Sunday, September 28, 2008

you asked....

{from the utah state fair. just for fun!}

Wow. Wow. Wow. Thank you so much for all the nice comments and great questions! It was so fun hearing from all of you and I loved hearing from all the first time commenters! Alright, I’ll get straight to the point. Here is my attempt to answer all the questions! They are not all in the order they were asked, more so the order they make sense. Also, there were several repeat questions, so don’t be surprised that there were 31 comments but won’t be as many answers. I skipped the questions that are explained in previous ones.

I would like to put this out there for starters. There are lots of different ways to do things in photography and photoshop. My way is certainly not the only way or the best way! It's just what I do, for better or for worse. I did not go to school for photography and I do not claim to be any kind of expert, or a great teacher, or anything along those lines. If you would like to add to any of my suggestions, feel free. Here we go.

There were lots and lots of comments about the basics of camera use. Lots. I can't say that I am great at explaining these- I understand it, but I've kinda just made sense of this in my jumbly little brain. It was never explained perfectly to me, so I can't say I am going to be able to explain it perfectly either. All I can say is that yes, YOU CAN learn to shoot in Manual if you work at it, I promise!

APERTURE: This is how much light your lens lets in when the shutter opens and closes. A low aperture i.e. 2.8 lets in lots and lots of light, allows your shutter speed to be fast, and gives you a shallow depth of field (that means that really blurry soft background you all asked about). If your aperture is high, it lets in less light, but your background is going to be in focus as well as your subject. Also, if you're going to crank it up, be sure you have lots of light, cause your shutter will need to slow way down.

SHUTTER SPEED: How fast or slow your shutter opens and closes. Basically, if its slow (low #), your subject is going to be blurry if its moving, or maybe even if your hand moves the tiniest bit! If it's fast (high #) you can take a picture of an Olympic sprinter and it would be clear as can be.

ISO: this is all a little fuzzy, but here's the gist. Say it's dark. dark-ish even. But you don't want to use your flash because it's generally yucky to do so. Turn up your ISO (usually mine is at 200). Turn it up to 600 (or 1000, or 2000 whatever) and your picture will be more grainy, but your picture will be correctly exposed.

I know that's confusing. Really, people write books on that stuff, so if you want more, go to the pioneer woman photo site. She has all kinds of great tutorials on EVERYTHING photo and she just did a fab little "what the heck series" which is an easy to read series that explains the ins and outs of camera basics- both basic and advanced. Start with part one and work your way up, otherwise consider yourself confused. It also explains different camera modes, like shutter priority (the "S" setting), aperture priority (A or Av), and manaul settings. If you're at all unclear, check it out! Because I DOUBT that my little explanations helped even one of you.

Lots of people asked about some of the same things in photoshop:

First, I use Photoshop CS3. For those of you wondering theres a big diff between the real thing and elements, YES. No comparison. You have WAAAAY more control and more options in CS3.
Plus, not many actions work in elements.

These days I start my editing in bridge (a fabulous feature of cs3). It's a great way to make corrections when needed. If you have never used bridge, DO IT. From photoshop, click on the bridge link (a folder with a Br on it). Open some pics, select them and go to file, "open in camera raw" You'll be amazed. It lets you fix white balance, exposure. contrast, even some basic curves and darken edges (vignetting). It gives you an amazing base pic! Your actions will work WAY better if you do this first.

For a basic color pop I probably ran a color pop action I created myself, or Pioneer Woman's "fresh and colorful" action. I have tried tons of different actions lately, but I have pretty much come back to Pioneer Woman!

However, every picture is unique and requires special attention. I use curves, levels, color balance, contrast, dodge, burn and/or unsharp mask when necessary... whatever I think the picture needs.
I seem to do more of the custom editing in bridge lately.

BLACK AND WHITE conversions!

While I do use actions for color, I made my own for black and whites. Here's how I do it:

They key is to edit your pic in color first. Fix up the basics, your overall exposure, curves and contrast. Sharpen it up and get it just how you like it.


click gradient map (image, adjustments, gradient map). click the color scale (it looks like a long rectangle with two blended colors) which will bring up several presets. select black and white. If it seems off a bit, use the sliders below to add more whiteness (slide the white slider towards the middle) or blackness (slid the black slider towards the middle. hit ok. There ya go, a sharp contrasty black and white! To add the subtle brown tone that my b/w's sometimes have, select a nice chocolate brown in your foreground palate. Add a new layer. Then with your black and white open, go to hue/saturation and click the little box on the bottom right that says colorize, which will give you an intense brown tone to your pic. ok it. Then change the layer opacity! You can leave it super browny or take the opacity WAY down to have the most subtle warm chocolate tint (usually what I do).

