21 Perfect Gifts for the Photographer in Your Life

21 Perfect Gifts for the Photographer in Your Life

Holidays are just around the corner. No, literally. I can see them. As I’m getting together my own Christmas list, I started thinking about how sometimes it can be hard to figure out exactly what someone would love. If you know a photographer (let’s say she’s your wife) then this is the perfect list for you. Get anything off of this list and the photographer in your life will be extremely amazed and happy. You want to be able to present your favorite photographer with the perfect gift. That’s why I have put together this list of 20 perfect gifts for the photographer in your life.

need some inspiration? check out my 10 Must Read Photography Books post.

21 Perfect Gifts for the Photographer in Your LifeThis post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

21 Perfect Gifts for the Photographer in Your Life

You really can’t go wrong with anything related to photography. But, let’s get real. There are a ton of things related to photography. Where do you possibly begin? This list of 21 perfect gifts for the photographer in your life is the perfect place to start. You can thank me later when your photographer is grinning from ear to ear.

 

  1. Mastering Composition: The Definitive Guide for Photographers – You can’t go wrong with a good book. This book is filled with beautiful images and gets you thinking. I own this book and really enjoy looking through it when I am in need of composition guides. I love this book!
  2. ClickinMoms Membership – Since joining ClickinMoms back in 2015, my photography has literally changed for the better! This site is amazing! I also want to say that it’s NOT just for Moms! I wasn’t a mom when I joined. I have also seen many, many dads/men on there as well. So don’t be afraid to get an account just because it says Mom in the name!  It has so much chance for growth and learning. I love the forums, you don’t have to take a class to learn. The forums themselves have many, many tutorials along with beautiful photo shares to help inspire you. And speaking of classes…
  3. ClickinMoms Class – Photographers love to learn. And what’s a better way of learning than a class? I love the full participation option, but the study along seat is just as nice! I highly recommend their Mastering Manual Exposure class or their Foundations of Composition class. Both were excellent first beginner classes.
  4. Coffee & Editing Tshirt –  How cute is this shirt?? Perfect for your favorite photographer. I’m not a coffee drinker, otherwise I’d totally get this shirt! I need one that says Cider & Editing or Hot Cocoa & Editing. Maybe I’ll design one myself sometime!
  5. Camera Necklace – Excuse me while I go purchase this adorable necklace for myself! Talk about cute!! I would totally wear this all. the. time. if I had it! I’m seriously adding this to my Christmas list. So cute!
  6. Macro Extension Tubes – These are perfect for beginner macro photographers. If you’re not sure if you would get into macro and want to try it out, but don’t want to spend a fortune on a lens you won’t use, I recommend these inexpensive macro extension tubes. Also be sure to check out my 3 Tips to Get Started in Macro Photography post. It’s my number 1 pinned post!
  7. Flowers – These are to go along with the macro extension tubes. Because, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want subjects to practice on!
  8. Amazon Gift Card – A lot of the thing I link to on here are from Amazon so why not get an Amazon Gift Card so your photographer can buy whatever she/he wants?!
  9. Camera Strap – I LOVE this camera strap! So comfortable and I have gotten so many compliments about it! I have the blue one with white polka dots. I love it! I want to get the flower one next – so cute! I highly recommend upgrading your camera strap from the standard that Nikon or Canon give you. You look more professional with an updated strap and they’re usually more comfortable. Win-win.
  10. ExpoDisc – An ExpoDisc is a perfect way to help with your white balance troubles. I’ve never actually used one, but I have heard it’s great! It sets your white balance in any situation so that you don’t have to worry about it.
  11. Camera Bag – ShutterBag makes the cutest camera bags! And best yet is that you can pick your color!! If I didn’t already have a fabulous camera bag, I would totally be buying one of these. In fact, I’ll probably start saving up for one of these adorable bags. Bonus, they look like they could fit all of your needs! If you don’t have a camera bag, I expect this to be on your list. They are great for when you want to go anywhere with your camera. And plus, I mean, just look at how cute they are!
  12. Lensbaby Velvet 56 – If I had the money for this I would buy this right now. No joke. I have had my eye on this lens for such a long time! If you are looking for a creativity boost, this is the lens for you. It creates such beautiful bokeh.
  13. Lensbaby Sweet 35 – Again, if you want a cheaper lens to buy, but that still creates beautiful images, the Lensbaby lenses are the way to go! I love the neat effects this lens creates. It has a nice slice of focus that you can use creatively.
  14. Manfrotto Tripod – I’m literally drooling over this Tripod. I have a cheap tripod from Wal-mart. And I’ll be honest, it gets the job done. But man would it be nice to have a nice Tripod like this Manfrotto Tripod! Just look at how professional it looks. If your favorite photographer doesn’t have one, a tripod is a really good gift.
  15. Remote – I love my nifty remote for my camera. It has helped me take so many of my self portraits. It’s great if you want to get in the frame. I also love how small it is, so that it’s easy to hide in your photos. A remote is an inexpensive, yet thoughtful gift for your favorite photographer.
  16. Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription – This is literally the best thing I have ever gotten myself. I love creative cloud. It is so nice to have any and all programs that I need. I love Lightroom, it’s the easiest to learn and use. There is so much you can do with Lightroom. I also love Photoshop for some of my more advanced photo editing. If your photographer doesn’t have the Creative Cloud subscription, this is the perfect gift!
  17. Phone Camera Lens – There are so many camera lenses out there. This is the set that I have and I love. You can read about my experience with them here. They are fun to use and they give you a little more freedom with your phone pictures.
  18. Macro Lens – Macro is a great creative outlet! I love turning to macro when the weather is cold and grey (perfect for winter!). This lens is amazing. It will fulfill all of your macro needs. If you’re new to macro, check out my 3 Tips to Get Started in Macro Photography post. It has great advice for the beginner macro photographer.
  19. Nifty Fifty – This lens is a go to lens. It creates beautifully sharp images. You can read my review for it here. This lens is the perfect lens for a beginner photographer. AND it’s the cheapest lens out there! Perfect for gift giving!
  20. iPad Mini – Every photographer needs an iPad Mini. They are the perfect size and can fit in your camera bag! I have so many apps on my iPad Mini that I use for photography. Apps like Prime and Instagram. Plus it’s fun just to have an iPad Mini. 😉
  21. Cute Mug – Us photographers need our coffee/cider/hot cocoa while we work. What’s a better way than to get them the perfect mug? This mug from Target is oh so cute. I might just get it for myself! I am a mug-a-holic!

