Have you ever seen those buttons on the side of some blogs and wondered what they are? Well those are grab badges. A grab badge is basically a way of publicising your blog- if people like what they read they may put your button on the side of their blog with your link- it is a way of increasing your readers and opening you up to new people you might not necessarily find.
The first thing to do is make a grab badge- over the coming months we will be design ideas. If you have an elaborate design in mind then it may be worth asking a designer to do it for you, (cheeky plug, my hubby and I do blog design at Pink Egg!) however it is really easy to whip up a simple photo grab badge yourself using any number of editing packages we have been showcasing over the last few weeks. I am going to use PicMonkey. Here is a step by step guide to making a super simple badge.
1. Open up PicMonkey and upload the photo you want to use.
2. The first thing you need to do is crop your image so it resembles something of a square. Don’t worry about resizing properly as we will do this later. Just click on crop and then drag the free box around until it resembles a square- it doesn’t have to be exact but get as near to a square as you can.
3. You may want to add some effects to make the photo look a bit more interesting. On PicMonkey just go to the second icon down which looks like a test tube type thing and you will find loads of great effects. Pick one that will make your badge stand out- after all you want people to be drawn to it enough to click to have a look.
4. Now it’s time to add the text. Just click the fourth icon down on the left hand menu which resembles a ‘P’ Here you are greeted with a load of fonts, have a play around with it and add your text on. Remember you can also change the colour and size of the font- it is worth having a few attempts to see which you like best.
5. Finally the last thing to do is resize your photo- if you go on to the first icon- basic edits and right down at the bottom there is resize. It is totally up to you to decide what size you want your badge to be, but around 200 x 200 is a good size- if your photo isn’t exactly a square just make sure you untick ‘keep proportions.’
6. Finally save and voila your new grab badge is ready! This is just a really simple way of getting a badge- but do have a play around because you will be able to make some really nice ones that really sum up what your blog is about- especially put some thought into your photo- you want one that reflects your blog.
Once you have made your badge you now need to create an html code for your image so you can place it on your blog. The best place to do this is using an online photo saving site like photobucket. Below are some step by step instructions- it is really simple.
1. Upload your image to Photobucket.
2. Go to the album which you have placed the photo in, hover your cursor over the photo and you will find a box comes up that has a number of links. Copy the html link which will look something like this.
<a href=”http://s1056.photobucket.com/albums/t372/mummydaddyme/?action=view&current=grab.jpg” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://i1056.photobucket.com/albums/t372/mummydaddyme/grab.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”Photobucket”></a>
5. You need to add your blog url into the html code so it knows to link back to you. All you need to do is substitute your blog name after the first a ref section.
<a href=”http://www.mummydaddyandmemakesthree.co.uk” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://i1056.photobucket.com/albums/t372/mummydaddyme/grab.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”Photobucket”></a>
6. You then need to add it into an widget/gadget or html box on your sidebar. This obviously fully depends what package you are using. For example on blogger you would ‘Add a Gadget’ and then choose html
7. Add the following code into your site. Make sure you change the bits in other colours to your own details.
<a href=”IMAGE LOCATION HTML CODE“ target=”_blank”></a><a href=”YOUR BLOG URL“><img src=”IMAGE LOCATION HTML CODE“></a></a>
<textarea id=”code-source” rows=”3″ cols=”13″ name=”code-source”><a href=“YOUR BLOG URL“><img src=“IMAGE LOCATION HTML CODE“ border”0″ alt=“TITLE OF IMAGE“ /></a></center></textarea>
The image location html code is the code from Photobucket.
Therefore say for example for my old blogger blog it would be something like this-
<a href=”http://s1056.photobucket.com/albums/t372/mummydaddyme/?action=view&current=grab.jpg” target=”_blank”></a><a href=”http://www.mummydaddyandmemakesthree.blogspot.co.uk”><img src=”http://i1056.photobucket.com/albums/t372/mummydaddyme/grab.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”Photobucket”></a></a>
<textarea id=”code-source” rows=”3″ cols=”13″ name=”code-source”><a href=”http://www.mummydaddyandmemakesthree.blogspot.com”><img src=”http://i1056.photobucket.com/albums/t372/mummydaddyme/grab.jpg” border”0″ alt=”mummydaddyandme” /></a></center></textarea>
8. Once you have done that you should have made your very own grab badge.
9. That’s it! It is that simple. Now be sure to spread the word and get adding other badges- networking is what will make your blog get more hits.
