Tuesday, May 22

Oh my am I excited about these pictures! My first studio pictures ever taken of the kids! My dear gem of a friend Krystie of Krystie Leigh Photography was working on her cute blog one day and was emailing me for some quotes to get some work done. 
It crossed my mind that I'd never had studio pics of the kids, so I offered to do a switcheroo, and it worked out perfectly!! I haven't done any work on her blog yet, but I hope she loves her new stuff as much as I love these pictures!! Doubt it. :) 
So I began immediately collecting cute outfits for the boys so they'd have some fresh fun things to wear...and before the shoot I ran around my house grabbing chairs and props! Ha ha. 
I'll source the clothes throughout the post for those who care. The v-necks are from Gap, Van's vest is from Mexx, Boston's pink-collared shirt and undershirt are from Superstore. 
Van's cardigan is Mexx and pants are gap and suede boots were a score from Wal-mart! Their darling hats made by their Aunt Jennie of course...I'll never get tired of using them! Van's jeans from Target. No, I didn't buy them that ripped...they just sucked! Too bad because they were the perfect amount of "skinny". 
I definitely am going to start getting pics at least every two years I think in the studio! I just love them....more than I even thought I would. I mean, it's not like I don't have enough good pictures of my kids!! But I love how all the pictures coordinate together and I think they'll make an awesome wall display!
Boston's little vest is from the new clothing line for boys called Aven launched by the overly talented Angie Monson. I was just a BIT excited when they launched. I don't order a lot of super expensive stuff for the boys like that, but knowing that three boys are going to wear whatever I buy for Van makes it a bit easier to spend a bit more on something else! The vest was actually only $30 though I think...same as Mexx so not that bad. 
Sweater below from Superstore, grey skinnies from Old Navy. Mustaches from the dollar store. :) Shoes from Children's Place. 
Boston was by far the most cooperative! Every single one of these pictures just makes me (and Derick) smile so big! :) 
Pants and cardigan on Baker from Gap for 50% off! Baker was good to sit, but wouldn't smile for us. Sad day...good thing he's still ridiculously handsome!!
Baker's cardigan and pants from H&M. His hat is totally backwards and wonky, but he put it on himself and then actually gave us a half smile! So it's a keeper!
I made the suspenders out of old ones for a family wedding a couple years ago. I don't put them on the boys nearly enough!
I wasn't sure about this scarf on Van! It's from the little boys section Superstore (oh how I will miss Superstore when I move...best neighbor a girl could ask for). So are his cute shoes. I love it on him though (yes Jolene, I know you don't like it...ha ha). What a handsome man! Good thing too, because he cried for oh about 20 minutes when it was finally his turn!! 
Oh my Boston and your personality...
Love getting the odd new thing for Baker...seriously, depending what it is, some stuff I LOVE getting out again when little man grows into it, other stuff I get so sick of seeing! Mostly matching stuff. By the time They all wear it, then Boston wears Van's, and Baker wear's Boston's, and so on...you get the picture. 
Van' striped shirt from Superstore. 
And make sure you check out Krystie's post, because I didn't post any of the ones she all ready did! She seriously gave me so many great pictures!! (Too many in fact Krystie...I feel bad you edited so many for me!). But I love you for it....now I have to get our next house finished in no time so I can frame them!!! We may be closing on the deal in the next two weeks or so! Cross your fingers! :)

Monday, May 21

I'm so happy to share a bright fresh blog during Spring! Looking at this blog just makes me happy...how can it not? It's so cheery and cute!! It was for the lovely Heather Franca of Lovely Photography. :) I thought her business name was so cute! 

Heather all ready had one of the great templates that you can purchase through ProPhoto if you want, (find it here) and then we just customized it to make it a lot more personal. :)
Her logo was pretty fun to make...what a cute kite! I'd been wanting to implement a kite somewhere for awhile so I was so excited when Heather loved it! 
I just love all the frames in the header, but I think these two side by side in the header below are my favs...if I had to choose!
It was fun working with some fresh papers too! We adjusted some to help them match better, and I love how they turned out. They're from The Cheeky Darling, Heidi Stock Digi Design, and Ink And Elm

I know I sound like a broken record saying I love everything, but I DID make, so....yeah, I'm biased. And I LOVE this kite string menu and post separator. Ha ha.
These flowers in the About section actually come in Illustrator, but I customized them with some matching paper. Love how they turned out. 

I can't lie, at any given moment in the past three weeks, I've pretty much felt like I could burst into tears. Here's all the things that I love so much but that all piled together are taking a toll. 

