Sunday, January 29, 2012

Silly Girl

Here are a couple of videos that have given me a lot of smiles over the past couple of months. There is never a dull moment as a parent:).  In effort to keep this post short and sweet I will just say that I am so incredibly thankful for my little girl.  I spent a little extra quality time with her today to make up for my sick week.  She is such a wonderful distraction from life at times and no one makes me laugh quite like she does.  I just love her to pieces!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

This and That

This has been a long week with the stomach bug for me and Daisy.  She seemed to get through it much faster than me (though maybe her stomach is still bugging her and she just can't tell me in words?).  Nothing like a forced diet and body detox.  My diet was limited to chicken broth, ginger ale and decaf tea with an occasional banana giving me the sum energy level of a sloth.  I spent most of the first day trying to parent my kiddo while in the fetal position on the living room floor and surprisingly we got through it. That was fun. I think there should have been a rule ordained in the Heavens that moms should be spared from getting sick.  I'm sure all moms agree:).

My hubby is away on a fishing tournament this weekend with a friend.  It's actually the first time he has fished in a long time let alone been in a tournament and I am hoping that he has a great day on the water and catches a big one.  He really needs the R & R.  Make me proud babe!

Me and the munchkin get to have even more quality time this weekend (she really is one of my best baby friends. lol) and then tonight I'm heading out for a friend's sushi birthday dinner.  I heart sushi!!  Like mega heart it and I haven't had any sushi in a few months so I am really looking forward to it. 

I am crazy behind on posting the pictures I have taken of Daisy over the past month so the next week or so will probably be a barrage of Daisy updates...she'll be 22 months old on 31st!! 2 more months and she'll be 2! Wowzers! So family, if you have been having Daisy picture withdrawals..stay tuned:). 

It's the end of January and it is sunny and mid 60's here today.  This is crazy, awesome weather for NC and I couldn't be happier.  Getting to play outside in the backyard with my kiddo in the middle of winter really is a dream come true for this California girl.  Thank you God for the mild winter this year.  He must know that I need a little extra sunshine in my life right now:).

We've started watching the newest season of American Idol.  Has anyone else been watching?  I haven't been impressed by too many of the singers except for Bailey and this one guy... I think his name is Cortez or something like that.  I'm betting that he will be in for a long time...but, we shall see:).

**The first time I let Daisy drink out of a big people water bottle she was on cloud nine and she made all of these hilarious faces.  These were taken back in December.  Isn't she a riot.
And this sweet little guy has been keeping me busy this week...editing that is:).  Isn't he precious!

Monday, January 23, 2012

How To Build a Lightbox Challenge

I am excited to link up to Ashley Sisk's Tutorial Tuesday this week.   This week the challenge was to create a lightbox using Rosie's awesome tutorial.  I relied on her tutorial quite a bit both to build my lightbox but, also to edit my SOOC lightbox pictures.  Creating the lightbox wasn't hard but, finding lamps/light to shine in the 3 sides of the lightbox evenly was tricky as we really don't have many lamps or lights in our house other than ceiling can lights.  My hubby was gracious enough to hold a lamp over the top tracing paper panel for me so that I could get my shots.  Thanks babe:).
And without further ado here is my lightbox shot.   I sharpened it and then I used the white dropper to whiten the background as my SOOC shot had a bit of a yellowish tint.  I like this shot because this is my hubby's watch and keys in it.  It has a nice masculine feel to it.  I will confess that out of sheer frustration, I didn't bother with my broken tripod and I really should have as my shots would have been sharper. Lessen learned.

