February 3rd, 2014

Cards for your Valentines

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I can proudly say that I {heart} making cards. Every time I see this topic on my assignment list, I do little happy claps. Card making! For Valentine’s Day! In the photo blog business, it doesn’t get better than this.

Valentine’s Day might be the most enjoyable card making season: Christmas is so rushed and the milder weather is too tempting at Easter. So find some photos, download Home Edition, and grab some wine and chocolate to get yourself in a Valentine-y mood for card making!
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February 2nd, 2014

Posing for Romantic Couples Portraits

Your friend just got engaged, your parents are celebrating a big anniversary, or your sister is looking for a special gift for her beau on Valentine’s Day? Grab your camera because romantic portraits are a great way to improve your skills (and to create a special image for people close to you).

To start off: Fill the frame with faces

Image-1-Fur-hatsZooming in for a close-up is the perfect start to a couple’s photo shoot for one important reason: this is your chance to look at the light and how it hits their faces. Look for bright spots, hard shadows, and flattering angles. Note that too much light can be as much of a problem as too little, casting hard shadows and making people squint. You may want to shoot in a shady area, or later in the day, so the light is gentler.
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September 16th, 2013

The Great Photo Makeover: Part 5 Vacation Photobooks

Last month I started the Great Summer Photo Project, an endeavor to get my photos off the hard drive, out of the shoeboxes, and into books and albums where I can enjoy them.

Part 5 is all about making vacation photobooks.

Do it right away

My aunt is a seasoned traveller who has two habits when she returns from vacation: she unpacks the suitcases immediately and she organizes her photos into a vacation photobook within a week or two.

I’ll admit that it takes me few days to sort through the suitcases of six people, but I have started making vacation photobooks right away (click here to see the book I made from my New York pictures). It is very satisfying to get the photos edited, the bad ones deleted, and the images on paper.

So this weekend, in the midst of new school busy-ness and extracurricular chaos, I carved out a couple of hours to make my summer vacation book. Here’s how it turned out.

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September 16th, 2013

The Power of Prints

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How printing on paper is the ultimate photographic expression

It really is a golden age for photography, and digital technology is the reason. Nearly every aspect of the process is better in digital, from seeing your image as soon as you press the shutter to fixing images in post production. Sharing photos is also simpler—with a press of a button, I can share my image with the world just seconds after I take it.

There is one drawback to digital technology, however: viewing images on the screen will always be like shopping through a window. You can see the shape and colour, but the experience pales to that of touching the item, holding it in your hand, looking at it with no barrier in between.

The limitation of the screen

The screen of your computer, tablet, or smartphone has a limited size and resolution. Consider this: a quality 4×6 print has a resolution of 300 dpi, compared with an emailed photo of 72 dpi. This means that a basic print has more than four times the resolution of a digital photo.
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July 2nd, 2013

The Great Photo Makeover: Part 1

Warning: what you are about to see may be disturbing to organized readers. This is where I store all of my printed photos. The albums are in no particular order, and some are practically empty, with just a photo or two pasted in to prove that I have good intentions. The shoeboxes/suitcases below are stuffed with loose prints that go back—I am not exaggerating-over a century.

Great Photo 1Notice my computer, looking casual? It holds another 11,000 images.

I have 11,000 digital photos going back to 2002, and four shelves of prints in albums and shoeboxes, another 5000 images, I’m guessing. These 16,000 images haunt me, call to me when I walk into my office. Angela, organize us! Put us into books! You have so many good pictures—share us!

So this summer, I am tackling the photo mess and you are invited to come along. My plan is to organize the digital files, scan old prints, and create photobooks that I can share with friends and family.
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July 2nd, 2013

A new way to show off travel photos

Here is a paradox that every one of us has experienced. A friend gets back from a wonderful vacation, and she tells some great stories about what she saw and did. You are riveted. “That sounds awesome, I’d love to see some pictures!” you say.

One thousand images later, your face is sore from stifling yawns, and you have sworn to yourself you will never, ever visit such a wretchedly boring place.

If I’m being totally honest, I occasionally experience this same boredom with my own travel albums—too many shots of stuff I can’t really remember.

The problem with travel photos, I have come to realize, is that they are typically organized chronologically. But the chronological method has this drawback: our memories are more like a mosaic of impressions, some of them interesting anecdotes, others just fleeting feelings.

Perhaps it’s time for a different approach.
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June 12th, 2013

Wedding photobooks: 3 Ways

Here is a short history of the wedding album, from the perspective of my family.

  • The shoebox: One set of my grandparents got married in 1934. They were from Saskatchewan farming families, with not a lot of money. They have no photos from their wedding at all, and all of their early family photos were kept in a shoebox.
  • The colourized portrait: My other set of grandparents was married in 1948. Having left their respective farms to work in the city, they had a little more money, and access to a photographer. They had about four posed shots done, each developed and hand-coloured. One made it into the family album.
  • The traditional album: My parents married in 1971, and they had several wedding photos: snapshots, as well as professional pictures. They have a dedicated calfskin wedding album with vellum between the thick black pages.
  • The professional album: I was married in 1995, and our photographer created a formal album for us. The prints were mounted and presented in a leather bound album.
  • The scrapbook: My sister was married in 2000. She made a scrapbook of her wedding photos, complete with fancy paper, ribbons, and other decorative doo-dads.
  • The photobook: My other sister was married in 2008, in the era of digital photos. She has photobooks of her wedding, full of professional and candid shots, all made by friends and family.

Each era reflects a certain time and look, and I’m sure nearly every Canadian family has representatives from each of these different albums.
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