Up close

There is something that gets me, details. I love the little details in life and in people, the small things that make them, them.

For my photog pals, all shots are SOOC shot with a macro 10+ filter.

Like a dream

I've been wanting a white down comforter for a while, not because it feels like a dream but because of the opportunity to be a photographer with it :) A white comforter is ideal for in-home, lifestyle sessions because it is so clean and just pretty darn perfect. So, I went and got one! Then I grabbed my model and told her to have fun.


Thumb to the Sun

It's a little weird, and you can call this trick so many things! High five the sun, talk to the hand, and so many more that creative minds can come up with, but I prefer 'thumb the sun'.  This trick can help so much for when the sun just isn't quite where you need it. Not high enough for your lens hood to do it's job in blocking the haze, and not low enough to be magically golden. It's so simple, it makes you smack your forehead and think back to how many times you have trashed an image or spent a ridiculous amount of time in Photoshop only to trash it anyway due to the haze just messing it up. Don't get me wrong, haze can be great...but sometimes it's just not what you want to achieve.  The basic premise is to block the sun, pretend you are a tree branch :)
Start with your camera pointed in the direction of the sun, it will likely be hazy. Now reach your hand in front (and higher than) your camera and slowly move it down until the haze is gone. Abra Kadabra. Now you have the same settings, two different ways to shoot, two different looks.  It's fun to see how just a minor thing can make such a major difference.  I have a Challenge for all of you: Go out and do this and post is on my Facebook fanpage wall, I wanna see how you like this little trick.


Daylight Bulbs

Just in case you don't believe what I'm about to write on the difference between daylight bulbs and available light, here is an image comparison with the available light vs with the floor lamp and daylight bulb. Both are SOOC.

Seriously, these things are AMAZING!  You see, I have a floor lamp in our 'gym' that has the top area and side mount for a light, and this little guy is great for traveling around the house when I need supplemental lighting.  I really began to use this last week, my daughter got a new bed (gorgeous), but it also completely blocks the window now.....so there is virtually no light other than the over head light. Enter my floor lamp pal complete with daylight bulbs.

Also, if you aren't familiar with the temperature of light (yes, there are temperatures), these can be a huge help in supplementing natural window light as the daylight bulbs are daylight temperature ;) YAY! Replace your current light bulbs and avoid the icky yellow hair/head problem, seriously go now. You can buy them where you buy your current bulbs, just look for 'daylight'.


Long winded and a little inappropriate

I would be lying if I said that my Spring Workshop wasn't the most fun I've ever had teaching a workshop. When you get 8 mentees, 2 models and myself in the same room for 8 hours - coincidentally with the same type of humor you end up with lots of laughter and hilarious commentary. Just a few of our captions from the day will consist of 'chicken wing', 'thumb the seam', 'chin out', and 'take that off!' Not only was there fun little sayings throughout the day there was lots of information, oh yes, lots! I had bullet points galore and so many topics to tackle, one especially was how to pose adult sisters without them looking like a couple. We went over natural light, artificial light, marketing and editing as the main topics along with lots of tips on posing and other snippets of knowledge.  Let's just say my brain was thoroughly picked today, and I like it.  Not only was the day pretty much amazing as-is, but one of our models (the fabulous baker of Sweet Retreats) came bearing some insanely delicious cupcakes mind the drool.  If you weren't able to attend, here is a little peek into our day :) Maybe I'll see you at the next one!


Marketing: Word of mouth

Your clients hired you - thank them.  When you have your own business that is when you want people to talk about ALL.THE.TIME.  So give them a good reason to.

Let’s start by making the clients you already have feel special.  When you deliver your client’s prints/products they should be beautifully presented.  They will already be anxious to see their digital items in tangible form, so amp up that anticipation by making them unwrap their amazing new prints/products.
In addition to your standard packaging add some fun surprise for them that they may be able to use later (to keep as a reminder).  Keep it a part of your product delivery, but do not tell them that it is standard.  When your client doesn’t know that something is part of the package, any extras make it seem like you went out of your way to make them feel special - thus increasing the positive aspect of their experience with you.

A few ideas that are easy and will keep your cost of goods down:
  •     Custom key chain with image from session
  •     Custom charm to wear
  •     Mug with place for image to be placed
  •     Other items that they will keep with them most of the time
This may seem silly at first but by giving your clients tangible gifts they will equate that item with a positive experience and they will be able to brag any time they have it with them.  How many times have you been in the store sporting your adorable necklace and have someone ask you where you got it from?  How about when you go out with your girls and have a new trendy key-fob and they want to know where you ordered it from?  Same concept, give them a gift that is beneficial to both client and business.  One thing I cannot express enough - DO NOT BRAND IT.  You want it to be a gift, and you do not want them to feel like you are using them for marketing.  It is a little bit easier to brag about a product when they are able to show special treatment and great products first hand.

