Tips for perfect holiday photos

‘Tis the season for food, family – and photos! (Okay, presents too, but that ruins the alliteration we were going for…)

This holiday season, we want to make sure you take the best photos possible. Of course, this might be a little self-serving (we’d love for your best photos to wind up on Collage.com photo products), but there’s no better time than the holidays to get photos with distant friends and family you don’t see often.

Our top holiday photo tip? Get close! Nothing ruins a photo (especially when you’re going to print it) more than digital zooms on smartphone cameras. Use your feet to get close to whatever you want a photo of instead of zooming in. You might need to take a few more steps, but it’ll be worth it. And besides, what better time to get close to your family and friends (literally) than the holiday season?

Take a lot of photos. Now that the cost of taking a photo is basically free, given digital cameras that don’t use film, there’s no reason not to take a bunch of photos at a time. That way, if one shot doesn’t work out, you have other options to choose from. No, you don’t need to make everyone wait around to take them all. Try using your camera’s “burst mode” if it has one to take multiple photos at a time. (On an iPhone, just hold down the shutter button in the camera app).

Turn on a light! Make sure your photos are well-lit – and if they’re not, turn on a light (so long as it isn’t behind your subject, which will result in a backlit silhouette-type shot). Photos taken in low light typically look bad, and there’s not much you can do after the fact to brighten them without losing quality.

Edit with Collage.com. Our website offers a full suite of photo editing tools that are free, easy to use and don’t require any software installation. You can do everything with our tools from adjusting contrast/brightness/saturation to removing red eye to adding cool visual effects. Here’s a guide with more info on how to edit your photos with Collage.com.

We hope you have a fun, safe, and photo-filled holiday season with your family and friends!

Make DIY gift cards for last minute gifts

DIY Collage.com gift cardSo you forgot to buy a present for Aunt Ethel. For Lisa in accounting. For your nephew. For cousin David (twice removed).

It happens. We’ve been there. And we have the answer:

Introducing, the printable DIY Collage.com Gift Voucher — a cute, tangible token of good things to come, courtesy of you. Just log onto the site, purchase a voucher for a product of your choice, and get printing. All you need is some ink and some tape and it’s like you’ve been planning this since July.

In fact, gift cards are a great gift even if you legitimately have been planning since July. Who doesn’t want to design their own photo collage and have it printed on a blanket/pillow/shower curtain for free? No one.  Perfect for (almost) everyone; extra-perfect for crafty people, pet-obsessed people, recent newlyweds, parents of newborns, and people who already have everything.

We’d say “don’t delay!,” but…well, the whole point of these things is that you can delay (and delay and delay) and still have something physical to hand over at Christmas. So, you know, take your time, I guess? But if you did want to get a jump start, you can shop ’em and print ’em right now.

Order gift vouchers for fleece photo blankets, gallery wrap canvases, photo mugs, metal photo prints, photo books, custom ornaments, or photo gift wrap.

3 easy tips for great fireworks photos

Independence Day is just around the corner, and that means fireworks!

Fireworks can be tricky to photograph, but not if you plan ahead and keep a few things in mind while you’re shooting:

Steady! A tripod is the best way to make sure your fireworks photos turn out great, since your camera needs to be still for a longer period of time to take a nice picture in low light. If you don’t have a tripod or monopod, you can try setting your camera on a flat, steady surface and using its self-timer or remote function so you won’t need to touch your phone.

Blurry Detroit fireworks
Here’s what handheld fireworks photos look like – not very good!
Detroit fireworks
The same vantage point as the shot above, except the camera is placed on a ledge and fired via self-timer

Turn HDR on your iPhone/Android camera: If you’re using a smartphone like an iPhone to take your fireworks photos, we suggest turning HDR (high dynamic range) on your phone. This takes a few photos with different exposures at once, then combines them into one photo. HDR can be a good way to capture vivid fireworks displays against the dark night sky.

Don’t wait for the grand finale: Everyone loves the grand finale of fireworks (“ooh! aah!”) – but they’re usually not the best time to take photos. Why? Your photos will show the smoke from the entire fireworks show, which will be more noticeable on camera than in real life. Don’t believe us? Check out the photo below!

GrandFinale
This would be an amazing photo of the fireworks grand finale… if it wasn’t for all the smoke!

Of course, you can get more advanced with your fireworks photos. Adjusting your shutter speed and aperture and ISO levels can really pay off, but for casual photographers, these tips will help out this Independence Day weekend. Don’t forget to take more photos than you think you might need, since it’s easier to review them once you’re home after the big show!

Wherever you enjoy fireworks this year, show off your best photos after the event on one of our new outdoor photo pillows, gallery wrap canvases, fleece photo blankets, or one of our other printed-to-order photo products.

All of us at Collage.com wish you a safe and happy Independence Day weekend!

Add color to any wall with new custom photo tapestries

We’re really excited to announce our newest product: custom photo tapestries!

Custom photo tapestries

Custom tapestries are the best way to add vibrant color to any wall. They print in vibrant, sharp detail and come in two sizes: a large 51″ x 60″ tapestry, and a humongous 60″ x 60″ size to add even more excitement to your walls.

Tapestry hanging hook

Because our tapestries are made out of a lightweight polyester material, they’re easy to hang however you’d like. We like using push pins or clips, but feel free to get creative with hanging your tapestries!

Tapestry detailYou can easily customize each tapestry with images from your phone, computer, camera, Facebook, or Instagram. We also offer a historical photo archive, which is perfect for decorating your walls with vintage prints or illustrations.

We know you’ll love our new tapestries – so design one today! 

