The Inner Image: Taking The Best Family Pictures

Do you find that family outings are not visually captured as well as you’d like them to be? If you’re an amateur photographer, or you like a selfie or two with your kids, taking a good family photo is a fine art. After all, people have dedicated their entire lives to the endeavor of the perfect photograph. And while you don’t need to be Robert Capa, are there any fundamentals you can take on board to ensure that you don’t, at the very least, have your thumb over the lens?

Get The Focus Locked

Either you need to have the steadiest of arms, or you can go for the simpler option and get a tripod. You might consider this to be a bit bulky, but when you’re looking at capturing the perfect family photo, what have all the great portraits got in common? The camera has focus, and the subjects are still. So, making sure that the focus on the camera is locked, either by using the back button focus or manual focus, it will take a lot of the guesswork out of it.

Getting Action Shots

It all depends on the subject, but it’s much easier when you’ve got kids that are more than willing to mess around for the camera. You can get an abundance of action shots, but don’t feel that you’ve got to be static in these situations. In fact, if you’re looking to get various types of family photos, not just the still portraits, you may want to go a bit left-field and get a drone. On myrctopia.com there is a list of the best selfie drones, which adds another angle to your experience. And, if you want to get those really fantastic aerial shots of you and the family running on a massive beach, a drone is the best way to do it.

Get The Light Right

One of the most difficult tasks for any photographer is to get the light right because we can’t control it. And if you can’t drag piles of lighting equipment around with you, the simplest approach is to choose the right time to take these photos. Lighting is such an expansive topic, but the golden rule when getting a family portrait is that you get light into the subject’s eyes.

Undertake Your Own Education

Who are your favorite photographers? Do you admire anyone at all? For any budding photographer, getting into the work of one specific artist, whether it’s Pulitzer prize winner Kevin Carter or Vivian Maier, finding the right people to inspire your work and to go beyond the usual family portraits means you can create some amazing photographs that remain true to the subject. Your own education can begin right now, and sites like creativelive.com show some of the most common photography terms, so this can get you started.

We can all take a photograph, but the greatest photographs take the subject and show them in an honest and human light. When taking pictures of your family, you may know them inside out, but you can always benefit from learning how to get the camera to reveal their inner self.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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5 Ways Parents Can Introduce Their Kids to Coding

CODING – A GOOD CAREER OPTION?

Coding is fast gaining popularity with more parents wanting their kids to get into it, and why not? It’s a great career filled opportunities and good money. HTML, Java, CSS, etc., sound so complicated and to imagine that young minds that work with seems so absurd, right? But due to help from YouTube, coding camps, websites, it’s quite possible.

When your kid learns to code, he/ she is basically learning how to speak and write in a computer’s language. This language (code) will help them build websites, video games, applications, etc. A little complicated but very interesting.

INTRODUCING YOUR KIDS TO THE WORLD OF CODING

Here are some ways using which you can get your child interested in coding and experience the joy of programming.

  1. Explain Coding as Simply as You Can

Don’t we like to know what any course or business is about before we actually dip our fingers into it? In the same manner, your kids would also want to know about coding. Now, you’ll have to explain the world of coding is really simple terms so that they can get a gist of it. Remember to make it sound as fascinating as you can for the little mind.

You can tell them about how it’s like telling the computer what they’d want it to do, how they’d want it to done. Or something around the lines of them being the boss and their computer being the employee. Just things like this can help in catching their attention.

  1. Purchase Coding Games and Toys for Them

Every kid loves to play games or with toys. Here, half of your battle is already won. The games are designed in such a manner that kids, from just four- years old can understand and play them. There are different games and toys related to coding, for different age groups. Robot Turtles, Dash & Dots, etc. are great examples of such games.

In the world of video games, traditional board games and toys still haven’t lost their appeal, and in our case, are really effective in making a child interested in coding.

  1. Coding Books Should Find its Place on Their Study

There are such amazing books on coding available in the market right now that will leave you amazed! Appropriate for children above the age of seven, these books explain everything code in a very efficient and understandable manner. They contain information, little tests, tricks, etc., which can really help your child understand code better.

“Coding for kids should be introduced as young as possible. Not only does it teach skills that will be immediately relevant in tomorrow’s job market, it helps strengthen skills in a number of corollary areas such as math, reading, spelling, and problem-solving. Later on it will help kids develop skills in geometry, trigonometry, statistics, data analysis, physics, and more.” according to David Dodge, CEO of Codakid

  1. Bring in the Big Guns – Robots

There is a huge chance that the aforementioned steps might backfire. But you don’t need to lose hope. Kids find robots really interesting and often have a lot of questions about this ‘not-breathing-but-realistic’ device.

When your kids start asking about their functioning then you can relate it to code. This will surely make them listen. Best part? There are tiny, cheaper robots available in the market.

  1. Get Them an Inexpensive Computer for Them to Practice On

If your kid shows interest and wants to learn more about coding, then he’ll definitely want to practice it. You don’t need to splurge on a computer, you can opt for the inexpensive variety and install an operating system in it. They can teach themselves programming language on it, by watching videos/following steps on website blogs, etc.

Every parent wants the best for the child and there’s nothing wrong with trying to generate their interest in coding. That being said, if your child doesn’t develop interest then they shouldn’t be forced to do what they don’t want to. But, if they fall in love with it? Mission accomplished.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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12 Organization Tips For Your Office

The kitchen is where your body’s nourishment comes from, and your bedroom is where you get your daily dose of good night sleep. Even so, your home office is the nerve center of your entire home as it’s from where you work from so that you can finance all facets of your household. For it to maintain its function, a home office requires good organization. Good news is that you neither need to be an astute do-it-yourselfer nor have a huge budget to create a well-organized office. We are happy to share some simple, smart and cost-effective office organization ideas that will make your working space functional and dazzling.

