A Moment Stopped Blog List

  • St. Patrick’s Day Photo Props (10 golden ideas)

    St. Patrick’s Day Photo Props (10 golden ideas)

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  When you hear St. Patrick’s Day, many things may come to mind: Green beer, four leaf clovers, and rainbows with pots of gold at the end.  One of the images that is probably not on the forefront is photo shoots.  However, if you are looking to have a little fun or trying to boost sales during a slow photo shoot season, a themed shoot with St. Patrick’s Day photo props may be perfect for you!    A St. Patrick’s Day photo shoot can be a fun picture opportunity.  However, if you need a more solid reason, some reasons to consider doing a St. Patrick’s Day photo shoot include: Boost sales during a slow photo shoot season if you decide to do a paid shoot Get pictures of your loved ones between Christmas family photos and Easter shots with the Easter bunny Shoot for “Baby’s first St. Patrick’s Day” Have a picture for the month of March if you make a calendar for the grandparents next year Take some pictures of yourself just to have fun 😊 If you would like some inspiration, you have come to the right place!  There are actually quite a few fun props you can add to your shoot to give it a St. Patrick’s Day flair.  Here is a list of 10 St. Patrick’s Day photo props to help inspire your next St. Patrick’s Day photoshoot setup: Cauldron Gold Coins Rainbow Lucky Charms Green Streamers Lantern Beer Stein   Four Leaf Clovers Green, orange, and/or gold balloons Green hat If you would like more in-depth discussions on each of these items, please keep reading! Cauldron What is nice about this prop is that it can be used for both Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day.  Take your Halloween cauldron, fill it with gold coins, and suddenly it can be used for this shoot as well!  You can also combine this prop with a rainbow prop for the “gold at the end of a rainbow” look. As another option: Depending on how big the cauldron is you can also put a child or pet in it.  This way they can be the gold. 😊 Gold Coins If you don’t have a cauldron, you can still use gold coins.  Pile them up or scatter them about.  I used the gold coins on a green shag carpet to look like they were strewn about a yard.  They also are good choices where children are involved, because it can give them something to hold. Rainbow The rainbow is both a fun and popular choice for St. Patrick’s Day photo shoots!  You can make the rainbow out of so many things: Streamers, balloons, and cardstock are just a few.  There are also many photo backdrops you can buy that have balloons incorporated into them (if you want to have something a little more permanent). Lucky Charms Want an excuse to buy some Lucky Charms cereal?  Use it as a prop, then enjoy it afterwards!  I have seen it used in a variety of ways.  A lot of times it is with children, especially when doing the milk bath setup.  Or, you can have the box sitting in the background while the cereal is spread around the floor.  Just keep in mind that if your subject is young they may start eating your props before you are done. 😊 Green Streamers Streamers make a fun and inexpensive background choice for almost any holiday.  Just get a white backdrop (or wall) and tape up the streamers along the top.  You can twist them and then tape at the bottom to give it an awesome look. If you want to mix it up, you can include orange and/or gold in your setup.  Lantern I love my lantern prop, it is so versatile!  To spruce it up for St. Patrick’s Day, try wrapping some green ivy around the handle.  Or, use a green garland.  You can even try using a fake candle with a green light to give it a special touch! Beer Stein If your photo shoot doesn’t involve kids, why not add some fanciful beer stein into the shoot.  This works well if you have some special steins you would like to showcase.  There are some vintage steins that are amazing works of art – these would work perfectly! Four Leaf Clovers Good news is you can usually find rather large four-leaf clovers at the dollar store and most craft stores.  Get a whole bunch, or just one.  Usually kids love to have something to play with during shoots, so this would be something they could hold during the shoot. Green, orange, and/or gold balloons Balloons make a fun addition to a photo shoot!  Several ways you can incorporate balloons into your shoot are: Create a balloon arch Fill them with helium and have the subject hold them Scatter them around the floor Line them up along the back of your setup, so they can hide the seam of your backdrop (if you have one) Attach several to a basket to make it look like a hot air balloon. Green hat More specifically, a green leprechaun hat.  These can also be found at many craft stores and the dollar store.  Couple it with green, beaded necklaces or a green feather boa.  You can create quite the outfit if you look around! Recap There are so many options when it comes to photography!  This is why it is such an amazing art form.  Props can help you realize your artistic vision for a scene, especially one that is focused on the season at hand.   Here is a list of 10 St. Patrick’s Day photo props to help inspire your next photo scene setup: Cauldron Gold Coins Rainbow Lucky Charms Green Streamers Lantern Beer Sties Four Leaf Clovers Green, orange, and/or gold balloons Green hat If you enjoyed this article, please consider checking out some of my other articles on photography and props: Fall Themed Photo Props Photo Prop Ideas for Christmas and Winter

  • How can I get free images for my blog? (5 sites to try)

    How can I get free images for my blog? (5 sites to try)

    Note: This information for this post (How can I get free images for my blog?) was gathered on January 15, 2022. Information in this article may change.  For my full disclaimer, please visit my Disclaimer page. Some questions I see a lot of people ask is how can I get free images for my blog?  This is an excellent question, because when you first start your blog you may not have a ton of money to invest in stock photos.  Is it possible to get free images at all? How can I get free images for my blog if there aren’t any free options? Fortunately, the answer is yes – there are free stock photography websites out there.  There appear to be quite a few.  There are also paid sites that give you some images for free when you sign up for them.  However, today I am sticking with the sites that are truly free: You don’t need a paid membership to the site in order to get any free images.  Surprisingly, only one of the sites requires you to create an account to access the images. I went through and looked at five of the stock sites that were known for their free stock images.  For each site, I decided to search for the same thing: A picture of a dolphin.  I live in a landlocked area, so seeing a dolphin around here is non-existent.  If I ever needed to write about a dolphin, I would need to use one of these sites.  I also wanted to compare what each site had to offer for this same search query.  The 5 free images sites I am looking at today are: Canva Unsplash Pixabay FoodiesFeed Pexels The results of my investigation and links to each site are below: Canva Canva is a lot more than a place for stock photos.  It is primarily a platform that lets you create all kinds of things for your business or blog.  They have templates for Pinterest Pins and Instagram reels.  They also have business card and invitation layouts.  This is the one site that you need to create an account before you can access the content.    Canva has both free and paid versions.  When you search for images to use on your project, the ones that require payment will appear with a little crown in the corner.  Those are only available to those who have the Canva Pro account.  However, you can still find quite a few free options.  During my research, it appears that Canva purchased Pixabay in recent years.  When I did my search on Canva, I did see some of the same images I was finding on Pixabay.  So if you see the same image on both sites, no need to worry. I searched for dolphin under the “Elements” section of my design, and several options came up.  This first option that showed up wasn’t actually a stock photo, but a cute drawing.  I decided to include it to show the diverse nature of Canva. Canva Details Approximate # of free images Unknown Website canva.com Attribution Not Required Copyright Copyright free Modification Allowed? Yes Unsplash Unsplash was a site that to my surprise, had a lot of free images.  They have nearly 2 million in free images.  It is comprised of a community of artists that want to share their work.  You can search for images and can view information about the photographers.  Be wary on this site (and I found it on others), the first row of search results is actually for iStock.  iStock is a paid site, so if you click on them you may be wondering why you are being asked to pay for “free” images.  If you scroll down a ways when you search you should reach the free images.  When I searched “dolphin,” there were 431 images.  Not bad, and most of the ones I saw appeared to be good quality!  It was very easy to search and download an image.  After downloading, I had an option to help support the artist.  I could donate through PayPal, or give them a shout-out on Twitter or Instagram.  It also provided a link for me so that visitors to my site could go to Unsplash and view the artist’s work.  I included the link below the image here. Photo by Ranae Smith on Unsplash Unsplash Details Approximate # of free images 1 million + Website https://unsplash.com Attribution Not Required Copyright Copyright free Modification Allowed Yes Pixabay Pixabay is another site where you can obtain free stock photos.  You can use their images on your site without giving credit to the original artist (although it is appreciated).  The search feature on Pixabay is very easy to use, and you can download images without creating an account.  When I searched “dolphin” there were about 958 search results.  This image was the first one that appeared on the search result.  I found that there were about 10 or so images that would be considered the “traditional” dolphin picture, and the rest were of a far more “niche” in nature. Pixabay Company Details Approximate # of free images 1.5 million + Website https://pixabay.com Attribution Not Required Copyright Copyright free Modification Allowed Yes FoodiesFeed FoodiesFeed is a site dedicated just to food stock photography.  The images on the site are far fewer than other sites, but it still gets the job done.  And if you are a food blogger, this may be a great site for you since they specialize in just in your niche.  It would probably be good to compare what this site has to offer against some of the bigger sites. Surprisingly, I did get a result when I searched for dolphin!  A cute little food composite image to make a banana look like a dolphin!  It was the only search result for dolphin (although I don’t hold that against them since it is a food site), and the download process was a little more difficult for this site. It is also good to mention that while they do not require you to give credit to the original artist but encourage that you give them credit and link back to the webpage as well. Foodies Feed Details Approximate # of images 2,000+ Website https://www.foodiesfeed.com Attribution Not required, but artist credit and link back to website appreciated Copyright Copyright free Modification Allowed? Yes Pexels Pexels was another super-easy to use site.  When I searched “dolphin,” there were 234 dolphin photos and 64 videos.  It also gave me options related to my search: whale, turtle, shark, underwater, and more.  There was also a paragraph at the top that talked about dolphins, which I found surprising and wonderful!  Like Unsplash, after downloading there was an option to support the artist through PayPal or social media.  I went ahead and included the link here as well. Photo by Guillaume Hankenne from Pexels Pexels Information Approximate # of free images 10,000+ Website https://www.pexels.com Attribution Not Required, but artist credit appreciated Copyright Copyright free Modification Allowed Yes Didn’t make the list – Gratisography How can I get free images for my blog? Not through Gratisography. was one of the sites that came up on options for free sites.  However, it seems to more encourage you to go to Shutterstock to pay for images rather than use the free ones.  I did my classic dolphin search, and there were no results.  I then searched for “coffee” (I figure coffee is pretty popular!) and got about 6 free images.  The site uses terms like “whimsy” and “quirky” to describe it’s photos, so the few results I did get were off the beaten path. If whimsy and quirky relate to your blog, this might be the site for you.  I did not try to download any images, so I cannot provide any insight into process.  I also did not look into the copyright or usage agreement for their images. Why would someone give away their work for free? When you ask how can I get free images for my blog, you may think the answer would be you can’t.  After all, who would be willing to give away their images for free? Why would anyone want to give their hard-earned photos to the world to use?  They could be selling it on a stock site that pays them for their services.  Also, they could be selling it on their own galleries.  I wanted to share my perspective as a photographer, and a little bit of what I learned on these sites.  Mainly, it boils down to three things: You don’t actually make that much money on paid stock sites It is true that you can upload your photography to paid sites and get a percentage of the earnings every time one of your photos is downloaded.  However, it is usually a very small percentage.  There area also millions and millions of photos on these sites, so having your particular photograph get noticed is not very likely.  If you are looking for a big payout, this is not the way to go. I personally tried selling photos on Shutterstock for awhile.  The payout each time your photo was downloaded varied, but mostly you got paid the minimum amount.  About two years ago the minimum payout for each photo was 25 cents.  Then, they lowered it to 10 cents.  It was at that point I stopped uploading to the site, because it just wasn’t worth it. And with regards to selling photos on their own site, that can be time consuming and costly.  For online gallery services, you need to pay an annual fee.  This may not be worth it to the budding photographer. Also, they may not be interested in money at all!  For some, once you start trying to monetize their passion, it takes a lot of the joy away.  It is better just to offer up their images for free. Free sites can be a great place to get exposure Each of these sites I visited gave great exposure to the artist who created the photo.  So for anybody who is trying to break into the photography world or establish themselves, this would be a great way to do so.  If you already have your own business established, it can also be a way to advertise yourself.  If enough people enjoy your photos, they may look you up and decide to visit your site. It can also be a way to determine the quality of photos you are producing.  Even though these are free photos, they still go through a screening process to make sure they are high quality and clear images.  Once you get through the screening process, then it is a matter of seeing who downloads your photo or if you get any feedback on it.  While getting validation from others doesn’t define a good photo (it can be special to you even if no one else appreciates it’s beauty), it can help if you are trying to improve your skills. Pexels actually has “challenges” every so often that allows photographers to submit photographs of a certain genre.  These challenges sometimes have prizes, and your work will be featured on the front page of the site.  This is a great chance to see how your work compares to others, and possibly earn a little in the process. This is a way to give back to the creative community For some, this can be a way to give back to the creative community.  By providing high quality photos for someone to use in their business or project, they can fill a desperately needed hole.  For some of these photographers, they may have been helped out in their journey and want to pay it forward.  It could have been someone gave them a second-hand camera, or maybe they used open-source software to edit their first photos.  Either way, this is a great chance to help out that same community.  Even though I don’t have to give the artist credit…