In addition to a special gift you should always include a 'thank you' note for each client, be sure to include something from the session that brings back a smile and let’s your client know that you care (ex. Jack's silly face was hilarious!).  It is a good idea to bring back some of the most fun parts of the session, as this is what you want to equate to your product when they are opening up their product/prints.

With each client order I like to do two things that may seem a little boring at first, but they play a key part in how my clients feel about my product when it is delivered.
  •     Chocolates
  •     Next step business card
While my clients are looking through their images - they are snacking on their creamy chocolates (which enhance endorphins, the happy feeling hormone) to help enhance their overall mood.  I like to give an even dozen in a clear bag tied up with what I call a 'next step' business card.

Ex. Let's say I just had a maternity session and planned on presenting my client with her products, the next step will be a newborn session - so I choose the business card accordingly.  I do this for a few reasons, one being that if she hasn't scheduled the next session yet this will likely push her over the edge (along with the chocolates) to schedule that within just a few days.  If she has already scheduled it, she will begin to look forward and actively help with the planning by getting her excited for the next step session.

If there isn't a 'next step' and you happen to have a business card with an image of that family, attach it instead!

The last thing that will keep you at the forefront of your client’s mind when it comes to scheduling their next session, aside from presenting them with breathtaking images is to make sure to get information such as birthdays (if you photograph children) and/or anniversaries (if you photograph engagements/weddings) and send a card at that time.  Just a little something extra, that makes all the difference.

Cards are from Moo.com, use the link here and get 10% off your first order :)


Newbie Teepee Tutorial by Amy Jo

This tutorial is a short tutorial on how to make a newborn tent. Now if you would like to make a larger scale tent all you have to do is upgrade your twine or use rope :)

  1. Gather your supplies, you are going to need:
Twine, Spray paint (optional), Flowers (or any adornment), dowel rods, and fabric, glue gun and glue sticks (not pictured.)

Note: My fabric are two white lace valances from my local thrift store and only cost me .75 cents!
2. (Optional) Spray paint your dowel rods, allow to dry for about 20 min (depending on paint type.) Cut your twine I cut mine at about 50 inches just because I wanted enough length to wrap around many times. Criss cross your painted dowel rods just as you would form a teepee. Now wrap your twine, there really is not method to this just wrap, and wrap, and wrap some more until it feels snug and secure. We definitely want it secure because you do not want it to fall on those precious newbies! This is an up close picture. 

This is a pull back picture of the twine wrap completion.
3. Now I got my trusty lace valance curtains and since they are lace I just pushed my dowel rods through the existing lace holes, very easy. However if you are not using lace feel free to bunch your fabric together atop your dowel rods (my recommendation is to leave the tops of your dowel rods exposed above the twine wrap.) and use some more twine, or ribbon to secure your fabric. Now get your trusty glue gun and glue your adornments on, as seen here I used large flowers. Also a sidenote, I did sew my two valances together in the back along the longest vertical length (where they would normally hang on the dowel pocket.) 

4. I just draped my valance over the front portion of my dowel rods by about a 1/2 an inch and voila, completed newbie teepee :)
5. And now here is my completed teepee just waiting for some newbie girls I have coming next week. 

Please do not use this tutorial for resell and pose it as your own tutorial for personal or financial gain. You may however use your finished product from this tutorial in any way. Please tag, or share my FB or Morgan's FB and blog as the original citing source. You may also pin this to your hearts content, just please again cite properly. I hope you enjoy this tut.

Show how much you love Morgan's blog and become a follower! Follow Morgan on the  Gold Hope Project and show your support for finding a cure for childhood cancer, be a photographer with a purpose.

Guest blogger Amy Jo Wagner, is a stay at home mom, military wife, crafter, student and photographer. As a guest blogger she hopes to teach you all how to craft on a budget for personal use or photography use . Her current eye candy comes from Morgan Kervin, Rita of The CoffeeShop Blog and Pink Paisley Photography.
"My real job is being a stellar mother and wife, my hobbies are crafting and photographing life's special moments"
Websites: http://www.mrswags80.etsy.com/
Blog: http://monkeyandabeesittinginatree.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/MGMPhotography3/142781549125516

Jambalaya, Hello Delicious!

I love food, seriously, but I'm a little picky. I'm not the kind that just eats everything, it has to taste really good.  If you didn't know, I am from the South, and in the South we love spicy food and we love seafood.  A little over a month ago my family switched over to Paleo, which is basically avoid dairy, grains, processed and unhealthy food. The switch meant a lot of recipe searching, experimenting and trial and error. I tried making Paleo pancakes....no, they were not good at all. AT ALL.  I've tried other recipes and tweaked them to my liking and I will post them here from time to time. Who doesn't like healthy food that actually tastes good!?  So, here it is, my delicious Paleo Jambalaya!

