your questions answered: photography and post processing

Friday, October 29

What kind of camera do you use? I have a Canon 5D Mark II
What kind of lenses do you use? I use a Canon EF 85mm 1:1.8 lens and a Canon EF 50mm 1:1.8 lens
How did you learn photography? I first learned photography through a black and white film class my sophomore year of college. With film as my starting point, I found photography to be more difficult for me because I didn't have the immediate gratification of a digital to see if I was capturing the photos correctly. So I purchased a starter Nikon D40 through a friend and kind of self-taught after that. After a couple months of experimentation and trial and error, I got the hang of it. There's still so much I want to learn though! Oh, I love it. 
When do you take your pictures? How do you find the time? We take them as soon as we get home from work around 5 or 6pm. And we don't have a lot of time, so the shoot typically lasts 2-3 minutes.
Who takes your pictures? My honeybuns. That man's got some raw talent.
How do you get that golden/glowy effect on your pictures? The post processing I do on my photos is all done through Photoshop. It's my favorite part. :) A tutorial on how to get a real goldish / Polaroid look is at the bottom of this post. 
I have a regular point/shoot camera. What are some good tips for getting great pictures anyways? 
-Use great lighting! Like I said, we usually take my outfit pics around 5:00 or 6:00pm when the sun is lower in the sky. That gives you softer, golden lighting and will showcase your clothing significantly better than the harsher lighting the comes around the middle of the day.
- Do not take a picture with your subject in the direct center of the frame. For example, try shooting a close-up of someone's face, cropped off to the right of their cheekbone and placed in the right side of the frame. This type of cropping make the picture more visually interesting and appealing.
- Use the rule of thirds. Always try to compose your shots with this in mind. By using {roughly} a small, medium and large object/negative space in your composition, the viewer's eye will always have somewhere to look and travel to throughout the picture.
What camera would you recommend for someone just starting out in photography? The Canon Rebel or the Nikon D40 are great starter cameras. I started out with a Nikon D40 and learned so much about the basics of photography just by trial and error. Both are excellent cameras for just diving into photography with because they're easy to use and pretty basic when it comes to learning aperture, shutter speed, etc.

Moving on...
Here we go...
1. Open your image in Photoshop. Duplicate it once. Select the duplicate image on your layer palette and set the blending mode to Soft Light.
2. Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. Choose a really dark blue. I use #070144. Set this Fill Layer to Exclusion.
3. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels. Slide the black slider to the right a little bit to increase the intensity of the coloring.
4. Add another Color Fill layer. Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. Choose a light orange. I use #de9b82. Set this Color Fill Layer to Soft Light with opacity of 75%.  
5. Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. Choose a light pink. I used #fed1eb. Then, set this Fill Layer to Soft Light with 50% opacity. 
6. Add another Color Fill Layer. Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. Select a dark blue. Again, I use #070144. Set this Color Fill Layer to Exclusion, opacity 100%.
7. Duplicate your original image. And bring this duplicate layer on top of all the layers. Set it to Soft Light.
And that's it! Whew! Sorry if that confuses the heck out of you...hope it helps at least a little!
Good luck! 

how to do it man style

Thursday, October 28

Shoes: Kenneth Cole, Jeans: American Eagle, Belt: Guess, Shirt: American Eagle, Brown velvet blazer: Thrifted, Scarf: bought in Paris
Hi Guys, Husband here. Syd told me that a couple of you had suggested posting about my outfits sometimes too. She's not feelin' so hot today {not to be confused with lookin' hot, cause she's always got that covered. Even in those crazy sweatpants} so I figured now would be as good a time as any. So here it is. My outfit. This probably means social suicide if any of my friends see this. {Tyler, I don't wanna hear it} But she just looked at me ... with these puppy dog eyes this morning. And she's sick. Which essentially boils down to me having no choice in the matter. So let's hear it. Are we loving or hating the "man style" idea. {I'm leaning toward the latter, but ya know. She's my it's whatever}

Oh yea. And Syd did an interview with this cool chick over here the other day. Check it out!

