Thursday, December 30, 2010

Big brother before & after

original - unedited.

This is the (somewhat embarrassing) "BEFORE" shot. I was having such a difficult time with the light, since I was shooting in the only corner of the house that wasn't a complete disaster area. My little man was not really cooperating either - he wanted me to take a pic of his new toy "drill" rather than his totally awesome new "Big Brother" shirt.
BIG brother!!

Nikon D80 edited in Photoshop Elements 7 So here is what I did: first I used the hue/cast tool (in the dropdown menu) to do a little white balance correction - sweet! Next I ran the clone stamp tool - which is my favorite tool, I use it all the time - to erase the little dots on the wall and on his face. Then I ran the FREE action from Everyday Elements called "Florida" and adjusted the levels a smidge - then I ran the FREE action from Paint the Moon called "Sugar Cookies" and adjusted the levels a little more. I left the whole image brighter than I usually would but I think I like it.

I'm linking up to Monica's Before & After blog hop at Pixel Perfect. Be sure to check out her blog for more awesome edits!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Photography Challenge

Hello there! I hope that you all had happy holidays and are enjoying this week. We had a the first white Christmas in 150 years! It was beautiful.
My kids are still home on their winter break and we are enjoying lazy days watching movies and coloring and playing with their new toys and scooters.
You would think as a photographer I would have a million photographs of the holidays but I really didn't take too many. My favorite photos are of the snacks at my mother in-law's house.

The best part of Christmas: telling my kids that I am pregnant! I'm about ten weeks along - with a due date around July or August. Emma is especially excited about the new baby. She kisses my belly goodnight every night. It's completely adorable.
dsc_2650 sugar cookies

I spent more money on this adorable "Big Brother" shirt for Josiah then I have spent on a shirt for any of my kids but it was so worth it to see the looks on the faces of our family.

So this week's photography challenge is kids. I'm sure that we all have cute photos of our kids (or other kids of family or friends) from this last week! I can't wait - I'm sure it'll be a cuteness overload this week! Since I'm really busy (and really tired) there will not be a "favorites" post for this week's photography challenge. I'll start doing those again the following week (1/4) - the theme will be white on white so be planning that week's shot! If you already have a favorite white on white shot please email me a link to it because I'll be doing an inspiration post a couple days before the photography challenge.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Photography Challenge: Love

Can you believe I nearly forgot about today's photography challenge?! I have been so insanely busy with my kids home from school and getting ready for Christmas and tweaking and expanding my upcoming photography class, I'm a total scatterbrain these days!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated last week. So sorry that I've not posted a top 5 post for these last two challenges. I hope you understand.

This week's theme is LOVE. This time of year, when we take a moment to pause from the stress and general insanity of the season, there is so much to love.

My mom & me Christmas 2000

I LOVE my Mom. This photo is from the last Christmas before I married the hubs and moved out. Looking back at that time one of the things I enjoyed most was the time that I spent with my mom in the kitchen. My mom was making her traditional family-recipe orange rolls. These days, this time of year is really hard for my family, but I cherish the memories of our traditional, simple Christmases spent together. 

I can't wait to see the love in your life!  You can link up your blog post or Flickr page - just please remember to put a link-back to my blog. You can copy and paste the code in the sidebar to get a button for your blog post and/or sidebar.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Photography classes

Sometimes I get emails about my classes... you have been asking, is it right for me? what else can I do to improve my photography? Well... my classes are for beginners. I'm not a "professional" photographer, just a mommy with a camera who loves to take photographs and loves to help other people with their photography. When I get your emails telling me how much one of my classes has helped your photography I know that I'm doing something worthwhile... but a lot of you - my wonderful readers - are not beginners. You know how to shoot in manual mode and you are ready for something more. Hopefully one day I'll have the time and mental energy to write a class for you but for now I thought I'd share a few links with you for some other classes I've found around the blogging community.
Disclaimer: I am not making any claims to the quality of these classes, I haven't taken them so I can't vouch for how great or wonderful they may or may not be. Also just thought you'd like to know that I am not being compensated for posting these links in any way.

BLOOM is Brenda Acuncius (who has an amazing blog of her own) and Kristy and they have an awesome blog and provide online and face to face workshops . They are offering a workshop in March $700 for nine weeks. Find out more here.
Also check out the Bloom Forum $60 for 1 year
Be sure to bookmark the Bloom Forum BLOG - very inspiring!

Clickin Moms is an online forum for momtographers. The cost to register is $50 for one year or $195 for a lifetime membership. They offer workshops for their members you can see the list of workshops they will be offering in 2011 here. There are no prices or dates for any of their workshops on the blog.

Kim Klassen photoshop eclasses. Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere you should have heard of the amazing textures available from Kim. She also hosts a couple classes. I'll be taking her free skinny mini class next month. Well, more like observing her class, since I will be up to my eyeballs in my own eclass!

