7 Tips for Taking Better Photos

7 Tips for Taking Better Photos


There is a lot that goes into becoming a good photographer. Thankfully, it begins with small steps. Find out about different tricks and tips for taking better photos in this article.
Read more at Buzzle:

People have different reasons to buy different magazines. Some buy them for the information they provide. Some buy them to keep themselves updated about their hobbies and interests. You know why I buy them? To look at the pictures. Laughing, are you? I don’t blame you! But let me explain. I like to study the different pictures in magazines – advertisements as well as content. What I love about the pictures is how crisp they are. You look at the picture of a diamond necklace, and you want it; you look at the droplets of condensation on a cool Coca Cola can and you feel thirsty. You look a cake and you want to eat it! A good picture can evoke some of the strongest emotions in us. You look at a picture of your dog when he was a puppy, playing with a ball in your garden, and it might just bring tears to your eyes to realize he is no more.


How to Click Better Photos


It takes a little bit of knowledge, a little bit of guidance and a lot of practice to click good pictures. But what is important is the fact that – it is quite possible to become a good photographer and take flattering pictures. Find out about some tips for taking better photos as you read on…


Tip #1 – Know Your Device Well

This is especially true of digital photography. Digital cameras are now highly sophisticated than what they were less than a decade ago. As an amateur photographer, you may be at a complete loss of how to use your new digital camera! What to do? Worship the User Guide! The user guide comes with all technical information about your device. Study it carefully. Educate yourself about the various settings of the camera, different presets available, what all you can do with them, how to edit pictures, zoom, crop, delete etc. Familiarize yourself with your device as much and as soon as you can.


Tip #2 – Experiment on Manual Mode

Most digital cameras come with a lot of presets that allow you to capture pictures in all sorts of conditions – dusk, dawn, landscape, indoor, portraits, motion etc. In the beginning, this is a good way to learn to use your device. But as you become comfortable with handling the camera, switch to manual mode. Experiment with the aperture, the exposure time, the zoom, the resolution of the picture and other such details. Play with the focus – do you want the foreground in focus or the background or the subject? Try clicking different things on manual mode and try to understand the difference between a preset and a manual mode. Why a picture in the portrait preset looks better than when it is clicked on manual mode. Identify the differences. Once you do, you will have already understood half of the things you need to do to click different kinds of pictures.


Tip #3 – Use a Tripod Stand

This may prove to be an exceptionally useful tip. Till you become used to handling our camera, your palms may tend to shake so that most of the pictures you click are out of focus. Use a tripod stand in such cases. Some people have shaky hands to begin with – tripod stands could be a blessing for them. A tripod stand will also let you take a group picture without you being out of the picture! Isn’t that nice? Finally tripod stands can also be an indulgence – if you want to indulge in yourself and click self-portraits! (I am sure if nothing else, then THIS will surely serve as motivation for you to invest in a tripod stand… right?)


Tip #4 – Natural Lighting

As far as possible, click pictures in natural lighting rather than using the Flash-On mode. The problem with flash pictures is that they throw disproportionate light so that only certain things in the picture are unnaturally illuminated. The difference is particularly evident when clicking pictures at night. Avoid the flash mode as much as possible. Completely avoid it in the day time; while at night, prefer to use natural lighting of bulbs and tubes in the house. Also try to use reflected lights rather than direct lights while clicking picture at night. Pictures in soffit lighting look the best, as the light is soft and uniform.


Tip #5 – Use a Viewfinder

Using a viewfinder makes landscape photography a lot easier. A viewfinder is a small frame – usually the height and width of which can be adjusted – that helps you cut out and see a part of the ‘view’. It helps you decide what you want and don’t want in the picture. This is especially helpful while clicking pictures of a beautiful landscape. Sometimes we are so taken-in by the beauty of nature, that we are unable to decide which part of the magnanimous view will look good as a picture, cut out from the rest of the view. A viewfinder helps you do exactly that. It is a great tool to learn about the basics of composition, an integral part of a good photograph.


Tip #6 – Practice, Practice, Practice!

If one is to believe what Malcolm Gladwell has said in ‘Outliers: The Story of Success’ (and there is reason enough to believe him), then you must invest around 10,000 hours in photography (or any pursuit you wish to excel in) before you master it. That is a LOT of time! How do you do that? Practice. Start early on and practice clicking pictures everyday. Click your family members, click your friends, click buildings, roads, your house, the garden, trees, flowers, insects, clouds… Carry your camera around with you when you step out of the house. As you develop an eye for photography, you will be able to capture interesting moments of day-to-day life along with mastering your technique. Another tip is to click multiple pictures of the same thing in different modes. This will help you understand just how your camera works, and exactly what effect does each of the parameters (like aperture, zoom, exposure time etc.) have on a picture.