It’s a late one and a quick one for this week’s Friday post. The weather has just been too nice to stay indoors and blog so the I Heart Snapping team (and their offspring) have been hanging out on picnic blankets in the sunshine. Fingers crossed this weather hangs around because not only does it make us very happy but its much more fun for taking photographs if you can go outside and have some adventures.
So just a few fab links for you to check out this week…
The infamous photograph linky The Gallery had it’s 100th outing this week with the theme picture postcard and the entries were stunning. So if you must be online this weekend instead of enjoying the great outdoors, then pop across and check out all the pretty.
For a great post on all the different ways that you can show a bit of blog love, go and check out this post at Wonder Forest…. because it’s always nice to spread a bit of love.
That just leaves I Heart My Snap…. So get linking up your beautiful photographs. And don’t forget to grab the badge and link back to us so your readers can find some more gorgeous pictures.
Carrying on with our series of iphoneography apps that we just love, the next on our list is Pixl-o-Matic. Made by the people behind the photo editing app Pixlr (more on that in another post) Pixl-o-Matic is a little gem that makes your iPhone photos great. You can even use the app online as well, making it a hugely versatile package whatever your photo editing requirements.
The main thing to mention about Pixl-o-Matic is the filters. There is a huge range to choose from, here are some of our favourites…
These are just from the free version, if you want to pay 69p you get lots more choice.
There is also a really large selection of light effects, they really can add a different dimension to your photos. Here are just some of them.
There is also a large selection of frames, which again are useful if you like using them for your posts. Like other app’s there is a random button you can press which does some really different edits that you might not necessarily think of yourself.
Pixlr-o-matic is in my top five app’s that I use for iPhoneography so it is well worth a look- the free one is amazing so I am sure that the paid one is even better and at only 69p it is so much cheaper than most of the other photography app’s out there. I think my favourite part of the app is the fact that there is such a large range of light effects and filters- there are some that are really different than the other app’s out there.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for an app that does a huge amount of filters and effects- it doesn’t have the functions like crop or basic editing- but I don’t think that lets it down as the app’s main selling point is the wide range of effects- and it does that side really well.
We said it before when we were talking about giving your blog a ‘look’ and a brand image, but it doesn’t hurt to say it again. Your blog banner, or header or whatever you want to call it, is your business card. It is the first thing people will look at when they visit your blog, and a lot of people will make the decision to stay and read on or leave, completely based on your banner. The whole look of your blog is important, but the banner should tie your whole blog together and tell people what you are about in a quick and visual way.
There are a lot of beautiful banners out there, and it’s really daunting to know where to start, so today I’m going to take you through a hopefully, really simple tutorial of how to make a photo banner. I’m doing a photo banner because that’s what I do best. I use a photo banner on my own personal blog because it is the best way of telling people what I’m all about; my blog includes a lot of photos and is all about a little boy. Thats what Dear Beautiful Boy does and so that is what my banner tells you.
I use Picasa to do all my blog making and designing. Its a free download software for your computer and once you get to grips with it, it’s brilliant for creating photo banners, grab buttons (which we’ll be talking about in a few weeks) and collages. It doesn’t cost anything to give it a try, so why not download it and see what you think.
The great thing with Picasa is that making a photo banner is easy because it automatically shows you all the photos that you have saved in various folders all over your computer. So on launching the software just go to the correct folders to find the pictures you want to use in your banner.
Directly underneath where the folder name and details are, you can see a play button. Next to that is a collage button. By pressing that you go through to the collage editing part of the software and it will automatically take the photos in that folder and place them in your collage for you.
To the left hand side you will find a drop down menu which gives you a selection of different sized boards on which to arrange your pictures. At this stage it doesn’t actually matter what board you use as you will crop it later, but I like to work on a board that has the rough proportions of the finished article so that it is easier to arrange things how I would like.