Willette offers some wonderful "Finding Your Joy" workshops and "Keepin it Real" Photo Biz workshop and workbook. She also offers seven different posing guide e-books for $50 each.

One on one mentoring for creativity and photography $800
Project Photography ebook $60

My4Hens Mentorship $250 for two days and $500 for 5 days.

503 photography online workshops - one of the coolest websites ever. $350 for workshop.
One on one mentoring is also available over the phone or in person. Be sure to check out her blog while you are there it is beautiful!

Kelly Rae Roberts is an amazing, creative person she has a book called Taking Flight, an online ebook series called Flying Lessons, a shop and so much more! You just have to check her blog out!

Starting out Right -  thinking about starting up a photography business? Here is a book written just for you! $149 and while you are there check out Year One - a 12 month long series of once a month web classes plus some one on one time. Very cool.

Blog Love e-course for bloggers is 12 sessions from the awesome Elsie of Red Velvet Art and the wildly successful A Beautiful Mess $32 I am so doing this next year! See her other e-courses here.

Tara Gentile has two amazing blogs Tara - big thinking for small businesses and Scoutie Girl and is one of the masterminds behind Creative Empire a forum for creative business owners. She has an e-book called 52 More weeks of blogging your passion and also offers brainstorm sessions  $75 for a blog brainstorm or 4 hours of mentoring for $350. She offers a free mini ecourse, which I have done. I enjoyed receiving a few short emails every week, and look forward to following through on some of the things I learned in the new year.

Well, I hope that you enjoy these links and get inspired to improve your photography (and blogging) in the new year!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Photography Challenge: Simple Beauty

I had such a great post written in my head for yesterday... then I picked up my camera to snap a few photos for it and my battery was dead. I never got back to the computer... so no post on Monday.


This week's photography challenge theme is "Simple Beauty" I choose a detail shot from my Christmas wreath (that I bought from here) because it is the prettiest thing I have photographed lately. What about you? Your beauty might be a detail of your child's face, a decoration, snow or ice. You can link up your blog or Flickr page just please remember to link back to my blog! You can use the button above if you'd like.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snuggles on a Saturday

Hope your weekend is starting out sweet and snuggly. We started our morning with doughnuts (yum!) and are getting ready for the first Christmas party of the year.

The winner of yesterday's giveaway is Sarah from Loving my Life!!

I hope y'all enjoyed this week of giveaways :) Thank you to everyone who entered!

Thank you also for all of your sweet comments on yesterday's bokeh attempt I was really encouraged by all of you.

I got my wreath in the mail yesterday!! I ordered a holiday wreath from handmadecolectibles and yesterday it came!! I am SO pleased with it :) It looks even nicer than I though it would. It is sturdy but there is no visible hot-glue on the edges of the wreath. I love it! I just wish my door was prettier so I could have photographed it better. Cole from Letters from Coco is the artist mama behind this wonderful etsy shop. She has had some wonderful posts lately - you should definitely take a moment to check her out. You'll bookmark it for sure!

I hope that you have a happy weekend - see you Monday!

Friday, December 10, 2010

hello Friday

Here I sit at my computer, letting out a big sigh. I made it through another week. A great, but busy and tiring week.

This morning I was blessed to walk out my door and see this beautiful sky.


Everyone else is doing it so why can't I?

Holiday bokeh.

In general I avoid huge bokeh circles in my photos, and so now trying to get a lovely Christmas Tree bokeh shot is turning into something of an ordeal, but I am bound and determined to discover the secret to great holiday bokeh shots. 

Here are a few attempts from last night...


This one its my favorite so far.

and then, she {snapped}

This week's final giveaway is a gift certificate to my photography classes (which are also available for purchase, just click on the "gift certificate" page tab). It would make a great Christmas present!

To enter  just leave a comment :) For extra entries (leave a separate comment for each entry): tweet about this giveaway(leave link in your comment), mention this giveaway in your blog post (with a link back to my blog - of course! leave a link in your comment), "like" my Facebook page (on the sidebar), Follow on Google friend connect, or join my Blog Frog community forum.
Congratulations to Tim who won the Starbucks gift card!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's a great day!

Today is turning out to be a great day! I got some Christmas shopping done, found a great shirt dress for this weekends Christmas party, the perfect gift for one of my daughters! I spent some quality time with Little Man putting together a puzzle and watching a nature show with him (one of his favorite things to watch - other than Toy Story) and topped the day off with a perfect cup of coffee and a scone from Starbucks. I can't wait to spread a little bit of my good mood with you!

Today's giveaway is a $15 Gift Card to Starbucks

To enter just leave a comment :) For extra entries (leave a separate comment for each entry): tweet about this giveaway(leave link in your comment), mention this giveaway in your blog post (with a link back to my blog - of course! leave a link in your comment), "like" my Facebook page (on the sidebar), Follow on Google friend connect, or join my Blog Frog community forum.

