Monday, July 11, 2011

Minty Fresh Monday: Rain, rain, go away!

Mint (adj.) meaning new, fresh, sweet, brilliant, awesome.
I actually LOVE rainy days.  Every photographer is overjoyed when the weather turns cloudy. Believe it or not, these are the perfect lighting conditions.  An overcast day = pure joy.  Unfortunately, I live in sunny southern California, where rain is fairly scarce.  But, I got a few great rainy day photos this year because we had more rain than usual.  Looking through these photos gave me an idea...

This week, your tip is also a challenge.  Use rain to your advantage.  Go out and play in it! Let your kids get muddy! (Hey, there's always a nice, warm bath afterword.)  You can look for reflections and really play those up in your photos.  A really great umbrella can add serious fabulousness to a photo as well.  If you live in a place like I do, then make your own rain!  
Whatever you do, have fun.  Let your kids have fun, and capture it.  Please share any photos with me, either here or on the fanpage.  I would love to see!
Have a brilliant week!
ps- if there is anything in particular you'd like more help with, just leave a comment below! :)

Friday, July 08, 2011

Fabulous Friday: A super birthday party.

I seriously can not believe that my Jack is turning two tomorrow, and that my twin's baby turns one!  I have been scouring the internet for party ideas, and one of my favorite tools to use is Pinterest.  It's a great tool for keeping all of my favorite ideas in one place.  Through Pinterest, I found some great ideas for scooter parties, dinosaur parties, and cowboy parties.  And the party I definitely want to try (next year?) is the Superhero party!  Hey, it gives me an excuse to dress like Wonder Woman. 
I think this whole party is amazing. You have to go see the whole thing on her blog
Crossing The Bugger-Dixon Line
Have a fabulous weekend.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Feeling Cheeky

Happy Wednesday!  
I'm on summer vacation, which means I have more time to blog, but it also means that some days my brain is working better than other days.  This shot is an outtake from my trip to New York City.  I think this horse had a message that he was hoping to convey.  Could he be a little tired of the purple feather?
Anyway, have a fantastic Wednesday.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Minty-Fresh Monday: Happy Fourth of July!

Mint (adj.) meaning new, fresh, sweet, brilliant, awesome.

Happy Birthday, America!  I hope you have a fantastic day!  My family and I are lucky enough to be having a block party today, so I get to make chili and cookies and watch fireworks without leaving my own yard.  Nothing better than that!

And speaking of birthdays, I have a little man who turns two this month.  So I thought I'd start our tip series with something that is unusual for me: posing your child.  You see, I'm big on capturing moments and it is honestly very rare for me to pose my children.  Even when I do a family session, it's more about chasing kids around than posing them.  However, there are times when you actually do want to get someone to stay still and smile.  

I got a burst of inspiration this week when Jack grabbed one of his daddy's shirts and tried to put it on.  I saw Jack in that man-sized shirt and inspiration struck.  I brought him downstairs to our "library" and propped him in a chair so he looked like a businessman at work.  

Now here's a quick word about light.  We'll talk more in depth about it in future posts but here's a tip: if you are indoors, open blinds and curtains and place your subject near a window.  These photos are all un-edited, straight out of the camera, just to show kind of light you can get without a flash. Click on individual photos to get a closer look:

So what's the trick to getting young kids to stay (relatively) still?  Give them something novel to hold and play with.  Don't want a giant Buzz Lightyear toy in your photos? Try a sticker (easy to hide with the right angle) or bubbles (photogenic).  For older kids, tell corny jokes, stories or ask them questions about themselves (girls always love to tell you what their favorite colors are).  Sometimes kids will even sit still if you promise to let them see their picture.  Snap a shot, flip your camera around and show your subject how great they look.  And never forget the power of a good bribe!  A promised cookie goes a long way to getting the photo you want!!!  I should also add that I made sure to get my settings right before I even put Jack in the chair.  That and lots of practice shooting on the fly helped me get these shots before he scrambled onto his next adventure. 

Try these tips today, and please share!  I'd love to see your photos.  Make sure you get each lesson,by become a fan of my Facebook page or subscribe to the blog by clicking on the right.  See you next Monday for more Minty-Fresh Tips!


Friday, July 01, 2011

Fabulous Friday: Chalk and Inspiration

My daughter will be starting Kindergarten in August of 2012, and being a Kindergarten teacher, I'd love for her to have some phonics skills down before she begins.  We have this chalkboard in her room (I love IKEA) and I've decided to write her simple messages and have her sound them out during the week.  She decided that there needed to be more hearts and people on the message.  I love it.  

