friday feature

Feature Friday - Abigale Palmer

It's Aloha Friday! I think of this every time Friday comes around, whether or not I'm living on the islands anymore. Even though I'm not headed to the beach, it is still always a happy thing when the weekend comes around. I apologize for being MIA this week; I was down sick for quite a while but I'm up and running again (well, okay I wish I felt like running! Not quite yet...).  

Today I have a fun Friday Feature for you! Meet my friend Abby Palmer- a talented artist, painter and fellow mom in the creative world. I love her paintings; they are vibrant, colorful and have the tendency to cheer one right up with just one glance. Let's hear more from her! 


Q: How did you get started with painting? 

I have always drawn, like most kids. When I got into Middle School I had a fantastic art teacher and began to realize art was something I would like to work hard at. I despised painting through High School, but at some point during the end of my senior year the hard work paid off and I began to like the art I was making. I applied for the art program at BYU and got in. It was still a tremendous amount of work and continues to be, but now I find joy in the end product. It is so rewarding when other people do as well. Now my end goal is to create artwork that breathes vitality into a room the way fresh fruit or a bouquet of flowers does. I believe what you surround yourself with visually has an impact on your emotions.

Friday Feature - Abigale Palmer - Painter, Provo UT - www.mommatography.com

Q: What is your favorite subject matter? 

Fruit and historic buildings!

Friday Feature - Abigale Palmer - Painter, Provo UT - www.mommatography.com

Q: Who are some of your favorite artists or painters from history?

A few of my favorites are Wayne Thiebaud, John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, and Monet. Not only for their beautiful color palettes but also for the way they apply paint.

Friday Feature - Abigale Palmer - Painter, Provo UT - www.mommatography.com

Q: What sources do you look to for inspiration? 

I love looking through stacks of art books. I have realized I rarely read art books, but I love to browse the large books full of paintings by my favorite artists or discover new artists.

Color inspires me! I love how two colors next to each other can complement each other so beautifully. Especially the colors in fruit. A plum for example has so many colors on the skin and when you bite into it, the red purple of the skin against the gradation of orange and yellow makes me want to stop eating and start painting. 

My kids are also an inspiration for me. Their mark making when they draw is beautiful. The way they use colors is always inspiring. It is instinctive and less contrived than for an adult. 

Friday Feature - Abigale Palmer - Painter, Provo UT - www.mommatography.com

Abby's work was recently featured for the First Friday Art Stroll in Provo, Utah. Her work will also be part of an event in November called 1.3.5 where all artwork is $100, $300 and $500. It is hosted by the Utah Art Market (@utahartmarket) in Sugarhouse. To see more of Abigale's work check out her website or follow her on Instagram at @abigalepalmer

 

Feature Friday - Tastes Better From Scratch

Hey readers! I'm Lauren, the recipe creator and photographer behind the food blog Tastes Better From Scratch. I'm also  proud to say I'm Alise's sister-in-law, and I'm excited she is letting me take over her amazing blog today!

Friday Feature - Tastes Better From Scratch - Food Photography Tips

I've always loved sharing and creating recipes with real ingredients, which led to the start of my blog. I am obviously a true believer that everything Tastes Better From Scratch!  And not only does it taste better, it’s usually better for you, and less expensive!  My blog is all about sharing easy, homemade meal ideas and recipes that the whole family will love!

Friday Feature - Tastes Better From Scratch - Food Photography Tips

Q: How do you balance preparing food for your family AND photographing food for your blog? What advice do you have for making this a smooth process?

I usually try and prepare dinner as much ahead of time as I can. If I can make it in the morning, that is ideal. That way I can take some simple photos of the food using good natural window light, and it makes my evening much less stressful when dinner is nearly ready! If I'm not able to prepare the entire meal ahead of time, I do what I can to make dinner go smoothly, like chopping vegetables and making sauces or dressings ahead of time. I am a planner when it comes to meals--that's what inspired the Weekly Meal Plans I share with my readers that include a free printable shopping list. The more organized you are, the more time you have to spend with your family!