  • My most meaningful nature photos (My Top 5 Shots)

    My most meaningful nature photos (My Top 5 Shots)

    Last week I shared with you some tips on taking meaningful photos.  This week, I thought I would share with you some of my most meaningful nature photos that I have taken.  These have been taken throughout my photography career with a variety of different cameras. It was tough to choose which ones would make the list!  I thought about which ones invoked the most meaning with me and went from there.  These ones also had a good story to tell – I go into detail about each photo below. First, here is the gallery of photos I am talking about in the post: View from the Top A little bit of a backstory: In Colorado, a popular goal for a lot of people is to hike a “14er.”  A 14er is any mountain that stands over 14,000 feet.  Colorado has 53 such peaks.  Each peak has it’s own level of difficulty and technicality.  I have known several people who have managed to hike all 53, which is an incredible feat!  I have only summited (made it to the top of) one, which is where this photo was taken. This photo was taken on top of Colorado’s second highest 14er – Mt. Massive.  Mt. Massive stands at 14,421 feet above sea level in the Sawatch Mountain Range.  While the trail itself is not difficult in terms of technicalities, it is a long hike to get to the summit.  Overall, it is about a 4,500 foot elevation gain. One of the reasons this one made the list of my most meaningful nature photos is the amount of work it took to get to this location! It took me and my friends nearly 7 hours to get to the top (the length was mainly due to me, the rest of my friends were in WAY better shape).  By the time we got to the top, I was gasping for air and my hip was throbbing in pain.  However, the view at the top was amazing!  To see the mountain range stretched before me was incredible.     Delicate Wings This image was captured in Yellowstone National Park back in 2015.  From the looks of it, we are in some secluded spot.  A peaceful, quiet spot.  However, we are actually in the parking lot at the Grand Prismatic Spring.  There are people EVERYWHERE, and the noise is quite deafening.  These flowers lined the outskirts of the parking lot.  We were waiting for the crowd to clear so we could make it back to our car.  With everything going on, it would have been easy for me to miss this beautiful butterfly.  Fortunately, my husband and I noticed him fly in and perch on this flower.  I was so happy this delicate little butterfly kept still long enough for me to get his picture.  With all the noise and bustle around us, it would have been easy for this little guy to fly off and find someplace else.  It was a beautiful, serene moment among the bustle of everything going on around us.  This trip was also the first time I was using a DSLR camera.  My wonderful father had gifted me my very first DSLR!  It was a Fujifilm Finepix, and I loved it.  I was so glad I got it before the trip, because otherwise I might not have been able to capture this beautiful butterfly.  It was at that moment I realized how nice it was to have a DSLR camera and all the possibilities contained within that piece of equipment.  I would later spend hours learning about my new camera and practicing with it. Ash to Ash In August of 2020, there was a wildfire burning close to our hometown.  You could smell the smoke in the air, and the horizon was obscured by smoke and ash.  From certain points in our town, you could see the flames rising up into the sky.  A lot of brave people went out and worked tirelessly to put out those flames.  Fortunately, no one was killed in the fire, but it did burn over 130,000 acres. One of those August mornings, we awoke to find these delicate, grey leaves in our yard.  They were perfectly formed and translucent.  However, when you touched one, it immediately crumbled to dust.  These “ghost leaves” had somehow made their way down from the fire and into our yard.  I am still at a loss as to how such a delicate thing could have landed intact.  The leaf in the picture was only about one inch long, which may have aided in its travels.  It is something I didn’t ever think I would see in my life.  I also hope that there is not another large fire nearby to cause this kind of phenomenon.  Big Horn on Big Hill This is the most recent of my most meaningful nature photos.  A friend had offered to let me take pictures of her to use in my gallery.  We went to a local spot to get some great outdoor shots.  As we pulled up, we saw a real treat: A heard of about 30-40 Big Horn Sheep!  We were both so excited and started snapping pictures. The shoot continued as planned, a safe distance away.  We got some great shots for me to add to my gallery (my friend is the best!).  As we were done and heading back, we saw that the heard had climbed a hill.  This particular guy was standing on a ledge, with the massive cliff looming in the background.  I was so glad I brought with my distance lens! I loved how the image turned out.  It was one lone sheep staring out into the valley.  He looks so confident as he stands there.  I was so happy to be at just the right place at the right time. Passing By In July of 2020, the Neowise comet passed through our skies.  I had seen so many other photographers get these breathtaking images of the comet, and I wanted to get one too.  Sadly, I never could seem to find it in the sky.  Every night I would step out of my house, only to have my view obscured by city lights. One night, my husband and I drove out to where there were no lights.  The sky was so clear here!  I then had to get the settings just right on my camera.  It was my first attempt at photographing the night sky, so this was a challenge for me.   I played with the settings on my camera until finally I got it.  There it was right on my camera screen!  The beautiful white tail of the Neowise comet.  I will confess I nearly cried.  The image wasn’t the best as far as clarity and “noise” goes.  But for me it was perfect.  Conclusion Out of the nature photos I have personally taken, these are my most meaningful nature photos.  These photos span the course of a decade, and I only plan to continue improving my craft from here. I hope you enjoyed this article!  Do you have a photo that you would say is meaningful for you?  Let me know in the comments below.  Happy shooting!

  • Learning to take meaningful photos (5 tips to help you grow)

    Learning to take meaningful photos (5 tips to help you grow)

    Photography is a powerful art form. You can convey so much with just a single image.  One of the things I hear is that people want to take “meaningful” photos.  Learning to take meaningful photos is a lifelong process, one that I am still working on today. When you ask Google to define “meaningful,” it comes up with several different options.  The one that I would apply most to photography is “communicating something that is not directly expressed.”  This is the beautiful part of photography.  We get a chance to say something through our images.  It is no wonder that people want to master the art of taking meaningful photos. During my 20+ years of taking photos, I have continually sought ways to improve all aspects of my photography.  One of these is the area of “meaningful” photos.  I have come up with 5 tips to help you continually improve in making your photos more meaningful: Determine how you define “meaningful” Let Pinterest Inspire you Practice, practice, practice Incorporate objects that speak louder than words Take on a photography challenge, with a twist Below I go into each of these in more detail Determine how you define “meaningful” Learning to take meaningful photos first starts with determining what “meaningful” means to you. I listed the Google definition, but there are so many interpretations of this definition.  Perhaps to you a meaningful photograph is one that showcases a cause that you are passionate about.  Or, it could be several generations of your family in one photo.  It could even be something very simple, but has a special meaning known only to you. For me, a meaningful photograph coincides with sentiment.  While the photos I take of my family are always special, I wouldn’t necessarily define each one as meaningful.  Once the photo involves a favorite family activity or item, then the photo becomes meaningful.  When my daughter was born, I posed her with my old ranger uniform.  These photos hold a lot of meaning for me, because it incorporates a job that meant a lot to me, and my precious baby. Let Pinterest Inspire you Learning to take meaningful photos is a goal of many photographers, but sometimes it is hard to define meaningful.  You know it when you see it, but you just can’t put it into words.  This is ok, because Pinterest is here to help! Make a board on Pinterest and label it “Meaningful Photos.”  Then, start perusing through the myriad of photos posted to Pinterest.  Vary your searches to find different kinds of photos.  Warning: If you search “meaningful photos” or anything for that matter, you may come across some darker images.  So be prepared! Only save the ones that you personally would consider meaningful.  When you look at this photo, does it strike a chord with you in some way?  Or would it be meaningful if the subjects were your family/friends?  If so, save it to your newly created board. Once you have saved about forty to fifty photos, go back to your board.  Look at all the photos as a group.  Is there common theme among the photos?  It may not be just the subject matter either.  Coloring, lightings, and framing can all play powerful roles in a photograph.  Once you have gone through this step, you may have a better idea of what makes a photograph meaningful to you.  Then, you can move on to the next step: Practicing. Practice, Practice, Practice “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst” – Henri Cartier-Bresson These wise words were spoken by a French photographer back when the world still used film for photography.  In order to become better at anything, practice is important.  Photography is no exception to the rule.  The more pictures you take, the more you An important piece of practicing is to analyze your photos as well.  You have to look at what you like and what you don’t, so you know what path to take with your photography journey.  Without analyzing your photos, you will be taking the same kind of photos over and over again. Incorporate objects that speak louder than words When you are unable to communicate using words, objects can help convey a strong message.  The symbolism in props is powerful and can be used in a variety of ways.  During your next shoot, try to figure out what “story” you want to tell.  Then ask yourself if there are any props that would work well to help you out.   For example, take an engagement photo for a bride and groom to be.  There are many options for posing and conveying the love they have for each other.  You can have them standing side-by-side, holding hands.  Now, take that same picture but put a large “&” symbol between them.  It adds something different to the photo and helps speak to the message you want to convey.  Take on a photography challenge, with a twist If you go onto Pinterest, you can find A LOT of different photography challenges. Some are pretty straightforward, others more abstract.  Go through the options and find one that calls to you, and take on the challenge!  However, add a twist to the subject each day: Find a way to make that particular subject and subsequent photo meaningful to you.   For example, maybe the challenge for the day is “sunset.” You could do a basic sunset picture, or you could give yourself a challenge to make the photo more meaningful to you.  This could be having someone standing in front of the sunset, creating a silhouette.  Or you could get the rays of sunlight shooting out from behind your favorite building.  This is a great way to expand your photography skills in general.  It is also fun to take a challenge, and then take it again a year later to see how much you have improved.  Conclusion Learning to take meaningful photos takes some practice.  Having a plan in place to try and improve can help out with your goals.  To recap the list: Determine how you define “meaningful” Let Pinterest Inspire you Practice, practice, practice Incorporate objects that speak louder than words Take on a photography challenge, with a twist If you like this post, please check out some of my other articles: Getting Good Pictures at the Pumpkin Patch (8 fun ideas) How to Take Your Own Weekly Maternity Photos (5 Useful Tips)

