DIY Props {Gold Masquerade Mask for TGHP}

I am so excited to tell you about a new project that just started this September!!! It’s called The Gold Hope Project.

The Mission:

The Gold Hope Project is a group of photographers that have come together to capture the moments that your family holds so dear to their heart. Some of us have been touched by the presence of cancer, and some have not, but we have all been given a gift that we would like to share with you.

More precious than the gold that represents them, children are our future. This year alone, approximately 13,500 parents will have to listen to a doctor tell them, “Your child has cancer.” 
Can you imagine?

There are twelve major types of childhood cancers. From there, they are broken down into three groups.

  • Leukemias (cancer of the blood)
  • Lymphomas (cancer of the immune system)
  • Solid tumors (cancer in bones, organs, or tissue)

While the survival rate has increased over the past 40 years from 10% to nearly 80%, the number of children diagnosed increases slightly each year. And, while there have been many medical advances in the field of cancer research, treatment of pediatric cancer is still very aggressive and can have many lasting side effects. Some pediatric brain tumors, such as brain stem gliomas and pontine gliomas, are terminal upon diagnosis and no new protocols have been developed in 30 years. Despite the astonishing number of children being treated each year (approximately 40,000), funding for the research and implementation of better treatment remains largely underfunded.

I have been accepted as a volunteer photographer for this amazing group!! There are photographers worldwide and it’s still growing!! So many wonderful things are yet to come, so keep checking their website or Facebook page. If you have a fighter or know of a child fighting cancer please have them apply here.

Okay now to the real reason for this particular post. We are encouraged to use something gold in our photo sessions. I went out shopping the other day for something just to get my gold prop stash started. I came across a gold masquerade mask at Joann Fabric. I bought some gold sequins, really wanted gold feathers but they didn’t carry gold. Darn it!!!!

Anyhoo…I wanted to share the project with anyone involved so that you know you don’t have to spend a ton of money, just takes a little bit of creativity and time. I searched Etsy for a similar project and didn’t find any that were “kid friendly” and cheap. So I think I made the right decision to make my own mask.

As you can see there were very little supplies and you can make it as simple or fancy as you’d like. If I ever make another I’ll buy the strands of sequins that you can find over in the ribbon section. Yea, I hot glued each little sequin!!! I would’ve put sequins around the entire edge where the glitter is, but I was over it by then!! haha

If you have a gold DIY please leave a link in the comment section so we can all visit and see!!!

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A Powerful Symbol {the Eagle}

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

I left my camera at the house. We were only going to buy groceries, right? I didn’t need it.

As we’re driving around the bay I see a man with a nice camera and zoom lens aiming up high and shooting away. My heart sank. He sees something good. Yep, there it was sitting atop a tall tree overlooking its territory….the bald eagle. I pulled over and immediately began kicking myself in the you-know-what!

I try to video chat a couple of people from Texas, I had to share this experience with someone! I get my brother on the line but the video is too pixelated and he can’t see it. Okay that does it, we’re turning around to retrieve my camera. That bird better still be sitting there when I get back.

I drive the 25mph speed limit…kill me now I’m in a hurry!…back to the house. I run upstairs and grab everything. I’m speaking out loud positive thoughts to my niece sitting next to me the whole way back. “He’ll still be there.” “He’s not going anywhere.” “He’ll still be there, right?” I’m nervous and want that dang bird to remain seated and I have no clue of my odds of this actually happening. We don’t have many (any) eagles flying around Brock, TX.

Again, 25mph back around the bay and I’m chanting the whole way…”He’ll still be there. He’ll still be there. He’ll still be there. ” And it isn’t until we are right up on that tree that I spot that wonderful creature and let out a “Whoop Whoop!”

I jump outta the Jeep and start snapping away. I don’t have a wonderful zoom and am now kicking myself again in the you-know-what for not buying that one before I left. Oh well, I make the best of it. I don’t think anyone could tire of seeing these massive, almost mystical, birds. They seriously stop me in my tracks. Every time. God is amazing. His creations are amazing. Amen.

2 Years and Counting…

I was so busy last week that it didn’t even occur to me that my business anniversary was coming up and I missed it!! It’s been 2 whole years since I established by business and 8 months since taking it full-time.

