Monday, July 30, 2018

Three reasons every mom needs a DSLR

Around ten years ago I had a small photography business. I was inexperienced but passionate and trying to learn all I could while in college, working, getting married, and then moving 6 hours from home. It eventually turned into something that was taking up too much of my weekends and family time, so I decided to call it quits. I am so thankful for the knowledge I gained during that time, but I feel so strongly that you don't have to have professional level equipment and a fine art degree to take great shots of your family. That is why I like sharing things I have learned with you all.

One thing I do STRONGLY recommend is investing in a DSLR, or a digital single lens reflex camera. Some people think there is nothing a DSLR can do that their phone camera can't do, but this assumption is just not true. Others think you are going to have to spend thousands of dollars for a DSLR, and you can, but you definitely don't have to. There are plenty of entry level DSLR cameras out there, and there are plenty of reasons to take the leap and get yourself one.

1. Clarity

Have you ever taken a photo on your phone that looked great on the small mobile screen, but when enlarged on a computer or print it just doesn't look that great? A DSLR will give you sharper images with more contrast straight out of camera. The image sensors in a DSLR will allow you to capture sharp, detailed images, even in lower lighting. Also, unless you choose a prime lens, you will be able to zoom without compromising clarity like with the digital zoom on your phone. This can be a game changer.

2. Speed

A DSLR is much faster. You can take one shot after another without having to recharge like a point and shoot or wait for your phone camera to catch up (especially if it is always bogged down and nearly full of casual snaps of your kid like mine is). Another way they are faster is the shutter speed. You should be able to capture motion much better with a DSLR than with your phone camera. Keep in mind this is dependent on the level of DSLR you purchase, but overall I would say you should see a noticeable difference even in automatic mode when shooting in less than ideal lighting situations.

3. Control

You have so much more control over things like lighting and depth of field with a DSLR. You can really use your camera as a creative tool once you decide to dive into manually controlling these features! You can learn to overcome backlit photos (like below). You can learn back button focus and get amazing action shots. You can get close and really focus on your subject with a shallow depth of field. So many options open up, and the fun really begins when you start learning how to manipulate your camera's manual settings.

Don't get me wrong. I use my phone camera ALL THE TIME, but when I want really great shots, I always reach for my "good camera". It doesn't matter if you choose Nikon or Canon. Either will have the capabilities and features necessary to take your photos to the next level and capture some really precious memories of your people.

One thing you must realize before purchasing is that having a "good camera" will not automatically mean you will get good photos. A DSLR is not a magic fix for your photos, and you will not get professional level photos if you stay in automatic mode. However, starting in automatic mode to get comfortable with your camera and then easing into aperture mode and eventually manual mode makes perfect sense. Practice is key. It will take a little research and education before you figure it out, but it is totally doable. You will feel so great when you are no longer missing the shot because of less than perfect shooting conditions.

If you want to learn a few tips you can use with both your phone and your DSLR, be sure to subscribe to have my Top 10 Photo Tips delivered to your inbox! 

What about you? Do you have a DSLR? What is your favorite thing about it?


Sunday, July 15, 2018

He is watching, Mama

One day a few months ago Henry was sitting on the bathroom sink (with me holding on, right behind him) while I brushed his teeth. He saw my earring on the counter and tried sticking it to my ear. While he was playing outside that same day, I started pulling some weeds and putting them in a nearby wagon. He stopped what he was doing and started picking up anything he could find and putting it in the wagon also. That very same day while I was working out, he started jumping around and mimicking me just as I was mimicking the instructor on TV. It was this day when I realized just how closely he is watching everything I do. In all my regular day-to-day actions I am teaching him how to do life.

No pressure there.
Okay, there is much pressure. There is a lot of weight in knowing that I am shaping his vocabulary, his habits and his character. He won't just copy the good examples, but he will mimic every slip up when I stub my toe and every ill word I speak when someone cuts me off in traffic. He will learn from my relationships with other adults and what it means to be a good friend. He is watching my relationship with his father and how we respond to each other in both good times and bad. He sees that we go to church on Sunday come rain or shine, and he sees us pray over our food before a meal. He watches me playing on my phone when I should be doing something more productive. He feels when I respond to his actions with frustration instead of love. He is a sponge, and I need to be more aware of what he is soaking up.

Brave Mama Shirt by

Just like so many things in life, I have a choice. I have a choice to teach him about the importance of taking care of the body God gave you. I have a choice to teach him how important it is to honor your word and be a dependable friend. I have a choice to teach him not to accept things at face value. I have a choice to teach him that it is always best to be kind to others instead of judging and gossiping about them. Never have I been more aware of the areas in my life that need work than when I realize I am teaching this precious, little person how to do basically everything. Even when I don't mean to teach, my actions are lessons. Some things are born in us, and those things we cannot help, but so much of who we are is a result of our environment and our response to it. It is more than just please and thank you and 'get your finger out of your nose'. As a stay at home mom and the person he is with 24/7, I have to be careful to curate an environment that will give him the best opportunity to grow into a strong, healthy, kind, Jesus-loving adult. That is heavy stuff.

This job is not an easy one, but it is so incredibly important to me. I know I am failing daily. I say things I shouldn't, roll my eyes when I should smile, and complain about things that don't matter. But I am trying to give myself some grace because I have learned over time that beating myself up about it is not going to make it better. Instead, I remind myself of the boy who hugs and loves generously. I remind myself of the boy who reaches for our hands before we eat so we can say grace. I remind myself of the boy who smiles at strangers, shares his food (though he probably didn't learn that one from me), and confidently makes new friends. He such a tiny little blessing, and while I am teaching him all day every day, I think I am the one who has learned the most.


Master Bathroom: Painted Floor Project

When we moved into our current home there was a long list of things I wanted to change. The disgusting carpet, the yellow-beige walls, and t...