Tuesday Photo Tip | Confetti Fun!

Last week was my oldest daughter’s 14th birthday.  She requested a photo shoot weekend, and of course I obliged!

One of the fun shots she wanted was blowing confetti.  We decided to make it a fun and colorful birthday pic, so I visited the local fabric shop and picked up one yard of fabric for the backdrop.  I seriously don’t understand why people spend hundreds of dollars on backdrops, when you can spend $7 on a yard of fabric!

Next was to find confetti.  I wasn’t sure what would work best, so I purchased several different types.  Used in this photo is THIS paper confetti I purchased on Etsy.  Awesome stuff.  Second favorite that floated and sparkled beautifully was a shaker of gold confetti flakes that I purchased at Michael’s.  I cannot find the link online, but if you shop for some it looks like gold flakes in an ice cream sprinkle container.

Now, for the set-up.  My favorite location – the front porch.  The perfect light.  Click HERE to see my previous “Simple Lighting Technique’ tutorials about using a covered location for beautiful lighting.

Our first two attempts I noticed she was closing her eyes when blowing.

ISO 640   f/2.8   1/320th

Not really the shot either of us wanted.  We also wanted more confetti around her head.

So I got my youngest to stand on the stepping stool and drop confetti one count before she started blowing.

“Keep your eyes open” I yelled!

We got this …

She still kind of looks likes she struggling with the eyes, but it also looks happy to me so it’s a keeper!

(You don’t get too many attempts with a teenager I tell you)

I edited the photo by softening the background with radial blur, clone stamping a few confetti spots to fill in the blanks, slight brighten and contrast increase and cropped it square (it’s for her instagram afterall)

Happy 14th birthday to my sweet girl!!!

Any questions, you can leave in the comments.

Any questions for next week, please leave in comments… please?  I need some ideas lol!

Have a great day~


Portrait Photographer Raleigh NC


{Fourteen} Happy Birthday My Sweet Girl!

Celebrating a birthday in our house today!

We will be celebrating tonight with a big Hawaiian food feast (she was born in the islands & raised until age 5 – we love the food!!!) & a delicious cake from the best bakery in town!


p.s. Next week Tuesday Photo Tip I will show behind the scenes and show how we accomplished this image – stay tuned!


Tuesday Photo Tip | Eye Catchlights

Hello!  Today I will share one tip on how to achieve bright eye catchlights.  (There are many tips, this is just one that I use a lot)

Catchlights add life to a portrait, & can help draw attention to the subject’s eyes.


I pulled my youngest away from her basketball for five minutes so I could snap these sample images for you.  End of day, sun is down but still bright outside.

Image A.  Pretty face, nice breeze, but not too much sparkle in the eye :

ISO 640  f/2.5  1/800th

Here’s the pull back shot of where she was standing.  She is facing South, so the sun is setting to her right (our view, left)


Image B.  I had her squat and look UP at me.  Why?  The light source is UP.

Face your subject TOWARDS the light source.

Someone once told me think of the sun and the sky as a big flash.  I always remember that!

ISO 640  f/2.5   1/800th

Can you SEE the difference?  Those white spots in her iris are from the evening sky.  Her skin is more luminous.

Here’s the drop back image for this shot (except she turned her head the other way lol) :


So next time you are out shooting, try having your subject look towards the light source and see what you get.  Shoot shoot shoot!!

I’d love to see what you get – leave me a comment & I’ll check it out!

Please do share any tips that YOU may have in the comments, I’d love to hear and share them.



To see last week’s Tuesday Tip on achieving a soft & dreamy background, click HERE.

Portrait Photographer Raleigh,NC


Twelve Days of Christmas | Day Six

I’ve been trying to NOT take portraits (to step out of my comfort zone) for this short project, but I caved on Saturday 🙂

My family was all cleaned up and pretty, and on our way to see A Christmas Carol at the DPAC.

It’s fun to use the Christmas lights as back drops too.

Oh those big brown eyes that I love so much :

You knew she had to get in on the photo action too … !



Portrait Party! | Raleigh Cary Portrait Photography

I am super excited to announce I will be hosting a portrait party on  Saturday, January 12, 2013!!

You may be wondering what a portrait party is?  It’s a party, first off!

Sessions will be a shorter version of a full portrait session, yet includes professional hair & make-up at an incredible promotional rate!

Gift certificates available – would make a memorable holiday gift.

More details right here…

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me :

Hope to see you in the new year!



{ Ashley } Raleigh Cary Beauty Portrait Photography


 Meet Ashley.

Ashley who called me to book a shoot simply to celebrate who she is today.  Something we should all have the the desire to do.  Who else will do it for us but ourselves?!

We planned Ashley’s session over the phone, and I enjoyed our conversations.  When I met her in person, I felt like I had run into an old friend that I hadn’t seen in years.  Just that great!

She was also my  ‘gorgeous guinea’ client for my new studio set up, and a gracious one at that.

  AND today is Ashley’s birthday … HAPPY BIRTHDAY to YOU !!

Fabulous, flirty & ferocious forty four!!


Would you believe me if I told you this was the first image I took?  Sparkling!

I can hear the Ella Fitzgerald Pandora station playing right now …

Infectious smile & laughter!

Strength & beauty defined.

I enjoyed every single moment of my session with you Ashley – thank you for a fabulous morning.

Happy happy birthday!!



Madeline & Ethan | Raleigh Cary Portrait Photography

Meet Madeline and Ethan.  Their Mom & I have been trying for quite some time to schedule this session.  We’ve been having a mild fall here in NC, but wouldn’t you know it was quite chilly the morning of their session?  I’m glad we kept our date, and it makes me smile to think back on our session.  The kids were just so great!

Ethan is a child with special needs.  Photographing a child with cerebral palsy was a little bit challenging, but with the help of big sister everything went very smoothly and we had a lot of chuckles!  Madeline is the most amazing and patient big sister I have ever met.  Both were truly a joy to photograph, but I just can’t get over the unending laughter grins of Ethan.

Just precious!

How can you NOT smile looking at this?

This is pure joy!

Madeline is in middle school, so we had a little fun creating some glam for her:)

So pretty!

Thanks again Jennifer for sharing your children with me !



Johnson Preview | Raleigh Cary Family Portrait Photography

Here’s a chuckle for you today!

You can definitely find me shooting ‘ in between’ the scenes – as sometimes (actually quite often) you get the real gems 🙂


Don’t worry, we got some amazing and simply A-dorable smiles from these sweet boys!

Holding out to blog the rest of this session until the holiday cards are stamped and mailed.

Have a great day!



Angela | Raleigh Cary Portrait Photography

You may remember Angela from her gorgeous boudoir session (HERE).   As if she wasn’t in great enough shape, she decided to tackle a three month cross fit program to take her fitness and figure to the next level!

I met with her in her home to start her session.  I brought my studio lighting gear, and we captured some of her awesomeness.

Lucky for me she had an assistant on hand …  the cutest most energetic assistant I have ever had!

He helped me smooth my gray paper on the floor…

Now that’s a true set of baby blues…


Gorgeous fit momma …

Hard work pays off!

My assistant was busy supervising the shoot, but then decided he wanted to be a part of the action.

 I’m SO glad he did!


We finished the fitness pictures,  jumped in the car and headed to a local park to play & capture some fun images!

Thank you Angela for another great session & for sharing your amazing little man with me!