Thought for Thursday – Why aren’t you hiring a professional photographer?

I have hired a professional photographer every year since my youngest daughter was one to shoot our family portraits.

Want to know my biggest regret? That I didn’t start sooner.

We didn’t have a lot of money after my oldest was born. I quit my job and our income went down by almost half. I was always looking for ways to cut costs, looking for ways to NOT spend money on things I could do myself. And there are a lot of things that I could do myself – like designing invitations, making cakes for birthday parties, etc. And there are things that I wish I had hadn’t attempted to do myself – like painting stripes on the walls in my kitchen (don’t ask) or trying to paint art for their nursery (not good).

Looking back, I wish I had hired a professional photographer sooner.

I didn’t get professional maternity shots (though my husband did snap a couple of me in the later stage of pregnancy when I was HUGE which I both cherish and despise). I didn’t get any professional shots of our “little” family when we only had our first born.

I know you’re thinking… yeah, yeah, but YOU’RE a professional photographer!

I haven’t always been a “professional”. And sure, I got some really great photos of my kids when they were babies with my old film camera and my first digital point and shoot. But, I wasn’t in any of them. I captured lots of memories of “them” but not “us”. We didn’t capture that time when it was “our little family” during those few years. And it makes me sad.

I know a lot of people that forego hiring a professional photographer… because of the cost, because it’s hard to coordinate outfits, because the kids get cranky. Others rely solely on the school pictures taken every year (which is mostly what I have of my own childhood being the youngest of four kids)… which brings me to my next illustration….

Here’s my little Kendall in her 1st grade school picture….


I’m not going to lie… this shot TOTALLY cracks us up (I’m sure the school photographer told her to smile big and here’s what we got!).

While I’m glad that we have that one, it doesn’t even compare to this shot from our family shoot with DrewB Photography that same year…




I’m so glad that we have this shot. Because THIS is my Kendall. THIS is her personality. And I am so grateful that it was captured in that moment forever.

I know personally that professional photography can be expensive (for us, it’s literally a line item in our budget every year). But for me, the cost would be too high to have missed out on a shot like that of my little Kendall, and all the other wonderful images I now have to add to my memories.

So do yourself a favor… don’t miss out… don’t have regrets…. because these are the moments you will cherish forever.

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Tips Tuesday – Orange County Photographer

I’m not really a fan of lenses like the Lensbaby. If you’re not familiar with the Lensbaby, it’s a special optics add-on lens that gives either a tilt-shift, blurred or fisheye look to your image. It allows you to alter the plane of your subject which can dramatically blur the background of your image. This is an image from the Lensbaby gallery on their site:





These are the type of lenses you either love or you hate. I’m in the latter camp. I totally see them for their creative capabilities (and who knows, I might love them for that someday), but for things like portraits, it’s just not my thing. To me it’s like taking a nice blurred background in a portrait and making it a drunken, dizzy, creepy blurred background.

I love blurred backgrounds, especially when the subject of my focus is tack-sharp. But the exception for me is when I shoot macro. For whatever reason, shooting at a 1:1 ratio, especially of things that are close up, just seems to lend it self to more fuzziness for me. I shoot a lot at f2.8 with my Canon 100mm 2.8L macro lens (which by the way has become my favorite little friend).

And did you know that you can use your macro lens to shoot things other than close-up shots? Even portraits? More on that to come later…

Here are some shots that I took this past weekend at my daughter’s 8th birthday party. It was an ice cream social theme, and needless to say I had a blast setting it up. All of the shots are with my macro lens.

(For those interested in the party details… the yogurt cups, straws, and adorable “happy birthday” spoons are from Sweet Lulu, the white bowls are mini-plastic mixing bowls from Target, the signs I made myself).

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Fix it Friday – Orange County Photographer

We use our Canon G12 for most of our family shots… it’s small enough to carry with us everywhere, takes great video, and my husband can use it without getting too frustrated. Overall, it’s a great camera.

When I was at WPPI this year, he took our kids on a little side trip to the Hoover Dam (how cool is that?). He had our trusty camera and took lots of great shots of them and the landscape…. (don’t tell him I said this, but he has an awesome eye for photography, so usually what I pull out of the camera are really great pictures).

That said, the G12 doesn’t give you as much control as a DSLR (unless you’re using it on manual, which most will never do). And like most point-and-shoots, it can vary in it’s ability to get things like white balance and color spot on.

Below is one of the shots he took, straight out of camera.

Not a bad shot, right? But a little on the cold side since the white balance is a little off and the colors don’t feel quite right. Also, it has a lot of haze to it, not enough contrast.

Here’s the one I edited….

Not perfect, but better, don’t you think? I brought up the warm tones, gave it a little sharpening, and dodged and burned some areas (especially the rocks in the background) that needed more contrast. Overall, it makes it look a little bit more vibrant, and it doesn’t have such a “gloomy” feel like it did before.

Have a picture you’d like me to edit? Send it to me via email, and I may feature it in one of my Fix It Friday segments!



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