Create Photobooks With Shutterfly

HOW TO: Choose a Photo Book Website and Still Have Time for Tea

So, you have scanned our photo tips and you’ve embraced our tiny reminders. You’ve joined our email list so you don’t have to keep comin’ to our website. So smart, Mom. What’s next? Finding the easiest to use photo book website. How can you do this? Look for features, of course. Ease of use. Flexibility. Storage capacity. Customer service. Longevity. PRICE! Look at that you ARE ONE AND DONE already because…we have done all this for you (you are so very welcome!) Our big conclusion: no one beats Shutterfly at the moment. No one. Promise. Check it out at Shutterfly.com for more info, but for now, take a quick scan at the benes we found with this site. And then go drink that cup of tea! What Busy Moms Love about Shutterfly: 

1.   Shutterfly is FREE and doesn’t require you to make purchases from their site. Your account is never deleted. Ever.

2.   New Shutterfly customers get 50 free 4×6 prints to get started. Love free stuff.

3.   Photo sharing galleries with your unique URL offer password protection. Cool. Shutterfly's share site FAQ.

4.  Unlimited “cloud” storage with no file size limits means you can access your photos online from ANY computer. This is HUGE. Their new “Custom Path” feature means more photo book creativity for you at no additional cost.

5.   Archive DVDs of your full resolution photos are available for purchase to back up images or just have on hand at home.

6.   Photos can be shared instantly—friends can see them without signing up. (I don’t quite understand this—seems close to the next bullet so can it be combined?) · You can share your photos, photo books or videos on Facebook, Twitter or Blogger.

7.   Any Facebook photos-yours, your friends’ or any photo where you are tagged-can easily become a photo book.

8.   Tons of personalized gifts transform your photos into more than just a pretty picture.

9.   Their app uploads your iPhone photos into your Shutterfly albums directly from your smart phone. Very smart, indeed.

10.  And let’s not forget about videos:

  • Busy moms can upload up to 10 videos in almost any format or even better, bribe someone else in the family to do it!
  • Post your videos directly to your Shutterfly personalized Share site.
  • Email your videos to family and friends.
  • Share your videos on Facebook and other social networking sites.
  • Upgrade to the Premium Video Plan for unlimited video storage, video downloads and HD-quality playback.
  • Find out more about Shutterfly's video solution.

Applause, Applause! Whether you choose their “simple path” system that arranges photos into a book in chronological order or their new “custom path” which offers more creativity but still requires only a tiny bit of effort, Shutterfly is the way to go. This could change. We live in a capitalistic society—companies come and go—but for now, Tiny Reminders says go to Shutterfly.com and get started busy Mom!

The 9 Best Photo Tips

10 Best Photo Tips for Getting Started

Here’s what we found out busy Mom: there are A LOT of photo tips out there if you have the time to read them all. But you don’t because in front of you is a mound of dirty laundry, a cranky child whose homework needs more than a little directing, and a dog –wait, did anyone feed the dog? You get what we’re saying. No worries. We are all over it here at Tiny Reminders reminding you not only WHAT to take but also HOW to take it. We’ll always be embellishing these tips and adding WAY more tips as we move forward, but we have to begin somewhere.

Let’s get started with what our research and our experience have taught us:

1. Keep your camera with you in your purse. If you have a smart phone, this is even easier. Although snapping your fingers may cause your children to jump, it won’t take their photo. Have an SLR digital? Mine is under my passenger car seat and my car doors are always locked. A good habit even if you live in Amish country.

2. Learn to vary your perspective. Get on a chair and shoot down, get on your knees and shoot up, get behind your subject–mix up. This has the added benefit of making you LOOK like you know what you are doing.

3. Shoot with both eyes open. Use one eye for the camera and one eye for the subject. Alerts you to people who might be walking into your shot and reduces the likely hood of you photographing someone with their eyes closed. Nothing worse. Well, maybe an empty box of Sees …

4. Compose the photo story before you shoot. What are you trying to say with the photo? If the photo is the first day of school, it’s best to get the whole outfit in the shot, right? Turn your camera vertical. This makes such a huge difference and is such a no-brainer, yet so few do it. Sort of like flossing your teeth each night.

5. Frame the shot. Where is your subject and what is going on around them? Don’t neglect their feet. See that pole behind them, the one that looks as if it is rising out of your child’s head? More than a tiny bit bad. We live in a 3-D world so use the shot to convey that unless you are in tight for a close-up.

6. Remember “One and Done”. Many would disagree, but we are holding firm. You’ve heard this from us before. Less is more. Taking fewer photos means less editing time and that’s what you need to get your photos into a photo book. Figure it this way: each photo you take is about a minute of your time. Wow. Stops your heart a bit, eh? 

7. Divide and conquer the photo responsibilities: If your husband or child or mother-in-law wants to take several hundred photos of the giant redwood tree in the backyard, then let them. When you take the images off your camera (download), stick them into a folder marked “Photo Project Hellhole” and never open that folder again. Ever.

