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Risking the perfect shot: What’s your extreme?

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Risk image

Every summer, a new trend arrives to the world of wedding photography. Trending in Summer 2014 is an ode to Mother Nature that has seen, twisters, fires, and thunderstorms, punching up the backdrops of traditional wedding photos. As all trends go, two things are certain: 1) This fad, like all others, will eventually fade out (remember wedding parties jumping in the air?), and 2) before that happens, photographers will compete to push the limits and get their work noticed.

Free stock images risk

Necessity became the mother of invention of this trend, when Colleen Niska incorporated a brewing twister in the background of her clients’ wedding photos. And it worked. With the unmatched backdrop, Niska’s photos went viral, and one can only assume (and hope) the couple loved their images. This photojournalism style captures the day as it really happened, and does not view the weather as an imperfection to conceal.

Now back to point #2 above. There have been stunning natural events caught on film; more extraordinary when occurring on a person’s big day. And it’s a great idea to work with what you have, taking Tim Gunn’s (Project Runway) advice to ‘make it work’. But when it comes to natural disasters, these shots imply stronger risks. And if the competitive landscape of photography is to push the limits, then it begs the question: at what point is the risk too much?

As a photographer, you’re probably a bit of an adventure/ travel/ adrenaline junkie to some degree. Travelling to foreign destinations willingly (preferably!) to shoot weddings is part of the job. Do we reach a moral dilemma risking not just natural events, but (gulp), natural disasters? In this kind of trend, how far are you willing to go and at what point do you draw the line on risk?

Are you willing to shoot outdoors near a tornado, monsoon, or lightning in an open field? How about at the edge of an active volcano?

Would you battle a fear of heights?

What about your subjects – do you push them to stick it out for a great shot?

Perfectly Clear Automatic Image Correction

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Image correction software

Hundreds of millions of wedding pictures will be captured this year in wedding all across the USA and elsewhere, how many of them will need some corrections and enhancement? The circumstances of wedding shooting is less than ideal, the space, the lighting and the movements are all not under your control and this will show in many images, thus many photographers will be spending hours going through the images, deleting some (or many) of them and correcting the many more, is anybody really paying for this time? The alternative is equally problematic, your images are what other people know of you, and your customers are your “word of mouth”, can you afford un-touched images representing you? Will they bring in the next customers?

One solution for this dilemma is Perfectly Clear image enhancements solutions which are plugins for Lightroom and Photoshop that provides automatic image correction. The plugins analyze your photos, and provide 12 corrections on an individual, pixel-by-pixel basis. Noise will be removed, red-eye detected and corrected, exposure will be perfect.  There are a few similar solutions but a few have the inelegance and science Perfectly Clear has.

The software does these corrections in a few seconds:

  • Tint removal – We’ll automatic remove those nasty tints from tungsten, fluorescent, incandescent, IR, etc., light sources.
  • Exposure – We’ll correct exposure pixel per pixel, never clipping.
  • Depth/Contrast – People like to see photos with lots of depth/punch
  • (a 3D look) on 2D paper. Our medical contrast algorithm accomplishes this.
  • Color Vibrancy – Accurately fix those photos that look like they’ve been washed out by the sun.
  • Fidelity – Ensure the proper purples and greens are in your photos.
  • Sharpening – Simple to use, yet very powerful. Artifact free.
  • Noise – Automatically detects and removes noise. If you’re shooting portrait, then select the “portrait” noise preset for extra smooth skin. If no noise is detected but you’d like apply noise removal – select the “strongest” preset.
  • Skin Tone – Remove infra-red captured by the camera but not seen by your eye.
  • Light Diffusion – Create a softer, warmer look.
  • Red-Eye – Automatically detects and removes. Enough said.
  • Vivid – Add an accurate color boost to your photos.
  • Dynamic Range – Automatically ensures you have the full range of exposure.

Through our partnership with Athentech the developer of Perfectly Clear we are happy to offer a unique special 35% discount

Use DIGILABS (enter in shopping upon check out) – good until June 30, 2013

Here are some Examples of the Perfecly Clear Automatic Image Correction

Perfect Exposure Correction

Skin Tone

The camera captures infra-red in skin tone PC will remove it

Tint removal

Automatically remove of tints from tungsten, fluorescent, and other problematic light sources

Through our partnership with Athentech the developer of Perfectly Clear we are happy to offer a unique special 35% discount

Shooting The Moon, Painting The Night with Timothy S. Little

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How to set focus to infinity

When people learn that I am a night photographer and light painter they get that look on their face that says “I don’t know what that means but I think I want to hear more.”   Rather than explain it, I usually show them this photograph:

That’s when I’ve grabbed their attention and they start asking questions.   Unlike shooting during the day, night photography is about immersing into a series of moments and recording everything that happens.  It reveals a world of rich color and motion just beyond the ability of the naked eye.  It often means you’re out there alone, under the moonlight, listening to some great mood music and absorbing your surroundings in what I can only describe as a meditative state.  Like Batman, it involves quietly slipping into and out of places unnoticed by passers by and not raising the suspicions of the neighborhood watch or concerned citizens.  I knew I had successfully mastered the art of melting into the darkness when I began scaring coyotes.

Half moon photography

Beyond all of that, it is arguably the only photographic medium that allows the photographer to directly influence the final image while the exposure is in progress.   Most photographers set their stage, perfect their lighting and then capture their subject in the fraction of a second it takes to click the button.  A night photographer’s work doesn’t start until the shutter opens and it’s during these minutes, sometimes several, that the real work begins. One neat trick in night photography is that the camera won’t see you if you don’t stay in the same place for more than ten percent of your exposure time.  I lit an old bathhouse using this trick by running in and out of each of its sixteen doors with a multicolored flashlight.   I shut the light off before exiting each doorway and switched it back on after arriving in the next. I kept moving, never letting the camera see the flashlight itself and not staying in one place for more than a few seconds. It was one of the hardest shots I’ve composed and it took me a few attempts to get it done right.

