Holiday Photo Tips

Tis the season for holiday decorating, overeating, over spending and family gatherings.  If you’re like most Americans, you will most likely be toting a camera around with you on these occasions.  How do you capture these moments and what are the best tips from the pros?  Lucky for you I have some great tips for even the most beginning novice.

You don't need the whole tree in there to get they're in front of the tree.

Don’t have a super fancy DSLR?  No worries, the point and shoot cameras that are available today take some really amazing pictures. Even I don’t carry around my big pro camera to family functions, I carry my small Canon Powershot.  The first tip I tell everyone is to READ YOUR MANUAL!  Get to know your camera and the different settings.  For example, you should be able to switch between having the flash fire automatically or turn that baby off.  If you want a moody shot of the neighborhood Christmas lights, you obviously don’t want the flash going off automatically, you need to know how to turn the flash off.

Decide what is your subject.  This is a HUGE one that I tell people all the time, especially my parents.  Every time my parents come back from a trip there are always pictures of my mom, about the size of an ant, the huge skyline, the trees, cars, etc all in one picture.  What is the focus?  If you’re going to do a scenic photo, take the people out, if you want a photo of a person, make them the star and don’t worry about all that scenery.  Too often I see holiday pictures with the huge Christmas tree, the stockings hung, and the kids in about 1/4 of the photo.  Trust me, if your kids are the star of the photo and take up 75% of the frame, the viewer still understands and sees they’re in front of the Christmas tree, you don’t need all 8 feet of the tree in there.

Get creative with your shots!

Be creative. We always try to do something different with our holiday pictures, whether its a fun picture of the kids wrapped up in a ton of Christmas lights, just a picture of their feet in front of the fire, or funny angles of their toys.  That’s the joy of the digital age, you can take as many pictures as you want, so go ahead and be creative!
And finally… edit edit edit.  I am a AVID believer in editing.  We have way to many pictures stored on our hard drives these days.  We didn’t use to have 150 pictures from Christmas, maybe a roll of 36 exposures right?  Just because we took the picture does not mean we have to save it.  We don’t need a picture of every toy that was opened, or the back of the kids when they were playing with their cousins.  Instead edit the pictures down to a solid 30-40 pictures that represent this holiday season best and get them into an album of some sort.  Whether is an online album to share with friends and family or a printed album get them off the computer and into a place that your children can look at!  Don’t hand them a hard drive when they’re all grown, get these memories in print.

The Photo Addict runs a retail photography studio location in Fullerton, Ca.

Review – Moms Groups on Meetup.com

When I was pregnant with little C, I was not working. So when big E was in school it felt a little lonely since all my friends were at work. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED being a stay-at-home mom, but the adult stimulation was definitely lacking. I went on Yahoo groups to find some groups with similar interests. I joined a scrapbooking group. I enjoyed the discussion and I even went to a few events that were a lot of fun. Did I make any real connections? Not really. I stumbled upon Meetup.com while surfing the net about 2 weeks after giving birth to little C.  I did a search for Moms with a 10 mile radius of my house.  Holy cow, 15 groups near me! I joined the group. My first meetup was interesting. The first thing you need to know is that I am a very outgoing person. I have absolutely no problems going to a party alone where I don’t know anyone, no problem speaking in front of people and certainly no problem making friends. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m a pretty fun person. So back to my first meet up. I went to the park where there was a play date, no one introduced herself to me, I had to go up to the group of women and ask if they were from XYZMeetup group, which they were. I enjoyed the conversation, I really liked being able to talk about breastfeeding with other women that were going through the same things as I was. All in all it was a good experience. There was definitely a clique though, which I was NOT part of. But I took it for what it was and kept going to events.

It’s been four years since my first Meetup and about 3-4 different moms groups later. I think Meetup is a great place to meet other moms, but there are some things I think one should know.

  1. Anytime you have a group of all women together there will most likely be drama.
  2. Don’t go in with expectations of meeting a friend for life. Will you make connections? Of course, many will be on the surface, but if you’re lucky you may find a deeper friendship.  But remember a true friendship takes time to develop.
  3. People will FLAKE. Yes, we are moms, we are scatterbrained and sometimes we forget.
  4. You wont like everyone… and everyone wont like you. It’s OKAY.