There are all kinds of ways to get the vintage look, but here's the way I usually do mine: Once you have the pic how you like it in color, do the same colorize trick I explained how to do to give a brown tint to your b/w's. It gives a brown tint to color too! Then go to layers, new fill layer. Set it at solid, pin light mode, and about 25 % (ish. play around with the layer opacity after too). It will then bring up a color chart. Select a tanish- orange color (play with this a bit) and it will turn your highlights a yellowy creamy color, which I think is lovely. I do this A LOT. Then flatten your image and up your contrast just a pinch. walla, vintage color

Favorite Actions:

as I said, at the end of the day, Pioneer Woman Actions are my favs, and they're FREE! I really like and use many of the actions she offers, and there are just a handful of great ones instead of like 50 ok ones. I couldn't download them on my mac, I had to download on a pc and then burn them to a cd, then transfer them that way. Once downloaded, just double click the .atn file and they will automatically import to PS.

I would recommend any of these other sets based on my own experience or friends experience. if you want more, just look at the examples and see what seems to fit your syle:

Nichole Van actions (everyone I know that has them loves them and swears by them)
Itty Bitty actions (lots of color choices)
Totally Rad Actions (lots of different kinds of vintage stuff, plus a skin touch up action I can't live without. If I had to choose one other set to have, it would probably be this one).
Lily Blue Actions ( I love the honey action, it is the one action from a set other than P.W. or one I made on my own that I use a lot)

INDOOR setups:
preeeeetty dang basic. I usually hang a piece of fabric from chairs or a table, or I use a piece of white or colored mat board. I set everything up in front of a window and use natural light only. No flash or studio lights. I typically use the 50 mm f1.8 so I can make the most of the light I have. A love sac or pile of pillows are very helpful for newborns.

ERIN (and several others) said: My question is why do you say "I was obviously oblivious to ISO" above? You must know something I don't.

you know what? I didn't know what ISO even WAS until late last winter (gasp!). So it was constantly set at like 1000 without my even knowing. So my pics were grainier and had more color noise than they should have at times, especially in the shadows. So the pic of Max should have been sharper.

LAUREL SAID: 1. How do you get such a great sharpness when taking pictures of Max? Does he really sit still for you, or do you have to be lit really well and have a super high shutter speed or something? Please, I need tips, my little guy has no patience for a camera and won't stay still to save my life. :)

When I take pics of kids, I don't usually drop my shutter below 125 unless I am desperate. This means I have to adjust ISO and aperture accordingly. So my aperture is often below 2.8 and If I have to up my ISO, I do it! I should say that Max is more open to the camera in his face than most (he has no choice) but he is still a kid on the go. They key is to set your shot up ahead of time, know what you're going for so when they give you their attention, you're ready! Capitalize on those moments.

2. What is your secret weapon for the great depth of field when it comes to your portraits? I know you can Photoshop that effect, but I don't feel like you do that -- it feels more in-camera than post.

Ladies. If you don't have a 50 mm f.1.8 lens, get cha self one. I use it more than any of my other lenses even though it doesn't zoom. As I said, I keep my aperture at f 1.8 to 2.8 a LOT and it gives it that gorgeous fuzzyness. The closer you stand to you subject, the more fuzzy it gets. If you get super close and drop down to 1.8, set your focus on the subject's eyes and click away. you'll notce that the background starts to blur around the person's ears and back! If you don't have this lens, use your regular zoom and zoom all the way out and drop your aperture as low as it goes.

3. I saw that you use a Gary Fong lightsphere with your flash, which I have, but I am curious to know when you think it's most useful and when it doesn't help you. Do you only use it indoors, or do you pull it out for darker outdoor shots as well?

Nah. I decided I just don't like flash. period. I use natural light exclusively for portrait shoots. I use the flash and sphere at indoor wedding receptions, and that's about it!

Zane and Lexi said: ..."I guess I am frustrated with converting my photos from PS to my blog - I feel like the color is very muted (I'm guessing this has something to do with calibrating my comp.??)" ...