I found a fantastic tutorial on how to make your own sidewalk chalk by Stacy on Kid Stuff World.  It's so simple! You can find her awesome tutorial right here.  

As a photographer and a Coldplay fan, I have one more thing to share with you regarding sidewalk chalk. Their newest video is really inspiring- I would love to have a photo shoot with chalk!  Anyone up for it? 

Have a fantastic weekend.  See you Monday with some tips!!!  

Monday, June 27, 2011

Minty Fresh Monday: Mom Tips- Top 5!!!

Welcome to Minty Fresh Monday! Mint (adj.) meaning new, fresh, sweet, brilliant, awesome.
Hello, brilliant moms and dads!  I'd like to share a post that I did for the very first Mom Tip Monday on 
I'm so excited that Angie asked me to share my top 5 tips on photographing your family.  I know that as parents, you 
want to have gorgeous photos of your children that will become gorgeous heirlooms in the future. As a mommy and a
photographer, I know how hard that can be.  So, I'm here to help.  I give you my top 5 tips on getting great photos that
you will cherish for a long time. 
#1. Capture details. 
Get closer to your child. I once had a mom tell me before our session that she just loved her boys' eyelashes and feet. 
Guess what I tried to focus on? Yup. Adorable feet and long eyelashes. One of my favorite things about my son is his 
little Buddah belly. Think about it. If you know what your favorite features are, use that to your advantage! Focus
on those things and try to highlight them in your photographs. 
#2. Lighting is everything. 
If you are fortunate enough to have a DSLR camera, the best thing you can do for yourself is learn how to use it. Turn
it to the manual setting and don't look back. I found a wonderful resource for learning how to shoot manually at digital
photography school.  Trust me, it will make all the difference in your photos. If you don't have a DSLR, or
you're just too afraid to learn how to use it, at least try one thing: take your subject outside. Get some extra gorgeous 
light during the "magic hours" of sunset and sunrise. Turn off that flash, please.  
#3. Get a different angle. 
Walk all around your child while allowing them to play. Get high. Get low. Experiment. Snap a shot, and then try
another shot from a different perspective. 
#4. Keep learning. 
Keep practicing. Have a camera with you as much as you can.  Even if it is just thecamera that comes with your
phone, you will still begin to learn how to best captureyour child.  Practice framing and looking for light. 
Practice looking for moments and it will translate to your "real" camera, too. As a full time teacher, I assign 
homework all the time. Do you know what homework really is? It's extra practice. And guess what? The kids 
who practice more are the kids who make the most gains. You will get better if you keep practicing. For both of
my son and my daughter, I took a photo of them every day. Now, that's quite a commitment that I can't expect
everyone to make. But I think it would be a fantastic goal to try to take one photo each week. That's do-able 
right? If you'd like to join me, I'll make a weekly challenge on my blog where I'll share tips, and you can share 
your questions and photos with me. 
#5. (I like to save my favorite for last.) Capture real moments, not "dress-up-and-say-cheese."
If your family is anything at all like mine, they don't dress up and say cheese very often.  If your
family makes messes, runs around nekkid, jumps in puddles, or creates works of art, then capture THOSE 
things. Let them play, and just keep snapping.  Chase them around! It's fantastic exercise! (Do your children 
really stay still and "cheese" all the time? Mine don't.)  You'll get something you love.  Chances are, the photos 
of your child making a mad face or wrestling with their brother will resonate with you more in 10 years than a 
photo of them standing stiffly in their itchy Christmas sweater will. 
I hope these tips have been helpful, and I hope you've been inspired to get out
and shoot!  Come join the weekly adventure on my blog!
**Featured on**

I Love
New Steal Daily - 9am MDT

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fabulous Friday: Ice Cream

Just because, I couldn't get it off of my mind.  Here is my favorite ice cream in the world- Bryer's Mint chocolate chip.  (Yes, it's a bonus that it has the word Mint, ha ha!)

Mmmmm, deliciousness.