 

I hope this post has inspired you for your Christmas shopping. Christmas is literally right around the corner. Yikes! Get going! A lot of these gifts would be perfect for any mom. But all of these are perfect for the photographer in your life. *hint hint* The holidays are just around the corner!

 

7 Steps to Successful Blogging for Photographers

7 Steps to Successful Blogging for Photographers
When you first start out in the photography business, blogging might be way in the back of your mind. I can tell you that for the longest time I tried to stay away from blogging. I honestly thought I would hate it! I thought that it was a waste of time, why blog? When you start your photography business, there’s so many things you have to focus on, so sometimes it’s easier to just forget about the blogging side of the business. But I am here to tell you that you shouldn’t. Blogging is extremely important to any business. Keep reading for 7 steps to successful blogging.

check out my 100 Photography Blog Post Ideas post for ideas to get you started

7 Steps to Successful Blogging for Photographers with FREE blog planner

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

my blogging journey

I started my photography blog in hopes to get more clients for my photography business. I wasn’t ready to start a photography business. I didn’t have a portfolio. I really wasn’t very good at photography, either! But I had high hopes. My blog has taken a different approach since that initial start. I now know my why to blogging. I think it is important for you to figure out your why. Why do you want to blog?

With blogging you’re able to write down your thoughts, ideas, and insights in how you work. You’re able to show what you do, why you do it, and how your audience can achieve the same effect. For a photography blog, this is extremely important. I know I’ve gone to countless photography websites where I wish I could get some insight into how they achieved that image! If I had just an inkling of an idea, I would be able to experiment and explore my own style of photography easier.

