How to Have the Ultimate Halloween Night In

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Not a fan of trick or treating? Well here’s our ultimate guide to have the best – and most spooky fun family night in with the kids! Tag us on social media (@tremo.books) with how you’re spending Halloween.

Carve some pumpkins!

These are always a winner and will keep your kids super entertained this Halloween. You can pick up a bargain pumpkin from your local supermarket. There’s loads of tried and tested ideas on the web for the spookiest designs. Make sure you keep your kids away from sharp knives. Try painting your pumpkins for a totally safe craft. If you fancy being a bit more adventurous but within the boundaries of safety then use some battery operated tealights. It’s also a safer way of putting a candle into the middle of a pumpkin. To keep your pumpkin lasting the longest, scoop out the middle from the bottom.

You could print out a design on standard paper. Get some pins then you can pin prick an outline onto your pumpkin. Use this as a guide to carve out your masterpiece. Have a look at these ideas for some inspiration.

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Watch a spooky movie

There’s so many classics out there to keep the whole family entertained this Halloween. Turn out the lights and grab the popcorn. We’ve picked our top 5 Halloween films that you can watch on Netflix.

  1. Hotel Transylvania – this Disney classic is perfect for all the family, so give it a watch and see what Dracula gets up to!
  2. Scooby Doo: Monsters Unleashed – possibly one for your smaller ones, or older kids up for a throwback to their younger years.
  3. In the Tall Grass: If you’re after something a bit more dramatic this could be for you. It follows a pregnant woman and her brother who hear a boy’s cry. But of course it isn’t as straight forward as first meets the eye.
  4. Nanny McPhee – This classic film follows a widowed Mr Brown and his domineering Aunt. Nanny McPhee comes in to save the day – and control the naughty children, sound familiar? 🙂
  5. Haunted – Definitely not one for the kids before bed, but if you’re after a series instead of a film then go for this one. Real people sit down with friends and family to share chilling and terrifying true stories – watch the spooky reenactments.

Our bonus pick: If all this Halloween stuff is too much and you’d rather skip a season – jump straight to watching Arthur Christmas. It’s the story of a boy and his desperate attempts to uphold the Christmas spirit – it’s a must watch!

Try some Halloween crafts or make the costume!

There’s loads of Halloween crafts you and your kids can get stuck into. Cotton wool is your friend. If you have some spare card to hand, cut it out in a ghost shape. Get your kids to stick some cotton wool and some eyes on and you have yourself a ghost! You can always get your kids making a 3D skeleton picture – be it a cute skeleton or scary one!

There’s so much fun you can have with a cardboard box too! A popular morning TV show in the UK called “This Morning” featured loads of amazing costume ideas with a cardboard box. Remember a Halloween costume doesn’t need to be scary, it just needs to be fun! One of my favourites involved turning your kid into a giant lego brick! All you need is a cardboard box and some cardboard dinner plates. Watch this video to find out what they did!

Make some Halloween Snacks

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From decorating biscuits to mummified hot sausages, there’s a world of possibilities out there. Get some ready-rolled puff pastry. Cut it into strips and wrap the pastry around the sausages. Imagine your pastry is a mummy’s bandage. Ketchup will be great for the blood! For the eyes, try a dollop of your favourite sauce or small circles of your pastry. Why not try turning them into fingers and carving finger shapes into your sausage!

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For a healthier option, you’ll need some seeds, strawberries, chocolate drops, and apples.

With some careful cuts with a knife you’ll be able to make some scary jaws. Peanut butter or icing is really useful to stick all the bits on! For more details on this make click here.

How to Photograph Fireworks

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Remember the 5th of November – and your firework pictures! I used to really struggle with these shots until this summer at the Bournemouth Summer Fireworks, but practice makes perfect! Remember that your camera is on a mission to convert your photo to almost daylight. The problem I kept coming up against was camera shake and a completely white photo so using the right settings will help you fight against this! Have a read of my top tips to get the perfect firework photos.  

img_5186Plan and frame your shot

Advance preparation will really help you get the best shots. A quick google will bring up some of your local firework displays. Then scout out the location beforehand and pick the spot you’re after. In Bournemouth, the key for us wasn’t to get as close as possible but to get the best foreground. When it comes to framing the shot – anticipate where the bursts will be. This means you can position your camera in the best place to capture all the action. The best photos of fireworks have something in the foreground – pick whatever that is and set your camera to focus on it!

Switch off your flash and enter night mode

Some cameras have a night mode, if you’re after firework pictures then this is the one you want! If you’re using a phone some of these settings will still apply so keep reading on. You won’t be needing the flash – have a read on to set your ISO. This will act to brighten the scene.

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Set your exposure and use a tripod!

