Here for the Holidays and Dressed to Impress: Limited Edition ‘Black Tie’ Photo Book!

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Introducing a new photo book design - our Limited ‘Black Tie’ Edition - to make your photo book gifting that much more special this holiday season. Just in time for Black Friday and available only here for the Holidays, the Black Tie book comes in a sleek matte black theme with a stunning black linen interior that elevates your gift and your photos to ‘Black Tie’ status.

We wanted to create a book that makes a unique and special gift you can’t get anywhere else, with a design that really conveys the celebratory nature of the season. This is just the first of our Limited  Editions in the App as a way to make one-of-a-kind ultra high quality photo books at a great price point of $29, in a matter of just minutes.

This month we are lucky to be able to feature the inspiring photography of Karen Walrond in the Black Tie book so get the app and take a little trip to Paris with us!

The ‘Black Tie’ Book is available over the holidays until Jan 15th and is kicking off with a free shipping offer for, fittingly, Black Friday weekend– from Wed, Nov 27th to Monday, Dec 2nd. Send personalized gifts from the comfort of your sofa - what could be better?

The Greatest Kid-Gift Ever: Let Them Make Their Own Photobook

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You know those little treats you’ve found on your phone or iPad. Tongues stuck-out, samples of lego mastery, hee-hee-ha-ha moments when your back was turned and they let loose with 40 shots of goofy dances, then decorated after-the-fact with that app that turns everybody’s face into ‘Minecraft Steve’.

Here’s a thought: thinking ahead to Christmas, why not give them a thrill by putting the kids in charge of creating their very own photobook?

Encourage them to decide what they want to include: their rooms, their creations, their drawings and stuffie toys; their funny faces, their friends. Let them do the shooting and decorating, if that’s their thing—there are a ton of post-processing apps out there that turn images into lego, or pixels, or that add little monsters or funny lips, noses, or ears after-the-fact (some of our favourites include #WayCooler, Minecraft PhotoFX, and LEGO Photo).

Let it be a creative project, and then surprise them with a real, printed book of all their adventures. Let them take it to school to show around, and then use as an autograph book.

It’s a golden rule of parenting, I figure—we may as well go with the flow, and celebrate what *they* think is funny, what *they* think is cool. Way cooler. —Kate Inglis

Inspiration Tuesday: Moms of Instagram

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Ana of Bluebird Kisses created the fabulous series Moms of Instagram and since then, we’ve been soaking it up. So many inventive and wonderful family captures—and all with the little phone cameras we keep at-hand. And it’s not just photographs: it’s an inspirational nudge along with know-how.

The things that connect us are our shared loves, styles, and enthusiasms. Even our thoughts on decor, holiday rituals, and adventures come through in our photos. Instagram is how we make those connections—and these moms, by sharing their family lives so beautifully, make artful storytelling that much more possible. For cues on how to begin weaving a narrative of your family life, browse through Ana’s virtual supper party. It’ll get you revved up—along with giving you a wealth of new talents to follow—Kate Inglis

A lesson: capturing celebration

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Food writer and filmmaker Aube Giroux shares her love of cooking on her farm-to-table blog Kitchen Vignettes, and in turn with the good folks at PBS Food. Today, she inspires us with a creative challenge: the next time you have one of those grand holiday gatherings—Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthday—try capturing it with a storyteller’s eye for the whole affair. Not only the festivities, the people, and the table,  but the food, the preparation, the sun gleaming through the last of the leaves on the trees. How does your family celebrate?

Aube Giroux is a passionate organic gardener and home cook who likes to share the stories of how food gets to our dinner plates. Her work has been shown on television and at international film festivals. In 2012, she was the recipient of Saveur Magazine’s Best Food Blog award in the video category.

