Four Ultimate Poses for Fun Family Photos

A Pose for Fun Family Photos

Family photo shoots are a great way to capture your life each year. More than just the customary group shot on Christmas or Thanksgiving, photo shoots are a way to create fun family photos that look more professional and capture everyone at their best. They become special family events of their own, and produce photos that are perfect for hanging over the mantelpiece or the wall along the stairs.


But family photo shoots don’t have to be boring or traditional. Here are four unique poses for fun family photos:

The Anti-Pose

Sometimes the best pose isn’t a pose at all. The warmest, most genuine photos show families interacting with one another naturally, so relax and smile at each other instead of the camera. Give your spouse a hug. Tickle the kids. It may take longer to get the shot, but the result will be that much more memorable.

Lying Down

How much do you admire the shapes your child’s school marching band can make on the field at halftime?

Though not the quickest or easiest of arrangements, the result is fantastic. For this more calculated shot, get the family lying down in a circle with everyone’s head pointing toward the center. Then pull out the ladder and capture the star they make from your view at a higher height. Out of the house? Get everyone lying together on a picnic blanket, and snap the photo from directly overhead.

Taking a Walk

Stiff standing poses take all the fun out of family photos. Try snapping the picture while in motion — it’s a great way to keep the family looking natural. In a location with great scenery, have the group walk toward the camera. Let your child swing between the arms of two other family members, or sit on Dad’s shoulders for a goofier shot. For a more artistic version, capture the family as they walk away from the camera and toward the sun; this will create a silhouetted image.

The Jump Shot

A quick look at Facebook indicates that the jump shot is seriously trending among social photographers. Whether it’s under a basketball hoop or off a diving board, timing is everything, so don’t attempt it with kids too young to jump on cue. Figure out what everyone will do in advance, so it doesn’t look messy. Then: “One, two, three, jump!”

The warm weather is full of inspiration, so get out there and try something new!

Share Life’s Happy,


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Image source: Flickr

Make a Postcard for Any Occasion

Social media and email are awesome ways to show your latest pictures to your friends, but what if you could make a postcard for each of them instead? Photo sharing is the new norm, but it often doesn’t compare to the excitement of getting a personalized postcard in the mail. Try some of these ideas to help celebrate special occasions with a postcard to family and friends.

You can turn your beach vacation and other memories into personalized postcards.

Vacation Memories

Instead of spending time in the tourist traps looking through racks of photos taken by other people, why not make a postcard from one of your own fun vacation pics? The end result will be more personal, and you’ll love showcasing treasured travel memories with loved ones.

Baby’s First Photo

Showing off your child or grandchild’s first photo is exciting, and your immediate impulse might be to share it with everyone on social media. But most relatives really want a copy of the photo that they can frame for themselves and hang with the family’s other special moments.

Engagement Announcement

It used to be that the wedding photo was the most important reminder of your special day, but now engagement photos are helping to tell the love story of couples everywhere. You can let other people share in your romance by having an engagement photo turned into a postcard announcing the happy news. Whether it’s a candid and personal shot taken by a friend, or a posed shot taken by a professional, a postcard is a quick and easy way to share your love.

Birthdays or Anniversaries

Sharing the joy of a milestone is something the whole family likes, so why not give the gift of a postcard to those who couldn’t be there at the time? A shot of a child blowing out birthday candles, or grandparents celebrating their 50th anniversary are just two examples of celebrations that everyone wants to share in. You can even add a message in various fonts, and use customized borders to help bring the photo to life.

Thinking of You

These cards work the other way as well. Is there an event in your friend’s life that deserves recognition? Maybe you just haven’t seen each other in a while, and usually resort to texts and email to keep in touch. Instead, upload a fun photo of the last time you two were together, add a silly message and make a postcard that will have your friend smiling from ear to ear.

Have any ideas or tips for making your own postcards? Send them along!