  • My Goals as a Photographer (5 resolutions for 2022)

    My Goals as a Photographer (5 resolutions for 2022)

    The 2022 year is almost upon us!  This is the time of year that many of us reflect on the year that has gone by while looking ahead to the future.  My goals as a photographer only continue to grow as I build upon what I have learned. In 2021 my photography grew in leaps and bounds.  I look at the pictures from 2020 versus 2021, and I am amazed at how far I have come.  Photography is like any other skill: The more you practice the better you become.  It was quite satisfying knowing that my photography skills reflected my dedication to improving my goals as a photographer. With 2022 now here, I am excited to set new goals for myself and see how everything looks in a year.  I chose a variety of goals that I would like to work on.  Some involve composition, others involve trying out new camera settings.     These are my goals as a photographer as we enter in the new year: Get a shot at a brand-new location Take a photo of the same thing every month Complete a month-long photo challenge Take a slow SS picture of a waterfall Have one of my pictures published in a magazine or calendar As they say, a goal without a plan is just a wish.  I have found that some good elements to a plan a goal from my goal-setting days of past: Purpose (why am I doing this?) Possible obstacles for reaching the goal Resources I can use to reach my goal Normally completion date would be in the list as well.  However, I am giving myself to the end of 2022 to complete all 5 of my goals as a photographer.  I wanted to make sure to give myself plenty of time!  The details of each goal are below: Get a shot at a brand-new location Purpose: It is easy to get complacent when taking shots and stick to your favorite shooting areas.  This year I want to mix it up, and get some pictures at a brand-new location.  It can either be for business or fun, or maybe even both! Possible Obstacles: This is something that has not happened in a long time.  For the past few years, I haven’t gone anywhere new or exciting.  We have been hunkered down at home, working away.  It could be a challenge to make myself go somewhere new and take the time to figure out a place to go.  I will have to make sure I don’t get complacent! Resources I can Use:  I can do some research on local places (I will probably not be able to travel very far). The local Chamber of Commerce might have some information, so I will check them out.  I can also hit the local FB groups and see if anyone has any recommendations on great shooting locations. Take a photo of the same thing every month Purpose: One of the ways I can tell I am improving is to take pictures of the same thing over and over again.  It then becomes a little easier to see if I am improving, or if any new techniques are working out.  I don’t plan on taking it from the same angle or position each month, but instead see if I can make each one improves upon itself.  Possible Obstacles: I tend to be forgetful, so I may end up forgetting some month to take a picture of whatever thing it is that I am photographing each month.  Also, depending on what I am taking a picture of, I might feel like I don’t have enough time to take the picture. If I am being honest, the thing that I will probably be photographing every month is my cat or a nearby landmark. So, if my cat is uncooperative or I don’t feel like driving to the landmark, it could become a problem. Resources I can Use: I can use reminders in my calendar to help me remember to take the pictures.  I can also make sure I choose a subject that is photo worthy, yet easy to access.  Complete a month-long challenge Purpose: Taking a photo every day gets me in a good habit, helps provide me with content for my social media account, and helps me think of subjects outside my comfort zone.  Possible Obstacles: I have tried this a couple of times in the past.  I always make it to about day 10 before life happens and I abandon the project.  Also, as the month goes on I tend to get lazier.  Even if I do complete the challenge I am unsure about the quality of the pictures near the end of the month.  I will have to work it into my schedule to ensure I complete the challenge. Resources I can Use:  I can find myself an accountability partner so that I make sure I finish the challenge.  Maybe I can even convince them to join me in the challenge and we can compare our shots! Take a slow SS picture of a waterfall Purpose: Have you ever seen one of those pictures of a waterfall where the cascading water looks almost silken?  Those incredible shots are taken using specific settings on your camera.  The most important one being your shutter speed.  Without getting super technical, you slow your shutter speed way down so you capture the motion of the falls.  I would love to have a photo like that in my portfolio! Possible Obstacles: Life gets busy, and time gets away.  Where I live there is a very short season for waterfalls most years. If I get too much going on during that short time, I may miss my opportunity.  Also, sometimes the nearby falls don’t actually get any water in them.  This can prove problematic.  I may end up having to make some sort of waterfall at home! Resources I can Use:  There are several falls around the area where I live, so finding one should be easy.  I can also ask friends and family if they know of any good waterfalls that are nearby.  I can also use YouTube videos to see how others have gotten their silky waterfall shots and what settings they used.  Have one of my pictures published in a magazine or calendar Purpose: This has been a goal of mine for a while.  I always thought it would be nice to have one of my photographs be considered “good enough” for print media.  I have submitted some shots here and there, but nothing has happened thus far.  I am hoping this year I can make it more of a priority and search out different calendar/magazine opportunities Possible Obstacles: The biggest obstacle will be getting a picture that an editor thinks is good enough to be in their publication!  I will need to make sure I read all submission requirements completely.  Also, it will be helpful to see what kinds of images they published before so I know what kind of work they are looking for.   Resources I can Use:  I can use the Internet to find different contests and magazines to publish in.  I can also keep an eye out at places to see if they have magazines I can look through.  Then I can see if there is a “submit your own photo” option.  Summary I am looking forward to so many things in 2022, including working on my goals as a photographer!  I encourage you to make your own goal list (for photography or another hobby you love) for what you would like to work on this year. If you liked this article, please check out some of my other posts: Getting Good Pictures at the Pumpkin Patch (8 Fun Ideas) What are Props in Photography (and what are they used for)?

  • Christmas and winter sayings for a letterboard (85 jolly ideas)

    Christmas and winter sayings for a letterboard (85 jolly ideas)

    I love using my letterboard.  Letterboards let you add fun sayings to your picture in a cute and easy to read way.  With winter and Christmas coming around, I wanted to use my letterboard in the most fun way possible.  I complied a list of Christmas and winter sayings for a letterboard to use. A lot of these work well with certain settings or backgrounds.  I am hoping with 85 different ones to choose from, one will work with the photo setup you have in mind for your project!  Or, while reading through the options, you will be inspired for your next shoot.  For each of these sayings, consider putting the year at the bottom of your letterboard.  That way you will know how old everyone was in the picture.  It is amazing how after so many years, it becomes hard to remember details like that.  Since Christmas has so many different facets, I divided up the sayings into different groups.  And even though there are 50 different fall sayings for a letterboard here, there are so many more out there!  Use your imagination to create your own saying for your own photo shoot.  Bellow are some Christmas and winter sayings for a letterboard, divided up into sub categories. Letterboard sayings for general winter Try using one of these fall sayings for a letterboard if you are doing outdoor pictures in the snow, a forest, or on a truck bed.  If you are doing indoor shoots, you can par the saying with a winter-themed backdrop. Tis the season Snow day! Time for scented candles I love winter Catching snowflakes Stay calm and winter is here Time for mittens and cocoa #snowfalling Knee deep in white The weather says… stay indoors Winter Wonderland Winter is my favorite time of the year Sweater weather Break out the sleds Hat, gloves, scarf… check! Snow, blankets, sleds, hot cocoa… #happywinter Let’s ski Build a snowman It is very “refreshing” outside! Food Winter is a time for all the comfort food you could want.  Cookies, hot cocoa, pies, and candy are just some of the goodies waiting for us during the cold winter months.  Here are some letterboard sayings to showcase off the yummy time of year. Save me a candy cane   Making Christmas cookies Hot cocoa weather All I want for Christmas is cookies Smells like cookies in here Hot cocoa and Christmas movies Cookies for santa Let’s build a gingerbread house Letterboard sayings that are faith based It is a holy season, so why not reflect that with your letterboard as well?  Here are some letterboard sayings for those who want to keep Christ in Christmas. Away in a Manger Reason for the Season O Holy Night Follow the star Tidings of Comfort and Joy It’s Jesus’s Birthday! Letterboard sayings for Children Have some babies or toddlers ready to tear into presents?  Try one of these letterboard sayings for a cute addition to their photo.  Hint: Also put the year at the bottom of the letterboard so you know how old your child was when the picture was taken.  Dear Santa…… On Santa’s good list I’m so merry Been good all year Best gift of all Keep Calm and get presents Little angel You’re my Christmas wish Santa came Cute and Cheery So cute even the leaves fall for me ________ my name and Christmas is my game So excited, I can’t sleep Can I meet the reindeer? Letterboard sayings for “Hello” “Hello *insert month or season*” pictures are very trendy.  A lot of times these work well for pictures that don’t necessarily have any people in them.  Try one of these sayings and lay the letterboard on the floor or table.  Surround the letterboard with ornaments, candy canes, presents, and more.  Or stick one under the tree and let the branches frame your board.  Take a picture from above, and now you have a seasonal Facebook cover you took yourself! Hello Winter Hello Christmas Hello December Hello January Hello New Year Hello snow Goodbye November, Hello December Goodbye December, Hello January Goodbye 2021, Hello 2022 Hello 2022 Goodbye fall, hello winter Hello sweater weather   Hello ______, please be kind Letterboard sayings for New Years Lots of people love to decorate for Halloween, and making cute letterboard sayings can be included in the decorations.  This year, try incorporating it into any Halloween pictures you may be taking.  Party like its 2022 Kiss me at midnight #newyear Where is the champagne Auld Lang Syne ___ Days until 2022 New Year New Me Best year yet   My resolutions…… Goodbye 2021 Happy New Years 3…2…1 Letterboard sayings for Christmas Thanksgiving is a time for family and food.  If you are doing photos of your family members (letterboards usually work better if only one or two people are in the frame) you can have them hold a letterboard with a fun and festive saying.  After using your letterboard for pictures, you can set it near the table to use as a sweet decoration.  Hint: When doing photos also consider adding the year to the bottom of the letterboard.  The years run together, and you may be thankful latter to have an easy way to remember what year that picture was taken. Merry and Bright Merry Christmas ___ Days until Christmas   Hang the stockings   Tomorrow will be Christmas Day Christmas Blessings Holly Jolly Christmas December 25th Put up the Christmas lights You can see our house from space! I love the smell of Christmas trees Jingle all the way Deck the halls this season Conclusion These are just some of the Christmas and winter sayings for a letterboard. Even if you have never used a letterboard in your pictures before, consider doing something different and trying it out this year.  It can be fun to come up with your own saying, that way you can make your pictures especially unique to you.  If you are still running short of ideas, hold a contest between family members.  Have everyone create their own letterboard saying.  You can choose a winner, and use it for the photos.  Or, everyone can create their own saying to be used in their own picture.  It may be a way to get your family more excited about taking pictures this year! If you liked this article, please check out some of my other posts: Photo Prop Ideas for Christmas and Winter (15 Useful Ideas) What to Do with your Baby’s Milestone Photos (8 Sweet Ideas)

