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    Archive for January 2011

    Sweet Art Designs {Giveaway!!}

    Jan 29, 2011

    Today's Giveaway is brought to you by Sweet Art Designs!

    Bianka (owner and creator of Sweet Art Designs and Sweet Melody Photography) makes the cutest marketing kits and album templates!  To prove it, here is what my new business card looks like thanks to Bianka!

    How cute is that?!!  I ♥ it!  :)

    And check out my new cd labels!

    When you order a marketing kit from Sweet Art Designs, it will include:

    • gift card
    • sticker
    • business card
    • 4x5 thank you card
    • DVD cover
    • CD slimcase cover
    • 2 CD labels
    • stationary set (letterhead & envelope)
    • 2 mini moo card templates

    How awesome is that?!

    NOW for the fun part!  Bianka is going to let one of my very lucky readers choose from 3 different sets!  That's RIGHT!  You get your very own marketing kit for free!  Choose from Play With Me, Romantic, or Funky Flowers.

    So, how can you win your very own marketing kit?  Simply head on over to Sweet Art Designs and 'like' their page!  Then come back here and leave a comment saying you did so!  Easy peasy lemon squeezy!  :)

    The giveaway will end on February 5th!  Feel free to suggest Sweet Art Designs to all of your photog friends!

    (p.s. if you have a product you would like me to feature and/or host a giveaway, please contact me at amberlynsky@yahoo.com)

    {Feature Friday!}

    Jan 28, 2011

    Rachael May Photography

    Portland, Oregon

    1. Tell us a little bit about YOU.

    I am a photographer by passion :) I can't imagine doing anything but photography and you can find me exploring the beautiful landscapes of the Pacific Northwest if I am not capturing the sweet, and amazing families that live here. I have two little boys who just light up my life! I love the great outdoors, hiking, camping, and running. Right now I am training for the Half Marathon in the San Juan Islands, WA.


    2. How did you get into photography?

    I have always been into photography...as long as I can remember. When i was about 8 or 9 I took pictures upon pictures of just stuff, of course with my little point and shoot film camera (which I still have)! When I got into High School I took my first SLR photography class and sine then I have been associated with photography in some form or another. In college I chose a major in Chemistry so I got away from my camera more then I woul have liked, but after a move across the United States and falling into life as a military wife, I decided to pick up where I left off and have been neck deep in photography "stuff" ever since.


    3. Are you doing photography as a business or a hobby?

    I am running a business right now...but it will always be something I love!


    4. What is your favorite subject to photograph? Why?

    My favorite people subjects are kids ages 2-6. I love this age because little ones that age are so REAL. Their expressions and opinions are just so true to who they are that I absolutely LOVE to capture them. I work really well with kiddos this age because I think I have a unique respect for their spunky, shy, silly, and loveable ways! I am pretty relaxed with this age group and tend to let them be who they are, which I think helps in capturing their emotions so well!

    If it isn't people then landscapes are my favorite. I am still learning all I can right now to photograph them better...but I find I truly love to do it :) I don't have a favorite landscape scene right now...but I do love mountains so I wouldn't be surprised if I end up shooting a LOT of those ;)


    5. Who is your inspiration? Do you have any favorite photographers?

    I am really inspired by Ansel Adams for my nature work. I absolutely LOVE black and white photography and have even thought of doing it exclusively...maybe in the future. I currently have an Ansel Adams calendar book and I have been using it as inspiration on a weekly basis in my nature photography!

    Hands down my most favorite portrait/lifestyle photographer is Tara Whitney. I love how she captures people's emotions. When taking family portraits I think that is the most important thing an she does it exquisitely...and VERY naturally. I really aspire to shoot in a similar manner because I think trends will come and go..but the smile on your young child's face will never stop making your heart melt..why not capture the REAL smile.


    6. What tips/advice do you have about photograpy and running your own business?

    My biggest tip about photography is READ YOUR MANUAL! And then keep it close while you read any other photography book. Blogs are a good source of information but the photographers that write some of the books out there are amazing, and have been doing this for 20+ years. I think we could all stand to learn something from them (not to mention support them). I highly recommend Michael Freeman, Bruce Barnbaum, and David DuChemin (who has a blog that is definitely worth reading). There are MANY others out there...but those are the authors I have connected with to date.

    My biggest tip to running a business...of course, don't sell yourself short-but be confident in where you are going. Do your homework...if you are borrowing money from another source to further your business...then you are NOT in business and you need to fix that.


