Blog

Senior Portraits at the Lake {Highland Utah Photographer}

Sometimes there are moments as a photographer that make you giddy. One of those moments might be when a gorgeous senior girl asks you to take her portraits, and she wants to include some shots with her horse. OH my goodness! You know, her white horse she's going to ride bareback, and she wants to take him down to the lake. WHAT?! Yes, my friends, this truly happened to me. And it was amazing. 

But I had to get some shots of her in her dress up on the hill first, let's not forget those. 

Early Spring Engagement Session {Provo Riverwoods Utah Photographer}

My oldest sister's oldest son is getting married. The first of all the nieces and nephews! This is a momentous occasion and makes us all feel very old. HA! His beautiful fiance wanted to take their engagement photos at the Provo Riverwoods for a sort of Urban feel, with some classic cobblestone and throw in some greenery while we were at it. We went a little too early, so we perhaps took a million shots waiting for the sun to get low enough for some magic. But we had lots of fun, and I got WAY too many keepers. But they were just too beautiful! Here are some of the fun snuggly shots we got.  

Aren't they just the cutest?! I mean, seriously, we should all be so gorgeous and in love. 

Doing engagements isn't all that different from doing lifestyle family shoots. My objective is always connection. And I didn't have to do much to get it out of these two. :)

Click Pro and Other Fun Photo Features!

I have SO many blogs planned and haven't had any time to do it. Big things have been happening. I just turned 40, I'm going to Hawaii this week, I'm way behind on my editing, and I've been working my tushy off on getting things running with some new business software and booking new sessions from Spring all the way to Christmas! But there are a couple things I wanted to mention here before I go back and blog all the awesome sessions I want to talk about. 

First, I can't believe I haven't written here about becoming a Click Pro with www.clickinmoms.com! This has been a big goal of mine, and I really love that site for the amazing educational and support opportunities. I have lost count of how many workshops and breakouts I've done and how many tutorials and blogs I've read since I discovered it in September of 2017. As soon as I realized that you can apply to be a Click Pro, I started working on my portfolio. Click Pros have opportunities to be published in Click Magazine, write for the blog, enter contests, write tutorials for the Clickin Moms forums, and other awesome perks. You have to submit a portfolio of 150 photos which are graded on a rubric that scores each photo 1-6 in the following categories: 

Exposure Triangle
Color and White Balance
Use of Light
Composition and Posing
Processing Cohesion and Polish
Technical Basics
Creativity, Expression, and Intention

You have to get at least 4 or 5 in every category to become a Pro (you can only get a 4 in 3 or fewer categories). I redid my portfolio so many times, but in January, I finally just decided to apply just to see how close I was. In February, I was accepted! I maybe cried a little. And since then I've been overwhelmed with all the things I can and should be doing to really take advantage of being in the program. But for now, I've just been posting on the Click Pro Daily Project, a blog where the Click Pros can post something every day. Once a week they choose a Daily of the Week, which is featured on the sidebar of the blog for that week and in the DOTW page forever. The Click Pros are all still kind of celebrities to me, and their work is amazing, so it's intimidating for me to even post on the Daily Project, and I didn't expect to have a photo chosen as the Daily of the Week for years, if ever. 

Well, friends, this week, the very day after my 40th bday, one of my photos was chosen as the Daily of the Week!! WOW! It's just very exciting for me. They even change out your original post with a pretty version with a badge. :) Like so:

DAILY OF THE WEEK.jpg

So there it is! My pretty girlies all dressed up for Easter and freezing in the Spring wind! YAY! I love this photo so much, and I'm so glad it was chosen as the DOTW. It was also chosen as the Canon Photo of the Week and will be featured on the Click Magazine Instagram account this week, and will also be featured on the Hello Storyteller blog. It was also featured on 10 other photography hubs the week I posted it! YAY! I had a lot of photos I really loved from this session (I'll blog several of them later), but this is definitely the gem of the session. I am going to print it very large and put it . . . somewhere. I don't know.

BUT THERE'S MORE! I also had a wonderful feature on an awesome blog by the amazing photographer Tanya Moon of www.tanyamoonphotography.com. She interviewed me for the "Photographers Who Inspire" series she does, and the other photogs she has featured are so amazing and inspiring. I love being part of such a supporting community that likes to feature and uplift and inspire each other rather than compete! She said such nice things, and it's my first interview as a photographer, so it warms my little heart. :) Go give it a read and ignore how may times I say "HA!" 

