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Kansas City Vacation Photos

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

K.C. Trip 5152

When we announced the two-week summer break from the Paperclipping Roundtable, someone said they were excited for me to bring back some inspiration to share with you all from out trip.

The pressure was on and I had hopes of delivering. But then the plane ride to K.C. exacerbated the little virus that was my souvenir from Las Vegas and turned that baby into all of the following:

  • perforated ear drums
  • ear infections in both ears
  • pharyngitis
  • sinusitis
  • tinnitus

I spent most of my visit to family in bed. And I skipped my 20-year high school reunion. And I didn’t gather much inspiration to share with all of you.

Fortunately, Izzy took a bunch of shots, and I think they give some great ideas…

K.C. Trip 5154
It looks magical to pose at the front of the property with the house back in the distance, rather than posing immediately in front of the house.

K.C. Trip 5153
Over the shoulder shots are really cool. Especially when the smoke is still flying.

K.C. Trip 5158
Un-posed group walking shots have lots of energy.

K.C. Trip 5155
Shooting a line of people from an angle gives the photo movement, directs the eye, and can be more interesting than a straight-on shot.

K.C. Trip 5156
Get a waterfall in the background. They’re cool. Fountains are all over Kansas City.

K.C. Trip 5157
It’s really beautiful to get lots of green in a photo, especially when there’s greenery in the foreground and repetition of nature moving to the background.

Just a note because I know how thoughtful you all are — It took a while but I’m feeling back to my normal self again. The only thing that lingers, despite two antibiotics plus Prednisone, is the tinnitus. I’ve had constant ringing (no breaks!) for 3.5 weeks!

The doctor says it’s time to visit an ENT now. At least I feel good again!

Watch a Street Photographer In Action

Friday, August 12th, 2011

I’ve always been curious to see how bold street photographers are when they photograph strangers.

Of course, they’re all different and some try to keep it on the down low while others are more bold. And brave.

Well, here’s our chance to see one of the bolder street photographers in action!

Watch this video to see how this guy walks right up to people’s faces.

Also pay attention to how deals with the angry guy!

Ten Articles & Tutorials for Scrapbooking Summer

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Sun with Beads/Stickles

Have you started scrapbooking your summer yet? I like to scrapbook whatever season I’m currently in because I tend to be most in the mood for playing with the colors and themes that are around me.

So I thought I’d offer a little help for those of you who are also scrapbooking summer. Or photographing it, for that matter. Below are ten Paperclipping articles and video tutorials for fun summertime scrapbooking!


  • Summertime Photography Tips – Paperclipping 112 (Members can watch this tutorial in the Member’s Area or on iTunes).

Vacation Albums and Mini-books

  • How to Make a Vacation Album – this is a 4-article series with a detailed 5-step process you can follow along with your own album for more personal vacation stories.
  • Make Your Vacation Album More Meaningful – Paperclipping 107 (This is a tutorial for Paperclipping Members).

Summer Scrapbooking Supplies

  • Packing to Scrapbook on Your Vacation – 110 (Another tutorial for Paperclipping Members).

Interested in the video tutorials, too? Find out what else you’ll get when you join the Paperclipping Members! Just click here!

Photo Sharing on Flickr: My Life’s Photo Journal

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

I’ve been using Flickr as the medium for sharing my own life’s photo journal project. If you look on my Flickr page, I have a handful of collections (with a couple more in mind to add soon) in the right column. I called one of those collections, My Life’s Photo Journal.

Within that collection I have lots of sets. You can see those sets in the screen shot below. Some sets are the photos from each quarter that I want to print for scrapbooking or framing, or share online. Other sets are by topic: our food story, my self-portraits (a new project of mine), etc.

Screen shot 2011-05-10 at 1.26.05 PM

I love the ability to share in sets and collections this way! If you click on a set, and a photo, you’ll notice my keywords and journaling carried over from my photo manager to flickr.

Not only is this a great way to share our life’s stories with family and friends who are interested, it’s also another backup in case I lose my photos in a disaster at home (as long as you’re uploading full-res photos, that is).

Take a look at any of the sets within my collection and see if this is something you might want to do!

