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Sunday, December 21, 2008


Since we are near Christmas holiday aren't you tired of sending the same kind of greeting card every year,every birthday or sending the same party invitation.Here we are going to give you some tips on how to make greeting cards using your own photos.Why do it?
It's Something special-Everyone one loves to see picture of their loved ones,especially members of your family who live far away.This will show that you care enough to create something unique and it's great to make somebody lough even for some minutes.
It's cheap- A box of store-bought cards can cost, on average, about $12 for a box of 10. Customized cards purchased online cost about $6 for the same number. And that includes shipping.
It's easy-Creating your own holiday cards is as easy as a few clicks of your mouse. There's no need to trudge though slush or snow to pick up a box of cards. Just follow our tips below and you'll receive your personalized greetings in days, delivered straight to your door.
It's lovely-There's nothing grandparents love more than a picture of their adorable grandchildren (other than a visit with the real thing, that is). These cards are sure to be plastered on the fridge or carefully placed in a purse for an impromptu show-and-tell.

Now follow these tips and you will do a great job.
1.Decide what kind of card you need-All the work you are going to depends on what kind of card you want to make.For example you want to send greeting card for Christmas,for New Year or every other kind of fest,or you need a invitation card for a party or an event.Having a vision ahead of time can speed up the process even if you'll be using templates straight from the software.
2.Choose the photos you are going to use-Go throw your whole gallery photos or if you don't have nothing suitable start shooting some photos and our previous tips will help you do that.Some quick tip for holiday cards of your kids or family are:
  • Keep outfits simple- With babies, less is better. “Newborns look best naked,”For toddlers and bigger kids, think basics and solids; no metallic fabric, writing, logos, characters, stripes, prints, or polka dots. They’re distracting and date the photo. Similarly, have your kids dress for their age in clothes they like. Don’t put a toddler girl in a stiff frilly dress or a toddler boy in a suit or a buttoned-down collared shirt. Besides being uncomfortable, grown-up garb will camouflage your child’s personality, which should shine through in the photo.
  • Coordinate the clan-If you’re taking a family photo, have everyone wear different shades of the same color, such as light blue to navy, or pale pink to burgundy. And avoid white if you’re shooting outside; it can be too reflective.
  • Don’t worry about the backdrop- If you’ll be taking your own holiday photo, don’t fret about finding a perfect pastoral scene in your neighborhood. People receiving your photo will concentrate on your family, not the scenery.But focus on the children’s faces and do make sure the surroundings aren’t too busy. An adorable expression gets lost when it has to compete with with a jumble of toys, furniture, traffic, and other people in the background
  • Don’t tell your kids you’re taking holiday-card photos. It’ll make them self-conscious, which will come through in the photo. The less kids are preoccupied by the camera, the better off you are. In lieu of a posed shot, pack your camera on family outings and watch for impromptu card-worthy photo opportunities, or tell your kids to go play while you casually click away.And always take holiday photos hen your kids are happiest.
  • Take holiday photos when your kids are happiest. That could be right after a meal rather than before or immediately post-naptime.
  • Use previous vacation photo. If you got a great summer vacation shot, it’s fair game for your holiday photo card, even though it may be six months old by the time it’s sent. But if you have a baby or a toddler is better to make new photographs as they change so much within a few months.
3.Choose an online site if you want them to print your cards and a lot of other options-Is important to google for a site that will help you make your greeting cards.When you find a site with designs that appeal to you, create an account and upload your photo to the website. Most sites will provide terms of use that you will have to read and accept to proceed. Sites also normally provide editing tools to crop or remove red-eye. Play around with these tools until you’re satisfied with the results.