On the left hand side there is also a tab entitled ‘Clips’ which allows you to add and remove photos that you would like to include. By pressing ‘Get More’ you will go back to the original screen where you selected your folder and you can select more folders of photos to include in your banner.
Then it’s simply a case of arranging the photographs as you would like them. You can resize and angle them to your hearts content. For this design I wanted the pictures the same size and an equal distance apart.
You can change the background colour of your board here too. For a clean look on your blog, it’s a good idea to make sure this background colours is either the same as the background of your blog, or a contrasting colour to make it stand out. When you are happy with your background and photo arrangement you simply click ‘Create Collage’.
This takes you to a different editing screen when you can edit the whole collages as if it were one image, but you can always go back and change the collage around if you need to by clicking ‘Edit Collage’ in the top left hand corner. Once through to the editing stage you need to trim down and tidy up any uneven edges on your banner, using the crop tool. You can also add text and retouch anything you aren’t quite happy with.
You can manually decide the proportions by eye or you can use a preset crop, but with this design I needed to chop off the excess background board to the right of the design.
I left a space at the bottom of my banner to add my blog title. So you simply use the text tool to select your font, size and colour and then move the text into position. Then click ‘Apply’ to make those changes to your banner. The final thing left to do is to export your finished banner to a folder on your computer by clicking on ‘Export’ at the bottom of the screen.
This window will pop up and you need to resize the image to however many pixels wide your blog is. This will differ from one blog design to the next, but is generally somewhere between 800 and 1200 pixels. You can check this first or export a few versions with different pixel sizes and see which one fits best.
And voilà! One simple and easy photo banner for your blog. I would like to apologise for the unexciting and unoriginal banner and blog title I’ve used in my example. It’s simply to give you an idea of how you might go about making a photo banner for your blog.
And remember that this is just a basic idea. Once you’ve got to grips with using Picasa in this way, the restrictions are only on what your head can come up with. Try more pictures, or less pictures. Text at the top, the side, over the pictures, in the middle of a circle of pictures. It’s just a case of letting your creativity flow. You could change your title font and back ground colour each month or season for a different look. You can swap pictures in and out to keep it up to date.
Just keep in mind at all times what your blog is about and how your banner represents that. This is probably one of the reasons why photo banners are so versatile, because you can simply include some of your best blog pictures and you are automatically representing the blog as a whole in your banner. Just take the I Heart Snapping banner; it tell you what we’re all about.
While we make no claims at all to be experts at photography- in fact far from it, we are learning all the time too, we DO know what we like and what products and pieces of equipment we can’t live without. There are literally millions of photography products out there and people all like different things- it is worth experimenting to see what you love the most. Here are our top pieces of kit that we can’t live without…
Obviously an essential part to being a photographer is your camera. You will find that most people have an opinion on the two biggest camera brands- Nikon and Canon. You generally either sway one way or the other. Both myself and Lucy are Nikon girls- I have the Nikon D5100 and Lucy has the Nikon D5000. These are both mid-level DSLR’s but you can get cheaper entry level cameras. One that I had a look at in the shop that was a little cheaper was the Nikon D3100 . The best thing to do is go to a specialist camera shop and talk to the staff about your requirements- however always check the online prices as they often are a lot cheaper.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the money to buy a DSLR, there are some fabulous compact camera’s out there and even phones nowadays can give some fantastic shots.
If you want to get into photography seriously then one thing you can’t be without is a tripod. By using a tripod you will help eliminate camera shake and overall your photos will look sharper and more in focus. Plus it means that you can occasionally get in the photo too.
Both Lucy and I use the Joby GorillaPod SLR-Zoom tripod, if you haven’t heard of these little fella’s before then they are definitely worth a look. They have flexible, bendy legs that mean you can hang it from so many different places- I have hung mine from trees, my bed posts (not for that reason!) and I have also placed in lots of different positions. It really is a great bit of kit that allows you to get some really creative and unique shots, and helps you unleash your imaginative side. However there are lots of different types of tripod that have different functions, they can cost from very little to hundreds of pounds.
