All of the Bells & Whistles

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you awoke refreshed and relaxed. Mine started in the middle of the night with a teething baby that woke me every two hours. We migrated to the couch, where we fell in and out of sleep until I realized my coffee was cold and my older two kids were asking for food. The nerve of these boys; expecting to be fed (joking)!

So while the bacon is frying, I thought I’d scurry over to my computer to write up my blog. I refuse to give up on this thing, no matter what kind of a mess I am. I missed last week, so I can’t this week. I’m supposed to set aside a day to write several at once and schedule them to post weekly, so I’m golden for several weeks. This is definitely the logical route. My life just doesn’t work that way. I’ve got taxes to finish, bills to sort, tv companies to nag, and schoolwork to force upon unwilling children. Life will eventually be on some kind of solid schedule! Not today.

So now that I’ve updated you on my gooey mess of a life and why this is a week late, I can move on to other things.

A couple of weeks ago, I sought out to do a self portrait, -all related to that 366 Photo Project. For a couple of years, I’ve been working on this film style in my photography. Imagine pictures that have beautiful rich colors, some occasional grain, slightly muted greens (they tend to steal too much attention), almost blown highlights and deep shadows; nestled down in there, is where my work lies. I’ve realized in 2016 this was perfectly me. Sometimes I stray, but not often. The more I shoot, the more I fine tune the process. 

In following this journey of editing and style, I have realized I love outdoor images that incorporate the environment (environmental portraits). I’m not big on props or anything like that, but a more natural approach. Maybe a chair or blanket, but I like to keep the focus on my subject and the connections there instead of anything too gimmicky or stylized. Kids in kissing booths are cute. I’m not taking away from that at all; it’s just not my thing. I prefer to get pictures of kids doing their own thing, in their own world because that is the magic of childhood.

But why would I want to create a self portrait? Honestly (quarantine aside), a couple of years ago, I was excited to do them. I could experiment with posing, styles, wardrobe, and crazy ideas without asking anyone to come over to wait on me. Anymore, I’m not quite so thrilled of the idea of getting into the frame. I haven’t quite recovered from my third pregnancy (hello play-doh Pooh Bear belly) and I’m lacking some serious sleep. The kicker is that I’ll be 40 this year! There are lines and skin on my face and other regions I don’t lovingly greet. But hey, I still need pictures just like everyone else. Practice what you preach, right? I always say everyone is deserving of great portraits; all women should be given the opportunity to feel pretty, no matter the size, age, or any factor. I deserve to have good pictures of myself more now than I did at 20. Hell, I’ve more than earned the right to feel good about myself at this point.

This particular day, I pushed through my tiredness and just started grabbing things. I had the baby in the carrier. She was wearing a cute dress covered in tiny yellow flowers and I knew how easily I coordinate with that! What a great idea it was to not just take pictures of myself, but pictures with my babe! I have no good pictures of myself with my boys when they were babies and that really stinks.

So I grabbed a hand me down dress from my bestie (gold with white flowers), threw it on, grabbed a tripod, a timer, a chair, and a blush blanket to cover the old blue cushion. I knew I wanted it to drape to the ground because that’s just gorgeous and I needed to cover the existing cushion because it clashed and has stains. I hauled all of this to the west side yard, where the grass is pretty lush, the fence is covered in vines, and the sun was getting ready to set.
My oldest learning how to use my camera remote.

The cat kept trying to steal my chair, my middle child was trying to show me doodle bugs, and the sun was moving, so I had to make the most of my time. Actually sitting down and shooting, I probably spent 10-15 minutes. Carrying supplies, setting up, and nailing focus was probably another 10-15 minutes. Was it a pain in the butt? Absolutely. It was hot, and a long walk to drag all of these things to their destination with a baby in tow. It was tiring, but I was so happy with the outcome. A little planning goes a long way! That’s so important when you’re talking kids.

Princess Kitty making her throne
The cat was not going to give up her seat.

My point is, get your damn pictures taken. Maybe you’re old, maybe you’re overweight, or not the average ideal of beautiful. Who cares? It doesn’t mean you aren’t loved. That you shouldn’t love yourself or your family enough to be captured in images. They are worth so much now and with time. We deserve confidence. We deserve special pictures of our mothers. Moments with our sisters. Our babies. All of it. Hold on to it while you can and pass it on to your loved ones when the time comes. Allow yourself to be seen through new eyes, with all of your value. You are worth it.

No children or animals were harmed in the making of these images. To return to the website, click here:

PS: I did not finish this blog before my bacon was finished.


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