Monday, March 29, 2010


In the sick room,

ten cents' worth of human understanding

equals ten dollars' worth of medical science

. ~Martin H. Fischer

we’ve lied to you. spoken through our teeth, nodded yes when we should have been honest, gestured “no’s” when you needed to hear the truth. we’ve lied to you.

we told you that we would fix it. cure it. heal it. mend it. stitch it. image it. detect it. prevent it.

and we’ve lied to you.

me? i’m sorry for the lies. the mistruths. the skewed beliefs that we’ve planted…and the rumor weeds that have grown from those seeds. i’m sorry for the smiles that should have been empathy and the attitudes that should have mirrored grace. i’m sorry for the “yes”’s that should have been “wait longer”’s & the “no’s” that should have been explained.

but none of us are perfect.

it keeps me up at night. i recount the day, wondering when the seeds were planted. wondering who bothered to water them. wondering why no one cared to notice weeds are clouding our perspectives. because those seeds we’ve planted have grown indeed. they’ve become redwoods of expectations. they’ve been tossed about in seas of worry. they’ve been thrown into the valley of mis-education, pulled through the pipes of uneducated requests, & regulated by the second-hands without adequate knowledge.

and here we are.

me: sorry.

you: lied to.

but here is the truth: medicine is not always the answer. pills are not always the fix. runny noses are not always pneumonia. fevers are not always raging bacterial infections. cuts don’t always needs stitches. menopause can’t always be cured with pharmaceuticals. muscle spasms won’t always be fixed with written prescriptions. snotty nosed-newborns don’t always have meningitis. muscles aches don’t always mean your medicine is toxic. that diet pill won’t always help your health. the CT scan won’t always show us everything. your blood tests don’t always have the diagnosis. we don’t always have all the answers.

those weeds are clouding our clarity. and we ask for Claritin to clear us up. the expectations we’ve swallowed haven’t broken because we haven’t taken the time to learn. so we ask for expectorants to help break up the excess. the seas of worry we swim in aren’t always full of sharks—sometimes just little goldfish, challenging our bodies to work as they were created; but we ask for a life ring for happy moods & less-hazy days.

i want to stop nodding yes. i want to stop saying no. i want to stop gardening weeds. and i want to stop being sorry.

i want to start investing in something bigger, greater, grander, better. i want to start with me. and then you.

we’ll start with your ten cents. and make an investment. together.

13 Ways to Better Photos...Day 12 {shoot. edit. ACTION}

No, no. Not those kind of actions (although I’ve been dreaming of them for quite some time now!). I’m talking about doing something with all those photos. Since I waved goodbye (for the most part) to scrapbooking, I’ve had to entirely re-think WHY I’m taking pictures. And the truth is that my motivation behind the lens hasn’t changed much.

I take pictures to tell my story. I take pictures to capture moments, memories, & mishaps. And I take pictures to show that I was there, that I did that, that I experienced it. Because sometimes I’m the one that needs the most reminding.

The options are truly endless. I’m a paper-and-pen girl, a black-and-white girl, a girl who likes to tangibly hold things & hug things. So the idea of putting all my photos on a DVD just doesn’t appeal to me. Not right now…& probably never will (unless for some specific purpose). And perhaps that is the reason I’ve stuck with photos & haven’t yet ventured into the world of video—I want something to hold, to look at, to pick up & ponder. A DVD just doesn’t do the trick.

At the end of last summer, I made an executive decision: I would start making photo books. Digital photo books. We’d tried a few different websites before…& when those gems came happily packaged from Blurb, I knew that they weren’t joking around. THE BOOKS WERE AMAZING.

I ordered three photo books: yearly collections of our favorite photos from 2006, 2007, & 2008. They are full of smiling people, happy faces, birthday, autumn leaves, flowers, & travels. In the same way Project 365 showcases everyday of life for one year, these little “mini books” showcase the highlights of our lives. I purposely ordered them small—tiny enough to sit on a coffee table & be thumbed through by us, our guests, & the dust-mites I can never seem to stay on top of.

I’ve also picked sizes for our travels & yet another size for our “everyday-let’s-tell-our-story-this-way-instead-of-scrapbooks” photobooks. AND I AM SO EXCITED about making more of them! {hint! Christmas present idea! Mom…are you paying attention??}


We’ve got a LOT of catching up to do for BOTH of our 25 years of life captured by photographs, BUT having these books (especially the “Favorite Photos”) in a small, handle-able size makes them much more friendly to look at without flipping through those giant scrapbooks.

What will I do with all the memorabilia? The coasters & ticket stubs & programs & pins & other paraphernalia? Well…I haven’t quite figured that out yet. And it will be a work-in-progress. [suggestions are welcome!] Most likely, I’ll take photos of what I can—I don’t need to keep a ticket stub if I can take a photo of it & include it in my photo book. And all the artwork that our mom’s carefully preserved from our childhoods will also be photographed & made into little books just like these. But I’ll keep a few of my favorite scrapbooks around (along with my army of supplies) to save those things that can’t quite be captured in a photograph.