It's so fun to have your work recognized in any small way, and these ways seem very big to me. Considering the years I kind of took off from photography, and my recent obsessive way of working on it like a full-time job, it's nice to be validated and recognized as a "real" photographer. I'm excited to keep improving, keep working with fun clients, keep teaching, and hopefully gaining more opportunities as a Click Pro and maybe even have my own breakout or workshop some day! Oh, that's definitely my dream! 

The {Pink Skirt} Session: How Personal Work Impacts Professional Work

It's the off-season for photographers. Most people got their family pictures taken during the fall, it's still brown and cold outside, etc. I have a few baby sessions and some seniors planned, but that's about it. During the off-season, sometimes photographers get in a sort of rut, not even wanting to pick up their cameras after the hustle and bustle of the busy season. During this time, I really miss my family sessions, but I really love having time to focus on photography as art and just documenting my own family. 

One of the ways I like to stay inspired is by taking classes and breakouts (short inspirational/creative classes where a photographer just kind of spills her secrets and gives you assignments) on www.clickinmoms.com and other websites. I have done a few lately and have learned a few tricks and been inspired to shoot a lot! 

Another way I keep myself shooting and growing is through photography groups on Instagram and Facebook. There are monthly challenge groups, breakout groups that continue to help inspire and support you, and even Instagram loops where you post on a given theme at the same time as a group of photographers and link to each other's photos! After a while, all of these assignments kind of add up, and it's hard to keep track!

One day I decided to try to get ALL my assignments done in ONE SHOOT! I was going for the color Pink, backlight shining through material, breaking rules, iPad reflection, movement, minimalism, details, and a couple others! Oh my! Luckily, my pretty niece with her pretty skirt was up for a shoot my sister was doing and I jumped in and got everything I needed and more!

One thing I love about this shoot so much, besides getting some of my favorite images ever, is that it evolved from one thing to another as I followed the light and the moment. Things didn't turn out the way I planned, they turned out much better. I also experimented with several editing styles, and it's interesting to see how things changed as I moved through the session as the light and the mood changed. What an enormous variety of looks you can get with one outfit, one girl, and about 30 minutes! This shows exactly how personal projects can help with client work! If I had given up after the first few shots, I would not have ended up with some of the best work I've ever done, which will give me the ability to adapt and use these techniques in client sessions! 

Look how I ended up with some shots of my fellow shooter/sister in the end! We shot every last bit of sunlight there was! Shooting with other people is another awesome form of inspiration, and it's interesting how her shots are gorgeous and nothing like mine! It really show how different each artist can be. 

Fine Art School Portraits {Utah portrait photographer}

I have hated school portraits for so long--first because it was a ridiculous $40 for one 8X10 and a class picture, but mostly because my kids always looked ridiculous and nothing like themselves. The photographers weren't even TRYING to get a genuine smile out of my kids, let alone something truly beautiful! The object is documentation, and that's it. Maybe back in the day when I was a kid and we weren't running around with cameras on us at all times, that was important. But why we have continued to use studio portraits with one shot and ridiculously-priced prints is beyond me. One of my instructors recently gave me the idea of doing fine art portraits for schools. There's just NO reason we should have to settle for one pose with an ugly half-smile that doesn't look like our kid in this day and age! It only takes me 1-2 minutes to get a genuine smile or a beautiful serious look out of a kid, no matter who they are or what their age. I don't remember a time when I have failed at that during a session.

So I thought I'd give them a little test with my own kids who are notoriously hard for me to photograph. And as you probably know by now, I am not a fan of (or any good at) studio light or backdrops, but I just got a pop-up plain black portable backdrop and used natural window light, and treated these portraits just like I would individual shots during a family session. And seriously, friends, I love them all! They look like MY kids, they were super fast and easy, and they are something I would not mind framing. (And I probably will!)

I'm doing my Nora's preschool class portraits this year, and I am going to offer these portraits to my Ethan's charter school next year for my volunteer hours (I hope they take me up on it, because I never get CLOSE to the 40 hours I'm supposed to do!), and maybe from there, I'll see if any other schools are interested. I'm sure it could be hard to break into the public school district, but there are plenty of charter and private schools around here that may appreciate having something better than the usual standard portraits. Friends, I'm not in this for the money--I'll probably have a pretty inexpensive digital package for parents to dowload with 3-5 images. I'm in it to change school portraits! Hideous photos no more!! 

