Canvas prints are a lovely way to display your photographs. A large print on a wall will bring back precious memories for years to come.

Photography has come a long way since the days of film. Now when we take a picture it is instantly displayed on a screen. There is no waiting for the film to reach the end of the roll so you can take it in and get it developed. Digital photography has many benefits. One of the disadvantages is that the photographs are stored on memory cards and computer hard drives. This is not as accessible as a print or a book full of photographs.

Fortunately the firms that once dealt with film now have a wide range of ways of dealing with digital photographs. The possibilities are endless. You can get your photographs put into a photobook, create cushions and mugs and even create canvas prints to go on the wall. Recently My-Picture.co.uk got in touch to see if I would like to put one of my prints onto canvas. As I have a hard drive full of photographs I was more than happy to get one where I could see it.

Creating memories with canvas prints

 My-Picture.co.uk is an  online store that specialise in creating canvas prints, photo books and photo gifts. They have a range of gifts from mugs and cushions to blankets, phone cases and mouse mats. You can even get your favourite photo made into a jigsaw. The canvas prints come in a range of sizes. The smallest is 20 x 20 cm and the largest is 80 x 60 cm with plenty of options in between. The prices are reasonable as well, the largest size is £32.

Canvas from My Picture

Ordering from My-Picture.co.uk

The only hard part about ordering a canvas from My Picture is choosing which picture to choose. I have so many photos it was difficult to choose just one. In the end I went for a photo taken at the Angel of the North with my husband and son. It was taken when we were hunting for Great North Snow Dogs. The Angel of the North is an iconic North East icon which fits in with the other photo canvas in my living room. That is a picture of the Millennium Bridge over the river Tyne. Once you have the perfect photo you just upload it to the site, choose any effects you want and pay.

A few days later my canvas arrived. The parcel was well wrapped in bubble wrap and came in one piece. The canvas is stretched over a wooden frame which can be easily hung from a picture hook. The photo quality on the canvas is excellent and even better the ink is guaranteed to be fade resistant for 75 years. This means I can enjoy my canvas without having to worry about it losing its vibrancy.

Canvas from My Picture

I am really pleased with my canvas and it now has pride of place in my living room over the mantelpiece. It looks fabulous and is very eye catching.

Canvas from My Picture

Discount Voucher for My Picture

Would you like to order your own photo canvas and display a special photo in pride of place in your home? My Picture have given me a special promotional discount code for my readers. This will give you 30% off the already discounted canvas prints.

To get the discount go to My-Picture.co.uk and order a canvas of the photo you love. When you get to the product checkout enter the code: FAIRYDUST30OFF in the voucher code section.  The code is valid until the 32st December 2016 and can be used one per person.

What print are would you love on a canvas? Let me know below.

I was sent a canvas in return for an honest review. My opinions are my own

 

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Le Gros Book photo book from Printic is a fun and unique way to display your photos. Every page of the book can be personalised to suit your style.

I love taking photographs. The consequence of this is that I have memory cards and hard drives that are full of photographs. When I want to find a specific photo it is not easy. I have great plans to organise the files into a system that makes sense but the reality is that I never find the time. Digital photographs are fine on memory cards for storage but nothing beats having them displayed in a photo book. It is a great way to look back at memories and share them with others. Recently Printic got in touch to tell me about Le Gros Book. This is a new type of photo book which allows you to add a personal touch to each page with stickers, colourful paperclips, felt tip pens and tape.

Le Gros Book Photo Book from Printic

If you want a fun and unique way to display your photos Le Gros Book could be what you are looking for. This DIY photo book is really easy to create. Go to  Printic and choose the Gros Book option. You then get the option to upload the photographs you want to include. The minimum number of pictures is forty and the maximum is fifty. Once the photos are added you can crop and customise them the way you want. Choose from a range of emojs, text or filters to add different effects to each photo.   Finally you can add a frame.  There are three different frames to choose from, vintage, funky and fancy which add different coloured borders.  Once you are happy with your book just order it and wait for it to arrive.

Printic Le Gros Book

A little while later a colourful box arrives with the contents of Le Gros Book. Inside the photos are printed on glossy sheets with colourful borders. The border has holes so you can assemble the book as you wish. There are two thick covers made with thick card which have metal borders and eyelets as well as a selection of cards that you can use to separate your book into sections. The fun part is the selection of pens, stickers, paper clips, tape and other things to allow you to customise the book.