Friday Feature - Tastes Better From Scratch - Food Photography Tips
Friday Feature - Tastes Better From Scratch - Food Photography Tips

Lauren's Food Photography Tips:

  • Know your camera settings: The biggest challenge for me when I first started my blog was making my food look good, through photography. I had an SLR camera but had no idea what I was doing. Lucky for me I've always had Alise around to give me tips and tricks to improve my photos. Several years ago she drew a little photography cheat sheet for me that has been a complete lifesaver and I was so excited to see her share the printable version of it here on her blog. 

Friday Feature - Tastes Better From Scratch - Food Photography Tips
  • Good Lighting: Whether you have a professional camera or just use the camera on your phone, I would argue that good lighting is the most important element in taking good photos. Try to find good natural lighting streaming in through windows in your house. And keep in mind that the best lighting may not be in your kitchen or even in your living room.

Friday Feature - Tastes Better From Scratch - Food Photography Tips
  • Food Styling: My food photography style is pretty simple. I don't use a lot of props and most of my photos are close-ups of nothing but the food on the plate. Food Styling is something I've had to learn with practice. I try to think ahead about what my end dish will look like and what simple ingredients from the dish I could use as garnish to add a pop of color or an element of interest.  

Friday Feature - Tastes Better From Scratch - Food Photography Tips
 

Friday Feature - Pretty Providence

Today's Friday Feature highlights the first of many creative mom-bloggers! A portion of mommatography's audience include bloggers that search for tips to take better photos. I'm really excited to feature mom's that have successful blogs, along with highlighting photographers and other artists. 

The lovely ladies over at Pretty Providence have got it going on. From beautiful DIY projects, fashion sense that doesn't break the bank, to delicious drinks and recipes, Pretty Providence is a great source to keep things fresh, frugal and fun. Let's get to know them and hear a few great tips to become a better blogger!


Hey friends! I am Jessica, half of the creative team behind www.prettyprovidence.com! I started Pretty Providence a little over four years ago with my good friend Sarah, because we wanted a place to share our thoughts and ideas with other like-minded people! We believe that you can still look good, eat well, have a great home and play a ton while living on a budget. We love sharing frugal recipes and DIY's and we are very blessed to be able to work from home and help provide for our families while doing what we love!

Friday Feature Pretty Providence - www.mommatography.com

What are some tips for those pursuing blogging?

Blogging can be interesting in that it becomes easier to make money the longer you do it. The more quality content you have to promote and share, the more money you make and the less time you have to spend generating content (but don't worry, tons of new ideas creep up to fill all of your time)!

  • My tips for anyone starting out blogging are always the same: Put out great content on a consistent schedule, even if you think no one is reading.

Friday Feature Pretty Providence - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature Pretty Providence - www.mommatography.com

 

  • Strive for bright, clear, photos.

Friday Feature Pretty Providence - www.mommatography.com

 

  • Learn from and network with those who are succeeding around you.

Friday Feature Pretty Providence - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature Pretty Providence - www.mommatography.com

 

  • Go to a class or conference, never stop trying to hone your skills. If you want to make money, you need to treat it like a real job.. aka: work, work, work.

Friday Feature Pretty Providence - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature Pretty Providence - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature Pretty Providence - www.mommatography.com

We hope you'll stop by and say hello, we love new friends!

To see more great ideas, follow Pretty Providence on Instagram at @prettyprovidenceblog on Pinterest, and here on Facebook!

 

Feature Friday - Andy Earl

My name is Andy Earl and I grew up here in the Wasatch. I work for Goal Zero managing content, social media, in-house photo and creative writing. I have been there about two years. My parents got us into skiing at a young age which started me on the path towards a bit of an obsession with the mountains. I met my wife, Neena, on the chairlift at Park City and we have been married for about five years. We had a little girl named Indira two years ago who was stillborn at full term and we now have an 8 month old little boy named Coen. 

1. What led you to pursue photography? 

I have always been into documenting things. It started with making snowboard videos in high school and then eventually led me to a degree in journalism. Photography was a way to support my writing but now it is kind of the other way around. I actually stole my wife's camera while we were dating and that kind of spurred all things photo for me. 

Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com

2. What camera are you shooting with, and do you have a favorite lens?

I shoot a lot with the Canon 5D mark III and the 7D mark II. Man... favorite lens depends on what I am shooting. A lot of times, because I am doing long days in the mountains I have to make decisions on weight. Sometimes I can only afford to bring one lens and that usually is the most versatile, which for me is the f/2.8 24-70mm. I have also been really into the 14mm lately though. It is such a fun lens! 

Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com

3. How do you prepare to shoot in varying outdoor conditions? 

I always have a big lens cloth on hand to deal with moisture, but most of it is just trusting that my camera can handle some snow and rain. So far I haven't had a problem and I have shot in temps as low as -13°F, countless snow storms and a few rainy days. 

Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com

4. What is your favorite subject to photograph?

I like shooting people who are pushing themselves to do really difficult things in really beautiful places. I think a little suffering in a beautiful place make for an awesome story to tell visually.

Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com

5. What are a few tips you might have for those wanting to shoot landscapes or outdoor lifestyle shots?

  • If you are on the move, keep your camera super handy. I carry mine in a chest pack typically, so I can capture moments and people as they happen rather than having to stage things. 

  • Be willing to take your equipment to places that other people aren't. A photo becomes more important to you personally when you have a bit of a story, and maybe a little suffering, to go along with it. 

  • Focus on the equipment you have rather than the equipment you don't. Sometimes it is really easy to think about a shot that I could get if I had brought a different lens, or this or that, rather than focusing on nailing the shot and moment I am in. You also never know what the weather is going to do; I had a moment up on Timpanogos last year where the clouds closed in and I thought the opportunity to take photos was over; turns out that the clouds made for some really unique photos. 

Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com

6. When did you start sketching?  

I have been into drawing my whole life. As a kid I would go through reams of paper and make giant crazy messes. I hadn't picked up a pen in a long time but I got inspired on afternoon to pick it back up. I kind of drew inspiration from a few artists like Renan Ozturk, Jim Harris and Jeremy Collins. I haven't really stopped drawing since. 

Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature - Andy Earl - www.mommatography.com

To see more of Andy's work, follow him on Instagram at @wasatchandy. His sketches are available for purchase at his website, Andy Earl Creative

 

Feature Friday - Valory Jean Photography

It's Feature Friday! This has to be my favorite part of this blog. I love being able to associate with other artists who have so much to offer; I hope you can take something from them to help inspire you, whatever direction you might be heading. Today I have the privilege of sharing with you some great tips from an amazing friend of mine and a very talented photographer, Val Dahlin. Enjoy!!


Hi! I’m Val Dahlin! And I own Valory Jean Photography! I’m a mom of three wonderful and crazy girls and the wife of the greatest guy on earth! I grew up in Oregon, and moved to Utah after my husband and I were engaged, and we have lived here ever since. I have always loved photography, but didn’t start investigating it more until after I had my first baby. I wanted to take photos of her so that I could remember all the things that she did when she was little. I’m a terrible journal writer so photography was how I documented things. I realized that I loved it and decided to start taking photos of families and children. I had someone inquire with me about a wedding and I said yes (I honestly don’t know what I was thinking…but that’s how it all began). I have had my photography business now for 6 years. It has been a lot of hard work, but I love it so much. 

Friday Feature with Valory Jean Photography - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature with Valory Jean Photography - www.mommatography.com


Photographing weddings and families is my passion. I love all the good feelings surrounding a wedding. It’s an all day celebration of love! Who doesn’t want to be in an environment like that for a day? I love my wedding clients so much. I have made some amazing friends throughout the years who started out as clients.

Friday Feature with Valory Jean Photography - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature with Valory Jean Photography - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature with Valory Jean Photography - www.mommatography.com

I’ve recently started going to people’s homes to photograph their family. That has been so much fun! I know from personal experience that family picture day is the worst day of the year. Hahaha! It’s stressful getting everyone ready, getting yourself ready, keeping everyone happy and trying to keep the kids behaved. It’s a lot of hard work. I feel like if I photograph families in a familiar place and not worry about the posing and just focus on the family and kids and having fun, that it goes so much smoother and isn’t as stressful. 

Friday Feature with Valory Jean Photography - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature with Valory Jean Photography - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature with Valory Jean Photography - www.mommatography.com


There are a lot of things I wish I had known or had taken more seriously when I first started my business. Here are a few things I wish I would have known when I first started. 