In-hospital Newborn Session | Riverton Baby Boy {Utah Lifestyle Photographer}

There's just really nothing better than getting the call that there's a fresh hours-old baby that needs someone to come snuggle him and take some pictures (in that order). This little boy was mom's 7th, and sure she's a pro when it comes to babies, but that new crazy influx of love you feel when you cuddle this new little life never gets old. It was so wonderful to watch her just snuggle and talk about this newborn person with such adoration. And there's just really nothing more beautiful than a mom holding her new babe, right? I can never just get photos of the baby without the mom, because I know they'll be inseparable for a good year, and this is just the beginning. 
 

Find me on Instagram @bluehillimages and Facebook @bluehillimages

Lifestyle Sunset Family Session {American Fork UT photographer}

Sometimes you meet a family you instantly love, and then even if you don't see them for the better part of 10 years, you feel like no time has passed at all when you finally see them again. I knew this darling family when we lived in Maryland, and then we moved here to Utah, and they moved away to Korea, and we thought never the twain should meet again! But here they are! Living just minutes from my house. So we had to take advantage of our amazingly warm winter weather once again and get a sunset session. We were able to stay long enough to let the sun set and get an amazing view of snow-covered Mount Timpanogos behind them!

Sometimes I tell families they just have to pretend to like each other while we are taking pictures. HA! But this family did not have to pretend. I hardly had to direct them at all, and I usually got distracted from taking pictures of one group of happily cuddling people, because other people were happily cuddling or playing in gorgeous light directly behind me, just because that's what they do. It was a dreamy session, and if I could do one just like it every day, I'd be a happy lady. 

My goal is usually to get the dad to say, "Well, that wasn't so bad!" But this time, my happy moment was when the mom texted me to say her 3-year-old got in the car after an hour-long photo session and said, "That was fun!" I mean, right?!

Also, they kept calling me Auntie. 

"Run to Auntie, Miles!" :) :) :)

Find me on Instagram @bluehillimages and Facebook @bluehillimages

Sibling lifestyle sunset session ~ {Utah County family photographer}

It has been a super strange January. We've had beautiful golden hours at a balmy 45 degrees! (Listen, in mid-winter, that seems like summertime.) So we took advantage of the beautiful light and perhaps a LITTLE bit chilly weather and did a fun sunset session with part of this family. Brady was turning 8 and needed some baptism pictures, so we also decided to do some sibling shots, and some snuggle shots with mom. Eight or not, he's the baby of the family, and I'm pretty sure they'll all think of him that way forever. I also got to really take my new lenses out for a spin, and have some fun. And that's never a bad thing! Hooray for sun haze and sun rays!! 

Find me on Instagram @bluehillimages and Facebook @bluehillimages

In-home Christmas Lifestyle Session {Highland Utah Family Photographer}

So . . . if I could be a house, I might choose to be the Grovers' house. Not just because it's beautiful, but because it's full of fun and happy people doing fun and happy things. They like making pancakes each Saturday, and flipping is Dad's job, but he lets the little ones help. They like playing piano, reading, and snuggling. They make snowflakes and hang them above their dining table every Christmas. They climb on bookshelves, jump off the hearth, and have little Christmas trees in their bedrooms. They let the little sister put the star on the tree. And also, when a photographer comes to do an in-home family session, they are total pros and just have a lot of fun.

Also, it's gorgeous, and they are gorgeous, and that's that! It will be hard to narrow down the kajillion pictures we put into their beautiful 40-page album to post here, but I'll give it a try . . .

And just so we all know, this session was the birthplace of the term "Porchtraits" which has now become a traditional shot for my in-home sessions! Thanks Instagram for helping me out with that. :)

Find me on Instagram @bluehillimages and Facebook @bluehillimages

In-home baby session {Utah lifestyle newborn photographer}

Remember the cutest In-home Lifestyle session you ever saw with these crazy boys running around the kitchen and dancing on the countertops and jumping on the bed?! Well, we also did an add-on Bringing Home Baby session! They couldn't do the family portion until their kitchen was finished with a gorgeous remodel, and I was super worried about the baby getting TOO BIG! So I came over a few weeks early, just to get some shots of that little pumpkin while he was still wrinkly and sleepy.

