transition transmission

all is most definitely in the air.  Transitional seasons like fall and spring always tend to be ripe with change, but this summer and fall I've been feeling a push towards change in a powerful way.  I feel stuck and comfortable and I'm trying to figure out the right way to break free.  One of the biggest questions in my life that almost always seems to taunt me, unanswered, is, "but how?"  I know that if I knew the answer to that elusive question I could do it, whatever it is.  I'm great at following directions.  Give me directions and I will follow them to the utmost excellence that I can possibly eke out.  But in the absence of obvious directions?  I often feel a bit lost and panicky.  Rules and directions are so comfortable.  Even if I don't agree with the rules or don't want to follow the directions, they're at least there to crate a framework for me to rebel against.  Adrift in an ocean with no shore in sight is how I've felt for many years, off and on.  No clue for which direction to set my sail towards.  

I'm trying to trust my instincts and learn to hear them again.  Follow them.  Remember where my soul feels most alive.  Move towards there.  Find my sealskin, slip it on and sink beneath the surface.

photos + wardrobe by Bailey Fray Dejong

PHOTOBOMB! become your own pro photographer!

photography ecourse, photography ebook

ver my 6 years of blogging, I've learned the ins and outs of great blog photography.  Some of my most frequently asked questions have to to with photography, outfit photos, photo gear, and more, so I figured it was high time to finally put together an all encompassing guide covering everything from DSLR basics, to the ins and outs of food photography, shooting your own outfits, and more.  I had originally started this guide out as an e-course, but I wanted to make something easy to download and keep with you without having to get online and log on, so with this guide, once you purchase, you automatically get the link to download the guide right in your inbox! 

I wanted to focus this guide on photography for bloggers, since that's who I most often receive photography questions from, but it's really a lifestyle photography guide for anyone looking to learn more about your DSLR, how to manipulate your settings, tips for finding great light, and shooting various subject matter with ease.  

This guide isn't going to make you a pro overnight.  Like anything, photography is a skill that is honed over time with practice.  Sure some people have a natural talent, but everyone has to learn how to use the camera, figure out how to change settings to achieve the right exposure, and develop their personal photography style and skill as they practice, natural talent or none.  It might take a year of practice to feel confident, or maybe just a month or two, but, as they say, that time is going to pass anyway, so you might as well be honing your craft, right?  In my guide I include photography assignments and prompts after every section to help you keep shooting and practicing on the daily, because you can read as many photography guides as you can, but if you aren't actually practicing on a regular basis, you're not going to see much improvement!  Having a blog and shooting every single day for it was what helped me grow as a photographer more than anything else!

PHOTOBOMB! includes 90+ pages covering:

  • How to get started using your DSLR on Manual Mode
  • Create phone and instagram photos that POP!
  • Learn how to take self portraits so awesome people will ask you "Who is your photographer?!"
  • Find poses which flatter your body, and take your own headshots for social media accounts and more!
  • Take your recipe posts to the next level with scrumptious food photography and styling.
  • Learn the ins and outs of photographing your home and interior decor
  • Capture your life in an engaging way with inspiring lifestyle photography
  • Take your readers with you to your fun events by photographing events like a pro.

...and tons of photography prompts to help you keep shooting, learning, and honing your craft!

photography ecourse, photography ebook
photography ecourse, photography ebook
photography ecourse, photography ebook
For people looking for more targeted help, I've also split the guide up and have a couple sections from the guide offered separately: Self Portrait Photography, Food Photography, and Intro to your DSLR are all offered on their own for those who are interested in just those specific topics.
I know there are lots of bloggers out there who wish for a pro photographer bff/boyfriend/mom (sometimes even I fall into this category, haha!), but instead of wishing for your magical photographer fairy godmother to drop into your life, you could spend that time working to become your own pro photographer.  Being my own photographer for my blog has been super empowering.  I don't feel like I'm depending on someone else to be able to do shoots for my posts, I don't have to explain my vision to someone else, I don't have to feel bad for wasting someone's time when I want to take forever to get just the right shot, and as an unexpected bonus, I'm actually working as a professional photographer shooting for other people now!   Being your own pro photographer can be frustrating sometimes, but the benefits have far outweighed any frustration I've experienced!
Kick the self doubt to the curb.  You can take amazing photos for your life, family, and blog.  It'll take a little time and a lot of practice, but you can do it!
Head over to the shop and get the guide now!  I've extended my discount code, so you now have till April 10th to get 10% off using the code "NewDT" at checkout!  I've got a special hashtag in there so you can share your progress and the photos from your assignments, so I can't wait to see you guys start getting to work, learning and growing!
If you have any questions you can email me, or leave a comment on this post and I'll reply!  

