Friday, November 30, 2012

Things have been a bit crazy as I have been trying to get this whole photography business going. Doesn't help the business side of things that I started right at the busiest time of year for photographers. Blog, website, and pretty much any kind of marketing has taken a back seat to actually doing the fun part...actually taking pictures! 

My new blog can be found at

I will not be posting here anymore, but will leave up all the tutorials and photography tips and tricks. 
Please come and follow me over at my new place, too because I will be posting tips over there as well. The new blog is still under construction. I'm not all that technologically-savvy. But, I am trying. 

See you soon! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back to School! 2012

We are in week two of school. My days are a bit more quiet. No one to make lunch for or entertain. A little more than 6 hours to myself. Feeling a bit lonely at times, but I think we are finally adjusting and settling in to a new normal. Or as normal as can be expected with all the big changes around here. 

Pretty big milestones for each of them.
They are all so great to cooperate with me during photo sessions. 

 Baby girl has the best first grade teacher. Ever. Ryan also had this same teacher in first grade and we were thrilled and relieved to know that Haleigh would get the same love and attention this year from a wonderful woman! She is the kind of teacher that still hugs the kids. Cause that is how it should be when you are in first grade! Days full of loves and hugs from a brilliant teacher.♥

 Ryan also has an awesome teacher this year. It is another repeat teacher that his older brother had.
We love it when we have teachers we already know and feel comfortable with.
Ryan's class is a tough one. Lots of homework and difficult assignments,
but we know he can handle it. Because he is just cool like that.

Jr. High seems to suit this one just fine.
 Life for this kid is full of lots of friends and classes he really enjoys. 
Percussion is his first love and he is excited to be an 8th grader this year.
 (Rumor has it, 8th graders kinda rule the school)

Want to have an awesome facebook timeline cover photo? 
Then head on over to MCP actions and download her free facebook timeline templates for photoshop. 

They are super easy to use and she even has a video tutorial to show you exactly how to use them. 
There are a few different ones to choose from and it will make you enjoy that timeline a whole lot more! 

Hope your kids are enjoying back to school! For some tips on taking back to school pictures,
you can re-visit my blog post from last year. :) 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A season.

I am a firm believer in there being a time for everything, and a season for every activity. 
I believe there are things we are meant to do but we must choose when the timing is perfect for us to fulfill that destiny. I was married awfully early in my young life and I gave birth to 3 beautiful children who have filled up each of my days with so much love, busyness, stress and joy. I have spent almost 14 years having little ones with me at all times. Making messes and helping me with my own daily tasks of keeping a home. 

I have enjoyed staying home with each of my babies and I feel so blessed that I had that opportunity, even though I feel like my personality is not best suited for 'stay at home' motherhood. I get overwhelmed easily and I like things to be done, just so. I spent ridiculous amounts of time making homemade invitations and Christmas cards. I learned to make everything I could not afford to buy and found talents I didn't know I had. Photography has been one of those. 

I have spent the past 7 years learning everything I could possibly learn. Why? Mostly to capture images of my babies. I feel like photography gives me that ability to freeze time. Capture moments of my life I never want to forget. I guess I always knew the day would come that I would no longer have little ones at home. I tried to picture my future as a "real" photographer. With a business I could call my own. It seemed so far off in the distance though and I have not realized how quickly this time has managed to sneak up on me.  

My children all went back to school last week. All three of my babies in school. All day. I have found myself searching for my own self again and really trying to decide what will work for me and make me happy. I can fill my days will endless amounts of cleaning and laundry. I know there is plenty to do around this house to keep me plenty busy...but it no longer fills my cup. I need more. And, I feel like I am ready to make a go at this photography thing. I'm going to specialize only in newborn photography. I know it may be a difficult journey living in a state where the competition is so fierce and lots of women are trying to make a second income to help in these difficult times of financial stress that so many are suffering though. 

Yes, the extra money will be a bonus here. But, for me it is so much more than that. It is finally the right season in my life to dedicate myself to something I love so much. To put to work all the skills I have been trying to master over the years. I'm not positive when I will have things completely ready to start doing regular sessions, but I will be working on website, marketing and all the business details very soon. 

Thank you for all of your encouragement over the years. I will still continue to blog here, it will just be more photography sessions, rather than tips....although, I will still throw those in as I can. :)

Here is to a new stage of my life. A stage I didn't realize would come so swiftly. I'm excited. Scared. Nervous. But, really hoping it will be just the perfect timing and season to fulfill this activity of mine. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Newborn safety...

Have I been a lazy blogger, or what? 

