This is the fourth installment of Eight Steps to Better Photos on AUTO. Most people think the only way to really improve their photos is to learn to shoot on manual mode, and it's true that using manual gives you the most control over the finished photo. But what if you don't have the time or energy to invest in learning about exposure and aperture and all the other details of manual? That's where this series comes in. There are plenty of things you can do to greatly improve your photos even when shooting on auto, and every Friday for the next eight weeks I'll share one of them with you.
Step one | Step two | Step three | Step four | Step five | Step six | Step seven | Step eight
Most of the photos I take are of my own children playing around the house. Lots of them look like the first photo above - it's a cute snapshot of my daughter, but it's full of distractions - couch cushions, a busy rug, random bits of paper. (Alright, since we're being honest here, most of the around-the-house snapshots also include random toys, laundry I washed five days ago and haven't folded yet, and a healthy sprinkling of Cheerios in the background...) But that's just life with kids, and those sorts of photos are inevitable, right? Wrong! Well, stepping on Cheerios six times a day may be inevitable, but taking photos full of background distractions doesn't have to be. You don't even need to invest in expensive photography backdrops in order to take photos that have a professional-looking background. In less than 60 seconds you can find a better background in or around your own home. Keep reading for 8 great background ideas, and turn your distracting snapshots into beautiful portraits.
It's the end of the month again, which means I get to give away another year's subscription to Creating Keepsakes Magazine.
If you're already a scrapbooker or are interested in getting started with scrapbooking, this giveaway is for you! Creating Keepsakes has worked hard to listen to what it's readers want and give them just that. Readers asked for more two page, multi-photo layouts, and CK delivered. Every issue is full of tips and tricks to make scrapbooking easier and more fun, as well as inspiration for everything from quick pages to mini albums to more involved pages for those who want to spend a bit more time on each layout. You'll also find photography lessons, ideas for stretching your supplies, and handy sketches to help with layout design.
The winner of this giveaway will be able to choose whether she wants her full year's subscription - 6 issues - to come in the mail or if she'd prefer the digital edition, which includes all the issues as well as interactive content and how-to videos, and is viewable on any smartphone, computer, or tablet.
As always, all you need to do to enter this giveaway is to leave me a comment. For an extra entry, follow It's Always Autumn via RSS, email subscription, pinterest, twitter, or facebook, and leave me a second comment telling me how you follow. The winner will be announced on Wed April 3rd, so please either leave your email address with your comment so I can get in touch with you or check back next week to see if you've won. Good luck!
Growing up, we had creamed eggs and toast (goldenrod) for breakfast every Easter morning. My parents scheduled the Easter "festivities" like dying eggs or having an egg hunt for earlier in the week leading up to Easter and then reserved Easter day for a more religious observance of the holiday. This meant that my sisters and I were always a little bummed the Easter bunny hadn't visited* Sunday morning, but at least we knew we'd have a fantastic breakfast (which was sometimes pretty colorful if the any of the egg dye had snuck past cracks in the shells and colored the eggs themselves).
I turn to this recipe anytime I need a super easy dinner I know all my kids will eat without complaint. It's simple and old fashioned, quick and easy, and it just tastes good. (Keep reading for the recipe.)
So, the four of you who have been reading this blog for an entire year have probably noticed by now that I mainly stick to tutorial type posts as opposed to random thoughts kind of posts. That's probably because I really like telling people what to do. It could also be because I've always figured no one would care much about my random thoughts. (If you, in fact, do not care about my random thoughts, feel free to skip down to yesterday's informative and picture-filled post.) If you do care, even a little, about my random thoughts, here's what I've been thinking today: I have an irrational hatred of laundry. It's bad. I can't stand the stuff. Thinking about it makes me kind of angry. It's not even that it's all that difficult to do - I'm aware I have it pretty cushy owning a washing machine and all (poor me! I have to dump clothes in the machine and push a button! Then I have to transfer them to the dryer, and when they come out all clean and warm and fresh smelling I actually have to fold them and put them away!)
It's a stupid thing to complain about, I know, but here we are: there are seven people living in this house. 7 people = an unending amount of clothes to wash. And fold. And order someone to put away. UNENDING I tell you! It's not possible ever to be finished with laundry - it doesn't matter how many loads I do in a day, by the evening there's always another load waiting to get washed. And that's what gets me. It's always there, just waiting. Looking at me with judgmental eyes while I work on projects or read a book or watch Project Runway. Especially during Project Runway. Cuz couldn't I just fold while I watch?
So when my four year old son (prompted by a Phineas and Ferb maration) asked me a few weeks ago who my nemesis is, I answered without hesitation: laundry. He seemed a little disappointed. I think he was hoping for something more exciting, maybe imagining his mom battling an evil ice monster or even a platypus, but I battle laundry. Daily. And I'm starting to think it's winning.
This is the second outfit I refashioned for my daughter this season (find the first one here). I wanted to make something that was super comfy and perfect for playing, climbing and dancing. I also wanted something a little more interesting than a plain t-shirt and leggings, so I used mustard yellow and gray in a colorblocked design. This was (by far!) the easiest of all the outfits I made and I think just about anyone could do it. (Keep reading for photo tutorial.)
This is the third installment of Eight Steps to Better Photos on AUTO. Most people think the only way to really improve their photos is to learn to shoot on manual mode, and it's true that using manual gives you the most control over the finished photo. But what if you don't have the time or energy to invest in learning about exposure and aperture and all the other details of manual? That's where this series comes in. There are plenty of things you can do to greatly improve your photos even when shooting on auto, and every Friday for the next eight weeks I'll share one of them with you. Step one | Step two | Step three | Step four | Step five | Step six | Step seven | Step eight
Here's a fun little story to start things off today: last summer I was visiting my parents and we decided to take advantage of their nice backyard to snap a family photo. It's kind of a miserable process trying to get a good family photo when your family includes five kids under the age of 12, and we spent a good twenty minutes cajoling, bribing, and threatening kids to sit down and look at the camera while one of my sisters took 75 pictures of us. I figured I could do some head swapping and come up with something good enough, right? Well, I looked through all the pictures, focusing on finding the ones with the best expressions so I could start compiling things into one nice photo. That's when I realized that due to the child on my lap pulling at my dress my bra was clearly visible in every single photo. Very visible. Visible in a I-don't-think-I-can-fix-that-in-Photoshop way. It's the only thing I see when I look at those pictures now. All that work to get a family photo and one silly but extremely distracting detail means it's never going up on my wall.
Today's post is called "eliminate distracting elements" but it could just as easily be called "actually LOOK at what you are taking a picture of and make adjustments if needed before you waste a whole bunch of time and end up super disappointed because there's a dumb tree/piece of trash/undergarment in the way that's ruining the entire photo!" Take this picture for example:
I'll admit it: my favorite part about holidays like Thanksgiving and Easter (after the things we're actually celebrating!) is the food. And it's not even the turkey or the ham that I'm talking about. It's the side dishes. And appetizers. Everything from a simple veggie tray to special scalloped potatoes to those darn little smokies that are so much better than they ought to be - I just like an excuse to make all the extra goodies that I don't normally add to weeknight dinners. A cheeseball is one of those extra goodies. I love cheesballs, but I don't make them very often because I'd just eat the entire thing. So I save it for holidays or other get togethers. It's the perfect thing to make in advance and put out on the counter for people to snack on while the final bits of meal prep are under way. (Keep reading for recipe and photos on the process.)