Today’s post is an extra special treat! We’ve asked the talented Chari Pack, founder & CEO of Persnickety Prints, to share with you some tips for taking better photos on our phones. Whether we’re promoting our businesses, taking photos for our scrapbooks, or just posting to social media, these tips are sure to take our phone photography to the next level!
Whether you’re digitizing photos with your phone or snapping pictures of your latest project, these tips will make a big difference for taking lay-flat photos.
1. Find Natural Light (no flash)
Lighting is everything! Find natural light next to a window. Avoid direct light, and use curtains to soften the photo when necessary.
2. Avoid Distracting Backgrounds
Avoid wood tables with grain, do not use the carpet or a distracting counter top. Use a clean background to focus on the subject and make it pop! Use a plain white poster board or colorful paper as the background.
3. Take Advantage of Grid Mode
Use the grid tool on your smart phone to level a lay-flat photo! Align the cross hairs to level the phone, and snap!
For iPhone: settings > camera > grid > on
For Android: settings > varies by phone
A few more….
4. Remove Unwanted Glare Scrapbook pages in page protectors may result in a distracting glare. Remove the layout from the page protectors and set them on top to take the photo.
5. Do a Quick Edit! After taking a photo, take 30 seconds to edit it! A quick auto enhance makes all the difference.
6. Try Different Angles
Capture fine details by changing your angle. In this photo I focused on the butterfly to show the dimension of the page. Tap the screen to focus and slide up and down to adjust exposure.
Now, get your projects off the shelf and take photos of them to share and inspire others. You’re creating art, we want to see it!
Thanks, Chari, for the great tips!
Close To My Heart is proud to recommend Persnickety Prints as a trusted photo lab for quality photo prints.Our commitment to memory keeping means we strive to provide products of the highest quality that will last. Persnickety Prints shares that same mission with all their photo processing and with their new Persnickety Box app. Every order is assessed, optimized, hand-printed, and quality checked. You already use the best products to tell your story—be sure that you have the best quality photos, too!
Do you want to be a better memory keeper but struggle with taking “good” photos? If your answer is yes, then today’s message is for you! Photography is both an art form and a skill. As a form of self-expression, sometimes we’re not quite sure how to express what we really want to—at least not in a pretty way. Luckily, the skill part of capturing a great photo can be taught! Today we are reviewing a few basic rules of photography composition so that you can capture all of those picture-perfect moments life throws your way in photos you will be proud to scrapbook!
1. The Rule of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds is a fairly standard rule most photographers try to follow. Imagine that your shot has a 3 x 3 grid over it, then line up the main focus of your photograph at one of the intersection points on the grid. In these photos, the photographer has applied the Rule of Thirds by placing the cat’s nose and the people’s heads in the right-middle square of this imaginary grid. This way, the main focus of the photo isn’t dead center in the middle of the shot, which helps to visually expand the space.
2. Leading Lines
When you line up your shot, you may want to look for a leading line. Leading lines are visual lines that lead to the main subject of an image. Leading lines can extend through your photo and create depth. In these examples, you can see how the photographer used the pathway and trail to direct attention from the edges of the photographs to their main subject.
3. Natural Framing
Framing doesn’t have to be something that happens only after your pictures have been developed or printed. Finding a natural frame and positioning your subject inside it is a great way to draw the shot together and add a more professional feel to your photography. Here, you can see how the woman’s hands and the wall provide a frame for the most important parts of the photos.
Photography is largely about perspective. Slight changes in perspective can make or break a photo. If you aren’t happy with the way your photo is looking, try switching up your position to alter the perspective of the shot. Whether you shoot your photo from above or below, as you can see in these examples, switching up your angle to get a different perspective can help you take your photography to all new heights.