  • offers Best Quality, Best Options, Most Expensive-You'll find different options on here, like making a coloring book out of your favorite photos (cool!!), and Kodak does have an exceptionally high quality printing service. This is definitely one of the best products on the web, but not necessarily best for your money.
  • offers Good Quality, Good Options, Good Price-I'm a big fan of Shutterfly, because they have options that continually surprise me, and their photo books have a lot of customization without being outrageously expensive. This is the most popular online photo service, with good reason--they are a great intersection of quality, options, and price.
  • offers Good Quality, Great Options, OK Price-Generally, I find PhotoWorks a little more expensive than it's worth (especially for photo books) but for their holiday cards they have a surprising amount of really elegant options that I really fell in love with. Still a little expensive, but they have options I haven't seen elsewhere.
  • offers Decent Quality, Fair Options, Unbeatable Price-Yes, it's Walmart. Their printing quality is decent and wholly comparable, their options are limited but still solid, and their prices are totally beyond compare. They are definitely the cheapest option in the business, so if you are printing a bulk amount of holiday cards, they would be a good choice to consider.
4.Use appropriate software- If you are already familiar with the operation of PageMaker, InDesign, or other professional desktop publishing software.An extremely useful piece of software that shows you how to turn your digital pictures into charming Christmas photo cards is the MonkeyPhoto Version 3.0, from Monkeymen Software.But we are not going to talk about this in this post,maybe we will do that in another post.
5.Find an appropriate greeting-Based on the occasion choose a message .Depending on the style of card you chose, you'll have between 50 and 500 characters to create a personal message. Folding cards allow much more space as the message goes on the inside. You can often choose your own font as well. Want to make it even more personal? Not only will Shutterfly allow you to develop a separate message for each card, but they'll also address, stamp and mail your cards. (Note: This option is more costly.)
6.Preview your card-View your card complete with photo and personalized greeting. Most sites allow you to change your photo or edit your text. And many also allow you to choose a different design for your card if you're not happy with the original. Note: Once you click “choose another design/card,” Wal-Mart and Snapfish automatically insert your picture into all of their greeting cards, making it much easier to visualize which card will look best.
7.Specify quantity and pay- Choose the number of cards you'd like (they all come with envelopes –Kodak Gallery lets you choose the colour of the envelopes while Shutterfly will add a return address). Then, enter your shipping address. Once you've chosen a method of shipping (expedited – more expensive or regular – cheapest) it's time to approve the overall cost. Then, enter your payment information and wait for your shipment. Note: Wal-Mart is substantially less expensive than the other sites. Cards cost roughly $0.33 each and shipping is cheap (or free if you pick the cards up from a nearby store). I ordered 20 cards and only paid $9.10 with shipping, while mailing me 10 cards from KodakGallery cost $15.81.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Christmas is coming and we all want to capture some great photos of a beautiful Christmas tree,
of Christmas decoration, and we all want to capture our family and friend.
There are a lot of opportunities to photograph during Christmas like the opening of gifts that are filled with emotion,excitement especially for the kids.You can shoot great photos inside the house with your family or you can shoot great photos on the outside,because the Christmas lights and decoration are great.You just need to be prepare in both cases and here are some tips that will help you do that.
1.Prepare your photographic equipment-if you think you have it all,I advice you to check twice to be shure.
  • Pack your camera (goes without saying)
  • Charge your batteries and is better if you have two of them
  • Check your memory card and be sure you have one with a big memory or if possible keep two of them
  • Consider if there is enough light and if you will need a flash or no?
  • If you can bring a tripod with you and if you don't want to bring a big,heavy tripod you may use a mini tripod but you will definitely need one
2.Know The Location- It is important to realize that wherever the holiday celebration takes place, If possible, prior to the event...if not take a walk and choose the best places where you can shoot from.So you learn what kind of light is there,what kind of white balance to use,and what other camera setting to use.
3.Always shoot in RAW-As any other kind of photography is better to shoot in RAW format so you can make changes later on some elements of your photos.But also you have to try shooting the better you can because some thing you can not change like a bad background,blur on your subject face etc...
4.White balance-Is very important to have the right white balance when photographing on Christmas.If you aren't sure you can set it to automatic white balance or if your camera allows you ,shoot in RAW so you can make changes later.
5.Flash light or light diffusion-Sometimes we see some photos with a harsh light that causes the photo to loose details,
so is better not to use flash but use the night mode setting on your camera or a slow Shutter Speed(in this case you will definitely need a good tripod).Or if you can to use a external flash and try bouncing it off walls or the ceiling.
6.Macro Shooting-Some of digital cameras have a preset option of macro or if yours doesn't have it,use a large aperture (low F-stop) when shooting non-people subjects like ornaments on the tree, table decorations, sweets in the bowl on the table, a nativity scene on the mantle piece, holly above the doorway - sometimes it’s these small things around your party that are the real ‘money shots’.
7.Be careful on your background-So when you shoot your family or friend portraits or Christmas decoration you don't have nothing on the background that distracts the viewer from the subject like columns, fixed objects, plants,etc...If the background is good use it,if not maximize your depth of field (smallest possible F-stop) to blur the background.
8.Make a list of Christmas pictures you must have-As we are distracted from the party and excitement most of the time we dont remember all great shoots we wanted to take during the celebration,so if you have a pocket list you can check it whenever you want and remember everything.
9.Shoot as much as you can of "non-people" photos before anyone arrives-Sometimes we want to take some pictures of the ornament during Christmas but we cant because of the chaos that people cause.Some tips on what to shoot are:Capture the preparation stages like:Food preparation
  • Putting up decorations
  • Wrapping gifts
  • Kids throwing a tantrum while getting dressed in their Christmas outfits
  • Setting the table
  • Ornaments-Is better to use a large aperture(low f-stop) so you blur all the background.