8. Keep the sunlight at your back. If your subjects are squinting, is there a place to get them in the shade? If not, go for a longer shot, turn on the flash to even out the light and know that what you are going to get isn’t going to be as good as the same shot on a foggy day. But at least you are getting it!!

9. Shoot the light. A photographer’s trick is to position your subjects near a light source so the light bounces off the source to your subject. Similarly, putting the sun behind and the left or right of your subject will create that beautiful back lighting that directors in Hollywood spend hours cultivating. Now your little angel will actually LOOK like a little angel. Okay, Motherhood has its moments!

EVEN MORE TIPS: We all know “The Close-up” as in “I’m ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille,” but there are two other shots you’ve already taken without knowing the terminology. Read about the types of shots.

Embrace these and you will save time in your photo world. Which is great because then maybe you’ll have more time in your family world, shopping world, and reading world! And we know that you have other photo tips for us because we’ve seen them out there. Be a guest blogger and join us on our mission to rid the Mommy world of photo book guilt!

Photo Organization

Very Basic photo organization tips:

Check  out our blog for more photo organization tips.

STEP 1. Organize your desktop folder. Open the 'Pictures' folder that comes with your computer software. Not there? Create one. You gave birth. You can do this. Now click to open that folder. Within the pictures folder, create a new folder titled: 2011 (or whatever year you wish)

Click to open your new folder '2011' and create 12 new folders inside that folder. Title each folder as follows so that it stays in order: year-month number-month spelled out (example: 2011-01-January). That way it stays in order and you always know which month/year you're viewing.

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STEP 2. Keep only your best pictures. Here's how you do it. You are great at deleting those photos of yourself that aren't flattering, right? Now just pretend everyone in the shot is YOU and if they don't look great, then delete!!

STEP 3. Back up photos every month or quarter. You can use an external hard drive, a storage device like a DVD or sign up with some cloud-based techno server like Mozy.

STEP 4. Download photos off your camera and smart phone every month. This is helped tremendously by a glass of champagne and/or a box of celebratory chocolate.

Other things we've learned:

I installed the DropBox App on my iPhone and it automatically saves all photos. Once a month I download from the DropBox web version and save to my desktop. Then I delete the photos from DropBox to save space. It’s FREE!

Store your smart phone, SLR and video camera all in one convenient spot in the kitchen. Keep them together with all the cables. Keep it in reach and in site AT ALL TIMES. Read more on our blog about camera storage solutions.

We've also learned that if you have a cute camera bag you'll be more likely to tote it around with you. These are a few of our favorite camera bags.

Know Your Camera

Learn how to use your camera. I still feel that creeping guilt over this. I feel it every time I sit down to watch ‘House Hunters’. But with the help of the Tiny Reminder philosophy, I too am learning to Let It Go and you can, too. Little bit by little bit, you will learn your camera because you’ll be using it more. Heck, you can turn it on, right? It’s just photography, Mom. You’ll get there.

For those of you who are willing to give up an episode of ‘House Hunters’ and sit down with your camera manual in hand, read on…here’s a simple tutorial about Camera Settings 101 even I can understand.

ISO :: The ISO of a digital camera measures the sensitivity of the image sensor or how your camera reacts to light.
The LOWER the ISO number the LESS sensitive your camera is to light. Tip! You’ll need to provide more sunlight or flash to compensate for a lower ISO. The LOWER the ISO number the MORE sensitive your camera is to light. Tip! This makes it easier to shoot in low-light settings.
Aperture or F-Stop :: This is the cool setting that produces that elusive blurry background that makes professional photographers’ photos looks so awesome.

To get the blurry effect you use a SHALLOW depth of field – the opposite of that is a deep depth of field where everything from the foreground to background is in focus. This is controlled by your camera’s aperture or f-stop. Tip! “LOWER f-stop=BLURRY” The lower your f-stop number the more out of focus your background will be.

Shutter Speed :: This is the speed at which your camera’s shutter opens and closes.

The LOWER shut number on your shutter speed dial means a SLOWER shutter speed. Tip! “Lower Shutter=Slower Shutter” I never use this setting! But I have noticed that my camera’s shutter speed is slower in low light when set to its auto mode so the reverse is true when there’s lots of light. The HIGHER number on your shutter speed dial means a FASTER shutter speed. Tip! “Higher Shutter=Faster Shutter” Use this for action shots and minimize the blur.

Whew! And that’s about all you need to know. As Mom always said, “Practice makes perfect.”

Paperless App to Store Tiny Moments

Until we find the perfect app – or better yet, build it ourselves – we are eagerly scouring the web in search of simple solutions for storing and sharing stories about our kids. Our most recent discovery is a favorite and is in list form. Who needs yoga when they have a list?

It’s an iPhone app called ‘Paperless’. There’s a limited FREE version but if you’ve recently held a bake sale, you might splurge on the upgrade for $2.99. The app lets you make a list for just about everything and apply cute icons to your custom named list. Cool. Look at the example lists below: one for Ethan and one for Natalie.

