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Posts Tagged ‘Photo tips’

Here is another post on the importance of backing up your digital pictures! I resurrect this topic often, usually right after I hear a story of someone that has lost all of their digital photos because the hard drive crashed on their computer. It breaks my heart every time and I’m hoping that as you read this you think, “Oh here is my reminder to do my own back up right now!”
An external hard driveMost people take their digital pictures off of their camera and store them on the hard drive on their computer or on an external hard drive. An external hard drive is not built into the body of your computer or laptop. It instead gets plugged in through the USB connection.
Both of these options are better than to simply leave them on memory cards and going through your memory card on your camera to delete photos to make room for new ones. Memory cards can get lost or corrupted very easily.
Putting your digital photos onto your computer hard drive is a good primary/temporary solution. Keep in mind, that your computer can hold only so much information. An external hard drive is a GREAT investment and you can get a terabyte drive for less than $100. Shop online for the best deals or use my first post for places to check. Click here. Unless you are a professional photographer or you take thousands of pictures on a daily basis, this size external hard drive will serve your needs for a very long time.
The other nice thing about an external is that you can attach it to any computer. So if something were to happen to your desktop, you could plug it into your laptop and still be able to access your digital photos.
Keep in mind, this is your primary location, so do not consider this solution as a ‘back up’ for your photos.
Upcoming posts will share more detailed options for truly backing up your photos. If you want an overview of your choices see my previous post here.

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I recently attended an event where renowned photographer Nick Kelsh shared this very interesting quote. “There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who have had their hard drives crash and have lost everything and those who are going to have their hard drives crash.”  Well there might be a third – those who don’t own any computers! But if you are reading this post, you likely don’t fit into the third category!

Think about this. Do you take digital photos? Where are they? If they are not printed, you better not have all your eggs (digital photos) in one basket (hard drive)! You truly need to have those photos copied in more than one location.

There are several options to choose from and to play it really safe you might want to choose more than two of these. I personally know someone that had not only the hard drive on her computer crash, but her external hard drive crashed the same weekend! YIKES!

  • Hard drive on your computer – yes, this is better than the memory card in your camera, but this is now your primary location so you should choose at least one other of the following and maybe even two!
  • External hard drive – this plugs into your computer and sometimes needs its own power source to run as well. You can read more about this in my very first post. Click here.
  • CD’s & DVD’s – these at least do not have any running parts. They may still become corrupt but they are a good 3rd backup location. You should do this with ALL your photos periodically. More will be covered on this in another post.
  • Off-site backup services – this usually involves a monthly fee where the service connects to your computer connects to the remote location and backs up everything on your hard drive. Another post to follow.
  • Photo sites – some companies that you use to order your digital photos as 4×6 prints will store your photos and allow you to re-download them if you need to for a per photo fee. Be sure that they will allow you to re-download the photo at the original resolution and size that you uploaded if you want to use this as one of your options – often the file will be reduced greatly. More to come.
  • Finally, there are software programs that will help and even prompt you that it is time to do a back up of your photos. And the really great software programs back up every time you use the program. And the smart ones know to only do a backup of the new photos or those you changed so it only takes a few minutes as you close the program. If you want to know which software I use, subscribe to my newsletter for more information.

Do you have additional back ups of your digital photos? Which method(s) are you using?

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Have you taken photos of a special occasion only to find out too late that the

washed out flash photo

Turn off flash

faces of the people in the photos are all washed out? The most likely reason for this is the automatic flash on your camera. We all think when we are indoors we need to use the flash but there are many times you can get a much better photo by turning off the flash. You can do this more easily than you think regardless of the kind of camera you use. Whether you use a point and shoot camera or have the best camera on the market, you should be able to manually turn off the flash.
You want to look for a symbol that looks like a lightning bolt or sometimes an eye. Typically it’s the same button
close up flash symbol

Top is sample flash symbol

that lets you select a red eye option for your flash. If you have a screen display, the flash symbol will either disappear or have a circle with a slash through it.
If there is daylight available, move your subject near windows or open doorways. You will want to position them so their faces are being naturally highlighted by the incoming light. You don’t want to position them directly in front of the windows with the light streaming behind them because their faces will be completely dark. Instead you want the light to shine on them.
If it is evening or outside light is unavailable, see if you can get closer to their faces or position them in the best light in the room.
Good light from window

Use the light coming in through windows


Additionally, you may want to use a tripod or do your very best to keep the camera extremely still since the shutter will be open for a longer period of time.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

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Whether you are a part time pro or the family photo nut, there is always something you can learn to take better pictures. Sometimes it can be the simplest thing that will give your photos a different look and usually it just takes some trial and experimentation. To get even more fun tips and ideas be sure to sign up for my newsletter. You can also follow me on twitter and friend me on facebook.
Today, I would like to share something that will really help you critique yourself and see what to look for to make that great photo.