I guess it’s true what they say….time flies when you’re having fun! It has been fun…along with scary, trying, confusing, frustrating, enjoyable, rewarding and a gazillion other things.

Yep, these past two years have been a revolving door of changes. Not only dealing with growth but who I am and what my photography is. Learning where to set goals and how to accomplish them. Finding great online resources and soaking up as much info as possible and trying to determine how to apply that information to my business. Just because something works wonders for one photographer in one area doesn’t mean it will for everyone. I’ve learned the beginning is A LOT of trial and error.

For those clients who have repeatedly used me throughout these years during all this THANK YOU! You have no idea how much I appreciate your loyalty and continued support. I only hope that I’ve given photos and an experience that exceed the previous and make you want to stick around for all the wonderful things that are yet to come!!

If you are a photographer reading this and you’re thinking it’s too hard, there’s too much to learn, you’re not good enough, the business side of photography isn’t fun, and you wondering if you’re making the right decisions….I want you to know that those are all valid and common fears that we all have!! Trust me! I’ve thought all those things. But you can do it! If it’s your passion and you feel drawn to it like nothing else then it will work out, if you work at it!

I have found Jenika over at Psychology for Photographers to be a remarkable source of information. I never miss a post and soak up everything she writes. She’s genuinely wants her readers to succeed and it shows!

The same can be said for Elizabeth over at ElizabethHalford.com Right now she’s teamed up with Lightroompresets.com for a 10 video photography series. If you’re just starting out or thinking about becoming a paid photographer I highly recommend watching the videos. She tells it like it is, in plain english that we all can understand.

I’m nowhere near where I want to be but I feel very confident at this point where I am. I understand nothing happens overnight and although I enjoy my “job” it is still a business and I have to treat it as such with lots of hard work. It’s wonderful knowing its all mine but scary knowing if I don’t do anything nothing will get done.

I’ll end with saying lots of wonderfulness is coming and I’m really excited!! Along with a couple of cute shots of my nephew…well just because he’s so darn cute!

“Did a grasshopper just jump into my camera?” He’s checking it out 🙂 We only have a million grasshoppers in our yard so it was slightly believable!!

Gaining a New Perspective

Today was a perfect weather day in my little dot on the map (sometimes we’re not even a dot). Blue, cloudless skies, the sun beaming down its warm rays on my skin, with no risk of sweat because the breeze was constant and cool. Yes, we really soak up days like this because in Texas we rarely get them. In fact, we may get one then have an ice storm the next day.

I was taking the designated lunch break while watching the awe inspiring Sue Bryce over at CreativeLIVE and decided to whip out the iPhone and snap some photos. Like I said we had some nice weather, not just today, so it’s starting to look like Spring with trees and flowers blooming.

I guess it was because of the workshop or something but my mind was totally turned on and open. I’m not going to get all philosophical on you, I don’t have the education for it. However, one thing did strike me though and I’ll illustrate with the photos I took.

You can look at something the same way everyone approaches it and achieve the same mediocre results:

Flowers. Or in this case I think these are common weeds. Even better because the feeling you get when you hear “weeds” is a negative feeling. Nobody loves weeds, they want them gone.

By just changing my view of them I can achieve amazing results! Not feeling anything negative anymore.

Once I realized how amazing my new perspective was I couldn’t stop shooting. We can apply this to all aspects of life don’t you think?

The weeds don’t have it so bad do they?
(until we mow)

Gift Giving {Mini Accordion Book}

Besides displaying your photos in your home you also may come across the need to gift photos. Perhaps you never even thought about it because you automatically think of the gift as a nice matted and framed 11×14 and that seems daunting. But what if it can be so much simpler? What if it doesn’t have to be this big purchase?

I want to introduce you to the mini accordion book. Not a bulky album with the photo corners. A neat composed book where photos can live forever that can be used and gifted with ease.

 

The Quick Simple Gift: Mini Accordion Book

I’ll hit you with the price first. That way you don’t think I’m going to surprise you with a big ticket at the end.

18 for a solid cover or $24 for a custom cover. Boom! A custom book for less than $25 dollars. I think that fits even the strictest of Chinese Christmas rules haha

 

Size.

Small enough to for grandma to carry in her purse for a brag book. That’s really all you need to know, right?! It has a soft magnet closure so its not flapping open and getting lipstick on the pages during transit. Not that I think she’ll have it in her purse half the time, but it’s nice to know the pages will be protected on the rare chance it is.

