Tag Archives: photography

Pretty Pictures, Not Pretty Work Out, and Three Other Things.

One: Last weekend, I was in the good ole’ Illinois farmland for one of my best friend’s Bridal Shower. I am so thrilled for her and excited for the upcoming wedding. We were even able to do some really beautiful photoshoot of her and of her sister and the two of them together. You can see some of this here and here from earlier in the week. But I am holding off on sharing more just because I didn’t want to inundate you with so much pretty at once! Seriously, what a dream.

alexisfree people miss american pie 1Bridal Shower Jord

Two: Confession time, you guys. So this wedding is pretty close and I kind of put off getting my dress altered because of stupid insecurities and this new medicine I am on that has me gaining weight. But the good news is that I discovered that during my move I donated the shoes I had planned on wearing with this dress so I had to get news ones (which kind of seems like bad news because I am in a complete spending freeze but for this wedding) but they are the perfect height so I don’t need to get the dress altered. I also finally got my “styling details” down for this boho chic affair with help from my roommate and Bauble Bar. I’ll be sharing some inspo and hints next week because even though this is not my normal go-to style, they are all pieces that will amp up my own wardrobe which is always nice…because I am the kind of ride or die bridesmaid that will buy a specific look for you even if I will never wear it again in my life. So, yay!

Three: My roommate bought a ballet bar on Craig’s List and also a subscription to Physique and we are doing the Get Fit Fast 2 Week Challenge on our lunch breaks. It is super challenging. My understanding is that it is Pure Barre on steroids but I am sure I will have some Pure Barre purists (haha) disagree. Whatever. It is super hard. But it feels so good when I’m done. It’s also a workout compatible with my illness. Still loving riding my bike too!


I’m NeenBee on Snap!

I’ve had it forever but I have been hesitant to share it publically but oh, whatever.

Four: I finally bought a bra that fit me. And the crowd goes wild.

Five: I just bought some nectarines and I hope they are juicy and delicious.

Linking up with: Darci, Natasha, Christina, April, Karli, and Amy.


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So You Have a DSLR, Now What? | Photography 101.

photography101I had a DSLR for a long time before I learned how to shoot manually by taking classes and seeking out knowledge. Now, I can’t imagine shooting auto. Still, I know I waited a long time to learn because I was intimidated. I’m a writer and numbers were involved (eek!). A few people have asked where and how I learned. I definitely recommend taking a class. A great one can be found through Nicole’s Classes (where they also often have sales) but if a class isn’t in the cards, check out a book like The Busy Girl’s Guide to Digital Photography.

My goal here is to make this a simple series–Photography 101 for shooting manually with your DSLR. It won’t be exhaustive because I want to focus on the basics in order to keep things as clear as possible.

First things first, turn your camera to M for Manual. If you’ve been playing around with other settings (I was always fond of Macro), you probably have taken some great photos. The issue with these presets is that they use Auto Exposure for each setting which may not be correct for the light, the depth of field, or the photograph.

Let me break it down the best I can.

So what is Exposure?exposureExposure: the actual process of capturing light with the camera to produce an image. It is the combination of the F-Stop or Aperture (the same thing) and Shutter Speed.apertureAperture or F-Stop: literal opening of the camera lens. It also controls the depth of field.* Annoyingly because it is opposite of my intuition, a large F-Stop gives a smaller opening while a small F-Stop give a larger opening. A smaller opening offers less light a darker exposure and a larger opening brings more light into the image and a brighter exposure.
shutterspeedShutter Speed: It is the duration that shutter is open and exposed to light, measured in seconds. For example, if I am photographing sports, my shutter speed is going to be fast. If I want to take in a lightening bolt, I will have an extremely slow shutter speed so my shutter is open for longer in order to hopefully capture the bolt. A long shutter speed requires a tripod because one cannot hold a camera still long enough for that lightening both. Fast or slow, the shutter speed will affect the Aperture and vice versa.

ISO: This number is how sensitive the sensor on your DSLR is to light. A low ISO number means less sensitivity to light and a high ISO number means more sensitivity to light. A higher ISO also means more grain or “noise.” When possible shoot with as low of an ISO as possible. Change the ISO last after you have tried to adjusting the Aperture and Shutter Speed so you don’t lose quality. Like Aperture and Shutter speed, these all effect one another.

I  have a Canon Rebel T2i so you may have to check your manual but this is where I am able to determine my exposure, change my aperture, shutter speed, etc. You’ll also see that I tried to take a picture with my phone of what you can see if you look through the viewfinder and press the shutter down slightly.cameratrioWas this helpful? Feel free to ask me any questions but keep in mind this is a series of Photography 101. At first, this was so overwhelming me. Take a lot of photos. Put your camera on manual and play with the aperture and shutter speed.

