Photography with Kristen Duke~One year ago…with a personal photo tip

I thought it would be fun for me to share the story of how Amy and I met…she being in Utah and me in Texas.  It was just a year ago (next week). I had discovered her blog in January 2010, stumbling upon her Valentine’s day crafts.  I got all excited to get crafty, which kinda surprised me (as well as my mother who tried for years to get me interested)! I get very impatient when it comes to crafts and maybe I shyed away from them because all I knew was toll painting and ceramics like my mom did when I was younger.  I didn’t fully realize that crafting could be cute and modern.  I LOVE decorating for the holidays and I didn’t have much in the way of Valentine’s day stuff.  Here is the post of my friend Liz and I making the topiary from The Idea Room.

After making this craft, I found myself up late at night reading Amy’s back entries.  About her home organization, potty training, even posting her messy home on a rough day. As I read, I thought to myself…”I really like her…we could be friends!”  In that same post with the pink topiary, I noticed not only The Work and the Glory book series (which I read in high school and adored, and I rarely get hooked on books) but next to the craft on her shelf a quote that had long before resonated with me, and it was then that I knew we were kindred spirits.  The quote by Plato says, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  Click here to see the picture.

I had previously subconciously declared this as my life motto. It’s so simple, really.  I have to remind myself that when others are unkind, there is a root to that, and it’s usually a sad story behind it.  I tell my kids when they mention bullies that they most likely don’t have a lot of love in their life, or they wouldn’t be so unkind. All we can do is show kindness in return.

Here wer are huddled against my car (the only shade–best light) at the end of the session.

Upon traveling to Utah in March of last year, I emailed Amy to tell her how much I love her blog and for bringing out domesticity in me.  I offered to take her family pictures while I was in Utah, and I was delighted that she said Yes! We set it up on a Tuesday morning…everything was planned out.  Well, you know what happens when you have solid plans?  Something happens. After a visit to (up)Chuck-A-Rama with my grandparents and family, half of us woke up in the night with food poisoning. It was BAD! I was tormented about the idea of cancelling, and was too weak in the morning, so I had my husband call and hope she and her family could reschedule til the next day. I slept all morning and didn’t get up til noon.  I got it the worse, and I rarely get sick! Amazingly, that evening I felt much better and by the next morning, I was back at 100%!  We did were able to meet up the next day (St. Patrick’s day) and my hubby came as my assistant to downtown Ogden where we met up with Amy and her cute family.

My favorite shot and one I’ve used on my business card

Our conversation was limited as I snapped away…but we got to chat a bit inbetween some great shots at a fun new location.  We chatted, our hubbies chatted, and I wished my kids were there to meet her kids, because I think they would have fit right in!  Someday…  In the months since, we have gotten to know each other much more by email, and I have said over and over again how much I feel our life goals are in sync with each other.  When I got back home, Amy asked me if I’d be interested in sharing photography tips on her blog.  I was excited at the idea, as it brought to life my longtime desire to share with others what I have learned…often  at the help of so many others sharing with me. 

Now for a quick photo tip.  When having YOUR picture taken, always remember to do 3 things.
1) Turn the hips
2) Pop the knee
3) Bend the arms

Straight on, the hips look so much wider than when I turn to the side.  Also, to have a separation of the legs by lifting one heel and popping the knee, helps slim as well.  Lastly, giving the arms something to do besides just hang there looks so much more relaxed.

 Now, I love coming here to post, the only problem, is I often have a hard time coming up with ideas to share after a year of weekly and now 2x a month.  So I ask you to go back and look at what I have already covered and give me more ideas!  I have thought about going detailing step by step as to how I approach each photography session (teens, couples, families, newborns) because I know there are photographers that read this, does that sound interesting?  I could also go into crafty ideas using pictures, I have one I have wanted to do and that would be a good excuse. Lets hear what you want to learn (that I haven’t already covered). If you want to see more examples of how to pose in pictures, I recentlly snapped a bunch of myself for yesterday’s blog post.
Have a great day!

