Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Enchanting Rose Teacup Exchange (2016)

Last fall I participated in a teacup exchange, and I loved it so much I joined again this year! It's hosted by Stephanie at The Enchanting Rose and she is so kind and thoughtful in the way she runs everything.  There are many participants, but she still manages to match us up with other ladies who often share similarities to us in age or interests, which makes finding out who sent your package that much more exciting (as well as finding out who you are sending to!)

This year I received a package from Ashleigh, and I was so excited and blessed by her generosity.  As soon as I opened the package I could smell the beautiful rose soap.  All of the wrapping paper and cards were scented so lovely.  As you can see, the teacup is gorgeous and just as vintage and classy as I love, and look at that detailed blue rose design!  She sent some of my favorite fruit teas and wonderful chocolate treats (that I must admit are gone by now...) Also papers and stickers and a lovely book for baking, complete with recipes specifically for tea parties and full color pictures.

Ashleigh also creates things, and sent a variety of handmade gifts made specifically for me. The stunning dress bookmark is already in use, and you must look at the bunny pin! SO adorable! It's my favorite shade of blue, complete with pearls and fluffy tail.
Thank you so much Ashleigh for everything, I loved it all so much. I can't wait to keep in touch! (Your official thank-you note will be in the mail shortly :) )

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What's In My Bag | Camera Edition

I don't know about you, but I am constantly rearranging and replacing my camera bag.  Every trip, session, birthday party, or wedding, and I've dumped another purse and tried to fit everything I need for the event in the bag that fits both my "necessary" items and my mood.  Throughout this constant packing and unpacking of clutter, I've found different events can require different gear - and different bags.  In this post I'm covering the essentials in my bag for any basic photoshoot!

Basic Needs
  • Camera!  - kind of obvious, but a good place to start. For me, camera means my beautiful blue Pentax K30.  This is the best camera I've ever worked with, and I'll be following this with another Pentax (very possibly in the K line) when it is time to replace or add to my gear. [note: it's a good idea to have an extra camera body to bring with you on a photoshoot, but that just hasn't been in my budget yet - however, I almost always bring along a second shooter in my mom or sister and with that comes a backup camera.]

  • Portrait Lens - my personal favorite (and on the camera being used to take this picture) is a 50mm that stops down to 1.8.  For group shots, however, it can be more convenient to use the 35mm  prime lens (pictured.) 
  • Extra Battery - (or two.) Make sure they are charged.
  • Extra Memory Card - I usually shoot with a 16 gb with several hundred pictures free on it, and keep an 8 gb in my bag for emergencies.  If I'm taking quick picture for a close friend, or for some other reason do not have a second shooter, I borrow my mom's memory card for extra security - just in case the inevitable disaster were to happen.

Lighting Needs
  • External Flash - even though natural light photography is my favorite and my forte, I carry a flash.  Sometimes you need that extra fill, and sometimes even at a park there will be some place inside you'll find yourself shooting, and you don't want to be stuck with poor light.
  • Wireless Hot Shoe Flash Trigger - for off camera flash.  One of the devices connects to the flash, the other to the camera's hot shoe. This way, you can have the camera off to the side for a filler light that isn't too harsh.
  • Tripod Adapter - in case you bring a tripod (which wouldn't fit in my bag) this adapter allows you to side the flash on the top of the tripod so you don't have to hold the flash off camera, or have someone else hold it.
  • Battery Charger - for the rechargeable batteries inside my flash
  • Extra Batteries - in case the rechargeables fail

Specific Needs
  • Telephoto Lens - this isn't something you will always use; most portraits are taken closer to the subject.  Still, familiarizing yourself with the locations you shoot at should be able to tell you if this could be needed for any creative shots.
  • Polarizing Filter - usually not necessary, but it minimizes reflections on glass. It's small and easy to leave in the bag.
  • Lens Reversing Ring - turns your lens backwards on your camera body. You have to be careful, but it can turn your lens into a basic macro.  Good to have for details (e.g. engagement rings)


  • Log Book/Reference Guide - I received this with my NYIP schooling, its a book with quick reference guides to shutter speeds and apertures, a just in case sort of book. It also has a place in the back to record all of your gear in case your camera bag is lost. If your name, address, phone number, and gear list is inside, there is a greater chance of it being returned to you.
  • Pez Dispensers - With a big of filing from thin sandpaper, the bottoms of Pez Dispensers slide right into the camera's hot shoe.  This is perfect for young toddlers who struggle with looking at the camera. If parent allow, you can give Pez candy from them.  Then you really have their attention.