So, for my Friday find, I'm going to give a little shout out to Baby Steals:

I Love
New Steal Daily - 9am MDT

They have some amazing deals for moms on a budget, and beginning Monday, they will be offering tips to mommies everywhere.  Guess who will be giving the first tip?  Yours truly!  I have already been brainstorming and writing a few ideas- I am so excited!!!
Stay tuned.  I can't wait to share it with you.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Water Works

Have I mentioned yet that I'm on summer break?  Mmmm, hmm.  I am!  I really love having this time to spend with my family.  We went to the local pool the other day, and it was really fun playing around with them, watching Lilly SWIM by herself and show off her floating techniques.  I'm so glad that we invested in a few swimming lessons for her.  
The coolest part is that her little brother wants to do everything that she is doing, and has no fear of the water.  He wants to jump in and tries floating and uses his arms to swim while we hold him.  
These two water babies are so fun!
How are your kids at the pool? Do they love it? Are they fearful? Are they fearless? I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Minty Fresh Monday: Shine

Mint. (adj.) meaning new, fresh, sweet, brilliant, awesome.

Being a teacher sometimes has it's perks, for sure.  I got to play host to twenty or so silkworms in my classroom, and I decided to sneak three of them home to meet Lilly.  She loved holding the little caterpillars, giggling at how sticky their feet were. 

When they made cocoons for themselves, it was pretty exciting, but not quite as exiting as the day when Mr. Moth came out.  Mr. Moth was fuzzy and had the coolest little antenna that looked a bit like little eyebrows.  He doesn't fly much.  He just searches for Mrs. Moth and tries to make little eggs with her.  My four year old squealed with  excitement as she got to hold Mr. Moth, and Jack wanted in on the action, too.  It's been a really great experience hosting these little moths.  I think we may try some Praying Mantis eggs next year.

(say hello to Mr. Moth)
So, watching Mr. and Mrs. Moth flutter around, and knowing how short their life span is, it made me start thinking... We have a short time here on this planet.  We need to make our mark.  We need to shine.

David Gray- Shine

Have a fantastic week.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Father's Day!!!

I have been lucky enough to share some amazing moments with families this year.  I love to see the special moments people share with each other.  Perhaps because I feel lucky enough to have had one of the greatest dads ever, I especially look for moments that kids share with their dads.  
Fathers are very special people, and I hope each one that I've worked with can see the joy that they bring to those around them. 
"I love my father as the stars - he's a bright shining example and a happy twinkling in my heart."  ~Terri Guillemets
Dads, this post is for you.   

Happy Father's Day!!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fabulous Friday: Love Locks

Today, while munching on the yummiest snack ever, (yes, you heard me, double-stuff oreos.  You are the yummiest!!!)

I stumbled on something I thought was really cool.  They are called Love Locks, and people across the world add locks together to symbolize their love for each other.  I think it's beautiful and amazing, and I'm going to find a place to add our own locks soon.  What do you do to show your family that you care?
Have a gorgeous weekend!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wallpaper. Who knew?

Sometimes,four year olds have the greatest ideas. It was a hot June day, and Lilly and I were looking for something to do. I was a little to tired to drag out the box of craftiness, so we decided that we would just explore the house and see what we could do.
We entered the garage, and that's when she spotted it. Two rolls of wrapping paper. I was saving it from Christmas, to be used next year. She said, innocently, "let's decorate!"
The wheels started turning, and we decided to make photo backdrops out of it. It was so much fun! I loved turning our walls into removable art. I definitely need to do it more often!

show me your wrapping paper!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Minty Fresh Monday: Imagine

Mint. (adj.) meaning new, fresh, sweet, brilliant, awesome.

Getting inspired by other artists is the name of the game.  I adore Ron Howard, and I'm amazed by the entries that I see coming in for Project Imagin8tion.  If you have some brilliant photographs to share, you've got one day left to enter them.  Go now! Inspire others.  Good luck!

have a fabulous week.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fabulous Friday: Inspirational Finds

Oh, how I love my iPhone.  I love the photos I can take with it, and as I've mentioned before, I am currently addicted to Instagram, and post photos all the time.  I am adding this to my wishlist (remember, my birthday is in September, so you have lots of time to save! ha ha!).  I love these little lenses from Photojojo.  I really want to try them out.

Buy the Fisheye, Macro, and Wide Angle Camera Phone Lenses at the Photojojo Store!

Aren't they awesome?
Have a fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Summertime always makes me think of sidewalk chalk, blue endless sky, and bubbles.  Honestly, it's one of the things I always try to bring with me when doing a family photo shoot. Nothing is more fun than a bottle of bubbles!  It really brings out some family dynamics that may otherwise go unnoticed.  Here are some of my favorties!
 Share your bubble photos with me! I'd love to see them.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Minty Fresh Monday: Little Wing

Mint. (adj.) meaning new, fresh, sweet, brilliant, awesome.

