4.5 Reasons why the Sony A7R II is not ready for Wedding Photography

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLrHc_4omBw What about the ONE card slot? Scroll down. 4.5 Reasons why the Sony is not ready for Wedding PhotographyOverall I love this camera but the thought of using it as a primary wedding camera is not something I can recommend.

  1. File size - Compressed Raw files are 40-60MBs. With the 2.0 firmware update coming in a few days this is going to grow significantly. With no option for small or medium format Raw files you end up with huge amounts of data. It would be nice to have a medium Raw option, that would quickly solve this issue.
  2. Speed - Buffer clearing can be slow, even with the fastest of SD cards. Shoot a quick burst of photos and you will be frustrated waiting to review those images.slow buffer clearing a7RII
  3. Focus point control.  The Sony A7R II Offers some awesome focus features - eye-detect, face recognition - they work and they work fairly well in many situations but there are still times at a wedding where you need to pick your focus point and you need to do so quickly and efficiently and the pad on the back and the dual dial setup is not efficient.  After two months of almost continuous use I still find it slow and cumbersome.
  4. Battery Life - The sony eats batteries like crazy. You can implement my battery saving tips for decent results as a travel and walk around camera but if you are using this as your main wedding camera it needs to be on and ready to go 100% of the time and there is not avoiding the amount of power that is going to take.  You are looking at a battery change every 2 hours. We often shoot weddings that last 10-12 hours.
  5. This is the 1/2 point.  Fast Glass. Sony has some excellent lenses. I have been reviewing the 55mm f/1.8 and the 90mm f/2.8 macro lenses and they are so sharp!! There are also faster lenses if you are willing to manual focus but we don't really have anything faster than f/1.8 that autofocuses and we don't have the 24-70 f/2.8 and the 70-200 f/2.8. Sony has promised 8 new FE lenses in early 2016 and I believe some of these will be faster lenses and the 24-70 and 70-200 bread and butter combination. - That's why I only give this a 1/2 issue.

Maybe you expected the one card slot to be on the list.  While we are strong advocates for using a system that provide redundancy and backup of precious wedding photographs I don't believe having only one card slot is a deal breaker or even a BIG issue.  I have had cards fail on me in several different cameras and I have never NOT been able to recover the images. And Sony's database, although annoying to create each time you insert a new card, does provide a good safety net.  I once removed a card while the camera was still writing and although I had to wait 15 minutes as the camera worked to recover the image I didn't lose a single image, not even the one it was trying to write when I removed the card.  I am impressed.Again, I want to stress I love this camera - it is fantastic and I can easily come up with several reasons why it does make an excellent wedding camera and so nicely pushes technology forward in the camera industry.  I will be back to share more along with some of my favorite wedding photos I have snapped so far this season with the Sony a7R II.If you are looking for the ultimate landscape camera- The Sony A7R II is awesome. Buy from Amazon or B&H Photo

Mobile Storage and Backup

Card Full

Troy H asks: Other than a laptop, is there a device that lets me upload raw files from my camera's SD card for a straight backup or offload—maybe a hard drive with SD slot? I need something for travel and don't want to rely on having only my original photos on SD cards.

We produce hundreds, sometimes thousands, of photos and while SD cards are nice for temporary storage we need a bit more space to store them if on vacation or working. Compared to a few years ago where your options were bringing more memory cards with you or a laptop to offload photos there are a few new devices. While conceivably you could pick up a 512GB SD card (Amazon) and have plenty of storage for a nice long trip these are backing up your photos as well. Just think what would happen if on day 8 of your trip you lost that one giant  SD card?So why not just use an Apple iPad lightning card reader (B&H) at this point with an iPad? Well, you could, for a few photos but unless you paid for the tablet with more storage you're only going to backup a few choice photos considering the iPad is filled with other things as well. Having a wireless storage solution allows you to access the files with a phone or tablet without filling their storage to capacity.For our uses, the drives can still be edited on a laptop but being wireless you have the ability to access them on a phone or tablet. The drive apps won’t be able to preview the RAW files but once transferred to a program such as Snapseed you can edit freely on a mobile device. Shooting raw+jpeg can also be helpful as it allows previewing files natively in the drive app.Snapseed - Download for Android or iOSEach device can connect to multiple devices so as a bit of a side benefit on vacation this allows movies with kids in the car via tablets or sharing files in an office. Additionally being a small router of sorts they can all connect to a WiFi to share a connection. While the battery life is limited a RAVpower battery can extend the run time of the drives.