I cannot live without my remote control, it comes in handy so much when you have a cheeky toddler. It means that I can set up the shot, and entertain her while taking photos at the same time- I really recommend buying one. Mine was so cheap, I have the NEEWER Wireless IR Remote Control which was only £2, but it does the job really well. However you can spend more if you want too.
It may sound like a silly bit of kit but it is so important to have a good camera bag as it is essential to keep your kit in tip top condition. There are so many nice bags out there, and you can even use one as a fashion accessory if you were that way inclined. I just have a Lowepro bag, it isn’t particularly fancy but it is small enough for me to lug about and take everywhere with me. If I had the money I would buy a Kelly Moore bag as I think they are lovely.
If you are going to get serious about photography and you have a DSLR, it may be time to think about lenses. We will be talking a lot more about lenses over the coming months but you can literally spend thousands of pounds on them. However you will notice a huge difference in any lens you buy- you can buy zoom lenses, macro lenses and fisheye lenses- there are literally hundreds to choose from. We will explain in a series of posts what different lenses will do, but it is important to bear in mind when buying a camera that the kit lens isn’t necessarily going to give the best shots.
There are so many products out there, and as your photography progresses and you get more in to it there are literally so many other pieces of equipment you can buy. However in the first instance I would say that those are the bits of kit I have found most useful.
Do you have anything that you can’t live without when it comes to photography? Be sure to let us know below.
Last Saturday the I Heart Snapping team ventured off to London to the first ever CybHer conference. To say we were excited about going would be an understatement, we’d practically been counting down the days. And for those of your who weren’t as lucky as we were and didn’t get to go, we thought we’d share our day with you.
CybHer is a blogging conference for women bloggers of all different genres. There were fashion bloggers, beauty bloggers, parent bloggers, lifestyle bloggers; you name it, they were represented at CybHer. There were a wide variety of different session topics covering everything from photography and design to vlogging and erotic blogging. And of course in the interest of keeping you guys informed on the latest tips and tricks, we made sure we attended the sessions for things that would help us to help you.
The day started with a lot of talk about the latest blogging buzz issue, that of follow and no-follow links for paid posts, links or advertising. I think it’s fair to say that this has had a LOT of exposure over recent weeks and months so we won’t go into the details. If you want to find out more then check out this really clear and simple post on the Tots100 site.
But as discussions moved on there were some interesting examples of different ways of making blogging income. One of the things that I think all bloggers should consider is that you’ll only ever make money (or be paid in kind with items for review) from your blog if you have built up authority on your topic and a loyal group of readers first. We’ll go on to how you might go about achieving this in a minute.
Lots of comparisons were made between blogger and journalists during the day. Yes, both write and may even be writing on similar topics, but bloggers ARE NOT journalists. Bloggers are a personality in their own right, so your personal endorsement of a product or service is more powerful to your readers than if a journalist wrote it. Journalists may have bigger readership but the conversion rate of people reading and then buying is far higher with bloggers than journalists. So remember this if you are dealing with PRs and brands and don’t sell yourself short.
We went to a fabulous session by Jo Gifford about making your blog beautiful. This is a lady who is singing from the I Heart Snapping song sheet and we were really inspired by her talks and presentation.
Basically a good blog needs both substance and style. It’s important to write good content that is honest and of quality, but without style you are missing a crucial step. Things that look good are more appealing to us and are therefore more communicative. So while content is key, making your blog pretty WILL make people stay and read it for longer. People engage more on attractive sites and your writing is therefore more likely to be read, so think about what your blog image says about you and about your content and make sure these are in sync.
Instagram and Pinterest are huge right now and their popularity speaks volumes about how visual we are. We like beautiful imagery and to communicate with it and through it, so joining these networks tells people what sort of person you agree via the things you like, photograph and share. Use them as a way of promoting you and your life and it can be a great way of promoting your blog.
The basic message was that the images and visual appeal of your blog sell it, so use this. One really great tip given was to make sure that images you use in posts are consistent in size. It looks neater and cleaner, which is more pleasing on the eye. I would also add to that to keep them similar in style, if you use retro style filters on he majority of your pictures than suddenly sharing a very bright, modern image will sit uncomfortably. Your images become part of your brand so try to make them in keeping with what you are already doing.
