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it's summer! {document it}

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it's summer! {document it}

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Often the moms and brides I work with are also their family documentarians—the ones making sure photos are taken during every event and vacation, and on most of the days in between. I get it, because I play that role in my own family. We want to make sure that it's all remembered: the big moments and the everyday ones, because we know how fast time goes.

Whether your camera is a big DSLR or an iPhone in your purse (or like me, some of each), there are ways to help your photos stand out and tell the story better. Here are a few of my favorite tips for getting better photos of your life and loved ones:

  • Vary your perspective. 

    Make sure to move around and see the scene in different ways. Get big-picture shots that show the setting, as well as close-ups of the details. 
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  • More than just faces.

Portraits with your subject looking at you are always nice of course, but make sure to capture some of the action too. Some of my favorite images are the ones in which no one is looking at the camera. Notice how your baby's toes wiggle and curl as she feels the texture of the grass, and snap a close-up of those delicious chubby feet!

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  • Find the light (and use it well). 

    In the middle of the day outdoors, this might mean looking for some open shade so your photos aren't overtaken by harsh sun. Indoors, I try to stay near windows and avoid artificial light sources in my photos whenever possible, and I never use flash unless I absolutely must, because it's simply not how the scene actually looks. 
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  • Know your equipment.

Learn to use your camera well! Practice nailing your focus so you miss fewer shots. Read the manual so that you can use more of the available features. If you own a DSLR or any other camera that allows you to shoot in manual mode, you will only be getting your money's worth if you learn to do so! If you're shooting on "auto", you might as well be using a much cheaper point-and-shoot. It's really easier than it seems. Check out basic online photography courses for this, from Click or The Define School
Even if you're just shooting with a smartphone, making sure you know how the camera works can make an enormous difference. One feature that I've noticed many people not taking advantage of: most phone cameras allow you to adjust brightness before even snapping the photo, by tapping the spot you want to expose for. For instance, if the people on your screen are showing up too dark, just touch one of their faces drag your finger up a little to brighten them more. 

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So you have all of these wonderful images, but now what to do with them? Please don't let them simply sit on your phone or hard drive. Enjoy them, and let them be seen! I've always loved creating albums, books, and prints from my images, and I also use them on cards and invitations throughout the year. 

I love stationery and paper. There was a time when I never would have considered an email invitation or card for an important event. The standard electronic cards seemed less special, often a bit cheesy and substandard in design, or let's face it: just plain ugly.

My goodness, has this changed! There is no longer a need to compromise good taste in the name of being earth-friendly and clutter-free. It was only after stumbling across Paperless Post last year that I began to see electronic delivery as a legitimate option for invitations, thank-you notes and greetings. I've used their paperless invitations and cards on a few occasions so far, and am looking forward to doing so again for my daughter's second birthday party in September (two years old! can you believe it?!?).

Paperless Post offers so many gorgeous options for weddings, baby showers, birthdays, holidays, and any other occasions. They've partnered with many leading fashion brands and lifestyle designers, including Kate Spade New York, Oscar de la Renta, and Jonathan Adler, so you know these designs aren't just run-of-the-mill.

This was our sweet, simple design for Eaden's first birthday last year.

This post was written in cooperation with Paperless Post, but represents my honest opinion and experience. 

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begin again.

The inner life of an artist is constantly in flux. There is never a feeling of having arrived—rarely even a feeling of satisfaction. It is a constant journey, ever moving forward to the next thing and not always knowing what that might be. There are times when the journey must be more private and introspective, and it's difficult to put anything out into the world. And I've learned to be ok with it. To pay attention to what I need wherever I am in the journey. To allow old things to pass and to let go of them in order to begin something new. Even when I don't know what the new thing will be like, exactly.

Just to begin, is possibly the most difficult and most vital step. 

These past months have been so full. Full of adventures, challenges, love, life. I haven't announced it here yet, but we are joyfully expecting a baby girl in September and will now be a family of five! So much change, but it is so good. I will continue to work, to create—that is an inseparable part of me. I will also still be taking commissioned work when I can, though this will evolve along with my life. I'm excited for new projects and continuing current ones.

Ever moving forward. 

