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My Favorite November Stories by Andrea Moffatt

I fell off of the daily shooting wagon many days this November. I almost didn't share any images, but when I looked back at November as a whole, I still found lots of pockets of beauty. Many days I have no pictures I like, but many days I have several. I showed myself some grace and put together a set of images I'm proud of, even though they aren't as evenly spread out as usual.

Please accept a gentle reminder to do the same for yourself here and there too. Whether your hobby is photography, painting, writing, or other, remember to celebrate all your small wins.... even if you were hoping for more! Be proud of what you made, and then begin again!

My Little October Stories by Andrea Moffatt

Hi everyone! Long time, no post. I apologize for my silence. I've been working on another project (TBA!) and haven't devoted any time to my poor blog or ignored Facebook page or abandoned Instagram account. In order to make amends, I thought I would post my October favorites. I was inspired by my friend Mariah's beautiful post. Seeing all of her October images in one place reminded me that sometimes taking the time to present our best work in one place can help us SEE our work, our lives... everything!...  with a little more clarity and gratefulness.

And what of our October? We had our first loose teeth and our first lost teeth. We still had lots of unexpectedly warm days to enjoy playing with neighbors and friends. We spent Saturday mornings on the soccer fields. Did the pumpkin thing, the corn maze thing, the hayride thing. And ended the month in candy heaven. It's good to be a kid, isn't it?

 

365 Stories | April 2017 by Andrea Moffatt

Here comes April, and there it goes! I'm a third of the way through my 2017 365 stories project (what?!) and less than a half a month from now my Click Photo School breakout is DUE! So far, my main PDF is over 100 pages, my videos total around an hour and I've made two bonus PDFs. I'm ready to share! (And to put my feet up!)

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February Daily Stories by Andrea Moffatt

Let's face it- photographers and February usually just don't mix (especially where I live). It's a fragile time for those doing a new 365 project: every day it's touch and go, trying to just make one good picture while being light-starved and inundated by brown, gray, and more brown. In Februrarys with little to no snow, it's even worse. There is no pretty cover for all that mud and dead plants. No bright white light entering the windows or chance of snow day inspiration. It's all as dreary as it sounds...

Except....

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January Daily Stories by Andrea Moffatt

It's here! My monthly round up of January stories. This year, I aim to complete my 3rd 365 project in a row... this one, in full color. Already my choice to only edit my daily picture in color is vexing me. Especially with low light photography, it is often so much easier to fiddle around with a color picture for a few minutes and then throw up your hands and say, "to heck with it! black and white it is!" Without that option to fall back on, I've already had to think carefully while shooting. (Which is never a bad thing, of course!)

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Pittsburgh Family Photographer | Personal Hour by Hour Challenge | January by Andrea Moffatt

When I first started documentary family photography back in 2014, I relied heavily on my own family to figure out how to make impactful storytelling images (and how to keep it up for whole events- even whole days). I practiced on my family by doing a DITL (Day in the Life) project frequently- back then I subjected us probably monthly. The idea of that project is simple: document your life, from morning to night. And let me tell you, it is HARD work! Hard, as in physically tiring and hard, as in mentally exhausting. 

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2016 Year in Review | Pittsburgh Family Photographer by Andrea Moffatt

....Because I couldn't let 2016 go without seeing them all in one place. ;-)

My 2016 daily 366 project wasn't as strict as my 2015 project. I allowed myself to shoot with my phone for a month straight in the summer. When choosing which photos to include in my final set, I chose 2 or 3 from some days and zero from other days. In short, I shot and shared what made me happy. 

Are you shooting a daily project with me in 2017? If so, I recommend the following:

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Personal Bests of 2016 by Andrea Moffatt

2016 is coming to a close, and all over social media it's getting pretty grim reviews and hearty good-riddances. I acknowledge that, for the world as a whole, 2016 pretty much stunk. But if I tried to shoulder all the hate and killings and bickering, I'd be a shadow of myself. So I choose to stay informed, speak out when I feel it matters, and focus on raising two little boys who will someday face the world with love, understanding, and bravery. 

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Snow and Cookies: Pittsburgh Family Photographer by Andrea Moffatt

Today I was in my glory! It was going to be a baking day, but then miracle of miracles, it snowed! And not just any snow, but the sticky kind that coats every. single. branch. Not to mention, it was the first real snow of the season, and that comes with it's own magic.

In the way a sunny cloudless summer day refreshes some, days like today revive me. And when I'm feeling gratitude, I always reach for my camera. 

Here are some of my favorites from the day:

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November Favorites: Pittsburgh Family Photographer by Andrea Moffatt

From trees bursting with vibrant leaves to bare branches and the first snow, November lived up to its name. I know many dread this slow march toward winter, but November is one of my favorite months for its direct shafts of fall light, warm colors, indoor coziness, and quiet anticipation of the approaching season. 

It's also the official month of gratitude, and focusing on that never fails to make my heart full. At the end of this post, I'll share with you a little about how shooting from a place of gratitude can free you up to create images that mean something to you. 

Here's my November gratitude list, in pictures...

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October Favorites, Pittsburgh Family Photographer by Andrea Moffatt

Usually by this time in early November, I'm mourning the last of autumn's big show. Typically, at the beginning of November, the only leaves left to fall are our brown crunchy oak leaves. But not this year! We've enjoyed fall's vibrant colors throughout October and still have plenty on the branches to be thankful for now. As I culled through October's memories looking for my favorites, I told myself a story about this past month....

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How to Shoot Playfully by Andrea Moffatt

When is the last time you took your camera out to play? When was the last time you shot for yourself? Not for your wall. Not for your family's memory book. Not for a client. When I spend some time shooting playfully, I feel like I just had a good belly laugh-- lighter, happier. Kind of the way I think my kids must feel when they play peacefully all morning in their pjs. 

No time, you say? Nothing to shoot, you say? 

Try these 3 tips for playful shooting:

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Carving Out Quiet for Composition Work by Andrea Moffatt

Have you arrived at that point in your photography journey where you find yourself confident in your technical skills, but not consistently happy with your artistic skills? Good composition is a skill you must strengthen by daily practice. But it can be stressful to practice it during a paid photo session or when you are in a familiar, cluttered environment, such as your house. 

In the past, I've recommended photo walks for relaxation, breaking out of a rut, and new learning. (Yes- I really like photo walks!) Now, I'm going to suggest another reason to take your camera and hit the road. 

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Join the Movement: Share Your Frame Fraction by Andrea Moffatt

I thought I might make a quick and easy blog post to give you a peek at some of my favorite shots from September. I wanted to choose 30 images for each day in September. But as I was searching among all my September photos for the diamonds in the rough, I felt sad I couldn't show you all of it.

Every mistake.

Every missed focus.

Ever blah composition.

Because there were a lot of them. These are some of my best:

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The Art of Sticking With It by Andrea Moffatt

Well, I said I would keep my Lensbaby Sweet 35 on my camera for a week, and I did it! (It was hard, but I did it!) The lens has such a unique look that it was a real test to leave it on for all occasions and genres of shooting. On the other hand, what an awesome challenge that opened my eyes to possibilities I hadn't previously seen! 

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