Tag Archives: Photography

Review: Snapfish – How about a photo book for Christmas?

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Craig and I have been talking about photo books for a while now. We’ve got plans to create a book every Christmas so Dexter has a number of volumes by the time he leaves home. As an amateur photographer, this house is full of prints of Dexter and we’re running out of room to house canvasses. I’ve actually used a number of different photo printing services over the last few months – Canvas prices can be really expensive so we’ve traditionally shopped around.

When we were contacted about trialling Snapfish. It seemed the best opportunity to use a more reputable company for our photo book. I’ve had some shocking service from other print providers (late delivery, poor quality, terrible editing suites) – as we knew Snapfish was a HP company, we had really high expectations. As we wanted our photo book project to be our main gift to Dexter, we needed it to be perfect.

Needless to say, we are overjoyed with the result. In truth, every single stage of the process was easy.

SOFTWARE

Uploading our images was simple. We’d already selected our images prior to uploading. As these are scattered in multiple file locations on the laptop, we selected each image individually and they were uploaded in seconds. I also did a quick test to see if the uploader would handle multiple file selection (e.g. Ctrl, Alt multiple images and upload in one click) – and the uploader tool handled this with ease. There was even a click and drag option which is fabulous if your photos are scattered in multiple locations (like ours).

PROJECT CREATION

There were a number of photo book options to choose from starting from just £5.99. We selected the most expensive as we wanted a big hardback book – this was £42.99.

The project creation tool was surprisingly straightforward. You select a background theme, then drag and drop your photos into your project. There is an autofill option if you aren’t technically minded too. It’s then down to you to customise your project by resizing your pictures, cropping them, rotating them, and adding text (you don’t have to do this and can simply delete the text box).

The process took us around an hour as we had some 50 photos and decided to edit each of them. There was also a tip section if you wanted to explore all the possibilities available for your project.

COMMUNICATION AND DELIVERY

Excellent. I had an email to confirm my order, another to tell me it was ready for delivery and to confirm my dispatch address. The book was with me in 3 days and perfectly packaged.

VALUE FOR MONEY

These projects are never cheap; they’re an investment if anything. It’s definitely worth selecting a company like Snapfish as the quality is amazing and the end result is a priceless collection of photographs to flick through for years to come. It’s well worth creating an account and waiting for the latest deals to be emailed to you – there’s always great 3 for 2 offers and seasonal deals.

I’ve tried to show the quality of the sheen on the pages – it’s beautiful

OTHER PRINT SERVICES

As you’d expect Snapfish offer an array of different services including mugs, calendars, acrylic blocks and canvasses, aswell as a number of festive products such as tree ornaments and jigsaw puzzles. There’s some fantastic ideas for Christmas presents for all the family so well worth having a nosy at their website.

You can like Snapfish UK on Facebook or follow them on Twitter to get inspiration for your own project and stay informed about the latest offers and deals.

Disclaimer: I was provided with £35 worth of vouchers and free p&p for my order, for the purposes of this review. All words and opinions are my own.

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“No Photography Allowed”: Dexter’s First Swim

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So, Dexter went for a swim at the weekend.

Since the disaster with the pool on holiday (Dexter hated it) we’ve been hesitant to take Dexie swimming. Our main concern was the temperature. Dexter likes warm baths and hates feeling cold. I’m not a huge fan of swimming either and didn’t want to take him myself. We’ve always thought it was important to take him though as it’s a skill that might one day save his life.

So off we went to a local pool in Reading. It’s the warmest pool we know of so we hedged our bets. Sitting in the spectators lounge – I had to fight the temptation to whip out my iPhone and take pictures. Dexter looked so cute in his little swimsuit splashing around in Craig’s arms. He was so happy and confident in his Zoggs Trainer Seat, Craig noticed he was even kicking his legs in the water beneath. Seeing that Dexter was having fun, Craig decided to be brave and float him instead. Dexter was happy on his back and even reacted well to being briefly underwater. Finally, as the pool was graduated and had no steps – the swallow areas had only a few cms of water and Dexter was able to lay on his front on his knees and lift his head out of the water.