The One Thing That Will Make the Biggest Impact on Your Scrapbook Layouts

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Oct2010 1276

Is there really just one thing you can do that will have massive impact on your pages and get people to look every time? I’m happy to tell you there is, and any scrapbooker with any budget can do it.

I love finding ways to get massive results with less time, effort, and resources. When I was young I figured out the one simple thing I could do to make my room feel and look relatively clean (and keep my mother off my back)!

My bed took up a large percentage of my floor space, even though it was only a twin. I figured out that all I had to do was make the bed and suddenly my room felt clean, even with the same amount of stuff all over my floor and desk. The bed is one big flat surface and even with my messy floor, a made bed alone would make the difference between a room that looked decent and a room that looked like a disaster.

Is there an equivalent power in scrapbooking? One simple improvement that will make enormous impact overall? Absolutely! And I can’t wait to share it with you!

The One Small Change that will Yield Massive Results

No matter what your scrapbooking style, the one thing we can improve that will make the biggest impact is our photos! We could add all kinds of new scrapbooking skills or buy all kinds of awesome gadgets or beautiful supplies, and while those improvements will be great, they won’t make the same impact as two basic improvements in the photos we take.

As I’ve worked with scrapbookers, I’ve found two common areas that amateur photo hobbyists can improve, even without buying a new camera:

  • Exposure
  • Composition

Brighten Your Photos

During my Holiday Photography Tips course that I’ve given to the Paperclipping Members in the past, I found myself saying one thing over and over again to those who had requested feedback: Bump up your exposure! This is such an easy improvement to make!

Whether you learn to get perfect exposure straight out of the camera, or you boost the exposure in your post processing (which is what I usually do), this one thing will take a dull photo and transform it into one that will draw people in and make them want to look. I boost the exposure of a huge percentage of my photos when I process them on my computer.

izzy's camera  3638 - Version 2

izzy's camera  3638

Learn Good Composition

If you don’t get lots of compliments on your photo by lots of different people (and I don’t mean from the same two people, but from a variety who don’t know and love your children as much as your mother does), then you could probably benefit from learning to frame your shots differently.

There is a difference between a person who takes pictures and a person who captures emotion, beauty, movement, and life. Good composition will make people fall in love with mere strangers in photos. Photographers who compose well are showing us a view of the world that is different from how we normally look at it.

When you see great photos from others, pay attention to how the photographer composed the shot compared with how you typically compose.

  • How high or low was the photographer in relation to the subject?
  • At what angle did they take it? And don’t be fooled! To an untrained eye, many shots that appear to be straight-on are actually at slight angles.
  • How did they use the lines of the surroundings?

Trinity Dances at a School Fair

Aiden's Paper-folding Party

Aiden's Paper-folding Party

2010-06-02 at 19-01-11

To take great photos, we must learn to see differently than everybody else. It’s not hard to make a few improvements in this area. It just takes a bit of practice and learning.

Those two improvements — exposure (easy!), and composition (a little harder, but doable!) — will have a massive impact on your photography. And this, in turn, will have a massive impact on your scrapbook layouts. You don’t need a new camera to get this (although the camera and lenses do make a difference). You don’t have to buy new scrapbooking tools and updated supplies. Just take the camera that you have, brighten your photos with better exposure, and learn to frame your shots in a way that makes even the most everyday subjects look beautiful and intriguing.

Want to get started? Here are some photography-related video tutorials available in the Paperclipping Membership right now. Sign up here to get access or head over to the Member’s Area or iTunes if you’re already a Member.

Paperclipping 112 – Summer Photography Tips
Paperclipping 82 – Fix Bad Photo Lighting
Paperclipping 34 – Working With Levels

This Week At Paperclipping

Don’t Miss It!

  • Paperclipping Video Tutorial – Next week’s video tutorial will be all about embellishment gathering and layering! Get your membership before we release it!
  • The Digi Show – Look for it to release soon!

How to Get My Holiday Photography Tips

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Cranberry Pear Pie
The Paperclipping Roundtable and the Paperclipping Digi Show are taking the week off! We have pies to bake, food to cook, and houses to clean!

