Author: Federico Alegria

Federico is a documentary photographer, writer and educator based in El Salvador. Check out his photography portfolio.

blog-nixplay-halloween photography

5 Scary Good Halloween Photography Tips

Halloween is just around the corner, and we are pretty sure that you’re looking forward to getting dressed and having some fun on the spookiest day of the year. And speaking of fun, taking photos of your favorite Halloween highlights is definitely a must-do.

However, some folks might find that capturing the spirit of Halloween is easier said than done. This holiday has several tricks up its sleeve, from low light situations to busy subjects, that can frustrate even the most seasoned photographer.

Here, we’ll share with you some helpful tips so your photos of the holiday’s trickiest costumes, decorations, and low-light spooky parties will turn out to be a visual treat. Read on!

1. Mind the light

Shooting using natural light is always sound photography advice. It’s especially good practice during autumn, when everything is bathed in a warm glow. Since Halloween happens during this time of the year, take every opportunity to shoot outdoors and fill your images with the golden tinge the season brings. You’re bound to have some stunning photos, and making the effort to go out of town to capture some Halloween festivities will be worth it.

The above advice, however, cannot be applied if you’re shooting indoors or at night. The good news is that many camera manufacturers have been making some really impressive improvements in their sensors, making some good progress in terms of ISO behavior. Test your camera before your big Halloween party or trick-or-treating escapade so it’ll be easy for you to shoot decent photos in low light with a minimal amount of noise.

blog-nixplay-halloween photography

2. Play with masks and costumes…

Halloween’s the one day in the calendar when it’s perfectly fine to walk around in costume. Experiment with different masks and outfits, and play around with various light effects (remember how you’d scare your pals by holding a flashlight below your chin?). You’ll be amazed by how easy it can be to achieve some crazy and eerie effects that will photograph well.

3. But don’t forget your photos’ backgrounds

Whenever you are shooting people dressed up in their costumes, remember to also consider the backdrops of their shots. A dark, gloomy background will give you photographs a whole different level of spookiness. You can even derive inspiration from The Haunting of Hill House and get other people to be “ghosts” in the backdrop, which leads us to the next tip…

4. Make ghosts appear via long exposure

Have you ever seen a photo with a ghostly figure fading away in the background? Are you curious about how these images are made? Well, they happen inside the camera, and not in Photoshop as some might believe. Fine, you can achieve this during post-processing, but trust us, it’s easier to do it using your camera.

What you have to do is to make sure your camera is perfectly still (using a tripod is the best way to go about this) and then expose manually in order to achieve a well-balanced exposure but with a long shutter base. Images with two to five seconds of shutter speed will work fine.

Now, put your subject in front of the camera for a brief amount of time, and then ask him or her to get away as quickly as they can. The resulting photograph should have a spectrum of the subject. There is no exact recipe for this, so you’ll need to play around for a bit to achieve your desired effect. Ask your subject to dress in black and stare blankly at the camera for extra goosebumps!

5. Document all your Halloween shenanigans

There are some really iconic activities that happen during Halloween like pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating. Take out your camera and get lots of photos of the Halloween activities you’ll be participating in. This is basically the soul of Halloween, so it really makes sense to have some nice photographs of these precious moments. Don’t forget to display your pictures on your Nixplay frame—we’re giving you up to 20 percent off, only until November 4!

However, you decide to celebrate Halloween, don’t forget to always have fun and take as many images as you can!

Federico is a documentary photographer, writer and educator based in El Salvador. Check out his photography portfolio.

nixplay blog-fall photos

How To Make Your Fall Photos Pop

There’s something so charming and lovely about fall, and it’s not only the magical colors of the falling leaves or the beautiful and softly dimmed light coming from the sky. This season brings with it a cozy, welcoming feeling, and we’re sure you have felt it too.

Now that autumn is upon us, we bring you some useful advice to consider not only when shooting during the season, but also in post-production.

