How To Take the Perfect Selfie Using Your iPhone

fashion, how to, mom life, photography, selfie, Technology, tips and tricks

Taking the perfect selfie has become more of a necessity than a passing fad. Profile photos are needed for everything from websites to social media, even many employers are asking for headshots to add to company webpages, business cards, and brochures.

Not everyone has the time or money to hire a professional photographer but thanks to the improved front facing camera and portrait mode, it’s possible to take a professional looking headshot from the comfort of your own home. Here are some tips and tricks to getting publisher quality images.

Choosing your settings

• Portrait mode allows for focus on the face with less background interference.

• Open the camera app on your iPhone and swipe to portrait. Toggle between natural and studio light settings to determine which lighting option creates the least amount of shadow without washing out your features. You can always change your mind later as these settings can be altered even after the photo has been taken.

• Try to avoid using the flash. Opt for well light rooms or outside. If extra light is necessary consider getting a ring light or illuminated phone case.

Positioning Your Phone

• The best position for your phone is slightly elevated above eye level. Aim the front facing camera at your forehead then gently raise your chin so that you’re making eye contact with the lens.

• Since people tend to look their best at a slight angle as opposed to head on try moving your face slightly from one side to the other maintaining eye contact with the lens. You may want to take a few test shots.

• Since it shouldn’t be obvious you’ve taken your own headshot for publication consider propping your phone up on some books or a shelf and setting the timer found at the top of the screen. Helpful investments include a Bluetooth remote, iPhone tripod, or stand attachment such as a popsocket or iRing.

Focus On You

• Avoid patterns such as strips or polka dots.

• Crop out logos unless your photo is designed for a specific business you’re representing.

• Go for solid colors in rich earth tones such as navy blue, forest green, or burgundy. Stay away from black and white.

• Choose a minimalist background such as a textured wall or doorway.

Editing and Exporting

• Tap “Edit” found at the bottom of the screen directly after a photo has been taken or on the top left hand corner of your screen after the photo is sent to your photo album.

• Phones taken in portrait mode have a pre set depth of field of 4.5. This can be altered between 1.4 to 16 after the photo has been taken by running your finger back and forth across the bottom of the screen.

• The iPhone also offers several filters which can be accessed at the bottom of the screen.

If extra edits are required there are several photo apps such as FaceTune and Adobe Photoshop Express.

• Since many websites and print services have a minimal upload size, you may need to know the specifications of the photo you’ve just taken, something Apple doesn’t readily make available. But, by uploading your photos to a third party storage site, such as Dropbox (Free) you can find the pixel size of any phone by clicking the “i” on the bottom right hand corner of any uploaded image.

Having a good headshot is the digital equivalent of making a good first impression. Don’t be afraid to take lots of photos in various settings. Like with anything, taking your own professional quality image takes a bit of practice.

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Three Reasons to Try Things 3

family, mom life, Organization, productivity, Technology, to do list

I’m not the most organized person. To look at me you’d never guess it, but I am a disorganized mess. So when something comes along which helps me categorize my life and prioritize my responsibilities it deserves a bit of praise. Enter Things 3.

Things has been around for awhile. I’m assuming somewhere along the way there was a Things 1 & 2 although I couldn’t swear to it. Things 3 is a task manager. Ok, it’s a to do list but it’s like the Chanel of to do lists: Elegant in its classic features, useful, and dependable. Here are the top three reasons I think you should check out Things 3 (three reasons, Things 3, get it?)

1. You Can Turn Emails Into Actions:

This is a must for me. You can take items from your inbox and send them to your Things list, add tags, give them due dates and even add sub tasks. This is probably the feature which is most important to me. For example my SAG-AFTRA dues are up for renewal. I know I have to take care of that this weekend but in the event that it was going to slip my mind, I’ll get a friendly reminder along with the original email and all the information I need to take care of that online. My Dad sent an email weeks ago regarding his Christmas card order (can’t be too early with that) which I safely filed away for a more reasonable date in November.

2. Calendar Integration:

I’m obsessed with planners. I have one app I use for my monthly view and one I use for a daily agenda and a paper agenda. It’s extra. But seeing my schedule one more place doesn’t hurt.

3. Project Completion Circle:

Ok, not sure that’s the technical term, but that’s pretty much what it is. You can create a project with a sub list. As you complete each step necessary to achieve your overall goal, a part of the circle closes. I can’t tell you how much this motivates me.

