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Monthly Floral Photo

May 12, 2017

So many people I have talked to have mentioned how much they have loved Merritt’s monthly floral photos on Instagram (search #themonthlymerritt) so I thought I’d let you in on a little secret of how I did them, in case anyone else wants to attempt them!

I’ll do this question and answer style of some of the most common questions I get.

What do you use for the background? Prepare to be underwhelmed…. I have a large piece of white foam board purchased for around $1.50 from hobby lobby (with a coupon). It’s really that simple. I can prop it vertical behind her, or lay her on it like I did for these photos.

How do you get your photos so white?

So this is sort of a combination of things. I am by no means a professional, nor do I know everything there is to know about photography, BUT thru trial and error and reading online, I have found what works for me.

  • First, you need light…natural light. I never, I repeat, NEVER shoot photos like this with interior lights on, the color is not good. I open windows and find the brightest areas of indirect light I can. Some of these photos were taken in her room on the floor and some taken in the living room, just inside the patio doors, depending on the time of day.
  • I’m shooting with my DSLR in RAW instead of JPEG which allows me to make further adjustments on the computer
  • I’m using manual mode on the camera – all I can say is there are so many websites with great info about learning what everything is on your DSLR. Challenge yourself and go beyond that green automatic setting!
  • I take SO. MANY. PICTURES. So for one of these photos, I may have taken anywhere from 25-80 photos in one sitting. Just keep clicking away and then you have options to choose from when you get them to the computer! This is one of the many reasons why digital photography is so awesome.
  • Photo editing software. I use photoshop and it’s a program I am very familiar with. There are others, but I am slightly partial to photoshop because I know it so well. When you shoot in RAW you have to edit the photos before they can be saved as JPEGs.

How do you get such good pictures of her?

I literally take so many photos and I take them in rapid succession so I get all kinds of faces. Just keep taking pictures and making goofy faces behind the camera with silly noises.

How did you do the flowers?

So back when she was 1 month old and I had this idea, I ran to the grocery store and bought up all the flowers I liked. I brought them home and realized it takes so many flowers to make these numbers look the way I wanted them to. Instead of just making 1 number a month and having to buy all new flowers every month (talk about $$$$), I took time and I made every single number, photographed it, and then cleaned it up/edited it in photoshop to be saved and used later. *side note: I did 2 versions of the number 1 for month 11 so it wouldn’t be a copy paste and be completely obvious.

Because I was using the same background, I figured I could just put her in using photoshop.

How did you put her photo in and blend it so well?

So, I got better at this as the months progressed, but in a nutshell, I would arrange her with the flowers on the image, then I would add a blank layer and use the gradient tool to blend the shadowed areas and make the colors/temperatures of each photo match. I would then have to go in with the eraser tool and delete the gradient from her and the flowers.

All in all, I don’t think it’s something just anyone can do because not everyone has the right setup or knowledge of photo editing software, but maybe this helped you think outside the box!

Did I miss anything? If you have questions, let me know, I’d be happy to answer them!

reality

May 3, 2017

It’s been a rough-go for this sweet little baby.

It’s super easy to see the photos I post, the light sense of humor and sarcasm added along for fun, and think all is well and smooth sailing. For the record, there’s a solid chance I am NOT having a smooth-sailing day, but I try to find the good, the happy, the funny…. and embrace it. Laugh about it. Go with it.

It’s who I am.

But reality over here is, this sweet babe has had a rough-go. Start with 3ish months of stomach bug issues with a side of unreal reflux problems, add a couple months of ear infections that never went away, every antibiotic known to mankind, doctors appointments with 3 kids, shots, tests, ear tubes, and still no real relief.. and she’s tired. Well, if I’m being honest, I’m tired too because sick babies don’t sleep… and juggling everything, doctors appointments, sick kids, 4 & 3-year old attitudes, grad school, teaching…trying to do all of it well – sometimes single-handedly while Brandon is away drilling and I. am. so. tired. (if anyone would like to send me that Hello Apparel shirt in a medium and it’s compliment in 12-18months, it’s definitely fitting – ha! totally a joke…kinda ;)) I’m literally running on Dr. Pepper and dry shampoo. 

But we are surviving and doing EVERYTHING we can to get her well by her first birthday NEXT WEEK (I can’t even talk about that yet). We are hopeful, we are thankful, we are blessed, and we are tired.

So to all my other mamas out there who are up all night every night, juggling work and kids, worn out staying home with littles, soaking up every. single. stressful/happy/nearly-impossible moment raising littles and trying to do it with grace and peace and love and compassion because GOSH-DARNIT-I-CANNOT-MESS-THIS-UP, you’re not alone.

Solidarity together, my friends.

Take a deep breath, a sip of your caffeine of choice, and let’s do this together.

(insert that three-finger sign from the Hunger Games)

Peace and Love.

when I should be doing homework

February 12, 2017

Maybe you know this… maybe you don’t, but I’m a full-time grad student. It takes a lot of time and I can’t wait to finish up in a year and a half (gulp), but just like college, I will happily fill my free time with all the things except my homework. With little ones and life, can you blame me?

Didn’t think so…

So yesterday Merritt turned 9 months old and if you aren’t following me on instagram, you’re missing out on those posts (and if I’m being honest, all of my regular posting). All that to say, when I have my real camera out, I try to take full advantage of it and get a handful of really good photos.

In order to minimize overloading the instagram feed with photos, I thought I’d take some time and just do a quick little post about life right now.

Merritt is 9 months old, she is active and into everything. Crawling, pulling up, chasing after the dogs, and crying for her mom. She loves her brothers when they give her any bit of attention and will generally smile for everyone. Her reflux is awful and she has essentially spent the last 2 months sick with a stomach bug, but things have seemed to slowly start in the right direction and I’m wondering where the time has gone.

This season of life is so hard, but so beautiful. I want to remember all of this. Staying home 3 days a week is a blessing I don’t take lightly, but it can also make me lose my mind. Grad school on the weekends and at night is trying, but the end result will be so, so worth it. Teaching at ACU has become something I really enjoy, and the time away from my kids is just right – enough for my sanity, but not too much. Life is busy and hard and sweet, but FULL.

Halloween 2016

November 1, 2016

I thought last year was going to be the last year I would be able to get away with coordinating costumes, but lo and behold, we pulled it off again. The kids went as PJ Masks {a disney junior show, for those of you not currently in the throws of toddlerhood}. It worked out because there are two boy characters and one girl. I found the boys’ costumes for a steal online back in September and stacked on a coupon code. I figured I could DIY something to make Merritt be Owlette fairly simply and off we went.

Hudson likes Catboy and Beckham likes Gekko so it worked out perfectly. I didn’t really get any pictures of the three of them together because it is unseasonably hot right now, but I did manage to take some pictures individually to remember this year, the spunk and all.

Because the weather has been so NOT fall-ish, I opted out of making Merritt wear her owlette costume to school on their fall festival day. She also had quite the cold and I took her to the doctor that morning, so to minimize the effort on my part, I put a mexican dress on her and said she was Frida Kahlo. I was tempted to give her a unibrow but just couldn’t. A couple of days later I remembered she has a flower crown so I decided it would be a missed opportunity if I didn’t make it happen for a picture.

I hope you all had a Happy Halloween!