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end and begin

I have always loved celebrating the New Year. Ever since I was a child it has been my favorite holiday of the year. Reflecting on all the previous year was and letting it go, and welcoming the hopeful fresh start of the next twelve months. I love the way you so actively witness the transition from one year to the next. Yes it's only time, and everything is really the same, and yet it always reminds me that you can have a fresh start, new goals, a shift in perspective... whether it's January 1st or the middle of July. There is always hope.

2014 far exceeded my expectations, both personally and professionally. I am truly grateful. There were joys and challenges, breathtaking moments and feelings of defeat. I took on too much at times, but continued to learn when to step back and how to balance and prioritize. I gained wisdom, and in turn realized all over again how very little I know. But there is hope in that too—you never arrive; there is always room to learn. This year was real life, at its best and grittiest, in all its love and heartbreak.

I'm so very excited to dive into this New Year, 2015. There are amazing new people to meet, with incredible stories that I haven't heard yet. There is so much to learn, so many places to grow, so much art to create and mistakes to learn from. I wish you each joy and adventure in the coming year.

Peace and love,

Hannah

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Film Is Not Dead

So there's this photographer who's quite well-known in my industry. His name is Jon Canlas and he shoots film. He teaches these FIND workshops dedicated to teaching digital photographers to shoot film, and I've known quite a few people who've gone to one of these and have come back saying words like "amazing" and "life-changing". It's been in my plans for years to attend one, and throughout last year I expected that 2014 would be the year that I finally did. I'd been feeling so drawn to the beauty of film, and even more drawn to the simplicity of it and the time that it would free up (time that I currently spend editing my digital files). While I was already shooting some film for my own personal work, I knew that attending this workshop would push me toward my goal of switching over to film for nearly everything.

The weekend after Thanksgiving, I entered to win a scholarship to the workshop. I didn't really think much of it—I definitely didn't expect to win it—but I thought that if by some chance I did, it would just confirm that this pull I'd been feeling towards film is indeed the right direction for me. Well, as I'm sure you've gathered by now, I did in fact win the full scholarship. I found out on December 1st, and since I live in South Florida Jon asked if I'd like come to FIND Miami, which was happening the following week. It was a whirlwind, but everything fell into place and just over a week later I was kissing my boys goodbye and driving down south to stay in a (super rad) house for 4 nights with a handful of amazing photographers. 

That week was an epic, pivotal point in my career and my life as an artist. Yes it was about shooting film, and I grew so much in my knowledge and confidence of that, but it was also so much more. I was encouraged and challenged in very deep ways, and made friends who inspire me so much and who I hope to stay in touch with long into the future. 

I was going to break this post up into two, but one of the things we discussed that week is that less is more, so I tried to pare it down and share all of it in one (albeit slightly long) post. We had some awesome couples and families model for us, and went into Miami's Wynwood arts district to shoot personal work on the final afternoon of the workshop. It was truly the perfect thing to reignite my spark and launch me into a new phase of my journey in 2014. 

I'm looking forward to shooting film with families and couples in my business this year for the first time ever—if you want to be one of them please get in touch!

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The art of being happy

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Many of you already know that I write monthly for The Creative Mama. Today I shared some things that have been on my mind regarding happiness. You can read it here

Next week the love of my life turns 27, and to celebrate he and I are driving down to Key West on Sunday morning, alone.  We'll be there two nights, which will be the longest we've ever been away from the kids. I will likely have a touch of anxiety about that, but mostly we're very excited to have time as "just us". I've already packed plenty of film for the adventure!

So without further ado, the weekend link roundup:

Dove sending a message about real beauty to those who do the retouching.  (found via Everything Bloom)

I've been on a pretty intense redecorating/purging/organizing spree in our house lately (yesterday I completely rearranged our living room by myself). One of the projects I've been wanting to do for a while now is a wall of Instagram prints, and this one from Jen Loves Kev is just so awesome.  (also found via Everything Bloom)

Adorable Tomboy Summer style and a beautiful indigo-themed roundup, both from The Fresh Exchange. 

A pretty little homemade envelope tutorial on the Darling Magazine blog. 

It's almost time to start packing school lunches again! (Seth starts his last year of preschool on the 22nd!)

And in case you missed yesterday's post, I recently shot some editorial content for One Kings Lane . Check it out here and here.

Have an absolutely fantastic weekend! 

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