If you missed this week’s video tutorial, please feel free to check it out. If you’re not a member, you can take a peek at the layouts I posted. If you are a member, you know where to find the video in the Member’s Area or in your Paperclipping feed.

Paperclipping Holiday Photography Tips – a Course for Members

If you are a member — or if you sign up to become a member right away — you will receive an invitation on Tuesday, Nov. 30, to join my course on Holiday Photography Tips. It is free to all current members (and only available to members).

If you will be doing the December Daily project along with Ali Edwards, myself, and what seems like half of the scrapbook community, my photography tips will help you get photos you love for your album. If you’re not doing the December Daily project, I think you’ll love having better photos of the holidays, regardless!

How It Works
Every day for fourteen days you will get an email from me. Every other day the email will direct you to an article on holiday-related photography. Subjects range from photographing ornaments, to Christmas trees, to outdoor Christmas lighting, to holiday food, and more You will also receive a challenge related to each subject.

On the off-day, you will receive an email reminding you to share your results with us in a private group! In the group you can ask for feedback. You can start discussions and ask questions. You can comment on other members’ pictures. It’s going to be a lot of fun and will lead to lots of great photos of your favorite memories!

How To Sign Up
If you are a member, you will not automatically receive the photography emails and the course. Not all of the Paperclipping members want or need the tips, so you must opt in by responding to the invitation that I will email to members on Tuesday.

Remember also, this is free for Paperclipping Members. You need to sign up for your membership right away in order to be eligible to participate.

If you are a member and do not receive your invitation this coming Tuesday, please email me so we can get you started!

Thanksgiving 8

Izzy and I are grateful for all of you who enjoy and support Paperclipping! We’re so thankful to be able to support our family by doing and sharing the stuff we love.

Happy holidays to all and Happy Thanksgiving to our American audience!

How to Inspire Thanks Through Your Photos

Friday, November 12th, 2010

April  4553

Family Time: 2010 Photo Review

Last night I gathered my kids around me to look through our 2010 photos. We laughed. We remembered things we’d forgotten. We had a good relationship-building time. You can remind yourself and your family of all that you’ve had to be grateful for this past year by reviewing 2010 through your photos.


  • You’ll find out what your family’s favorite memories are, along with your own. You can prioritize the favorite memories as your upcoming scrapbooking projects.
  • It’s a great way to collect information and details that you yourself forgot or didn’t know. Your family members will naturally offer many of the details without you even having to ask!
  • You, yourself, will remember details that you can add into the metadata of the photos.
  • You might realize a different perspective on events by listening to their observations, reactions, and stories.
  • It’s fun! And it’s a great reminder of all the good in your life.

Set Yourself Up for a Great Viewing Experience

We do this activity right from my laptop. I LOVE viewing photos from my computer, and so do my kids. I usually hear people talk about viewing photos on computers as a negative experience — quite the opposite of my own. Maybe it has to do with the way you manage your photos?

To make your computer-viewing experience pleasurable, make your favorite photos viewable in a spot that is separate from your less-than-favorite photos. Here’s how . . .

Create Quarterly Digital Files or Albums for Fave’d Photos

Every photo manager is different. I’ll explain how mine works and you can look at your photo manager to see how to do the same thing. I’ll share two other options, as well. Hopefully your computer or your manager will have at least one of the three options.

Option 1: Photo Manager with Sub-folders
Here’s how I do it . . .

  1. Yearly Projects or Folders – Within my library of photos, I create Projects for each year of family photos. I keep all of my family photos for the year — the great as well as the not-so-great — within that one project.
  2. Albums or Sub-folders -I then create albums within my yearly projects. I make four quarterly albums, plus an additional December album, since there are so many photos from December. I want to be able to easily see December photos on their own.

    My photo manager allows me to place pictures from my yearly projects (or folders) into my albums (or sub-folders) without actually moving them. This means I can see my favorite photos in both places, whether I’m looking in the first quarter album for 2010 or the Project for all of 2010.

    This way, you can enjoy all of the best photos without having to weed through the clutter of all the bad ones. It’s an entirely different experience to view photos on your computer when you only see your favorite photos. These are also the photos I choose from when I am scrapbooking.

