Making Sure You’re in Christmas Photos

While 2013 may be the Year of the Selfie, there are times when you just don’t want to have to man the camera in order to be in the photo. Nor is it always practical to use the self-timer feature to make sure you’re included. Case in point: Christmas.

Making sure you are in your Christmas Photos
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This Black Friday, Zoom in on Photo Deals Your Smartphone Can’t Deliver

A few months ago, Samsung issued a birth announcement of sorts: They would soon be the proud new parents of the first ever smartphone with 10x optical zoom capability. Samsung’s writers called it “revolutionary.” They said it fulfilled their goal of a single instrument that could dual as smartphone and high-end camera. They fell just shy of calling it manna from heaven. The whole thing gave one the impression that they were about to blow up the photography world.

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Gratitude Photography: Beautify Your Thanksgiving Table

I have a friend who pens personalized gratitude messages every year to put on her Thanksgiving table. The messages are displayed on little table-tent cards perched atop her guest’s plates—short and sweet and specific. She’s actually good about gratitude year-round. (You know the type, people who have a thank you card in your mailbox before you’re done letting out their cat, picking up their kiddo, or visiting them in the hospital.) It’s a marvel she has even more thanks to share come turkey time: Continue reading

Fireworks Photography 101: Snapping the Light Fantastic

July 4th is a spectacular day for photographers. You want to capture photographs of the American Spirit and that includes the fireworks at the end of the day. Time’s wasting, you haven’t had luck in the past, and you don’t need a biblical length tutorial, so let’s get down to brass tacks:

  • Use a zoom lens. If you don’t have one, use a wide-angle lens.
  • Use a tripod. If you don’t have one, position your camera on something still and flat.
  • Use a remote shutter-release device. If you don’t have one, use the self-timer.
  • Use ‘bulb’ mode. If you don’t have one, manually set your camera’s shutter to stay open longer, for a few seconds (from just before the firework erupts to just after).
  • Don’t leave your shutter open too long—just a few seconds is usually fine.*
  • ISO 100 is usually ideal.
  • Apertures between f/1 to f/16 generally work best.
  • Try to position yourself away from bright streetlights and other ambient lighting.
  • Train your camera on the spot you want before the firework goes off. Anticipate the shot.
  • Don’t use a flash. Period.
  • Go wide. Remember you can crop into firework using photo-editing software later.
  • Try to include some landscape in the frame, for scale and visual interest.
  • Shoot upwind so that smoke moves away from you and doesn’t cause hazy photos.
  • The earlier in the show that you take your shots, the less haze they’re likely to have.
  • Watch to the show! Don’t miss it for the sake of photographing it.
Lawrence Photo Fireworks Photography

Photograph by Steven Wilson

There you have it, the basics that should get you those firework shots you’ve been longing to master. When you’ve taken some, share them with us. We love to see your work!

*If you want to photograph multiple bursts and need more than those few seconds, some people suggest putting a piece of black paper or foam in front of the lens between bursts.

Are You Ready For a Great Christmas?

For many, Thanksgiving Week is a chance to reconnect with family and friends as folks head back to their homes to give thanks for all they have. Some are in new places and are welcomed in by strangers to celebrate a truly American Holiday. And others…well, they are just waiting for the hours after Thanksgiving…Black Friday, for some stores, starts Thursday night.

Black Friday is another truly American…well, not really a holiday, but it is American. Who doesn’t like a good deal? Especially in these times when money is short, but we don’t want to short our loved ones in one month on Christmas morning!

We have plenty of deals for Christmas presents…or maybe for a present to make sure you get those great Christmas photos you’ve always wanted. Most of our sales are starting Sunday November 18th! Why wait till Friday, right?

One of the best deals we have is for the Samsung WB150F. Everyone loves the convenience of the camera phone…we sure do! But, some photos truly do need to be taken with a regular camera…one with 14.2 effective megapixels, 9 different image sizes, and 18X optical zoom with optical image stabilization.

One of the best deals we have is for the Samsung WB150F

One of the best deals we have is for the Samsung WB150F

We know it’s convenient to use your phone to instantly send to friends, post on social sites, etc. But, this camera can do that for you!