  • Photo Prop Ideas for Christmas and Winter (15 useful ideas)

    Photo Prop Ideas for Christmas and Winter (15 useful ideas)

    Thanksgiving is over, so now is the time to start thinking about Christmas!  More specifically, Christmas photos!  This is a popular season for family portraits.  Families have time off so they can actually get some festive Christmas photos.  But what are some good photo prop ideas for Christmas and winter to use for these shoots?  I ask myself that every year, so my list of prop ideas continues to grow.  I compiled a list of photo prop ideas for Christmas and winter for you to use this year.  Christmas Lights Ornaments Gift Bows Cookies Bells   Candy Canes Snowflakes Stars Nativity Set Candles Lanterns Gifts Christmas Trees Books Blankets Let’s look at each one in more details. Christmas Lights This is an all-time favorite prop to use!  Christmas lights can be used in a variety of ways.  They can be behind your subject to create a beautiful backdrop, or in front to give off a flair.  Sometime the lights can be all around your subject, so get creative! A fun technique to try with Christmas lights is bokeh.  Bokeh is when the lights appear as bright circles instead of distinctive lights.  In order to achieve the bokeh effect, you need to make sure your F-stop is low, so the lights become blurry.  To get the bokeh effect can take some practice, but it is so fun once you get the hang of it! Ornaments Ornaments are a very versatile option for props.  Use them in the background or foreground.  You can have your subject hold them, or have them scattered around on the ground.  Depending on what kind of effect you are going for will determine where you want to place them.  Gift Bows Gift bows can work in a variety of ways, but generally work best when the subject is interacting with them in some way.  This could mean wearing the bow or holding it.   If you are feeling really ambitious, you can create a backdrop with them.  Get a solid backdrop or tablecloth and start sticking bows to it.  This might be something to try if you are already planning on using the bows on gifts and want to have some fun beforehand.  If you have small children, consider having them lay under the Christmas tree and put the bows on their head.  You can caption it “my greatest gifts” or something similar to get a warm and fuzzy feeling. Cookies This is one delicious prop!  A popular setup with cookies is to do a “cookies for santa” shoot.  Just know that those props won’t last long if any of your subjects are hungry. 😊 Bells  Silver Bells – not only a beautiful song but a great photo prop!  Especially if you can get a larger sized bell that will stand out in pictures.  If you have children you are taking pictures of, they will most likely love ringing that bell, and you might get some smiles out of them as well! You can also get small, round, gold bells as well.  These usually work better if they are coupled with another prop.  For example, getting a candy cane and tying the bells around it. Candy Canes Speaking of candy canes, they make a great prop by themselves!  You can have your subject hold small ones, or you can get larger ones designed to go in the yard.  If you are feeling crafty, you can make makeshift candy canes using pool noodles and white electrical tape (tutorial to hopefully come soon).  Snowflakes Snowflakes make for a good prop for overall winter shots as well as Christmas photos.  You can use a variety of materials to make them: Coffee filters, cardstock, cardboard, and more.  Depending on how you want your scene to look, you can have huge snowflakes in the background or make them just a few inches big. If you want to try adding some dimension to your shot, you can try hanging snowflakes off of the ceiling.  This way the flakes are around the subject keeps the scene from looking two dimensional.   You can also have the subject gaze up at the snowflakes to give them a different pose to do. Stars Stars are popular at my house!  My toddler loves the star shape.  So incorporating it into a photo shoot helps with his participation.  You can either buy star ornaments, or buy poster board and start having fun with the scissors.  If you are cutting out your own stars, it does help to have a stencil so that they all look uniform (I am terrible at free-handing stars). Nativity Set A nativity set can add such a special feeling to your photo.  Usually nativity sets are small, so it works better if they are in the foreground of the picture.  You can have the subject looking at it, or even focus in on the nativity and blur the subject.  Candles If your subjects are small children, make sure that the candles are either electric or not lit.  You don’t want them to accidently hurt themselves or knock it over!  However, there are so many electric candles these days that finding one isn’t too hard. Lanterns I listed lanterns as a prop idea for fall, but they also work really well for winter as well.  You can add to your lantern to give it a more Christmas feel: Garland, bells, pine leaves, ribbon, and more.  Depending on how you want your scene to look will help determine the accessories you use. Gifts You can use Christmas gifts in several contexts, but usually surrounding the subject works the best.  You can use the gifts you are actually going to give out (get your money’s worth out of them!) or wrap up empty boxes. If you want your gifts to all have a uniform look, try wrapping tissue boxes.  This will give your presents a symmetrical feel.  Plus, you won’t have to worry about someone peeking at their gift early. Christmas Trees Christmas trees make for a great prop on many levels.  You can have it just as a stand-alone prop, or have your subject interact with it.  You can bring it to the foreground and shoot through the branches to give your photo some dimension to it.  You can also couple the Christmas tree with most of the other props on this list.  There is a world of opportunity when it comes to photography and Christmas trees, so make sure to try different things! Books Books are a popular prop choice all season long.  Depending on the feel of your photo, you have a variety of options.  If your setup is more nostalgic and dated, go for older books with the thick spine.  If you are taking pictures of children, looks for children’s books to have them hold.  If you are wanting to incorporate faith into your image, consider using a Bible in your shot. Blankets Winter means getting cozy, and one way to get cozy is to snuggle under a soft blanket.  Blankets can be used in a variety of ways for pictures.  You can wrap them around your subject, have the subject sit on it, or even hang it up and use it as a backdrop! Look for blankets that convey the season.  Plaid blankets are an especially good choice.  Also blankets that are super fluffy or warm looking.  Avoid anything that has too busy of a print, because that can distract from your subject. Conclusion There are a variety of Christmas photo prop ideas out there, these are just scratching the surface. To recap the list of photo prop ideas for Christmas and winter: Christmas Lights Ornaments Gift Bows Cookies Bells  Candy Canes Snowflakes Stars Nativity Set Candles Lanterns Gifts Christmas Trees Books Blankets If you enjoyed this post, please check out some of my other articles: Halloween-Themed Props for Photos (13 Spooky Ideas) Fall-Themed Photo Props (15 Unique Ideas)

  • Halloween-Themed Props for Photos (13 Spooky Ideas)

    Halloween-Themed Props for Photos (13 Spooky Ideas)

    The Halloween 2021 season is upon us!  The 2021 year has flown by, and before we know it little trick or treaters will be showing up at our doors with candy buckets in hand.  It is also time to get some Halloween photos of you and your family. Looking to find some Halloween-themed props for photos? If so you are in the right place! This is a popular season for festivals with fall or Halloween themes.  Last year, most Halloween activities were a no-go.  We were well into the pandemic, so most festivities were scaled back or downright canceled.     With Halloween, there are so many setup options it can be overwhelming.  To help you get inspired, I have compiled a list of 15 different props that can be used for your Halloween photo sessions.  These ideas work for mini shoots, photo booths, or for families setting up a shoot in their own backyard.  That is the beauty of photography props: They can be versatile and fun for so many types of shoots! Here is a list of 13 Halloween-themed props for photos to help inspire your next photo scene setup: Black Cat Stuffed Animals Candy Black and Orange Streamers Jack o’ Lanterns Spiderwebs and spiders Crow Spooky Trees Mist Candy Bucket Moon Brooms Eyes The Number 31 If you would like more in-depth discussions on each of these items, please keep reading! Black Cat Stuffed Animal Do you have any stuffed animals that can work with a Halloween theme?  This doesn’t have to be just black cats: Werewolves, bats, monsters, or similar stuffed animals will work as well.  These have the added bonus that a child can hold them during the shoot.  Might help put them at ease in front of the camera! Candy Any list of Halloween-themed props for photos is going to include candy! This time of year the stores are filled with Halloween candy.  Consider using a bag of candy for some yummy looking photos.  Just be sure if you are using this for commercial pictures to avoid using any noticeable logos in the picture.  Also, if your subject is a small child, make sure they don’t choke on any candy! Black and Orange Streamers Streamer backdrops are popular for birthdays, but you can also use them for Try adding in some black balloons to break things up. Jack o’ Lanterns A staple of Halloween, Jack o’ Lanterns are a fun option for photo props.  It can also give you something to do with kids carved pumpkins!  As a bonus, you can remember what your child’s pumpkin looked like that year since you will have it in the photograph with them. If you are taking professional pictures, it might be good to invest in a reusable carved pumpkin. You can find them at many stores during the Halloween season, and they will last all throughout your shooting season.  Plus, then you don’t have to worry about getting your carving just right for pictures! Spiderwebs and Spiders This is a personal favorite of mine!  Every year I decorate using fake webs and plastic spiders (I actually happen to be a rare person who likes spiders, so it works great for me).  You can buy fake webs and spiders a lot of places this time of year.  You can use a plain backdrop and string up spiderwebs and spiders to give your pics the spooky look.    Crow You can find decorative crows at a lot of different stores this time of the year.  Home and craft stores are your best bets.  Or, if that fails, you can go online.  Pretty much anything can be found on Amazon!  Try combining the crow with a moon.  This will give you a silhouette vibe and look super spooky.  If you don’t have a crow, you can always use a bat instead. Spooky Trees Have any branches laying around in your yard?  If they are big enough, you can stand them up and turn them into mini trees for your shoot. Try getting branches that have a lot of little twigs on them.  Depending on the backdrop you are using, I recommend spray painting them black before shooting with them.  Mist Mist can add a spooky element to a picture.  However, it is best to practice taking pictures of mist before incorporating it into your shoots.  Be sure you can capture both the mist and subject in the same picture using the right camera settings. You can make mist a couple of ways.  Using a humidifier is a safe way to go, but the vapor can sometimes not show up in images very well.  You can also use dry ice, which creates a great “mist.”  However, since it can be dangerous, it is best to avoid using dry ice around children. Candy Bucket Kids love trick or’ treating with their candy buckets!  Why not incorporate it into your photos?  It can have the added bonus of a reward for when your child behaves well for pictures.  If you are taking professional photos, be aware of any dietary considerations before using candy as a prop. Moon A bright full moon will add quite the mood to your photo. You have a couple of options to create your moon.  The easiest is to buy posterboard from a store and just cut out a big circle.  It is simple but effective. You can also buy moon shaped decals online or at the store.  Before you buy any supplies, be sure to plan out your scene so that you can get the right sized moon for your setup.  Brooms Brooms can work for any Halloween setup, even if there are no witches!  Use small craft brooms, or a full size one.  You can create your own and decorate it with leaves or spiders.  If you want to try something fun, you can take a stuffed black cat and have it ride the broom. Eyes Spooky eyes are a great prop for Halloween shots.  You can create spooky eyes in several different ways: Giant Googly eyes, paper lanterns you take a marker to, or paper plates you decorate.  Try putting the eyes against a black background.  It will make them look like they are peering out of the darkness. The Number 31 Halloween is on the 31st, so why not use the numbers?  There are a variety of ways to achieve a number 31 prop.  One of the easiest is to use a letter board and just use the “31” numbers on it.  You can also cut out cardboard numbers and paint them black and orange (or whatever color works for your setup!). Recap There are so many options when it comes to photography!  This is why it is such an amazing art form.  Props can help you realize your artistic vision for a scene, especially one that is focused on the season at hand.   Here is a list of 13 Halloween-themed props for photos to help inspire your next photo scene setup: Black Cat Stuffed Animals Candy Black and Orange Streamers Jack o’ Lanterns Spiderwebs and spiders Crow Spooky Trees Mist Candy Bucket Moon Brooms Eyes The Number 31 If you enjoyed this article, please consider checking out some of my other articles on photography: Fall-Themed Photo Props (15 unique ideas) Getting Good photos at the Pumpkin Patch (8 fun ideas)