I posted lots of snuggle shots with mom and the brothers on that post, but it's time for the baby to have his moment in the sun. He was just so pleasant to work with, and I just got to snuggle and play with him for as long as I wanted, which I'm just not going to complain about! Let's look at his squishyness.

Find me on Instagram @bluehillimages and Facebook @bluehillimages

DIL Documentary Session ~ November Camera Day

It's time for my November edition of my "Camera Day" where I take my camera with me everywhere I go! My kids are really starting to hate this day. HA! This time, I decided to do strict documentary style. That means, I was not allowed to direct or change anything, just observe and capture. No turning off lights, no asking Nora to move to the window . . . nothing. I also had to deal with teens who do NOT appreciate being documented. But I was determined to do it nonetheless, so I told my Ethan that I wouldn't ever get his face in the shot, and he was ok with that. Then we had a big discussion about why in the world I even want to do this.

So, one reason is because I am just trying to shoot every day, do personal and creative shoots, and Just get better and grow, right? And also because I was taking a documentary class, and I wanted to give that a go. But why do my camera day? It's my journal right now. I'm not necessarily blogging regularly on my personal blog, I'm not even currently writing in my daily journal/to-do list because I'm too busy even for that! So how do I tell the story of our lives right now, from the crazy mess that I don't have time to clean up to the silliness of Nora changing into 5 dress-ups per day? I take pictures. That's it. 

This day, I took 1400 photos and narrowed it down to around 400. Yikes! I think I finally edited around 100. I'll share WAY less than that here, of course, but wow, it was an interesting exercise to really document our lives, instead of slowly watching for artistic moments. Of course, I still tried to do it artistically . . . 

I actually got some of my very favorite shots this day. I love it! Documentary is definitely something I am drawn to, and even though I sometimes feel like there's a laziness to it, there are definitely challenges as well! 

So here you go. A typical November Day In the Life of Cami Turpin. :)
 

And that is our typical November day! You'll notice it's mostly Nora, but she's the one that's home . . . and willing to have photos taken. I hope you enjoyed our little foray into documentary style, and maybe we'll revisit this another time. 


Find me on Facebook at bluehillimages or Instagram at bluehillimages.

Playing with Light | Personal Session {Utah Photographer}

Ever since I discovered this new photography education site--ClickinMoms--I have been a bit obsessive when it comes to taking inspirational breakouts and workshops. I just can't turn down a great way to learn a new way of looking at photography. One recent breakout I did (Luminous, Magical, and Memorable: Learning to Shoot for Light First with Nicole Houser) was all about light and how to use it creatively, especially in my home. I had never even thought to look for sun flare or use golden hour inside my house. And I avoided direct light through a window at all costs! But just a PDF and a couple videos and I was off on an adventure that would change my photography forever. I'm really in love with some of the images I got, and I've been using the inspiration ever since. Take a look at some of my favorite shots! 

Bringing home baby brother ~ lifestyle session {Utah newborn and family photographer}

This session was SO fun. The family is just the cutest. They just welcomed their FOURTH boy home, and this session was a combination of an In-home Lifestyle session AND an add-on Bringing Home Baby! (I'll blog that baby session separately.) I love this combo! The family were CHAMPS during this long session, and I got to do all my favorite things at once--photos of a new smunchy baby, and pictures of kids being their little crazy selves. I usually have a "star" in each of my sessions, and although each of these kids was a star in his own way, I have to award the winning shots to cute Charlie, the blondie in the middle. He made me laugh the whole time. OH, I just love this family and this whole session. Thanks so much CUTE Smith family! Thank you for loving to dance on your kitchen counter top while you make pancakes. Thank you for being darling. Thank you for loving your smoochy baby so much! And thank you for letting me capture it all. 

(And can we all just be in awe of their kitchen for a minute? The remodel was completed that very morning!)

Find me on Instagram @bluehillimages and Facebook @bluehillimages

In-home lifestyle session ~ brother and sister {Highland UT family photographer}

There are so many things I love about this session.

  1. We did the whole session during dad's lunch hour.
  2. There was ZERO prep and ZERO stress.
  3. We were in a basement apartment with one small window.

You think you need tons of time, a beautiful home, and to clean your house for hours and get perfect clothing for your children to have an in-home lifestyle session? Think again! This session was super fun, super easy, and since we didn't have a lot of options in the dark basement, we stayed in one spot the entire time and got everything we needed and more. When I delivered the pictures, Elise said, "I want a lifestyle session every day!" 