Photography with Kristen Duke~Water pictures

Hello friends!  Two weeks just seems so long in between our “chats” but I have been so busy, it is much needed for me!  For those of you that have a camera that you can control the settings, we are going to talk about 2 different effects with changing your shutter speed in regards to water. For the longest time, I would see cool pictures with water and really want to figure out how to shoot them, but I had no clue how. I’ve got 2 different examples for you today, hopefully this will teach you a new trick.
First is slowing down your shutter speed to capture the constant flow of the water such as this waterfall below.  The first shot, I could tell it wasn’t slowed enough.  You can still see droplets. 
I was at 1/25 on my shutter and new I had to slow it down even more.  Tripods are quite necessary for this, as you will likely get camera shake without. Below is pulled back, but you can see the flow of the water is captured how I wanted….soft and pretty.
See, I was at 1/.6 on my shutter.  A slow shutter means when you press your shutter button, it will stay open longer and therefore catch a lot of movement in one scene. 
The second example is speeding up the shutter and freezing the droplets of water. I’ve got 3 examples below.
These two shutters are cranked way up to 1/1600, but the aperture was quite low.
Don’t you love the look of seeing water droplets frozen in time? I do.

Below, since my aperture was 2.8, but shutter isn’t as high, plus we were in the shade. Simple enough?

Sorry if these make you long for summer (these were taken then).
Now go give that a try! 
On a sidenote…
Did you take the say NO! to auto challenge?  I’d love to hear all about it!  I’ve got some reviews going on my blog and would love to hear (over there) how it is going.  If you don’t know what I am talking about, CLICK HERE to find out more.
~Kristen Duke

Photography with Kristen Duke~Valentine’s Photo Ideas

First off, I’m so glad that many of you enjoyed the post 2 weeks ago about coloring pages.  I did hear that if you don’t have photoshop, that you can use picnik and it’s free online.  Look it up!  Thanks also to those who have purchased my e-book.  I was so excited to see over 600 comments for those that entered the giveaway.  I have been overwhelmed with the response and to hear how it has already made a difference for those that have read it makes me so happy! For more info on the book, read here.

Now onto todays post….

I wanted to share with you some ideas I have had and have seen about how to make your Valentine’s Day a bit more special, by using that handy dandy camera of yours.

Last year, I made picture Valentine’s for my kids and printed them on business card sized cards. I think it is fun to do something personal, this is what I did for my oldest:

I’ve seen this idea in a few places, but most recently from Eighteen25, another fun way to include your kids pictures in Valentine’s.

Take a picture of them holding out their fist and after printing, stick a sucker in it!

What about with a Hershey’s kiss or other small candy like this from Born Again Crafter:

She even shares a step by step if you aren’t quite sure how to do it.

A garland of polaroid kisses by Life is Sweet…

Those of you that have come to my site know that I love the polaroid look on a garland.  She went for the kissing theme and included lots of kissing shots of not only she and her hubby, but kissing on their cute little baby, too.  Do you have kissing images that would be fun to display just for Valentine’s Day? Remember, kids love to see those pics of them out and about…and they need to know that you love your spouse, so why not pull out those shots?  They may say “ew” but it gives them comfort inside. What a great idea this is! Check out more kissing shots on her blog, her writing makes me happy….she sounds very cheerful.  I want to be her friend….she is adorable.

Next, I found this cool idea. This is from Homework:  A branch photo holder.

I just want to carve mine and  hubby’s initials into the heart. Notice the kissing shot…:)
A fun activity to do on Valentine’s Day with the family is to play Family BINGO with pictures! Eighteen25  shared this template and I added my own images with a lovey theme. Can you tell my son in the green jacket is spelling something out?
(Ummm, my hubby looks exactly the same in the 2 couple shots taken 1 year apart…his pose, his tie…).  Lastly, I took my girls out a year ago for a Valentine’s Day photo shoot and here are a few of my favorites:
They are printed and hanging in their room.  And you remember the coloring page I made?  Here is the image I got it from…
What better way to celebrate the holiday of love than with pictures of those you love the most!

Photography with Kristen Duke~Starting and maintaining a Photography Business

Hello friends!  Happy New Year!  Though the month is halfway over, this is my first time chatting with you on The Idea Room.  I loved coming weekly, but my crazy schedule just didn’t allow it AND I needed time to keep coming up with great topics for you.  Glad to share some time with Clean Mama:)

I thought I’d talk about business stuff since it seems many of you on here have a photography business or are interested in having one.  It’s the new year, time to shake things up, and I get questions about this a lot.  January is always a time of reflection, evaluation, and getting things in order, so I thought it was the perfect time. I have SO much to say on this topic, I will try to be concise. Since this will be a lot of wordiness, I will sprinkle some recent images I’ve taken to break it up.