  • Getting Good Pictures at the Pumpkin Patch (8 fun ideas)

    Getting Good Pictures at the Pumpkin Patch (8 fun ideas)

    Is going to a pumpkin patch on your fall bucket list?  It is on mine!  Not only is the pumpkin patch a lot of fun, it is full of photogenic scenes.  I always have a goal of getting good pictures at the pumpkin patch. Every year, out family goes to the same pumpkin patch in town.  And every year, we get amazing photos of the kids and family.  They usually have the same setup every year, so I can get the same background each time.  Having the same background really showcases how much my little one has grown over the year. With all the pumpkin patch trips, I have learned what and what-not to do for some fun fall photos. In a nutshell, here are the tips I have for getting good pictures at the pumpkin patch: Plan your outfits Try and scout out shooting areas beforehand Try and get the pictures done as quickly as you can Don’t shoot into the sun Look for areas that don’t have a high traffic volume Lean what you can and cannot bring into the pumpkin patch Don’t go too late into the season If photographing your kids, bring fall-themed toys to distract them Here are each of these items in more detail: Plan your outfits Flannels and denim usually work well for pumpkin patches.  Avoid anything that is too busy.  Also, check the weather forecast when planning your outfit.  Depending on the temperature, you may want to dress in layers for not only your comfort, but so you have more options for your photos.  Make sure you plan your outfit accordingly.  Choose something photogenic, but still easy to move around in.  If you are bringing kids along, be sure to pack extra clothes that will still look cute in pictures.  You never know when you may have an outfit emergency and need to change them. One year, I put my son in a long-sleeved, orange and grey onesie for our trip.  I finished it off with some jeans, and he looked super cute for photos.  The photos I got that year are some of my all-time favorite photos of my child.  However, the onesie I chose had a penguin in the middle of the chest.  It was a cute penguin, but it wasn’t very “fall” themed.  I may be the only one that notices the penguin and thinks it is an issue, but I wish I had planned the outfit a little better. Try and scout out shooting areas beforehand If you have never been to the pumpkin patch before, try researching them online.  See if you can find any recent images of the place.  Do they have a barn you can use as a backdrop?  How about a bunch of hay bales you can sit your kids on?  By taking a look ahead of time, you can have a mental checklist of areas that might be good to get some photos in. If you can’t find anything online, hit up your friends to see if any of them have been to the patch.  If they took any pictures, ask if you can see them.  Most people are more than happy to show off their pumpkin patch album!  Even if they didn’t take the exact photos you are going for, you can get an idea of what you can do. Try and get the pictures done as quickly as you can One of the secrets to getting good photos at the pumpkin patch? Take them before the fatiuge sets in Lets face it: Both kids and adults will eventually hit a wall when it comes to fun outings.  If you are wanting to get cute photos of smiling, happy kids, you will want to do it fairly soon after arriving at the patch.  After a few hours, those kids will start getting tired and cranky.  Then you are left with scowling or crying faces.  This is true for adults as well as children! Another reason to take the photos early is to ensure that there are no mishaps before photo time.  Pumpkin patches are notorious for being dirty, and usually there are farm animals around.  You may get spit on by a goat, or get your pants dirty from sitting in the dirt.  If your photos are already taken, it is less of a concern. Don’t shoot into the sun This is more of a basic photograph tip rather than anything specific to getting good pictures at the pumpkin patch.  Shooting into the sun can cause harsh shadows.  To get good clean images, make sure your back is to the sun. This being said, every rule is made to be broken. 😊  If you have been shooting for awhile and are feeling comfortable taking pictures, try changing things up.  Have your subject turn at different angles to see how the shadows fall.  Or, try getting a picture of the sun through the fall trees.  Have fun with it! Look for areas that don’t have a high traffic volume If you want photos of just you and your family, look for areas where you will not have a lot of people in the background.  This may mean you need to get to the edge of the pumpkin patch.  Or it could also mean adjusting your angle so that there is not as many people in the background.  If this is not an option, and you have a DSLR camera, adjust your aperture to blur out the background. Another option is to look for something where you won’t have anyone behind you.  This could be the side of a barn or a cornfield.  This way you can get clean photos without having to wait for everyone to move. Learn what you can and cannot bring in Different pumpkin patches have different rules.  If you are planning on bringing in your DSLR camera or any props, be sure to check with the venue to make sure it is ok.  This is ESPECIALLY true if you are getting paid to do the photos.  However, even if you are just taking photos of your own family, it is best to check what the rules are. Don’t go too late into the season The later it is in the season, the more apt you are to get into snowy weather.  Once the snow starts setting in, those pumpkins are going to start wilting.  You can still get photos, but you may not have those bright orange, round pumpkins you want in the scenery.  Another reason is that your photos may start blurring the lines between fall and winter.  If that is the look you are going for, go for it!  Get those frost covered pumpkins or hay bales with snow on them.  However, if you want to keep your fall and winter photos separate, be sure to plan your pumpkin patch trip before the snow sets in. If photographing your kids, bring fall-themed toys to distract them Kids can get tired of taking pictures, so it can be helpful to have something to distract them.  If they are going to be holding something, you want to make sure it will still work with your picture.  Try brining a fall or farm themed stuffed animal: black cat, owl, chicken, etc.  You can also bring with a toy tractor or vintage car. Depending on the patch, you can might be able to use one of the for-sale pumpkins as a prop. Especially if you are going to be buying it.  Have your kids pick out a pumpkin and have them pose with it.  They will probably be so proud of picking out their own pumpkin they will be happy to oblige. Conclusion It is the time of year to get great fall photos.  The pumpkin patch is no exception.  Getting good pictures at the pumpkin patch doesn’t have to be hard.  You can get to the patch with a plan, and leave with some great pictures. Note: This year I took my photos at the Moon Farm in Grand Junction, CO. If you would like to check them out, visit their webpage at https://moonfarm.net/. To recap the different tips for getting good pictures at the pumpkin patch: Plan your outfits Try and scout out shooting areas beforehand Try and get the pictures done as quickly as you can Don’t shoot into the sun Look for areas that don’t have a high traffic volume Lean what you can and cannot bring into the pumpkin patch Don’t go too late into the season If photographing your kids, bring fall-themed toys to distract them If you enjoyed this post, please check out some of my other articles. Fall Themed Photo Props Fall Sayings for your Letterboard

  • How to use a baby’s milestone pictures (8 fun ideas)

    How to use a baby’s milestone pictures (8 fun ideas)

