Category Archives: iPhone tips

Everyday Photos | Texture & Pattern

As some of you might know, I am a little obsessed with pattern [this might be an understatement, ha ha!].  I love it, I can’t help it.  Possibly it stems from my background in Interior Design and Fashion Design.  Maybe it’s ingrained in me, who knows?  I seek it out everywhere I go and take note of my surroundings, always looking for repetition.  These days, I especially look for it as a potential backdrop in my photos.  It adds an instant graphic contrast in your page layouts, especially in contrast with other free form, organic photos.

Here are some recent photos that I took in the last 2 weeks that illustrate types of texture and pattern in everyday life:

Pattern Texture Everyday-01

Look for patterns around you everyday:

1] Flooring: A striped carpet or pavers in a patio or park setting.  Get an aerial shot.

2] Vertical: Look for brick backdrops or a fence, or other repetition in the vertical.

3] Look Up: Either, at the sky, or at the trees above.

4] Food: I am always prepping food or serving it on a plate, thinking about how I will lay it out.  Even popcorn in a bowl or something of that ilk has an amazing texture.

5] Look Around: You never know where pattern or texture is hiding in the everyday.  Sometimes you don’t even notice it in the daily until you remind yourself to start looking.

I challenge you to work some of these everyday patterns into your PL layouts, because they truly do add so much graphic contrast and interest.  These types of photos are also amazing if turned into Black & White.  These photos also yield well to different scales and angles.  The best part, for me, is that these photos are always part of my everyday story.  They are legitimately part of my day, I just simply look for a way to capture the moment in a graphic way.  Have fun and keep your eyes open!!

credits // Sarah Kolbe // Author | Photographer


Sky Photos

One of my favorite things to photograph is the sky.  It’s always amazing to me how beautiful it can look and how different it looks each time I look up.  One thing that is for certain about living in Iowa, if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes and it will probably change.  Last week was stormy around here and the sky wasn’t afraid to give a good show.  And I wasn’t afraid to get out my iPhone a few times and snap away.

I took this photo from my kitchen window. (no filter added!)From my kitchen window. #stormyskies #dayisdone #goodnight

Here is one I took on a date night with my hubby. (again no filter added!)
Tonight's sky #nofilter

And this one from my office window… a storm was moving in. (you guessed it – no filter added!)Storms heading this way. #tornadowatch #stormanxiety #stormyskies


I like the sky. It tells a story.  What was the day like..was it sunny, or big fluffy white clouds, was it clear and blue, or stormy like the photos above?  What was I doing when I saw the sky?  Where was I at? All questions you can use when documenting sky photos in scrapbooking journaling.

My favorite part about sky photos is that they help me to remember to slow down.   Every time I am rushing – trying to get from one place to the next as fast as possible, balancing three kids and two jobs, and LIFE – and I see this amazing sky in front of me, I stop for a second and breath. I stop and think WOW – life is pretty amazing. And I take a photo of the sky.  And for at least one second for that day I stopped and just was aware of the beauty around me.

My challenge for you this week is to take a photo of the sky and use it in your daily storytelling!

If you want to see how I am going to use these photos in my weekly Project Life album, stop by my personal blog on Tuesday where I will be posting my week 22!

Happy Monday!!

credits// Michelle Bostinelos, Author|Photographer


Hello Summer | Documenting Pool Fun

Hello June! Hello Summer 2014!

I know it’s not officially summer yet…but around here the kids are out of school, the weather is warm and most importantly the pool is open!!  My family spends a lot of time at the pool in the summer. Some of my favorite summer time photos come from lazy days of splashing around soaking in some sunshine.  Iowa winter’s are brutal – this one was especially cold! We cherish the few short months we can enjoy the blue water of the pool and the warm summer rays.

In the past, I had document pool photos by very carefully handling my DSLR (Canon 60D) or my iPhone around and even in (Eeek!) the pool.  Luckily I never had any accidents where my camera or iPhone went into the water. But it could have happened.