By moving to the right we could have avoided the tree in the middle of my head

By moving to the right we could have avoided the tree in the middle of my head


You may not realize that making photo album will actually make you a better photographer. It’s true. When you actually go to do something with those photos that you took, you will see the quality or flaws,
Here I should have had Robyn move to the left

Here I should have had Robyn move to the left

in your photos. You’ll suddenly see that exit sign in the background, the people you don’t know in the background, the tree or pole sticking out of someone’s head, the public trash can overflowing and the list goes on. I’m sure you can guess how I know this! Simply printing the photos did not always cause me to see these problems. It takes actually creating something that makes these a glaring, flashing, red light. It can be a scrapbook, slip in album or even a digital album that you have printed into a hardbound, coffee table type of book. It takes this step because during this step you are selecting which photos to use and which can be left out and you are looking with a more critical eye. This also happens if you are looking to enlarge a photo to frame.
Here I am at least standing in front of the sign to cover it up

Here I am at least standing in front of the sign to cover it up

With this in mind, I encourage you to take the time to create an album – your style – your way, so whatever you choose, just go do it. You will see things in your pictures you wish weren’t there and you will be much more aware the next time you go to snap a photo.

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Building on my post from last week, I have a few more tips of pictures you should take. I hope you will try and enjoy these. brick courtyardThese will be photos you might normally not think of taking. Those of you that have turned to digital scrapbooking will find them especially useful and fun! But our traditional scrapbookers can use them as well.

Take background photos. These are photos that you can then use as the background of the page and still lay out photos on top of the picture itself. For example,

Original photo of path

Original photo of path

if you are visiting an old town out east or some of the villages in Europe, take a picture of the cobblestone road. If you are doing a family reunion, graduation event or something out on a deck, take a photo of the deck itself – the boards across the ground. If you are getting married, take a close up photo of the bouquet or the veil or the dress. If you are out on a cruise or at the beach, take a picture of the water or sand – looking straight down.

Bricks used as background on page

Bricks used as background on page

This way instead of trying to find a background paper to work for your page, you already have one. You can mute it by changing the opacity of the photo if you find it is detracting from the photos you are putting over the top of the page. It makes for a really fun layout and allows you to utilize the entire environment in your album and to tell the entire story of the vacation or event.

If you’d like more information on what products I use to create my digital books and create the layouts seen here, subscribe to my newsletter.

Have a great time on

Try to catch a flag blowing in the breeze

Try to catch a flag blowing in the breeze

your next vacation and if you see someone else taking a photo of nothing but the cobblestone road – it might just be me – stop and say ‘Hi!’

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For most of you summer has arrived, for others it’s just around the corner. Once school is out, many of you will be going on vacation.

Take a picture with the name on it especially when in a foreign country

Take a picture with the name on it especially when in a foreign country

What does that mean? Lots and lots of pictures! Before you pack up and head out the door, here are a few tips that may help you later.
If you are like most people, you do not have a photographic memory!  Many times you can’t remember what landmark is in the picture you took a month ago, much less last year. This is especially true if you are on a vacation that includes lots of stops or if you travel frequently. So why not use your camera to help you have a ‘photographic memory’?Big Island

  1. Take pictures of signs – like entrances to theme parks. You can then use these to simply trigger your memory or actually use them when you create the album as the title page.
  2. Every time you change locations, take a photo of something that tells where you are now. You don’t always stay in one place an entire day, so since your clothes
    Details can be educational to children

    Details can be educational to children

    won’t change, take a picture that shows you are now in a new place.
  3. Take photos of the description or details of the landmark or statue. Especially if it’s something really meaningful to you, you are not going to remember the details so take a picture of the sign in front of the statue with the detailed explanation.
  4. Take photos of the outside. If you are going into a museum or on a ride that is memorable but you Disney Quest

won’t be able to take pictures inside take one of the outside to help you remember that you stopped there and then simply write about the experience when you make your album.

I hope this makes your travels even more memorable! Check back for more fun ways to document and remember your vacations.

We took a photo of the fish ID card from our glass bottom boat trip

We took a photo of the fish ID card from our glass bottom boat trip

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Here is a quick and easy to apply tip to help you take better photos right away. When framing your photo – that is looking through the camera to decide how to take the picture, use the rule of thirds.
Thirds sample - Page 001The rule of thirds says that the entire

The couple is in the right third

The couple is in the right third

picture be divided into thirds both horizontally and vertically. The focal point of the photo should be where the dividing lines intersect. This makes a photo more visually interesting than to center the image in the middle of the picture.

Here is an obvious left third focal point

Here is an obvious left third focal point

This is not a hard and fast rule, as nothing

The cityscape starts in the top right third

The cityscape starts in the top right third

is in photography! There are times when this is just not possible to do.

For example, if you are taking a picture of a large group of people. But in many instances, you will find the photo looks much better.

The girl is in the left third

The girl is in the left third

I encourage you to give it a try and see what your results are. At the very

least, it will give some variety to your photos. Next time you take your camera out for some fun picture taking, apply the ‘rule of thirds’. Post your thoughts and results here.

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