Are you ready to capture memories?

Kristin Cronin-Barrow Tis the Season. Cindy Schneider wordart.

If you are getting ready to celebrate Christmas, you have probably reached the point where you’ve done everything you can to prepare and now it is just time to celebrate. Before you sit down to festive dinners or open presents, there are a few quick things you can do to make sure you don’t miss a moment.

  • Charge up camera (and smartphone) batteries
  • Be sure to have extra memory cards on hand
  • Check for storage space on your smartphone and clear some space for new photos if needed.
  • Scout for photography spots (as Katrina always says – look for light!)
  • Hand the camera to others so you get pictures that include you
  • Set out a notebook or decide on an app to help you take notes of things you want to remember.
  • Make a list of photos you really want to take during the big day.
  • Enjoy the moment!

Most likely, you want take every photo or document every detail you want to, but if you take a few minutes of prep time now, you will be able to relax and let the memories happen.

Happy Holidays!

katie big

How To Solve Common Holiday Photo Issues

We all want to capture beautiful holiday photos, but the hustle and bustle of December can make it difficult.

Avoid these common issues to capture better photos during your holiday season.

Blurry Photos

We’ve all taken them. The moment is so beautiful but your photo is a blurry mess. The low lights of Christmas time lead to slow shutter speeds and blurred images. Don’t be fooled into believing you can take a great photo just because your camera’s shutter will click.


Ugly Yellow Photos

The scene looks beautiful to you, but your photo is a yellow weird mess. The variety of indoor lights during the holidays can create strange colors in your photos, proving once again that what you see is not what the camera sees.


  • Adjust your white balance to Tungsten. With the variety of lights in most of our homes, you may also want to play with the white balance setting to find the one that works best for you.
  • Shoot in RAW and adjust your white balance in post processing.

Uncooperative Subjects

You’ve found the background you want. You know your settings are right. You’ve thought it through. Then you add your subjects and chaos ensues! Yep, it’s holiday photo time. I’m always amazed how a perfectly lovely family can transform themselves into monsters when the camera comes out.


  • Make it fast and easy. I find the less fuss, direction, and time I take, the easier photos are.
  • Think about what is in it for them to cooperate with you. Older kids you might offer a photo for facebook or cash. Younger kids offer treats.
  • Ask someone non-related to photograph your family if possible. Most family members are better behaved in front of someone else. Most. Not all.
  • Go candid. If all else fails, just sneak the shots when you can. They are more natural and fun anyway.

Grey Snow

Your camera reads the bright snow and says WOW, that’s a lot of light and underexposes, giving you ugly grey snow and under exposed subjects.


  • Overexpose 1  stop.  It seems counter-intuitive, but it works.
  • If your point and shoot has it, use the snow setting.

Boring Photos

Do your photos seems boring compared to other people’s? There is usually one big issue in boring photos. Too much going on in the frame.


  • Pick a strong, interesting subject to focus on.
  • Avoid too much going on in the background of your photo.
  • Move closer to your subjects. Don’t be afraid to fill the frame.
  • Find a different angle.

And my last piece of holiday photo advice…

Avoid comparing. Okay, you know I had to say it. Our home decor is different.  Our lighting is different. Our subjects are different.

Embrace your REAL self this holiday. My house is  not decorated to Pinterest or Martha standards. My family won’t be wearing coordinated Gap clothing. My kitchen wall has a giant hole in it. My house is a construction zone.

That is my REAL. I’m good with that.

What is your holiday photo frustration? I’d love to hear in the comments below.


Merry Christmas


Everyone at The Daily Digi would like to wish our members, readers, and those they love a very Merry Christmas!!

Supplies for above: “Everyday Storytelling” journaler by Jennifer Barrette, font is Magneto.

Wrap it Up–Digi Style

One of my favorite ways to use my holiday digital scrapbooking supplies is by making gift tags or embellishing gifts. There’s something special about adding your own digi touch to a gift. It also comes in handy if you’re wrapping gifts late on Christmas Eve and realize that you still need tags! Even though the local stores will be closed, the digi shops will be open! I found some fun ideas in the galleries to share: (each image is linked)


Christmas-tag-photo (1)





There are also many great kits and embellishment packs that work well for gift tagging and wrapping.















tlp word blocks





You might want to also check your stash of holiday supplies. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find some tags and word art in some of my Christmas kits that will make wonderful additions to any gift. When it comes time to wrap the presents this year, consider wrapping them up in digi style!

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P.S. Kim was the random winner selected from Dawn’s feature on Monday. She won $10 in product from Dawn.

Last minute gift ideas

2009 Christmas 005

Are you feeling a little panicked about not having your gift shopping done? With Christmas only a week away, time is running out! How about some last minute gift ideas to help out?



The nice thing about gift cards (especially online versions) is that they can be purchased at the last minute and still make it to the recipient in time. We are super excited to finally be able to offer an easy gift card for The Daily Digi’s Digi Game membership! Make things easy on the gift givers in your life and email them a link to this post!


The person that forwarded this email to you has been dreaming of receiving a Digi Game membership! We’ve made it easy for you to give the gift they’ve been wanting most!

1) Just click here to go the gift certificate page that looks like this:


2) Fill in the “TO” and “FROM” information on the tag.

3) Select the length of the subscription you want to give (one month or one year).

4) Click BUY NOW. You will be taken to a PayPal screen where you can log into an existing account or select another option if you don’t have a PayPal account:


Once you have confirmed payment through PayPal, a confirmation email will be sent to you and the gift certificate will be emailed to the recipient. The recipient will be able to apply the gift to an existing membership OR sign up for an account, if they don’t have one. All of that information is included in the email they will receive!



