A couple recipes from "Chef Bridgette"

Most of my customers now know, know of, or have heard from my assistant Bridget over the past year. She’s really an amazing addition to our little operation here! Not only is she my personal assistant, she’s my graphic designer, customer service rep, lighting assistant, and sometimes even second shooter! She’s got SKILLS, people! Well, this past month or so I’ve seen some really incredible photo edits coming across my desk and I thought I’d ask Bridget on behalf of you all, to share some of her secret recipes. We’ll try to do this regularly as new and different ideas surface.

Here’s Lindsey straight off the camera:


And here’s Lindsey after:

Oh Snap (Totally Rad Actions) 100%

Vintage Plum 50% (UIP Actions)

(and my very own sharpening action that is a toned down knock-off version of what Dave Hill does. The lessened version fits my style better.)


Tess looked pretty gorgeous to begin with:


But then Bridget threw in a little:

Rusty Cage (Totally Rad Actions) with light and dark layers at 75%

Warm Vintage (UIP) at 25%

Dirty Diana (Totally Rad) at about 40% and sponged off the subject.


Here’s a more subtle, but 2-step recipe. The first shot is straight off my camera. When shooting into the sunlight, dark tones are always washed out sacrifically to expose for their faces.


But no problem! In Lightroom, Bridget adjusted the dark tones and gave it a little vibrant punch. She also used the recovery tool to pull the highlights back a little.


And lastly, for complete perfection, she pulled it into Photoshop for a quick Ying/Yang (Totally Rad Actions) to lighten the faces, Moulin Rouge at 20% (layer Boost 1 only), and the Dave Hill sharpen.


There’s more where this came from! Bridget is cooking up a new concoction at her desk as we speak! Gorgeous wedding pictures are about to be unveiled! Stay tuned!

Music and Monster {Linzy}

Linzy is a MONSTER! And she’s proud of it! This girl drinks so much Monster she’s probably turning green behind the ears! So it was only natural that we had to include a little Monster madness in our photo shoot. We also incorporated some other things Linzy loves…skateboarding, playground equipment, and a favorite spot in the woods. ALL the pictures turned out fantastic, but here’s some of my fav’s…LOVE LOVE these:








I saved the best for last…this one was born of pure on-the-spot inspiration! We were driving down this road and I saw the sky and the horizon and the empty road and I screamed STOP!!! Ok, I didn’t scream, but I did rudely interrupt. And here’s what we came up with…definitely my favorite shot of the day, and Linzy’s too!


Thanks Linzy! You’re awesome and I loved working with you! Keep on rockin’! See ya for more pix next year!

A blast from the past {State Theater}

When my friend Lester offered to let me shoot in his theater, I was excited, but I should have been WAY more excited than I was!! I had no idea what was there…I had no CLUE about the amazing interior of that old building! I walked in and spent a good 20 minutes with my jaw on the floor looking around at all the detail, the 5-story ceiling, the amazing textures, the architecture! WOW! You know how the scene from the Titanic took the old staircase from the ruins and then showed it in all it’s former glory…well, yah, that was what my mind was doing! It was incredible to think of all the stories and the events that the old dilapidated hall had seen!

Then, when I finally was able to snap back to the present, I went to work telling a few stories of my own. With pictures.

My assistant Bridget is not only very helpful, but stunningly beautiful as well and she so very kindly allowed me to turn her into a model for a day. We had SO much fun!









This is probably my favorite image of the entire session. I think her choice of attire ended up being just perfect for this old building where my overactive imagination pictured girls in ballroom gowns and men in bow ties. In this picture I can almost imagine that the building isn’t old at all…it’s brand new.


2008 Picture of the Year! {CONTEST!}

It’s really HARD to narrow down my own artwork!!!! REALLY REALLY HARD! I am VERY emotionally invested in every single one of my customers and subjects!! And 2008 was a VERY amazing year!! One that will be hard to top as far as amazing photo-ops go! I was in Oradea Romania, San Francisco, CA, Napa Valley, CA, Myrtle Beach, SC, Cape Coral, FL, Madison, WI, and Mackinac Island, MI…all in one summer (and I probably missed a place or two in that list)! I knew before the summer even started that it would be a roller coaster ride and it certainly was that! It kind of left me with that same crazy feeling too…a little dizzy, glad I did it, but wow my head hurts and I’m not sure I’ll walk straight for awhile!!! I owe one enormous hug to all my wedding clients from this year who have been so patient with me! My traveling, a couple of unexpected broken bones, and tyring to juggle family, church, homeschooling, and sanity (or lack thereof) have pushed back my turnaround times more than expected. But EVERY single one of them has just been amazing and this endears them to me even more than before. I’m proud to call them all FRIENDS. My customers really mean the world to me and I am so excited to be involved in their lives and to have them in mine. They have each changed me every so slightly for the better, made me look at the world differently, they have challenged me to improve and grow and stretch myself! They inspire me with their trust and their amazing lives! I’m a lucky girl. I thank God every. single. day.

