Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How to create a smile in Photoshop using the Liquify Tool

I only learned about the liquify tool three years ago and I absolutely LOVE it!  I don't use it very often as I prefer to get it right the first time when I shoot the photo.  However, I find when shooting photos of small children, sometimes they are not in the mood to smile.  However, there is a great little trick that you can use to turn those non-smiles into little smiles.  It works so beautifully.  The trick is to not go overboard.

P.S.  This is also a great tool to slim down a person by removing or lessening various bumps or bulges.

Select the FILTER tab and then scroll down to the LIQUIFY option.

 Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Please feel free to look around as I have some other photography tips and tricks.  You can view more of my child photography work at Little Lamb Photography.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How to make a candy shell cake liner

How to make a candy shell liner for a giant cupcake

I am a photographer and LOVE to photograph cake smashes.  And I LOVE using giant cupcakes as the cake in these photo sessions.  I have a Pinterest board dedicated to cake smash photography in order to get some ideas for myself for decor as well as to give ideas to my clients for colour and how to decorate the cake.  As fun as butter cream is for the top of the cake--because you need the icing to be gooey for great photos--I have also seen smooth looking bottoms of these cakes and wondered how it was done.

Then I found a tutorial through Pinterest on how to make an edible liner for your giant cupcake from The Weekly Sweet Experiment.  Thanks Susan!  I was so happy to find this info and immediately began making plans of how I was going to make a giant cupcake for my daughter's two year cake smash.  Check out the photos from her one year cake smash (I had a bakery make that particular cake).

I went to Bulk Barn and bought baby blue coloured molding wafers.  These are pretty easy to find in any bulk store as well as stores that carry baking supplies.  Wilton also sells bags of the same stuff, labelled "Candy Melts".  And the nice thing is that they come in a whole rainbow of colours, such as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and pink

I melted 4 cups of wafers (2 cups at a time).  Don't melt the wafers too much so that they're really liquidy because you need them to be able to stick and stay in the places that you want or else they will slide down into a lump.  But don't heat too much or else it will burn.

I used the back of a spoon to spread the stuff on one side (while the pan was on it's side), let it cool a bit (to harden) and then spread some of the other side and let it sit on its side until it hardened.  I then put some on the bottom and let it harden.  After the first coat hardened, I did the exact same thing with the second coat to make it thicker.

What you will need:
  • 4 cups of coloured molding wafers
  • A glass bowl or measuring cup to melt wafers in
  • A Wilton Giant Cupcake pan
You can either microwave the wafers to melt them or you can use the double boiler method.

After you have spread it all around, put it in the fridge for at least 40 minutes (to make it hard) and then it will be easier to remove from the pan without breaking.  Gently turn pan upside down, give a few taps (with your other hand ready to catch it) and the shell should slide out without difficulty (at least it was easy for me).  Good luck!

Check out the rest of the photos of this cake for my daughter's two year cake smash photo session.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How to make an easy DIY photography backdrop

I am a portrait photographer and I LOVE to photograph one year (and two year) baby cake smash photo sessions.  Although I love to shoot outdoors for most portrait sessions, I prefer to shoot indoors in a studio style setup for my cake smash photo session.  The reason why I prefer to shoot cake smash sessions in studio is because I love to make fun and colourful backdrops for these fun photo shoots.

I take particular interest in planning the colours for my props (including backdrop), cake icing colours and what clothes the babies should wear.  In order to get many variations for my cake smash photo sessions, I find the easiest way is to use coloured crepe paper--you know the party streamers that you put up for parties, baby showers and weddings.  They come in a huge range of bright colours and shades and they are pretty inexpensive.  Another reason why I prefer to use them for cake smash portrait sessions is because if they happen to get dirty from the cake or icing, it's not a problem because I can just trash/recycle the streamers after I have finished shooting the session.

I prefer to use 3-5 colours of streamers to make up my background.  You can purchase crepe paper streams at your local dollar store, party supply store or a big box variety store.  I have found that different dollar stores will offer different colours AND you get twice as much for what you would pay at a party supply store.  Thus, whenever I see a dollar store, I will go in and check to see what colours or shades they sell.  If I don't have the colour and it's one that I could see myself using for a future photo shoot, then I will buy one or two packages.  I then go to the party supply store to purchase whatever other colours that I can't get at any of the dollar stores.  However, with this particular photo shoot, I was able to purchase all of the bright colours (yellow, lime green, orange, white) from a dollar store.  Yay!  You can also purchase different coloured balloons from the dollar store or a party supply store.  The variation in colours applies the same as with the streamers.