Le Gros Book from Printic

Customising Le Gros Book

Customising my photo book was a lot of fun. First I put all the photos into sections and used the card dividers to separate the sections. I then put the covers on and joined the book together with the rings provided. This made a sturdy book which will fit nicely on the shelf. I then set about adding some customisation. First I added some tape and stickers to the front cover to show exactly what was in the book. I am not the most artistic person in the world but I was happy with the bold statement the cover made.

Le Gros Book from Printic

Inside the photographs are nice quality and really glossy. I could have added stickers to the borders but I thought they looked lovely on their own. The brightly coloured border really sets the photos off.

Let Gros Book from Printic

Where I had the most fun was customising the pages that separate the sections. Using the photo corners, cards, stickers and different styles of paper clip I could make different unique pages for each section. It adds a unique quirky style to the book.

Le Gros book from printic

I am really happy with my Le Gros Book from Printic and at £34 it is a good price as well. If you know someone who loves crafting they would love this as a gift. It is fun creating the book and it is a lovely way to show off your photos.

If you are looking for ways to improve your photography why not check out my photography hints. How do you display your photographs? Do you use photo books or something else? Let me know below.

Discount Code

For a discount of 20% off Le Gros Book use the code: DRAGONSANDFAIRY20 at the checkout. The code is only valid two weeks until the 12th Dec but will give you time to order a photo book for Christmas.

Why not pin for later?

Le Gros Book from Printic is a photo book which you can customise yourself. Add stickers, tape, paper clips and other things to make it your own

I was sent Le Gros Book in return for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

 

 

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Recently I have been learning how to use my camera. I have signed up to a photo course, A Year With My Camera which is proving very interesting. In the last couple of weeks I have been learning about exposure. To get the correct exposure on your photography you need to control several aspects of your camera, the aperture or the amount of light that gets into the camera, the shutter speed which is how long the light enters the camera for and the ISO. Getting these aspects right will create a picture that is not too light or too dark and captures the scene perfectly. If you are using your camera on auto it will do this for you. If you take your camera off auto you have more control. Aperture can be used to artistically blur the background. Shutter speed can be increased to capture fast moving objects without blur or decreased to create an artistic blur on the image. What is ISO though?

ISO is a measure of how sensitive your camera is to light. In the days of film you would buy film that had a certain ISO and use this till you finished the roll. For bright conditions you needed a low ISO and for dark conditions you needed a high ISO. These days the camera has a setting that you can change with every shot. To find out how to do this you need to read your manual, I could adjust my ISO by pressing a button on my display and changing it there. My ISO varied between 100 and 6400.

How ISO changes the shot

When I was experimenting with shutter speed I found that when I set the camera on a high shutter speed the image got very dark.  This is because the aperture changes to compensate for the shutter speed and less light gets into the camera. To get round this you can increase the ISO and make the camera more sensitive to light. To demonstrate this I took some photos of my dog using a high shutter speed.

dog-iso-100
 
dog-iso-6400

 
The first image used ISO 100. The second image used ISO 6400. Can you see how the second one is much brighter? If you are taking a photo in dimly lit conditions you can also increase your ISO to let more light into the camera and get a better shot. This is a picture of my dog taken in a dimly lit room. Increasing the ISO made it look much brighter.

dog-sleeping

The opposite holds true as well, if the conditions are too bright you can decrease your ISO to stop the image being over exposed. There is a downside however, the higher the ISO the more noise and graininess you get in your picture. This makes the photo quality less. Hopefully with practice I will learn to judge the right settings for aperture, shutter and ISO in order to get the perfect photo.

Do you know how to change the ISO on your camera? Have you ever tried?

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One of the things I wanted to do this year was improve my photography. I have always been a point and click photographer and while that gives passable photos it does not create photographs with great impact. I still use autofocus and have yet to read my camera manual to find out what the other settings do. When I was offered the chance to learn about wildlife photography with MyPhotoSchool. I was really excited. I love observing the wildlife we have locally and wanted to learn how capture them on film. MyPhotoSchool offers on-line photography courses and you get a chance to learn from photography experts in your own home. It sounded like a great opportunity to learn more about my camera.

MyPhotoSchool The course itself is easy to access. Once you have logged in you can view the classroom. Each week a new lesson becomes visible and you can watch the video, download the course notes, and find out what the assignment for that week is. When the assignment has been completed you can upload your photographs and comments. Your tutor then provides feedback and  you also have a chance to chat to the others taking part in the class and learn from their assignments. The interaction is invaluable as you can see what others have done well and badly, which really helps the learning experience. The course can be done at your own pace, you can watch the video whenever you want. You can still access the classroom at the end of the four weeks allowing you to revisit parts of the lessons that you want to try again.

