News Flash: 4 Tips of Flash Photography

Using your camera’s flash seems like the simplest thing in the world. If there isn’t enough light to make the picture, out comes the flash, and suddenly a dark scene becomes a lit picture. But there’s far more to good flash photography than meets the eye.

While you may be content leaving your flash on auto, learning which situations warrant its use will help you get the most print-worthy shots possible.

Entire books have been written about getting started with flash photography, but these basic tips will get you started on your way to flash mastery.

1. Two Exposures in One

The first thing to realize when using your flash is that every flash photo is actually two exposures: the flash, and the ambient light around you. Unless your scene is pitch black, the camera collects all the light around your subject while the shutter is open, in addition to the light coming from your flash. These two exposures are the building blocks of flash photography.

2. Shutter Speed and Flash Exposure

Proper exposure has two building blocks: aperture and shutter speed. Aperture controls how much light comes in through the lens, whereas the shutter speed dictates how long the image sensor is exposed to that light. In order to capture the flash’s full output, the camera will slow the shutter speed, usually to a maximum of 1/250 or below, depending on the camera. So while aperture controls the ambient light in your scene, shutter speed controls that light’s exposure — especially important when using a flash.

Want more ambient exposure? Use a longer shutter speed; the flash exposure remains the same.

3. It’s Hip to Be Square

The more distance between your flash and the subject, the less light that falls on the subject. If you’re five feet away from your subject, double your distance; the subject will only receive one-fourth the amount of light as they did at five feet. This is known as the inverse square law. While this falloff may seem annoying, you can use it to your advantage. Having the subject move away from a background surface will darken the wall and expose the subject more effectively.

4. Stay in Range

On that note, let’s poke fun at today’s stadium audiences. If you’ve ever seen a concert or sporting event, you’ve seen hundreds of flashes go off in the background. But since the typical built-in flash on a point-and-shoot or DSLR camera is about 25 feet, all fans are doing is lighting up the backs of people’s heads. So turn off the flash and save your batteries — your shot has plenty of light to capture from the stage.

There’s so much more to mastering the art of flash photography, but these building blocks will lay the foundation on which you can begin building your camera flash skills.

Share Life’s Happy,

Andy Warycka

Print photos at Walgreens

Download the FREE Walgreens Mobile App

Image source: Andy Warycka

5 Steps to a Great Photo Collage

Picking the right photo to frame for the wall or give to friends and family can be tedious. From wedding pictures to candid shots of your pet, there are simply too many great pictures to choose from. But why choose just one? Throw all of your favorites into a single Photo Collage Print.

Back in the day, a collage required scissors, glue and a lot of time. Now, it can be done in minutes with your own digital photos. Here’s how to do it.

Photo Collage Tips

1. Pick a Size

Start off by selecting a size for your collage. While 4×6 or 5×7 is great for sitting on your desk, 8×10 is perfect for going on a shelf. A Poster-sized Collage Print is ideal for a bedroom or dorm room wall.

The size will help you decide how many pictures to include, as well. Two to four is best for a 4×6, whereas you can easily fit 20 into a poster. Envision a story through your collage, and how many images you’ll need in order to tell it.

2. Select Your Pics

Now for the fun part: picture selection. You’ll generally upload photos from your computer, but the Walgreens Mobile App will let you tether your Facebook and Instagram accounts and upload images directly from a personal album.

Photo collages tend to work best when the pictures share a theme. Consider assembling pictures from a particular vacation or baby’s first Christmas. Then make sure the images’ colors complement each other. If you have a red-and-orange sunset picture that you love, select other photos with warm colors to go with it.

3. Choose Your Border

The best part of photo collage tools is that you can do as much or as little formatting as you want. Many collage print design tools are intuitive enough to assemble the images for you, and then allow you to organize them. First, decide if you want a border; it may affect the layout. The thicker the border, the less room there will be for images. Bordered edges may cut off photos with tons of detail, so mark the width of your border now, and consider which pics are best on all four sides.

4. Edit and Arrange

Remember that you can also play with your photos using editing apps, available right from your tablet or mobile device. Zoom, flip, color correct and more. If you have one or two favorite pics that you want to be the center of attention, pick those images to be “featured,” with the other images you select surrounding them. You may also use a digital program to shuffle your photos, randomly rearranging the images for you until you’re happy with the configuration.