Tip #7 – Read Up and Interact

Finally, one learns from one’s own experiences as well as from those of others. So subscribe to some good photography magazines and read about people’s experiences with different kinds of cameras, different techniques of photography etc. If there is a particular photographer you particularly revere and like the works of, see if there is an autobiography of the person. Get a copy and read it. You may even check out the official websites of professional photographers and contact them (if contact details have been provided). Make sure to attend local photography workshops. Participate in photography competitions. Increase your exposure to the field of photography, and instead of getting into photography, let a little bit of photography get into you! It works better that way (for you may easily pull yourself out of something, but you cannot dissociate something you have imbibed in yourself!).



As an amateur, there are a lot of common mistakes that you are bound to make. Learn about them and avoid them from day one! Mistakes are pretty much like bad habits – once imbibed, they are hard to get rid of. So make an effort to consciously avoid them from the day you begin to work on and sharpen your photography skills.


These tips may seem like a lot of work to simply click a good picture. But it is better to inculcate a good technique or a good habit rather than to simply click a few fluke good shots, isn’t it? Also, let these tips become a habit rather than a protocol; it won’t seem so difficult if you manage to do that. Take some time out of your busy schedule and invest it in photography, and I am sure you will be much sought after at your family and friend get-togethers and functions! Good luck!

Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/tips-for-taking-better-photos.html

Picky eating linked with psychiatric problems in kids, study finds

Picky eating linked with psychiatric problems in kids, study finds

That untouched plate and look of disgust on your child’s face at mealtime might be a sign of much bigger issues.


Picky eating, even at moderate levels, is linked with psychiatric problems, including anxiety and symptoms of depression in kids, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. It found the mental problems worsened as the picky eating became more severe.


Picky eaters are more sensitive to the texture and smell of food, and have a stronger sense of disgust than other kids, the study found.

While many parents and doctors take a “wait and see” approach, hoping it’s a phase the child will grow out of, the issue is serious enough that health care providers should intervene, the paper concludes.


For parents, the issue can be a nightmare as children skip entire food groups like fruits and vegetables. Some say doctors blame them for not trying harder.


“We need to do a better job of giving advice to these parents,” Nancy Zucker, study co-author and associate professor of psychology at Duke University, told NBC News.


“The first take-home message is that you’re not to blame. The second take-home message is that it’s more complicated than we think.”


The study screened more than 1,000 children ages 2 to 5, and found 20 percent were picky eaters. The researchers stress this goes beyond kids who just hate broccoli or have certain dislikes.


More than 17 percent of kids were classified as moderate picky eaters: These children had a very limited range of foods they would eat and they would not try anything else, Zucker said.


About 3 percent were considered severe picky eaters: Their sensitivities to smell or taste were so strong that even eating outside of the home was difficult. As they get older, it could be hard for them to go out with friends or eat at school.


Corey Fader, a 19-year-old student at the University of Pennsylvania, can relate. As a child, he would throw up unless he ate certain foods, including chicken fingers, pasta with butter, macaroni and cheese and pizza, he said. That’s still Fader’s day-to-day diet as he struggles to tolerate more dishes.


“If I see or if I try a different food, I’ll have my cup of water ready, I’ll be over by a trash bag or something like that just preparing myself to throw up,” Fader said. He yearns for the day when he can order a regular meal at a restaurant when he hangs out with friends.


Picky eaters are more sensitive to the texture and smell of food, and have a stronger sense of disgust than other kids, the study found. This ability to experience the world more intensely may also make it harder for them to get a grip on their emotions or focus, the researchers suggest.


“These are just sensitive kids, they see things more intently, they feel things more deeply and that’s both in their own internal experience and the world around them. So they have more vulnerabilities to experience taste more vividly, but also more emotions more strongly,” Zucker said.


Children who were either moderate or severe picky eaters were more likely to have symptoms of anxiety or depression the study found. They were also more likely to have mothers with high anxiety and to have family conflicts around food.


Given that picky eating is linked with psychiatric problems, there should be strategies in place for doctors to intervene, especially for kids in the severe category, the study urges.


The researchers also note the term “picky eating” may now be obsolete. They suggest the condition might be better described as avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID).

Chores for Kids by Ages

Chores for Kids by Ages

The subject of chores for kids is a difficult one. Difficult for the kids because they would prefer a chore-free world. Difficult for the parents to find the right ones and then make sure the work is done.

The good news is that the whole family benefits when chores are distributed!  Kids Activities Blog is excited to tackle this subject.


No matter what time of year it might be, a routine can help keep things organized!  Oh my beloved routine! Part of routine at my house means the children start a new batch of chores.


I think the word itself has such a negative connotation.  I firmly believe that every member of the family contributes to helping run/maintain the household and each of my children have a part in that. They need these responsibilities and life lessons, so I don’t send them out into the world helpless.

Chores for Kids

Each school year, chores change for each child based on their grade and maturity level. As a mom, you know what your child can or can’t handle.  Middle school girls can do their own laundry…middle school boys?  That’s questionable.  And I always have to remind myself, don’t fret if they do a horrible job with a task.  Have patience and show them how to do it – they will get it eventually.

