4 Simple Tips for Creating Great Summer Photo Books

If there’s anything better than summer itself, it might just be that feeling you get when you complete your summer photo book. While it’s still warm out.

It’s far easier to sort and upload photos when they’re fresh, than six months later when you forget who took which photos – and you can hardly remember the names of all the places you went on vacation. When you approach your vacation and summer activities with the intention of making a photo book, you build in certain habits that make the whole process much simpler.

Summer Photo Book

 

#1: Use your camera like a notebook
I can’t remember the last time I had a pen and paper on me, but I am practically always have my iPhone in hand. Use your smart phone to snap pictures of place names, signs and other minutiae that will retroactively help you piece together the progression of events. It’s not that you’ll necessarily include the pictures in your albums, but you’ll have a built-in way of remembering what you did where so you can add captions that are robust with memories. The more details you include, the more easily you’ll be transported to the time and place once your photo book is complete.

Summer Photo Book Tips

#2: Take pictures like a photojournalist
While you don’t want to dwell in this state of mind every minute of your vacation (your family might want to leave you home next time), remember to take a few minutes each day to snap pictures of things other than people posing and pretty sunsets. Snap photos of a striking centerpiece at a new favorite restaurant, or take a picture of the texture of the sand beneath your feet, or the crisscrossed grasses on the hike up to your cabin. These photos aren’t the primary focus of your vacation, but they go a long way to create context and add dimension to the story you’re creating in your book.

Summer Photo Book TipsSummer Photo Books

#3: Vary perspective
Say your child is going off to a summer of sports camp: you’re going to have a lot of pictures taken from the sidelines. Try to find creative ways to get new angles on the fun. Everything from mounting a GoPro camera to his head to using a zoom lens to simply perching from a different place in the stands each day can help create variation in the composition of your photographs. It’s important for your photo book’s pacing. Just as in writing an essay, you don’t want all your sentences to be structured exactly the same way, you want to make sure your photographs challenge the eye so that it actually “sees” what’s in front of it.

Tips for Summer Photo BooksIdeas for Summer Photo Books

#4: Think about “series” shots
You don’t always have to capture it all in a single shot. Keep in mind that it’s really nice – especially when documenting children – to show a progression of activity. For your visual layout, an odd-numbered group of photographs is likely to look best. So whether you’re showing three, five or seven photos of a single activity, you can capture the action in step-by-step sequence, which is a really nice way to transport yourself back to the action years down the road.

Great Summer Photo BooksSummer Photo Book Ideas

Mixbook has lots of great summer-friendly photo books to choose from. One of our favorite new designs is Colorful Collage, which is a modern, minimalist way to overlay the saturated colors of summer onto a strikingly simple backdrop. And the Summertime photo book design is perfect for chronicling a classic American kids’ summer – from pool outings to beach days and ice cream treats. Mixbook’s Soccer themed photo book is ideal for sharing all the fun from sports camps throughout the summer. And Mixbook’s Summer Days photo album is great for showing off a tropical holiday. When you’re ready to create your photo album, simply upload all your great photos and hit the Automix button. You can remix the order of your photos till you love the result – and, of course, you can always manually move things around.

 

Happy Mixbooking! Happy Summer!

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Fun-Loving Summertime Party Invitations

If you have a festive bone in your body (and we know you do!), chances are you crave a good gathering when the weather gets warm. There’s something about the easy nature of summer foods, the relaxed general atmosphere and the long days that makes entertaining extra appealing.

Here’s our advice: pick a weekend afternoon or evening a few weekends out, design your festive invitation and get it in the mail! Friends will love getting a printed invite for a summer party in their mailbox so they can put it up on the fridge and get excited for the fun.

Summer Party Invitations

Whether you’re celebrating a birthday or not, it’s fun to pick a theme and choose food and activities to build on it. Here are a few of our favorite summer party invitations, with menu and fun ideas to match:

Sips and Apps
Mixbook’s new Party Time Straws invitation sends a clear message that there’s going to be fun in the form of drinks! Whether they’re spiked, steeped or sugary, there’s nothing more old-school summer than sucking an ice-cold refreshment up through a paper straw. Consider serving a few special signature drinks – like hibiscus-infused tea, basil-infused lemonade or homemade sangria, then set up a bar with serve-yourself drink dispensers next to glassware and straws. Put out trays of other simple nibbles, crank up some festive music, have squirt guns on hand, and let the fun unfold before your eyes!

