#Sponsored: Another @PhotoPad_VG #Giveaway! ($25 OR $100 Amazon GC – Your Choice!)

sampleDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by PhotoPad. Any opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

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Last month, I ran a contest for a $100 Amazon Gift Card, and I have to say, I’m a little baffled. There wasn’t one entry on that giveaway post! That’s just crazy!

So, I approached the owner of photoPAD, and we talked. We want to give you another chance to win! I’ll get to the giveaway in a minute. 🙂

While I kind of kept a business focus on my last post, I want you to see how great this can be for sharing family photos with those you love most!

Take a look at my family PAD:

Isn’t it cute? And it only took a few minutes to make. Now, I can share my PAD with family and friends on Facebook, twitter, or through email at the click of a button!

It’s like digital scrapbooking without all the headache, expense, and frustration. It’s so easy to create a PAD!

Just in case you’ve forgotten, here are the steps to create your own PAD:

  • First, head to the PhotoPad website.
  • In the top right corner, click on “Start Exploring.”
  • Click on “Join Today.” (Takes 30 seconds to join. SO easy!!)
  • Click on the Plus (+) sign at the top left of the page to create a new pad.
  • Follow the steps to Describe your Pad and get to work using the tools on the right!
  • Now, add pictures and create pages to complete your Pad.

Be sure to save your work at the end, and then you can share your pad by finding the link and sharing through social media. To find the link to your Pad, go to the home page, then click the funnel icon. Just click on “My Pads” and there you have it! SO easy!

I really want to encourage you to try out the new photoPAD for yourself. I think you’re going to love it!

And, to reward you, we’re holding another giveaway. You can win a $25 Amazon Gift Card OR a $100 Amazon Gift Card – your choice. Here’s how it will work:

  • 1. To enter for a $25 Amazon Gift Card, visit the PhotoPad Business Facebook Page. (Because we can’t ask you to “like” the page, according to Facebook rules, we sure would appreciate a “like” if you “like” what you see!)
  • 2. Want to increase your prize to a $100 Amazon Gift Card? Simply create your own Pad, with at least 2 slides, using the PhotoPad creator. (Follow the steps above.)
  • 3. Leave a comment on this post and tell me you did the above. If you created a pad, please leave a link to your PAD in your comment.(You MUST leave a link to your pad in order to win the $100 prize.)

Contest will end Sunday, January 17th at 11:59pm, and winner will be announced and contacted on January 18th.

Winner has been selected…. thanks to all who entered!

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#Sponsored: @PhotoPad_VG Makes Business Better | $100 Amazon GC #Giveaway

sponsoredDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by PhotoPad. Any opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

photopad_logo

When you run a business, it’s so important to “brand” your business. Even with my blog, I’ve tried to brand myself so that when people see my logo or maybe even an anchor, they think of “Blessed Beyond Words.”

Do you own a business or a blog and need to brand yourself? PhotoPad is the best way to brand your business through Photo Stories.

You won’t believe how easy it is to start creating!

  • First, head to the PhotoPad website.
  • In the top right corner, click on “Start Exploring.”
  • Click on “Join Today.” (Takes 30 seconds to join. SO easy!!)
  • Click on the Plus (+) sign at the top left of the page to create a new pad.
  • Follow the steps to Describe your Pad and get to work using the tools on the right!
  • Now, add pictures and create pages to complete your Pad.

Be sure to save your work at the end, and then you can share your pad by finding the link and sharing through social media. To find the link to your Pad, go to the home page, then click the funnel icon. Just click on “My Pads” and there you have it! Easy, right? (Ok, I’ll admit. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to find my finished pad, but I did it!)

Here’s what my finished Pad looks like:

Not too shabby for my first try, right? I love it!

While PhotoPad is still in beta, I have to say, I’m in love with it! This is such a great way to share photos with clients, and even with friends and family!

Don’t run a business? That’s ok! PhotoPad is still the perfect way to show off your beautiful babies! In November, I hired a photographer friend to take photos for my family. Here are the results of that:

Super cute, right? And what a fun, easy way to show off my photos! I just love it! Now, I can quickly and easily share all the latest happenings with my family.

Now, PhotoPad wants YOU to try out their new program, and they’re giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky winner!

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Create your own Pad using the PhotoPad creator. (Your pad *must* have at least 5 slides.)
  2. Like the PhotoPad Business Facebook Page.
  3. Leave a comment ON THIS BLOG POST letting me know you did both. (Please leave a link to your created Pad in the comment. I want to check them out.)

