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365 Photography challenge

I adore my camera. I absolutely love that thing, and I love my lens too.

It’s a full frame and I kind of second-guessed my way through buying it. “Why a full frame?”, “what makes sense about a full frame?” “It’s so much more expensive, should I really…?”

All I can say now is, WHAT THE HELL WAS I WAITING FOR????

Good grief. I wasted so much time trying to figure out my last Nikon with it’s incompatible lenses, then the Olympus, which was fine but lopsided with the tiny body and heavy lens – and… ugh.

One good lens. One good camera body. It’s all anyone ever really needed.

I love so much about my camera, not least that I love the fact that it can actually capture things as I see them in my head. I still miss painting, but I can see that photography is becoming closer to my heart than ever before, thanks to this camera and lens.

51/365

Meriah Nichols 51
Photo Story:

It rained. We are still in a drought here in California, so rain is always a big deal. The droplets congregated here in the succulent and I swooned.

Photo Details:

ISO 6400 85mm 1/200 sec at f4 Nikon D750 with 24-85mm f/2.8 lens

52/365

Meriah Nichols 52Photo Story:

Katherine and I went through security and headed straight for the gate in which we were to fly out of (to Atlanta). We told the guy at the gate that we are deaf, we showed him our tickets, we said that we wouldn’t be able to hear any changes from an intercom, etc, etc. He said no problem, you are set, come back in half an hour for boarding. Okay.
So we had this delicious coffee and chilled out. Went to our gate and THE SAME GUY said, whoops, there has been a change – you are leave from this gate ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AIRPORT IN TEN MINUTES.

Dammit!!! I mean, DAMN IT!

This picture reminds me of that – and how pissed off we were. And how nice it was to commiserate with someone else and not feel so scared and alone, like I usually do when this stuff happens (and it almost always happens…). Also, how much deaf access is still needed. I mean, why is it so hard to have captions by the gates? Why can’t an airline staff member tell us the change, seeing as we went and introduced ourselves and so forth?
‪#‎deafproblems‬

 Photo Details:

ISO 6400 85mm 1/640 sec at f4.0 Nikon D750 with 24-85mm f/2.8 lens

53/365

Meriah Nichols 53

Photo Story:

The view from the top of the hotel in Atlanta.

I like this photo because it captures the beauty of the lights, the movement of the room in which we were, and the general feeling of liveliness. I was feeling SO ALIVE – my day to day of struggling to get 3 bodies washed, fed, clothed and 3 minds educated and 3 spirits and hearts nourished – was on the shelf. This was all about my own heart, spirit and mind, it was about my own re-connection with my self, a self that I honestly kind of forgot about but missed terribly

Photo Details:

ISO 1600 52mm 1/5 sec at f3.8 Nikon D750 with 24-85mm f/2.8 lens

54/365

Meriah Nichols 54Photo Story:

Katherine and I shared a room with Fiona, a lovely woman who we made fast friends with. We spent hours talking together, covering just about every subject under the sun.

Here, we arrived at our room and housekeeping was still making our beds. We just plunked down and continued talking.

Photo Details:

ISO 1600 35mm 1/60 sec at f4.0 Nikon D750 with 24-85mm f/2.8 lens

55/365

Meriah Nichols 55Photo Story:

At the end of our visit to the Civil Rights Museum in Atlanta, Katherine and I came upon a place in which visitors are encouraged to add their own story. It’s (another) powerful piece in this already incredibly powerful place. We took our picture, typed in “I am deaf”.

I think I would change it now if I could, though, to: “I am proud to be deaf” #‎deafpride‬‪ #‎noapologies

 Photo Details:

ISO 1600 66mm 1/125 sec at f5.6 Nikon D750 with 24-85mm f/2.8 lens

56/365

Meriah Nichols 56

Photo Story:

4 days away from my babies had me on my knees and crying when I scooped them up in my hungry arms. Bliss.

 Photo Details:

ISO 1600 35mm 1/40 sec at f3.2 Nikon D750 with 24-85mm f/2.8 lens

 57/365

Meriah Nichols 57Photo Story:

Micah – a regular cooking geek – whipped up some pancakes for breakfast with his Nana. I got the first one. I felt pretty honoured, and those were pretty fine. I think it was the blueberry goat cheese that he added in the batter.

