Photo Embellishments: Tell Your Picture’s Story

My mom and sister are both very creative and crafty people. When it comes to gifts, I’m half inspired and half intimidated by how they always manage to put a personal touch on everything. So when Photo by Walgreens added our new Embellishments clip art for Photo Books, the wheels in my head started turning. Before I proceed, maybe I should explain that Embellishments are all the fun of scrapbooking, but without any of the mess and with no need for storage (because yours truly is already short on closet space).

Photo Emebllishments

It’s hard for my sister and I to believe, but our niece will soon turn 3, and being the first grandchild, our parents have approximately 1.8 million photos of her. Plenty to choose from for a Photo Book! As for Embellishments, I added lots of hearts and customized text to make notes of all her milestones. I wanted a really authentic scrapbook look and feel, so I chose different kinds of washi tape to make it look like the photos were taped to each page. I know my family will love it, and it will be the perfect keepsake for my niece when she’s older.

But there’s another baby on the way, too! My family could not be more excited for my sister’s first pregnancy. I’ve been collecting snaps of her growing belly to pair with a number Embellishment, marking each month. Since she’s been craving ice cream, I added an ice cream cone for the perfect personal touch. One of my favorite things about Embellishments is that you can jump around between themes and really get creative!

Be forewarned: This is slightly addicting. I’m already planning the Photo Book for our family vacation …

For more ideas, check out our Memory Books, where there is a book for every occasion!

How do you use Embellishments? Tell us in the comments below!

Share Life’s Happy,

Kate

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Photo Tip of the Week: Photographing in Direct Light

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Summer’s warm weather means one thing: getting back to the great outdoors. But the direct light of the sun can make photography a little tricky. In this week’s quick photo tip, discover how to snap perfect pictures – even beneath the sun’s bright rays.

Direct light can cast strong shadows on your subjects, making mid-day photography on a sunny day particularly difficult. It’s best to find a shady place for your photo shoot, but if that’s not possible, enable your camera’s flash. This will compensate for the dark shadows, balancing them with the rest of your shot.

Another trick? Bring an umbrella! As funny as it seems to tote rain gear on a dry day, an umbrella serves a secret purpose: creating your own shade. Prop it above the object you’re photographing, and it will block the sun’s direct light.

Have any tips to add? Let us know in the comments!

 

Share Life’s Happy,

Marie

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What to Write in a Coworker’s Birthday Card

Coworkers Birthday Cards

 

Here’s a common scenario: The office passes around a group birthday card for a colleague, it comes to you and … you draw a blank. Such pressure to compose a witty-yet-sincere message — and stat! To help, we’ve prepared examples of birthday card wording befitting a colleague, whether praiseworthy employee or prankster cubicle mate.

Sincere
The happiest of birthdays to the best of coworkers.

Hope your day is as inspiring and full of laughter as you are.

Thanks for one more year of great work! Happy birthday!

Casual
Wishing you few emails, magically filled-in spreadsheets and a long lunch on your birthday.

It’s your birthday! Put down the quarterly report and celebrate!

On your birthday, may your break be longer and more cake filled.

Humorous
Here’s to another year with the best coworker ever — me! Just kidding, you!

What comes up but never comes down? Your salary! (Fingers crossed!)

One year closer to retirement! Congrats!
Just add one of these messages and slap on your signature. Now go enjoy cake in the break room.

 

Share Life’s Happy,

Madeline

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Roadside Oddities & Attractions: 5 Photo-Worthy Destinations

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Is summer travel calling your name? Throw on your Out-of-Office, load up the car and bring our list of must-snap roadside attractions. From a giant elephant to a cheese castle, we’ve got ideas for photo-worthy destinations you have to see to believe.

