Friday, November 25, 2011

Creativity is allowing ourselves to make mistakes

“Creativity is allowing yourself the freedom to make mistakes, art is knowing which ones to keep.” - Author Unknown

Anyone who has played with Photoshop knows that you can do some crazy things with photos. We are only limited by what we can imagine.

I sometimes like to play with photos to see what I come up with. This quote that I found in a photography book strikes the heart of what I am trying to do. When experimenting, I know that much of what I come up with will be garbage. Yet in the digital age, we can just hit the “delete” button and start again.

Through experimentation, sometimes we come up with something we like. Here, I captured my daughter hugging my husband at the beach. The original photo looks like this:

I reduced the image to shapes and a few details in her face. I kind of like what I came up with and decided to keep it. Occasional success inspires me to continue to allow myself to make mistakes. Thanks for looking!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Checklists and Diagrams

Usually, photographers are supposed to isolate their subject. Extraneous items clutter up the photo and take the focus away from the subject. But occasionally, that other “stuff” can help tell a story. We just have to make it look like we included them intentionally. The simple way to do this is to literally point to the items in the picture and say what they mean.

I was just playing around with the camera when I took this photo of my husband while we were on a bike ride this past summer. I thought I was just taking a picture of him sitting on a bench. But when I got home, I noticed that there was more stuff in the picture besides just him. It occurred to me that someone could tell what we were doing even though there was no bike in the picture.

I decided to make this into a checklist-style layout. I pointed to parts of the photo to tell the who, what, when, where, and why. The helmet obviously says that were were on a bike ride. He was also holding a cup of coffee from our destination point, McDonalds. You can tell it's summer because he's wearing shorts. I also pointed to his watch to say that we had left the kids with a babysitter, and his ring to say that we were out on a date.

I added the graph paper in the background to go with the analytical theme.

Do you have photos with lots of “stuff” in them? Use them to help tell the story!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Teasing our little ones

Most pages about babies have a similar theme. “Sweet Baby,” “Beautiful Baby,” and “Adorable” come to mind. I've done plenty of these layouts. Yet while we do love our babies to death, raising children brings about other emotions as well. They make us tired and frustrated and sometimes we just wish they would hurry up and reach the next stage of independence. Shouldn't we tell these stories in our scrapbook as well?

I took this photo of my son this past summer. He knew how to walk, but was just as happy to sit there and look up at me. I liked this photo and I wanted to feature it in a layout. But I had already done many “Sweet Baby” pages (just look at my walls). It was time for a “Pain-In-The-Neck Baby” page. Here's what I wrote about my reluctant walker:

Come on, boy! Get off your butt! You're almost 15 months old, and refuse to walk. Yes, I say refuse because I know you are capable of it. I've seen you walk across a room to get food or to take a toy away from your sister. Yet when I tell you it's time to leave the room, you just stare at me like this. Your expression says, “You expect me to walk? But I'm just a baby. Please carry me, mommy!” But can I really blame you? Who wouldn't want to be carried around everywhere? If only life were so easy. Your sister did the same thing. She didn't walk consistently until she was 15 months old. But you can't be a baby forever just because I'm not pregnant with another sibling. God gave us legs for a reason. It's time to stand up and enter the world of the upright!

Though fun to write about, venting our minor frustrations can be educational as well. My son is now 18 months old and walks just fine. In fact, I had forgotten about this little stage until now. It reminds me how fast each stage goes by, and makes me realize that the little problems I face now will be over and forgotten before I know it. It almost makes me angry at myself for wishing them away. I've learned to just enjoy each stage for what it is... and then joke about it in a scrapbook page!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Poster gifts

With the holidays around the corner, it's time to think about what kind of gift we want to give to our friends and family. I am a big fan of photo gifts because they are personal and thoughtful. Yet digital scrapbookers can take it a step further and add words or decorations.

I took this photo of my sister-in-law and daughter at the zoo a few months ago. My sister-in-law doesn't like pictures of herself, so I thought this one of the back of her head and hand made for a safe gift.

I edited this photo quite a bit to make it look like that. It actually started off like this:

I cropped away some elements at the bottom that we didn't want. That let space at the top. For any forensic people out there, you will be able to tell that the photo is patched and blended up there. I'm guilty as charged, but I can do what I want because it is my picture! It's called artistic license.

This composition left me plenty of room to write the sentiment, “Aunts like you are precious and few.” I added a soft black outline around the text to help it stand out from the photo. Also, I realized afterward that her other four aunts might get offended by saying that aunts like her are "few." I hope they don't take it the wrong way. We need the "few" to be there to rhyme with "you" anyway.

I also spent some time airbrushing the smudge marks on the glass from where all the other visitors had touched. I also played with the part of the photo behind the glass to make the blues richer.

I presented it to her on her birthday in an 11x14 matted frame. Now isn't that better than just buying something in the store?