shutterfly holiday card giveaway

Last year I got Shutterfly Christmas cards and madly loved them, the printing was amazing as was the quality of the card stock. I was thrilled last week when I was invited to participate in their 2011 promotion where I will get to host a giveaway where three readers will win 25 free holiday cards! The card shown in the beginning of this post is the Initial Wreath Christmas Card which I added a photo of Auden to [but not the one we'll be using on our real cards]. Here are a couple of my other favorites from their new Christmas card lineup:

My favorite designs are the photo Christmas cards with a strong focus on the photograph so I'm leaning really hard towards the Initial Wreath Christmas Card, hopefully Trey can agree with me on a design again this year. Since our Christmas card experience was so positive last year, we have ordered multiple photo books as gifts for other holidays and probably will do the same for Christmas.

Anyway, I'm sure you are more excited about the giveaway than what I would do with the free card credits...

  • US only
  • One entry per person [please be fair, after all there will be 3 winners!]
  • Fill out the form below
  • Contest ends November 6, winners will be notified via e-mail with the code to collect your free cards!

And if you have any desire to see our Christmas card from last year, you can view last year's post here, we choose the first design!


black and white

[oops this post has been sitting in my drafts section for almost 5 months now, i guess it's time i publish it!]


bout of books readathon | book giveaway

witch craft: wicked accessories, creepy-cute toys, magical treats, and more!

this is a ONE DAY ONLY giveaway so don't procrastinate! i'm a particihosting with joli from actin' up with books [so go check out her page, she is doing a giveaway too!]

  • you must be signed up for the read-a-thon [it isn't too late, you can sign up here]
  • shipping to the US only
how to enter:
  • leave a comment with your e-mail address or some other form of contact information
winner will be notified via e-mail on thursday, ideally i will get your address back from you immediately so the book will reach you in time for halloween so keep your eyes peeled!


halloween party prep | bloody brain cupcakes

basically all you need to make some awesome bloody brain cupcakes is:
yes, i do things the easy way and make cupcakes from boxed mixes. there is a great recipe for those of you who like to do things the hard way on food network!

[image and idea via xsomnis]


bout of books starting line

i am participating in the bout of books read-a-thon that started today... stay tuned because wednesday i am hosting a giveaway along with co-host actin' up with books where i will be giving away a copy of witch craft which is full of all kinds of halloween diy projects [you have to sign up for the read-a-thon to enter so go ahead and do that here if you are interested]

my goals:
  • read the girl's guide to starting your own business which has been sitting in my hoarder room for a few years untouched to try to get some motivation for the business side of my photography
  • read through and pick out favorite ideas from the pocket muse to help me prepare for NaNoWriMo... i thought i had so many ideas for a book and now that i'm actually going to try it i'm drawing a complete blank, one week to prepare myself before i have to get started!
  • i'll update you guys tomorrow on my status here when i put up the official giveaway post
p.s. the above photo is from my first installment of "bookish" go check out the full post on my photo blog

halloween party prep | bloody brain shooters

Bloody Brain Shooters

Channel your inner mad scientist with this Bloody Brain Shooter. Add chilled vodka and lime juice to a shot glass, then use a straw to drip Irish cream into the glass. The acidic lime juice will cause the Irish cream to curdle, creating realistic strands of “brain.”


1 1/4 oz. strawberry vodka such as Stoli
1/8 oz. Rose’s lime juice
3/4 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream
Splash of grenadine


Chill vodka for better smoothness. Add vodka and lime juice to a shaker, shake and strain into a shot glass. Using a straw, dip some Bailey’s Irish Cream into the shot. Once you submerge the straw into the Bailey’s put your finger on top of the straw to hold the Bailey’s in the straw. Dip the straw tip into the vodka and slowly release your top finger. The Bailey’s will curdle a little bit due to the lime juice and you should be able to make strands of Bailey’s.

Repeat the straw/Bailey’s process to build a “brain” in the shot glass. Add a splash of grenadine to the concoction to add the ‘blood’ to the mix. Down the hatch as a shot.

Recipe courtesy Dan Goss, Downtown Grill and Brewery, Knoxville, Tenn.