    Your baby is here, time to take those monthly milestone photos!  You set up your baby, get the cutest backgrounds and props, and start snapping.  The year flies by and now you have a great set of 12 pictures of your baby’s first year.  Now that you have taken them, you may be asking yourself what should I do with my baby’s milestone pictures? If you would like some tips on how to take your baby’s milestone photos, please check out my article here. You spent a lot of time and effort on these photos, so you don’t want them to just sit on a hard drive somewhere never being looked at.  I complied 8 different ways you can use your baby’s milestone photos: Put them in a baby book Create an album Put them in a baby box Make a slideshow on a digital frame Buy a milestone frame Create a collage print Create a banner for the baby’s first birthday Make a calendar Let’s look at each of these in more detail. Put them in a baby book This one may seem obvious, but a lot of baby books don’t have a specific spot for you to display monthly milestone photos of your baby.  Thus, you may not even think about including them in your album!  If there is not a specific spot for the photos, try making a collage of the images and including it in your album.  A lot of albums have generic photo pages, so you could put a collage on one of those pages. If you really like full sized 4×6 photos, you can try and find a baby book that has special pages for each of the first 12 months.  These are the albums I prefer.  I have looked around, and the only ones I have found with a separate page for the months are the albums from Hallmark (not a sponsor or affiliate).  I really like to have the individual pages, because you can also write down all the milestones your child has achieved over the month as well as displaying their picture.  Create an album Nowadays there are so many album options, from traditional to digital.  A popular album choice is creating an album online and then getting a physical copy printed.  Pro Tip: This works as a great present for the grandparents! The advantage to creating an album is that you can use other photos besides the monthly milestones.  You can create pages for the first smile, the first Mother’s Day, etc.  A lot of digital services for creating online albums have cute layouts and embellishments you can choose as well. There are a lot of services out there to choose from.  I personally use Shutterfly (not a sponsor or affiliate).  Their system is very easy to use, and they have a lot of fun design choices.  I have created several albums through their company, and even used Shutterfly to create my wedding guestbook!  However, there are many different companies out there that will help you create an album, so be sure to do some research Put them in a baby box Baby boxes are a popular item among sentimental parents (myself included).  A baby box is where you store sentimental items from your child’s early years in a special box or container.  These items can include baby clothes (especially ones worn home from the hospital or for baptism), favorite toys, early artwork, preserved footprints, and more.  Adding printed milestone photos is a great addition to a baby box. To organize the photos, buy a small photo album.  You can find small, flimsy albums at many different stores (including the dollar store).  If you can, buy one where you can take out the front cover and customize it.  Create a cover that has your baby’s name on it, then it will feel really special.  Make a slideshow on a digital frame Digital frames are a great way to display multiple digital photos in one place.  With digital frames, you can upload a variety of digital pictures and the frame will “scroll” through the options.  Depending on what kind of frame you get, you can have a variety of viewing options.  Digital frames are a great way to display any type of photos when you are low on space.  With monthly photos, you have 12 pictures to display (13 if you include the newborn one).  Digital frames can scroll through all of those images and more while taking up limited space. Buy a milestone frame Believe it or not, you can actually get special frames to display your baby’s monthly photos.  You can find them in craft and home stores, also online.  They usually have a large space for the “newborn” picture and 12 smaller slots for each of the months.  If you choose to use a special frame, be sure to pay attention to the dimensions.  Usually the 1 – 12 month slots are an unusual size.  This may mean you need to shoot your photos with a lot of white space around the edge (so you can crop easier).  Also pay attention to the orientation of the frame slots (horizontal or vertical).  I recommend taking both horizontal and vertical milestone photos so you are ready no matter how you end up using them. Create a collage print Collage prints are a fun way to display multiple photos on one page.  You can utilize a variety of printing places to create the collage.  I personally use Walgreens (not a sponsor) and create collages online. Once you have printed your collage you can use it in a variety of ways: put it in a frame, display it in a baby book, even use it as the cover to a binder.  Or, you can leave it in a digital form and use it as a wallpaper for your computer and phone. Create a Banner for the baby’s first birthday Baby’s first birthday arrives so fast!  One minute you have a tiny newborn baby, and the next you have a toddler destroying their own cake!  Their birthday party is a great time to display those monthly photos and show everyone how big they have gotten over the year. To make a simple banner, print the milestone photos (vertical works best).  Take thick string and small clothespins and pin the photos to the string.  Then, hang the banner on the wall or over a doorway.  This is just a very simple way to make a banner.  You can look up other tutorials or add embellishments to make the banner your own! Make a calendar If you ask the grandparents what should I do with my baby’s milestone pictures, they will probably say make a gift for them. Consider creating a calendar for them using the baby’s milestone photos.  Depending on when your baby was born, you won’t have a full year’s worth of photos for the calendar.  You can wait until the next year, when you have all 12.  You can also use just the ones you have an fill in the others with your maternity photos.  Besides just the milestone photos, you could create a collage each month and use a variety of photos.  If you plan ahead, you can get seasonal photos for each month and include them in your calendar.  It will be the hit gift at the family gathering!  It is also a great way to admire your little one through the whole year. 😊 Conclusion So what should I do with my baby’s milestone pictures?  There are so many options!  These are just a few of the ways you can use your monthly baby photos. Just a recap of what was covered: Put them in a baby book Create an album Put them in a baby box Make a slideshow on a digital frame Buy a milestone frame Create a collage print Create a banner for the baby’s first birthday Make a calendar What ideas do you have that are not on this list?  Comment below! If you liked this post, please look at some of my other articles: How to take Weekly Pregnancy Photos (5 simple steps) How to take monthly milestone photos (12 tips that work)

  • Fall Sayings for a Letterboard (85 Festive Ideas)

    Fall Sayings for a Letterboard (85 Festive Ideas)

    I love using my letterboard.  Letterboards let you add fun sayings to your picture in a cute and easy to read way.  With fall coming around, I wanted to use my letterboard in the most creative way possible.  I complied a list of fall sayings to use on a letterboard. A lot of these work well with certain settings or backgrounds.  I am hoping with 85 different ones to choose from, one will work with the photo setup you have in mind for your project!  Or, while reading through the options, you will be inspired for your next shoot.  For each of these sayings, consider putting the year at the bottom of your letterboard.  That way you will know how old everyone was in the picture.  It is amazing how after so many years, it becomes hard to remember details like that.  Since fall has so many activities, I divided up the sayings into different groups.  And even though there are 50 different fall sayings for a letterboard here, there are so many more out there!  Use your imagination to create your own saying for your own photo shoot.  If you would like some other ideas on what to use in your fall photos, please visit my post for Fall-Themed Photo Props. Bellow are some fall sayings for a letterboard, divided up into sub categories. Letterboard sayings for general Fall Try using one of these fall sayings for a letterboard if you are doing outdoor pictures in a pumpkin patch, a forest, or on a hay bale.  If you are doing indoor shoots, you can par the saying with a fall-themed backdrop. Pumpkin spice everything! Leaves are falling and Autumn is calling Time for scented candles Leaf Peeper I love fall most of all Time for fall décor Stay calm and fall is here Time for mittens and cocoa #crunchyleaves Tis the season for colorful leaves Time for cooler weather The air is crisp and so are the leaves Fall is my favorite time of the year Sweater weather Let’s go for a hay ride Time to break out the flannel Pumpkins, leaves, apples, hay rides… #happyfall Letterboard Sayings for Football Football is a beloved sport by so many.  If you are taking some football pictures, and need a little something to break up the photo, try using one of these sayings. Lets get ready for some football Break out the helmets, it’s football season Tailgate time It is my most favorite season… football Don’t keep calm it is football season Tailgates, helmets, and catches. It is football time #touchdown Letterboard sayings for Children Have some babies or toddlers dressed up in their costumes?  Try one of these letterboard sayings for a cute addition to their photo.  Hint: Also put the year at the bottom of the letterboard so you know how old your child was when the picture was taken.  Cutest pumpkin in the patch Trick or Treat, Smell my Feet Everybody is fall-in for me! I’m just here for the candy Too cute to spook Keep Calm and get candy Little monster You’re boo-tiful Pumpkin spice and everything nice So cute it’s scary So cute even the leaves fall for me ________ my name and football is my game Candy corn is my favorite veggie Nothing scary about me! Letterboard sayings for “Hello” “Hello *insert month or season*” pictures are very trendy.  A lot of times these work well for pictures that don’t necessarily have any people in them.  Try one of these sayings and lay the letterboard on the floor or table.  Surround the letterboard with fall leaves, little pumpkins, or candy corn.  Take a picture from above, and now you have a seasonal Facebook cover you took yourself! Hello Autumn Hello Halloween Hello September Hello October Hello Pumpkin Spice Hello Fall Goodbye September, Hello October Goodbye October, Hello November Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall Hello Turkey Time Goodbye fall, hello winter Hello Thanksgiving Hello ______, please be kind Letterboard sayings for Halloween Lots of people love to decorate for Halloween, and making cute letterboard sayings can be included in the decorations.  This year, try incorporating it into any Halloween pictures you may be taking.  Enter at your own risk Eat more candy #boo The spiderwebs just became decorations Trick or Treat Yo’ Self ___ Days until Halloween Time to pick pumpkins Free broom rides Time for scary movies Turn off the lights and eat candy Happy Halloween Monster mash time Candy, ghosts, cats… #happyhalloween Black cats and baby bats Bats in the belfry Candy corn wishes and black cat kisses When a black cat crosses your path – pet it Broom rides $1 Letterboard sayings for Thanksgiving Thanksgiving is a time for family and food.  If you are doing photos of your family members (letterboards usually work better if only one or two people are in the frame) you can have them hold a letterboard with a fun and festive saying.  After using your letterboard for pictures, you can set it near the table to use as a sweet decoration.  Hint: When doing photos also consider adding the year to the bottom of the letterboard.  The years run together, and you may be thankful latter to have an easy way to remember what year that picture was taken. Gobble, Gobble, ready to wobble #thankful ___ Days until Thanksgiving Time for some Turkey Give thanks with a grateful heart Be thankful May your heart be full and thankful Whatever floats your gravy boat Time to stuff the turkey Keep clam and eat turkey Thankful for pie Happy Thanksgiving Be thankful for all that you have Grateful for family Turkey, football, family….. #HappyThanksgiving Count your blessings Wrap Up Even if you have never used a letterboard in your pictures before, consider doing something different and trying it out this year.  It can be fun to come up with your own saying, that way you can make your pictures especially unique to you.  If you are still running short of ideas, hold a contest between family members.  Have everyone create their own letterboard saying.  You can choose a winner, and use it for the photos.  Or, everyone can create their own saying to be used in their own picture.  It may be a way to get your family more excited about taking pictures this year! If you liked this article, please check out some of my other posts: How to take your own Weekly Maternity Photos (5 Simple Steps) What are props in photography (and why do we use them)

  • How to take weekly pregnancy photos (5 simple steps)

    How to take weekly pregnancy photos (5 simple steps)