He reiterated the point that natural light is best. Don’t be afraid to move; either yourself or your model so that your “bum is to the sun” and your model has light on their face. He reminded us that you have to consider the background and whether it is too busy and distracting from the subject of your photo. But then you all know that already from this post on composition.
One thing that we haven’t really talked about on I Heart Snapping yet (but we will be) is props and how they can make a picture tell a story or explain more about the portrait you are taking.
Here are the portraits we took of each other. We were pretty pleased with our handiwork.
We had a fabulous day at CybHer12 and can’t wait until next year.
It is Friday which means that it is a double whammy of loveliness, firstly it is the weekend and secondly it is time for Links we Love and I Heart My Snap.
Here is what has been making us smile in the blog world this week….
It was Cybher last week and we had a lovely time. One speaker which really inspired us was Mario at Someone Once Told Me. It is such a simple concept but every day Mario takes a photo of someone holding up a piece of paper with some meaningful words that someone once told them. We both had our photo’s taken so expect to see us appearing on the website very soon.
One lady that I always love following on instagram for her wonderful photos is @rocketbum aka The Mummy Life, she does so many wonderful edits of her son- her blog and instagram feed is well worth checking out.
If you have a little one you love taking photos of you should check out Pretty.Little.Things which has started on Love from Mummy and Hollybobb’s blogs. Originally started by Lucy and I, we are very excited to see them make it even better.
If you want a super all round lovely blog to start reading- check out More than Toast. I have been following her blog for ages and it is just fab. Expect all sorts of going’s on- Alice writes about home design, recipes, and babies- which is just as well as she has just had another little addition yesterday. Congratulations Alice. She takes lovely photos too.
Love Bryony has a had a bit of a spring clean- we love what she has done with the design of her blog, doesn’t it look great?
Finally check out Dorky Mum’s post all about twitter- how fantastic is this post? So true and what a wonderful bit of writing.
If you have seen a post that deserves a shout out, or have written one yourself, be sure to let us know. We love to promote other blogs.
We are loving checking out your photos for I heart my Snap, they brighten up our day. If you fancy linking up a photo (or photos) your especially proud of, why not do it below? We love seeing what you have come up with. Remember to check out some of the other entries too, it’s all about sharing the love. And if you fancy it you can grab our badge.
You have taken the plunge and signed up for a blog. You may have even written a few posts and started to immerse yourself into reading others. However every time you click on another blog to read you get SERIOUS blog envy. How does everyone get their blogs so pretty? What are all the different things on their sidebars? What does it all mean? Some bloggers have so much information on their blogs that it can get confusing for new bloggers.
Here is our quick break down on the essential things you need for your blog.
Social Media buttons…
See those little buttons that appear in different places on people’s blogs….they come in all shapes and sizes and could be icons or could be badges…either way these little guys are super important to your blog- it means that all the people who randomly find and love your blog can follow you on all your social media sites.
The main ones you will see are twitter, facebook, pinterest, instagram and google + and most blog platforms have social media buttons you can use, you can design some yourself (we will show you how soon!) or get a designer to design some for you. Most of the sites also have widgets you can use to add your social media to your site.
(image from www.thelifeandtimesoftheworkingmum.co.uk)
On the side of some sites you will see icons advertising other blogs and on a lot of blogs you will see something that says along the lines of ‘grab our badge’….these basically are little badges advertising your blog. If you have a grab badge on the side of your blog and your followers really love it, you may find that your little badge will start appearing on other people’s blogs. It is a great way of promoting your blog and getting traffic from other sites too so it is always worth adding a grab badge to your site. They are really easy to make, and we will show you how in a later post.
Subscribe by email…
You want people to read your blog….therefore it is important to have a subscribe by email box on your site. People can still subscribe by RSS (see our recent post) but if you put a subscribe by email box in it can give another option for potential subscribers. Blogger and WordPress have pre-made widgets which you can install which will help you do this.