It all slides nicely into my Cheeky Lime camera bag - the empty spaces are for my camera (being used to take the photos), battery charger, and purse essentials (not pictured.) Speaking of...

Purse Needs

  • Wallet, Keys, Phone, Chapstick, Hairband, Pen, and anything else essential to you personally

For the Car

These are the things that you should have with you, but you don't necessarily need to carry around with you during the shoot.  Most of the time these won't be needed until it is over.

  • File Folder - It's nice to keep a portfolio of your photos with you in print form. This gives your client a visual of how their pictures will look in print, shows the different sizes and formats, and may even encourage them to purchase them from you.
  • Model Release Form - this is legal permission to put the pictures on your blog, business card, or part of your public portfolio. 
  • Water Bottle - I always regret not having one.

Optional (for a second bag)


I'd be interested to know; what do you carry in your bag? Do you think I missed anything essential?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Striving for Something

"You know there's a purpose for your life.  You long to live a life of true significance, and as you consider your life, you feel the pressure to do something -whatever that may be - and do it quickly.

"We've sensed it too, and we understand the ache that you feel. More than any other generation in history, ours is a generation that feels weight to do something, be somebody, make a difference, and then publish it to the world.  But striving in our own power only leaves us emptier than before and keeps us battling for worthiness.  It does nothing to quiet the longing we have to live the way God created us to live."

--from Tapestry Magazine website (April 2016)

Something about this resonated deeply with me.  Mostly, I think, because it is true.  There is a longing in my heart to do something.  To be someone.  Beside the longing is the fear that time is running out.  I can't be the only one feeling this invisible pressure.  The problem is, when we don't become as important as desired, thoughts of failure begin to settle in  Either we can't find anything meaningful to do, or what we tried didn't work out how we thought it should. How can the motivation to change the world and the acceptance of failure reside in the same body - and continue to do so over and over again with so many of this generation  More important, perhaps: How can it be fixed?

The things many try - work harder; never give up; follow your dreams - may be good advice, but they leave something out.  Even pursuing something with your whole heart can leave you feeling empty or unnoticed. I think the reason for this is that we chose what to do; we chose what kind of difference we wanted to make and then we chose how to go about it, striving in our own power to accomplish our task.  Maybe the problem is us.  Maybe it is our fault we feel empty.

We are burdened to do something and make a difference.  We long to find God's purpose for our lives.  Unfortunately, I wonder just how many of us ask God what our purpose is.  I fear even less of us actually listen for a response. I know I myself have been guilty of this.  I have told God what I want to do and asked for His help.  While this in and of itself may not be wrong, how many times have I missed a better opportunity because I did the planning?

We live in a world of alarm clocks and deadlines, of day planners and social media.  There is the pressure to Do Something right now, and tell everyone about it. Again, these things on their own are not bad.  A scheduled life is good, so long as you haven't lost peace through your plans or run out of time for God.  We don't want to live so in the moment that we have no foundation for the future.  But nor do we want to try so hard to map out our plan for changing the world, that we forget to ask the One who created the world how we should do it.

The more we try to make a difference on our own, the more the potential for failure hangs over us.  We are so often left feeling unworthy or useless when we look at our lives, compare them to others around us or in the media, and feel something is lacking.  God didn't create us to feel pointless and hopeless.  He designed us in His image, and sent His Son Jesus to save us.  Because of Him, we are worthy.  But only through Him.  If our worth and place in eternity comes solely through Christ, what makes us think that our worth on this life should come from anyplace less, or anyone else - including ourselves.  As Christians, we depend on God for eternity; don't you think we can depend on Him for this life as well?

We are too often trying to do something big and life-changing without listening to the one who changed our lives.  We know God has a plan and purpose for us.  I want to live out that plan everyday, for His glory.  Maybe that means taking a step back. Asking God what He wants me to do, and then listening for an answer! Asking Him what kind of difference I am called to make, and how to pursue it.  Asking how much of the world He wants me to change, and being content and courageous, no matter how big or small that portion of the world may seem to me. God views things different than man - He sees the heart of men, the past and future, the ultimate goal.  His will is always good, and always great.  Don't be deceived by man's perspective of big or small.  Don't be afraid if God ends up calling you somewhere or to do something that you think is too small, or too big!  He absolutely knows what He is doing with you.  Follow God's will for your life.  Make God your new passion - then follow your dream; serving Him.  Work hard - serving Him.  And never give up serving Him.  That is how I want to do something - For Him.