We’re excited to announce that our partner, Jessica Shyba of Momma’s Gone City, will contribute to the Evite blog from time to time. 

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It wasn’t until my oldest son was born seven years ago that I developed an interest in photography. Out of a sense of urgency to make sure every single newborn moment was captured, I started playing around with a handheld point-and-shoot, but my images were often overexposed, blurry, or grainy. That same year the very first iPhone came into the world, and I purchased one right after its release. Before I knew it, not only was I thrilled about taking photos, but I was also incredibly interested in technology and gadgets.

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My iPhone has been a constant creative outlet, thanks to its accessibility and size, along with the plethora of fun apps to use and share instantaneously. A few favorites: Picfx, Afterglow, Snapseed, and of course, my favorite social sharing platform, Instagram. Instagram is a great platform to learn new techniques from other users, as well as to showcase your own photos and talent within a community you choose.

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My own skill has matured only through trial, error, and practice. My photos are most often candid — spur-of-the-moment shots of my little muses that don’t often turn out even halfway decent, but are nonetheless priceless in their authenticity. Still, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way:

Find your muse and go after it. Whether it’s a spontaneous eruption of magic from my children (or pets) or I’ve asked them to get together and give me their goofiest faces for a snap, it’s all about finding that perfect moment. Identify the vibe that’s moving you and make that your subject.

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Lighting is (almost) everything. Whatever the detail is that you’re trying to highlight, it helps if that detail is in good lighting. But don’t be afraid to play with the rules. People tend to look better if they’re facing the light source, but backlit images can be incredibly powerful as well. Indoors is tricky but can produce some seriously lovely captures. This is a fun element that I’m spending a lot of my photo-taking time playing with.

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Take a million photos. If you shoot rapid-fire, you’ll have a much better chance of grabbing a picture that you like, especially when your subjects are children or animals.

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Edit with care. Take the time to learn how to use photo-editing tools to your advantage. For example, I often battle overexposure when I use filters, so I edit those settings separately.

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Crop creatively. Take care to find the balance in the photo that feels best to you and your subject, cropping can be your best friend. Off-center can be fantastic as long as the subject isn’t compromised.

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Most importantly, have fun with your photography and don’t take it too seriously! It is an art and always turns out the best when it isn’t super forced.

Once you’ve developed your own skills, show them off with an upload-your-own-photo invitation, such as the one below. They’re ideal for birthdays, save-the-dates, and any other occasion with a guest of honor.

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Want to see more? Check out Jessica’s blog.

Jessica ShybaJessica Shyba’s blog, Momma’s Gone City, documents her journey from California to New York City and back again. Wife to a dentist and mother to three children and two pets, Jessica is an eternal urban soul riding the daily waves in Surf City and living to capture as many moments with her family as possible.

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