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hand holding a camera. Tips for photos.

Photography Tips: Capturing Photos Indoor & Outdoor

Photography By June 28, 2019 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

outdoor photograph of girl playing in mudYour kids are outside playing, and you see the perfect opportunity to snap a picture of your children covered in mud. The image is vivid and colorful with their squinting, freckle-faced smiles. Then they go inside. Mud gets everywhere. The dog is rolling in it; your kids are making a bigger disaster trying to help clean it all up.  The moment might be stressful now, but in a few months, you will be laughing over the whole situation. So, you decide to take another picture for memory’s sake. Once everyone and everything is *mostly* clean, you go back to look at the photos you took. You notice the indoor picture’s coloring is different than the outdoor picture. It might even seem dark in comparison even though you can see the image just fine.

Lighting and location are a huge part of photography and can completely change how a photograph is captured. Both Indoor and outdoor shoots give you options for creativity; they just require different techniques to capture the image you want.

Capturing Inside Photos

First things first, make sure you have plenty of light. Artificial light can be difficult to take photographs in if there isn’t enough. Utilize windows, open doors, or bring in additional lighting. Second, find walls or backdrops in more neutral colors and tones. While bright colors are fun, they cast color onto your subject. That could be the effect you are going for, but if it’s not, walls with whiter tones help reflect light making your image brighter. If you can take the picture without the flash do it. If you absolutely need the flash, use an off camera one. Point it at the ceiling or a wall to make the light bounce onto your subject. Avoid aiming the flash directly at your intended target; it flattens the image, creates awkward shadows, and the light from the flash doesn’t reach very far.

Be aware of your camera settings. If your ISO, the camera’s light sensitivity, is too high it can create grainy pictures. Shutter speed generally needs to be lower as well—especially in low light conditions.

Getting Great Outdoor Snapshots

woman posing for picture outside

In contrast with taking photos indoors, capturing photos outside has plenty of awesome natural lighting. There are a few tricks for using that bright light to your advantage. To start, use the ‘golden hours’ also known as the first and last hour of daylight to capture photos with the best lighting. Obviously, that isn’t always feasible, and the elements need to be factored into the equation. Avoid direct sunlight as it can make harsh shadows and/or cause a lot of squinting. Shaded areas are ideal. On top of finding the perfect lighting and time of day, the weather can also be a huge factor on shooting outdoors. If it’s cloudy or stormy, light is naturally diffused. This will affect the settings you will need to use on your camera.

Lighting Tricks

For those who have a lot of experience with photography, you probably know, or even have a reflector. Reflectors are great to help direct and soften lighting in your subject area. If you don’t own one, it’s alright. Utilize a plain white sheet as your very own DIY reflector.

To create softer diffused lighting, you can set it up to shadow your subject so there isn’t any harsh lighting directly on them. Due to lighting, you may have trouble with deep shadows under the eyes or chin? Have your subject sit on the sheet. Because it will bounce the light up under their face to soften the shadows. Another trick is if shooting in the shade is lacking the lighting dynamic you want, place the sheet on ground in the sun on the edge of the shadow. Move your subject to the edge of the shadow close to the sheet. As a result, the light will bounce off the sheet creating more dynamic lighting.

The great thing about photography is everything you learn is a great foundation for you to get comfortable with your camera. Be creative and don’t be afraid to experiment. Sometimes “breaking the rules” can create beautiful photos. Most importantly have fun capturing the moment.


Making Mother’s Day Special: A Gift Guide For Mom

Family Fun, Family History, MyCanvas Products By April 30, 2019 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Mother’s Day is right around the corner. With it comes the struggle of finding the perfect gift for the woman who has given us everything. It’s a challenge to find the perfect present for mom, but we compiled a list of thoughtful gift ideas that she will love.

1. Photo book

photo book standing open


To start off we suggest a customized photo book as an awesome option! It’s scrapbooking made easy. Save all of mom’s favorite pictures in one place for her to enjoy. If there are too many pictures to choose from you can always create a theme. For example, a past vacation, family reunion, or her growing up years. It’s a touching gift that’s completely unique to her. What’s not to love?

