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.

learning, Lifestyle, Portraits

How it all started

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.

Hi! It’s me Libby! Clickin Moms Click Pro Master and Hellostoryteller Mentor

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.

The image that motivated me to create this site. It’s still one of my favorites to this day.

A Berry Fun Adventure (Part I)

I have fond childhood memories of picking dewberries along the ditches of the county roads.  We’d come home with scratches and occasionally some poison ivy, but the taste of those sweet berries was always worth it.  When I heard of a local pick your own blackberry farm, I knew that it was a must for our summer bucket list.

Wildberry Farm in Sadler, TX did not disappoint.  They had pick your own blackberries, blueberries, and sunflowers.  They also had fun activities for the kids as well as a little cafe that served the most amazing cheeseburger and fresh blackberry lemonade.

The best part:  they had blackberry bushes without thorns, so we came home scratch and rash free. 😉

We are definitely going to turn this into a yearly tradition!




















Exploring New Depths

One of the items on my summer bucket list is to dive into underwater photography. (See what I did there? Ha!).  But let’s face it, I’m too chicken to put my DSLR under water, so the Go Pro Hero 5 has become my new best friend.

These are my first attempts at using the Go Pro under water.  Before attempting these, I first read the Go Pro guide from Chubby Cheek Photography.  This guide is perfect for the hobbiest photographer or the professional just wanting to step back, relax, and have fun!  She goes over Go Pro settings, water types, lighting, editing, and even outfits.  Check it out and buy it here.

You know what the best part of using this is?  My kids love it just as much as I do.  It’s a win-win!










Interrupting Cow

Birthdays are my favorite time to do special styled shoots for my girls.  But I fully admit that year 6 snuck up on me.  Maybe it was all the who-ra-ra that surrounds school this time of year (sure, let’s go with that).  So while I still plan to execute a personality portrait shoot sometime in the near future, I couldn’t let this one’s birthday pass by without capturing a few snaps.  We danced, we sang, we picked a few flowers, and we told lots of knock-knock jokes.  Her favorite: Interrupting Cow.  It goes like this:

Knock, knock

Whose There

Interrupting Cow

Interrupting Cow WMOOOOOOOO

Get it?  She thinks she’s the funniest in all the land…








Cotton Candy on Demand

Cotton candy on demand?!!  Yes, please!  Where do I sign up?

Springtime for our family is birthday central.  And for my niece’s birthday she got her very own cotton candy machine.  So, of course, I had my brother bring it over for a trial run.  I mean, for quality control reasons, obviously.  😉






The kids were absolutely fascinated by it…who am I kidding, I even wanted to know how this magic machine worked!  One of the best parts…the machine is even pink!!








Yep, it is that good.  And everyone got to pick their own flavor too!








True love captured.


I think the little one enjoyed it the most.  She scarfed down her purple heavenly ball of fluff in about 3 seconds flat…she gets that from her mommy. 🙂

Now off to buy my own magic making machine.



Bluebonnet Tradition

Hi,  I’m Libby!  Welcome to this little blog of mine.  I absolutely love documenting the days of my blue eyed babes with the help of my camera lens.  As a first blog post, I thought that it would be appropriate to post our annual bluebonnet photos.  After all, nothing says Texas like a field of bluebonnets, and we’re Texans.

Every year, it’s always a guess as to where the bluebonnets will pop up.  I mean, they are guaranteed to be thick along the sides of the highways, but that isn’t a very safe nor picturesque spot for photos.  And then there are the ever-elusive private properties that you don’t dare step foot on for fear of being shot…because Texas. Ha!

This year, my dad found us the perfect spot not far behind his house.  There were several patches, so it allowed us to chase the light, skip, have a dance party, and capture plenty of pretty pictures.


My little one was so excited to give her big sister the “puupil” flower that she picked.  An entire field of bluebonnets and the purple verbena excited her most.















We also took some time to show them the “cat’s claw” inside of the bluebonnet flower.  At which point they decided to take it upon themselves to scratch each other with the “cat’s claws.”


And finally, it wouldn’t be a Texas bluebonnet session without cowgirl boots.  How cute are those adorable little boots!?!  We wear them with everything.  If you are interested, here is where you can find their cute boots.



Until next year bluebonnets…