Allow me to give you 4 good reasons why it is important in our field of work:

  • It helps optimize your SEO – it helps search engines find you, and who doesn’t want to be found?
  • You can grow your email list and get more customers that way.
  • It gives your talent and business credibility.
  • It helps you compete with the competitors – yes, they’re blogging and so should you!

my 7 steps to successful blogging for photographers

1. consistency is key

I believe this is something I have struggles with. I think it’s important to explore different things and to figure out what works for you. But once you figure out what works for you, keep it consistent. Keep your work consistent, too. When writing your post, keep the format the same. In all of my posts I have an introduction, I write words about the post, then I dive right in to my points (if it’s a list post, like this post is), I always have at least one image. This helps my readers to know what to expect. They can look at my format and automatically know that it’s my site and not anyone else’s site. Consistency will help you get more readers to come to your blog over and over again. This will help you be successful in your blogging.

2. know your target audience

If you have a photography blog, but are blogging about how being a mom is hard…that doesn’t really fit into your target audience. Same goes for if you have a photography business and the reason for blogging is to get more clients. You don’t want to blog about how you saved money that month. That will get a different set of eyes than what you are after. Instead, you want to blog about all of your client sessions. Showing potential clients what a session is like with you. For me, my target audience are beginner bloggers & photographers who want to learn more and increase their knowledge.

3. come up with a schedule

Figure out what will work for you in the beginning. Make a schedule. How often will you blog? This goes along with being consistent. Will you post twice a month? Twice a week? Write down how often you will blog and try to keep at it. By being consistent with your schedule, your audience will know how often you update your blog. It’s no fun going to one of your favorite blogs and finding out they haven’t had any new material in over a year. Keep your audience excited to come back to your blog by posting regularly.

4. share your posts

Social media is growing! If you are not on all the popular social media sites, get on them now. My favorites are Pinterest & Instagram! Work on building your audience on there, and eventually it will pay off by linking your blog posts to those. Share your blog posts on any of the other platforms, too, like Facebook, Google +, & Twitter.
Google + is an excellent one to have because it is directly related to Google, and who doesn’t want their blog posts to reach more people on Google, right? The more you post, the more successful you are.

5. be yourself

When I first started blogging, I tried to be like all the other bloggers I saw out there. They ALL had beautiful and bright photos. And when I tried to do that for myself, I found myself hating my posts. I hated the images that went along with that post, too! When I switched back to being myself, I became more successful. I was able to blog about the things I loved and I was able to share the images that really spoke to me.
I think we sometimes forget how important it is to be ourselves. Part of being interesting is being unique.

6. readability

Have you ever stumbled on a blog that had so many errors it hurt to read? Obviously, bloggers aren’t perfect. But, if you are blogging, PLEASE make sure you try your best at proper grammar! That will help get readers to come back again. Readability on your blog is so important, I highly recommend the Yoast SEO plugin on your site. I am actually using it right now! It helps you with how readable your post is and how to make it better for SEO purposes. This plugin is essential and will help you become a more successful blogger in no time.

 

7. make a planner & stick to it

Once I started planning out my posts using my planner, I was able to stay consistent and was therefore more successful. Luckily for you I have created a planner, free of charge! This planner includes a post page and a weekly planner. Print as many as you want out and put them in a binder. Fill them out and get organized. Staying organized will help you take charge of your blog and be a successful blogger in no time.

 

A Thousand Words – November

A Thousand Words – November

A Thousand Words – November

I am loving our blog circle, A Thousand Words. A picture can tell a story in and of itself. But we use quotes to inspire us. This months quote is beautiful. I hope this blog circle puts a smile on your face!

To continue the circle, go here to see Eileen’s interpretation of the quote.

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” ― Mother Teresa

 

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

check out my 3 Ways to Catch Up on Blogging When You’re Behind post

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image taken by: Nikon D610 and my sigma lens
my settings were: ISO 160 | f/1.4 | 1/320ss

Letters to My Little One | 4 Month Old

Letters to My Little One | 4 Month Old

 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

To my little peanut,

You are so cute. End of story. I can’t get over how cute you are! I was looking back at your newborn pictures – and I can’t believe I am going to say this – but you have gotten even cuter. No joke. I didn’t think it was possible. But with every month you just get cuter and cuter. I am forever battling myself with wanting you to stay little, to be my baby forever, but at the same time, I want to see you grow and learn. It’s so fun to see you learn! You’ve learned so much this past month, too!

For starters, you’ve learned how to roll from your back to your stomach. You already learned how to roll from stomach to back. Now you are a pro at both. And since you roll so much, you are really good at getting around. I’ll place you in the center of our living room while I edit pictures, and within seconds you are on the other side of the living room. It’s impressive.