So with all these said, I have to say I am in a moms group now that I absolutely love on meetup. I have met some of the most amazing women on meetup. One of my dear friends I meet on meetup and we’ve been friends for almost 4 years now. I think the bottom line is, if you’re going to jump into this world of meeting people online, you just need to go in with the right expectations.

The Photo Addict

Digital Scrapbooking + Giveaway!

If you’re a regular reader of the Gen X Moms Blog, than you know that I am vigilant on helping moms like you DO SOMETHING with all their photos.  So hopefully by now you’ve edited your photos down to the photos you want to create an album with.

I absolutely LOVE the Heritage Makers line of products.  With a Premiere membership, you get unlimited photo storage.  YES, unlimited.  That means that if your computer crashes and you lose everything, your photos are safe and sound in your premiere account.  The basic account is free and your get 2 Gigs of storage.  The basic account allows you to create all the same products and have access to template, but the Premiere member has the mother-load of templates, artwork and discounts on products.  I highly recommend purchasing a Premiere account.  The cost is $19.95/mo for a Premiere but there are always specials going on, so be sure to email me for the best price if your interested.

Okay.  You upload your photos onto their server.  Now its time to create a product.  For this article’s purpose we’ll create a 5×5 album.  Its simple, you “Create a New Project”, select either start from scratch or select a template.  I like selecting a template because I’m lazy.  I select a template for a 5×5 album and open the project in the studio software.  This online program allows you to digitally “scrapbook”, complete with embellishments, papers, quotes, and so much more.  I’ve tried other companies, and trust me, this is the BEST!  After putting all the photos in, customizing text and previewing it (don’t forget this vital step!) you simply press “publish”.  Voila!  A beautiful book is mailed to you for all to enjoy.

For more detailed information on the Studio Software please visit the You Tube channel for Heritage Makers.

What’s even more exciting it that once you’ve created your book, you can even purchase copies for grandma and grandpa.  They have other products too, like jewelry, customizable playing cards, greetings cards and so much more.

Myspace Layouts

Sprouts Storybooking will be giving away a FREE 5×5 storybook credit (a $34.95 value).  To enter, post a comment for the following:
1.    Check out Sprouts Storybooking and tell us which product is your favorite.
2.    Become a fan of Gen X Moms on Facebook. If you’re already a fan, tell us!
3.    Post about Gen X Moms on Facebook
4.    Tweet about Gen X Moms including a link back to this post
5.    Post about Gen X Moms on your own blog and include a link in the comments
6.    Talk about Gen X Moms on a forum and include a link in the comments
7.    Join the Sprouts Storybooking Meetup group if your in the Orange County area and let us know you joined.

Works-For-Me Wednesday

Grand Opening of the Sprouts Photography Studio

Gen X Moms has moved to www.GenXMomsBlog.com. Don’t forget to update your bookmark!

And now its time for a shameless promotion from the Photo Addict…

Sprouts Photography, an Orange County photography studio specializing in babies, children and families, is officially opening “The Garden” a full service photography studio for moms and families.

Grand Opening party will showcase our products, the shooting space and our mommy & me area.

Grand Opening of "The Garden"

Grand opening activities include:

  • Free mini shoots all day long
  • Light appetizers
  • Free 4×6 photos from party photos
  • Each family attending receives a $100 gift certificate
  • Fabulous giveaways
    • LUSH Gift basket
    • Anaheim White House gift certificate
    • Belly Sprout gift certificate
    • Custom TuTu from My Baby Bug (our official supplier of all things frou frou.)
    • Cookie Lee
    • Arbonne
    • Hair styling
    • Facials
    • and much more!
  • MOMS!  Get a mini makeup touch-up next door at Belly Sprout before your photo shoot.
  • DATE: June 5, 2010

    TIME: Open House style, 11 am to 3 pm.

