Who’s Ready for Heart Day?

This year my girls are allowed to hand out Valentines to their friends at school provided the cards are quarantined prior to handing out…thanks Covid. I guess at least this made me get my act together early instead of scrambling at the last minute to help them create their notes of love and affection.

For their Valentine boxes, I found some red boxes at Target along with and assortment of 3D stickers. They had so much fun personalizing their boxes.

For their actual Valentine cards, I found these cute Archer Farms individually packaged cookies at Target. I printed out some folded cards and stapled them to each cookie for a sweet treat. For their teachers, I found some cute printables on Etsy and attached them to nail polish from Essie’s 2021 Valentine’s Day collection. This color is called Cupid’s Beau. Pretty cute right?

In true if you give a mouse a cookie fashion, my girls wanted to decorate and eat cookies after making these sweet treats for their friends. So I found found a cookie decorating kit at Walmart and let them have at it! They turned out super cute and were pretty yummy too. I’m pretty sure the cookies were devoured in a day’s time.

Lifestyle, Portraits

Longing for Warmer Beach Days

This cold weather we’ve been having lately is making me crave the beach and warmer weather. I mean yikes…it’s been freezing here in Texas! Doesn’t Mother Nature know that spring is supposed to be soon?!? And that we Texans don’t handle 19 degrees well? Well, I decided to have a little mental warm-me-up and take a trip down memory lane from our Florida trip in the summer of 2017. Ok, off to book our next warm get away!

learning, Portraits

This is the Greatest Show

Back in 2018, before social distancing was a thing, I attended an in-person class and shoot-out sponsored by Color Inc. This was a sequel to the shoot-out I blogged about here. For this one, the theme was The Greatest Showman. Chubby Cheek Photography and Sally Kate Photography again performed their magic and made this event so much fun. I highly recommend attending something like this when life gets back to normal.

learning, Portraits

Nursery Rhymes With A Twist

Once upon time, pre-Covid, the world was able to get together and do fun things like styled shoot-outs and in-person classes. Since that isn’t happening right now, I thought that I’d share some of my faves from way back in the spring of 2017.

This particular shoot-out/class was sponsored by Color Inc. (who by the way is a fabulous print lab that is very customer focus based). The class featured Chubby Cheek Photography and Sally Kate Photography. These two ladies are masters in the styled children genre. It was so fun to see their ideas come to life and have the opportunity to shoot these nursery rhyme scenes. And you may notice a familiar little model in some of these photos as well…


Formula for Bringing Photos to Life

I am half right brained-half left brained. Because of this, I tend to use an analytical approach to a lot of what I do, photography included. I use my art as my escape from the mundane and therefore love to interject liveliness in my photos. Today I’m going to give some insight into the “formula” that I use to bring my photos to life.

The first variable in the formula is COLOR. Entire books have been written on color theory, but in general, I love to use color to convey mood. While I tend to gravitate toward “punchy,” bright, high-contrast colors to convey joy, energy, and vibrancy, as in the county fair photo, I love all colors and use them in various ways. Using analogous colors, such as the soft turquoise found at the beach, conveys a since of calm and peace. The use of red and green complementary colors in the strawberry farm photo bring focus to the bucket and make it appear almost 3D.

The second variable is LENS CHOICE. I’m a self-proclaimed photography junky. I own a lot of gear. But my favorite lenses that make you feel like you are there and actually present in the moment are wide angle lenses such as my 24-70mm or 15mm fisheye. Wide lenses are perfect for getting in close. When used close to your subject you can create distortion that provides a sense of movement. Wide angle lenses also have the ability to capture dramatic skies. Wide dramatic skies give photos a sense of space and pull you into the frame and through the photo.

A lensbaby is another lens option that can bring life into a photo. The creative focus can help to zoom in on the motion of the scene.

The third variable is PERSPECTIVE. The angle at which you shoot or tilt the camera can add motion and depth to a photo. Shooting through objects, shooting from below, or shooting from above all add a unique perspective that makes the viewer feel like they were present in the experience.

Extra tip: Afraid to get your nice camera dirty or wet? Try a Go Pro. It’s perfect for burying in the sand or dunking underwater for that unique perspective.

The final variable in the formula is TRICKS OF THE TRADE. Use your tools (camera, software, props, clothing, environment) to your advantage. Set a slow shutter speed on your camera and pan along with a moving subject to create motion. Applying lens corrections in post to a fisheye lens will create a pulling effect on the photo. Embrace a windy day and wear flowy fabrics to incorporate movement. And never underestimate the magic and life that childhood play will bring to an image. Jumping, twirling, cartwheels, and racing all add movement and playfulness to photos.

Last but not least…
More important than any formula, have fun! If you are having fun and your subjects are having fun, your photos will automatically come to life.