That’s all you have to do! Remember to leave a link to your Pad as a comment on this post, because that’s how we’ll pick the winner!

Now, go create! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

*Contest Ends January 1st at 11:59pm. Winner will be announced and contacted January 2nd. Facebook is not associated with this giveaway in any way.

Guest Post: 8 Photography Tips for Travelers

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Whether you want to fill your Instagram account with vacation photos or you’re going to create professional-looking prints once you get home, here are eight photography tips every traveler should know.

1. Ask permission before shooting. This is especially important if you’re photographing an individual or group of people, but also if you’re shooting indoors at an event or attraction. Some attractions don’t allow photography.

Also, some people don’t want their photo taken or they don’t want photos of their children taken. Check out other Orlando travel tips from Hipmunk.

2. Once you’ve received permission to take someone’s photo, offer to send the image to them if they give you their e-mail address. This is a great way to get on their good side, either before or after you shoot the image.

3. Before quickly snapping the shot, think for a second about what exactly you want to capture. By taking an extra moment to focus, you can make an amateur image look much more professional. Think about what you want to include in the photo, what exactly it is you want to convey and the best way to take the shot.

4. Apply the rule of thirds, which says to position the subject of the photo so it’s offset by one-third, either to the left or right. You can apply this rule vertically, too. Centered subjects are the mark of an amateur photographer; to make your image more interesting, use the rule of thirds.

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5. When capturing human or animal subjects, make sure to capture their eyes in at least one frame. This is the best way to capture their spark. Ideally, you’ll shoot while looking at the subject head-on. If you can’t get close to the subject, like if you’re shooting an animal from far away, use your zoom setting.

6. Use a flash even when you’re outside. You don’t only have to use the flash when you’re inside. For example, if bright sunlight is creating harsh light, the flash may get rid of some shadows. Just pay attention to the shutter settings so that you don’t overexposure your subject or the background.

7. Don’t distract from the subject of your photo with a bunch of stuff in the background. Make sure the background is free of signs, objects, other people and cars.

8. Fill the frame, whether while you’re taking the shot or by cropping during processing. If you’re shooting with your smartphone, it’s better to take the shot and then crop it later. If you use your iPhone or other smartphone to zoom, you’ll lose a lot of quality.

Not sure what images you should take during your trip? Check out what other travelers photographed while in the same area. This will help you start a shot list or at least get a good idea of what people find intriguing and worthy of a photo.

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This article was contributed by Fiona Moriarty of Hipmunk, a complete travel platform that allows you to do everything from comparing charter flights and train rides, to finding the best resort hotels and Airbnb rentals.

What Sets a Maternity Photographer Apart?

A professional maternity photographer is a truly skilled artist who is able to create a lasting image of a pregnant woman, allowing the beauty to shine through. Pregnancy is a truly unique and incredibly special time, and this means it is perfect for portraits to be created as well. However, before you book yourself in, there are a few things you need to think about.

maternity photographs

How to Find a Good Maternity Photographer

While some women want to have their picture taken as soon as they are pregnant, the best time to actually do this is when you are around seven and a half month pregnant. The exception is if you want to create a timeline, showing how your baby has grown over the months.

Next, you need to actually find your maternity photographer. Most will offer free consultations, and you should use this if you can. This is an opportunity for you to find out whether you will be comfortable with the photographer, what their plans are to photograph you, what their prices are, their methods of working and more. It is also an opportunity to look through their portfolio.

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There are a few questions in particular that you may want to ask. These include:

  • Do the photographs have to be taken in a studio, or can they come to your home?
  • Do you need any props?
  • What sort of clothes should you wear?
  • How much of your skin will show?
  • Can other family members of pets be included in the photographs?
  • Will you be in a private facility?
  • Will you be given proofs of the photographs, or a CD with the proofs?
  • Are the photographs copyrighted or can you reprint them?
  • Will anyone else see the photographs?
  • Can you include any special effects?

Once you have spoken to a few photographers, you should choose the one that you seem to have gelled with the most. This must related to personality, but also to the end project goals and your budget unfortunately. Make sure you have a good rapport with your photographer, as this will translate into a stunning image.