Size, Cost, and Convenience

Sandisk Connect Flash Drive and Media DriveSandisk Connect Wireless Flash DriveIf you've got a smartphone and you just need to back up a SD card worth of photos you could get the Sandisk Connect. Out of the devices in this article, it is the smallest device with a thumb drive sized profile for easy storage. The flash drive, using swappable microSD for storage, the max you can push it to with one card is currently 128GB but Sandisk does have a 200GB microSD card coming soon. The media drive, unfortunately, has internal storage that is fixed. Sandisk Connect Media DriveBattery life for the connect flash drive comes in at 4 hours while the media drive can run for 8.

  • Good
    • Small design profile
    • MicroSD and Internal storage is a bit more durable than a hard drive
    • Cheapest All-in-One setup available
    • Swappable storage in the Connect flash drive allows for more space on multiple MicroSD cards
  • Bad
    • Not IOS 8 friendly, software has issues with unknown file types that don’t have a specific app to send the file as well as DRM issues with video preventing playback
    • Requires smartphone to initiate transfer
    • Slowest transfer of options available due to transferring from SD to MicroSD
    • Highest cost ratio of memory for your money due to MicroSD
    • USB 2.0 connection slow for editing files on drive via laptop
    • Worst software of the drives here
Sandisk Connect Flash Drive:
16GB Amazon | B&H 32GB Amazon | B&H 64GB Amazon | B&H
Sandisk Connect Media Drive:
32GB Amazon | B&H 64GB Amazon | B&H

 Kingston MobileLite Wireless G2MobileLite Wireless G2 usage image_MLWG2_SDA10_22_05_2014 19_29A glorified router with a battery and SD card reader. Compared to the All-in-One devices this is bring-your-own-storage which gigabyte per dollar is the lowest cost option and you can use external drives (limit 2TB) or flash drives you have already. It is a bit less portable than the SanDisk Connect in the same respect though due to then having to carry two devices. Being a dedicated router it has an ethernet port for the option to share a hotel connection through wireless. Battery life for the MobileLite is up to 13 hours.

  • Good
    • Lowest cost wireless drive option
    • Uses your existing storage if you already have an external drive or flash drive
    • Doubles as card reader for a laptop, albeit USB 2.0
    • Can charge other devices with its battery like a RAVpower battery
    • Built in Ethernet for sharing wifi, handy in hotel situations
  • Bad
    • Requires smartphone to initiate transfer
    • Bulky as it requires more than one device
Kingston MobileLite Wireless G2
Amazon | B&H

WD My Passport WirelessWD My Passport WirelessThe My Passport could be seen as the most convenient, it’s best of both the options above if you don’t already have external drives for the Kingston. Yes, WD My Passport has a wireless version with an SD card slot and provides transfer while you go with automatic import when you put in a card. Comes with USB 3.0 so if you've got a PC with it you can edit files on the drive. On its own the main complaint is speed, it is painfully slow at transferring photos. The My Passport Wireless battery life is 6 hours of continuous use or up to 20 hours in standby.

  • Good
    • Automatic import, does not require smartphone
    • Faster transfer rates for full SD cards, 15 minutes for 16GB
    • USB 3.0 for editing photos on drive
    • Hard drive is replaceable if it dies, swappable with a slight bit of DIY
    • Best software of the drives here
  • Bad
    • Expensive in terms of gigabyte per dollar
    • Overall much fatter than a standard external drive and less durable than the Connect above
    • Needs updating out of the box as the initial software release had issues
WD My Passport Wireless
1TB: Amazon | B&H 2TB: Amazon | B&H
Final Thoughts

Even getting the 16gb Sandisk flash drive and upgrading to a 128GB microSD card I would be a bit wary of their software as it's overly complicated. Not to forget that the price of a 128GB microSD card not on sale is higher than picking up a 2TB hard drive. The Kingston MobileLite Wireless G2 is the best combination of price and function. Unfortunately a bit clunky to carry considering you would have to rubberband an external drive to it. If you're starting from scratch and do not have an external drive the My Passport Wireless has the best software and All-in-One design. Its price compared to other WD drives basically puts it at $100 for wireless setup with a standard external drive making it a bit expensive. Overall in function, the My Passport Wireless is the best choice in terms of features but if you already have an external drive then go with the MobileLiteWireless G2 as it is a bargain at its current price.