About me/Contact me…
It is always important to have a page or section on your blog that explains a little about you. After all a lot of people want to know how your blog started, who you are and what you do. It doesn’t have to be an essay, just a little insight into your life. If you blog anonymously you can still have an about me section- just explain about you but keep your name and major details secret. If you would like your readers to get in touch with you or like the idea of PR’s being able to contact you it is also important to leave your email address….you can ask people to submit queries by a form (again blogger and wordpress have widgets for this) or just put your email address link on there.
Tag Cloud/Search box-
If someone lands on your blog and likes what they see then they may want to read more of your posts. By putting a tag or category cloud on there with an instant link to some of your most written about topics, it helps readers to find things that interest them. Try not to use too many tags as you don’t want a massive section, it is useful to categorise your most used topics. Likewise a search box means that someone can find posts via keywords that interest them, or if someone has read a great post and wants to find it again- this can help.
Recent or Popular Posts…
Obviously you want your readers to get a taste of what you are really about- therefore it is always useful to add a Popular post link on your sidebar, Blogger has a widget that will do this for you meaning that it will automatically load your posts that have had the most interaction or page views, but if you don’t have this option you can always add a link yourself. For my personal blog I use Joomla and so therefore I have a badge on my sidebar which says ‘Favourite posts’- in here I add in all my posts that I have written that I love or that have for whatever reason had the most page views.
Blogroll or Blogs I love…
Blogging is all about sharing the love and networking is one of the best ways of getting yourself new readers. If you like a blog and read it regularly why not add it to your sidebar via a badge? Or blogger has a blogroll widget meaning you can list all the blogs that you really like. Some blogs even have a separate page listing their favourites. It is important to promote other blogs as it means that you make friends and may even get recognition on theirs one day too.
Here is a blog roll example from Mum2babyinsomniac.
So there you have it- that is a quick overview of essential things to have on your blog. Obviously there are loads more things that you could put on there but for beginners this is the best place to start.
I thought in our little composition master class this week that I’d talk about photographing children. I spend the vast majority of my time photographing my little boy and feel like I’ve learnt quite a lot about this in my time as a parent. If you read and take on board a couple of these little tips, then I can pretty much guarantee you will improve your pictures of children.
Children aren’t easy to photograph, and the difficulties of the task change as they change. But get it right and photographing children is not only easy but really fun, and gives you very cute results. What parent doesn’t want adorable photographs of their offspring? But this doesn’t mean that you need to pay someone to do it for you. You can get great pictures all by yourself.
I don’t profess to be a pro by any stretch of the imagination. But I do take an awful lot of pictures of children and these are the things that work for me.
Get Down To Their Level
By taking yourself and your camera down to their eye level, you enter their world and see it as they do. They are far more likely to want to interact with you and your camera if you are at a level where they can see everything that’s going on. Let them see your camera to get them interested, with older children let them take a photo themselves.
Young babies are especially tricky to photograph because they are so still. The temptation is often to photograph them from above as they lie on a mat or blanket, but lying down on that level with them will get you better and more natural shots. There is a place for photos ‘from above’ as they instantly make newborns look tiny and fragile if that’s what you’re after, but they will definitely have more personality in pictures taken on their level.
As they get older there are new challenges to photographing them, but working on their level is always worth doing. If you photograph them at or below their eye level but can distract them into looking up, you’ll get pictures where they look innocent and thoughtful. Smiley pictures where they look right at the camera will look playful. Pictures where they are looking down at a toy or an object will make them look contemplative and focused. So consider these things and thing about what you want to achieve.
Posing and fake emotion doesn’t read very well in pictures, especially pictures of children. So remove “Say cheese” from your vocabulary starting from now. It is far better to get children really engaged in an activity and take natural shots of them enjoying themselves, or to get them to shout and really laugh than to get a photo with a fake ‘camera smile’.
Keep Them Still
While newborns can be hard to photograph because they don’t do much, it can be harder still to photograph children as they get bigger and more mobile. Sometimes you just need them to stay still long enough for your photograph but they won’t play ball.