Create your photo book here.


2. Ancestry DNA Kit

Who doesn’t want to know where they originated from? Get mom a DNA kit from Ancestry to find out exactly where her family originates. You never know what cool surprises you might learn about your mom’s history. And it’s the perfect time to start making your family tree because it not only shows where her family’s from it will connect her to living relatives as well. The kit is $99 and totally worth it.

And speaking of family history…

3. Family History Book or Poster

Stories about your ancestors are an awesome keepsake.  Make a family history book about your family’s heritage. Compile stories you heard around the dinner table growing up or at family reunions. Call your grandparents to get more details about their parents and grandparents. Another option that coincides is to gift mom with her family tree. Map out a few generations and have it printed on a poster she can display for everyone to see. Either one is a wonderful sentimental gift that is sure to be passed down.

If creating a family keepsake sounds perfect, check out our next suggestion.

4. Family Cookbook Recipe Cards

Food is a central part of family traditions, and mom’s cooking will always be number one. Make it easier for her to recreate all your family’s favorites by compiling all her recipes into one family cookbook. No more digging through old index cards and worn out hand written recipes. Preserve great grandma’s cookie recipe forever. The book is sure to be a hit with your whole family. It’s also a great excuse for you to get all your family recipes for yourself. You can easily make a beautiful cookbook through MyCanvas.

Find tips on creating an awesome one of a kind cookbook here.

5. Recreate Childhood Pictures

Kid in Superhero capeOur next idea has been a fun trend on the internet. Gather together your siblings. Find some favorite pictures from your childhood to recreate. Get creative. Try matching the original photos as closely as possible. Find clothes and accessories needed by checking out local thrift stores.  Snap those updated pictures. Put them together in one of the following options: making a calendar with the snapshots of then and now. Print them out and display them in a photo cube. Make a photo collage with them all in one place.

This is a gift that mom will love, and it will make her cry—from laughing too hard.

6. Flowers

This idea is a classic. Pick up mom a stunning flower arrangement. The beautiful bouquet will brighten up her kitchen. Or if you want to go a more non-traditional route, instead of getting her a bouquet, pick her up some flowers she can plant. She will be reminded of you each time she’s out gardening. As a nice bonus the flowers will live longer than a bouquet.

7. Family Photos

If it’s been a while since your family has had family pictures taken it may be time to update mom’s photo wall. This makes for a great gift to coordinate with your siblings, as hiring a photographer may be expensive. It’s something mom will love, especially if she’s not the one having to hassle everyone to get the pictures done.

No matter what you do for your mom, she will love it because you thought of her. Make sure to make mom feel a little extra special this Mother’s Day.


Common Beginner Photographer Mistakes

Photography By May 19, 2017 Tags: , , , No Comments

Every photographer makes mistakes at the start. It’s the process of learning! However, those beginning mistakes can be frustrating. If you’ve tried to capture special, once-in-a-lifetime moments, only to have the photo look boring or blurry, you know how terrible this can feel. But it’s not too late to learn! These overviews of beginning mistakes will teach you how to improve your photography and avoid common rookie errors.


How to Take the Best Summer Photos (Ever)

Photography By July 12, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

Summer is the time for family, friends, fun, and of course, vacations! These warm summer days are the ideal time to get outside, play, and enjoy the sunshine. When all of these things come together, it’s a fantastic opportunity to capture new memories, especially with the ease of camera access on smartphones and tablets!


Smartphone Photography Tips, Tricks, and Hacks

Photography By May 13, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Camera phones are a very popular way to take pictures. Though they can’t do all the same things as a digital or DSLR camera, they are comparable. Even better, smartphone cameras fit easily in a pocket or purse, so they can (and usually do) always travel with you, making taking photos a snap. But, in order to get the most out of your smartphone photos, you’ll need to know how to use it to its fullest potential. Are you utilizing these handy and features that are included with your camera?