How to Take Maternity Photographs

The shape of the body of a pregnant woman can be captured in various ways. A lot of women prefer to wear as few clothes as possible, as it accentuates their shape. Thanks to studio lighting, however, the focus can be on your full profile, your belly or any other part of your body. You must discuss what you want to achieve with your photographer.

A maternity picture is a beautiful work of art. Too many women feel they look awful when they are at the height of their pregnancy, but they don’t. They radiate beauty and show what nature is all about. That is something to be celebrated. Finding a good maternity photographer will help you to achieve this, and will allow you to have a permanent momentum of one of the most special times in your life.

Have a Photographer in Your Life? Check Out these Gifts! #SaveBIG

Disclaimer: Affiliate Links are included in this post. Thanks for supporting Blessed Beyond Words!

camera necklace

As many of you are aware, I am a photographer. I’ve run my own business for almost 8 years now. That being said, I *love* all things photography related. And when you combine cameras and jewelry? Well, that’s just a little bit of heaven for me.

So, when I saw the following gifts on Amazon for CHEAP, I had to grab one (of each!) for myself, and then share them with you.

Black & Silver Camera Necklace: $.85 + FREE SHIPPING:


Red & Sliver Camera Necklace: $.91+ FREE SHIPPING:

Black & Gold Camera Stud Earrings: $2.95 + $2.95 SHIPPING:

*Please note: The two necklaces listed above are NOT guaranteed to arrive before Christmas, however, the black and gold earrings ARE guaranteed by Christmas, but you have to order soon!

Hope you love these deals as much as I do!!

 

Check Out the Fotor Shape Collage #Sponsored #Review

Sponsored PostDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by Fotor. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

It’s hard to find someone who loves photos as much as I do. I won’t tell you how many boxes of photos I have (from before the digital age) or how many external hard drives I have that are full of photographs of family, clients, nature, and just about anything else you can think of. (All family friendly, of course.)

That’s why I was so excited to learn about Fotor. Fotor is a free, online photo editing website.

For this review, they asked if I would try their online shape collage.

Oh my goodness! It is SO much fun to use, and it is by far the easiest online photo editor I have ever used. It literally took me less than 2 minutes to have this image saved to my computer:

heart collage

And I had so much fun making that collage that I decided to create another photo collage with my favorite fall photos from this year:

photo collage

Isn’t that fantastic? I just love it! And it was so easy to create. Then, once I was done creating, I could decide if I wanted to save it to my computer or if I wanted to share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media networks. I saved it to my computer, and then I decided to share it with all my Facebook friends. (You can see the Facebook post here: Sharing on Facebook.)

I am really impressed with the Fotor Photo Editor, and I cannot get over how quick and easy it is to use! In moments, I had exactly what I wanted saved to my computer. I just love it! Even uploading the photos only took a few minutes. I didn’t use huge files, but it still seemed to move super fast!

Another great feature of the photo editor is that you don’t have to be a graphic design artist to make it work. They have all the templates and layouts you need to create until the end of time! You’ll never run out of ways to share your photos!

The best part about Fotor? It’s completely free to use! LOVE that!

If you love sharing your photos with the world, and if you love being creative, I highly recommend you check out the Fotor website. Your friends and family will love seeing what you come up with.

Have you tried Fotor? Do you love it as much as I do?

A Sweet 16 Birthday Cake {Photo Overload}

Last week, my oldest daughter turned 16. The only thing she wanted for her birthday was a party with our closest friends and family. Let me tell you, that doesn’t sound like much… until you start planning a party for 50 people. I.AM.EXHAUSTED.

But, she had an amazing time, and I was so blown away by her cake that I just had to share the cake pictures with you.

Sweet 16 Birthday Cake

Beautiful, isn’t it? I’m certain it is a million times more beautiful than my wedding cake was. A friend of ours did it all by hand, and we were all truly blown away. Oh, and if you were wondering, the damask tier at the bottom is a box I found at Hobby Lobby. 🙂

Here are a bunch more pictures:

Sweet 16 Cake

 

Sweet 16

 

Sweet 16

 

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Every flower was handmade and placed perfectly on there. 16 flowers for her 16th birthday.

Isn’t it beautiful? Wish I had known the wonderful lady that made it back when I got married. She did such an amazing job.

What do you think?

