July 8, 2011
I'm not sure if I can claim photography as a true hobby, but I definitely aspire to be a better photographer and practice often. I took a photography class a couple of years ago that taught me a lot about lighting, perspective, and developing photos. We actually had to step into a darkroom and develop film, which seems a little archaic these days; and although it wasn't my favorite part of the process, it taught me a lot about the creative elements of a photograph.
In January of this year, I began doing Project Life; a project in which you take a photo each day of the year and journal about each one (it's kinda like scrapbooking for lazy people!). It's been a great opportunity for me to hone my skills, try new things, and has basically forced me to use my digital SLR camera on a regular basis. I now proudly shoot on manual everytime, and have been gathering photography ideas that inspire me on Pinterest (visit my photography inspiration board).
Here are some of my favorite photo inspirations at the moment and a couple of tips on how you can take these photos yourself (whether you've got a digital SLR or just a point-and-shoot).
Photograph your child playing in the sheets
Photo by Pink Sugar Photography
Who knew sheet play could be so cute? I love this simple idea. To get correct exposure, I would suggest taking these pictures during the brightest part of the day and letting in as much natural light as possible (i.e. open all your curtains), and also use lightweight white cotton sheets. Pick the brightest room in the house; you don't have to take the photos on a bed, you can get the illusion by just laying a white sheet on the ground, and using another as a cover. Putting your child in all white will enhance the focus being on her/him instead of her/his clothing.
Change your perspective
Photo by Amelia Lyon
We get so used to taking pictures of our kids straight-on, but amazing photos can come with changing your perspective. Little babies are perfect for photographing from above, since they can't sit or stand up yet. Why not try lying next to them and get a cuddly little shot like this? I can't wait to try it with my next little lovebug (I just have to remember to lay on my good side...).
Something else to take inspiration from in this photo... notice how baby and momma aren't centered? There is something called the "rule of thirds" in photography; it basically states that your photos will be far more interesting if you shoot your subject in the upper third, lower third, left third, or right third (as is the case with this photo) of the frame. See how the white space on the top and left of this photo creatively draws your attention to the two people? Shooting them dead center would have been a little too obvious and and a lot less special.
Shoot a silhouette
Photo by Kelly Hicks
I love, love, love silhouettes. This picture proves how gorgeous they can be. I love this maternity shot, but would also love a silhouette of me kissing my little one or just our faces looking at one another (or maybe combine the two and have my toddler kissing a pregnant belly – Oh, the possibilities are endless!). The best way to shoot a silhouette is to set your exposure on the window/light behind you; this tricks your camera into thinking it needs to adjust the lighting for that bright spot and will end up making whatever is in front of it appear dark.
To do this with a point-and-shoot or on automatic with your SLR, set your exposure by pushing the shutter release button (that's the one that takes the picture) down halfway while pointing it at the window, then with your finger still holding it halfway down, adjust your shot to get the person in front of the window, and then proceed to take the photo by pushing the button the rest of the way. If you are shooting on manual, set your exposure while pointing at the window, and then take your photo using those exposure settings.
Use natural lighting
Photo by Ashley Boomer
One of my favorite ways to shoot (and something I don't use often enough) is with natural lighting. Shooting next to a natural light source like a window with no artificial light sources gives you pretty pictures like this one with perfectly placed shadows. I not only love the idea of putting baby on daddy's feet (totally going to take this picture soon with my 18-month-old in her diaper), but the lighting adds a sweet, dreamy effect. Try turning off the lights and shooting next to an open door or window to get this effect (it works really well on faces too, especially your little ones!). Try different times of day and see how the photos vary with the change in natural lighting.
I hope these photo and tips inspired you a little! Try expanding the types of photos you take; you might be surprised at how good they turn out.