P.S. After the photoshoot of my camera, I cleaned it. 🙂

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Bex and Scott Photo Shoot | NB Creative Inc.

Bex and Scott

Ask my mom or anyone who has known me my whole life: I love anything creative. One day I decided I wanted to learn to knit so I found someone to teach me. Another day I started to make quilt squares though I never quilted before (and confession: that quilt is still unfinished). When I started blogging, it was all about the writing. I liked thinking of creative ideas and photographs that could go with my entries. Then, I started to enjoy the graphic design and photography aspect of it. I took classes. I’ve gotten better. I decided I wanted to do photography as more than just a hobby around the same time that I decided I was going to start really putting effort into freelance writing and marketing (and other things too!).

Thus, NB Creative, Inc. was born out of passion and hustle and pure love for creating and writing. Be sure to check it out for more info and see other photo clients (more to come!).

I work with companies and I also work one on one with clients depending on their needs. You can read more about NB Creative, Inc. here.

But after I took those photography classes, I begged my friends and family and network: let me take your photos and I will give them to you for free. I recognize (because I am this way) that photography is incredibly important in capturing life’s important moments and there was no way I would feel comfortable doing that and taking money from someone until I had lots of practice. I still have a long way to go but my fees are low and I go above and beyond.

Bex and Scott have been together for five years and married for two. I was visiting her in Florida around the time of their second anniversary and since they had just moved to this new land, Bex had a vision for some photographs. I added what I could and we collaborated.

If you know me, you know I am a perfectionist. We happened to get her all gussied up and ready minutes before a storm rolled in (I did her makeup which will be on her sometime in August). Not only did I have to rush but the light was dimming. If the timing would have worked, we would have waited until after the storm passed because the sky was gorgeous. But that’s the perfectionist in me. Bex assures me that she loves them and even her husband loves him which, she says, is harder to accomplish. She says they are some of their favorite photos of the two of them in five years which means a lot.

I love this couple, the way they love one another, and the way they love others. Without further ado, Bex and Scott Photo Shoot:Bex and Scott 1

Bex and Scott 2

Bex and Scott 3

Bex and Scott 4

Bex and Scott 5

Bex and Scott 6

Bex and Scott 8

Bex and Scott 10Yes, I work with photography clients and I love it. The majority of my freelance business is writing–working with brands and companies where I write blogs and other marketing materials for their own brand and sites, help with SEO & social media, marketing, graphic design and more. For more info on either of these things, visit NB Creative, Inc.

I hope you love the photos of Bex and her man. Aren’t they dreamy?




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Why Bloggers Become Photographers.

Why Bloggers Become PhotographersTruth time: whenever I feel as if I am becoming stereotype, I take a step back because who wants to be that? It seems like many bloggers I know have a photography side business. It’s not that they aren’t super talented or that I wouldn’t hire some of them in a second if I need photos taken. I’ve just been afraid, as I have fallen in love with photography, to become the stereotype. And wondered why photographers and bloggers go hand in hand. Oh, well. I am still an amateur and nowhere near opening a business but it’s a craft I am committed to learn because, well, even though writing is my numero uno passion, I love to be creative in all things.

And so I think that’s why a lot of bloggers take up photography (if you have, please speak up). I also know photographers who have taken up blogging. I think both hobbies attract creative people who like to produce and create beautiful things. As I’ve grown the blog, learning photography has been part of it and I have loved the process.travel shoes 1My friends have graciously given of their time and themselves as I have practiced on them while I change lenses slowly, struggling to find the right shutter speed, realizing later that my iso was completely wrong. Like I said, I am just at the place where I have learned by mistakes. I am definitely an amateur but I’m taking some classes and want to learn more. I constantly want to grow my passions or the possibility of a passion and that’s what this is at the moment.ncbabeThe more I practice with people or things that are not blog related, like a newborn shoot, the more I realize that it’s more than creating beautiful things. It’s the fact that people let you into these incredibly special moments and parts of their lives and that is a unique things. As a writer, people constantly inspire me so it’s one passion feeding another. That seems like a sensible and lovely thing.macaronsCapturing beautiful moments that contain macarons and rose gold is all good. But I am finding that capturing people’s true personalities and special moments is truly rewarding. Everything you need to know about Bex, you can discover from this photo:bexxxxxMeanwhile, I also love directing–choosing the wardrobe and props and helping a vision I have come to life while someone plays dress up. I was so thankful that my friend helped me out to create great images for my travel series. My mom laughed so hard when I told her I enjoyed directing. girl travel tipsHere is the thing: learning is my favorite thing in the entire world–whether it is something new entirely or growing in my writing. I have a friend who is outstanding when it comes to watercolors but ultimately she wasn’t satisfied to just stick with watercolors. She is currently learning acrylics. She blows me away. lady7I’ve written about it before but at 87 years old, Michelangelo said, “I’m still learning.” I love everything about that. So maybe I am a cliché but there are worse things. I really admire people who continue to learn, like the bloggers/photographers, or the friend I mentioned who paints. While I learn photography, I know it won’t be the last creative passion. I always want to be learning.