photography ecourse, photography ebook
photography ecourse, photography ebook
photography ecourse, photography ebook

postcards from paradise pt. 3

his month has been travel mania!  Dan and I just got back from spending Christmas in Palm Springs with his family and in less than a week I get on a plane to Anchorage to shoot a wedding!  These are the last few photos from our time in Hawai'i, and a little video I made from some of the footage I shot.  I'm no filmmaker like my brother but I do enjoy shooting a bit of video now and then.  The last couple days we got big enough waves on our beach for boogie boarding, which Dan loved.  We also went hiking at twin falls, which is sort of a tradition of ours.  It's a short little hike, but you get to swim in the pools and, if you're brave, jump off the falls.  It was a little chilly for swimming that day, but I felt like conquering some fears so I took the leap.  My mom got footage of it in the video, but I edited out the five minutes of me standing there chickening out before I finally jumped.  




how to create scrumptious food photos

ood photography is something that I've become more passionate about in the last couple years.  I'd even venture to say that it's quickly become one of my favorite branches of photography, and not just because I get to chow down on whatever I just shot.  I'd say that for me, food photography is more about food styling than the act of clicking the shutter.  Most of my food shoots are done in the same location with the same lighting set up, but it's the styling that makes them interesting.  Unlike portraits, you can really control food photography very precisely and you can usually take as much time as you need to get the right shot, as long as you aren't shooting something that will quickly melt.  There are a few basics to keep in mind when shooting food that will boost your food photos to the next level.

Unless you're experienced in shooting with off camera lighting set ups, I recommend shooting your food photos in daylight.  Food looks awful under ambient light at night, no matter how good it tastes, so do your best to shoot during daylight hours.  I even turn of all the lights in the kitchen when I'm shooting food so I don't get any weird light seeping in.  This can be inconvenient if you want to shoot a dinner meal that you'd usually make at night, but you're just not going to get good photos if you shoot them with the lighting that already exists in your house.

The top photos were shot indoors, at night, using the lights I had in my kitchen.  The bottom photos were shot during daytime using only natural light.  They have relatively similar styling, but the photos themselves are drastically different.

My set up is super basic.  I have a table right next to the window in our kitchen and I put a bounce card opposite from the window so I can bounce the sunlight back to the shadowed side of the food and fill in a bit where it might lose detail.  My bounce card is just a sheet of foam core board with the plain white on one side and the other side covered with foil.  This way I can choose how bright of a reflection I want.  Sometimes all I need is the white side, sometimes I want more light filled in and I'll use the foil side.

Do whatever you can to shoot with natural light.  I used to live in a house that was tiny and dark, so I'd shoot all my food on the front porch.  I probably looked like a crazy person to my neighbors, but it gave me way better photos than I would've achieved doing them indoors.

Depth of Field refers to how much of your photo is in focus and how much is blurred out.  If you're shooting with an iPhone or point and shoot, you probably won't have much choice as to what your DOF will be, but with a DSLR you'll have options.  I like to keep my DOF relatively shallow so that what I'm focusing on (the food, in this case) is in focus but the background is out of focus.  I typically play between f/1.4 and f/2.2 for my food photos depending on how many things I want in focus.  I use a 50mm f/1.4 lens for most of my food photos but occasionally I'll pull out my 90mm f/2.8 macro lens to get some fun detail shots.

A garnish can really take your food photography to another level.  A bowl of chili on it's own is okay, but if you put a dollop of sour cream on top, sprinkle some cheese and green onions, and add a dash of chili powder?  You just made that photo so much more interesting and, bonus, mouthwatering.  Basically what you're doing is creating visual interest.  A bowl of chili alone is very monochromatic.  It lacks interest, no matter how delicious your grandma's recipe is.  A cocktail alone is nice, but a cocktail with a garnish is better.  Think about color when you garnish, you want the garnish to give the food a pop, not blend in.  Some food isn't naturally photogenic and needs more help, so garnishing is a perfect way to give it a little umph.