First of all, let me just say I am not super business savvy.  My business does not keep our family afloat, and I’m so grateful I don’t need to worry about that.  I can’t imagine the stress of needing a certain amount of clients in order to pay the bills.  So if you are planning on something like that, you need a lot of business sense.  Plus, photography is an elective luxury.  People don’t NEED it like they need food.  I have seen many full time photographers suffer in these hard economic times because people are cutting back and many believe that is a luxury that can wait til later. 

I never planned to have a business.  Sometimes I laugh to myself when I stop and think that I started a business all on my own.  Little old me.  I’ve always felt pretty mediocre.  Not down on myself for being so, but recognized that is just the way it was.  School was difficult for me.  I did graduate with my Bachelors, but I really had to work for it.  I never aspired to “work” when I grew up.  I wanted to get married and have lots of babies (yes, I’m one of those).  But I’ve always had this insatiable craving to take pictures.  Seriously, you should see my photo albums from my youth–volumes!  I had no clue what to charge people when they asked me to take pictures.  I charged a little and was completely happy.  Really, I wasn’t very good back then, so the two go together.  I spent many hours on the computer trying to figure things out, camera, photoshop, etc.  My husband gently told me it was taking over my time.  I had to re-evaluate (and do so ALL the time) and prioritize my time.   Sometimes I wonder if I should just stop it all…but I’ve decided I love it too much.  Not just taking pictures, but meeting strangers and taking their pictures.  It all brings me so much joy.  So I limit what I take on, and I am mindful of my computer time.  I still don’t identify myself as having a “job” because its’ just doing something I love and I happen to get paid for it.  My “work” hours are naptime and after bedtime. When it does trickle over into family time, I become cranky momma, and I don’t like her and neither does my family.

It has been difficult for me to figure out what I want to charge. I am a SUPER thrifty person.  We don’t have cable, rarely eat out, still have an old school tv, hubby drives a 1996 car, I buy furniture at good will or craigs list and fix it up…I am a “diy” kinda gal.  All that said, I am not the photographer for the thrifty person, and I’ve become ok with that (though I felt guilty for quite a while), taking into account that it takes time away from my family. When they are strangers, they pay full price.  They have sought me out, and they are willing to pay. To make it less awkward on myself, I don’t do business with those in my church congregation, but will do a professional trade or refer them to my other photographer friends. I even had a school friend show interest, tell me I was out of her price range, and I referred her to a friend who is just starting out.  I have no problems doing that–I get it!  I want people to have great pictures, but I just can’t do it all.  I have never charged family members a penny, and many close friends I gift on my own accord.  It is my favorite gift to give those I am closest with. Once again, hubby has to remind me that though it is good to be giving, I simply can’t give all that I want to.

Moving on….those unsure whether or not this is a business for them, here are what sucks your time:

A lot of people don’t realize that a shoot is a lot more than just a shoot. There are so many things and many hours that go into just one session, so here is a breakdown of what each shoot consists of:

Time Spent…

1) emailing back and forth to set the date, time, location, clothing suggestions, etc. (this could be 2 or 3 emails….or it could be 20 or more).

2)  driving to and from each session

3) actually shooting at the session
4)  depositing checks

5)  editing/prepping images for the sneak peeks on my blog

6) weeding out the not so great and editing the rest of the images
7)  uploading all of the photos to the online gallery

8) emailing the client the gallery with all of the detailed info

9)  working on any additional edits that the client has requested

10)  packaging orders
11) Setting up a delivery/pick up time

12)  backing up client files to external hard drives and burning backup discs

And to run a business, here are things you will need:

-professional camera (I don’t think a Rebel will do since so many amateur’s have them) Do you want your      clients to have a newer model than you?

