Category Archives: Photography Tips

Monday Love / iPhone Pics

Another edition of Monday Love…

A quote:A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.” -Eudora Welty

Something personal: More and more I find myself taking pictures with my iPhone.  In fact, I haven’t taken pictures with my point & shoot camera in more than a month (maybe two).  Since I always have my phone with me (can you say addiction?), it is just so easy to capture everyday life with my phone, instead of trying to find a regular camera. So, I have had to find solutions for all of these fun pictures in my camera, and those of you who have attended either of my Tiny Topics sessions about Instagram know that I’m hooked!  Instagram is a fun way to “process” the images in my iPhone, and share them, AND print them.

Just wanted to share a couple pics of the products from Prinstagram.  They print straight from your Instagram account (so no need to transfer pics off your phone and upload to a separate website).  Cute and fun!

These are the Tiny Books – and there are really, really tiny.  But, cute for the kids to take to school (Show & Tell) or for stocking stuffers.  :)

These are my favorite – the Mini Books.  Two books with 50 pictures each.  So, you can get two identical books (50 pics each) or two different books (100 pics total).  Great for your purse, or the grandparents, or gifts.  Or, in my case, just to have something printed so we can look at all these fun pictures!  Economical and fun too.  :)  $12 for two books.

And I’ll leave you with this fun iPhone pic that I took.  I found this on Kylie’s nightstand in her room Friday night.  My lovesick child.


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Monday Love / Beautiful Autumn

Another edition of Monday Love…

A quote: Bittersweet October.  The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter. -Carol Bishop Hipps

Something personal: Our trip to Cagle’s Family Farm was wonderful!  Although I have come down with some kind of cold/allergies/sinus infection, I persevered for a wonderful day with the family (okay, I admit it, the Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino from Starbucks did help a little).  This was definitely the best weather we’ve had in our four years of making the trek up to Woodstock.  The kids had a blast and really loved running around with flashlights after it got dark at the bonfire.

I didn’t have the energy to bring the Beast with me (AKA: my Canon 5D MarkII), but I did use my Point & Shoot and I thought the pictures were still worth sharing.  :)

Can you see Jake in the background?  He really does not like having his picture taken.

Oh Jake, do you have to make that face???

It’s the most beautiful sunset while we sit around the bonfire and make s’mores.  :)

Right before leaving we wrangled the kids for a group picture.  HEY, at least we tried!!!

Now that Kylie has switched schools, she is always telling me how much she misses her “boyfriends” — Danny, Wyatt, and Brennan, from her old school.  Sebe is in her class now, so she sees him everyday.  She was beyond excited that Danny was going to the Pumpkin Patch and as you can see in this picture, they were connected at the hip for much of the evening.  ;)

On another personal note, Jake drew on himself with a marker this weekend.  I’m sure EVERY kid does this, but Jake did it with such intention and defiance, I can only wonder what other schemes he has planned for us in the future.  If only he wasn’t so darned cute!  It’s really hard to stay mad at him.

And the last personal note — we are having family pictures done at the BEACH this weekend by my friend, and fellow photographer, Andrea Halsey!  Just like all of my clients usually do, I’ve spent way too much time working on the “perfect” outfits for the session.  We are not a typical khaki/white shirt type of family so that was definitely out.  We love our jeans, and Kylie loves her skirts, so I wanted to find a way to make that work together, and still have it look like fall (even at the beach).  What do you guys think???


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Monday Love / I miss my couch

Another edition of Monday Love…

A quote: “The quickest way for a parent to get a child’s attention is to sit down and look comfortable.” Lane Olinghouse

Something personal: When I found this quote I just about fell off my chair laughing.  It was perfect following a morning where Jeff and I found ourselves falling on top of each other in the kitchen, answering all the breakfast needs/orders to keep our prince and princess from whining/crying/melting down, etc.  I mean, when do WE get to eat breakfast???  I know the days of sleeping in, lounging around, and watching TV are gone – but breakfast too?  Quite simply, yes.  If anyone has any suggestions to curb this morning riot behavior, please let me know.  I’m considering a free-for-all around here soon.  Lunchable anyone?  ;)