You'll Need:
5 cups chicken broth (I prefer Swanson brand, it really does matter)
1/2 white onion
3-4 stalks of celery
1 can diced tomatoes (I used the garlic and oregano blend)
4 cloves garlic (I'm not obsessed with garlic or anything)
2 bay leaves
1 lb shrimp (whichever size, and to save time buy the de-veined, no tails kind)
4 oz chicken
1 pkg Andouille Sausage (again, it matters to buy specific)
3 tbs seasoning (I used Tony Chachere's)
Rice or 1 head of cauliflower

How To:
First I cut up the chicken into pieces about the size of my thumb as well as the onion and put them together in a skillet to cook over medium-high heat. Cook the onions and chicken until they are nearly carmalized. While those are cooking get a giant pot (serious) and put it over medium-high heat. Cut up the celery and put into the pot along with the canned tomatoes. Don't forget to stir the chicken and onions. Next add the chicken stock and bay leaves to the pot. Now the chicken and onions should be almost ready, when they are, add the shrimp to the skillet to let it cook alongside the others and add one clove of garlic (smash it with the flat side of your knife) and cover it. Add 3 cloves of smashed garlic to the giant pot along with the seasoning. Finally, cut up the sausage and add it to the pot. Once the shrimp is cooked add it all to the pot and let it simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes. While the pot is simmering cook your rice or rice cauliflower for the final touch.  Once all is complete, enjoy!

Guiding your Canvas

Let's say you want to get a canvas made, and you can't find a template (most pro labs already have them ready for you), but just in case....here is a tutorial to help you make one yourself.  This can be implemented in several other ways, as always in Photoshop. This is the way I do it :)


All for one

So, you want just one good (usable) picture of your kid. If you're a parent, you know how tough this can be, nay impossible at times! Photographers are tasked with doing just that, but with all of your family and everyone individually. Let me give you a peek into how it goes just about every time.
This is about 5 minutes worth of shooting a very animated little 4 year old (my little diva). All I asked was for a few moments of her incredibly busy day of board meetings and tea parties for one picture to replace the one I had hanging up of her.
Once the scene is set, instructions given it is time to start shooting and hoping she gives me just one normal smile...here's to hoping!


Want to win?

 Do you want to win the new 2013 Client Catalog templates? Get ready for the super duper easy giveaway celebrating the launch! Just use the handy dandy rafflecopter widget to enter :) If there are more than 100 entries, I will increase how many catalog templates that are won.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2013 Client Catalog

View my client catalog in action below!

Wow your clients with this chic magazine style client catalog for the stylish photographer.
This catalog is comprised of 14 Fully editable template files in .PSD format to create your own client catalog that is perfectly you! Each file has tips on what to include on that particular page, to help walk your client through your entire process and cut down on commonly asked questions. All of the files are compatible with Photoshop and PSE and conveniently sized to 8.5 x 11 300ppi for easy printing or online showcasing. This catalog is delivered in zipped format for easy download and purchase is non-refundable, purchasers also agree to the Terms of Use upon payment.
Price is for templates to create your own client guide. Once purchased, you will automatically zoom to the download location. Purchase is for a digital download of template files and not an actual hard copy printed catalog.

Each download comes with:
  •     Cover Template
  •     About/Welcome Template
  •     General Information Template
  •     Session Information Template
  •     Session Schedule Template
  •     Locations Template
  •     What to Wear Template
  •     Tips for Wardrobe Template
  •     Pricing Template
  •     Packages Template
  •     Policies Template
  •     Discounts Template
  •     FAQ Template
  •     Back Cover Template
Print at a wonderful print lab like ProDPI, or use a free digital presenter such as ISSUU.
If you need help:
Using clipping masks


Because we all want to know what others have to say before we commit to something, you know you do :)

  • Love your template. So simple to use.  So professional.  It really gave me a kick start to create something new for my clients...with all info in one place.Thanks for the inspiration. -R.E.

  •  I just downloaded Morgan’s client guide and wow! I’m so impressed. The style is so clean cut and simple, making it easy to add your own logo and change the colors to match your branding. If you have a hard time remembering to send your clients all their session info, then this is the product for you. It includes everything you’ll need to help your clients prepare and know what to expect. The great part is that is seriously cuts down your workflow time! -A.D.


The plane, the plane!

I often am asked how I shoot wide open with families - well it's all about the planes.  You see, the distance forward and back in your field of view is made up of various planes. Where your focal point is and what aperture (f/#) you are at will determine how much and where your focus will lie. 
In the example below you can see the set up, six little squinkies diagonally lined up about .5" apart. Shooting wide open (low F/#) will yield a very shallow depth of field. While the larger f/#s will increase that, allowing for more of your image to be in focus. So the trick to shooting wide open is to keep your subjects on the same plane. Keep them close together, and at varying heights to keep them on the same focal plane. Focus on the center-most point of the group and you are good to go!



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