Baby V - 9(ish) months

Vera is almost 10 months old! I can't believe it. I've been better about taking photos of her with the big camera the past few weeks so I decided to share some here since it's been an embarrassing amount of time since I last posted...oops! Mom life=busy. 

In the past month or two she's learned to wave, shake her head yes and no, high five, say mama, and cruise. She army crawls but absolutely hates it, she'd rather try and walk along the furniture or (recently) push herself on her ride-on toy.

Any sort of bodily function makes her laugh hysterically - whether you cough, sneeze, fart, blow your nose, or clear your throat, LOL. The dog is still her favorite person and she's in a really cuddly phase right now. We love her so much <3

Easy Ways to Take Great Smartphone Photos of Your Kids

I always knew that when I had children, I’d take a ton of photos of them. When I got pregnant with Vera, people immediately started commenting on how many photos of this child there’d be, HA. They were completely right. I love photographing her, and like most moms, it’s convenient to break out the phone the majority of the time. I haven’t even gotten the big camera out yet. Plus, when she was an infant I just didn’t feel like it (something about being tired all the time and recovering from a rough labor, ha). You can get really nice photos on your phone, but there are a few things to keep in mind while shooting (this post is a revamp of this one tailored specifically for photographing kids/babies).

Pin image - Smartphone.jpg

1. Good lighting 

While smartphone cameras are better than ever, they still need plenty of light to produce quality photos. Indirect light such as a room with plenty of windows or outside in the shade are the best options. Shooting in the sun is ok when it’s before 10am or after 4pm and the sun is lower in the sky - the light is softer.

My favorite place to photograph my daughter right now is our guest room. It has several windows on two different walls and it creates a really nice studio-type setting in the afternoon. It also helps that the walls are white – brightly colored walls would create a color cast on her skin. 

Tip: Avoid the flash if possible. In most situations, the flash will only overexpose your subject. Try and use available light whenever you can. 

 
2.
 Enable the grid function

The rule of thirds is a common technique used in photography and art in general to make a pleasing composition. Enabling the grid function on your camera makes using this technique easier. Simply place your subject along the lines or where they intersect. Your eye is naturally drawn to the intersects rather than the center and this is a basic way to help your composition balanced. In this photo, I placed Ben along the right line with Vera’s face where two intersect on the top right.

This rule applies when using portrait (tall), landscape (wide) orientations, and even squares. (Most of the photos for this post are squares because I use Instagram a lot and hey, I just like the original square shape so I rarely share anything else.) Your phone camera’s grid will do the work for you by splitting everything into thirds regardless of orientation.


2. White space

Sometimes simple is better. Plenty of white space is clean and it can make your photo look more professional/artistic. When trying to shoot a photo with lots of white space, don’t just randomly leave a lot of blank space. Go back up to #2 and use the grid. You could do a number of things but in this example, Vera is taking up two thirds of the frame with blank space in the last third.

 Tip: Plenty of white space is helpful/necessary when doing milestone photos.


3. Be candid

Because let’s be honest, once your child can move on their own it’s hard to make them sit still for photos. Photograph them doing every day things like playing, napping, and bathing. Oh, and don’t forget the details! You’re going to want to remember those chubby legs, long eyelashes, and cute accessories (currently obsessed with these fox socks!).

Tip: Every photo doesn’t need to be from the front with a smiling face. Serious and even grumpy faces are *almost* as cute if not cuter sometimes.


4. Bright phone case

This is helpful for getting a baby's attention. Maybe it’s just Vera but from when she was little she was fascinated by my brightly colored phone case and she almost always looks right at it when I take her photo. I have this one.
 

5. Be patient

If your child isn’t in the mood, don’t push it. Try another time. I like to make sure I take (posed) photos of Vera when I know she’s not hungry and tired. When you do have a happy child, make sure to take plenty. Sometimes it takes 10 to get a decent one – they might be wiggling or the dog might have photobombed for the 5th time.


Taking great photos of your kids isn’t difficult if you keep these tips in mind. You don’t have to be a photographer, either! As far as editing goes, I really just use an Instagram filter with the opacity turned way down. If you want to edit outside of Instagram, I suggest VSCO cam, but you don’t need tons of editing when the lighting is good.


What’s your favorite way to photograph your kids? Message/comment or tag me on Instagram (@laurenmacmoyle).

Have an awesome Wednesday!

Hello 2017!

Hello! And Happy belated New Year!

Ok, so I definitely took a loooooong break from blogging – my last post was in April, yikes! Ben and I have been crazy busy though, we bought a house in April (and started renovating), got a cute (solid black) German shepherd puppy, and had our first child in July! Whew. Quite the whirlwind...lots of changes. 

While I’m still taking graphic design + photography work (hire me!), the blog will include more personal posts in 2017. You can still expect some design/photography related tutorials + how to's but there will also be some cute baby and puppy stuff too because that's my life now, #sorrynotsorry, HA.