Your next favorite thing to do right now is blow raspberries. It’s so cute!! After that, you just sit there and talk to yourself. You also talk to mommy and daddy, too. It’s my favorite! I have way too many videos of you just talking to me. You’re talking right now as I type this letter to you!

Another thing you learned this month is how to put things in your mouth. It’s really quite adorable, I can’t get over it. Last month you had no idea what to do with toys that I’d give you, this month you love to hold them and put them in your mouth. It’s really quite amazing watching you learn like that.

This month we finally got you laughing. And oh. my. goodness. is it the cutest thing ever!! You laugh so much when I pinch you. Smile ear to ear! And you just laugh and laugh. I love trying to find new ways for you to laugh.

Four months has been quite the adventure. I can’t believe it’s been four months since giving birth to you. It seems like I’ve known you a long time. And I can’t imagine my life without you. You are so special. So important. So cute. So loved. I love you more and more each day. You have honestly made me a better person.

I am blessed to be your mommy.

I love you so much!

Love, mommy

 

read month 1 here
read month 2 here
read month 3 here

3 Easy Tips to Take a Self Portrait

If you’re a photographer, you know one of the hardest techniques to conquer is self portraiture. Let’s be honest, our hearts skip a beat when we take pictures of our kids or clients. But when we see a photo of ourselves? Well, we start to critique and we start to critique hard. Perhaps it’s because you haven’t lost those 40 pounds you so wish you could lose. Perhaps it’s because you really have no self love for yourself (and if that’s the case, stop reading this right now and go do something for you because you deserve it and you are beautiful). Or maybe you find it hard to get in the picture. Whatever the reason is, stop it. You are beautiful. You are loved. You are cherished. Your kids will want pictures of you one day. They will want to see what you look like. And you know what? They WON’T care about that 40 pounds you never managed to get off. They just won’t. They will care that you are in photos with them. I have 3 tips to help take self portraits and to make it easier.

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This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

1. focus on the tripod

I love using a tripod. But if you don’t have one, anything will work! I have set my camera on books, my desk, tv stand, mantel, stairs, counter, table, anything stable will do. Make sure it is stable, I don’t want any camera’s breaking! The trick here, and it’s a favorite of mine, is to stand where you want to stand, camera in hand. Then, and here’s the magical part, you focus on where you are going to put your camera (the tripod, the counter, the stack of books, etc). Focus on where your camera is going and set your focus to manual focus. Not sure how to do that? Look it up in your manual! Mark the spot where you are standing, sitting, etc. Make sure you go back to that same spot. Next, set your camera on your tripod, table, etc. and go back to where you marked your spot. Use your timer or remote shutter and ta-da! You are in focus in every shot. Such a fun trick.
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2. hand the camera over

This is probably the number one thing I do when taking a self portrait. Whether it’s really considered as a ‘self’ portrait or not is entirely up to you! But, hand the camera over to someone. First thing you want to do is have them model for you. Get the settings the way you want them. Take a test shot and make sure the image looks the way you want. Then I like to show the person helping me the image I took. I’ll tell them, “focus in the middle” or “put the little square on my face” etc. I will tell them EXACTLY what I want! That’s the key here. I show them how to focus. I give them pointers on how to get the shot that I want and what I would do. I also fully encourage taking a lot of images. My husband has a hard time with this. He sometimes only takes one image and then that one image doesn’t turn out. Since they are new to a camera this big, I really encourage them to take as many images as possible. Then, ONE of them will for sure turn out.

3. do something in your photo

 What I mean by this is don’t just smile at the camera. Sure, it’s fine to have photos like that. But do something else in your other photos, as well. Hug one of your children. Show yourself doing the dishes. Show yourself playing with your kids. Do something in your photo. It helps make self portraits less stiff and more genuine. It helps you photograph who you are. I love holding my baby boy. It gives me something to do and helps my arms look less awkward.
I really encourage each photographer (and mom, for that matter!) to get in the frame. Not only does it encourage creativity (trust me, try getting in the frame and you’ll see what I mean) but it also helps photograph you. You’re important, too. You were there, too. Hand that camera over. Set up the tripod. But the camera on a ledge or counter. GET IN THE FRAME. I cannot stress it enough. It is so important in your photography career. The more you do it, the better your self portraits will get.