Jun 6, 2014

Why I love 'Lifestyle Photography'

As you may know, I am starting taking up a a new obsession: photography. I have always been drawn to lifestyle photography rather than posed shots. Luckily for me, this style seems to work much easier for me and my main subjects: three squirmy boys. I have no clue how to pose people and I want to document our every day lives, not some posed 'cheese' shots. 

So I thought I would share some of my recent favorites and why this works for me.

1. Showing off my kiddos in action I certainly don't have a knack for getting my kids to sit in one spot for more than two seconds. So it is much easier for me to photography the fun things we do. Blowing bubbles outside was one of our 'summer bucket list' items and I love this one of Matty B.

We had a pretty good rainstorm a couple weekends ago and thankfully there was no lightning. So it was a perfect time to whip out the umbrellas and rainboots for a little fun in the rain. I didn't have the camera out at first since it was impromptu (we were actually waiting for friends to come over at any minute!) but I am glad I grabbed the camera to take a couple shots of Thomas who is still too young to understand how an umbrella works.

I was able to have John stand still for about 30 seconds to get this picture. Miracles do happen!

We took the boys to the lake near our house last weekend to play before dinner. I actually didn't like any of the pictures I took and decided to edit this one anyways since 'going to the lake' was on the bucket list. After I cropped and edited I decided I liked it after all. :)

2. Even 'staged' shoots aren't posed. I set up these ottomans in front of the window one morning because I had just read about back lighting and wanted to practice. So even though it was staged, I just sat back and took photos as Thomas explored. Some of the pictures from this morning are now my favorites!

3. Kiddos don't always cooperate! I tried the same staged photo session with Matthew and it didn't go as planned. Instead of sitting on the ottomans, he hid from me most of the time, thinking it was a fun game. So instead of getting frustrated, I took photos of what was happening- a little boy hiding from his mommy! I love the ones of his cute tushie and toes peeking out from being the chair.

I was still able to get on shot of him with a nice natural smile, albeit a slightly out of focus one.

I feel like I have found what style photography works best for me and I love it!

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May 29, 2014

House to Home Part III: The Playroom

Today I am sharing my third edition of the House To Home Series. Don't think I forgot about it! :) I took these photos in Feburary (before taking my composition photography class so please forgive the weird photos!) so I figured it was high time to do the blog post.

I posted about the makings of the playroom HERE. These pictures are the updated, and mostly finalized, room.

Thomas' name made the wall on the left side of the room! We hooked up an extra TV for John's party and just left it there. I think we watched a movie once since then in there but I can see the appeal for when the boys are older and we make this room more geared toward a media room!

Seriously- these types of signs are so easy and cheap to make. I have posted about them several times on the blog because I make them so often!

The buckets and drawers have been labeled and are still organized. The boys know exactly what toys go in which bucket or drawer which is so helpful when it is time to clean up. (look how small T Bone looks here!)

One of my favorite new additions is this play table. I was really wanting a bigger table to easily fit the three boys. Also I wanted any cousins or friends be able to join in on the fun. However tables at places like Pottery Barn are way out of my small budget. So I improvised!

I found a kitchen table on craiglist for about $20. It was almost the same dimensions as a Pottery Barn table with the except of the height. Hand Dandy Brad sawed a couple inches off each leg and now we had a great sized table. Add a coat of a paint, a couple coats of poly to keep the paints/markers/crayons from staining it and we have a cheap and perfect play table! I absolutely love it!

The boys have a ton of dress up items. I always thought dress up was a 'girl' thing but boys love to dress up like super heroes, cowboys, firefighters and the like. So I hung up hooks for the hats and masks. Walmart had these cute chevron laundry baskets which we use to corral the clothes.

You can see in the above photo that we took the doors off the frame. We had double doors and they just seemed to be in the way. So we took them off, painted over the hinge space and stored the doors in the attic.

Lastly I whipped up some window drapings. This is actually left over fabric from when I made John's duvet cover. Obviously taking a quick glance at these bad boys will show they aren't professional looking. I kind of made it up as I went along but they do the trick of finishing off the window. I made the ties into small bows which look like bow ties...perfect for a boy's playroom! Fun Fact: Brad and I call this couch the 'magic' couch because within seconds of sitting on it we are fighting to stay awake. It puts us to sleep EVERY TIME which is not ideal when supervising children.

If you notice we have one of those 'teacher' calendars in which you can change the dates. John LOVES this thing! He went through a phase where he would take the wall calendar from his room and rearrange the numbers to fit each month of the year. Sounds so boring to me, but he loved it, and then memorized all kinds of stuff about days, dates, when months started, when they ended, and taught himself patterns. So, this purchase from the dollar spot at Target has been a dollar well spent!

The boys have enjoyed the playroom and I am glad it is all finished up! However, I do already have the layout ready for when it makes the transition to a media room...a couple years down the road...

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May 15, 2014

Composition Class Photo Favs

So I realize I haven't posted recently. Life tends to get in the way of that sometimes, right? Well, last month I took a composition photography class through Clickin Moms. I love taking these classes and are kind of my new obsession. I shared my favorite photos from when I took the class on how to use Lightroom so I thought I would share my favs from this recently learning adventure.

I read a tutorial this week on taking photos in your garage so I tried it this morning before the boys went to their last day of preschool. I love how it turned out!

I love this photo of my sister and my nieces after their ballet recital.

So, have you found a theme that I am a sucker for black and white photos?! :) Thanks for looking at my pictures- I am loving taking photos and trying to learn more about it each day!

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Mar 14, 2014

30th Birthday Celebration

My youngest sister, Emily, turns the big 3-0 this month. Along with my other sister and mom, we tried to think of something fun to do for her birthday. Way back when I turned 30, they made me a book of letters from friends which was so sweet! We threw Allison a surprise dessert party for her 30th birthday. Being that Emily's husband is throwing her a party already, we racked our brains for something special to do for Emily. We decided upon a surprise girls' night out- pedicures, shopping, dinner, drinks, and a night at a hotel. Super fun, right?!

In order to have this pulled together in a way that makes sense, Al and I made up '30 things to do in 30 days before you turn 30'. It worked perfectly because we had the surprise night exactly 30 days before Em was to turn 30.

We started with a lunch at Allison's to celebrate Em's and my dad's birthday. This is nothing out of the ordinary so Emily didn't suspect a thing. In fact, when we gave her the list for her present, with the note 'we will cross off at least 5 things from your list today', she was quite confused!

Thankfully my mom made her a little certificate listing out what we were doing, which is when it finally clicked in her cute little brain. 

Her hubby had her bag packed in the car ready to go so we took off for a girls' day right after lunch. First stop was pedicures. 

What is a girl's day without shopping? and price checks? 

We got all dolled up at the hotel before a nice dinner out in Fort Worth. 

After dinner we checked up the newly updated Sundance Square, braved taking a picture in the fountains, and got drinks at a local bar. That's right folks, we went to a BAR! And stayed out until TEN PM! How crazy are we when we don't have kids with us?! :) 

So, perhaps we were all asleep by 10:30. Whatevs. However, we were also all awake at 3:00 am when a guy in a nearby room was not too happy with his girlfriend and was shouting at the top of his lungs. I felt like I was back in college again with all the crazy drama! :)

In the morning we headed back to my mom's house where my dad had a yummy breakfast waiting for us: donuts, corn muffins, pancakes, and bacon. The table was set and everything, perhaps proving my dad is a lot of time on his hands how that he is retired. :)

We had a great time with the four gals. I hope Em enjoyed her special day...and she completes her '30 to do in 30 before 30'! 

 Happy Birthday, Em!!! I love you!

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