Posted by Crystal

I know most us moms want to better our photography skills in some way, even if we’re not actually trying to become professionals at it. We all want to be able to take great pictures of our kids and capture those precious moments in a more artistic way. That’s what has motivated me to invest in a nicer camera and take the time to learn how to use it.

I splurged a little and got myself a new lens. I actually didn’t splurge as much as I could have because I chose to get the Tamron lens instead of the Canon. I’ve been doing a little research on the Tamron because I’ve heard they are pretty much the same, but almost half the price.

I’ve been wanting a nice wide angle zoom lens. I was about to spend $800 on a Canon one, but then decided to read some reviews on the Tamron. Come to find out these Tamron lenses are pretty comparable. Most reviews said they were very happy with the quality of Tamron, and very few even noticed much of a difference. The ones who did notice a difference were big time professional photographers. So since I’m no where near professional I decided to go this route. I bought it on Amazon and even bought a gently used one and saved another $100. Usually I won’t buy electronics used because you never know how well they’ve been treated, but since returning items to Amazon is so easy (you just print off the shipping label and they even pay the shipping), I decided I didn’t have much to lose.

Here’s the lens I chose.

Tamron AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5

I love it because I can take WAY better pictures of rooms in my house or lanscapes. I love that you can get MORE in the shot.

See what I mean? With all my other lenses I’d only be able to get the entertainment center in this shot (I took this picture at night so the lighting wasn’t the best).

Here’s my entry way. It’s actually a pretty small space, but with this lens you can see the whole space. Usually I’d have to take like 4 different shots just for you to get an idea of what the area looks like.

Isn’t that cool!!!

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Posted by Amanda

I am so pleased and excited to be asked by my dear friend, Crystal, to be a part of one of my most favorite blogs EVER to talk about my passion of photography!!! A little background on myself: I have been  blogging over at Enchanting Havoc about life, positive thinking, personal growth, being a special needs mom,  a mom of a daughter with a heart condition – basically an all around mommy blog! I have 3 kids that keep me on my toes ALL DAY. EVERYDAY. I’m realizing that the sassy teenage years don’t necessarily begin at the teenage years for a girl and in fact can most definitely begin at the age of 4.  I can honestly say that I was not prepared for this pleasant known fact about raising a daughter.  I fell in love with photography back in 2008 when I received my Canon Rebel XSi for my birthday – yet I had NO CLUE what I was doing.  I didn’t even know what all those abbreviations were on that dial, and to tell you the truth I was PETRIFIED of them!!!  I finally took the leap and switched over to the M mode and have never looked back.

I didn’t want to start out my first post on photography over here talking about the dynamics of a DSLR camera.  The dynamics of it all is something that I will touch base on in a later post.  This post I want to share with you how I capture the moments and the meaningful pictures that sometimes bring my clients to tears.

“CHEESE!”  that is the one word that any photographer should be cringing to when they hear it.  Now let me just ask you this – do you really like the look on your child’s face when someone tells them to say cheese?  I sure don’t!  I can tell you that with my child it creates the fakest look that doesn’t represent who my child is.  So…. cut the cheese!

Here’s a perfect example of my beautiful child saying “CHEESE” EEEEKKKKK!!!!!  This is so not her!  As I held up my cell phone the EKG girl said “SAY CHEESE!”  Yes, the photographer in me bit the inside of my cheek {I seriously do this when I need to hold my tongue! Please tell me I’m not alone on this!!}.  Please keep in mind this is just a cell phone picture, but it is the PERFECT example


When I first started going out with my camera and my kids they were MISERABLE and already sick of their mom with this new found gadget in front of her face –ALL.THE. TIME.  I’d try to make them smile at me and pose them in certain ways, and it ALWAYS ended in tears, frustration and me wondering ‘HOW IN THE WORLD DO I GET NATURAL, BEAUTIFUL SHOTS OF THESE KIDS?!?!?!’  Then one day I had this revelation come over me and ever since then, taking pictures with my children or anyone’s children is a joyful, peaceful experience.  A photographer should be out there capturing the moments that we don’t want to forget – finding the beauty in our lives that we see daily and want to bottle up and keep forever – that perfect face a child makes with curiosity, or a true laughing moment between a mother and daughter. Finding the real moments that a family spends together is finding the true way to that family’s heart.

Just get out there and interact with them, let them play, run with them and find the things that make them laugh and laugh and laugh…. one of the best pictures is not only capturing a child’s laugh, but capturing the look on their face RIGHT after they have just got done laughing.  If you let them be themselves and allow them to give you the moments to capture, you will be more than pleased with the outcome of your pictures.  Far too often I see on people’s blogs and FB pages kids that aren’t happy about the position they’re being put into, and it’s sad to me.  What parent out there truly wants a picture of their child that doesn’t represent who that child is?

