they are growing.

Since most of us, now have a digital camera or you can take pictures on your cell phone you can take lots of pictures. We now have the ability to delete the unwanted pictures and pick and choose the photographs we want to share.

Create Colorful Photo Calendar Gifts

October 27, 2009

TonjaDo you want to recapture the past year’s highlights? When you create a photo calendar gift you can share your family’s highlights with the ones you love. Are you afraid that you are not crafty enough or have the time to dedicate to a project? Do not worry merchandisers have something to offer for everyone.

Upload to a website
Type in ‘where can I create a photo calendar’ in your search engine you are over whelmed with the number of responses. The different websites allow you to upload your own photos to arrange your own personal calendar. Most can be created with three basic steps. First, pick the theme and style of the calendar you want. Some websites let you choose wall, desk, poster or magnet calendars. The second step would be to upload the photos you will use in the design. Depending on the design of your calendar, and the website, you can put up to four pictures in the design for one month. At certain websites, you can also personalize the important days of the month by placing a picture in that space. You can create a more personalized calendar by placing a caption in for that month. The third step is to preview and finalize your calendar. Once the calendar or calendars have been printed they will be shipped to your door. Pricing and shipping vary; make sure to check out several different websites that you trust.

Do-it-yourself blank calendars
If you go into most mass retailers, you can find the blank do-it-yourself wall calendars. There are even websites that offer this option. Some of the larger wall calendars have a 12 x 12 blank space that need to be filled every month. This gives you the option of creating a scrapbook page design for each month or you could simply place more than one picture in that layout. Yes, a scrapbook page design can be time consuming but it does not have to be hard. You can now purchase scrapbook kits, sold separately, that have everything you need to design pages. Scrapbook pages definitely personalize each picture and demonstrate that you spent time on the present. After the year is done, the recipient can place the scrapbook pages into an album to keep for years to come.

No matter which route you go, family and friends will have a memorable gift from you. The best part of giving a photo gift is the memories. Every month you will able to remember a special part of your family’s life.

Take Some Spooky Photos of Your Kids This Halloween and Share Your Pictures Online

October 27, 2009

Halloween is nearly here and kids everywhere are getting excited about their costumes and dressing up for trick or treating. This is certainly an opportunity not to be missed for catching their cute smiles and happy faces to send to the rest of your family so they can share in the fun. You also have the chance of getting creative with your photography at Halloween. Dark evenings and candle-lit pumpkins provide a special atmosphere which can be lost in the glare of a flash photograph. Give your older kids a chance to have a spooky portrait taken of them dressed up in their costume and share those pictures online too.

The flash on most compact digital cameras is fine when you just want to record a moment and the details of a costume, but it gives you no room for creating an atmosphere on a dark and stormy night. Try switching off your flash altogether and experimenting with different sources of light and see what you get. Older children will have fun playing along.

• First of all go to the flash options on your camera menu and switch the flash off.
• Now choose an ISO setting of 400 to help deal with the low light.
• Decide where you are going to take your Halloween photos. Have you got an area decorated with pumpkins and all the rest? Set up a few lit pumpkins to give an eery glowing light in the background.
• Find a stool or table that you can rest your camera on, to eliminate camera shake if you don’t have a tripod.
• Now get a flashlight with a strong beam.
• Have your child pose in front of your decorated background and have him hold the flashlight at different angles, below or to the side of his face to create spooky shadows. Take a few photos to try out and see the effects you are getting.
• Experiment with other light sources and angles: candles, flashlights shone through different colored tissue papers or cellophane.
• Try photographing your kids against a blank wall, with an anglepoise lamp set on the floor pointing up at them to throw enormous shadows on the wall. This works great if they are dressed up with accessories like broomsticks and witches hats which will make distinct shadows.

Your kids will have to be old enough to stand still for long enough for the photo to be taken and you may well get some blurred shots amongst them, but even blurry shots can have a fun spooky atmosphere and capture the spirit of Halloween far more than a straight flash portrait. You will notice a color cast from the artificial light and candle light making your pictures more yellow or orange than usual, but that is all part of the strange eery look. Do take some flash photos as well to record the costumes, but enjoy the fun of doing something different with your Halloween pictures of your kids and let them improvise all they want.

Mum and Photographer

Mum and Photographer

Keep Your Family Photo Memories Safe With Archive Photo Storage

October 22, 2009

With the advent of digital photography, most of us take more photos than we even did on film. No longer having to worry about the cost of processing and printing frees us up to snap away, to experiment more and to take loads of photos of our children, recording every special minute of their life. Downloading them onto the computer is easy enough but with the temperamental nature of computers we need to find a better long-term way of keeping our best photos safe. Everyone should find a way of backing up their photos that works for them and you should also look into archive photo storage to keep your best photos in good condition for at least the duration of your lifetime.