No, seriously. They are actual fun. 

Find me on Instagram @bluehillimages and Facebook @bluehillimages

Fall golden hour ~ family session {Utah County lifestyle photographer}

So, I've been using the same old locations for YEARS and years. Then my photographer friend tells me about this weird little field off the road like 3 minutes from my house and I decide to try it out. Welp . . . I'm totally obsessed. I've done a kajillion sessions there since (ok, like 5), and every time I love it. I'm sure I'll still use other locations, but this one makes me so happy in so many ways for sunset sessions. I also tried a prop or two, and while I actually do love the tee-pee, I don't think I'll bring it along again. But YES to lovies for all the days! So fun. 

Find me on Instagram @bluehillimages and Facebook @bluehillimages

Mountain lifestyle portraits ~ American Fork canyon {Utah family photographer}

While I'm catching up here on the blog, I might as well take it all the way back to fall. We had some AMAZING colors up in the mountains! I thought I might as well take advantage and capture it all in a super quick family session with my sister. It was freezing and the light was quickly fading by the time we finally beat the traffic up there, so we had a 15-minute super mini session! She is also a talented photographer, and took pics of my family while we were up there too. I think I've done every kind of session for the Ribieras now (in-home, hours-old, this location session, and they are often used in my personal photography), and they'll probably all be blogged eventually, so get ready to see plenty of man bun on this blog! HA! Also, they are a pretty quirky fam, so be ready for some surprises here at the end of this blog . . . 

Find me on Instagram @bluehillimages and Facebook @bluehillimages

DIL ~ Day in the Life photography ~ Personal session

Ok, friends! Time to start a blog here on my website. :) What better place to start than a Day In the Life photography assignment? It will give you a little snapshot of who I am, and what I'm trying to do with photography. 

One thing I LOVE to do, and will probably continue to do whenever I have time, is to take classes, workshops, breakout sessions, etc., to get some inspiration, learn new techniques, and continually improve in my photography. This will be a great place to post my assignments and link from my Facebook page. 

I'm currently taking a photography workshop on Clickin Moms right now called Finding the Classic Beauty in your Every Day with Meg Loeks. This week's assignment was to carry our cameras with us for one whole day, finding beauty and trying to capture it. It's the kind of assignment I LOVE, because it combines photography, art, and journaling into one project. Although I didn't get any favorite images out of it, it was great to start looking with fresh eyes, see a typical day through images, and capture some important things. My photos may not be my favorite artistically, but they all have a special place in my heart and document something real and beautiful to me. I've decided I will probably do a camera day once per month, and I'm sure it will be a great journal project as well as a way to see if I'm improving in my art. 

This particular day is Tuesday, October 3rd. Typical fall day.

 This was the first photo I took. It was early in the morning, very dark, and everyone was just getting up and getting on with their day. The day before, Monday, October 2nd, was the day the Las Vegas shooting was all over the news. I have to admit, sometimes when horrible things like this happen, I ignore them. I feel very deeply about things like this, and sometimes I can't deal with them right away. I push it to the back of my mind and let it kind of sit there, waiting to be processed. So I hadn't read a single thing about the shooting all of Monday. On Tuesday morning, I felt like it was time. I wanted to know more about it, I wanted to read some stories, I wanted to let myself acknowledge it and deal with it. I was doing just that when Nora came and sat down on my lap, and I saw her face illuminated by the screen and decided it was my first shot. I only took one photo, because I wanted to preserve the moment, but not make it about photography, so it's not perfect, and it's definitely not flattering or beautiful in the way you'd think, but it was exactly the moment I wanted to preserve, and it captures my mood and the feeling of the experience. It's probably my favorite image of the day for this reason, and it set the tone for the rest of the photographs. We were also challenged to get in the frame this week, and I felt like this was the perfect time, even though I was in PJs and not ready for the day in any way. It adds to the story.

