Decorate with Instagram

Tweet Do you continually delay eating your meal just to snap a quick photo? Do you spend an unseemly amount of time deciding which filter to use? Do you catch your friends sighing exasperatedly because you just absolutely had to … Read More

Do you continually delay eating your meal just to snap a quick photo? Do you spend an unseemly amount of time deciding which filter to use? Do you catch your friends sighing exasperatedly because you just absolutely had to stop to take another “selfie”? You just might have an Instagram addiction. Don’t be ashamed. We’re not here to judge. In fact, we would like to be your enabler. Chances are, your phone is chock-full of photos that you would love to show off. Consider having them printed! Those who are decorating their homes are constantly on the hunt for the perfect wall art that not only aligns with their style preferences but also speaks to them on an emotional level. Well, guess what! You’re already your own curator and you didn’t even know it! There is a tiny art gallery inside your mobile phone and you’re the photographer. Using your instagram photos to decorate your home is a great  and easy way to infuse a little of your personality into your living space. So don’t hold back! Snap those artfully angled pictures of your cat and that shot of your feet in the sand at the beach. Slap some filters on those babies! They make for art that is fun and uniquely yours. Plus, how great would it be to get compliments on your wall art and be able to say with a smirk, “yeah, I took that photo”. Upload your photos to GalleryDirect.com and check out the cool materials we print on and start decorating!  

DIY Diptych Gallery Wall with Family Photos

Tweet A perfect gift idea just in time for Mother’s day, this style of gallery wall uses portrait style photos of your loved ones. Using this tutorial you will learn how to crop your digital family photos to then arrange … Read More

Gallery Wall, DIY, Family Photos, Mother's Day A perfect gift idea just in time for Mother's day, this style of gallery wall uses portrait style photos of your loved ones. Using this tutorial you will learn how to crop your digital family photos to then arrange as a diptych or triptych. The possibilities are endless and it's really up to you to decide how many cropped sections you would like to create from one image. Learn how to create your own in just a few simple steps by following the tutorial here. For more DIY projects like this, ideas and inspiration, check out our section for Design Help & Inspiration here. Follow me on Google+    
You want to do some macro photography (taking photos of very little things up-close) but you don't have a bunch of money to spend on a macro lens. Not to worry. There are a few different ways to achieve excellent macro photography with your standard kit lens with an inexpensive adapter you can buy online for around $20 or there is a trick where you can do it for free! What is a macro lens? A macro lens just means that your lens can focus on things that are very close to the front of the lens so it will look bigger in your photo. Most lenses have a minimum focus distance of 10 inches or more, and you can't focus on anything that is closer than that...and if you can't get closer to your subject, it won't look bigger in your photo. *the minimum distance on a Canon 18-55mm kit lens is 11 inches. The Canon 50mm f/1.8 it’s 18 inches. How do make my regular kit lens a macro lens? If you can extend the distance between your lens and your camera sensor it will turn any lens into a macro lens.  Yup, you heard me right...all you have to do is put some distance between your lens and your camera.  You can do this with an adapter called a "extension tube". It's basically just a hollow tube with a camera mount on one side and the lens mount on the other side allowing you to extend the distance between your lens and the sensor inside your camera. It only needs to be extended about 1 inch or so.  You can buy them on Amazon for as little as $12.50.  Fotodiox makes a very basic version that works. Once you extend the distance between your lens and your camera, you will notice that you can get things into focus that are only 1-2 inches away from the front of your lens!  This means they will be larger and more clear in your photo. Set your camera to "aperture priority", find something cool to photograph and start clicking away. Remember you won’t have auto focus, so just move your camera back and fourth until your subject comes in focus. Is there a way to do this without an extension tube? There is another way you can take up-close macro photos with your standard kit lens.  All you have to do is take your lens off your camera body, flip it around and hold the front of the lens tight against the body of the camera. You obviously have to use both hands as the lens won't attach to your camera backwards...but if you do this and look through your view finder, you will notice that things will come in focus about 2-4 inches away from your lens, and they will look HUGE.  If you can hold your lens tight enough to the front of your camera, you can take macro photos right now!  Just a FYI, if you put the lens to 18mm you will get a larger image then if you set the lens to 55mm.  They also sell a “Macro Reverse Ring Camera Mount Adapter” for $7.50 that screws into the front threads of your lens, and then mounts your lens backwards onto your camera body.  Remember to buy the right size for your lens.  A Canon 18-55mm kit lens requires a 58mm filter, where as the Canon 50mm has a 52mm front thread. It works!! Do you have any other tips for shooting macro photos? Tips and hints (as a rule of thumb):
  • you will need more light when shooting macro photography.
  • you will have a very shallow depth of field when shooting macro photography.
  • it's easiest to focus on the subject by moving the camera back and fourth until your subject comes in focus. "Live Mode" or viewing the camera image on the screen is great for doing this.
  • when you disconnect your camera and lens, they can no longer “talk” to each other so you'll lose the ability to auto-focus, and control your aperture. Your camera will default to it's most open aperture setting. There is a way to “trick” your lens into keeping a tighter aperture, but more about that later.
You will find several photos like the one above that I have taken using these methods at www.JTpics.com/flowers
Love is in the air so why not capture it on film? Couples photography can get really boring and often when people attempt to get creative it goes terribly, terribly wrong. Here are some cute and tasteful ideas to celebrate your special love this Valentine's Day. Once you have captured your love you can make it into a work of art by uploading it to Gallery Direct and having it printed on your choice of material.    
Some of you may be thinking, really a photo gift that wows? Doesn't that seem like the old stand by, if you can't think of anything else. Well banish that thought!!  These gifts will WOW them and be talked about for years. Now keep in mind you can print any of these on canvas, aluminum, acrylic, birchwood, paper or mirror to up the wow factor.
  • FAMILY COLLAGE: This is perfect for grandparents get a picture of the various families and make a collage. For my family this would mean all three siblings and their family would each take a family photo then we would make a collage with one photo of my family, one of my brothers, one of my sisters and one of my parents.
  • THEN AND NOW: Get a picture of the person then and now, this works great for couples you could do when they were first dating or on their wedding ect.
  • SPECIAL OCCASION: A great collage would be a photo of a special occasion of a parent and then of the child. For example we have great photos of my husband and I each at our First Communion, making a collage with those and each of my kids at their First Communion would be so neat!
  • SPELL IT OUT: Word art is very popular so make your own take pictures of things that look like letters and spell a word, could be a name of something like family. (see my girls making an M above)
  • GENERATIONS: Taking generational photos is really neat, we are doing a photo of all the grandkids for the grandparents and I know they will cherish it, yes matching shirts are required ;) For more unique generational photo ideas follow the link.
    You can find Ellen blogging daily at Thrifty & Chic Mom.