Most likely, you have your photoshop set up so that your image looks the way it will when you have it printed (mine is in adobe rgb 1998). Which is good. But the internet isn't on those same settings, so when you post your pics, your gorgeous vibrant image looks like shiz. right? The good news, this happens to EVERYONE. So at least you're not alone. I haven't really figured out a great way around this, I think we all just have to accept that pictures don't look as good online.

Sunny said: I am horrible about pricing. I feel like I shouldn't charge very much... business is not my forte. So, how do you handle the business end of things?

Business is hard. I don't think there is really a magic answer as far as an exact pricing guide. Here's what I did. I started charging like $40 a session so that I didn't have a lot of pressure starting out (I knew I could do better than kiddie candids, and they cost that much, right?) and so I could get the word out. Then I just raised my prices depending on how busy I was and the amount of experience I ganied. My prices changed about every couple months within the first year! It took a while to get comfortable and I knew what I wanted to offer.

So consider: how much experience do you have? you may be the best photog in the world, but without a portfolio to prove it, no one cares. how busy are you? If you're booked for four months solid, you probably aren't charging enough. If you don't have a session in sight, you may be asking too much. How busy do you WANT to be, and what is your time worth to you? Say you feel like you need $20,000 to make it worth the time it takes for shooting and editing. Charge it. If you are fine doing very few sessions and you'd rather have $20,000 or nothing, than there you go.

Also, if you're thinking about raising your prices, test it out for a few weeks. If you have some takers, stick it out! If not, maybe you aren't ready to charge as much as you're asking yet.

AMY said: How did you get that fresh light color in the Pic of Max at the fair.. LOVED IT!!! YOU ROCK :)

I think you mean the one I posted along with a letter to him? If not, let me know. On that one, I pretty much just followed my typical photoshop process (above) for color, then added the vintage tone.

THE ELMERS said: ... mmm...I would love to know how you do your storyboards...did you purchase a template?

nah, I just wing it based on the size the client wants and which pics they want. I just crop each pic, copy and paste onto a new file set at the size of the desired print size.

And then more on the business you have an online proof system, or how do you determine what pics you give your you just pick the best, or do they have any say?? And did you get all the "paperwork" I am to a point where I want to get my own website and stuff but I feel like I am not "official" enough...does that make sense???

I will have an online proof system on my website (not yet finished!!), but I usually pick my favorites and that's that. I have found that it is too overwhelming for clients to look through hundreds of their favorites, so I just do it! I always offer people the opportunity to come over and look through the extras if they would like to buy additional images, or I post any additional favs on the online gallery of the unfinished site for them to browse through. But usually people stick with the ones I pick anyway!

Paperwork...? not sure what you mean. And if you want a website, do it!! (Katie I think you're more than ready) There are no rules about that sort of thing! If you want a great one, go to Amazing templates starting at $100 + $100/year to host. Love it, and so does like %90 of pro photogs in the country for that matter!

TANALICIOUS said: ...i want to know how you get the slight darkening on the edges. its just subtle enough, but makes the actual photo pop. is it an action? or do you do it by hand in photoshop?

I usually start with the vignetting settings in bridge these days, but untill recently (well, ok I still do this at times) I use the burn tool and do it by hand. I have tried edge burning actions but I usually think it makes the edges too gray.

also, do you boost your color with curves or is it something else.
As mentioned before, it's a combo of bridge fixer uppers, then my favorite Pioneer Woman action "fresh and colorful" and curves when needed. If you are not an action user, USE CURVES. it's a must.

Natalie said: I stumbled upon your blog while looking for tips and inspiration since I just started trying to learn photography. I want to know if the colors in some of your backgrounds are real (ie: a bright blue brick wall), or do you enhance them in PS?

girlfriend. those colors are totally real! They are enhanced a bit like everything else with my color processing techniques, but the blue wall really is that crazy blue. I don't change background colors.

And also, what are some tips for finding great locations?

if your goal is the urban look, take a drive through downtown SLC or Ogden with the sole purpose of finding some good spots. You will be amazed at how much you overlook on day to day trips! I like color, texture (peeling paint or corroding brick), and go for open shade when possible.

Here's a link to some tips I talked about on good locations a few months ago on studio 5. Watch the show this Thursday, I will be on again, this time discussing some ACTUAL locations I use.

