Hope and Memory Photography bio picture
  • I help clients capture their child’s personality. Oh, and I’m really good at acting (I used to be a performer in a former life), terrific at eating dessert (my fat jeans would definitely agree), and my Russian accent is stellar (Russians have confused me for an actual Russian until I give them a blank face when my Russian vocabulary runs out). Clients love my creative whimsical photos and are always commenting on how I’ve captured them in such a unique and beautiful way. Personally, I think my ability to return emails faster than Superman’s flight speed is pretty impressive. My Momma thinks I’m determined and that I have great hair and beautiful eyes. My friends envy my ability to balance everything on my overly full plate (they should be envying my husband because I certainly couldn’t do it without him). My clients love that I effectively capture their family and bottle moments in time for them to savor for years to come; I help them hold on to their memories.

Get To Know Your Fancy Camera | Seattle Photography Class

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After talking to several clients and friends and neighbors and moms and dads and parents and people in general in and around this lovely city of ours, I’ve realized two things: 1) a lot more people appreciate photography than I thought and 2) a lot more people have previous knowledge about photography related stuff.

Then I noticed something.

I see far more DSLR cameras (the “fancy” kind with the removable lens) now than I did even a couple years ago.  Sure, maybe I am just paying more attention, but I think it is likely that they are more affordable and the technology is advancing so rapidly that a good camera is just far more accessible to the general public these days.

This made me wonder.

As a photographer, my eye is trained to see things that someone who is not a photographer most likely would never notice.  I see a lot of tell-tale signs of cameras being used in auto mode or just general indicators of people not using their super cool cameras to anything close to their capacity.  Let’s face it, the technology can be awesome, but it is still technology and it can’t think and apply the creative processes that humans can, which eventually results in the moment captured in a photograph.

Then I reached a conclusion.

If people have the desire and the technology (and, in many cases, prior photography knowledge), why do I still see so many frustrated parents trying to take pictures of their kids?  It’s simple.  They don’t know how. DSLRs can be intimidating!  There are tons of buttons and switches and knobs and abbreviations that can all start to look the same after a while.  It dawned on me that people want someone to help them figure this out, so I am here to help!  Maybe you bought a DSLR on sale with the best of intentions.  Maybe you are just a technology junkie.  Maybe you used to shoot film and figured making the digital jump would be no problem.  Whatever the case, if you are struggling with basic camera settings or don’t even know what “basic camera settings” means, this is the class for you! Bring someone to watch the kids and let them have a yummy brunch and run and get their wiggles out at Twirl while I teach you what you need to know.  I’m even planning to give away a few of my favorite photography related products, so you do not want to miss out!

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Project 52: Week Ten | Seattle family photography

Last week I kind of cheated.  There isn’t really a story with this week’s photos.  I’ve been doing this crazy diet and lost a bit of weight and everyone has asked for pictures, that is what this is from.  I decided to have a mini self portrait shoot in my tiny living room and threw the kids in at the end.  Clearly there wasn’t a lot of foresight since I didn’t think to take my canvases off the wall.  Oops!

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My Favorite Photoshop Secret | Photoshop tutorial

I am going to show you how I edited one of my favorite photos (from a mini session, actually!) that I took last year.  It is very typical of my editing style and uses one of my favorite “tricks” that a lot of people don’t know about.  If you love that vintagey, muted look that is so popular right now, you are going to want to read this!:)

This is the almost SOOC (straight out of camera) image.  The only thing I did was sharpen and resize it for web viewing and slap my watermark across it.

Then I ran one of my favorite actions, The Shire.

I then did a blue levels layer, a color balance layer, and a fuchsia and purple gradient map.

At this point, it was a little cool for my taste so I used a curves layer to warm it up (open up the red channel and drag the middle up, open the blue channel and drag the middle down).  It is very subtle here; I’m not sure if you will be able to see much difference due to image compression.

Here is where it gets good!  I used a luminosity selection (basically selecting only the highlights in the image) on an exclusion layer.  This probably sounds like Greek to most of you, which is why I am about to whip out my handy dandy screenshots!