For my birthday this year, my sweet husband gave me a Lifeproof Case for my iPhone.  Have you seen these cases?? They are waterproof! I was so excited for the first day of the pool to get my iPhone camera and use it by and even IN the water without worrying about drowning my equipment!

Here are photos I took:

Goal accomplished #pool #drinkHello SummerLet's get this summer started!#myethan#owenchristopher off the board!We are the only ones at the pool because it's cloudy and looks like rain #missz #theydontcare


And while I didn’t take any underwater photos  (which Lifeproof says you can*) I did accidentally drop my phone into the water with the Lifepoof case on and my iPhone was just fine!  And while I didn’t attempt any underwater photos (this time), there was plenty of splashing around that my iPhone was significantly wet.  I can’t wait to see all the pool/water photos (and videos!)  that I will capture this summer!

*if you purchase an Lifeproof case, make sure you follow the directions that come with the case exactly to make sure your iPhone is truly protected from water.

Let the water fun begin!

Here is a look at my week 21 layouts including the pool photos above.

Project Life 2014 | Week 21Project Life 2014 | Week 21Project Life 2014 | Week 21
In case you wanted to know:

credits// Michelle Bostinelos, photographer/author 

Photo Techniques and Week 20

There are a few photo techniques that I seem to use over and over again while capturing the everyday moments of my family.  It doesn’t matter if I am shooting with my DSLR or my iPhone, I find myself going back to these same techniques to capture simple (but noteworthy) moments of my everyday life.

Technique One:  Getting down to their level.  Want to get an interesting perspective? When taking a photos get down to the level of your subject.  This also works good if you are needing some exercise — squats!Lazy bums...Another day of nail painting #misszZooey found a friend just her size In the neighborhood #letthegamesbegin #girlpower

Technique Two: Get the BIG picture.   I also like to call these “right now” photos.  I love to take a few steps back and get a photo of the whole setting or the big picture. I don’t need anyone looking at the camera.  I want to capture what is happening “right now”.  While using my iPhone, I will often turn it to silent so no one even knows I am taking a photo! Sneaky! Practicing in front of the big girls tonight! #tinydancerThe water table never gets old! #bostinelostrioWine and s'mores

Technique Three: the selfie.  I think the selfie gets a bad rap sometimes.  I know, I know. They can be annoying, right?  We all know that ONE person that has a million selfies. All the time. Filling up all you social media outlets until you finally want to scream at the person… STOP WITH THE SELFIES!  But an occasionally selfie…that’s not bad, right?  Especially if you’re the person that is usually behind the camera taking the photos.  I really make a point that I am in my weekly Project Life album. And sometimes that means I take a selfie.  Most times, I will grab a friend or family member – because really it isn’t about ME, it’s about the moment and the people I am sharing it with.  I took the selfie below at my son’s freezing cold baseball game. It’s a photo of my dad and I bundled up!  I love photos like this – this makes me smile. And tells a story.

Freezing at Owen's baseball game @rcoacher


Technique Four:  Taking photos of things not people.  Sometimes you can tell a story by taking photos of the things around you.  Places you go, things your eating, signs.. are all very photo-worthy snapshots. Below is a photo of my flowers which I was trying to save from the below freezing temps.  And the next photo is movie treats from a girl’s night out!  After that is a photo of all the ingredients to make s’mores! My poor flowers - three nights of temps near or below freezing. The small pots I bring in but the big pots and flower box I've been covering a night - hoping they all survive! Where is the warm weather??Hello! @lisaannpeterson @rubelh #momsnightoutS'mores stuff

Technique Five: The shoot from above shot. One of my favorite techniques, which you can see in several photos above.  I love getting a shot from above. Sometimes I can do this just by standing up. Other times I might crawl up onto a chair or something higher to get the shot!This one.... Too many tantrums lately.  #owenchristopher


Here is a look at my Week 20 and how I use the photos above to tell my weekly story (click on images to view larger):
Project Life 2014 | Week 20Project Life 2014 | Week 20Project Life 2014 | Week 20
This week my challenge to you is to try one of these techniques as you are snapping photos of your everyday life!

What are your favorite photo techniques to use?

Happy Tuesday!