Kristin said: i'm just kind of starting out, i've done a few shoots now for people, but have found that newborn shoots are so hard! so questions:
1. what is your set up like for newborns? backdrops? indoor? i've heard the best time is within the first 10 days? what lens do you like to use?

I answered the indoor setup info above, but yes, the first 10 days are the easiest usually! The earlier, the better.

2. how did you learn so much in photoshop? i know all about curves and actions and levels and all of that, but did you do anything besides maybe tutorials? do you have any favorite actions that you use?

Seriously, I wish I had an answer that was helpful for this, but honestly, it was a whole lot of trial and error and messing around. I would look at my favorite photographers and just play around to see if I could edit my pics to have a similar look. Some sources that would have been SUPER helpful had I discovered them sooner: Pioneer Woman and classes by Nicole Hill.

3. what kind of light do you like to shoot in? i find that people don't like to get up as early as the sun comes up but i'm racing around in the evening before we lose all the sunset light. is there a happy medium?

I usually shoot in open shade between 4 and 6 pm (winter) and 6-8 pm (summer). If it's cloudy, then don't worry about finding deeper shade. I don't do many morning shoots, but the earlier the better, or go to the city and use open shade.

4. how did you start charging people and know how much to charge?
I posted a little something on my family blog saying that because I had received a few requests and had been practicing my little heart out all summer, I would start accepting clients for pictures (families, babies, kids and teens. no weddings yet!). I started out at $40. From there I built my clientele through referrals and blog traffic!

5. any advice on catching sun flares?

I don't really feel like I have this down pat, but I have the subject face his/her back to the sun and face me. Position yourself so that the sun is barely peeking out from behind them. Only allow a sliver of sun light into the lens, it looks weird and washed out if it floods your lens with light. Snap away! Shoot in manual if possible while doing this, because your camera meter likely won't be reading the light the way you want it to be.

STACI said: More of a blogging question... How do you upload your pictures to make them that larger size?

I resize the image to the exact size I want in photoshop (400x600 pixels for me usually) and then upload them on flickr. Once uploaded, click on the pic you want, then click on all sizes (it will show the full upload size (whatever you sized it down to). Then copy and paste the html just below the pic into your blog post (the edit html mode). Then it should be there!

And as for photography business... Do you offer the digital negatives? What's your basic pricing?
Here is my family pricing (most common). This is just copied and pasted from my price sheet. Also, please note that these are my current 2008 prices. I will be changing a few things for 2009, because I am way way way too busy right now (already double booked for Oct. and booked for November) and ordering prints takes more of my time than originally expected.

$200 for up to 5 people $15/additional person

- about 2 hours of shooting time
- multiple locations
- 25 images on a cd to view and share online (not intended for printing purposes). Each image is presented in both color and black and white with several vintage processed images.
- additional images can be viewed in an online gallery with the option to purchase for $10/image (color and black and white included)
- prints sold separately- most photographers charge a deceivingly low sitting fee and then you're stuck with paying $50 + for an 8x10. I work the opposite way- I charge upfront for the session and cd and then keep my prints close to professional wholesale- i.e. $5 for an 8x10! I offer everthing from wallets to 30x40 inch enlargements and everything in between, including custom sizes. I also offer canvas prints and canvas gallery wraps (a canvas print that wraps around the back of a stretcher frame like a piece of art. A beautiful, classic way to display your photos and requires no framing).

k riley said: …when you say you are trying to resist the urge to photoshop, does that mean that you photoshop most of your pictures?

oh dear. yes. yes, yes, and yes. Photoshop is a girl's best friend! digital photography is a wonderful thing, but even the best digital cameras produce images that are less vibrant and flatter than film cameras. Enter photoshop. Add contrast, boost color, convert to black and white. yeeaaaa. endless possibilities. the bottom line? I edit everything, and so does every other pro photographer out there.

{A}nnie said: How do you make your photo's POP with bright colors...I especially LOVE when you make the eys twinkle. 2. I love Vintage--anything and everything vintage, and I have got to get this down and do more with my pictures. what do you do? use? do you use CS3 and then use an action?

Most of this has already been answered above, but for more vintage love, try adding monochromatic noise (filter, noise, add noise). Textures are also fun every now and then. I like these free ones

shared by tara whitney! jillions to chose from. Download, copy and paste on top of an image (free transform to cover entire image) and use the blending mode multiply (or at least that's what I usually do).

