Write 31 Days - Taking Better Blog Photos - Introduction

Office News
Posted by Jennifer - 10/1/14
Photographed by Jennifer

Jennifer posted by Jennifer

I'm not sure how I stumbled across the challenge to Write for 31 days straight, but since I've been off the blogging radar for a while, I thought this would be perfect to try and get me back on track. I want to inspire others to write more too and I figured the best way I could help them was to teach how to take better blog photos.

The first few days will cover some technical phrases that will help you understand the number 1 thing you can do to enhance your photos! After we get that out of the way, then we'll start covering ideas for content and creative methods to make your subjects look better.

If you have questions or ideas along the way, please reach out and comment.


Are you ready to learn some basic tips on taking better photos?

To join this FREE 31 Day series simply sign up HERE to have each day's topic delivered to your inbox. Eventually this series, as well as other photography tips will be added to my new site www.healthylivinghappyhome.com (which is not up yet), so another reason to sign up now is that you will be the first to receive new information as the new site goes live! Or if you prefer not to have the posts delivered to your inbox you can simply check back here at www.memoryjournalists.com/blog each day starting October 1, 2014.

I think it's going to be a fun and motivating month to learn some new tips and I challenge you to post any photos you take on our Facebook page.

Are you ready?! Let's get started! Each day the new post link will be added to a list on this main post. They will be posted by 8am PST.

Day 1: this post.
Day 2: My recommend reading list for photography how to books.
Day 3: What is depth of field?
Day 4: What is shutter speed?
Day 5: What is ISO (aka film speed)?
Day 6: What is the exposure triangle?
Day 7: Manual exposure
Day 8: Automatic vs manual camera modes
Day 9: Use details to enhance your story.
Day 10: Rule of Thirds
Day 11: What is the Hand Test?
Day 12: What is Catch Light?
Day 13: Direction of Light
Day 14: Direction of Light Part 2
Day 15: Using Natural Light
Day 16: What is your photo story?
Day 17: Framing
Day 18: Leading Lines
Day 19: Horizon Lines
Day 20: Using Geometric shapes and repeated lines.
Day 21: Using Symmetry
Day 22: When to use black & white verses color photos
Day 23: Take your car shade along with you as reflector!
Day 24: What is perspective and how can it add to your photo story?

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Perspective - Taking Better Blog Photos

Office News
Posted by Jennifer - 10/24/14
Photographed by Jennifer, Teresa

Jennifer posted by Jennifer

Today we're going to talk about perspective and how it can be used to tell a story. What is perspective you ask? Well it's mostly about moving your feet and your body.

In this first example, Carie took pictures of many angles of Rocco and Ty playing. As you see in the first photo, you can't really tell the difference in size. You might guess in the second photo, but by the third photo you have no doubt how much smaller Rocco is verses Ty. First, these photos wouldn't have been possible if Carie just stood still and waited for the dogs to move around her. Second, having these different perspectives adds an element of mystery and tells a story.

You have to move yourself....move your feet.

Using perspective in photos

Next, Natalie and Ryan were in the battered warehouse at the Old Sugar Mill. While I was inside, Teresa quickly ran outside and came up with the 2nd photo in this series. Two completely different photos and perspectives by just moving our feet.

Using perspective in photos

Teresa and I again have two completely different perspectives. Which do you like better?

Using perspective in photos

The lesson to learn from these examples is to be mobile. Find out what something looks like from the top, the side, the bottom. Use different perspectives to tell a story. Yes lay on the ground and get dirty! Swing from rafters. Take a few risks. And move your feet!

We'd love to see what you come up with! Please be sure to send in your photos as you try out our tips. Email your entries to info@memoryjournalists.com or post to our facebook page.

You can get back to the monthly table of contents of Taking Better Blog Photos via our Day 1 post.

To join this FREE 31 Day series simply sign up HERE to have each day's topic delivered to your inbox. Eventually this series, as well as other photography tips will be added to my new site www.healthylivinghappyhome.com (which is not up yet), so another reason to sign up now is that you will be the first to receive new information as the new site goes live!

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Flaming Grill Cafe

Healthy Living - Food
Posted by Mai - 10/24/14
Photographed by Mai

Mai posted by Mai

Every now and then I have to make my rounds in Sacramento and try out a new restaurant. It may seem like there's not a lot here, but we're surrounded by many hidden gems. At times, I rely on Yelp to search for the perfect spot (although most reviews are sometimes, inaccurate).

After a long day of shopping, me and my family came across the Flaming Grill Cafe. They are known for their massive, exotic burgers, and when I say massive, it's about 1/2 pound patties with a knife in the center because it's just too big to hold down. I was feeling adventurous, and wanted to try something new. But first, we had to try out the raves of the Carne Asada fries. They were smothered in cheese, tomatoes, red onion, jalepeno, sour cream, and carne asada. Quite a fantastic dish to start off dinner, and very filling as well.

Next, we began to browse for our main entree, and I immediately spot elk, wild boar, wagyu, venison, and antelope burgers, in which you can choose a style to compliment the type of meat. For example, you can choose wild boar in the Bacon Blue, which comes with fresh blue cheese, bacon, onions, tomato and lettuce. There were so many options, and our waiter even mentioned CAMEL meat. That was a little too daring for me, so I ordered the Elk burger in jalepeno jack style that consisted of jack cheese, fresh jalepenos, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce. My family had regular styled burgers because their taste bud wasn't ready for the thrill.