Another hot topic around our house is Kylie.  It has become all too clear that this little girl is growing up into a lovely young lady, and an ornery one too.  In the last two weeks she has sassed me, pushed me, yelled NO at me, run away from me, and even taken a reluctant swing at me (gasp!!!).  I’m trying to make sense of it all since none of this behavior is normal for her, and I know that much of it has to do with her little brother doing all the same things and getting plenty of attention for it (but he’s TWO, not FIVE).   Not only has she been having some tantrums, but she’s also very hard to please lately.  This reminded me of a book that Liz Seymour gave me: Your Four Year Old, Wild and Wonderful. It describes the Four Year Old Child by saying “No one is more responsive to the adult effort to entertain.  He will accept what you have to offer with delightfully uncritical enthusiasm.”  Oh how I miss those days when Kylie would cheerfully accept any offer of fun (even laundry) that I might offer to do with her.  Now, the first response is usually something like (insert whiny voice here) “well, I wanted to go to (insert anything BUT what I suggested here).”   Even after a really fun day, she will think of something negative to say before any words of appreciation come out of her mouth.  I feel like I’m doing something wrong.  But I look at her sweet face and I know that she’s just trying to figure out who she is, what part she plays in the world, and how much control she has over her life.  Jeff says she’s stubborn like me (huh?) and has a short temper like him.  And just when I think I can’t handle anything else, she will look at me and with so much love and sincerity say “Mommy, I love you so much.”  Well, okay then, all is forgiven.  *sigh*  Sorry for the rant.

Here she is – wild and wonderful at four years old and still wild and wonderful (but in different ways) at five years old.

In the words of Olivia’s Mommy…. Kylie “you wear me out, but I love you anyway.”

Something useful: After Liz did the last Wider Angle column about her obsession with printing pictures and storing them into photo albums, it got me thinking that MANY people would probably like some ideas on how to make this process easier.   I know that in an ideal world, we would all make a 4×6 print of every awesome picture we take and neatly store them in beautiful albums, categorized by date or event, and tuck them onto a living room shelf for everyone to enjoy.  Right??  Oh, and of course we would take the time to enlarge our favorite images and put them in frames for unique wall collections all around our home too.  Right??  Okay, I admit it, I’m really bad about the photo album stuff.  So, here is an idea for a QUICK, EASY, and INEXPENSIVE solution to getting the images from your camera on paper so people can look at them (that includes your spouse, who probably hasn’t even seen half the pictures on your computer yet).  This process took me less than 10 minutes and only cost me $15.  The pictures are relatively small, so don’t waste your time trying to do any special photoshop stuff on these, just pick and print from all those thousands of pictures you’ve taken and never shared…..

Step One: Go to and open a free account

Step Two: Go to “My Albums” at the top and click (+add an album)

Step Three: Allow the Java Uploader access to your computer.  It will show all of your folders, so you can go to any folder on your computer and pick any images from that folder.  Add images, then navigate to another folder, add more images, etc.  When you’ve picked all the images you want in this album, click “upload.”

Step Four: Click on “Specialty Products” at the top of the page, then select: “Proof Portfolios” at the bottom of the page.

Step Five: Select your album, then select 8×10 Proof Portfolio – then ADD TO CART.  (The options come next)

Step Six: Go to your cart. Click OPTIONS, then choose 4 per page, background color, and the order of your images.  You can also choose to have the file names listed or not (I did not, since I put the date on the cover page).

Step Seven: Click “Add a Cover Image.”  By checking the “use a cover image” option, it will automatically use whichever image is first in your Mpix album as the cover for the proof album.  Then you have the option to add text (I put our family name and April 2011).

Step Eight: CHECK OUT – you’re done!!!  This little goody will arrive in 1-2 days!  :)

A couple side notes:

  • I did this super fast and made the mistake of using the black background, but I would prefer white I think.
  • My proof album was 8 pages, plus cover, with 32 images.  Next time, I would probably do more pages and include several months of images.  Make sure the images on your computer are “heads up” when you upload them.
  • The images are small on the pages, so I’m not suggesting this process as the way to display ALL of your precious memories.  But, it’s definitely a really fast and easy way to get caught up on printing and sharing.  :)  Then you could do special albums or scrapbooks for your favorite images, special occasions, holidays, trips, etc.  I think it’s less overwhelming if you get some of it out of the way, so you can focus on doing something unique with the truly special images.  And don’t forget to enlarge some and hang them on the wall!  Oh, and of course, you could hire a professional photographer to help you as well.  *wink-wink*

Happy Monday!!!

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Monday Love

Another edition of Monday Love….. on Tuesday.

