Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘photography’ tag

May 6th, 2014 at 10:08 am

Turning Your Photos Into Art


Looking for a way to turn a terrific photograph into an even more terrific memento or piece of art? Here are a few ways to take you beyond simply enlarging and framing your prized photos.

A really fun site is Turn a headshot into a superhero comic book cover, a Warhol-style pop art poster or comic-style artwork. They are a bit pricey but if you’re looking to immortalize your pet or family members in a artsy, fun or funny way, there are a lot of creative ideas here. It’s fun just to browse the possibilities. And there are some great Mother’s Day gift ideas. Hint hint…

Another Photo-to-Art option is MyDavinci which offers options for transforming any photo into photo sketches, pop art, caricatures, a DaVinci sketch, and more. Gorgeous.

For the free apps that unleash your own creative photo editing potential, try Fotosketcher (Windows app), for artistic treatments, Waterlogue (iPhone/iPad) turns your photos into watercolors, and PicsArt (all platforms), the hugely popular photo editing app.

And when you’re ready to commit your masterpiece to a final product, consider these options:

FractureMe is a service that takes your photograph and mounts it on glass. Send them your digital image and they will provide you with a ready-to-hang or ready-to-stand ‘Fracture’.

And Walmart, Costco, and EasyCanvas are a few sites that print your photos on canvas in multiple size options. These make incredible wall art.

Happy editing!

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January 13th, 2014 at 5:00 am

My Favorite Ways to Edit Photos

How many times a day do you take a photo with your phone? Then you share this photo, whether it be by email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or just in a message. Photo sites on the web and apps for your phone make it all easier to edit the photos quickly to make them even better. Here are some of my favorite ways to edit photos.

A Beautiful Mess- Great way to add designs and text to photos.

Rhonna Designs - More beautiful designs to add sparkle to your photos.

Instagram - A simple way to edit and add a filter to your photo.

Instacollage - Works with Instagram to make several photos into a collage.

Pixlr Express - A great way to fix, adjust and filter your images.

IPiccy - Simple Online photo editor

Picasa - Integrated with Google+ with simple photo editing functions

PicMonkey- Free photo editor to touch up your photos, make graphics, and make collages.

Editing photos has become a simple process that makes ordinary photos tell your story even better. What are some of your favorite ways to edit your photos?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.



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September 30th, 2013 at 8:54 am

Photographing Kids

Fall is a great time to get some photographs of your children. The leaves changing colors, pumpkins and fall flowers. You don’t always need a professional to catch some great shots, though. Here’s some of my tips to get a great photo.

Get down to the child’s level, don’t take photos looking down on them.

Photograph them in action.

Take photos when the child isn’t tired or hungry.

Catch spontaneity. I love a photo of my kids mid-belly laugh. Take photos while they are playing. Use the everyday to inspire the photo.

Use props to distract them. Have a new toy as part of the photo or go to a fun environment.

Want more staged photos? Take them somewhere and interact with them as you would normally. Catch them looking elsewhere, or talk to them while snapping away.

When you catch a really good shot, you’ll know it and you will treasure that photo and the memories that made it forever.

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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September 5th, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Maternity Photoshoots



Over the years maternity photoshoots have grown in popularity. Whether it’s your first, last or in-between pregnancy, it’s one of the most special times of your life and the photos will capture memories that last a lifetime. It’s incredible to see the changes your body goes through. If you’re interested in doing one, here are some things to consider.


Maternity photoshoots are offered by many professional photographers, and there are some who actually specialize in maternity and newborn photography. If you’re looking to go this route, some offer packaged prices for shooting your baby belly before birth, and your newborn bundle of joy after!


You can do your own maternity shoot with the help of a good camera with a self-timer or just a friend or family member. You can do a shoot all in one day, or you can take a set of photos each month and watch how your belly grows!


You can do a maternity shoot wherever and whenever, but it’s nice to plan ahead and figure out what type of shoot you’re really looking for. Some nice settings are the beach, a nice field with flowers, a decorated nursery, etc. Some moms-to-be choose to do gender-based themes or cute concepts like a mommy pin-up or a couples maternity shoot!


Props can be a really fun way to get creative with photoshoots. Tiny baby booties, your sonogram, balloons, etc. are all nice additions to photos. You can incorporate blue or pink props to signify the baby’s gender, or if you’ve already picked a name you can make a sign or letters as well.

The important thing is to HAVE FUN! Did you or will you do a maternity shoot?

Check out our “Parenting Photography” Pinterest board for maternity shoot tips and ideas!