Exposure is a vital part of any photograph. If a photo is over-exposed, everything will be washed out in bright light, making the subject nearly invisible. On the other hand, if a photo is under-exposed, everything in your shot will appear shadowy and dark. By finding a good balance, you can highlight your subject while preserving the beauty of your background. For this tip, we’ve provided an example of bad exposure with excess light to show you what you don’t want to happen. We’ve also provided a good example with a balance of light and shadow. Finding this balance may take some practice, but it’s definitely worth it to add greater polish to your photos.
6. Check Your Background!
From telephone poles, wires, and cars, to animals, and stealthy photobombers, nothing is more distracting than something you don’t want in the background of your photo. Since many cameras nowadays allow us to look back at our shots instantly, it’s easier than ever to deal with this, but it’s always a good idea to double and triple-check the background of each photo to make sure you haven’t accidentally captured a distraction.
7. Symmetry and Patterns
Most people have a thing for symmetry and patterns. Sometimes, we can’t quite put our finger on why we prefer certain photos to others, but chances are, symmetry and patterns (or the lack thereof) have something to do with it. Even if we aren’t aware of it consciously, we still notice. If you’re able to find a pattern or some beautiful symmetry in your shot, take advantage of it! In these shots, the photographer utilized the symmetry in the architecture of the cathedral and the natural pattern created by the flowering trees to appeal to that sub-conscious love of regularity we all share.
When you have a clear subject in your photograph, it may seem counterintuitive to focus on anything but that subject in your photo. However, if you are able to create some interest in the foreground of your shot, you’ll be able to create the illusion of additional depth. In these examples, the cup of coffee and the look-out binoculars serve as additional interest points, which also create depth in both photos.
This “rule” is related to the patterns and symmetry guideline. If you look closely, you can find triangles in nearly everything you see. If you can integrate triangles into the background, foreground, or leading lines of your photo, it will instantly enhance the quality of your photo. These triangles don’t necessarily need to be overt or obvious. Basically, you just need to be able to draw a triangle using points in the photograph. Whether the triangles are created by an architectural element or by people’s arms, they will add greatly to the aesthetic value of your photos.
10. Rules Are Made to Be Broken!
Once you have a good grasp of the first nine photography rules we just shared, you will be ready to explore your creativity and learn when and how to break them. If you want to achieve an effect that follows one rule while breaking another, go for it! Don’t be afraid to branch out and experiment on your own terms to find your niche.
Do you guys have any tricks or techniques that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!
Are you in one of those families that go to Disney World once year? (lucky! 🙂 ) Do you spend most Christmas mornings at home in your pajamas? What about a birthday? We all have one every year. Holidays, birthdays, vacations, parties—the good times just keep coming, and so do the stories and photos that accompany them.
Earlier this month we shared a post about New Ways to Document the Holidays. We thought it would be worthwhile to follow that up with some additional ideas and prompts for other recurring life events so that we don’t always take the same photos and document the same stories year after year.
The following ideas can be used to take photos while you’re in the moment or as a place to start your journaling while you’re documenting the memory. If you’re new to scrapbooking or you’re just in a memory keeping rut, the following prompts can help get you going.
1. Why are you going on this vacation?
2. How did you get to where you were going?
3. What did you pack for this trip?
4. Did everything go as planned?
5. Who are the people that are with you?
6. Did you meet any interesting folks along the way?
7. What was your favorite meal/restaurant on the trip?
8. What cool souvenirs are you bringing home?
9. Has your life been changed by this trip?
10. What are you celebrating?
11. Do you have an ornament you love? Where did you get it and why do you love it?
12. What’s a favorite holiday treat? (Include the recipe!)
13. How does your family serve others?
14. Do you have any traditions?15. How does “magic” happen in your home? (Ex. Is there an elf sitting on a shelf somewhere?)
16.What wrapping paper did you pick out, and why?
