iPhone Photography: the visual guide. Review and Giveaway.

You all know that I love to take photos.  I used to take them with my DSLR… that was before I got my iPhone.  My poor Canon sits and collects dust most of the time now.  I pull it out when I’m taking photos for a tutorial or when we’re taking family photos.  Let’s get real though, lugging that bad boy around in my purse is just not convenient.  My iPhone on the other hand…

What in the world did I ever do without it???

Seriously!?!  I use my iPhone camera each and every day, at least several times a day, and if we’re buddies on Instagram then you already know this.  How could I not with kids as funny and cute as mine, LOL!  I have always loved to take pictures, ever since I was a teenager really.  I come by it honestly, my dad is the same way.  I remember how exasperated we would get on family vacations, waiting for my dad as he stopped to take photo after photo of flowers and landscapes.  Now I am that person!  The iphone has changed my life as far as my love for photography goes.  I can document our daily lives, all of the sweet moments with my kids, the funny things that they do, things that inspire me… I always have my camera with me and it fits in my pocket.

I’ve just finished reading iPhone Photography: the visual guide, by Alli Worthington. You may know Alli because she is one of the co-founders of the amazingly successful Blissdom conference.  Have you gone?  It’s amazing!  Did you know that she is also an accomplished eBook author? Her eBook iPhone Photography: the visual guide is a really great tool for anyone who is trying to figure out the whole iPhone photography thing.  Alli likens her book to a cookbook… you can skip around, pick it up, put it down, read it however you want.  It’s full of colorful images that were all taken and edited on an iPhone and it’s broken down into easy to read sections:

  1. Tips for taking the best pictures with your mobile phone
  2. Wisdom from the experts
  3. All about Instagram (I love me some Instagram!!!)
  4. The toolkit
  5. Backing up your pictures

The tips are useful without being technical.  The tips from the experts are helpful… I learned a couple of things that I will apply today!  I use Instagram several times a day (ok, I’m addicted to it) and even I learned something new in the section about Instagram.

 from iPhone Photography: the visual guide

I have to tell you that my favorite part of the book was the section called “The Toolkit” where Alli writes about her 10 favorite apps to do it all on the go, and she should know… this girl travels a lot!!  Part of the fun of my iPhone camera is all of the apps that are available.  I could fill my phone up with them, but I try to keep it to several that I know I will use.  Sometimes this means downloading several, playing with them for a few weeks and deleting those that don’t get much use.  The Toolkit listed some of my faves, but it also introduced me to several that I immediately downloaded and cannot wait to start using!

This book is a great investment if you want to learn how to better your iPhone photography skills.  Right now you can get it as part of The Ultimate Homemaking eBook Bundle.  It normally sells alone for $9.97, but this week only, you can buy Alli’s book as part of the eBook bundle and get iPhone Photography plus 96 more eBooks and eCourses for only $29.97, plus you get $140 in free gifts!  

 from iPhone Photography: the visual guide

Alli has kindly offered up a copy of her book to giveaway to one lucky Southern Institute reader!  This giveaway is open to anyone who can download a pdf file and will be open through Saturday night.  Enter through the Rafflecopter widget below!  Many thanks to Alli for writing a fun and informative book and being so generous!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Photography For Bloggers. A Review and Giveaway.


Photography is a big part of blogging if you’re in any kind of creative niche.  Any blogger who is using photos to demonstrate a crafting or sewing technique wants to present the best photos possible, which is why brushing up on basic photography skills is so very important.  If you want to have a great looking blog you need great photos, right?  We’ve all visited blogs with dimly lit, out of focus, or tiny photos.  The posts are hard to get hooked into.  Tutorials with amateurish photos are not going to get a lot of views.  Let’s face it… only the beautiful photos get pinned, and we all want our photos to make it to Pinterest!  Pinterest is my #1 traffic referrer to The Southern Institute, hands down!  I’m not saying that I have the best photos out there, far from it, but I have done quite a bit of reading and have invested in a decent camera… I even took a photography class way back before I was blogging.  Before blogs were even on the scene, for that matter!  Now there is a resource that you can use at home to help you better your photography skills and your blog!

Photography for Bloggers by Vanessa Hewell at lbg studio is a great resource for the beginner photographer, and I love having it as a reference and refresher for my slightly more advanced that beginner photography skills. :)  What you receive when you purchase Photography for Bloggers is a 42 page pdf file that is available for instant download (you need to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer).  The books is not a basic primer on the functions of your dslr camera (you need to read your camera’s manual for that), although it does touch on iso, shutter speed, aperture, and metering.  The bulk of the book focuses on things that will be helpful to the blogger, such as lighting and composition, and staging photos.

The book shares a lot of great tips and information about shooting in direct sunlight and open shade, which is something that I find tricky at times.  It also does a great job of helping the reader see the importance of photo composition and how it can take a photo from just okay to fabulous.

My favorite part of the book was all of the tips of setting up a little home studio.  Vanessa share a list of supplies that are good to have on hand in your house and how to use them to get your best photos.

I have always kept a white board on hand to use as a back drop for photos, but after reading this book I tried using it as a light deflector when I took this photo for my Handmade Charlotte Post.  You can see a shadow to the left of the “before” picture, when I was not using the board as a deflector.  I took this photo in our bathroom where there is a window to the right, casting a shadow to the left.  In the “after” picture I am holding the white board to the left of the embroidery hoop to reflect the light that is coming through the window back towards the hoop.  The shadow is gone!

With a white board that I already had I was able to create a more professional looking photograph!  I’ve instantly improved my photography skills and my blog, thanks to Photography for Bloggers!  Now I’m itching to buy a backdrop stand and some papers.

Would you like to advance your photography skills and improve your blog?  Maybe you don’t have a blog but you love to take photos of your children.  Vanessa would like to giveaway a pdf copy of Photography for Bloggers (retail value $18) to one Southern Institute reader.  Just enter through the Rafflecopter widget below before the end of Friday!  Many thanks to Vanessa of lbg studio for the generous giveaway.

Find lbg studio at the following places online…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Our Christmas On Instagram.

I’m a huge fan of Instagram.  Where else can you keep up with your friends by sharing snapshots of your daily life?  Okay, there are probably ways other than Instagram, but none that are more fun than Instagram.  I feel as though I get the chance to know blogging friends that I have never met face to face through sharing photos with them, and Instagram makes it easy to keep up with those that I have met face to face!  How fun is that?  Now, I love to take pictures, and in the past I have been known to get a little bit “insta-happy”.  So much so that I had to remove the app from my phone for a little bit just so that i wouldn’t neglect my children (I’m only half kidding), but I’m back again.  I’ve set some boundaries for myself and I love being back in touch with friends.

I posted several photos of things that we were doing over the holidays, so I thought I’d share a few of them here with you.  It’s funny- I knew that we had been busy, but I didn’t realize just how much we had done until I started going through my feed.  Good grief!  No wonder I was so tired!  Here’s a small peek into our holiday happenings…

Yes, that’s cheese on the plate next to Santa’s cookies.  We always leave a piece of cheese for Santa Mouse, the character from a beloved book that I’ve had since I was a little girl.  Our kids look forward to reading it each and every Christmas.

Are you on Instagram?  I’d love to meet you over there.  Follow me to get a peek into our days!  You can find me on Instagram as Jenny Yarbrough or you can click on the Instagram button on the right side bar.  See you there!