Share Life’s Happy,


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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

How to Take Vacation Photos People Will Want to See

Packing your trusty camera when you go on vacation is as important as bringing fresh socks. You’ll take hundreds of shots, and you’ll want to share them all. But while you find all the photos of your hotel interesting and memorable, your friends and family probably won’t. Travel photography is all about capturing your unique perspective of a location, so here are some tips to take interesting and exciting holiday snaps that everyone will want to see.

Shoot What Interests You

Things will capture your attention as you walk around, so keep your eyes open for special moments. Too often people feel that they must take photos of the major landmarks, but the mark of a great travel photo is a picture of something that others overlook. If you’re in Paris, for example, look at the interactions between people. That way, you’ll be able to capture those unique moments, such as your child’s excitement at seeing a street performer, while everyone else is staring up at the Arc de Triomphe.

A different angle of the Arc de Triomphe

Look for a New Angle

Anyone can take a straight shot, but what about laying down or moving to the side of an eye-catching landmark to get a different perspective? When you’re looking for an interesting angle, you’ll often find yourself standing alone, away from the crowds jostling each other to get the same boring shot of the Eiffel Tower.

There are so many options for interesting photos taken from different angles. You can get right up close, so that you’re framing your subject in a different way, or you can stay further back to get more of the subject as well as the things happening around it. Some landmarks, such as Paris’ famous tower, can be seen above buildings for miles around. Find an interesting vantage point atop a hill or house, and take a photo from a spot few would think to.

Take Lots of Photos

It wasn’t that long ago that we were limited to 12, 24 or 36 photos on a roll of film. Now, our cameras can hold hundreds to thousands of photos. It may seem obvious in this age of social media, but capturing multiple shots of each subject will ensure you end up with at least some some truly memorable photos. And the great thing is, you can simply delete the lousy ones. Don’t regret not taking that second shot of your family watching whales from the beach — the next moment could be the one in which the whale breaches the water.

Day and Night

Nothing makes a photograph better than the right light. The middle of the day is rarely the best light for photographs. Consider taking your photos at different times of day and night for a unique look at a familiar landmark. Photographers often talk about “the golden hour” — that time when the sun is setting and the ground is covered in a beautiful golden shine. First thing in the morning can make for interesting views, and there are often fewer people out with their cameras at that time, so you’ll be able to shoot something unique. Imagine how good the Egyptian pyramids will look when the sun is rising or setting behind them.

Print Your Photos

While it’s great to share your travel photography online, there will always be something special about printing out your vacation photos. Today, it’s easier than ever to put together a travel Photo Book of your vacation for friends and family to reminisce over for years to come.

Wherever the road takes you this summer, capture it in a photo that people will want to see.

Share Life’s Happy,

C.C. Chapman

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Image source: Flickr

What kind of mobile photographer are you?

The images you capture with your smartphone can say a lot about who you are. When you look at all of these mobile photos together, a pattern can emerge, and it may surprise you. Read on to see which type of picture-snapper you are.

The Selfie Expert

Let’s face it, most of your pictures are self-portraits. Your face, your outfit, your shoes or your manicure are regulars in your digital album, while cool buildings or beautiful views feature you in the foreground. You must take pictures of yourself and your friends every time you go out. Oh, and you know what #OOTD means.

What type of photographer is this guy?

The Proud Parent

Your children are your most precious gifts, and your most picture-worthy subjects.

When your phone isn’t in your pocket, they know the drill: Stand together, put their arms around each other, and smile. You’re also an expert at sneaking candid shots at a poignant moment.

The Proud Pet Owner

A variation of the proud parent, nothing’s more important than your furry roommate, and you probably have more than one. You specialize in pets lounging on sofas, chairs and beds. Your pet is frequently on your lap, your head, or wherever else they like to make themselves comfortable — and no photo op has gone begging.

The Budding Professional

You never realized you were a photography lover until that one fateful day: a new smartphone, and an empty photo album waiting to be filled. One shot turned to 50, and now you’re an expert. Instagram is on your mobile dock, and you know all the best apps to make your pics look perfect. You’ve splurged on a few special lenses to get just the right look. You can transform any moment into something beautiful.

