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photography and camera

photography and camera

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Inspired to actions: Being a good mom on a grumpy day

Posted by Elizabeth Terrian on April 9, 2012 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (4)

I had looked forward to Friday all week. A day off with the kids…I imagined we’d go hiking, read books, watch a movie, play games and just have a fun spontaneous day.

Instead, this ugly old ogre of a woman showed up at our house. Sadly, that woman was me. For various insignificant and inexcusable reasons, I started the day off on the wrong foot and stayed there.

I felt utterly introverted. I didn’t want anyone to talk to me, look at me or breathe in my general direction. Solitary confinement sounded dreamy. A trip to one of those “vow of silence” monasteries would have been ideal. (I may have even Googled to find one nearby.True story.)

Instead, it was me and 3 kids. All. Day. Long. And they were talkative. And energetic. And talkative. And energetic. And talkative.

Unfortunately, talking and listening were both scraping the bottom of my wish list.

What is a grumpy mama to do?

I’d like to say I prayed and opened my eyes with renewed vision and focus. But that would be lying.

I knew it was gonna be a blue collar day. If I was going to survive without adding to my kids future therapy bill, it was going to take nonstop prayer and a lot of work.

If you’ve ever had one of those grumpy days, you know what I’m talking about.

So, I came up with a battle plan, and in case you ever find yourself in the midst of a grumpy day, I thought I’d share it with you.

1. Warn ThemI made it very clear that Mommy wasn’t in a good mood and I needed their help and obedience if we were going to have a good day. In retrospect, I should have asked them to pray for me. I didn’t, but I’m writing it down so I’ll remember if I ever have a day like that again. (I hope not!)

2. Only life threatening misbehavior warranted my correction.I let them run around screaming outside. They shot each other with water guns. They tracked water into the kitchen. They left the door open. A lot. They bickered. And…I did nothing. I sat outside watching them, headphones on, journal and Bible in hand.

My theory was that I’d rather upset the neighbors than my children. I was in a nitpicky mood and I knew my words, should I let them flood out of my mouth, would not be a blessing. So, unless I saw them doing something that warranted a call to 911, I kept my mouth shut.

3. I Let Them Fend for Themselves.They argued. They came to me. I told them it was in their best interest that they figure it out themselves. And guess what? They did! While my response wasn’t ideal, it did allow my kids to rise up and problem solve to a greater level than they would have otherwise. I even saw them “parenting” one another; reminding each other of the rules so that they wouldn’t awake the grumpy ogre woman.

4. I Sacrificed Ideals for the Sake of Survival.I am pretty strict about limiting my kids screen time. On Friday, my idealistic self and my grumpy self were ready to combine to create a firestorm of “No.” No TV. No video games. No computer. No nothing. Ever.

Yeah, that wouldn’t have been helpful.

Instead, I let them watch a lot more TV/video games than I normally do. I figured it was better than yelling at them.

5. I Declared Ultimatums.If they wanted to play together, they had to work together and get along. Arguing meant they had to go to their rooms. They knew I wasn’t messing around, so they worked out their differences quietly.

6. No Media for Mommy.I was grumpy and I knew media wouldn’t fix me so I chose to stay offline until my attitude had improved. I limited myself to music, my Bible and my journal. I was ready to throw down my bad attitude and Facebook wasn’t going to help.

It was so good to spend the day just reading the Word, writing on paperand getting input from no one but God.

7. I Found a Distraction.Toward the end of the day we headed to the bookstore. The kids played more video games on the display tablets (oh yes they did), then they read books or I read to them. As sad as it is, I knew I would be kinder and more patient with my children in public than if I was lying on the couch at home.

8. Get HealthyA lot of times our grumpiness is physical. I wanted to do whatever I could to make myself feel better. I ate protein, took my vitamins, drank water and if I could have, I would have taken a nap.

Let’s Keep It RealI realize that if this post is the first one you’ve read on Inspired to Action, I might sound like an awful mom. I’m okay with that. I’ll happily sacrifice a bit of mommy pride if these ideas help another mom and her kids through a grumpy day.

inspired to action


Q andA For finding the right photographer.

Posted by Elizabeth Terrian on April 8, 2012 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (3)

The six-layer chocolate framboise wedding cake design is complete. You've had lace appliqué flown in from England to match Kate Middleton's dress. The choreographer finally taught your bridal party to dance in heels. Now if only you can get that wedding photographer to capture your day picture perfect. What's a bride to do to ensure that the day goes as planned and a month from now when the wedding is just a fading memory, her pictures tell the fairytale dream in all its glory? Hire the right photographer! Ask a lot of questions and then ask some more and expect to be asked questions back by your photographer. Here are just a few queries that I've heard from prospective brides.

Q. My best friend just got married and there were more pictures of the guests than of her. How do I make sure I get the pictures I want?

A. While it's best not to give your photographer endless lists of shots, you can specify something like, make sure that at least 50 percent of the shots are of my husband and me. Your photographer may not know that you really don't care about hundreds of pictures of your guests dancing.

Q. I really want to get pictures of all the female relatives, but I don't see a lot of posed shots on my photographer's website.