Summer Party Invitations

Hoedown Throw-Down
Here’s a card that’s perfect for hosting a BBQ birthday…or just for the heck of it! The design has a little banner that designates the event as one to honor a special person, but it’s a small detail that can be deleted easily using the Mixbook editor. Then again, you might just want to make up an honorary person, day or even just a silly reason to have a party. Whatever you’re celebrating, Mixbook’s new Chalked Gingham invitation – with its chalkboard backdrop and red-checked cloth – does conjure up small-batch craft cider, artisan pickles and grass-fed burgers. Or take it campy and make your event all about beer, brats and sauerkraut. Whatever the occasion, guests will arrive ready to take down some serious grub of the grilled variety.

Summer Party Invitation

Margarita Extravaganza
Mixbook’s new Colorful Banners card is another invitation that’s perfect for a birthday celebration or just any old festive gathering. With decorative papel picado banners, guests will come ready for margaritas, tacos, chips and guac. String up a piñata for the kids, decorate the tables with affordable carnations in bright colors and your party is practically throwing itself. For dessert, serve up dulce de leche cupcakes, margarita popsicles and churros with salted caramel dipping sauce.

Summer Party Invites

Al Fresco Movie Party
For your favorite movie nut, host a backyard screening party. Send out Mixbook’s new Ticket Invitation with all the details for the big night. To prep for the showing, set up a snack bar with all the classic movie candy, plus popcorn and fountain soda. Or make it a little more fancy (and a little less sugary) with Sodastream sodas or homemade lemonade. Set up a movie projector opposite a white sheet hung from the side of your home, then toss blankets and big pillows all over the ground. Then, let the feature film do all the entertaining.

Summer Party Invites

Happy Mixbooking! Happy Summer Partying!

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7 Tips for Taking Better Photos this Summer

We all know someone who is average in appearance, yet somehow they always look great in photographs. It’s not just a matter of being photogenic – it can also be a function of knowing how to work the camera. You don’t have to be vain or self-obsessed to think about how to best present yourself for pictures – you just need to be aware of a few little tricks. You’ll find that not only do you look better in the pictures taken of you – you’ll know how to direct your subjects so that they look better in the pictures you take. Family photos and portraits will be better lit, well composed, visually harmonious and full of authentic character.

How to Take Better Summer Photos

Be Light
Try to have photos taken with as much light as possible on the face. Natural light is ideal, but when you’re being photographed indoors you’ll also want to pose near a light source. The more light that washes over faces, the more forgiving the camera will be – after all, it’s those pesky shadows that highlight flaws. Outdoors, avoid direct sunlight, and instead try shooting in the early morning or late afternoon when light angles are indirect and the quality of the light is more amber and warm. Cloudy days are ideal for creating a beautifully filtered camera-loving light.

Summer Photo Tips

Act Natural
To achieve an authentic smile, try to think of something humorous like a funny moment from earlier in the day. The less focused you are on having your picture taken, the more relaxed your body and visage will be. Your photographer can also help put everyone at ease by saying a funny word just before shooting. As long as it’s not “say cheese,” which tends to elicit forced smiles.

Summer Photo Tips

Embrace Angles
Since no one’s face is perfectly symmetrical, standing square in front of the lens is often not the most flattering pose as it emphasizes imperfections. Standing at an angle softens your look and keeps you looking relaxed and happy. Shift weight so it’s mostly on one foot, then turn your one shoulder toward the lens.

How To Take Better Summer Photos

Chin Out
Make sure you pay attention to where the camera is. If the lens is at eye level or above, you’re golden. If the camera is below eye level, however, you run the risk of appearing to have a double chin. Try to change your position (or the photographer’s) so that your eyes are on an even level with the lens. Then project your chin out just a bit more than you would typically to elongate your neck and avoid the dreaded neck shadows.

How To Take Better Photos This Summer

Keep It Simple
When composing a family portrait, it’s a great idea to keep the color palette simple and avoid patterns to visually unify the image. It’s best to choose a single color and have everyone dress in tonal variations. Stay away from white because it’s so reflective and makes for a washed-out photo – and avoid black because everyone will appear to blend into one another.

How to Take Better Photos This Summer

 

Get Close
For candid shots – say, of a child building a sand castle or staring at something they’ve never seen before – don’t be afraid to get close to your subject. A close-up taken with shallow focus lets you capture a singular expression that’s not posed. You’ll love having a record of that laser focus.

How To Take Better Summer Photos

Have Fun!
There’s just no way to fake it in photography. When your subjects are actually having fun, it comes through in the kind of portraiture that’s worthy of albums or even frames. So have a good time, and create moments worth remembering during every photo shoot, whether formal or impromptu.

Summer Photo Tips

Happy Mixbooking! Happy Snapping!

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Hello, Summer! Let this be the year you plan ahead to create a fabulous travel photo book that documents all the great fun you’re about to have. You’ll surely have lots of posed photos of family and friends with arms around each other, plus plenty of sunset shots, but why not inject some planned pics that make your vacation or travel photo album just a little more creative than the Joneses?!

Vacation and Travel Photo Book

Whether your summer vacation is a camping trip, a beachside getaway or a city escape, we’ve gathered lots of creative ideas for photos that might take just a little advance planning, but NO work – we promise.

Camping Trip

Low-Light Campfire
Try taking some great low-light photos around the campfire. Practice turning your camera settings to a low shutter speed to let in lots of light. Plan in advance to bring a small tripod so that you can capture all the fireside s’more-making and ghost-story-telling.

Vacation photo idea

Tent Shadows
Create a series of really cool tent-shadow photos by bringing a small lantern to hang from the apex of your tent’s interior. All you need is that source of light to create funny shadows that appear on the tent’s exterior – anything from a sweet embrace to kids practicing their shadow puppets.

Camping photo idea

Campsite Snugglefest
Capture a family snugglefest by playing around with angles. Get low to the ground to get a shot like this one where the crisp morning light shines on gorgeous blonde bedheads. Extra credit for ensconcing your subjects in fabulous tartan blankets!

Camping Photo Ideas

Human Sleeping Bags
Gather your fellow campers for a head-to-toe sleeping-bag-suit shot. There’s something inherently funny about capturing anyone upright in their quilted cocoons. Extra credit for a breathtaking backdrop – it acts as the perfect awe-inspiring foil to such silliness.

Vacation Travel Photos

Beachside Getaway

Shadow Faces
Gather a group of people and have them draw a funny face in the sand, then have them interlock arms and stand above the sand faces so it appears that their shadows have faces.

Vacation Photo Idea

Sandwriting
Draw your family name and the year in the sand, then decorate the sand-drawing with shells and other beachside treasures. Have family gather around the year for a toes-in-sand aerial shot. Or take your photo at an angle so you capture kids playing in the background.

Vacation Photo Book Idea Travel photo book ideasBeach Photo IdeasBeach Photo Book Ideas

Beach Photo Frame
Bring a pretty carved-wood frame to the beach – and azure blue one looks particularly beautiful, we think. Bury a corner in the sand, then play around with capturing your subjects beyond.

Beach Vacation Photo

Headless kids
Bury one willing subject in the sand, then have another one pose just above to create the illusion of a headless kid!

Kids travel photo idea

Jumping sunsets
There’s something magical about being at the beach during an amazing sunset. Play around with your camera settings to capture the supersaturated color in the background of leaping silhouettes.

Beach Travel Photos

Ocean Love
Form the word “LOVE” YMCA-style right in the waves for a shot that may very well end up being your Christmas Card this year – in addition to the cover of your summer album!

Ocean Photo Idea

City Escape

Subway Love
Make a habit of taking pictures of you and your significant other or friends holding hands on the overhead grips on subways. It’s a meme you can reproduce in subways, undergrounds and metros all over the world!

 

Feet Outstretched
Create a series of photos where you and your significant other have your feet outstretched in front of you. Whether you’re riding a roller coaster or a ski lift – or you’re just lounging at the beach, the series is ideal for creating a really cool cover to provide a snapshot of all the fun inside your photo album.

Travel Photo Book Idea

Excited Guide
A little like Subway Love or Feet Outstretched, the “excited guide” theme can be fun to do in a series. Simply make a habit of capturing your fearless leader taking you somewhere cool, then bring all the shots together for a fun series.

Cute Travel Photo Ideas

Umbrella Kiss
Ask a passerby to capture a shot of you and your loved-one kissing beneath an umbrella. It’s another theme that can be played out in cities all over the world. Think of how cool it would be if, at your 30th wedding anniversary, you had three decades worth of pictures like this in one awesome album!

Travel Photo

Cute Feet on Manhole Covers
Another adorable meme is to snap shots of your feet – or those of your children – atop manhole covers in every city you visit. The brighter the shoes the better!