[image and recipe found here]


tilt | things i love thursday

negative nancy gotta check herself and do a things i love thursday blog post... things that rock:
  • friends: standing up for me, motivating me artistically, and telling me to stop acting like i'm still in high school... and coming over to play with my baby
  • talking to strangers i want to take pictures of [this one is thanks to friends too], joli wouldn't take no for an answer when i said i liked this girls shoes and style. i gave her my card, she added me on facebook, liked my page, and said she'd model for me sometime
  • people like chaque semaine already, or maybe those people are just me and karly that are totally digging it, but it took me a while to build up the kind of traffic we have gotten over there with only two posts so thank you guys for checking it out
  • thursday is mcdonalds day and i got a monopoly piece for free coffee burning a hole in my pocket
  • occupy wall street. i wasn't even paying attention, yeah it's been going on for a month, i'm so out of the loop, but it's moving to see people taking a stand at a point where we are all feeling hopeless. and seeing other countries follow gives a different perspective because you feel like they aren't dealing with the same issues, but everyone is.
  • taking pictures for me > taking pictures for other people [there are some exceptions like the engagement photos over the weekend, that was the BEST couple ever]
  • freckles... on faces, shoulders, clavicles, and fingernails like above... need to try that asap
i need your help folks... what's a good spooky dessert for a halloween party that isn't the graveyard dessert [that one is already taken]? it's a work place emergency, it needs to be amazing, my reputation depends on it!


halloween party prep | dirty pirate popsicles

Dirty Pirate Popsicle

  • 2 1/2 cups Coke
  • 1/3 cup Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
  • 1/3 cup Kahlua
i saw this idea on pinterest and had to do some further investigation... and it looks like a winner in my book. full on instructions on how to make the dirty pirate popsicle can be found over at endless simmer!


chaque semaine: welcome!

alright, not sure if i mentioned this before or not, but karly and i have started a 52(+) week project. each week there will be a theme that we shoot for and then we will post them to the blog we just created:
chaque semaine: welcome!: Welcome to chaque semaine , a weekly photoblog by Holly and Karly. Inspired by the work over at Words to Shoot By and other theme projects,...
right now we just have the intro post done because like a genius i decided to shoot film so even though we started taking photos back on october 1 i don't have my film back yet for the first week... make sure you bookmark it/start following it on bloglovin if you use their site!

the header image is not my photo of the week [even though the theme of the week is party], but is actually day 3 of my 365. hopefully i'll stick with it this time, i won't bore you all and post all the photos here, but to the right there's a little flickr widget so you can keep an eye on that if you are interested.


photographers market

i have the 2008 version of this book and now i'm debating whether or not to buy the new edition. after talking more to allison dandrea i want to try to submit my photography to publications, websites, and blogs, but i just don't even know where to start. i feel like this book is a good start, but honestly there aren't many publications listed in the 2008 edition that i thought fit my style, i'm not trying to be a stock photographer and it seems like there are very strong niches that you need to shoot within to submit to those magazines.

anybody have any advice? know of any magazines, websites, or blogs that i could submit my photos to?


photographer feature | allison dandrea

Allison Dandrea


Lady Lake, FL

Who or what sparked your interest in photography?
I was a fashion major at art school and decided to take a beginner photography class. I fell in love instantly and changed my major as soon as I could.

Who are some of your favorite photographers?
Ellen von Unwerth, Paolo Roversi, Alexei Hay, Idha Lindhag

Do you have any formal education in photography or are you self taught?
I went to Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography & Art History :)

Is photography your career?

How long did it take you to turn photography from a hobby into a career?
I was a fashion design major at art school when I discovered how much I loved photography. I took a beginning photography class and instantly fell in love. That following summer, I decided to go pro and here I am today.

Do you currently do portrait work as part of your career or does your income primarily come from print sales and publications?
When I first started out, I made money based off portraits, mainly shooting for fashion model's portfolios. Now my income is primarily based off my print sales and publications.

Are you currently working on any photography projects?
24/7. I always have personal projects I'm working on, along with trying to get my work published (and self published)/in galleries. In the future I would love to shoot for Anthropologie & Elle Decor.

Where have you been published thus far?
F-Stop Magazine, Method Press Magazine and I am currently shooting the Spring/Summer 2012 Catalog for Lilly & Kate (Vintage inspired clothes & jewelry, handmade soaps and home decor).

What is your favorite thing to photograph and why?
I was originally known for my fashion and portraiture but I needed a break from the familiar so I started to shoot stills. I feel like I cheated on my fashion work because I'm getting even more recognition for my stills than anything else. People were so easy to photograph, well anything fashion came easy to me. Objects were more of a challenge for me and still are to this day. So my favorite thing to photograph would have to be a 50/50 tie between people and objects. They both have their challenges and rewards.

