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Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts


How to use Photoshop - An Atly class that will rock your socks!

Eeek! Have you guys seen Melanie's new Photoshop class on Atly that's being offered!?

She's pre-selling spots at an awesome price and you guys do NOT want to miss it. I've been chatting with her a lot about it as she's helped me design our Bright Night prints, like this one below...

...and there are SO MANY great tools in this class.

Photoshop 100 is for users with little to no experience in Photoshop, or those who have a basic knowledge of the program. The course provides an overview of the entire program of Photoshop, and it focuses on the most important tools that will help you most.

This course is divided into 4 parts and covers the following:
First you immerse yourself in Camera Raw and go over basic adjustments like exposure, temperature, white balance, contrast, highlights, shadows, saturation–and what those mean and how they can change your photos. 

Then you dive into more detailed adjustments and edits such as removing blemishes and unwanted items in photos. This is then followed up by putting that final polish on your Photoshop skills by learning how to apply them in the real world. You focus on adding type, work on photo collages for blog headers, newsletters and more.

Plus, Melanie has a fabulous way of explaining things easily and clearly so that they're super easy to understand, which I know I desperately need, when learning something new!

You can preregister for Melanie's online instructional classes, by signing up here, so you're all ready to go when everything's released in a few days.

Dude, who doesn't want to know how to use Photoshop better!? - it's so helpful in all parts of my life, whether it's designing something at work, making up a church flyer or even just whipping up a few awesome photos for scrapbooks. I'm way excited to learn more too!

THANKS Melanie!



An Impromptu Snow-Filled Photo Shoot

A few days ago I had a wild hair, and decided that we needed to go do a snowy, woodsy photo shoot together as a family.
Problem was, we didn't have a photographer and there wasn't really any snow on the ground... where we lived anyway. So we drove up a canyon or two, until we found some.

Yes, I was determined... and as far as a photographer was concerned, our self-timing camera and a remote clicker would just have to do :)


Caravan Backdrops are Tops Yo!

Between Facebook and Instagram I'm getting bombarded with the same questions about the Caravan Shoppe backdrops and huge chalkboard prints I've been obsessed with using a bunch lately.

I know I mentioned these great prints quickly in my last favorite things post, but I wanted to show you how I REALLY use them, and talk about the best way to print them, photograph with them, pricing etc...

K, so first things first, ALL of these prints are available FOR DOWNLOAD at the Caravan Shoppe. In fact, everything on their site is downloadable... so you won't find any finished, shipped-to-your-door products there. I think that's what a lot of you have been a bit confused about.
After you pick what you want from the Caravan Shoppe and pay for it, you will receive a zipped file via email that contains a printable PDF of the artwork that you have purchased; along with detailed instructions. It's then yours for life and you can print and reprint it as much as you want! (just be sure not to sell or use the prints to make any profit for yourself, mkay?).
Save some dough and enter 'houseofsmiths20' (all lowercase) to get an additional 20% off your order. Yeah, like their stuff wasn't already cheap enough- I know. ha!

There are a handful of different things you can do with the print files once you have them, (craft projects, frame them, make cards, decorations, etc...) but as you can see, I've been using the files to print large format prints of each design for photo backdrops. Just this past Saturday night I brought the latest Halloween themed backdrops to our annual Smith family Halloween party, and they were a hit!


The Best Backdrops & Settings for Family Photos

It's Fall photo shoot time, everyone!!! This is one of my favorite times of the year to get pictures taken, because the weather is nice and cool. That means you can layer your family up with lots of cute colors, pull out your favorite pair of boots and pick a fab Fall spot for photos.
We've gotten asked more than once about how we pick out our own family's photo backdrop locations, and quite honestly, we tend to always go bold, but simple. This usually means a fun colored wall, or a backdrop with awesome texture.
The best backdrops and settings for family photos - thehouseofsmiths.com
The best backdrops and settings for family photos - thehouseofsmiths.com
The best backdrops and settings for family photos - thehouseofsmiths.com

That being said, we have also done lots of different kinds of photo shoots with our family, that don't necessarily fall into this category, ones that are more laid back and somewhat casual.
The best backdrops and settings for family photos - thehouseofsmiths.com

And even a few where the BEST photo has been the most unexpected one :)
The best backdrops and settings for family photos

Either way, I'm just obsessed with photos of me and my family doing things together and then having a photo to remember that special moment. Call it vain, call it silly or self absorbed, but since my memory is how it is... I just NEED all the pictures that I can get!