Vacation Travel Photo Ideas

Kids On Big Staircases
The grandeur of city staircases juxtaposed with the diminutive nature of kids – is there anything more adorable? Whether they pose exhausted and bedraggled or buoyant and silly, it’s a photo series you can pull off in any city the world over.

Kid Travel Photo Ideas

Bright Doors, Little Kids
The play of light on a beautiful hidden door in a back alley is a photograph waiting to happen. The only way to make it better? Get kids in on the action. See what they do when set against a vibrant burst of color in an otherwise gray alley. Do they play with the shadows? Do they squat on the stoop? Do they pose Vogue-style? Whatever they do, capture the series on film with stop-action style.

Kid Travel Photo Book Ideas

Landmark Loveys
This one’s as sweet as it is simple. Does your child have a tattered stuffy that they’ve loved to pieces and carry everywhere? Take photos of said lovey in famous places – perched atop the Liberty Bell or slumped in front of the Eiffel Tower. A little like Flat Stanley, only way cuter.

Happy Mixbooking! Happy fun playing with pictures!

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There’s nothing more gratifying than ushering a friend through a rite of passage. And there’s perhaps no rite of passage more significant than bringing a child into the world. So it’s important that you make a baby shower meaningful – but just as important that you make it fun. It’s a way to demonstrate that the friends who love and support her now will be the friends who love and support her in her new role as mom.

Baby Shower Invitations

Set the mood for a fabulous baby shower by sending out a custom invitation that’s as ultra stylish as it is crazy adorable. It’s a subtle way of comforting the mom-to-be that she can still be hip even after becoming a mom! Mixbook’s Baby Shower invitations for girls and boys are designed to not only be on-trend, but also to inspire great party themes and decorating ideas. We challenge you to scroll through the many options without getting a brilliant idea for how to fete the mom-to-be.

Mixbook’s latest and greatest styles are perfect for hosting simple parties to celebrate the impending arrival. Mixbook’s Burlap Baby Boy Banner and Girl version has a great crafty feel that would be ideal to send out for any creative-themed celebration. And it’s even better if you’re planning to put together a Mixbook photo book with the Krafty Fun theme to document the pre-baby preparations. Include photos of crafting done at the baby shower, plus any DIY projects taken on in anticipation of the baby – anything from quilt-making to stenciling the walls of the nursery.

Baby Shower InvitationsBaby Shower Party Ideas

Mixbook’s Gold and Black Glittered Shower – Girl and Boy invitation is perfect for an elegant event with a sophisticated offering of drinks and appetizers. Just right for the chic and stylish mom-to-be, this invitation will set the mood for a party that’s vibrant and just a little dressy.

Baby Shower Invitation Ideas

Inspired by the art of classic picture books, Mixbook’s Elephant Typography – Girl or Elephant Typography – Boybaby shower invitations are modern, lighthearted and sweet. Perfect for the stylish mom-to-be who adores simple, clean graphics of children’s illustrations.

Elephant Baby Shower Invitations

Along with Mixbook’s freshest new Baby Shower invitation designs, here are our top 4 favorite new ideas for baby showers!

1. Be Pedi
Give out pink or blue nailpolish as party favors to every guest. If you know the baby’s gender, make the polish all pink or all blue. If you are keeping the gender a secret, let guests pick their color based on their guess.

Baby Shower Party Ideas

2. Get Fruity
While you will never catch me suggesting silly baby shower games involving diapers and candy bars or blindfolded sampling of pureed food, I am all for this fruity gimmick. It’s so silly it’s awesome: a baby carriage crafted out of a watermelon, cut fruit and a pacifier. Brilliant.

baby shower fruit

3. Solicit Advice
Put out a jar with a sign that says “Baby Name Suggestions” so guests can weigh in on the big decision. Wait till after the party to read all the recommendations with the dad-to-be. It will absolutely be good for some big belly laughs (from him too) – and might even give you an idea or two!

Name Suggestions

A mason jar would work great for this, especially to match the burlap invitation above:

Burlap Baby Shower

4. Be Bookish
Let everyone at the party choose a letter from a hat. Then have them choose a noun that begins with that letter, and draw a picture on a white sheet of paper. Make sure each guest signs her name to the work of art. After the party, scan all the artwork for a group-made Mixbook Alphabet Book created just for the lucky baby! It will become a cherished memento that mom and child will love for years to come.

Baby Shower Photo Book

Happy Mixbooking! Happy Baby Showering!

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