National Photo Posting Month

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Karen Walrond, friend of Impressed and photographer/writer extraordinaire, has a way of getting movements started. It’s not too late to jump in on National Photo Posting Month, a spinoff project inspired by National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo):

“The point of NaNoWriMo isn’t to write a book that will be an international best seller, so much as it is to simply get into the practice of writing, and create something within 30 days,” she says. “I did it once—it produced a truly horrifying piece of work—but just doing the exercise taught me that I’m capable of writing a book (and honestly, it gave me the confidence to create The Beauty of Different, when the time came to do so).”

Every day, for the month of November, Karen and many, many others will take and share a photograph, over and above any regular blogging schedule they may have:

“Starting today, keep your camera on you, and photograph something — anything—and save it somewhere. To be clear, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to do this—just have a camera (of whatever type), and a willingness to stop and take a photo every day. You should join me:  it’s a lesson in stopping and looking, improving your photography skills, and appreciating the beauty and light around you. ”

Photos can be shared on just about any social channel—Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+—as long as it’s tagged #NaPhoPoMo. Then they’ll be added to a pool, where you’ll get to contribute to the community.

We love it. Imagine, then, a photobook: a month in your life, the lives of your loved ones. Ordinary moments that, when captured, show their beauty. Ordinary moments worth marking and remembering. —Kate Inglis


Photo Stories 101: The Girls’ Weekend

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We’re reasonably good at capturing the holidays, birthday parties, and vacations of our families—kids jumping in the lake, riding the carousel, picking strawberries, and tobogganing at the winter-sleeping golf course. But what about capturing a special getaway with friends?

Whether it’s associated with a wedding, a retreat, a little vacation, or a reunion, bring your camera and take on the project of capturing it. Perhaps instead of contributing food, presents, or souvenirs, your participation in the weekend could be a photobook to memorialize all those friendships? It’s a rare and wonderful project that everyone will appreciate—and, mailed along to everyone after they’ve settled back into ordinary life, it will bring everyone back to treasure those times and those faces.

When you’re shooting—no matter what kind of camera or mobile device you’re using—do your best to be candid, to capture natural moments of cloistering, conversation, or laughter. Take time to memorialize the food, the activities, and the aesthetic details that make your friends your friends—their hand-knit hats, their hula hoops, their pots of tea and bottles of wine, their afternoons sitting on braided rugs around the fire. Wander from one bunch of friends to another, doing your best to get a good portrait of each individual at some point. Include a mix of action shots and partial compositions—jumping, swimming, sandy feet, bright red boots.

Do you not have a girls’ (or guys’) weekend like this? Start one. Make it a tradition. Use someone’s cottage or rent a little place that’s central to everyone, and bring everything that you and yours love. Cheesy magazines, homemade pickles, snowmobiles, tarot cards, candles, home-canned salsa. Set a stage and invite them all, with plenty of time to plan for childcare or bank accounts. It’s a chance to be yourself outside of your roles—wife or husband, mother or father—and to invest time in the friendships that feed you.

Just make sure that whatever you do, you bring your best camera with this promise: I will actively look around me, all the time, for what I love about these people—and I will capture it as best I can.

We have a private Facebook group for our bunch of widely-scattered friends, and in it, now that we’re all home, we’re sharing photos and memories. But what they don’t know is that I am cooking up something for them to hold, and it will come to them with a red bow wrapped around it, an invitation to make sure there’s a next year. That’s my contribution. —Kate Inglis

Found and shared: must-see snapshot inspiration from Mike Kus, Instagram star

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Mike Favourite Instagram 12Mike Kus, one of the most-followed non-celebrity, non-professional, non-corporate photographers on Instagram, sees unintentional opportunity, comedy, beauty, personality, and story in his world. “It doesn’t take much to wake it up,” he says. Mike Kus shows us how.Dark Rye

Dark Rye, the online magazine of Whole Foods Market, featured Instagram photographer Mike Kus a few issues back. There’s a wealth of inspiration to be found in Dark Rye’s coverage: how Mike finds interesting photos on his way to work, and which daily snapshots are his favourites. Then there’s the video, in which we follow along as he shoots spontaneously, and as he chronicles the life of his family.