The eye sparkles come from using open shade, but make sure the subject is facing the light source, that way you get all those lovely reflections in the eyes! Use the unsharp mask to give it a little more pop when necessary.

Marissa Vargasson said: Kind of lame, but you may be able to understand, so I was looking at your fam blog... I love how you document your little ones events. I mean I am going to start doing my kids books through blurb and documenting stuff but I love how you capture his every event in a not so photographer way you know? I mean his pictures look excellent!!! but they are so lifestyle!! So how do you make the transition from doing photography to capturing those spur of the moment shots? Please tell me you are hiding a point and shoot somewhere right? lol. I hope Im making sense, I just love your documentation and the bright colors. Which brings me to your color and bw you use actions? Love it!!!

You know, I hadn't really thought about this before. I don't think I conciously do anything specific or differently. I just try to make the most of whatever light I have, and hope that I can catch what he's doing fast enough! I try not to pose him, but I do try and catch his attention when I can and encourage him to do whatever it is I found so interesting for as long as possible...? Does that help? But I do try to let him just be himself so I can capture HIM.
Already went through the p.s. stuff. =)

Tina said: Can you explain a little more about gradient and unsharp mask? I need a little help on getting awesome BW conversions too if you can fit that in.
Mostly covered, but unsharp mask is a fabulous way to amp up the details. Go to file, filter, sharpen, unsharp mask. I seem to generally have my amount between 50 -65 and my radius between 2 and 3.5. The amount is how much it sharpens, and the radius is the range that it sharpens. If the radius is really high, it will sharpen pretty much everything in the pic. If it's lower ( my preference) it sharpens the fine details only, like eyes, hair, blades of grass etc.

ANONYMOUS said: What camera do you suggest for taking everyday pics..when someone can't afford the upper end cameras. Something that takes sharp images and can have similar quality to the pics you take. The images are sharp and the colors pop!

I wish i had a better answer, but I use my D300 all day every day and haul it around with my everywhere. I am interested in getting one of those small digital cameras that you can shoot manually with (Cannon and Nikon both make them), but haven't looked into it much. DOES ANYONE ELSE HAVE ONE OR ONE THEY LIKE?

CASCIO PHOTOGRAPHY said: I would love to know how to get better at shooting in manual(ISO, etc.)... every time I try its all blurry. If you didn't take a class, where did you learn all of this? I also wonder what the difference is with using curves or levels? And also are you willing to be a mentor at all?! I have asked a few photog's down there and they have said not now and I could really use a boost! :

I should say that I did take one class, a black and white film class when I was a sophomore in college. I had an idea of what shutter and aperture were, but I shot in auto the WHOLE time because I didn't really get it. It was mostly a lot of trial and error! I shot in aperture priority for a long time because I was afraid to go for manual all the way. To be honest, I have only been shooting in manual full time for the last couple months. It is actually way easier than I expected. I usually take a test shot, then see what's wrong and change it from there, is it totally dark? Lower the shutter speed and aperture. Or if it's just a little off, change one or the other. Too light? Do the opposite.

If your shots are blurry, the shutter speed is too low. Keep it at at least 100 or 125 for moving objects, at least 60 or 80 for still shots. That means you will probably have to lower the aperture for your picture to be exposed correctly!

Curves and levels actually accomplish the same things, it's more of a personal preference. I like curves, but many of my friends say that levels makes more sense to them.

Raquel said: 1. How do you get your colors to pop without bringing out the red in people and any color casts? Is is also something with the settings on the camera?

If your image is underexposed or was taken in a poorly lit area and you run an action or use curves, it seems like that is when i get orangey or red skin tones. Start with a well exposed picture and you will have much better results! You do that in camera (the best option), but can save it easily in bridge if needed.

And if it's just photoshop how do curves work, I thought that just adjusted the light and dark of the photo?

It does, but you can also darken and lighten shadows, midtones and highlights by clicking and moving different (and multiple) points on the curve line. This is really hard to explain without showing...

Kelli said:I know you told me you got most of your business via blogger, but I was wondering about any marketing techniques you used that really got you started. You've come so far in only one year, it's crazy. How do I get my name out there etc.