To make an a gift card extra special, consider wrapping it up in a custom gift card wrapper or pairing it with a favorite treat.









Really, you still have time to whip up some magic because you are a DIGI scrapper! Here are some quick and easy projects that come together in no time at all.

Make a quote art piece like this Harry Potter layout using ideas from the dingbats post.


  • Frame a photo collage. They are so easy to make and you’ll find a lot of ideas in this post Quick & Easy Collages or using the tools at Big Huge Labs – see the post Big Huge Fun for details.

Oregon 2008_2

  • Use your digi supplies and iron-on transfer sheets to create custom aprons, t-shirts, pillowcases, bags, and more! It’s actually very easy to do and you’ll find plenty of ideas in this Iron-on Transfer Projects post.




We have several posts all about gift giving so be sure to browse through them for a plethora of great ideas!


Remember to enjoy the journey of finding, making, and/or wrapping each gift you give. It really is the thought that counts!

katie big

Photography Class with Katrina: Metering in Low Light

Fall is slowly arriving with the weather changing and the days getting shorter. Shorter days mean less light, which means taking pictures can get a bit trickier. Using your flash can be an option, but it doesn’t have to be! With a little work you can master low light photography just in time for Halloween and holiday photos.


How do you go about capturing a photo in low light? Metering, or exposing, for the light can be tricky with the contrast between bright lights and dark subjects messing with your light meter.

There are two key things to keep in mind when shooting in low light – shoot with a high ISO and watch your shutter speed.

When shooting in low light, your shutter typically needs to stay open longer to let enough light in. A too slow shutter speed is what most often creates an unusable photo. You may have perfect exposure, but if your shutter speed is too slow you may capture unwanted movement. In this photo, notice the blur around his fingers and at the edges of his hair. A faster shutter speed would stop that motion, but in this case it adds a bit of energy.


In order to get a shutter speed fast enough to stop motion, you will need to shoot with a higher ISO. Each camera model has a different range of ISOs that can be used without excessive noise (graininess or pixilation) in your photo. It may take a little playing to determine how high you can acceptably push your ISO with your camera.

Let me walk you through the steps.

1. Place your camera on Spot Metering. This will tell your camera to “read” the light from a concentrated area around your focal point.

2. Set your camera to Manual (M). Leave your lens on AF (Auto Focus).

3. Set your White Balance according to the type of light you are shooting in.

4. Set your ISO to 800. The less light you have, the higher you will want your ISO.

5. Choose a wide aperture Depending upon your lens, choose your lowest f/number; remembering the smaller the f/ number, the wider the aperture. The wider the aperture the more light you let in.

6. Aim your camera at your subject, zooming in or walking as close as you can. If you are photographing active children, you can use your own hand or an adult to set your exposure as long as they are in the same light your child will be in.

7. Find the area you want to have most “correctly” exposed. While you are zoomed on your subject you don’t need to be in focus.


8. Check your shutter speed, keep it above 1/50th of a second (displayed as 50) to avoid camera shake if you are not using a tripod. 1/125th of a second is a good rule of thumb to stop most movement, if your subject is a little uncooperative.

9. Move your in-camera light meter until your indicator falls on the midpoint or 1/3 stop over exposed (one small line to the right).

10. Recompose your shot.

11. Ignore your light meter settings as they bounce all around. Your camera is “seeing” light from all around your subject and warning you that your exposure reading is wrong. Ignore it, you are now smarter than your camera!

12. Focus.

13. Shoot.

14. Review your shot on your LCD and in your histogram.

a. If you see a lot of blinking white spots, referred to as “clipping”, you have overexposed and need to bring in a bit less light.


b. If your histogram is “stacked” to the far right, you have also overexposed.

c. If your dark areas are blinking or your histogram is stacked to the left, you have underexposed.

15. Adjust your exposure.

a. If overexposed, adjust your shutter speed or aperture to let less light in. (faster shutter speed or more narrow aperture, larger number)

b. If underexposed, adjust your shutter speed or aperture to let more light in. (slower shutter speed or wider aperture, smaller number)

Don’t be afraid to play with your exposure. Take a shot. Review it. Adjust your exposure up or down in 1/3 stop increments. To do this easily, use your exposure compensation button! Shoot. See what you get.


You could use a semi-automatic mode in low light conditions, but with practice you will find you can get a more accurate exposure in manual.

It is through this trial and error that you will begin to see how ISO, aperture and shutter speed work together. You will also begin to understand how your camera’s ISO sensitivity.

I’d love to know how this works for you!

About Katrina:
I eat, breathe, write and teach Photography! My camera is my most often worn accessory. I am a mom with a camera who feels compelled to capture my son’s life. I was frustrated by my search to learn how to use my camera and knew I had to pass on the knowledge

I gathered to help other moms capture their favorite subjects. I started out with a film SLR years ago, on auto. Moved to a dSLR in 2002 on auto and in 2005 finally decided I needed to know what TV actually stood for!

Katrina teaches photography classes at Get It Scrapped. Writes photography tutorials for DesignerDigitals and blogs about her life through the lens at About A Boy.  You can find Katrina’s posts at The Daily Digi by clicking on the Photography category.


P.S. Congratulations to Christy who was randomly chosen from the comments in yesterday’s post!  She said she is working on owning everything in Kate’s store, the $10 in product she just won should help! 🙂



THE DAILY DIGI wants to wish our readers and the ones they love a very Merry Christmas!  May you create many wonderful memories during this holiday season!!

Here’s some great information as you start scrapping Christmas:

Scrapping Christmas Part 1

Scrapping Christmas Part 2

Supplies for card: patterend paper by Amy Wolff, Alpha by Designs by Lili, Snowflake by Amy Wolff, stitching by Syrin from TDF10 (My Friend Lilli)