How Well Does Your Relationship Work for You?

I remember meeting someone, years ago, who proudly stated that her husband had never once seen her without her makeup perfectly intact. She was always showered, coiffed and beautifully dressed in his presence. When I asked if that was not an exhausting way to live she agreed that it was; getting up before he awoke everyday and anticipating his movements was a full-time preoccupation, but that was how she felt she should be. That was how their relationship worked.I doubt if many of us, of either gender, would be prepared to live like that. It sounds stressful and not real life. But I’m guessing that many of us will have things that we choose to keep private and not share with our partners. There will be certain things that we prefer to conceal through a desire to maintain some mystique or not become too vulnerable. We find the right ways to make our relationship work for us.- It’s often the case that we have different personas for different areas of our lives. When we’re at work, with friends, family or at home we may find that we behave in rather different ways. Our partner may never see the side of us that gossips, complains, gets angry, as we may limit that behaviour to arenas deemed more appropriate. Our genius in some areas of life may potentially be our curse in others; taking home the highly-organised, fastidious approach we get paid well for at work might cause mayhem if we try it with the family! It’s determining what works and is appropriate.

- The bathroom can be a no-go area for sharing in some relationships. Whilst some people don’t mind who breezes in on them whilst they’re on the toilet or in the bath, for others it’s their personal time. Or they may wish for certain exercise routines or beauty treatments to be undertaken in private, perhaps out of embarrassment or from the simple desire to have a little personal space. We don’t need to reveal everything about ourselves in order for our relationship to work well.- For some people having a great relationship means never arguing, whilst others love having a fight, clearing the air and making up afterwards. In order to progress though, disagreements and arguments need to be handled respectfully.If one person goes quiet and won’t talk or shouts, hurls insults and refuses to listen it can be very damaging to a relationship. Most adults can cope with opposing points of view; they try to understand and accommodate why the person feels the way they do. Agreeing to disagree may be a suitable outcome, where both sides shake hands and acknowledge that they’re unlikely to ever win the other over. But there’s an appreciation that each is entitled to their own opinion and that often works well.Adopting good listening skills, applying empathy and understanding enables a relationship to evolve and move forward. Keeping channels of communication open is important. Being keen to have regular conversations about real life stuff also matters, rather than internally sighing and turning away from the phone or TV screen. If time is constrained in the week it might be good to set aside a little time before dinner or bed to have half an hour’s catch-up where you enjoy each other’s news and discuss your thoughts and feelings. Invest in your relationship at weekends too and maybe consider a regular date night.- Relaxed dressing can be an important part of being in a good committed relationship. Many people love coming home from work and changing into ‘something more comfortable’, though they’re rarely referring to attractive, alluring attire – it’s usually more about tracksuits and sweatshirts. It’s great to be at ease with someone and be able to kick off your shoes, but it’s important not to let standards slip too far.

Being relaxed is all well and good, but it’s also important to keep on top of personal hygiene by showering regularly and looking after your health and oral hygiene. Enjoy opportunities to dress up and look nice reasonably often. Remember this is the person you were once so keen to impress. Look after your weight, wellbeing and appearance and continue to take a pride in yourself. When you take care of you and feel good about yourself everyone benefits.We may look enviously at others with their ginormous diamond engagement rings and perfect lifestyles. Goodness knows how much those rings cost! But would you really exchange the tiny diamond chip in your ring for something flashier? It’s travelled with you through the highs and lows of your relationship and was probably bought when you were both starting you life together. When you look at your ring you can really see what that tiny stone represents about your journey together, how far you’ve come. It’s your story that matters and the way your relationship works well for you.

Tips To Creating A Professional Looking Photo Montage or Picture Slideshow

Are you one of those people that love creating photo video slideshows, or photo montages, from your most cherished photos? And do you ever wonder why your slideshow seems so bland compared to other professional looking photo slideshows? There are no hidden secrets to creating dynamic and interesting photo slideshows. By following just a few simple steps, you can be on your way to creating dynamic and professional looking photo montages from your favorite photos.

1. Use high resolution good quality photos.

The first and most important step in creating a good quality photo slideshow is using good photos. Nothing ruins a slideshow more than bad photos. If you are using scanned photos, make sure they are free of dust and have been color corrected. Digital photos are a better source for slideshows as they are already digitized and ready for use in your photo slideshow program. In addition to the visual quality of the image, make sure your scanned photo or digitized image is a high enough resolution. DVD video resolution is 720×480 pixels. At the minimum, I recommend using an image at least double the resolution of DVD video. I prefer 1500×1000 pixels at the minimum for all my photos. There is a reason for this preference and I’ll explain later why this is important.

