A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book + A Giveaway!

Elsie Larsen and Emma Chapman are an unstoppable sister duo with no end of creative ideas. They each write and create for their wildly successful lifestyle blog A Beautiful Mess, where they share inspiration for crafts, recipes, fashion, and decor. Elsie and Emma are also avid photographers who, after years of taking their own photographs for the blog, decided to create a photo book aimed to inspire creative and new ideas into the every day photo. They released A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book: 95 Ideas for Photographing Your Friends,Your World, and Yourself in August this year, which is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

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From the A Beautiful Mess blog..

"The book is packed with tips and ideas that you can use in your everyday life. It's not so much an instructional or technical book as it is an inspiration for trying new things! We're so excited to see people using the challenges we shared. The book also includes a section of DIY projects. We re-imagined some of our most popular past projects from the blog as well as shared a bunch of brand new projects, like easy DIY business cards!"

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As for gear, Elsie and Emma say they like to keep it simple. In her "camera gear list" post, Elsie gives us the deets on her go-tos:

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1. Canon EOS 60D
I've been using my Canon 60D for the past year. Emma recently upgraded to the same camera and is loving it. I love this camera, because it's high quality but isn't crazy expensive. We actually used this camera to shoot our entire photography book earlier this year. I always travel with it. In my opinion it's a good mix of practical and professional. I would highly recommend this camera to anyone shopping for a solid digital SLR.

2. Canon EOS 5D Mark III
I had toyed with the idea of upgrading to a full frame camera for the past few years. I finally decided to take the plunge, because I felt we needed a full frame camera for indoor photos. When you are dealing with smallish rooms and limited space, the extra frame space is needed. I am in love with this camera. I've only been using it for about a month (mostly indoors), and it has made a world of difference in my home photos. I love that both our cameras can share lenses, but they capture such different images. If I would have known how helpful a full frame camera would be, I probably would have invested in one years ago.

3. Canon EF 35mm f/2
I use this lens most often. If you only want to invest in one lens, I would recommend this one. It's versatile and works great for indoor and outdoor photography. Sometimes it stays on my camera for weeks at a time. It's a staple!

4. Canon 40mm EF f/2.8
The 40mm is my newest lens. It was an impluse buy. I think it's great, especially for the price (which is awesome). I don't have as much to say about this lens, because I've only been using it for a few months.

5. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
We love our 50mm lens for portraits, usually outdoor. It produces the most beautiful bokeh and flattering blurred backgrounds. It's also really nice for low lit photos.

I also own (and love) this wide angle lens Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5. Before I owned a full frame camera, this lens was my only way to capture full room photos inside our home. It is also helpful for arm's length self portraits, although I usually crop out a lot of the distorted edges!

6. Camera Remote
When we don't have someone available to take photos for us, we use a camera remote. It's great for self portraits or group photos when you want to include everyone in the frame. Of course, there is always the self-timer too, but the camera remote really speeds things up!

7. Wacom Tablet
Alright, now I am branching out from actual photography gear to other items that make our images possible. I have blogged about the tablet in the past (here + here). I use my tablet daily to edit photos, add handwriting and make collages.

Win a Copy of Your Own!

To celebrate their first book release, Elsie and Emma are graciously offering up a signed copy of their Photo Idea Book to one lucky winner here on the pictureline blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Elsie and Emma have also created a photo app for smartphones to take their photo prowess to the mobile side of things. Elsie writes, "We designed it with blogging, scrapbooking and Instagram in mind. So it has a handful of filters modeled after our photography styling here on the blog. It also comes packed with a variety of cute photo borders. You can also use this app to add text in a variety of fonts to your photos. And it has fun, pre-drawn doodles (like arrows and speech bubbles). Lastly, it has a whole bunch of pre-written phrases in my handwriting!" The app is available for iOS users and can be downloaded here. An Android version is coming soon!

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