New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.
Written by Alexis Buatti-Ramos, Design & Media Manager

In my initial blog post, Tips for Taking Better Photos of Your Kids, we discussed the basic skills you need to take better family photos. Now, here are seven tips and tricks for photographing your kid on the go with an iPhone. I'm using my colleagues here at The New Victory Theater as my subjects, so please use your imagination and pretend they're 5-, 7- and 8-year-olds! Get those iPhones out, and let's get started!

1. Change your EXPOSURE.

Exposure is the amount of lightness or darkness present in a photo. While you may not be in control of whether or not your kid sticks their tongue out, you are in control of how much the image is exposed. The camera will try its best to expose properly, but it may not work 100% of the time. If your subject seems too bright or too dark, go ahead and tap on the main focus of your photo (i.e. your kid's face) and drag up to brighten up that cute face or drag down if it appears too bright. 
It's hard to see our Digital Engagement Coordinator, Beth, sticking her tongue out in the first shot, but by lightening the exposure it becomes much clearer!

2. LOVE your photos.

Nine times out of ten, you'll want to share your winning shots with everyone you run into for months to come. With all the photos we take everyday, it's easy for those favorites to get lost in the shuffle. Be sure to toggle the heart icon on the ones you want to have accessible at a moment's notice. Once you select the heart those photos will be dropped into your "Favorites" album.

3. BURST into your happy dance!

No more missing THE shot. With "burst mode" on iPhone, you can capture movement like never before. Instead of just tapping the shutter, click and hold the shutter button (or either of the physical volume buttons) to shoot continuously. This gives you the option to either find one or two perfect shots and delete the rest or keep all of the photos! This technique works best for kids diving into pools, jumping around, riding a bike or for any moment when they're going from point A to point B.
I wanted to shoot our Public Relations Associate, Christopher, jumping for joy, so I captured it by using a burst! It was easy to select my favorite out of the many photos taken at once.

4. Let's do the TIME-LAPSE again!
Swipe to Time-Lapse (instead of the standard Photo setting) and watch your kid's antics come together in a fantastic little flip-book of sorts. Time-lapse videos have a different look from regular videos because they're created from a series of still images. They're great for capturing activities that have clear beginnings and endings, or that take a while to complete, like showing off new dance moves, building with Legos or eating breakfast. 

 The Time-Lapse setting perfectly shows our Education Department Coordinator, Val, drawing a picture!


5. Get LOW.
In my last post, I wrote about playing the angles. A little tip when using the iPhone for those in-the-grass shots is to flip the phone upside down so the camera lens is closer to the ground. You'll get a totally different look!
Get LowGet Low
In the first photo here, I took a shot of our Education Program Manager, Carolyn, from a normal angle. Try changing it up the way I did in the second photo by shooting your subject from a low angle with your phone upside-down!
6. EDIT without help.

iPhone has made its editing system more powerful and even more user-friendly. Once you've snapped your photo, choose the "Edit" button on the top right and then the dial. This'll give you so many options that you can edit your photos as you see fit. Each main header (Light, Color, Black and White) has a drop down menu for more fine-grained options! Afraid of making changes? Make sure to duplicate your image before starting. Also, if you decide nothing beats the original, there's now a "revert" button so you can stick with the image you initially captured.
I first duplicated my image so I have the original intact! Then I edited this photo of Allison, our Director of Public Relations, to black and white.
7. Photograph LIVE.

If you have the iPhone 6s, you have one additional fancy feature—"Live Photo." The symbol for toggling Live Photos looks like a sun flare within the 'Photo' setting. With Live Photo selected, your phone will take 1.5 seconds of audio and video before and after you take a photo. Now, along with your photo you have a 3-second video of that moment as well!

Alexis Buatti-Ramos Alexis Buatti-Ramos is the Design & Media Manager for The New 42nd Street. For the past eight years, she’s worked as the Graphic Designer and Photographer for the New Victory Theater. Her photography has been featured in The New York Times, TYA Today and can be seen around the city in advertisements for the New Vic! Alexis’ passion for portrait photography stemmed from her time working with young people at the New Vic, capturing families playing, learning and discovering together at workshops and special events. You can see more of her work on Facebook.
Posted by Beth Henderson

It's summertime, and here at The New Victory we're busy getting ready for our upcoming season. All summer long, we're offering fun Summer Field Guides for you to celebrate being a kid in New York. Get inspired by the activities below and start getting in the mood for the shows to come!

In this double issue, we celebrate Ratcatcher's Day on July 22nd and Vanilla Ice Cream Day on July 23rd.

July 22nd - Ratcatcher's Day

Like it or not, New York City has its fair share of rats. The famous Pied Piper was fabled to lead all the rats of Hamelin away from town with his irresistible fluting—a tactic that probably won't work in the five boroughs. Here are some activities that celebrate Ratcatcher's Day, in honor of Carlo Colla & Sons Marionette Company, who are bringing their performance of THE PIED PIPER to The New Victory next May.