5. Add Your Finishing Touches

“Spring ’14″? You can do better! Channel your inner wordsmith and use a title that captures it all. Then voilà — all done. Save the Collage Print to your cart and get hard copies sent right to your door.

What are you waiting for? Give it a spin.

Share Life’s Happy,
Suzanne Weinstock Klein

Print photos at Walgreens
Download the FREE Walgreens Mobile App

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Food Photography Guide: Make Your Food Snaps Drool-Worthy

Before diving into a bowl of rainbow-colored fruit or a leafy green salad, grab your camera to capture that delicious moment — then make your friends jealous. Post your irresistible food photography online so the whole world can comment on your creative hobby. Not sure where to start? Grab a snack, and we’ll share some tips with you.

Food Photography Guide

  1. Set the Scene: Your messy countertop isn’t the prettiest backdrop for the quiche that took an hour to make. Instead, show off your culinary creation by serving it on a colorful plate against a simple background. Look for a solid-colored wall as a backdrop, a beautifully set table or head outdoors for blue sky and green grass.
  2. Spice It Up: Some dishes looks naturally drab, so add a splash of color and professionalism to your food photography by using a few garnishes. Plump strawberries or a fresh sprig of parsley will give your snaps a magazine-cover feel.
  3. Add a Human Touch: Don’t be afraid to show that you’re already enjoying the food. A small nibble out of a steaming hot cookie from the oven or a spoon sunk deep into a bowl of Greek yogurt will make viewers want to dig in, too.
  4. Watch the Exposure: Although it’s enticing to just share a quick pic of your dinner plate, take a few seconds to think like a pro photographer. Make sure you have adequate light. Move closer to a window, turn on a lamp or head outside to be sure your snapshot doesn’t turn out too dark.
  5. Take Two: Once you have the perfect location and setup in place, take several pictures. Try something close up, or step back and include your entire place setting or beverage in the frame. Look down at the food for a bird’s eye view, or set the camera on the table and capture the image on the same level as the plate.

You took the time to whip up a great meal — don’t be shy about showing it off.

If you’re a foodie who loves to upload pics of your latest meal to Instagram, you can savor the delicious memories by printing Square Prints directly from your phone through the Walgreens Photo App.

Share Life’s Happy,


Print photos at Walgreens

Download the FREE Walgreens Mobile App

Image source: Flickr

3 Ways to Display Your Vacation Photos

Vacation photos may be some of the best pictures you get of your family all year. Everyone is relaxed, happy and more than willing to ham it up for the camera. Later on, you’ll look at these photos and remember how much fun everyone was having. Rather than losing the images in the black hole that is your hard drive, organize and preserve them, so that you can look back on those happy moments time and again.


1. Create a Scrapbook Album

Unleash the artist within by creating a scrapbook album of your vacation images. You can make one from scratch, using stickers, decals or special markers to embellish your photos, or you can even create Scrapbook Pages online. Edit your photos and design your pages using a variety of templates and backgrounds. Then, print out the pages for your album.

2. Create a Digital Album

Use your Walgreens Photo online account to create an album of your vacation photos using your favorite pictures. The shot of your aunt floating down the lazy river in an inner tube might end up as your digital album cover. Or maybe it’s the one of your son in mid-air as he jumps off the side of the boat. Put your photos in chronological order to tell the story of your vacation, from the moment you left your house to the moment you returned, tanned and relaxed. You can share your digital album with friends and family directly from

3. Create a Photo Book

Once you have your images in order for your slide show, why not place them in a Photo Book? Choose a bright, bold photo for the cover, or simply place the same image that you used for your title slide. Show your family traveling and arriving at your destination, then place snapshots of all the best moments throughout your stay. Make sure you get an even number of shots of everyone, so your book will mean something to each family member. If extended family or friends joined you on your trip, print out a book for each person as a holiday gift to remember the good times.

Vacations are an important time for families, so make sure you capture all of those memories and present them in a way that you’ll want to revisit. How do you plan on remembering this summer’s vacation?

Share Life’s Happy,

Karen Putz

Print photos at Walgreens
Download the FREE Walgreens Mobile App

Image source: Karen Putz

6 Summer Birthday Gift Ideas for Her

You’ve ordered a decadent birthday cake and invited friends and family to share in a special celebration. Now the only thing missing is a thoughtful present for the lady of honor. Skip the gift cards and check out this list of great summer birthday gift ideas for her.

