Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Want Professional Looking Pictures Without the Cost?

Dear Diary,
I recently went to a professional store to take Christmas pictures of my daughter. It was the first time so I made sure to take mental notes of how they took the most amazing pictures! Anyone remember their senior pictures? I remember going home and thinking I could have done that at home without spending almost $1000! Well you know I LOVE saving money (check out my couponing post) so here are some tips you should follow:

1. Great Camera- yes they probably spent hundreds of dollars on their camera, but I spent $600 on my iPhone. So I was determined to take great photos on it by finding good applications.  I found two apps that I enjoyed: 1) CamWow and 2) DashOfColor. Both are free and have different purposes. Also my regular camera on the iPhone works wonderfully!

2. Backgrounds- The place I went to had many options for backdrops but I liked the plain white background the best because it didn't take away from my beautiful daughter! Their white background had darts in it to add effects to the flat white so I made my own darts by grabbing a clump and tying it with a rubber band in the back. It turned out to look exactly like their backdrop!

3. Props- During the Christmas time my photographer pulled out many props for my daughter to play with: a wreath, sled, santa hat, "C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S" blocks, etc. These are all options of things you can purchase then use in your house during the holidays. How great will it be to have those memories tied with your decorations? My mom group got together and pulled our Christmas decorations together and the outcome was amazing:

4. Child- You dress your child in what you want them to wear during the pictures regardless of where you take the pictures and if you take them in your own house it will broaden the options.  Surprisingly I ended up stripping my daughter down to her diaper for pictures. The headache was terrible trying to pack a weekend bag full of clothes for a half hour shoot.
(that's the professional picture taken.... I like mine better!)

5. Distractions- A friend would be nice to distract your child from wanting to crawl off the sheet or pull the hat off or anything else they want to do besides smile. Another trick I have found was the headbands during the holidays with the decorations dangling off the top which is a great distraction for my daughter.(SIDE NOTE:  I've use this during changing her diaper too!)

6. Tricks- During Christmas my daughter was not able to sit on her own yet so the photographer put a bumbo (a boppy works too) UNDER the sheet! How Smart? If you want to re-create my Christmas photo inside the box, we added lots and lots of blankets to prop the children up that couldn't sit alone yet.

7. Effects- Pictures always look great with special effects.Lightening, darkening, emphasizing a color, black and white, sepia, fixing the edges...etc.  I have found many great websites with options of effects. If you want the websites I can share these with you once interest is expressed!

I turned this picture:

Into this picture using *Free* effects:

Although it may take a little bit of time, the end result is worth it. It helps save money by taking the pictures by yourself and you also feel a sense of accomplishment by making them look professional! I try to remember to take holiday pictures a week early so I can send it to family and friends but, everyone knows how hard it is to plan with an infant. At least the baby book will have a copy and Layla will have beautiful pictures of herself when she is grown up and that's worth every second I used to get this final product!

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