Tips from the Imaging Department

Tweet The gals and I in the Imaging Department were talking the other morning on which category wins for the most user uploads to get printed here at Gallery Direct. It was between these 3: wedding, pets & children portraits. … Read More

The gals and I in the Imaging Department were talking the other morning on which category wins for the most user uploads to get printed here at Gallery Direct. It was between these 3: wedding, pets & children portraits. In the Imaging Department we like to give our user uploaded photos a little clean up and boost if they need it. After all it will be hanging in your home so it has to look it's absolute best! Unfortunately,  we do receive many user upload photos that are fuzzy & out of focus, or are dark or have major flash shadows. And there's not much we, the Imaging Department, can do for those problems. So here are some photo tips that I've found useful when taking photos of my own kids or dog! I also love to take pics at family & friends weddings. Go to them, Keep the eyes sharp, and Use natural light.  [caption id="attachment_2277" align="alignnone" width="720"] My dog, Penny Lane. Shot down at her level, focusing on her eyes and using natural light.[/caption] It's important for your kids & pets to feel comfortable. Get down to their level and go to them. Have you ever heard the saying, "eyes are the window to the soul"? Be sure to focus in on the eyes and keep them sharp. Photos using natural light always come out so much better! No flash burst or shadow from the flash. Experiment, Be Patient, and Schedule. [caption id="attachment_2278" align="alignnone" width="720"] My kids. Experimenting with different angles, patiently taking lots of photos and scheduled to do it a time of day I knew they wouldn't be grumpy.[/caption] Experiment with different angles, approaches and compositions. Be patient and just take A LOT of shots. Worry about the results later. It's always good to schedule a time to take portraits when your kids and pets are most energetic. Backdrop awareness and Non posed. [caption id="attachment_2279" align="alignnone" width="500"] I found this blue bonnet field a few miles from my home. Wouldn't it be a perfect backdrop for a wedding portrait!?[/caption] We've seen several times photos of the most adorable kids with maybe a pile of laundry or dirty dishes in the backdrop...or a wedding couple with other people or cars in the backdrop. Be aware of what is behind your subject, and if possible pick a beautiful backdrop out! We also see a lot of posed portraits and those are great, but sometimes I find the non posed ones to be most interesting. Like capturing a wedding couple, walking, talking and laughing. It really makes the photo more intimate.   I hope you found my tips useful. We love seeing the customer photo uploads that come through our Imaging Department, so keep uploading and ordering from Gallery Direct!
Have you ever wished that you could take beautiful pictures like the ones your favorite artist takes? Besides taking a course on photography there are a few easy things us amateurs can do to improve our picture taking skills and become overall better photographers!
  1. Natural Lighting: I know you hear it all the time but natural really is better so turn off that flash and find some great natural light then get snapping!
  2. Eliminate Clutter: It is easy to lose the focus of your picture when the background is too cluttered. Decide what you want your focus to be and try to remove the rest if possible.
  3. Find A New Angle: Try switching up your angle it can really add new interest to a photo. Get at eye level or take the photo from above or below, just experiment.
  4. Focus: Play around with the focus, get really close or far away, just do something different you may be surprised at how it turns out.
  5. Take Lots of Pictures: Finally just take a lot of pictures trying new things and you will improve just by experimenting and practicing.
You can find Ellen blogging daily at Thrifty & Chic Mom.