  1. Extra Large Cork Board

Don’t let the high price tag attached to rolls of cork deter you. You can make yourself a large pin board by making use of cheap IKEA cork placemats and lattice from the local hardware store. Follow this tutorial for insights.

 

  1. Cover Office Chair with Fancy Fabric

Source : Little Green Notebook

Nothing does a better job at changing that dull-looking office chair to a comfy glamorous office necessity like some fancy fabric and Mod Podge. When making a pick, be sure to choose a fabric that complements your style and color scheme.

  1. Toss Routers into Decorative Paper Boxes

Source: Sweet Sanity Designs

While electronics are every home’s must-haves, they can create a mess if their cables are left lying around. Keeping them in decorative paper boxes is a sure way to keep your office space tidy.

  1. Make Printer Storage out of the Dresser

Source: PB&J Stories

Believe it or not, your dresser is one handy piece of furniture that could help get the printer out of the way. Check out this quick tutorial that gives you instructions on how to transform one of your dresser’s drawers into a perfect hideaway for your printer.

  1. Get Crafty

Source: Mod Podge Rocks

While cereal boxes and old paper towel tubes are one man’s trash, they can prove to be quite valuable to you. With glue, paint and scrapbook paper, you can easily craft your inexpensive yet alluring desk accessories from them.

  1. Kick Confusion Out with Cord Tags

Source: The Chic Site

Ever spent a couple of precious minutes trying to make out what plug belongs to which electronic device? We all have. The best way to put a stop to the confusion is to use adorable washi tape tags to each plug.

  1. Turn Simple Cans Into Glamorous Cups for Pens

Source: Creature Comforts

Do you always throw away soup cans? Don’t underestimate their worth. You can easily turn them into glamorous cups for pens and pencils. Just add metallic leather cording around the cans and secure with hot glue.

  1. Make an Office Gem Out of a Used Cabinet

Source: Two Twenty One

New metal file cabinets don’t come cheap. Sadly, they usually carry some boring look that doesn’t match their hefty price tags. If you’re on a budget, it would be wise if you obtained use-but-good ones from thrift shops. You can then add a fresh coat of paint on them to give them superior aesthetic appeal. 

  1. Adopt a Color-Coded System for Your Files

Source: A Bowl Full of Lemons

Do you have stack of files you keep meaning to put somewhere? Disorganized files make for a cluttered mess that can make it hard for you to work efficiently. Before you over-think your labeling system, think of how a simple color-coded system will do and try it.

  1. Glam up Storage Boxes

Source: First Home Love Life

Small office and craft supplies make for the most clutter in the office. Putting them in storage boxes is the sure way to get them out of the way. When painted and labeled, the storage boxes can double up as storage spaces and decorative pieces. Talk of hitting two birds with one stone!

  1. Make Use of Wall Space

Source: Style By Emily Henderson

Storage boxes can take up lots of floor space. You can free most of that space by utilizing wall space near or above your work desk. With the things you need to put away in mind, you can design simple yet stylish wall pockets to keep all that clutter off your desk.

  1. Utilize Bookcases to Store Magazines

 Source: In My Own Style

Do you have a large collection of magazines that you just can’t find it in your heart to discard? Well, instead of letting them lie around, you can tuck them nicely into bookcases. Wrap the storage boxes with pretty paper to add style. Also be sure to add labels to the boxes to ensure that you’ll retrieve any magazine issue you want with ease.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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Five Home Improvements for a Better Family Life

If you haven’t been able to save up enough to get a full makeover of your family home, you are not alone. We all need to prioritize expenses and home renovation projects, but it can be challenging. You need to focus on the improvements that make the greatest difference in your and your family’s life. Below you will find a few home renovation projects that will improve your family’s comfort, finances, and security.

1. Playrooms

playroom

Busy parents working full time to make ends meet can benefit from a bit of free time when they can cook a family dinner, or just watch a movie together. If you create a playroom for the kids, they will be out of the way when you are trying to organize your finances and file your invoices, and you will know that they are safe. Building a playroom in the garden, or converting your conservatory is a much better option than allowing your children to play on the street all night.

2. Home Security

It is also important that you invest in home security, so you can take a long weekend away, without having to worry about your house being burgled. Some DIY house alarm systems are as effective as those that are installed by professionals, and can be tailored to your needs. If you are any good at wiring and drilling, you can set one up in just a few hours. Security is one of the most important aspects of family life, so you should invest in it.

3. Smart Thermostat

If you worry about your kids not turning off the lights or heating, you might want to get a smart thermostat. It is a great investment, but doesn’t come cheap. If you need to take out credit, you can check how to get a quick personal loan online and fund your smart thermostat. Your savings over the years will cover your investment, and you will no longer have to worry about heating an empty home.

4. Kitchen Area

Cooking with kids is a cheap and joyful weekend activity. You can improve your kitchen in a way that it is easy to walk around the island, and everything is easily accessible. This will improve your weekends, and help you teach the kids some important life skills. Get a Bluetooth speaker, and stream some fun music while you teach them how to cook Spaghetti Bolognese.

5. Garden Landscaping

garden

Image via Wikipedia

If your kids love the great outdoors, you can make your garden more child-friendly. Create some benches where they can have a doll tea party or play with their toy cars. Build a garden hut that protects them from the rain, and a small playground to keep them busy during the summer vacations. Kids love tree houses, but if you don’t have any, you can get a cheap log cabin and turn it into a play den where they can escape to whenever they have friends around.

Whenever you need to prioritize home improvement projects, think about your values and preferences, and investments that will make your family life better.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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