I'll never say no to you, whatever you say or do...

Internets, I married a good man.

A man who doesn't hesitate to say yes. A man who supports me in whatever I do. A man who selflessly gives time and time again.

And recently, when I mentioned my desire to [someday] get this, he smiled, shrugged his shoulders, and told me I should get it.

I don't have to be told twice.

And now, as a result, my basement currently looks like this:


Not everyone is as excited as me. Clearly.


And some of us are a little TOO excited for my taste:


While others of us will use any excuse to throw their brother into a wickedly awesome headlock:


Though ultimately, with promises of chocolate chip cookies, I eventually get something closer to what I'm looking for:


And even though I have some idea no clue what I am doing, I think it's going to be a whole lot of fun figuring it out.

P.S. Anyone know the name of the movie that the title comes from? Hint: It's a musical. And a good one at that.

Note to self

Dear Self:

Next year, on the Fourth of July, when you get giddy and excited about taking pictures of the fireworks, remember this: NO ONE NEEDS 387 PHOTOS OF FIREWORKS.

[Especially someone who already has four times that number of fireworks photos taking up space on the server from the last few years anyway.]

Oh well. They still look wicked awesome though, don't they?





And for your 387 fireworks photos next year:
ISO 100
2 second exposure on the bulb setting

How-To Tuesday: How to whiten teeth in photoshop

Let's say you have a photo of your son that you love. Your son and his awesome mohawk from last year. Only, since he is a kid, and not always as diligent as you'd like him to be, his teeth brushing has left something to be desired. Rather than live with the yellow not-quite-white teeth in the photo, I am going to show you how to fix it.


There about 9,459 ways in Photoshop to whiten teeth. I make no claim that this is THE one and only way. It's just the way I do it. And it takes less than a minute.

Step one: Open your image in Photoshop. I use CS3, but I believe it would work in Elements, as well as the newer versions.

Select the yin/yang looking icon on the bottom right hand side to create a new adjustment layer. In the pop-up menu, select "Hue/Saturation."

When the Hue/Saturation dialogue box pops up, select "Yellow" from the pop-down menu, and turn the slider for saturation to the left until your teeth have no yellow in them. At this point, you will likely have ruined the rest of the photo, but take heart, we will fix it later. Just focus on the teeth. Click OK.


Zoom in until your screen is filled mostly with the teeth. Now you want to hit CTRL-I, which will invert the layer mask. We will then use our brush tool (just push letter B and it will shortcut to the brush). Choose a soft-edged brush and begin "painting" over the teeth. This paints our saturation adjustment layer back in - restoring the fix we did, but only in the areas we want (i.e., the teeth). If all looks okay to you, merge down your layers.


Still with me?

Good. You can do this. While the teeth look considerably less yellow, they lack any whiteness or brightness to them. We want to fix that.

Create another adjustment layer, this time click on "Brightness/Contrast" from the pop-up menu. In the dialogue box, you want to take your brightness slider and move it to the right. Don't panic when your whole image starts to look wrong. It's all about the teeth right now. We'll fix the rest later.

Once your teeth look nice and bright, select okay.


Then hit CTRL-I again to invert the layer. Select your brush tool (B) and paint over the teeth again.


They will likely look horribly white - too white. Zoom out until you are looking at the whole picture. Then take your opacity slider on the brightness/contrast adjustment layer and reduce it until it looks right to you. For me, that number is usually around 25-35 percent. Do what looks best on your photo. Neon white teeth? Not so good. But we want to pop the brightness just a bit. Then merge the layers down.


And that's it! It sounds way more complicated than it actually is. And here is our SOOC (straight out of the camera) shot and the edited version. The difference is subtle, but that means we didn't overdo it in editing. A nice, white smile that doesn't look like we photoshopped the crap out of it.

Always a good thing.


Your turn. What can you teach me today?

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Narcissism, sick days, and headshots

McKay is home sick today with "The Flu."

You know the one - it causes you deep stomach pain, nausea, and anxiety from nine o'clock at night until about one minute after school starts the next morning?

Poor baby.

I was ditching him to go meet friends for lunch at Bread Co. (because, clearly, I care so much) and he managed to summon all his remaining strength to lift his head off the pillow and, in a weak voice, ask me to bring him back a giant cinnamon roll.

Ah, the wonders of modern medicine. A cinnamon roll cures the flu.

Whatever. He works hard all the time and never misses school. I'll cut him some slack.

But as punishment (along with sharing a bite or two of said giant cinnamon roll) he was tasked with playing photographer for me today. Because my hair looked really cute. And I never have any pictures of me. And what if I died today and they all had nothing to remember me by? And what would my friend Beckie blow up to poster size and paste on the ceiling to haunt the Husband and his new 20-year-old wife with?

Okay. Maybe not that last one.

But I am really sick of looking at the same picture over there on the sidebar from, like, four or five years ago.

Girlfriend has got herself some new wrinkles! They must be seen!

Anyway, your job (along with sending me your most heartfelt compliments on my new pictures) is to tell me which one you like the best for my new headshot. If I was on top of things, and not so busy criticizing staring at myself, I would have numbered them for you. Oh well. Tell me anyway, will you?

Which me is the best me I can be?





Because there's nothing worse than reliving other people's vacations, right?

Though we've been home from our trip to Boston for almost a month, I am finally getting around to editing the pictures I took there.

Why so long, you say?

Well, for one thing, I had eight corporate head shot sessions and a private family session that I did while we were there. Not to mention the 2-3 sessions per week I've had since we got home. Staying up until midnight every night editing does not necessarily entice one to want to work on pictures that no one is paying for.

But as I looked through them, it really brought the trip back and made me so happy that we went. Like this picture, for instance, taken on the top floor of Faneuil Hall.


You know, the top floor where there is a museum.

Which I never knew existed during the six years we lived there.

Frankly, because there was no way I was hauling a stroller up three flights of stairs to have one of my children break something historic again. So in all that time, I never once ventured to the top. Which is quite sad. Because honestly, they don't make light this gorgeous just anywhere.


I also discovered this photo hidden in the mix:


Which tragically (or luckily, depending on your point of view) is one of three pictures taken of me this whole year. We were walking the Freedom Trail and paused to rest in the courtyard outside of the Old North Church. I set my camera down on the bench beside me, relieved to be free from the 900 pound weight that it is, and McKay picked it up and started snapping. Granted, there are a lot of very blurry pictures of his feet and Chase's face, but this one really stood out and made me happy.

And we have several token touristy photos in the bunch, as well. Which really are photos only a mother (or grandmother) could love.




But I will end with this one, which might be one of my favorites taken on the trip. We had been walking for several hours in the heat and she appeared at my feet, begging to be carried. Not realizing, of course, that my days of carrying her ended as soon as she decided to sprout legs as long as the state of California.

But I like her heat-flushed cheeks, windblown hair, her baby freckles, and the tired sparkle in her green eyes. The imploring expression that is just seconds away from saying, "Mom..." followed by a plea of some sort. It's a face I've seen a thousand times.


And a face I'm sure to see a thousand more.