Photo Credit: Lavendamemory on Flickr


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February 13th, 2013 at 5:00 am

Hobbies to Get Into


Kids are a full-time job and it’s hard to find time for yourself, but when you do… what do you do with it?  Anytime is a good time to start a hobby… have you always dreamed of being a photographer? Do you love to knit? Are you into jewelry? The best part about hobbies is trying out different ones and finding what you really love. Here are some hobbies you might want to consider:


As children, most of us are introduced to music at school and sometimes at home, but we don’t always continue as we get older. Is there an instrument you’ve always wanted to learn? For me, it’s the guitar. There are tons of online video tutorials and tip sheets for teaching yourself how to play, and many music stores offer deals on gently used instruments. You can also check out where you can take lessons locally. The great thing about learning an instrument is that you can go at your own pace.


I don’t know about you, but I’ve got TONS of pictures, birthday cards, ticket stubs, and other tangible memories lying around the house with no purpose. Why not make these special items into scrapbooks that can be enjoyed by friends, family, vistors and YOU for years to come? Instead of putting your family vacation photos into a boring album, spice it up by creating a scrapbook and including your plane tickets, a few shells from the beach, etc. Local craft stores offer lots of cute scrapbook stickers, embellishments, patterned paper and more. This website is great for beginners… Scrapbooking 101.


You don’t have to be a professional to take or edit pictures. Most of us own a camera or a cell phone that takes pictures, and there are numerous free online photo-editing programs. Start out by learning about your device… the special features, how to use different settings, etc. Then get out there and experiment! Take pictures of everything… your kids, your pets, nature, your house, friends, family, anything! Try artistic angles, colors, lighting and props. Check out online tutorials for both photography and photo editing. You’ll be surprised at how creative and artistic you can be!


If you love jewelry and accessories, try making your own. Your local craft store should have a variety of materials, including different bead and metal types. You’ll need a set of the basic tools and materials, and then you can explore online for tutorials, projects, etc. Many websites offer beginner jewelry projects that are sort of like “recipes” and will give you all the information you need to know from start to finish. Not only can you show off your beautiful pieces but they make great, personalized gifts! Try this beginners jewelry-making site.

Do you have any hobbies? What would you LOVE to get into?

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December 18th, 2012 at 5:00 am

Tips for Taking Better Holiday Photos with Your Smartphone

Here come the holidays! No doubt there will be many photo ops with family, friends and children opening presents. Back in the day, we would grab our camera and click away. These days, many of us are more likely to grab our phone. It’s always nearby and it’s easier to click and share, so it’s not surprising that we’re using our digital cameras less frequently, even though the cameras are a much better device.

Here are a few tips for taking better photos:

  • Get Close. Always take the photo from as close to your subject as possible rather than using the digital zoom option.  You’ll get a better quality image.
  • Zero in on the Subject. Eliminate as much background as possible, especially lots of sky.
  • Turn off the Auto Flash. Don’t rely on your phone’s flash. Most of the time the results are disappointing. If others are around, enlist their flashlight apps to help light the scene. Use the angle of the light to enhance the shadows and highlights.
  • Step Aside. Consider taking the photo from the left or right rather than straight on. You’d be surprised at how much this helps create more interesting shots. Or for fun, try sneaking in some photos from waist level or from a dog’s eye view. You can get some really fun shots from an unusual angle.
  • Hold steady. A shaky hand does not produce a good photo. Hold your phone close to you rather than at arms length. Or better yet, use a tripod-type gadget like a Gorillapod to hold the camera still for a nice clear shot.

And some general housekeeping:

  • Make sure your lens is clean. Give it a wipe with a lint free cloth to clean out any dust or dirt. How many of you have ever done that?
  • Check your settings.  Make sure you’re on a high enough resolution to get the best pictures you can.
  • Know your phone. Get familiar with all of the settings and options so that you can easily choose or change them in a pinch. Take some time and play. See what results the different options deliver. Then you can have some fun. This will also help you capture the unplanned photo opportunity with confidence rather than fumbling with your phone and missing it altogether.

Add some Free apps and you’re off and running:

These are some great tools that enable you to have fun making  beautiful memories with your phone. Be careful though, you might become the designated photographer!

From my family to yours, may you find joy and blessings this holiday season in the love of your family and friends.  We’ve all been reminded of how precious our families are. Enjoy every moment.

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

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June 11th, 2012 at 5:00 am

A Gift for Dad

Three years ago I bought the “perfect” gift for my husband for Fathers Day. It is perfect because it gives year after year. Check it out:

I purchased this frame and two letters from a craft store -D and A. We then went to work posing for photos with them. It ended up so cute I ended up buying another frame for “Dad” to hang up at work.

The next year I actually forgot until the Friday before Fathers Day. We had been in the pool all day so the shots are in swimsuits and kind of silly.