17. How did you decorate your home?
18. Are there special movies that you watch?
19. Do you have any favorite holiday music?
20. Did you get a cake? What flavor? If not, why?
21. What were the reactions to gifts? Was there a favorite?
22. Who did you celebrate with?23. Interview the guest of honor and record their answers
24. Screenshot and document birthday messages from social media
25. How has life changed since your last birthday?
We hope you’re as inspired as we are to use your next birthday, holiday, or vacation to try out some of these memory keeping prompts. You can document your memories in creative ways by taking photos and answering some of the questions we’ve given you here today. Focusing on sharing the details around all of these topics will highlight what makes each vacation, birthday, and holiday particularly special on its own. We’d love to hear your ideas for scrapbooking these types of events. Share them with us in the comments below!
Today’s post is an extra special treat! We’ve asked the talented Chari Pack, founder & CEO of Persnickety Prints, to share with you some tips for taking better photos on your phone. Whether you’re promoting your Close To My Heart business, taking photos for your scrapbooking, or just posting to social media, these tips are sure to take your phone photography to the next level!
The way you present yourself, your artwork, and the products you offer has a huge impact on your business. Online sales will increase with improved product images.
Here’s how to get the best shot every time…
1. Natural Light (no flash)
When shooting with flash, the subject can be blown out and shadows disappear. With product shots, a soft shadow adds depth. Keep your flash off and set products under a window using natural light.
2. Focus (tap screen)
On iPhones (and some Androids), tap the screen to focus on the subject. With the new iPhone 7S, use the portrait mode to blur out the background. With a short focal length, you’ll get that fancy dSLR camera result without the fancy camera.
3. Hold Steady & Level
“Camera shake” can cause your photo to be blurry. Use steady hands or prop up your phone and use the self-timer for best results.
4. Staging (simple & clean)
Invest in a white poster board—it’s the perfect solution for a DIY backdrop! Wrapping paper or other fun colors can be added for dimension. Be sure your CTMH projects, cards, and layouts stand out. “Busy” photos tend to get lost in the crowd.
5. Get up close and personal!
Don’t be afraid to get up close to show details of the project. Shoot from different angles to focus on specific elements.
6. Pay attention to shadows
Be sure the shadow of your hand or camera is not in the frame. When shooting scrapbooking layouts, take the pages or photos out of the Memory Protectors™ and set the pages or photos on top. Your reader won’t notice they’re not inside, but they’ll notice the plastic glare when they are.
7. Use negative space to add text
Use the rule of thirds and push the subject to one side, leaving empty space to add a text overlay. We love using Rhonna Designs (iPhone and Android) and Adobe Post (iPhone and Desktop) to add text or a message to your photos.
8. Scale size with objects or pretty hands
Use objects to show the actual size of your product so the viewer isn’t misled. Well manicured hands holding a product works, too!
9. Keep your phone/camera level
When shooting from above your product, be sure your camera is flat and level. Use the Snapseed App (free on iTunes and Android) to adjust horizons if needed.
10. Take 1 minute to Edit & Enhance before sharing
Even a quick click of the enhance button in your native camera will give your photo just enough pop! We love Snapseed (free on iTunes and Android) for enhancements.
The Rhonna Designs App is not only great for text overlays: We also use it to journal and design prints for our scrapbooks!
We can’t wait to see you put these tools into action! Additional photo tips and tricks can be found on the Persnickety Prints blog.
Thanks, Chari, for the great tips! Let’s show her some love in the comments, folks!
It is so incredibly easy, nowadays, to take pictures of pretty much every moment in our lives. However, when you want to preserve some of these moments, how often do you find yourself overwhelmed with having to choose which pictures out of the hundreds you actually took deserve the space in your scrapbook?
The good news is that you don’t have to be limited by a 12″ x 12″ page anymore! With a little help from our Pocket Plus™ Memory Protectors™, you can easily add as many as 12 more photos to your story with just one protector. Check out our layouts below for ideas on how to include more of your favorites without compromising the beauty of your pages.The top image of this gorgeous layout shows you the original, while the bottom shows the same layout with the addition of two 6″ wide Pocket Plus Memory Protectors. We were able to add several more photos to this layout and still keep it neat and engaging. Pretty amazing, right?