In case you wanted to know:

credits// Michelle Bostinelos, photographer/author 

The 24-Hour Getaway

Last weekend my sweet husband took me on a 24-hour getaway to celebrate my birthday. Since we are always so busy with the three kiddos, it’s nice to move the focus back on us and our relationship, if even just for one night.  I choose not to bring along my DSLR (big camera). I do go through phases where I use my DSLR a lot and then not much at all. I seem to be in an iPhone phase right now.  And, I thought it might be easier to just rely on the iPhone while we are out and about.

My photo album these days is full of photos of the kids and their activities.  There are more photos of them than us that is for sure.   I took this opportunity to snap some photos of our time together to include in my weekly album! My husband is not always photo crazy…well most times he is not! I can talk him into a selfie every once and awhile, but I can also drive him nuts with my photo taking too!  So I try to be respectful of his wishes and not go overboard on the photos of him.  🙂

Here are the photos I captured of our little getaway.

He surprised me with a suite! I knew we were going over night – but I had no idea he got such a fancy room! The first thing I did was snap some photos of the room and using the app Pic-Stitch I made a little collage right on my iPhone.

My husband surprised me with a hotel suite for my bday! #luckyme #besthusbandaward @dimitri_bostinelos


After we dropped our stuff off at the hotel, we ventured out to find a movie theater.  (we saw Spiderman 2).   I decided to just take a photo as we were walking into the theater – and then I put my phone away and just enjoyed our time together. (Photos of signs is a good way to document where you have been!)

Movie at 4 pm on a Friday?? #soundsgoodtome


After the movie was dinner.  The restaurant was crowded, and sometimes even I can get a little camera-shy when so many people are around! But I wanted at least one photo of our dinner. So a simple way to capture it, a photo of our drinks!  Wine for me and water for him.  Him and Hers – a good way to capture our time together! His and hers


After dinner we enjoyed watching the sunset from the balcony of our hotel, documented by a selfie.  It’s a little grainy – but I love it anyway.#us @dimitri_bostinelos


The view as the sun was going down…  I love light in the sky in contrast to the dark and the city lights below. #Sunset


We then took a walk along the river. And agin trying to not have my face buried in my iphone and enjoy our time together, and not being too over the top with photos – this is the photo I took on our walk.  The bend in the river, the light towers, and the tall buildings drew my eye to the camera as we walked past this point. Last night's walk


Saturday we went to see the waterfalls.  Taking a photo from behind is one of my favorite techniques.  I purposely off-centered him to the left for a more interesting photo. Visiting the falls

And another selfie for good measure. The photo on top and the photo below are at the same location, but yet are different.
#Us @dimitri_bostinelos

We climbed to the top of the observation tower. It was a little crowded up there – otherwise I probably would have gotten for another selfie, but this time I settled on a view of the falls from afar.Falls Park, Sioux Falls, SD

We then walked around downtown. This old building caught my eye. The building is a little off centered and the cross walk lines lead your eye to the building. This morning's walk

Lunch at a retro-dinner. Again a but crowded so I settled on a photo of my most amazing milk shake that I shared with my hubby.Yes, please

And then one last photo as we wandered the shops in downtown. This time I turned the camera over to my husband let him take a silly photo of me with a unicorn mask on. We laughed and it was funny.
Last day to be 36 #normal #unicornhead


And here is how I took these photos and worked them into my weekly Project Life album:

Project Life 2014 | Week 18Project Life 2014 | Week 18


I used the front and back of a Design J Project Life Page protector.  And actually two of the photos I took did not make it into my weekly spread (the walk along the river and the old building), because I just didn’t have enough room for them and wanted to keep our trip to just front and back of the page protector. And that’s OK.  I have learned that I don’t have to include every photo I take into my album.

You can see more of my week 18 spread over at on Tuesday of this week.

Happy Monday!