The fact that this post comes two weeks into 2009 is proof that I was floundering on this project by myself! I took my friend Leah up on her offer to help me out! Being a highly successful children’s photographer herself, she was MORE than qualified to narrow down my favorite 180 pictures (I had multiple favorites from every single session!!). It took her a couple days, but I was SO impressed…she managed to get it down to 53! I decided not to alter her list at all…I respect her opinion and I’m relieved that I didn’t have to pick because I don’t think this post ever woulda happened! (when you’re done voting here, go check out Leah’s site here!)

Now let’s see if we can narrow it down to #1! In order to vote, use your google account and leave a comment listing your TWO favorites…you’ll probably vote for your own or the picture of someone you know, and then I want you to vote without bias on a 2nd. (I will not count single votes or annonymous votes. You MUST choose two different subjects…if you vote twice for the same person, even if they’re in two different pictures, both votes will have to be discarded) ! The person pictured in the image (if possible or applicable) with the most votes will receive a free 16×20 on matboard of that image! I’ll leave the voting open for one week (last day will be Tuesday, January 20th).


























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Lena’s Senior Pictures

Lena is a country girl! There is simply no doubt about it! So how could we possibly do pictures anywhere else? We had such a blast running all over the farm finding cool places and great lighting for Lena’s portraits!



Lena074.jpg One of my goals was to prove to Lena’s mom that we didn’t need to do a studio session to get some nice wall portraits for their wall! We found a fantastic spot in the basement of the barn and voila…it didn’t SMELL like a studio, but doggone it if it doesn’t look like one here!


Lena094.jpg This is my favorite picture of Lena! Her eyes are so striking!


Lena131.jpg Lena, congratulations on your graduation! May God bless you as you move forward with your life plans!

Risa and Kali

Kali and Risa came to me for “sisters” pictures. I thought this was so fun and unique…something not just anyone would think to do. They told me in advance that they were polar opposites. But when I met them I could tell immediately that they totally compliment each other, making an awesome duo. It was so fun to watch them together. Here’s a few of my favorites:








Katie’s Senior Pictures Part II

Getting all these senior’s pictures signed, sealed and delivered by their open houses has been a huge undertaking! Katie is the last one, but definitely not the least…we really knocked it out of the park. We decided that it would be fun to begin by wandering around looking for great picture locations. We were like explorers, boldly seeking to transform common locations into extraordinary photo-ops. Ok, so we know where Corban gets his dramatic flair from. But we did find some cool stuff…check it out…

Now THIS is me playin’ around with some crazy lighting technique. Very edgy and daring, don’t you think? I kind of like it!

Sarah’s Senior Pictures Part II

Due to weather, we did Sarah’s senior pictures in two sessions. Our outdoor session at ND last week included a brisk walk through the campus scouting for colorful picture spots and then SNEAKING in to the hockey rink (her PARENTS snuck in with us too, they’re so cool!). She’s a huge ND hockey enthusiast (ah-hem…stalker…? LOL) so we HAD to have pictures in there! I love trespassing…it makes my job exciting! My creed as a photographer: Ask forgiveness, not permission. 🙂

Sarah’s Senior Pictures

I’m catching up on some back-blogging here! I’ve been a busy girl and I’m trying to get a whole lot done before I leave for Myrtle Beach!
Sarah’s senior pictures were fun because Sarah LOOKS like a shy, quiet girl, but she’s got some spunky personality underneath and it was SO fun to see that side of her just shine through! Not to mention, she has the COOLEST blue eyes! Congrats on your graduation, Sarah! Best wishes for college and the future!

Nicole Merie

You’re going to think I’m a NUT posting new stuff as frequently as I am, but this just shows ya’ll how busy I’ve been! It’s been a really huge juggling act to keep everything balanced and running smoothly around here. I’ve had lots of help, especially from my amazing hubby (including his willingness to let me hire some extra help). It hasn’t been easy (…but I can’t lie…taking all these pictures sure has been FUN!!!)

So this is my friend Nicole who actually graduated from high school about a year ago but didn’t have any “real” senior pictures taken. We had a great time yesterday taking some cool pictures that we were both thrilled with! Since Nicole is also a budding artist and aspiring photographer, she was very patient while I played around with some interesting lighting setups.