Lastly, don’t give in when they whine or complain.  My children know it is expected of them.  And the earlier you start, the more normal it is for them to help out around the house.

Here are a few chore ideas for each age group.  Keep in mind, you know your child’s ability best:

Toddler (Ages 2-3)

  • Pick Up Toys (show them how)
  • Bring plate and cup to the sink after a meal
  • Straighten covers on the bed
  • Put dirty clothes into the hamper
  • Wipe up spills

Preschooler (Ages 4-5)

  • All Toddler jobs
  • Make the bed
  • Help put clothes in washing machine/dryer
  • Help put clothes away
  • Take out recycling
  • Load dishes into dishwasher
  • Dust
  • Feed animals
  • Water flowers

Elementary (Ages 6-8)

  • All Preschool & Toddler Jobs
  • Set table
  • Wash dishes in sink
  • Put clean clothes away on own
  • Collect garbage around the house
  • Sweep
  • Vacuum
  • Get mail
  • Rake leaves
  • Put away groceries
  • Wash car

Older Elementary (Ages 9-11)

  • All Toddler, Preschool, & Elementary Jobs
  • Help in meal preparation
  • Clean toilets
  • Clean bathroom sinks, counters, mirrors
  • Walk dogs
  • Take garbage cans to curb
  • Mow lawn
  • Clean animal cages
  • Shovel snow
  • Help make/pack lunch
  • Change sheets on bed

Middle School (Ages 12-14)

  • All above chores
  • Clean showers/tub
  • Wash/Dry clothes
  • Mop floors
  • Gardening/Yard work
  • Help supervise younger children


How you plan your week’s worth of chores and motivate your children to complete their tasks (i.e. allowance?) is up to you.  There are lots of great ideas out there to try and with 3 children, I have tried a lot.  It simply comes down to what works best for your family.

Regardless, encouraging your children to help out around the house in these ways make them a valuable, contributing member of the family.  Think of the self-worth & pride you are instilling in them.

What Moms Really Think About These “Fun” Kid Activities

What Moms Really Think About These “Fun” Kid Activities

Everyone knows that kids’ lives are supposed to be chock full of fun, creative, inspiring activities that hone their developing brains and allow their spirits to blossom like the vegetables you accidentally leave in the crisper for three weeks.

But what are moms really thinking during some of these tedious, I mean, delightful activities?

1. Reading favorite books

Reading the same book over and over is totally developmentally appropriate. You’ve read that everywhere. You’ve read it at least as often as you’ve read “Goodnight Moon,” which is to say, 1,673 times. This week. Whatever! No biggie, who cares if your brain cells die.

2. Play Doh

If you’re anywhere on the Type A spectrum, for some reason, mixing Play Doh colors is like nails on a chalkboard to you. I mean, you literally JUST BOUGHT them all the new colors on a special trip to Target that took only, you know, 3 hours, because you brought all three kids with you. And now it’s all purplish gray, like the bruise you’ll get on your head when you bash it into the table trying to clean up all the Doh bits from the floor later.

3. Pretend play

Even the most loyal pretend-play companion can’t always be Olaf. Or Sven. Why don’t moms ever get to be Elsa? That is NOT FAIR.

4. Baking

Yeah, okay, making cookies is fun. It’s a real mother-child bonding experience. Here’s the issue, though. No mother can, in good conscience, stuff their kids with an entire batch of sugar cookies just to get rid of them. And if they sit around your house for more than two days, guess what you’re going to be snacking on while you’re watching The Bachelorette? Hint: it’s not carrot sticks.

5. Sing-alongs

Everyone knows singing and dancing with your kids is fun and it gets everyone up and moving. But you know what, Baby Beluga can only be heard 25 times by a sane adult before that adult becomes, well, not sane. From now on, Mommy’s only playing dance party if we listen to Coldplay.

6. Games

Games for little kids are boring. Yup, that is the cold, hard truth. These include Candyland, Old Maid, Chutes and Ladders, and Jenga. You know what’s not boring? Scrabble. Or beer pong. So come back when you can read or drink, kids. Preferably both.

7. Hair salon

Don’t touch Mommy’s head, you yell in your mind as you submit to another “braid.” Mommy was having a pretty good hair day until you descended upon her like Frenchie in Grease. Hair is the only thing that looks good on me nowadays, DON’T MESS IT UP.

8. Coloring

After mixing Play-Doh, the next most annoying thing to watch is children snapping crayons in half for no reason. And then do you think they play with the two halves? Even though their hands aren’t even big enough to need more than half a crayon to hold? Hell no, because that would make sense.

9. Dress up

It’s so cute to snap a picture of your little girl playing dress up. Don’t think about the fact that she’s going to get your only remaining pair of nice date night shoes all dirty. Don’t think about it, don’t think about it, don’tthinkaboutit AAAAH! Take them off now!

10. Horsie

Horsie and other rough housing games are not your forte, but you want to be fun, right? Right? Oh look, there’s Daddy. Guess you’ll let him do horsie instead of you this one time!