    LOCATION: The Garden

    RSVP on Facebook.  Don’t miss this fun and exciting event!

    Random Tuesday Thoughts

    Gen X Moms has moved to www.GenXMomsBlog.com. Don’t forget to update your bookmark!

    I would definitely describe myself as a patient person.  If someone is driving slow in front of me I usually just slow down as well unless I’m late for something.  I also have no problem waiting in lines at the grocery store, at the gas station or even the bank.  It doesn’t bug me like it does most people.  Maybe its because I’m genuinely a laid back person.  But there is one thing that absolutely infuriates me, when you are in a large crowd and everyone is walking forward and the one person that is in front of you STOPS.  Why do they do this?  Do they not see or notice that they are in a people highway and that the proper thing to do is to pull out of traffic if they need to stop?  I wouldn’t slam on the brakes on the 5 freeway to have a look at the store next to the highway, why is this any different?  I think I need to start issuing tickets.

    ———————–

    What is it about MTV crap television shows that suck me in like heroine?  Its like I know deep down inside that I am way too old for this crappy television programming, however I just can’t seem to take it out of my DVR.  Yes I do know who LC, Snookie and bad girl Kristin are.  It’s such terrible TV that I wont let my 12 year old watch it, but I keep going back for more.  What’s even worse is I find myself talking about them to some of my friends as if I actually know them!  It drives my husband crazy, if there’s one surefire way to get him to leave the room, its to put an episode of the Hills on.

    ———————–

    My son’s room is ALWAYS messy.  I’m not sure what I am doing wrong.  We have tried everything except cleaning it ourselves.  In fact, when he went away for the weekend about 6 months ago we gutted the room so he could start from scratch.  I don’t understand why its so hard to put something away.  If it has a place, put it back.  I was a very messy girl, I remember making trails from the door to my bed so my mom could tuck me in at night, I can only hope he will outgrow it like I did.

    The Photo Addict

    Gen X Moms Love Glee

    Gen X Moms has moved to www.GenXMomsBlog.com. Don’t forget to update your bookmark!

    Yes, we admit it. We Gen X Mamas are Gleeks! Here are just some of the reasons why we “just can’t get enough” (hoping the cast sings this one in the future) of Glee.

    Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester

    1. The Glee soundtrack includes many of our favorite songs from the 80’s, starting with the show’s signature hit Don’t Stop Believin’. Kudos to the rad Glee cast and creators for making these tunes hip again. Like Dancing With Myself, Jump, True Colors, Jessie’s Girl, Total Eclipse of the Heart, Madonna classics and so many more. We can’t wait to hear the next round of songs.  The new album promises us the Safety Dance. If your friends don’t dance, they are no friends of ours!
    2. Glee isn’t afraid to tackle the big issues: teenage homosexuality, peer pressure, teen pregnancy, and how to make Hammer pants look good.
    3. Will Schuester proves that a Gen Xer can be hip, cool, and hot! Also that some older white guys can rap.
    4. We appreciate good writing, especially the wicked tongue the Glee team have bestowed upon shameless Sue Sylvester. She’ll say anything to get her way. One favorite quote, “I like minorities so much I want to move to California to be one!”
    5. Kurt Hummel’s bold fashion statements and Rachel’s clueless ones. Kurt’s assessment, “Rachel manages to dress like a grandmother and a toddler at the same time.”
    6. Emma is so endearing, even with her OCD being so over the top. It makes all of our craziness as moms seem normal!  Plus our counselors were never so stylish.
    7. We love any show that glamorizes being the outcast. Let’s face it. Most of us were in this category.
    8. Rachel Berry’s quest to be a star despite her flawed personality. She’s so annoying yet so vital to the success of the club. “Damn her talent!”
    9. No shortage of awesome guest stars. Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Olivia Newton-John, Neil Patrick Harris – the list goes on.
    10. Brittany’s dumb blonde one-liners; they keep us laughing throughout the week! We moms can always use the humor. Hey, did you know dolphins are gay sharks?

    Brittany from GleeThe Gen X Mom Bloggers

    Please click here for more on Glee.