Camera shake is something to avoid with fireworks – go for really crisp lines for the fireworks. Go for a medium shutter speed of about 1 second to start of with. Once you have a baseline – try experimenting with speeds of between 1 and 6 seconds. It might be worth investing in a remote release. This will help with camera shake as you won’t risk moving the camera at the moment you press the shutter!

Set your ISO and aperture.

In previous posts we’ve talked about what ISO is  – the light sensitivity setting on your camera. In firework photos a high ISO is where you need to be! Aperture is a bit harder to get right because fireworks aren’t always in the same place – go for a mid range aperture somewhere around f8. Rememeber to experiment – if you need to you’ll probably need to raise this number!

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Summer Fireworks at Bournemouth Pier from @WildlifeClaire on Instagram

Recording your Holiday Memories

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Christmas  – yes the dreaded c- word isn’t that far away! Before I get too carried away – you probably have the half term holidays to go first. Whether or not you’re heading away for the holidays, recording your family memories will be high up the priority list. When you’re on holiday, how do you make the most of the location and get great photos you can look back on for years to come?

Pick your places – Google Maps is your friend!

It can seem like a bit of a minefield but read on for some easy tips to do just that. The first thing to do is to scout out the places you want to visit. This could be anything from the local sealife centre to the town centre or seafront. The places you visit don’t have to be expensive – they can even be free! It’s a good move to start your holiday with a selection of places to cater for all weathers – a walk along the seaside in the pouring rain might not be your favourite thing to do!

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Keep your eyes open

After you’ve picked the places – be sure to keep your eyes open! For me, taking photos on holiday is all about picking up the small details – that’s what I want to remember! Look around you and at all angles. The best pictures can come from the most unusual places. Keep an eye out for a natural frame. This could be from trees or some kind of building with an unusual viewpoint. Or perhaps it’s the prime location for a family photo? When you’re out somewhere special keep in mind what you can and can’t replicate at home. Sometimes I find that video is the best way of capturing every angle, the atmosphere and day as a whole.

Let the camera do the work

Let the camera do the work. Unless you’re a pro photographer, let the camera help you out where it can! By all means experiment but don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to know everything about it before you begin. Use the ‘auto’ mode to your advantage! If you’re using a DSLR and fancy taking it a bit further – try moving your camera onto the ‘A’ mode. This is aperture priority and the mode you can use to give you a bit more control of your camera. Aperture priority allows you to set an ‘f’ number. For anything close up, choose a low f number (think flowers and your pets for this mode!), as you go more towards cityscapes and landscapes increase your f number.

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Use your angles…

It’s amazing what angle can do for a photo! Even if you look a bit weird, get down low or high on your subject. Pick a focus for your picture – what do you want people to look at? It goes without saying – make sure you’re safe when you do this! Crouching down at the waters edge could cause you way more issues than you fancy, even if it’s just wet clothes! If you’re taking a picture of an animal, it helps to get down to their level – see things from their perspective!

Remember the food

Everyone needs to eat, right? Food is by far my favourite part of going on holiday. If you’re going abroad it’s a chance to sample the culture of that particular country.  Even the way they dine can be a unique photo opportunity – think alfresco dinners across central Europe! Independent coffee shops can be hidden gems as far as photography is concerned. Some can have artwork hung up or cute displays. Failing that – I always say cake is a work of art! 

Back your photos up!

This the most vital step of all. I’d always reccomend backing up your photos in more than one place, in case something happens! There’s so many cloud storing platforms you can choose – Google Photos, Dropbox and Amazon Photos are all good options. Remember that even just uploading them to a social media platform is one way to back your memories up.

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Whether you’re after glitz and glam or something for free, fun can be found in the strangest of ways! 

How to Organise Years of Photos

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I don’t know about you but I seem to take hundreds of photos (sometimes just in a day!). As I’m sure you can imagine, the numbers of photos on my phone or camera can get very big, very quickly! But how do you organise your photos without getting overwhelmed?

Organise your photos by year

I’m only just beginning to put this into practice, but there are so many tools you can use to not drown in photos! I’d start off small. Organise your photos into folders according to the year that they were taken.  This means that, at very least you’ll be able to search through your photos by year!

Try out cloud based storage

If you do anything else then please back up your photos. Unfortunately, although memory sticks and external hard drives do their job they’re not 100% foolproof. By all means put your photos on there but why not try out a cloud based storage platform? There’s so many options out there from Google Photos to Amazon Prime Photos. These services can also automatically group your photos by place or even photo subject. On some devices you can set your photos to automatically upload to the cloud.

Delete your photos as you go along

Have you taken a super nice picture of some grass? Or even an accidental selfie with the camera pointing the wrong way? Delete those pictures before they start to mount up. Only storing your favourite photos will be much kinder to your phone or SD card storage. It will also make the overall numbers seem way more manageable.

