Worth a Thousand Words: Issue #020


Worth a Thousand Words, Issue #020 — Holiday Photo Books

December 21, 2011

Digital Photo Books

The holiday season is a great time to think about making a photo book. Photo books make great gifts for family and friends, or you can use the images you take during the holidays to create a book of memories. I’ve written an article with some great hints and tips so that you can create digital photo books that wow! Find inspiring topic ideas, and learn how to choose the right images, lay them out on the page, and more.

If you have a recommendation for a company that produces good photo books, please share it using the form at the end of the article!


Creativity Exercise

The Parking Lot Project

As the holidays approach, I’ve found myself in a lot of parking lots as I complete my shopping. Since I’m doing a 365 project (taking a photo every day for a year), I’m always carrying my camera, and have found myself taking more than a few shots in parking lots.

I remember quite a few years ago, Kodak made a TV commercial to advertise their film (I told you it was a few years ago!). They showed a series of stunning shots — a bird in flight, a splash of water, a woman walking with a colorful umbrella — and then they panned out to show a dull and ordinary parking lot on a rainy day. The message was a good one: there are beautiful photographs to be made in even the most unlikely of places.

I was reminded of that TV commercial as I was taking my own parking lot photographs, and I’ve been inspired to start my own "parking lot project" — a collection of photos, all taken in parking lots. Why don’t you join me in the project, and give it a try?

I don’t have the photos posted as a set yet, but here’s one example from my 365 project. This was shot near sunset in a Walmart parking lot. I found the light pattern on the side of one of those bays where you drop off your shopping cart.


Something Every Photographer Needs to Know: Tip of the Month

Shooting in the Cold Weather

It’s winter here in the northern hemisphere, so I thought I’d share some tips for shooting in the cold weather.

First and foremost, carry a couple of fully charged batteries, since batteries drain quickly in cold temperatures. To keep your spare battery warm, or breathe a little extra life into a dying one, keep your batteries close to your body for warmth.

2. Avoid changing lenses outside so that you don’t get any moisture or condensation inside the camera body.

3. Be careful when you bring your gear back inside, as condensation will form on it. Ideally, wrap in in a plastic bag before bringing it in, and then let it warm up slowly before opening the bag.

4. Keep yourself warm! Protective, layered clothing, winter boots, and a way to keep your hands warm will enable you to stay outside longer, and take more pictures! I use fingerless gloves with a mitten top that pulls over. That allows me the dexterity to use my camera controls, and keeps me warm in between.

Cool Link of the Month

Blind Photographers

It sounds impossible, but I assure you, it’s quite real. Check out the beautiful images from a group of photographers with serious visual impairments, and be inspired!

What’s New this Month at Ultimate Photo Tips


Your Thoughts

In last month’s poll, I asked how much time you manage to spend with your photography. I’m delighted to see that the vast majority of you get out at least a few times a week. Half of you said that you make it out once or twice a week, and a full 23% said they get out to shoot every day. Good for you! 14% said they get out once or twice a month, and 14% said they rarely make it out because they are too busy. I hope that latter group can find more time for photography in 2012!

This month, I’d like to find out how often you use your tripod. I like to use mine quite a lot, even when the light is bright, because it makes me slow down, and compose carefully. At other times — like when I jump out of the car to grab a parking lot shot — I just hand hold. What about you? Cast your vote in this month’s poll, and let me know! The poll is in the right-hand nav bar of the website:


Photo Challenges

The topic for November’s challenge was "Urban Architecture." It was wonderful to see such a variety of images from around the world. Check out the beautiful lines and rich colors in the winning image of a train station by Wendy Reeve of New Zealand:

The topic for December’s challenge is "Sunsets." Sunsets are always a popular subject for photographers, so let’s see your best one! Submit your image here:

Some Local News

Nevada Wier is coming to Burlington, Ontario, Canada on April 14th, 2012. The Latow Photographers Guild will be hosting her presentation. Check out their website for more information, and click on "Seminar":


If you haven’t already, have a listen to the podcast interview I did with Nevada earlier this year:



Happy holidays and happy shooting from Ultimate Photo Tips!