-Variety of lenses, flash, extra batteries/ flashcards

-photoshop/other software

-Web presence—anything, but more professional as a .com not a blogsite

-Tax id

-Professional lab

-Stationary: welcome packet

-Packaging prints clear bags

-Gift bags to hold print orders

-stickers: I put these on prints, envelopes, gift bag

-Pricing list online and/or in print

-Accounting software/accountant (every business must pay taxes)

-professional looking Gift cards (I give them to teachers and some people buy as gifts)

-Model release, you must get permission from clients to post their images online, some don’t want it

-Client info form:  gather info like address, cell number, childrens ages and birthdays

-Cd’s/ cases/where to print:  If I sell a digital collection, I have a card that informs how to care and where to print

-Copyright info:  Many people don’t realize it is illegal to scan professional images, good to inform

-Thank you card (mail after session or delivery of prints)

-Biz cards:  can never have too many of these.

-Facebook account:  social media is HUGE for word of mouth.

-Open a business banking account


-Ppa membership

-Charge/pay taxes

-External hard drive

Are you overwhelmed yet?  I am. Online forums helped me a TON!  I have been a member of ProPhotogs for nearly 5 years now.  I used to go daily, now I only go about once a month just to look up something or see if I can help someone.  So many patient people answered my questions along the way and I had to learn to be tough when my not-so-great images were critiqued. Clickin Moms seems to be for those that may not want a business, but just great images.  I’ve made many great photographer friends along the way…online…on the phone…and locally.  I couldn’t even begin to list the people who helped me with specific techniques that I’ve never even met. 

I love it, I love it, but I love my family more. My goal is to not let it overtake my family, and most days I feel pretty good that it isn’t. Aren’t they adorable? I think so.

Please let me know if you have any further questions!  To see more from the sessions of the images here, hop on over to my little part of the web.

Photography with Kristen Duke~Capturing that beautiful Christmas bokeh

*The term bokeh comes from the Japense word boke, which means “blur” or “haze” -wikipedia

ISO 1000 SS 1/250 f 1.8

I love to see holiday photography with a little bokeh in the background.  The lights all a-blur and sparkling up the image.  Here are a few tips for capturing that beauty…

1. Low aperture–I shot on 1.8 with my 85mm lens
2. Place a subject in front of the lights…focus in on that subject while throwing the background out of focus
3.  The further away that object is from the lights, the better bokeh you will get.  Bigger and rounder.

Here are some shots I took…(all with my 85mm lens)

My son is about 10 feet away from the tree, ISO 1000 SS 1/250 f 1.8


 ISO 1000 SS 1/400 f 1.8

Then I went to my colorful lights for a night shot.  ISO 1250 ss 1/100 f1.8

Here it is during the day time.  The daylight coming through drowns out the colorful lights a bit.
ISO 1250 ss1/400 f1.8
You can do it!  Get creative, during the day is easier because you have some natural light from the windows, but this is a fun way to get artistic images at Christmas time.  I’ve been so excited to decorate and take pictures this holiday season.  Feel free to stop by my blog to check it all out!  Merry Christmas…have fun with your families and cherish them this holiday season;)

Photography with Kristen Duke~Food photos

 I believe the key to great food photography has 3 basic components:
1) the angle
2) the depth of field (blur) used
3) setting up a scene

I haven’t done a lot of food photography, but in seeing great photos, I can spot those 3 key componants every time.  It is more complicated than it seems, and the few times I have done it, I am have challeneged myself.

I have a display in a local yogurt shop, and it is so fun to walk in and see it, because it is so different for me to photograph food.  In my mind, it is actually more challenging to me than people!  Can you imagine…people move, food doesn’t.  But making food look interesting requires thought and effort.

Here is my display

Aren’t the wall colors fabulous?  It’s what sparked my ideas (that, and the fact they were blank without decor yet)

An up close shot of the 10 food shots.  I wanted some close up, some pull back, and set up a different
scene for each pull back shot.

 The bowl below was used for the owners to eat cereal out of on the morning they were working.  They just had one or two in the back, but I think it is a perfect addition to this shot. 

The peanut butter cups below, I got a really low f-stop on my camer–1.4 and focused on the top right corner and the rest are a bit more out of focus as you get further away.