Did you know you can get SD card readers for your phone? These can be really useful if you’re on holiday or away from a computer for a longer period of time. Sometimes it’s really difficult to know what photos to delete. Loading your photos onto a bigger screen can help you decide. You can also try out some smartphone apps to edit your photos. For more help with this check out our previous blog post on smartphone photography.

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Share and print your photos

Even if it’s just sharing your photos on Instagram you’ll still have a back up for your photos, so do it! Remember that you can make your account totally private if you’d prefer. If you’d rather have physical copies then there’s no safer way of keeping your photos than through a physical print. There’s so many websites you can use to print out your photos. Even if you’re just putting prints into a photo album, it’s still worth it! If you’re feeling a little more creative then a quick google of “Photo DIY” there’s so much you can do with prints – from photo transfers to photo frames and everything in between.

How to Take The Cutest Dog Pictures

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Dogs are a man’s best friend – do you want to turn your dog into an Instagram superstar? Follow these tips for some super cute dog photos you can show off to all your friends!

Act normal!

When you’re taking pictures of your dog, take it slow – act like you’re doing absolutely nothing! The worst thing to do here is act like its a huge dramatic thing that’s happening, keep it as normal as possible and your dog is more likely to stay put! You also don’t want them to think you’re playing a game and they end up moving around way too much!

Don’t use flash

puppy-1903313_1920Although in most photography cases you use flash indoors, not here! Using flash runs the risk of startling your dog which you don’t want to do! If you need flash, then try raising the ISO. The ISO is a scale on your camera which relates to light sensitivity – you’ll find it on a scale from about 100 to roughly 3200 (though the numbers vary a little between cameras). Use a low number if it’s a bright sunny day or slowly raise it if there’s not much light around. Using a higher ISO will give you a bit more noise in the photo though in return you’ll definitely be able to see your dog! The best way to decide what ISO you need is trial and error. Start off by raising the ISO in small amounts otherwise you might get a picture that’s unnecessarily noisy!

Get your dog comfortable

Let your dog sniff the camera. This way they can understand it’s not some weird unknown machine that might cause them harm. Body language is also seriously important, dogs can pick up on human body language so easily. Unlike cats – eye contact is really important. Straight on eye contact is a sign of security for dogs – in the wild, it’s what their pack leaders do.

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Watch the details and your background

When taking pictures of any animal, focus on the eyes! This means anyone looking at your image will look straight at the eyes so it gives the image a focus – and the eyes give your dog the cute factor!

Your background is also really important. As a general rule, try make the background as simple as possible. You want maximum attention on your dog at the end of the day not your washing behind him!

Take lots of pictures and experiment!

We’re not in the days of film photography now – so take lots of pictures! This means you can select the sharpest, clearest image as your winner! Try taking your photos from different angles. I always find the cutest pictures are taken on your dog’s level – see the world from their perspective!

Maybe you’re after an action shot of your dog playing. If this is the case you’ll definitely need lots of pictures! Your camera/smartphone probably will have a continous mode so you can take a burst of pictures milliseconds after the previous one. If you can set a shutter speed then get this as quick as possible!

Pay your model…

Lastly, just as humans love a good treat, I’m sure your model will too! I’ve been told this is the best way to get some future cooperation.

7 Reasons to start Photography

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Photography is more accessible than ever before. We want to show that ultimately  anyone can start taking some stunning pictures. 

1. Photos have the power to create change

Your photos have the power to create real change. Photography is such a powerful visual tool that your viewers can learn so much from. The rise of smartphones have given us all our individual, personalised promotional platform. Let me give you a brief example, where I combine two of my passions to make a small impact, here and there.

Nowadays we’re always hearing about conservation and protecting our planet. I passionately believe that to protect our animals we need to understand them. I don’t mean just in the sense of what they eat, when they eat and from a biological point of view but also their personality. Seeing animals as closer to humans than not will help protect them. So next time you’re taking pictures of something living – think about the emotion, how can you best convey their personality? 

2. You can capture your family memories

Your kids are always on the move. On Saturday, we have our second parenting interview going out. Mum, Emma couldn’t have put it better “I’d reccomend taking a picture a day of your kids. It could be in any format you like  but it creates a lovely record of how your kids so you can see how they’ve grown. When your mother in law comments on how much they’ve grown, you have the proof!”

3. Getting out of your comfort zone

Taking photos encourages you to go out and visit new places. If you’re not sure where to start, why not google “photo experiences”? It could be something to add to your Christmas list. They’re held in so many different locations – cities, zoos and walks in the countryside. You go with a group of people (or a 1:1 session if you prefer) to take photos. These have such a nice environment as you can all learn together and make new friends at the same time. It’s likely you’ll all have different cameras too so you can help each other out – conquer the same challenges together. Above all, photography encourages you to look at the world a little bit different – see things you didn’t see before. Get down (or up!) to a different angle – look at your subjects from as many different angles as possible! If you want to – it’s even an excuse for that holiday you’ve always wanted to go on. For me – I’ve always wanted to go to Norway to take photos of the Northern Lights – but maybe you’d prefer somewhere a little warmer?