Addicted to Instagram? Make a Book! (Affiliate Links)

Affiliate Links

Do you love instagram? I do! I share at least one picture every day on there – sometimes even 2, 3, 4, or more pictures. 🙂

Some of my very favorite pictures that I have taken have been put on instagram. (You can see all my pictures here: Angie Vinez on Instagram)

One thing I would love to do is get my favorite instagram photos and compile them into a book. Then, I could quickly and easily show off my favorite pictures to friends and family, and have them safe and secure all in one place. It would be so great to make them every year and watch how the kids have grown and changed. (And hopefully how my iPhone shooting skills have improved as well.) 🙂

Right now, Blurb is having a special where you can get 15% off your order. So, what are you waiting for? Head on over and start creating your instagram book now!

Thanks for supporting Blessed Beyond Words by clicking the links in this post! You are appreciated! 🙂

Camera Lens Shaped Mug Just $14!

Camera Lens Mug

I am all about things that are unique and fun… and if they have to do with photography, well, I just love them even more.

That’s why I am SO excited that today’s deal from Eversave is for a camera lens shaped mug. Regular size is $14, travel size is just $16. Those are almost 71% off the regular price. (Best part?? They are Canon themed lenses. SWOON.)

Click the banner below to get your camera lens coffee mug today. This would make the perfect gift for the photographer lover in your life… or for yourself!

SanDisk Shows You How to Take Better Baby Photos

I’ve got a new baby in the house, and being a photographer, you can bet there will be lots – and lots – of pictures to share. In fact, as I type this, I’ve got my living room transformed into a studio so that I can snap a few more shots of her whenever “the moment” arises.

But what if you’re not a professional photographer? What if you need some tips on getting those perfect shots of your own sweet little one?

Thanks to SanDisk, you don’t have to look any further!

Photographer, author, and educator Erin Manning provides her Top 3 Tips for capturing better baby photos. She will give you advice on setting the scene, getting close to the baby for those perfect images, and why she uses a SanDisk Ultra SDHC card to be sure she never misses a shot.

Take a moment and watch the video below to learn how to take better baby photos.


Disclaimer: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for SanDisk. I received a product sample to thank me for participating.

Day 29: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 29: Today, I am giving thanks for my camera.

30 Days of Giving ThanksWhile I am horrible about actually getting pictures printed, (ask my family – our last printed family portrait only contains kids 1 – 4), I do love that I can use my camera to capture moments like this:

And many, many, MANY more…

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks.

NAPCP Photography Tips & a GlVEAWAY! {Ends 11/9}

As a photographer, I could not be more excited about getting the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and share this giveaway with you on behalf of the NAPCP (National Association of Professional Child Photographers).

First, let me tell you a little about the NAPCP.

The National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) is an association whose mission is to promote and support the artistry and integrity of professional child photographers. The NAPCP connects parents searching for child photographers in their area with its professional members by providing a comprehensive directory of photographers and informative articles on what to expect from their professional photography experience. Serving as a valuable resource for both photographers and parents, NAPCP continually strives to raise industry standards in child photography.

The holidays are just around the corner, and I am sure you are already thinking about and planning your holiday family portraits for your holiday cards, right?

Here are the top 10 tips for taking photos of your children, courtesy of the NAPCP. (I will also be adding my thoughts and/or examples to these tips.)

TOP TEN TIPS FOR TAKING PHOTOS OF YOUR CHILDREN

1. Get on their level: Lay or sit down on the floor to capture the perfect picture. Not only will you be able to see the world from their vantage point, but you’ll also have better perspective and angles when shooting.

In the picture above, Lucy was lying flat on her belly, so I got flat on my belly and shot right at her level. This has always been one of my favorite portraits of her.

2. Lighting is key: Most parents think that having great lighting can be replaced with a camera’s flash, but the flash can actually make children appear washed out. Instead, utilize indirect, natural lighting by shooting near a window in the house or under the shade of a tree.

There is so much you can do with lighting. You can create cool silhouette effects, or you can move to the shade to get away from the harsh sunlight. Below are two photos that show the different ways I used the same natural outdoor light, first as a silhouette effect and then with a flash to see the family:

3. Never stop shooting: For every good shot, there are typically about 8-10 bad ones, but that’s the beauty of having a digital camera! Change the setting to continuous shooting mode to capture lots of shots in the midst of action. Even most standard point-and-shoot cameras have some sort of “sport mode” that can accomplish this task.

I couldn’t agree with this more! Even the very best photographers get shots that aren’t very good, and that’s why we take so many pictures and only show the very best ones. 🙂 Continuous shooting mode will eat your battery a little faster, but you can get some incredible sequence shots, and you may just get that perfect shot with your little one looking right at your camera.

