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Monday, November 29, 2010

Tips & Apps for Perfect Holiday Pics on KCAL 9

Mic's Six Tips for Perfect Holiday Pics on KCAL 9!
November 30th at 2:30pm!

1. Busy makes you Dizzy. Stay away from busy prints. Your clothes do not need to match perfectly so relax! The sure bet is blue jeans and white shirts or blue jeans and black shirts, but otherwise don't get too specific in a color scheme. Just make sure your colors are in the same vein. Natural colors are best such as earth tones or soft blues, evergreen, tans. Just make sure there isn't one shirt that stands out such as a bright red shirt among all neutral tones, etc.
Notice the tones all flow, and set a mood which is peaceful...
2. Don't Pout It's Dinner Out! Make it a fun night out, not just a photo session! There's nothing wrong with promising a trip to see Santa at the mall afterward, or a visit to their favorite restaurant!

 3. Smile at the Dial! Your camera is smarter than you think... Those little icons on your camera dial are there for a reason so use them! They actually work!
If you don't have the silhouette icon, then use your Auto Mode if you are not used to Manual
4. Attach the Flash. Turn off your on-camera flash to avoid harsh light and use an attachable flash. Learn how to "bounce the light" off a large light colored surface whether it be the ceiling or a wall. Most heads swivel and offer a beautiful glowing light if outdoor photography is not an option! My App pick for this tip is the "Light Meter"
Say hello to my leetle friend...
5.  Invade the Shade. You'd be surprised how beautiful natural light can be right in the shade. Look for an even light, not one spackled with shadows. Some unexpectedly beautiful light can be found under a tree near the trunk, or in your front doorway, even in a dingy garage. Not every location needs to be beautiful, sometimes the beauty comes simply from the light itself.
Great light can be found in your own doorway!
6. The Golden 40. When shooting outside or at the beach, shoot 20min prior to sunset and 20 min after! Download the "Sunrise Sunset" app to your iPhone and you can find out exactly when the sun sets at any beach in the world!

*Check out our TinyPrints Store Front for card ideas!

I hope these pointers help out a little bit. Ultimately the goal is to have HAPPY faces shining from your card, so don't forget the number one thing to keep in mind is ENJOY THE PROCESS! Leave yourself plenty of time so as not to rush anything, allow the crankiest elf to select their own outfit and work your color scheme around that, and bring lollipops! Maybe even work the lollipop into the photo! Get the big fun swirly kind and let the kids (or grown ups) rock it! It's the season of JOY, so keep reminding yourself...the process of capturing the image is just as meaningful as the image itself so make it fun for all involved and you just might be the saint of their holiday.
One last thought, please don't forget your favorite charities this holiday season. My two favorites are a part of my family now: The Iraq Star Foundation, Providing free reconstructive surgery to our troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. As well as The Tempered Steel Organization, Uniting wounded soldiers and the public through dialogue.

Both support the troops and are helping to bring peace, hope, love and joy to many military personnel this holiday season. 
Happy Holidays to ALL!
Mic's App Picks for Better Pics!
Portrait Photography 101
Kid Friendly Restaurants
Photo Trainer
Light Meter

Camera Icons Demystified

What Are All Those Camera Icons?

The tiny symbols on your digital camera's dial represent a wealth of features and functions.Dave Johnson

Illustration by Diego Aguirre
Illustration by Diego Aguirre
It's no surprise that Windows applications are filled with arcane icons, buttons, and menu options. But the dizzying array of esoteric symbols on digital cameras makes deciphering your computer icons seem like child's play. That's because digital cameras pack dozens of features into a miniature gadget. Complex concepts must be translated into single icons, such as an eyeball-shaped one that signifies automatic red-eye reduction. Here's a crib sheet for figuring out the meaning of the most common icons adorning your camera's settings dial.

A Key to Camera Icons: Making Sense of the Symbols

Illustration by Diego Aguirre.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre
Auto Mode: When you want to take snapshots without worrying about the mechanics of photography, leave this setting on Auto. This mode sets all exposure levels automatically, and it usually locks you out of making any minor adjustments manually.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre
Manual Mode: This mode gives you total control. You use buttons on the camera's body to set both shutter speed and aperture size. Remember, though, that you're working without a safety net--the camera won't protect you from under- or overexposure.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre
Aperture Mode: When you set the size of the aperture, your camera automatically provides the right shutter speed to deliver a correct exposure. Rely on this mode to blur the background or to keep the entire image in sharp focus.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre
Shutter Mode: This setting is your best option for taking action photography. Shutter priority allows you to freeze the scene or artistically blur the picture. All the while, the camera keeps the exposure matched to the aperture.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre
Program Mode: Like Auto mode on steroids, this mode automatically sets aperture size and shutter speed for a perfect exposure--but it also lets you tweak settings, giving you more creative control. You can change white balance and exposure compensation, for instance, and even nudge shutter speed up or down a bit.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre
Movie Mode: Many cameras let you record MPEG or QuickTime videos to the same memory card storing your photos. The videos aren't sharp enough for DVD, but they're great for e-mail.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre
Macro Mode: To focus on extremely close subjects--say, within a few inches of the lens--choose the tulip. You can take life-size pictures of insects, flowers, and other small subjects in this mode, but the focus range at such distances is very narrow.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre
Landscape Mode: In this mode, your camera picks the best aperture and shutter settings for the depth of field that you want when taking pictures of landscapes and other outdoor tableaux.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre
Sand and Snow: Brightly colored or glaring backgrounds can trick the camera into underexposing the subject. This mode overexposes the scene to gain details that would otherwise be lost.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre
Action: The Action (sometimes called Sports) mode sets the camera to the highest possible shutter speed, increasing your odds of getting a clear shot of squirming kids, for example.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre.
Illustration by Diego Aguirre
Night: This mode lets you capture nighttime scenes by combining a flash, which freezes people in the foreground, with a slow shutter speed, which allows lights from buildings, cars, and other elements to show in the background.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Photography & Parenthood

Sixteen and a half years ago, I sat in front of the Christmas tree with an envelope and a swollen tummy. Inside that envelope was the answer to the ultrasound designating my child's genetic induction to the human race.

It was a girl.

My heart expanded and collapsed. My mind raced. I was terrified. How was I to raise a child? Just because I was one didn't mean I knew how to handle one.

Yesterday that little ultrasound drove my car. I sat in the passenger seat terrified. Again. I had made it this far, raised her with every ounce of motherhood in my being, only to release her into this world. Then it hit me. Not the car next to us, the realization that my job was nearing its end, but was it good enough? Had I earned my wings of motherhood?

The only thing perfect about my parenting has been the love for my children.

After four children, I believe there is no easy way to parent, there is no right way, there are no text book answers. However I did find a parallel...

Parenthood is similar to photography:

Both are birthed by passion.

You are successful not just due to manuals or classes,
but mostly through instinct, dedication, 
and an unquenchable desire to create something special 
which will someday touch the lives of others.

It takes years to see the results you spent your whole life dreaming of.

The pain of giving birth is relieved in the moment you hold that perfect image in your hands.

There will be many mentors, but the result will only be unique if it's nurtured by you. 

Children are like negatives. Not until they fully develop will you see the results of your labor.

Memories are created but never owned,
just as children are birthed, 
they must venture out and alter the world 
in even the smallest of ways.

It's the little moments nobody else notices which will grab your heart
burrow into your soul 
and change your life...