Thursday, July 17, 2014

Almost Perfect Point-and-Shoot Canon Power Shot S120

by Tina Case Photography

If you're in the market for an 'almost perfect point-and-shoot' then look no further.  The Canon Power Shot S120 has everything you'll need.  It even has an optional Water Proof Case to take it to the depths of your underwater expeditions.  And not only does this take amazing still shots, but amazing HD video, up to 60 fps, as well.

[What's in my bag? Click the left or right arrow to see all the gear]

Here are the key stats:
  • 9.4 frames per second for amazing action sequences
  • 24mm, f1.8, 5x zoom (effectively 24-105mm)
  • 12.1 megapixel
  • WiFi, GPS via Mobile
  • Full HD (60fps)
  • 3" LCD
  • Manual mode, RAW and jpeg options
I purchased this camera to compliment my DSLR gear.  I usually use my Canon 5D Mark III.  But I needed something a little more compact for vacation.  One of my clients requested photos in-real-time so they can tweet and Instagram event photos.  This will do the trick with its built-in WiFi.
What were the key factors for me selecting this camera?
  1. Great reviews on Amazon and B&H photo
  2. Familiarity with Canon products (since I own several Canon DSLRs, it made sense to purchase a Canon point-and-shoot)
  3. Ability to take RAW images
  4. Great Video (60fps!)
  5. WiFi was a must
  6. Waterproof is an option that I might invest in later
  7. Canon makes great gear!
  8. My daughters are big fans of Casey Neistat, who touts this as the "Almost Perfect Camera" - who can beat that testament?
Check out the video below to see more details.

And check out Casey Neistat's testament to this "Almost Perfect Camera"

Note: I am an Amazon and B&H Affiliate

Monday, July 14, 2014

Finding Inspiration With Shooting With Soul

If you are looking for a photography book to inspire you or reignite your passion for photography, then you should definitely check out Shooting with Soul by Alessandra (Alex) Cave.  The book is perfect for anyone who loves to take pictures and would like to shoot photos in a new and fresh ways.

I have had the pleasure of meeting Alex at the Shutter Sister photography retreats and was so excited to purchase her book.  Oh how I am longing for another get together with these amazing ladies.....

Anyway, Shooting with Soul provides 44 exercises/prompts that encourage you to slow down and put thought and feeling into the process to create images with depth.  Each exercise provides instructions, techniques and shot ideas as well as beautiful photographic examples.  Whether you use a point and shoot, SLR, or camera phone this book offers tips and suggestions that will truly help you improve your photography.

Alex encourages us to use her book as a way to practice the art of photography.  She suggests that we dedicate a week to each project and to stay keep going despite life's distractions.  

That said, I am ready and excited  to embark on this journey. While I am not necessarily going through the prompts in order (which is totally's my journey after all), I am committed to practicing my art each week and I look forward to growing and developing as a photographer.

This weekend, I decided to start with Exercise 4...Something You Collect.  I gathered up some of my vintage cameras (this is only half of my stash) and set out to create an image that showcased my passion.

Of the cameras shown, each has a special place in my heart.  The Minolta was my dads, the Polaroid and Yaschica were ones that I found at a flea market with my kids, the Polaroid OneStep was one that my mom gave me for my birthday last year and the Kodak was one that my son bought for me and the cute little Brownie, I stumbled upon at another local flea market.  Yes...I tend to scour the flea markets for vintage finds.

Anyway, I love this image...a line up of what I love...with an extra element of surprise (as Alex suggests)...the bird cage.

Thank you Alex for your inspiration.  As I said, I can't wait to work through your book.  And I am excited to say that we will be featuring an interview with Alex in the next few weeks.  So please be sure to pop back!

If you are interested in learning more about Shooting with Soul please be sure to visit the Shooting With Soul Facebook page.

In addition to writing about photography tips, tricks and a good craft project here at Moms Who Click, you can also find me musing about my latest photography projects and client work on my website Kristina Rust PhotographyFacebook Page and Google+.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Photo Slide Lampshade Tutorial--DIY Photo Crafts

by Kristina Rust Photography

Summer is here and if you enjoy crafting then you will love this project......

Last summer,  I made this awesome lampshade while visiting my mom in the Midwest.  She got the idea after visiting a local craft fair.

Thankfully, my mom had boxes full of slides from when she and my dad first got married and I loved looking through the slides and picking out various images for this project.  It was so fun to see my parents as newlyweds....they were and are such a good looking couple!