  • The first thing is to know the business aspect of having a photography business. There is so much information that you need to have when doing so. You need a business license, pay quarterly sales tax, keep track of all your receipts and income, come up with contracts, and so much more! I couldn’t believe all the things I needed to do and keep track of to be a legitimate business.

  • Second, I would have invested in branding, instead of just creating a logo in Photoshop. Your brand says so much about you as a person and your photography. It is kind of like a first impression of you as a photographer. Graphic designers are able to help you create something specifically for you that reflects who you are. I’m still working on this and hoping to fine tune my brand to bring in my ideal client and for people to see who I am and what I can capture for them, even before they meet me.

  • Third, I would have second shot weddings for other photographers, before I ever shot one on my own. When you are a photographer at a wedding it is much different than being a guest. I shot a lot of weddings before I ever second shot with a more experienced photographer and it’s one of my biggest regrets. I think I would have been a better photographer faster if I had taken the time to shoot with other wedding photographers first.

  • This brings me to number four; how important my job as a wedding photographer really is. Yes, I make pretty photos and capture memories for my clients, and it helps take care of my family. But it’s so much more than that. These are the photos that your clients will show their children and grandchildren. These are the photos they will look to when a close family member passes away. It’s easy to get caught up in the day and moving things along and staying on track with their timeline, but always have in the back of your head, “What more can I capture from this moment? Are there things going on around me that they will want to remember? Is there a family member who needs special attention and time with the bride and groom?” Especially grandparents, parents and siblings. This is difficult to do sometimes, but it’s so important.

  • Lastly, I wish I had known about Lightroom!! Photoshop is great, and I still use it for some things. But Lightroom changed my life. Once I learned how to use it properly it cut down my post processing by half the time! That’s insane, when you are editing hundreds of photos from a wedding. It took me several years to figure out that I was spending way too much time in Photoshop. So start with Lightroom! You will be happy you did. 

Friday Feature with Valory Jean Photography - www.mommatography.com
Friday Feature with Valory Jean Photography - www.mommatography.com

When photographing people, there are so many things to think about; lighting, posing, timing, location, angles... the list can go on and on.

For the images below, Val takes us behind the scenes to see how she got the shot!

Feature Friday with Valory Jean Photography - www.mommatography.com


Dana + Christian: This is one of my favorite spots at the Salt Lake City Temple. We started the session about two hours before sunset. I like starting then, because the sun is a little lower in the sky and isn’t as harsh, especially once you get closer to sunset. I usually like to look for places where there are trees and the branches help diffuse the light a little more. With the pose it was super simple. Hold hands and look at each other. Usually the couple automatically smiles, which is nice, because when I don’t have to tell them to, it’s usually a genuine smile. 

Feature Friday with Valory Jean Photography - www.mommatography.com

Emily: We did Emily’s bridal session in Justin Hackworth’s studio in Provo. It was a windy day, and it was threatening to rain. Most of the session I had her, in some way, facing the window or part of her body towards it, whether is was her face or her whole body, so I could get that pretty natural light coming through the window. In this photo her body is facing the window but she is looking at me. So part of her face is lighted by the natural light. Hands behind her back and her hips forward just a little bit. 

Feature Friday with Valory Jean Photography - www.mommatography.com

Llexa + Jeremy: We were in downtown Salt Lake in a neighborhood for this shoot. I just had them sit next to each other and talk and look at each other. Every couple does something different when you ask them to do something, so I take photos of them while they are talking, and move around them to get different angles. And if they aren’t touching each other I ask them to hold hands or put a hand on the other person’s leg to get some interaction started. 

Feature Friday with Valory Jean Photography - www.mommatography.com

Zoe + Jordan: This is one of my favorite photos. Even if you time shoots perfectly you don’t always get the pretty golden hour sun. It had rained and was cloudy all day, and then about 10 minutes before sunset the sun came out and created this gorgeous light. I had them get close, she held her veil toward me, and I squatted down just a tiny bit so I could get the sun just right. I wanted the sun glare but not too much so I had to adjust where the sun was partially behind Jordan’s chin so I could get a little sun, but not all of it. 


To see more of Val's work, visit her website here. Follow her on Facebook and be sure to check out her feed on Instagram (@valoryjean)! 

Friday Feature with Valory Jean Photography - www.mommatography.com