Anyways, here’s our Timber girl + our daughter, Vera Anne + some family photos by the awesome Melissa Bliss Photography.

A 10 month old Timber (follow me on Instagram - @laurenmacmoyle)

A 10 month old Timber (follow me on Instagram - @laurenmacmoyle)

A 4 month old Vera!

A 4 month old Vera!

This post has been all over the place but I’m looking forward into settling back into blogging in 2017. Happy New(ish) Year!

Feature: Revamped Magazine

I am super happy to share that I've written an article for the spring issue of Revamped Magazine! This quarterly magazine is geared towards young creative women. While I do write a lot for my blog, it was fun to write for an outside publication!

My article is about utilizing natural light to create beautiful photographs. If you know how to use light, you don't need tons of excess equipment. I say this all the time in my photography related posts but understanding light is important!

Head on over and read my article + all of the other awesome content submitted by some super talented creatives.

Happy Tuesday!

Important elements for a Strong Visual Brand

Having a strong visual brand is a must for any business. Whether large or small, online or local mom and pop shop, your visual brand makes an important first impression on potential customers and clients. Many people mistakenly think their brand stops at their logo, but that’s far from the truth. A complete visual brand encompasses much more than that.

Before even thinking about logos or colors, however, it’s crucial to ask yourself some questions. Firstly, who is your ideal customer? Brands like Nike and Bath and Body Works are completely different because (for the most part) they have different audiences they’re trying to reach. Next, what else does your ideal customer like? It can be helpful to come up with a profile detailing what age range they fall into, what gender they are, and what their interests might be. Once you answer these questions, you can move on to the fun part – visuals!

If you’re thinking about having branding done for your company or are unsure if your existing brand is complete, read on to find out the essential pieces that make up a strong visual brand.

Elements for a strong visual brand | Lauren MacMoyle | Graphic Design

Inspiration Board

Once you’re ready to get started working on your brand, the first thing to do is gather inspiration. I always create an inspiration board for my branding clients, either with photos I pick based off of what my client has told me their inspiration is, or photos they pin on Pinterest. Basically, pick whatever stands out to you or reflects what style you want your brand to exude. Usually, I’ll start to see a pattern of colors or design style emerge and it makes it easy to get a feel for the kind of brand you want. Once I have a solid inspiration board, I’m ready to get to work on the branding elements.

Logo

While a logo shouldn’t be the only piece to your branding, it is an important one. Above all else, a good logo is recognizable. Brand awareness is key - and what better way to stand out then with a solid logo?On top of being recognizable, logos should be

1 | Legible. Scripts and handwritten fonts are popular these days, but many of them just aren’t immediately easy to read. It's also important to make sure it's still visible at smaller sizes.
2 | Timeless. Ok so styles come and go. In the mid to late 2000s it was grunge, today it's crazy scripts and hand lettering. It's not always possible to completely avoid designing a logo that will at some point become outdated but use caution when it comes to fonts and illustration styles that seem really trendy.
3 | Versatile. Can your logo be used in different settings such as signage, a shirt, business cards, and more? A way to ensure more versatility is to have a primary logo AND a secondary logo. It’s helpful to have a secondary logo design for use in other ways as well. It could be a matching monogram that you use for stickers, or a simplified version of a more complicated logo, such as just the text without the icon that goes with it or the other way around. A perfect example of this is (again) the Nike logo. Oftentimes the swoosh is used on it's own, the Nike is used on ITS own, but the actual logo is of them together. Either way it's used, we easily recognize it.

Color Palette

Another important brand element is the color palette. It’s important to pick colors based on your audience and what you want to convey - and stick with them! (Check out this post on tips for picking colors). The number of colors you need really just depends on the brand. Generally, I pick 2-6 colors and include at least one neutral (even if that’s just white).

Fonts

Usually the fonts used in marketing materials, website, and social media graphics will match what’s in the logo (but not necessarily). One to three fonts is the general rule for consistency, but I typically choose only one or two. It’s helpful to use a font that has a variety of weights to create interest and contrast. For my site, I've found it necessary to use only one.

Website

While I’m still a firm believer that print design is important and still has a place in the world (don't even get me started!), having a website is super necessary. You need to have a place with your products or services neatly laid out. Blogging is also really beneficial - it helps people to get to know you and view you as an expert in your field. Having a website makes it easy for people to view what you’re offering, decide they want it, and connect with you.

 

Supporting Graphics

The types of supporting graphics you need depends on your company. Some examples include social media graphics, cons, photos, brochures, infographics, business cards, letterheads, and flyers. Regardless of which kind of graphics are needed, the rest of your brand should be reflected in them (your logo, colors, and fonts).

 

Overall, consistency is key. It's crucial to use the same colors, fonts, logos, etc. in order to maintain a strong visual brand. Having templates for items like blog post graphics, social media banners, email headers, and brochures will keep your brand uniform. Utilizing a style guide will also help if you stick to it!

 

Need help with branding your company or just want your current brand evaluated? View my work or contact me.