The trick to using these protectors is to design your pages with the additional photos in mind. When working with the 6″ protectors, plan the coordinating pages in halves. That way, when you lay either of the protectors on top, they create a secondary “page” using half of the art from the original.Here’s another beautiful example using our 4″ wide protectors, which only cover up one-third of the original pages. Starting at the gutter, measure 4″ into your page and consider that as the space, from top to bottom, the protector will cover with the additional art.
Don’t forget, these protectors have backsides, too! Since you can flip the protectors back and forth, you have that many more options for photos, journaling, or even pocket cards (AND you have a fun, interactive element for your layout!).
We love taking pictures of the special moments and people in our lives, and when you use our Pocket Plus Memory Protectors, you can share so much more of them and their stories in your scrapbooks!
Do you have any layouts you’re working on that could use a little help from these protectors? We love to hear from you, so tell us all about it!
With our Annual Convention drawing closer, we thought it’d be fun to share with you some amazing places to visit while you’re in Salt Lake City with us (you’ll want to take lots of photos!).
1. Family History Library
The incredible collection of records at the Salt Lake City Family History Library include over 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records; 727,000 microfiche; 356,000 books, serials, and other formats; over 4,500 periodicals and 3,725 electronic resources. These records span the globe, coming from the United States, Canada, the British Isles, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. If you want to learn more about your family heritage or if you’re already an avid heritage scrapbooker, this is a great place to visit!
2. Temple Square & Visitors’ Center
If you choose to visit the beautiful gardens and incredible architecture at Temple Square, take some time to check out the Visitors’ Center. It’s a great place to learn more about the area’s history and see beautiful original paintings. Plus, Temple Square is just about a block away from the Salt Palace where Convention will be taking place!
3. The McCune Mansion
Completed by the renowned architect S. C. Dallas, the McCune Mansion was finished in 1901 at the price of $1,000,000. It features beautiful furnishings and materials from around the world, and some even say it features a few ghosts! If you want to take a look inside the world of the elite in the early 1900s, make sure to schedule a tour to see inside this amazing mansion.
4. The Beehive House
Brigham Young was a Mormon prophet and leading founder of Salt Lake City, and the Beehive House is the older of his two Salt Lake City residences—and it is just two blocks away from the Salt Palace Convention center. Built in 1854, it stands today as a museum and offers tours of what life was like for the Young family back in 1855. If you’re all about free, you’ll love the free tours of this historic home, which take place Monday–Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. beginning every 10 minutes.
5. The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art is a five-time recipient of funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation and a 2015 and 2016 recipient of the Art Works Grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts. It’s also located right next door to the Salt Palace!
6. The Roof Restaurant
If you’re looking to experience some of the finest dining in Salt Lake, then The Roof Restaurant is the place for you! It’s located on the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, which means you get to enjoy breathtaking views of Temple Square and Downtown Salt Lake City while dining.
7. The Olympic Cauldron
This is the torch that burned bright during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. It’s located at the south end of Rice-Eccles Stadium on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. If you drive past it, you’ll definitely want to snap a picture of this 72 ft. tall work of art. You can even head to nearby Park City to experience some fun rides in the Olympic Park.
8. Red Butte Garden
Red Butte Garden, located on 100 acres in the foothills on the eastern edge of the University of Utah, is an official arboretum of the state of Utah. The garden is the largest botanical garden in the Intermountain West with over 21 acres of developed gardens and five miles of hiking trails winding through an extensive natural area. You’ll be taking tons of photos if you visit here!
9. Eagle Gate
You might pass right under this monument on your way to Convention! It was built in 1859 and commemorates the entrance to Brigham Young’s property at the mouth of City Creek Canyon. It was originally topped by a wooden eagle, which was eventually replaced by the current 4,000-pound, bronze eagle, with a wingspan of 20 feet. Carved by Ralph Ramsay, the original wooden eagle is on display at the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum located at 300 North Main Street.
