photography

NYCharging.

Hey there, lost my mind today when my lunch was interrupted several times by someone who claimed they didn’t know how to wash strawberries and then again by someone who kept making demands of said strawberries. I feel I should also mention I was hiding in the kitchen to eat my lunch so the circling vultures wouldn’t move in on what I had made myself rendering me lunchless.

I’m in this stage of life where I don’t get to just sit down and eat, I get to serve everyone else, cut big things into small bites for some people and make sure everyone has a drink, enough sauce, the right utensil and if something gets spilled I’m usually the one closest to the towels. It’s okay, it really is. I can still remember the last time my dad ever cut my French toast for me, I wonder if he remembers it too? If he remembers that transition to me not needing him for stuff like that anymore.

This is exactly the type of thing you can’t focus on when you’re a parent. Like when’s the last time I took a shower without someone asking me about my udders? When’s the last time I used the restroom without someone banging at the door for something? When’s the last time I talked to another grown up I’m not related to? When’s the last time I had an uninterrupted meal or conversation? While we’re at it, when’s the last time I shaved my legs? WAIT! Where did that chin hair come from?

It’s nice to raise these little people to independence, but sometimes the road to independence is paved with screaming frustration.

Like today.

This weekend I’m headed to New York City with my camera. I miss having my camera in my hand, I miss that excitement of having a memory card full of possibilities and going to bed at 2 am because I just can’t quite quit Lightroom just yet.

My hands have been full, literally and figuratively, being a mom.

The mom part of me is worn out, the wife part of me is grateful for a husband who supports what I love to do. The creative part of me is desperate to get out and make something beautiful and tangible that doesn’t hide under the table to poop or laugh when I take off my pants.

What is your thing? What is your escape? What brings you back to center and recharges your batteries for everything you have to face in life?

This is mine.

Self Portrait Chicago '08

(Side note, this photo is from 2008, before Vivi came out of my hips sideways and permanently altered my bone structure. Ah, memories.)

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end of august.

august 19th-1609
august 19th-1608
august 19th-1639Reading Before Bed
Reading Before Bed

Reading Before Bed
swimmin' sistersswimmin' sisters
swimmin' sisters

swimmin' sisters

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yesterday was magical.

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Feeling hoppy. #LookForTheLovely
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OKAY FINE. One more, bus reunion. #LookForTheLovely
Last one, promise. These two were just too much tonight. #LookForTheLovely
This is what -_- looks like on a cat.
In training.
These two. #LookForTheLovely

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the best off the boat.

(part two to the best of the boat.)

St. Thomas, USVI

Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013

Antigua
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013

Tortola, BVI
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013

Nassau, Bahamas
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013
These tiny islands really put our floating city into perspective.

****

Disclosure: Accommodations, most expenses and travel were covered for my family and me while on board.

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how to make a blurb instagram book without losing your mind.

When I had the opportunity to give away Blurb books to anyone who wanted one, a lot of people left me comments about how frustrating it was make the stars align and make the darn book already. I hear you, I futzed with Bookify A LOT before having it finally make sense. And when I say ‘make sense’ I mean ‘make a book the way I make books both quickly and easily.’

Here’s what I do, every two to three months I make a little hardcover collection of my Instagram photos, I include all of them and lay them out in chronological order.

If you’re interested in doing such a thing (or a book of select photos from Instagram) HERE YOU GO. Follow step by step and you shouldn’t scream at your computer more than once (maybe twice.)

Start at the beginning, which is Blurb.com, from the main page go to ‘Make Your Book’ down to ‘Use Blurb Bookify™ Online.’ (If you already know your book is going to be over 200 pages you’ll have to use BookSmart™ and that’s an entirely different post.)

From the next page choose ‘Get Started.’

At this point you’ll see options for different layouts. Instagram, Facebook and Designer. The rest of this post will walk you through how to ‘Or do it your way in any size’ which can lessen a lot of the frustration if you’re super picky about how your book turns out.

All of my Instagram books are the 7×7 size, the pictures end up being about 5×5 and they are perfect.

Unless you want to add text to every photo, choose the clean and simple layout. It’s easier to add in a few text pages here and there if you want them then to start with text on every other page. I’ve never tried the bold black background. If black is your thing? Go for it.

Next it will ask you where you want to pull your pictures from, I always pull mine directly from Instagram by signing in from this screen:

This is an important step. DO NOT JUST CLICK ON THE FOLDER LABELED INSTAGRAM PHOTOS. As you can see I have 936 photos in my folder and if I tried to add them all to my book I would be lectured about using BookSmart™ for books over 200 pages. Instead, click ‘Open.’