1. Mind the colors

Photography during the autumn season is all about color. Try to compose your images with fall’s rich hues in mind: That golden-reddish foliage is your ultimate goal, but contrast it with some lovely greenish-blue tints or neutral tones for a balanced touch.

2. Mind the weather

Shooting in rain or snow is a fantastic way of capturing photographs that will take your breath away. But proceed with caution as doing this can damage your camera. Carry an umbrella or a waterproof coat, or better yet, invest in weather-proofing gear.

3. Look for reflections

If you’re shooting in rain, try to look for some little ponds on the streets. These little windows are great for capturing reality in a whole different perspective. Don’t worry if you get your knees muddy—it will be worth it, trust us.

4. Cities are great…

If you’re still thinking about where to go for autumn, here’s some good news: you probably don’t have to travel too far. The great thing about autumn is that cities are immersed in a very beautiful light. Wander around the streets of your hometown and you’ll see how easy it can be to shoot beautiful autumnal photos.

5. But woods are even better

If cities are great during autumn, woods are the ultimate expression of fall. The forests will be perfect for all sorts of photo shoots you can imagine. Take the kids and let them have fun playing with the leaves on the forest floor, and shoot away!

6. Shoot RAW

We can’t say this one enough: Shoot RAW whenever you can. This is the best way to recover details and maintain the season’s beautiful colors on your photographs in post-production. While it’s true that RAW files are heavy and that they limit your storage, you should be able to work around it if you’re serious about photography. Put some thought into your shots, and you’ll eventually end up shooting fewer but better-looking photographs. Quality over quantity, always.

7. White balance is key

If you shoot RAW and understand the power behind white balance, then you’ll have the most fulfilling experience with photography. All you have to do is to import your RAW files through your favorite development software and play around with the temperature and tint values from the white balance section. By doing this, you’ll achieve virtually any mood you could imagine. Use it wisely, and you’ll be all set with your fall photographs.

8. Display your photos

During autumn, not every single day is perfect for going out, and that’s fine! What you can do is to display your fall photographs on a Nixplay frame in your home. This is a great way to keep yourself inspired motivated to take better photographs.

Federico is a documentary photographer, writer and educator based in El Salvador. Check out his photography portfolio.

nixplay blog-food photography

5 Food Photography Tips And Tricks

These days, it’s not enough for food to taste good. To be on the radar of the most discriminating gourmands, your dish has to be photogenic as well—a feast not just for the palate, but also for the eyes.

It is hard to know exactly when food photography became so popular, but we have a theory that social media had a lot to do with it. It doesn’t matter if you are shooting with a phone, a point and shoot camera or a DSLR (even an analog film camera can work), what really matters is composition and lighting conditions. You don’t need to be a food stylist—anyone can make real food look good by following these simple tricks. Don’t forget to display your shots on your Nixplay Frame!

1. Mind the colors

The best thing you can do to achieve great food photos is to compose your shots with colors in mind. Colors are the biggest asset of food imagery, and can do wonders in making your dish look mouthwatering (or unappetizing). We suggest that you do some homework on color psychology, and you’ll see how important it is to use colors correctly.

2. Rustic and organic never fails

After news leaked about food styling and high makeup inclusions in food photography (especially on advertisements), there was a huge wave of food photographs depicting natural looks. Many dishes these days are plated to look good, so all you need to do is take out your camera and find a good angle. The best way to achieve a rustic look is to use fresh ingredients against a neutral backdrop.

Pro Tip: Need to get inspired? Keeping up with photography trends has never been easier with Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and many other platforms. Magazines and culinary shows like Chef’s Table are likewise great resources for inspiration.

3.  Use a tripod whenever you can

A tripod is a photographer’s best friend. It allows you to shoot in ways that are technically impossible to do handheld, giving you a wider range of angles to find the best shot. If you can’t work with a tripod, you can always figure out some solutions to keep your camera or phone stable and secure (bean bags are great for this).