Skip the gift cards and check out our list of great birthday gift ideas for her.

1. Tote Bag for the Beach or Pool

Warm-weather birthdays call for gifts that coordinate with the season. Whether she frequents the beach, swims laps at the gym or is looking forward to a vacation that includes lots of sunscreen and a swimsuit, you can’t go wrong with a new Tote Bag personalized with a special photo memory from a previous summer outing.

2. Salad-in-a-Bowl Patio Planter

Does the birthday lady enjoy fresh, healthy meals? Head to the garden center for a beautiful patio planter filled with nutrient-rich edibles such as romaine lettuce, kale, parsley and spinach. These leafy greens can be trimmed, washed and enjoyed without toiling in the garden or making a trip to the grocery store.

3. Photo Water Bottle

During the summer, it’s a good idea to keep a water bottle close by to stay hydrated. Give her a personalized Water Bottle featuring a favorite picture of her friends or family. She’ll be sure to keep it by her side to help her stay cool while reminding her of special memories.

4. Bistro Set for Two

Does she love to eat outdoors during the summer? Surprise her with a cozy bistro table and chair set for two, and an invitation for dinner on the patio. This gift is also an ideal reading spot during the day, as well as a perfect hangout when a girlfriend drops by for a visit.

5. Customized Golf Towel

If she plays golf, make her next tee time extra special with a customized Golf Towel. Have the cloth printed with a snapshot of her and her golf buddies, then use the towel to creatively wrap a new set of golf balls and tees to complete the sporty gift.

6. Summer Door Wreath

Every woman likes to add a little color to the entryway of her home. A cheerful door wreath can do just the trick. Get out the glue gun and craft a patriotic wreath, or pick out a summery decoration at the craft store featuring bright sunflowers or daisies.

Do you have any other summer birthday gift ideas for her? Share one of your favorite birthday gifts from the past in the comments below.

Share Life’s Happy,


Print photos at Walgreens

Download the FREE Walgreens Mobile App

Image source: Flickr

5 Tips for Great School Pictures

We all have at least one terrible school photo hanging around our grandparents’ house (see photo of me below), with our hair sticking every which way, spilled lunch on our shirt and some hideous color combination we swore was in style at the time. Now that I’m on the mom side of the school picture scene, I feel compelled to make sure my guys are looking their very best — if only to save them future humiliation, because I’m going to keep those Prints around forever!

If you’re worrying about a fiasco on picture day, here are a few tips for helping your kids feel relaxed, look their best and perhaps even enjoy the experience.


1. Good Night, Sleep Tight

Making sure the kids have had a good night’s sleep is a big part of setting them up for photo day success. They won’t be feeling overtired as they wait for their turn with the photographer, no bags will be under the eyes and you won’t feel rushed trying to get a sleepyhead out of the house on time.

2. What to Wear?

Pick out an outfit the night before so you don’t have to dig through the laundry piles that morning. Hang up the outfit, and have your child change into it after breakfast. Opt for darker colors, graphic- and pattern-free fabrics and something that your child feels comfortable in. Kids don’t have to be overly fancy for picture day, but neat and tidy does the trick.

3. Pack a Particular Lunch

Consider a mess-free lunch for picture day to save yourself from the dreaded stained shirt snapshot. Braces? Forget about foods that might get stuck — or at least send along a toothbrush for a quick post-lunch brushing. Depending on what time of the school day the photo will be taken, you might be able to skip the lunch issue altogether, but better safe than sorry.

4. Avoid a Hair Scare

Send kids to school with a brush or comb and a little pocket mirror for pre-picture hair-taming. For girls, wearing hair down is preferable and you’ll avoid the bald look. If there’s time, try to schedule kids in for a hair trim a week or two before picture day so their locks will be at their best. Give it a good wash the night before and help them to style it in the morning.

5. Smile

There are photos from my childhood years where my smile looks nothing like me. You know, that awkward, forced grin that doesn’t look a thing like your child? No one wants that. On the big morning, chat with your kids about something funny they can think of when their photo is being taken. Maybe a joke that gets them laughing, a vacation memory they love or anything else that’ll bring out that genuine, gorgeous smile.

