photography resources

photography resourcesJust because I no longer have a photo business doesn’t mean I don’t still love it. Obviously.

I actively try to improve my skills every week – I’m still taking photos for Project Life even though I haven’t put any pages together.

Here are some great posts from around the web from the last couple months!

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On letting go of a past dream

Wedding portraits at Terrenea ResortThis month has been about finalizing some big changes.

I have finally been BRAVE enough to do that thing that I’ve been thinking about for about 2 years.

I dissolved my photography business. Officially official. The state of CA has my paperwork and the bank has closed my account and the only think I have left to do is take down my site and close my email account.

My emotions have completely swung the whole gamut over the last couple years, fighting with myself, talking myself into it, admitting things about myself that I have only recently discovered. It would have been fascinating to watch if it wasn’t happening for me. As it is, I’m glad I’m through it all.

I think that I am a good (enough) photographer. I think that I am a good (enough) businessperson. I live in SoCal where there are plenty of people who have money to pay for wedding photographs. I genuinely love weddings. I genuinely love documentary-style photography and I think everyone should have fantastic wedding photos that they love. I am still proud of the work that I’ve done for couples since 2008.

All of that said – being a professional wedding photographer is not for me.

There are a lot of reasons. Big reasons and little reasons. Tiny preferences, practicalities and discoveries about my personality. Being a professional photographer is A LOT OF WORK …. so it had better be work you definitely want to do.

And it’s not for me. Not for the rest of my life.

It took me awhile to get here, but I am looking forward to ending this phase of my life and having more focus to move forward into the next one.

I’m really really excited about it!

If you are also letting go of a past dream….

  • Allow yourself time to mourn. I’ve been thinking about this decision for at least 2 years. At least.
  • Be realistic about why. Know if you could have done better. Know if you made poor decisions. Know if it is just that your goals have changed. You’re not a failure – you’re just a different person than you were when you formed that dream.
  • Jump into your next dream. Take as much time as you need, but be BRAVE and keep moving forward.

 Be BRAVE. Fail big. Fail often.

P.S. Thanks Maggie for these shots of me working!


Gorgeous Instagram accounts to follow

I love Instagram. It’s my (current) favorite social media!

I love to just scroll through Instagram looking for creative inspiration, funny (visual) stories or other ideas to implement. Or, honestly, just gorgeous photos of places I’d like to go someday.

Here are some of my favorite accounts to follow on Instagram. The list is a mix of professional photographers, lifestyle bloggers, a ‘mainstream media’ and another couple on top of that.

In no particular order …. what I think are the best Instagram accounts to follow:


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Melissa Vincent – Showing a different side of Mississippi; iPhone artist; Mobile Photographer/Marketing



Sezgin YILMAZ – Istanbul



Christoffer Collin – Chris from Karlskoga, Sweden.



Ben Hole – The ebb and flow of farming life – The Isle of Purbeck, England



Liz – a new yorker obsessed with new york | co-founder The Mobile Media Lab



Humans of New York – New York City, one story at a time.

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National Geographic – Official Instagram feed of National Geographic.



Nate Kaiser – SoCal photographer and awesome family man.



Elsie Larson – I like making crafts, cocktails & messes.



elise blaha cripe – maker of lists, crafter of things, teller of stories & mama to ellerie.


What are your favorite Instagram accounts?

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!


5 easy ways to take more everyday photos

I love my around-the-house photos. I love that we do Day in the Life recording on just normal days. In fact, throughout the year I have deliberately chosen days that were NOT travel days, holidays or other out-of-the-ordinary days.

Are you wishing you could take more just-your-average-day photos? Looking to start Project Life and afraid nothing exciting happens to you?

I’m here to tell you those everyday moments will be some of the most special in years to come. The way your cat always comes to smell your coffee every morning. The way your fridge gets to completely empty the day before you go grocery shopping. These are small memories that belong to you, that are part of YOUR story, and are integral to your life….. even if no one else sees them.

This year, commit to taking more everyday photos. Here’s how:

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Do not self-edit

One of the most common excuses I hear/read for why someone doesn’t take more photos is that they think they’re boring.

What? Sad!