A Few Issues:

  • Things 3 does come at a cost, so if you’re only into free apps, this one isn’t recommended. Try Wunderlist.

You also have to purchase apps for each of your devices. Apple devices specifically, Androids you’re out of luck. In my defense, I did call this the Chanel of apps, and Chanel does not come cheap and it is not for everyone.

  • Things 3 can’t support photos. Sometimes I need to take a photo, usually a handout from a staff meeting (yeah, they still use paper). Or, I’d like to attach a screenshot for reference. I recently picked up three freelance jobs (well, two, one ended before it started and was one of the oddest experiences) and screenshots would’ve helped.

If you’re serious about managing your time and you’re willing to spend some money to make your life easier, try Things 3.

What I Learned Taking my Toddler to Disneyland.

family, fashion, mom life, productivity, travel

We recently took my 2 1/2 year old daughter to Disneyland for the first time. Kids get in free until they turn three and with family visiting it seemed like the perfect opportunity. To be perfectly honest, although I reside close to Disney, I don’t actually go there very often. I believe the last time I set foot in the park was 2012 when I ran the Disney half marathon. I’m not what you’d call an amusement park person. So, I reached out to friends on social media for advice on what to expect and things to pack because surprisingly, there wasn’t much information out there. Here’s what I discovered:

1. Everyone told me to pack snacks: I didn’t. Furthermore, I’m glad I didn’t, it would have been something extra I’d have to carry around. I think you have to know your kid and know yourself. We’re not big eaters. My daughter isn’t a snacker. We had lunch at the park and shared a Dole Whip. Remember if you pack snacks you have to carry snacks. Speaking of carrying…

2. A backpack seemed like a good idea: Not so much. You have to remove the backpack to get on every ride. I had to wrangle my child, get in the ride myself, remove my sunglasses, and move my backpack. It was an additional step I could have avoided with a crossbody bag or sling pack you can rotate to the front. This summer I’m all about my Louis Vuitton bum bag as a sling pack, I think it would’ve been a better choice (I had a Longchamp backpack). You also don’t need a huge bag, 8 diapers were excessive. I changed her twice in 6 hours.

3. Hand sanitizer is a must: I don’t always carry hand sanitizer but I did take a small bottle to the park. My daughter and I used it often, my husband didn’t. He’s now sick and we’re fine. I’m not saying it was because of the hand sanitizer BUT we’re not sick. Just saying.

4. Sunblock, obviously: We lathered on the traditional stuff before we left the house but for reapplication I used the Tarte TarteGuard mineral powder 30 sunblock. It’s not the best if it’s the only sun protection you have but it’s great for touch up. It also smells like vanilla. And easy to apply on a toddler.

5. Extra phone battery: I swear I collect these things. Most people have one. I rotate through three depending on the occasion. Even when my phone was new I still carried an external battery (all it takes to convince yourself they’re handy is being stuck in a restroom during a fire with some terrified teenagers who need an extra power boost to call their parents. Or you could just believe me). For Disney I brought out the big boy. It had attachments for both iPhone and Android because some members of my family actually have androids. Weird.

Heloideo

Sonix

MyCharge

6. Stroller: I say rent. It’s $15 for the day and it’s a pretty nice stroller. My cousin bought her own, which I understand because they’d done the whole tourist thing but if you’re local just rent the ride. $15 is worth it to not have to fold up your own and get it in and out of the car.

7. Bandolier iPhone case: it’s kind of cheesy but it came in handy (if I’d carried a crossbody bad, I may not have needed it as much, but I’d still recommend it). This is an iPhone case on a crossbody strap. The first time I saw someone with one I thought it was hideous. I wanted photos of my daughter’s first trip to Disneyland and I didn’t trust keeping my phone in my pocket, not to mention I have an iPhone 7 Plus and I’m an extremely petite woman. The pockets in 00 shorts weren’t meant to accommodate such a large phone. I put the phone in my picket and looped it around my body. It was easy to grab and I never had to worry about dropping it. The case is pretty protective. The strap is removable and I did manage to drop my phone face first on the concrete, no damage to the phone after removing the strap. The case was scuffed slightly.

In the end, I think taking any type of trip with a toddler comes down to personal preference. You know your kid better than anyone.