Thursday, February 28, 2013

18 months

So, I've been taking pictures of Q every month since that surreal day we brought her home from the hospital. Every month, I also wrote to her (old fashioned pen-and-paper-style) in my journal. After 12 months (when those convenient little onesie stickers ended) I stopped taking the monthly pictures. (Don't worry- she got plenty of camera time anyway!)
Well, I'm not sure what happened to time, but suddenly she is 18 months old...halfway to being 2!!! I figured it was a big enough milestone to break out the old "monthly picture" photo shoot again. I've always taken her monthly pictures in her bedroom, so I decided to keep with the theme. I also took a page from the fabulously inspiring DrewB, from Mom*Tog and decided to actually publish my letter to Q this time around. Skip to the pictures if you want. But, this one's for you, Q...

Q, Quinnie the Pooh Bear, Cake, Quinner, Quinosaurus, Quinniest, Bean, Pumpkin Noodle Soup (don't ask), Quinnie Boo Boo, Love Bucket, Angel Baby, My precious Quinlin Rhys--
Wow, I don't even know what happened...but all of a sudden you are 18 months old! That's half way to being 2...which Mommy can't even think about right now without tearing up. I thought you were such a big girl when you turned one a few months ago, and now when I look back at the pictures from your birthday party, you look like such a bitty baby. 

Daddy and I were looking at your pictures the other night, trying to pinpoint the exact time and place where you started looking so "old". We decided it happened somewhere in the past month. Something changed...your hair grew in, your chunk baby cheeks melted away, and you sprouted up like a little bean pole.

Although I miss cradling you in my arms and feeding you baby food, I love watching you grow, too. You are such a little person now with a mind of your own! You run EVERYWHERE, climb on EVERYTHING (I blame MyGym for that one), you love car rides, bathies, and eating. You request 'tatoes for every meal and say mmmm after every bite, which makes me just want to kiss those little mashed potato covered lips. You rock some major bed head, are obsessed with turtles, love reading, and you can't get enough of  "Melmo", "Buddies", "Mo" or "Rella" (aka Elmo, Curious Buddies, Nemo, or Tangled). Mommy's had quite enough of all of them, if I'm being honest.  You love stacking blocks until they topple over and you will sit and play with your Disney figurines for hours. I love finding them lined up on every and any hard surface around the house...except for the little purple octopus, which mommy constantly thinks is a tarantula.

You are such a free spirit and you are finally starting to give me the "cheese" face when I break out the camera. I know, as a photographer, I shouldn't encourage this....but it's the cutest little face I've ever seen and I want to pinch those tiny dimpled cheeks when you give me that smile! You love to dance, squeeze your puppy, and rearrange and delete all the apps on mommy's phone. You are also obsessed with the potty and it's hard to believe that I may need to actually start potty training you soon! 

You are my sunshine, and you always be. You are growing into such a loving, happy, spirited little girl and I love that you now have an opinion and a say in everything! (Did I mention that your new favorite word is "no"?) You seriously are a little ray of sunshine in our lives. I can't believe that there ever existed a time when you weren't in it!

I love you my tiny little angel matter how feisty you may be at times! As so, as I tell you every night before bed, "Mommy loves you Quinlin Rhys, more than anything in this whole wide world. She loves you forever and ever and always, no matter what. And don't you ever forget it."

A little comparison.
(Don't judge my photography skills back then, baby...Mama didn't really know what she was doing!)  Eeeeee....look at how teensy you were!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

VDay Editing Sesh!

Happy Heart Day, friends!
Here's a little before and after with some super simple editing tips, from me to you. 
A little way of saying thank YOU for your continued means more than you will ever know!

Ready to edit in 3 simple steps without using ANY actions? 
Here we go...

Straight out of camera image:

1. The very first thing I did was run a basic curves layer. I knew I wanted to brighten up the mid-tones but I also did not want to loose the colors of the sunset in the background, sooo after running curves (#1), I used a black brush to erase the curves layer just along the horizon line and the sky (#2). 
See the subtle difference?

(with full curves layer applied- see how the colors from the sunset are all washed out?) 

(with horizon painted black to bring back color)

2. My next step was to add a yellow photo filter to warm up the skin tones. I lowered the opacity to about 20%. I then painted this off the rocks and the blue sky, leaving it just on her skin and on the horizon line. (I could have "sunnied" the image up using a few other steps, but I'm going to keep it simple for now!)

3. My last step was some major tinkering with 3 of my favorite, burn, and sponge! I burnt out the corner edges for depth, sponged over the colors I really wanted to "pop", and lastly did a quick (large, soft) dodge brush over her to make her really jump off the screen.

*Note: Be careful with the sponge tool. "Excessive Sponging" can cause some chromatic aberrations (I just learned alll about this!)  in your image (which I don't always mind, necessarily...but everyone has a different opinion!). Pretty sure I caused some in my final image but I don't mind for this particular photo.