One reliable back-up method is burning your photos to CD or DVD as soon as you download them. CDs are supposed to be long-lasting, but it has now been discovered that they can actually degrade within 2 years and start losing content, if exposed to acidic elements in the air. The boxes that they come in don’t even guarantee their protection, as the plastic used in them can give off vapors that contribute to their deterioration. So if you want to keep precious family photos safe for many years what are your best options?

You can buy special pocket pages that protect CDs from corrosion and help them last for 40 or more years. These pages can be kept in an archival quality CD album or storage box which gives added protection and makes them easier to organize. For long term storage of your digital photos you should also choose archival quality CDs to burn them onto and label them with a special non-corrosive pen that won’t damage their surface.

It is up to you whether you store every single photo you take, or just choose your best for this special treatment. If you take loads of pictures but don’t want to keep them all, a good idea is to make a selection of your favorites about once a month and burn an archival CD to preserve them. This will ensure that you have a continuous record of your family history stored safely, without creating an unmanageable bulk of CD albums by storing every single picture. You should still back up all your photos to an external hard-drive or to your D-drive as you download them, to avoid losing them to computer failure before you have burned your CDs.

Make sure you protect your digital photos so that you and your children can enjoy them for years to come.

Mum and Photographer

Mum and Photographer

Should You Move Up To A Starter Digital SLR Camera?

October 20, 2009

Most of us start off our photographic adventures with a compact camera of some sort. Easy to use, small enough to slip in a bag or even a pocket they are very versatile and mean that we always have a camera with us when we suddenly get the urge to photograph our children. They can also produce some great quality pictures, so how do you know when the time has come to move up and buy a starter digital SLR?

If you love taking photos of your kids and family, but are starting to get frustrated by the limitations of your camera, if you look at a friend’s photos and wonder why your portraits don’t quite have the same glowing quality and the sharpness, then maybe it is a sign that you are outgrowing your trusty point and shoot camera and need something more to allow your photography skills to grow and develop.

An SLR camera gives you far more control over your photography than a compact camera, but the starter versions all come with easy to use basic settings, as well as more versatile settings for the creative photographer. This gives you the chance to experiment and learn when you have plenty of time, but still gives you the option of returning to easy automatic settings when you are immersed in the chaos of a birthday party and don’t have a minute to think!

With an SLR camera you can decide on the lens quality you want. The easiest option to start with is to buy a zoom lens that will take you from wide-angle to telephoto, but if you get more serious about your photography you can purchase other lenses that offer even better quality. For example, if you love photographing flowers a dedicated macro lens will give you whole new avenues of photography to explore. When you are looking at professional photos and admiring the sharpness and clarity of the picture it is the excellent quality of the lens that is responsible for this. The better the lens you have the better your photos can become.

When you are deciding whether to buy an SLR camera or not, bear in mind that you don’t have to give up your compact camera altogether. An SLR is bigger and bulkier to carry and though it is well worth it for the quality it gives you, there may still be times when you just want to slip a compact camera in your pocket and go. But once you see the improvement in your photography that comes with a good SLR, you’ll find it harder to go back to the snapshots of before.

In the end though it comes down to one thing: which camera is more likely to inspire you to take plenty of pictures of your kids, so that you will record all those special moments as they grow?

Mum and Photographer

Mum and Photographer

Putting Your Pictures On To Canvas Ensures That Your Memories Will Last A Lifetime.

October 19, 2009

I am no stranger to putting pictures on to canvas, but when I saw the word Tyvek on the website I had to check it out. Long before my pictures were gracing my walls or anyone else’s I would awaken at four thirty in the morning to eat breakfast before I left for work. My whole family is in construction so most days I would drive at least an hour to work almost always in a house wrapped in Tyvek.

If ever I had any questions regarding the durability of my photo canvas creations they went out the window when I discovered that one of the main companies that manufactures the canvas on which my photos are printed also makes the material that is so durable that they wrap houses in it before they add the siding. In fact they also offer the Tyvek up for inkjet printing to make ultra durable outdoor signs and banners.

I find photography more satisfying than the drywall finishing that I did for nearly a decade, although I do take pride in the fact that I can fix most minor home hiccups myself. While my skills in drywall make my surroundings strong and beautiful, my skills in photography lend strength and beauty to my memories as well as my surroundings.

Having a precious moment in your life on display where it can brighten your day bolsters that memory until its strength is unshakable. In a world where Alzheimer’s is striking before retirement, archiving a photo in a box isn’t enough. Displays like canvases and photo collages are the foundation of archiving those memories in your mind. I would happily lose my keys everyday if I never forget the day my son was born.