In case you wanted to know:

credits// Michelle Bostinelos, photographer/author 

A Photo Challenge

Do you ever get bored of your photos and wonder how you can change them up a bit?  How you can break the one dimensional photo mold?  I think I might have a solution for you, and it’s super easy!  I challenge you to try this:  take your photos from different heights, starting as low as the floor and as high [well, almost] as the ceiling.  Photos seem much more interesting to me these days if I change up the camera position and also if I zoom in for detail shots. The following photos of the same moment were taken in different ways and help to illustrate my point.

03 19 Blog post photo 2-01

03 19 Blog post photo 1-01

03 19 Blog post photo 3-01

Try it for yourself!  Next time you are capturing a moment, set your camera on the floor for a photo [you might need to angle it up slightly] and then stand on a chair and take a photo from above.  Try some close up detail shots as well!

I had a fun time documenting my daughter intently playing with her dollhouse, and came away with a set of very different photos, all telling the story from different angles.

Everyday Storytelling For Busy People

Everyday Story Telling for Busy People

As a storytelling and a scrapbooker, I feel that I am trained to be looking for stories to document as I go through my everyday routine.  But sometimes it’s not so easy. Have you ever gotten to the end of a day, or maybe week or even month and realize that you didn’t record anything. Not one picture, no stories written down. Just blank.  This can happen for a variety or reasons – but one that really stops me from documenting the everyday is busyness.   I get so swamped and going 100 mph that I forget.  Plain and simple – I just didn’t do anything. At this point I am usually kicking myself for missing out.

So what to do?  So glad you asked!  Here are four things you can do to document the everyday while leading a busy life.

1.  Slow down.  Whatever you are doing at 100 mph ..slowly take your foot off the gas and apply the break.  Breath. Look around. What is going on around you right now?  Snap a photo with your phone.  This can take less than a minute for you to do. But sometimes just mentally slowing down for even a few seconds and stop to look what is going on around you can bring balance and allow the everyday storyteller in you to get a chance to play.

Here is a picture I snapped while trying to get out the door in the morning. You know how crazy that can be! I looked over and I saw my husband fixing my daughter’s hair. I paused..snapped the photo with my iPhone and then went back to my normal morning craziness!

He fixes her hair ❤️ @dimitri_bostinelos

2. Let go of perfect.  Sometimes I don’t take pictures or document my everyday because things are not perfect.  I might be in a bad mood, or in a boring place, or bad lighting. All of these things can stop me from telling my story.  And while I wish that everything in my life could be a picture perfect photo session (HA!) the reality is that sometimes I have some really “blah” days.   But I realize that my “job” as the everyday story-teller is record it all – the good, the bad, the fun and the dull. Actually getting out my camera and recording the moment can turn a blah day into fun!

Below is a picture that I took at my desk of the fortune from my Chinese lunch! That was fun! 

#pictapgo_app today's fortune brought to me by Hy-Vee Chinese

3.  Go outside.  This goes along with #1 in terms of slowing down.  Go outside, even if it just for a few moments.  Sit on the porch. Take a walk. Anything.  Record what you see, what you hear, or the weather outside.   Sometimes I don’t have much of a story for the day – but I might tell you that today was beautiful and birds were chirping. Or it was stormy and cold.  The sky might be an amazing shade of blue today or the leaves could be changing colors.  Your environment is part of your story, so document it.  It only takes a few minutes!

I stopped to take this picture of my dog Sugar while we were out in the back yard. It was so nice outside. She was enjoying the weather as much as I was.

It's nearly 70 degrees out - so I am cleaning up all her mess from the backyard  ... From the entire winter #gross #dogpoopsoup

4.  Take a selfie.   Oh the selfie! What did we do before smartphones and selfies?  Take a picture by yourself and document what you were wearing that day or how you felt.  Better yet – grab a friend, co-worker, or your family and take a picture with them.  For no other reason then the fact that you are together at this moment.

My husband recently did this with our kids and pets. It gave me the biggest smile and I can’t wait to put this collection of selfies in my Project Life Album!

Oh my! Someone is feeling better #selfietimewithD #nopicwithme?

Recording the everyday can seem like a chore if you let it. But if you stop and try these four steps I promise that not only will you be improving your everyday storytelling you might actually even enjoy your life a little bit more.

credits// Michelle Bostinelos, Author/Photographer