Even though I haven't been doing a lot of posting, I have been doing quite a few newborn shoots. 
One tip I thought I would quickly share is how to get the "money shot" without causing any safety concerns for baby. 
Just simply have mom or dad help by using their finger to prop up baby's head. It is so easy to remove later on when editing, using your clone stamp or patch tool. (Or, in my case, I use them both.) 

Always remember to keep baby safe. Don't be afraid to use mom or dad to help.

Monday, April 16, 2012


3 beautiful sisters. A beautiful setting and yummy lighting. 
Just can't ask for more than that. 

So happy spring has finally arrived. This time of year is my favorite time to get my camera back out and enjoy my passion for capturing love and beautiful memories. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sweet baby girl, sneak peak.

I got to spend the afternoon with my favorite kindergarten teacher and her beautiful girls. 
Sweet baby {E} was born just a few days before Christmas. I always thought it would be fun to have a Christmas baby...I only experienced being pregnant during Christmas, which is also guilt while eating, eating and more eating. 
Big sister was such a big help and loved being able to hold her baby sister. 

Once this little precious one fell asleep she was perfect throughout the whole session and we got some beautiful images of her. 
We are going to miss our favorite teacher while she takes her maternity leave...but we are so happy her new baby is here and they are both doing so well!
Thanks for letting me capture your beautiful baby girl for you, Mrs. B! We love you!!!! 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry/Happy Everything...

From our home to yours. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Using a little Pinterest inspiration...

So many fantastic holiday photo ideas floating around on pinterest. 

I loved this idea and decided to give it a try for our Christmas cards this year. 
Here are some straight out of camera images that I am not using for our card, but that doesn't mean I don't love them :) I didn't edit them so you could see what they look like without any editing. 
Head on over to Prop Insanity for a step by step tutorial for this set up. 

I used my 50mm 1.4 lens for all of the shots I took. I also had to use my studio lighting since I didn't have great natural light in my house today. To get the nice blur, I had to shoot at 1.4  and the kids were about 7 feet in front of the lights. I had to place them that far in front so the green strands wouldn't show from the lights. I was too cheap to go buy lights with white strands instead of the green. When shooting at that wide open aperture (f 1.4) it is absolutely necessary to keep all of your subjects on the exact same plane or they won't all be in focus. Placing a subject even slightly behind another will result in creepy stalker images like this one....
Although, I don't mind creepy stalker when they are this cute.
Have fun shooting your holiday pictures using twinkly lights and creating some beautiful bokeh!
In photography, bokeh is the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image, or the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light.

Which by the way is pronounced like this....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Time to give...

The season of giving is approaching quickly and I wanted to share something that a beautiful photographer friend of mine is doing this year to help out a very worthy cause! 

Click on her blog header above to read what she is doing! I love that she is using her talents as a way of service. I know many of you that read my blog are either professional photographers or very experienced amateurs. Think of all the good we could do it we all did something like this, THIS holiday season. 

She has a beautiful blog. Head over there and spend some time reading her beautiful words and and I am sure you will be captivated by her gift of life style photography. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Hope you took LOTS of pictures and ate LOTS of candy! 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Editing flow...

One thing that I have changed over and over again through my journey learning photography is my editing process and styles. I think it is fairly common for most people to go through the phases I experienced. I first learned everything I could about photography and tried to get proper exposure. Then, I ventured into the editing world. I purchased CS3 and had my fair share of oompa loompa outcomes before I discovered the phenomenal world of layer masks and opacity. Those two things changed my life and I felt like that is when I truly started to get a grip on my editing. Over the years I have tried to make my photos POP with color and do all the funky, hazy, seventies looks...until I realized it wasn't my style and I needed to figure out exactly what my 'own' style was. I soon realized that I really wanted my images to just be clean, simple edits with a classic feel to them. This is when I really got down and dirty with CS3 and learned how to use it to my advantage. I learned curves and color correcting tools that worked for me. I have a good friend (Hi Larissa!) that is currently going through the beginning stages of learning her new DSLR and she is reminding me so much of myself. She is fully invested and wants to get her hands on anything and everything to help her along her own journey. She asked me to share with her my editing flow. Honestly, I don't really have one that fits all pictures that I take. Every lighting situation is different, producing different color temperatures. I thought I would just simply show how little editing I actually do to my images. 

Since I shoot in RAW format, I open my images in camera raw and do a few edits there first. I make sure my exposure looks good and depending on the individual picture and what it needs, I may do a few other things in camera raw, such as fixing white balance if needed and anything else that might be needed to the overall image I am going to edit. Next, I bring it into photoshop and decide what the picture needs. When you shoot in RAW, things are going to look flat and a bit dull. This is where I usually brighten things up and do a new layer and bump things up.