If you have ever wondered what it is like to be a wildlife photographer then you will find out on the Introduction to Wildlife Photography course by Heather Angel. Heather has been a wildlife photographer for many years and her photographs are spectacular. Listening to the videos on the course her enthusiasm for wildlife really comes across. Taking those amazing photographs requires an instinctive knowledge of how to use the camera, getting to know the habits of the  wildlife being photographed and being in the right place at the right time. Wildlife photography takes patience, you could be in the right place and watch for hours but not see anything. At other times you might get lucky and be rewarded with a great shot. It is all about being observant, listening for the bird call that indicates there is a bird nearby or hearing a rustle in the undergrowth and finding a hedgehog. You need to be quiet and stealthy so you don’t scare the animals away. You also need to get to know their habits, watching the flight of a bird to work out where it might land.

HedgehogI was a bit worried when I started the course that I did not have the right equipment to take animal photographs. I would love a DSLR with a long telephoto lens but currently just have a compact camera. I did not need to worry, Heather’s tips can be used with all cameras. Although some of the information about setting ISO and shutter priority was beyond my knowledge it has given me an enthusiasm to learn more. I have started to practice finding these settings on my camera in order to improve my photos. The lessons have given me an indication of which setting I should be trying and I am gradually getting to grips with these.

What has amazed me that even in a city was the range of wildlife I found. At this time of year the animals are quite active, with birds busy building their nests and feeding their young. Just watching though the window of my back garden I saw lots of birds collecting material for their nests.

MagipieWood pigeonI got a big surprise when I was washing the dishes in the kitchen and saw a sparrowhawk fly into the tree in my back garden. Luckily I had my camera close to hand and managed to grab a shot. I have never seen him before or since and it was amazing having a majestic bird so close.

SparrowhawkI used my early morning walks with the dog to search for wildlife in the country park nearby. I glimpsed rabbits from a distance, who bounded away quickly as we approached. In the streams and pools around the area I found moorhens, swans and ducks.

MoorhenDuckSwanEven outside the park there was plenty of wildlife to be seen. Walking to the shop  I found a jackdaw strutting his stuff beside the road and a blackbird searching for worms.

JackdawBlackbirdI even caught some birds fighting on the rooftops on an early morning walk.

Birds fightingIf I had not been taking the wildlife photography course I would have missed most of these animals. The photograhy course is well structured and set up, in the four weeks you learn about getting started, animal portraits, taking pictures of moving animals, macro shots, editing images and photo stories. The assignments are well structured to each lesson and offer a challenge. Whilst I know I still need lots of practice I managed to get some decent shots that I was pleased with. The feedback  I received from Heather though the course was very helpful. She suggested tips for things I could try or how I could have taken the shot differently to create more impact. It has given me plenty to think about while I am out with my camera.

What I was not expecting was to become really enthusiastic about photographing wildlife. I am hoping to build on what I have learnt during the course and learn how to use my camera to get stunning shots of our local wildlife. If you get a chance to take a class at MyPhotoSchool I can definitely recommend it. I really feel I have learnt a lot.

I was given access to the course in order to provide an honest review. All the photos and opinions are my own.

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When I was about nine or ten I was presented with my first camera. In those days cameras were not easy to use, you had to set the distance and the type of picture you were taking. The camera used real film, which you had to load into it carefully, making sure you did not expose any of it to the light. Every time you took a picture you had to remember to wind the film forward or you would get two pictures superimposed. My dad used to develop the pictures himself, in black and white. I remember him shutting himself into the kitchen and we were banned from entering or turning on the lights. I ended up with boxes full of black and white prints, some good, some blurry but all of them memories and windows on the past.

Recently I had a look though them and this photograph caught my eye. We had been on a trip to America and spent some time touring around Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. One day we visited a Cherokee Indian reservation and one of the Indians was telling us about how they used to live. It was really fascinating listening to stories of teepees and hunts whilst sitting under the hot sun.

IndianAt the end of his talk he jokingly said he was going to do a rain dance, got out his feathers and swooped them up into the air. That was it, he said it was so fast we had missed it. Just as I was taking the photo a young boy ran out of the crowd and stood next to him, looking up in wonder. I managed to snap the photo just at that moment and love the way it contrasts modern and old.

The photo was scanned in from a battered print so some of the quality has been lost, but the picture brings back memories of a holiday and adventure long ago. I love the way the black and white shows the contrast in the image, the leaves on the trees look so stark.

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