Option 2: Smart Albums or Smart Folders
Another option for placing favorite photos in their own sub-folders while still keeping them in their main fodlers: Smart Albums. If your computer has the ability to create smart albums, you can give your favorite photos a specific rating of your choice. Then you create a smart album with the following criteria:

  • the date (ie. 2010; or January February March 2010)
  • the ratings you assign your favorite photos.

Option 3: Completely Separate Favorite Photos from the Rest
I don’t like this option as well. I only recommend doing this if there is no way to view a photo file in two different place like I explained in the two options above. But if your computer or software does not offer those functions, it’s still worth it to do option 3 and be able to view your favorite photos on their own.

Just make a folder for the year (or the quarter/year) with your favorite photos, plus a separate folder for the year and call it, “Non-Favorite Photos 2010.”

Hyman Family Favorite Memories from 2010

I was surprised to find out what my kids’ favorite memories were so far. Most were not the ones I would have expected. Now that I know what made them most happy, I want to make sure I scrapbook them over the coming year . . .

Gatsby’s Crazy Tongue
April  4555

2010-03-12 at 22-02-59

4th of July
July 705
July 725

A Newly Painted + Decluttered Bedroom
2010-03-13 at 10-42-17
I’ll admit it. This last one may have been one of my own favorite memories.

Weekly Roundup

How to get Good Halloween Pictures

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

It’s dark. Everybody is high on Halloween adrenaline. Nobody wants to wait any longer to start the candy collecting around the neighborhood. How do you get great Halloween photos at a time like this? The conditions are not ideal, but you really can get good photos that will capture the excitement of this fun holiday.

Here are nine tips that will help you get pictures you love, and expand your ideas for fun shots!

Four Photo Ideas

Halloween '08
1. Put your camera on a tripod and document the transformation of applying the makeup and putting on the costume. For the makeup portion, try to maintain the same position in each photo to get a slideshow effect.

2. Capture the little details. Consider taking close-up pictures of a child’s hand dipping a brush into Halloween makeup. Focus in on the crooked mouth of the jack-o-lantern. Take a still shot of the pile of candy on the table.

3. It’s sometimes better if you don’t shoot from head to toe, since shoes are often the weakest part of a costume.

Halloween '09
4. To maximize the photo and costume, identify the best part of the costume. Is it just the mask? Or is it the mask and the torso? Get in close – the closer the better — and fill the frame with the parts you’ve decided are best. A generally good ratio to strive for is 90% person and 10% background in your picture.

Five Halloween Photography Tips

Halloween '09
1. You’ll get your best Halloween photos at dusk. For that hour or so while the sun is setting, you’ll have enough natural light to easily forgo your flash while still capturing the glow of your jack-o-lanterns and the bright colors of your costumes.

After dusk, use a high ISO setting (400 or more) and hold your camera as steady as you can (or use a tripod) to capture action without a flash. The rich, dark colors of Halloween will illustrate the spooky holiday mood, so make sure your flash doesn’t overpower them. Remember, Halloween is not a bright holiday. Dark and creepy shots can work in your favor.

2. The more light your jack-o-lanterns emit, the more bewitching they’ll appear in your pictures. It’s important that you turn off your camera’s flash so it doesn’t overwhelm your candlelight. Since jack-o-lanterns don’t move, you can use a long shutter speed (a low number) and set your camera on a steady surface or a tripod.

If you’re photographing outdoors and you find that your shots only capture the light of the carved facial features, but none of the pumpkin’s outer shape, try adding some low lighting with a flashlight shining on the shell of the pumpkin.

Put 2-3 candles in each jack-o-lantern to get a good glow

3. Take pictures as soon as your subjects are in costume. Makeup likes to rub off, and costumes get disheveled.
Halloween '08
4. If you’re shooting a child or a group of children, get down at eye level to show the real effect of the costumes.
Halloween '09
5. With groups of monsters–young or old–pack them together and have them touch. Do your best to fill the frame with them. But keep it casual! Don’t line them up. If you’re photographing three, group them in a triangle–this arrangement usually looks best. In a larger group, have some kneel or crouch down in front of the others so you get an up-and-down arrangement.

Weekly Roundup

Heads Up!