So... since we HAVE had lots of questions on backdrops and locations, I thought it would be awesome for photographer, Kristen Duke to give us her best tips and tricks, when it comes to picking out a setting for family photos this year.
Take it away Kristen!

Tis the season to take Family Photos! Fall is the most popular time to have Family Pictures taken, because a lot of people like to send out fresh images in their Holiday cards. I'm going to share a few suggestions today on the best backdrops and settings to take Family Photos. It's fun to change up the location each year, to display a unique new setting, along with how much your cute family has grown in the past year. My name is Kristen Duke, and I blog at Capturing Joy, and I’m excited to offer a few suggestions on photo shoot locations. I’m sharing posts on Taking Family Pictures on a few different sites today, scroll down to the
The Best backdrops and settings for family photos - thehouseofsmiths.com


Strategy Readjusting - The Art of Being a Mom & Documenting it Along the Way

"Dear Mom,
You sometimes get frustrated at us for not acting our age, and then start crying because we're growing up too fast.
Pick One!"

I feel like this quote pretty much sums up everything in my life right now with these three chicks. As I mentioned before, this Summer was a bit hard. Don't get me wrong, it was really fun too!... but also hard. My girls are 7, 7 and 5; going on 17, 17 and 15.
Persnickety Prints photos - Printing images from Instagram feed - thehouseofsmiths.com

We receive compliments almost daily about how polite, independent and well-behaved our kids are, but I wonder at times if all of those "social awareness" talks - ex: "Don't run around in stores/others homes", "Whisper observations about others you want to know/talk about into Mommy or Daddy's ears, instead of blurting them out loud", "Don't whine if you can't have your way", "Keep your hands to yourself" and learned skills we've taught them - Making their own breakfast, picking their own clothes cleaning up messes, walking the dog and practicing piano daily - have made my girls grow up too quickly (?)

I noticed this year especially, that my kids were MORE than ready to head off for their first day of school. No tears, no hesitation, just smiles, kisses & hugs, waves and joyful goodbyes!
Isn't this how I WANT it to be? What lots of parents dream of for their child's first day in an unfamiliar situation?
Project Life Album Assembly - Instagram Friendly kit/pages - first day of school - thehouseofsmiths.com

The easy answer... Yes!
The more complicated, emotional one... Not really. ha!

I can't believe how MUCH I miss these little people during the day. How much I've struggled with being away from THEM, more than they have with being away from ME. I fear that they are growing up too fast, and I just want to freeze time, so that I can capture and cherish every funny conversation and happy memory that comes my way!

That being said, it's no surprise that I'm a picture-takin' fool. Between Instagram and the blog, something is always being documented around here... and I love it.
Truth be told, I have the worst memory. Short term stuff is easy for me, but trying to remember little moments and the way I felt years and even months ago, is a totally different story. For this reason, I rely heavily on blogging, journaling and most of all, picture taking.
Pictures waiting to be journaled - thehouseofsmiths.com
"THE BAG" of pictures that are awaiting journaling

Last year I started an InstaLife album with Project Life, and it fueled the fire within me to get going on photo journaling, and actually PRINTING the memories that I have stored on my computer and in my phone, so that me AND my family can enjoy them. Since then, I've been keeping my cute friend Chari at Persnickety Prints busier than ever. I especially love being able to assemble photos on my PicFrame iPhone app, email them to myself and then upload them to Persnickety to get them blown up into a big 12x12 size. Can you say Insta-collage!?
Persnickety Prints 12x12 photo page from iPhone - thehouseofsmiths.com


DIY Mini Photo Album Gift Idea

Cason's Grandma's birthday was a few days ago, and her cute hubby decided to throw her a surprise 75th birthday party. Cason adores his grandparents and wanted to give his Grandma something really neat on her special day. Of course, this required planning... something that I stink at. Cason had actually already recorded our kids and him playing the piano and singing her favorite songs on a CD for her, so she could have them to listen to all the time, but he had also asked me to print out pictures for her to have as well.

