Friday, December 6, 2013

How to Take Great Holiday Photos

It's that time of year when I am in a rush to get my Christmas cards completed and sent out.  Sometimes finding 'Christmas card worthy' photos can be tough.  Most of my friends don't want to pay for professional photos just for their holiday cards, but it is so easy to create your own setup and take them yourself.  You might be surprised to know with a few props and a bit of strategic editing you can make your photos look professional and get it done in one afternoon!  Here are some tips and tricks that I use when creating a setup in my home.

  • Find a room with good natural light and set up with that light to one side of your backdrop. (In my setup below there is a large window to the left of my backdrop.)
  • Select a backdrop.  You can use fabric or blankets, anything large enough to fill your camera frame.  You could even use a plain wall for your backdrop.
  • Add props.  Twinkle lights, Christmas Tree, hats, etc.  Your options are unlimited.
In the photo below I set up two inexpensive backdrop stands, clipped up a white cotton backdrop, and added several strands of twinkle lights.  My backdrop wasn't as long as I wanted so I also added a fuzzy white rug.

  • Make sure that you choose a room where you can stand back from your subject. 
  • If you are using twinkle lights see if you can adjust your camera settings.  I use a dslr and a lens with a very shallow depth of field which makes the twinkle lights appear as bokeh (blurred).  Some point and shoot cameras will allow you to adjust the settings, so its always good to check your manual. 
  • You can also create that blurred background look through editing. is a great free photo editing site that has tons of options and professional tools.  I use photoshop, but did very little editing to these photos. 
So here are the final results from a quick session with my favorite model.  ; )

So, now that I have some adorable photos it's time to choose a card.  I am loving all of the holiday cards at Tiny Prints!  There are so many beautiful cards that it's hard to choose just one!  All of the cards I played with were customizable, so I could choose the color, shape, etc.  Can you tell I definitely have a favorite shape?  Ha!  Here are just a few of my favorites:

So with just a bit of planning and editing you too can create a gorgeous holiday card!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dining Room Window Before & After

I thought I would post my most recent DIY project.  We moved into a new home this year and after replacing all of the wood floors and painting the kitchen cabinets, I needed a break from all things DIY.  This month I have finally decided to start hanging pictures and putting up drapes.  We have two bay windows in our house which poses a bit of a problem with drapery hardware.  I know they sell some special bay window hardware, but it is hard to find, difficult to measure for, and can be expensive.  I saw an idea somewhere (possibly Pinterest) to make your own bay window hardware using pvc pipe and spray paint.  I cannot remember and cannot find that link anywhere, but a big thank you to whoever came up with the idea.  It worked brilliantly!  Now, you will notice the paint looks unfinished near the ceiling because we are adding crown molding that will cover that.  I thought about hanging the drapes higher, but finding suitable longer length drapes has been difficult too.  I found these linen drapery panels for $19.99 for 2 panels at T.J. Maxx! 
A great price and very nice material, so I went with the shorter length.  (They were a bit short of the floor however, so I had to rip the seam out and re-hem them.)

So here are the materials.

My husband figured out the measurements and angles that we needed, I spray painted the pvc pipe and the finials. We just bought 4 brackets that matched our spray paint color.

And ta da...

You can see in the picture that it really does look like a metal curtain rod.  I am pretty pleased with this project.  It fits perfectly and didn't cost a lot.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Newborn Photography | Baby Aliza

I got to spend last Wednesday morning with my good friend Amanda and take newborn photos of sweet little Aliza.  We also got a couple with big sister Amelia.  I thought I would share just a few of my favorites from that session.  Aliza was so calm and peaceful throughout the session, such a good baby, and absolutely precious!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

i heart face | Pets

This photo was submitted to the I Heart Faces photo challenge –

I haven't participated in these photo challenges for quite a while, but then again, I haven't posted to my blog in a year either. I'm not sure I'll start updating my blog again anytime soon, but I think I will enter more photos in the i heart faces photo contests. This week the theme is pets and although this isn't a photo of our pet, it does fall within the contest guidelines. I captured this photo on a class field trip to a local farm. My girl loves all animals, and I was able to capture a sweet moment as she was petting a baby goat. My favorite of the day!

Photo Challenge Submission

Please go check out all the other amazing 'pet' photos at