A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Our community suffered a great loss earlier this week with the unexpected passing of Joe Brauberger. Joe was a generous man and gifted photographer who taught courses not only at Lawrence but also at Ozarks Tech Community College. He loved all things photography and was quite gifted at helping others master their cameras. Joe was also the man behind the website/blog Thousand Word Photography. Today, I think it’s apropos to talk about those proverbial thousand words, the ones a picture is said to be worth.

Since sensory things are processed in the front of the brain, and visual things are processed in the back, I find it interesting that a photograph can trigger both visual and sensory experiences. For example, I have this photograph from a horribly hot Ozarks summer when I was a little kid, and it always triggers a memory of the sound of cicadas buzzing. It’s like I can hear those bugs when I see that photograph. To me, it’s like looking at the sound of the sun. Come to think of it, I can also taste the chlorine and exactly remember the sensation of sweat trickling down my forehead after I dried off from swimming. That’s what a photograph can do.

Recently a customer brought in a very large panoramic landscape shot in sepia. Its scale was impressive, but there wasn’t anything that really stood out about the subject matter. No pretty sky. No interesting architecture. No unusual shadows or lighting or curious events. Just a really wide photograph of a town that could be anywhere. The customer was so excited to have it matted and framed.

sepia toned panoramic of a city landscape

“This is a turn-of-the-century photo of my hometown,” she explained. “It’s a ghost town now, and I know it’s not much to look at, but here is where I went to high school, and here is the old county courthouse where I fell down the steps and skinned my knees, and here is the hotel that burned down when I was a kid, the one where Teddy Roosevelt once stayed. And over here is the Hanging Tree. Oh, I used to get a shiver down my spine when we drove by that thing!”

And there it was, her thousand words captured in an image. She did a literal shiver when she pointed at the tree. She cringed when she talked about her skinned knees. I asked her if she’d ever written something out to describe what was in the photograph. She looked at me like I was nuts. Of course she hadn’t. The photograph was for her own pleasure, a thing that with one look could conjure pages and pages of stories in her mind. The whole point was that she didn’t need to write them down. She felt them when she looked at the photograph.

My wish for anyone who picks up a camera is that you will find ways to tell your own stories with that camera—who you are, where you came from, what you find beautiful, where you’ve been, what matters to you in life. It’s the great pleasure of photography, telling tales without saying a word. I’m talking about images that are packed with words, that will light up your whole brain when you look at them later. What will your thousands of words be?


A Different Kind of Froggin’

It’s not for everyone, but Missouri’s official frogging season officially kicks off on June 30. If you’re not up to hunting them for your supper, why not hunt them for a photo session instead?

Our state is home to heaps of frogs, which can make beautiful—and sometimes comical—little subjects. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, we’ve got a whopping 26 species and subspecies of toads and frogs. Gray Tree Frogs, Peepers, and Plains Leopard Frogs are just a few of the froggies you can find all over Missouri.

Traditional froggers target the big bullfrogs, but if you want to snap the critters’ portraits instead of gobble their legs, you can expand your hunt to a much wider variety. Temperature dictates where you’ll find frogs in and around water. This time of year, you’ll want to look in shallow water where they call, breed, and lay eggs.

Photography for the Frogs!

Smile Pretty for the Camera!

Tips for photographing frogs:

  • Walk slowly, stop frequently, and keep your distance so as not to startle.
  • Look for frogs scoping out prey out on the edges of ponds and lakes.
  • Use a long-zoom lens.
  • Set lens on smallest f-stop for maximum depth of field.
  • Set ISO as high as possible.

20 Fun Things You Can Make from Your Photographs

Gone are the days when photographs were either framed for display or sealed in a photo album. There are so many more fun things you can make with your photographs now—not just digital alterations but objects you can actual hold in your hand and, in some cases, put to functional use.  Want to know what you can custom create from your pictures?

  1. Jewelry
  2. Motivational posters
  3. Pop-art posters
  4. Jigsaw puzzles
  5. Postcards
  6. Wrapping paper
  7. Alphabet art
  8. Photo blankets
  9. Quilt squares
  10. Calendars
  11. Note cards
  12. Mouse pads
  13. Statuettes
  14. Wallpaper
  15. Ornaments
  16. Vellum lampshades
  17. Vellum folding screens
  18. Tote bags
  19. Clock faces
  20. Cake decorations

Big changes are happening right now at our store, and as part of those changes, some of these options will be available directly through us.

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Take a look at our current services to see what exciting things we can already help you create with your images and watch for more information in the coming weeks about how we can make your memories better!

Digital Scanning to Keep Time from Stealing Your Memories

Fess up. You have a pile of yellowing pictures somewhere in your house. Maybe they’re in a box under your bed. Maybe they’re in a file cabinet in your basement. Or are you one of those people who at least put them in a photo album a million moons ago? (Are you letting clear plastic overlay be the only thing standing between them and the ravages of time?)

