Make a photo book about your favorite person – you could win $2,500

Make a photo book about your favorite person, share it with us, and you might win up to $2,500!

Make a photo book about your favorite person, share it with us, and you might win up to $2,500!

(This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.)

Blurb wants to meet your favorite person and in turn you could win $2,500! All you have to do is make a book about a loved one filled with all sorts of kind words, creativity and insight, and if selected, you could win $2,500! For every book you make (there are seven different categories, so seven different chances to win) you will receive a 30% discount on the printed product. With so many special people in your life (Hint: Mother's Day is coming!), why not make a book for a few of them! With that much love to share, everyone is a winner!

Go to Blurb to check out the details of the contest to see what the categories are and when the entries are due. The 30% discount on My Favorite books will be applied at checkout when you use the promo code: MYFAVORITE.

Have you ever made a photo book for someone you love? What was their reaction? Please share it with a comment!

How to make a fashion book with Blurb

Blurb is a cool company that lets you make books about anything that interests you. (View a sample of my Blurb-made book – Picturesque Olmsted Falls – And if you’re interested in fashion and style—and love to show it off—making a book of your personal fashion is a fantastic way to capture your sartorial genius for all time. Whether you want it just for yourself, so you can look through your greatest hits, or you’re a bit of an Internet fashionista who wants to make a book to sell, you’ll find these tips pretty helpful:

1. It’s all about lighting. To make your fashion really pop, choose natural light or studio light with a soft box (you can even make one from a lamp and last season’s white t-shirt). If you’re using a flash, you’ll probably want to bounce it or stick a diffusion filter on it.

2. Make a shot list. This is a critical step, and even more important if you are photographing models. Even if your model is just your best friend who owes you a favor, they’ll appreciate it if you know exactly what you want to shoot. Think about the poses you want to capture, the outfits you want them to wear, and the details that you want to highlight in every shot. 

3. White balance (WB). Accurate color and skin tones come from making sure the WB function on your camera is set to your lighting situation. (You can check the color looks right on the camera's screen to see if it looks right.) Not sure hoe to adjust the white balance? It will be covered in your camera's manual. You do still have it, don't you? 😉

Be sure the camera's white balance is set to the correct lighting you're shooting under to ensure the models's skin color looks natural.

Be sure the camera's white balance is set to the correct lighting you're shooting under to ensure the models's skin color looks natural.

4. Choose the right lens/zoom setting. If you’re using a wide angle, you’re going to distort your models face and body (and your model may never forgive you). If you have a camera with a zoom lens, zoom out to minimize distortion. You will then have to move farther away from the model to get their whole body in for those full length shots.

5. Keep it stylish. It’s a fashion shoot, after all. Play music, keep things moving, try new angles. Attitude, attitude, attitude. 

Try unusual angles. Shoot down from a ladder or lay on the floor and shoot up to make the subject look taller.

6. Dress it up. Make your book as fashionable as the clothing featured in it. Choose a simple design that doesn't upstage the clothing, but still looks chic. Pick a size and paper type that showcases the work brilliantly.

If you've ever paid attention to what’s on the “catwalk,” you know that fashion means different things to different people. Follow your own fashion obsessions and document them in a fashionable book. If you look good today in person, imagine looking great forever on the printed page with Blurb! Start your Blurb book now and Save 25% on print book orders of $75+ at Blurb.

If you want the best model portraits possible, that's where we can help. Check out some of our model shoots here.

Now you can make your own personalized “Chicken Soup For the Soul” book

Blurb Chicken Soup For The Soul Books

It can be really hard buying books for people as gifts. After all, you never know just which books they already have. And then when you do find the right book and give it to them, how do you make it really personal? Put in a book plate? Write an inscription? How do you make the whole thing totally them?

These personalized “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books are one really great way to do it. Not only do you get to choose from five different story themes (from “Christmas Stories” to “Giving thanks”), you can personalize it in ways you just can’t with a conventional book. As the title suggests, these are stories meant to comfort and heal. 

Your custom “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book will truly be a book for them because the book is printed with their name on the cover, as the recipient. And it’s truly from you because your name is printed on the cover as the giver. You can even include an inscription inside the book and on the back cover. Even add a photo to the back. 

There are other nice options to choose from, like the type of cover you’d like and the type of paper. It takes just about five minutes to make it a truly custom book. And chances are, it’s something they’ll love forever. And a 60-page book starts at just $24.95.

There’s a quick video here: Chicken Soup for the Soul that shows you how to fill in all the info using a simple online tool. The books are all done by Blurb, so you know the quality is going to be great. 

Get started here: Blurb's Chicken Soup for the Soul Book 

Northeast Ohio amateur photographers could win big bucks

You're a winner!”

Yes, those could be the words that a few lucky Cleveland area photographers hear after judging is completed for three amateur photo contests – one local, one national and one international.

The local contest is the “Photo Safari at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo here you can try your hand at animal photography. All photos must be taken on zoo grounds between April 1 and October 31, 2013 and submitted to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on photographic paper on or before October 31, 2013.

The Best of Show winner will get a Behind-the-Scenes Zoo tour, Adopt an Animal package courtesy of the Cleveland Zoological Society and a Polaroid PoGo Photo Printer. Other prizes include Zoo family memberships, 18-hole rounds of golf at any Cleveland Metroparks Golf Course, $25 Discount Drug Mart gift cards and much more.

Get contest details at

Next up is the “Olive Garden Picture Perfect InstaGram Contest.” And no, you don't have to be an Olive Garden fan or even eat there to be eligible to participate. Of course, I LOVE their Eggplant Parmesan so I'll grab a bite there in your honor.

