The virtues of the unposed shot

The virtues of the unposed shot

Did your family make you pose for pictures when you were young? Did it always feel like it took hours to get a good shot to you? Although some of my favorite photos are posed shots, so many more of them are candids that I rarely bother with trying to make my family pose anymore.

Maybe it’s the sneaky side of me, but snagging photos of my kids when they are engrossed in something and completely unaware of me has netted some of the best story telling photos.

sneaky shot 1 || noexcusescrapbooking.com

Now this is not a perfect photo. It’s dark and grainy and the focus isn’t what it could be. But it tells a story, of a boy engrossed in toys he hasn’t played with in too long, because they’ve been packed away.

sneaky shot 2 || noexcusescrapbooking.com

It can be hard getting a picture without them noticing, but when you manage it, you get photos that show more of your subject’s personality and idiosyncrasies — like the holey socks and the messy hair, and the improbable seating here.

Of course, sometimes they know you have the camera ready, but that doesn’t mean you need to make them stop and pose. Catch them in the act, and you may end up with some of your favorite pictures.

sneaky shot 3 || noexcusescrapbooking.com

Sometimes a photo opportunity can be used to entertain while waiting in line, or you can sneak a picture by not obviously looking through your viewfinder/screen. Here, I had just used the camera to take a picture of our feet all together, and rather than turning it off right away, I snapped some pictures from waist high while the boys weren’t paying attention.

sneaky shot 4 ||noexcusescrapbooking.com

Of course if you feel you absolutely must make your family pose, rather than stiff photos of everyone grouped together, try taking some poses that help tell a story. Here, we’re crossing the international boundary line between the US and Canada. My son thought it was important and cool, so we stopped and posed on the bridge.

In short, while posed shots are wonderful, unposed shots are opportunities for visual storytelling. Don’t worry about getting a perfect shot, just aim for something that helps you tell a story. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Summer’s Not Over Yet!

Summer’s Not Over Yet!

Who’s still playing along with the Sixty Summer Sights photo scavenger hunt? I know Labor Day weekend starts today in the US, but technically, we’ve got three more weeks of summer!

Ah. Pedanticism. We’re fine examples of that in this house.

If you’re wondering what the Sixty Summer Sights photo challenge is, the aim is to try to find all the items on this list:

A photo scavenger hunt from NoExcuseScrapbooking.com

You don’t have to do it in order, nor do you have to find them all. The goal behind it is to make you more aware of your surroundings, and to help you take more story oriented photos. Using the prompts to practice your technical photography skills is a bonus.

I’ve found 35 summer sights so far. You can find them in the No Excuse Scrapbooking Flickr gallery. Have you been playing along? Make sure to share what you’ve captured!

My favorite so far?

I think it may be this one, taken surreptitiously with the camera resting on the table:

36. smiles #sixtysummersights || noexcusescrapbooking.com

Share your favorites! I can’t wait to see what you’ve found!

Discovering your inner poet

Discovering your inner poet

Are you afraid of rhyme? Does meter make you nervous? Do you think writing poetry is out of your league?

It doesn’t have to be. And it can be fun to add to your scrapbook pages.

First of all, start with other people’s words. If you have a favorite poem or song lyric that really helps you tell a story, use it on a page! (Just don’t claim it as your own!)

Then, you can try modifying an existing poem or lyric, to suit your subject. You may already be doing this with songs you sing on a regular basis. (Just think of all the Frozen parodies out there now. I bet you even thought of creating your own version!)

Next, try some fun and traditional short forms, like limericks and haiku. A limerick is five lines, with the first two lines and the last one rhyming, and of longer length. The third and fourth lines rhyme with each other, and are shorter in length. A haiku is three lines long, with the lines five, then seven, then five syllables long. A haiku does not have to rhyme.

Still intimidated? How about trying an acrostic poem? Start with a word or phrase (names are fun too!) and write each letter on one line vertically. Then use each letter to start a word or phrase. If you have kids, they probably have brought home an acrostic poem about their name. If elementary aged kids can do this, so can you!

And then there’s my favorite: free verse. Free verse has no specific meter or rhyme, but it has an inherent rhythm, much like normal speech.

Start with a phrase that describes an event. Then add another. Don’t worry about full sentences or correct grammar, just concentrate on how the words flow. If you can read them aloud, and they work well together, you’ve got the beginnings of free verse.

This is a page I created where I tried to captured the relaxation and exploration of a day spent with my oldest at an art museum in the area. Free verse seemed to be the perfect way to capture the feeling of the day:

wandering || noexcusescrapbooking.com

As you can see, free verse doesn’t have to be complicated. By breaking lines down so certain words or phrases stand alone, they gain greater emphasis.
Are you ready to try some poetry on your pages?

