Sunday, November 25, 2012

Holiday Photo Book Gifts for Mamatographers by Blurb Books

Click the pic for 25% Off a Blur book!
Happy Sunday Mamatographers! I hope you had a Gobbleicious Thanksgiving : ) The winners from last week's Happy Brands baby foods giveaway are located on the post below, in case you missed it!

Taking a break from the grind this week, but had to share this offer from Blurb Books for 25% off holiday gift book making:

Through Monday, 11/26 create the perfect pesonalized gift and get 25% Off with Blurb when you use promo code HOLIDAYTHANKS. Blurb books are a great way to make thoughtful gifts for friends and family while letting you unleash your creativity. Also, don't forget, with Blurb you can now create a photo book by uploading your Instagram and Facebook images. Don't miss out on these great savings and create your Blurb book today!

Stay tuned this week for a little something I'm putting together to help get you through picture taking during the holidays.

Happy Shooting, Vicky

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving Food Photo Tips & Happy Family Gobble Gobble Giveaway! | Mamatography Photo Workshops

This week's photo assignment in the Mamatography Photo Sharing & Critique group was a bit like pulling teeth! (But, I love everyone anyway!)
I asked for the Mamatographers to prepare a Thanksgiving themed dish, shoot it and share their recipe. I guess I'm not the only one that growls at my husband when he asks "what's for dinner"? WHAT A RELEIF!
Fortunately, my mama amiga runs a vibrant food business here in Panama, Express Nutrition. They have an awesome blog with tons of tips for eating WELL and healthy, by the way.
She is hosting an upcoming holiday themed cooking class so was in need of food photos and I as well to contribute to the given homework assignment. 

We gathered in the EN kitchen last Sunday and together, put an alternative spin on a traditional Thanksgiving!

A couple days late, back in the group, the photos came streaming in and Mama was impressed! The common feedback was FOOD PHOTO IS HARD. So here's some tips that I shared with the girls and some others I've learned along the way having shot lots of yummy food and displays in my career thus far…

First, cook something YUMMY looking, pretty but simple. Or buy something from somewhere you know has a style of food worth shooting. Maybe even a few different small dishes to create variety in your shots. Then, clear the room of the kids, open the window shades and take some time to shoot under nice light. Putting your food as close to a window as possible for strong light, consider what time of day is best for this.

Using a reflector will help you obtain light and vibrance in your shots. Definitely shoot using a low ISO, a tripod if you have one and compare a wide aperture, i.e. f1.4 to a small i.e. f8 or f11 and see what you come up with! Your camera's Shutter Speed isn't significant here (unless you use a flash or strobe lights) so you could just use Aperture priority...if you have a tripod. I say this because if you're shooting at a low ISO (to reduce grain) and you've chosen your aperture using shutter priority, the camera may choose a Shutter Speed which is too slow, thus you'll end up with motion blur in your shots. A BIG no, no for food and product photography.

Lastly, enjoy the moment, the look of the food and learn something from each shot as you go. Refer to your camera settings after you've taken a shot. How did it come out? Critique your self, but have fun with it!  

So, I guess you saw the word GIVEAWAY in the title of this post. I love nothing more than to give free stuff to my readers!

For this Thanksgiving themed piece, Happy Family Brands has generously offered these FREEBIES to new & old Mamatography fans.

My daughter Safi has lived on organic Happy Family foods since she first hit solids! 

This month's Mamatography Newsletter headline
Enter below for a chance to win their Gobble Gobble stage 3 pouches, Happy Munchies or Puffs, and a Nutrition Guide with a Happy Family Baby Tshirt.

This year, I am Thankful for my little family, my students and audience for working with and believing in me. Muchos Gracias!
I want to wish you all a prosperous, STUFFED Thanksgiving.
Happy Shooting, Vicky

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Photo Book Making Ideas :: Mamatography Photo Workshops :: Photography Lessons for Moms

I'm sure many of you like me are still reeling from Halloween. It was an interesting one for us living abroad this year. Come to find out, Panama is really into this Americanized holiday and Trick or Treating was a hit! 

Of course, I was snapping away, this being Safi's 2nd Halloween, and I wanted to get the photos off my camera and desktop asap! I find that if I let the photos sit for too long, they loose life and become just another (loved) memory. But, if I make prints and EVEN BETTER design an album, I'll have a kind of closure on a specific event or holiday. There's a sort of guilt that comes with being a Mama-tographer..a 'memory' alone just isn't good enough. I need to reflect, visually, and that usually means flipping through a photo book to get that satisfaction.

So this year, I made a Halloween book right away. I use Blurb for all my books, even my self published title, Photo Basics & Beyond. I have printed albums with soooo many companies over the years and Blurb really takes the cake!

Safi's 2nd Halloween, Panama 2012 | Make Your Own Book

They have multiple interfaces from the most basic for amateur photographers, Lightroom plugin options for pro photographers and InDesign plugins for pro designers and authors.
I have used all of the above and depending on what I'm working on is how I choose the right interface for each project.
For this, my simple little Halloween book, I used they're in-browser Bookify interface. This is the fastest way to design books to print with Blurb

Personally, I first take my fav shots into Lightroom or Photoshop for a little exposure and color correction before I make prints or books. This just assures the quality of the photo once it's no longer in a digital form. Prints show many more imperfections in photos than you'll ever see on screen, so if you're serious about photography, it might be worth your trouble to learn how to use these. I teach both of these in my online, live webinars.

Other books I've made 'just for mom' include this one that came from my Instagram's, how cool is that?! We snap all these shots with our mobile devices, and then what? Well Blurb offers two book options for printing your Instagram AND Facebook photos straight from the source. 

Their software automatically designs a book according to the timeline they were taken and VUELA, a photo book is born!!
Safi took the liberty of adding her own touch to my Instagram book : (
With every Blurb interface, you have extensive options for type, colors, photo layout and more. This was the first quality that I appreciated about their products, CHOICES! With other book makers I always felt pinned in a corner with no graphical options and I need options! If you're a writer or in a business where book making could be an asset for your company, you also have the ability to sell your books straight from their site or your own.

So to sum up this first tip for the upcoming Holiday season…
Output your photos! Don't let the memories collect dust in your computer's 'pictures folder'.
Make books that you and your family can flip through with joy. 

Blurb is offering 30% Off all Photo Books in the month of November! Get this deal HERE : )

Happy Shooting, Vicky