1. All these fun blog designs and clients. (Who thankfully are mostly working moms and are SO understanding.)
2. My regular job as a captioner. (Some shifts that start at 6am and others that end at 2:30 am = not good...got to put an end to that.)
3. Trying to clean/show the house so we can sell (now probably rent) our current home. (We may have found some great renters though, which I'm so relieved about!)
4. Getting everything in order with the lawyer/mortgage broker to buy the new/old house. 
5. Having all the stuff pre-picked out for the new/old house so that when we do take possession, we can immediately dive in and buy stuff and renovate and get it habitable. 
6. Trying to find time to learn and enjoy my new cameras (I'm including my film camera). It's torture not being able to sit down and play with them for more than ten minutes at a time. 
7. I was asked to speak in church last week for today, 12-15 minutes, so I prepared something and worked on it all week, even after my 3am shift last night. Then during our 9am church today, found out that they were putting in a new bishopric, and with all those who were asked to share their testimony, my services weren't actually needed! Lol. You'd think I'd be happy, but I wish I could have gotten it overwith. ;) 
8. Not having Derick around near as much since he's been subbing a ton. (Which is also good though.)
9. Trying to find time between Derick's and my own work schedules to get out to our new/old house (an hour away) to help finish the roof with the contractor (who is slower than molasses) finishing it because it was leaking!!
10. Fitting in some lovely photoshoots in with some lovely people. (I wish there were more spare sunsets in life). 

And oh yeah, trying to just enjoy being a mom and wife! It seems like all the kids have decided to take turns being awful these past few weeks. I literally feel like a chicken running around with my head cut off. The sad thing is, I know the kids aren't being more awful, I'm just even more stressed out than usual, so I'm just being a more awful mom, and that makes me feel even more awful! 

Needless to say, we've been doing some re-structuring with our schedules, and I think it's helping! How do I cut something out when I honestly love every single thing I'm working on? I have a few great blog clients to wrap up before summer at which point I will take a lovely break. Soon enough Derick will have the summer off (yay for teachers!). I just needed to vent, so thanks for listening. :) Being a working mom is hard and so rewarding and so fun and so hard! 

Monday, May 7

I finished this blog a few weeks ago, and I can't believe it's taken so long to share it, because it was so much fun to design! When Chelsey from Rice Photography first said she wanted everything on a clean, white background, I was ecstatic!! There's just something so fun and fresh about a crisp white background!
I had a lot of fun making the ikat print that runs across the top too and in the logo...I'm in love with all the awesome new ikat stuff popping up everywhere. And seriously, the little section under her menu bar with her photo and the telephone...they are fierce competitors for my favourite part of the blog. I'm not sure how I keep getting clients who have such awesome photography, but it sure does make my job even more fun! I think it's because more seasoned photographers are more ready to invest in their blogsites, so it's a win/win! :) 

And the fun didn't stop there...I got to make this cute little post separator too and also got to customize the date a little bit. Chelsey was also my first Canadian client! Lol. She lives in Edmonton and we actually ended up having a few friends in common so that's always fun!! Thanks again Chelsey for having such GREAT taste! Lol. Have I mentioned how much I love Facebook ever? It's just about the easiest and best and most convenient way to not only stay in touch with old friends, but also to stay in touch with new friends!! And seriously, it's so much fun actually making friends with people online...like your own little online friendly neighborhood. 

