Sunday, May 19, 2019

Spring Portrait Tips and Ideas


Spring has finally sprung here in Michigan...
about two weeks later than usual!

I met fellow Michigan blogger and Instagram-er Tracy from Plaids & Poppies 
online last fall, and since she blogs about gardening and decorating,
I invited her to meet me at the spring spectacular 
Dow Gardens for a portrait shoot!

Oh, my!  Dow Gardens was bursting with tulips, daffodils
 and all the spring bushes and trees!


I know it seems intimidating to shoot on a bright, sunny day, 
but that's just  the day I chose.

We started at 9 am when the park opened and the sun
was still pretty low in the sky.


By shooting with the sun behind Tracy,  I was able to ignite her
hair with the sun and avoid mottled shadows and splotches on her face.

To learn more about how to capture beautiful skin tones in
bright sunlight, read this blog post.


When shooting with back-light, I use a reflector that I hold myself.

To learn how to use a reflector for portraits, read this blog post.


It's a bit bulky to carry around, but SO worth the effort!

We also hauled around all those props!

I like to shoot close-ups:




Medium shots:



And, some full-length. 

Tracy was a natural on-camera!



Try different and interesting angles.

I stood on a large rock to take these from above her:



Throw in some action shots:





And, zoom in on some pretty details:




In this photo, notice I added a spring blooming cherry tree!

Watch my video tutorial to show you how to add a spring tree to your photos.


You can purchase my high-resolution cherry tree png (transparent background)
in my Etsy Shop by clicking here.


It was wonderful to finally meet Tracy!  We laughed and gabbed as we spent 
several hours in the park.

Notice I'm wearing my white shirt!  I always wear white when shooting portraits
because whatever color I wear, shows up in the subject's eyes!

Learn more about capturing catch-lights in the eyes in this blog post.


I hope you have a chance to get out and capture some spring splendor!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Apps to Create that Light and Airy look in Phone Photos


If you primarily use your phone to take photos,
you are probably disappointed when they
turn out dark and drab.

Editing apps are my favorite way to create that light and airy look 
that is popular on social media platforms these days!

Apps make it quick and easy and you don't have to be
a technical genius to edit with them.

My favorite app is PicTapGo
available for $2.99 in the app store.

I love it because you can instantly lighten, brighten
and improve photos with a few simple clicks!




One of my favorite filters in the app is AIR.  This filter adds a bit of  hazy white
while brightening the scene.




If I don't want the haze, I like LIGHTS ON
because it brightens, yet maintains the detail in the photo.



The best part of this app is the slider at the bottom of each
filter screen to determine the filter strength!  Use that to perfect the effect.

PicTapGo is my GO-TO app for quick editing.

You can boost color, contrast, warmth, coolness, exposure etc.
with just a few clicks!  You will LOVE this app!

For more detailed editing I like Snapseed by Google,
Available for free in the app store.

One of my favorite features is the BRUSH TOOL!

After brightening this next photo in PicTapGo,
I wanted to lighten her face a bit more.


I brought the photo into Snapseed and clicked on TOOLS at the bottom of the screen.

Then I clicked on BRUSH:



Inside the brush tool, select EXPOSURE and click up or down
with the arrows depending on how much you want
to lighten or darken.


Your finger is now the brush!  Simply "brush" with your finger
over the area you wish to lighten...or darken if you choose.

You will quickly catch on to using these apps and
create beautiful, light and bright photos
with your phone!


Easter Photo Ideas



                                       Easter is late this year which gives us time to create
some special eggs and photos for the holiday.

These are decoupage Easter eggs made with napkins!
A fun  and easy project older children can try, too.


I bought pretty Easter napkins with various spring colors and
designs.  I found mine at TJ-Maxx.


These designer napkins usually come in 3-ply,
so separate the colorful layer from the white layers.


Cut out the various designs so you have different size cut-outs.


Now, use Mod Podge to decoupage the cut-outs onto your eggs.
I used wood craft eggs I found at Hobby Lobby
so I can use these year after year.

But you can also blow out real eggs.


I think they turned out so pretty and am proud to show them off
in my house, displayed in a pretty Easter basket...
bedded in the matching napkins!


I also went crazy with baking.

I usually hate to bake, but I think pastel macarons
are lovely, so I HAD to try making them!


I watched several video tutorials on how to create these pretty gems and

this is the recipe I ended up trying:  Easy Macarons

The pastels are soft and pretty for Easter!





I also made a batch of lemon because the yellow matched the
plate I found at a thrift store.



Once I fulfilled my macaron obsession,
I wanted to play with cake pops!

These also photographed beautifully!



Perfect for Easter photos!


While I had the Easter props out, I photographed those, too.

It's fun to look for the Easter props at thrift stores
where you can find them for CHEAP!

I discovered baskets, fake eggs, the little bunny, even the Easter grass
at a thrift store.

Kids would love to select props there!





You can find spring flowers right at your grocery store!

They brighten up you home and are beautiful in photos.
These lavender hyacinth filled my house with their sweet fragrance!


I found this pretty pastel jar at the thrift store and it 
matched all my pretty spring flowers.

Look for cloth napkins, place mats and table linens for
pennies at your thrift store to add to the look!
The smocking on this one adds texture against the smooth ceramic.


Use your Easter photos to make cards
or create greetings for your social media sites
like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter.







Lots of fun Easter ideas you can try with your kids!

Hoppy Easter!