A. All photographers allow for "posed shoots." These usually happen right after the ceremony while your guests are making their way to the bar. You must allow five minutes for every small group shot (four to six guests) and 10 minutes for each large group. Why so long? A wedding is a living, vibrant event. Your guests are interacting with their friends, not standing at attention waiting for their picture to be shot. They need to be gathered and posed for each shot, and inevitably, even though everyone is instructed to look at the lens, there is always the wayward eye that gets distracted by your guest who has invaded the room with her $5 disposable camera. And forget about a shot with your mom standing on your right with your husband on your left and then the same shot except with mom on the left and your husband on the right and even another with mom in the middle of the two of you. Edit your shot lists before you give them to your photographer. Those endless posed shots with slight position rearrangements went out of style decades ago.

Q. I'm kind of old-fashioned and I want to see a lot of posed shots. What should I do?

A. If you LOVE the endless posed shots against a wall, I have the perfect solution for you. Get a photo booth. Your guests can entertain themselves for hours standing in front of a background and you'll have endless permeations of all of your guests. Your photographer will be able to recommend someone or might even have staff that can do this for you.

Q. I spent months planning the details of my wedding down to the smallest touches. How can I make sure that my photographer captures my vision?

A. Look at your photographer's portfolio. Modern creative photographers will capture all the special details that make your wedding stand out from the crowd. It's also good to ask if they have a second shooter who can capture the ornamental details, while your photographer concentrates on you and your story.

Q. I want my photos in a photojournalistic style, but I only see a handful of shots per wedding on some websites.

A. Does your photographer's work tell a story? A wedding begins with getting ready or entering the church and should go through the reception. Look for a complete storyteller. You want someone with the wisdom to understand the vibe of your wedding immediately.

Q. How do I know that my photographer will capture my first kiss with my husband?

A. You must look at the photographer's portfolio; do you see kisses? Look for what you want. And if you love your photographer's work but don't see a certain shot, then ASK. Photographers can take about 1,000 shots at a wedding, maybe the one you like isn't online, but they can show you samples.

Q. I'm terrified of eating at my wedding because I don't want my dress to have spots in the pictures.

A. Any good photographer can remove food stains from photos -- some photographers include this in their basic package and some charge extra. Communication is key. You must find a photographer that you feel comfortable with. Do they answer your emails quickly? Are they upbeat when you ask questions? This is one of the most important days in your life -- you want to be comfortable with the person who will capture your emotions on that highly personal day.

Q. I had to invite my cousin to my wedding, but I really don't want her in any of the pictures.

A. Honesty is the best policy. Tell your photographer. While it may be inevitable that your cousin ends up in a few candids, they can do their best to fulfill your wishes.

Q. I want pictures of myself getting ready, but my photographer is a man and I'm a little uncomfortable.

A. The photographer doesn't have to be in the room while you are dressing. You can have a female relative cue them at the moment you zip up your dress to get that special shot.

Q. I'm really worried. I booked my venue on a budget and now I realize it's very dark inside. Will my photographer be able to make the room light up?

A. Professional photographers work with expensive cameras and lenses that work well in low light. In addition, they will use on-camera or off-camera flash to light up your room. Be sure to tell them about your reception hall and ask about their comfort level with dark venues. Remember, churches also can be very dark and hard to photograph. They also have restrictions on using flash, so you want someone who can handle your particular situation.

Q. I really don't think I can afford a Wedding Album. How do I find a photographer who will just shoot my wedding and give me the pictures on a disc?

A. Most photographers do offer a bare-bones package, but think carefully before you choose this option. Six months from now, when you have you friends over and you want to show off your pictures, are you going to sit them down in front of a computer while each image flashes on and off the screen? A beautiful album is something to be treasured and held and admired with friends and the family.

tip # 2

Posted by Elizabeth Terrian on April 7, 2012 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (14)

From Andrea Henry Crabtree:

"In a few short weeks we will start the flurry of Wedding Season..and won't stop until early winter. After a million hours of editing I've learned some things that Brides can do to help make their pictures MUCH better:

1. Tan Lines/Over-tanning, Bridesmaids especially. Nothing is worse then a gorgeous strapless dress...that looks like you have straps on. Or, a group shot of lovely ladies,..and one is so dark it's all you see.

2. False Eyelashes. Scary? Maybe, if you've never tried them, but I promise you, they will make your eyes pop in all your portraits! Try them a few weeks before if you've never worn them and see what you think!

3. The 'Getting Ready Room'. Are you in a church basement? A fancy hotel suite? Neither will look good in your pictures if there are pop cans and bras flung all over. Have your ladies pick up as they go or your portraits will forever have those tennis shoes and McDonald's bags behind you!

4. Well meaning Family members..trying to get those shots..over the photographers shoulders. Yes we love for your family to get the pictures they want, but you've paid a professional for a reason. I hate when we take a gorgeous group shot, that we spent 10 minutes building, only to have every image ruined because someone's eyes were looking at a different camera! Let us shoot first, then we will kindly step aside for anyone who would like a quick picture.

5. Whose who? You have a step-mom you love, a favorite niece, best friend from college attending? Of course you are going to want a picture taken with them,...but unless you tell us we won't know. Remember we have never had the pleasure of meeting these important people in your life before! Don't be afraid to make lists if you need to.

More tips coming soon! ~Amber Henry Photography"

tip #1

Posted by Elizabeth Terrian on April 7, 2012 at 8:05 AM

Photo tip from Michael: I've heard people say they got a good shot because they got lucky with their camera; that's like an architect saying they built a good house because they got lucky with their hammer. The camera is a tool, not some mystical device. My tip to you: learn to use your tools properly and luck will turn into skill.