reviews and product work

great cloth diaper change | boston photographer

a few months ago, while dreaming up ways to get myself and my work out there, i e-mailed salina at the diaper lab in somerville, ma. i wondered if she wanted some photos for the walls of the store. instead, i ended up being asked to photograph the great cloth diaper change. a large large LARGE group of people, trying to raise awareness about the awesome ways of cloth diapering. on april 23rd, they tried to set a world record by changing the most cloth diapers at one time. and i photographed it. woo!!

i was so glad to meet all the sweet little people and their parents and people in the community. it gave me such an itch to photograph families with little, fat, rolly polly babies! (hint! hint!) of course we had all been hoping that the weather would hold and it would take place outside. still, the babies were incredibly adorable. despite the dark, gloomy april day.

a few more will go up on facebook for your tagging delight! remember, i need your thumbs in the air if you want to leave some love on the facebook page! and i really hope i get to meet some new families.

xo isabel

the story about how i get to be a tester for sesame ellis actions

i'm going to warn you right now. this is going to be a very long, very wordy, very picture heavy post. i'm going to review something really awesome too. you know how i wrote that whole "oh what a transformation this past year has been" post? you know how i write like, 10 posts like that a month? this is going to be kind of like that. because it was just about a year ago, when i bought my first digital SLR (as opposed to the film ones i had learned anything and everything on) i did that thing where you sit and get sucked into photo blogs for hours at a time. hours people. i really mean it. it was at about that time that i stumbled upon the amazing sesame ellis/rachel devine. i immediately loved her. her 'about me' section was hilarious, i never use capitals, and in her picture she's nursing. bad ass.

when i look back at the blogs and tutorials hers is one of the few that actually really taught me something. she occasionally included stats on photos she shot on her blog. sometimes, i would put myself in a similar lighting situation and just match my settings to hers and adjust as needed. it really gave me the extra boost i needed to learn shooting manual. and the other thing is this. if you look at a bunch of photographers online, i feel like there is a thick concentration of photographers who heavily edit their photos. and in the beginning, i wondered if that was the way to be successful, or wondered if it was what all people wanted. but when i stumbled onto rachel's site it was really refreshing. she preaches getting the best shot in camera and not to over work your photos or date them with editing trends and popular props. stay true to the people in the photos, to the light and the natural moment. she is originally a film photographer, and is actually starting to work with film again, which has been really interesting to watch. and has really sparked my own interest in going back to film as well. but that's for another day. what i love about her work is it stays really true to her film roots. and the idea that back in the day, we didn't have photoshop or any of this other editing technology. you got what you got out of camera, more or less. she's always sold actions but i rarely had the extra $$ to get them. so basically i've just tried, through a lot of trial and error, to keep that philosophy. to try and get the best shot in camera. to really understand light and how to use it. i want my photos to be timeless and capture the reality of the people in them. and i've learned a lot about that from her.

in an unexpected twist, i noticed one day when a rachel devine (who is american born living in australia with her husband and three SERIOUSLY gorgeous kids) commented on my good friend jule's (american born living in australia with her husband and SERIOUSLY adorable son finn, who i met online) status. turns out they are close friends. what are the chances? i think rachel's a total celeb, jules gets to have easter dinner with her. but i digress.

recently rachel has been talking about releasing a new set of actions. i was really, really excited to see them. i knew rachel was recently more inspired than ever by film and i guessed these actions would really be a reflection of that. she talked about needing testers and i was all, omgpleaseme. so i tossed my name on the list and figured i probably wouldn't hear anything. then she posted a blog using some of the actions and mentioned she was getting closer to release. just out of curiosity i commented on the blog and asked if she had already sent the actions out to testers. much to my surprise, she responded and asked if i would please test them out for her. a year ago, i was not a photographer that rachel devine would ask to test actions and not because she didn't know me.

i haven't been given the full set yet, but what i have gotten so far i LOVE. the more i use them, the more i get to know them, the better i can navigate which action for what photos to convey what mood. i rarely use an action at full opacity and i always freshen up the image in ACR first. the actions are perfect, subtle, and give your photos just a hint of film nostalgia that i go weak in the knees for.

for starters, i picked a totally random, not great shot, of jack. just to show the different actions.

ok, because that's what every tester does. but then i figured, i should really put the actions to work. i'm sure rachel thought perhaps that i'd take adorable pictures of well styled little children. the truth is, my two boys are going through a simultaneous "i hate looking at your camera or taking part in your photography" phase. so the best i could come up with was our day trip to the farm. where the most cooperative subjects were live stock.

we spent an embarrassing amount of time with the baby chicks. ok. i spent an embarrassing amount of time with the baby chicks.

then we headed to the barn to see some sheep, a donkey and some goats.

and finally, when he couldn't fight it, i took one solitary picture of leo, looking at a bunny.

i am so glad to have these actions and i can't wait to get the rest of the set. the thing i love the MOST about these actions, is that they allow me to be me. i'm not buying these actions to buy someone else's style or look. they are right in line with my editing philosophy : less is more. they compliment and boost my photos in just the right way. i'm not sure of my audience, and if there are budding photographers out there interested in which actions i used and how much etc. but if you are a reader who is interested in more technical nonsense around here, please say so in the comments!!!

you can check rachel out on her personal blog here! and on her teaching blog, beyond snapshots with her partner peta mazey, here! thanks rachel!!

xo isabel

distractions of the Milo kind

hey, guys, did i tell you i'm shooting my first wedding this weekend? like, the day after tomorrow. did i tell you i'm totally out of my brains nervous. that i'm dreading new england will pull her old tricks and snow or rain or BOTH! we had a ton of rain which put a major crimp in my "go out and drive around the area of the wedding" plan for days. you know what's hard? finding a spot that's beautiful, public, but not crowded and not the same as everything else you've seen and also not ugly. i think i may have got it though, which has really relieved a lot of my stress. the husband will be my right hand man the whole day. if i can go into a room and make my ugly freak out face with anyone, it's him. but mostly i know he'll just keep telling me i'm doing great, which i might need. who knows, maybe he'll become my always assistant. he is great with kids... starting a business, becoming a mother, a wife, a friend, a sister, whatever transition it is that you and i are going through, is really hard. sometimes i wake up and wonder why i feel so out of sorts. probably because every day is a combo of constant worrying about all the balls i'm juggling and constant worrying about what balls i'm not juggling that i should be juggling. i should be writing a post about why i freaking love shooting and editing in RAW and how i ponder how one can be a photographer without doing it this way and what took me so damn long (fear, duh!) to switch. i should be catching up on late print orders, i should be putting away that 3573498673986739876th load of laundry or spend more than 10 minutes with my husband that doesn't involve the glow of a screen. i should also be enjoying this exhilarating feeling of being at the very beginning of an adventure, because while adventures are super crazy happy fun times, they're also a lot of work.

i should also find a way to work on photos of my own kids and life. i know for a while it probably felt like they were all you were seeing. but sometimes there is only enough time or energy to whip up what i'm feeling, what i want to write about, what i want to share. maybe i'm going to force myself to share some amount of photos of them a week. a classmate's mom asked me for photos i had taken at their winter concert, in JANUARY, and i realized. shit. i haven't even touched those photos. i was waiting for my niece to be born (which meant my travel to DC), my lens was in the shop. then february happened and sucked. and then march happened and sucked, mostly. and then poof, it's not january anymore.

but with april comes a fresh start. a wedding, mother's day minis, meeting new families and doing what i love. speaking of doing what i love, i love spending time with my baby Milomunchkindoodle. he kind of is my baby from another mother. don't worry, it's a joke i make with his ma. funny, right? anyway...Milo and his ma, Leah, made the trip up to our stomping grounds yesterday. and since last i saw him (here) he is now sitting up alone, and has two teeth, his very first two! since it was a nice day out, Leah and i treated ourselves to some starbucks, which Milo found quite boring and unimpressive:

and a walk to the playground. it just happened to be Milo's first time ever in a swing. i'd say he's a fan.

Leo was, in fact, at the playground with us. i think he was in such shock that we were even able to be at the playground that he was totally happy by himself.

then, we headed back for food and nap. after everyone was fed and rested, it was time to get to work. the wonderful owner of the wonderful Gnorasaurus, saw a picture i had taken of miss Mary in a hat from the Gnorasaurus store, and wondered if i would be interested in photographing some more babies in some more awesome Gnorasaurus threads. uh, don't have to ask me twice! but with that whole crazy winter and no indoor natural light studio (yet) it was proving harder than i first thought to get this done. Milo to the rescue! he modeled two of the little boy onesies and boy are they cute! the onesies are so soft and the fit is great. Milo is a huge chunk and the 6-12 month onesie fit him perfectly with enough room to grow. but before we got him into his clothes...we had to get him out of his clothes!

ok ok, Milo, put some clothes on young man.

like my make shift inside studio? (insert me rolling my eyes) that's one thing i'm really hoping for in whatever our new place is. maybe just a small corner where i could set up a mini travel studio. dream a little dream for me...

i might post one more jibberish filled post before the wedding. it will contain mostly brain mush and likely will not make sense.

wish me luck! xo isabel

Daisy Petal Designs - product shoot

aren't the interwebs awesome? i stumbled upon Dawn Roth through a friend and loved her hair products immediately. she's a short haired gal like myself and rocks a damn good headband. i let her know i'd love to do a little shoot for her new kid's line of headbands and the rest was history. Dawn is so sweet and is a mother herself. i hope this is the beginning of a long friendship and partnership. plus, hanging out with all these cute little ladies didn't make for a bad saturday morning!

everything is handmade by Dawn. i love helping and supporting another work at home mom. i love this job for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is that it does allow me to (try) and give my kids the time they deserve from me at home as well.

for more information on Daisy Petal Designs by maddiesmommy you can find her on Facebook (where she most definitely already has our thumbs) and also HERE ON ETSY .

happy shopping! xo isabel

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