Plus, if it is out for all to see, it is easy to share the memories with friends and family. Pass on photos and stories like traditions and they will never be lost. What do you want your legacy to look like? My great-grandmother made the most amazing gravy, a recipe that endures unchanged to this day, but there is not one surviving photograph of her. In this day and age where there is even a camera in your phone, make sure your legacy is one of happy and enduring memories.

Every construction company that I’ve ever worked with has trusted Tyvek to keep out the wind and rain and ensure the safety of the house in progress. If it is sturdy enough to build your house with, it is durable enough to entrust your memories to. Start with one photo, a moment that you want to endure all the tests of time and go from there. Soon you will be surrounded with beautiful memories that grow stronger every day.

Christy Higby

Canon EOS Rebel T1i Digital slr Camera Body

October 18, 2009

TonjaThe Canon EOS Rebel T1i Digital slr camera body encompasses all the latest features of a Canon Rebel entry level camera. The Canon T1i looks the same as the XSi, but if you look closely you will see the differences.

The Front
Let’s start with the center of the camera face. The Rebel T1i is compatible with the over 60 Canon lens currently available. This allows for plenty of flexibility and development as a photographer. Behind the lens, Canon placed a CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) sensor. This 15.1 megapixel sensor can be cleaned with the built in EOS Integrated Cleaning System as found in previous models. This Integrated Cleaning System uses vibrations to remove the dust from the sensor. To the right- side of the lens, is where the lens release button is located. Above the lens, is the built in pop up flash that the camera uses for auto focusing and as a light source. When the flash is closed, you can place an addition lens in the hot shoe that is on top of the flash. Moving to the side of the lens, above the EOS label you will find a microphone. The Canon T1i shoots full HD video with sound or you can capture video in SD or HD quality. On the opposite side of the lens above the grip, is where the red eye reduction lamp, self-timer and the receiver for the optional wireless remote are located. The shutter release is also found on this side above the grip.

The Back
The large 3 inch LCD screen displays the menu, picture playback and live view mode. The viewfinder is above the LCD. Between the viewfinder and the LCD, is the sensor that turns the LCD off when the camera is placed up to the face. The viewfinder displays the photo shooting information on the bottom of the view. If you need to adjust the focus on the viewfinder use, the diopter correction knob that is found on the upper right-side of the viewfinder. The left of the viewfinder are the buttons that activate the menu and change the information that is displayed on the LCD. Moving to the right side of the viewfinder is where you will find a majority of the function buttons. In the far right corner is the AF/AE button and the focus point selection. Both buttons are used to zoom in or out. Below the two buttons is the speaker, so you can hear your video when played back on the camera. As you work down the right side of the LCD screen, the first button is the AV/Exposure compensation button. The next button is the print button; this button is used during the shooting of video and live view. The navigation pad is used to look through menus and some functions. Below the navigation pad you will find the playback button and to the right of the playback button is the delete button.

The Canon T1i is packed with plenty of functions but is well designed not to overwhelm the photographer.

Canon Rebel 12.2 mp Digital Camera Review

October 17, 2009

This review of the XSi, the Canon Rebel 12.2 mp Digital camera, will discuss why this camera is ideal for travel and on the spot pictures. Two main reasons, I think, that this is so versatile is the enhanced ability to take pictures in low light and the Highlight Tone Priority feature.

Low Light
When reading many reviews you may come across the term ISO. ISO indicates how sensitive the image sensor is to the amount of light present. To take pictures in low light, when a flash is not an option, you need a higher ISO. The Canon XSi has a dedicated button to change the ISO manually or in Auto Mode this will be done for you. If you have ever seen pictures that appear dotty, this is a result of what is referred to as noise. The higher the ISO then more noise you will receive in the picture. Canon has improved upon this situation with the XSi, which has extremely little noise at high ISO. This means better-quality pictures even if your pictures are enlarged. Top this improvement off with an Image Stabilization lens that is offered in a XSi kit or can be purchased separately. Canon does not include image stabilization in the camera itself. When shooting in low light your shutter speeds slows if the camera is moved even slightly the picture can blur. The Image Stabilization feature helps control the camera shakes.

High Tone Priority
The High Tone Priority allows for better detail of the highlights in a bright picture where there is contrasting light. Digital cameras have had a problem in this area. When taking a picture in a sunlit space you have shadows and highlights. The shadows and highlights lose their details. The shadows details can be enhanced when using photo editing software. The highlights details are lost and cannot be brought back. Canon has up the limits that can capture the highlights. For example, if you take a picture of a view with bright sunlight. The sky can appear white when taken with some cameras. The Canon XSi captures the blue of the sky. This feature is great when you have only one chance to take the picture, such as when traveling. Outdoor portraits will benefit from this feature. The picture still will have contrasts and can be edited with photo software. The camera’s shooting speed is not effected when this is enabled. The High Tone Priority is off by default when it comes from Canon.

These are the few notable features that will keep the Canon XSi high on your consideration list.

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