All you need to do it tape each streamer to the wall and mix it up so that it offers variety and covers the entire wall.  OR, if you do not have access to shoot against a wall (due to furniture covering it), you can set up stands with a rod and then tape the streamers to the rod.

You can see more photos from this cake smash photo session on my portrait photography blog.  Enjoy.

The paper streamers are taped to the wall using scotch tape.
Here is a pull back of my set up for the photo session.
End result.  Shot using Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens.  Shot at f 5.6 at 250/sec 

You can view more photos of this cake smash photo session on my photography website.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Invisible bike helmet

My Facebook news feed keeps showing me some amazing things.  Today was no exception.  One of my friends in Vancouver (a very green friendly city that I had the pleasure to live in for a few years) posted a link about an invisible bike helmet.  Of course, this made me very curious because the photo of the model in the link just had a headband on her head, so I had to check out how this headband could miraculously save a biker's skull in a bike accident.  Boy was I wrong.

I used to cycle to work when I was a student going to my part time job.  I also used to cycle to work every day when I lived in Vancouver as well as in Japan, so I understand the importance of wearing a bike helmet.  I always wear a helmet because I want to protect my skull and brain.  However, some people are willing to go without a helmet because they don't like how it looks or feels.  This invisible helmet is for them.

Please take the time to watch the 3.5 minute video, which features two smart ladies (Anna and Terese) who came up with this brilliant idea (while still in school, no less) as well as at the end a demonstration of how their invisible bike helmet works.

If I still cycled, I would want to purchase one of these amazing invisible bike helmets.  Imagine having an air bag specifically for your head?  A.MA.ZING! ! ! ! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sustainable Living NOMAD Micro Homes

I just came across this info in my Facebook news feed of a Canadian company that has created a concept of sustainable living houses.  Ian Lorne Kent is the designer of these sustainable living spaces.

Photos courtesy of NOMAD Micro Homes.

NOMAD Micro Homes is a Vancouver based company that creates small houses that have very little impact on the environment.  What an amazing concept to help people not only purchase an affordable house, but houses that have little to no negative impact on the environment.  What an amazing concept.  According to NOMAD's website their homes include, "Living area, kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area all seamlessly integrated into a 10' x 10' space." 

I am not going to lie, but for people who live in first world nations, living in a 10'x10' space seems pretty darn small.  Heck, I live in an old country home that is about 1400 square feet with no basement and I feel like it is too small for our family of four.  However, these homes are designed to be shipped anywhere in the world, so they can be used by couples purchasing their first home and cannot afford to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars on a first home.  They can also be sent to people in third world countries whose homes consist of grass huts or small tents.  And better yet, they can also be used by people in disaster areas whose homes have been destroyed.  Of course, you would need to change your way of living and thinking so that you own less possessions and are ok with that.  I admit that this is hard to do in first world nations where we are constantly told that buying stuff and having stuff is good.  But really when it comes down to it, less is always more for most things in life.

What I like a lot about these micro homes is that they can be moved anywhere at anytime since they are not set down on a concrete foundation.  Hence the word nomad.  If you decide that you want to move, just pack up your micro home onto a trailer and move it to your new property.

These micro homes would be an amazing idea for those in first world nations who want a cottage or cabin to get away to on the weekend to relax in nature.   They can be off the grid or live, depending on what you want/need.  And the icing on the cake is that NOMAD claims that their homes are, "termite, moisture, and fire resistant." 

Check out the gallery to get a better vision of what these micro homes have to offer.  I just wanted to share this info for anyone who is serious about living a more sustainable life, live off the grid or who would like to purchase an affordable home.

Of course, there are other micro home companies such as the US based Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and the UK based Micro Compact Home.  For those with families who need a slightly bigger home, there is the US based company FabCab which sells larger sustainable homes for a higher cost.

And speaking of living in nomad style homes, I have to mention how 80% of Mongolians are nomads and so they live in gers, which are these amazing wool structures, supported by wood that can easily be put up, taken down and transported to a new location.  I had the pleasure of staying in a ger while I visited Mongolia back in 2005.  I rode a horse to see a Mongolian family and how they really live.  It was a wonderful experience.