4. The 90-degree approach

Never underestimate the power of the direct 90 degrees approach, also known as the overhead or top shot. This works fantastically for making dishes look tasty and beautiful.

Pro Tip: Use a macro lens whenever you can to better capture the details of your food—that lovely bokeh effect is awesome for food photographs. If you don’t have a lens-interchangeable camera, you can always use the macro mode on your point and shoot, or you can use selective focus (or even a converter) on your phone.

5. Keep it simple

Less is more in pretty much every creative discipline, and food photography is not an exception. Back in the old days of still-life paintings, food was depicted as a symbol of abundance and prosperity. Nowadays, the minimalist approach does the trick, keeping the focus solely on the dish.

We hope you find these bite-sized tips and tricks useful for making your meals drool-worthy in your photos. And remember: #FoodPorn shots are great, but eating your meal while it’s still hot is way better. Dig in and enjoy, folks!



Federico is a documentary photographer, writer and educator based in El Salvador. Check out his photography portfolio.

how to use a film camera

Tips and Tricks: How to Use a Film Camera

Is film photography dead?

After digital photography skyrocketed some years ago, a very odd thing happened: film became popular again. Maybe it had something to do with the appeal of delayed gratification, or it might have coincided perfectly with the rise of hipster culture.

Endless theories could be drawn around the reason why film photography got a second stab at popularity. Film has a long way to go before dying, and if you’ve already joined the film bandwagon, here are some of our tips and tricks on how to use a film camera and improve your photography skills with film.

Our Top Film Photography Tips for Making the Most of Your Camera

1. Your camera can offer great value

Your film camera has a couple of great benefits that you may be missing right now. It doesn’t matter if it is a 35mm or a medium format camera: They both are highly desired formats in the digital world thanks to these formats’ capabilities.

For a fraction of the monetary investment digital cameras require, you can enter into the exclusive formats that are only reserved for the high pros. Also, you can access some really well-built lenses without going broke.

2. It’s a great tool for improving your photography skills

Using a film camera will eventually make you a better photographer because you’re shooting with a reduced amount of frames. Instead of spraying and praying, film photography can help you develop a more conscientious way of crafting images.

By shooting less you’ll eventually become a better and more discerning photographer. Shooting this way will teach you more than any tutorial out there on the web. You don’t have to be totally loyal to film photography—it’s just a good way of building a mindset that will make you a better photographer no matter if you keep using a digital camera, or even your phone.

3. Score some new film

Kodak recently re-launched its iconic Ektachrome film, which is a great sign. If shooting expired film is good, shooting fresh film is better. Stock up on Ektachrome now!

4. Dig around for expired film

Film has an expiration date, but it is so generous that it doesn’t matter too much for some people. Try to look around in your house for some unexposed film—even 20-year-old rolls will do—and try to develop them. The great charm about film photography is that it will always have unexpected results when shot under such stormy conditions.

5. Learn how to develop your own film

Some people like to develop their own film, and there’s a good reason why. This gives the photographic experience a completely different spectrum. Seeing your photographs appear in front of you almost out of nowhere is an experience every person should have at least one in their lives.

Now, getting film developed is one thing, but printing it out is another story. Film scanners have become pretty popular these days, and they are extremely powerful too. You can scan out your film, invert it, and display it directly on a Nixplay digital frame. This saves you the effort of printing out your negatives. Your frame can also serve as a portable lightbox where you can see all the negatives before deciding which images are worth printing out.

The Beauty of Film Photography

At the end of the day, what matters most is the beautiful relationship between a person and their photographs. Using a film camera offers you something that you can only dream of achieving through a mobile phone camera. Its timeless beauty with unexpected imperfections and charming effects cannot tryly be replicated with an Instagram filter.

Photography is a popular hobby that is ever-growing with new members, creatives, and ideas. With modern gadgets and devices being brought out frequently to expand the field, more and more people are developing an interest in the topic. If you’re a photography fanatic with all the gadgets, you may want to try a Nixplay digital photo frame—the only one of its kind that can play both video and photos through the display screen. Show off all your favorite memories in ultra-high pixel density with the click of a button on the next-generation smart frame. Find your Nixplay frame today.