Other times, light painting might not be so obvious.  My recent shoot of a locally famous red chair lead me to a snow covered golf course.  A little bit of light on the front of the chair was all I needed to pull it away from the backdrop of a rising moon and to showcase its bright red paint.

Sometimes nature does the light painting for me.  While it is nearly impossible to capture lightning during the day, all one has to do at night is open the shutter and wait for the flash. I’ve been very lucky with lightning – both in the sense of getting a good shot and not being struck while doing it.

The best moments for me, however, are when I have to do nothing but stand there and let the moon do the work. These shoots are my favorite because it affords me the time to just stop and take it all in.  It’s a really great way to live in the moment and create not just a photograph, but a memory.  In those moments spent waiting for an exposure to complete, I take in the sights and sounds of my surroundings. It’s like giving your mind the time to take a panorama. When I began my journey into the night several years ago, I had almost no experience in professional photography.  I knew what I wanted to accomplish and worked back from there by harassing other night photographers, asking questions, trying to figure out cameras without reading manuals and travelling thousands of miles to attend the workshop with like minded artists.  It turns out that when you discover you have a passion for something, the learning comes easily.  Displaying a few images in my office and hearing clients compliment them without knowing who the photographer was lead me to creating a website to further share my work, selling prints at art shows and eventually scoring a publishing contract.   What started as a creative outlet to help relieve the stress of daily life has now turned in to something far beyond my original intentions.  I find no greater joy than being able to share my work with others and passing along the peace and solitude of each night’s shoot through my photography.

So you want to take some night shots under a full moon?  Here are a few quick tips to get you started:

1) Hardware:  Tripod, Camera, Shutter release. If you want to dabble in light painting bring a flashlight.

2) Preparation:  Assemble your gear before going out to your destination.  Don’t make things hard on yourself  by trying to attach a lens to your camera and the camera to a tripod while holding a flashlight in your mouth.   Connect the shutter release to the camera and Velcro it to a trip leg to keep to from dangling as you walk.

3) Once you’re outside, let your eyes adjust:   Ten minutes or so later and you’ll think you have night vision.  Do what astronomers do and only use a red light to read by or assist in finding the buttons on your equipment.  The red light will help to preserve your newly found night vision.  Bonus points for knowing which buttons are which in dark.  Don’t forget to dial back your camera’s screen brightness or you’ll blind yourself for sure.

4) Start with a low ISO setting: an F-stop in the 5.6 or 6.3 range and let the shutter fly for a solid three minutes and adjust from there.  Like any other type of photography, it’s all about experimenting.

Right or wrong, good or bad and regardless of what you end up with, get out there and experience those moments, bask in some moonlight and find out what it feels like to let life slow down.

Tim Little is Cape Cod’s only night photographer.   His book “Cape Cod Nights” from Schiffer Books will be available spring of 2013. To learn more about night photography,  see more of his work and to register for one of his after dark workshops visit his: 

Website: www.CapeNightPhotography.Com

Blog: Cape Night Photography Blog 

Facebook: Cape Night Photography

Wedding Photography Isn’t Just About Capturing Moments by Cole Kor

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Wedding pictures

Cole Kor is a renowned wedding photographer based in Singapore. His works, under 2 of Us Photography, has received international recognition. To date, he has received 38 awards from panels such as Fearless Photographers and ISPWP. We’re pleased to partner with Cole in this week’s guest blog post about his style of wedding photos.

Wedding diaries

At 2 of Us Photography, you can expect natural and journalistic photos. But with every wedding photographer on the block claiming the same style, Cole understands that that isn’t enough to make 2 of Us Photography stand out. So he introduces his own twist. He utilises different angles to create different effects or points of view and employs his creativity to produce interesting shots by having the bridal entourage do an unusual or fun pose. Another vital element in setting the mood of the photos is colour. Cole tries to keep the colours of his photos as natural and as vibrant as possible, but does not limit himself to just that. He is also open to other possibilities of what suits the photos best, so as to convey a message through the photos.

“Eventually, people began to recognise that as a signature for 2 of Us Photography,” Cole recounts. “And that’s how we stand out from the rest of the market.” And even then, Cole makes it a point not to be complacent. He keeps himself up-to-date by enriching himself with other great photographers’ works. “I spend a majority of my time looking at non-wedding photographers to gain inspiration and ideas, which I then bring into wedding photography to create something different.” For Cole, these photographers are more than just a source of inspiration; they are his motivation to produce better work.

Wedding photography poses

Firstly, let me thank DigiLabs Pro for providing me the opportunity to share the thoughts and motivation behind my works. In the hustle and bustle of the busy Singapore city, it is not easy to maintain the motivation to constantly create memories for every wedding couple. Beyond documenting the wedding proceedings of the day, coming out with new styles and ways to capture the moment is probably the common challenge most wedding photographers experience. In this session, I would like to share the ideology behind some of my works. The fuel of my motivation and creativity are two key principles which to date has led me to produce my best works.

1. Always try using a third party as part of the photos. This can be another person like a passerby, an object like a ring, an animal like a pet or even a street or building. Behind every couple, there is always a story, and every story is different. I believe that capturing these third parties as part of the photos helps the couple to retain or bring out their unique relationship and memories.

2. Creativity is boundless, even if it’s the same location, same people, same object. Someone once told me, “Never fail to turn around, for you’ll never know when you’ll see a new opportunity”. This advice has helped me a lot in producing some of my best works yet. I always believe that the same location or the same object can produce different photo opportunities every time you are there or every time you look at it. Take rings for example. Most rings are circular in shape. But take the ring, and look around your environment, and you will see that the ring can be part of something different and unique.