It is Wi-Fi capable!

So, snap a photo and instantly email it, post it to Facebook or send it to the Skydrive! No need to plug the camera in, download to your computer and wait.

Want to grab some video of the kids opening up their presents and send to Grandma and Grandpa right away Christmas morning via email or post to YouTube before Christmas morning is over? The Samsung WB150F will do that too.

The suggested retail price for this phenomenal digital camera is $229.99 but we are selling it for $129.99 – an instant rebate of $100! It’s a steal. There’s no other way to say it!

We are also offering the Nikon P510 with a case and 2-Year Nikon warranty for $299.95. That’s $180 instant rebate.

We are also offering the Nikon P150 with a case and 2-Year Nikon warranty for $299.95. That’s $180 instant rebate.

We are also offering the Nikon P150 with a case and 2-Year Nikon warranty for $299.95. That’s $180 instant rebate.

If you are interested in the Nikon D5100 series, we are offering the entire outfit (18-55mm VR Nikkor Lens, camera case and DVD) for $549.95. $250 taken off instantly!

If you are interested in the Nikon D5100 series, we are offering the entire outfit (18-55mm VR Nikkor Lens, camera case and DVD) for $549.95. $250 taken off instantly!

If you are interested in the Nikon D5100 series, we are offering the entire outfit (18-55mm VR Nikkor Lens, camera case and DVD) for $549.95. $250 taken off instantly!

Do you need a camcorder? We have the Samsung F80 with a $50 instant rebate and the Samsung W300 with a $60 instant rebate.

We have the Samsung F80 with a $50 instant rebate

We have the Samsung F80 with a $50 instant rebate

the Samsung W300 with a $60 instant rebate

The Samsung W300 with a $60 instant rebate

We also have the Sony W690 on sale for $119.99…but only on Black Friday and Saturday)

And, we are also gearing up for Christmas right after Thanksgiving! Santa will be visiting our store every Saturday of December!  Swing by and do a little shopping and grab a photo with the Jolly Old Elf…or, let your kids sit on his lap! J

Make Sure You Are Thankful For Your Thanksgiving Photos!

Capturing Thanksgiving at the Table

The family, together to give thanks!

The family is together, cousins, 2nd cousins, grand-kids and great grand-kids. The smell from the kitchen is pure nostalgia, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Football is on the TV and some of the kids are playing outside…so are some of the adults! Thanksgiving is next week and memories will be made, as they are every year.

But, it never fails when it comes to the holiday photos, most just don’t turn out how you want them! So, here are a few tips that might help. As always, practice!

First, as with all photos, pick your subject. If it’s grandma in the kitchen, focus on her. Don’t focus on what she is doing in the kitchen focus directly on her. Her actions will draw the viewer to everything about her as well as her actions.

Second, the spirit of Thanksgiving is family and everyone being together, even Uncle Rico and Aunt Gladys who don’t get along. For this day, at least they will. So, when everyone is gathered eating, snap photos of folks with the food. Consider making the food central and the people in the background out of focus. We will all know who they are, but if the subject is the food, it will make for a smarter shot. Also, don’t be sitting and taking photos. Try to stand whenever you are shooting.

Third, what is the lighting like? Remember that the window behind Dad or Grandpa with the light streaming in will cause problems. Move to another angle. Also, use your flash for some photos and take the same without. If you aren’t using a flash, consider using a fast ISO, 400 or 800.

Fourth, the dreaded family photo. Who goes in front, who wants to hide…all the kids together or with their respective family?  When lining up your subjects, don’t line them up! Stagger them or use steps. Consider the stairs in the house with grandma and grandpa on the bottom and going up the steps from oldest to youngest siblings and families. Normally, we take the photos after dinner.  If you are outside and the sun is going down, make sure there is enough lighting. We suggest taking the photo earlier in the afternoon if possible.

And, lastly…the afterthought and yet most important part of the family picture and many of the others you will take on Thanksgiving. Use a tripod! Strong and steady! And, what about you in the photo? With the tripod and a timer, you will get your shot set, time to run in and smile big!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving and your family and friends!