Federico is a documentary photographer, writer and educator based in El Salvador. Check out his photography portfolio.

nixplay blog importance of having a curated instagram feed

The Importance Of Having A Curated Instagram Feed

Photography has turned out to be the universal language among us human beings, and many people haven’t realized the important role photographs have in their lives nowadays. Today we want to give you something to think about: The quality of content on your Instagram feed.

With such a massive invasion of images flooding our feeds constantly, keeping a highly curated Instagram feed is going to enhance your life like nothing else before. And we are not saying this in a cocky way, but you should keep your Instagram feed under control in order to make it a useful thing in your life. Otherwise, you’ll end up looking at tons of pictures with no meaning at all in your professional and your personal life.

Curated Instagram for Stronger Bonds

Keep Things Exclusive

First, let’s talk about our personal lives. It is impossible that we could ever have hundreds (or even thousands) of truly close friends and family. It is important to have a certain degree of exclusivity when it comes to our personal Instagram Feed, and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. This should respond to our necessity of keeping in touch with the lives of the people that we truly care about. For broad networking, use other social media accounts like Facebook or LinkedIn.

This Will Be Your Window to What Matters to You

Have you noticed that the family photo album has become almost extinct? This object was one of the most important assets for any family just a couple of decades ago. Now, all the images, from school pictures to travel photos, are floating in the cloud.

As long as we keep control of the beautiful things technology has to offer to us, there is no reason to freak out about this.

Less is More

You should keep in mind that not everything that is being published out there is meaningful for you; hence the necessity of keeping your Instagram feed curated. Otherwise, how would you strengthen those bonds that made the family album a valuable asset of the household?

Curated Instagram Feeds to Create Better Stuff

Your Instagram Feed as your Daily Input

The creative economy has become extremely powerful in the last years, and every creative needs to keep consuming stuff to keep updated and relevant within their respective disciplines. If you are a creative, you’ll understand this without further explanations.

Developing a Useful-Instagram Mindset

You need to see your Instagram account as a pristine place to consume the finest images out there from the creators you admire the most, as well as the peers you adore and respect. Instagram is fantastic because it allows you to discover emerging talents, as well as many great creators from all over the world.

How to Curate Your Instagram Feed

Just keep things separated. Your personal Instagram account should only have family members you care about, as well as your closest friends. Your professional Instagram account should be a meaningful place for your discipline; a portfolio that embodies your work.

The best way is to start fresh, keeping things clean right from the beginning. Of course, this isn’t always the case, so you should start doing some cleansing by designing a set of criteria that will make your feed exclusive. For example:

❌ Promotions from the newest creamery on the block
✔ The Photographer that made you fall in love with photography

High-Quality Image Consumption

You won’t escape the current state of image consumption in the world, but what you can do is to have a higher quality experience while looking at them. Viewing images through a frame satisfies this because there are no distractions such as text messages or app notifications.

Now, imagine having your highly curated Instagram feed showcased in a digital frame that will give you a richer connection between you and your loved ones. It’s almost like going to a gallery with all your favorite creatives, right at your own place.

This is exactly what you can get with a Nixplay frame: An absolutely nurturing image consumption experience with no distractions at all, updated in real time. Unlike other digital frames, Nixplay lets you update your images wherever in the world you may be.

Always Keep This in Mind

One thing that you need to keep clear about when curating (or even designing) your feed, is that Instagram was born as a social network in which the only way of sharing stuff is via images. Nowadays there are comments and direct messages, but the spirit of the platform is still the same: Image-based content, period.

Therefore, you should only follow accounts that publish images that will inspire you or will keep you uplifted, and not the other way around. If you can manage to spot those accounts, you’ll be a healthy image consumer.

Federico is a documentary photographer, writer and educator based in El Salvador. Check out his photography portfolio.

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