  1. Lucy the Elephant: If your vacation plans take you along the east coast, schedule a stop in Margate, New Jersey, to visit Lucy the Elephant, whose claim to fame is being “the world’s largest elephant.” Not actually an elephant, this six-story building welcomes visitors to explore inside. After climbing a spiral staircase to the very top, sightseers are treated to an incredible view – Lucy overlooks a quaint stretch of ocean beach!
  2. The Rocky Statue: While you’re in the area, be sure to visit Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for a quick photo shoot with the city’s famous Rocky Balboa statue. The bronze landmark represents the beloved fictional boxer, played by Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky movie franchise. The statue – commissioned by Stallone in 1980 for use in Rocky III – stands alongside the Philadelphia Museum of Art, symbolic of an iconic scene in which Rocky triumphantly climbs the museum stairs.
  3. South of the Border: If I-95 is your travel route, you’ll likely encounter billboard after billboard teasing the South of the Border highway oasis. Situated at the state line between North Carolina and South Carolina, South of the Border provides plenty of roadside entertainment. From the Sombrero Observation Tower that gives visitors sky-high views of the countryside to Pedroland Park with amusement rides and games, you’ll find plenty of brag-worthy photo ops.
  4. Mars Cheese Castle: If your travel plans take you along I-94, plan a stop in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to behold the cheesy goodness of the Mars Cheese Castle. The name doesn’t disappoint – the building looks just like a castle, and it’s filled with – you guessed it – cheese, glorious cheese. From aged cheddars and goudas galore to sausages, hot sauces and beer, Mars is a must-stop. Plus, its quirky building and supersized store sign are seriously snap-worthy.
  5. The Museum of Hoaxes: Do you love urban legends and conspiracy theories? Uncover the stories behind both historical and modern-day hoaxes at the Museum of Hoaxes off of I-5 in San Diego, California. From an exhibit starring mythical creatures (like the Jackalope!) to an archive of April Fool’s Day pranks, this place tackles the weirdest of the weird.

Tell us about the strangest roadside attraction you’ve seen. Let us know in the comments, or share your road trip pics using #strangesnaps.

Share Life’s Happy,

Marie


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DIY Photo Wall: Best Adhesive

Last month, a few folks here at “Snaps!” created a DIY photo wall using our favorite Instagram shots. It pretty much ruled. Until our pictures curled up and peeled off the cubicle wall. (So much for gobs of clear tape.)

 

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To solve this sticky dilemma (pun intended), we asked art-supply experts to recommend the perfect photo adhesive. Here’s what works …

  1. Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue — Favored by crafters, this all-purpose glue is great for permanently adhering a glossy photo to cardboard backing or a plaster wall. Its “tacky” nature means it won’t drip down vertical surfaces, and a super-strong bond prevents even the most rebellious photo from curling at the edge.
  2. Scotch Removable Mounting Squares — These small squares adhere to nearly any surface (even glass) and peel right off without leaving residue. Good for shared workspaces and interior design commitment-phobes.
  3. Command Small Picture Hanging Strips — If you framed your beauteous Square Prints, try these nail-free fasteners. The Velcro-like mechanism simplifies leveling, and a small strip handles up to a pound of weight.

Want a photo wall of your own? Now that you know what adhesive to choose, start at the beginning: Print photos from your Instagram albums using the Walgreens Mobile App. Then, let us know how it turns out!

Share Life’s Happy,

Madeline

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Tips for Time-Lapse Photography

Time Lapse Photography

If it were up to me, I’d sit in one spot and watch the world go by more often. As it happens, by the time I finish with work, running errands, and binge-watching House of Cards, the day is over. So when I began looking into time-lapse photography, I knew it was a perfect way to capture all the sights I’m missing. Here are a few scenes I’ll be setting up my tripod for:

  • One of my favorite flowers is the lily; any kind will do. Their scent is intoxicating, and watching them come into bloom is such a joy. But they can be sneaky about it—I turn my back oh-so-briefly and another one opens! Recording a blooming bouquet is a must.
  • The change of seasons is breathtaking – it seems as though one day the trees are bare, and nearly overnight they’re flourishing with greenery. Documenting this incredible transition is a fun photography project. Find a secluded spot near a favorite tree. As the seasons change, return to this location with a camera and tripod to take pictures of the tree’s progression.
  • When I’m on my way somewhere, I’m so focused on my destination that the scenery is generally a blur. Taking my tripod to a busy street corner will force me to pause and enjoy the people watching. Who knows what I’ll catch on film?