6 Reasons You Should Own a Prime Lens

Yes the video is just 5 reasons but in this post you get a bonus 6th reason you should own a prime lens. Watch, read and let me know your thoughts on prime lenses in the comments below.

What is a prime lens?

A prime lens has a fixed focal length; it doesn’t zoom. Why would you want a lens that doesn't zoom? 5 Reasons below!

What are the advantages of prime lenses?

  1. Prime lenses often offer very wide maximum apertures, ideal for isolating your subjects from the background and capturing beautiful bokeh(background out of focus).

Screenshot 2014-07-06 12.18.09

  1. Those wide apertures also allow you to maximizing the light entering your camera. Keep your aperture wide and you can then keep your shutter speed higher or your ISO lower. This makes prime lenses a good choice for low light photography.

Screenshot 2014-06-30 14.56.12

  1. Because of their smaller and simpler construction, prime lenses have fewer moving parts which means less distortion and better quality images than your typical zoom lenses.
  1. Reasons 1 through 3 means you get a better value for your money as primes are often hundreds of dollars cheaper than zoom lenses.
  1. They are often smaller and lighter compared to typical zoom lenses - making primes a great choice when you want to travel light.

Screenshot 2014-07-06 12.28.47BONUS REASON

  1. Forcing yourself to use a prime encourages you to move to achieve the frame you want, as opposed to the lazy zoom in out and approach and moving and thinking critically about your framing is a good habit to build as a photographer.

Let me know in the comments your favorite prime lens and your favorite reason(s) for attaching a prime lens to your camera.I have recommended prime lenses for Canon and Nikon and 5 tips for sharper images

Nikon D5300 vs Canon 70D - Differences Explained Simply

In some ways this is not a fair comparison - The 70D is a prosumer level camera and the D5300 sits just above entry level but they are priced similarly and the image quality is very similar and at the higher ISOs some of the files from the D5300 look better.    So which one is best for you?  Really depends on your needs- review the bullet points, keep in mind that not ever point carries the same weight and the review my summary below.Benefits of the Nikon D5300 (My Nikon D5300 Video Review)

  • Cheaper
  • GPS - though it isn't the best GPS it does offer it
  • Higher ISOs (above ISO 3200) look better from the Nikon
  • Smaller and lighter
  • More scenes and effects like selective color and miniature mode(works in video too)
  • Video 1080p at 60fps.  70D offers a max of 30fps at 1080p.
  • Weights about a 1lb (17oz) 70D weighs 1.7lbs (26oz)

Benefits of the Canon 70D (My Canon 70D Video Review)

  • Live view focusing and focusing during video is amazingly quick and silent(when paired with STM lens)
  • Faster all around focus and burst rate (7fps with big buffer compared to 5fps and smaller buffer on Nikon)
  • Well implemented touchscreen control
  • Larger/brighter viefinder
  • Top LCD with dedicated buttons for quick change of common settings
  • Longer battery life- approx 900 shots vs 600 from the D5300
  • Amazing live view focus (yes repeating myself)
  • No quirks like the aperture block
  • Full featured WiFi control including changing shutter speed/aperture/ISO as well as download to mobile device, laptop or send to hotspot. On the D5300 you can only see live view and take a photo and download photos
  • Wireless (using the built in flash) flash control
  • Quiet shutter that is very quiet, especially in live view
  • Some weather sealing
  • Additional bracketing 2,3,5 or 7 frames.  D5300 offers just 3 frames.
  • Microfocus adjustment for dialing in the most accurate focus for all your lenses