    7. Tell us a strange or interesting fact about you.

    I have been to almost every state in the United States! I have about 10 states left :) I have a thing for traveling...so this is pretty huge for me! When my boys are older we'll start tackling countries :)

    Valentine Minis

    Jan 27, 2011

    Guess What?

    It's not too late to book your Valentine Mini session!!  If you book your session by February 7th, you can still get your photos back before the 14th!  :)

    Meet Isak and Lundyn!

    Aren't they just the cutest?!

    (this is what happens when you tell a child to say "cheese"  lol)

    These two were so cute together!

    e-mail me at amberlynsky@yahoo.com to book your Valentine Mini Session today!!

    Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!!

    Jan 22, 2011

    First,  I want to thank all of you who entered!!  I had a lot of hosting and I hope you enjoyed playing!

    Now, the winner of the Lilly of the Valley headband is








    Comment #8: Laura Blue!!

    Congrats Laura!  please contact me at amberlynsky@yahoo.com!

    And for everyone that entered, please e-mail so I can give you your discount code!!  :)

    {Feature Friday!}

    Jan 21, 2011

    Amber Miller
    AM Photography
    Serving Davis (and surround areas), Utah

    1.  Tell Us About YOU.
    My name is Amber and I'm a single mother to an overactive 2 year old.  Her name is Maddison Dale and she's my wild card  :)   I currently work part time at Old Navy to support my shopping addiction (but it's not helping!  lol)

    2.  How did you get into photography?  
    Ok, so I'm not one of those people who dreamed of this their entire lives and knew it's exactly what they wanted to do.  In fact, photography never crossed my mind until I had my daughter.  I studied things like dance, fashion merchandising, etc. in High School.  But after I had my daughter, I just started taking TONS of photos of her.  She was gorgeous, how could I not?  ;)   I realized I wanted to take it to the next level and learn as much as I could!  I didn't have the money to hire someone so I thought, "well, I can do it!"  :)  And it all really took off from there!

    3.   Are you doing photography as a business or a hobby?
    I'm proud to say that I took my photography to the next level in November of 2009!  It's a crazy and scary feeling, but I'm so glad I get to call this my career!  Like I said though, I do have another part time job, but I can't wait for the day when I can live off of my photography  ;)

    4.   What is your favorite subject to photograph?  Why?
    I would definitely have to say NEWBORNS!!  I love everything about them, from their fuzzy little bodies right down to those little piggies.   It really helps when you're getting baby hungry too!  I get to swaddle them, cuddle them, feed them, and then hand them right back to mom and dad for the dirty diapers and the crying!  ;)

    5.   Who is your inspiration?  Do you have any favorite photographers?
    Ok, I'll try to keep this under 10!  lol   I have different favorites for different subjects and then some all around favorites!  First, I LOVE  Bobbi+Mike for their wedding photography.  I also ADORE April Cooper Photography for her work with newborns!  Another favorite of mine is Meshelle Photography!  She reminds me of me (or who I want to be!)  :)  A few of my other favorites are Meghan Rickard Photography, Laura Farris (another great newborn photographer!), Marissa Vargason Photography, Kristen Caldwell Photography, and Ashley Morgan Photography!  Just to name a few  ;)

    6.   What tips/advice do you have about photography and running your own business?
    First, I just want to say, DON'T JUMP IN UNTIL YOU'RE READY!  It can be extremely overwhelming and discouraging at first.  You need to be very dedicated and can't give up!  This is not a 'get rich quick' job.  You have to put as much heart, sweat, and tears as you do time and money.

    Second, if you want to run a professional business, you need to be professional.  One thing I've noticed with photographers and their websites or blogs are misused or misspelled words.  If you don't know what a word means or how to spell it, don't try to use it.  It really devalues your work.  You may take AMAZING photos, but who wants to hire someone that says accept instead of except?  Have somebody proofread anything and everything before you publish it!  And no, spell check does not count!!  lol

    7.   Tell us a strange or interesting fact about you.
    My skin is very 'stretchy'.  I know it sounds weird, but it's true! lol  My family says I look like pinnochio because I can stretch my nose out!   :)


    Jan 18, 2011

    This is Katelynn.


    Katelynn is having a baby!