Wedding photography description

Bounded By Love

2 of us, from different backgrounds, cultures & traditions… bound together by love! In Singapore, I am blessed to have the opportunity to capture weddings of different practices, and sometimes a mix of two different traditions and cultures. The photo below brings out the uniqueness of these particular relationships and how two lovebirds from different backgrounds come together as one.

Two simple shots with two representative backgrounds joined into one.

Visually Captivating Photos

I believe in enhancing the photos taken to provide people a breathtaking experience. The photos below are a good example of a combination of creativity, proper angle of shot and post processing. I will often look for a visual impact, such as a light silhouette.

I See Love

This is truly a photo of a third person. This was a photo I took of one of the bridesmaids and it portrays the blissfulness of a couple in the eyes of a close friend.

A Diamond Kiss

This was inspired by the opening of the 007 James Bond series of movies. The point of this is that I obtain my inspiration from my daily life, be it magazines, movies, books or even a street scene when I am having my meals. I try to apply all this within my photography and most of the time, the results are unimaginable.

Framing the Frames

Every professional photographer has probably heard about “framing your subject/photo.” But how about “Framing the Frame”? I was inspired by the architectural design of one of the hotels in Singapore.

I hope that by sharing my thoughts and motivation behind my works, I am able to inspire budding photography enthusiasts in exploring new avenues of photography. Always be inspired and never stop trying.

Working With New Or Inexperienced Models by Addie Mannan

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Female model poses

Addie Mannan is a fashion and portrait photographer whose positive energy and and easygoing demeanor makes clients feel relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera. Thanks to this natural connection she is able to establish with her models, Addie is able to take fabulous photographs that truly capture the essence of the moment. We are pleased to partner with Addie for this week’s guest blog post.

Top fashion models

When you first start out shooting, with any type of photography, it can be little overwhelming and nerve wracking.  A great way to both hone your skills as a photographer and learn how to direct a photo shoot is to start with your friends and family.  They are more likely to be patient and understanding of you while you gain more experience.  To which, we shall thank them gratefully. Usually, these people will not be professional models and will need some guidance and assistance with how to move and feel comfortable in front of the camera.  Once you get a portfolio established, the next step is to contact modeling agencies to start testing with signed models.  When you first meet with an agency, you will start out with their newly signed talent.  These models will most likely be young and have never been in front of a camera before.  It’s your job as the photographer to make them feel comfortable and help them through what is essentially their first day of work.  Here are some things I have learned over the years to help get the most out of a new or inexperienced model.

Most famous models of all time

Get to know your subject. I always try and chat a little before we start to get a basic connection made and a feel for their personality.  Humor is a great way to break down any barriers that might be up and ease the nerves.  If they tell me it’s their first shoot, I reiterate how exciting that is and how much fun we will have on set.  I like to tell my new models, there is no such thing as a bad pose, if I don’t like something, that’s ok, I just won’t snap and we will go onto the next one.  I understand they are not pros…yet… and not to feel silly.

The movement is what I try to emphasize the most with new models. It’s not just standing in one place, but instead is a lot of different small movements. For the first few shots I will give them a basic pose to start from and one to end in.  I have them move from one pose to the next using small changes, and slow movements.  The flowing from one pose to the next is usually when you catch those perfect little moments. Mix up the facial expressions as well.  We all know the famous deadpan model stare. That look, is in fact harder to achieve correctly than one might think.  Have your model play with different looks or emotions, catch some smiles and then quickly have them sneer and then finish with surprise. Some of my favorite headshots came from this exercise and of course the laughing shots that inevitably follow are always fun.

Keep the energy up on set. Positive reinforcement and telling your model they are doing a good job and that they look good will keep them excited and wanting to try more. Run with their ideas and show them pictures on the back of the camera so they can see what you are seeing. Make little pointers here and there, but don’t dwell on the negative.  Keep the shoot fun, models remember who they like to work with and you never know who will be the next big thing.

Keep things simple and direct. Giving new models basic information will help them become better models in the future. Don’t overwhelm them with too much fancy camera information, but inform them where their main light is coming from and how best to utilize both that light and space. They are just learning the basics on how to move so using natural light or a simple lighting setup will lessen any factors that could complicate or restrict things with a new model.

Have inspiration around to show the model.  If you are in a studio setting having magazines or photo books to look through is a great way to point out specific poses.  If you created a mood board for the shoot make sure you show them ahead of time. I have also found it handy to have a few videos of professional models working saved on my phone. This seems to be a very big help for someone who is learning, it proves easier to mimic when they see behind the scenes of how an image is created.

Rethinking the Engagement Photo by C Brown Photo

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creative engagement photo ideas

Cindy Brown is an award-winning wedding photographer with over twenty years of experience. Her greatest passion is people – meeting them, hearing their stories and experiencing their individuality. Combining her passion with her creativity, Cindy has developed a unique approach to engagement photo shoots. We’re pleased to partner with Cindy in this week’s guest blog post about her concept of engagement safaris.

engagement pics of bride

Recently I met with the winners of an engagement session giveaway. (I’ll call them Katie and Jack.) I was sure they would be excited about their good fortune. After all they had won a valuable service from a calm, personable and talented photographer. 

They were not.

Katie — and Jack, to some extent – found the idea of engagement photos questionable. Why, they ask, would any couple want photos of themselves holding hands in a grassy field? Kissing while holding helium balloons? Staring into each other’s eyes while dangling their feet into a pool? Or worse yet, holding up a chalkboard with the words “She said Yes” playfully written in pink?

I have asked similar questions myself.

Traditional engagement photos have been the brunt of jokes as of late, described in various blogs and news outlets, such as The Huffington Post, as:

· awkward
· lame
· embarrassing
· mind-numbingly dull
· cheesy
· uninspired
· stupid,
· silly
· contrived
· cringe-worthy

engagement couple ring images

The point of some of these blogs is to simply post extremely bad engagement photographs for the amusement of their readers.