The other food project I worked on was 2 years ago with a friend who is a chef and wanted to make a calendar of her favorite dishes with recipes.  It was really fun to work on, as this was really my first efforts in food photography.  I was at  her kitchen table with the window light and we tried to dress up each situation the best we could.  My favorite, which became the calendar cover, was cookies stacked and the glass of milk softly in the background (blurred with my low f-stop focused on one choco chip on the cookie). The unique glass really helps the interest in the image, too.

The only one not taken on her table is the firesplace/holiday scene where we pulled out the stocking and mini tree, and the summer popcycle wagon scene which was in her backyard.  We actually sold these calendars from our blogs and all the proceeds went to our favorite charity that year. 

Now wouldn’t this make a great gift for family, calendar of favorite seasonal foods?  Now go make one!  The more you study food images, the more it helps take great food pictures, too. Holiday time is filled with traditional meals and treats.  I challenge you to capture that food in a unique way…you never know, it may turn out frame worthy, and how fun to have a beautiful food shot in your kitchen to say “hi” to you everyday (and for others to ooh and aah over).   I’m not Bakerella, the food photographer, or the dish on photography, but I like to try:)

Happy December!  ~Kristen Duke

Photography with Kristen Duke~Having your Family Portraits Taken

Have you had your family portraits taken yet this year?  I know how crazy it is to get everything ready for the session and then get everyone to cooperate while there.   Here are 3 things I’d like to recommend when having your family portraits taken:

1) Find a photographer that fits your style.
Before you select a photographer, take a look at their recent work. Most photographers have blogs that update regularly.  You can get a feel for their style by their work.  If they show a lot of candids and you want more posed, send an email and ask them their philosophy on posed shots….and vice versa.  I recently heard from a former client who moved out of state that her photographer only wanted to do posed shots, and she felt she missed some precious moments of interaction because she wasn’t interested in capturing the candid.

  Do research, interview, but really their blogs should give you and idea of their style.  Discuss with your photographer what you’d like to see from the session. All posed/smiling….family laughter….walking shot…playful shots….let them know if you have seen some shots that you love, but don’t expect them to get the same exact thing. Also in that research, read the investment page.  Photographers are all over the map when it comes to pricing.  Just because a “good” photographer in Delaware charges $100 and gives you the disc of everything, doesn’t mean a photographer of similar caliber does that in California. 

2)  Really PLAN what you wear. 
Yes, it can be pain staking, but your hard work will be worth it in the end. Decide if you want your portraits to be casual or dressy, classic or trendy. Think of all the outfits you choose for your family as one big outfit. Mom–start with you (you are the hardest to please anyway, right?). What color and style looks best on you? Pick that and plan everyone else around you. Have dad in a different color. If you have a small baby, who will probably hold the baby the most? Mom? If so, have the baby in a different color as well so you won’t be blended together.

Choose a neutral (denim is also a neutral in this case) and then add a couple of accent colors that will complement each other and use variations of those colors with the family members. Use the 3 color rule – it’s best to limit the bolder colors to 3. Stick with solids, or simple coordinating patterns. Layers (jackets, hats, scarves, jewelry) and texture add richness to the portrait.

Your shoes will likely be in some of the photos, so make sure they compliment your outfit. Match your socks to your pants so they don’t stand out.  Another thing to keep in mind is where you plan to hang your portrait art. Will the clothing you’ve chosen complement the colors in the room? (I am in love with the women’s shirt/skirt below).

Lay it out on the floor and look at the clothes as a whole to see what touches of color you may need to add.  The easiest is to throw in accessories like a headband or necklace to give a splash of color quick. Also, don’t be afraid to get crafty.  The orange dress my baby is wearing above had pink and blue buttons on the straps.  I cut them off and put brown on instead, and it was the perfect touch!  Think outside of what you are given on the racks at the store.
3)  Parents–Just Relax!

Of course you want your children all smiling perfectly, behaving wonderfully for the photographer. But the more stressed you are, the more stresssed your children will be. Let the photographer take the lead on getting them relaxed and looking.  Just know that as crazy as your kids may be behaving for the photographer, they’ve likely seen worse.  Oh, the stories I could tell!  Really, don’t be embarresed that your kids aren’t cooperating, it’s pretty normal.  If they want to cuddle on your shoulder, let them! 