The Camera Addict

No day is complete without a photo to remember it by. You LOVE taking pictures, so much that you have no more room on your phone to take any more. Every photo op requires you to shrink your album. You keep meaning to upload your images, but you never get around to it because, yes, you’re busy taking another photo.

The Decorator

You take a lot of pictures, but you photograph with a purpose. For you, snapping mobile photos is about more than capturing your life; it’s about updating your portfolio every day. You order Prints of as many of your mobile photos as you can. You collect frames and are always looking for a new way to set up a gallery wall.

What kind of mobile photographer are you? Tell us in the comments.

Share Life’s Happy,

Jessica Severson

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Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Anniversary gifts by year — and how to customize them!

You’ve probably heard of traditional anniversary gifts, which match a milestone year (say, 5) with a prescribed material (like wood). But sometimes the obvious gift doesn’t best represent the years spent together. To wit: A wooden cutting board.

For a fresh spin, use a traditional gift material while still allowing the happy twosome’s relationship to take center stage. To get your ideas flowing, we’ve matched up our Photo Gift offerings with a few landmark anniversary years.



Year 1: Paper

A Photo Book captures the year’s many firsts. First pet, first home, first fight (okay, maybe leave that one out). Cover a minimum of 15 pages with pictures, including those quickly snapped yet meaningful images stored on Instagram or Facebook.

Year 5: Wood

Elevate this anniversary’s material — plain ol’ wood — with a wooden Keepsake Box topped with a picture of the happy couple. For those gifting a spouse, fill it with a jewelry item or a gadget. Budget-conscious partners can make a touching gesture by dropping in small mementos from years past.

Year 10: Tin

Yep, it’s one of the odder anniversary materials. But don’t try to come up with a clever use for canned food just yet. Photo by Walgreens can print your pics directly on metal with Metal Panels or a Fancy Metal Easel. It’s an especially enjoyable gift for a photo-wall enthusiast or an artful arranger of photographs.

Year 15: Glass

We’ll skip suggesting the Frosted Stein (still awesome) and offer a more elegant way of integrating the material. Glass Prints feature images directly printed on a piece of polished glass — great for displaying in the home or creating a bragging point in the office.

Have any creative ways to integrate traditional anniversary materials? Do tell!

Share Life’s Happy,


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Take Your Photography to the Next Level: Top Photo Hacks

Photography is all about creativity, and there are certain tricks that can help make a good photo great. If you’re looking to get a little more out of your photography experience, give a few of these top photo hacks a try — you might be surprised at how much they’ll liven up your images.

Example of Rule of Thirds

Use the Rule of Thirds

It’s easy to forget that not every subject needs to be in the center of the frame. Painters, photographers and other artists have been using the rule of thirds for hundreds of years to make images more interesting. Divide your viewfinder up into a tic-tac-toe board of nine squares; some cameras will even overlay such a grid on the screen for you. Put your subject on one of the crosses where the lines intersect and let the use of negative space tell as much of the story as the subject itself.

Make a Homemade Flash Diffuser

On-camera flashes sometimes make a picture worse instead of better, particularly through red-eye and unflattering shadows. Diffusing the light from the flash makes the light less harsh and reduces red-eye and hard shadows. To make your own diffuser, cut a translucent white plastic bottle, such as a milk jug or similar, to fit over your camera’s built-in flash. It will spread the light out and give your photos a softer, more pleasing look.

Seeing Stars and Other Shapes

Bokeh is the term for the quality of blur in the out-of-focus parts of a photograph. Typically, bokeh is the same shape as the aperture of the lens, usually a rounded octagon or hexagon. If you’re handy with a hobby knife and some cardboard, however, you can make your own bokeh any shape you want. Cut a shape, such as a heart or a star, out of some cardboard, then tape the cardboard to the front of your lens. Any out-of-focus light sources in the photo will now be the shape you cut out.