 Aside from some knit-picky cloning adjustments, that's all I did! Here's the finished image again along with a side by side b&a (so you don't need to keep scrolling to the top)! 

Hope you enjoyed this super simple 3 step edit!!

~Before & After~

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to let me know on FB or by leaving a comment below! 
(just so I know whether or not I should continue doing them!) 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Rock the Shot- Red!

You know how sometimes a photo just "clicks" with you? Well, that's what this one does for me. True, I've got about a gazillion photos of Miss Q, but there is something about this pictures that just melts my heart...the way her tiny little toes are dangling off the chair, the golden light in the background, the pops of red, her little eye peeping over her teddy...the way she is sqeezing the life out of that poor little bear!  I can almost see the face she's making behind that teddy, can't you? 

I love the sweetness of it, the simpleness. I feel like "Mama" is going to stick her head out the window of that little red house in the distance any minute and yell, "Dinner!" Anyone else getting the Little House on the Prairie vibe? No...just me? Ok (...maybe the tutu is throwing you off?)
 he he he.

This image was submitted to Rock the Shot's February Photo Challenge: RED. Head on over and check out some of the other amazing entries!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Finding the Light

A little confession...I've been just about stalking this workshop for months now. It's never been in the budget, so instead I just stalk the facebook page, watch for participants' posts about their latest "assignment" and what they have learned. I can't lie...I'm dying for a seat in this workshop! Dying!!!  

Well, here's the light at the end of the tunnel...Finding the Light Workshop is having a little contest! Some of the winners will be given discounts and free workshop seats! Do you have any idea how excited I would be?!

Anyways, the contest theme is "white"and all the rules and details are here:

Here's my shoot from a few mornings ago...included are 2 of my entries...but I won't tell you which they are! 

 fingers {...and toes} crossed


So I usually keep my blog a happy place- with rainbows and unicorns and pictures of cute kids.. But I was just recently going through my pictures from our visit to NJ this Christmas and I had to share these images...this story.

My dad is the most amazing man ever. He gave us the happiest childhood a girl could imagine. He was the type of dad that they create in novels about people who live in neighborhoods with white picket fences. He was that awesome. He was the one who helped us build tree forts, let us have candy before dinner, and always had one of us around his neck. He built us lemonade stands and then drove all of the neighborhood kids to 7-eleven to buy Doritos and slurpees with the change we had earned. He was always outside- tinkering on the cars in the garage, pushing us (a little too high) on the tire swing, giving us rides on his lawn mower, or getting in trouble by my mom for suggesting that the giant puddle behind the shed out back would be "perfect for making mud pies." He was always laughing, always telling stories, and always smelled like GoJo and motor oil. Once we were older, I remember being so excited to see him do all of these things with my children.
 I knew he would be the best PopPop ever.

A few years ago my dad got sick. Slowly, the dad I described above, slipped away. 
When I had Q, I knew things would be different. I knew they would be would be hard. 
But, I don't think any of us understood the extent of it. 
Of all of the many things my dad is no longer able to do- I think one of the hardest things for him is not being able to hold his grand daughter.
 Not being able to swing her over his shoulders or give her rides around the house on his lawn mower. It kills him. And it kills all of us to watch. 

This Christmas it was hard. 
Q doesn't know why PopPop won't pick her up when she pulls on his jeans. 
She doesn't get it.

One morning we were lying around the living room in our pjs and I turned around and saw Q trying to get my dad to pick her up. I grabbed my camera and snapped away. Not because it was a happy moment, but because any moment between Q and her PopPop is a memory I want to capture. 

His face in the second picture says it all. 
It kills me to look at this because I know he is so frustrated that he can't just reach down and lift her up. 
I love this picture, and hate it at the same time.  

Well, that little girl of mine...she is one determined monkey!
I turned to go into the kitchen and my mom just pointed back towards my dad...

When I looked back I saw my little girl, climbing her way up PopPop's leg
...with a book in her hand, nonetheless!
She plopped her little butt right on his lap and handed him her book.

We all just stood there like statues in the kitchen...watching the two of them together.
 It was the first time my dad ever "held" Q unassisted. 
For a few short seconds it was as if he was his old self again.

The pictures are imperfect. They were shot with shaking hands, as quickly as possible, before the moment passed. 

However, they capture what might just be my most favorite memory of my girl and her PopPop together.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Little Miss C's Cake CRASH

I had the pleasure of shooting this little cutie's 1 year Cake Smash last week on her actual birthday! She's just the cutest, happiest, smushiest baby ever and she sure knows how to have her cake & eat it too! 

...that is, until her Cake Smash turned into a Cake "Crash" when her giant doggy Farley jumped in for a, photo opp! 

Poor little thing just wasn't ready to share that big ol' birthday cake!

Psst...don't worry..."doggy crash" was actually mommy's idea and sweet Miss C had a brand new cake waiting for her in the other room!! 

Thanks for sharing your special day with me, B Family!!

© JJM Photography