Photo gifts for summer weddings

Are you celebrating any weddings this summer?

Whether it’s your own wedding, or a wedding for a special friend or family member, Collage.com has you covered.

Wedding photo book

Enjoy wedding day memories for a lifetime with one of our photo books. You can show off your wedding photos in a truly elegant hardcover or softcover photo book. Softcover photo books are also great gifts for bridesmaids or groomsmen, or for sharing photos with family members after your wedding.

Wedding photo blanketOur bestselling fleece photo blankets are perfect wedding gifts for hard-to-shop for folks. Use photos of the couple so they can wrap themselves in memories of their wedding day for years to come. Fleece photo blankets are a great way to thank the family of the bride or groom after the wedding, too.

Wedding coastersGive your wedding guests something special to take home with our custom photo coasters. Make a unique set for each table at your wedding, or include them as favors for bridesmaids or groomsmen.

You can find lots of other summer wedding gift ideas in our ultimate wedding gift guide

Wow your dad with personal, perfect gifts this Father’s Day

Father’s Day – Sunday, June 19 – is just around the corner.

Are you ready?  Our tools make it easy to customize the perfect gift for your dad, husband, grandfather, or any other dad you want to recognize on this special day.

Our shipping deadlines are quickly approaching, so don’t wait to create the perfect Father’s Day gift at Collage.com.

Father's Day photo books
Photo booksOrder by 9 pm ET, June 8 for ground shipping before Father’s Day (6/15 is overnight delivery deadline)

FathersDayGG_mug copy

MugsOrder by 9 pm ET, June 8 for ground shipping before Father’s Day (6/15 is overnight delivery deadline)

FathersDayGG_puzzles copy

 

Puzzles: Order by 9 pm ET, June 8 for ground shipping before Father’s Day (6/15 is overnight delivery deadline)

Make the most out of your Mother’s Day photos

We see (and take) a lot of photos at Collage.com, because we know how important it is to preserve memories for years to come.

That’s why we want to help you take the best Mother’s Day shots possible: not only will they look great in a Collage.com photo book or on a photo blanket, but they’ll also be so meaningful decades from now when you look back on them.

Here are some of our favorite tips for taking the best photos on Mother’s Day, or anytime:

  • Get close! It’s always better to “zoom with your feet” instead of using a zoom lens or digital zoom on your phone. Try to capture as much of your subject in the photo as possible instead of the wall behind them.
  • Lighting: very important. Okay, maybe this goes without saying, but good photos feature great lighting. You don’t need to set up fancy lights or anything. Just make sure your shots aren’t backlit (unless you really want a silhouette only). We’re big fans of photos taken outdoors in natural light.
  • Don’t center everything. It’s tempting to just center the subject of each photo, but in general, avoid doing this. Learn about the “rule of thirds” for taking more interesting photos.
  • Turn up the brightness on your phone’s screen! Keeping your phone screen’s brightness down is a great way to save battery life, but it can make it hard to compose and take great photos. We recommend turning up your screen brightness when taking photos.
  • Know your camera. Whatever you use to take photos – whether it’s an iPhone, Android phone, or an actual (gasp!) camera – brush up on how best to use it. Five minutes of research can really pay off. Google for your specific camera (e.g. search for iPhone photography tips) learn ins and outs for your particular model. For example, did you know you can take photos with your iPhone’s volume buttons, or your Apple headphones?
  • Use our editing tools to improve your photos. Collage.com offers a full suite of photo editing tools that are easy to use and don’t require any software installation. You can do everything with our tools from adjusting contrast/brightness/saturation to removing red eye to adding cool visual effects. Here’s a guide with more info on how to edit your photos with Collage.com.

We hope you have a great, photo-filled Mother’s Day!

Celebrate American history with Collage.com

Our team at Collage.com is full of history geeks. That’s why we love using our historical photo archive to create cool custom products you can’t find in a store.

Harriet Tubman pillow

Are you excited over Harriet Tubman appearing on the front of the $20 bill next year? (We are!) You can easily use our historical photo archive to make a Harriet Tubman pillow, as featured above.

Fans of Old Hickory who also love hickory-accented summer barbecues might love an Andrew Jackson-themed custom apron, too:

Andrew Jackson apron

We can’t wait to see what you create with our historical photo archive!

Need help designing? Our concierge team is at your service

Collage.com’s tools make it so easy to design products with your favorite photos, patterns, and text.

Sometimes, you might want some extra help, or might not have the time to finish your project. We’re happy to assist!

The Collage.com concierge team will help you create the perfect product. Our experienced, Michigan-based Customer Satisfaction team is standing by seven days a week to help however they can.

From cropping photos and removing redeye to arranging photos in a project, our team will do anything we can to help. Best of all, your order will be protected by our Just Right Satisfaction Guarantee, too.

Right now, we’re piloting the Collage.com concierge program as a free service, so you have nothing to lose, too! Just contact us at concierge@collage.com and we’ll get back to you as fast as we can.

Create the perfect Valentine’s Day photo book

Want to make the perfect Valentine’s Day photo book? It’s simple with our easy-to-use tools and some of your favorite photos.

First, you’ll need to pick your photo book. Collage.com offers three different kinds of photo books: softcover, hardcover, and our new premium lay-flat hardcover photo books. Our premium lay-flat books feature paper almost twice as thick as standard photo paper, that showcases your photos with the most vivid colors and deepest blacks. You can’t go wrong with our very best photo book for your very best friend!

Valentine's Day photo book

Continue reading Create the perfect Valentine’s Day photo book