Listen. We all have the very best of intentions. But life is big and messy and busy and we can't possibly master everything under the sun in our short time here. For me, it's sewing. How I would love to not just sew simple things but big, beautiful quilts! Photography falls into this category for most - many of us would love to learn every dial on our cameras, but as it turns out, it's not as easy as Step 1, Step 2, Step 3. Like any craft, it takes years and years to master (most say 10,000 hours +, if we want to get specific :-)). But luckily, 99.5% of us have a powerful, high quality and above all SIMPLE camera in our pockets and purses all the time!Read More
No one is immune. Even as someone who has shot every day solid for upwards of 500 days in a row, I was still susceptible to falling into the dreaded artist rut. It happened at my least inspired time of year: the beginning of summer. No dreamy snow, twinkle lights, autumn leaves, warm fire, moody indoor scenes. When summer hit this year, I took a big hit. I stopped bringing my camera to family events and outings. I admired the breathtaking golden light of summer evenings, but I didn't run for my camera.Read More
I think that too often, photographers and non-photographers alike talk about people having a "good eye" instead of attributing their successful images to a strong understanding of composition. Composition is most simply, the arrangement of visual elements in the frame. Composing a frame in a city or in a building can often be a little more straight forward because you have so many lines and shapes with which to work. But stick your subject in the chaos of nature and often it isn't so clear cut. Here are four ways to thoughtfully compose a clean frame in nature. It's ok to go with your gut, but a little planning and purposefulness goes a long way too!Read More
One of the best ways I know to remember certain phases, ages, and stages is by periodically doing full day Story of a Day session with my own family. There's nothing like revisiting a day in my life from morning till night to immediately trigger memories - of tantrums, milestones, emerging independence, favorite toys, and beloved rituals. These are the things that are envelope us when we are living it, but then quickly fade into one big generalization of life at that time.Read More
“Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man.” ― H. Adams
In my last blog, I shared 4 ways to compose a clean frame in nature. One of the ways I wrote about was lines. And on a recent trip to the overflowing, green, and growing Phipp's Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA, I followed my own advice. There was something so appealing to me about the man-made lines encasing & taming the wild, natural, and twisting world under them. Try these easy tips when working on strengthening the lines in your photos:
Straighten that camera!
(This one seems easy but it's not!) For example, in the second picture below, I wanted to capture the straight vertical lines and the depth of the next room, but to do it, I had to turn on the live view on my camera and hold it up over my head. Otherwise, it would've looked like I was short and shooting pointing my camera up. All the lines would be distorted. If you want to create the look of order, you need to get your camera parallel with the lines you are shooting, straighten up your left to right tilt and perhaps more importantly, your front to back tilt.
Don't be afraid of center composition.
Sometimes, it just feels good to accentuate the perfection and order of symmetry. As in the large golden leaf image below, sometimes it's more than OK to center your subject. Centering the straight vein of this proud looking leaf gives it the respect it deserves and unapologetically splits the frame in half.
Do you know how sometimes, you visit a place and you just feel INSPIRED? Inspired to write, inspired to sing, inspired create, inspired to plant, inspired to shoot? That's just how I felt a few weeks ago when I visited Arona Road Greenhouse in New Stanton PA. I went for flowers and came home with a box of them, but it only left me wanting to hurry back as quickly as I could with my camera! Because oh, the COLORS! (Not to mention the lines!)Read More
"we are what we repeatedly do. excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." - aristotle
If you can believe it, we are already a third of the way through 2016! Because this is my second consecutive year of shooting daily, getting "The Shot" has finally become an ingrained habit and a natural part of my everyday life. Would you believe me if I told you it took me about one full year to really make that habit feel easy and unforced? It has!Read More
If your house is anything like mine, Easter and springtime mean bubbles! But those see-through little orbs are so elusive to photograph, right? I've pulled together 5 tips so that if the Easter bunny leaves bubbles in your child's basket this year, you'll know where to start.Read More
How many times have you gotten out your camera for a special occasion, hoping to come away with pictures that tell the story of your day and you come away with a few awkwardly posed shots of your unhappy kids + some random happenings from the day that don't flow? I know I have! I find that something that helps me is to create a very loose "shot list" in my head before the day so that I'm organized in what I'd like to capture, as well as how I might go about it.
To show you what I mean, here's my possible shot list for this Easter 2016:Read More
The light is back!
But did you know that it's not just a matter of light/no light? The light in your home makes its appearance in different rooms and at different angles all through the year. In my Mom's Story class, we cover the topic of knowing the light in your house- most basically, where the sun rises and sets. But if you've mastered this in your own home, you're ready to start a more seasonal observation of light.Read More
At the beginning of February I set a goal to take 29 "good" No People photos during the month. I ended up shooting hundreds of No People frames and being happy with 39! Success!
Setting this goal enabled me to be more aware of opportunities around me to shoot still life images, and where I saw no opportunity, to more actively seek them out.Read More
I'm big on challenging myself. When I'm feeling uninspired, when the light is less than ideal, when I don't feel like picking up my camera, a simple, self-issued challenge will sometimes snap me out of it.
The weather report for today and tomorrow is full of rain and clouds, I haven't taken a good picture in days, and all I want to do is drink coffee. Time for a challenge!
Here are 5 shots for a Gloomy, Rainy Day + ideas to keep you inspired on your less than inspiring days:Read More
One of my favorite places to photograph my kids is in their bedroom. Why?
Why NOT? Their bedrooms are like an extension of them. What they read, play with, hang on their walls, set out on their shelves... all tell a story about who they are now and who they are becoming. As you read the rest of this article, don't forget about older children and teens. It is at every stage of your son's and daughter's childhood that you will find satisfaction in this process.Read More
It was 4:00pm and it was that Time of Day. Every day by that time, my feet ache, my nerves are frayed, the kids are tired, I'm hungry, etc. etc. etc. But with only an hour until dinnertime, collapsing onto the couch is the last thing I have time to do. Plus, there's always the chance that if I sit down I'll never get up!
On this day, I shuffled into the kitchen, still a little foggy-headed and craving a nap after reading to my oldest from his favorite chapter book series. I dug the chicken out of the refrigerator and turned around to see an overflowing and cluttered countertop. Every part of our day had contributed to the overwhelming mess in front of me.Read More
Just as a writer fleshes out the setting with sensory and time details, when you are showing the setting, be sure to include....Read More