Top 5 Summer Activities

We Canadians know how to make the most of our summers. We only get 2, maybe 3, months of ideal weather and we cram as much living as we can into that time. To make sure you don’t miss anything, here are our top 5 summer activities.


5. Water Fight!

Whether it’s tossing water balloons or filling up the water pistols and having a little battle, nothing seems quite as refreshing as a good water fight. The surprise when a water balloon bursts right on you or when that cold stream of water from that water pistol hits is so invigorating.


4. Drop a line at the Fishing Hole

Fishing has a little something for everyone. You don’t even need to catch anything to enjoy it. You can do it as a way to simply relax. Just sit back, drop a line and enjoy a cold drink. If you’re looking for some excitement, not much beats a good fight with big ‘ole fish tugging at the line. The careful balance of reeling in and keeping that monster on the line gives quite the rush. Out on a boat or fishing from shore, everything is always good when you’re fishing.


3. BBQ/Pool Party!

Everyone loves a pool party. Get the family and friends together in someone’s backyard. Fire up the grill, fill a cooler with drinks and get the party started. Relax and get a tan on the pool side or dive right in and cool off. Pool parties are great for all ages and are always fun.


2. A Day at the Beach

Get out the beach umbrellas and pack up the towels. Slather on that sunscreen and get ready! We are going to the beach. It is always a good time spending a day at the beach. Digging your toes in the sand or going out for a swim, there is so much to do. Tanning, beach volleyball, Frisbee, touch football, sand castles, jogging and more! You can spend an entire day at the beach and still want to come back for more.


1. Camping in the Great Outdoors

Almost everyone I ask lists camping as the #1 thing they look forward to in the summer. In a trailer or a tent, you can’t go wrong. It’s a timeless activity for friends or family, young and old. Cooking over the open fire, hiking along the trails or singing songs, it’s hard not to enjoy yourself.


With so many fun things to do you are bound to make some great memories every time summer comes around. Make sure you bring your camera everywhere and get lots of pictures. At the end of the season, make yourself an awesome Photobook to look back on and remember what a great summer it was.

There are so many great things to do in the summer. What is your favourite summer activity?

Support Children’s Wish Foundation with Groupbook

We are very excited to announce that we have partnered with The Children’s Wish Foundation Manitoba & Nunavut Chapter to help make the wishes of these kids come true!

We are donating 25% of every sale back to Children’s Wish when you use the code WISHCHILD at the checkout.

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, what a great time to use this code and support a great cause an make an awesome gift at the same time. As a parent myself, knowing that a gift for me also helps a child means a lot.

Canvas Prints Are Here

We have been working on this behind the scenes for a while, but we are now happy to announce that our Mounted Canvas Templates are ready for order. There is now a new option out there for printed canvas in Canada.

It uses the same great tools as our Photobooks do. This lets you take your own digital photos and create full stretched canvases or make canvas collages. All of the canvas are mounted on 1.75″ deep gallery frames and printed with archival inks that will not fade in light over a lifetime. We also coat the canvas prints with a special formula for extra protection that will help make your mounted canvas last for a long time.

Check out the current sizes and styles here.


Support Movember with GroupBook

November is Movember month and to help support the cause, we will donate 10% of the sales from any order where you use the code MOVEMBER. We will also send you a set of adhesive mustaches so you can show your support.

We have also made some awesome FREE printable mustaches that you can print off yourself and use to show your support for Movember.

Check out for more information.

Tutorial Page is Almost Here

It has been a while coming and some work to put together, but the software tutorials are just about done. The videos are made and the tool tips are in. All that is waiting now is the integration into the actual design tool pages.

These tutorials are basically a screenshot of the designer screen. Each button will have a video that shows how it is used and tool tips explaining how it works. There is also video for the first few steps where you pick your size/type of book or product, one for choosing your theme and another for uploading pictures in the economic mode.

Hopefully these will make your GroupBook experience even better and help you create even better designs. I’d love to hear any feedback people have once they are live.

Getting Kids to Smile

A smile brightens every picture, especially when it’s a kid smiling. Problem is, it is tough to get them smiling sometimes. Or sometimes, they smile, but it is the most obnoxious, fake smile they can do. While those sometimes make a good silly picture, it isn’t always what you are looking for. Luckily, I have a few tricks you could use that may help next time you need a smile.


1. Toss the “Cheese”; Use “Fancy” instead.

It has always been a classic thing to say “Cheese” and look at the camera. It wasn’t a word to just get someone to look that way, but saying the word can actually make a sort of smile appear on the person’s face. The problem is, the double “ee”, when said in the exaggerated way most people do for photos, doesn’t quite make for a natural smile. The mouth goes sideways rather than a slight curl up.

The solution? Try a word like “Fancy”. The F sound, usually has people pressing their bottom lip to their top teeth (this part brings out the teeth), then the “Y” often causes the upwards curl. Ending on the “Y” note means yo end with a smile, where “Cheese” has that sound in the middle, so unless they hold it, you loose the smile at the end of the word. Try it out. It usually makes for a more natural smile when a real one isn’t coming out.


2. Tongue to the Top.

This is a new one to me, just found it out while researching this topic. Try pressing your tongue to the top of your mouth, right behind your teeth. Open your lips and push hard and you may notice your smile form a bit. This one requires a bit of instruction, so obviously it isn’t as good for really young ones, but for older kids it may be the trick.


3. Talk about something they like.

The best smiles are the ones that come about naturally. If you have the time and are doing a solo portrait, try talking to the subject. Find out what they like and have them tell you all about it. If you can, make them tell you a funny story about whatever they like. You will usually find that while talking about something that makes them happy, especially when they have the chance to explain all about it, the smiles will start to appear. If you are taking pictures of your own kids, you’ll already know what topics to bring up, but with others, it may take a little coaxing to get something out of them.


4. Take the focus off of the camera.

I don’t mean take a blurry shot, but take the child’s focus off of taking a picture. Just have them colour or play with a toy. Something that will distract them. Camera shyness is pretty common and portraits sometimes just won’t work. But candids can be even more personal and beautiful, so pictures of them doing something besides posing may be the answer.


Here are a few bonus tips that kind of tie-in with smiling:

When working with groups, and you are trying to get one person to smile, make sure you tell everyone in the picture to keep looking at you. I don’t know how many family pictures I’ve taken where the child’s parents start looking at their kid to see if they are smiling. Then “Snap”, the kid flashes a great smile and the parent isn’t looking at the camera.

Don’t be afraid to shoot in continuous mode or snap a few at a time. The great thing about digital is you can delete. The worst thing is missing a smile because you were checking the last shot. Just keep clicking while trying these tricks and you’ll have a better chance of capturing that split second smile.


I hope some of these tricks work for you. None are guaranteed. Smiles are great, but not always needed for a great shot. The most important thing of all, and this applies to all Photography, is patience. You won’t always get the perfect shot each time you click. Just keep at it and change things up and it’ll come eventually.