Initially I had planned on ordering one of those online photo books, but I ran out of time, so here's what I came up with instead!
DIY mini photo album - printed instagram photos - gift idea - house of smiths

A DIY mini photo album
I knew I had all of the components to make something on my own, that would be just as cute as any sort of super expensive online photo book.
I have a crazy, hoard-like stash of American Crafts supplies that are daaaaarling, a bag full (literally) of awesome Persnickety Prints that were just waiting to be used and some extra loose-leaf paper rings laying around. All the components to make a fun little flip-book type album.
mini photo album assembly - house of smiths - american crafts supplies


The BEST Smartphone Photo Editing App - Rhonna Designs is Here!

So MANY of you have asked me about how I edit my Instagram photos, and while I touched on a few very important, useful and life-changing iPhone photo editing apps here in this post, when it comes to adding fun elements to my photos, Rhonna Designs is where it's at!

Up until now you've had to purchase Rhonna's individual design elements from her shop, upload them to your phone and then use them... but, not anymore! I've been helping beta test the new Rhonna Designs app, and I'm happy to report that it's FINALLY ready to go in the AppStore!
Our Instagram feed is like a mini blog post in ONE photo, so being able to add elements to my pictures, to enhance the beauty and story behind it, is a HUGE bonus!
Here are a few ways that I've used Rhonna's app.


Instagram Photo Wall Display

A few weeks back we showed you the best way to print Instagram photos in lost of different sizes and paper finishes. Sometimes I get doubles of certain prints because I never know where I'll want to use them, and the other day I got the idea to put some of those extras up on our makeshift clothesline photo display wall upstairs in our entryway.

This past Fall we put a call out for reader to send Holiday cards so we could get to know all of you a little better, and were completely flabbergasted at the outpouring of love, kindness and inspiration that came with each one.

Since we didn't really talk much about how we made our photo wall display back then, we thought we'd cover in more detail, how we rigged this card and picture hanger up!


Photo Display Ideas + Tips and Tricks

We've been getting a LOT of questions lately about personal photo display ideas in our inbox. Maybe it's just a coincidence, or maybe we just have a bunch of readers who are starting in on decorating for Spring with all those new family pictures that got taken the past few months... either way, if you know me, then you know I LOVE decorating with personal photos.

Framed art is great, don't get me wrong, but there's just something special and fun about seeing beautiful, happy pictures of the people you love all around your home. One of the biggest questions that we get asked though, is:
"How should I gather, group or display my photos so they look really good?"

That's a great question, and something that isn't as hard as it seems. Below are a few awesome ways to show off your lovely family photos, with ideas on how to achieve aesthetically pleasing layouts at the same time, whether you have a large or small space.

This look, to me, is timeless. I love the evenly spaced frames, clean lines and drama that a symmetrical gallery wall gives off. I especially dig the floor to ceiling aspect as well. If you've got a large, empty wall to fill, this sort of photo display can definitely give your unoccupied space a ton of visual interest.
1 & 2
Planning a gallery wall, completely symmetrical or not, is probably the most time consuming type of photo display, only because you have to do a lot of measuring and planning to get it just right.
One of the best tips that I can give here, is to make paper templates of your frames first. As you can see below (in this not-so-great photo, sorry!) we used this method when we planned out our large gallery wall for our living room. This technique will make it effortless when it's time to work and rework things as you plan out your photo display. A Piece of paper is MUCH easier to move around than a heavy, glass-filled frame.


How to Print your Instagram Photos - Persnickety Prints

I'm answering the burning question today of :
"How and WHERE do you print your Instagram photos!?"

This is a question we get asked on a weekly basis, so I thought it was definitely time to address it properly. Let's get down to business...