Find a story! Find a new perspective! Put someone in it! There’s much to learn from off-the-cuff shots taken quickly, but artfully. Mike’s advice is plentiful, but more visual than anything he needs to say—see these images, and work on your own Kus-like eye for storytelling. This is where we begin to capture the chapters of our family story, which becomes our journal… something to read, remember, and to make us smile. Begin here: A Non-Shortcut, Walk-To-Work Guide To Taking Better Instagram Pictures by Mike Kus on DARK RYE.

Photo Stories 101: the art of seasonal storytelling

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There’s nothing more fun than a campy selection of photos to celebrate not only Halloween, but everything about this time of year: the pumpkin carving, the roasted seeds, the raking of leaves and baking of pie, the crisp afternoon hikes, the apple-picking excursions—and, of course, the making, donning, and parading of costumes.

Here are a few tips for making an October series of family photos into something that comes together as a story, regardless of whether you’re using a fancy SLR camera or if you’re chasing along after them on trick or treat night with your smartphone.

1. Be sure to capture the ‘before’ as well as the ‘after’. The details of costume preparations (and the collaboration necessary for great ones!) make for terrific memories, and add a richness to your visual storytelling.

2. Don’t forget to capture the details of your decorations! The special magic we source, craft, and add to our home is a critical part of the chronicling the playfulness of each fall season. Bonus: do this every year and you’ll keep a catalog of all the best ideas…

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The candid how-to of family photography: Ali Martell of Cheaper Than Therapy

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Continuing our tips & tricks series with our favourite photographers, Ali Martell of Cheaper Than Therapy talks to us about the art of family storytelling and how to change your perspective for great shots.

How can people approach photography as storytelling, given that we tend to get stuck in a rut of one-off snapshots? What do you think is the magic that separates a snapshot from a storytelling photo?

A posed snapshot is lovely to look at, but it doesn’t really tell me the whole story, the real story. Storytelling photos are works of art. They make us feel and think; ask questions and wonder. My favorite shots are the ones I take when people are unguarded and when don’t think they are being photographed. When a baby desperately tries to pick up a dropped toy, when a toddler masters bubble blowing for the first time, when a brother laughs at his sister’s joke, a mother watching her daughter dance on stage, a husband stealing a kiss. Those are the real moments, stories captured forever… Read More

Weekend inspiration: the value of shooting every day

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We are three conversations into our family photography 101 feature, where we ask our favourite photographers how they approach their own family stories—and it’s already given us clever kid-wrangling tricks, fun apps and indispensable gear, and of course, indispensable advice. But so far, one of the common encouragements?


It’s a universal rallying cry among photography enthusiasts, pro or otherwise—and one of my very favourite photo-friends is among the most devoted of documenting daily adventures. Kristin Zecchinelli of Maine Momma (and fellow founding contributor of the ever-evolving Shutter Sisters) weaves story after story—a family hike, apple-picking, and changing seasons.

Images shared with permission from Kristin Zecchinelli

What drives her is the creative challenge of Project 365—a vow to create an image every day. While it sounds simple enough, it’s somewhat of a marathon, though its primary result isn’t merely 365 (give or take) photographs. It’s the habit and discipline of grabbing your camera or smart phone on your way out the door, and creating not just snapshots, but visual stories.

“Getting through my own Project 365 was just taking a moment each day to be thankful, for anything. On some days, that is not easy. But I hoped if I completed the project, I could look back lovingly on my year, and that one day my kids would have this and see what little something each day made me smile. And perhaps they too would learn that there is beauty in the every day.” —Kristin Zecchinelli

We could not have said it better. Follow along with Kristin at Maine Momma, or browse her gorgeous Flickr stream, and we promise—you’ll get that spark back for the everyday.