Me at a ger camp in Mongolia, August 2005.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My little lamb's July photo session, Part Two

Here are the other photos from my little lamb's July photo shoot for Nelli's Bowtique hair accessories on Esty.  These photos were MUCH easier to shoot since I talked my husband into helping me by getting my daughter to smile and putting her back in place when she tried to run away.  Enjoy.

By the way, if anyone is interested in the backdrops that I used, in the top photo, I stuck up sparkly paper flowers on the wall that I bought from the dollar store.  In the other photos, I purchased gorgeous black and cream coloured brocade style material from Fabricland.  It was curtain material that was on sale and when I saw it I knew that it would make a gorgeous backdrop.  Easy peasy and cheap too.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

My little lamb's July photo session, Part One

Well, I have been pretty busy the last few months with shooting portraits and a wedding as well as the post processing of all said images.  Man, do I miss the easy days of shooting film.  Photographers had much more time to do other work, instead of post processing, like we now do for digital photos.  Anyway, I just shot some photos of my little girl yesterday.  It took me HOURS to do four different setups.

You see, I was given some beautiful hair accessories by an Etsy seller with the purpose to photograph them with a child and then send her the files.  I finally made the time to do the photo shoot using my daughter since it was convenient to do everything at home. 

I gotta say that the last 3-4 months have been very difficult to continue with these monthly shoots of my daughter because she is not interested in having her photos taken.  Given the fact that she is 18.5 months old, she is more interested in running around and exploring than taking posing instructions from mommy.   But it is still my goal to do monthly photo shoots with her until she is at least two years old, so come hell or high water that is what's going to happen.

As you can see, she gave me a run for my money for the first two photo set ups.  The next two were easier when I had my husband help out.  I will be posting those photos next.

I hope that you enjoy these photos of my little girl as much as I do.  All of the pain and agony paid off with some lovely pictures that I can cherish of my daughter AND that Nelli's Bowtique can use for her advertising. 

My saucy little lamb.
This is what I had to deal with during this shoot.  But it's so cute!
See what I mean about being difficult to shoot?
My little lamb feeding a granola bar to her own baby.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Happy Canada Day!

Since Canada Day is coming in a few days, I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Canada Day.  I love my country and I am so grateful that my family and myself have the privilege to live in such an amazing and beautiful country.  My parents have a Canada day party every year, so I just wanted to share a photo of my little lamb from last year's Canada day party.  It's amazing how fast babies and children grow.

Happy Canada Day!!!!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My little lamb's spring outdoor photo shoot

It has been a LONG winter and I am SO happy that spring has finally arrived.  This past weekend was warm and sunny, which was great for my little girl and I to finally go for a walk outdoors.  I bought her a cute pair of rain boots a few weeks ago.  They are too big for her at present, but she LOVES them, so it was nice for her to be able to walk around outside wearing them.  And since it was almost her bedtime (7:00pm), the sunlight was a dreamy golden colour, which made for fantastic lighting for a couple of shots of her.

The next day was another warm, sunny day, so in the late afternoon I set up a large metal tub that I found at Winners.  (For my friends in the US, Winners is like Target, which I am happy to say that we will have here in Canada very soon.)  I filled the metal tub with warm, bubbly water and then I put my little girl in it to play and have fun while I snapped away some incredibly cute photos of her.  I got so many cute shots of her.  One of these days I will have to make a little book for her as a keepsake.

I am so glad that I am able to take so many photos of my little girl growing up.  At least she and I will have so many photos to look back on and reminisce when we are older.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

My little lamb's April photo shoot

Last week I shot my daughter's April photo shoot.  As I have stated before, my goal is to do at least one photo shoot per month for my daughter's first two years, since babies change so much during that time, I want to document the changes with pretty pictures.  So here is my daughter's April photo shoot that I just did.  I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do.

Also, for anyone who likes this fabric backdrop that I made, here are the instructions of how I make them.  Enjoy!

Look at that chubby body!  Love it!!!!

Is it wrong to always have a photo shoot in mind when I purchase her clothes?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Things I wish I knew before having a baby

When I was pregnant, I really had very little clue as to what I really needed to get for my baby when she arrived.  My husband has two boys, and when I asked him he told me he didn't know because 1) it was so long ago (his sons are 16 and 19) and 2) his ex took care of that stuff.

