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How to Take Professional Christmas Pictures Without Hiring a Professional

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Guest post from Kyle of Shultz Photo School

It’s the end of November already and the holidays are here! The excitement is building, and so is your to-do list. One of the things on the list: Christmas Cards!

Don’t just use any ole snapshot this year. Here are a few tips to get a pro-quality pic for cards or gifts, but without the pro quality cost.

Step 1: Light it well.

Set up shop just inside your front door OR just inside an open garage door. Place your subject inside the door a mere 1-2 feet. You’ll be left with soft, even front light. It’s easy to work with and very forgiving.

One warning: do NOT take the pic in direct sunlight. Shoot at a time of day to where your kiddo is in the shade of the doorway. This will keep the light soft and even.

Step 2: Cover up any distractions with a backdrop.

To save loads of money, find a bed sheet, or better yet, your favorite blanket or quilt. Textures and colors can work great — don’t be afraid of them! This year, I used a quilt I bought for my wife last Christmas.

Drape the quilt or sheet over a shower curtain rod, a paint roller extension pole, or even a long broom handle. Use clamps or some duct tape to keep it from sliding off.

Get it all situated and hoist it up in the air. It should be light enough to make a great volunteer project for the hubby (just have him hold it up). Or simply prop it up between two high backed bar stools, etc.  I cheated by using my backdrop stand, but I’ve boot-legged it many times.

Place the backdrop just a few feet behind where the subject. This way it’ll still get some light on it. The further back you place it, the less bright it will be. Here’s a sneak peek of my setup inside my front door:

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Step 3: Add a bench, a chair, or just stand… and snap away.

The garage is a great place for the whole family as it’s wider. I just found a bench from inside and brought it out for the kids to sit on:

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Simple enough. Here are a few results:

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Kyle Shultz teaches parents about photography at Shultz Photo School. He says all 3 of his kids look like his beautiful wife. If you’re interested in more helpful photography ideas, be sure to register for the FREE $17 DIY Studio mini-course over at Shultz Photo School.

Rite Aid: Deals for the week of November 30-December 6, 2014


Here are the best Rite Aid deals this week, with thanks to Shannon for her help in compiling them. If you are new to shopping at Rite Aid or have questions about their coupon policy, click here.

Bob’s Candy Canes 12 ct. – 4/$4 (Limit 2)
Get $1 UPR when you buy 4
$0.75 each after UPR

7UP Products 2L – 4/$5 (Limit 2)
Get $2 UPR when you buy 4
$0.75 each after UPR

Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion 20.3 oz., Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer 6.5 oz., or St. Ives Lotion Spray 6.5 oz. – $5.99 (Limit 2)
Get $2 UPR
Use $2/1 RA Video Values, Nov
Use Buy One Get One Free coupon from the 11/16 RedPlum insert
Use $1/1 printable
Free after coupons and UPR

Arm & Hammer SpinBrush Battery Operated Toothbrush 1 ct. – $5.99 (Limit 2)
Get $3 UPR
Use $2/1 printable
$0.99 after coupon and UPR

See the full list of deals at Rite Aid this week here.

Find

Do you have your shopping trip planned or did you come up with a great deal scenario/idea? Just post about it on your blog and leave your link below. To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Rite Aid deals post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your Rite Aid deals post will be deleted.

 

Walgreens: Deals for the week of November 30-December 6, 2014


Here are the best deals at Walgreens this week, with thanks to Passionate Penny Pincher for her help with compiling these:

Jingle Cash- Spend $30 – Get $5, Spend $50 – Get $10, Spend $100 – Get $20

Balance Rewards Points

Buy 1 Nature Made Vitamelts at $4.99, Get $3 Balance Reward Points
Use $3/1 printable
Free plus overage after coupon and Balance Reward Points

Buy 1 Scunci Headbands (2 pk), Octopus Clips (3 pk) or Clippies (6 pk) at $2, Get 2,000 Balance Reward Points
Free after Balance Reward Points

Buy 2 Nabisco Crackers (8 – 13 oz) at $2, Get 1,000 Balance Reward Points
Use $0.50/1 printable
$1 each after coupon and Balance Reward Points

Spend $20, Get 5,000 Balance Reward Points

*Deal Idea*

Buy 1 Bounty (8 pk)or Charmin Double Rolls (16 pk) – $8.99
Buy 2 Tide Laundry Detergent – $5.99 each
Use $0.35/1 printable
And use 2 $2/1 coupon from the 11/30 P&G insert
Pay $16.62 out of pocket, Get 5,000 Balance Reward Points
$3.87 each after coupons and Balance Reward Points

Register Rewards

Buy 1 Colgate Optic Toothbrush, Toothpaste or Mouthwash at $3.49, Get $2 Register Rewards
Use $1/1 coupon from the 11/23 SmartSource insert
$0.49 after coupon and Register Rewards