One of my hubby's other 
And lastly, a little dash of femininity.  You can see on the edges of some of these shots that there is a black burn and that is something that I should have corrected in editing...I'm feeling a tad lazy tonight if you can't tell. lol.  This was a neat challenge and I really enjoyed capturing shots that had a commercial flare to them.  I hope to take more shots like this in the future and work out the quirks (more even lighting, tripod for sharper focus etc.) as I go.  You should head over to Ashley's blog and give this challenge a whirl!
Tutorial Tuesday

Friday, January 20, 2012

Antiquing Through a Photographer's Eyes

I wouldn't say that I love all antique shops but, I can say that I do LOVE this one and all the little antique shops that are nestled around it!  When I first started shopping at Suzanna's Antiques a few years ago it was the only shop on the site but, since then they have expanded and now several little antique shops are built up around the perimeter. It's like a little antique town and a person could easily spend hours meandering about.  They do such a fabulous job of displaying the antiques and each vendor has their own booth and different styles of antiques.  It's just plain fun to shop here! I posted pictures from my last trip to Suzanna's Antiques about a year ago and being that my friend Emily and I both have a similar new lens for our camera we decided to give them a little test flight while we shopped through all the fabulous treasures.  I was on the hunt for a suitcase and a cute crate for my Valentine's Day mini session.  I found what I was looking for.  Score!  This place is prop Heaven for a photographer!
How neat would it be do do a vintage themed session and have a young woman all dressed up and looking through these old photographs.  It would feel so nostalgic. 
I would love to do a photography session with a Senior on a bike like this one.  I would fill the basket with something and find a nice field or cobblestone road.  It's charming isn't it!
Kind of hard to tell but, there are lots of different little shops all around the perimeter and Suzanna's is the main yellow building. 
I have a soft spot for banners.  This one was made with music paper and a page from a book I believe.  I will have to make one sometime!  I can definitely envision it hanging above a newborn or a child during a studio session.
Love the old prints on the walls, the colors, the frills and the entire feel of this booth.  So chic and feminine.  Hey, look at that..I got in the picture:).  I would love to do a shoot with a bunch of old pics hanging on a rustic wall behind some kiddos!  Too cute.
 There aren't too many stores that you can shop in that make looking up as fun as looking down and around but, this shop is one of them!  A feast for the eyes at every turn.

I am currently taking a 30 day siesta from coffee and it has been ummm..a challenge.  Seeing this beautiful china with the word coffee screaming at me as I walked by didn't help.  But, it was pretty so I took it's picture even though it was taunting me.  lol
Me and Emily were both smitten with this little outdoor bike/plant holder.  I immediately saw it as a priceless newborn photo prop!! Can't you just imagine sticking a tiny little baby in that seat with a blanket pouring over the side and a cute little pot in the front basket.  OH MY GOSH....I was definitely wishing I had the $$ to scoop this treasure up and yah know what, someone else must have seen what I saw because it was snatched up by the time we left. Sigh.
I really want to buy this red ladder to use for my kids photography sessions. The red would really pop in a shot and I when not being used for photo sessions I would love to stick a flower pot on the little shelf and angle it in the corner of my garden with a little garden sign mounted on it.   Charming isn't it!
And oh how this couch stole my heart.  I would LOVE to have a couch like this as a permanent studio prop.  The color was fabulous (green is my favorite color in most any shade), the character and old charm...swoon.  I would totally use this couch for my family Christmas mini sessions!  LOVE IT!
Loved everything about this entire corner.  Wished I had a gorgeous model to shove in that tiny dress and stare into that darling mirror while putting on lipstick so I could capture the next cover shot for Vogue. No? Well, one can dream can't she:).

My friend Emily, who is also an awesome photographer (check her work out here) had her eye on the chandeliers and lemme tell yah this place has a lot of darling chandeliers! 
 Props can be quite addicting for a photographer can't I suppose going to a fabulous antique shop like this could be equated to sending a gambling addict to Las careful because, it really is that fun!  :) hehe
Saturday, January 14, 2012

2012 Photography Goals

I felt a burst of creative energy at the start of the New Year.  I'm sure it was a combination of finishing up the wedding editing, putting the uber busy holiday season behind me and looking ahead to a new year full of exciting possibilities. 