dude, I love this kid

Wednesday, October 27

OK, so I'm gonna drop something that may or may not be a little TMI for just a second. Ready?
Sometimes I get sick in the middle of the night for no good reason at all.
"Sometimes" meaning about every 10 months or so. Nothing too disturbing. But often enough to be quite annoying. And super weird. Last night was one of those nights. I woke up, sat straight up in bed and said, "TYS! I'm gonna..." then stumbled to the bathroom in the dark, over large books and yesterday's clothes on the floor. {bad habit. I know} And just like that, he was there. With the lights on, running {literally running} in after me, holding my hair, rubbing my back and saying totally coherent {guy's a pro} and really nice things to me, even though I just know that's gotta be the worst job ever. Actually, I wouldn't know. Husband never gets sick.
Moral of the story: My hubs is gonna be stellar someday when our future {currently non-existent} little muffin decides to come at some crazy midnight hour. Obviously, he was made for that kinda stuff.
Oh ... that, and I love him like crazy.

I'm gonna go light some candles and take a bath now.

fall, in a box

Tuesday, October 26

Boots: Steve and Barry's, Pants: F21, Stiped Turtleneck: Steve and Barry's, Sweater: H&M, Scarf: Gifted
Just a couple thing because my mind is going everywhere:
  1.  My mom sent us a package yesterday. And it was filled to the brim with fall goodies: Caramels, a leaf-patterned table runner, deliciously scented candles, that fabulous purple scarf you see above, and the most perfect tee I've ever seen in my entire life. It has bling. {try and find a cooler one, I dare you}
  2.  I got a wild hair this afternoon and melted down the caramels, mixed 'em up with hazelnut cream and cinnamon and made my own version of carameled apples. {I usually really hate trying to eat those things, so I cheated and cut them up beforehand.}
  3.  I feel like rainbow brite today. I almost never wear this much color all at once. Orange, army green, purple and blue. ooo-ooh! I feel daring for the dumbest things.
  4.  The other day I read an article in Elle about saline breast implants. And now I'm never getting them. I was always a fan of my ta-tas anyways. 
  5. The high for today and tomorrow is 35 degrees. 35 DEGREES PEOPLE. With possible snow flurries. Just the cherry on top, really.

just the ticket

Monday, October 25

 Boots: F21, Jeans: F21, Boyfriend Button Up: Target, Leather Jacket: H&M, Scarf: Husbands
We got a ticket the other day. Actually husband did, but saying ‘we’ makes it sound nicer right? I was on my way to bring him a sandwich, when he calls me. He tells me, “um, Syd? I got a ticket today.” And I say, “Oh you did, did you. Well, what for mister?” And he tells me. I proceed to give him a hard time about it, mostly just cause I’m the one usually getting tickets around here. {For parking mind you, never speeding. For the record, I have never claimed parking as one of my talents.} SO. As I continue to tease him and am in mid sentence of saying, “That ticket was how much?” I see lights in my rear view mirror. The red and blue kind. Crap. I hang up with Husband right as he is in mid sentence of saying, “You see what in your rear view mirror?” and I immediately pull over and whip out my can of mace spray. I don’t tend to use it very often, but it really comes in handy for moments like these when I need to look like I’ve been crying.
Not really.
Turns out, I was going 29 in a 25. Pa-lease. This is what happens when you live in a town with a zero point nothing crime rate. As it happens, I ended up getting away with only a warning. Maybe this was because the officer was nice. Or maybe it was because it was my very first time getting pulled over and I didn’t actually need any mace to make my eyes tear up just a little bit. Either way, we managed to hit our ticket/warning quota for the entire year within mere minutes of each other. That has to be some kind of freak record or something.

weekend wrapup in 5

Sunday, October 24

1. Husband is awesome at making spooky faces
2. We went to the haunted straw maze with some friends. At the very end, the boys ran ahead and left us girls by ourselves to face the scary guy with the chainsaw. I wanted to punch him in the face. I hate that chainsaw guy.
3. Pom Pom hat = officially, fall weather is upon us
4. Hazelnut hot chocolate is the perfect compliment to a scary movie with a bunch of friends {Scary movie = the not so scary, Ghosts and the Darkness. But dude, those lions are freaks}
5. It was our Blog's very first birthday on Saturday. I asked husband what we should do to celebrate. He said that the blog wanted to be taken out to a nice steak dinner. I agreed. So we took the blog out on the town, and celebrated with a very scrumptious bloomin' onion, sweet potatoes, steak and rolls with cinnamon butter. And the blog quite enjoyed itself. Happy Birthday little Bloggy.