4. Get to know your camera: Consult your camera’s manual or look up the settings online so that you can take full advantage of all of its different settings. Three key ones to experiment and get comfortable with are the aperture setting, the shutter speed and the ISO setting.

Yes, yes, YES!!! There is a reason your camera comes with a manual. It is full of tips, tricks, and “how-to”s for you to learn how to make your camera function to the best of its ability. If there are things you aren’t sure of, get online and google “how to use xx camera” – you may find forums, tips, and other ways that will help you out even more.

5. Consider black and white: Black and white photos are not only timeless and classic, but they can also easily cover up the redness and blotchiness on newborns and babies. Adjusting the black and white settings is usually easiest to do after the photo session in photoshop or picasa.

Black and white is an excellent option for a more “elegant” look… or to hide those blemishes. Look at the difference between this newborn picture in color and then in black and white:

 

6. Make it fun for them: Kids love to play with their parents, so turn a photo session into play time! Play games, tell jokes and sing songs with them – pretty soon, they’ll forget that you’re taking pictures.

I had one family in Ohio that actually requested I take photos of them dancing. We turned the music all the way up and they danced their hearts out. It ended up being their favorite portraits, and they had them blown up and put all over the walls of their house. Another tip: If you are taking photos, and you cannot get the kids to look at the camera and smile, take a break and allow them to take a few “funny face” pictures. It gets the smiling, and it helps them understand that the sooner they look and smile, the sooner they can be done. 😉 

7. Get up close and personal: Get close or zoom in to capture all of the small details that make your child unique.

I am all about the super closeups. I’ve got tons of them of my kids. The first example above is one of my favorites, but here’s another one:

8. Pay attention to the background: Before you start shooting, make sure that any unwanted or distracting items, like a vacuum cleaner or piles of clothes, are out of the way and out of the shot.

Sometimes this can’t be helped, especially if you are shooting candid shots. But, if you are actually stopping what you are doing to take photographs, take your child to an area with a pretty background, or remove unwanted objects from your line of vision.

9. Bring your camera everywhere: You never know when inspiration will strike. Camera phones make it easier to capture the everyday moments with your children – they can take decent pictures, but don’t always print well because of their low resolution.

I have 2 cameras, my professional camera and a point and shoot that fits in my purse or the diaper bag. While my point and shoot is always on hand, 99% of the time, I have my professional camera in the trunk or car, just because you never know when you might happen along the perfect setting or lighting for that “must have” shot. And, yes, I do use my camera phone for some shots, but only to upload to Instagram or Facebook – never to print.

10. Show off their personality: Standard portrait photos are parent favorites, but don’t hesitate to shoot pictures of them in their natural settings and behaviors. Their quirky and adorable habits today can usually create the best photos that you’ll treasure years later.

I love natural, candid photos. And when I think of grabbing shots of my kids as they are, I have one photo that stands out in my mind, and always brings a smile to my face.

The photo above is of my son, Jace, when he was a little over 18 months. That’s just him, playing in the yard, clothes off, pretending to be a cowboy. It’s a shot I will treasure forever… and will someday use to embarrass him if necessary. 😉

What do you think? Helpful tips? Anything you would add to them?

What if you’re still unsure about taking family photographs? Then, I’d highly recommend you check out the NAPCP website to find a professional child photographer in your area.

Whether you choose to use the photography tips above, or decide to contact a photographer through the NAPCP website, the NAPCP wants you to walk away with a way to “Fill your frames.”

To help you do just that, the NAPCP is offering one lucky Blessed Beyond Words reader a uniquely beautiful picture from from The Organic Bloom. Normally, these custom-designed frames are sold exclusively to professional photographers, but now you have the chance to win one of your very own!

To enter, use the rafflecopter gadget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own and have not been influenced away. Tips provided by the NAPCP. The NAPCP and The Organic Bloom will provide one winner with a picture frame. I will also receive a picture frame of my own as a thank you for sharing this post. 

