While most kids are at home for the foreseeable future I wanted to help entertain them and you, for a few minutes anyway!
Starting Monday March 30 I am bringing you a Scavenger Hunt! Every day there will be a different challenge/hunt for things around the house. You will need some sort of camera, a phone or anything is fine. It helps to have an app to put together a collage, there are several out there: Layout App by Instagram, the Unfold App, or PicCollage to name a few.
How Do You Play?
Check Marla White Photography Facebook page – each day I will post the prompt for that day’s hunt. I will also post on my Instagram Story and here on my blog.
Share your creations on your own Facebook page with the hashtag #MWHunt or on Instagram and tag @marlawhitephotography. You can also post them under my daily post on my Facebook page. I will be checking all 3 places.
Check back to this blog post daily for tips, tricks and ideas to help your kids get their creative juices flowing for each challenge.
p.s. This scavenger hunt is meant for kids of all ages. Heck adults can participate as well! You don’t have to be local, anyone can join in!
Oh and there will be two winners!! One lucky person at the end will win a £20 voucher from Oakingham Belle! So when life gets back to normal you can celebrate at the Oakingham Belle! And another lucky person will get a free coffee every day for a month at Brown Bag!! Yes!!!
Now … let’s get this party started … I can’t wait!
Have a look around your house for letters to spell your name. You can make a collage to put the letters together.
To give you an idea of what to do … here is mine! My letters are from some board games, toothpaste, a mug. I used my phone and then used PicCollage to assemble the letters into a collage. I would only show this to your child if they need help getting started. Otherwise let their creative minds take over! I can’t wait to see what your child’s name collage looks like!
A few places to look if you are stuck: calendars, clocks, books, TV stations, thermostat, game boxes, house number, phone etc. There are so many numbers around your house if you start to look for them!
Don’t forget you can go outside too, just stay away from others!
Who doesn't like the Toy Story series, right?
Mr. Potato Head,
Bucket o Soldiers,
the RC buggy,
Rocky the wrestler,
etch a sketch,
toy tape recorder (can't imagine many of those around!)/karaoke machine,
barrel of monkeys,
the getaway toy corvette,
ooh Bullseye the horse,
Stinky Pete the Prospector,
Buzz's enemy Zurg,
the penguin Wheezy,
Buster the pet dachshund,
Lotso the bear,
Stretch the rubber octopus,
Chunk the orange rock monster,
Chatter the telephone,
Bookworm the worm torch,
Chuckles the toy clown,
Mr. Pricklepants the hedgehog,
Buttercup the unicorn,
Trixie the Triceratops,
In these days of social distancing and isolation it appears many of us are being very productive by turning our hand to all those DIY projects around the house. (Silver lining!) We all know how these things snowball. One minute you are freshening up the hallway, but pretty soon you are knocking down walls and choosing new flooring! Just in case your plans include a new wall gallery, I thought I’d do what I can to help inspire.
Obviously you know I’m going to say your home needs big artwork of your family. Not only do family portraits make your home feel warm and welcoming, they also give your children a sense of importance and belonging in the family unit, a boost to their self esteem.
But how do you go about designing a portrait wall? Arranging your collection can be intimidating when you’re confronted by a big, blank wall. Here’s a few tips.
TIP 1: Your chosen wall does not have to be completely blank to start with. You can design a collage including your tv, wall sconces, or existing wall art.
TIP 2: If you have young children, you may want to leave space to add to your wall as they grow. It’s best to start with a large piece as an anchor, then add smaller portraits later on.
TIP 3: Go ahead and mix media. You can include travel souvenirs, children’s artwork (which we all have an abundance of!), as well as photos. At the same time, try to have some unifying thing to tie all the pieces together. This could be using similar colours, or keep things monochrome. Using black and white has the benefit of being easy to match to existing decor. Frames don’t have to match!
TIP 4: Hold the hammer! Hanging several pieces will put holes in the wall, so be sure you know exactly where things go before you start hammering. When you have your portraits printed with me I have software to help you with that. If you are winging it on your own, outline all of your artwork on paper, cut them out, label them and stick the papers on the wall.