School Picture Tips

I hope these ideas help you on your way to a picture day masterpiece and one that you will add to the Photo Books. Now, say cheese!

Share Life’s Happy,
Amy Bellgardt

Print photos at Walgreens
Download the FREE Walgreens Mobile App

Tips for Selfies You’ll Want to Share

We’ve all turned our smartphone cameras on ourselves. Smile. Click. Smile. Click. But not every impulsive image you snap should land on your social media feeds. Here are a few selfie faces to strive for next time a moment inspires you!

Selfie Tips

All About the Smile

Puckering your lips as if you’re blowing a kiss is fine to do in a photo, but try too hard and you’ll end up with the classic selfie error: duck face. It’s about as unflattering as it gets: your cheeks look sunken and your lips jut out like a beak, creating an effect that just looks downright silly. Instead of blowing that kiss, flash a simple smile. Practice in a mirror to see if you like to show teeth or stay close-lipped in your close-up.

Cute, Creative Angles

Taking a great selfie is all about angles. If you hold your phone directly above you, your forehead can end up looking pretty wide. If you tend to have oily skin, the shine will show up as a reflective glare. To avoid a big, shiny forehead, keep your camera at eye level or just use a long, outstretched arm a little above head level for a more flattering, proportionate angle. Then turn your head a bit to the side so you’re not looking straight into the camera.

Focus on the Eyes

We’ve all been there: You stretch out your arm to take a picture, and hit the button just as you blink. Half-closed eyes make you look tired and confused. To make your eyes really stand out, close them before making selfie faces. Pop your eyes open right before clicking the shutter button to ensure you don’t blink as the shutter opens. As an added bonus, closing your lids for a moment will lubricate the eyeball, providing moisture that will brighten your eyes on camera.

Nice Nose Shots

The worst selfie ever is the close-up view of your nostrils. If you hold the camera lower than nose level when taking a selfie, you risk this unflattering pose. Simply raise your camera to eye level or turn your head to the side to get an appealing semi-profile shot.

After nailing the perfect pose, upload your selfie to Instagram and enhance with color filters, festive borders or cropping tools. Print out your selfie with the Walgreens Mobile App and share with friends.

What are your favorite selfies to capture? Tell us about them in the comments below, or snap a selfie and post a link — we’d love to see your super selfie skills.

Share Life’s Happy,

Angela Tague

Print photos at Walgreens

Download the FREE Walgreens Mobile App

Image source: Flickr

What Is Shutter Speed?

Most digital cameras have automatic settings for action shots, portraits and other types of photos, but if you really want to take your photography to the next level, you need to use a manual setting. In this post, we teach you how to set your shutter speed.

What is Shutter Speed?

The shutter is like a curtain that opens when you take a picture — the term snap comes from the snap sound the shutter make. This opening allows light to flow through the lens and into the camera’s sensor (or film, if you still use it). Becoming familiar with how to use different speeds will let you to take a variety of captivating photos.

How to Set Shutter Speed on Your Camera

To set your shutter speed, adjust the setting that is often displayed as a single number or a fraction. These numbers tell you how long the shutter will stay open (for example, 1/250th of a second). With DSLR cameras, you can set the shutter speed and still let the camera automate the other settings through “shutter priority mode,” which is generally indicated by an S or TV on your camera.

When to Use Fast Settings

A short exposure time essentially freezes quick movement, such as a bird in flight or the action during a basketball game. With the faster speeds, you have to ensure that there is enough light or the picture will be underexposed. If the light is low, you can still use the fast settings, but you should use a wide aperture setting and a higher ISO, as well.

When to Use Slow Settings

Using a slower shutter speed can help you capture different types of lighting

A slow shutter speed adds motion blur to the photo and can give a sense of movement in the image. It’s the preferred way to capture images of certain fast-moving subjects, such as fireworks, and provides a clear depth-of-field for the stationary objects in the photo. When using slower speeds, a tripod is essential or the image could be ruined by camera shake.

What About Long Exposure Time?

Long shutter speeds are used for certain types of landscape shooting and pictures of the stars’ movement across the night sky. For these images, the exposure time can be anywhere from a quarter-minute to many hours. Usually, you would need special equipment to take pictures like that.

