August 28, 2014

Saving Money: Birthday Edition
We recently had a birthday at our house and, since that's what I've been focusing on, I thought I would share a few birthday related money saving ideas.
1. Take pictures of the birthday kid yourself.
2. Make the birthday cake yourself.
3. Set a budget, spend within that budget and put anything left over into savings for that child.
I'll be focusing on pictures in this post, be watching for the next 2 installments.

1. Take pictures of the birthday kid yourself.
I love pictures.
I love the ability to freeze time.
There are times when I like video, but for the most part I prefer still shots. I love looking back on pictures from when I was little. They invoke so many positive memories of my childhood. -
In my dreams I would hire a photographer 4 times a year, OK probably more. But financial constraints make it so that in reality can only hire a professional photographer about once a year, or less.
Having already hired a photographer six months ago for Newborn/Family pictures, and wanting Birthday pictures for my toddler (I refuse to use the word pre-schooler yet) and six month pictures for my baby in the same month, I decided to try taking my own. I had nothing to lose. If they turned out horrible, I would simply donate plasma and pay for a photographer.
Not so simple since I have 2 children and the nearest place to donate plasma is 30 minutes away. Oh and I don't like having blood drawn, and I think I might be anemic again.

Oh yes, pictures...
I grabbed my camera (a point and shoot) and we visited the farm.

I ended up with about a dozen that I like.
They're not perfect.
The coloring isn't perfect.
It's better than the times I've skipped pictures altogether.
I used PicMonkey to do some minor editing on a few of them, though not much because, I don't know what I'm doing.
PicMonkey is a great resource, there are lots of free actions to get you started, and if you find you want more, their "Royale" version is $4.99 for a month with a subscription that you can cancel at any time, far less expensive than purchasing Photoshop, especially if you're not sure the "Momtography" thing is for you.

The best thing about taking pictures myself was that when he became fed up we took a thirty minute treat break and then tried again

My Wild Thing

I'm going to leave you with one photography tip, it's the only one I know, and it may be really obvious to everyone reading this, but just in case it helps someone, here it is:
Move Back and Zoom In
Zooming in causes the background to slightly blur, creating a softening effect and making your subject the focal point.
It also does something with the proportions of the face so your picture will look less like a snapshot.
Yep, super technical, life altering photography tips, hope you enjoyed them.And if you're in Northern Utah and taking your own pictures is not for you, I'd love to give a shout-out to two awesome and reasonably priced photographers in the area.
I hope they don't mind.
Leslie Miller Photography

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