The left photo would've been much better if I'd included a garnish on the soup.  The second photo shows a very similar looking soup, but the photo is so much more interesting because I garnished with some cheese, cilantro, and bacon!

A picture of spaghetti on a table alone is boring.  You want to create images with their own story, and food photography is no different.  Add a placemat that brings texture, but doesn't pull focus.  Artfully swirl the spaghetti on a fork.  Place a loaf of french bread in the background and cut a couple slices.  Pour a glass of wine and put it next to the plate.  You've just created a story and the photo is so much more interesting than the plain old plate of spaghetti you started with.  Let's take a hint from this awful photo from one of my first food posts... boring and unappetizing!

This isn't necessary, but it can produce some really interesting photos.  If you're the photographer this can be more difficult as you'll have to document the process with a tripod and self timer, but if you have a helper or can document as someone else creates the food it will make it easier.  Don't think that it's too hard to do on your own, I've done plenty of process shots on my own that have really enhanced a recipe post with just a tripod and self timer.

Process shots don't have to document the


process either.  Determine what parts of the process are most photogenic and focus on getting shots of those.  I like to shoot pouring a cocktail from a shaker into the glass, but it can take a few shots to get all the elements right.  Don't forget to style your process shots too.  Create a scene that tells a story.  Because you're using still photos, you only get that one moment to tell a story.  In baking shots I'll usually have containers of my ingredients where they're measured out, even though I wouldn't do it that way if I was just baking normally.

This is easy to do by going to thrift stores and grabbing a few items that look good in photos.  Maybe have a couple forks with a cool etched design on the handles, get some plain white plates that will highlight the food, grab bowls that look interesting to shoot soups.  Even things like interesting cutting boards or napkins are great to have on hand to style your shoots.  Something I learned is using smaller plates when shooting food than you would normally use for eating.  A smaller plate is easier to fill and the proportions will look better on camera.  You don't need full sets of things, since most of your photos will be plated on only one or two plates, unless you're going for full tablescapes.

Like I said, I use the same location for all my shots, so in order to get some variety, I have some different backdrops that were super simple and easy to make.  I have a light wood table that I occasionally use, but I also put wood planks on top the table to create alternative looks.  One is a set of planks from our old fence, which gives a really nice rustic look.  The other is a set of planks that is whitewashed for a bright, clean, white background.  You could also use plywood, natural, painted, or aged/stained.

It takes just a little bit more thought and effort to take a food photo from boring to mouthwatering.  You don't need super fancy equipment to create delicious images.  It takes some practice to start figuring things out, but you'll start to learn what looks good and what works.  Practice makes perfect!  Keep on shooting!

postcards from paradise pt 1.

indie tropical maui photographer

t's drizzly and grey outside as I write this, so looking at these photos is like peering through a little window to a magical place.  Sometimes it's bizarre that such a place even exists!  I was excited to bring my camera to Hawai'i and photograph everything.  The colors and textures and light is all so different than the PNW, so it was fun to play around with my camera while we were there.  Everything is so beautiful so of course I took tons of photos.  And way too many sunset photos.  Sometimes I think a sunset is just meant to be experienced in real life, not through photos.  Dan and I got a kickstart of serious wanderlust while we were there.  It's easy to know that exploring new places is just a plane ride away (which still kind of blows my mind), but it doesn't really sink in until you step off a plane and you're in a whole new place, just like that.  

When I was a kid we had a huge family trip to Europe planned and the day before we were going to leave my grandma got in a car accent and was medivaced up to Anchorage to the ICU and we all canceled our trip because we were expecting her to die.  Of course now, like 15 years later she's going on 94, but I still haven't gone overseas and I know it's only a plane flight away.  Dan went on a trip in high school to the UK and a bit of France, but he's been wanting to go back and see more too, so now it's just a matter of making it happen.  We're calling Hawai'i our 3rd anniversary trip, so maybe it'll be Paris for our 4th.

indie tropical maui photographer
indie tropical maui photographer indie tropical maui photographer
indie tropical maui photographer
 indie tropical maui photographer
indie tropical maui photographer
indie tropical maui photographer
indie tropical maui photographer indie tropical maui photographer
indie tropical maui photographer
indie tropical maui photographer indie tropical maui photographer
indie tropical maui photographer
indie tropical maui photographer