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.
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!
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.
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…
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.
Hi friends! Long time no see write. I’m going to try to be better about keeping up with this little blog. I know I’ve said that before, maybe I’ll mean it this time.
I figured it might be a good idea to do a “how it all started” post to get back into the swing of things. I’m often asked how I got started in photography and how I learned to use my camera, so here goes.
My love for photography started as far back as I can remember: setting up photoshoots with my Cabbage Patch dolls and my 110 camera. It wasn’t until after my first child was born that I was motivated to learn the art of photography. Having an engineering degree, I assured myself that I could certainly figure out a camera. And so I did, and my love of photography was sent on an exponential path.
I started out by reading books and doing research online. I took a local photography class and watched a lot of online tutorials. Soon, as luck would have it, I found out that a local photographer wanted to start teaching moms how to use their camera. Perfect! Sign me up! I also signed up for one on one mentoring with another photographer whose style I identified with and from that point forward everything “clicked” for me.
After that, its been a whirlwind of a journey. I’ve taken tons of online courses from Clickin’ Moms, Milky Way, Chic Critique, Chubby Cheek Photography, Plural Site, and others that I’m surely forgetting. I love to learn and grow, so I’m always looking for the next class to click my photography up a notch.
In 2017, I decided to prepare a portfolio submission to apply to become a Click Pro Master with Clickin Moms. I studied their grading rubric and practiced all categories from light, composition, color, etc. Finally, at the very beginnning of 2018 I took a leap of faith and applied. And guess what….I was accepted!! Excited would be an understatement. This has given me the opportunity to meet and collaborate with many other artists that are always willing to share their talents and knowledge.
I’ve more recently decided to offer a few small courses through Hellostoryteller. If you are interested in those or any tutorials I have written for Clickin Moms see this page.
So there you have it! That’s my story. Other than that…I practice. I shoot a lot. All the time really. I’m always learning and striving to get better.
Every year for Halloween we try to think of a fun group costume. (See previous years here.) The girls have fun playing the part, and I have fun making the costumes and documenting it all. I’ll be honest though, I do solicit the help of my family with these costumes on occasion. We’ll chalk that up to a family bonding experience.
This year my oldest wanted to be Alice for Halloween. My little one wanted to be a butterfly, so we had do some convincing to stick with a theme. Luckily, it didn’t take much convincing. As soon as we reminded her that the Cheshire Cat was PURPLE she was ALL IN!
This year’s location was quite the find! With all of the rain that we’ve been having, my two first locations were completely under water! However, it was meant to be because this location turned out better than I had imagined.
Halloween is such a fun time for our family. What’s not to like? Kids get to dress up and pretend, I get to craft a costume, and everyone gets candy. Then of course comes the…PICTURES.
As I was editing this year’s Halloween photos, it made me reflect on what we’ve done in previous years. It was fun to run down memory lane and visit the ghosts of Halloween’s Past. Here’s a small sampling of what we’ve done. Happy Halloween!
Somehow my oldest baby has graduated to needing 2 hands to show how many years old she is. How time flew by so quickly I’ll never figure out, but it happened. My baby turned 6!
For the second year in a row she is completely obsessed with unicorns, so a unicorn party it was! The day of, we had a small celebration at home and documented it with our annual candle blowing photo. (I love taking these and looking back at them year after year.)
Later in the week, she was able to celebrate with her friends at the local movie theater. I really lucked out this year because the target dollar spot was a mecca of unicorn and rainbow treasures. They also had the cutest pink popcorn containers…if that isn’t the finest show of serendipity, I don’t know what is!
This is 6:
Here’s the deets on the goody “bags.” I still can’t get over the popcorn containers. And unicorn washi tape?? Target winning. Enough said.
After picking buckets upon buckets of blackberries at Wildberry Farms in Sadler, TX (see post here), we needed a plan to get those yummy berries in our belly! I decided that a good old cobbler from The Pioneer Woman would do the trick. The recipe was super easy and super delicious!
In addition to the cobbler, we also made bakery worthy blueberry muffins, and a fresh blackberry salad…all of which were devoured in record time.
From farm to table. It doesn’t get taste any better.