Since I make my books on the last day of the month every two or three months I don’t really have to hunt and peck around for particular photos. I just start with the last photo from the month and go back to the first photo after the last photo I ended on in my last book. Shift+Click between photos to select a large group, then you can Command+Click to add or remove a few random shots you either do or don’t want to use. Selected photos will be highlighted in orange.

Once you’ve selected your photos choose ‘I’ll drag and drop my own photos.’ It will take a little longer but you’ll know they’re going in the order you want. For some reason ‘Place my photos for me’ has never quite worked out despite multiple attempts.

Keep the photos in ‘My Sorting’ if you want them in chronological order of newest to oldest.

Scroll to the far left end of the lightbox along to bottom to find your oldest photo, drag and drop it to the first page, working backwards through the lightbox stream as you add pages to your book. Once you fill the default 20 pages just keep adding more pages with the little ‘add page’ icon at the upper right corner of the book layout until you’ve added all of your photos. (My books are all between 140 and 180 pages.) In this layout option you’ll also have the option to create a title page. I usually include the dates, locations included in the book, as well as any special people who may appear as well.

The photos you drag into the layout will be full bleed, which can be a bit much for an Instagram photo as far as clarity when printed. You’ll have three basic size options for your photos if you choose not to go full bleed and these are smaller, bigger and biggest. I prefer the bigger (not biggest) size myself. The smaller is almost too small and the biggest is just a little too big. You can change the size of each photo as you upload it or go back through and change them all once you have all your photos in order (again, takes a longer time than using a template, but if you want consistent and specific sizing, it’s the only way I’ve found to do it.)

Now that your photos are all in place and sized right, it’s time to design your cover. I prefer the ImageWrap hardcover. I have two little kids looking at these things daily, a dust jacket is out of the question. Plus they just look nicer on my shelf with hardcovers. You can make your cover however you want. Just a title, just one photo or a collage like I do. I add the date and book number to each cover as well (I mean, *NOW* I do. Now that I have this whole process down to a science.)

You can also edit the spine of your book (if you chose hardcover) as well as the back. One of the things I liked least about the automatic Instagram layout was there was no option for adding a back cover image. MOAR PIKCHURS I SAY! I’ve noticed I’ll get a warning that my image is too low resolution to do a full bleed on the back, but I need to just ignore it because when I size them down I get funny, sometimes crooked, and inconsistent edges. Again, the back can have an image, all text, or an image and text (or blank, which boring.) You can also choose from a number of background colors for your cover, the ones I’ve used have all been the default options, I haven’t ventured into custom cover colors yet.

Once your cover, spine and back cover are designed click to preview your book. You’re so close to being done! Once you’ve previewed your book, choose the style of cover you want and get ready to order it!

From the time you complete your book you’ll have two weeks to order a copy or Blurb will delete it.  On the order screen you will have options to upgrade the endsheets (3), the paper (2), make a PDF version (5), order multiple copies (4) as well as different cover options (1). You’ll also have the option at the top to convert your book to an ebook for your iPad for $9.99, I’ve only done this once for a wedding album and it was a nice touch for my clients.) When you’re set, hit order (6.)

Now, about pricing. Upgrading the cover, paper and end sheets will all add up. (The paper is the biggest expense.) If I were to get the softcover and basic paper on 180 page book I would pay $36.99. However I choose to upgrade as these books are investments for me and there always seems to be a discount code available each month. The same 180 page book with premium paper and ImageWrap hardcover was $69.11 (before a 20% discount).

Endsheets? Total personal preference, I’ve ordered them all and don’t have a problem with the standard mid-grey end sheet.

Paper? The thickest and sturdiest (also the most expensive) is the ProLine Pearl Photo Paper. It’s nice, but it’s almost too thick for a book this size. Next in thickness is the ProLine Luster Paper, while the ProLine Matte and Uncoated are about equal. The biggest issue with the uncoated is if a sticky finger gets on it the smudge will stay there forever. Not the best paper for books that will be handled a lot by kids, but by far my favorite to look at and touch. The second best print quality is on the ProLine Lustre paper, but the image size (either small, big, biggest or full bleed) has more to do with image quality than the paper.

So there you have it.

Hope this helps at least one person.

I’ve loved making and having these books, the thought of going back through all 1,200+ of my Instagram photos now to do this? Overwhelming (but I’d still do it.) Keeping up on it every other month makes sure no moments are forgotten in some digital file somewhere.

Go forth! Make tiny books for you to enjoy!

Get 15% off your next book with the code BOOKSFORSUMMER or use the following link: (Code good through June 30th, 2013.)