Take a walk if you need to, but the worst thing you can do is threaten them to smile. A good photographer will talk to them, ask questions to get them to laugh and get that true joy. If you have ideas or songs that you know your child will love, sing them to help bring smiles. I always say that planning to get a special treat after the session is good bribery encouragement. :)  If anything, dads often have the hardest time with that natural smile. Sometimes, they also need incentive (or a tickle from the kids) to relax.

Have a great week!  ~Kristen Duke

Photography with Kristen Duke~Capturing Halloween

5 suggestions for fun Halloween shots

1. Get into character–Have the kids act out what costume they are wearing.  This gives great action shots, and something fun and different than the regular “say cheese and look at the camera.”  The driveway provides for a great stage.

2.  Use the garage as a backdrop–I started this a few years ago and continue to do this.  The garage door provides a great blank canvas, and room for the kids to act out their character.  
3.  Set up your own backdrop scene at home–A bail of hay, a bunch of pumpkins, black backdrop/sheet with cobwebs strewn about (like I did below).  I don’t have a light setup, I just aimed my flash at the ceiling (not everyone can do that, but I thought I’d share what I did anyway). 
4.  Get individual shots, not just groups–This is for parents with more than one child, and a good reminder for me, too.  Take the group shot, then take a shot of each child alone.  Your youngest will thank you some day. 
5.  Take photojournalistic shots of the kids walking up the sidewalk…from behind, and from inside the door.  Tells a great story. Fun to have your own home in the background, too.
Here are a few more “vintage” shots from Halloween’s in my past:

Happy Haunting!

Photography with Kristen Duke~Decorating with Portraits

I’ve shared this on my blog, but I know a lot of you don’t check that, so I had the idea to share this blog post with all of you here, since THIS is a passion of mine.

I have this dream that I want to share with the world. Now stick with me and hear me out. My dream is but a simple one—to beautifully display family portraits around your home. I’m not just talking about professional images (though I do know someone who can help you with that) but the images of your family that tell a story, share an adventure, or just show off how cute you are as a family.
Though your children may not notice those images enough to mention every day, it is tucked in the back of their minds, and they feel the security that they are in a loving family. Parents, do you want to know the secret to raising loving, creative, honest, self-confident kids? By nurturing their self- esteem. How better to nurture that self-esteem than to decorate your home with THEM! In her book “The Magic of Encouragement,” therapist Stephanie Marston suggests placing portraits of your child being loved next to their bed, or on their walls. These images will be “the last thing before they sleep and the first thing they see when they awaken.” Images speak louder than words.
And moms—make sure YOU are in some of those images! Your children NEED to see you loving and squeezing and adoring them. They need to see that family portrait engrained in their memories as they pass through the revolving front door every day because they DO notice. We love to look at our children (and so do they) but they also need to look at you. Don’t worry about the fact that you still need to lose that last 15 pounds, your children love you for you, and you need to be remembered at this time in their lives.

In my opinion, each room should have at least one picture displayed. In rooms with larger walls, large prints can either be clustered together in varying sizes or standing alone. Have you ever seen what an 8×10 looks like hung on a big wall all by itself? It doesn’t look right—it looks too small! I do think that if a cluster of 8×10’s are huddled together on a wall, it works better. But ideally, an 11×14 is the smallest that should go up on a wall—16×20 is even better–20×30 every better! I try to educate my clients on the importance of large portraits. They are scared, worried how it will look, then when they see it, they LOVE it! Something about BIG just doubles the happiness, not to mention the visibility.

I used to worry that people would come to my home and see family pictures everywhere and think I’m vain for displaying so many prints of my family. Well guess what? I love my family more than anything and it’s true—I think we are AWESOME and I love to look at us! I much prefer my family to black ironwork wall hangings. When I go to friends or strangers home, my favorite thing is to walk all around their home and silently peer into their frames, have a glimpse into their lives.  I still love to go to my moms home and look at all my childhood pictures.  She has them going down her stairwell with portraits through the years. I LOVE it!

