Member, Professional Photographers of America

personal project

Photograph A Day Project

Year after year I make goals, not resolutions, for the upcoming year.  Some I keep, others I do not.  When I was sixteen and bought my first car I set a keep my car clean.  Well, I'm now thirty-eight and my car is NEVER clean!  Not sure that goal will ever happen.  

One of the goals I set for this year was to participate in a 365 Day Project for my photography.  These projects look fun and year after year I set a goal to do one.  I thought about why I was having such a difficult time meeting this goal and I finally realized the answer!  The problem I run into with these projects is that I find them so restrictive.  There is a set theme to photograph each day.  If I am going to photograph for myself in a creative way, I want to determine the theme or subject.  

I am going to begin a 365 Day Project (well it will be less than 365 days now since it's the beginning of March) and photograph something I find beautiful each and every day...just one thing that catches my eye and makes me stop what I'm doing just for a second and admire the beauty that surrounds us every minute of each and every day.  

You might be wondering how I will hold myself accountable with this goal since I seem to fall WAY short of this goal every year.  I am going to make a Facebook group to share these images.  You can join if you'd like and share your own photographs!

When doing something you love for work, it's so important it never becomes work.  If it does, it will burn you out.  So whatever it is that you love doing for you, keep doing it for you even if you make money from it.  

I'm off to find something to photograph!

Somewhere something incredible is waiting to be known.
— Carl Sagan

DIY Wall Gallery: Part Two

In case you missed last week's blog post about my own diy wall gallery, you can read that here.

In this week's blog post, I am going to walk you through the process of making your own wall gallery of your family - step by step.

Step One.  So, you have a wall in your home that is the perfect space for showcasing your family's portraits.  It's a wall that is a focal point in your home.  It's a wall which friends and family love to look at when they visit.  Some people like their photographs to be very organized, while others just like to throw them on the wall.  Whichever your style is, there is a wall gallery design for you.  The great thing about wall galleries is that there is no wrong way to put one together.  It is YOUR wall gallery - your vision.  Where is your wall?  What colors surround this area?  

Step Two.  Now that you have the wall picked out, what type of layout do you want?  What layout appeals to you and showcases your portraits in a way that pleases you?  There are many ideas online that you can use to find ideas or you can come up with your own.  Consider the size of the wall.  Does it have more of a horizontal or vertical layout?  

Step Three.  You're making good process with your wall gallery by now and you have a pretty good idea as to what it will look like when it's all said and done.  But there's one more thing to consider with regards to the layout.  Do you want this space to include other pieces of artwork, such as metal art, other framed art, mirrors, quotes, etc?  If so, how do you want to incorporate those into your gallery?

Step Four.  Now it's time to decide which portraits you'd like to include in your wall gallery and are there any that you want to be the main focal point of the wall, such as a family portrait.  This main portrait should be larger than the others so that it is the main focus.  Consider a piece that is at least 16x20 in size.  Anything smaller, such as an 8x10, means that your other supporting portraits will more than likely be smaller and they will be too small on the wall. You want visitors to be able to SEE your family without having to pull out a magnifying glass or getting right up to the wall.  They should be able to see the portraits from a distance.


Step Five.  You have the layout, design, and portraits chosen.  Now to consider the frames you'd like to use.  Don't be afraid to think out of the box with this step!  There are so many unique ideas for frames.  You can use old wooden windows, make your own with barn wood, embellish the frame with various items, custom paint a frame, etc.  The sky is seriously the limit!

Step Six.  It's time to hang your portraits on the wall!  Many store bought frames use sawtooth hangers.  If you make your own frame(s), I suggest using a wire hanger.  It is much easier to hang and straighten on the wall.  

Step Seven.  Stand back and admire your beautiful family!

For more reading about diy wall galleries, check out this board on Pinterest.

If you make your own wall gallery, I'd LOVE to see a photo of it!

My Latest Personal Project

I consider myself to be a creative person.  My mind is always racing and I'm constantly asking myself, "What if..."  I find the world fascinating in all aspects - it's beauty, how we think, why we do what we do, and what can I do to make the world a better, nicer, place.  I have never been able to work at a repetitive job...EVER!  Some people love those types of jobs, however I need each and every day of my life to be completely unpredictable to a certain degree.  I enjoy problem solving and being flexible.  THAT is why I ALWAYS wanted to work in education!  Whenever people would ask me why I wanted to become a teacher, my response was always, "No two days are ever the same."  Obviously there are many other reasons as to why one wants to become a teacher, but to me that was one of the perks.  I loved walking into the classroom and having to be on my toes all day long ready to help my students conquer whatever obstacle they were facing that day.  

I worked in a very demanding school district in Texas and it seemed the administration cared less and less, each and every school year.  Eventually this affected me in a negative way.  I began to count the hours of the day and countdown the days until summer break.  There was an enormous weight on my shoulders and I did not feel appreciated or valued as a human being.  The administration always wanted more out of my bucket, but they weren't adding anything into my bucket.  Eventually, my bucket ran dry and I resigned after five years of teaching.  You can read more about my struggle here.  

As a creative individual, it didn't take me long to realize that staying at home with my newborn was going to be an adjustment.  I went from twenty five-year-olds needing my attention throughout the day to having one newborn that demanded my attention during the day.  I soon realized that I needed to find something to do just "for me."  I told my husband that I wanted to buy a camera and practice photography.  At the time I wasn't thinking of starting my own business, but I certainly did want a hobby.  I soon realized that I could make people happy by providing them with a fun, comfortable experience while having their photographs taken.  

The first year I opened my business, things were slow...until the fall season hit.  I was suddenly swamped with requests and I didn't want to turn anyone away so I just made it work.  After surviving the fall season I knew I had to do something different if I was going to continue this business venture.  I would need to find something I was passionate about and vow to do a personal project each year to keep reminding myself that I originally began practicing photography as a hobby - something that brought me peace and made me feel alive.  So each year I try to work on a personal project.  I'll be honest, it almost always revolves around breastfeeding.  

There is so much stigma in our society with regards to breastfeeding.  Some people think it's just plain disgusting.  Others think it's a beautiful, natural way to feed a baby, but it should be done in a private location - or at the very least with a blanket covering the feeding baby.  And there are others that have no issue with it at all.  Obviously, I fall into the latter category and will work my tail off to help normalize breastfeeding so that it is not an issue at all - it is just viewed as a mother feeding her baby.  The more breastfeeding is seen in public, the more normalized it will become.  THAT is the goal of my latest personal project.

I'd like to give a special THANK YOU to the lovely breastfeeding mama (and model), Amber Brown and her son!  So stunning!