Saturday, June 27, 2009

photo call | favorite snapshot

i would like to show you all an example of how we can turn one of your favorite digital photos into a gorgeous portrait. and i would really like to show you using one of your photos (instead of mine)! so this is a 'photo call'! if you are interested, all you have to do is email to me one of your all time favorite snapshots - any subject. i will choose 3 of the entries to have a play with and will post the results here for you all to see.

so, please email your favorite digital photo to
with the subject 'photo call'. you have until monday night. invite your friends and family to do the same!

thanks for sharing =)

Friday, June 26, 2009

tips & tricks | rule-of-thirds

one of the simplest tricks you can use to take better photos or display nicer prints is to use ‘rule-of-thirds’(r-o-t). this is where you divide your photo into a 3x3 grid and use the grid lines to better compose your shots.

the idea of r-o-t is to compose your photos so that the subject IS NOT perfectly centred. your photo will be more interesting or appealing if you place the subject or the focal point of your photo at one of the cross points.

here is an example of a photo I took recently. you can see the difference in the appeal of the second photo where the subject’s eyes are at the top third line.

when you have a close up photo (which are my favorites, by the way) the photo is much more appealing when the subject’s eyes are at the top third line. this can result in some of the head being cut off, but it is worth it to have such a beautiful close up shot of your child.

here is another close-up example using another photo. again, the second shot is much more appealing. using r-o-t in this way gives you more negative space in your photo, which as you may have noticed is part of my style. i love the way your eyes are drawn right to the subject’s in this photo.

you can use r-o-t to compose your shots ‘in camera’ (i.e. as you are taking the shot) – check the setting on your camera, you may be able to show the grid lines right on your LCD display. or, you can wait to do it when you are cropping and printing your photos. if you use photoshop, go to edit – preferences – guides, grids & slices: choose a colour, set the gridline every 33.3 percent and subdivisions 1. when you have a photo open click ctrl + ’ to make your gridlines appear. click it again and they disappear.

by the way, I tend to do the latter – if you have had a session with me you will notice on your photo cd that the unedited shots are pretty centred with room to zoom in. this allows me to crop the photos specifically to order (as 4x6, 5x7, 8x10 prints). so while you may be happy enough with your unedited shots this is one good reason to order prints from me or to learn a few tricks for cropping your own photos effectively.

we have a tendency to want everything to be very centred when we take photos or order prints, but this does not always create the best photo. and this ‘rule’ works for any type of photograph – not just portraits of children. of course, rules are made to be broken, there are times when a centred photo works better! by playing with r-o-t you just might learn more about what you like, and get some better shots in the process. have fun =)

Friday, June 19, 2009

tips & tricks | best photography websites

first, congratulations to the 3 lucky fans who have won FREE customized 8x10 portraits: christy b. michaela c. and jennie t-f. i will post the portraits when they are all done so you all can see them! thanks again for supporting ZOOMdesigns – more freebies, giveaways, and contests coming soon!

so, one of the things i would like to do with this blog is to share some of the things i have learnt about photography, photoshop, and setting up a home business. and by the way, my journey is ongoing… i truly learn something new everyday and i hope that never end =)

so here is my first share: i thought i would start out with some of the websites, forums and groups that have been helpful to me in my journey to learn photography. if any of you have an interest in becoming a better photographer then here are some great places to start! and keep in mind, you DO NOT need one of those fancy dSLR cameras to be a good photographer. i started with my fabulous canon point-and-shoot, and loved the photos i got from there. so, even if you just want to take better pics of your kids, here is some great help to get you going….

photographing children facebook group – started by the author of the book photographing children, ginny felch. everyone here is so kind and helpful. i highly recommend checking it out.

children’s photography challenges & competitions facebook group – new themed competitions each week and vote on your favorites. a great way to learn from some talented photographers!

photography students facebook group – this is for any level of photographer with any area of focus (not just children’s photography!) post 2 photos each week to fit the theme and receive a tonne of feedback that will absolutely help you take better photographs.

clickinmoms – there is a fee to join this group, but it is absolutely wonderful and not just for ‘moms’!

ILP (i love photography) – free for photographers just starting out with an emphasis on photographing children. this is a huge forum with so many knowlegable people providing help.

digital photography by scott kelby – if you do have a dSLR camera or a point and shoot with manual settings that you have no idea how to use, then this book is a very good starting point. it is a very easy read with super simple instructions.

Monday, June 15, 2009

deluxe collage

but first…. a quick reminder to become a fan of ZOOMdesigns by
becoming a follower of my blog
or sending me an email to subscribe to the ZOOMnews email list
3 lucky fans will win a customized 8x10 portrait! the winners will be chosen on THURSDAY!!

so, back to the topic… deluxe collages! i have recently done a couple of collages that are larger than the standard ones i offer. they look absolutely amazing printed and framed, so i just had to share them with you all. the panoramic one i have posted here is printed and framed as a 12x36 inch (30x90 cm) collage and the square one is printed and framed as a 20x20 inch (50x50cm) collage. they can each hold up to 13 photos, so are a spectacular way to display your favorite shots! =)

Friday, June 12, 2009

freebie giveaway!

as promised, i have my first freebies to giveaway! as an incentive to keep in touch with what is going on at ZOOMdesigns, i will be designing and giving away FREE 8x10 inch portraits to 3 of my lucky fans!! it is very simple - to be in the draw all you need to do is one of the following:

  • become a follower of my blog or write a comment on this post


  • become a 'fan' on the ZOOMdesigns facebook page


  • subscribe to ZOOMnews by sending an email to me at

i will randomly choose 3 fans to receive custom made 8x10 portraits in the style of the ones shown below. you can either choose to use a photo from a previous session or email me one of your own favorite digital photos. you get to choose the details like colours, fonts, quotes, borders etc.

you do NOT have to be a past client of ZOOMdesigns! anyone can enter, so tell your friends and family to visit my blog, or facebook page, or email me to join the ZOOMnews list. thanks for being a fan of ZOOMdesigns =)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

zoom news!!

as you may know, i am in canada at the moment. though i have been taking a break from my photo sessions in australia, i have still been working hard on ZOOMdesigns and have been reflecting on the fact that it has been about a year since i started my photography business. i have learned an incredible amount of information this year about photography, photoshop and design and have had the pleasure of working with some really wonderful families, many of whom have generously passed my name on to their friends.

i will continue to use this blog as a place to show case some of my favorite photos from recent sessions as well as giving clients and their families a 'sneak peek' at their photos. but i am also looking at new ways to grow my business and my blog, and also share some of what i have learnt this year with others.

i am inviting you to come back often to visit this blog so that you don't miss out on:
freebies - yes, you can get free stuff!!
contests & prizes!!

casting calls and photo calls including free sessions or portraits

special offers and promotions

'tips & tricks' to help you take better photographs of your own families

so please leave a comment bellow, become a 'follower' of this blog or a fan of the ZOOMdesigns facebook page, and invite your friends to come and join as well. i will be giving away my first FREEBIE in the next couple of weeks so visit again soon...

thank you so much to all of my past clients and to my friends and family who have given me so much support. i am looking forward to another great year of ZOOMdesigns =)