Make a Rat Marionette

It's best to steer clear of real rats, so here are some instructions for making your own rat marionette. First, print out the rat design below, or design your own similar rat in the same number of pieces (head, body, legs, tail).

Rat marionette cut-out

Download a PDF
of this rat marionette design for printing. Page 2 shows an assembled version!

Cut out the pieces and attach them to one another with brads like so:
Materials: cut-out rat, brads, string, scissors Stabbing a brad through the cut out layers Opening brad on back side of paper Rat pieces all attached with four brads

Tape or tie string to the parts of the marionette that you want to manipulate. We recommend the head and the base of the tail:
Cutting two lengths of string, one for the head, another for the base of the tail Taping string to reverse side of rat layers  

Make an "airplane" control for your marionette out of popsicle sticks, pens or unsharpened pencils, using tape or glue to secure the bars together. Then tie your strings to each end:
Taping two bars of 'airplane' marionette control to one another in a T-shape Taping marionette strings to each end of the control Fully taped control Finished marionette

Rat in a comfy chair reading a rat biographyYou're done! Take your rat for a walk, but don’t frighten too many people.

Rat Biography

We often think of rats as being part of a crowd, but every rat is an individual! Now that you’ve made your own rat, start thinking about the following questions. Then share your rat’s biography with us on Facebook!
  • What's your rat's name?
  • Where does your rat live?
  • What did your rat get for its birthday?
  • What's your rat's favorite flavor of ice cream?
  • How does your rat like to spend summer vacation?
  • Which subway line does your rat like best? Why?
  • What do your rat's parents do for a living?
  • Who are your rat's heroes?

The Rodent Family

Rats have many rodent cousins, including mice, squirrels, hamsters, beavers and porcupines! Do you have cousins? Draw a portrait of your extended family in the family room frame below, and see how many distant relations you can think of.
Draw your own family portrait
Download a PDF
of this family room frame to print at home for portraiture.
THE PIED PIPER Icon   We can't wait for Carlo Colla & Sons to return to the New Vic next spring with THE PIED PIPER. Mark your calendars, and bring along your marionette to join in the puppeteering fun.

July 23rd – Vanilla Ice Cream Day

In November, Catherine Wheels Theatre Company returns to The New Victory with WHITE, which was last here in 2011. What better opportunity to prepare ourselves for the many shades and textures of WHITE than by celebrating Vanilla Ice Cream Day? It is summertime, after all.

Vanilla Variation

Vanilla ice cream has a bland reputation, but it’s not so boring as you might think! There’s black-speckled vanilla bean ice cream, custardy french vanilla, and even tangy vanilla frozen yogurt. Here’s a map of some of New York’s newest ice cream parlors. And here’s an article detailing some of New York’s more established confectionary greats citywide, from Forest Hills to Staten Island. 

Do you have a local favorite? Add it to our map!
French vanilla ice cream sundae Vanilla bean waffle cone New Vicberry vanilla frozen yogurt

The Ice Cream Makers

You don't need a fancy ice cream making machine to make your own delicious summer treats at home. You can make ice cream with things you already have in the kitchen! Just follow these easy steps—stirring is key:
  1. Find a recipe! There are lots out there. Here’s a good one with optional vanilla bean involved, and here’s a non-dairy vegan one.
  2. Freeze a pan or shallow bowl—you’ll need it later.
  3. Combine your ingredients in a large bowl according to the recipe.
  4. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator, or in an ice bath for a faster result (TIP: Fill your sink with ice water).
  5. Pour your chilled mixture into your pre-cooled pan, and return it to the freezer.
  6. Check it every 30 minutes. As the edges freeze, stir the mixture vigorously with a whisk, spatula or fork.
  7. Repeat this twice-hourly stirring action four or five times. Soften the mixture briefly in the refrigerator if it become too hard to stir.
  8. Once it’s creamy and consistent, you’re done! Cover it and return it to the freezer.
  9. Eat, eat, eat!
Ice cream mixture in a bowl Whisk or spatula for stirring Eating the finished ice cream

Egg Buddies

In anticipation of WHITE, Andy Manley of Catherine Wheels Theatre Company was joined by his co-star, Egg, in this video:
Egg decoration with glue, markers, hats and bow ties

As you can see, Egg is a bit shy. Let’s make him some little egg friends to cheer him up! Grab an egg and some markers, and start decorating (TIP: Hard-boiling your egg first will make it more durable). 

When your egg is ready, you can enjoy some vanilla ice cream together! Take a selfie with your egg and an ample serving of vanilla ice cream, and share it with us on Instagram @NewVictoryTheater or Twitter @NewVictory. We’ll be sure to pass it along to Andy and Egg.
WHITE Icon   Then, when summertime has ended and November’s chill is in the air, come along to the New Vic to experience the magical world of WHITE. It will be too cold for ice cream, but Egg will see you there.
Posted by Zack Ramadan
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