So…DO SOMETHING [like her!] with those photos you’ve already invested so much in! Whether it is in digital photo books, in framed (edited!) photos, or in photographs taped to your walls, the memories are meant to be seen, remembered. Give yourself the pleasure of re-experiencing your days.

Online Photobook Resources:
Blurb (my favorite offer from Blurb is their matte wrapped covers—no chance for ripped dustjackets here!)

Ali Edwards
"Get Creative with Photos"
"A Family's Treasure"

In your home:

Polaroid display

This post is part of a photography series...
Day 1 {angle}
Day 2 {the golden rule}
Day 3 {composition}
Day 4 {lighting}
Day 5 {perspective}
Day 6 {details}
Day 7 {focus}
Day 8 {camera talk}
Day 9 {documentation}

Friday, March 26, 2010

13 Ways to Better Photos...Day 11 {editing}

Aside from the rule of thirds, composition, & telling your story, my opinion boasts that photo touch-ups are the fourth “key” to better photos. No, not this kind of “touch-up”:
…just a little light enhancement, a little contrast, & a little cropping can make a HUGE difference in the finished product. And I promise…it’ll be a LOT better to look at.

Let’s look at some examples.
day 11 katiefamily.030 RAW
This is Katie & Shaun. Pretty decent picture, right? Composition is there. My angle was decent (they were seated, I was standing directly above them on my tippy-toes). The rule of thirds is in play (can you spot the landmarks?). And the lighting isn’t an eye-sore. But look what happens when I lighten the photo just a little bit, add a bit of contrast, & play with my RGB color curves…
day 11 katiefamily.030
See the difference? Pretty amazing, huh?

Now, before we go any further, I need to make an announcement: I DO NOT OWN PHOTOSHOP. Editing programs with full capacity (like full, professional capacity) are EX.PEN.SIVE. Like please-plant-a-money-tree-in-my-backyard expensive. Which is why Photoshop has not graced our desk (yet). Good news, though. LOTS of free resources are available that will give you almost-as-good results!

For ALL of my photos, I use a basic editing program that came with my camera. It allows me to lighten the photos, play with the contrast, & use RGB color curves to enhance the photos. The “curves” (as they are commonly called) are a great, easy way to edit pictures—although not all “basic” programs have that feature.

Here is a photo of Joelle, taken in less-than-ideal lighting. I edited it using my “free-came-with-my-camera” programs (including editing with “curves”).
day 11 jbpritchard.006 RAW
And here is the same photo AFTER editing:
day 11 jbpritchard.006b
(tip: with less-than-ideal lighting, a trick-of-the-trade is to convert your photos to black & white. You won’t notice the yellow tint or extra glare…AND they take on a much more classic look!).

After taking pictures for only a couple of years with my semi-“fancy” camera, I learned that shooting photos in RAW format COMPLETELY changes what you can do with the pictures! IT IS AMAZING! Now, not all point-and-shoot’s have this feature…but if your camera does, bust out that manual & learn how to do it! You’ll never go back! Let’s take a look, shall we?

This is Karly. She was on a family shoot I did sometime back in the fall (which is still yet-to-be-blogged). I was taking individual photos of all the kids…& forgot to change my manual settings when I snapped this photo.
day 11 nelson.112 RAW
See the yellow tint? See how over-exposed it is? YUCK.

So…because the photo was shot in RAW (instead of plain ol’ jpg), I was able to literally change my manual settings AFTER THE FACT. And this is what we ended up with!....
day 11 nelson.112
Although the final-finish of this photo is a little “green” for my liking, it is a vast improvement from the first, yes?

Among the free photo resources available on the internet, Picnik remains one of my favorites. In fact, I use it to do my “final edits” for my clients (that is, until Photoshop comes to live with us). And it isn’t perfect. It takes a LONG time for such large photos. But for now, it works. I’m all about work-with-what-you-have….and this site does the trick!

This is Alyssa.
day 11 alyssa006 RAW
Decent photo, right? (beautiful girl, yes?)

This is Alyssa after my free came-with-my-camera basic editing.
day 11 alyssa006

This is Alyssa after playing with the same photo above in Picnik…
day 11 alyssa006.o
(“Orton” at about 75%)
day 11 alyssa006.cp
(“Cross Process” at about 75%)
day 11 alyssa006.s
(“Sepia” at 100%)

See what a difference it makes? HUGE!

So take the time to edit your photos. I PROMISE you’ll love them more in the end. And take the EXTRA time to edit those make-my-heart-melt favorites—make them really frame-worthy with that extra 15 minutes spent on the computer. EVERY professional photography takes time post-processing (a fancy term for perfecting your already-shot-photos on the computer). You won’t regret it.

Other resources:
To make photo collages (like this!): Big Huge Labs, (trial version) Microsoft Digital Image Suite

Other great editing resources & examples:
Another great example of one photo i'm totally jealous of...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

i'm back!

well THAT was an unexpected but much-needed break!

and i'm back y'all.
(if anyone even reads this anymore!).


we'll finish out our photography tips in the next week or so.

and i'll post some photos of crafty things i've squeezed into my life.

and if i'm feeling like it, i might start writing again too.

stay tuned.

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