Book Review - Photographing Children and Babies (Michal Heron)

~ Posted on Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 12:55 PM ~

(* Article first published as Book Review - Photographing Children and Babies (Michal Heron) on Blogcritics.)

I have the privilege of reviewing this awesome photography book packed with cool tips and tutorials and below is my review of the book...

Title: Photographing Children and Babies: How to Take Great Pictures
Author: Michal Heron

 Publisher:  Allworth Press (October 2005)
ISBN: 978-1581154207
Paperback: 160 pages; Softcover
Dimension: 8 1/2 X 10 inches

Description from the product page:
"This family-friendly guide shows parents how to dramatically improve their baby photos and create beautiful, memorable albums without extensive experience, technical knowledge, or equipment. Featuring more than 150 striking examples of successful pictures, the book provides the skills and technique to create excellent portraits, action shots, group pictures and more. Written in an easy-to-understand, to-the-point tone, the book evolves from general to specific photographic concepts, with chapters including: seeing your children, the value of shooting close ups, portraits, capturing different moods, backgrounds and environments, film and editing, choosing b/w or color, the technical side, and family photos. Dozens of tips and instructions for bringing creativity to kids' photos are featured, including posing and catching great non-posed shots, working with children as models, advice on equipment, and more. A chapter on "Tips for Photographing All Ages" gives recommendations on how to get the best pictures in all stages of a childís life. Special assignment forms help the reader go beyond good intentions, get organized, and fulfill their goal of excellent portraiture.

About the author:

"Michal Heron has been a freelance photographer for more than thirty years Heron has appeared on an NBC morning show to talk about children’s protraiture, and currently works on assignment for a variety of publishing and corporate clients as well as stock photo agencies. She is active with photographic associations and is a frequent lecturer at seminars and workshops throughout the country. She lives in New York City."

This is a great book for those of you who wants to take great pictures of children and babies!

When I first saw the book title, I was having some doubts as I seriously do not have any experience or knowledge at all in photography or camera stuff (see, I don't even know the proper jargons in photography world!) I researched further and found this in the product description "family-friendly guide shows parents how to dramatically improve their baby photos and create beautiful, memorable albums without extensive experience, technical knowledge, or equipment", oh hey, I'm in!!!

Like I said earlier, I have no experience in photography skills and I mostly use my trust Panasonic Lumix 10MP digital camera to take all my pictures. One thing that I always always do is to take loads and loads of pictures, since digital camera can store more pictures. I am happy to read that this is one of the tips found on page 21 which tells us to 'Shoot a Lot!' - so I guess, I'm doing something right here, hehehe...

I also learned that background (chapter 6) plays an important part in our photography as well and am glad to learn the tips and tutorials from this chapter. In chapter 7 (How Much Film Do You Need?) I also learned a lot on the things to look for during the editing process and I am practising some of the criterias listed currently too.

The pictures in this book are totally gorgeous and beautiful and I love the basic 4 precepts on page 11 which tells you how to best improve our photographs.

In my opinion, Heron's book is a good one to invest in if you would like to take better (and professional looking!) pictures of children and babies! 

You can get this book from Allworth Press, Amazon and many more.

I received no monetary compensation for this review, I was provided with a copy of the book by Allworth Press in order to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Please do your own research when purchasing products, as your opinions may differ from mine. And if you'd like to read my previous book reviews, you can do so by reading this post of mine called "My Book Reviews"

Top Ten Things I Wish I Could Do...

~ Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 9:00 AM ~

I was being tagged in this meme by Carolyn, a bloggy friend I met not long ago and decided 'Why not, at least something to post in my blog... heheheh...'

Anyway, here goes my list in no particular order:

1. Be a WAHM

* Image taken from Google search

I know this is not getting easier with my baby #2 coming in less than 2 months time but I do harbor (maybe one day when my children are all going to school) hopes of working from home (not hectic type of jobs of course!) while at the same time still be able to attend to the needs of my children.

It's not about earning the money (btw since last month, I'm starting to make use of my blog to earn me some $ and so far, God is so good to me!) or that we are in desperate financial crisis that I have to work or anything, but I guess it's more like to still want to make use of my brain and the feeling of generating my own income again (regardless amount)!

2. Go to Hong Kong again!

* Image taken from Google search

I went to HK back in 2004 during a company trip and hubby went to HK in 2007 for a business trip. We were planning to go to HK together when we found out I was pregnant with Ben, then we decided to hold it off and wait till Ben is older enough to enjoy the trip. And now with Spicy Baby coming along, oh well... it'll be a few more years I guess... So Hong Kong, wait for me!!!

3. Really cook some awesome stuff!

* Image taken from Google search

All my life, I have been lucky - no need to cook much (except for Ben, that too are not those difficult dishes to make at all). When my mum was still alive, she handles all the cooking. And when she passed away and I got married later, we stayed with my MIL and she handles the cooking (dinner time only), so I would really wish that I could one day, whip up some ingredients and cook some awesome stuff and surprised the heck out of everyone!

4. See my parents again...

* Image taken from Google search

It's been 5 years for my dad and 4 years for my mum since they passed away... I always wish they could still be around today, to see me got married and settled down and having my own children. I'm sure they would adore Ben and Spicy Baby to death. But of course, I know God loves them more and they'll be happier up there with Him. And I trust we'll meet them again one day in heaven...