(Also, this is not sponsored. If nothing else it will help me with making my own books going forward. All opinions are my own, links are affiliate, books paid for with my own money.)

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when your other friends get married.

20 months ago a boy named Abe played his guitar at Brooke and Parker’s wedding.

At the end of the night he asked out Brooke’s little sister, Brittany.

Yesterday Brittany and Abe were married as enormous flakes of snow fell silently to the ground behind them.

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

These weddings aren’t fair to all the other weddings, they are simply too magical.

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Everyone leaves more in love and more thankful for the opportunity to spend a day and a night surrounded by music, love, flowers, laughter, amazing food, family, and friends.

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

 

Brittany and Abe's Wedding

Congratulations you two, thank you for letting all of us take a little hit of your happiness last night.

****

***

**

*

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the last 72 (in photos)

a bunny and a glove.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

Addie at 8

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny and a glove.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

try some snow!

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

Addie at 8

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

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how to photograph a fistful glitter in the air.

I blame Ke$ha for making me want to go insane, go insane throw some glitter make it rain. There’s also P!NK who was all “Have you ever thrown a fistful of glitter in the air?” and I was all, “You know what P!NK? I haven’t, but I sure would like to.”

So I bought some glitter and did just that. (Well, I made Cody’s baby sister throw it. (And by “throw” I mean “blow” which brings this whole thing back to Ke$ha meaning maybe that girl really does know what she’s talking about.))

Here’s what to consider when you throw glitter.

A) You want to be far enough back so the glitter doesn’t blow into your expensive camera.

B) You want a nice wide aperture so you get more in focus, not just one or two flecks of glitter and a fingertip.

C) To have a wide enough aperture you need somewhere bright to shoot (which usually means outside which is good because who wants to blow glitter all over their house?)

D) Having something bright (like the sun) means you don’t have to set up external side lighting to highlight the glitter (which is what I found a lot of photographers doing when I did my “how to photograph glitter in the air” research. It’s totally fine if you want to do it that way but I’m kind of lazy and if the sun is willing to light stuff up for me? Go ahead sun!)

E) Finally, you want a nice high shutter speed so you can catch the glitter mid-flight. Too slow and you’ll wonder why you just took a picture of someone blowing into their hands.

I shot these with a Canon 7D with a 70-300 f/4.0-5.6 IS outside on a super bright and sunny day.

BUT. Guess what happens when you shoot at high noon on a super bright and sunny day?

If you guessed harsh shadows, pat yourself on the back because you would be correct.

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I fixed this little conundrum by moving her up next to my light colored house. BOOM. Instant reflector.

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(Isn’t she pretty? She’s single! Florida area! Call today!)

Another thing worth mentioning is that the f/stop actually went up an entire stop in the following photo yet the background became even more lovely and blurry. BUT HOW CASEY?

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Compression! In the first photo I was standing fairly close to her (well, as close as 70mm will let you stand, perhaps four feet?) In the photo above I’m standing at least 12 feet away from her but I’m zoomed in which allows her to be totally in focus while the background just blurs into lovely oblivion. This is why I shoot portraits with my 70-300 lens if I can, they’re so much more realistic and lovely and it’s also why I don’t need a 70-200 2.8L. Stand far enough back with a zoom lens and you’re going to get a delicious bokeh that rivals any low aperture lens at half the size and a quarter the cost.

ONTO THE GLITTER.

I shot this on AI SERVO which means if and when her hands moved while she blew on the glitter they would stay in focus. I also set my shutter to continuous release (which is *I think* 8 frames per second on my camera.) I wanted a nice wide aperture so I could get a lot of the glitter in focus but have her just slightly out of focus. Even though it was bright as dickens outside I moved my ISO up to 400 so I could get my shutter speed higher to catch the glitter in mid air.

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For the first set I filled her hands with just silver holographic glitter, not super fine but also not that scratchy crummy stuff we used in grade school.

How to Photograph Throwing Glitter

The second time around (once I was sure I knew I was getting what I wanted) I filled her hands with foil confetti stars as well as a fine holographic blue glitter.

How to Photograph Throwing Glitter
How to Photograph Throwing Glitter

More sparkle is never a bad thing.

Since I was zoomed in on her no glitter ended up on me or in my camera and thankfully it was a calm day so the glitter carnage on her was kept to a minimum as well.

I think that’s it! Any questions? Comments? Concerns?

My next big idea is to fill a balloon with glitter, blow it up then photograph it popping. CAN YOU IMAGINE THE GLITTER BOMB!? WHEE!

So there you go, Ke$ha and P!NK sang about it. I made it happen.

(animated GIF tutorial can be found here.)

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