Don’t judge your photos before you’ve taken them! Spend a day or week just taking a photos of your everyday and THEN go back, look at them, decide which ones you want to keep. I am sure you will find even just a small handful that you love. Your walk to work on a fall morning. Your sweet neighbor holding the building door open for you. The pile of chopped vegetables about to go into the soup.

All photos you might not have set out to take if you were editing yourself along the way.

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Have a camera with you always

Always. If you’re like me and mostly use your dSLR, buy a purse that is big enough to hold it always. If you don’t have a dSLR, maybe you have a phone with a camera. If you don’t have a phone with a camera, invest in a small point-and-shoot camera.

The best camera is the one that’s with you, and you can’t take everyday photos without it.

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Focus on details

Small things like the coffee maker you use or the way you keep your clean clothes before putting them away or your favorite mug or your cat’s claws.

Little tiny details like this almost never get photographed. If you’re having a big party, don’t forget a photo of the invitation. If you’re going on a long trip, take a photo of your luggage tag.

Focus on the details or they will get lost.

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Choose 1 story to record

Instead of trying to record everything going on in your life, pick just one story to tell.

Maybe on Monday you’ll just capture your breakfast routine. On Wednesday you’ll grab a few shots at the gym after work. Friday, maybe a few photos of your typical mail day. Sunday you can photograph the steps you take to prep meals for the rest of the week. Or follow Pink Ronnie’s Documenting the Hour challenge.

All these little bits are part of your story.

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Take on a challenge

If you *still* think that you can’t think of what to take photos of, take on a challenge. Kristin has collected a few here on the Persnickety Prints blog.

Don’t worry about missing a day or adhering too strictly to the list of photos – just use it as a guide and inspiration. You can use the list of photo challenges as a jumping off point to record a few small stories today.

What are YOUR best tips for taking more everyday photos?

SHIFT_free creativity guide


Gifts for photographers: coffee table books

coffee table books for photographersIt’s that time to start thinking about creative and classic gifts for your loved ones. I have a few suggestions if you have any artists or photographers on your list! I just love coffee table books. I have FAR more than would ever reasonably fit on a coffee table. I usually start by just looking through at the lovely (giant) images on each page, and then going through a second time to read the introduction or descriptions and other details that provide more insight into how the artist created what they did. Anyone looking for gifts for photographers can’t go wrong with a classic coffee table book full of inspiration.

Note: All of these I own and love. I revisit each of them from time to time to really soak in how professionals work and what is possible to create.

Links and quoted descriptions all from Amazon.

Gifts for photographers: coffee table books

Vanity Fair – The Portraits: A Century of Iconic Images

I’m pretty sure you know this, but I LOVE Vanity Fair (the magazine, not the book by William Makepeace Thackeray).

The book of Vanity Fair portraits was one of the first coffee table books I ever got – I just love old Hollywood, and the collection of images in this book covers such a range of time and subjects, I can always find something that inspires me.

Vanity Fair: The Portraits brings together 300 iconic portraits from Vanity Fair’s 95-year history in a remarkable book that captures the image of modern fame—the magical thing that happens when individual talent and beauty (and sometimes genius) is caught in the spotlight of popular curiosity and passion. The photographers—from Edward Steichen and Cecil Beaton to Annie Leibovitz and Mario Testino—are a glittering and celebrated group themselves. Their portraits have become the iconic likenesses of the best-known figures from the worlds of art, film, music, sports, business, and politics.

From legends such as Pablo Picasso, Amelia Earhart, Cary Grant, and Katharine Hepburn to the stars, writers, athletes, style icons, and titans of business and politics of today, Vanity Fair: The Portraits offers an authoritative roster of talent and glamour in the 20th century.”

Gifts for photographers: coffee table books

Performance by Richard Avedon

Andrew and I made a trip down to San Diego to see friends and go see the exhibit based on these images at the San Diego Museum of Art. I just fell in love with Richard Avedon’s style and put this book on my wish list as soon as we got home.

“The preeminent stars and artists of the performing arts from the second half of the 20th century offered their greatest gifts—and, sometimes, their inner lives—to Richard Avedon. More than 200 are portrayed in Performance, many in photographs that have been rarely or never seen before. Of course, the great stars light the way: Hepburn and Chaplin, Monroe and Garland, Brando and Sinatra. But here too are the actors and comedians, pop stars and divas, musicians and dancers, artists in all mediums with public lives that were essentially performances, who stand at the pinnacle of our cultural achievement.

