Wednesday, March 4, 2015

An Inspirational Montana Home

I had the pleasure of photographing a friend's home this month. Her style was one of the first to influence and inspire me 15 years ago. And even though I have never seen her current home or even seen an old home of hers since maybe 10 years ago, I have always been inspired by her style. 

Finally, after all this time I took a trip over to Bozeman to photograph her home and HOLY SMOKES...was it BEAUTIFUL! They moved into this home about 6 years ago with their 4 sweet little girls and have been renovating it since. She is a true minimalist! Every closet was empty and only small dressers held all their clothes. No. clutter. anywhere! It makes me realize just how little we actually need. 

And if that doesn't inspire you, she has collecting everything in this house from garage sales and craigslist! Yes...that sofa...those leather chairs...EVERYTHING!

So enough of what I is some inspiration directly from the creator of this gorgeous home:

"I have always had a deep longing for meaningful things in my, family, relationships and beauty. Space is important in my relationships; not filling my life with busy-ness. This choice trickles down to every part of my life including our home and my decorating style. Simplicity....keeping the main things the main things...can be so beautiful. Put one or two beautiful pieces in a room and I am hooked! Before bringing anything into our home I ask myself "is this useful or beautiful?" 90% of the things in our home are from Craigslist or garage sales. But this doesn't mean that I scrimp, cut corners, buy "cheap" or imitation. I believe in buying what I really LOVE. I love authenticity and quality. I am not afraid of space in my home. I leave a room undone until I find the perfect piece that I can afford. For example, I love vintage fabrics. Recently I bought 2 antique Turkish rugs off of Etsy. Neither were "cheap" but I know they will serve my family well and grow with my style. Real style and beauty develop over time. Its not a race but a slow deliberate journey. So my home is filled with space...some space I hope to fill one day and some space I treasure and will never give up. " 
 -Candace Partain

 4 girls, and all of their clothes...ALL of their clothes are in that little cupboard and drawers. 

Candice has sewn everything in her house from the pillows to the curtains to the couch slipcover. 

I hope this inspires you as much as it did me!

Paint color in kitchen, dining and living room: Farrow & Ball "Skimming Stone"
Paint color in hallway: Farrow & Ball "Strong White"
Paint color in Girls Room: Farrow & Ball "Calamine"

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

10 Tips For Taking Better Photos of Your Kids With Your Phone

I've really been wanting to learn how to take really good pictures of my kids. They are so cute and different at each stage of life, I want to capture it but in the way that I see it...faded background, faces in focus, soft a dream. So I got some help from our amazing photographer friend, Alicia Brown of Write You On My Heart. She recently started a blog about taking better pictures of kids with your phone and you HAVE to go read it! She's even put out a free e-book with more tips and tutorials. You will definitely want to check it out! 

Alicia spent several hours with me and my kids and showed me how to use my phone and how to "set the stage" for awesome pictures. Here are the tips:

1. Download a camera app such as VSCOcam (that's the one she recommended I download).

There are presets that come with it but you can also download more. Some are free, some cost a few bucks. Just play with the app to figure out what does what.

2. Wipe camera lens on back of phone clean

You can use your shirt or a napkin, etc. You don't want any smudges on your lens.

3. Turn sound off

This way your kids have no idea you're even taking pictures and they feel much more relaxed.

4. Use Focus and Exposure Icons

When you have your camera on, tap the screen with two fingers and two icons will come up. Use your finger to move the exposure around on the screen. When it's over something light the exposure turns darker and when it's over something dark the exposure turns brighter. Most the time you'll want it right in the middle. You want to see good skin color in the subject's face. Then tap on the icon to lock it. 

Move the focus icon to whatever you want to focus on. Most the time you'll probably want it on the subject's face. Sometimes you may want it on whatever the subject is focusing on if you're taking from behind or above the subject.

5. Square phone with background. 

You want the lines in the background to line up with the lines of your screen. If there's something in the background you don't like, move it or move your position. You want to shoot straight on, not at an angle. If you're taking a picture over a wood floor, even lining up the wood planks with your phone helps.

6. Get level with subject

When taking pictures of kids it's best to get down to their level. It's part of squaring with the background. Or if you want an overhead shot, get directly above your subject and shoot straight down.

7. Hold phone very still

This is the hardest part for me. I always forget to hold my hands very still as I take the picture. One trick Alicia taught me was holding my finger on the snap button and when I'm ready to snap the pic I release my finger. This helps to not jerk the phone around by tapping it with your finger.

8. Take lots of pictures

Sometimes I will snap constantly and take 20 pictures if my kid is moving, such as the twirling picture. My girl was twirling around and I kept snapping. Out of the 10 or 15 pictures I took of her twirling, I got one or two good ones. And I took 20 or so pictures of her sitting on the chair by the window but only a few were really good.

9. Edit picture using a preset

Most of the presets are very harsh, but you can adjust them by clicking twice on the preset you want. By moving the bar to the left it brings it closer to the original photo. I usually adjust mine to somewhere in the middle.

10. Use other editing tools, but not too much

I always sharpen just slightly, sometimes fade just a touch and once-in-awhile warm up the temperature. If you find a preset you like you won't have to do much to the pic after adjusting the preset. I like the A6 preset because it automatically warms up the picture to my liking. And for black and white pictures X1 is used a lot. 

I love that we can take beautiful pictures now with our phones...something we ALWAYS have with us and can pull out in a second. Kid's are so spontaneous and clever, I love that I can catch those moments now thanks to these tools. 

I also had Alicia help me a little with my DSLR. These are the pictures I captured with my "fancy" camera...

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