I’d have seriously loved to have come away with some pictures but was deterred by the massive sign by the entrance to the lounge “No photography beyond this point”. There was only myself and one other person sitting in the lounge area and it was clear that neither of us were pedophiles. She was around 40, engrossed in 50 Shades of Grey, and continually checking her watch – every inch the archetypal middle-aged mum taking her children swimming. It made me think – I’d be horrified if there was man in an anorak and a long lens snapping pics of the kids. But then if I were to shoot Mr Anorak an accusatory glance and whisk Dexter away, I suppose I should extend the same suspicions to Mrs 50 Shades. What makes me qualified to decide if someone is acting illegally or not?

In some ways – it’s like the world has gone mad. You wouldn’t wrestle a camera off a man at Disney World just because it’s full of children, yet in Britain, I constantly hear stories of parents being prevented from filming their own children at a nativity play or sports day in case the pictures are misappropriated. Yes – pedophiles are vile and of course we’d all do anything to safeguard our children from predatory advances, but are we taking the whole thing too far? With breaking stories such as the posthumous investigation into Jimmy Saville – the western world is turning increasingly into a ‘trust no one’ society.

But where does it end? When Dexter takes part in his first school play, all I will have to remind me is a photo of him in his costume in front of my fireplace, and not onstage in character. There won’t be an action shot of him winning an egg-and-spoon race either. These were precious memories for my parents and I remember whole albums dedicated to my school days.

Then there’s this blog. I’ve posted hundreds of photos of Dexie. I don’t even bother changing our names. Why should I? This blog is in the public domain, completely unprotected and anyone can view it. But why should I worry? There are millions of pictures of children in their nappies all over the web. Every time we buy a packet of Huggies or Pampers there’s a semi naked baby posing adorably on the packaging!

So what is the solution? Should we ID parents on entry to a swimming pool, school gate, cinema? But wouldn’t this limit the freedom of grandparents and family friends to take children out for the day of fun? Of course this is a ridiculous suggestion. So is the only solution to ban photographing your children in public places? Couldn’t that very same person with horrific motivations be swimming alongside my child in the pool!?

I did manage just a quick one of the boys at the side of the pool and was careful to get no one else in it – but the photo is so awful I was reluctant to post it. Dexter looks so chubby it doesn’t even look like him – but hey for prosperity’s sake – here’s my baby on the day of his first ever swim with Daddy. Yet another example of me flaunting the rules… ssshhh don’t tell anyone!

A vintage-looking Dexter

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I’m not very good at linking up to other mummy blogs which is part laziness, and part me wanting to keep this blog as an innocent read for my little man. That said, there are some really inspirational linkies that crop up from time to time; things I feel passionately about, and things I feel won’t dilute the blog, rather add to it. There are also some lovely competitions I sooo want to win as the prizes would be fabulous for Dexter (and me!).

I stumbled across such a blog earlier on today and haven’t been able to get it out of my head. Kitsunetsuki is a really visual blog by Laura Fox Gill about food, art, photography and books – it’s a real feast for the eyes as the pictures are out of this world. She is running her first ever competition and its a really exciting one. It’s to win a Polaroid camera.

The truth is, I’ve ALWAYS wanted a Polaroid, ever since I was a little girl. I love the thought of getting instant photos and the not-knowing if your shot is any good or not – It makes the good photos just that little bit more special. I have a beautiful Canon 1100D and I absolutely love it – but in all honesty, even my starter DSLR  Canon makes photography so simple that even the least accomplished photographer can achieve some really stunning pics. A Polaroid is not for the faint hearted, you can waste whole reams of film trying to get something amazing, and the film is not cheap – but oh my God they’re beautiful. They’re kitsch, they’re 80’s retro and I really want one.

As part of the competition, you have use a photo effect application to add a vintage effect to a photo you have taken. I have never experimented with one before so was pleased to see how simple they are to use. I used Pixlr but I’ve heard equally great feedback about Instagram so will be having a play with this over the next few weeks to see how they compare. The effects are so clever and I simply love these enhanced photographs of Dexter. I’m not sure if I’ve achieved vintage but I love these all the same and they’re timeless to me.

If you want to enter this competition for yourself, here’s the link: