June 06, 2014
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2014 Liberty Lake Headshot Special

I’ve teamed up with Mary Kay Consultant Maili Paul to bring 6 lucky ladies an afternoon of pampering and a photo shoot! Just $75 gets you a one-on-one make over with Maili and a thirty minute photo shoot with me. This is perfect for business women needing to update their profile picture or moms and daughters or sisters who want a fun afternoon activity.

I only have six spots available, Wednesday June 25th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at a private location in Liberty Lake, Washington. These spots will fill up fast, so please contact me as soon as possible to book your spot.

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June 04, 2014
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Rogute Heart Media Spokane Logo design

 

 

Rob and Megan at Rogue Heart Media recently launched a new aspect to their wedding photography and video business and were in need of some brand identity consulting and design. I was so happy to help them come up with a new logo for the corporate media devision of their Spokane based business. Above is the final version they approved and are using on their new website and brand materials. Below are just some of the late stage comps we went through before coming to the final decision.

 

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It’s been awhile since I had the opportunity to work on logo design. I didn’t realize how much I missed it. I love the research, exploration of ideas, shapes, color and their meanings involved in the work of creating a brand mark. Some of the challenges associated with this particular project included the fact that it had to integrate with their existing wedding brand, but feel separate and not too feminine. We went back and forth on including the “heart” in the image. In the end, they decided to go without it, giving it a more corporate and serious feel.

The blue color works with their existing branding but also lends itself well to the business world. Blue is a color of trustworthiness, which is why so many businesses use it. I like that they chose a more turquoise blue, which is a little more playful and artistic than the typical navy or royal many businesses prefer.

I highly value the input and opinions of my clients when creating a logo. Some artists struggle to move past their own vision and ego enough to honor the client’s ideas. I try to steer business owners away from anything I feel would be inappropriate for the message they’re trying to convey, while working toward imagery that captures the vision they have for their organization.

 

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Sometimes with a logo package I’ll throw in the development of other brand materials. Rob actually came up with these little icons and I added the typography to integrate appropriately with their logo. It was interesting to work with Rob and Meg, who are both very creative individuals and personal friends (they were also expecting their first baby at the time!) I really enjoyed it. They’re working on a top secret video project for me, and I can’t wait to show it to you when it’s finished! I highly recommend them for video production and interactive web projects (not to mention weddings and photography, if I’m not available, LOL!). In fact, I’m hoping to refer lots of video and web projects their way.

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May 12, 2014
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“Welcome, Tanya! Have a seat. Here’s a cup of tea. How about a piece of chocolate? How has your day been going?” This is a typical greeting when you walk through the doors at Rejuvenate Rx, a medi-spa clinic in North Spokane. I helped design their branding and website a few years ago. When they were ready for head shots and professional images of the services they offer, they called me.

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I set up my little mobile photography studio right in their office so they didn’t have to take time away from their clients to go elsewhere for pictures. From left to right here is pictured Kimberly Jarrel, LME — Clinical Director, Gwyneth Blattau Gay, MD, Medical Director and Kellianne Yates, LE. These are the ladies who will take excellent care of your skin when you go to Rejuvenate Rx!

 

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It took some convincing, but we finally got Chris Gay, the CFO and co-owner to join in the picture. He and Dr. Gwyn are married and have two beautiful girls.

 

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Kim is performing a cryotherapy treatment, which exfoliates, kills bacteria and shrinks pores on the skin. I’ve been having a series of facials at Rejuvenate Rx and I love this treatment!

 

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Rejuvenate Rx treats teens as well as adults. As someone who has suffered from acne since my pre-teen days, I’ve always seen the best improvements in my skin when seeing an esthetician regularly.

 

 

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Dr. Gwyn is an actual MD, so she can give prescriptions as needed and perform more advanced skin care procedures than an esthetician alone can do. This is one of the advantages of visiting this unique clinic. They will be moving soon to a new, totally renovated office and I’m so excited! Visit their website, rejuvenate-rx.com, for more information.

Do you need professional images for your small business? A photo is worth 1000 words. What are the images in your marketing materials saying about you? Contact me for more information.

 

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May 01, 2014
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This family is very special to me. They’re kind of like my adopted family here in Liberty Lake. If there was an emergency I would call the Craigs. If I baked an extra pie, I would share it to them. I wouldn’t feel weird if they showed up at my doorstep and I was wearing pajamas. They’re just that kind of family. So, I was super excited when Julie called and asked if I would come over the day after Christmas and do a family portrait indoors. The whole family was going to be in town for that week only, so they wanted to take advantage and have a special portrait made.

The weather was very frigid, so we just went ahead and took most of the photos in doors. There’s not a lot of light coming through windows in December in the Spokane area, so I just used a simple flash and bounced the light off the ceiling and walls. We did have to move some furniture around but it wasn’t that big of a deal. Everyone was comfortable and relaxed. You’ll notice nobody was wearing shoes. I love it!

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During her ordering appointment, Julie decided to go with an album instead of any large prints, because her walls are already full of artwork. Great choice. I took a photo of the large custom painting they have in their stairwell and put it on the cover. My albums are custom designed by myself to fit your needs and handmade by skilled craftsmen at my pro lab. The photos are mounted on a thick substrate to avoid warping and they really are meant to be family heirlooms.

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Probably the biggest challenge was getting the energetic toddler to sit still and look at the camera. Also not a big deal. It happens with kids. I just took my time and took a lot of shots! In the end, it was worth it because the family was very pleased with their photos and I think they had a fun time at their session. I know I did!

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April 29, 2014
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Sooooo, way back in November I got together with my friend Liz, who is the owner of the cutest online maternity clothes boutique called Fly Belly Maternity (check it out at www.flybelly.com) to take some commercial photos of her winter line of clothing. We had to make it quick, because it was freezing outside and we didn’t want to keep our pregnant model on her feet for too long. Isn’t she gorgeous?!

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This was kind of a thrown together, last minute photo shoot and we made it work. Next time I want to take it to the next level for this Spokane small business with a more editorial feel to the photos. Photography absolutely will make all the difference for an online retailer, especially for clothing. Showing details of the garment, showing it on an actual person and making sure the photographs are properly exposed and in focus are important. I think showing the items in a context that make sense for your target demographic are important, too, which we weren’t able to do in this case. Or maybe a clean white background is the way to go? How do you prefer to view clothing when shopping online?

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April 22, 2014
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Newborns are by far the most difficult subjects I’ve ever photographed. If you’ve ever tried to take pictures of one, you’ll know what I mean. Luckily I had the opportunity to take baby Landon’s photos for my good friend, who is a rock star mom of four boys and someone I really look up to. She’s one of those moms who seems to have it all together. Anyway, Landon was one cute baby and he let me get some good shots of him with his big brothers.

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I love all those little newborn details that change so fast as they grow day by day.

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What cute little boys! They are an energetic bunch and sitting still was difficult, but they did a good job. I love photographing kids! I always leave this type of session smiling.

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This shot makes me reminisce about my own childhood. I’m the oldest of four. I can’t imagine not having my siblings to love. They’ve been my best friends throughout  my lifetime. What a blessing it is to have a brother or a sister…

Thank you Staci, for trusting me to photograph your sweet kids.

 

 

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April 19, 2014
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Oh, boy, I’m so far behind on my blogging. These portraits are from last November! I’ve been so busy writing for SLR Lounge and doing some commercial photography and graphic design, that my portrait work and personal blogging have fallen by the way side. Did anyone miss me?

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Here’s my cute Cyrus at age 8 months. He has been such a blessing to our family. He’s a total mama’s boy and prefers to be in my presence at all times (usually he would like to be held by me and me alone).  I snapped these photos very quickly one evening, in about three minutes. Babies have such a short attention span. The trick is to get everything set up before you’re ready for them, and when they seem to be in a good mood, plop them down in front of the camera. Voila!

Stay tuned as I hopefully get caught up on updates for the entire winter (what happened?!) I seem to have been hibernating and come out of a deep sleep into spring…

 

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March 24, 2014
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Hi everyone. I’ve had a few things on my mind to share with you. Here they are:

1. Re-subscribe To My Email List

If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of my loyal friends or family members who enjoy reading this blog. Thank you! I only want my weekly email to go to those who want to read it, so I’m paring down my email list. If you want to continue to receive my weekly email, please resubscribe to this list by clicking here.

If you want to receive a weekly email containing links to my photography tutorial articles at SLR Lounge, subscribe by clicking here. Even if you already receive this email, I need you to resubscribe. Also, if you know someone who would benefit from reading my articles, please invite them to subscribe, too!

2. Help Me Reach My Goal by Giving a Gift

A little over a year ago a friend gave me a cute baby shower gift in a reusable tote bag from Thirty-One Gifts. It had a pack of diapers, an outfit and some other baby items stuffed in all the pockets. The diapers are long gone and the outfit too small, but we continue to use the bag as our “swimming lesson” tote to take to the gym. I love to give gifts, and really like the idea of giving one in a bag that can be used over and over. I always think of my friend when I use that bag.

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I’ve since given baby shower gifts, birthday gifts and bridal shower gifts in tote bags from Thirty-One. I love to see my family members and friends use their bags again and again. I have their products all over my home to help me stay organized and use them to carry my photography accessories and camera gear. Since I use them so much, and love to show them off, I decided to sign up to be a consultant.

I’ve set a goal to get a quick start incentive and need to reach a certain amount of sales by April 13th. Will you help me?

How can you help?

1. Earn Free Thirty-One Gifts products by booking a Party. If you live near me in the Spokane area you can host an in-person party. If you aren’t local, we can set up a catalog or online party. I’m having a party at my house this Thursday (March 27th) evening. If you want to come, please contact me.

2. Shop Online. Visit www.mythirtyone.com/thebagjunkie to shop for products. Make sure you shop from that page so I get the credit.

3. Connect with me on Facebook. Join my private The Bag Junkie facebook Group where I’ll post special sales, auction off my inventory of bags for cheap and share ideas for how to use your Thirty-One bags. Everyone loves a good deal, right? This is where you’ll find them.

Here’s an idea for upcoming Easter. Why not get your kids a bag they can use again and again, that folds up flat for storage (I hate trying to find a place to store a bulky Easter basket!) and they can be personalized with an initial or name. So cute! These must be ordered by the end of this week to receive in time for Easter. The Little’s Carry All Caddy ($12), Mini Utility Bin or Keep It Caddy (both $22) would all work out great as an Easter basket.

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4. Tell your friends. I swear I will not be clogging up this blog with bag promos, but I would certainly love it if you would spread the word for me. One thing I have loved about the Thirty-One Gifts company is that there is no spamming, deception, high pressure sales or any of the other creepy things that seem to go on with most multi-level marketing experiences I’ve had in the past. In fact, I swore I would NEVER do anything like this. For me, this is just a way to share a product I personally love, with you!

5. Join my team. Could you use an extra $300+ per month? Would you like a fun way to meet friends and a reason to get out of the house every once in awhile? If so, ask me about the business opportunity Thirty-One Gifts has to offer. It could mean extra spending money for you, or groceries for you family, depending on your situation.

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March 12, 2014
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89 strollers. 89! All lined up on aisle three at Babies R Us. The “wall o’ bottles” is even worse. An entire wall, filled to the ceiling, of bottles, nipples, pacifiers… It’s enough to overwhelm anyone, not just a first time expectant parent. Does a newborn really need all this stuff? Of the items that are truly necessary (like a car seat,) how do you decide which is best?

After having three babies I’ve tested a lot of products, read countless reviews and feel confident walking into that mecca of baby stores now. One of my best friends from high school and her husband are expecting their first (Yay! So happy for them!) They’ve asked for some recommendations so here are my 12 Baby Gear Must Haves for New Parents. I hope others will benefit from my past experience and this list.

1. Philips AVENT BPA Free Bottles
With our first baby we tried at least a dozen different bottle types. Even though I breast fed, it was nice to let Daddy or Grandma give the baby a bottle every once in awhile. We liked the Avent bottles best. Here are a few more of my favorite helpful products for breast feeding…

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Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go Tote
Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags
Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads

2. Comfort & Harmony Deluxe Nursing Pillow & Infant Positioner
An infant support pillow is really versatile for support holding the baby, nursing, propping the baby and helping them learn to sit. I originally used a Boppy pillow, but recently discovered the Mombo and it’s a lot better. Check out my review of it here.
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3. Baby Trend Expedition Travel System Jogger
After reading review after review, I constantly heard the Bob brand jogging strollers were the best, but I just couldn’t justify spending $600-$800 on a stroller. So, we went with the Baby Trend and it has been great. It’s sturdy, great for jogging, walking or shopping around town. The infant seat was large enough for use through almost a year for our baby. We have the double jogger version of this stroller as well and my six-year-old still fits in it.
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4. Graco Pack ‘N Play Playard
Our Pack N Play has probably been the most convenient and helpful piece of baby gear, especially when traveling. We use the removable bassinet and changing table portion for the first several weeks of baby’s life so he can sleep in our room. Later, the play yard is handy for keeping baby safe while I shower and get dressed in the morning. We’ve taken it camping at Yellowstone, the Oregon Coast and the Cascade Mountains, not to mention weekends at Grandma’s house and many hotel rooms during road trips. It’s also handy to have around when visitors with babies come to stay. I’m keeping my Pack N Play until it wears out. And I will mention, it’s held up perfectly through three kids and still going strong.

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5. Skip Hop Duo Essential Diaper Bag
Honestly, I have yet to find the perfect diaper bag. In fact, I may have plans for creating one in the future. In the mean time, I like the Skip Hop Duo. I used this for all three of my babies. It’s large enough to carry all the stuff I need but not so big that I feel like I’m packed for an entire weekend. The cross body strap is a must, because I need my hands free and I love the external pockets so I can easily grab my keys and phone. The nylon material is durable and there are so many cute patterns to choose from.

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6. Fisher-Price Healthy Care Booster Seat
My husband I debated for a long time whether or not to buy a traditional high chair. We lived in a tiny apartment at the time, so this little booster seat you can strap to a chair seemed like a no brainer. Now that we have a house, I would still choose this. It fold up compactly for storage and you can even throw it in the car to take to Grandma’s house. My mom actually bought one of these to keep at her house anyway, so we don’t have to worry about that. This is another one I’m keeping even after the babies are grown. It takes up so little space in storage and will be nice to have when nieces or nephews come to visit.

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7. Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad
Regardless of what you choose to use for a changing table, a changing pad like this one comes in handy. We use a dresser/changing table from IKEA in the bedroom and I actually have a changing pad set up on top of the dryer downstairs for a second changing station. Don’t forget to get a couple slip covers, since blowout diapers are inevitable…

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8. Fisher-Price Infant To Toddler Rocker
While an infant seat isn’t an absolute necessity, this one was really nice to have. The fact that it works for an infant and then converts to a toddler chair is nice. My older kids still like to sit in it. My babies were all born in the winter and it was nice to have a place to set them up off the floor for awhile when I needed a break from holding them or had to go to the bathroom or cook dinner. The vibrating feature was a life saver on a few occasions when nothing else would calm the baby.

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9. Fisher-Price Cradle ‘n Swing with AC Adapter

Speaking of not being able to soothe the baby, we found a swing to be indispensable for the first few months. While this isn’t the exact model I have, we liked the Fisher Price brand because it comes with an AC Adapter and battery option. If you do chose to use a swing and infant seat, just make sure you don’t leave the baby in them for too long, which can cause their heads to become flat. I used these items for moments of desperation…

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10. The First Year’s Infant To Toddler Tub with Sling
Probably the most nerve wracking responsibility as a new parent, for me anyway, was bathing the baby. I was so afraid to do it by myself after my mom left. This little bath with the sling for newborns was a life saver! Plus, you can use it on the countertop or kitchen sink so you won’t break your back. When baby is older but not quiet sitting up, you can place it in the big tub for bathing so her splashes won’t make a mess. Don’t forget hooded towels and soft wash clothes. Choosing gender neutral stuff will save you money if you’re planning on having more than one baby.

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11. Diaper Genie Elite Diaper Disposal Pail
While not a total necessity, a diaper pail is really nice to have. Especially when you’re changing diapers in the middle of the night and don’t want to run the stinky diaper out to the dumpster. A Diaper Genie keeps the smells at bay. You’ll need refill bags for this one.

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12. Summer Infant SwaddleMe Adjustable Infant Wrap
My babies slept relatively well, and I swear the Swaddle Me blankets had a lot to do with it. I tried various other types of blankets, sleep sacks and swaddles. These are the only type that would stay on the baby. Get a fleece swaddle for winter and cotton for summer. Make sure you don’t over dress your baby or they’ll get over heated.

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Probably the single best tip I could give first time parents when shopping for baby gear, is to buy gender neutral stuff as often as possible. Our first car seat was blue and when we had a girl second time around I was just kicking myself. Get green, yellow, brown or grey and you’ll be good! I could go on and on about baby gear to buy and what to avoid. For now, these 12 will have to do. Of course, everyone’s lifestyle and values are different, so you have to choose what works best for you. Make sure you read the reviews and use your judgement. Keep in mind, you don’t need everything the product manufacturers recommend. Ask yourself, “Will this item make things easier? Do we have room for it? Is it safe?” Always use caution when buying used cribs or car seats and do your research.

If any of you experienced parents have a recommendation for a “must have” baby product, please leave it in the comments!

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February 26, 2014
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In October I entered a few photos in the Liberty Lake Art Society Art Show at our little library. I was surprised to learn I won second place with this composite illustrative portrait of Cyrus entitled “Special Delivery.” I created it using photography, watercolor and textiles on a flatbed scanner. This illustration is part of a larger project I have in the works, so stay tuned!

 

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