First of all, for those of you who don't know... YES! You CAN print your Instagram feed into actual, hold-able photographs! Here are a couple of important things to note though:

1. A camera phone picture, is a camera phone picture.

What does that mean? Well... basically, for the most part, even though sometimes close, Instagram photos rarely, if ever, are going to have the same, crisp quality of a photo that you would have shot with a high-end digital camera. This is the truth no matter WHERE you print your images from. Your Instagram photos, especially if you add cool photo effects to them, will probably turn out a bit grainy... and THAT'S OKAY!
I feel like semi-grainy, Instagram photos that I have printed out are just, if not MORE exciting to me than perfectly pixelated professional ones. My Instagram photos tell stories, help me relive that quick, special memory and for me, there's something really fun about the fact that my kids can look back at them one day and say... "Oh my gosh, remember when people printed photos from Instagram and they looked like this?"

2. Having your Instagram photos IN HAND is more thrilling than you might think.

I've been known to shed a happy tear or two when my Instagram prints come in the mail. Even though I'm the one taking the photo and editing it, the feeling of actually holding that moment in your hands is something that can completely brighten my day. It's tangible. It's something that I can look at anytime I want, without holding an iPhone to my face. It's a memory OUT of my device and in front of me to enjoy.


A Happy Weekend = No Work

Happy, happy Monday everyone, I hope that all of you had a fabulous Easter yesterday!
I just had to share these adorable Easter photos that my great friend Emilie took a few weekends ago with the girls, because they turned out so cute! Last year was our first year doing an Easter photoshoot with her. Our little chicks have grown up so much since then... and so have the bunnies!

If you follow us at all on Instagram, then you know our weekend was packed full of activities since a lot of our family is in town for Spring break and the girls are out of school. We took in a girls night out to explore and enjoy some beautiful scenery in downtown Salt Lake City and even caught an awesome dance performance put on entirely by a local, prestigious children's dance company.

We had a blast, and it's always fun to hang out with our girl cousins who don't live super close to us.


How I Make Scrapbooking Work for Me + Project Life Special on HSN

For those of you who are new, or maybe just never caught it, last August I did a post about my new Insta-Life album that I started making from all of my 2012 photo-a-day pictures that I took on Instagram.

I won't rehash it too much, but for me, iPhone photography has become practically the only way that I take daily photos anymore. Yes, I love my fancy DSLR, always will, but the convenience and ability to capture a special, maybe even once-in-a-lifetime moment with my iPhone camera (that I always have on hand), is something that I will forever be grateful for.

Taking photos of everyday moments that I want to remember has become almost habit for me... which I love. Documenting my sweet girls practicing spelling words, snapping a picture of my kids walking home from school or getting the perfect shot of a beautiful sunset, are all precious things that I don't ever want to forget. That being said, I'm sure you can image how many pictures I have... it's embarrassing.
But last year, I promised to get those great pictures OUT of my phone and computer and INTO some sort of memory keeping journal, so that my kids and husband could enjoy these precious memories just as much as I do.

Let's get real, most days, I've barely got time to comb my hair, so the idea of scrapbooking the way I would want to do it, has always seemed far fetched.
An Insta-update from 2 days ago... just keepin' it real.

This is why I'm SO SO SO grateful for Project Life.
I know I sound like a broken record to some of you, but I get questions asked ALL the time about Instagram journaling and general picture scrapbooking (being a blogger who takes a trillion photos)... so I just have to keep sharing and reiterating what REALLY works for ME, in MY crazy life!

I'm sure most of you already know how the Project Life products work, but if you don't, here's the quickest rundown ever.
Album + Cute Papers + Photo Sleeves + Pictures + Pen = Done and DONE!
The best part, is that YOU only provide the photos!
Yeah, I know, overwhelming huh?
(are you picking up on my sarcasm?)


Happy Valentine's Day!

We've been in "Love Day" prep mode for the past week. Getting ready for parties at dance class & school and stuffing envelopes with our adorable picture Valentine's Day cards designed by the amazing Jill from Brightside Prints, yet again!

We did these picture Valentine's Day cards for the first time last year, if you remember, and they were a hit!