But even relatively professional looking engagement images have come under fire. Not because the couple has been asked to pose in outrageous settings or bizarre circumstances. But because the couples have been photographed in pre-ordained poses that have nothing to with the way they naturally related to each other.

Taking traditional engagement photos has always made me a bit uncomfortable, partly for reasons listed above, but also because the idea of asking people to engage in random public displays of affection for the camera, feels a bit voyeuristic. (Perhaps I should say more voyeuristic than people photography in general.)

So to help couples loosen up and to leave behind the cookie-cutter feel of the photographs, I ask couples to choose something they actually like to do together and create their photo session around the activity. I call these shoots engagement safaris to distinguish them from the typical, pose-for-the-camera engagement session.

I’ve photographed couples playing pool, chess, putt-putt golf, Scrabble, Chaos, riding a Ferris wheel, and attending a music festival.

The safaris always start with the fun activity.

I let the couple have fun while I stand back and do my photojournalist thing. This actually gives them a better idea of how I will be working on their wedding day than posed photos would. I often end the session with a few orchestrated photos, but by this time the couple is relaxed and less likely to look stiff in the photos.

Once when the groom-to-be refused to be pinned down for an engagement session, the bride-to-be asked if I would photograph the two of them participating in a mud run. What a blast. The couple had fun together and the photos had soul.

Now I encourage couples to push the boundaries when planning their engagement safaris … go river rafting, ride go-carts, play Frisbee, hang-glide, make music together, do something they love, anything other than holding a frame around their faces, or blowing kisses at each other, or jumping in the air together.

Obviously certain couples like the posed, lovey-dovey, pre-ordained engagement photos. I’m just not the photographer for them.

Despite the fact that so far the majority of my clients have loved the engagement safari idea, my meeting with Kate and Jack has encouraged me to consider an alternative to the couple-centered engagement session.

From now on, in addition to engagement safaris, I’ll be offering framily sessions — sessions documenting the joining of two families and/or two sets of friends. The couple will be in charge of inviting friends and family to the session–a potluck or a barbeque, a game night or a tailgating party before their favorite game.

A framily session could serve the same purpose that photographers often cite for the traditional engagement session – helping the couple become comfortable in front of the camera – with the added benefit of helping friends and family members, as well.

Most couples will still prefer a session focused on them rather than a friends and family session and that’s fine. For them, I’ll still be be pushing the wilder-the-better engagement safari concept.

Maybe I’ll get to jump out of an airplane behind a couple parachuting for my next engagement safari.

Best 10 Atomic Alarm Clocks: Buying Guide and Reviews

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How to choose atomic alarm lock

Amidst the busy lives today, it is hard to visualize life without timers. Of course in the past relying on both sun up and down worked well. But it is vital to have clocks for most aspects of life including reporting to work, making appointments or even planes on time. Fortunately, in this digital era humanity is spoilt for timepiece choices. Atomic clocks remain to be the accurate, precise and dependable options available. Although smartphones or other devices can be used to determine the time, installing the best atomic alarm clocks enhances functionality and style to an office or a home. Here is what you need to know about the gadgets.

Best automatic alarm clock

Atomic Alarm Clock Buying Guide

Whenever precision is necessary, atomic clocks form a better choice. But what do you consider when choosing one either for wall or travel use? Although having a budget is essential there are other factors to consider for a time-keeping gadget. This guide tells you all you must know about atomic alarm clocks. 

a. Design

Buying an atomic alarm clock should not be an overwhelming task. Allocating a budget is the place to begin from and that calls for you to assess the amount you wish to spend. Once you have a financial plan you can check the available designs in the market. One feature you need to closely consider is the construction material used. The commonly used one is plastic but wooden designs nicely blend with a house’s interior décor. Ensure what you choose is durable and made from waterproof elements if you want to mount it outdoors.

b. Accuracy

When buying any clock checking its accuracy level is essential. Preferably opt for radio-controlled atomic clocks that can synchronize the nationwide atomic clock data. Besides, confirm if its humidity and temperature sensors affect its time readings. The best atomic clocks are location sensitive and the signals never become weak or obstructed. Purchase and install what functions optimally with displaying the wrong times. If the functioning is not well then consider changing your location.

c. Display

When buying atomic clocks there are analog or digitized screen options. Analog displays are common due to friendly pricing. Even though the digital types are pricier there are many related benefits like big characters. Most of the fonts start from 12 inches and above to enable you to see the measurements easily. That way you get to read without difficulties both at night and during the day. Since night vision should be supported opt for high-end atomic clocks. The choice has extra features incorporated including backlights that enhance night visibility.

d. Supports Time Zone

The other thing to keep in mind is that the design of atomic alarm clocks does not support every time zones. The transmitted information from the main signal radio station is often displayed in a different format. Ensure it works in a reliable format to your time zone. Luckily some can support between 6 to 8-time zone ranges.


10 Reviews of The Best Atomic Alarm Clock

When you want to buy a clock, your list of options should have an atomic clock. Unlike analog clocks, the digitized atomic ones do not need any time adjustments. The timers are updated using its automated systems and so can record date and time every time accurately. Determining the purpose of the desired clock is essential. Below are some of the best atomic alarm clocks.

1. DreamSky Digital Alarm Clock Radio 

The DreamSky Digital alarm clock comes with an extra USB charging port making it compatible with many smart devices. That means you can use the clock radio as a charging station for your tablets and even smartphones. However, the unit has its main power source, 5V DC adapter, and an optional battery backup. This ensures the clock and alarm settings are kept even in case of a power loss.

This clock has a solid size that makes it not to occupy a bigger space. The 8″ LED screen has 1.8″ numbers to make time so clear to see from a distance. Its dimmer function allows you to set the brightness as desired. This will depend on the daytime light and also make it softer at night to enable you to sleep without any disturbance. The design also enables you to see the time from various angles and across your room.