This was the first photo I took. It was early in the morning, very dark, and everyone was just getting up and getting on with their day. The day before, Monday, October 2nd, was the day the Las Vegas shooting was all over the news. I have to admit, sometimes when horrible things like this happen, I ignore them. I feel very deeply about things like this, and sometimes I can't deal with them right away. I push it to the back of my mind and let it kind of sit there, waiting to be processed. So I hadn't read a single thing about the shooting all of Monday. On Tuesday morning, I felt like it was time. I wanted to know more about it, I wanted to read some stories, I wanted to let myself acknowledge it and deal with it. I was doing just that when Nora came and sat down on my lap, and I saw her face illuminated by the screen and decided it was my first shot. I only took one photo, because I wanted to preserve the moment, but not make it about photography, so it's not perfect, and it's definitely not flattering or beautiful in the way you'd think, but it was exactly the moment I wanted to preserve, and it captures my mood and the feeling of the experience. It's probably my favorite image of the day for this reason, and it set the tone for the rest of the photographs. We were also challenged to get in the frame this week, and I felt like this was the perfect time, even though I was in PJs and not ready for the day in any way. It adds to the story.

 This image is of my daughter and her friend Summer waiting for their carpool. I just loved the soft cool morning light. This window is usually blown out completely when I shoot near it, so I liked how you could really see out to the road and the neighborhood. It also shows their little friendship that is strong and volatile, like sisters.

This image is of my daughter and her friend Summer waiting for their carpool. I just loved the soft cool morning light. This window is usually blown out completely when I shoot near it, so I liked how you could really see out to the road and the neighborhood. It also shows their little friendship that is strong and volatile, like sisters.

 I call this one "Battle Stations." My favorite time of the day is when I've finally got everyone off to school and settled, and I have a minute (sometimes just a minute) to sit down and plan my day in my meticulously designed daily planner. My pot of Crio Bru is handy at all times, of course. Usually the sun is shining in warm and beautifully, and I find a sunny spot to sit and figure out my day. My puppy Luna decided to join me, and she is welcome as long as she doesn't ruin the moment. I didn't feel like she ruined the shot. :)

I call this one "Battle Stations." My favorite time of the day is when I've finally got everyone off to school and settled, and I have a minute (sometimes just a minute) to sit down and plan my day in my meticulously designed daily planner. My pot of Crio Bru is handy at all times, of course. Usually the sun is shining in warm and beautifully, and I find a sunny spot to sit and figure out my day. My puppy Luna decided to join me, and she is welcome as long as she doesn't ruin the moment. I didn't feel like she ruined the shot. :)

 I teach a preschool gymnastics class in my home, and this morning was one of my gym days. I always have the kids draw a picture on the chalk wall over their name, in case they don't know what their name looks like and they need to remember where to sit when I tell them to go to their spot. :) I love this cute girl's long ponytail and hand on the wall.

I teach a preschool gymnastics class in my home, and this morning was one of my gym days. I always have the kids draw a picture on the chalk wall over their name, in case they don't know what their name looks like and they need to remember where to sit when I tell them to go to their spot. :) I love this cute girl's long ponytail and hand on the wall.

 I also took this one to actually show some action during gym! I didn't quite use a fast enough shutter speed, but it captures the feeling of the moment.

I also took this one to actually show some action during gym! I didn't quite use a fast enough shutter speed, but it captures the feeling of the moment.

 Battle stations part 2? HA! After gym, I decompressed with another cup of Crio and some social media.

Battle stations part 2? HA! After gym, I decompressed with another cup of Crio and some social media.

 My office/library is where I spend a LOT of my time during the day, especially when I'm editing. It's my favorite room in the house (closely followed by my bedroom), and I wanted to show its inviting beauty. 

My office/library is where I spend a LOT of my time during the day, especially when I'm editing. It's my favorite room in the house (closely followed by my bedroom), and I wanted to show its inviting beauty. 

 My view FROM my office is also important, especially since it currently features a tee pee. :)

My view FROM my office is also important, especially since it currently features a tee pee. :)

 I'm kind of a homebody, and don't usually venture out for an actual outing unless someone invites me along. My sis Elise makes it a habit of going to IKEA on Tuesdays for kids eat free day. So, we grabbed our preschoolers, met up with my parents, picked up my brother who works a block away from IKEA, and got our meatballs. :)Is there any question about where we are in this picture?

I'm kind of a homebody, and don't usually venture out for an actual outing unless someone invites me along. My sis Elise makes it a habit of going to IKEA on Tuesdays for kids eat free day. So, we grabbed our preschoolers, met up with my parents, picked up my brother who works a block away from IKEA, and got our meatballs. :)Is there any question about where we are in this picture?

 I took lots of "artsy" photos of the aisles and displays at IKEA, but they didn't tell a story, unlike this one. This could be titled, "Every Preschooler at IKEA. Ever."