A quote: Life’s unfairness is not irrevocable; we can help balance the scale for others, if not always for ourselves. Hubert Humphrey

Something personal: I forgot.  I PLANNED to do my Monday Love post and then kept getting distracted — and then I just plain forgot!  *Sigh*

We had a great weekend full of family time, and on Sunday we went to the Jonquil Festival at Smyrna Village.   Before entering the festival I told Kylie my expectations for her in order to avoid the incessant “I want this” cries.  I told her we were going to walk around and look at lots of stuff.  She could look at things and show them to me and tell me how much she liked them, but she was not to ask for them.  I told her that when we were all done looking around, we would talk about all the cute things she saw and she could decide on one thing to take home.   Kylie did really well, showing me LOTS of cute stuff, and when we were done, she chose the dog puppet that we saw early on.  Now, here is where Jeff and I made the big mistake.  We let Kylie pick a puppet and started walking back to the car and Jake totally freaked out.  When asked to share and let Jake see her puppet, Kylie dutifully did so and waited patiently to get it back.  Jake walked all the way to the car with Kylie’s puppet  (and she didn’t whine or complain), and then he was beside himself when he had to give it back to Kylie.  I looked at Jeff and said “Why didn’t we let Jake get one too?  They already share everything.  Why can’t they each have their own puppet?”   It wasn’t so much a question to Jeff, but rather, a question of our parenting decisions.  Jake has always been the baby, so he never knew when things weren’t fair.  At some point, he grew up, and now he DOES know when things aren’t fair.  He watches me pour Kylie orange juice and gets mad that he can’t have any.  He points to the cupboard in the kitchen (where the vitamins are kept) and asks for them after I give Kylie hers.  Since he has allergy issues, there will most likely be many “unfair” situations when it comes to food for Jake.  While I know that life isn’t fair by any stretch of the imagination, I do know that we have little opportunities to even the playing field for our kids — like buying them both their own EIGHT-DOLLAR puppet at the festival.  And so we did.  And they were happy.  Lesson learned.

Meet Ruff-Ruff and Panda Bear:

Something interesting: I just read a great post on MCP Actions Blog about understanding the aspect ratio of pictures.  I explain this in detail in my Welcome Information for my clients, but I also think she does a great job.  If you have ever wondered why your picture looks different when you print an 8×10 vs. a 4×6, then you should check this out.:)

What IS it?? Just had to share this picture I took.  Kylie got some Cotton Candy in her Easter Basket and I let her have some, and then put it away in the pantry.  She had a few more pieces over the next day or two, and then forgot about it.  More than half the container was filled with fluffy blue cotton candy, but when I opened the container on Saturday (7 days after Easter), this is what I found.  Kind of makes you wonder what it is right??

Happy Monday AND Tuesday!!!  :)

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Before and After

I don’t know about everyone else but I LOVE before and after pictures.  My favorite are the pictures of people after dramatic change – like weight loss.  I will usually study the pictures to see all the little details of what has changed – fascinating!  I haven’t posted a before/after segment in a while and people have said they enjoy it – so here goes!

I try REALLY hard to get a perfect picture straight of the camera (SOOC).  This includes the correct framing (in-camera crop), composition, exposure, and color.  When shooting in Manual mode (which is how I use my camera – ALWAYS), I have to make adjustments to many different elements in order to get that perfect picture.  I set the ISO based on the available light.  I set the aperture based on my desired focus for the picture.  I set the shutter speed based on my subject (moving, still, etc).  And let’s not forget about the white balance!  PLUS, if I change any one of those elements, all of the other elements will need adjusting as well.  Yes, it’s complicated.

After taking the picture, I do my editing in Photoshop.  Every professional photographer has his or her own personal style for shooting and processing images.  That’s part of what you pay for when you find your custom photographer.

As you can see from this first image, it’s *almost* perfect SOOC.  The composition and color is beautiful, but it looks a little flat.  No matter how perfect an image is SOOC, I find that digital images need a little boost in the final edit process.  For this one, I used the Curves function to “lift” the image (brighten) and I painted a little light over her face and eyes.  Then of course, I sharpened and formatted the picture for web viewing.

For this second image I did the same brightening step with curves and painted a little light around her face.  I decided this would look better cropped a bit closer and then I “burned” the edges a bit to bring your eyes to her face.

Of course, I don’t always get a perfect picture.  Sometimes kids do the cutest things — and I’m not ready!  Here is a perfect example of my Kylie Bear.  The image is VERY underexposed and I missed the focus a little, so her face is not as sharp as I would like.  I had to lift the brightness of the picture A LOT, which makes more noise (grain) in the image, especially on her face.  I also cropped the image to get a better composition, which would limit how large I could actually print it with an acceptable quality.

I am soooooo self critical, so it’s hard for me to see past the imperfection, but I think it’s important to know (even as an amateur) that people will often forgive (or not even see) the “mistakes” when an image speaks to them.  This one speaks to me because I see Kylie’s heart and soul in that face — a face she makes all the time, a face that I am in love with!

Photography is personal.  It’s a form of art and can be created to each artist’s personal style.  I hope you like mine.  :)

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