I didn't list the number of focus points or the difference in megapixels for either camera - those differences don't matter.The bottom line D5300 vs 70DI am very impressed with the Nikon D5300- on Auto mode it takes wonderful photos, some of the best I have seen out of any camera.    I wish the screen was touch capable and when you want to use this camera beyond auto it is less good, still good- just has a few quirks or annoyances- Without the touchscreen, navigating some menu items are slow, picking focus points and just using live view is nothing special, plus that aperture block and live view weirdness is annoying. Burst rate is good unless you are shooting at the highest quality files, 14-bit RAW, then it is MUCH slower.  It is packed full of features for a camera at this price level and paired with the 18-140 you have a wonderful travel and family camera, Pair it with the 35 f/1.8 and you have one of the most portable highest quality image and video* making machine available today.   *just be prepared to manually focus for video or you will hear the noise of the lens focusing and see the focus occur with that whomp-whomp effect.The 70D is a lovely blend of user friendliness and pro-level features all packed into a body that is capable of amazing live view/video focus.  It is an easy choice if you want easy camcorder like video - this camera delivers like nothing else - smooth focus with any lens and when paired with a STM lens like 18-55 or the 18-135 it is absolutely silent.  If you need to capture sports or wildlife on the move, again an easy decision- the 70D fast to focus, fast burst rate and large buffer even when shooting the highest quality files.  It also provides plenty of room to grow but you will be spending more and carrying around a noticeably heavier camera.  Don't need all of the speed and power of the 70D but want the touchscreen? Consider the T5i(700D) - recent price drops have made it an excellent value.Buy the Nikon D5300 with 18-140 - Amazon or B&H | Body only -  Amazon or B&H  (Recommended Lenses)Buy the Canon 70D - Amazon or B&H (Recommended Prime Lenses)Recommended accessories for both cameras  

D5300 Review

D5300 Review in bullets.

Some points are vs D5200 some are just important points. Sample images and video below.

D5300 Pros

  • The body is redesigned - smaller than the D5200 and feels better in the hand
  • Large vibrant 3.2" articulated screen is lovely
  • Excellent sensor and processor- best image quality at this price point- images are sharp(with a good lens) and high ISO files are clean and usable up to ISO 4000, maybe even 6400 if you are careful and or apply a little post processing
  • On auto this camera take some of the best photos - consistently turns out nicely exposed images even when popup flash is used.  Downside - Nikon tends to have a slight greenish cast to many indoor(under artificial light) images - can be corrected in post easily or adjust WB but default setting is a little greener than I like
  • No AA filter or Optical Low Pass Filter means the images are sharp. Image are sharper than the D5200 but not a huge difference.
  • Speedy! I found the D5200 to hesitate at times and occasionally be slow to operate - none of that is present in the D5300 - focus is fast, general camera operations are snappy and it has a buffer that lets you fire off a stack of JPEGS and RAW - in some cases it can even shoot more images in a 10 second period than the D7100!
  • 14 Bit RAW files as an option gives you increased post processing latitude - they are big and slow the camera down but if you want to have the greatest latitude in post processing it is nice to be able to shoot in 14-bit.
  • Packed full of fun/amateur features including selective color, miniature effect (makes neat movies too)
  • Better battery life vs D5200 unless you turn on the GPS and select settings that make the GPS useful

D5300 Cons

  • Weak GPS - needs A-GPS file from Nikon to work better, annoying hassle and if you turn off GPS sleep timer so that ALL photos will be tagged your battery life is going to be significantly shorter and you run the risk of forgetting it is on there and a few hours later picking up a camera with a dead battery.
  • Wifi is limited - you can stream live view, take a photo and download photos - no control over the camera other than pressing the shutter button.  Not able to start or stop video with the WiFi.
  • Live view aperture block/exposure simulation hassle - Being able to control aperture is tied to manual movie settings and then that blocks shutter speed changes - watch my review to see this illustrated.
  • Live view focus is about the same as earlier models - still has that in and out as it grabs focus- lenses make noise on board mic can pickup. Nothing like the 70D video focus and even T5i is still smoother and silent with STM lenses.

Final Thoughts on the Nikon D5300

Overall- at this price point no other sensor matches this camera for pure sharpness and low light capabilities.Pair it with something like the Sigma 18-35 or just the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 prime and you will have an amazing photo machine that excels in lower light, I mean like dark alley photos at midnight.  It is being sold with 18-140 lens which I have found to be decent and convenient but not an amazing difference from the Nikon 18-105. Please don’t but this camera with the Nikon 18-55. I didn't’t think it was being sold with the 18-55 but heard from someone that picked up a bundle from a big box store - the 18-55 cannot resolve at the level of the sensor - You will have better results shooting through coke bottle glasses.

D5300 vs D5200:

Is the D5300 worth the extra cost over the D5200?

Yes. There is enough of a performance and quality increase over the D5200 to warrant paying the difference about $150. And you get the Wifi which limited is a nice feature for on the go sharing, you get a better battery and slightly smaller and lighter camera.

Is it worth it to upgrade?

