Category: Be Inspired

A collection of inspirational blog posts that will give you some great new ideas and cause you to pick up your camera and go out shooting

INSTAX Christmas decoration DIY

Only 24 days let until it is Christmastime again! Today, we show you how you can quickly create a unique Christmas decoration with your favorite photos.

For this you will need:

  • 1 glass
  • Water
  • Water beads
  • Mini Christmas decoration
  • 1 floating candle
  • Your favorite Christmas photo
  • Transparent tape if needed

First, put the water beads in a bowl with water and let them swell overnight.

The next day you can print out your Christmas motive with your INSTAX-Square Smartphone Printer like here, or you shoot a new one with your INSTAX camera. If you want to protect it from water, you can try wrapping it in clear tape.

Now take your jar and alternate filling it with a little of the decoration and the water beads. In the middle you put the INSTAX instant picture. When the glass is almost full, fill it up with water – and all at once the water pearls disappear!

Now your INSTAX photo floats in the middle of your great Christmas decoration! You can round off your DIY now, in which you put a floating candle in your glass, so you have conjured up a double eye-catcher.

A few tips: it’s best not to use real candy canes, because they dissolve quickly. Please note that it is possible that the INSTAX instant picture may change if it is in the water for a longer time.

See the video for more detailed instructions!

How to: Make Better Images Indoors

Here in Europe, you can already feel it… Winter season is here. The days are getting shorter, it is getting colder outside, and in some parts it is already starting to snow. Of course, such conditions create perfect outdoor sceneries to capture in your photos, but shooting portraits and other pictures involving people or pets might be challenging due to the unpredictable weather. Therefore, it is time to move back inside and make use of the cozy vibes of our homes. Especially, since Christmas is around the corner, and we are about to take the perfect cheesy family pictures. For beautiful indoor images with perfect color, you need to know how to respond to available light.

Remember, what you see is what you get!

Utilizing your camera’s electronic viewfinder, or the main LCD screen, gives you an accurate view of how the picture will be when you hit the shutter, eliminating any kind of guesswork. Even if you make adjustments to exposure or other settings, you are able to see these in your viewfinder. Thus, you get the picture exactly the way you want to.

Did you know if you add a live histogram to the display, it shows how bright or dark the image you will make is? In your camera’s settings, simply go to ‘screen set-up > display custom setting > activate histogram’.

Make use of auto ISO

As always, available light is inconsistent and therefore, it is important to be adjustable. ISO is every photographer’s secret for that! For everyone who is lazy or as we like to call it ‘smart’, simply set the ISO to Auto, so it adjusts automatically, ensuring you get a good exposure every time. If you prefer adjusting the ISO to your specific requirements, you can as well do so manually by altering the ISO handle.

In addition, you can set a minimum shutter speed with the Auto ISO. Now, it will not drop below that setting – as you can see, all you need to do is tell the camera to do what you want it to do! By choosing one of the auto ISO modes you will be able to change the three settings ‘Default Sensitivity, Max Sensitivity and Min. Shutter Speed’.

Significant to note is that control over Auto ISO is only available in the Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, or Manual modes. In other options, the camera uses Auto ISO automatically.

September – Beginning of Grape Harvest Season

That’s right, grape harvest season is here and it is probably the favorite season of all wine lovers and connoisseurs.

X-Photographer Thomas B. Jones is a German/American photographer specialized in portrait and documentary photography. Meeting interesting people, exploring exciting places and capturing otherwise fleeting moments nourish his passion for photography. 

In Germany, grape harvesting usually starts around mid-September, fitting this occasion, we found this xX-story documentation “Generation change at the Kusterer winery” by @thomas_jones_fotografie.

Since July 2020, Maximilian Kusterer has been the owner of the Kusterer Winery in Esslingen, which he took over from his parents. In 2012, he created his first own wine and today, he focuses primarily on elegant fruit and a discreet use of wood.

How to: Creating Light Painting

You might have seen it a few times already, but probably not under its correct name… We are talking about light painting, or also called light drawing. Most of us are familiar with the term and photo technique ‘long exposure’ (longer exposure time). Light painting is a form of long exposure, but brings it to the next level whilst creating an art piece that looks like it has been drawn even though it was taken with a camera.

Terry Hall with FUJIFILM X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – F18, ISO 200, 10.0 sec

Light Painting

We all have seen those stunning images of streets where streetlights or headlights on cars become trails and melt together, creating something special without seeing the actual vehicle. This unique effect in cityscape images can be created while shooting at night or in low light with longer exposure times. Of course, this is nothing new, but creating and sketching scenes and photographs specifically to use the unique effect of long exposure to create something similar to a painting is referred to as “light painting”. Photographers are specifically looking for a moving light source such as a candle, flashlight, LED lights or another light source, aiming to alter an image while using long exposure. Thus, light-painters not only take the picture as-is instead add another element by highlighting a subject, creating trails of light, flashes, and other special elements like these.