This is the biggest advice that I could ever give anyone in regards to photography. Don’t always go out there always trying to recreate something you’ve already seen. Go out there, and capture the natural things that you see. Let your lens tell the story of your heart – and trust me, even if it’s not your child in front of your lens the story you will tell with your photography will be coming from your heart.

This is the face my baby is always giving me, and with me just sitting there letting her own personality shine I was able to capture it. IMG_5183_Web

I hope I’ve inspired you to start capturing the natural moments that all of us want to remember.  Those are the pictures that will bring chills, tears, hugs and many thanks to you.

I am so excited to share with all of you a fun project I’ve been working on with my photography to turn it into a piece of art to be cherished more than just a basic picture {not that a basic picture isn’t art to be cherished as it is}.  Please head over to my blog {HERE} where  you can learn all about it and even win a very special, custom piece of art work for your home.  Hurry though, because the giveaway ends this weekend!!  




Posted by Crystal

For my birthday Sean got me the camera I’ve been coveting for a while. The new Canon EOS Rebel T3i.  I’m so very excited about it because it captures HD video as well and has a flip LCD screen.

I’ve only just begun my journey in figuring out how this thing works. I’ve played around with the video and absolutely LOVE how it allows me to use more creativity when filming. As you all know I love putting together videos and making them fun, so this is going to bring my video making skills to a whole new level.

Are there any photographers or photographer wannabe’s out there? I’d like to put together photography posts once every other week combining tips from all of you along with pictures you’ve taken.

Today’s question is:

What is your favorite lens, and why?
You can answer this question in the comments section of this post or if you’d like to share your tip in a post on my blog (giving you the opportunity to elaborate and share pictures), then email it to me at [email protected]

I recently bought the 35mm f/2 Wide Angle lens on Amazon for $320. I called Pictureline and they were the exact same price there too. So I think I got a pretty good deal.

Here is an example of the kind of difference this lens makes.

This picture was taken with the standard kit lens 18-55mm on auto.

As you can see the 35mm lens makes a huge difference. It brings in more light and even captures a little more of the room. This picture was also taken on auto but I don’t recommend using the automatic mode. You can get much better pictures once you learn how all the settings work. I’m still learning, but feel like I’m definitely making progress.
Here are a few of my recent favorite pics.

 This was taken at the Butterfly Museum in Florida.

 Now let me explain. I’m not in any way trying to make fun of this man, I just felt like it was an opportunity to capture what life is really like for some people. Truly brakes my heart.

This one was actually an accident. Lily moved her hand right when I snapped it. I just thought it looked cool, you know how some people claim they have pictures of ghosts? Well, now I can say I have one too :)

Aw, this one just makes me proud. My two little cuties. Oliver with his cousin Ronin.

I do have one tip to leave with you as far as photography goes.


I felt so dumb when I asked one of my photographer friends what I should do first to learn how to better use my camera. She bluntly said, “Read your manual”.

Well needless to say I started reading that dang thing.

I never knew reading the directions could be so helpful.

Oh and last but not least. THANK YOU everyone who have left comments on yesterdays post about sharing your talents. I REALLY enjoyed reading all about your wonderful talents. So much fun!!!!

And the winner of the $96 gift card to Hapari Swimwear is Cambria Parker. Congratulations!!!!

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Posted by Crystal

As you all know, this is my month to learn more about photography and how to use my camera. I am absolutely a beginner when it comes to taking good pics. About two years ago we invested in a nicer camera, but I haven’t really taken the time to learn how to be creative with it. I have a Canon Rebel xsi.

Until lately I’ve only used the automatic settings which are great, but don’t allow you to use your own creativity.

This is the Mode dial on the Rebel. Above the fully automatic mode is the creative zone, below it is the basic zone.
Although the creative zone is INCREDIBLY confusing to me, I’m beginning to understand a teensy bit more about how it all works.
We spent this weekend up at our cabin and I was able to practice using the M setting which allowed me to change up all kinds of things.

Manual Mode (M) – This mode provides the most control of all, as you are able to adjust every aspect of the shot. There is absolutely no camera assist in this mode. You are able to adjust aperture, shutter speed, and ISO for yourself. Most experienced photographers will exclusively use manual mode due to the level of customization it offers. (source)

Here are a couple pictures I took that demonstrates the difference between using the Auto Mode and the Manual Mode.

ABOUT THIS PHOTO: I used the Auto Mode. Notice how the lake is gray and all looks a little blaw.
ABOUT THIS PHOTO: I just love the difference the Manual Mode can make. Brings out all the colors and really captures the beauty of it all. Taken with a 55-250mm Canon Zoom lens; shot at 1/100 sec., f/4.0, ISO 400
I’m still learning what ISO, F/stop and shutter speed even means. Right now it’s all kind of going over my head, but I’m confident that as I persist I will begin to understand a little better.
Here are a couple more pics I took over the weekend.

Don’t ya just love this picture. I used the Auto Setting here because I had to be quick in order to catch this precious moment of Oliver praying with his daddy. Priceless!

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