Okay, first we are going to do a luminosity selection.  To do this on Photoshop CS3 or below, use ctrl+shift+alt+tilde (that little squiggly line that looks like this: ~); if you are using CS4 or CS5, you will need ctrl+alt+shift+2.  After you make your luminosity selection, you should see a bunch of marching ants along the brighter parts of your photo.

Now we are going to create a solid color layer.  Go to the new layer button at the bottom of the layers palate (as seen here) and select solid color.  You can also go to the layers tab at the top and go to “new fill layer” and select solid color.

When you create a solid color layer, this box is going to pop up.  To get the effect that I did in this picture, be sure to select a deep navy blue and click ok.

Now we are going to change the layer mode to exclusion.  You will also want to lower your opacity; typically I like 30% but you should play around with it to see what suits your photo and tastes best.

After doing a slight eye pop, here is the finished product!


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Jim White - Nice technique :) I like the effect.

natasha - Thanks for sharing your post processing steps for this image. It looks great!!!

Project 52: Week Nine | Seattle child photography

My sweet babies; oh, how I love them!  Juliet and Ophelia decided yesterday that we needed to build a tent in the middle of our living room and fill it with toys.  So, naturally, we did.  I find myself getting lazy with these weekly captures and keep waiting for the right moment to photograph.  Sometimes it comes and sometimes it doesn’t; luckily for me, Sunday afternoon the girls created one for me so I was able to get the shot right before my “deadline.”

Juliet is so super smart.  She has known all the letter sounds for months and months now and has understood the concept of reading and was even able to read some but it was clearly difficult for her.  Looking back now, I think she was simply overwhelmed with too many words and sentences on the page (even in “beginner” books) and this is a child that doesn’t want to do something the moment it gets even slightly challenging.  I had sort of given up and didn’t want to push the matter, further alienating her from reading, which her father and I truly love to do.  I figured, “hey, she is going to kindergarten in the Fall and she will quickly pick it up there,” and just mentally left it at that.  And then we went thrifting.  I have been on the search for new props so the thrift store has been my friend lately.  I have to confess that I have a weakness for vintage and vintagey looking books.  When I spotted this Dick and Jane book for less than $2 I had to grab it.  On the way home, Juliet read it to me in the car.  Actually read it.  She didn’t make up the story based on the pictures and  handful of words she recognized, but she actually read it to me, for the first time, without any help at all.  I can not tell you how proud I was.  It was a bittersweet moment though realizing my baby is turning into a big girl.

Ophelia, on the other hand, is far from reading (duh).  She is a little parrot though and is beyond adorable.  She has started singing Where Is Thumbkin?, complete with her attempts at hand motions.  Absolutely precious.  This has nothing to do with the above photo, of course, but Juliet had such a long schpiel that I figured Ophelia needed more than just a photo description.:) It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that I am a crazy russophile.  I have always tried to instill a love for Russian culture in Juliet through Russian music, cartoons, books, lullabies, games, etc. and am doing the same with Ophelia.  When I wandered into my favorite neighborhood toy store last December (I love Christmas shopping), I spotted these gorgeous Russian blocks!  So, naturally, “Santa” delivered some Russian blocks to Ophelia and she is crazy about them (much to my delight).  And that is what she is playing with.  Oh, and did you notice I finally was able to get her to smile?  ^_^

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lemphotography - Such a great story, and gorgeous kids :)

Krista Lund - this is my first time on your blog- love it and love you sweet images!

Christy F - Loved the blog posting, and your kids are adorable!!!

hope - i too love your blog . absolutely adorable kiddos. love the moments you captured.

Michelle R - Beautiful girls and color!

amy - oh you have the cutest little ones! those eyes are just killer! gorgeous :)

Amanda - How adorable! Your daughters will love these pictures when they get older…I remember building tents when I was little:)

shelley ellis - Adorable !!!

sara - those are so pretty! love the clarity!

Melissa M. - Love the tent!

Michelle Edgerton - I love your pictures! But, even more, you had me when I found out your girls’ names are Juliet and Ophelia!!!!!! HELLO soulmate! I am obsessed with Shakespeare (besides being a photographer, I am an English Grad student and teacher) and I always wanted to name my daughters both of those names (and Helena)….
I really do also love your work

Sarah - Thanks! You are too sweet! I actually love the name Helena as well and am a major theatre nerd!