The Year in Pictures…. So far…

I know, I know… it’s only April. But, I wanted to share a special project that I’ve been working on for the past few months. My goal is to take a photo every day of 2012 and document it. So far, I’ve done really well. I’ve taken at least one photo every day, and I’ve uploaded it to an album on Facebook. It hasn’t been easy. And I don’t always use the same camera… sometimes I use my phone, sometimes I use my crappy little point and shoot, and other times I use my professional camera. {You can tell by the variance of the quality of the photos.}

Are you participating in a Project 365 {ummm, guess it would be Project 366} photo challenge? Are you keeping a record of all your photos for the year in one place? At the end of the year, I’d like to put together an album of all the pictures I took. I think it would be a great way to remember this year.

You can view all of my photos here:

Project 2012 – A Photo A Day

Here are a few of my favorites from the album {so far, anyway} :

If you’re participating in something similar, and you’re keeping your photos online, I hope you’ll take a minute and leave a link to your album here:

Why Can’t I Just Trust Him to Take Care of It?

Last week, the day before Gage’s party – and also the day before I was scheduled to take family pictures for my best friend AND pictures of my Grandparents and the kids, I blew up my photography studio light. And I mean I truly blew it up. I plug it into the outlet, and sparks came flying out of the light. Craziest, scariest thing I have ever seen. I tried to turn it back on, and nothing. No flash. No light. No sign of power.

Immediately, I burst into tears. How was I going to take pictures for everyone? How was I ever going to replace this $350 light? We don’t have that kind of money. Not right now, anyway.

I immediately started praying. “Lord, I can’t fix this light. I can’t afford to replace it. I can’t do anything to make this situation any better. You have to take care of this for me. I was so certain it was your will that I finally open my photography studio back up, and this happens. If this isn’t meant to be, I’m ok with that. I just need a clear answer.”

The next day, I used my flash to take portraits for my best friend as well as for the grandparents. The pictures turned out quite well, and my best friend says she absolutely loved her family portrait. God worked that all out.

The next day, I found out about a local photographer that was shutting down her business. She decided to sell everything. I happened to ask her if she had a light for sale, and she did – for $150. That’s $200 less than it would have cost me just to replace the light I blew up.

I didn’t have $100, so I started praying again. “Lord, this is an amazing opportunity. She has the exact light I need at a much more reasonable price. I know I don’t have the money right now, so I’m just going to trust that you will provide, and when the time is right, I’ll be able to purchase the light.”

The very next morning, I woke up to find $150 had been sent to my paypal address during the night for design jobs I had done for people over the last 2 weeks. Talk about an answer to prayer. He provided every single penny I needed to purchase the light. Plus, I already had some money in Paypal, so not only was I able to get the light, I was also able to get several new backdrops and props – and I was still $150 less than if I had purchased a brand new light.

I don’t know why I can’t just trust God to take control. I’m always so surprised when he works every detail out and makes His plan clear. I know that I am supposed to open the studio back up. He has made that abundantly clear. But after 5 years of having to resort to only shooting weddings or on-location shoots, it was so hard to believe that everything could just work out and I’d be able to open my doors again.

I am so good at putting everything in God’s hands, but then I think I either need to figure out how to ‘fix” it on my own, or I fret and worry about how He’s going to work it all out. I can never seem to just let go and let Him work it out according to His plan. And when He DOES answer my prayers, I’m actually surprised. Why can’t I just have faith that He will take care of it all?

Do you find yourself surprised when God answers your prayers? Or is it easy for you to just Let Go and Let God?

If You Were Attending a Photography Talk…

What would you expect the person speaking to discuss?

The reason I ask is because I will be doing the speaking at my local MOPS group next Thursday night, and I’m having a hard time narrowing down a specific topic to discuss.

In December, I gave a short photography “teaser.” I offered the moms at our meeting 7 tips for taking better photographs. It was short, to the point, and was a ton of fun. There were even handouts!

But now, I’ve got to come up with enough discussion to cover at least 45 minutes. I could talk about photography for hours on end, but I need to hone in on a specific topic.

So, I’m coming to my wonderful readers. You always have the best ideas, and I KNOW you can help me out.

I will not be standing in a room of professional photographers. I’ll be talking to moms who want to get better pictures of their kids. Most of them will be using point and shoot cameras. I want to be able to help them get the most from their cameras and take the best pictures possible.

So, if you were going to a photography talk, what would you hope the photographer would share? What questions would you ask the photographer?

Do you think it would make sense to bring along my 6 kids and use them as props? I can show different poses, and such. Would that benefit you if you were at the meeting?

Help me out, friends. I’ve got one week to come up with something awesome. 🙂

Tornadoes… In The Mountains!