slightly androgynous

Thursday, October 21

Top: Target, Trousers: Target, Bangles: F21/Target, Shoes: Charlotte Russe, Socks: Don't tell Husband, Purse: F21
I've had these boyish trousers for, jeeze how long ... 5+ years? Maybe longer. And have just now gotten up the courage to wear them. I'm saying that today, they are in honor of husband's latest success story: an official job offer from a company out in Washington D.C. ... of which he accepted. I guess this means we're gonna be real live grown-ups soon. And have real live money {say what?!}, and maybe a real live grown-up mortgage and stuff. Oh dear.  Now, where did I put those peter-pan pants?
I kid. I kid. We're very excited about the whole thing, but it was weird sitting back while we were eating dinner yesterday, giggling over the fact that in 6 months we're gonna do it. Like really DO IT. Leave all this college stuff behind and go out there and make our mark! Well, he can make the mark. All I really want to do is stay home, prepare fabulous meals and decorate. Ugh. I'm such a fluff ball.
Anyways. That's our news! And all I've done to celebrate is wear these manly pants. LAME. Let the celebratory brainstorming begin ...

my bed

Wednesday, October 20

Shoes: Thrifted, Pants: 7 for all Mankind, Top: H&M, Trench: F21
As I am writing this, I am in my bed ... just really enjoying the fact that I am in my bed. This is where I do most of my productive work and thinking. And I find that my food digests significantly better if eaten while sprawled out on top of it.  {Husband really disagrees with me on that one.} My bed is probably one of my favorite places in the whole world. It is where I sleep and cuddle and get woken up each morning by lover boy {a significantly better alternative to an alarm clock, wouldn't you say?}. Do you know how he wakes me up every morning? He throws back my covers, gives me one kiss on my belly and five kisses on my face and says "are you still sleeping, little sugar?" And then he turns on the lights and asks if I like the tie that he's wearing. Which I almost always do.
I luuurve my bed. But not as much as him.

P.S. Kissing my belly has nothing to do with being preggers, just FYI ;) 
P.P.S. These lovelies were taken by my friend Margie on campus. Our husband's were being busy bees at a business competition and couldn't possibly break away for an outfit pic.
P.P.P.S.  I got to meet a very sweet and very fashionable blogger today when she recognized me and came up to say hi. It was the first time that's happened!! I just can't even begin to tell you how excited that made me.

I honestly can't think of a title right now. must be nap time.

Tuesday, October 19

Boots: Famous Footwear, Socks: Gap, Pants: F21, Plaid Button Up: American Eagle, Striped Sweater: Old Navy
This is me very early in the morning. Without breakfast, without my hair done and I'm pretty sure without even being awake yet. Maybe even possibly drugged. I knew I should have lightened up on the cooking sherry last night. {I kid} See, normally we take these pics right when I get home from work ... but today was an exception and I'm shooting a lovely little family of three instead. {oooh! get excited} So that bumped these babies up to a time when pictures should not be taken:
a. husband's running off to school
b. our house is still very dark and warm and sleepy
c. it's 35 degrees outside
d. I'm not even wearing a bra yet
Ohh what I'll do to avoid flash photography.
Now let's give husband a round of applause for putting up with these picture antics. All together now ...

P.S. Thanks a bil for all your feedback guys ... I'm feelin' the LOVE! I'm really excited to get started on some of these tutorials. When I get a sec {bahahahaha} we'll start it up!