The celebrated author and critic John Lahr offers an elegant assessment of Avedon’s achievement. Four supremely talented artists from the performing arts—Mike Nichols, André Gregory, Mitsuko Uchida, and Twyla Tharp—contribute lively and moving memoirs about their collaborations with Avedon.”

Gifts for photographers: coffee table books

Elvis at 21: New York to Memphis by Alfred Werthheimer

This is also a book that we saw the live exhibit of first. I love Elvis, I love this style of documentary photography, and I was so excited to get this book.

Read my review of the photo exhibit here

“In 1956, a twenty-one-year-old Elvis Presley was at the beginning of his remarkable and unparalleled career and photographer Alfred Wertheimer was asked by Presley’s new label, RCA Victor, to photograph the rising star. With unimpeded access to the young performer, Wertheimer was able to capture the unguarded and everyday moments in Elvis’ life during that crucial year, a year that took him from Tupelo, Mississippi to the silver screen, and to the verge of international stardom and his crowning as “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” As Alfred Wertheimer photographed Elvis during 1956, and again in 1958, he created classic images that are spontaneous, unrehearsed and completely without artifice.

Wertheimer’s photographs of Elvis are extraordinary and he appears almost ethereal, whether reading a newspaper while waiting for a cab, or washing his hands during one of his many train trips. After 1958 and Elvis’ induction into the army, the world seemingly forgot about Wertheimer’s magical photographs- for nineteen years- until Aug 16, 1977, the day Elvis died and Time Magazine called. “The phone hasn’t really stopped ringing in the last thirty years,” observes Wertheimer.

Many of the photographs in this visual treasury are previously unpublished and some have become almost as famous as the man himself.”

Gifts for photographers: coffee table books

  Norman Rockwell, Behind the Camera by Ron Schick

I don’t remember where I first heard about this book, but the concept was so different. So singular to Norman Rockwell’s style and method. I love going through this book to study the images, but also to notice any differences between the photos and the illustrations and try to think about why he would have made those changes.

It’s fascinating.

“Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera is the first book to explore the meticulously composed and richly detailed photographs that Norman Rockwell used to create his famous artworks. Working alongside skilled photographers, Rockwell acted as director, carefully orchestrating models, selecting props, and choosing locations for the photographs–works of art in their own right–that served as the basis of his iconic images. Readers will be surprised to find that many of his most memorable characters-the girl at the mirror, the young couple on prom night, the family on vacation-were friends and neighbors who served as his amateur models. In this groundbreaking book, author and historian Ron Schick delves into the archive of nearly 20,000 photographs housed at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Featuring reproductions of Rockwell’s black-and-white photographs and related full-color artworks, along with an incisive narrative and quotes from Rockwell models and family members, this book will intrigue anyone interested in photography, art, and Americana”

 Need more ideas for gifts for photographers?

Check out my What’s in my Camera Bag? series

or my Holiday gift guide from last year


How to Shoot Your Kids photography ebook


Get Cozy with Your Camera and Learn How to Create Beautiful Images

My friend / boss Maggie of Just Maggie Photography recently released her new and improved ebook, teaching you how to use your camera and take great images: How to Shoot Your Kids! Just in time for the holiday season, when you KNOW you’re going to have your camera out basically every day between now and the middle of January.

Note: You do not need to have kids to learn from this book!

You can get your copy here: How to Shoot Your Kids! – and be sure to use discount code RASPBERRYKIDS for $5 off

What You’ll Learn

The Technical

  • How to choose in-camera settings and what all those buttons do
  • How to read your exposure and in-camera metering
  • What is ISO? What is aperture? What is shutter speed?
  • How to balance your ISO with your aperture with your shutter speed to take properly exposed photos
  • How to change your depth-of-field (make your background blur and your subject stand out!)
  • Secret to sharp focus
  • How to make all of this work together
Book Excerpt
The Technique

  • How to master a variety of lighting situations, both outdoors and indoors
  • How to compose an image
  • How to choose and best take advantage of location
  • How to identify and remove distractions – without photoshop!
  • Clothing tips and suggestions for your photo subject
  • How to interact (or not) with your subject
  • How to tell the story in one image
  • How to capture life as it happens
  • How to capture the details of your family’s life
  • How to add all of this to your technical knowledge and take photos you will treasure
Book Excerpt


Camera bag: digital video camera

What's in my camera bag?

So in talking about what’s in my camera bag, we’ve looked at all my toy and vintage cameras like the Holga or the Kodak Deux (click here to see all the What’s in my camera bag archives).

But guess what! It’s time to move on to DIGITAL! I know y’all are excited …. over the next few months I’ll show you my digital SLR cameras and my lenses and all.

Since I shoot quite a bit I have a solid collection.

But first …. I want to show you my little handheld digital video camera.

I keep telling myself I’m going to do video blogs for you all … We’ll see. It still might happen.

We have the Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video camera – this particular camera appears to be discontinued, but you could read any of the reviews for any of these other handheld video cameras and find something similar.

Just a couple photos to show you the front and the back…

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 The camera has the USB plug-in built right into the camera so I don’t have to worry about losing any cord or other file-importing equipment.

Which I am more than liable to do.

It also has (you can see in the last photo) a little screw-in bit for a tripod built in. Awesome :)  Looks a little funny all tiny at the top of by big, professional heavy duty tripod, but it works.

This camera also came with a remote control – fancy! Used it for this video.

I’ve got a YouTube channel *started* …. Still thinking about what I want to do with that. Maybe take down the personal photos and keep it L&R specific. Maybe take down the Blurb video and start a different L&R-related channel. (Any thoughts on that?)

A couple examples of videos I’ve taken with this camera.

Do you have any experience with little video cameras? Any tips for me?


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Camera bag: homemade pinhole camera

What's in my camera bag?

This week for What’s in my camera bag, the last toy camera. Our homemade pinhole camera.

Elise Larsen (of A Beautiful Mess) posted her DIY steps for making a pinhole camera (part 1 here and part 2 here). All I did was send the links to Andrew and he more or less took over for me.

He’s the best.

As you’ll see in a second, the first roll of film through this camera didn’t really work out, but I’m looking forward to trying again and having this toy in my arsenal going forward.


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Ok, see at the end there’s a roll of film still in the camera? Where did the canister go? Seriously no idea. So we loaded a roll and then somehow ruined it.

NO IDEA what happened. I don’t remember opening the camera before I took these photos. I cannot fathom where the canister went that the film came in (it’s just boring ol’ 35mm film).

No idea. We’ll just try again.

 The DIY instructions for this camera are part 1 here and part 2 here and some more ideas for pinhole cameras.

Here are some photos from when Andrew was putting it together ….

The box itself is one of those un-finished-wood boxes from Michaels or another craft store. It’s just up on it’s side (instead of with the lid on the top like a treasure chest).

The blue on the front is that fun foam stuff (flexible, thin)….

Let me know what other questions you may have about the materials.

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Camera bag: vintage Keystone Olympic 8mm movie camera

What's in my camera bag? For this week’s What’s in my Camera Bag, another camera I have not yet used.

This vintage Keystone Olympic k-32 8mm movie camera – Andrew bought this off of etsy for a gift for me a couple years ago. Because it is so old and I have no experience whatsoever I have been hesitant to buy/use/ruin film for it.

But as far as I can tell, the film IS available and the camera APPEARS to be in working order.

SO I need to get on that – make a few home movies of the cats or so.


I really could find VERY LITTLE reference material online about this camera. I searched specifically for the manufacturer’s name and the exact make of this . …. and I got about 95% listings of the camera for sale (etsy, ebay, shopgoodwill and many others).

The Keystone K-32 8mm Movie Camera was made by Keystone Manufacturing Company Boston, MA around 1956. This movie camera was introduced on the market in 1950. It was equipped with an interchangeable lens Keystone Elgeet f:2,5 – 12,5mm. The machine has an adjustable viewfinder, for a normal, wide angle or tele lens.

It measures about 4 1/2 x 3 3/4 x 1 3/4 inches, compact and lightweight (for the era). The camera body is metal, covered with brown leather.

The camera winds and clicks off as expected so I *think* it would work.

We’ll see! Wish me luck!