Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Tips On How To Take The Best Christmas Family Photos

 I feel like the holidays is the most popular time of the year for family photos, friends photos, event photos, and just photos of any kind. Today Peter Minkoff is guest posting to share some simply fabulous tips to take beautiful family holiday photos!

Taking photos for Christmas is a very sweet tradition that shows the growth and change of your family and its results are cherished forever. That’s why it’s worth putting some extra work into your photos this year. If you’re planning to take pictures of your family and want to capture some Insta-worthy shots, here are a few tips to keep in mind: 

Dress up 

Let’s start with a simple dress-up party. In general, professionals recommend that you dress more neutrally without super-loud patterns, which can be very distracting. Plus, going overboard with colors and patterns can create editing issues later on. For a more classy and elegant shoot, seasonal colors like reds, whites and greens are a great option. But if you’re going for a fun vibe with ugly Christmas sweaters and silly onesies, disregard the tips above—you’re going to have extra fun results even with over-the-top clothing. 

Pick the moments that count

It’s important to capture those moments that make the holiday season special for your family. Maybe you love decorating the house, unwrapping gifts or making tasty recipes—whatever it is, focus on those sweet shots. Many times, in those situations, you don’t even have to plan anything, just have your camera at hand. 

Choose a meaningful location

You and your family will feel most at ease in locations that you know and love. And because Christmas is a holiday of coziness, closeness and love, it’s important to incorporate all your favorite spots into your shoot. Most families choose their living room or their backyard, and these are great choices. For a family portrait, it’s best to opt for a background that’s calm, so the people can be in focus. However, don’t mix “calm” with “plain”—some fairy lights, trees, presents and snow can always capture that holiday spirit. 

Use the right lens

It’s not necessary to get technical with your photos, but some help from the right equipment can make a huge change. If you’re hiring a professional in family portraits to do your Christmas shoot, they will know just what kind of equipment to use for the best results. So, you don’t have to do much but relax, have fun with your family and enjoy the occasion. However, if you’re shooting alone, keep this in mind: you might want to use a wide-angle lens to fit more people in the frame, but this will create distortions. Instead, stand far from the subject and zoom in with a standard kit lens. 

Think about composition

Here’s another technical element on this list—composition. When organizing the group in your family portrait, try to place everyone’s head at different levels by using chairs, armchairs, etc. For instance, one person can use a regular chair, one can sit in their lap, one can use the armrest and some can stand or sit on the floor. Start with the center of the frame and go towards the edges, placing people according to your wishes. If you’re not sure of the frame size, look through the viewfinder and place two people at the borders of the frame, asking all others to stand in the space between. If you also want to be in the shot, set the timer on your camera. And don’t forget to take multiple photos in case someone bas their eyes closed. 

Play some music

And finally, as you prepare and conduct your shoot, try to avoid silence. Silence can make taking photos a bit awkward and make everyone look stiff and bored—this shows in photos so well. Instead, turn on the music to get you in the mood to celebrate, dance and laugh. Having portable speakers with you can do wonders for outdoor shoots. 

This year’s Christmas family photos will blow everyone’s mind, and make you super excited for the holidays. And some extra effort you invest will pay off in so many ways. 

Friday, December 9, 2022

5 Tips For First Time Car Owners

 First or fifth time, I feel like buying a car is always exciting, a little overwhelming, and a little stressful. Today Peter Minkoff is guest posting on the blog and sharing some simply fabulous tips for first time car buyers!

Getting a car for the first time is an awesome thing: it gives you freedom, access to new destinations and makes your daily life so much easier. However, being a first-time car owner comes with a nasty surprise—all that maintenance you need to do and all those car things to keep in mind. As a woman, you might feel a little lost in the world of vehicles, but with these tips, you’ll become the most responsible car owner there is: 


Read the owner’s manual

Before you dive into any other detail, make sure to grab your owner’s manual and look through it. This booklet has everything you need to know about your car’s maintenance schedule, oil changes, flushing of the fluids and replacing the filters. You’ll also learn how to read the dashboard signals, what issues to pay attention to and how to keep your car looking good and fashionable


Schedule regular tire and fluids checks

It’s imperative for you to know how to inspect your car for issues, especially before any long trips. Firstly, check the state of your tires, which is an easy task that requires minimal effort. Make sure your car is sitting comfortably on the tires, the tread is deep and there are no cracks on the sidewalls or foreign objects wedged inside the tire. Fluids are also something every woman can check herself. Check the levels of windshield fluid, engine oil and coolant; if you notice the levels are low, simply top them off. 


Protecting your car’s paint

Your car’s paint is not there just to give your vehicle some color and life. It’s actually a great protective layer that keeps the metal underneath safe from corrosion and damage. Therefore, your paint deserves good care—much more than simply washing. To properly maintain your car’s paint job, engage in thorough washing with water and soap, and don’t be scared to go into all the nooks and crannies, especially in wintertime, when there’s a lot of salt on the road that can stick to your car. To get the nasty water stains off the car, grab a special water spot remover for water spots, scale and stubborn stains. And the best thing about this product is that it can be used around the household: on windows, glass shower partitions and all other tough surfaces. Cover the paint with a special protective coating that saves the car from dirt build-up, oxidation, sun damage and dirty rain for extra protection. 

Create an emergency kit

Every driver needs to have several emergency items in the car. Women seem to be more diligent in supplying the car with an emergency kit and keeping it up-to-date. It’s necessary to have a valid first aid kit in your car to handle any medical trauma before the medics arrive. Aside from that, it’s also crucial to have some tools in the car that will help you in a pinch. A pair of working jumping cables is a must, and you can also refresh your memory on how to use them. There’s a great possibility that you’ll need a screwdriver, pliers and wire cutters in your driving career, so throw them in your trunk as well. 


In case your car gives up in the middle of the night, a flashlight will also come in handy so you can read the manual and see what you’re doing. If something is loose, duct tape will be there to keep things together until you drive yourself to a mechanic. And lastly, a blanket, water and snacks can save your life if you get stranded. 


Build a trusting relationship with your mechanic

There are some mechanics willing to scam women drivers by inventing issues and overcharging for parts. The safest thing to do is choose a properly-certified mechanic shop to prevent this behavior. If possible, find a female mechanic who will be more sympathetic. In many cases, if you stay loyal to one shop, you can end up with great service and various discounts. 

Just because you’re a woman, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to know anything about your car. If you study these tips and follow them, you’ll gain a lot of experience quickly and go from a new car owner to a seasoned driver in no time.