A Month of Project Life Under My Belt.

A Month of Project Life Under My Belt.

Do you know how hard it is to start Project Life while renovating and moving your craft room around? That was an added wrinkle I didn’t factor in when planning to start!

Wait. Did that sound whiny? That wasn’t a complaint, just an observation.

Since the main focus of Project Life, for me, is the story, I didn’t worry about whether I took a photo every day, but I did try to write on a journaling card every day. I was able to do that fairly easily at first, until I had some long, exhausting days that completely drove writing out of my mind.

When I started assembling the words and pictures, I realized I needed some 3×4 photographs as well. You might find yourself needing that too, so here are a couple printing templates for you:

3x4 collage letter paper || noexcusescrapbooking.com

3×4 photos on letter paper

Download it here: 3×4 collage letter paper.psd

3x4 on photo paper || noexcusescrapbooking.com

3×4 photos on photo paper

Download this here: 3×4 on photo paper.psd

The hardest part for me was deciding on picture and page orientations. Because I wrote everything out before assembling the pages, I had to decide on how to deal with photos that worked better as one orientation, and journaling that didn’t match that orientation in the pocket pages.

Case in point: the very first journaling card I filled out for the last day of school had a horizontal orientation, as did the pics of the kids getting of the bus. Solution? Use one of the rotated pocket page designs, and print the photos out at 3×4 instead of 4×6.

PL pg 1 || noexcusescrapbooking.com

The other issue right at the start was the fact that I couldn’t start with the photos in strict chronological order. This of course was a minor issue, with the solution being to group one day’s photos across the top, and subsequent days along the bottom and right side.

noexcusescrapbooking.com

It works, with photos that tell related stories grouped together.

PL pg 2 || noexcusescrapbooking.com

As I worked on later weeks, the process became easier, and the pages more streamlined.

PL pg 4 || noexcusescrapbooking.com

That’s sort of the point of Project Life, don’t you think? To make it easy to tell stories and share photos?

PL pg 5 || noexcusescrapbooking.com

At any rate, the last few pages were much easier to assemble than the first few.

PL pg 6 || noexcusescrapbooking.com

I don’t know if you noticed or not, but these pages are not in strict week by week order. Some pages cover three days. Some ten. I let the stories I’d recorded and the photos I’d taken dictate the final pages, rather than the other way around.

Anyone else making Project Life pages? What’s your favorite part about it? I’m loving the excuse to write a little something every day. How about you?

 

 

It Might Be Done. Almost. I Think.

It Might Be Done. Almost. I Think.

The great craft room switch of 2014 is done. I think. It’s at the stage where I can work, and I could invite people over to scrap and craft as well.

Want to see?

craft room reveal 1 ||noexcusescrapbooking.com

That’s the view from the doorway. Let’s step inside, shall we?

craft room reveal 2 || noexcusescrapbooking.com

There are now three tables in the middle of the room for people to work at. You can just see my husband’s work desk on the left, with the file cabinets next to it. Once again, the printer is on a shelf on top of marker bins on the low file cabinets, next to my computer station. The Silhouette and Cricut are on the other side of the computer, plugged in and ready to be used.

craft room reveal 3 || noexcusescrapbooking.com

The most frequently used tools and newest product were more attractively displayed until I realized I didn’t have room in the closets for the Big Kick and dies and associated product. I’m thinking of getting the Raskog cart from Ikea and turning that into a mobile die cutting station, but for now, all the die cutting tools are on the table under the new vision/inspiration board.

Moving over to stand in front of the computer, you can now see my son’s worktable, and the stamping station.

craft room reveal 4 || noexcusescrapbooking.com

At the end, there’s even a bookshelf now for craft books and business books!

The closets are organized as well, but are considerably less well lit.

paper closet ||noexcusescrapbooking.com

project closet ||noexcusescrapbooking.com

Along the top of both closets are old rubber stamping and scrapbooking magazines, and the bottoms contain bins of fabric and my crop bags. The closet on the left (with the orange box) is filled with photos and papers and memorabilia. The one on the right has lots of project materials and business supplies.

I think it’s ready for some crafty mayhem, what do you think?

craft room reveal 5 ||noexcusescrapbooking.com

Let me know if you want to see anything in detail. I love sharing my craft room with you!

(Oh, and for anyone interested, the paint color is Indian Ocean by Behr, and the flooring is Country Pine by Trafficmaster/Allure.)