I took lots of "artsy" photos of the aisles and displays at IKEA, but they didn't tell a story, unlike this one. This could be titled, "Every Preschooler at IKEA. Ever."

 I was trying to get her reflection, but she was too fast, which is also a story. I love the tape measure in her hand. :)

I was trying to get her reflection, but she was too fast, which is also a story. I love the tape measure in her hand. :)

 My puppy has been an enormous presence in my life for the last several months. I never expected to be a pet person, but my children--especially my son on the autism spectrum--are terrified of animals. Nothing to be done about that except constant exposure. So after warming up with a cat, when the opportunity to be a guardian family for a breeding dog for our neighbors came up, we took it. (She is our dog, but this family will breed her 4 times.) It has been challenging and time consuming, and she's still very spunky, but we love her. I walk her several times a day and do some training, so I needed this to be part of my day.

My puppy has been an enormous presence in my life for the last several months. I never expected to be a pet person, but my children--especially my son on the autism spectrum--are terrified of animals. Nothing to be done about that except constant exposure. So after warming up with a cat, when the opportunity to be a guardian family for a breeding dog for our neighbors came up, we took it. (She is our dog, but this family will breed her 4 times.) It has been challenging and time consuming, and she's still very spunky, but we love her. I walk her several times a day and do some training, so I needed this to be part of my day.

 HAHA! I just thought it was cool that I caught her little yawn.

HAHA! I just thought it was cool that I caught her little yawn.

 I was driving my Jane to her piano lesson, and Nora climbed in the front seat and hung her little self out the window. Since I couldn't drive anywhere, I took pictures. :)

I was driving my Jane to her piano lesson, and Nora climbed in the front seat and hung her little self out the window. Since I couldn't drive anywhere, I took pictures. :)

 Another little still life. My mom gave me this little succulent and it sits by my sink. Sometimes she takes it away and prunes it and adds things, like these little shells. :) It's just cheery.

Another little still life. My mom gave me this little succulent and it sits by my sink. Sometimes she takes it away and prunes it and adds things, like these little shells. :) It's just cheery.

 I always love the reflection of Jane's hands in the piano during her lesson. 

I always love the reflection of Jane's hands in the piano during her lesson. 

 My Nora takes baths at all times of the day. And in my bath. Silly girl. She was playing peekaboo with her cute toes just then, so I grabbed the shot.

My Nora takes baths at all times of the day. And in my bath. Silly girl. She was playing peekaboo with her cute toes just then, so I grabbed the shot.

 While I was meeting a friend to walk dogs (again), my girls were out playing at the park just before golden hour. Luckily I had my camera handy, of course, and got some cute shots of them together. (Apparently, I hardly saw my teenage boys on this day!)

While I was meeting a friend to walk dogs (again), my girls were out playing at the park just before golden hour. Luckily I had my camera handy, of course, and got some cute shots of them together. (Apparently, I hardly saw my teenage boys on this day!)

 I don't love anything I got at Costco, but I wanted to document that I actually had my camera out the whole time we were shopping! :) This was a little date night for our monthly restock at Costco with my husband. 

I don't love anything I got at Costco, but I wanted to document that I actually had my camera out the whole time we were shopping! :) This was a little date night for our monthly restock at Costco with my husband. 

 Of course, since we were at Costco, and buying a pizza for the kids, I got some sushi for myself and ate it on my cute sushi plate hand made by my wonderful college friend, Anne. (I guess I enjoy a bottom-left composition, I found out throughout this day. Not to self: next time, try something new.)

Of course, since we were at Costco, and buying a pizza for the kids, I got some sushi for myself and ate it on my cute sushi plate hand made by my wonderful college friend, Anne. (I guess I enjoy a bottom-left composition, I found out throughout this day. Not to self: next time, try something new.)

Although I LOVE my room and my bed, I didn't take any photos of my very end of the day, because I just needed some actual down time without kids or cameras. :) Also, there was a giant pile of laundry needing to be folded on my floor, and that was NOT artistic. So that is the end of my day! 

Great exercise! I recommend it to everyone, even if you only use your phone camera to do the documenting. It definitely made a difference in my day when I was on the lookout for beauty. I think it may even be more powerful when I'm doing it truly for myself and not an assignment. Look for the beauty in your every day, and it might just help you see it when life feels dark and hopeless, like it did to me at the beginning of the day. :)


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