For a gift that doesn't scream "last minute" but only takes minutes, consider turning to your photo library. Easy to make — usually with just a few clicks — and plenty personal, photo gifts may just outdo Santa come Christmas Day. From custom Rubik's Cubes (yes, we're excited too!) to photo-filled iPad cases, we found plenty of ideas for anyone on your list. And since it's only November, once this to-do is checked off, you can carry on with more important things, like getting started on those new gaming consoles.
Crisp, white-covered landscapes, begging for a child to burst onto the scene — freshly fallen snow is the perfect backdrop for a Winter photo session with your kids. But how to capture your children and the light and fluffy snow accurately? We turned to Minneapolis/St. Paul-based photographer Amy Lucy Lockheart, founder of Amy Lucy Photography and a Clickin Moms mentor who teaches the "First Steps with a DSLR" class, to get some pointers for photographing this season.
She shared, "We take hundreds or even thousands of pictures of our kids outside during the Spring, Summer, and Fall. When it gets to be Winter, our kids go out to play, but our cameras tend to stay inside. It’s time to change that! Bring your camera when you go play in the snow. You may just get some of your favorite photos of your kids!"
Read on for Amy's 10 best tips for photographing kids throughout the Winter months.
Autumn's vibrant foliage may have fallen by the wayside, but that doesn't mean that your camera should go into hibernation. Thanks to frosted landscapes, holiday cheer, and warm creature comforts, Winter teems with photo ops that ought to keep that shutter snapping from the first snowflake to the first bloom of Spring. So don't get too snug by that toasty fire — take our checklist of must-shoot Winter photos along when you venture out into this chilly season.
It's time to unlock your Android device's full photographic potential. From pictorial collages to magic retouching tools, we've gathered the photo apps you need on your Google-powered phone or tablet including photographer-favorite VSCO Cam. Many of these apps can be downloaded for less than the price of a pack of gum and will have you feeling like a pro, no expensive camera required.
It's one of life's cardinal rules: a mom can never have too many photos of her little ones. But when she doesn't like to scrapbook or she has one too many frames around the house, those precious pictures stay hidden on laptops or thumb drives. This holiday season, give her a reason to display them front and center with keepsake gifts she's sure to love. Click on to see our favorite picks!
You may have noticed that your kids just love looking at themselves in the mirror — and hey, there's nothing wrong with that! This holiday season, indulge their self-love with photo gifts personalized with their sweet faces. Checking out everything from card games to teddy bears, you'll find the perfect excuse to put all those pictures to use. Shop on!
Holiday photos only come around once a year, so of course, you want them to be special. But who needs to hire a professional when you can take great card-worthy pictures yourself? All it takes is a little planning, and these easy tips will get you on your way. Have a read, get snapping, and buy your stamps in bulk because you'll want everyone to see the results.
Before you start snapping, iron out all the details about the kind of picture you want. Will you use props? Will everyone be wearing matching clothes? Will you have a list of poses ready to try out? Another important consideration is the setting. Photos in front of the fireplace or the Christmas tree are common, but don't rule out candid shots of festive activities like playing in the snow.
Pay Close Attention to the Background
It's easy to get caught up in the big picture ("Is everyone smiling?") and forget about seemingly unimportant things like the background. Don't let something like a branch sticking out of someone's head or a trash can ruin the perfect photo op. Before you snap, pay attention to all the distractions behind your subjects.
It's always better to have too many photos to choose from than too little. That means shoot till you drop! Try close-ups or step back for wider shots. Experiment with various angles (get low, climb high) and use different lenses, if you have them. With multiple family members in the photo, chances are they'll be picky about how they look, so give 'em plenty of options.
Get in It
If you want to hop in the photo, take time to plan this, too. Invest in a tripod so you can prop up your camera and in a remote so you can snap from behind the lens without having to use a self-timer. And if you want another friend or family to take the picture for you, make sure you're clear about how you want the picture to look.
Whether you're using your phone's camera or a DSLR, pay attention to the settings. If you have a large group of people in the shot, you'll want to adjust your focus so everyone comes out clear. And always look for natural, nondirect lighting because it can make the difference between a great image and a mediocre photo. Plus, remember to steer clear of using flash: it only makes photos look less authentic!
"Every year, my wife and I devote the month of November to convincing our children their plastic dinosaur figures come to life while they sleep," Refe Tuma wrote on his Tumblr page. The creative duo gives even the most elaborate of Elf on the Shelf setups a run for their money with their well-planned dino escapades. Whether the dinos are wreaking havoc in the medicine cabinet or taking bubble baths in the kitchen sink, the execution of the plastic figures' late-night adventures is pretty flawless. Check out some of the dino-mite dad's creations below.