I hope these tips and photos have helped inspire you. Please note they are not my photos, I found them online (via Pinterest) from these websites: nytimes.com, decozilla.com, justthejensenfam.blogspot.com. If you'd like to look at more pretty walls, check out my Pinterest board!
Are you working from home, finding you have some extra time on your hands? If you are "social distancing" as opposed to "isolating" due to the coronavirus, now may be a good time to update your headshot! If you are in the Wokingham area, we can shoot outside keeping a safe distance apart. I can even setup on outdoor "studio" if you prefer a plain background.
If you'd prefer to wait until life is more normal again, that's ok too. Our health comes first.
As long as you either bring a donation for the food bank to me, or some sort of proof that you have made a donation directly to them, you are eligible for a free headshot with me. The value is £50, and I strongly encourage you to make your donation in keeping with that amount. The donation has to be made by March 31, 2020.
Please consult the Wokingham Foodbank website for their latest shopping list. As of March 17 2020 this is what they need most:
size 5 nappies,
clothes washing liquid/powder (small size).
We currently have an abundance of baked beans, soup and pasta.
For the last couple of years, I decided instead of making a bunch of resolutions that don’t last more than a week I would guide my year by a single word. For 2020 it’s simplify.
Sadly of course life rarely is simple. Lately it’s not been helped by the fact that I’ve been coughing up my lungs for 4 weeks and counting. Lack of sleep, magnified by the short days this time of year, has made things less than simple!
You know what can make things more simple? Pets. In my case my dog Frankie. Ok maybe “simple” isn’t the best word but I had to tie it in somehow! Just spending 10 minutes with your dog will not only reduce your stress but actually make you happy! So the next time you feel your blood pressure rising grab the nearest dog toy or even just give him/her a cuddle. How can that not make you happy!
I know I’m preaching to the choir, if you have a dog you already know all this stuff. The downside sadly is that they just don’t live long enough. When they are gone the house is quieter. There’s no more walks.
The best way to make them live on is to celebrate them as long as they are here. A gorgeous portrait of them on your wall will remind you that they will always be part of your family, your story. Don’t be left with only low res phone snaps with bad lighting. We can also capture your relationship you have with your dog, instead of you being behind the camera.
There’s still some time left on my February pet special, don’t wait too long.
Jenny is a very special person to me. I first met her four years ago, she was my very first maternity client! You would not believe what has happened in her life since then! Check out a photo from her first maternity shoot here in Wokingham:
After Jenny had her first baby, she settled into motherhood with the help of her partner. Emily was a beautiful, healthy baby.
When Emily was about two years old Jenny didn't feel well. She didn't think too much about it, and just got on with life, toddlers don't stop just because mum doesn't feel well!
Eventually Jenny ended up at the hospital, still not thinking anything too major was wrong. Imagine everyone's shock when they discovered that Jenny had a stroke! She doesn't fit into any of the stereotypical high risk groups: she was (is) young, not obese, not diabetic, doesn't smoke etc.
As you can imagine life changed very suddenly for them all. When they went to the hospital they were expecting to be home in a few hours. Instead she spent a long time there before she could start her recovery at home.
Almost two years on Jenny's rehabilitation has been remarkable. If you saw her on the street you wouldn't know what she's been through. Her walk might not be perfect, she moves slower and finds it difficult at times to keep up with Emily. It is more of a "hidden" issue she will have to deal with going forward.
However it didn't stop her going on to have another healthy baby girl! Welcome to the world, Sophie! Isn't it amazing what they have overcome! I wish you all the best going forward with your gorgeous family, Jenny! Hope to see you all again soon!
In the spirit of celebrating wonderful dads, now is the perfect time to start thinking about Father’s Day gifts - for the man who helped you become the person you are today, and the man who gives his all to your children. During the month of May purchase a gift voucher from Marla White Photography and get a bonus mini-session prior to Father’s Day to create a personal, heartfelt card — he’ll appreciate that most of all.
Extra bonus - when you use your voucher receive an extra £20 towards any photo product if you bring a grandparent to your session!
The Bluebell is the sweetest flower
That waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power
To soothe my spirit’s care.
Excerpt from The Bluebell – Emily Bronte
Spring is my favourite time in England. I love the daffodils, crocuses and tulips, but the one spring flower that really stands out is the bluebell.