(P.S. I am most definitely an amateur when it comes to photography, so if I didn't explain something well or used the wrong terminology, don't judge!! I'm just sharing what has worked for me and what knowledge I have.)
crafting, Link Love, photography
July 6, 2011
While finding ideas for the 4th of July for my Link Love posts, I came across a headband that really inspired me (see it here). I wanted something for my daughter's hair to match her cute plaid dress for the 4th and this seemed like an easy headband to recreate. It only took about a half hour to make.
Here's a quick tutorial. Make it in any color you want, it doesn't have to be patriotic!
Making the felt flowers:
I started by tracing the lid of a baby food jar onto a piece of felt. This served as the largest circle on the bottom of the flower. I then cut two smaller circles (I just free-handed the shape) to layer on top. Using my pattern notcher (this is a tool I have from days of pattern-making in fashion school; you can buy them for pretty cheap on Amazon.com), I put notches in each layer of felt. Then I sewed a coordinating button on top of each, which held all three layers of felt together.
Making the headband:
To make the headband, I measured the size of my daughter's head and then cut a rectangle out of jersey that was roughly an inch smaller than the measurement in length (knowing that it would stretch once I put it on her). For the jersey, I just used one of my husband's old t-shirts (don't throw these away, you never know when they might come in handy!). I think the width of the rectangle was about 4”, but you can adjust this based on how wide you want your headband (I wanted a 2” headband).
After I cut it, I folded it in half lengthwise and sewed a seam down the side. Then I turned it right side out and pressed it so that the seam ran down the middle of the headband (this way it would be hidden when she was wearing it. I then sewed the ends together to make it a circle.
I also created a little band in the same manner and looped it around the headband just right of center-front; this gave the headband a gathered look in the front (see bottom-left picture above).
Putting two and two together:
I placed the flowers where I wanted them on the headband and sewed tiny stitches through the bottom layer of each flower in three different spots to hold it in place.
That's all there is to it! I love making flowers this way, the notches are so cute and simple. I am thinking of making more to put on barrettes as well.
And because I love my little bugger and can't get over her cuteness, here she is in all her 4th of July glory:
crafting, DIY, tutorial
July 1, 2011
4th of July will be here in just a couple of days, and if you're finding yourself in a pinch in terms of décor and ideas, there's still time! Check out the goodies featured in my first roundup of July 4th ideas (which included some great pinwheels, decorations, food & fashion ideas), and then see some of the fun below. A weekend is plenty of time to prepare for a big 4th of July bash!
4th of July Headband
This headband on Etsy serves as good inspiration for a 4th of July headband. This could be easily recreated from felt scraps and some elastic. She made the flowers from layered circles of felt with notches – easy! I'm thinking of whipping one up for my little girl this weekend... now if I could only get her to keep headbands in her hair...
Patriotic Fruit/Cheese Tray
Looking for ways to jazz up your food spread on the 4th? Arrange a fruit tray with watermelon, blueberries, and feta (or another white cheese) like Wenderly.
4th of July Printable
Free printables are the easiest (and cheapest) way to decorate! This is one of the best that I've seen available for the 4th. Download it for free at LandeeSeeLandeeDo.blogspot.com.
4th of July Banner
I love this simple banner idea found on sweetsindeed.com. No sewing necessary! Print out a saying like “Happy 4th” onto colored cardstock (one letter on each separate piece), cut out with triangle shape on bottom, and hang on top of rectangles of red, white, and blue fabric (cut with pinking shears) – voila! You automatically have a rustic 4th of July banner that took little time and money to make. (Try downloading a fancy free font like Royal for the letters)
There goes that Martha Stewart again, coming up with super-crafty ideas. I love these patriotic star medallions that she makes from cotton fabric and starch. Pretty simple, and a great addition to your 4th of July party décor!
4th of July Drink Parasols
I kind of have an obsession with drink parasols... These 4th of July ones on Martha Stewart are as simple as printing out her free template, taping, and sticking on a toothpick. Think of how pretty your drinks will look (or, if you're like me, think of how great your pictures will be...!). This is a must-do.
crafting, freebies, Link Love