We've Got Mail!
Sure, Summer may be considered the most snap-worthy season of them all, what with vacations and beach time galore. But Fall is equally as deserving. Just think of all the beautiful leaves and holiday adventures waiting to be photographed. Before time slips away and you're hearing "ho ho ho" instead of "trick or treat," get that camera ready and start shooting. Ahead, we've rounded up all the photos you're going to want to take and share with all friends and followers. Happy snapping!
Whether you're reconceptualizing your self-image or just giving a visual shout-out to your friends, our partners at ReadWrite break down how to look your best.
By Adriana Lee
Between social networking, professional networking, Internet dating profiles and other online memberships, our need for profile photos isn't going anywhere. On the contrary, with social sharing, job-hunting, dating, and more, the need will probably only grow. “People with profile pics are 11 times more likely to be viewed,” says Yumi Wilson, a corporate communications manager at LinkedIn.
If you're lucky enough to carry a Nokia Lumia 1020, iPhone 5S, Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One, then congratulations—you've got one of the best smartphone cameras on the market with which to shoot it. But even if not, you can still take great shots of yourself, as long as you keep a few basic rules in mind.
So let's say goodbye to "duckface," bathroom pics and "Miley" tongue, and say hello to great self-taken pics that flatter.
Don't Succumb to Duckface
I'm not sure what to blame for the weird, "hoover lip" scenario that keeps playing out in selfies across the land. Maybe it's an odd perversion of pouty mouth — the old modeling trick to purse lips to make them look fuller — or, more likely, a parody of it. Either way, this spectacularly bizarre facial caricature isn't very appealing. Just say "no" to duckface.
Do Choose Good Lighting
Lighting can make or break a photograph. Harsh lights can give your skin a strange hue or cast shadows that change the shape of your face. If you have a choice of setting, pick one with soft lighting and and never use your camera's LED flash when you can avoid it. Although the iPhone 5S now offers what it calls a "True Tone" flash, for warmer, more lifelike images, the result will still never be as good as decent ambient lighting. Finally, never snap a selfie with the light source behind you. Most people shoot with automatic white balance, and that will either make you look incredibly dark or thoroughly wash out your background.
Do Consider Background
A photo of you in front of the Eiffel Tower or the Grand Canyon? Good. Shot of you in front of a bathroom tile or messy sinks? Bad. If there's one selfie that deserves to be retired, it's the bathroom selfie. Let's just agree to put this one to bed, okay?
Don't Look Straight at the Camera
Don't look straight-on at the camera. Only celebrities and movie stars can pull that off and still look good—and even that's hit or miss. The most flattering way to hold your head is slightly turned, so that only one ear is visible in frame. It slims the face and makes cheekbones stand out. Also beware of holding the camera too high: It can make the head look too large in proportion to the body.
Do Watch Your Jawline
When people hold their cameras up for a selfie, some unconsciously cast their heads back. But by doing that, the chin and jawline practically disappears—in some cases, it can even create or emphasize a double chin. Instead, pull your head forward toward the camera for a more flattering look, says photographer Peter Hurley. This is good modeling advice, selfie or no, and Hurley's classic video — "It's all about the Jaw!"— provides one of the best explanations on the Web to illustrate this point.
Imitating Miley Cyrus' lingual antics at the Video Music Awards this year might be tough to resist, but arguably Cyrus—an avid selfie-er herself—can't even get away with shoving her ample tongue out into the spotlight. So what hope is there for the rest of us? The short answer: There isn't any. (Really, the only one who can pull this off is Kiss' Gene Simmons, who has been doing it since before Billy Ray's daughter was born.) To keep selfies from looking dated, or even flat-out bizarre, avoid poses inspired by pop culture news and memes. In other words, keep that tongue in your mouth.
Do Banish Fat, Outstretched Arms
If you're a frequent selfie photographer, the right apps and accessories can make the task easier, while also banishing extended "fat arm" syndrome. Plenty of camera apps feature self-timers (like this and this), and accessory makers offer wireless shutters that let you shoot remotely away from your device, such as the Smartphone Camera Remote, iSnapX, or the Bluetooth ShutterBall remote shutter. Or use the corded Apple stock earbuds or bluetooth headset instead.
And don't forget to experiment with extra features. The iPhone 5S now offers a camera burst mode, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 has "best face" mode, which selects the best shot from a blast of several fast snaps. There are also third-party apps that can put those and many other features at your fingertips.
Indeed, there are more tools available for the budding selfie photographer than ever before. No longer do people need to rely on others to capture their images—which means they can do it themselves wherever and whenever they see fit. And with a little know-how and common sense, they can make sure those photos project their best selves.
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