Well, dear fans, it has been a while.  The last month of teaching always proves to be the most difficult and hectic, leaving me with very little energy to work on the things I love, like photography and blogging.  My apologies.  But I'm back! And for those of you who have been enjoying my Minty Fresh series, I've decided to make it a weekly thing.  My Minty Fresh posts have been about sharing quick photography tips, and I will continue doing so.  I'm going to switch it up every now and then and also introduce you to brilliant people, and new discoveries. 

Today, I'd like to share something that is close to my heart.  My husband is an AMAZING musician, and is an up-and-coming film maker.  He recently finished a project that I'd like to share here- his first animated short, called Little Wing: Descent.  Our 4 year old daughter debuts in the role of Lilly Wane (aka Little Wing).

Little Wing: Descent from Matt Mintz on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Gunslinger. (my version)

It was a hot day out in the desert. Packing only a water hose, the hero wandered the desert, looking for people in distress.

He happened upon a lonely princess, who was on the verge of sunstroke. The Gunslinger knew exactly how to help- he quickly pulled out the waterhose, making sure to take precise aim.  But there was an evil King holding the girl captive!  Our gunslinger fought him off bravely...

..and managed to cool off the princess just in time.

They played together for the rest of the day, promising that they would remain friends forever.

Another damsel saved. All in a day's work for our Gunslinger.
Have a happy ending!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Through The Viewfinder.

A few years ago, I stumbled across a type of photography that was really intriguing to me. I kept seeing these square images with ghostly, haunting qualities to them- it reminded me of film photographs, and of the slides I used to look at when I was a kid.  Check out this group on Flickr to see what I'm talking about.  I found out that this photography was called Through The Viewfinder, or TTV.  The photographer took their camera and aimed it at the viewfinder of an old film camera, like a Kodak Duaflex.  So, it's essentially a picture of whatever the Duaflex (or other camera) is aimed at.  I fell in love with the idea and had to try it out for myself.  I purchased a Duaflex on Ebay, which set me back a whopping $20 or so, and started to construct something that would block the light.  I found this amazing tutorial from Russ Morris and I have to tell you, it was so much fun!!! 
Here are some of my resulting photos:

As always, I love sharing.  If you've tried TTV, please show me what you've done!  If you haven't tried, go ahead to the Flickr pool, and tell me some of your favorites.  Have a fabulous week.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Minty Fresh: Point of View.

Mint. (adj.) meaning new, fresh, sweet, brilliant, awesome.

ok, I'm cheating a bit with this one, but I thought it would be fun...  Three and four year old kids see the world in a very different way than we do.  My daughter Lilly really finds it to be a very magical place. 

Yesterday, I was sitting in the kitchen with her when she suddenly jumped up and yelled, "Fairies!!!"  Wondering what in the world she was talking about, of course I asked, "where?"  She quickly ran over to a little stream of sunlight coming in through the window, pointing out the tiny dust bunnies floating around.  "Right here, mama!  Fairies!"  (Note to self: cleaning is overrated. Ha Ha!)

Anyway, a few months before she turned four, we got her a tiny little camera (I think it's by Fisher Price).  Here are some of her photos.

Now, aside from the fact that she is a genius (right?), I adore looking at these photos because I get to see the world through her eyes for a few photos.  My absolute favorite just has to be her self portrait in the middle.  Love it. 

Don't be afraid to look at things in a new way, and find a fresh point of view.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Happy Monday, my friends!  I wanted to show you- my lovely readers- what I've been working on this weekend.  You see, I FINALLY figured out how to make my own cards and templates in Photoshop.  Up until now, I've been using templates made by other (very talented) people, and have been really happy with them.  It's so easy to put my own photos in, change colors and fonts, and presto! I have a beautiful card. 
But I really wanted to start making my own from scratch, and after finding lots of beautiful papers and patterns from all around the interned, I figured out how to make my own templates. Here is a peek at my first three cards, which will be on sale soon in my Etsy shop.

Tell me what you think!  I'd love some feedback. 
Have a fantastic week- xo,

Friday, April 08, 2011

Photo-essay Friday.

What is love?
Love is trusting.
Love is full.
Love is joyful.
Share your thoughts with me!