  • Paperclipping Live! – This live scrapbooking show is every Tuesday at 6:30pm PST. Are you free?
  • Paperclipping October Challenge! There are only a few days left to submit your layout or project for a chance to be highlighted on the Paperclipping blog! Hurry quick, before Halloween sucks up all your time! This will probably be the last monthly challenge of 2010.

If you celebrate Halloween, I hope you have a festive holiday! And thank you for celebrating four years of Paperclipping with Izzy and me all month! We hope you enjoyed the promotions and special extra goodies. We’re looking forward to another great year to come!

How To Choose Your Best Vacation Photos

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Big Pinwheels
Hi, again!

How many photos did you shoot on your last vacation? I asked this on Twitter and answers ranged from 93 to 500, and all the way up to 1,800!

With all those photos as options, what is the maximum amount of pictures you’ll feel comfortable using in one scrapbook project for that vacation?

Will you do one scrapbook page? A vacation album? A mini book? Basic photo pocket pages?

Here are a few things you can do right now to help you with that often overwhelming decision:

  • Pick out your favorite must-use photos before you decide on your scrapbooking format. Count the number of photos.
  • Of those favorites, identify the photos that would make great focal point photos and need to stand alone on their own page
  • Decide which ones you would feel comfortable cropping into smaller sizes. How small could they be and still look good?

You should now have a solid idea of which of those format options will work best for your needs (scrapbook page, mini book, etc). Of those remaining options, you can just choose the one that sounds like the most fun! The hard part is that first step of whittling a large group of photos down to a manageable, usable amount. Instead of asking, “Which ones can I do without,” I usually ask . . .

Which are the ones that best tell the story?

There is something about that question that helps me identify photos I most want to work with, and still feel okay about not including the others in my scrapbooks. Of the 114 photos I took on our recent trip to San Diego, I chose fourteen pictures in one quick sitting, thirteen of which I shared on my personal blog here and here.

What makes one photo stand out over another? Here are some of the characteristics you can look for when choosing which to print for your next scrapbook project:

Makes you pause

It doesn’t matter if the picture is technically great or not — if it catches my attention in a different way from the others, if I get a little feeling in my heart, if I catch my breath when I see it, even for just a second, or find myself wanting to gaze at the picture longer than the others, then it’s usually going to land on my scrapbook project.
Aug10 788

Shows emotion

You might say that any picture of someone smiling is showing an emotion. But a posed smile is not the same as a genuine belly-laugh smile — genuine emotion prompted, not by a camera, but by life itself.
Aug10 780

Captures a quirk or demonstrates a personality

Aiden’s shorts kept falling down and he spent most of the beach time with his hand trying to hold them up. I love having this subtle but humorous capture . . .
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Has energy and movement

There’s just something about those legs, mid-walk to the water, along with the excited faces, that made me love this photo.
Aug10 762

Makes a statement

Posed shots are not my favorite but there’s no denying, my daughter Trinity is photogenic. Her confidence, the boogie board, plus the lines of her body intersecting with the ocean line all add up to one strong, confident statement. It makes you stop and look. And that just feels good.
Aug10 742

Shows a relationship

In this picture, Izzy is showing the kids how to catch a wave with their boards. I love pictures of two people doing something together.
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Gives a different perspective

It makes for great variety when you have one good shot that either comes in close or zooms way out to show the setting.
Aug10 847

Captures the action that is happening

Again, these types of shots are great for genuine, un-posed story-telling. They’re also more interesting because of their energy.
Aug10 833

Tells the missing parts

Let’s face it: if we only use our favorite photos, much of the story will be missing. Sometimes the only shot I have of a person that was present at the event is not a great one. Once I’ve chosen the photos I love, I sometimes add one or two that are lower on my love-list, because I need them to complete the story. I don’t have an example of that kind from this particular trip, but you know what I’m talking about, right?

Putting Your Finger On It

While you’re getting used to assessing WHY certain photos grab your heart, another more general guideline is to pay attention when you find yourself saying, “There’s something about the way she . . .” or “There’s just something about his . . . “ In other words, learn to notice the feeling that signals a photo is better than most, and with some analysis and learned skills, you may eventually learn to identify the reasons and get those great shots more often!