2. Fill the screen with the photo. Get rid of the black space.

Have you ever seen photo slideshows with photos in the center of the screen with black space surrounding the photo? When I create slideshows, the photo in the slideshow takes up the entire screen. There is nothing visible other than the photo. No black space is visible on the screen beyond the photo. In my opinion, having any black space outside of the photo makes the slideshow appear unprofessional. It tells me the photo being used didn’t quite fit and centering it on the screen with black space around it was the only way the photo would work. The television and computer monitor is wider than it is tall, so horizontal photos work better than vertical photos. One reason for using photos that are at least 1500×1000 pixels will ensure your vertical photos fill the horizontal space of your monitor. One rule I go by is if the photo doesn’t work, don’t use it. Even if I think it’s a great photo and I want to include it in my slideshow, if the photo won’t work on the screen, I won’t include it in the project.

3. Limit the number of transition wipes.

Some photo montage programs come with a hundred different types of transition wipes. To many, that may be cool and the more wipes the software offers, the better the program may seem to be. When I view a photo montage that uses 20 different transition wipes, it draws importance away from the photos and viewers notice the transitions more than the images. Transition wipes should appear seamless and unnoticed. In all the photo montages I create, I use no more than 1 or 2 transition wipes, and most of the time, it’s just a simple fade in fade out photo transition. Using all the transition wipes your software comes with may be a cool thing, but the focus of the slideshow, which are your photos, is lost when this is done.

4. Make sure your viewers process the images by having an adequate hold time.

When you view a slideshow, have you ever experienced photos going by too quick and missing what you just viewed? Your audience needs to see and process the photos in you slideshow in order to enjoy and remember it. In the photo slideshows I create, I make sure each of my photos hold for 5-7 seconds, depending on the tempo of the project. And this hold time does not include the 1 second transition in the front and end of each image. You will need to decide what a good hold time will be. Too short and the viewer misses what was just shown. Too long and it feels like awkward silence.

5. Zoom, pan, and hold are keys to a dynamic photo montage.

I’m sure you’ve seen photo montages that have images fade in and fade out for 10 minutes and that’s pretty much all the photo montage does with the photos. After just 3 minutes of watching, I’m sure it gets a little monotonous. The photos may be interesting, but you might as well flip through a photo album if that is all your project does. To keep things interesting, I use a combination of 3 things for each image in the photo montage. The photos will zoom in or zoom out; pan up, down, left or right; or hold in place for the duration of that image. Combining these 3 techniques for your photos will create a dynamic and interesting photo montage. Regarding the zoom technique, having a higher resolution image, I recommend 1500×1000 pixels, will ensure your image doesn’t lose quality when zooming in. Image quality will be one less thing to be concerned with when working on your slideshow if you have good photos. Use good quality photos right from the start and you won’t have to go back and rescan or find replacement photos later. One final thing to remember is not to over do it. Keep in mind how much you zoom or move the image. Your viewer needs to be able to see the photo and if you put too much movement in the photo, he or she will miss what you’re trying to show. And mix up the movement. I typically zoom and pan four or five photos, and then hold one or two.

6. Try video intros and video endings in your slideshows.

If your slideshow program allows the use of inserting video into the project, try using specific video introductions in your project. For example, if you’re creating a slideshow from pictures of your daughter’s first birthday, find or create a video introduction that says “1st Birthday.” If you don’t know how to create a video intro, there are websites that specialize in providing videos for photo montage enthusiasts. One such website is They have a large library of video intros with affordable pricing. And the best thing is, you can download the video right after purchase without waiting for a cd to be shipped. Of course, check to see that your software will accept video files.

7. Keep the project at a respectable length.

You may have hundreds of photos you want to use and want the slideshow running forever, but a good slideshow run time should be 10-15 minutes. Anything longer than 15 minutes will slowly cause your audience to lose interest the longer the show runs. The creator of the slideshow may think its okay, but this will not be the case with your audience, the people you want to impress. In this case, too much of a good thing does ring true. I use about 3 songs in most of my projects. The average song is about 3.5 to 5 minutes long. Sticking to this format will keep your project within the 10-15 minute length. Add a fourth song if the playtime of your current 3 songs are too short.