Photo Details:

ISO 1600 35mm 1/60 sec at f3.5 Nikon D750 with 24-85mm f/2.8 lens

58/365

Meriah Nichols 58

Photo Story:

We drove for 7 hours, stopping for groceries along the way…stumbled out of the car, and the kids were overjoyed to be home!

 Photo Details:

ISO 1000 85mm 1/125 sec at f9.0 Nikon D750 with 24-85mm f/2.8 lens

59/365

Meriah Nichols 59

Photo Story:

This is a photo I like because of the story, not anything to do with the quality of the light or composition or whatever. The kids wanted a snack. I gave them a plum each. They just walked outside and sat down, companionably. I love that about them; that they seem to genuinely love being with each other and just choose to sit together and munch plums in quiet.

 Photo Details:

ISO 400 80mm 1/320 sec at f10 Nikon D750 with 24-85mm f/2.8 lens

60/365

Meriah Nichols 60Photo Story:

Love bug.

On another note, I’m interested in that line between blur and movement – the one that is about storytelling and purpose, not about a lack of control over the camera. It seems some photos can really work with blur – and the blur helps tell the story.

 Photo Details:

ISO 1600 85mm 1/120 sec at f4.0 Nikon D750 with 24-85mm f/2.8 lens

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Follow the real time photos:

on Facebook and Instagram

Never Too Late!

It’s always a fresh day to start a 365 photo project, challenging yourself to take one good photo a day, for a year. Join me! Tag your photos on IG #photoswithmeriah, you should be able to upload in the comments here too. Let me know if you can’t.


and –

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Smugmug is having a sale that’s worth it – 19% off of any new SmugMug plan between now and 7/7/2015. Perfect for showcasing your own 365 Photography Challenge..?!

What is Smugmug, you want to know? It’s a site that covers everything from hosting your photos to selling them. Check it out –

Today we are going to talk about watermarking your photos from within your phone. That is, how to watermark your photos before you post them to Instagram or even to any social media. We are also going to talk about getting your photos Square-Ready at the end of this post, so be sure to read all the way to the end!

*rubs hands* Okay! Let’s get started!

First of all, which app to use for watermarking?

There are a ton of apps that will apply text but I don’t recommend them for watermarking, mainly because you’d need to add the text that you’d like to watermark your photo with each and every time. Like, type in each letter…. m-e-r-i-a-h – space- n-i-c-h-o-l-s. Call me lazy but that’s a lot of work for every*single*photo, every*single*time.

I recommend the iWatermark app.

There is a lite version (- free, with fewer options, but it will give you a sense of how compatible you are with it) and a full-priced version (which I think is a a couple of dollars, or the price of a small coffee).

I recommend this app for the following reasons:

  1. You can watermark a LOT of photos in one batch
  2. You can create and save different watermarks
  3. You can even create graphic watermarks! Like, your own signature!
  4. It’s both droid an iPhone compatible – but since I have an iPhone, this tutorial will be using it, not the droid

Okay, let’s get started.

Go into the app store (iPhone or iPad); search for and download iWatermark

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Install it.

When you open it, you’ll have 5 options: Select Photo (s), Take Photo, iWatermark Photo, Create Text Watermark, Create Graphic Watermark, but that’s kind of a trick because you can only actually open the top 2 choices: Select Photo (s) or Take Photo! Crafty little app, huh. But that’s cuz they want you to be working with an actual photo from the get-go.

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Select Photo (s) is to choose a photo from your phone camera roll

Take Photo is to open the app camera and take a photo immediately, which you will subsequently watermark

I choose Select Photo (s).

Then I select ‘Camera Roll’

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Now, here is one of the great things about this app: YOU CAN SELECT ALL OF THE PHOTOS THAT YOU WANT.

You check off 5, 10, 20 photos – however many you want.

For this tutorial, I’m not going to go nuts; I’m just going to select 3 photos:

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There we go. Then press “done”

It imports.

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Uploads

Then your 5 choices come up again, only this time YOU CAN ACTUALLY CHOOSE ANY OF THEM!