For the benefit of my non-British friends, bluebells carpet ancient woodlands in late spring with an ocean of beautiful azure blue. Sadly they are fleeting, as the forest canopy above starts to cast them in shadow.
The bluebells are nature’s gift to photographers. They provide such a lush, rich background for exclusive photo-shoots with families, friends, and of course pets.
I am now taking bookings for bluebell photo sessions. Please get in touch to plan, as this opportunity is only available for a very limited time.
“Motherhood is a choice you make every day to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own.” – Donna Bell
You’re their first kiss…
Their first love….
And their first friend, as their mummy.
They are your whole world.
But they soon forget that they used to actually LIKE hanging out with you.
I have no photos of just me with my mother from childhood, and I certainly don’t have any video clips of us.
I want you to make sure your kids don’t say the same thing as adults. So to celebrate the mums I know, I’m currently offering these video fusion sessions.
Shoot me a reply or give me a call at 0776 950 7657 to get your session with your children booked, or purchase a gift voucher for a future date. You don’t want to let these days pass by.
My last blog post, I talked about “P” mode, this time we’re going to explore Av or A, depending on your brand of camera.
Av is aperture priority mode, which means that you set the aperture (the f-stop) and also the ISO. The camera will then set a shutter speed for you so that the picture is properly exposed.
The aperture setting is how you control “depth of field”, which is the blurry or non-blurry background. When you want a large depth of field, choose a high f-stop (aperture). When you want shallow depth of field, choose a lower f-stop. The range of f-stops available is set by your lens. Some lenses will go to f 4, others down to 1.4. The smaller the number, the more blurry the background. The higher the number, the more of the photo is in focus.
Here comes the slightly confusing bit. When the f number is small, the lens diaphragm is actually wide open. So if someone says they are shooting “wide open”, they are shooting with the lowest available f number. Alternatively, if the aperture is a large number, say f 22 then the lens diaphragm is smaller or more closed.
Opening your lens more refers to lowering the f number.
Closing your lens more refers to a higher f number.
Now you know what it means, when should you use Av mode? A lot of hobbyists use Av mode most of the time. Here’s a few times when you may want to switch to Av:
If there's a distracting background that you want to blur out or you want to separate the subject from the background.
If you want to make sure multiple elements in the scene are sharp, for example a landscape scene.
Speaking about blurring backgrounds, I feel I should mention a few other factors. This is particularly helpful if you shoot with a crop sensor DSLR or a phone - basically anything but a full frame sensor. The further away your subject is from the background, the more blur you can create. This will have a greater effect than just changing the f number alone. If you take two photos with a crop sensor at 2 different f factors, with everything else being exactly the same, the difference between the 2 photos may not be huge. (In order to get the really blurry backgrounds, you will need to invest money in better lenses.)
One thing to watch out for when using Av mode, is the shutter speed the camera selects. If your lighting situation is not great, the camera will select a slower shutter speed. If you are hand-holding your camera and not using a tripod, you will get motion blur.
That’s it! Time to go play with Av mode!
Did you get a new DSLR for Christmas? Ooh exciting! Trying to learn about all the different functions? I’m here to help! Let’s talk about the different modes for shooting.
This turns your wonderful DSLR into a point-and-shoot. There’s no point in having a DSLR if you are going to use this mode. We are going to get you away from this!
Program Mode - "P"
Program mode may be a good place to start. In this mode the camera will select shutter speed and aperture for you. You are ready to use this mode when:
Auto focus is selecting the wrong subject in your photo
Your photos are too “noisy” because the camera is selecting a high iso
Your subject is too dark or too light
You want to turn off the auto flash
This mode allows you to change the camera-selected shutter speed and aperture in tandem; for instance, if the camera chooses 1/200 second and f5.6, it might let you shift it to 1/125 second and f6.3 or 1/250 and f4.5.
So go ahead, move to P mode. Let the camera choose, take a shot, see what you think. Then change the settings and see how your photo is affected. Hopefully you will see that increasing the shutter speed freezes action (like a bird in flight, a child jumping) and decreases the amount of light hitting the sensor. Decreasing the aperture value (which actually opens the aperture wider) blurs the background more and increases the amount of light on the sensor.