How It Works: After you create your list, create a sub list, first by year and then by month. Each month, store those sweet nothings that kids say as they say them … or if you can recall them later. If a cute photo will help you illustrate that memory, shoot it and store on your camera roll.

Congrats: you’ve just organized AND stored a memory. There’s timer for a cup of tea in your future for sure.

Be fancy: email the sweet nothing to Grandma or back to yourself. Transcribe it into their diaries or cut and paste into a photo book. Hot shot.

Here’s what I recorded for Ethan: 2013 – April
● Playing checkers with dad at Aunt Julie’s cabin and picking up on strategies quickly.
● Curious about how buildings are made
● Leggos and transformers
● No front teeth!
● Mine Craft all-the-time
● Two square!!
● Talking and asking lots of questions. Loves when he can stump us!
● “Mom, who is the 22nd President?” Ummmm.
● Teaching your sister how to play two square on a Sunday morning

Four Simple iPhone Camera Tips

  1. Use Your + Volume Button as a Shutter on Your iPhone…Taking a picture by holding your iPhone with just one hand is an easy way to get out of focus images. Fix it by holding your iPhone with two hands horizontally, and then push down the + button usually reserved for raising the volume. Now you’ve got a stable picture! 
     
  2. Add a New Photo Album…If you find that your photo album selection lacks a little pizzaz, feel free to add more using this simple trick. Go to the Photos app, click Edit in the top right corner and then click the Add button that shows up in the upper left side of the screen. Now just title the album whatever you want and you’re golden. 
     
  3. Want to look at the most recent image you shot? Open up the camera app and slide the screen from left to right. It’ll show the last picture taken, and you’ll be good to go.
     
  4. Man, those red eyes in that shot look horrible, right? If only you had some kind of way to tweak your shots so that they looked perfect. Turns out you do, all baked into iOS. Just hit Edit on any image, and you’ll be presented with your tools along the bottom row. They’re not super extensive, but it’ll get the job done in a pinch.

Creating Holiday Cards Can be Fun AND Easy!

{Source: PaperSource.com}

A holiday card is fun and easy to make IF realize this tiny fact, Mom: it’s a CARD. We are not choosing a doctor, writing a resume, or creating the family budget for the year. We are finding/taking a photo, writing a message, addressing labels, and sending off some warm wishes before December 22nd so you can get onto more important holiday to-do's, like the 14K gold mani/pedi you've been putting off.

  • Choose an easy subject. Some subjects are easier to manage than others: Taking shots of kids is fairly easy if you are prepared. Dogs are difficult. Cats are worse–unless they are asleep. Trying to capture a family shot at this point is no picnic, unless you really know your camera and have a tripod. This year, I am preparing my idea, preparing the kids, and taking three shots. If their eyes are open in all of them, I’m one and done!
  • Use just one photo. This is just a personal preference. See the card with many photos below.? HOURS to make. HOURS. Is it better than the others?
  • Skip the writing. Really, it’s okay to do this. Format a generic message, with the family name. I am a HUGE proponent of the hand-written card, but not during the Holidays.
  • Choose the card layout/color FIRST, then dress your subjects to match!

[Read more…]

{Organization} Where to Store Your Camera

“A place for everything and everything in its place." That’s how we sisters were raised.

If we had a penny for every hour we spend organizing our world, we’d be able to buy out Harpo Productions. But we’d be even RICHER if we had a dime for every hour we spent looking for all those ‘organized’ items. How do our children do it? They can make the remote disappear faster than a mint julep on Derby day, the little darlings. Argggh! There is no way to avoid this part of mommyhood but you can exert a tiny bit of control over your camera storage so let’s discuss.
[Read more…]

{Inspiration} Photo reality check

The dumpster-diving photo we reminded you to take in the last blog  is really important. Here’s why. My tiny children are already growing up … a tiny bit everyday! When I look back over my photos of Lauren and Cat, I get a bit misty for the past. They are SO cute, aren’t they? Look at the photo on the left. A.Dor.A.Ble. And I vividly remember when that picture was taken. Ooooooooh, yes indeedy. The dog had just pinned the mailman to my neighbor’s front door, we were late to church, and the camera had literally two shots left in it. Thank goodness I can recall this because .. and here is my point .. pictures lie. Like a sleeping dog, old photos paint a personal history that is warm and soft and easy. Lee Ann and I don’t know about you, but our our motherhood has been more like Dante’s inferno with a trip to the ice cream parlor every now and again. [Read more…]

{Inspiration} Letting Go Of Photo Book Guilt

Friends, let’s discuss. This really is one of the horrors of modern-day motherhood. We’ve felt guilty and we’ve been guilty and for what? Let’s look at some valid guilt scenarios, just for kicks.

Scenario 1: I once let my 4 month-old baby girl ‘cry it out’ in an attempt to ‘Ferberize’ her. She cried through her nap, about 2 hours. When I finally ‘caved in’ and got her, she was a sweaty, over-heated mess who looked like she’d been tossed in a dumpster. Yep, she’s 11 now. Probably explains why she is such an awful sleeper to this day. I never read another parenting book again. [Read more…]

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