Friday, July 15, 2016

Tips for Photographing Busy Toddlers

They fidget, they squirm. They clearly aren't interested in following instructions. Their mood can swing to extremes minute by minute. Distraction is a given. Yet, when it comes to the end result, they are one of the most beautiful photography subjects.

There are two toddlers in our family at the moment — a boy and a girl just one week apart in age. They're my grandchildren and when it comes to me taking a picture of someone the best chance is if they happen to be near one of them.  From their giggles and grins, to the wide-eyed wonder of our granddaughter or the delightful posing of her dude cousin, I can't resist focussing my camera lens on them.

Of course, as mentioned in the first part of this post, getting co-operation is rare.  Seeing them obliviously setting up for a great shot and sneaking up on them before they move on is the best chance for success. Once they notice the camera, anything could happen. Little Bean rarely stops in one place for more than seconds at a time as her fascination with everything beckons.  Mister on the other hand, can be a perfect ham ... until he decides he's done.

As for trying to pose them together... well, that's always entertaining.

This weekend is a family picnic. We are hoping to recreate a photo that our daughters took of these two busy bundles of delight just before they turned one. They were lying on either side of Mister's big sister, who was then a toddler.

It's an adorable picture, one my husband and I want done annually.  This Saturday seems as good a time as any.  However, faced with the amusements presented when in the company of large groups, as well as the reality that the trio consists now of two active toddlers and one feisty preschooler,  it could be interesting.

The daughter in charge of this production is a professional photographer plenty of experience in photographing children, as well as a healthy respect for the vagaries of their personalities. Even she admits, though, this won't be easy.

When it comes to our kids and grandchildren there are never enough pictures. Tips to help  improve our results are always welcome. Here then are some from the experts on how to photograph the adorably challenging toddler:

5 Tough Love Tips for Photographing Toddlers

Photographing Toddlers and Getting Them to Sit Still

10 Tips for Photographing Toddlers

Thursday, July 14, 2016

6 Great New Collections from iCLIPART.com and iPHOTOS.com

"I spend all day thinking of shopping. I love the thrill of finding that wonderful, perfect thing, the feeling of your heart racing because it's so right."

Okay, Mindy Grossman might be a little over the top with this sentiment, but I do relate. If given the option of doing just about anything, or go shopping, I will most probably choose the latter. Especially when it comes to fashion. Not the stereotypical footwear; I'd rather be barefoot. But when it comes to clothes, and to an extent earrings, I can't have enough.

By now, my hubby has arrived at eye-rolling acceptance of the over-stuffed closet, while friends and family are well aware that when they see me, it's likely I'll be wearing something new.

Perhaps it can be blamed on genetics. My mother probably added a new item to her wardrobe on a weekly basis. My father always teased that she had nothing to wear and three closets to put it in.

Oddly, this habit is a contradiction of self perception. I don't like to consider myself materialistic. I came of age when peers were shucking off unnecessary accoutrements in a fight against the establishment. Young people decked out in bell bottoms and tie-dye, bare feet or moccasins were moving to communal farms with vegetable gardens and free roaming chickens. Or to city streets, living in lodgings with mattresses on the floor as the only furniture.  Focus then was not on what was owned but on  what could be done with a simple life.

So, occasionally, as that one more sweater is being purchased,  there's a moment of chagrin, a momentary nostalgia for the girl I was.

But then comes recognition that some values remain. Clothes admittedly are my weakness. There's something about putting on a new outfit that makes me happy. However, I'm not compelled to have the best of everything, to acquire stuff because my neighbour has it.

Let's be honest, we all like new things. The freshness, the uniqueness, the novelty can be irresistible.

All good reasons why updating the content on our websites is as important to us as it is to people seeking out images for their personal or business projects.  We know that new has great appeal and offers opportunities to for innovative design.

Here then are some of the newest collections added to iCLIPART.com  and iPHOTOS.com

iCLIPART.com New Collection

iCLIPART.com New Collection

iCLIPART.com New Collection

iPHOTOS.com New Collection

iPHOTOS.com New Collection

iPHOTOS.com New Collection

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Bring on the Rain With These Photoshop Tutorials

Humidity hangs while the temperature soars. The dog days of summer have made an early appearance this year and let me tell you those dogs aren't just panting, they're thirsty as heck.

While the common phrase actually references the position of the dog star Sirius in late July,  it has come to conjure images of lazy dogs lying beneath shady maples during summer's hottest time.

This year, if our canine friends are hiding from the heat,  they're not alone. We've experienced weeks of intense temperatures, made more so by a cloying mugginess.  ACs are blasting and everyone's searching out cool places.