What inspires you to learn? What are your creative outlets?



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North Carolina Adventures and Dawson’s Creek.

North Carolina AdventuresMultiple choice: why did I want to go to North Carolina?

a. Dawson’s Creek was filmed there
b. An old friend lives there
c. 98.9% of bloggers are from North Carolina
d. My old friend had a new baby and insisted I visit
e. I don’t want to wait for my life to be over. I want to know right now what will it be (bonus points if you get this one)
f. Adventure
g. Pacey Witter
h. All of the above

If you answered “all of the above,” congratulations! You can enter the giveaway at the end of this post for some rose gold desk accessories!

In all seriousness, I had the best time in North Carolina–a place I haven’t been since I was four (if at all…it’s a little murky). I knew this trip would be a little different because my friend Heather, was on maternity leave, and a new mama. I asked her a million times if she was sure she wanted me to visit at this time and she insisted. Her husband, on the other hand, insisted I make Nonna’s Sauce and Meatballs if I want to come. So I came. It was a short visit but also perfection. There was some of this:North Carolina Adventures 1Also, not to betray Pacey Witter, but I fell in love with this guy (not to be out done by the cutest babe):North Carolina Adventures 2Try and tell me he is not a model. Seriously though, what a great dog. It made me miss having one so badly.

Even though we rested a lot (which is fine with me on vacation) and I got to hold a newborn a lot (which is very fine with me) we also had one full North Carolina day where we went to Southport (I really hope I get my North Carolina language correct here).North Carolina Adventures 3It was the babe’s first time to the beach and so it was special. Those are pictures to save for mama and dadda. But:North Carolina Adventures 4It’s not a secret that I love a tropical beach but I love a quiet beach too, where people aren’t laying out, where it is just barely warm enough, where the sound of the waves and people walking next to you are enough company. It’s life giving to me.North Carolina Adventures 5I didn’t have a journal or a book but next time…you know it. Also, as a girl who has recently put her toes in the Pacific, the Atlantic was so warm!North Carolina Adventures 6I wish I could say: oh, Heather and I took a ton of pictures together but when you are the photographer, you aren’t in many photographs. Also, the one photograph we asked her husband to take (while holding the baby, in his defense) involved me trying to hold my hair down with the side of my face and many chins resulted. So this is our picture together:North Carolina Adventures 7Next we went to dinner at the Provision Company. Before we left, Heather asked me how I felt about seafood and going to a place with a limited menu. I asked her what she meant. She just said it wasn’t fancy; there was paper plates involved but the food was great. I told her that sounded amazing. This was one of those places where they have 10 total things on the menu and they do all of them perfectly. It was incredible–a hole in the wall, local haunt, the types of places one should definitely enjoy on an adventure. I had a tuna steak sandwich and we shared Conch Balls. This was our view:North Carolina Adventures 8Someone try to tell me that this is not straight out of a scene from Dawson’s Creek. I kept waiting for True Love to dock and Pacey and Joey to leap from the boat. I mean, Dawson’s Creek fans: back me up!North Carolina Adventures 9After dinner, in her husband’s family tradition, we headed to Dairy Queen. It may have been the best blizzard I ever had (and I have enjoyed quite a few in my time).  The whole time the babe was so great and so cute and oh, I just heart him.

P.S. Speaking of the babe, Heather asked if I would take some photos for them. I am a total amateur and sweated so much through the shoot. Again, the babe was perfect. But I felt a lot of pressure (not from anyone but myself) but I am really happy with the results. Just one preview because I am obsessed with the photos and it is hard to take a bad photo of any of them:North Carolina Adventures 10I still feel so honored to have been there at this point in the babe’s life and as Heather navigates being a new mama (she’s rocking it). I was able to meet her son and her husband and her dog (all great guys). I also loved North Carolina. I think I will have to go back. Why? All of the above.




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