    I remember how excited I was when I saw those two pink lines. A baby was on the way! One thing I knew I wanted todo was track the progression of my baby bump. I wanted photographic evidence of how big it was at each week in mypregnancy. I had a bunch of ideas on how to take weekly pregnancy photos: cute props, using fruit to see what size thebaby is, making sure my hair was super cute, etc. However, then the dreaded morning sickness came. I was lucky if I could stand up straight, let alone gussy myself up fora picture. Plus, with all the hormones, I was lucky if I even remembered to take a picture that week. There was also alaundry list of other things I had to do: Get the nursery ready, write baby shower thank yous, make sure I was takingcare of myself, and so on. That first pregnancy left me with only about 7 weeks total documented. Those 7 photos werealso haphazard, with no real consistency. The second time around I was more prepared. I had learned what I needed to do in order to get consistent bumpgrowth photos. This time around I documented weeks 13-20, and weeks 23-39. There was a three-week period in therewhere I got sick, so no pictures happened. I ended the pregnancy with a visual record of my bump journey. I lovedlooking at the pictures and seeing how big I had gotten over the course of growing a little human. Now that I learned some of the things to do on how to take weekly pregnancy photos, I wanted to pass them along for other moms-to-be. I have broken them down into five items: Pick an ideal spot to take your photos Choose a backdrop Pick your number method Setup your tripod/camera stand Put reminders in your calendar Let’s go into each of these in more depth. Pick an ideal spot Since this will be a weekly event, it is good to scout out a location in your home that will be good for taking pictures.Choose a spot that is fairly well lit and has room enough for you and your camera. A room with a big, bright windowworks well. Also make sure it has a spot where you can keep your photography supplies and they won’t be disturbed. Try choosing a spot that will not get a lot of activity during your pregnancy. This will help keep the area clear so you cankeep taking your pictures without having to clean the spot beforehand. The new nursery might be a good idea, since noone will be using it for the duration of your pregnancy! Some people like to choose an outdoor location as well. This can sometimes be tricky since the whole pregnancy willrun into three different seasons. Be sure if you choose an area outside that it is fairly sheltered from the elements. Choose a backdrop Next choose what you would like for your background. If you have a plain wall, that can work just fine! The importantthing is that the background is free and clear from too many distractions. Some people like to choose a special backdrop for their photos. You can look on Amazon or backdrop sites to pick onethat will work well for you. If you choose to use a backdrop, you will need to make sure you have a way to hang it up. Abackdrop holder works well, or sometimes you can use painters’ tape. Or if there is a door, you can try hanging it overthe top of the frame. Pick your number method What do I mean by number method? It is how you are going to document what week this is of your pregnancy. Thereare several options you can choose from to suit your personality. One option is to get stickers. You can buy stickers that have the week printed on them. You stick them to the side ofyour belly, and you are good to go! The benefit is that they are easy to use. The downside is that you have to make sureyour arm is positioned so it doesn’t block the number. Another option is to use a letterboard. Letterboards are clean and easy to use. They can be a little more timeconsuming if you don’t have your numbers and letters already organized. Yet another option is using a chalkboard. This is the method I used for both of my pregnancies. The advantage is that itis cute and easy, especially if you keep the chalk nearby. A downside is that it is a tad messier, and can look dirty if youdon’t clean it well enough between pictures. Whichever method you choose, keep the supplies near where you are going to be taking the pictures. Keep it in thesame spot each time, because memory issues are a real thing with pregnancy! Setup your tripod/camera stand One of the hardest things about taking your own photos (in any scenario) is finding someone to click the shutter button.If you have someone at home, you can ask them nicely to play photographer while you model. However, they may notbe home when you need them. Or they may not have the best eye for photos. You could get done and find all yourpictures are blurry. If using someone else to take your picture is not an option, consider investing in a tripod. A tripod is very useful in anarray of situations, and this is one of them. A nice feature of the tripod is that it is very easy to adjust the height, so youhave the picture taken at the level that works best for you. If you don’t have another person and you don’t have a tripod, the next option is to get creative. You will need to find apiece of furniture to set your camera on while it is taking a picture. If the furniture is not high enough, you may need tostack books under your camera. This can be cumbersome, which is why I recommend investing in a tripod. If using a tripod or other stand, you will need to use the timer feature on your camera or phone. Play around with thesettings on your device until you find how to delay pictures. Try practicing so you know how much time you have to getback to your spot before the camera clicks. Put reminders in your calendar One thing that was tough for me with this process was actually remembering another week had gone by. It wasn’t just knowing just how to take weekly pregnancy photos, it was also remembering that I needed to take them! It may seem like time is crawling, but little things can get away from you so easily. I found it helpful to put reminders in my phone so I would remember to take my photos. In the reminders I also putdown how far along I would be so I could setup my scene accurately. If you use a physical planner, just jot down the days you need to take your photos so you don’t forget. Conclusion This is a time that will not come again! Even if you are pregnant multiple times, each time your body will look different.If having weekly maternity photos is something that is important to you, go for it! It was important to me, andappreciate having those photos to look back on. Just to recap, these are the tips on how to take weekly pregnancy photos: Pick an ideal spot to take your photos Choose a backdrop Pick your number method Setup your tripod/camera stand Put reminders in your calendar If you liked this post, please check out my other articles: How to Take Monthly Milestone Photos What are props in photography (and why use them)? Fall-Themed Photo Props (15 unique ideas

  • What are props in photography (and why use them)?

    What are props in photography (and why use them)?

    What are props in photography?  What makes something a good prop?  These are questions I asked myself once I started getting into portrait photography.  I loved being creative with my photos and trying out different things to bring life into my images.  I would constantly be playing with background ideas, trying to create fun and beautiful backdrops.  I would also look around my house for objects that would work with the subject.  However, I still didn’t know what of my picture elements were considered props.  If I had to define a photography prop, I would say it is an object used to enhance the photo but is separate from clothing or the backdrop.  A prop can be something the subject holds, a stand-alone item, an object for people to sit on, and more.  Let’s delve into photography props a little more. Why do props need defining? As an artist (yes photography is an art!), it is good to know what tools you have available to you for your craft.  The more you know, the more you will be able to choose how you want your image to look.  Defining what you are using also helps describe your vision to those around you. Also, for any of us who are on a budget for our photography studio, you can allocate funds for just props.  These funds would be set aside just for props and not used on backdrops, camera equipment, etc.  So when you set these funds aside, you know exactly what you will be using them for. Why we use props Props have a way of bringing the subject and the photograph to life.  They can enhance the mood of the photo, and bring the theme to life.  Props can allow you to open new avenues of creativity in a very saturated world. Props can help convey a message that the photo is telling.  Take these examples: A pregnancy announcement with little shoes sitting atop a pregnant mama’s belly.  In this case the shoes help show that there is a new life that will soon be wearing those shoes. An engaged couple with the “&” symbol between them.  The symbol makes a powerful statement as to two individual people coming together to be a couple.  A three year old holding three balloons on their birthday.  Not only does it represent the fun of birthday celebrations, but also will help family remember what number birthday that was! A newborn baby holding a stuffed rainbow.  The rainbow lets the viewers know that this precious baby has a sibling waiting for them in heaven.  Props can also give the subject something to focus on.  Have a fussy child as your subject?  A prop can help relax them and give them something to hold.  Not sure what to do with a subject’s hands? Have them hold a prop so they don’t feel so awkward.  What makes a good prop So now begs the question, what makes a good photography prop?  Since we can literally use almost anything, what should we look for in a prop?  A prop should enhance the scene, but not overtake the subject.  Unless the object is the focus of the photo for some reason, the viewers eye should immediately go towards the person/animal in the picture. However, the prop is obvious and has a clear reason for being in the photo.  Take for example my previous illustration of a child holing three balloons in their picture.  The child would be the main focus of the photo.  However, the balloons are still obvious.  Since balloons are traditionally associated with birthdays, the viewer can surmise that the subject is having a birthday even if it isn’t obvious any other way.  Also, the viewer can guess that the subject is turning three based on the number of balloons.  In this example, the props were used to tell a story that otherwise might not have been known. A good prop can also be something sentimental to the subject.  You have probably seen images of newborn babies sleeping peacefully in their daddy’s military helmet.  Or an expectant mom holding a sonogram over her still-flat belly.  These items have special meaning to the person using them.  To be able to incorporate them into a picture can mean a lot to someone.  How do I use props in my pictures? So how does one incorporate props into their pictures?  The options are endless.  Take for example a newborn shoot with a teddy bear.  You have quite a few options when posing the two: Have the newborn nestled right up to the bear Have the newborn and bear lying down parallel to each other, but their heads are facing in opposite directions. Take closeups of the baby’s feet lying on top of the bear’s paws Spend some time perusing through Pinterest.  There are so many photography examples to draw inspiration from.  If you see something you like, try giving it your own twist and using it in a shoot.  Make a board and label it “Prop Inspiration.”  Save any ideas you like so you can revisit them.  Also check out magazines and books for ideas.  Fashion photography can be a great place to see props in action.  Once you start using props in pictures, you will start coming up with your own ideas.  You will also discover what types of props you like the best.  Do you like using them abstractly?  Or do you prefer something that is bright and colorful?  Every photographer has their own style, so find something that works for you! Should I be using props in my pictures? The short answer is maybe (sorry to be vague!).  If you use props depends a lot on your personal style and your subject.  Some photographers prefer to use a much cleaner style which doesn’t rely on props.  Others prefer to let the scenery or backdrop do all the work, and not rely on props to convey a mood or a theme.  However, whatever your subject or style, I would recommend trying out some props just for the fun of it!  Experiment with different objects you have lying around your house.  Look up a Pinterest photo challenge, and add on the stipulation that you need to incorporate a prop into each shoot.  You don’t need to go out and spend any money on anything either.  Just look around your house to see what may work well for a picture.  Conclusion To recap, I define prop as an object used to enhance the photo but is separate from clothing or the backdrop.  A prop can be something the subject holds, a stand-alone item, an object for people to sit on, and more.  I know that I personally have enjoyed using props in my pictures.  I find myself not wanting to throw something out because I could use it as a prop in an upcoming shoot.  Or, if I am out shopping, I look at items and try to figure out how I can work them into a picture.  It is a lot of fun once you start going with it! I hope this post has both inspired and educated you on the area of props in photography.  Now, go out there and try taking some pictures with props! If you enjoyed this article, please check out some of my other posts: How to Take Monthly Milestone Photos (12 Tips that Work) Fall Themed Photo Props (15 Unique Ideas)

  • How to take monthly milestone photos (12 tips that work)

    How to take monthly milestone photos (12 tips that work)