A good one to start with when you are first leaning is to create a new layer. (Ctrl-J for pc and Command-J for mac). Once you have chosen a new layer, there is a drop down menu that you can choose different blend modes. "Normal" is selected for you. Go to the drop down menu and choose "soft light". It is a great one to bump the contrast and give your picture a nice boost. I cannot stress how important the next step is when you use these features.  Next to the blending modes there is another feature called "opacity". It is NECESSARY to use this function when you are editing. It will automatically set your new layer at 100% and this is when you get images that are way over edited and makes skin tones look horrible. I usually bring the opacity down to about 25-30% on most features I choose.
This is a great place to start. Practice this method and next up on my editing flow is color correction.
We will save that for another post :)

Have fun! And remember...if you have a good, properly exposed image, there won't be a lot you need to do to it to accomplish a nice, clean, simple edit. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Picture clean-up...

I have been trying really hard to clean up my photo files lately. I have SO, SO many pictures on my computer that need to be deleted. The problem is that I start looking at pictures and then I can't focus on the ones that need to be deleted...
All I can focus on is all the pictures that never got edited! Never got edited because I was being just WAY too picky and considered them crap. 

I found an entire session of my kids in April of 2009 that I didn't edit one picture from. Not one! I remember coming home from that photo shoot so sad with the results because my kids didn't all look at the camera and smile. So when I started looking through them (2 1/2 years later) I couldn't believe I didn't edit them! They were so cute and helped me remember what my kids looked like at that time. I am sure I didn't like this one because she wasn't smiling...but now I see this picture and remember this look that she gave me so often. Plus there is a stick coming out of her head and I probably didn't know how to edit it out at the time. Now I don't even care about the stick and could easily remove it. But those are the silly things that I used to consider a bad image. 
That is the beautiful thing about having digital images....over two years later I can go back and realize that I actually did capture a beautiful moment that I will be able to look back and treasure always. 

Have you backed up your computer yet? Make sure your images are backed up on a hard drive and also an online backup system as well. I go through Carbonite but may switch to Mozy. Mozy is a local company for me and I love supporting local businesses. Also, they back up external hard drives from what I hear...Carbonite does not. Don't wait until your hard drive crashes to learn the hard way that pictures need to be backed up! :) 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sneak Peak for my bestie...

Amazing weather. Gorgeous light. And an incredibly Beautiful little lady. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Fall is my favorite time of year. I dread going into fall because that means my summer is over and I know the cold and snow are just waiting at my door. But...once the beautiful smells and visions of Autumn arrive I can't help but feel so happy and blessed. Each day feels like a gift and a renewed passion for life.
How can it not feel that way? Everything is in full harvest, the weather is perfect and 
my favorite shows are finally back on TV! 
Life is good. So, so good! 
I spent yesterday reaping the benefits of a beautiful skill my Nana taught me. Canning peaches and making peach jam. I am not really a domestic one...but this is a yearly tradition I just love. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing beautiful canned peaches sitting on my counter. 
(photo taken by my husband who also helped me for the first time!)

There is also nothing more beautiful than passing along this skill to my daughter.
She is finally old enough to help me out and she was so amazing.
We put on our aprons (makes us feel more official that way) and got to work.
She stayed and helped me the entire time. She was committed to the end.
Oh the joy...Seeing her tiny little hands peeling the peaches so 
delicately and measuring each cup of sugar to perfection.
Here is to many, many more years of this tradition with my favorite little side kick.

Now for some photo tips....
When taking pictures indoors...I often find it is so hard to get the colors to look right. You have a mix of ambient light, natural light and who knows what else. A lot of times they look very yellow and dark.
(Since it is hard to get good exposure indoors without a flash.)
It is important to fix your white balance to get correct color...but sometimes the photos you want to get don't allow you the time to set a custom white balance and spend a lot of time figuring out the best color options.
My solution?? Turn those pictures to black and white. Black and white images are timeless and, in my opinion, tell a beautiful story. I always mess with my black and white photos to get good contrast. I do this by going into levels in photoshop (control L) and changing the different output levels. This is how you brighten your mid-tones and darken your blacks. I also sharpen my black and white images more than I usually do on color images. I think it just adds beautiful texture and more contrast.

Happy Fall!!!! 

Friday, September 23, 2011


Have you taken that camera out of Auto yet? No? What?!?!?! 
Here is yet another FANTASTIC resource for you...

You have no excuses today. The weather is beautiful, the leaves are changing and there is not a better time than now for you to learn your camera. :)