I want my children to feel that family togetherness, the unity. I want the pictures displayed around our home to remind them that they are a part of a family who loves them. This is my wish, for me and for you. I want to get those great family moments off of the computer and onto the walls.  It doesn’t have to be expensive either.  I am a big fan of professionally printed images and will only sell that to my clients, but if the quality is lower, it is better to have that than nothing.  A 16×20 at Sams club is around $10 (don’t quote me on that).  I say to print that, make sure you love it, then if you want better quality, seek a higher end lab.

Here are some snaps from around my home.

To the left of the window is a 16×20 canvas.  I wish it were bigger.

Off of the entry, I have these two prints that are 20×24.  I got the frames for $2 each at a garage sale and painted them!
Below is a little entry off of our Master, I put a wedding pic there.  It is an 11×14, I wish it were bigger, too. I like to have a few wedding pics around not only for myself and hubby, but to show our children how much we honor that day. I think I need to make this a little cluster of frames.

In our Master, I have prints only of my hubby and I.  The kids are everywhere else in our home, but this room is about us.  I have a few other wedding and engagement pics on our dresser.

 This is in the kitchen right by the back door to the garage.  I thought it needed a little something and I put an 8×10 print of my 4 kids in the bluebonnets next to a lightswitch and security system. Painted the frame green.

Upstairs, in the gameroom and on the left, I have one of my favorite images of my hubby on his bike with the kids watching on the sidewalk (5 years ago).  It is a 16×20.  Going into the hallway, a cluster of 5×7 prints in a collage type frame (see 2 below for close up).  Then a frame of my hubby and I in our dating days hangs in the hallway by the girls room.  I made it for our wedding reception and love looking at it.

My girls room, I took a similar shot of them at 9 months old, it is a 16×20 on either side of the window.

The 5×7 collage frame.  Lots of random around the house moments as well as out and about. Some of my favorite images here. I want the everyday moments to be represented, too.  Not just our “photo shoots.”

This print below was a 24×36, but I trimmed it down to fit this frame.  I love the large easel, and perch this in the corner.

My boys old room, these are 20×30′s of them playing sports.
 They helped me pick out which sports shot to include.
Our kitchen. This goes along with my rule to not put 8×10′s on the wall unless clustered together. This is plate rack and the 8×10′s are mounted on a hard board so they stand alone without a frame. I change these throughout the year.

There you have it…now share with me! Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect. I try to do a regular feature on my blog of images readers have sent to me of how they decorate with portraits.

P.S. Did you hear that I am competing on crafting with the stars?  Eeeks, so crazy!  Amy (the creator of this blog) is a “star” working with another competator.  Check Sew Dang cute on Sunday or Monday to vote. 

P.S.S. Come to my blog to see my most recent exciting portrait decoration and to submit your images.

Take pictures of your friends and family–with their camera

I love to bring my camera along to the birthday parties and special events of my good friends.  I figure if I am there enjoying the party with my child, I might as well snap some shots and send it to them later as a part of my gift. This past week, I went to 2 such parties and got these shots…

 I really want my daughter to have a cute rhinestone shirt like this:)  Below…she touched the flame on the candle and got an owie–I love the mother cuddle moment.

The problem with taking pictures with my camera, is that they are still on my computer or card, waiting to be  burned on a disc and delivered to said friends.  My heart is there, but my procrastination gets the best of me.  After all, I am already on my computer editing client images and trying to keep up with my own family pictures.  I have found when I have done this in the past, and often forget to give them. 

Sometimes, I have to force myself to leave my camera at home, and find an easier alternative to capture memories for my friends.  I simply grab their cameras from them and document the event so they can focus on executing the party or enjoy it….AND make sure they are in the pictures with their family. 

Once again, if you don’t hand your camera off to someone else, you will not be represented at the event.  And I will be darned if I make all that effort for my childs birthday and not be in one. single. picture.  I am un-ashamed to pass off the camera.  As you may know, most people hate to ask others to take pictures of them, because it looks vain, right?!  So for friends and loved ones–take their camera from them (or ask where it is) and snap away!  They will be SO grateful. Quality isn’t as important as memories that would have otherwise been missed.

This was taken 6 months ago on my daughter’s first birthday.  It isn’t an amazing picture photography wise, it was taken with my pocket camera on auto, but I LOVE the moment of her grasping my face. love. it.

 Go out into the world and spread the photography love by taking the camera’s of your dear ones and snapping shots for them–without them even asking. 



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