I googled to find a list of what I would need, but was also conscious of not wanting to spend a lot of money. We were fortunate to have a lot of stuff given to us from friends who didn't need the items anymore (crib, baby clothes, baby bathtub, bassinet, indoor baby seats, toys, jolly jumper, etc.)  I was also fortunate enough to also have two baby showers, so our little bundle was in very little want of anything.  However, when people asked what we needed, I was pretty clueless.  I did say older baby clothes as I was smart enough to make sure that we didn't end up with a zillion newborn clothes, which she would grow out of in a month.  If I could do it over again, I would have been very specific in what I wanted for many items.  Here is a small list of items that I think are quite good to have for your baby (at least I found them to be helpful for my own daughter.)

Baby Bibs:  I was ok with using the small cloth bibs for my daughter when she began to drool and also when I began to feed her food, since she was still small.  However, since she turned one I started using those soft plastic bibs with a deep pocket to catch food spills.  Now, instead of having to throw bibs in the daily wash, all I need to do is wipe them clean with a damp cloth, hang them on the chair to dry and they're ready for the next meal.  Easy peasy.  Unfortunately, I have an entire drawer full of all sorts of unused bibs that were given at my two baby showers because I added bib to my list of things that I needed.  I think the worst ones that I tried to use were the flat plastic ones with a pocket.  You can't throw them in the wash and it's too hard to clean out those pockets entirely.  They're just gross.

I love these bibs!  I got mine at  Maxi (Loblaws)
Exersaucer:  I probably wouldn't have bought it myself since I was pretty clueless to what good baby items are out there.  However, the Exersaucer was a gift given to my daughter from a friend.  I recommend it as it was a great way of keeping my little girl entertained while working out her legs.  And I could give her something to eat while she was in there too.

Jolly Jumper:   We were given a used Jolly Jumper from our friend.  This is something that I would for sure have gone out to buy myself anyway.  Maybe it's because I used one too when I was a baby.  I don't know.  My daughter liked using it too.

Sleepers:  For most of the year of my child's life (and as I type this up) my daughter has been wearing sleepers since she was born.  She was born in the winter, so of course she wore these to keep her warm.   I did not bother to dress her up in anything else when we went out because they were warm and snuggly.   She slept a lot, so it was better for her to sleep in her pajamas, instead of regular clothes.  I prefer to wear pajamas myself when I'm at home because they are comfortable, so why would a baby be any different?

When my daughter was about four months old, I started to dress her up in cute little dresses when we went to church, ONLY because she had been given a large amount of dresses and clothes as gifts.  Thus, I figured that she should start wearing these cute outfits before she was too big to fit into them.  I also used to dress her up for her monthly photo shoots in these cute outfits since she would only wear them once or twice (yes, ONCE or TWICE).  This is why I think that these cute little baby outfits are such a waste of money--at least to me.

Sleep Sack:  I was COMPLETELY clueless as to these things ever existed.  However, I received not one, but THREE of them as gifts for my daughter.  I didn't actually use them until her second winter, as she spent the first winter sleeping in a small bassinet and I thought it was easier to use blankets for her.  However, once I started to use them I was converted and realized that I had finally seen the light as to why these things are  SO amazing.

With conventional blankets, your baby will move around and can end up cold because they are no longer covered by a blanket.  But with a sleep sack, they are zipped up all snuggly, so they stay warm, but their arms are free to regulate their body temperature.  We just add a thin blanket over top at night to keep her arms warm, but if she gets hot, she can move her arms out from under it.

And the good thing with having more than one is if my daughter wakes up in the morning with a wet blanket, I have another one to use in case I can't do the laundry in time for her morning nap.

Sippy cups.  Not all sippy cups are created equal.  My first attempt at buying a sippy cup was a failure to me.  It not only had 5 detachable parts to it, but is also leaked.  My second attempt at a good sippy cup was the Playtex 1st Sipster Cup.  They're cute looking, only have 3 parts and don't leak.  I love them.  I throw them in the dish washer, take out the silicone liner to dry out and voila, it's ready to use again.  Love them!
1st Sipster Cup by Playtex

Bottles:  Again, not all bottles are created equal.  When I was breastfeeding, I was also pumping so that others could feed my daughter at times while I slept.  By far the best bottle to use to mimmick breast feeding is the Medela calma bottles.  When I first started breastfeeding and was having problems, I went to see a lactation consultant and this is what she recommended.  In my opinion Medela also has the best breast pumps.  We rented the Medela Symphony breast pump for one month.

Medela Calma Bottle with close up of nipple
Once I stopped breast feeding, I bottle fed my daughter and used the Medela bottles for a few more months, but then all of a sudden, my daughter didn't want to use them anymore (I think because she was starting to teeth), so I switched and started using Playtex Vent Aire bottles that my sister gave me for a baby shower gift.  My daughter is mow 15 months old and I still use them.  They are fine.  However, each bottle has five separate parts, so it's a real pain to hand wash every day.  A friend gave me one Avent bottle and it is so nice to only have three parts to wash, instead of five.  If I knew then what I now know, then I would have just asked for Avent bottles.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Healthy oatmeal cookies for your toddler and child

Firstly, I must mention that I am not a nutritionist, doctor or dietitian.  I am simply a mother who has a vested interest in her daughter's health and will do what I can to help keep her healthy.  If you are like me, you are also very concerned with what goes into your child's mouth. When my daughter started eating food at six months, I would only buy her organic food. I know that not everyone can afford to buy all organic food. Heck, neither can I since I am no longer working full time, so the rest of my family ate regular food and I just bought organic food for her.  But now that she is older, she is starting to eat some of the same foods as we do and she still gets some organic food.

Another thing that I regulate a lot is my daughter's sugar consumption. I do not want my toddler eating refined sugar.  I had a local bakery make a sugar-free birthday cake for her, using stevia to sweeten it.  (Heck, I don't even give her fruit juice to drink because of the high sugar content, which leads to a number of negative side effects.) Any baby snacks that I buy, I make sure are organic and I still read the ingredients in the organic items too.  According to Vincent Iannelli, MD, who is a board certified pediatrician, "instead of juice, children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits", which brings me to what I wanted to share with you in the first place.

A couple of days ago, one of my friends (Thanks Jackie!) posted on her Facebook news feed about a sugar-free oatmeal cookie recipe, which was originally posted on Dr. Don Colbert's Facebook Page.  Normally, whenever I hear about, or read the term, "sugar free", I immediately think that it is sweetened with those horrible, chemical sweeteners, which are complete NEUROTOXINS.  However, since this was posted by my friend, who is currently studying to be a nutritionist, I immediately clicked on the link to see the list of ingredients that I would need to make these cookies.   And when I read the list of ingredients, I noticed that it is a vegan-friendly recipe since it contains no eggs or dairy.  

Lucky for me, I had most of the ingredients. However, I did substitute Almond Milk with Soy Milk, since I didn't have any Almond Milk at home.

These are all of the ingredients you need in the recipe.  You can always add some stevia to add a little more sweetness.

Sugarless Oatmeal cookies 
  • 3 mashed bananas (ripe) 
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce (unsweetened)
  • 2 cups oats 
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (try to use the raisins that are not sprinkled in sugar or oil) 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Mix all of the wet ingredients together.  Then add raisins and oats and mix together.
  2. Drop a heaping spoon full for each cookie onto a lightly greased pan (or use parchment paper.)
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven.  (My oven bakes them in 16 minutes.)
(Yields 2 dozen cookies.)

Side Note:  Cinnamon has HUGE health benefits as do oats

After I made the cookies and let them cool, I fed them to my 15 month old daughter.  She really liked them, but I didn't doubt that she would since all of the ingredients are in her normal diet (minus soy milk.)  Although too much soy in a person's diet is never good, having only 1/4 cup in an entire batter is fine by me.

I must give one disclaimer about his recipe.  Personally, I found these cookies far too bland for my liking (ie. not sweet enough).  However, I have a MAJOR sweet tooth, so I am used to eating really sweet things AND it can easily be remedied by adding some Stevia, which is a natural sweetener.  But I must say that since there is no added sugar (except for what is found in the fruit) I am completely ok with my daughter eating this as a snack or small meal.  And since I do not give her sweets (she didn't even get a sugary cake for her first birthday), she has not developed a major sweet tooth like far too many babies and young children have with their families giving them cakes, candies, chocolate, etc.  

So I hope that you will try out this recipe and make a healthy treat for your kiddies.  

(P.S.  My daughter is currently sitting in my lap eating this healthy snack as I type this.)

Mash bananas and apple sauce together.
After mixing all wet ingredients together, add raisins and oatmeal.
 The cookies end up with a brown colour due to so much cinnamon in the batter.

You might also like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...