8. Finish it off with a DVD box cover & disc art.

For the final touch, find artwork and print out a DVD cover that can be inserted into the DVD case. And if you have a DVD disc printer, print a nice design on the disc for that final professional touch. Again, has a number of designs for the DVD cover & disc art. They have a great number of designs with different themes. Having some artwork for your DVD cover & DVD disc will look much better than having just a black DVD case and a white DVD disc. Not to mention, your family and friends will be very impressed!!!

I hope the above tips will help you in creating better photo montages. Try different things and see what works for you.

Make Memorable Photo Treasures From Ordinary Moments – 10 Tips

Did you ever wish you had photos of the last time you and your Mom had dinner together? Do you remember when you and your grandmother were sitting together talking about her younger days? Do you remember when you and your children were coloring together?

We always remember to bring our cameras and take photos at graduations, weddings, and birthdays, and what about those ordinary experiences that are the source of our richest memories?

Where are those photo memories? Do you find it frustrating when you see other photos from your friends of their special moments? Would you like to be one of those people who always have photos of those daily living moments of the people you love?

You do not need to struggle any longer. Here is how you can successfully photograph and document special ordinary moments with the people you love.

First and more importantly, always carry your camera, charge it, and use it.

Remember, the people you are photographing will act more naturally once they see your camera and you begin taking photos of the surroundings or setting for the scene. Always take more photos than you think is necessary for those less than stellar ones.

While taking photos of the people involved, always take multiple shots of the scene, before during, afterward since many people are light-sensitive and often blink – especially if there are multiple people in the scene. My mother is light-sensitive; therefore, I always take a minimum of three photos with her in the scene for this reason.

Here are my ten tips on how you can make ordinary photos into memorable photo treasures.

1. Cradle your grandparent, parent, or child’s hand in yours and take a close-up photo of only your hands together.

I do not have this type of photo with my Dad before he passed and I do have one with my grandmother and my Mom.

2. Take photos when loved ones are saying hello and goodbye. This makes a loving moment last forever.

For example, recently I took photos of my brother leaning over to hug my Mom and in the series, they were before, during, and afterward and then I chose the best of them; the most tender one with their faces side-by-side and my brother’s hand on her back.

3. Take portrait photos of your loved ones capturing their lifelong beauty at different times during their lifetime. It is always nice to look at the changes over time and we always appreciate our photos of our younger days.

Because I am an avid photographer, I have a long list of photos of my Mom from a variety of activities, events, parties, and ordinary times and it is wonderful to see her life unfold through my photos.

4. You can take photos of your family and friends at breakfast, lunch, or dinner anytime to document your experiences. Take them before the meal and in groups of people around the table. Make sure everyone is included (the photographer too!). The cook/chef will feel proud too!

5. You can capture photos of people milling around the kitchen where everyone tends to congregate doing ordinary chores or merely conversing.

The children can complain later when they always had to wash the dishes – there is the photo to prove it!

6. If you snap photos of the family doing ordinary things, such as reading a book, watching a movie or TV, snacking on popcorn together, playing games or with toys, reading the newspaper or a magazine, working on the computer, there will be a document of how they spent their days.

7. Take photos of people doing their hobbies, playing music, dancing, singing, tinkering, building things, working on things, gardening, painting/drawing, knitting/crocheting/sewing, etc. It is important to document their creation process with several shots. This is the most often overlooked photo of your family.

My Dad was handy around the house and he was always tinkering with cars and he could fix or repair anything, yet, we have only one photo of him working on a car engine.

8. You can make great family memories with photos of someone bringing the food to the table, not only at Thanksgiving, and on ordinary days with favorite family meals from a favorite recipe.

I have several photos of my Mom and my sister bringing great meals to the table, which also documents their cooking abilities.

9. Children playing games outside and with toys in the house are always a fun photo memory.

My Dad took some photos of us playing at the park when we were very young and they are more special than big event photos.

10. Pet photos can be humorous and entertaining even when they are posing, sleeping, begging for treats, playing with other pets and children, walking, and eating. They never complain and are never camera-shy.

My dogs, Fuzzy and Romeo, pose quite naturally and always look adorable to me no matter what they are doing and I am grateful for my photos of them.

Years from now, you will treasure these timepiece memories and you will wish that you had more of them. Begin now; you can make ordinary photos into memorable photo treasures with these tips. Enjoy your memories!