It is very rarely a good investment to move up one body.  Despite all the PROs and the noticeable improvement in sharpness and high ISO quality you will have better results spending upgrade money on a new lens or two. These lenses will likely move with you to future bodies and be a better overall investment.  This is often where I encourage people who feel they have outgrown their camera to consider the next model line, like the D7100 but honestly in this case the D7100 doesn't offer much over the D5300.

D5300 vs Canon T5i(700d)

I found the T5i easy to recommend over the D5200, the D5200 offered slightly better image quality versus the T5i(700d) but was sluggish and quirky.  That image quality gap has widened noticeably with the D5300 and now that it offers responsive performance it becomes harder to recommend the T5i.  The D5300 still has that aperture live view annoyance and doesn't offer silent lenses for video but depending on your needs you may not care and on Auto mode for photos Nikon images look better to me 8/10 times. In video it is much closer - I like the look of the Canon files but this is more a personal opinion.

D5300 vs Canon 70D

A little unfair as we are matching what is basically an entry level model from Nikon against a prosumer model from Canon.  But prices are similar and image quality is very similar.  I give the Canon an edge in most use cases - the live view focus and video system of the Canon is amazing, after 3 months of use I absolutely love the 70D and for sports, video it just does an amazing job at the price point.  But it is bigger and it does cost more. The D5300 image quality is similar until you get up above ISO 4000 and then the D5300 files look a little better to me.Additional Videos -GPS & WiFi with Nikon D5300D5300 with 18-140 vs 18-105 ReviewD5300 with 18-140 and 18-150 Sample ImagesD5300 High ISO sample VideoMore Sample D5300 ImagesWhich camera is best for you?  Leave me a message on my Facebook page - tell me what is important to you and I can suggest which camera I think would be a best fit.If you want easy to use and excellent image quality the D5300 paired with the 18-140 is an excellent choice.If you want the absolute best performance out of this camera add something like the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8Additional Nikon Lens recommended for the Nikon D5300 and Best Budget Macro for Nikon DX cameras - Nikon 40mm F/2.8Buy the Nikon D5300 with 18-140 from Amazon  Buy from B&H(Includes freebies) Your purchase support this website and my work. 

Photographers Gift Guide 2012

 My Annual Guide to Gifts Appropriate for the Photographers in Your Life.First and foremost I would be happy to chat with you about gift ideas - Lenses, Bags and Even cameras are a possibility if I know a little more about you or who you are buying for so use chat or leave me a message on Facebook or twitter and I will be happy to provide some guidance.   I'd love to know what you want to receive this holiday season - feel free to leave a comment here or on Facebook. 