Have you done time-lapse photography? Let us know your tips and favorite experiences in the comments!

Share Life’s Happy,

Kate

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Photo Tip of the Week: The Rule of Thirds

Want to learn how to take better photos? Start with one of the oldest tricks in the book: the rule of thirds. Photography tutorials and textbooks say that following this principle creates the most visually interesting images, clicking your photo game up a notch.

The Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds refers to an imaginary grid on a photo, where two horizontal and two vertical lines divide the image into nine equal parts. The grid may be used in two primary ways:

1. Points of interest, like your child’s face, should fall where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect. This creates an appealing, off-center composition by discouraging awkward pics where a subject appears in the very middle of the image.

2. Horizontal and vertical subjects, like beach landscapes and full-body shots, should line up with one of the imaginary lines. This creates balance in the photo so focal points do not cut the image in half.

While the rule of thirds provides a great frame of mind, it may take some practice before your photos match the nine-part grid. Thankfully, photo-editing software can crop pics so all of your shots fall into line, and your focus can be on capturing your images until the rule becomes second nature.

Do you practice the rule of thirds in your photographs? Share your tips with us!

Share Life’s Happy,

Lauria

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Inspirational Photography Quote

Photography Quotes

A Father’s Day Photography Project

A few months ago, I was talking with my coworker Michele about a photograph she had taken of her grandfather. They were going through old photos together when she came across one of him when he was just 9 years old. The best part was hearing the story behind the photo—how his mom had taken him and his brother for pictures right here in Chicago. Michele decided on the spot to capture that moment and photograph her Grandpa holding the photo, which you see below.

Father's Day Photo Idea

Her experience moved me to sit down with my parents and grandparents to look at pictures taken before I was born. My dad has loved revisiting the ones of him standing next to his old cars—it’s funny how the guy with the long hair and a bright red Mustang turned into my overprotective father. But my favorite is a photograph of my grandfather looking dapper in his Marines uniform. A man of few words, seeing the picture again has gotten him to open up about his time in the service.

This weekend on Father’s Day, I’ll be photographing my Opa holding that picture. Although decades have passed since it was taken, he still has that same twinkle in his eye and a mischievous smile. Capturing details like that on film is what photography is all about: telling a story.

Wishing you a Father’s Day full of warm memories!

Share Life’s Happy,

Kate

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Monthly Baby Photos: Your Little One’s First Year

Monthly Baby Photos

Calling all new moms! There are so many special moments ahead as your bundle of joy progresses throughout his or her first year. Ensure you document your baby’s incredible growth with this easy-peasy photography project. Download our PDF containing a badge for every month of your baby’s first year. Print the document on sticker paper, and cut out each month’s badge. As your little one grows, take a picture each month with your child wearing the corresponding sticker on his or her outfit.
Here are some tips and suggestions for staging your shots:

  • Consider taking the photo in the same place each month. A big, comfy living room chair makes a great backdrop, and it will really illustrate your child’s growth as he or she gets bigger and bigger.
  • For an extra-cute touch, dress your baby in a similar outfit or work in the same precious prop – like a favorite stuffed animal – each time you take the photo.
  • Don’t feel tied to taking the picture on exactly the same day each month. Pick a day when you have plenty of time so you won’t feel rushed.
  • Take the photo at a time of day when your baby is comfy and content – it’ll be easier to snap great pics when your little one is in a fuss-free mood.

Throughout the year, create Square Prints of your baby’s progression photos, and send them to loved ones each month. They’ll love witnessing your baby’s growth right along with you. At the end of the year, create a Photo Book with the monthly photos alongside other great shots of your darling one. Display the album at a first birthday party, so guests can see all of the sweet snaps. How will you put your own spin on your baby’s progression photos?

Share Life’s Happy,

Marie

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