There is something really lovely about being able to hold a memory in your hand. That’s what prints offer. And as I’ve written in the past, I just don’t think you can fully appreciate a photo until it’s turned into a print you can touch, pass around, display, and so on. Yet there’s a flip side to that coin: If the only version you have of an image is the print, then you risk losing that photo. Literally speaking, you could misplace it, but I’m talking in the figurative sense here. Pictures obviously tend to deteriorate over time if not handled with kid gloves (or museum curator gloves, more accurately).

Scan Photos to Digital

I think it’s so important to take the time to make digital copies of old photographs. You don’t have to sit at a scanner for days on end to do it, scanning one picture after another into digital files. It’s actually a quick and painless process, especially if you let us take care of it for you. We offer a “by-the-box” deal for photo scanning that’s become extremely popular. For $169, you can get about 1,500 photos scanned to disc. That’s about a dime per print. It’s certainly much more affordable than waiting until it’s too late and having to pay for restoration. We can also do high-resolution scans of film—both positive and negative. Let us help you make quick work of that pile we know you’re hiding in your house!

Time for a Camera Tune-Up

Just like you need an annual tune-up for your car, or you should be getting one, your camera needs some basic maintenance as well. Now is the perfect time to get your camera ready for those great spring and summer photographs you’ve been dreaming about.

Check Memory Cards

Camera Memory Cards for Photographs How many photos are living on the card and not your computer…or even worse, not printed. Before you head out on that summer trip, make sure your card is clean. Get those photos off of there. Or, buy a new card. The cost for larger memory cards seems to drop once every 6 months. Just remember, the more cards you have, the more confused you will be with what’s on them unless you have a great filing system. And, if you lose a card, you’ve lost all those memories.

Battery Check

Digital Camera Batteries RechargeableHow long have you owned your camera with that rechargeable battery? They do lose their ability to hold a charge and do need to be replaced every few years. Buying a second battery is a good idea and keep it handy if you are going on a long trip and your current battery is more than 5 years old.

A Clean Camera is a Happy Camera

Camera Cleaning SuppliesFirst of all, try keeping your camera away from items that might make it dirty in the first place: dirt, sand, saltwater, dust, etc. Obviously, that means keeping it in a plastic bag with a whole for just the lens. Just be careful around water.  When cleaning the lens, get your micro fiber cleaning cloth and keep it with your gear. Not only is it great for oil on the lens, it’s also great for the camera body. Use your breath, wipe. Simple.

For the interior of the camera when changing lenses, a sensor cleaning brush or blower is a good buy.  Just don’t touch the sensor. Ever. If you are worried about dust on the actual sensor because you are printing large photos and are seeing issues, bring it to us. We can clean it for you professionally and ensure no damage.

Avoid canned air for cleaning and make sure to never touch the shutter on your automatic. For lenses and filters, use a blower first then micro fiber.

And one simple tip to help keep all your gear clean – get a camera bag!

Turn That Digital Image Into Something Real!

We had a blog a few weeks ago about photos not really being photos until they are printed. We are taking that to heart and have lowered the prices for all matte or glossy 4×6 and 3.5×5 prints. 4×6 are now just 19 cents per print and 3.5×5 are 18 cents per print. So, take a few minutes to upload your prints online or bring your digital card to the store and walk out with actual photographs.

You should also start considering custom prints for some of your digital photos that you feel are works of art! How about mounting your photo on foam core or taking your digital photo and using a metal print? We have options when it comes to printing your photo on aluminum. Most people will be in awe of just how clear the print looks and just how different it is from a print on canvas.

Turn your digital image into a metal print!

Turn your digital image into a metal print!

We are proud of our In Store Printing Services and the folks who are there to help customers when they come in with their USB drives, digital camera cards or smart phones.  You can visit our Pix Lounge and upload your photos and we will help you make a decision on how to best get that photo printed. To truly appreciate some of the photos you have taken, you must print them and see them in a larger format.

iPhone App Turns Phone Into Light Meter

Rather than complain about how smart phones are “ruining” photography (they aren’t), or pan them as “not-capable cameras” (they are), we are finding ways the iPhone and other smart phones can help you become a better photographer. And we’ve found another app, a camera accessory, which allows you to use your phone to help with your “old fashioned” camera!


Cine Meter is a professional film/video/photo application for your iPhone®, iPad®, or iPod touch®, using the built-in camera to provide a shutter-priority reflected light meter, an RGB waveform monitor, and a false-color picture mode. Cine Meter works on any iDevice with a camera running iOS 5.0 or higher.

It’s called “Cine Meter”. Working on the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch it functions as a light meter, waveform monitor and has a false-color picture mode. It checks white balance and color temperature. It will also show you hot spots and shadows on the green screen. You can calibrate Cine Meter to match your other meters to a tenth of a stop. The waveform monitor shows how light levels vary within a scene. The false-color picture lets you see which shadows will be underexposed and which highlights will be gone forever.

Think about that for a second – before you even turn your camera on, this app will help you light your set and solve problems.

Interested? Learn more about it here.

Now, get out there with your camera and have a good time!