It was most definitely a monday

Monday, October 18

Shoes: Nordstroms, Jeans: F21, Boyfriend sweater: American Eagle, Button up: Gap, Sunnies: Target
I don't have very much to say today. Other than it was just one of those days that is much better going down with a spoonful of sugar. Which, I did indeed help myself to as soon as I got home. Brown sugar's where it's at.
ALSO, friends. Who wants a tutorial?
It's just that I've been getting several 'How To' questions lately and so I figured that I'd just throw it out there in case anyone wants to pipe up. Hair? Posing? Photography? How to kiss like a Rockstar? {just kidding. those lessons are only for husband} Let's hear it guys

A fabulous lady took our picture


My friend, Alyssa Richardson is fabulous. And I'm sure, soon to be famous. She's already very famous at our house, which is obviously saying something. {not really.} We can't wait to frame these beauties of us on our imaginary farm. There's something kinda beautiful about the dustiness of it all.
Would you like to stalk Alyssa? {I highly recommend it.} You can do so here. There's more pictures of our little sesh there too if you'd like to take a peeksie.

this is my happy face {updated}

Sunday, October 17

Shoes: Charlotte Russe, Tights: Walmart, Skirt: H&M, Ruffled Top: F21, Sweater: F21, Belt: Thrifted
Apparently my whole body numbs over when I have to publicly speak. This is what happened when I spoke in church today. I was very, very nervous. And then very, very relieved when it was all over. My bladder was very relieved too. Because as soon as I sat back down I had to go REALLY bad. Real bad, guys. I crossed my legs real tight until the end and everything was ok, but those nerves man. They really do a number on me. So that's why THIS is my happy face. Carefree and completely blissful again. I almost wish we'd taken the time to find a grassy meadow for these pictures, so I could frolic and play with the butterflies. And I'm actually not that big of a fan of butterflies. That's just how carefree I am right now.

P.S. You guys! Sarah from A tiny bit of Sparkle asked me to be a part of her 'blog du jour' series over on her adorable blog! Check it out!

banana bread boosts your self-confidence

Saturday, October 16


Today I am a rockstar housewife; which I am hardly ever. See, I like to keep Husband's expectations low. That way, when I do something like bake banana bread completely out of the blue , he get's excited to the point of giving me completely unconscious leg massages and spouting things like "woah babe. woah. you're a stellar chef tonight." Which doesn't happen very often either.
I'm not sure where the whole banana bread thing came from today. Maybe it was our 7 overly ripe bananas sitting on the counter. {I guess we don't eat those at our house} or maybe it was the fact that our house smelled like lysol and windex and desperately needed some cinnamon smellage pronto. Either way, it happened. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And it tasted so good, I can't even stand myself right now. BAM.

work out style

Friday, October 15

I've previously posted about what we do for a workout in this post. {Warning: Husband is half naked and looking fine.} But I've gotten several questions lately on how I like to stay fit, so I thought I'd do another one. The fact is, I don't. I really despise working out and I would honestly be happy to sit right on my bum for the rest of my life rather than look at another elliptical machine. But thanks to this nifty little thing called a TRX, I don't have to. This thing is easy peasy lemon squeezy. Ok, I'm lying. It's a tough workout. BUT the set up is easy, it only take 15 minutes and you can do it literally anywhere. Wanna work-out at a playground? Done. Wanna work-out in your bedroom? Done. Wanna work out on a speed boat? You're kind of a weirdo ... but DONE.

If you'd like to purchase a TRX, you can do it through here.

9 things I learned from today

Thursday, October 14

 Shoes: Michael Kors, Pants: F21, Shirt: Old Navy, Wrap: Gap, Belt: Thrifted
1. I am an idiot for thinking I could wear these shoes today.
2. I'm really good at writing funny, short stories to share just with husband.
3. Dropping your phone 5 times in one day is not acceptable. 
4. Husband hates celery. And will NOT eat it no matter how guilty I make him feel for not finishing the divine meal I prepared for him. {divine = not burned}
5. Cross-walks mean nothing to some people.
6. I need to officially hold husband captive this weekend so he will stop. working. I hate it when nobody wants to play with me.
7. I crave macaroni and cheese for every meal.
8. That, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. My pallet is continually becoming less refined by the day.
9. My subconscious thinks Taylor Swift is my best friend. We're going on two dreams and counting.

YOU GUYS! It's Friday in 4 hours!! wahooooo

I wish and I'm thankful

Wednesday, October 13

Boyfriend button up: F21, Scarf: H&M, Jeans: 7 for all mankind, Belt: thrifted, Shoes: Charlotte Russe
I wish that I had the whole day off just to spend cleaning my house
I'm thankful that I don't. That would be boring.