I've been actively pursuing manual photography and all that pertains to portrait work as since 2009.  I started aggressively pursuing photography as a career towards the later part of 2010 and 2011 was my busiest year thus far.  I tackled a lot of firsts: weddings, newborn sessions, flash photography and event photography.  I was challenged endlessly and grew tremendously not only as a person but as an artist.  It has been quite an adventure to say the least!

I am excited about this year ahead!  I have some pretty clear goals that I have set for myself and I am eager to work towards them and hopefully at the end of this year I will have tackled more firsts and will be able to see even more improvement in my work as a photographer.  So, to hold myself accountable I will share those goals with you all but, I'd also love to hear your goals for 2012 so please share!  I'd love to know what things are you hoping to do or accomplish with the next uh, 11.5 months.  Wow, we have already blown through half a month!  Holy moly!  And I know the rest of the year will fly by just as fast.  Carpe Diem folks...carpe diem. 

My photography goals:

*Learn something new pertaining to editing or photography every month (or more but, at least once a month...don't want to overload myself). This month I learned something very useful thanks to Ashley Sisk over at Ramblings and Photos and her post Tutorial Tuesday.  Ashley and I have become good friends over the past year all thanks to blogger (seriously how cool is that!) and this particular post I learned how to brighten a background with a dropper and how to stretch a background.  I am in love with that new technique and have already used it a few times for some of my creative photography sessions where I had a chair in the shot that wasn't supposed to be there. 

*Do more creative sessions this year.  I think that creative sessions are one of the best ways a photographer can grow.  I am not getting paid so there is zero pressure and zero deadline.  Those two factors alone are quite liberating!  I can edit however I want which is great because it's fun to try new things.  I can also ask the model or models to do things I might not feel as comfortable asking a client that I don't know very well.  It will continue to teach me how to pose people and to give clear direction to clients.  This is an area I still want to grow in.   Getting people to pose naturally with the vision you see in your head is much easier said than done.  I'm excited to get better at this!

*Begin to build a small indoor studio.  I am using the term studio very loosely as it will by no means be a studio but, I want to invest in a backdrop stand, backdrops and a basic light kit so that I can offer kids and baby sessions indoors during our colder seasons here on the East coast.  I am actually really intrigued by print work (like fashion modeling).  I often find myself studying adds in clothing magazines.  I love seeing what props or colors they use to make the set pop.  The things a photographer can learn really are endless! 

*Hone in on my editing style.  My editing style has become more concise recently but, as in all areas of my life I feel that I have multiple personalities when it comes to style.  When it comes to interior design, (which I also love!), I have always struggled to decorate with ease because I love too many different looks.  I love Pottery Barn and whatever style you want to call that.  I love shabby chic and Rachel Ashwell.  I love rustic and I love vintage.  The same is true for clothing, landscape design (another love of mine) and so on and so forth.  With photography however; it is important that the client knows more or less what to expect when they receive their prints so it is essential that my editing style represent me and what speaks to me.  So, how do I accomplish that when so many things speak to me...hmmmm..that is my goal for this year:-). 

*Consistency.  I shoot in manual almost always during my paid client sessions simply because I like to have more control over the lighting. Without going in to too much detail I will just say that I would like to learn how to trust my meter more.  I have a love hate relationship with the meter on my new camera and I think the only way I am going to be able to see more consistency in my shooting is if I learn to let go and trust my meter more even if it does shoot darker than I'd like to.  Surrendering to the meter....I will let you know how this goes:). 

*Work on the design of my photography blog.  It's blah and needs some umph....I will have to give this a lot of thought.  At the moment I really have no idea what I want to do but, I know it needs some TLC.  Presentation is so important as a photographer! 