5. Parallel parking confidently

* Image taken from Google search

Oh man... this is so embarrassing for me to admit but yes, I am horrible at parking car - parallel wise. I have no problem parking in one of those forward parking types where I just drove into the parking slot and be done with it. But at the sight of a parrallel parking slot, I will tremble and ermm... drove on... seriously... I am that lousy and terrified...

6. Go travel around the world!

* Image taken from Google search

This is different from wanting to go to Hong Kong again cos HK is with family, while this travel around the world thing is kinda like a wish of mine... I want to go to Paris, Stockholm, Italy, Norway, those countries far far away, country style living, far away from the hustle and bustle of city living or just plain sit on a field enjoying the cool fresh air... ahhhhh...

7. Go back to one of those days during my childhood time and enjoy my kampung stay...

When I was young, my mum used to bring me back to her hometown whenever school holidays rolled around. I always enjoyed the trips (which can be 1 week to 1 month, depending on the duration of the holidays) cos I get to play with my cousins (5 of them), cycle around the village, catch fish, tadpoles and grasshoppers, play imaginary cooking (we actually go around the field and plucked out those cute looking plants and flowers and 'cook' them)

And every morning, I'd wake up at 8am and went to the morning market with my mum, and then had breakfast at this Chinese kopitiam with my grandma. We always sat at the same table, right behind the aunty who cooks the noodles and I'd never forget the yummylicious fishball noodle I had there. Never will I be able to find back the exact same good tasting noodle now...

8. Have superpower

* Image taken from Google search

OK, this is of course far fetched and remains a dream for like ermm.. forever? Anyway, since the post is titled 'Top 10 things I wish I could do', of course I wish that I have superpower! What kinda power you ask? Oh well, I think I'll go for ability to heal things. I mean, wouldn't it be cool to be able to heal yourself or people around you whenever they fall sick? Of course, with great powers, come great responsibilities. I might have to end up having no time for myself or my family if word get around that there is this woman who can heal all sickness.

9. To be more outspoken and confident

* Image taken from Google search

I am a shy person. Really, really shy at first time encounter. I'd smile and not say much unless asked but once you get to know me more, I'll be more talkative.

Just the other day while having dinner with my hubby and Ben at Sushi King, I was approached by this lady who said that she recognised me through Ben and asked whether I'm the lady from 'I'm a full-time mummy'. I had to be honest, I was a bit stunned at first (I'm really paranoid of people knowing too much details about me) and lots of scary thoughts was going through my mind then and I could only muster a weak smile and said 'Hi' back to the lady and gently shook her hand.

Hubby said I was acting kinda weird and that I didn't know how to handle my blog fans. I told him she's not my fan and that I'm not that popular and I think she's more popular than me! So, Farhana, if you're reading this post, please forgive me for my reactions when we met that day. I never intend to act all weird, it's just my nature to be really shy and paranoid. Hope you're not turned off or got freaked out with me...

10. (Finally!!!!) Leave a good legacy behind when I'm gone...

* Image taken from Google search

Okay, I still have a chance to do this while I'm still alive now, but yes, I do want to be remembered for something good that I've done in someone's life when I'm gone. I don't want the 'good riddance!' or 'finally she's gone! it's about time!' kinda thing that people said when I die one day.

Phew... what a list... now that I'm done with mine, I want to tag the following people:

~ Aurie from Welcome to Our Good Life

~ Uncle Lee from A Moonlight Rendezvous

~ Germaine from mom2kiddos

~ Sumijelly from Sumijelly Weblog

~ Mrs. T from Mrs. T, Naturally

Let me know if you decide to play along and drop me the URL so that I can check out your top 10 lists too!

Pok Chang...

~ Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 8:56 AM ~

The post title might sound weird (especially if you're not Chinese) but this is the name of the pancake dish that I love love love love love the most and have yet to be able to perfect it. My mum used to make this for me when she was alive but sadly and regretfully, I didn't inherit her recipe. I asked my eldest aunt for the recipe and have been trying for years to make this as close as I can get to what I used to taste from my mum's cooking...

I've seen a similar recipe at Food 4 Tots website but my mum's recipe was without sugar and she used butter instead of oil. I can't share the exact measurements for the ingredients as I am still tweaking around and experimenting with the measurements. But all I can say is you will need the following:

- plain flour (I've tried wheat and corn flour)
- eggs
- salt to taste
- Water (if necessary)
- Butter

What I normally did was I mixed the flour and eggs and salt together and prior to frying, I will add a dollop of butter to the pan to oil the surface so that the pancake will not stick onto the pan.

This picture was taken during my latest attempt to make Pok Chang. All I can say is the look is almost exact to my mum's but the taste, not salty enough and the texture, not fluffy and thick enough... sigh... I miss my mum's cookings!

Do you have any memorable dishes that you love?

** Note: I have disabled the commenting feature on my blog engine thanks to all the spammers who happily spam my blog every day. If you wish to ask me any questions, you can find me at my Facebook page (I'm there almost everyday) or just drop me an email if you wish to maintain some anonymity.