    And she's having a girl  :)

    You're going to be a great mom Katelynn!!  I can't wait to meet your little girl (and neither can your mom!!) so tell her to hurry up and get here  :)

    Can I just add that Katelynn is one of the most beautiful pregnant women I've seen!  In fact, every pregnant woman I've ever met just glows!  Definitely one my favorite subjects to photograph (besides those newbies of course!)  :)

    If you are having a baby and are thinking about getting maternity pictures done, just do it!!  Contact me for special pricing on combing maternity and newborn photos!  :)

    Silly Gus Designs {and a Giveaway!}

    Jan 16, 2011

    I would like to intoduce all of you to my newest business venture:  Silly Gus Designs!


    I came up with the name from the help of my two year old  :)  Her nickname is Silly Goose but when she says goose, she pronounces it gus.  Hence Silly Gus! (goo-se)

    I hand sew these headbands in my spare time (which is getting scarce these days! lol)  I love making them!  In fact, I may be a little addicted!  ha ha  Unfortunately, Maddie does not have the wardrobe (nor I the money to build a wardrobe) to go with my obsession.  So, I'm making them for others!!

    You can check out my etsy shop here and become of fan of my photography page on FB here (and also learn about super deals on my headbands!)

    And NOW.....for the Giveaway!!!!  :)

    I noticed the other day that I have over 10,000 views on my blog!!  WOW!!  I can't tell you how good that makes me feel!  I love you all!!!!  :)

    So, to celebrate, I've decided to give away one of my newest creations!

    Introducing the Lilly of the Valley headband.  It will fit ages 12 months and up!  This hard headband is wrapped in a light lilac fabric with frayed edges for that shabby chic look and is adorned with 2 fabric flowers.

    Now, how can you win this gorgeous headband?

    Visit my etsy shop and then come back here and leave a comment letting me know which item is your favorite!

    And for everyone that leaves a comment, I will send you a coupon code to get 10% off your first purchase!  Nobody loses  ;)

    Thank you again!!!♥

    Eye Pop Tutorial

    Jan 15, 2011

    I've decided to put together a little tutorial for everyone!  And who better to help me demonstrate than my adorable little blue-eyed nephew?!  :)

    I use this tutorial for almost every close-up, whether they have blue eyes or brown!  :)

    I made this tutorial in Photoshop Cs4 but you may be able to do the steps in Elements if you have the same functions  :)

    First, start with your SOOC (straight out of camera) image.  You may do some minor adjustments (like brightening, cropping, etc.) but I would refrain from using actions until after you do the eye pop.  Your subject's eyes may turn out a little wonky ;)


    Next, go to your sidebar and select the magnetic lasso tool.  You can use another tool, but I find it easiest to select with the magnetic lasso.

    Zoom in on your subject's eyes and select both of them.  MAKE SURE you have selected the "add to selection" button first!!  If you don't, your first selection will be erased.  Be sure to select as much of the iris as possible (and not the white part!)

    Once you have both eyes selected, select ctrl+J to set the eyes to their own layer and turn the background layer off (it'll be easier to edit just the eyes without the distraction of the rest of the image).

    Next, go to your sidebar and select your dodge tool.  Set the range to highlights and the exposure anywhere from 10-30.

    Paint over the entire eye a couple (or a few!) times.  Then you want to go back up and set the range to midtones and set the exposure anywhere from 10-30.

    Paint over the eyes again.  Next, go back to your sidebar and select your burn tool.  Then you will want to set the range to shadows and the exposure to 10 (I wouldn't go any higher).

    Paint over the eyes again.  Don't worry if your subject's eyes are looking a little 'creepy' that's how they're supposed to look!  lol 

    Zoom out so you can see your full image on the screen.  It should look something like this (note: your photo will not look exactly like this!  the center should be lighter and the outer ring should be very dark.)

    Next, go up to Filter and scroll down to 'Other' then select High Pass.


    Set the radius to 10 pixels

    Now, before you turn your background layer back on (trust me, if you thought the eyes looked creepy before....) set your 'eye' layer to "soft light"

    NOW you can turn your background layer on  :)

    Your subject's eyes are going to look VERY overdone, so to fix that, set your layer opacity low (I've chosen 35 for mine, but it will vary to your photos).  REMEMBER: Less is More!  There's nothing worse to ruin your photo than those brightly overdone fake-looking eyes.  So PLEASE, don't over do it!  :)

    And wah-la!  You're done!  You can brighten them up a bit by creating a curves adjustment layer (or various other techniques) and creating a clipping mask to your 'eye' layer.

    Here's a little before and after for you.....notice the subtle eyes?  :)