*Get in the picture more...and not just on days that I am in jammies and look like a hot mess (those are great too sometimes:).  I really want to appreciate some of the pictures taken of me and I guess that will also take some effort on my part.  It is SO easy to never be in the pictures when you are a photographer, when you are a mom and are always the one taking all the pictures and when you just plain aren't comfortable in front of the camera...which, I am not.  Fortunately, my hubby has a good eye and with minimal direction from me he can get a nice shot for me.  Thanks hubby! Being the ever supportive guy that he is, he even took a pause during the middle of his game to snap a few pics for me today.  I am grateful as he helped me tackle one of my goals for the month.  I will share a couple of the others this old lady needs to hit the sack.

Don't let discouragement weigh me down.  I faced a lot of discouragement last year.  I tuned it out for a long time but, for whatever reason towards the latter part of the year some things really got me down and they lingered far longer than they should have.  I want to strive to be less distracted by all the crazy awesome talent around me and just focus on my own goals and my own work.  One day at a time...

So, there you have it. These are my photography goals for 2012 and here is me getting in the picture! 
Your turn!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sequined Skirts Are A Little Girl's Delight

Joey and I went to the mall tonight to get a bite to eat, pass some time and let Daisy run around. She was on cloud nine walking around in the mall like a big girl and going in and out of the stores with her Daddy and Mommy. While in The Children's Place we had one particularly priceless parent moment.  As Daisy was walking around in the store she happened upon a little sequined black skirt on one of the lower wracks all by herself and she was mesmerized.   Joey and I still weren't thinking much of it but, as we watched our precious little girl sway back and forth with her new treasure pinned against her waist we heard her say, "oooooooo purrrrdeeeeee," and we bust up laughing and smiled so big our faces hurt.  She pointed to the ground and asked us to sit down so we could oo and aaa over her new skirt so we did just that...and weird as it might have looked to everyone around us, we had the sweetest 5 minutes together as a family.  A couple of times Daisy held the skirt up to Joey and said, "Daddy like."  Oh man, we were both a big mess of sloppy parental mush (and yes I just made that up so it probably only sounds right to me lol). And while she was still holding the black sequined skirt she reached over and grabbed some sparkly silver she isn't even 2 yet and she already has more fashion sense than her momma! hahahaha  It really was a memory that I know Joey and I will always treasure.

And while I am on the subject of little girls and cute things they can, little girls are fun to shop for!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


It's official!  After posting to my photo blog yesterday, uploading an album to Facebook and an album to my website (well, technically the proofing gallery is up but, not the album), I am officially done with my November wedding!! FINITO! WooHoo!  Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty I'm free at last!  hehehe. That being said, plan on me visiting your blogs a little more!  I have missed you all and look forward to finding out what everyone has been up to!  And thanks so much for hanging in there with me friends.

Editing 600+ pictures kept me extremely busy during every nap break and every bed time for the past 2.5 months. For me, editing is probably the most tedious part of being a wedding photographer.  Shooting the actual wedding is exhilarating! I love going to a new setting, working with a new wedding party, new details and beautiful moments to capture. Coming home after the wedding and looking through all the pictures is also very rewarding.  Quite often as I sort through the images one or two pictures will keep jumping out at me.  It's as if those shots capture the essence of what I felt when I shot the wedding.  The shot below, is one of those essence shots as I like to call them. lol.  The shot was intentionally focused on the bride's boots as they swooshed around which gave the shot so much character and whimsy and blurred behind the rustic boots are the bride and groom with big beaming smiles that say it all.  " We are so happy. Life is good.  I love him and I love her."

Monday, January 9, 2012

Holiday Love

We were so blessed to have an abundance of family in town this Christmas.  Joey's mom and brother flew in from CA, his sister is local, his Grandparents, Aunt and Uncle drove in from a couple of hours away and his cousins drove in from FL and IN. We had a house full of laughter and love...just the way I like it!  

