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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!

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.

family/newborn pictures

April 25, 2014

I’m realizing now that I totally didn’t share our family/newborn photos with you, so here they are as Erin posted them. We LOVE Erin and she’s not allowed to ever move away :)!

Isn’t she incredible?? Yeah, I know. Thank you, Erin!!

Christmas Card photo trickery

December 20, 2013

That picture of me yesterday.. the one with the scarf, it’s actually one half of our Christmas card photo for this year. Ever since we’ve been married, we’ve sent out Christmas cards that didn’t include our faces and it’s become a little joke with our friends and family. Of course, Hudson is featured, but Brandon and I are not – because let’s be real, it’s more about him than us.

Taking said picture?

That’s a little difficult.

Last year we ended up with this…

{ignore the weird cropping, this was my full-bleed file for the printing}

I took the photo with the self timer and it took a couple of attempts to make it work. This year I had a photo in mind and I didn’t know how to achieve it with the self timer and I was just trying to get it taken quick because we were very much behind on getting the photo taken, cards made and ordered. This year, Bridger got the boot, not intentionally, but because she just didn’t want to participate and in my easily-annoyed, just trying to get it done as painlessly as possible pregnant state, I left her out – sorry!

So what did I turn to?

Photoshop.

Yep, I photoshopped myself into our family Christmas card.

I wasn’t entirely sure it would work, but it was the best idea I could come up with so after church, we headed to the backyard and took the photos in a matter of a few minutes with the camera propped up on a stack of patio chairs. I took the photo of Brandon and Hudson, then I went and stood next to where they had been and had him go push the shutter, a few minutes of tweaking in photoshop, and viola! We had ourselves a family photo, worthy of living up to our Christmas Card standards.

Would you have ever guessed it?

Since I’m behind on getting the cards out, I’ll wait a few more days to share this year’s card with all of you, but I thought I’d share my little family photo trick! 😉