Friday, May 20, 2011

Document Those First Years - Wrap Up

Well, at least I think this is a "wrap-up". No promises this won't be revisited in the future. Taking pictures of our life is a main priority in my house. My mom put a camera in my hand when I was six and I have never stopped seeing the world through a lens since.

First off, it occurred to me not everyone may know the basics of playing around with their photos. As for what I use, I depend on Adobe Photoshop Elements for editing my pictures. This is not as expensive as the full Photoshop and it does about 96% of what I need and it is 100's of dollars cheaper than Photoshop. Students can buy it cheaper. My camera is a Nikon D80 DSLR which is still awesome despite being almost 5 years old now, and yes I am a Nikon snob but many of my friends love their Canons.

If you are just getting started taking pics of your family, some fun sites to check out are:

I HEART FACES who not only have fun photo contests each week (even for the beginner), they also have some getting started, basic tutorials.

Becky's Blog- Becky Higgins - has wonderful, very basic to advanced, real-life photo tutorials and projects. Becky has created "Project Life" which is a simple way of documenting your everyday experience for you and your children. I love the concept and know this would be something for my family to treasure but I haven't taken the plunge yet (anyone want to buy it for me?) I've been a follower of Becky's since her very first scrapbooking days with Creating Keepsakes Scrapbooking Magazine, (now empire), she's amazing! She is the expert about documenting your child's lives.

Pioneer Woman Photography - if you haven't heard of her yet you must be newly born because she is everywhere and with reason. She is a blogger, and self-taught photographer who probably started it all with her awesome tutorials. It is a must see.

There are many fun sites for adding special effects or text onto your photos. Photobucket and Picnik are worth a visit. Photobucket is an awesome resource and a good place to start as any. Picnik has many different fun effects including one-click teeth whitener that gives everyone that Hollywood smile!

If you are an Iphone or Droid user, there are some pretty amazing apps that will take your camera phone shots to the next level. You really can get amazing results with a camera phone these days. I think this is where things will be going in the future. How many times have you wished your eyeballs were a camera? I have seen so many moments I wished I could capture forever but missed them because I didn't have my camera with me and figured my iphone camera wouldn't be worth bothering with. I was wrong. Check out this article from Photojojo to see what I mean. Also, you might just want to join Photojojo while you're there, a free photo newsletter which is very up to date on the latest and greatest in the world of photography.

I know this is nowhere near a comprehensive list, just what I have found very helpful so far. Feel free to comment and tell me which photo sites you enjoy!

Here are a few more adorable photos that I have seen on the blogs and had to share. Actually, the first one (seen at the top) is by my friend Lori. I saw this and asked her if I could include it on my blog. I love the sweet and simple way she is documenting her daughter Reese's milestones. Adorable!! Lori used Adobe Photoshop to write the text onto the photo, but the websites Photobucket and Picnik listed above would do this too. Isn't it sweet?! I can't see this pic and not smile! This is a great way to help long-distance family stay current with your little one, just print out that cute picture as a regular 4X6 or 5X7 and mail it as a postcard, or yes, email it or post on Facebook.
One more way to document the first year. If you haven't seen my previous posts on doucmenting your pregnancy or child's first year see this and this. I love this one above from ODEEDOH because it is so simple and I love the way the baby is laying or sitting differently in each one, showing some personality.

Love the blue pregnancy shot above. I tried this one, but my black shirt disappeared too much against the brown wall and it was hard to tell what the big bump my son was hugging was. I included it above to show you what not to do. Even though it's imperfect it still has much meaning to me, so an imperfect shot is always better than one you didn't take at all. Anyway, I love the light blue belly against the blue wall seen above. Make sure your nice fat belly is visible! This was from Becky Higgins.

I LOVE this. I so didn't have the guts to do this with kids numbers one, two or three. I was too worried that the special first birthday outfits would get (gulp) ruined. Lame right? Why didn't I just strip them down to diapers and let them get at that cake? I finally summoned the courage with baby number four and wouldn't you know it but she wanted nothing to do with that cake. Wouldn't even touch it and frankly was irritated at us for even suggesting such a thing. (Big sigh) I tried. Anyway, I LOVE the colors in this one which is from Photography by Megan.

This pic is from this etsy shop, selling this cute vinyl lettering. I LOVE this idea and again, a great way to use photobucket, picnik or a program like Adobe Photoshop Elements or Photoshop to add this text to your photo. Doesn't even have to be a newborn.

Phew! Thank you for sticking with me. Good luck documenting your awesome families. I'd love to see or at least hear about your pictures!

- Becca

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