Getting familiar with shutter speed settings on your camera requires more than information; it also requires practice. It’s helpful to jot down your settings as you adjust them initially so you can become familiar with how each affects the final image. With just a little practice, you will be able to take professional quality photos you can use to decorate your home.

Share Life’s Happy,


Print photos at Walgreens
Download the FREE Walgreens Mobile App

Image source: Flickr

3 Tips for Making Your Photos More Professional

Taking a professional photo isn’t easy. Even for seasoned pros, it can take hours of shooting before they get a perfect picture. That being said, there are three main things that all professional photographers do that will significantly improve your photos.

When my daughter needed some quick headshots for a play she was auditioning for, we went out in the yard to take them. Ten minutes later, we had this professional photo.

1. Practice

As with any skill, the more you do it, the better you become at it. To continue to evolve as a photographer, you should do the following:

  • Take photos every day.
  • Have something specific in mind that you want to shoot.
  • Take photos of that subject in different locations.
  • Experiment with different settings on your camera until you know what all of them do.

The more you practice, the better you’ll get to know your camera. Even if it’s an inexpensive camera, knowing its features and settings will help you take better photos.

2. Plan

Every professional photo shoot is planned out long before the first click of the shutter button. For your own photo sessions, whether it be a family reunion or pictures for Christmas cards, you need to know where and when you’re shooting. Other things to consider include the following:

  • Lighting: Where will the natural light be, and how will it affect the shot you want to get? Do you need to bring artificial lights?
  • Backdrops: Do you need one, or will you use a natural setting?
  • Clothing: If you’re photographing people, do you want them to wear similar colors or does anything go?

Planning out the details ahead of time will make the whole process much smoother.

3. Get the Right Light

Photography is all about light; it is by far the most important element when you take any photograph. But you don’t have to run out and buy a bunch of studio strobes. Follow these tips to effectively light your shots:

  • Use existing lights: You can often just use the lights in the room you are in. Simply move them, shoot a test photo and then move them again until you like the results.
  • Use natural light: Consider going outside to shoot your photo. Natural light is always your friend, which is why you’ll see many portraits and headshots taken outdoors. I took this photo of my daughter against a neighbor’s fence in the afternoon light when she needed a headshot for an audition she was going to.
  • Use a reflector: If you’re not getting quite enough light on your subject, try reflecting the light on it. A piece of white poster board or paper is a perfect budget option.

Each of these tips will help you take more professional photos that will make great Prints for friends and family. Good luck, and happy shooting.

Share Life’s Happy,

C.C. Chapman

Print photos at Walgreens

Download the FREE Walgreens Mobile App

Image source: C.C. Chapman

4 Great Photo Crafts for Grandparent Gifts

Grandparents really love photos that remind them of their family and friends. If you’re thinking of creating a gift for your grandparents, add something special by being creative and hands-on. Here are some ideas that will make great photo gifts.

A happy child with her grandparents

1. A New Twist on the Family Tree

If you really want to personalize your grandparent gifts, try a different approach to the traditional family tree. If you have children, help them paint a large tree with a branch for each family member. Instead of writing out all the names, you can create Prints of each relative. Use craft scissors to cut them out and place on your painted branches.

2. Handmade Frames

If you look around the home of any grandparent, photos of their past make up much of the decor. Family pictures are expected, so why not add a handmade frame to ensure your gift will stand out? Craft stores offer so many options for frames, and they’re generally easy for tiny hands to make and decorate. Smaller kids can try a popsicle stick frame decorated with glitter or beads; older kids can paint a simple wooden frame.

3. Handprints

If your children like to get messy, they’ll love this one. Let them cover their hands in water-based paint, then fill a large piece of paper with their brightly colored handprints. Scan these works of art and use the image file to create a Laminated Placemats that your grandparents can pull out and show off whenever friends visit.

4. Photo Book

Photo Books aren’t hard to make anymore, and Facebook isn’t the only place to post a cute family album. At Walgreens, you can easily create a Photo Book that tells a story your grandparent can keep and proudly share with the rest of the family. You can also include some artwork and letters from the kids.

You can’t go wrong with a little touch of the personal when creating visual grandparent photo gifts. They’re sure to love anything that reminds them of their grandchildren, but nothing compares to those extra details your kids add by hand.

Share Life’s Happy,

Shanell Mouland

Print photos at Walgreens

Download the FREE Walgreens Mobile App

Image source: