I love the art of photography, as a creative expression, not just to capture moments, people portraits and still objects. I was looking for something to take my personal photography in a new artistic direction, not just in post-production. So last year I learned about Lensbaby, a manufacturer of creative lenses for both DSLR and mobile cameras.

From the Lensbaby website: “At Lensbaby, we see things differently. We think perfect is boring. We seek surprise—to have our eyes opened, to dance and play and lose ourselves in moments. To break free of routine, be uncomfortable, tinker, and open yourself up to unexpected results. When you do that, you’ll change how you see everything.We make award-winning creative effects lenses, optics and accessories that follow this philosophy. And we invite you to join us in our pursuit to dance, play and delight in what’s possible with a creative lens and your imagination.” In technical terms, most of their lenses tilt the glass to make fun swirls, blurs, circles, etc. They also have this interchangable system called the Composer Pro that allows you to swap out different optics. I got the Sweet Optic 50 and the Twist 60 for Christmas last year.

Here are a few photos I’ve taken with the Sweet 50 recently:

During the months of January and February I usually focus on professional development to improve my photography skills, especially in areas that I really hope to showcase with my clients! This year I re-branded my business to focus on lifestyle family photography, rather than outdoor posed portraits (even though I still occasionally do some of that). I love lifestyle photography because it truly captures the essence of the family in that moment in their lives, their environment, their children or pets in action, and the family dynamics. I don’t feel you can capture that emotion and connection as well in a portrait session.

Over a year ago I took a Clickin Moms breakout session that was conducted by Sacramento-based photographer Danielle Hatcher. This made me fall in love with lifestyle photography. I was looking for something fresh to take my photography to the next level. Her photos spoke to me and I knew this was going to be the type of photography I wanted to offer for my clients! When I found out she’d be offering a more in-depth 4 week online workshop on the same topic of in-home lifestyle photography I just knew I had to take it!

Each week during the workshop, Life Inside: Lifestyle In-Home Photography, she gave us tips and tricks on taking lifestyle photos in the home and outdoors (lighting, composition, activities to guide the family, marketing lifestyle photography and gear). Even though you don’t have an in-person connection with the instructor during these online workshops, the instructor gives you a weekly assignment to do and then takes the time to give you critique. That is where I learn the most. In fact Danielle spent extra time in doing a video critique rather than just a written critique. She gave me a lot of great advice and things to consider!

Here are some photos I took during the course. I look forward to transferring what I learned for my next lifestyle client sessions. If you are interested in learning more about lifestyle photography, contact me today!

It’s only 8 days away from the First Day of Spring but judging by the weather we’re having today (high 30s) you’d never know it. We had teaser weather last week with beautiful sunny 70 degree days and then spring-like rains. But Spring will be here before you know it! And you may be looking to upgrade your wardrobe or figure out what you’ll wear if you are booking spring family photos. So here are Pantone’s spring 2017 colors:

Want ideas on how to style, layer and accessorize to look fab this Spring?

Since I do commercial documentary photography and corporate/non-profit event photography, I have had numerous inquiries about whether or not I offer professional headshot photo services. I don’t have a permanent studio set-up but I do have the ability to take headshots, so I thought why not! This is a service that I can offer any of my clients now. I do have a couple backdrops I can use, and my set-up is also portable so I can come to your place of business if you have multiple people who need headshots (discounts available if more than 4 people).

I had a few professionals volunteer to be my model last week so I could show you what I can offer. Contact me today if you are interested in booking a 20 minute session to get 2-3 digital high resolution images ($75 + sales tax).

During the months of January – March I usually take on fewer client sessions so I can focus on professional development. I believe the key to being a great photographer is to do continuous education so I can learn from other great photographers, gather inspiration from practicing other styles of photography, and to push my creative boundaries.

I just wrapped up the four-week online course “Before They Grow Up: Photographing Childhood” from Click Photo School‘s instructor and mentor, Kellie Bieser of Shutter & Glass Photography (Columbus, Ohio). It was a really inspiring class. I love Kellie’s work and was interested in seeing how she achieved her family and child photography. She loves doing a mix of portraits and lifestyle/documentary photos during her client sessions and personal work. I also love learning from someone who lives in a world of beautiful chaos like I do (she has 4 children and manages a business). This course took us through the art of traditional portraits to lifestyle portraits to documentary photography. Each of these can capture childhood in a special way. It helped you figure out where your comfort zone was and where you might want to develop yourself further. I also learned some great Adobe Photoshop techniques which encouraged me to unlock more of Photoshop’s potential (I primarily edit in Adobe Lightroom) and take another Click Photo School class (this time as study along instead of a full participant) on Unlocking the Magic of Photoshop.

There were people of all different skill levels varying from hobbyists to professionals in this class. I love how Kellie encouraged each of us and gave us such great constructive criticism during our weekly assignment critiques. There was also a lot of fun off-topic chatter happening in the course discussion forum!

Here are some photos I took of my children as practice exercises for the course: