Just some of
my Kennedy’s favorite things plus some of the things Santa will be bringing her this year.
1 – Pippy Lou Boutique – Kennedy is obsessed with dresses. Obsessed. They have to have the right amount of twirl and girliness to them. Both Kennedy and I love the dresses from Pipppy Lou Boutique. They are fun, pretty, and affordably priced. If you have a tall girl like me order a size up. Kennedy’s 2T dresses are already a bit short on her!
2 – My Mom Snaps – I’ve said it before and I will say it again. If you have a kid who hates having their pictures taken get this book! It is beautifully illustrated and it will help get your kids excited about taking pictures. Love this book!
3 – Gothic City Blocks – I had this same exact set of blocks when I was a kid. Or maybe they were my brother’s. I don’t remember. What I do remember was playing with them for hours on end. Kennedy loves blocks. She loves stacking them as high as she can. It’s the only thing that keeps her attention for more than a few minutes. I know both of my kids will have fun building with these blocks.
4 – Very Chic Baby Princess Dresses – Kennedy is not just obsessed with normal dresses. She is also obsessed with princess dresses. Or, “lella” dresses as she calls them. I am not so obsessed with the shiny material and cheesy pictures of the princesses on the store bought dresses. I first bought Kennedy a dress from Very Chic Baby for Halloween 2011. I love the halter style of the dress. It grows with her and she can still fit into that dress from last year. Santa might be bringing her Rapunzel and Alice in Wonderland this year.
5 – Petite Creature Cubes – Puzzels also do a good job of keeping Kennedy’s attention. Blocks + a puzzle are sure to be a winner. Plus I love this sweet vintage design.
6 – Strider Bike – My girl loves being outside. Brayden had this bike when he was her age and while he’s not quite as an outdoorsy of a kid as Kennedy is he loved it. Kennedy is going to freak when she sees this under the tree in pink. I should probably buy her some knee pads too…
7 – Sweet Littles Handmade Dolls – I started a collection of redhead dolls for my redhead girl and the doll from Sweet Littles Handmade is by far my favorite. My only regret is that I would have ordered the Heirloom doll where Katy can incorporate a clothing item from your child or even from a parent or grandparent into the doll. How sweet is that?
8 – Flatout Frankie – I love toys where my kids can use their imaginations. These animal heads (they come in a unicorn and a dinosaur) are perfect for just that. I love that they are eco friendly. And what girl doesn’t need a unicorn?
I am a firm believer of doing one holiday at a time (and I’m just too darn busy to be able to multi task this time of year). So, now that Thanksgiving over I can finally start thinking about Christmas! This week I’ll be featuring some gift guides for all the important people in your life. First up is us, the Mom*togs! Because we really are the most important These are some of my favorite photography related gifts this year!
1 – Joby Ultrafit Sling Strap – No, this strap is not pretty. It doesn’t have some cool design. But, it’s functional for those who carry their cameras around with them a lot. No more smacking your kids in the head with your camera when you bend over. You can have your camera on you at all times so you are ready to capture those moments at a moments notice. It’s comfortable and made for women’s curves. I love, love, love my Joby Sling Strap and won’t ever be going back to normal camera straps again!
2- MotoX - If you are looking for an alternative to iPhones this is it. Earlier this fall, AT&T sent me a code to customize my own Moto X. While it took me some time to get used to using an Android phone I really liked it once I did. My favorite feature by far is the twist and take. You can twist your wrist twice and the camera appears without having to unlock your phone! How many times have you missed a moment because you couldn’t get to your phone fast enough?
One of my least favorite features of the iPhone is Siri. I just turned her off. So, I was reluctant to try the Google Now voice feature on the MotoX. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how well it worked and how easy it is. It can even recognize my voice when my kids are screaming in the same room! It’s great for driving and keeping your hands free and you and your passengers safe.
Lastly, I love how I could customize everything about the phone. The back, the buttons, even the wallpaper were all customizable. And it’s even assembled in tthe US. It’s a great phone!
3 – Canon 50 1.4 – This is the go to lens for Mom*togs. If you don’t have it in your camera bag put it at the top of your list. The 50 1.4 is great for shooting in low light with no flash. While it’s more expensive than the 1.8 you will be very pleased with the difference in quality. And, if Santa has the extra cash go for the 50 1.2. It’s my favorite lens.
4 – Ona Camera Bag – I came across this camera bag recently and I love how comfy it looks. And I love how it doesn’t look like a camera bag. Looks like there is plenty of space to throw in a couple of diapers and sippy cups as well!
5 – Mpix Thumbprint Photo Box – Do you love Instagram as much as I do? I love the Thumbprint Box from Mpix to display my Instagram pics, although it can be used for your normal prints as well. I opted for the 10 mounted prints versus the 50 normal prints. The mounted prints were much better for displaying. The box comes with 4 small easels to display your pictures. This is great for Mom*togs and also for grandparents!
6 – Artifact Uprising – Speaking of Instagram, I finally got Kennedy’s Project 365 book printed and I LOVE it. Artifact Uprising has books specifically made for Instagram prints. The interface is SO easy and I was able to make the whole book in less than half an hour. No Photoshop involved!
7 – Click Magazine – Click Magazine is the magazine for photograpHERs. It is specifically made for Mom*togs. There are tons of helpful tips and tricks from all of your favorite photographers. You will be so excited each time you see a new issue in your inbox!
