Writing with Sparklers

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I love playing with my camera! I love taking photos to capture moments in time. Once something happens, it will never be quite the same again. This moment will probably happen again, but I was excited nonetheless, that we could capture it on camera!
I have a nice camera, it’s nothing ultra fancy, but it works great for me!

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Not the best picture of the camera itself, but it is a Canon Powershot SX130. Favorite feature overall is the 12x optical zoom!
Again, not the best picture, but on the right hand side, about half way up the camera, you may see the option for ISO. This is the feature I utilized to photograph the sparkler writing.
If your camera has this option, what you want to do is set it to the lowest possible number. I’m sure an actual photographer could tell you exactly what ISO is, but all I can say is that it slows down the shutter speed.
After a but of experimenting, I realized I would have to do one letter at a time. Fancier cameras will enable you to slow down the shutter speed even more, doing longer phrases or designs, but I managed to have fun with mine. Especially utilizing a collage maker afterwards!

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This one was a little trickier. I actually used 2 sparklers, one for each side. Took several shots, with Tony manning the camera, but I was pretty pleased with it! For those of you who are Mortal Instruments fans, you can just see Jace inside the heart. It was a coincidence, whether you believe me or not!
Fourth of July has just passed so keep an eye out for good deals on sparklers! Have some fun outside, and bring your camera along!

Train Photo Op

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This was a fun, albeit chilly time spent with Arthur. He has been a big fan of trains for as long as I can remember. My theory is that the interest came genetically from my Papa! I saw some different pictures on Pinterest that inspired this shoot. I’m not referencing them because I didn’t use their actual ideas. The photos featured boys on train tracks. When I was discussing the idea with Tony, he suggested this retired train in Valley City, OH. When we drove out to see it, it was perfect!
The night before we were set to take pictures we made a trip to Walmart for his suit. I thought it would look really sharp (right as usual), and my poor boy had no dress shoes, so he needed a pair of those too. When we were heading to the train, I was looking for a hat to tie the look together. I was leaning towards his fedora, when Tony suggested the chapeau. Score one for my honey!
When we first got there, I let Arthur wander around and just take it all in. He was so excited because hello, train, and I wanted him to be able to focus on smiles for the camera.
The photo up top is the one that will be his 7 year old photo. We did however get a lot of great ones! I am pretty lucky though and have a good looking kid! 🙂

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The only one taken at the engine. It’s obviously not a working train. It looks really good though!

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This photo was probably my personal favorite! The only reason this one won’t be his 7 year old shot is I want to be able to see his face clearly. Doesn’t this look like it could’ve been taken decades ago?
For another great option for boy pictures, check out https://superstevied.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/boy-picture-options/
Happy picture taking!

Belle Photo Op

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The only reason I get a little sad as spring approaches is because that means my kids birthdays are coming. Don’t get me wrong, it’s exciting that they’re growing up and we get to celebrate the coming year, but at the same time, we’re approaching the time when they won’t want to spend the day with their parents.
The original idea for this session came from a pin linking to https://plus.google.com/app/basic/stream/z120sj14lpzky1kwh04chpqzjtfru3yhntk0k which is an adorable image of a woman dressed as Belle, browsing the shelves at a bookstore.
I went back and forth on it, but decided to use the library instead of the bookstore. It was no big deal getting my little darling to put on her Belle dress for a few hours. She got the dress from the Disney store (thank you Nana) and it is just gorgeous! We weren’t a big fan of the Belle shoes, and not that you can see them in the picture, but she’s wearing her Rapunzel shoes.
She even cooperated before we left and let me attempt the Belle hairsstyle, but that’s another blog for another day!
Before starting with the camera I browsed the shelves and found a Disney Princess book for her to “read” during our shoot. I took maybe 20 pictures, switching poses quickly as her attention span isn’t the best at 3!
I’m looking forward to what her fourth year brings to my little diva, but I hope she doesn’t outgrow this dress up phase too soon!
For other girl photo ideas, check out last year’s photo shoot at https://superstevied.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/wedding-dress-alternative/.
The original, pre – editing picture for the above shot was this:

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This one was a little goofy for her 4 year old picture, but was cute not to share! All I did to prompt this smile was ask her “what do you think of when I say ‘tickle the baby’?”

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Enjoy your own photo sessions. Remember that the best memory you’ll have won’t be the pictures you take, but the time spent with your baby. The picture will just be a reminder of that time!

Have a Valentine

Have a Valentine
It’s rolling around to the time where kids exchange those cutsie cards, or little candy treats, maybe even both! I remember the excitement, when I was younger, of getting to pick out which one I got to give out to all my classmates. Of course this was all pre-Pinterest, and I had no idea of the excitement I would experience when my kids turn came! I won’t lie to you, the first two years my son was in preschool, also Pre-Pinterest, I bought the cute little boxes of Valentine’s at Wal-Mart. Last year I did a Pinterest Valentine, and if you want those details, you can check it out at https://superstevied.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/my-fishy-valentine/. This year, Arthur is in kindergarten and Chiara is in preschool, so double fun for mommy!
I started this project a few weeks ago by posing my kids in front of a door for a clean backdrop. They thought I was a little crazy. Understandable, as I was making them look off in the distance and hold their fist out. It took a few takes to get one I could work with. Arthur has kind of a silly face on in his, but he’s still one of the cutest six year olds on the planet! He was getting bored with standing there, so I decided it was fine. Once I had the picture, I cropped it to a size I was happy with.
The first time I sent them to be developed in the Wal-Mart photo lab, I had forgot to put the message on the picture. After realizing my mistake, I did a little playing around in paint. I chose simple, and wrote on them “Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, Arthur” and obviously “Love, Chiara” on her’s. I then sent those to be developed. Be sure you take into account where the top of your sucker will be when you place your words!
When they were finished and ready for pickup, I selected my choice of treats, going with the cherry Blow-Pops. Looking back, they may have been too big for my project, but they still work. After getting back to my hotel room, I’m currently away from home for some training, I sat down with all of my supplies.
Supplies
I used my trusty Wal-Mart box-cutter, but I needed to be sure not to damage the surface I was cutting on. Before you ask, yes, that is a Pizza Hut box. It was trash anyway, so I could gash it all up. You use your cutter to cut a slit at the top and bottom of the fist. Make sure the slit is big enough to slide a sucker stick through. Then you slide your stick through and you have a Valentine!
I hope you enjoyed this little project. I got my inspiration for this particular one at http://www.ambersantics.blogspot.com/2012/02/youre-best-valentine.html. Be sure to check them out as well!
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Christmas Kid Photos