    It is here, it is finally here!  Your baby has arrived in all their adorable, sweet splendor.  As you vow to do everything you can for this bundle of joy, your mind starts racing with all the fun things you will do for this baby.  Make them special clothes, get the safest stroller on the market, and take ALL the pictures. One of these photo ideas could be milestone photos. But how do you take your baby’s monthly milestone photos?  Milestone photos: Those cute pictures that show how your baby has grown, and are oh-so Facebook material.  I know that I was bound and determined to take the BEST milestone photos of my two children!  If you have not heard about milestone photos before, please check out my other article What is milestone photography (and is it worth it?) – article coming soon.  However, how do you take your baby’s monthly milestone photos?  Are there secrets to it?  How do you plan literally a whole year of pictures??  When I started taking milestone photos of my first child, I learned a lot that I used for my second child to make things go much smoother (and to eliminate many of the regrets I had the first time around). Here are 12 tips I have to take your baby’s monthly milestone photos. Plan ahead! Choose a theme Invest in some props Keep supplies in one area Use something for size comparison Think about the outfits Take both horizontal and vertical images Find a room with good light Make a note in your calendar Have a distraction handy Take care when picking your background Keep it simple Let’s dive into each of these tips. Plan ahead! This one is so important!  While you are still pregnant, plan what you want your milestone photos to look like.  What theme would you like (see step two)? Do you need to purchase any supplies to make your milestone-photo dream come true?  Make sure you are ready to take those photos when baby arrives. Look around on Pinterest for monthly milestone photo ideas, and Pin the ones you really like.  Before the baby arrives, pick the one(s) that you will want to use.  It is tough when you see a really cute milestone idea when your baby is already six months old and it is too late to use it! Choose a theme Do you want a stuffed animal for size comparison?  Do you want a letterboard that says what your baby is doing now?  Maybe you want each photo to be themed around the month it was taken in?  Example: Valentine’s Day theme for the photo taken in February. You will most likely want to stick with a consistent theme.  It will give the photos a coherent look.  Also, it will help show how big your baby is getting.  Invest in some props One of the fun things about monthly milestone photos is that there is so many options for props!  I love including fun things in the photos.  Some props to consider would be: A letterboard that you can use to show how old your baby is A stuffed animal Month-themed object.  Example: ornaments for December A chair or other thing for the baby to sit/lie on Keep in mind you will want to keep a similar feel with the props for the whole year, so make sure it is something that will work as the baby grows. Keep supplies in one area When the time rolls around to take another monthly milestone photo, you will want to make sure you have all the supplies you need!  If you are using a special blanket or backdrop, be sure to keep it where you know you will find it.  Same thing for any props you might be using. Consider getting a basket to put all your photo supplies in.  This way you will know exactly where everything is when the milestone suddenly comes up on you.  Consider using something for size comparison This is a popular option for parents.  By using the same object in all the photos, it becomes clear how big your baby has gotten in such a short amount of time.  A lot of people use a stuffed animal.  This has the added bonus that your baby might be distracted by it long enough for you to take their picture.  Think about the outfits This goes back to the planning ahead part.  Do you want your baby to have a consistent outfit for each of their photos?  For my baby, I had them wear a different onesie each month.  Each onesie was a different color and pattern, but the same body style.  However, you might want your child to have the same outfit each month.  Or you may want to match it to the weather for the month. Whatever way you choose, it is totally up to you!  Look up some styles ahead of time to see what you might like.  Try to stay away from any clothes that would clash or blend in with the background.  If you have a busy background, try a solid-colored outfit.  Take both horizontal and vertical images One thing I have learned in my years as a photographer: You never know what you might be using your pictures for.  You may have taken the milestone photos to be showcased in a digital frame, so you took only horizontal pictures.  You upload them to the frame, and the pictures are perfect.  However, that Christmas you receive a picture frame that will display all 12 (sometimes 13 if there is a spot for a newborn photo) of your monthly images.  The only problem is that the picture slots are vertical!  It then takes a lot of editing to get your images to work for the frame.  If you take a quick photo both horizontally and vertically, this will save you heartache.  Find a room with good light Most likely, you will be taking these photos in your own home.  To ensure well lit pictures, do some scouting in your home.  Try to find a room that has a large window to let in some good light.  Figure out what time of day the lighting is best.  You won’t want your baby in direct sunlight, but it will be much easier to get a clear picture if there is a good light source. Make a note in your calendar Although you may swear that you will not forget to take your baby’s monthly milestone photo, it can happen.  You are a new parent with many sleepless nights.  The lack of sleep and overabundance of caffeine to compensate will eventually take its toll.  I recommend setting a reminder on your phone or email.  This way you will be reminded when the day comes you need to take that next photo.  Have a distraction handy Some days your baby will pose beautifully for pictures with a big smile on their face.  Or they may lay there peacefully sleeping.  Other days, not so much.  It is good to have a distraction handy just in case your baby isn’t feeling photogenic that day.  This could be a toy, or it could be another adult to make funny faces and say cute things.  Take care when picking your background This one I learned the hard way.  My baby boy had gotten a beautiful white crocheted blanket when he was born.  I thought it would be perfect to lay him on for his monthly milestone photos.  For the first couple of months, it did work great.  However, he quickly outgrew the blanket.  This left me scrambling to make the rest of the photos match the previous ones. Another thing to consider is how busy do you want your background to be?  If the background has a lot going on, you may want to minimize the props.  Usually a solid background works well for monthly milestone photos.  Keep it simple For the first months, you may have time to setup an elaborate scene for your monthly milestone photos.  Your baby lays there, sleeping sweetly.  You have time to adjust their little outfit, move the props just so, and have that letter board filled with information. However, as your baby gets older, they will become less cooperative for pictures.  They will want to start moving around and grabbing everything they can get their hands on.  For my son’s milestone pictures, I had him lying down for all the months.  When he learned how to sit up, he didn’t want to lay still anymore.  For month 11, I kept laying him down and he would sit back up.  He thought it was a fun game and started laughing.  In fact, the only way I got my picture with him lying down was because he was laughing too hard to sit back up! Conclusion Although it might seem intimidating, milestone photos are a lot of fun to take and have.  They will become a priceless memory you will cherish for years to come.  To recap, here are the 12 tips I have to take your baby’s monthly milestone photos. Plan ahead! Choose a theme Invest in some props Keep supplies in one area Use something for size comparison Think about the outfits Take both horizontal and vertical images Find a room with good light Make a note in your calendar Have a distraction handy Take care when picking your background Keep it simple If you enjoyed this article, please check some of my other posts: Fall-Themed Photo Props (15 unique ideas)

  • Fall-Themed Photo Props (15 unique ideas)

    Fall-Themed Photo Props (15 unique ideas)

    Fall is finally here!  This is my absolute favorite time of the year: cooler weather, multicolored leaves, hot cups of coffee, throw blankets and…. Fall themed mini sessions and photo booths! This calls for some fall-themed photo props. Fall brings with it a lot of different festivals around the country.  A popular event at any fair or festival is the photo booth.  Whether it is couples taking selfies or moms lining up their children for a sibling shot, photo booths draw a crowd.  Having a fun, fall centered photo booth will have people showing off their photos for months to come.  With fall, there are so many setup options it can be overwhelming. I have compiled a list of 15 different props that can be used for your fall photo sessions.  While these ideas are mainly geared towards photo booths and mini sessions, they can also be used for fashion and product photography.  That is the beauty of photography props: They can be versatile and fun for so many types of shoots! Here is a list of 15 fall-themed photo props to help inspire your next photo scene setup: Hay Bales Cloth Banners Apples Wooden Crate Blankets Lantern Scarecrow Leaves Buckets Windmills Pumpkins Coffee cups Burlap anything Old truck or car Candles If you would like more in-depth discussions on each of these items, please keep reading! Hay Bales Hay bales are a fun addition to outdoor photo shoots.  You can use them indoors, but things can start to get messy.  They not only add a fall element to your shoot, but you can have people sit on them for different poses. Be warned – hay bales are heavy!  If you are going to use one, make sure to have a dolly to lug it around with.  Look for hay bales at farming supply stores. Cloth Banners Due to it’s versatility, cloth banners are actually popular year round for mini sessions.  Choose fall colors such as brown and orange to make you banner work with a fall setup.  Consider also using some burlap material to really give it a fall look! Apples Tis the season for delicious red and green apples!  Have a couple on hand for props.  Make sure you get a few extra just in case one of the subjects starts eating it. 😊 Wooden Crate A wooden crate gives you options.  You can put other fall props inside of it (like apples or pumpkins) or you can fill it with blankets for a newborn to lay in.  You can find wooden crates at most craft stores.  If you find one at a craft store, you also have the option to decorate or paint the crate specifically for your photo scene.  Try staining it to give it a weathered look.  Or use stencils to make a “farm name” on the side of the crate.  Just be sure to sand down any rough edges before using it with children!  Blankets Blankets can be great for wrapping around your subjects, or laying down on the ground for them to sit on.  If there is a large family, make sure the blanket is fairly large, or consider having several blankets spread out over the area.  Or if you are wanting to draw focus to the blanket, try using something with a plaid design.  If you don’t want too much attention on the blanket, go with more subdued colors.  Lantern The nice thing about the lantern is that you can use it for several types of shoots: Fall, Halloween, Christmas, and more!  So, if you invest in a lantern for a prop, you have the opportunity to use it over and over again.  To give it a more realistic feel, you can put in an electric candle inside the lantern. Scarecrow For this prop, you can try making your own or purchase one from a craft store.  You can make a small one that is mixed in with other props, or you can make a full sized one to have in the background.  If you make a full sized one, plan out your location ahead of time.  If the shoot is outside and you are able to stick it in the ground, that is great!  Otherwise consider putting it on a stand so it doesn’t fall over. Leaves Fun and free!  A lot of people love using leaves in their fall photo shoots.  Consider some fun poses with fall leaves.  For more ideas on using fall leaves as photo props, please see my post 8 Ways to use Fall Leaves in your pictures. Buckets Either metal or wooden buckets would be a great addition to a fall photo shoot.  You can leave it empty, or fill it with something like mini pumpkins or apples. Windmills This one can be a bit trickier.  You can find tall ornamental windmills online for a couple hundred dollars.  Or you may have a friend who already has a windmill. Maybe if you ask nicely you can borrow it for your shoot.  You can also try finding a small old-fashioned windmill at a second hand or craft store.  Either way, a windmill would add a unique element to your photo scene!  Pumpkins Pumpkins are a great prop for fall!  You can leave them plain, bedazzle them, or carve them up if your photo shoot is more geared towards Halloween.  Coffee Cups Ah, sweet coffee!  Who doesn’t love a warm beverage during the chill fall months?  And you don’t have to limit yourself to coffee: Apple cider, tea, and hot coco make great options as well.  If you are taking your photos outside on a chilly day, the steam from the cup can add another nice element to your photos.  Burlap anything When it comes to crafting, burlap is a favorite!  Bows, bags, wreaths, and banners are just some of the fall-themed photo props you can make with burlap.  For fall, burlap and leaves can be combined to create a prop that is unique to fall.  Also consider making a burlap wreath or banner that has interchangeable embellishments.  This way you can use the wreath for any season! Old truck or car I only recommend this one if you already own an old truck or car.  Might be hard to justify spending that kind of money on a prop for just one photo session!  However, if you do own one (or know someone who would lend you one) this can make for some special photos.  If the car isn’t in the best of shape, it will just add to the charm of the photos.  You can consider putting a seasonal wreath on the front of the car.  Not only does this add to photo, it covers up the license plate (save you all that time of editing it out in post production!). You also don’t need to get a full sized, real car either.  You can find a toy car that can serve as a prop for children to hold.  Or it can set along side another item in a product photography shoot.  Use your imagination! Candles If you use candles, I recommend using the electric variety.  This way you can avoid any unfortunate incidents with real flames.  And then if little clients want to hold them, it won’t be an issue either.    Recap There are so many options when it comes to photography!  This is why it is such an amazing art form.  Props can help you realize your artistic vision for a scene, especially one that is focused on the season at hand.    A recap of the different fall-themed photo props (in case you like lists like me): Hay Bales Cloth Banners Apples Wooden Crate Blankets Lantern Scarecrow Leaves Buckets Windmills Pumpkins Coffee cups Burlap anything Old truck Candles If you enjoyed this article, please consider checking out some of my other articles on photography: How to take milestone photos (12 tips that work)

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