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Here’s the breakdown:

iWatermark Photo: for when you actually have watermarks created (- so use this after you have watermarks created)

Create Text Watermark: for creating your text watermarks

Create Graphic Watermark: for creating your signature as a watermark or uploading your logo, etc as your watermark

 

Step One: Create Text Watermark

1. You can only select “Text”, so go ahead and select it!

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Type in what you want for your watermark. (- usually just your name or the name of your blog/site)

Here’s Meriah Nichols, With a Little Moxie

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Oops! I think I want a copyright circle in the front! So I’ll pause in front of my name and add it there!

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I love this thing. So easy.

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Okay, now it’s time for font and editing

I select “Font”, then sort of get lost in my fontasy-land…

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This thing is a little ridiculously fun. You can automatically preview how it looks with any given font, so it’s FUN, FUN, FUN! You can also “bold” it, “italic” or “shadow” your text (see the buttons below the font menu). Select “OK” when you like the font

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But wait. I want another colour.

Okay, so I go back to “Edit”, and select “Color” (they don’t spell “colour” with a “u”).

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I want plain white, so I go with that.

All colours (“colour” with a “u”! ) are available – the entire range, full spectrum. You can adjust the colour bar too, to get the brightness of the hue *just so*. Don’t say this thing doesn’t do it all!

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I like my watermark like this, looking kind of handwritten and not glaring IN YOUR FACE, so I’ll stick with it. But I want it smaller.

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So I go back to ‘Edit’

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Hit ‘Size’

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Slide it down to a respectable 17pt

Back to the main screen and I just top my watermark on the screen and drag it down to where I want it (the bottom).

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But you know what? I think I want my watermark on the SIDE, not at the bottom. So I go back to “Edit’, and go to ‘Position’.

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Verticle, Center.

Great.

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This is how I want it to look, I AM DONE, so I hit the old “Save & Exit”

And here is the another truly excellent feature of this app: YOU SAVE THE WATERMARK.

You do not need to create a watermark each and every time; just once, exactly as you would like your watermark. Put the time in to get it perfect. Then save it!

I save the watermark clearly with what the watermark actually is and the font so that it’s easy to select for the future.

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Save & Exit.

Saved!

I hit okay.

Then, I can either go ahead and watermark all of my photos now or I can ‘Create Graphic Watermark’.

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Since this is a tutorial and not real life, I’m going to ‘Create a Graphic Watermark’ (in real life, I would just watermark my photos with the watermark I just created and let it all be)

In Creating a Graphic Watermark, you have 4 choices: Image, Paste, QR Code, Scan Signature.

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Here’s what it all means:

Image: this is where you will be led back to your phone’s photo roll and you can select an image from your phone to watermark your photo with. Want to watermark with a photo of your art? With a photo of your foot? With a photo of your pet robot, Hugh? Here’s your chance!

Paste: this is for your clipboard. If you have saved an image on your phone and you want to directly paste it in

QR Code: yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Now we are REALLY geeking out! If you open that one up, you can generate YOUR VERY OWN QR Code (and Mom, a QR Code is that thing that looks like total gibberish that you scan and read with your iPhone – like this:

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(reading: “Meriah Nichols”)

Scan Signature: super exciting for those of us that like this sort of thing.

 

Since I think the first 3 are super self-explanatory, I’m going to focus on the one that can be tricky but which is supremely cool: the Scan Signature (- and if you have ANY QUESTIONS about using the others – or at all, please utilize the “Dear Moxie’s Mama” form for your app/watermarking questions)

 

So, Scan Signature. After you select it, it opens up the app camera, ready to “scan” your signature (- it’s really taking a photo, not scanning! but whatever!). Have it ready.

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Here’s my scrawly handwriting.

Now this is the tricky part – you really need to do this in GOOD LIGHT, and see how I angled it so that there is very little space on the sides? You want that. Good light and a good angle are going to make a difference between something like this:

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– With all that dark scratchy nonsense, or this:

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Which is a hell of a lot cleaner, isn’t it?

Okay, so TAKE YOUR TIME. You want to get this right. Shoot “scan” it in good light and a good angle.

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While I like the overall look of this, I want it to be positioned on the bottom, not top. So I open “Edit”, then I hit “Position” and click on the Horizontal Bottom option.

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That’s okay, but the size! That makes it hard to see the photo!

Hit “Edit” again, open it up, click on “Size”

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Much better. But the position is awkward. Here, I just take my finger and swipe it down to reposition

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Works. I like it. So I click on “Save and Exit”

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I name the watermark, again something that I can remember (haha). After saving it, the app closes that frame automatically and we find ourselves back to the main choices again!