Generational Photos

Tweet I love coming across unique ideas for family photos and lately I have been seeing a lot of great Generational Photo Ideas. Here are a few of my favorite unique ways to photograph the generations all together.   Source: … Read More

I love coming across unique ideas for family photos and lately I have been seeing a lot of great Generational Photo Ideas. Here are a few of my favorite unique ways to photograph the generations all together.  
  This could easily be reinterpreted in many ways with women or men in all kinds of outfits, however you do it I like the picture it paints.

Source: google.ca via Ellen on Pinterest

 

Source: google.com via Ellen on Pinterest

  While no faces are involved in either of these I think the creative use of hands from different generations would make a striking piece of art that would start many conversations in your home.

Source: via Ellen on Pinterest

    I love this wedding photo idea and wish I had done it on my wedding day!

Source: bostinno.com via Ellen on Pinterest

  And of course the show Modern Family made this popular, but it is still lots of fun!
  Last but not least this one would take some photo editing skills, but the finished effect is very cool! Have you ever thought of creating a great generational photo piece of art? You can find Ellen blogging daily at Thrifty & Chic Mom.
Graduation season is here and art would make the perfect Graduation Gift! Here are 5 art inspired graduation gift ideas.
  • Gift the gift of friends, Instead of framing that small 8 x 10 photo get it blown up and make it really grab your attention
  • Get the gift of decor with a piece of art by a favorite artist to decorate the dorm or apartment (I suggest acrylic for dorms it is durable and easily cleaned!)
  • Give the gift of inspiration by finding a piece that makes them think of a life goal, use art almost like a vision board.
  • Give the gift of memories by capturing a favorite moment or place and having it printed
  • Give the gift of creativity by photographing a piece of art they created and having it printed
This year give the graduates in your life a gift that they will keep with them forever, the gift of art.   You can find Ellen blogging daily at Thrifty & Chic Mom.

Not Your Average Family Portrait

Tweet I hope y’all took advantage of our awesome sales to purchase a special print for your special mom for Mother’s Day. Don’t worry, if you didn’t. You can redeem yourself…this Sunday when you gather together with family to celebrate … Read More

I hope y'all took advantage of our awesome sales to purchase a special print for your special mom for Mother's Day. Don't worry, if you didn't. You can redeem yourself...this Sunday when you gather together with family to celebrate the awesome mother you have, be sure to capture some "not your average family portraits". We all have those posed portraits, looking straight at the camera putting our best smile on our face...but I actually find portraits where the subjects aren't necessarily looking at the camera much more interesting. When you capture a "moment" you can truly capture the feeling of the moment. I'll show you what I mean... Aren't these awesome! They just exude so much joy, and as a mother myself I know any mother would love to have a picture like one of these to hang in her home. So get it done this Mother's Day. Capture that moment! And then once you do have it printed with us here at Gallery Direct. You'll be sure to WOW her.