Saturday, May 5

All right, so in order to satisfy some nagging (but still lovable) aunts, here's a whack of pictures of the boys! And these all just so happen to be taken by my Mark III, so here goes my review of it....so far.  
Prepare yourself for a lot of random thoughts I have on my camera in no particular order. Actually, the pictures are also completely random and in no particular order. Like this one above of Baker apparently "terrorizing" Boston. At least that's what you'd think was happening if that picture had sound included with it! 
I've only had it a month. 95% of the pictures I've taken with it have been indoors, so not the best of lighting, but that's the main reason I invested in this camera was to help me out with those situations, so I was kind of glad to be in a dreary month, so I could see how it performed for me right away. 
Basically, it didn't matter how much I turned up the ISO, there was never any grain!! I mean, if you want specific numbers and all that tedious stuff, this is not the place! Lol. I didn't pay attention to every setting I had things on, but I definitely cranked that ISO, and seriously, no grain....ever. It definitely helped me turn really low-light conditions into totally manageable ones. Love these pictures of the kids playing with the stools. They just might be the most-played with objects in our house. Those and the couches. 
I don't feel super comfortable with it yet, I think that will take a few months! I mean, I feel comfortable shooting with it, but things aren't second nature by any means. See...more stool action. I pulled out this little stool from the bathroom so Baker could feel included...it worked. :) 
I definitely have noticed a huge improvement in the results of my pictures, but mainly in how hard I had to work to get the pictures, (not as hard!) and not as much as in the pictures themselves...if that makes sense? I mean, the pictures themselves were definitely better...no question, but generally, I just didn't have to try quite so hard to get the pictures in focus and properly lit. 
Under good lighting, the focus is definitely tack sharp, and I have zero complaints at all. It doesn't stay as tack sharp under not so great lighting, but I don't think it's fair to expect a camera to take crappy lighting and produce amazing pictures. 
Cute cousins at Grandma's house. 
I definitely need to read the entire manual front to back. I know I haven't even enabled half of the features it can do. EVERYONE should read their entire camera's manual. It mind sound boring, but it's the best way to get better at photography...promise. Just do it bit by bit, and take notes to keep it interesting...and mark it up with cute little sticky tabs. :) 
Cute boys dressed up after church. Love Boston's shirt below Grandma found him at Target. He'll even tell you what it says in his cute little voice that actually doesn't sound bossy at all. :) 
Whenever my kids are facing our window in our Living Room, I love the picture. Whenever they aren't, I'm not so happy with it. Examples below. If only our lives only ever took place facing the window. :) Van and Boss love to pretend to text each other with our old phones. Lol. 
Having this new camera has really if nothing else driven home the fact how important good lighting is. I mean, it is huge in allowing me to turn up the ISO, and I feel like it focuses super awesome under low light too, but like I said before, it won't transform bad lighting into great pictures. Love the picture of Van trying to set up the photo for me with Baker and his boy dolls. Lol. He loves his babies, and I think it's so cute! 
Like these ones. Taken at 8pm at night with no natural light at all...I had the white balance on tungsten, and I wish I could say I was happier with the results. The white balance was totally off, even after editing. Maybe the only way to get decent pictures under that kind of lighting is to use custom white balance. Sad day. I have to add though, these pictures are MUCH more in focus than I could have gotten with my 40D/50 mm f1.4 combo. Mainly because the kids were jumping around so much. If only kids NEVER moved! Lol. And I know if I turned these black and white, they'd look great. But I just love color...almost every time. I just feel like the pictures look more like our real life in color...since that's what real life is in! Lol. 
Another thought, I definitely think my 50mm f1.2 L lens has had just about as much effect on my pictures as my new camera has had. Even more so probably, when I upgraded to an L lens, it changed a lot of things! Just made life plain easier. Amateur photographers, don't get me wrong...you don't need an L lens and a full frame camera to have great pictures. PLEASE don't think that...but if you are obsessive compulsive like me and are forever on the hunt for perfection, unfortunately, L lenses and full frame cameras should probably be somewhere in your future. :)
Nothing better than catching Batman watching cartoons in full gear. The Christmas present that just keeps on giving. :) 
Ok this might be better...what cute little friends. 
Some more examples of photos right in front of our big window. You can see how it throws off the focus a bit. I just need to adjust myself better to get a better angle, there's your lesson for the day I guess! Ha ha. I should also mention that when I took this picture of Van eating the watermelon, my house was NOT this bright. It was actually a sort of dark, depressing afternoon. Van's sick in the picture above and Baker kept stealing his soda crackers, which he was obviously not pleased about. 
Watermelon and pickle juice. Yummy snacks. 
Anyway, I love my new camera. Like love love love it. But seriously, I've been missing my 40D like crazy, and I really loved it too. The biggest thing the Mark III gives me is the ISO capability I feel like, and it definitely does a great job achieving sharp focus...I can't WAIT to see what it does under some perfect outdoor lighting. 

A bunch of other random thoughts on why I went for the Mark III for anyone who's interested. :)

Since the main thing I shoot is pretty much my kids indoors all day long, I think this camera is the perfect fit for me given the edge it gives me on crappy lighting. I also know how my brain works, and knowing this great fancy camera was just released, it just didn't make sense to me to buy a camera that was all ready a bit outdated, even though its predecessors are amazing, and I know some crazy amazing photographers who shoot with even 5Ds and are seriously awesome. I mean, if I all ready owned a 5D or a 5D Mark II, I'm positive I would not have been first in line for the newest shiniest thing, especially since I shoot mainly just my kids and don't have a full-fledged business or studio or anything, but like I said, 40D....seemed like a no brainer. :) 

I hate how much it cost me though...but I really feel like eventually cameras pay for themselves. If you're willing to do shoots with them at least now and then for others, and if you're claiming your earnings (which of course we should be) ;), then it's even a tax write off...so makes it a little more affordable that way too! 

Anyway, sorry it wasn't a really in-depth review, but hopefully it helps someone out! :)