If you haven’t registered yet for Convention, you still have time! Registration has been extended until May 15th, but sign up sooner to guarantee your spot!
Which place makes the top of your list? Utah locals, what photo-worthy places did we miss in Salt Lake City? Tell us in the comments below!
It’s officially the holiday season! This magical time of year always has us pulling out our cameras and taking photos, but there are some special holiday moments you might not normally think to photograph! Here is a list of 15 things to be sure to capture with your camera this winter:
1. Picking out the perfect tree
2. Opening your daily advent calendar3. Little ones eating sticky candy canes
4. Kiddos writing letters to Santa
5. Decorating the Christmas tree (and putting on the star!)
6. Each kid’s favorite Christmas ornament (after all, your photo can last forever, though the ornament may not!)
7. Family story or Bible time
8. Fur babies in their Christmas gear
9. Christmas shopping
10. Little hands helping with holiday baking
11. Kids wrapping presents all by themselves
12. Setting out Santa’s cookies
13. Blowing or throwing snow in the air
14. Warming up by the fire
15. Hot chocolate mustaches
Also, be sure to check out our video on how to take high-quality photos with renowned photographer, Wendy Whitacre, of Blue Lily Photography.
What unique Christmas photos do YOU like to take? Tell us in the comments below!
So you want to learn how to take good photos, do you? You’re not alone. With technology these days, it seems like it would be pretty much impossible to take a bad picture, yet we all end up with our fair share of photos that make us cringe. The red eyes, the shadowy faces, the artwork shots that look like they were taken in a cave—we’ve all been there. But the good news is there’s hope! With a little knowledge, you can take your photos from blah to brilliant and upgrade your layouts and blog posts from meh to marvelous. Let’s get started.Learn the power behind the buttons. All of the bells and whistles on your camera may seem overwhelming at first, but if you take a few moments to sit down, read the guidebook, and master a few key features, your pictures will reap the benefits. It won’t take any longer than scrolling through Facebook or watching an episode of your favorite sitcom. Plus, you will likely be able to find helpful tutorials through online outlets, like YouTube.
Be conscious of lighting. When it comes to lighting amateur photos, the natural light of the sun is your best bet. But channel this power wisely. Always make sure the light is indirect. Try to take photos near a window, an open door, or even a covered porch. When possible, avoid using your flash—it can make things look flat and just plain unnatural.
Pay attention to backgrounds.
Hanging laundry? Bad. Cozy fireplaces? Good. Pay attention to what’s lurking in the background of your photos. Whatever it is, it’s more noticeable than you think.
Keep the props simple and meaningful. Remember that the reason you’re taking the picture in the first place is to highlight your subject! Don’t lose track of the subject by overloading the photo with unnecessary props and clutter. A few simple and visually enticing props, such as a string of ribbon or a vase of flowers, are all you need to capture the right mood.
Get up close and personal. Don’t be afraid to get cozy with your subject, whether it’s your artwork, your child, or the cat from next door. Let the subject take up the majority of the frame. If your subject is human, hold the camera at their eye level to capture the full force of their gaze.
Be patient enough to snap lots of photos. Thanks to the advent of digital photography, we no longer live in a day when we have to fret about how many exposures we have left. Take advantage of this freedom and snap away! Have the patience to keep taking pictures and adjusting as you go until you capture just the right shot.
Edit your photos after you take them. Photo editing software programs can perform visual wonders in mere seconds. If you don’t want to lay down the big bucks for programs like Adobe® Photoshop®, try free services like picmonkey.com. For smartphones, try apps like Snapseed or PicTapGo. Even just a few tweaks—like brightening and sharpening your photo—can make a world of difference.
With all that being said, always remember that you are the photographer so your photos should reflect your unique perspective. Keep these basic guidelines in mind, but don’t be afraid to follow a gut instinct or pursue a wild idea. Photos are their own special form of art, so get creative! Start from right where you are and remember that every professional was once an amateur.