The unit is accompanied by a regular alarm beep and an adjustable volume. Its radio is also easy to tune because it has high-quality reception that suits personal preferences. The volume control adjusts from levels between 1-16 with a universal 3.5 mm earphone.  That means you can fall asleep while enjoying your favorite radio station without disturbing others. 

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Simple to use controls.
  • Easy to turn off the alarm when not in use.

Cons

  • One alarm sonic option offered
  • The backup battery cannot power it.

2. HITO 3.8″ Digital Battery Atomic Alarm Clock

HITO is listed among the modern-looking clocks. The design of this timekeeper makes its face to look clean and easy to read the numbers on it. It looks large enough alongside the art stimulated deco that blows away many peoples minds. So, anyone looking to add the sleek feel to any room, this clock makes some great addition.

The size of this clock’s face is 3.8 by 3.2 by 1.0 inches. This leaves the wall of the room it is installed on to have a modern and a longlasting art-inspired design there. Luckily, its aesthetic can stand alone to provide something fun to look at as it serves its functional purpose.

The HITO needs two AA batteries that are estimated to work for six months. Fortunately, you can easily change the batteries and also adjust the time whenever necessary. The clock can self-set its time and date accurately to 4 different timezones including P, M, C, and E. This clock moreover shows the indoor temperatures in Fahrenheit or Celsius.

Its featured light sensor initiates the soft backlight when it gets dark. For effective operation, ensure you turn on the switch on its battery part. This makes the clock perfect to hang without being limited to any space.

Pros 

  • Easy to read the measurements.
  • Silent and very accurate.
  • Wide range of colors options
  • Simple design that matches well any modern décor.
  • Affordable

Cons 

  • Short battery life.
  • Some backgrounds make viewing of numbers hard.

3. AcuRite 13003 7-Inch Digital Alarm Clock

If you prefer not to display time on the ceiling but you want to wake up early without annoying alarms, then AcuRite Clock makes an ideal option. The unit has a 7-inch display built in a white LED light to allow you to read it easily from a distance. Moreover, you can adjust to different brightness levels to avoid any obstructions.

Thanks to the loud audible alarm to enable you to set your time of preference. The featured snooze button enables you to add more time to sleep. The unit has an electric AC power cord and a 6ft power cord included keeps the time and alarm settings when there are power interruptions or unplugging.

The unit supports different Time Zone including HAST, PST, AKST,  MST, EST, CST, and AST. This is automatically adjusted to guarantee that the clocks and alarms are accurately working. 

Pros

  • Hass a large LED screen.
  • The alarm is loud enough.
  • Very accurate.

Cons

  • The backup battery cannot work during a power failure.

4. Travelwey Home LED Digital Alarm Clock

Another stylish and notable songbird in the market is the Travelwey Digital Alarm clock. With its simple design, the unit is perfect for use in the bedroom use. It has a large 1.8 inches LED display making it bright and very clear to see at night and from across your room. You can, therefore, dim the digits to your comfort level to avoid disturbing your sleeping. Its size does not consume a lot of space on the bedside table or even a nightstand.

It has a few buttons on top and behind meaning, you do not need any operations instructions to operate the clock. In a tap of a button, you get to activate the night light. This is perfect for children to read or the kids who fear the darkness. The alarm has two different volume settings, Low and High options, and also has a snooze function to allow you get extra 9 minutes of sleep before you wake up.

It also has a backup battery to keep time accurately if there is a power failure. In such cases, the alarm still rings as the display goes blank to save battery power. 

Pros

  • Easy to adjust the display’s brightness.
  • The display is large for easy reading
  • Adjustable alarm volume.

Cons

  • The backup battery conserves power.
  • It is hard to dimmer the settings.

5. PEAKEEP Large Digital Alarm Clock 

Perhaps getting the best value from a multifunctional alarm clock is the best thing. The design of PEAKEEP had almost all that the users need in mind. This item features a large LED display of almost 6 1/4 inches in length and 1 3/4 inches height. The time digits are easy to read and dim as they appear on the attractive glossy black surface. The numbers appear clearly even if placed on a table or a stand. The size is large enough if you have vision problems and also when you are half asleep at night.

Most of this clock’s settings are installed at the back to provide easy access. The setting ensures you do not move around if you fail to reach the target setting. It has an AM/PM indicator on the face and an alarm setting indicator, snooze option. That means you can easily adjust the display’s brightness to enable you to sleep without disturbance. The alarm beep is regular and adjustable depending on your preferred volume. The weekdays are clearly visible below the shown time and it synchronizes well with the present dates.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Simple to use its controls
  • Easy to turn the alarm off during weekends.

Cons

  • Has only one alarm sound
  • The backup battery cannot power this clock.

6. Marathon CL030036WH Atomic Travel Alarm Clock

Marathon usually ensures the products availed to the market are not only highly functional but also has various unique features. The brand is, therefore, more than an alarm clock due to its featured self-adjusting radio frequencies. The good thing is that it operates well in many time zones so you can easily switch depending on where you are. Generally, multiple time zones mean various languages in use including English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish.

Its large snooze button is easily reachable if you need some more sleep time. The sleep timer function allows you to set this from any place either 10 to 120 minutes early enough. That way you can sleep while you have your best radio station on from this unit. 

This alarm clock from Marathon is suitable for travels because it has a compact size of 3.25 x 0.5 x 2.75 inches. This means it does not need much space on a bedside table or bag when you carry it.

The clock has an automatic backlight to allow you to adjust its brightness. The in-built light sensors detect if the clock is in a dark place to enables you to see what is displayed on the screen. The backlight is also manually functioning.