My husband and I had been planning a date night for weeks. Last Friday night was supposed to be “our” night. We were going to head up to Murphy, NC and eat at Brother’s Restaurant. Then, we’d spend some time shopping – hitting the shoe stores, Big Lots, Walmart, and anywhere else we wanted to go. I was finally going to be able to swing into Cato’s and buy some pants that fit me. {Mine are so big now! Yay!}

I have no idea why, but hubby and I gave up our date night and decided to take the boys to see The Lorax that night… in Hiawassee, GA.

What we didn’t know is how one little decision to stay out of Murphy may have saved us from danger… or potential death.

Friday night, a tornado tore through Murphy, NC, destroying as much as it could. It ripped roofs off buildings, picked up semi trailers and threw them into fields, ripped houses apart, uprooted trees, and damaged buildings.

We live in the mountains. As gullible as I am, I assumed a tornado could never gather enough speed or strength to touch down in the mountains.

Boy, was I wrong.

Saturday afternoon, I went up to Murphy to see the damage. I wanted to visit the party store and grab a few items for Gage’s party, and I needed to run into Walmart to grab some essentials.

My heart broke to see the damage that happened everywhere. So many lives were changed in a matter of minutes. What scared me the most is that my husband and I could have been right in the middle of it. As I drove through, I couldn’t help but think of the phrase, “But for the Grace of God…”

But for the Grace of God, my husband and I were miles away from where the tornado touched down.

But for the Grace of God, not a single soul was killed or injured in all the devastation.

But for the Grace of God, everything will be ok again.

At Walmart, I got out of the car and snapped a few pictures…. look what happens when a tornado rips through the mountains:






On my Facebook Fan page, I’ll share a link to more photos of the damage. I couldn’t even get to where the party store was at, the damage was so bad. 🙁

I am so thankful that no one was hurt in the tornado. My thoughts and prayers are still with the families, employees, and everyone working to rebuild their lives, homes, and businesses after the storm.

Personal items can be replaced…. people can’t.

I know tornadoes ripped through much of the Midwest last week. Prayers to every person affected by the storms… whether you were actually involved in them, or if it was someone you love.

Sarah Dawn Designs {Ends 12/10}

As a photographer and a designer, having access to beautiful Christmas cards is important to me. While I can make them myself, it’s hard for me to find the time to do so. And if I start, the perfectionist side of me won’t let me stop until it’s completely perfect.

It’s so much easier to be able to go to a website, find the perfect design, customize it if necessary, pop in my picture, and order my cards.

I have known Sarah of Sarah Dawn Designs for several years now. She has an amazing talent, and every design she offers proves just that.

For this review, I was asked to pick out a Christmas card, order it, download it, and customize it to my family’s needs.

I opted for this card:snowflake cardIt’s such a cute card, and since there’s already grey in it, I knew I could customize it to match our family photo exactly. I opted for the .psd file because I knew I would be making changes to it. Had I needed red and grey, I would have ordered the .jpg file and had Sarah change the name for me.

The ordering process was so easy. In less than 5 minutes, I placed my order and downloaded the file. I opened the card in my photo editing program. Another five minutes later, I had this:

my Christmas cardIt looks awesome! I love the way it turned out, and it only took me a few minutes to do. Here are the changes I made:

  1. Changed the font to a script font, changed the color of “Merry Christmas,” and added a shadow behind our family name.
  2. Changed the colors of the red snowflakes to blue and purple to match the kids’ outfits.
  3. Added in my picture.

What do you think? Adorable, isn’t it? I’ll send my order off to my photo lab this week, and I’ll actually be on the ball for sending out Christmas cards this year!

Overall, I am really impressed with Sarah Dawn Designs and would highly recommend her to anyone. Sarah offers beautiful card templates at a price anyone can afford. Photographers, if you are bogged down with orders and need to find Christmas card templates to use this year, definitely check out Sarah Dawn Designs.

You can learn more about Sarah Dawn Designs the following ways:

Sarah and I want to get you ready for Christmas, so Sarah has offered up one card download to one very lucky winner. {You pick the card!} Don’t want to wait for the giveaway to end? Now through December 1st, use the code Blessed11 and get 10% off any Christmas card order. That makes an already great price even better!

To enter, use the Rafflecopter gadget below:



Disclaimer: I received a digital image from Sarah Dawn Designs to facilitate my review. I was in no other way compensated for this post. Sponsor will fulfill the prize as stated above.