And another thing that I really like...the sweet picture of my family below.  My Grandma sent us jammies in the mail just a few days before Christmas.  She started the tradition of giving all the grand kids the gift of jammies (often matching) on Christmas Eve, which we would then wear to spend the night at her house.  I've gotta be honest....I loved this tradition when I was a little girl and I not so secretly LOVE this tradition at 28!!  I definitely look forward to continuing this tradition with my children.  Thanks so much Gram and Pam:)!  I didn't notice Daisy's little wave until I was uploading the picture.  Such a cute surprise!
I of course had to get the family in on the picture frenzy.  Here we have Joey's Aunt Kathy, Uncle Mike, cousins Daniel and Robin and her boyfriend Ben.  Daisy is pretty much a given in their family photos now days.  lol.

And perhaps you would like to see me being my usually awkward in front of camera self...see, there is a reason why I am a photographer.  I prefer being behind the camera.  Just sayin'....
Coffee is a must at any social gathering in my house.  Love the coffee aroma wafting through the air.  Love the warm cup between my two cold hands and love handing out a cup for everyone to enjoy.  Warm and cozy beverage = happy people!
And along with coffee comes chocolate.  I know you are just dying to come to my house now:).  Sometimes it takes a while to decide which chocolate is calling your name.  This picture was thus appropriately titled "The Dilemma."  LOL.  Truth be told, I am not a big chocolate lover which is probably the only reason I was willing to share this box of goodness with others.
And there was never a shortage of cute things to look at.  Daisy took care of that!
I began to get a little giddy for Daisy to open a present on Christmas morning.  We had been up since 7 and we were waiting for all of the family to arrive around 8:30 and I just couldn't wait anymore so I slipped Daisy a gift.  Daddy was a little upset that I didn't give him time to get the camera set up and this is Daisy's face as she is wondering why I gave her a fabulous gift only to have Daddy ask her to wait a tiny second as he ran and grabbed the video camera.  hehehe...cruel perhaps but, also quite funny if I do say so.
She only had to wait like 5 seconds...
and it didn't take her much longer than that to open her present...
I had one of those mushy mommy moments as I observed how much time Daisy took to observe each and every gift that she opened. 
Of course the novelty wore off eventually and she was ready for her next goodie...unfortunately for her it still wasn't quite time to open the rest of her presents.  Tugs on the ol' heart strings a wee bit doesn't it:).
one more look at her cute little forlorn face....
It wasn't long before we were back in the game though...
I think it's safe to say that the laptop was one of Daisy's favorite presents.
And I know this because when Uncle Jeremy had to take it away to cut it out of the box..she wasn't very happy at all....and it was hilarious....especially since all Uncle Jeremy wanted to do was make her happy.  He just couldn't win.  Thanks for giving the entire family a nice laugh Daisy:).
"Mommy, I want my pwesent back." So so so so cute.  You can tell that I melted:).
See, as I said...lots of laughter.
And then before we knew was all over and all the presents were unwrapped and Daisy was wearing her darling outfit from Great Grandma Marshall and singing with a box of cake mix (or something) in her hand.
and then I went to go take a shower and when I was done and came out of my room this is what I was greeted with...
Daisy was having a blast sitting in her new wagon, eating a cracker and hanging out with her fam.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love my little girl? much.
This darling cake was taunting all of us from the counter all morning.  Joey's mom did a fantastic job on this Christmas tree cake!
A little out of sequence but, these pictures below were taken on Christmas Eve night just as we were heading off to our church service, which was UH-MAZING by the way.  I cracked up when I saw this one a few nights back. 
And our little fam gamily all dressed up for church.  Truth be told, Christmas Eve and Easter are the only services that we ever dress up for and not because we have too but, more because we need an excuse to clean up once in a while. LOL.  Our church is quite casual.  I also need to add that this night was the first time in my life that I wore a crazy 3" heel.  I don't like heels because I am already plenty tall enough and don't want to tower over my hubby but, secondly I don't feel safe carrying a baby in wobbly heels.  By jove I did it, though I did take them off the entire service and only almost fell once.  It was my last victory of 2011!