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Photographing your pets

March 17, 2014
Today media photographer and PhotoBox guest-blogger Maria Slough is here to share some valuable tips on how to take great photos of your beloved pets. So if you’re finding this a difficult task, keep reading. Over to you Maria… Pets can be regal, mischievous, playful and inquisitive – with each one having a totally unique identity. They shower us with loyalty and unconditional love, and their trust in our care makes capturing their character and individual idiosyncrasies both a challenge and an honour. As you embark upon the journey of immortalising your pet in a photograph, be prepared to spend a lot of time on the ground making ridiculous noises and arm yourself with some of their favourite treats and toys. Portraits Animals are instinctively curious. Always let them “meet” your camera and spend some time using up their excess energy before you start. Keep the composition simple, with the main part of their face in focus – particularly the eyes. Look out for quirky expressions such as a raised eyebrow, or the white of their eye, which shows off their true character. To include more of their face in focus you’ll need to close down the aperture. On a compact camera use the “portrait” mode, which will create a shallow depth of field and a tighter focus point – or move further away to widen the focus area. Remember that while dogs can be very responsive, when photographing cats, rabbits or guinea pigs, you may have to wait patiently for them to offer up that great shot. Perspective Experiment with perspective to achieve alternative portraits. Try capturing profile shots of your pet while they are unaware – this is easiest when they rest or when they’re asleep. You can do this of your dog, by laying on the floor and shooting up towards the sky. Keeping just one of your pet’s eyes in focus or raising your camera slightly above ground level also creates an interesting context. To create fun wall decor or cards, photograph your pet close up, encouraging them to come towards the lens. This angle makes their nearest feature appear oversized and comical. Action Shots Action shots can be achieved with a little help from a friend or family member and a fast shutter speed. On a compact camera, experiment with the sports and burst modes to help freeze the action as your pet runs, jumps or plays. Candid Camera These are the moments when your pet thinks you are looking the other way. This is why it always pays to have your smartphone at the ready to capture your pets “secret life”. Members of the family If you are having official photos taken, ask the photographer to make allowances for your pets to be included. A family photo should feature the whole family. Using colour and texture To make your pet stand out, choose a background that is in contrast to their coat colour, while also complimenting it. The daisies below create a natural frame

Fantastic family portrait ideas

March 12, 2014
Getting together as a family and preparing to take photographs can be a challenging task. Whether it’s a struggle to get everyone together at the same time, or getting your little ones to smile, we’ve come up with some inspiring ideas to help make family portraits an enjoyable experience and most importantly, a successful one. Make it fun Things that are kept simple and fun normally offer the best results. Natural light will always work better for these types of shots, but the background doesn’t need to be spectacular – as you can see from the image below. As long as everyone has a smile on their face, then this will be the main focus of the image and the backdrop will be forgotten. © Via Heather Millenaar Photography Be creative Be creative with your body shapes, and have a think about different positions you can try when creating your family portrait. The below image is perfect if you have a little one on the way, because the whole family can get involved and it is a picture to treasure for years to come. A plain background works best for this kind of photograph – but whether you decide to take it indoors or outdoors, the choice is yours. Introduce props Props can add the finishing touch to a photograph and really add to the fun factor. Whether it’s a photo frame like below or something more inventive, the options really are endless. Bring in your pets Well, they are part of the family after all! Be wary that pets won’t always do what they’re told, and will rarely sit still, however capturing these ‘real life’ scenarios can make a really effective photograph. One thing you should remember is that it isn’t completely vital that you look at the camera, action shots like this can work just as well. Stand out Be cool and be different! The shot below completely stands out, as it’s completely different to any other family portraits that we have come across. This shot obviously involved some editing after the photograph was taken, but if you have the skills, it’s definitely worth using them to create something artistic and unique. © Rolland András Flinta Do you have any family portraits that you’ve taken and are proud of? We’d love to see them! Family portraits stand out even more when they’re brought to life and displayed for all to see and admire. Why not check out our wall décor range for some inspiring ideas?

World Book Day – celebrating the story behind the photo – part 2

March 6, 2014
Today is World Book Day and we’re feeling very ‘booky’ indeed. To celebrate, we’ve put together our top five tips on creating your very own photo book story. 1. Choose your book There are a variety of books to choose from to tell your story, and your choice should be based upon your motive for creating it. The Photo Journal or A4 Personalised books provide a great way to create a quick and easy overview of trips away or to display craft projects and hobbies. The A3 Layflat or Personalised books provide the perfect pallet to display professional, high-res photographs from events such as a fairy-tale wedding or family photo shoot, while the Soft Baby Book is great for your child to learn the story of family. 2. Decide on a theme The most professional looking photo books have a consistent theme running throughout. PhotoBox can offer hundreds of different themes, so you can style your book to compliment the story being told. For example, to document a city trip or beach break, there is a ‘travel’ theme, containing subtle and delicate images and references to travelling – such as maps, stamps and animals. To create your very own love story, our A4 Love Book is full of ready-made love quotes and backgrounds containing hearts and love motifs. Other available themes include: Book for Mum, Book for Dad, Kids Birthday, Nature, Classical Wedding, Exotic Flowers, Modern, Baby Fun and Yearbook. 3. Be Selective You probably took over 500 photos on your last holiday, or have a collection of 1000 wedding photos. Try and make a shortlist before uploading your photos to create your book, that way it will be a much easier process to decide on the storyboard and layout of images. 4. The narrative Once you have created your shortlist of photos, you will need to think about how you want to tell your story. Grouping images together in categories helps the progress of a story and makes for a more interesting read. If it’s a holiday you’re revealing through pictures, why not order the photos in a time sequence – Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 etc., or group together activities, such as ‘Day Trips’, ‘ Cultural Cuisine’ and ‘New Friends’. 5. Support the focus Establish a theme and try using one large strong image, accompanied with some smaller supporting images of the same subject. What steps do you follow when creating your own Photobook? We’d love to hear about them below. Win a Photobook on Facebook As we mentioned yesterday, World Book Day is a celebration of stories, and often children and parents will dress up as their favourite storybook characters. To get involved in our competition to win a Photobook, Kindle and other goodies, visit our Facebook page and upload a picture of you or a loved one in fancy dress.