Pros

  • Unit is small enough for travel
  • has the option to connect headphones
  • includes a temperature display

Cons

  • The backup battery is not useful if there is a power outage
  • Still bright enough fat the lowest brightness. 

7. DreamSky Auto Set Digital Alarm Clock

DreamSky Auto Set clock has a large clear screen of 6.6 inches. The display has multiple areas that clearly shows the date, time, weekday, the alarm time set and also indoor temperatures. Everything that should be known is available from a glance. This, therefore, ensures you have the best visual experiences at any angle. The incorporated DST feature makes it easy to avoid changing the time especially during Daylight saving times and wintertimes.

This alarm clock has different illumination levels to allow you to see the time displayed on the wall. This includes 100%, 70%, 50%, 30%,10%, 5% and an AUTO DIM function. You can adjust the unit’s display brightness by simply pressing the preferred button between + or -. No worries should come regarding the desired big and easy-to-read numbers. The digits will not blind you through the night or force you to squint.

The clock needs to be plugged into the wall outlet to operate. The provided adapter is 5V/2.1A with a 1.5-meter length cord. Its featured battery backup stores time and also alarm times automatically in case there is a power outage. That way, the alarm gets triggered at the programmed time to allow you to wake up the following morning as scheduled. So you have no worries about missing an important appointment.

Pros

  • Allows you to view the time from many angles
  • Compatible to smart devices
  • Has a large display

Cons

  • Brightness might not be enough for bigger rooms
  •  Low-quality speakers.

8.  Marathon CL030070BK-RD USB Alarm Clock Charger 

Whether you have an issue with punctuality or you need a clock providing the set and forget approach option, then Marathon clock will provide. The ultimate advantage is that you have to need to adjust its time. Of course, this device is automatic and it uses radio frequencies. And this makes it so accurate in measuring the hours as well as seconds.

Even if you have no strength in science, you can still appreciate the ease this device provides. What you need to do is to use the fast charging USB charger to enjoy the convenience. Besides, it has a universal adapter with long-life batteries included to ensure the clock synchronizes with the national signal received. Marathon works well in various time zones, eight in total and also Daylight Savings Time option.

With the easy-to-read LED display, no one finds trouble in reading the time. The screen has large digits, 4.7cm, that are visible in a well-lit room. However, the variable modes of display are loved and appreciated by many people. The alarm is also easy to set-up as the device has a five-minute snooze interval. With three different modes to choose from, high, low or off, this atomic clock can work so well. It also has unique styles which provide an elegant look and viewing angle that is hard to get in various atomic clocks.

Pros 

  • Sleek design.
  • Functions accurately.
  • Self-setting and adjusting.
  • Extended battery life.
  • Displays both date and temperatures.

Cons 

  • The manual is not clear on manual settings of time-zones.
  • The display is hard to read in little light.

9. DreamSky Auto Time Set Alarm Clock 

It is more comfortable to be woken up with a reliable alarm after a good night of rest. The DreamSky Alarm Clock delivers this due to its automatic setting features making the time adjustments not to be a hassle. It has four optional timezones with the EST set during manufacture. Although it has a cell battery reserve, all you need to do is to plug the clock on a wall outlet as you adjust to the desired local time. Everything is available here including EST, MST, PST, and CST.

The design of this clock incorporates a 4.3 inches big LED screen. This displays your area and alarm time, time zone, and also the indoor temperatures. From any angle or point in the room, you get the best viewing experience. Besides the size means little space is used up in mounting it. The featured DST relieves you from repeatedly resetting time, especially during Daylight saving time and also wintertime.

This easy to set alarm clock has an ascending beeping frequency. The sound may, however, last up to 2 minutes should you not take any action. That way if you do the not need an alarm on some days like weekends, all you need to disable it by pressing its AL. ON/OFF button. The device has two in-built USB ports for powering and charging other smart devices from the bedside.

Pros

  • Simple buttons and easy to set alarms.
  • Loud speakers and easy to adjust its volume.
  • Alarm volume increases gradually.

Cons

  • Poor radio reception without the antenna
  • Too bright display even on a low light setting

10. AcuRite Intelli-Time Alarm Clock

This alarm clock from AcuRite is ideal for people who want simple and reliable alarm clocks. It has an adjustable sound volume that increases slowly for two minutes to peacefully and promptly wake you up.

The unit has a USB port to enable you to use it for various purposes. Because it is compatible with other smart devices you can charge other phones even as you sleep. As a budget-friendly alternative installing it will not take up a lot of bedside desk or table space.

This clock comes with a bold display to show the time well even when you are across the room. The auto dimmer enables you to adjust its brightness so that you can prevent sleep interference through the night. This also enables you to adjust the LED’s brightness.

If you cannot naturally sleep whether it is hot or cold, then AcuRite comes handy. With this device, you get to check the comfort in your bedrooms in advance and quickly. It can monitor both indoor humidity and temperature from its stand. That means you always know if you should switch on your fan or turn the heat. The incorporated Intelli-Time technology automatically adjusts the daylight saving time. It also makes the clock to remember its time settings when unplugged or in case of power outages.

Pros

  • Easy to set the alarm
  • Reliable due to its backup battery.
  • Alarm volume is adjustable.

Cons

  • The alarm sound is not adjustable.
  • The backup battery cannot power the clock


FAQ Section

  • How does an atomic clockwork?

The existence of atomic alarm clock solves problems of precision. Although are of diferent types, all of the clocks use the same basic principle. Its operation fully depends on an electrical oscillator that is regulated by naturally vibrating atomic system.

The oscillation in the devices occurs between the systems nucleus and the near electrons. Actually, this process is not similar to the hairspring and balance wheel of a watch. The mass of the nucleus and the electrostatic forces within the positive charges and the surrounding cloud of electron determined the frequencies recorded. The associated differences depend on the element used and the way changes in energy level are detected.