Not complaining, of course. Winter's a very long time so we'll take all of July's personality and love her for it. There is, however, one little problem. As hinted above there's been a shortage of water. While it's great to be able to head to the backyard or beach without worrying about a deluge raining down around you, farmers' fields, our lawns and gardens are crying for moisture.

Given the number of decades I've been present on this earth, it's likely there have been other dry summers experienced in my life. I don't, though, recall them. Thus, as I rejoice in the endless days of sunshine, the level of concern increases. Heading out on yet another evening to water my plants and flowers, rock hard ground beneath my feet, grass crunching with every step, worry about how much longer this can go on does take up space in my thoughts.

We've been able to use water from the rain barrel to keep the flowers fresh. But showers have teased us with their infrequency and limited accumulation so that source will soon be dry.  One can only assume that local government will eventually issue a total water ban, meaning as the barrel empties all other options will be removed.

Mother Nature has shown us time and again who's in control here.  Mere mortals can't change what she throws our way.  We can send out our prayers to the universe or try a little raindance.  However, precipitation will only come when she's good and ready to bring it.

At least in the natural world. Creatively, we can inspire some rainfall magic through Photoshop with the great tutorials listed below. Who knows, maybe the skies above will take the hint.

Add Dramatic Rain to a Photo in Photoshop

Making Realistic Rain

Create a Rain Effect in Photoshop CS6

Make it Rain in Photoshop

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

100 Adorable Birthday Animations

July, it seems, is party month.

The team at Vital Imagery Ltd.,  is happily celebrating 10 years of delivering top-quality online images to customers for business and personal use.  Two of my colleagues have marked their special days this month, while there have been several celebrants among our collective offspring.

And as the light fades on July's final sultry days, our family will be making merry at our granddaughter's birthday bash.  Little Missy is turning four and the occasion will be highlighted, of course, with games, cake and ice-cream, followed by an evening campfire and fireworks. 

Summer birthdays are best. The weather is conducive to outdoor activities, a much preferred situation compared to guests being crammed indoors. Even on rainy days there are typically breaks that allow for a bit of fresh air.

So, in planning  Missy's day, our daughter has always taken full advantage of the great outdoors.  The festivities should be the perfect way to end off a month replete with special celebrations.

With so much fun crammed in to four short weeks, it's hard not to be in the party mood. There's probably nothing that conveys that vibe better than birthday animations. From noisemakers and balloons to candles on cakes and happy children they can all be found in this adorable collection from Animation Factory

Monday, July 11, 2016

Vital Imagery Ltd. Celebrating 10 Years

"The starting point of all achievement is desire." — Napoleon Hill.

It's time to sing Happy Birthday to Vital Imagery Ltd. (VI) and celebrate its achievements.

Ten years ago, this online subscription graphics service began offering customers quality photos, illustrations and more for use in business and personal projects.

The company was the vision of a young, energetic team comprised of people with extensive knowledge of, and experience  in,  the industry.  Their desire to provide clients with a new exciting option for images inspired the dream. The dream drove the inspiration. And the inspiration achieved the goal.

I had the pleasure of coming on board several years ago. It was a heady time for the still-relatively youthful company as new initiatives and partnerships were helping forge what would soon be its future as a global leader in the industry. My desire to be part of this was certainly inspired by that potential. However, it was the personality of the business that really appealed.

Having come from a work environment where the employees came last, what a delight it was to find a workplace where the health and happiness of the staff were always the priorities. That this could be done while continuing to expand and grow proves it's the best way to get the job done.

And as VI celebrates 10 years of success,  there's plenty about the job that's been done to be proud of. With a dedication to keeping their websites fresh,  content managers are busy adding thousands of new images each month. There is now an incredible inventory of 13 million images on Clipart.com , while iCLIPART.com has an impressive collection of 8 million and iPHOTOS.com has 5 million.

The number one 3D animation subscription site, AnimationFactory.com with over 600,000 images is also part of the VI family of websites.  As well, educators from around the world use content in resources and the classroom from two school sites —  iCLIPART For Schools and Clipart.com School Edition .

As the stock imagery price leader, there is pride in the history behind the company, the philosophy that drove it and the contributors and customers who have helped to build it.

From my perspective I feel pretty darn lucky to work for a company that cares about people. Customer service is a priority. And by donating a portion of every purchase made to  Kiva.org VI supports small business worldwide.

So Happy Birthday,  Vital Imagery Ltd. Here's to a job well done and much continued success in the future.

And thank you for bringing me along for the ride.