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Roses on Whitstable beach from @wildlifeclaire on Instagram

4. You can connect

Photography can link you up with all sorts of people you never would have dreamt of meeting. If you’re just starting out, the good news is there’s so much help around! A simple search on Facebook will connect you to photographers across the world of all levels. You can share experiences, pick up inspiration and get some advice. Some also arrange meet ups. Maybe you’ve just moved to an area – photography could be the key to meeting local people.

5. It’s a rewarding hobby!

You can start with the phone you have right now! For sure, you can invest however much you want into photography but it’s not a necessity. It’s all about your creativity. That’s what’s unique and what will get you some showstopping images. Loads of my family members create photobooks each year with all their favourite photos. Taking them off the screen gives you something concrete you can look back on for years to come. Why not try making a Tremo book to start?

6. Share them with a click

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Nowadays, you don’t need to spend a fortune developing film. You can share photos with friends and family at the click of a button. What could be better than instantly sharing your memories? If you’re stuck for ideas, see what’s on Instagram. There’s so many posts under different hashtags – #instasunsets and #photooftheday might give you some starting tips! Some people can use Instagram highlights to group their pictures by topic. Social media is also brilliant at giving you instant feedback on your pictures – don’t be too restricted by the number of likes though!

7. It’s yours

Unlike films which can only portray one, factual angle at a time photography is your own unique brand. It’s the world from your view and no one will have the same images as you. There’s so many creative products you can make from your own photos. Photo mugs, wall art and customised clothing are just some of the things you can do with your photos and you don’t need loads of money to do it! I findloads of ideas on Pinterest to create really unique photo displays. Particularly around this time of year, you can get twigs and branches to help you make a ‘frame’ which you can tie with string. With pegs, you can then attach the photos. I love how unique these look – something you really can’t buy in the shops!

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We’d love to see your photos – tag us on Instagram and use the hashtag #tremobooks and we’ll share our favourites!

5 Tips to improve your Smartphone Photography Skill Set

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We are all Photographers

Here at Tremo Books, we think that everyone is a photographer. As solid proof we bring hundreds of beautiful smartphone pictures that turned out to be amazing photobooks. Today, photographers don’t need to spend thousands on expensive equipment, in fact you’re probably holding your photography power tool right now. Take a look at our top 5 tips which will help you shoot some stunning pictures right now!
 

1. Choose the right angle when taking a photo

Angle can be vital in photos – it can take an average picture and turn it into a showstopper. Why not get down low – or maybe go for a birds eye view? The key is to be different, break the rules and be as wild as possible!



2. Edit your photos

There are loads of free apps out there that can transform your photos – I love Snapseed which is available on the Android and Apple App Store. The key here is not to overdo it but experiment with all the available tools. 
If you don’t get on with one app – pick another! Your favourite app store has so much on offer, from Adobe Photoshop Express to editing within the Instagram app. 


3. Change the depth of field

Most smartphone cameras have a function which lets you change this. On a DSLR or maybe even your smartphone  you might see this displayed as an ‘f’ number. Some phones have a sliding scale to alter the focus. This is the magic tool to get you blurred backgrounds and a perfectly sharp image. The general rule of thumb is that a low “f” number is used for anything close up – think your insta friendly coffee break, selfies or flowers. Opt for a high “f” number if you want loads in focus. This is perfect for a cityscape, landscape or anything in between.


4. HDR Magic

HDR – or High Dynamic Range is a must have with smartphone photography. Some have this mode installed on your default camera app or you can apply this after you’ve taken the shot. Although it can be overused, it helps bring out the darkest and lightest parts of your picture to create a better colour balance overall.



5. Composition

Thinking about what’s in your image can help take it to the next level. In this instance – less is definitely more. The rule of thirds is an easy one to put into practice. Imagine your photo is divided into a simple 3×3 grid. You then place the subject of your image – so a person or building for example in one of those sections. In my picture of The Shard you can see I’ve placed it in the middle of the picture – but I’ve divided the whole image in a ⅔ sky to ⅓ river ratio. This just helps to create an overall interesting shot – think about where the viewer’s eye is going to go. What will they want to look at – your plain blue sky or the landscape below? 



We consider these 5 tips shown above to be easy ways for you to take your photography skills to a new level. As with any skill, photography is something that needs a bit of practice, depending on your goals. Our goal, within this article is to offer simple and handy ways for you to take more engaging and beautiful photos, so you can capture the precious moments of your life. And why not, turn them into a beautiful photobook someday.

Stay tuned, this is just the beginning !