Wednesday, October 01, 2014

This blog is moving!!

OK, I guess it is time. Time to move on and up (hopefully! ha).
This blog is now going to be moved to this address:

I will leave this blog up, because I don't know if I will start fresh over there, or try to re-post all my old blog posts. Yeah...that probably won't happen. So from now on, head over to the new address, but for viewing any past wondrous blog entries, you can browse here all you want. Sound good?  ;)

Thanks for watching!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Homecoming 2014

This was Geneal's first dance and she so rocked it!! The theme was Great Gatsby. Here she is with her date and group:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pictures of the kids and a cake smash too!

I had a lot of fun taking pictures of these good friends. It was hot outside but the kids were troopers, and such a silly bunch. Baby is in a big stranger danger phase, so the cake smash session didn't go exactly as we had planned, but we still got some gems. The shots of him clapping happened because he thought I was going away and he was saying "Bye Bye". LOL  And he wanted NOTHING to do with that cake. Not having a sweet tooth is good, right?  :) Here is the D family:

Monday, September 08, 2014

It's Family Picture Time--what should I wear???

Gone are the days when white shirts and khaki's are what make a great family photo. And yes, we have one of those. Wanna see? :)

That also means not having all black shirts and jeans, too. Or any one solid color shirt and matching pants. Big no, no. So what CAN you wear for a family photo if having everyone matchy-matchy doesn't look so good?

There are many articles about this online (I will even post some links below), so I don't want to re-invent the wheel here, but I will give a few of my favorite tips for choosing outfits for family pictures.

1. Consider where you are going to be displaying your photo. If your family photo is going to be a focal point in your decor, and I sincerely hope it is, you must consider the color scheme of the room decor. If your house is decorated in light aqua and white, don't go for a red and black plaid theme for your picture, even if it IS Christmas. It will look out of place for the rest of the year, so that is something to think about.

2. Being the mom, I am always the one to pick everyone else's clothes out and then run out of time to get something nice for me to wear. This only makes me want to hide in the back of the picture and feel uncomfortable. So Mom's--pick your clothes first! If not first, at least don't leave yourself for last. Make sure you feel pretty and comfortable in what you are wearing.

3. A big rule for our photos is NO LOGOS. Logos are often distracting and quickly outdated. Go classic. Choose pattern, color, and texture but nothing too flashy or wordy.

4. I like to find a piece of clothing for one family member that has the color scheme I want to go with and then pull the colors out of that. For example, in this picture I found my youngest son's plaid shirt and we used that as our color palette. Choosing 3 colors is a great way to get variety and not too much matching going on. Don't count the neutrals in that number. The blue jeans, black pants, khaki's or whatever else. And you can mix a couple neutrals, too. In fact, I suggest it. The only thing is that with jeans try to make sure everyone has a similar wash. Otherwise it can look a little too random.

5. Accessories are your friend. Scarves, jewelry, hats, cool shoes, etc. add that extra oomph to family photos. It doesn't have to be big and flashy, just a little somethin-somethin to make it special.

6. Here's my biggest tip: do whatever you can to make sure everyone is in a good mood. When the family is happy, it will show in your photos. Likewise if they aren't. We have a few pictures that we look back at and remember how irritated we were at the time. It is kind of funny now that time has passed, but it was miserable in the moment. Play a little bit, get the more posed pictures right away before the kids (and dads) lose interest. Maybe plan a treat for after so everyone has something to look forward to. Try bribing, I mean, rewarding kids with a little prize for doing their best for the pictures. Genuine smiles are definitely the best!

One more piece of advice; when you print your family photo, go BIG. For SURE don't go smaller than 11 by 14, and I would only go that small if you have a gorgeous big frame to put it in. Bigger, in this case, is much better. It is an investment that will make you smile every single day. Don't we need all the happy thoughts we can get these days?

Have fun with your family photos, and don't put off taking it. And then don't put off PRINTING it!  Our family has the tradition of getting a family picture every year and I have them all up in one display. It is the most loved wall in our house by everyone who comes over! What I do is print out our current yearly picture on a largeish canvas and put it in a display upstairs. A small copy then goes into a frame in the grouping downstairs that has a picture from every year we have been a family. We are currently at 21! Here's a peek at our family wall: (excuse the not so great phone pics)

As promised, here are a few links that might help in deciding how to dress your crew for your family pictures~

Kristen Duke
Tilt Photography
Cascio Photo - this one has a bunch of great clothing palettes put together. Some GREAT ideas showing how to mix patterns and colors!

**OK one last, LAST thing. If you have the opportunity to take a family photo and that chance doesn't come around very often, just DO IT. No matter what you all are wearing. You can turn it into a great black and white and no one will know that you all had different colors on. Getting the picture is the most important thing. (can you tell I'm a family photo fanatic? :)  Happy Snapping!

Monday, September 01, 2014

50mm 1.8 lens RAVE

FACT OR FICTION: I need a bunch of expensive stuff to take great pictures!!!


Granted, I haven't been in the photography business for very long. But the more I practice and learn the more I realize that while good equipment is essential, I do not need the most expensive gear to produce great images.

I admit, I fall into the "I want XYZ, I NEED XYZ to take better pictures" trap every now and then. Sometimes being limited by budget is a good thing because it forces you to take what you have and run with it. For example, I am currently saving up for a pretty expensive lens. Do I think it will help me take better pictures? Yes and no. I think it will help me be able to take some different types of shots than I am capable of right now, but not necessarily "better" pictures.

It is true that the type of glass (more expensive glass=better images) does make a difference, but only if you already know how to rock what you got. The lens that pretty much never comes off my camera is my 50 mm 1.8, commonly known as the Nifty Fifty. This lens is available for both Canon and Nikon cameras. It is light and great in low light situations. You can get really great bokeh with this lens (blurry backgrounds), and it is a fixed lens (as opposed to a zoom lens) which means it can take some really sharp pictures.

Eventually I am going to get a 50 mm 1.4 and maybe even a 1.2, but you just canNOT beat the 1.8 when it comes to price. It comes in around $100 and is LEAPS AND BOUNDS above the kit lens, that is for sure. If you don't have a 50 mm yet, this is my biggest tip. Get one! There are tons of articles out there that hammer the crud out of why this lens is fabulous. In fact, here are some for your convenience:

The 50mm 1.8- Small Wonder!

50mm 1.8 vs 1.4

Tips for using the 50mm 1.8 lens

7 reasons every photographer should own the 50mm 1.8 lens

A great lens for bokeh

Now that you have some great reading material, I will leave you with my blessing to go buy this lens. Happy shooting!