Anyway, this craft looks easy at first glance, however the original idea involved using jump rings to attach the slides together which was extremely time consuming (and a bit frustrating).  We improved on the idea by using lanyard clasps to attach the slides together....which made this so much easier and I was able to whip one out in an afternoon.

So here is what you need to make one of these cool shades.....
  • An old lampshade---you'll want to tear off the shade portion and just use the wiring.  Try and find one that is not too big or this project will require more slides.  The one I used measures 7 inches across.
  • Hole punch.  Get a heavy duty one.  One that can punch through the thickness of the cardboard slide.  My mom picked hers up at Michaels.
  • Slides--of course it is more meaningful if they are of your own family but you could probably find some at the Goodwill or flea market.  For the lampshade I made, I used 36 slides.  
  • Lanyard clasps.  I bought a pack of 60 at Michaels for $3.00
  • Crystals to hang on the last row of slides or any other decorative element.  You can also attach the slides to the wire base from your lampshade but I preferred using the decorative crystals.
Assembling the lampshade is pretty simple (if you use the lanyards).  Basically, all you have to do is  punch a hole in the middle of each side of your slide and use the lanyard clasp to attach them.  Note:  in order for the images to be right side up, your slide will actually face upside down.  I made all the rows and attached them all together before hanging them onto the lampshade wire.  

The project took my mom and I about 3 hours.  She punched holes, while I attached the slides.  It was such a fun project to make together.   

I absolutely love this lampshade and have it proudly displayed in my family room.   If you decide to make one, we'd love to see it!  Please share a link in the comments below. 

In addition to writing about photography tips, tricks and a good craft project here at Moms Who Click, you can also find me musing about my latest photography projects and client work on my website Kristina Rust PhotographyFacebook Page and Google+.

Friday, July 4, 2014

ArcSoft Portrait+ Review

by:  Kristina Rust Photography

Like many of my fellow photographers, I do not particularly enjoy editing photos and I am always looking for new tools that can help with my editing workflow.

Recently I had the opportunity to test Portrait+ by ArcSoft.  It is a simple photo retouching program that uses face detection software to apply various filters to enhance your photographs.  The software is available as a download from the ArcSoft website for $179.00 and it has a 30 day free trial.   Portrait+ is available as a stand-alone for Windows and Mac and also as a Photoshop Plug-in.

The software allows you to remove blemishes, smooth skin, brighten eyes, remove shine, correct skin tones and manipulate facial features.  It has the ability to batch edit as well as detect up to 30 faces in one photo.  The ArcSoft website has video tutorials to help you utilize their software complete with information on how to customize your portrait style, how to adjust facial feature points, how to remove blemishes and adjust skin smoothing area and more.

I tried out the tool on a few photos and was impressed by the results.  What I liked most were the skin smoothing, eye-brightening, and skin tone features.  Honestly, I do not think I would use the enhancement features such as slimming face, enlarging eyes, enlarging nose, because I try to do very natural edits to my images but if a client really wanted me to make these types of adjustments, with this tool I could easily do so.

While Lightroom offers similar editing capabilities,  I found that using Portrait+ was a bit easier as far as adjusting skin tone and smoothing skin.  The software has built in presets as well as the ability to allow you to manual edit, so you can adjust the intensity of any of the edits.  What I think would be ideal is if this was available as a plug-in to Lightroom...(it would be one less step...hint...hint).

Here is an example where I did a slight skin smoothing as well as removed some of the red in her cheeks with the skin tone adjustment.  I took a screen shot so you could see the software's interface (very easy to use and intuitive).  The adjustments below are very slight but on my screen it is more noticeable.  

Click on the photos for a better view

In this example, I did basically the same adjustments.... a slight skin smoothing and to take a little bit of the pink out of her cheeks, a skin tone adjustment.

Below, I used the skin smoothing (which took care of some of the dirt on my son's face) and eye brightening (which really made his baby blues pop).

To see more examples of what this Portrait + software can do, check out their before and after gallery If you are looking for a program that is easy to use and offers a variety of adjustments, then I would recommend giving their 30 day free trial a go.

And for those of you ready to add Portrait + to your editing toolbox,  use the code Portrait45 to save  45% on any program from ArcSoftware.

In addition to writing about photography tips and tricks here at Moms Who Click, you can also find me musing about my latest photography projects and client work on my website Kristina Rust PhotographyFacebook Page and Google+.