Last year is my favorite so far. We went to a nature trail and took our letters along. The kids are getting more creative. Plus, we were actually dressed in decent clothes with colors that popped, so I made them in color instead of black and white.

I have a little less than a week to figure out where this years photos will be taken, but the boys are already thinking about different poses they can do.

I may also paint the letters this year. Something to mix it up a little more.

Have a bunch of kids? Instead of using pre-cut letters, have the kids group together and spell them out with their bodies.

Get creative! You and the kids will have lots of fun, and DAD will love this gift every year! Post your pictures to our Facebook page or tag us on yours, we would love to see them!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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March 26th, 2012 at 7:24 am

Taking Great Photos of your Children

Some of my most treasured memories are captured in photos. Although, some of my photos leave a lot to be desired. I wanted to share with you some tips that I have learned from friends that are professional photographers for taking better photos of children. Some of the hardest subjects next to animals.

Chose Natural Light when available
The best place to take photos is in the outdoors, but if you are stuck inside try to choose a spot that is next to a window with sunlight shining in on the subject.

Choose the right angle to take the photos from
The photo below shows how I got down to my child’s level instead of standing and looking down on them. Whether you have to kneel, lay or sit on the floor.

Try your best to get a natural smile

One of the worst things I ever did was to teach my oldest to say “CHEESE.” It makes for one ugly smile when you are a child. Instead, try to act silly and make them laugh.

Pictures Snapped while the child isn’t Looking

I like to take pictures when my child doesn’t realize. They may be looking at something or thinking. These photos really capture a “truth” about them.


Use Items as Props

Every year I use letters to spell out the word DAD in a photo display for my husband. These props make some fun times for capturing my kids, plus I think it distracts them from the actual photo taking.

Think of Close-Ups 

Some of the greatest photos are of things other than your child’s face. Focus on hands or tiny feet to showcase some of the favorite parts of your child. Also focus in on other favorite parts of your child – maybe their face during a tantrum, or holding a special item.

Last but not least – Sometimes you need to put the Camera down and just enjoy the moment. There are times when I realize that I am just all about taking pictures and not enjoying the moment. Events are times that I am very good at this, whether it be a family vacation, activity or even one of my sons sporting event. You just need to enjoy and capture those pictures in your mind.

What are your tips to take good pictures of your kids?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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December 7th, 2011 at 5:00 am

Tips for Photographing Pets

This time of year, we all have our cameras ready so we don’t miss a single holiday moment. I loved Audrey’s family portraits, and we do something similar, although not as successfully, especially when we try to incorporate our pets —always a disaster. I decided to ask my friend, world-class photographer Matt Dinerstein, for some tips.

“Photographing animals is a lot like working with very little kids,” he said. “You need lots of patience.” Here are some of Matt’s suggestions for photographing pets:

  1. Know your animal — pick the time and place where your pet will be most comfortable.
  2. Use toys to distract and treats to rewards — ”Dogs will work for their treat,” said Matt. “If trained at all, they will sit and wait, knowing the treat will come. Cats tend to be distracted by treats and will be more agreeable when they have full bellies.”
  3. Find a wrangler — “A second person can really help,” said Matt. “You can stay positioned with the camera and the wrangler can bring the animal back into frame. Have your helper stand just behind you to draw the animal’s attention while still keeping it faced toward the camera.”
  4. Use a clean background — “A clean, uncluttered background will make your animal the center of attention,” said Matt. “Focus on the eyes. This doesn’t necessarily mean composing around the animal’s eyes. It means setting the focus on they eyes, then moving the camera to compose the shot.”
  5. Get down on their level — “Don’t stand above and shoot down at your pet,” said Matt. “Get down on the ground if you have to and put your camera at the animal’s eye level.”

Here are a few more hints from our pro:

  • Cats love to look out the window. Follow them to their favorite spot and take advantage of the natural light.
  • Visualize what you want your photo to look like, then set your camera and wait for the animal to come into frame. This is especially useful for action shots.
  • Don’t try to shoot through the bars of a cage. Bring the animal into the open, or at least open the cage door.

“Just as when photographing people, getting a decent picture of a single subject is relatively easy,” said Matt. “With each animal you add, the difficulty grows exponentially. The beauty of digital cameras is that you can take as many shots as you need to get the right one.”

Matt Dinerstein is a professional photographer based in Chicago. These are all his photos. See more on his Flickr page.

Susan Bearman also writes at Two Kinds of PeopleMike&Ollie: 24-weekers Who Beat the Odds and The Animal Store Blogas well as being a regular contributor to The Chicago Moms and Technorati.





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