Use these hacks to help make your pictures more interesting. Experimenting with your camera is a great way to learn its capabilities. Got a few favorite photo hacks of your own? Tell us all about them in the comments below.

Share Life’s Happy,


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Image source: Andy Warycka

Newborn photography tips: Get great photos of your baby!

Congrats, you’ve just welcomed a very special person into the world! One who’s beautiful, sweet, miraculous … squirmy, fussy and bossy. Take heart! We asked longtime baby photographer Sher Sussman how to photograph your newborn’s giggles, new expressions and smiles — while avoiding wriggling and waterworks. Here are her top five tips.

1. To cut down on fussiness, choose the best time for your baby.
Adding something new into a baby’s routine can lead to hours of fussiness — not to mention, bad photos. For best results Sher says, “Don’t shoot during naptime, it’s inconvenient for parents. Right after naptime and feed is usually best.” If need be, “Try an extra feed or a few cheerios to calm them down.”


2. Start with your top priority, and shoot fast.
“Start with the pose you’re most excited about,” Sher advises. “With babies, if it’s not happening in 20 minutes, it’s not happening! If a baby is doing well, a good shoot lasts 20 minutes to half an hour.” For best results, limit costume changes in a single shoot. “Young ones hate being changed, undressed and dressed.”


3. For an interesting perspective, get down to your baby’s level.
To snap an intimate shot, Sher will “actually lay on my stomach so I’m right there next to a baby on the floor; I get to eye level.” Another one of her favorite images to capture: “Even just a glimpse of a parent is nice — a shoulder, a hand.” To get great face shots, Sher recommends shooting downward from above.

4. Always have a catch light.
“If you don’t have catch lights, that’s a problem,” Sher says. Catch lights are the sparkle in a photo subject’s eye, created by a reflecting light source. To get a good catch light, “shoot by a window and use available light. Face the subject toward the light. For a dark day, use the external flash and bounce it off the brightest part of the room.”

5. Use sounds to make them laugh and smile.
How to capture a good facial expression? “Noises, lots of good noises!” proclaims Sher. “They like the kissy noise. Blow raspberries at them. Make a clicking noise. They get a really cute expression that says, ‘What’s that noise?’”


And don’t forget, always feel free to cancel a photo session if you or your baby aren’t up to performing. If crankiness or illness occurs, even a professional photographer should be happy to reschedule for another day — one more worthy of a Photo Card or Canvas Print.

If your tot is over a year old, stay tuned for a post later this month, where Sher helps us conquer kid photography.

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Family Reunion Photography Tips

Family Reunion Photo Ideas

Have an upcoming family reunion? Here are a few tips for taking group photos that won’t land you and your kin on the Wall of Shame:

  • Attire: Give everyone plenty of advance notice regarding the dress code. Suggesting tones will provide a coordinated feel while allowing each person flexibility in their wardrobe. A mixture of light and dark provides a crisp contrast in black and white photography, and soft beiges and pastels photograph beautifully together.
  • Props: Don’t be afraid to let everyone’s personality shine through! Include fun props for a mixture of serious and silly snaps, and to help keep the mood light. These can also include decorative cards with last names and numbers to help group family members by generation or grandchildren by order of birth.
  • Scheduling: Timing is everything. Aim to shoot in the morning or late afternoon to evening. If the sun is overhead, there will be a lot of squinting going on.
  • Positioning: Rather than group everyone across, which results in a horizontal line of heads, use a combination of seated and standing poses to create a soft pyramid shape. This will also ensure everyone’s lovely face makes it into the photo!

Above all, have fun making these memories and don’t be too rigid. Sometimes the best photographs are spontaneous ones. After the event is over, mail out Collage Prints of the top group shots. The snail mail surprise will extend the feeling of togetherness long after the reunion ends.

Have any other tips? Leave them in the comments below!

