For the past week I have been in the Pacific Northwest doing a little magic on my parent’s kitchen.  Over the years my mom and I have done many projects in their home, but we have never touched the kitchen. It was like a serious time warp.  This week I was finally able to get my hands on it.  We removed what we thought was “faux” brick on the walls (which ended up to be real brick) and replaced it with white subway tile hung in a herringbone pattern.  My mom is always great because she lets me try my hand at new things in her house.  I have hung back-splash tile, but never in a herringbone pattern.  It was a lot of work, but definitely worth it!! I sprayed the the cabinets, added some pulls, replaced the light fixtures and much more.

Here are the before and after pictures.

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Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom a girl could ever hope for.  I love you!!

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I have known the Ramirez family for a little over a year and was honored when they asked me to take pictures of their family.  As a natural light photographer, my favorite time of day to take pictures is during the “golden hour” (the hour or two before sunset). We strategically chose the first warm afternoon of early spring, which also meant the parking lot at Creve Coeur Lake was packed.  As soon as I got out of the car it was not hard to spot 4 year old Eliana jumping up and down holding the picture she colored for me…it is pictured below and now proudly adorns my refrigerator.
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I love photographing families/kids that I know.  Taking pictures is as much about relationship and interaction as it about having the right equipment. My job is to capture moments…of joy, laughter, tenderness, and even uncertainty. Having the ability to immediately connect with my subjects makes that part of my job easier. . . and gives me the ability to capture these moments.

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Since Spring had not “sprung” yet, and there were no leaves on the trees to provide shade, I chose this woodsy back-lit setting to capture some family moments. When shooting in the bright sun, I always position my subjects so that the sun is at, or mostly at, their back.  Then I expose the image for the darkest part of the scene to create the “glow” effect of the rest of the picture.

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I am absolutely in love with these sibling moments.

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A part of every shoot is catching the “in-between” candid moments.  As we transition from place to place, I always keep my camera close.  These unexpected images are usually some of my favorites.

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Ramirez Family you are gorgeous! Thank you for the privilege and joy of capturing your priceless moments!

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They say that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem…well…OK I admit it, I am a complete freak about Christmas.  The lights, the decor, the shopping, the Reason for the Season! I absolutely love ALL of it.  For me it is a treasured, almost magical time of year. In fact I love it so much that on my Fortieth birthday my mom and sister helped me put up my Christmas tree and I never took it down until I moved from my apartment (almost 2 years later)! So there you have it; I’m crazy for Christmas!  This time of year I am usually kicking things into full gear doing a little bit of this..
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And a little bit of that…
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But you know what my MOST favorite thing is?  Now that I have you on the edge of your seat, I will tell you.  My favorite thing I do during the Christmas season is design custom Christmas cards. Yep, favorite thing!  Most often people go to an online site such as, tinyprints, minted or shutterfly, but did you know that I can create you a fully custom, fully two sided (or folded) card at a LOWER price?  True.  Printed locally on a professional press, their quality is second to none!!  Here are a few samples of designs I did last year…
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If you are interested in having your own card created this year, the process is easy.
  1. You can provide your own pictures via email or if you need to have them taken, let me know and we can set up an appointment.  The cards above are a combination of my photography and photography by Kelly of Relic Photography.
  2. Give me some direction about wording, colors and style.
  3. I do the rest.

Christmas is 98 days away!  Email me, to let me know how I can help make Christmas YOUR favorite time of year too!

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I had the privilege of doing some photography mentoring last weekend.  It was a gorgeous and unseasonably cool Sunday evening in St. Louis.  My favorite time of day to do any type of shoot is during the last two hours of sunlight.  It’s called “the golden hour” and this particular evening, the light shone true to it’s name.  There is just nothing like it.  I always say it is the kind of light you can’t pay for.  It’s God’s amazing gift.  Since a good part of what goes into photography is managing light, the golden hour is simply priceless.

Mary Beth, who is wanting to start her own photography business, asked me to come along to a shoot she was planning with her good friend Sarah who is 4 months pregnant.  Sarah was a beautiful and patient subject as we discussed light, ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed.  Understanding how these things work together is so often what keeps newer photographers from venturing from Program Mode, into Manual Mode.  Sadly there is a lot of bad information on youtube and pinterest.  Mary Beth mentioned to me she watched a youtube video that told her to put the camera in program mode to get the settings she would need in manual mode.  Bad information. If it were that easy the camera would actually take a good picture in program mode.

I explained that it is as easy as 1: ISO, 2: Aperture, 3: Shutter Speed. In that order.

1:  The first thing you do is choose your ISO by how much light you have (100/200=bright sun; 4oo=evening/shade and 800+ =low light and indoor).

2: Once your ISO is set you choose an Aperture.  The Aperture determines how much light will be let in by the lens, and also determines the Depth of Field…simply put: how much of your picture will be in focus).  I often tell people that the number of the Aperture can be thought of in terms of feet.  So at a f/1.4 Aperture only 16 inches (depth) will be in focus and at a f/5.6 Aperture 5 and half feet will be in focus.  Generally speaking:  use  f/1.4-2.8 when photographing a single subject; use  f/2.8-5.6 when photographing 2-8 people, and use f/6+ when photographing a large group.

3: Once you have set your ISO and determined your desired Aperture, the only thing left is Shutter Speed.  When we got to this point, Mary Beth had a light bulb moment and said, “so really once I get my other things set correctly, the only thing I need to change as I move around is my Shutter Speed?”  Yes! Absolutely.  I told her that a rule of thumb is that she should not go below a Shutter Speed of 1/100 when photographing a person.  Because of the bad information she got on the internet, she was lowering her Shutter Speed to 1/50 or 1/60 because her ISO was set too low.   In order to keep the Shutter Speed over 1/100 the ISO may need to be increased if not set correctly in the beginning.  A comfortable Shutter Speed, to assure clear, in-focus pictures, is between 1/200 and 1/320. But, of course, in bright sun the Shutter Speed can be as high as 1/5000+.  As the Shutter Speed increases, the amount of light let into the lens decreases, and the converse is true.  As the Shutter Speed decreases, the amount of light let in increases.

After we covered the simple 1, 2, 3 of camera settings Mary Beth went to work. We talked through each detail of the shoot and she did a fantastic job.  I was thrilled to catch these beautiful moments along the way!

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