As you can see in the image below, this 1/2 pound elk burger was impressive. I had to cut it in half to even take my first bite, and all the flavors just sunk in. From the medium-well greasiness of the burger, to the crunchy fresh jalepenos, and organic spring mix of lettuce, I was in burger heaven. I'd have to say the tomatoes were like a palette cleanser because of the hearty, and gamey taste. After a few bites, I was already done. I wanted to savor the flavors and leave a little room for dessert. But, the good thing is that this place doesn't offer a dessert menu! Thank goodness. Trust me, you'll be too full at the end to even think about sweets. And you can always wash it down with their variety of draft beers. Hopefully I'll get a sip next time.

This was quite the adventure in every bite, and it sure wasn't a balanced meal. So, if you're looking to chow down this weekend without any worries, check out the Flaming Grill Cafe. If you change your mind about their specialty burgers, they have alternatives to satisfy your greasy cravings. Share your experience with us #thememoryjournalists @memoryjournal. Enjoy!

Flaming Grill Cafe

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Using Reflectors - Taking better blog photos

Office News
Posted by Jennifer - 10/23/14
Photographed by Jennifer

Jennifer posted by Jennifer

Yesterday we talked about Black and White photos and we are continuing down the path of color in photos this week. Today we're going to talk about the use of reflectors to enhance the color of your photo without having to lug around huge lights to your outdoor location.

First off, what is a reflector you ask? Well it's really no more than just those large circular discs you put in your windshield of your car, aka car sun shades. But reflectors come in many different colors for the use of us photographers. Car shades usually come in silver and add a cooler color to your photos. My personal favorite color reflector is gold. This particular color adds more of that sunset color look to your photos....it's warm and glow-y.

How do you use a reflector? Well you use it to bounce light back into your subject. This allows you to put the sun behind you (or off to one side) and still get good light and color on your subjects.

Often when you are outside, the sun might be too harsh for your subject to look right into the sun. In this case, you will have to angle them away from the sun. But this means they will be in the shade, or the darker side. Notice this first series - the left is the one taken using a reflector and the one to the right is without the use of a reflector. Don't you think this makes a huge difference?

Using Reflectors in photos

Here is another example of being able to put your subjects right into the harsh daylight, using the sun as your back hair-light. You can see how the picture to the left, without use of a reflector, is much cooler (bluer) in color since they are in the shade. And once we put them into the sun (as the back hair light) and used a reflector to bounce the sun light back into their faces, it was plenty light enough and gave their faces that warm look.

Using Reflectors in photos

Next time you are outside and need to put your subject (in particular faces) in the shady light - run to you car and be sure to grab that great reflector! Be sure to try out different colors too - you can do this by using large sheets of paper!

We'd love to see what you come up with! Please be sure to send in your photos as you try out our tips. Email your entries to info@memoryjournalists.com or post to our facebook page.

You can get back to the monthly table of contents of Taking Better Blog Photos via our Day 1 post.

To join this FREE 31 Day series simply sign up HERE to have each day's topic delivered to your inbox. Eventually this series, as well as other photography tips will be added to my new site www.healthylivinghappyhome.com (which is not up yet), so another reason to sign up now is that you will be the first to receive new information as the new site goes live!

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Black and white vs color photos - Taking Better Blog Photos

Office News
Posted by Jennifer - 10/22/14
Photographed by Jennifer

Jennifer posted by Jennifer

The last several days we've covered many composition topics. Yesterday we talked about Symmetry. Today, we're going to talk about the use of black and white, in particular when to change a photo to black and white. And when black and white photos look best. This will be the first of our tips about coloring, or in this case the lack thereof.

This first shot was taken of little Mari. In this case the focus of Mari was her eyes, or more precisely her eye lashes as she leaned over one of her favorite books. In this case, I didn't want the shelving rack behind Mari to be at all part of the composition or where people eyes would be drawn. Turning this image to black and white really made Mari stand out. Her eye lashes, her hair, and even the word baby in her book.

Taking black and white photos

This is Mari's aunt, Tina. In this case, really cranking up my ISO (which we talked about on Day 5) added grain to this image and softened it to look older.

Taking black and white photos

Here's an example where it's really a matter of personal taste. Ashlie and Charlie used pink up-lighting and it's good to show the natural color of an event as that is how it looked and how people will remember it. But there is just something classic about the black and white version.

Taking black and white photos

Here is Elisa and Dan in the great outdoors! But would you know it?! That's kind of the point in this photo. The focus is merely the couple...the kiss. The natural outdoor lighting was beautiful, it added some hair light and back-lighting (which is talked about on Day13) between the trees and the color images were awesome. But doesn't this seem so stunning and simple?

Taking black and white photos

You can use black and white to direct the viewer's eye to the specific subject in your photos. You can use black and white to make an image feel a certain way...more vintage for example, and you can use black and white to show off artistic elements in a simple fashion that makes a bold understatement.

We'd love to see what you come up with! Please be sure to send in your photos as you try out our tips. Email your entries to info@memoryjournalists.com or post to our facebook page.

You can get back to the monthly table of contents of Taking Better Blog Photos via our Day 1 post.

To join this FREE 31 Day series simply sign up HERE to have each day's topic delivered to your inbox. Eventually this series, as well as other photography tips will be added to my new site www.healthylivinghappyhome.com (which is not up yet), so another reason to sign up now is that you will be the first to receive new information as the new site goes live!

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