8 – The UNmanual – I have to add in a shameless plug for my UNmanaul. This guide covers everything from aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to how to find the light and make it work for you in a clear and concise way. This is everything I teach in my Mom*tog Mentoring Sessions as well as at Camp Mom*tog. And it now includes access to our private Facebook page where you can ask questions related to the guide and post images for critique (if you’ve bought it in the past and would like an invite just shoot me an email!). With over 1000 copies of the UNmanual sold, I am proud that it has helped so many Mom*togs capture better images of their families! Last day of the Black Friday weekend sale going on until Monday 12/2 at midnight! No code needed.
I hope your Thanksgiving was fabulous! We started off our day with a Turkey Trot 5K where we missed our goal time by just 8 seconds! Then brunch at my parents. Followed up by some one on one time with Katniss Everdeen (I have such a girl crush on her). And we finished the day with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner of enchiladas (I am not a fan of Thanksgiving food).
I have SO much to be thankful for. My crazy kids. My supporting and loving husband. My thriving businesses. My amazing clients. And for all of you who continue to read my little blog. To say thanks I wanted to offer my traditional Black Friday sale. 40% off templates and manuals and, for the first time ever, 20% off online and in person mentoring sessions!
What’s also new this year is access to the private Mom*tog UNmanual Facebook page where you can post questions pertaining to the UNmanual and get critiques on your images! If you’ve purchased the UNmanual in the past email drew at drewbphotography dot com with the name you purchased the UNmanual under and the email address linked to your Facebook account!
The question I get asked most often has to be which camera is the best for a Mom*tog. And my answer has always been buy the best you can afford. There’s no need to feel like you have to buy the best and most expensive camera. A DSLR can be a huge investment. And the entry level DSLR cameras are relatively inexpensive nowadays. But, after getting my hands on lots of different cameras during Camp Mom*tog and talking to many Mom*togs about their needs I’ve come up with a few reasons why you should skip the entry level DSLR and go with a more expensive camera if you are in the position to do so.
1) Growing Pains – My first DSLR way back in 2005 was the Canon Rebel. It was a great little camera and still is (I gave it to my Dad when I no longer needed it), but I outgrew it fast. Within a year I had upgraded to the 30D. If I would have just bought the 30D to begin with I would have saved the $1200 I spent on the Rebel (yes, Rebels were $1200 in 2005!!!). If you have intentions of going pro or if you have a great interest in photography and plan on working hard to be the best Mom*tog you can be, the entry level cameras might not be your best bet.
2) Limited ISO Capabilities – with the entry level cameras you will have extremely limited ISO capabilities. This is the number one complaint I hear from Mom*togs. You can be a great photographer, but if your images are grainy because your camera can’t handle an ISO of 600 or 800 that’s frustrating.
Plus, the entry level cameras have less choices for your ISO speed as well. For example, on some entry level cameras you will only have the choices of 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, and 3200. On higher end cameras like the 5D Mark II, which I shoot with, you have many more ISO speed options – 100, 125, 160, 200, 250, 320, 400, 500, 640, 800, 1000, 1250, 1600, 2000, 2500, 3200, and even more options above 3200 (although I never shoot above 1600).
3) Shooting Manual – With several of the entry level DSLR cameras it’s relatively hard to shoot manual. On many of those cameras there is no dial dedicated to controlling aperture. When shooting kids you have to be fast. With no dial dedicated to aperture and having to go through an extensive menu to change the ISO it’s hard to be fast! Cameras like the Canon 60D have separate dials to control the aperture and shutter speed, which makes shooting manual that much easier.
4) Bigger Sensor = Better Images – I’ve never been one who cares too much about megapixels. The majority of DSLR cameras now all have more than enough megapixels. Once you get over a certain number of megapixels (some say 16) it really doesn’t matter. But, I do care about the size of the sensor.
Sensors are essentially the equivalent to film. They are made up of millions of light sensitive spots that record information. So, it can be inferred that a bigger sensor will produce better images since it will be able to record much more information. This is why full frame cameras cost significantly more than those with cropped frame sensors. Most of your entry level cameras come with cropped sensors. The sensors are going to be smaller, which allows for less information to be recorded.
If your budget only allows for an entry level camera, no problem. If you are upgrading from a point and shoot you will love it! But, if you can stretch your budget a bit go for the next step up. You get what you pay for and you won’t regret it!
My recommendation – the Canon 6D. It has a full frame sensor and gets good marks on ISO performance. The price tag for just the camera body is around $1900. It’s not cheap, but it will grow with you as you learn.
And remember, lenses are just as important, if not more, than the camera itself. So, leave room in your budget for a great piece of glass as well!
Going on vacation is an opportunity to create amazing memories with your family and also capture them with your camera. If you’re like me you want to enjoy the memories while capturing them. I don’t want to be weighed down by lots of gear. Below are my must have photo essentials for better travel photos.
Carry On Bag
While traveling by air, it’s essential to have a bag that will protect all of your expensive gear. Look for a bag that meets international and US carry-on size requirements, as well as one that has enough padding and compartments for your gear. I purchased a Think Tank Airport Airstream years ago, and while it’s an investment, it has protected my gear and held up great. The bag has a TSA lock and also a security cable combination lock that allows you to lock it to immovable objects — no need to put all of my gear in the safe every time I leave my hotel room. It also has room for my laptop and even some of my kid’s gear!
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