 

Real Estate.

10 pages for photos/text. That’s not including if you choose the custom front. That’s a lot of bang for your buck and if you have a large family everyone can have their own personal space and then some.

 

Presentation.

People are going to be impressed when you pull out the sleek hard covered book filled with your adorable family. The linen or pearl paper will probably send them over the edge. Jealously might even peek its little head out and you might have to tell them where you got it! Fine by me!! 🙂

 

And if you really want to knock the socks off the recipient and make them feel like you really went all out, you can purchase a frosted slip cover to go over the book.

I hope this has helped you think outside the box a little and also made your gift giving a little easier. The uses for this product are endless. Senior portrait books, birthday session book, brag book, mother’s day gift, etc…the list could go on and on. The recipient list is equally as long – mom, grandma, friend, aunt, stocking stuffer, or my favorite…yourself!!

How Do I {Fill in the Space Pt 2}

So in Pt. 1 we covered how your home reflects your style and personality.  With that said, there are many ways you can use photographs to enhance that style and particular look that you want in your home.

This is going to be an ongoing lesson as I cannot cover all the different options in one blog post. I don’t think I could keep it interesting for that long! So let’s think of this lesson as one in a lesson of size. You know what they say…….Never mind, not going there.

I could sit here and tell you all day that size A is better than size C but I’d much rather show you. I’ve put together a few wall display guides to visually show you how the different sizes impact you as you view them in a room.

*Note – These are not precisely to scale. I did my best to accurately portray the measurements but please don’t take me to court over a couple inches. The message is still powerful. K thanks!

I think you can see what I’m showing you here. This is an 8×10 drowning over the fireplace.

Now if you walked into this room you would take notice right away! This is representing a 24×36.

You could easily have just the one over the fireplace and it’d be enough to grab attention.

Again I’m starting with an 8×10, the standard that we’ve been conditioned to gravitate towards. Not because it’s the best size, its just common. I’d love to see it go away all together! A 8×12 would be my replacement. (More on why in another post)

Here’s a 24×36. See how more balanced and pleasing to the eye this size is? Already the empty wall looks better. If you had some overhead lighting and not lamps you could put sconces on either side and waaalaa! You’d be done!!

For this room however since the lamps are there I’d put two other canvases on either side to complete the look. These are two 12×18 canvas wraps.  I love the idea of a frameless photo on the wall in place of framing each photo. The gallery canvas wraps are perfect for this room.

Once the kids grow up these can be easily moved to the den or hallway to make room for more current photographs.  If you had a smaller wall the two 12×18 canvases could be stacked on top of each other to conserve space.

If you feel intimidated to configure your own collection we have 5 predesigned gallery wrap collections you can purchase. These are designed for wall spaces 20×20” to 45×24” with a 1” space between each canvas.

I hope you enjoyed this post and possibly learned a few things. I would also like to make it known that I am not trying to pass as an interior decorator and will not be advising you on drape choices or fabric colors haha (However, I would like to hope that I know a thing or two from my 6 year experience working for an interior decorator.) Stay tuned for further tips and ideas…

How Do I {Fill in the Space Pt 1}

You live in a  home. Maybe you own it, maybe its a rental. You might have everything decorated and updated just the way you like it or your home could be a work in progress. (Still not loving the floral wallpaper in the bathroom? I get it!) Whatever the current condition may be it is still your home. It’s where you raise your family. It’s where after a certain time you opt to be on a Saturday night rather than going “out”.

Another thing about your home is it’s where you can show your personality and show off your family! It’s the one and only place that basically is your territory and you get to show visitors just who you are and who your family are.

If you’re spunky and outgoing you may have a funky bright accent wall in the kitchen or living room. If you are a minimalist you might have clean lines and a soft color palette throughout.

How you display your photos needs to reflect your style as well as show off your unbelievably adorable family!!

So you’re asking “How do I?”. I know that big empty wall in the living room is scary and its just easier to leave it blank than actually come up with a way to fill it up.  I also know about the small bathroom and how you think the kids’ rooms are just hopeless.  I’m here to tell you to take a breath and that I’m here to help.

Stay tuned for Pt. 2 of “How do I?” for inspiration and tips to fill in those gaps and amaze those who enter your home.