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Now how about watermarking the original 3 photos? (did you even remember that there were 3 photos to watermark?! ).

This time, you select “iWatermark Photo”

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It automatically watermarks with the last created and saved watermark

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If you don’t want that one, just scroll down to another one that you’ve created!

Select it

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Got it

IMG_7585When you’ve selected the waermark you want, the app takes you straight over to the next stop: 9 choices on what to do with it!

I think it’s all pretty straightforward. I always just choose the first option “Save to Camera Roll”

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It saves the photo, then goes right on to the next photo. You don’t need to do ANY-THING

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See where the watermark is though? Yeah. Nah. I don’t want that there. Or that watermark even.

I select “Watermarks”

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I choose the one that I want

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Then I position it with my finger and hit “Save”

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See? It starts happening really fast. It’s like it goes on auto and starts watermarking and all you have to do is agree or disagree with what’s going on.

Yes – that one~! SAVE; No, that one, okay, SAVE!

For this photo, it’s already got the graphic watermark on it, I think that’s a good fit, so I keep it, just swiping it down with my finger to a different location. Done.

NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT!

The iWatermark app does not crop or make your photos ready for the Instagram square format. If you want to watermark your photos for Instagram (and then share through Instagram to Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr), you should crop or make your photos square-ready BEFORE you watermark them. If you don’t do that, you might easily end up watermarking an area of the photo that will end up cropped and the whole thing is going to look weird. So just deal with the resizing first.

How to do that?

Lots of ways. We’ll get into that next week with some editing apps, but for now, how about meeting nice, easy and free Square Ready?

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This app is easy. It just makes your images square.

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Follow their little arrows. 1 – choose photo, 2 – make it square-ready and 3- save it!

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When you are done and hit “3 – save/export” , you will have some choices

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Like before, I recommend just saving it to your camera roll.

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Then you choose your image size, which is kind of cool. I usually go for the lower end, to keep upload speed manageable.

And THAT IS IT!

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Hopefully this will get you going on watermarking your photos and keeping them safer. Remember these tips:

  • Keep the watermark in a visible place where it cannot be cropped out without destroying the image
  • A watermark isn’t a guarantee that your photo will not be stolen – but if your photo IS stolen, it’s easier to pursue copyright infringement when a watermark is looking right at you

This was a kind of long tutorial but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be in and out of watermarking your photos in a couple of minutes, tops. You just have to practice!

Questions? Ask Moxie’s Mama! 

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I’ve been using just my iphone 4 and Picasa for ever on this blog. It was okay but Picasa started crashing on me and acting like a woman with hormones gone rampant.

Like a true former missionary child, I took this as a SIGN FROM GOD to get my slack-assed act together and learn Lightroom. Or Photoshop. Or whatever it is the big kids are using these days.

I saved up and bought Photoshop and Lightroom. Then froze up in front of the millions of options and fancy words and hard-sounding things.

I went back to Picasa with my tail stuck between my legs.

Then Picasa froze on me and just wouldn’t load any photos anymore. God was REALLY talking to me now, right?!

YOU MUST LEARN PHOTOSHOP. OR AT LEAST LIGHTROOM. 

That’s where I am now. Fumbling around Lightroom (which seems like a watered down version of Photoshop). I really can’t figure out much yet (- and isn’t that optimistic of me, adding a “yet” there?!) besides the export, import and watermark.

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That is the longest explanation ever for why I didn’t edit these photos at all! Watermarked only (and even that was random because I couldn’t tell what font was what!). Hopefully this can serve as a starting point of reference later for some post on “see how far I’ve come?!”

But of course, with my muse being so adorable… it really doesn’t need much in the way of edits. Right?

Here’s Moxie’s hair cut. May 1, 2013 (Micah’s 5th birthday).

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PS

A Note from Blurb:

The  Blurb Designer Instant book template makes it a cinch to create a professional quality photo book filled with memories for mom. Instant Books are easy to create, take about an hour, and start at just $12.99. This is definitely a present she will treasure each and every day! Start creating your Blurb Designer Instant Book today and save 20% with promo code LOVEYOUMOM valid through 5/10/13!

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