You can play with color, lights, and shades in the background to contrast and set up the subject of the Christmas photo.An overlooked technique in Christmas pictures is to use a spherical reflective surface to act as a convex mirror and show everything behind the photographer.
If you look carefully at this ornament, you can see much of the room in front of the ornament.
Play with your macro camera setting to focus very close in on the ornament, thus creating a fish-eye view Christmas picture.
10.Shoot in Continuous Mode the opening of the gifts-You need to shoot on continuous mode if you want to take all the face expressions of your family and friends as they can be very cute,especially if kids are present.Some of them will show joy or occasionally disappointment but you want to have anyone of them.Take as much photos as you can and don't delete anyone of them during the celebration as you will have enough time later to do that.
11.Focus on your subjects and fill the frame-often we find our self with some Christmas photo taken from a big distance and with a lot of space around us,that the viewer can't define our face.So when you shoot be sure to fill your frame by using optic zoom,or if your camera does not allow you you can move in closer.Also to get a good photograph, remember to place the subject off center. Move the camera a little to the side so your subject is placed off center.
12.Portraits and Groups Shots- For portraits and groups shots, pick a location. Feel free to set up a location for your group shots. Props such as a tree or packages will enhance the Christmas theme. Pick a location with an uncluttered background. Take your time arranging your subjects and try to keep to as few rows as possible.
To get yourself in the photograph, use a self-timer.
13.Shoot on every oportunity you have-Christmas carols services, houses covered in Christmas decorations, shopping malls filled with busyness etc. Get out there with your camera and capture it. What a wonderful time of year to practice using your camera.
14.Christmas lights-They must be an important subject of your Christmas photo album and you have to try your best on shooting them as they will reveal to be the best picture you will take.But keep in mind that this is not as simple as it seems,so we are going to talk about this in another article.
15.Injoy and have fun.
Oh I almost forgot...
Marry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Monday, December 1, 2008


Some times is difficult to keep your photos in level and this isn't your fault at all.You can try to expand your tripod legs but still you notice that your photos are 1 ore 2 degree of center.
What can you do in these cases?
There are two solution in these case:
1.You can buy a good tripod with a build-in bubble level-you can find different types from different brands.The best one that I could find online is the type shown in the photo.It is called the Slik PRO 700 DX.It is highly ranked for:Photo Enthusiast, Amateurs, SLR Cameras and Backpacking but the problem is that it cost 100$-140$.If you can't afford one or if you already have a tripod and you are pleased with that one even if it does't have a buil-in level,you have the second solution:
2.Cube Hot Shoe 3-Axis Bubble Level-It does not cost to much so I think everyone can buy it.It costs somewhere between 11$.It is useful and fits in any hot shoe of dSLR cameras or in any advanced digital camera like the canon G9 or canon G10, every photographer can shoot photos more accurately and check the angles of their camera seconds before taking that shot whether you are on uneven ground or just drunk.It can be used in horizontal shoot but also it can keep vertical level in the that exact position, making your photos straight and true.Your camera will look a little strange with the bubble level but it is not uncomfortable,as it is very light near 20 gram and its dimensions are: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm.

PS:The only thing you have to keep in mind when using bubble level , with the tripod or Cube Hot Shoe 3-Axis Bubble Level is to center the bubble between the inside line pair,as it indicates level.When it touches one of the outer lines, it means the level is pitched at a 2-percent grade (about ¼ inch per foot of run), the slope required for waste lines, sidewalks, and rain gutters to drain properly.