Buy 1 Crest Children’s Toothpaste or Oral B Toothbrush at $1.99, Get $1 Register Reward
Use $0.50/1 printable or coupon from the 11/23 RedPlum insert
$0.49 after coupon and Register Rewards

Buy 2 Crest 3D White Dental Care Items at $4, Get $5 Register Rewards
Use $1/1 printable or coupon from the 11/30 RedPlum insert
$0.50 each after coupon and Register Rewards

Buy 1 Crest Toothpaste at $2.99, Get $1.50 Register Rewards
Use $0.50/1 coupon from the 11/23 RedPlum insert or 11/30 P&G insert
$0.99 after coupon and Register Rewards

Buy 1 Huggies Diapers at $9.49, Get $1.50 Register Rewards
Use $2/1 printable
$5.99 after coupon and Register Rewards

Buy 1 Pampers Diapers at $8.99, Get $1.50 Register Rewards
Use $1.50/1 printable
$5.99 after coupon and Register Rewards

Other Deals

Jell-O Pudding – $0.50 with in Ad Coupon

Viva Paper Towels (6 pk) – $5.99
Use $1/1 coupon from the 11/30 RedPlum insert
And use $1/1 Walgreens Coupon found in store
$3.99 after coupons

New to shopping at Walgreens? Be sure to head over and check out Walgreens 101 where I explain in detail how to maximize the mileage of your money at Walgreens. See the full list of deals at Walgreens this week over at Passionate Penny Pincher.

Find

Do you have your shopping trip planned or did you come up with a great deal scenario/idea? Just post about it on your blog and leave your link below. To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Walgreens deals post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your Walgreens deals post will be deleted.

 

CVS: Deals for the week of November 30-December 6, 2014

Here are the best deals at CVS this week, with a big thanks to Passionate Penny Pincher for her help in compiling them:

Buy 1 Speed Stick Gear Deodorant (2 – 4 oz), Irish spring, Gear Body Wash (15 – 18 oz), or 96 Bar pk) at $3.99, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $2/1 printable
Free after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 Triaminic Liquid at $5.99, Get $5 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $1/1 printable
Free after coupon and ECBs

Buy 2 Colgate Total Toothpaste (6 oz ) at $3.99, Get $4 ECBs (Limit 2)
Use $0.50/1 coupon from the 11/23 SmartSource insert
$1.49 each after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 CVS Razor (1 ct), or Cartridges (4 – 5 ct) at $6, Get $5 ECBs (Limit 1)
$3.50 each after ECBs

Buy 2 Zarbee’s Baby Immune at $8.99, Get $4 ECBs
Use $3/1 printable
$3.99 after coupon and ECBs

Spend $25, Get $10 ECBs (Limit 1)

*Deal Idea*

Buy 3 Schick Disposable Razors – $8.99
Use 3 $2/1 printable or $5/2 coupon from the 11/9 SmartSource insert
Pay $19.97 out of pocket, Get $10 ECBs
$3.33 each after coupons and ECBs

Spend $20, Get $5 ECBs (Limit 1)

*Deal Idea*

Buy 6 Pantene Shampoo or Conditioner – $3.33 each
Use $5/3 coupon from the 11/30 P&G insert
$0.83 each after coupons and ECBs

Spend $30, Get $10 CVS, American Express, ITunes, Darden Restaurants or Macy’s Gift Card (Limit 1)

Buy 4 Tide Laundry Detergent (19- 32 Loads) – $5.94
Buy 1 Earth Essentials Bathroom Tissue (12 pk) – $6.79
Use 4 $1/1 printable or 4 $2/1 coupon from the 11/30 P&G insert
and use 4 $1/1 CVS Tide printable (available 11/30/14) will need two computers
Pay $18.55 out of pocket, Get $10 Gift Card
$1.51 each after coupons and gift card

OR

Buy 3 Charmin Toilet Tissue (16 pk) – $9.99 each
Use $0.35/1 printable or $0.25/1 coupon from the 11/30 P&G insert
Pay $28.92 out of pocket, Get $10 gift card
$6.31 each after coupons and gift card

Other Deals In Ad

Coca Cola Products (2 L) – $0.99
Use $0.24/1 coupon from the Red Kiosk
$0.74 after coupon

Total Home Single Roll Paper Towels (1 ct) – $1.29
Use $0.50/1 coupon from the Red Kiosk
$0.79 after coupon

New to shopping at CVS? Be sure to check out my CVS 101 post that gives you the full scoop on how to get the best bargains at CVS. See the full list of deals at CVS this week here.

Find

Do you have your shopping trip planned or did you come up with a great deal scenario/idea? Just post about it on your blog and leave your link below. To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your CVS deals post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your CVS deals post will be deleted.