The winner of the Toy Story 3 DVD is Elizabeth! So congratulations to her :)

To add to my good mood today I just got an email informing me that one of my photos was featured in the Me, Myself & I photography challenge hosted by Jen @ pieces of me. There were some other beautiful and artistic photos chosen so I am really honored to be included!

DSC_9694 4

Be sure to come back tomorrow to enter to win one last photography class gift certificate!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Hump Day

I don't know about you but Wednesdays always feel like they are going to be the death of me. I am so very tired and still have so much to do this week! Somehow we manage to get through though, one way or another! One reason why I am so tired today is that  the hubs and I stayed up a little late to watch the new movie Inception. It is an AMAZING movie!

Thank you so much to all of the new participants in this week's photography challenge. It warms my heart to look at your photos. I haven't had time to comment on every single one, but I have looked at them and I will be back by again soon to leave a comment :)

peppermint chocolates!

Apparently my "love language" is getting gifts. The hubs came home with a package of peppermint chocolates that I'd seen an ad for on TV - they are SO good!

Yesterday was a big first for me. I choreographed a dance for the upcoming Christmas play at church. This was totally out of my comfort zone and I was scared to death. In fact I had so much nervous energy waiting for the dancer and her mom to come to my house that I cleaned my house all afternoon! It went really well and we got the dance choreographed in just over an hour! I haven't danced in over twelve years, but it was awesome to do it again. It just goes to show you - it's best to not make decisions based on fear. If I'd listened to my fear I wouldn't have been able to help out a friend or had this great experience! Since there weren't huge piles of laundry in the background I took some cute photos of little man while we were making lunch!


I don't usually cry when my kids hurt me. You know as a parent that getting hurt is par for the course, I get scratched, jabbed and generally abused nearly every day and it doesn't bother me. But last night when little man accidentally poked me in my eye I bawled like a baby. I was tired and stressed out and I guess that his accident was the last straw. While I was sitting there on the couch crying, my oldest daughter came and put her arm around me and just sat with me until I got myself together again. It felt so backwards to be the one being comforted by my child, since I'm usually the one doing the comforting - but it was a really sweet moment too.

Today's giveaway is Toy Story 3 on DVD

It is my son's all-time favorite movie and if you have a little one at home or in your life this would make a wonderful Christmas present!

To enter just leave a comment :) For extra entries (leave a separate comment for each entry): tweet about this giveaway(leave link in your comment), mention this giveaway in your blog post (with a link back to my blog - of course! leave a link in your comment), "like" my Facebook page (on the sidebar), Follow on Google friend connect, join my Blog Frog community forum.

Congratulations to mommarocks - she won Tuesdays giveaway! She has such a cute little blog & etsy shop!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Touch-up Tuesday with the Paper Mama at Paper Heart Camera

Touch Up Tuesday's at the Paper Mama

Before - SOOC

Vanilla Pop sepia 2

Cropped to adjust for a more "rule of thirds" look.
Ran Paint the Moon's Vanilla Pop action (one of my all-time favorite actions!)
+ Pioneer Woman's Sepia & Edge Burn
adjusted levels within layers to get soft pop effect.
Be sure to check out Chelsey's awesome edit at Paper Heart Camera
Be sure to enter my giveaway!! 

Photography Challenge & a Giveaway winner!!

This week's theme for my photography challenge is to just post a favorite photo. It could be your favorite photo of the day, week, month, year - or even your all-time favorite photo!

love this one

Picking a favorite photo is terribly hard for me! I've got so many adorable photos of my sweet little kids, there have been some great minimalist berry and flower shots from the summer that I really love but I ended up with this photo. It is one of my all-time favorite photos. It is from my very first every paid photography job for a friend of mine who sells the most amazing loose leaf tea. This time of year I love a good hot cup of tea so this shot really appeals to me.

I can't wait to see your favorite photos! Anyone can participate, just please just remember to post a link back to my blog on your blog post, and link up with the url of your post and not your blog. You can link up your Flickr page or your blog.

Here are my top 5 for last week's photography challenge. Vote for your favorite!


{Heidi @ meinthemix}

{Ashley Sisk @ ramblings and photos}

{Tez @ Not always picture perfect}

{Brooke Martin}

Congratulations to Diana who won last week's photography challenge by a landslide and Monday's giveaway!! Congrats Diana! Thank you to everyone who entered!

Today's giveaway is a gift certificate for my photography class!!
To enter just leave a comment :) For extra entries (leave a separate comment for each entry): tweet about this giveaway(leave link in your comment), mention this giveaway in your blog post (with a link back to my blog - of course! leave a link in your comment), "like" my Facebook page (on the sidebar), Follow on Google friend connect, join my Blog Frog community forum.

p.s. there are only ten spots left in my January {SLR} photography class so if you've been thinking about registering please don't put it off! Click here to get more info.

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