Where do you find and how do you instruct your models?
My models are mostly people I know. But I have shot people I really don't know and that can always be interesting. I shoot with a plan in mind, always. I bring photo references of the poses I would want (sometimes I even show the model). Mood music also plays a huge role.

So you listen to music while you shoot... What is on your photo shoot play list?
Absolutely. The music I play depends on the shoot, or the mood. I'm a huge pandora fan. I don't want to have to make mixes all the time so I queue up pandora instead. My stations range from Ambient to JPop to The Roots.

What is in your camera bag?
Canon 50D, Lensbaby Composer, 100mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.8 & 85mm f/1.8 lenses and Skittles (models can get cranky sometimes).

What is your favorite lens and why?
85mm f/1.8. The 100mm is great for portraiture, fashion and whatever else but you can get within a normal range with the 85mm. I use this lens on a daily basis and it's totally worth it.

Where do you find inspiration?
Absolutely everywhere. Lately it's been fruit, maybe it will be hair next week.

Future photography goals?
Shoot editorials for Anthropologie & Elle Decor. Also I would love to have my work in the Gagosian Gallery in NY.

Describe a day in your life that includes photography:
I bring my laptop with me that has a folder of references or I'll just bring physical sketches with me. I use a lot of natural light so depending on the situation I will bend the light to my liking (which would take about 5 minutes- half an hour sometimes). The shoot will last about 3 hours (for models, they get 2 10 minute breaks). Tear down will take about half an hour and then I go home and sift through the photos in lightroom.

What does your work flow consist of?
About 1,000-1,700 images per shoot, then sifting through them to about 10 images total (in lightroom).

Three interesting facts about yourself?
I love reading sci-fi novels, I'm currently learning Haitian Creole, and I love taking night walks in the city.

What, if anything, do you do to promote your photography?
500px, flickr, facebook page, twitter, tumblr, artlimited, blucanvas, arrtflakes, etsy, blogger, society6, and I send my work to galleries/magazines.

It sounds like you have a great system for sharing your work, approximately how much time do you spend per day/week on promoting your work?
I'd have to say that I spend about 3-5 hours every couple of days. It's alot of time out of my day, but in the end it's worth it (although an intern would be nice).

Check out more of Allison and her photography around the web:
blog | facebook | website | twitter | tumblr


appreciate your photographer

if your house was on fire, what would be the first [non-living] thing that you saved? probably pictures, right? so why do people not place more emphasis on the importance of what photographers do? [you may want to stop here, this will be a bit of a rant]

a few months ago i did some really cheap baby photos for a friend of a friend and even threw in the disk for free. a few weeks later a co-worker of my mothers informed me that she saw photos that looked like my style online. indeed it was my photography used to promote that woman's business without any credit at all or even asking permission. not wanting to burn bridges, i said nothing and let it slide hoping that she would at least be a return customer in the future.

fast forward to last week, this woman contacts me and asks me to give her the same price [$30] for 2+ hours of photography and another free disk... 2 locations, one of which i would have to pay to get in. i told her that she could have the same $30 fee, but would need to pay for prints this time... and she said no! now i am not heartbroken to lose the business especially with someone who has no photo etiquette, but it is sad to me that someone who knows that i am a mother and have to find childcare for the time that i have to do this work expects me to do it for practically free. would you ask a friend of a friend to comp your meal at a fancy restaurant? no, so why would you not show that kind of respect to someone who spent 3 hours photographing you and your family previously and has since helped you with questions that you have had about parenting? obviously you liked my work since you used it as promotional pieces.

it's just one of those discouraging things that makes me think why am i even trying to do this? why am i trying to get into a market saturated with people who suck and are willing do it for less? i focus so much time and energy trying to become a full time professional photographer to turn around and feel like people see me as a traveling sears portrait studio who owes them freebies. and i let it all slide off my back for the past few months, but i'm sinking thousands of dollars into it and not seeing much of a return so it is hard to keep a smile on my face. it has become apparent to me that i need to start focusing more on my day job, keep this as a hobby and start point my camera at my personal projects than the faces of strangers who don't value what i do.

end rant.


thankfully my sickness is 95% gone. started my project 365 over on friday, hopefully i'll stick with it this time.

i'll post again real soon and it will be positive, i promise ;) there are even one or two photographer features submitted that i haven't had a chance to post yet.