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Lots of timely holiday information in this edition of our newsletter.

Let's start with the Holiday Sales!

If you are looking for any type of photography gear be sure to check out my special holiday page on my website. It will feature many popular brands and their ongoing sales offers for the holiday season. I will update this page regularly through 12/25 so be sure to bookmark it!

Read on in this edition for lessons on aperture, pet and portrait tips, and more!
Let's learn about "bokeh."

See the round lights and the blurry background behind this cat? That blur and the round shapes are called "bokeh." Bokeh is created and affected by several factors, with the main factor being a shallow depth of field. How do you get the shallow depth of field for your pet or people portraits this holiday season? Wider apertures!

Aperture is the opening of the lens. Aperture can be used for creative effect. In portraits, wider apertures are used for background blur. This blur helps separate the subject from the background. In landscapes, narrower apertures are used so the background is not blurry and more of everything is in focus.

Another factor that helps create that blur for portraits is distance. You want the subject separated from the background by a good amount of distance. The more distance, the more it helps create the blur. Notice how the background behind the cat is off in the distance and not right behind it?

Here are two resources to help you learn more about aperture and using wide apertures (smaller f/#) for better bokeh.

Then keep scrolling, we have even more for you!

Free Aperture Hands-On Lesson
Article on Depth of Field
Follow us on Twitter or Facebook (click links above). Over the next month we will be sharing tips and tricks to improve your photography, sales and coupons for deals during the holiday shopping season, and some fun photo activities to try at home.
Our Holiday Gift Guide - 50 Fabulous Photography Gifts
Something for Every Budget!

All kinds of photography related gifts, gadgets, and equipment to get you "geared up" for the holidays! Put these items on your wish list or buy them for a photographer you know. You can even buy these items for yourself ;)

This list/blog post is from last year - I did not have time to update the blog, but I did create a listing of all the best sales (see the first section of this newsletter). This list is still a good place to start if you want some ideas!
Free Cheat Sheet!

The handy cheat sheet below can be printed and kept in your camera bag. Or download the image and keep it ready on your phone. This is one card from our Best Settings for Beginners Cheat Sheets card set that we offer on our Etsy shop. The blurry background effect works well for all types of individual portraits (people or pets).

Order the whole set here:
Pet Portrait Tips

One more helpful tidbit for your portrait taking is our Pet Portrait Tips sheet. This is printable download we created for our photography students.

This full page document covers everything from best exposure to getting accurate focus! Check it out! Click the link here to download.

In addition, our pet portrait tips were featured in Dogster Magazine. You can check out the article here which includes great advice from other photographers as well.

We are still working on a new direction for our content and what we provide. Here is some older content that is still relevant for the Holidays:

Even though this is an older post, it might be relevant as you shop for the holidays.
How To Save Money on Camera Gear:

There are additional blog posts on buying the "Best" camera and how to avoid being scammed.

Check out our "Free & Extras" page of our website for lessons and cheat sheets. We add new content frequently:
Wish List Ideas
We have several items and gadgets in our Etsy store:

You can preview the Creativity "Fun Subjects" Cards we have for sale in the image below.
The 10 card set is $6 and it's an instant download!!

Each card provides a color prompt/task, background on the topic and its history, suggested subjects, creative ways to complete the task, an inspiration gallery, hashtags for sharing, and pro tips with addition information via QR code links! These are not your ordinary cheat sheets or "topic/task" cards. You will learn tips and tricks, composition basics, and camera settings while improving your photography at the same time!

Use coupon code MERRY10 for 10% off!

The Ultimate Photography Cheat Sheet

It is like 12 cheat sheets in one! Covers everything a beginner needs to know. Digital download is sheet front and back and covers exposure, metering, depth of field, basic steps to get off auto, and much much more.

The Exposure Triangle Tool

Want to learn how to make adjustments to exposure, but unsure which way to adjust or how far? This tool can help train you to understand the "stops" of exposure and how to adjust them for your subject and composition. Start learning full manual mode with this handy gadget!

It's time to invest in your photography skills!

Consider purchasing our Composition Basics Course book.
Get 30 days of hands-on activities and lesson questions.
Get feedback!
Ask questions!

This book is available as a digital download on our Etsy store or as a Paperback or Hardcover book from Amazon or directly from me.

On Etsy use coupon MERRY10 for 10% off the book or other items.
Contact me by email for 5% off discount with direct sale of the physical book or order on Amazon at this link (you can also read and use for free with Kindle Unlimited)

That wraps up this edition of our newsletter. If you have ideas for content or cheat sheets you'd like to have, suggestions for lessons or videos, or just general comments or encouragement, we'd love to hear from you!

If you find our content worthwhile and would like to reward us for being "good" this holiday season, please consider "Buying Us A Coffee." Your contribution goes toward helping us make more content for our audience! Thanks for your support!
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