World Book Day – celebrating the story behind the photo – part 1

March 5, 2014
You don’t have to be a professional writer, artist or photographer to be a great storyteller, all you have to do is tap into your imagination and celebrate the special moments and captured emotions that make your story unique. Here at PhotoBox, we believe that there is a certain wonder and story behind every photograph taken, and to celebrate World Book Day tomorrow – the 6th March, we have gathered together some of our favourite customer creations that tell a story in a unique and exciting way, to give you some inspiration for your next creation. But first, what is World Book Day? Now in its 17th year, World Book Day is a celebration of authors, illustrators and most importantly, it’s a celebration of stories. Introduced by UNESCO (a group of lovely volunteers in the fields of education, culture, the sciences and communication) to encourage reading. Click here to learn more and see how you can get involved. Why not share your story with friends and family through one of our personalised photo books? You can either use real life events or made up narratives, to create a book to revisit the special and personal stories that happen in life. Here are some of our favourite photo book stories from our customers to provide you with some inspiration… The adventure story – Daddy, The Ogre, And Us, by Gemma McKenzie This Square Hardcover Photobook is one of the most creative and imaginative storys that we have come across at PhotoBox. A bedtime fantasy tale that describes the trials and tribulations that beautiful baby Princess Kate and brave toddle Knight Charlie, had to go through to free their Daddy from an evil ogre that kidnapped him and held him hostage in its shed-castle. Charlie starts his adventure by travelling far and wide, from a tiresome trek through the dessert (a photograph from a family holiday at the beach), to fighting off crazy chickens (a photograph from a trip to the farm), while of course eating ice cream to keep up his strength. Unfortunately, the ogre used its magic to seal Charlie in a toy box – so it was up to Princess Kate to save them both. Princess Kate jumped aboad her trusty steed Turka (the family dog) to reach the ogre, then melted it with her beautiful smile – saving Daddy from the shed-castle and Knight Charlie from the toy box. Technique: Gemma selected precious photos of her children and used her imagination to turn them into a magical story photo book, in which her children were the heroes – a fantastic mix of reality and fantasy all rolled into one. The family story – On The Day I was Born, by Gemma Sutcliff This beautifully created Square Hardcover Photobook, tells the personal story of bouncing baby Addison Sutcliff. Beginning as a romance novel, the book begins by illustrating the story of Mummy, Daddy and how they both fell in love and started a family. The main character in the story is

How to decorate your walls with photographs

March 4, 2014
Today award-winning interiors writer Jen Stanbrook from blog Love Chic Living is back. Here she shares her top tips and ideas for decorating your walls with photographs – over to you Jen… One of my most favourite things in the world is to use my photographs creatively to decorate the walls of my home. I love to use my most treasured images to create interesting and unusual collages and displays, adding finishing touches to my décor and room schemes and I would really like to encourage you to have a go at doing this too. It’s also a really inexpensive way to liven up your walls, which can be personal and unique to you and your family. The way we decorate our homes should be an extension of our personality and the more we embrace this idea the more effective our interior design will be. Using your own photographs, personal portraits or favourite landscapes and turning them into wonderful wall art, is exactly how to create a home that’s perfect for you. Image: Martha Stewart Display Tips and Ideas There are lots of ways to use your photographs to create interesting wall art. To begin with, you can simply frame your favourite images and hang them in a display on an empty wall. This technique is great and will suit lots of décor styles, but why not be a little more creative when organising your display. Creative Photograph Displays We take so many photos these days on our phones and cameras but don’t always take the time to get them printed. Many we never look at again. Why not get your photos printed and create arty, innovative displays in old, empty photo frames likes these? Image: Etsy Picture Shelf Why not use a Picture Shelf like the one below?  Begin by framing your photos in different sized frames, and then line them up in an ad-hoc style across the shelf for an eclectic look. The range of frame sizes stops the display from looking too ordered and provides a more natural look – even if you’ve spent hours arranging them in a certain way. This idea is a perfect way to use the PhotoBox Timeless Framed Print, particularly if you want to achieve a modern, contemporary look. The flat, sleek look of the Aluminium Mounted Print would also be incredible in this setting too. Image: House to Home Top Tip: Create a point of uniformity in any wall art display. In the example above, all the images are black and white helping the creation to hang together. You can also use the same colour frames, or mounts – using one or two colours within the display will create the theme. Wall Collages Creating your very own wall collage has become very popular in recent years and there are many ways you can achieve this. Some people like to follow layout rules and guidelines, however I’m a little more reckless and like to build the display from just one picture. As