Christmaskids
The holidays are coming and I get excited every year. I love the decorations, I love the food and I love watching my kids unwrap their presents like I have given them the keys to kingdom! Giving gifts is always so much fun for me! I usually try to start early in the year so I can get a little at a time. I don’t make enough to splurge right at the end! LOL!
Christmas cards are another thing I love about the holidays. I usually have an entire wall decked out with them before the holidays are over, and they stay up until New Year’s Day. I love devising our Christmas cards too. I thought, once upon a time, that I would create these wonderfully artistic, homemade cards for everyone on my list, but that has yet to happen. I do however, love taking the pictures that I use on our cards. If you’ve read any of my older blogs, you may’ve picked up on my love of photography. I don’t claim to be Ansel Adams or anything, but I’ve gotten some really great photos over the years.
This year, of course, I took my inspiration from Pinterest! Sadly, yet again, the link that for the picture was broken, so I can’t reference the original photo op. The original photo had a white backdrop, with two boys in red hats and plaid shirts, and the lights were unplugged and off. The kids also had duct tape over their mouths saying MERRY and CHRISTMAS. It was hilarious with the duct tape, and we did try, but I couldn’t get the words to show in the photo.
This was a great half hour spent with my kids, which at the end of the day is always my goal with photo sessions. They were giggling as I wrapped them up and stuck tape over their mouths. Before you start to get upset, I made sure the tape was barely sticky before I put it on their face. They ended up playing with it afterwards. I did try several outfits before deciding that pajamas worked best. I just loved the way they were glancing at each other too. Kind of a “this is all your fault” look. They were kind of sad to see me put the lights away, but we used them for other photos for our Christmas card.
If you try this, I would love to see your results! Keep the cords loose enough so it’s not hurting them obviously and have fun with it. I just cleared a space in front of my wall for a backdrop. Mainly because I don’t have a photo studio handy, but I do love the color we painted our walls. Try not to use your flash, especially if the lights will be plugged in for your photo. Play with the AV settings on your camera and bump up the ASO. It sounds really technical, but if I can figure this out, anyone can! Try to have a little bit of light coming from behind you when you’re taking the picture. That’ll ensure the photo is not too dark.
Happy holidays! Yes I know it’s not even Thanksgiving, but if you want to use this idea, you need to be taking these photos now for cards. So put yourself in a holiday mood!

Color Splash

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I’m a proud mama! She is such a good sport usually about pictures, but today I had to bribe her with candy. I get my pictures and she gets something sweet.  Win-win!
I started by putting her in a brightly colored tutu, which oddly enough came with a pj set, and a fitted tank top. I decided to leave her barefoot for the picture, she used to be terrified of grass and would not let her feet touch it, thankfully she got past thay. I carried her outside and tried to set her down, but she refused. This is where the bribery came in. Candy for cooperation.  She finally decided to cooperate and let me set her down. Then I told her to run away. She is a really fast runner for such a short person! I have the BEST PHOTO option on my amazing Samsung Galaxy S4. It takes 8 photos in rapid succession so you can get at least a few that are not blurred!
For more details on that product check out https://superstevied.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/samsung-galaxy-s4/
I ended up with a few I like, such as this

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A little cropping to get closer to her and then it was on to one of my favorite photo editing apps: ColorSplash Effect Pro. I have to thank my friend Jenna for introducing me to this app, back when I had my iPhone, because I have had a lot of fun with it.
This particular idea came from an image on Pinterest, where else?! Check out the inspiration for today’s photo shoot at http://m.flickr.com/photos/ayodele/2471907307/

First Day of School

First Day of School

More and more kids are going back to school as we get closer to September. So often with Pinterest, I find amazing things after an event has passed. For instance, if I was to get married now, instead of 7 years ago, my wedding would’ve been a whole different party. It was beautiful, but Pinterest is such a great way to expand your own ideas by seeing other people’s ideas.
Arthur has been in preschool since he was three so he could have his speech therapy. I have always taken a picture on the first day of school, mainly because I’m a picture freak, but also for posterity. This idea from Pinterest has stuck with me since I saw it and knew I had to do this!
The picture in the frame was the first day of his last year of preschool and, as always, he looked so very handsome! I printed the picture off myself the night before school and used a frame that normally holds one of his baby pictures. The baby picture went right back into the frame, this was a just a quick borrowing!
I put him in the same location in our house, no special background, just found it amusing to have the same items in the background. I also found it amusing to have him wear his Hard Rock Café fedora again this year. I told Tony I am probably going to pick up some ‘backup’ hats while they still carry them and we can continue this theme up through high school!
He’s such a sport about having his picture taken, and he doesn’t ham it up the way Chiara is prone to do.
Don’t worry too much if it’s not the EXACT first day of school, in my mind, just put them in their ‘first day’ outfit and no one but you will know!
Happy picture taking!
Original pin goes back to http://www.thesuburbanmom.com/2012/08/13/10-first-day-of-school-picture-ideas-printables/