You know, I really didn't do anything fancy. I would recommend that you start doing some free or dirt cheap shoots, just to get the ball rolling and your work up on some walls. Comment on lots of other blogs, hopefully they will add you to their link list! Talk to as many other photographers as you can and make friends. If I can't fit a client in my schedule, I usually refer them to a friend who is getting started and has more availability. Offer to practice on friends who have cute kids, or who know a lot of people and would give you recommendations. Once you get going, your work will begin to speak for itself! I think you just have to be willing to work for little pay while you get started.

Well, I think that's everything! Do I make any sense? I swear so much of this stuff is hard to explain in writing. Let me know what you think, and if I missed anything or wasn't making sense. Or if something helped you or improved your work, let me know! I would love to see what you're working on so let me know if you have stuff for me to check out.

Also, I received a lot of questions via e-mail and comments on this post asking weather or not I would teach a class or offer any kind of mentoring. I don't know if I am really the best person to teach a formal camera basics class, so I would probably stay away from that. One person requested that I offer a guided group session discussing lighting, angles, posing etc. while working with a model. Again, the idea of this totally freaks me out, I still feel like I need mentoring myself! But I am always willing to share what I know. If this is something you would like to see happen, leave me a comment of drop me an e-mail. I am interested in what people would like to talk about, how much time, or any other input. If I do end up doing it, it probably wouldn't be until November or after Christmas. Let me know...

Monday, September 22, 2008

one year photo-versary...and a Q&A!

So this week marks my one year photography anniversary! I thought I'd celebrate with a walk through my photo memory lane and a giveaway of sorts. This week last year I was FREAKING out about my first paid shoots (I charged a whopping 40 bucks) with some of my friends in Orange County. I was so nervous but was pretty happy with these:


It is all I can do to keep myself from messing with these in photoshop. I actually still kinda like the pictures, I just can't believe how flat my b/w conversions are!


shortly after I bought my first "backdrop" - a piece of black microfiber from joannes (which I still use!). I remember really digging the intense color. I was feeling pretty cool. ha!


hallelujah! aparently I figured out how to use curves, or maybe gradient. plus the unsharp mask. I still love these pictures of my little guy, more for his cuteness than the composition. This also marks the first of many photo shoots at a dumpster. Notice that I am still completely oblivious to ISO.


here I am getting down with some vintage locations. I LOVED this door shot on the right and wanted to use it for my business card. Again this is a shot that I still like a lot, I could have done a LOT to improve it though!


Early Spring marked my inroduction to weddings. I thought these shots of my first two brides were perfection!

Spring was also my first shoot in Seattle.

And summer! I was so looking forward to shooting without having to worry about the snow!

AND NOW. I have been taking pictures for a year. I have learned a LOT and have loved every minute of it! I still feel like I learn something with every shoot I do. I hope it never stops!

One thing that was hard was figuring it all out on my own. I never took a class, and most of my friends who were into photography were starting out too! We tried to help each other as best we could, but a lot of times it was like the blind leading the blind. There are very few truly pro photogs out there who are willing to help out those of us getting started, which was discouraging at times. However, there are a few out there who ARE willing to answer questions and point you in the right direction. You know who you are, THANK YOU for your willingness to give of yourselves and your talent! I personally have always believed that someone else taking a great picture doesn't make your own pictures any less good, it just means you aren't the only good photographer in the world! And besides, there's plenty of business to go around.

Which is why I am offering this.

An anniversary gift to YOU! For ONE WEEK, leave a comment on this post and ask ANYTHING. I get a lot of e-mails with questions about equipment, lighting, photoshop, locations, marketing, etc. etc. So I thought I would make an open invitation to do so here. I don't proclaim to be a photo smartie by ANY MEANS, but I am happy to share what I DO know and the way I get the job done. Ask it all and I will answer MOST anything (for example, I generally don't give out very specific locations, mostly cuz I usually kinda stumble apon these things randomly and forget how to get back there. However I will point you in the right direction- i.e. 25th street in Ogden, or Wheeler Farms in SLC.). All answers will be posted next week!

I always love to hear from my readers. Weather we have met or not, it's always nice to know whose looking. So don't be shy, leave a comment and ask away!

back in the office

I knew the day would come when one of my Seattle weddings would get rained out.


What I never guessed was how much I would love it. 

more if this STEAMY couple's wedding to come! 
Brady and Josie made this day unforgettable. 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

18 months!