Share Life’s Happy,


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Top 5 Camera Phone Tips

Top 5 Camera Phone Tips

Let’s face it, most of our photos aren’t shot by a full-frame 35mm camera — they’re snapped by our phone. So why not make the most of it? Perfect those camera-phone skills with a few easy tips from our crew here at “Snaps!” You might not be a pro overnight, but we’re guessing you’ll settle for much-improved selfies.


1. Hold it like a camera

Drastically enhance your photos with a simple action — hold your phone horizontally instead of vertically in the palm of your hand. So obvious in retrospect, right? Bonus: On iPhones, the volume control doubles as a convenient shutter button.


2. Stabilize your phone

Camera shake creates blurry images, especially with low light levels present. The easy solution: Steady the phone by pulling your elbows in and stabilizing them against your torso. Now exhale and click away.


3. Try a camera app

Standard camera phones don’t always feature important tools, like manual exposure or rule-of-thirds grid lines. But there’s an app (or two) for that. Score more editing features by using the camera function found in photo apps such as Instagram, which rolled out 10 new tools in an update early this month.


4. Shoot quickly and often

When I photograph my grandfather, he always shouts, “Stop wasting your film!” Sorry Gramps, extra shots no longer cost a dime. By experimenting with lighting, angles and distance, you’ll come up with a few additional interesting pics. Plus, you’ll perfect your skills for the next snap.


5. Edit photos later
To get a better photograph, sometimes you need to just put down the camera phone. Photo by Walgreens enables you to edit your images by removing red eye, correcting color, cropping and more. Who knows? What looks like a mediocre snap might be edited to perfection.


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Photogenic Beauty Tips

Photo Makeup Tips

Friend’s wedding, date night, family holiday, selfie party. You looked amazing—until you looked back. Nothing can ruin your memories like a makeup blunder caught on camera.


Here are the top seven makeup-to-photo faux pas—and the tricks to fix ‘em that no one tells you.



Is your face appearing much lighter than your natural skin tone? Your foundation may be your winter color. Yet, the more likely culprit is your foundation’s SPF—more specifically, the zinc in the SPF—which reflects light in a ghostly fashion. Avoid makeup with sun protection when prepping for a shoot.


Grease Lightning

There’s nothing wrong with oily skin. It’s actually quite beautiful. But if you’re looking like you had a coconut oil treatment in your pics, then be sure to dab your skin with blotting papers (or paper towels or TP in a pinch). Applying pressed powder to correct the situation not only pushes excess oils into the face, but can have the opposite effect of making your skin look artificial.



Matte is not classy. Sorry. This trend is long gone, so stick with foundations and powders that look like real skin. Can’t live without your powder? Then try applying it with a brush instead of a pad. Still resistant? Then mist your face with water or a setting spray to dampen the makeup into looking more real.


Batty Eyes

Faux lashes are everything in photographs. Yet, the wrong application can look staged. Be sure to apply lashes as closely to your lash lines as possible. And the real tip is to use black glue, which minimizes the gaudy reflective appearance of the adhesive when closing your lids.


Pumpkin Head

Pics looking a little Halloween-ish? In daylight, your foundation should match—never look darker—than your actual skin tone. It should also complement the warmth (yellow) or coolness (pink) of your skin. It matches, you say? Throughout the day, oxidization of minerals and fats in foundations cause pigments to darken, which may be the real offender. If that’s the case, ditch your base for one better suited for your skin type (often with less oil) or try a primer.



Concealer can be a godsend. But the wrong concealer in a photo can make you look like a porcelain doll. Be sure to use a concealer only one shade lighter than your natural skin tone. And blend, blend, blend. Still see it? Then your “translucent” powder is showing up in flash photography. Set the concealer by pressing it thoroughly with your fingertips (not powder) next time.



Groomed brows are lovely. Made-up brows are even lovelier. Just be sure to pick the right color in pencil or powder so it doesn’t look like magic marker revenge. Black hair? Go dark brown. Brown hair? Go light brown. You get the picture.


Rescued from a makeup/photo nightmare? Share your tips and tricks with us!


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