  A bit silly but cheap enough to throw in the stocking or wrap around another gift. Rubber bracelets with lens markings!
TriggerTrap- Time lapse cable for iOS and Android phones.  Now I love the simplicity and affordability of the Neweer time lapse controllers but the TriggerTrap taps into the brains of your smartphone giving you loads more options including eased time lapse, HDR lapses, drive lapse (distance triggered) and more.   Beyond the phone you need the dongle and the cable that matches your camera model.  Feel free to give me a shout if you want help picking the one.  A few months back I bought their original dongle that didn't work with my phone, Lucy at TriggerTrap was awesome and sent me a newer dongle free of charge and it works perfectly.    I plan to have a full writeup on this soon.  Triggertrap Mobile
Card Safe Wallet- Waterproof, dust proof and virtually crushproof. I love the peace of mind I get when I store my cards in here.  I have connected a small lanyard to the eyelet and looped it into my camerabag. Seriously reduces my worry about my cards filled with precious photos.
Not directly photo related but plug your camera battery charger or smart phone charger and stop wasting electricity.  The Belkin Conserve Socket allows you to set a time that shuts off power after 30 minutes, 3hrs or 6hrs.  3hrs should cover most camera battery recharging.
It is no secret that I love the Ey-Fi cards but in previous models (and gift guides) you had to make sacrifices with speed and space but with the latest model you get a fast card plenty big for photo and video.   For those wondering what is special about these SD Cards, They are 16GBs plus a tiny wireless chip that lets your camera upload photos, as you take them, to your computer, social networks, your smartphone or tablet.  Those last two are my favorite - using direct mode you can be out in the woods or in the case of this image on top of a fire tower at dawn and using direct mode I sent the image to my phone and then shared it with the world -necessary? No. Fun? You bet and the image was scientifically 65x better than the one my phone could take.
Now if you pick up an Eye-Fi card and you go around beaming images to your phone or tablet you want a program that lets you edit those photos.  Two options iPhoto for the iPad or Photoshop Touch for iOS or Android.  Both have interfaces that get out of the way and let you do some serious editing.
Auto white balance does a fine job most of the time and if you shoot RAW you can easily correct the WB in post processing but that does take time and shooting with a calibrated white balance card will reduce that time and give you more accurate results.  This sturdy little card comes with a clip and lanyard.  Throw it in your back and pull it out for tricky situations
Having your photos printed in a professionally created book is really wonderful, last year I recommended Blurb - I am sticking with Blurb again this year but am offering you all the easy way out, give the photographer in your family a gift card, Maybe include a note that says you cant wait to see ___________ in print.  Fill in the blank with vacation, kids, your photos etc.
Last year I recommended the excellent Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera But with all of the recent questions I have received around landscape photography I thought it would be nice to share one of the best books I have seen on the subject. Michael's book is approachable and full of information in clear language.
We are finally starting to see USB 3.0 card readers come down in price and $25 for this Lexar Multiple Format Card Reader is great.  Speedy, doesn't waste your camera battery downloading photos and fits a variety of formats including SD, Micro SD and CF.
 I consider myself a careful and non-klutzy person but this summer a careless move sent my portable backup disk careening toward the hardwood floor, with cat like relfexs I lunged for the tumbling drive only to succeed in shoving it harder into the floor.  Suprisingly it still works but occasionally
I am still a big fan of the value of the Dolica tripods but I was looking for something a bit more compact and have been happy with the Benroo MeFoto tripods - they come in snazzy colors but more importantly they are light, under 4lbs and pack down to portable 12.5" while still providing a stable platform for my heavier gear.
Amazon Gift Cards let the photographer in your life decide what they need or use it as a form of contribution toward a bigger purchase like a lens.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 I usually try to keep each gift guide free of repeats and on a technicality can claim that last year I recommended version 3.  Version 4 adding the map and book modules and loads of improvements in the develop module.  I have used Aperture, iPhoto and Photoshop and none of them , in my opinion, make it as easy to import, tweak and export your photos.  And as mentioned above my geonerdiness is in love with the easy geotagging features of the map module.    Often an argument against shooting Raw is the time it takes to process your files.  Using import presets to process your images in no more time than it takes to import them.
Everyone needs more storage and with prices for 16GB cards now dipping under $20 you should be stuffing the stockings full.  After testing a slew of cards I found the SanDisk Extreme to be great value.
It isn't pretty but small enough and useful enough that everyone should have one in their camera bag.  Sometimes when the weather is ugly the photos are beautiful and spending $6 bucks for this SLR Rainsleeve will keep your gear protected and let you keep shooting.

Nothing on this list that interests you?  Review the 2009 Holiday Gift Guide2010 Holiday Gift Guide and 2011 Holiday Gift Guide  Looking for camera recommendations or deals?  Camera Recommendations | Black Friday/CyberMonday Deals and Shopping Advice

The Best Presents?

I have given loads of presents in my days - presents to little people, big people and everyone in between and those presents almost always elicit smiles but the only presents I have ever seen elicit smiles AND tears are photo books.  There is something about holding a book of images that is so much more than one image provides. The images and words that you have chosen - maybe it tells a story, maybe it is just a collection of special images, maybe it is something useful(like a daily planner) but with images you have carefully selected - it doesn't really matter what form this takes people find it wonderful and special.I have plans for at least two photo books this year and I will be using Blurb. Their online tools range from super easy, even my technology challenged mother could do it, (and she really did) to blank pages that let you design the books the way you want without getting your way.  In the past the books I created were fairly traditional - loosely telling the story of a vacation or summer adventures with the kids but you are only limited by your imagination. My 5 year old wrote a story last year and I had a friend and local artist illustrate, as a present I took his words and combined them into an actual book - the look on his face when he realized the book he was holding was his own words was priceless.  He has asked for another one this year.  This year I plan to make him his own comic book with photos from a story we created using his Legos.  My daughter will be getting a cookbook illustrated with scenes she created of her her little dolls cooking.   So- start thinking about ways that you can give photo books and take some time to look at Blurb- as I said their tools are excellent, their prices are always cheaper than I expect and the finished products really are quite magical.Blurb is offering 15% off with the code FALLTHANKS Deal ends 11/21/12