Category Archives: Photography

Top 3 Wedding Photography Tips

Our family attended a wedding on Holmes Beach in Florida last week. My older brother (a.k.a. Cousin) married his sweetheart. As chance would have it, their professional photographer had to cancel at the last-minute.  I used to be a Wedding Photographer and honestly adore capturing the joy and excitement of a couple’s special day. My camera with me, I loved filling the role. I created this collage just for you to share just a slice of the beautiful ceremony (I used this tutorial). The delightful day reminded me of some key tips anyone can use even with a Professional Photographer.

Top 3 Wedding Photography Tips – these are really to help the Bride and Groom handle the precious details of capturing their special day. But, even guests can pick up something helpful.

1) Digital Paparazzi – everyone with a phone will want to take photos of the wedding ceremony, with the bride and groom, of family groups, or simply of the beautiful place. Here are some suggestions for how to help them do a great job without interfering:

– Set aside a place for your personal paparazzi crowd to snap away without crowding out the rest of your attendees.

– Have a Planner or Volunteer Director play body-guard and discuss ahead of time where you’d like the paparazzi to have coverage and where they need to keep their distance.

– Standing on the Red Carpet – enjoy the spot light and be sure you’ve got snacks and water nearby, because everyone will want to get a snapshot with you or congratulate you before the reception or before you get to sit down and actually eat.

2) Posing like a Model – did you know part of the reason models look so thin and perfect is because they practice how they stand, smile and brush their hair? Well, they may not actually brush their own hair – stylists do it, but you get the idea.  Here are some keys for everyone posing in group shots:

– Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Practice this at home – stand at a 45 degree angle from the photographer, then twist at the waist to face them directly. This can make you look 10lbs thinner. Try it out at home and find a stance that feels comfortable and makes you look good. While you’re at it try out your smile and head tilt. Pulling your chin way from your neck just a little can eliminate the double chin shadow effect.

– Click like a Professional Photographer: The professionals take loads of photos at rapid fire shutter clicks, because even the slightest shift in a stance can create a better photo. Take lots of photos. Don’t shoot just one of any pose. And then, delete for the best later. Really, deleting later is easier than missing a perfect shot, and with digital cameras it’s easy.

3) Photo Flooding – How to you deal with all the photos your personal Paparazzi took at your wedding? There are many, many options. Let me share a few of my favorites:

– Free Group: You can set up a free group on Flickr.com or Facebook.com where members can share photos and you get to look at them all in one place. I know there are many others, but these are the ones I use, because they allow tagging and are free.  If you’re not sure how to set them up, ask a technically inclined friend or relative. They might even be willing to set it up for you. Then, you can print up a little slip or post a little sign by your guest book asking the Paparazzi to share their files in that specific location.

– Set up a Print Share Site: Many Online Printing companies allow you to create an album where folks can order prints or upload their own files. This can be a wonderful way to outsource the hassle of getting prints for Mom, Dad, Great Aunt Jane and Cousin Eddy. Flickr.com and Facebook.com offer links to printing services, but I personally use Shutterfly.com. They offer reasonable prices, and I’ve been happy with their service for over 5 years. I once met a Professional Photographer willing to add guest photos to their site. So, don’t hesitate to ask your Professional Photographer if they offer this service.

Snapshots: A week in May

Last week was a typical Seattle Spring weather-wise: Sunny and warm on May 1st followed by gray, cloud covered sky sprinkling everything with rain. I managed to capture some beauty in the sunshine. And I made some soup, scribbling down the ingredients this time (will share later, I promise). The week included colds for everyone, thankfully nothing too miserable; followed by a busy weekend. Yesterday was catch-up day, only taking care of the essentials.

I’ve just uploaded a bunch of delightful photos, I hope you enjoy my favorites!

Facing Failure and Shooting for the Moon!

Big Moon Rise over Harbor Island, just south of Downtown Seattle.

I fear failure. Parenting has been a process of learning to face failure.  There are all these expectations society and well meaning family and friends place on parents. Then, there’s my own ideals of what kind of parent I want to be, providing more room for me to fail.

The funny thing about trying to sort out my fear of failure is teaching my kids to keep on trying when they fail. When our son was learning to dress himself or put a puzzle together, he’d get really frustrated and want to give up. Somewhere between learning to walk and age 3 he picked up the idea that failure = bad. So, my husband and I started to encourage him with phrases like, “Everyone makes mistakes.” or “Try again, I know you can do it.” Or, I’d actually remind him that he learned to walk after falling down all the time. Then, one day I let out a vocal cry at a mistake I made, and my son looked at me and shrugged, “It’s Ok. Mistakes happen every day in my life.”

The Plan: Going to the Moon.

I keep on reminding myself of that truth, the idea that failure is a part of success, but it still stands in my way of doing what I want sometimes. Parenting is a consistent reminder that I need to live my own advice. Our son has been writing up plans for going to the Moon “when he is a Big Man with Dad” – they are going to put not one, but two American Flags on it.  Instead of telling him this is a silly or nearly impossible idea, we listen to his plans and explain that he’s got to work hard to get there someday.

As you may have already seen around here, I love photography. I love looking at it, taking my own and talking about it.  One dream I’ve had for a few years now is to do a coffee shop Photography Show here in Seattle. It might not sound like going to the Moon, but it felt that way to me. I just didn’t think my photography was that good. But, I decided to try to book a show within the year. And I did!  It will be at one of my favorite places, Coffee To A Tea With Sugar.  My first show will be in January  2012. At first I was super excited that the lady liked my work.  But when that started to wear off like a sugar high, I felt disappointed about the fact that the show is that far off. The reality is that the timing is perfect. It allows me time to really get things figured out (like archival printing service, matting, etc). And I can push myself to do more photography.

Thanks to the “Failure Celebration Week” post on Puttylike.com, I decided to share my fear of failure and how I am facing it.

What fear is holding you back?

Urban Domestic Snap Shots

Simply put, here are glimpses of my daily life.  Most days are not fully lit by sunshine, but are full of little joys. These pictures are my way of looking to find them, and stopping to enjoy.  What do you do to “stop and smell the roses” in your life?

Sorting our library.
Penguin says hi to Humpty Dumpty and Mr. Bunny.
Simple beauty.
Mini Heart Crackers made from scratch.
My lovely work station: vintage wooden table block, custom steel pot rack made by my husband and Step-Dad.

Looking Up


The month of January has dealt me a personal blow for the past three consecutive years.  Going through my photos from 2010 is like looking at an intimate journal of my life. Photography has become a creative outlet that has always provided immediate gratification and a focus on the delights of the every day details.  So, if you have a case of the Mondays, maybe these few photographs can help you look upward and onward to some good things you’ve got going on in life.