  • Things To Consider To Find The Best Atomic Clock

Before you settle on any alarm clock, there are some things to be considered other than design. First off, you must decide if you want something digital or analog with either minute, hour, or second hands. Secondly, any buyer who prefers the analog looks, consider how much noise you can tolerate. Well, the ticking sounds of clocks can be soothing or very irritating. On the other end, remember clocks are not just good as the time kept. Getting an inaccurate one will never do you something good. If you prefer sharp time then it’s better to appreciate how atomic clocks are accurate. Battery life as well plays a role, so it reduces the number of times you need to bring the device down to change its batteries.

  •  How to choose the best clock for me?

Smartphones can be used as timers to enable you to wake up in time. One better bet instead is to get an alarm clock to ease your morning moods. Some of the tips to consider when choosing the best atomic alarm clock are obvious. Choose based on functionality and do not get wooed by cool looks or design.

Secondly, do not buy what produces some bright warner light as it will excite you and lead to restless nights. Generally, alarm clocks work with some sound, and now there are sound options unlike before. Opt therefore for what best suits your nature of sleep. Lastly, truly getting a clock that has extra features like the ability to vibrate adds reliability to your wake-up calls.


Final Verdict

Since the invention of atomic clocks, the devices have become vital timepieces. Clocks are now a trendy commodity for homeowners for obvious reasons.  The ones listed above are known to be very accurate and have extra features. That way, you can also see data of weather records like temperature and humidity.

So, whenever you have the plans to purchase one, always ensure it supports your time zone. Despite where you want to install it, the best atomic alarm clock should come with a table stand or wall mount. What is more, the display needs to be large enough to enable you to view the measurement easily.

How To Keep A Wedding “Unplugged” by Megan Vaughan Photography

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free unplugged wedding sign

Megan Vaughan is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Forest, Virginia. She is a strong proponent of hosting “unplugged” weddings to ensure that couples receive only the best, highest quality images of their wedding day without any distractions. We’re pleased to partner with Megan for this week’s guest blog post.

To my current and future brides: You hired a professional photographer to capture all the precious moments of your day, and it makes us, as photographers, so happy to give you those memories. Wedding days are crazy… I mean, you’re finally getting married!! You want everything to be perfect. Your guests are so happy for you and they want to capture those memories for themselves. I truly understand that… I really do. However, some guests can get a bit carried away and can interfere with the professional that’s there for the sole purpose of preserving those memories.

For this wedding, my bride requested that I get her groom’s reaction as she walked down the aisle… a very common request and one of my favorite moments to capture. This gentlemen, a family member, stood up in the middle of the aisle as the bride was walking down, blocking my shot, the groom’s view of his bride and the bride’s view of her groom. His elbow is covering the groom’s face. I was unable to capture the groom’s initial reaction. That’s something I can never give back to my bride. This practically brings me to tears and breaks my heart for my bride. That moment is so special and this circumstance could have easily been avoided.

Of course I encourage guests to take pictures. If I was a guest, I’d definitely be taking pictures! But when the wide shots of the ceremony are nothing but phones, cameras and iPads in the air, it takes away from the essence of the images and the ceremony. What’s worse is when guests stand in the aisle and block the view of the bride and groom… that’s when it gets out of hand and what is discouraged. The bride walking down the aisle or the first kiss for example…. everyone wants a picture of that! But when you stand up in front of the photographer and block the shot, making them miss the moment entirely, there’s a major problem there, and why this type of sign is becoming more and more popular at weddings. For the photographer, it’s a beautiful sight to see! For the guests, they may not think so. But it’s ultimately what the bride and groom wants and that should be respected by all parties involved.

Here are my top 5 tips on how to ensure your wedding remains truly unplugged:

1. Include a cut out about what an unplugged wedding is in the invitations when they are sent out.

2. Have a sign at the ceremony.

3. If you’re really feeling brave, have a cute basket set out for cameras and cell phones.

4. Have the preacher/pastor announce it before the ceremony begins.

5. If you have a wedding website, include the information on there.

There’s really no way to 100% ensure that a guest won’t jump out in the aisle and snap a picture, but at least you’ve done everything you can on your end! Now, sit back, relax and wait for that gorgeous wedding gallery to come in, hopefully free of phones, cameras and iPads in the air!

Why We Decided To Create A Separate Photography Brand by Cindy and Sharon

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personal branding photographer

Cindy Brown is an Atlanta-based wedding photographer who combines the skills of a photojournalist, the honesty of a documentary photographer and the quirkiness of a street photographer to significant life events. She photographs weddings of all styles, but chose to create a separate photography business focused on same-sex wedding photography to increase her online presence, branding and client base. We’re pleased to partner with Cindy for her guest blog post on why she decided to create a separate photography brand.

brand photography pricing

Three years ago I attended a photography business presentation led by a husband and wife wedding photographer team who described themselves as “wedding photographers in love.” They discussed in great detail the way they had built their wedding photography business based on their love for each other. I knew of at least 20 other high-profile wedding photography couples also marketing themselves as head over heels in love, as a way to connect with their clients.

That would never work for me, I thought … but then a light went off in my head. I might not be able to build a business around the hetero-normative concept of love … after all, the love of my life was, as I am, a woman. However, my partner and I could take the heed over heals in love idea and run in different direction, as same-sex wedding photographers in love.

At the end of the presentation, I approached the speakers excited about my new idea. They were a bit surprised by my take on the wedding photographer in love concept and weren’t convinced it would fly.

branding services for photographers

But I was.

The decision to start a new brand to target same-sex couples getting married was not well researched. No marketing experts were consulted. No market surveys conducted.

We did it because it felt right.

It felt right because we wanted to have an online presence focused on the love and commitment of same-sex couples, a website where marriage equality could be celebrated at full volume, a site where my wife and I could be proud, gay advocates for marriage equality.