I wish that the weather would stay like this all year round. Crisp and sunny and 65 degrees.
I'm thankful that even though it won't, I can wear these sky-high heels until it snows. Or until it reaches the point that my life is in danger. Whichever comes first.

I wish that my town was a bit bigger. And maybe had a taxi or two. And maybe a trendy cafe and bookshop to entertain me.
But I'm thankful that people in this town can still appreciate "that scarf thing"

I wish dinner would cook itself.
But I'm thankful that I have to learn.
Just kidding. I'm not.

I wish husband didn't want to go to Chicago. I hate that trip.
I'm thankful that he has so many wonderful opportunities

I wish that my boobs would stop shrinking.
But I'm thankful that at least husband knows how awesome they used to be.
{OK! Enough. I'm done with the boob whining. Promise.}

I wish I could fast forward to the end of this year and get my graduation on.
I'm thankful for school. I'm thankful for school. I'm thankful for school. I'm thankful for school. {I think it's working a little bit}

I wish thanksgiving would just get here already.
I'm thankful for cranberry sauce.

Happy hump-day guys. I thought it'd never get here.

that spark

Tuesday, October 12

 boots: famous footwear, dress: H&M, shirt: F21, leather jacket: H&M, scarf: Gap
So I'm really excited today. My house is a disaster. And I have projects piling up. But I got plans. Big plans. {well maybe not so big} But they're for husband, see. I got this list on Sunday from one of my classes at church. And it's a loooooong list of ideas to help keep the romance alive and burnin within a marriage. So! I thought I'd share a few. Some of them may be considered cheesy. But some are actually pretty cute. And everyone could use a couple fun ideas to romance your lover every once in a while:
  1. Give your guy a 10 second kiss every day this week when he comes home from work. See the difference it makes!
  2. Pamper your guy with a nice warm bath. Lots of bubbles too. Have the lights turned off and a candle or two lit. Bring in your iPod home or any other musical device and play some soft music. Take him by the hand and lead him into the bathroom. If you can both fit into the tub ... it's even better ;) If not, take turns ... then give him a soothing massage when you're done.
  3. Send him on a present hunt. Begin with note #1 on his pillow. The note should include something you like about him and instructions to find the next clue, and so on. End up at your mailbox and have a present in it. It doesn't have to be anything expensive. Your thoughtfulness will be enough to show him that you love him.
  4. This week for your Friday night date cook a meal together. You might try a new recipe you've never tried. Set the mood by already having the table nicely spread with tablecloth, napkins, dishes and silverware. Ahead of time buy your guy a new book by one of his favorite authors and present it to him after the meal is over. Then tell him to relax with his book on the couch while you clear away the dishes.
  5. Go for a drive with your honey along some scenic route you like. Bring along your favorite CDs and listen as you drive and catch up on the day or week's happenings
  6. Rent an old movie and watch it together with popcorn and your favorite soda on a mattress you've put on the floor. Cuddle under a warm blanket and have a sleepover in your living room when it's over.
  7. Begin each day with the words "I love you" whispered to your guy while you're still in bed. It will set the tone for your entire day. End each day this week with the words "Thank You" whispered to him before you drift off to sleep.
  8. Another bath idea! Arrange a profusion of candles in the bathroom. Prepare a bubble bath. Play some nice romantic music. Pour two glasses of sparkling cider to toast away the cares of the day. Get into the tub and then call your guy, "Honey, I forgot my towel. Could you please bring it to me?" You'll have no problem keeping his undivided attention after that! :)
  9. Dedicate a song to your guy by calling a radio station that takes dedications. Make sure he's listening when they play it!
  10. Declare your man "king for the day", probably on Saturday when he is home. Begin the day with breakfast in bed (you could even pick up a king crown at Burger King and have him wear it) Pamper him with foods and activities that you know he will enjoy throughout the remainder of the day.
  11. Spend the night at the library together. It's fun to be able to read all your favorite magazines and not have to subscribe to them each month. Check out your favorite books and DVD's. Fun and free!
  12. Pack a late night picnic on a night when there's a full moon. Bring a blanket and some yummy treats and have an evening under the stars.
I'm so excited to do some of these. Now let's get lovin' on those boys!
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