There are 42 prizes with the Grand Prize winner receiving a $500 prepaid credit card.

The contest is open to lawful permanent residents of the United States (including D.C.); between the ages of 13 and 18 years old as of April 1, 2013, and have an active InstaGram account. The contest ends on May 14, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. so you better hurry!
Get contest details at

Finally, there's the “The Art of Photography Show 2013.” There are $10,000 in cash awards with the first place winner receiving $2,000 and fourteen others grabbing lesser cash prizes.

This contest is geared for aspiring photographers who are ready to invest $25 for their first entry and $10 for each additional entry. Entries must be received by May 18th at 11:59 pm PDT (California Time) so time is of the essence.

Get contest details at

Have you ever wanted to create a book of your favorite images to share with family and friends? Or maybe you would like to offer your book for purchase to the general public for a little extra income.

I've create two books using a pretty cool company called Blurb. One is a pictorial celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge and the other is a collection of unique images of Picturesque Olmsted Falls, Ohio.

Now you can create a book for yourself or your mom for Mother's Day and save 20% off through May 10, 2013. Simply enter coupon code LOVEYOUMOM at checkout to claim your discount.

So what's been your experience with photo contests? Please comment and share some contests you've entered and what you thought of the judging.

Do you like this article? Please share this article with you friends on Facebook, LinkedIn or via e-mail.

A dilemma for the ages – what to get Dad on Father’s Day?

Fathers Day gift idea - a hand made book from Blurb

Fathers Day gift idea – a hand made book from Blurb

So what do you give to the guy who has everything on Father's Day? Ahh, a dilemma for the ages. Most dads don't wait for a special occasion to get their “toys.” If they want it now – they get it now.

Fortunately, a San Francisco based company has come to the rescue. provides the resources to create a personalized book with your own snapshots that look as good as one you’d get in a book store.

What dad with a heart wouldn’t appreciate a hard cover book with photos of his children and stories of their experiences with dad? Dad’s the guy. The hero. The rock star. The guy who fixed it all. Photos from then. Photos from now. Make him a book that will make him proud.

Even though it may be too late to have the book delivered by Father’s Day – you can always tell him in a card that “a very special gift that you’ll treasure for a lifetime is in the works and that you’ll be getting it soon. I promise it will be worth the wait.”

Right now, Blurb is offering a special discount of 15% off ANY book until June 30, 2012(and it doesn’t even have to be for Father’s Day). Why not check it out right now?

Have you ever wanted a high quality, hard cover book of your personal photos? Have you already created one? Did you give it as a gift? How did the recipient like it? Please comment.

How much do you love YOUR mom?

Blurb coupon code - 15% savings

A picture really is worth a thousand words. That's why I love the idea of gathering family photos and creating a Blurb photo book for Mother's Day this year. No more spending time trying to figure out what to write in that generic card you purchased from the drug store. The pictures will speak for themselves. A card is thoughtful but is easily thrown out or tucked away in a drawer. Creating a Blurb book will allow any mother to flip through and see memories she help create that you both share. I could almost guarantee it would be a gift that would be left out all year.

I created my first book with Blurb and was thrilled with the results. Although you can't actually see the quality of the cover and pages, you CAN see how nice the design looks using Blurb's free book design software. Check out my book Picturesque Olmsted Falls.

Start creating your Blurb book today and save 15% with promo code 15OFFBOOK valid through 5/30/12.

How to create a professional looking book of your personal snapshots

Mark Madere, SpectraLight Photography, North Ridgeville

Mark Madere - SpectraLight Photography

The North Ridgeville Arts Council has asked me to present to the community my special, free presentation: “How to create a professional looking book of your family snapshots, child’s wedding, vacation pictures and more.”

Discover how to create a beautiful, coffee table-style book of all your snapshots as a lasting keepsake for family and friends. You will also learn how to quickly and easily publish books of your travel, nature, and scenic photos and earn income from them with minimal effort, NO expense and NO inventory.

I have taken photos of area landmarks throughout my career with my largest collection of images of Olmsted Falls – where I lived and operated my studio for 19 years.

View a sample of my self-published book – Picturesque Olmsted Falls – Gazebos, a covered bridge, waterfalls and more – Oh My!

The meeting is on Monday, March 19th at 7 p.m. at North Ridgeville Library, 35700 Bainbridge Rd, North Ridgeville.

Have you ever wanted a high quality, hard cover book of your personal photos? Have you already created one? What company did you use and how did it turn out? Please comment.

How to make your own amazing photo book

Picturesque Olmsted Falls book

Picturesque Olmsted Falls book

Ever since I wrote about publishing my Picturesque Olmsted Falls coffee table book, I've been getting TONS of e-mails asking where I had it printed. Seems like every one wants to have a gorgeous keepsake of their vacations, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries – even the adventures of family pets – including a guinea pig!

After months of online research, checking forums and talking to other photographers; I found a company – – that makes high quality books at a very reasonable price! You can download their FREE book design software from their web site right now and begin designing your masterpiece in minutes.

Prices start at just $4.95 for a 5×8 book. They have several intermediate sizes with the largest books at 12×12 and 13×11. These books are far superior in quality to other company's that are comparably priced.

So what are you waiting for? Download your free software and create your amazing book of memories today! BONUS:  Save 20% with code BLURB20 through August 31, 2011.

What would your book be about? A family vacation? A special holiday? Your son or daughter's wedding? Please leave your comments on this post.