It felt right because we are passionate about documenting same-sex weddings and convinced of the importance of telling the love stories of couples whose stories have often been hidden or whispered over the years.

It felt right because by having a separate brand we can provide a comfort level (because we have experiences similar to theirs) that can help couples looking for wedding photographers feel safe.

Same-sex couples across the country have found that not all wedding vendors want to do business with them, as evidenced by lawsuits in Arizona, Oregon, Ohio and Pennsylvania. So, high on their list of concerns when searching for a wedding photographer is that they may be turned away, given the cold shoulder, insulted, or flat out harassed.

Even though many straight wedding photographers can provide a sense of safety and security as strong as what we offer, it is often difficult for LGBT couples to tell that from their website.

On a strictly business level, it felt right to create a new brand with its own website because we could create a Search Engine Optimization strategy based solely on keywords associated with same-sex weddings.

As all wedding photographers know, being on the first page of Google when clients search for local wedding photographers can make or break a business.

Over the years, we have struggled with SEO for our C Brown Photo brand. “Atlanta Wedding Photographer” and all its variations are much sought after keyword phrases with thousands of photographers struggling to rank on the first page.

While we have and continue to occasionally rank on the first page for “Atlanta wedding photojournalist” and variations, we have never broken the first page barrier for the more common keywords related to wedding photographers in Atlanta.Since launching Cindy and Sharon (under the domain name samesexweddingphotographers.com) we have quickly seen the brand rise to the first page for searches on “same sex wedding photographer/s” and “gay wedding photographer/s” as well as local searches with those keyword phrases.

A few added benefits of the Cindy and Sharon brand:

  • advertisements we run in publications targeting the GLBT market stand out from those of our competitors
  • wedding vendors we network with remember us, because of who we are and the specificity of our target marker
  • we are able to identify with our clients, not only because of experiences related to our sexual orientation, but also because the average age of same-sex couples getting married is close to our own

Overall, we have been pleased with the decision to create a new brand.

Maybe one day, it will be our only brand. And if there are any opposite-sex couples who want a pair of same-sex wedding photographers in love to photograph their wedding, we’ll be happy to oblige.

Child Photography Tips From Marmalade Photography

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best lens for child photography

In the years since I started Marmalade Photography, photographing primarily children and families, I’ve come to figure out some tried and true techniques that I do session after session to create expression filled, fun and interesting children’s photography.

child photography gallery

Because my clients tend to seek a more emotive style of photography and being a bit of an observer in life I find that this type of photo style suits me very well.  However I do love giggles and smiles, silliness and playtime so I will share with you a few quick tips on how I operate before, during and after the session to create really fun and expression filled captures with the littles set.

child photography tips techniques

Most photographers (at least in the child/family photography genre) can relate with this scenario: meet a family at a location and the mom looks stressed out, the dad looks like he’s checked out, their 3 year old is acting up pulling on mom’s pants and wanting attention, the 5 year old is running around totally hyper, and the 6 month old, while adorable is screaming his head off.    What do you do here?  I mean it’s so easy to get frustrated because the harsh emotions of stress do rub off on everyone that comes in contact with a stressed person.   Add a screaming baby, recipe for disaster, right?

baby girl photos

Not necessarily so.  You need to arm yourself with some basic knowledge of how to interact with adults and children and you need to plan ahead.

1) BEFORE THE SESSION:

Whether it be in person or over the phone (I choose the latter), use this time as a pre-session consult and spend about 5-10 minutes getting to know your client and more specifically your subjects.

Simple questions like everyones’ names, their ages and their interests and personality type are all it takes to arm yourself with being ready to take on a session.  Ask about any little quirks, are they shy or outgoing, etc.

2) IMMEDIATELY BEFORE THE SESSION

Go over and review the information you obtained during your pre-session consult as a sort of “refresher”.  I have a client dedicated folder that I take with me to every session and I go over the information from the pre-session consult immediately before meeting the family.

3) AT THE SESSION

Before shooting I take a few moments to get on the child’s level (literally bend over and look at them face to face and chat!) and interact with them before the camera comes out.  With more than one subject I get the kids to interact and really pay attention to how the children interact with one another.  The simple act of chatting with the kids for 5 minutes before shooting can mean the difference between a beautiful and fun session and a session in which we spend our time struggling to find our happy mojo spot.

4) DURING THE SESSION

I keep in mind the information that I garnered pre-session during our  pre-session consult and I use those suggestions and information from that I obtained from our conversation.

Things like: “Susie is 3 years old, is outgoing, likes her dogs and her stuffed animal” is enough information for me to start a conversation.

“Susie, do you see this doggy in the camera?  What sound does this doggy in my camera make?”

Prompts Susie to pay attention to my camera and elicits direct interaction with me.

I encourage parents to bring things that have a lot of meaning.  In this scenario Susie loves her stuffed animal and I encourage it being brought to our session together.   If Susie’s stuffed animal is with her I ask her its’ name and talk about it a bit.  Instant interaction, instant emotion which ties Susie in with being age 3 at a time when her stuffed bear was the center of her universe!

5) YOU MAY HAVE TO OFFER A BRIBE

I know we discourage parents offering up bribes during a session (they often backfire) but at the session sometimes just saying you have a surprise for the child at the end after you’re done is enough to keep their interest.  Think about it: dentists and pediatricians do it all the time!!

Great gifts can be individually selected pre-session or you can carry a “treasure chest” (or bag!) in your car or camera bag.  The bribe gift can be something as simple as a roll of Lifesavers or a bag of chips (make sure it’s ok with the parents!) or something as complex as an age appropriate book works wonderfully.

6)  MOST IMPORTANTLY…ENJOY YOURSELF!!

Kids sense stress.  So do adults.  If you let your hair down, talk to the kids on their level and express genuine interest in your littlest of subjects that is enough on its’ own to create beautiful, emotive and expression filled photos!!