My biggest tip with toddlers is to make them a captive audience… literally! Find some way of keeping them contained and you’ll stand more chance of getting your shot. You may be able to keep them still by handing them a you or by singing a song and doing a crazy dance, but some of my best shots have happened when my son is quite literally stuck somewhere. Like in the bath. Or in his highchair. Laundry baskets are good too. Or toy boxes. I generally find that the novelty of being put inside something means that they’ll stay still that bit longer giving you a better chance of getting a photo.
I’ve found that with photographing bigger children that asking them to do something helps. Starting up a conversation will often do the trick. Tell them you just need them to stay still and answer some questions for you. Then make the questions as silly as possible so that they will relax and smile. Ask them to tell you jokes, to explain what they did this morning. And if in doubt resort to just asking “But why?” to every answer they give.
Let Them Explore
Children are naturally mobile and inquisitive creatures. If you think about the world from their perspective everything is a new adventure. So while it can be tempting to keep them still for a shot, sometimes ‘if you can’t beat them join them’.
Let them go, let them explore and follow them with your camera in hand. I often find that after taking some more posed shots that I end up liking the natural ones I take afterwards far more.
Catch Them Unawares
It may just be my personal opinion but I often find that the best photos of children are captured when they don’t know it’s happening. When they are inspecting a piece of carpet fluff, giggling with their friends or about to fall asleep. These little moments are what make up their childhoods and are lovely to capture for posterity.
But in order to catch those moments, you need your camera nearby at all times, with a charged battery ready to go. I never, and I mean NEVER, put my DSLR away in its bag when we are at home. It is always on the side in easy grabbing reach so that I can get the shot if something cute happens. This is why camera phones are so fantastic because they aren’t generally very far from your side. (Having said that, I’m a purist and I hardly ever take photographs using my phone. I’d rather use my camera any day because the better quality and resolution will make them easier to adapt later as needed.)
Take Lots of Photographs
If you take your children for a professional photo shoot, it will more than likely take an hour, possibly longer. In that hour a photographer will take literally hundreds of photographs. They might change their angle slightly or adapt their camera settings or even completely reposition everyone, but with each time they press the shutter they stand another chance of getting an awesome photograph. After your session they might show you 35-50 shots that made the cut.
They are the pros and they don’t expect to get a perfect shot in a single frame, neither should you.
In an average day I’ll take about 30-40 photos. Yes, everyday! Yes, I am obsessed. Some days it might be less but on days where I am after something specific it might be a lot more than that. On an average day, 3 or 4 shots might be of a standard that I’d use on my blog. Other days I get lucky and get lots of good ones.
But you’ll never get a good shot if you don’t keep clicking.
Photographers amateur and professional alike will bang on about light. But natural light really is best. You’ll get truer colours and better pictures with natural light than you’ll ever get with artificial light.
The sunlight on a child’s face makes for a beautiful simple photograph, whatever it is they are doing with themselves in the shot. And similarly children photograph beautifully in silhouette with the light behind them as they explore. So play around with where the light is in relation to them to get different effects.
I find photographing children really rewarding and really good fun. It can be hard work at times when they would rather play with your camera strap than play along with what you had planned, but the results can be amazing that it’s always worth the effort. My little boy has been the muse which kick started my love of photography and I can’t wait until the day he can look back and remember his childhood through photographs I took.
So grab your camera and get clicking. Take lots, move lots and let children be themselves in front of the camera.
The next free photo editing tool we want to tell you about is Be Funky. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, this editor comes both as an app and also as a free online editor too. I think both tools are good, but the online editor ever so slightly gets my vote.
Like most of the other editors we have discussed, Be Funky is really easy to use. In fact in my opinion, it could be the easiest. What you see is what you get, and what you get is rather nice as well.
This is just a really quick overview of what Be Funky can do, but no doubt we will explain more about it over the coming months. I really like the software- it is very clean and easy to use, and does have a lot of really artistic filters and effects. There are other things that you can do, like add speech bubbles or clipart which I personally wouldn’t use, but they would be very useful for some. If you like adding filters to your photos it is definitely worth a look as it has some really great ones and I love the fact that you can choose to paint only parts of the picture with the effect- it makes for some really interesting and varied photos.
I could play for hours on Be Funky, so if you like photo effects then I would definitely head over to their site and take a look.