This summer has been so nuts-o I have hardly had a chance to blog about it! I feel like I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off for weeks. Here are more of the Maxter's 18 month pictures.

I'm thinking of blowing this up GIANT. like a 16x20 or 20x24 canvas- what do you think? I also may ad the vintage border for it.








I love how annoyed Max is in this picture and that I am trying to keep him happy. So funny!

thanks caroline for taking this last two for us! Love them!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Just wanted to give a little update on my visit with Karson today! We needed some good news, and today we got some!

A few days ago, Karson was taken off the ventilator. Many of the doctors and nurses thought it was a bad idea and were pushing Darren and Jody to either give him a tracheotomy and vent him permanently or take him home to pass with his family. 

Thankfully, Darren and Jody are prayerful people and felt like they were making the right decision. With the help of a couple of amazing doctors and nurses, they were able to take him off the vent and get him through the first 48 hours (which are crucial to determining how a patient will do once taken off a ventilator). Again, most of the MD's thought he should just be intubated again, but this little guy is a fighter! 

Karson had remained on his bi-pap constantly (another much less invasive breathing machine) and was unable to keep his stats up when it was taken off, and things were not looking optimistic for the little guy. 

Until today. 

Karson was able to go off his bi-pap for thirty minute increments THREE TIMES TODAY!!!! This is amazing news and a huge step in the right direction. He still has a long way to go before he can come home, but this is HUGE! I am so happy that this also happened to be a day I came in for a visit/photo shoot. He needed some new pics, especially since he is going to be spotlighted at the Real SOCCER GAME this saturday!!!! yipee! 

Thank you blog buddies for all of your kind words and support. The Riggs (and us) have been amazed by the outpoor of kindness by so many people who have never even met them. Jody felt very impressed that Karson was able to come off his vent because of the many people praying for him. So THANK YOU and keep those prayers coming! We are hoping for a few more miracles. =)

Here are a few pics from today. We were pretty limited being in a hospital room and needing to keep K hooked up to his monitors and iv's and all. But I think we got some pretty dang cute ones!  


my FAVORITE. I can not put into words how happy I was to see the little guy with no tubes or anything on his face. It has been MONTHS. I just kept saying how happy I was to see him like this and keeping his stats up like such a good boy! It was amazing to see this after struggling for so long.  I just couldn't get over it. We were all ecstatic!

Karson and Hadley. Gee, do you think they look alike?? 


She is SUCH a sweet and loving big sister. Can you believe the EYES on these two??


All done! Karson was pretty annoyed with us for moving him around and changing his clothes so much (he hasn't even worn clothes in quite a while!). But we got him all comfy and back on his bi-pap. =) I love this shot because it shows him moving his arm a little!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I spend the weekend...

with these two! Their wedding at the Manti Temple and their reception in Fountain Green were beautiful. Becca and Ben are so much fun and the cutest couple! I'm a little sad it's all over... good thing I have so many pictures to edit still!!


btw, their ceremony was at 12 p.m. and we had pictures right afterward. so much for middle of the day and SUNNY being bad lighting huh? I want to come back to this temple- I love it!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


This is my friend Whitney and her adorable little family! They wanted to do a mini session for some Christmas cards before the weather got too yucky in Seattle.  Not a bad idea for the rest of you! Christmas is going to hit us pretty fast, and I am already booking for November! I also will not be taking any sessions during the month of December. I may set aside one day in October or November just for mini sessions (intended for Christmas cards). Maybe the morning in a downtown/ funky/ urban location, and the evening someplace pretty and outdoorsy- similar to this session. Leave me a comment if you would like to see this happen!








Not bad for a 30 minute session huh?

back in May

I was just going through a bunch of pictures and I realized I totally forgot to post this session. Silly me! Look how cute too...










last seattle session

This was my third and last session from Seattle. What a bunch of cuties! 








Megan and Aaron

I had so much fun shooting Megan and Aaron's wedding in Seattle last month! The Seattle temple was covered in scaffolding (bummer!!), so we went to some "unconventional" places in the area and just had some fun!

A few on the temple grounds:

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these two are always teasing eachother!


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Downtown Redmond:

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Did I mention that Aaron is a firefighter in Idaho?! This was a blast! Thanks to the Redmond Fire dept. for the use of their lovely fire truck!

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Redmond Road: this beautiful brick road was built in the early 1900's! I love it!