Artistic Letters Alphabet Photos Images Review & #Giveaway

This giveaway will end at 11:59pm on 10/29.

As you all know, I love photography. It’s a passion of mine. For Christmas, my gifts usually revolve around some form of photography. I love to use images and create collages and other special gifts.

If you haven’t heard of Artistic Letters Alphabet Photography, you have been missing out. I was introduced to them through Rafflecopter, and I have thoroughly enjoyed putting together projects that I’ll be giving as Christmas gifts to family and friends.

Here’s a picture of what I will be ordering for myself:

family collage

I’ve already placed my order with my photo lab, and I can’t wait for it to come in. I ordered it mounted on a 10″x20″ on a double weight matboard, and have a pretty cast iron stand I will put it in. I can’t wait to have the print in my hands so I can show it off.

I love the alphabet letters and numbers. There’s just so much you can do with them!

Here are a few example of other projects that have been done:

family sign

scrapbooking page

wedding present idea

So unique, so beautiful, and so easy to put together!

Also be sure to check out all the project ideas on the GET IDEAS HERE page.  These images can all be used for so many things – custom artwork, scrapbooking, digital design, announcements, greeting cards – the possibilities truly are endless.

Jodi has partnered with me and has created Exclusive Discounted Pricing of up to $4 select packages PLUS a bonus Freebie Damask Alphabet set of your choice with any purchase.  After you’ve checked out the website and browsed around, come back here and click on THIS LINK  to see discounted pricing and Freebie Choices.  This page is only available here to my readers and you won’t be able to find it on the website menu. 🙂  This sale and freebie set expires after Tuesday, November 1, so be sure to take advantage of this exclusive promotion while it lasts!

For this giveaway, Jodi is offering up a download of over 400 numbers and letters for you to use to create your own special gifts and projects. You will have Christmas gift covered if you win this giveaway!

To enter, use the Rafflecopter Gadget below:



And, remember: Even if you don’t win, you can still get the Exclusive Discounted Pricing and Freebie with purchase through Tuesday, November 1.

Disclaimer: I received a set of images to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. The sponsor, www.buyalphabetphotos.com, will fulfill the prize as stated above to one winner.

Score a 12.1 MP Vivitar Digital Camera for just $69!

Photo enthusiasts, wake up! This is one “Save” you are not going to want to miss from Eversave!

Right now, you can get a red 12.1 MP digital camera and accessories from Vivitar – a $130 value – for just $69 on Eversave. {New members get it for $66 when they use their $3 credit.}

vivtar camera save

Click this Photo to be taken to the save.

The deal includes the camera, a rechargable batter, charger, USB cable, 4 GB memory card, and a camera kit. The camera kit includes a camera case with carry strap, a mini tripod, a microfiber cloth, and specially formulated LCD cleaning fluid. You also get a 1-year warranty with the purchase of the camera. The camera featured a three-inch touch screen, 3x optical zoom, red-eye reduction, anti-shake, and face detection.

Since this is purchased directly though Eversave, there’s no voucher to redeem – and shipping is included! The camera and accessories will be shipped right to the address you provide during checkout on Eversave.

You have to hurry, though, because supplies are very limited, and it won’t last long! Christmas is just around the corner, and this would make the perfect gift for someone on your list.

More Must-Know Info:
•Limit 1 Save per person
•UPS Ground shipping is included; Please allow 5-7 days for delivery
•Promotional value expires on Oct 7, 2011

Click here to purchase this Save!

Disclaimer: I am sharing this save through Eversave. Affiliate links are above. Thanks for supporting Blessed Beyond Words!

8x10s are 50% off at @mpix Right Now!

I’m a HUGE fan of Mpix. In fact, when I need photos printed for myself, they are my first choice. They print and ship fast, and their customer service can’t be beat.

mpix rocksRight now, they are having a sale on their 8 x 10 prints.E-Surface prints are just $.99 {regularly $1.99}, or you can upgrade to Metallic or True Black and White prints and pay just $1.24 each. It’s an amazing deal.

To get the discount, you must enter promo code mpix8x10 at checkout. And you have to hurry, because this offer ends Wednesday, September 28th at midnight.

For more info, click here: 50% off 8×10 Sale at Mpix

Disclaimer: I am not being compensated for this post in any way, and there are no affiliate links included in this post. I love Mpix, and when I found out about the amazing deal on 8×10 prints, I had to share it with my readers.