Sunday, January 15, 2017


according to everly - [disneyland edition- because those were the only questions she would answer]

who's your favorite princess: Jasmine
what's your favorite ride: the roller coaster, the one I go on
what's your favorite thing to eat in the parks: rice, yes mom, they have rice there
what's the first thing you do when you enter the park: go see the princesses!
what's your favorite dress to wear to the parks: Rapunzel
what souvenir do you want to buy next time we go: a kitty cat, the one with the little bow, from aristocats
what ride do you not like in disneyland: the roller coaster, the big one, where you hear all the people screaming
what's your favorite drink in disneyland: water
favorite dessert: beignets 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

why photos always deserve a second glance [edit & cropping is your friend]

after trying to get a nice family photo on christmas, and failed because my kid was refusing to oblige my one request, and the weather was freezing, my daughter was dressed as moana, and my husband had a migraine, I wanted some photos of everly and I for new year's eve [the mr. was working]. when I first looked at my camera, I was a little disappointed.  it seemed like I couldn't get a decent photo of ev and I no matter how hard I tried. my slip was showing, our feet were cut off, and the lighting wasn't great since it was late in the afternoon.  but then, I looked a little closer...

her face, our cuddles, and my hair, okay, these have some serious potential.

being able to take amazing photos is a gift. I am by no means saying I'm in the league of professional photographers with this post.  instead, I wanted to share a few tips that everyone, no matter their camera level or ability, can use to make their photos even better.

right now, we live in an age where everyone is sharing their photos, and quickly, one can see that there is a real difference among pictures.  some of my favorite instagrammers use amazing cameras to help them curate a perfect feed. however, many use plenty of iPhone photos that still have the wow factor. and for the most part, the difference is editing.
here's the same image, before editing... a little less frame-worthy
many times, there are parts of an amazing picture that take away from the image itself, making it seem mediocre at first glance.  in this case, a dirty driveway is not really adding to the look I'm going for.  the showing slip and weird knee placement also isn't helping.

easy solution, step 1 - crop your photos.  I find it easiest to crop my photos within whatever photo app or program I'm using for editing. as you become better at taking photos, you will start to automatically crop your shot so you can omit this step. however, sometimes you give your camera to a stranger on vacation to take a non-selfie family photo, and you are left with something that wasn't exactly taken the way you had hoped.

so here were my steps from, oh, ok, to LOVE, share, frame-

here's the original:
here's the cropped version:
*always get rid of unwanted sights [dirty driveways, etc.]
here's the final version:
*edited using A Color Story app on my iphone [this filter is called Sharp - 97% intensity]
I included this one, not because it is my favorite, but because it was Everly's
I think she likes her pose, and I guess my eyes being closed is okay, 
the more I look at it
it was the one photo I printed that she insisted go on the mantle at home

other thoughts:
I do take photos with my Sony A6000 almost ALL of the time.  it is a small DSLR camera that allows me to have it in my purse almost always.  it also has the wi-fi feature that lets me directly take the photos from my camera to my phone.  I find that I like editing photos the most from my phone, it just seems less daunting.  if you are already taking photos with your smart phone, then you are ready for the next step. 

there are SO many amazing photo editing apps, in fact, probably too many.  I like to focus my attention on one at a time.  over the years, I've tried countless apps, but right now, my allegiance is with The Color Story app.  many of my favorite filters are in their free 'essentials' pack that comes with the initial download.  I've purchased other filter packs in the past year, but the ones that I'm sharing here today are 100% free!  editing photos is a complete personal preference.  I also go through phases and trends with how I edit my photos, it is just part of the fun! remember, almost all photo editing apps allow you to reduce the intensity of the filter, which almost always needs to be done.  for these images, I only lessened the intensity by a small percentage.  even instagram allows you to lessen the impact of the filter - I normally find a filter at 100% to be a little too much for my liking. again, personal preference.  there are many factors to take into account with the original photo's qualities that will alter how you edit it, again, play around and have fun.  

and to my amazing mom who took these photos - thank you.  I appreciate that you didn't strangle me when I suggested you look through the view finder when the display screen wasn't popping up - I know photography isn't your favorite hobby, but you helped prove a point here.  and you gave me some of my favorite photos of us ever - thank you!!!

*cropped photos were done after the fact, I never 'save' a cropped, unedited photo.  any slight differences between images are due to this, not the editing step itself.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

fourth year of photo challenges [the 52 project]

while going through some old posts, I realized that I'm about to start my fourth year of participating in the 52 project!  I'm excited to share my first portrait of the year here soon - but for now, I can't help but to share a few of my favorite photos from the first two years of my weekly portraits.  the one photo top center was the very first weekly portrait I ever took!  swoon.
it is so fun to see these little changes and transitions all in one place.  from head bows to the tiniest piggy tails that anyone ever did see.  and I think there is only one thing that I miss about our rental home - that exposed brink fireplace on our front porch, man, that was pure photo magic. the house was always so dark, but that porch was my saving grace.  I now have a pretty sweet brick fireplace wall in my dining room, and a garage door of my dreams, both perfect photo spots, so I guess I'll do just fine finding spots for photos, but I digress.  

see our participation in the 52 project here.
and a look back at our third year in the project here.

excited for another year of weekly with my four year old!

Monday, January 2, 2017

a look back at the 52 project for 2016

it's amazing how quick the weeks fly by.  joining in on the 52 project has been one of my favorite blogging adventures.  lately I find sharing a thousand photos of a single event here just too tedious, and instead, my passion in this past year or so has been making our mini-films.  however, as much as I love those little films, there is still something to be said for the simplicity of a good photograph, and that is what the 52 project has allowed me to focus on.  one photograph of my daughter, every week of the year.  here's just a little sample of a few of my favorite 52 portraits I took of everly this year. look at that baby face taken at the beginning of 2016, and then full on little girl in the last photo taken on christmas day.  I can't think of clearer proof of how my little toddler is no more, and I'm clearly raising a little girl these days.