At Home Photoshoot with Zulie Rego Photography

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|Photos in this blog post are courtesy of  Zulie Rego Photography.|

So I’ve got my laptop here with me in the kitchen.  Billy’s baking Magnolia chocolate chip cookies and I like to watch him. Quality time is one of my love languages haha.

I wanted to share with you all the fun photo session Billy and I had in our home.  It all started with Instagram.  I had connected with a photographer named Zulie awhile back.  Maybe like a year ago? Anyways, she reached out recently and wanted to photograph Billy and I and our dog.  Well, Zulie is a very talented photographer, so that was an easy “YES.”

So the plan was to do a whimsical shoot in a local preserve, but Florida decided it wanted to rain literally non stop all day.  But Zulie had the brilliant idea to do an in home session.  Really chill and cozy.  So that’s exactly what we did!

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Zulie and her assistant, Elizabeth, came by and were the absolute sweetest.  So fun and warm.  They had us laughing the whole time and made us feel so at ease.  And they are both insanely talented.

Our dog Lady was very much involved and wanted to be in every picture.  But she’s adorable so we let her.

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We made some green tea…had some ’40s music playing.  A good time was had by all.

There was a particularly cool moment where they asked us to grab our Bible and read a passage out loud together.  So precious.

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Zulie is based in Miami, Florida.  But, she is always up for traveling!  So, Brides, you need to reach out to Zulie.  Her work is positively stunning and professional.  She is excellent at capturing authentic moments and she has a great eye. You can check out her website here and her Instagram here.

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Interested in having an in home photoshoot?  Here’s some food for thought:

  1. Dress comfortably.  You want your photos to look cozy and true to your daily life.
  2. Make your favorite beverage or snack.  Try to emulate activities you do in your home.
  3. Open all your window coverings to let in as much natural light as possible.
  4. When it comes to posing, if it feels weird, it probably will look good.  haha. I know that sounds backwards, but sometimes you have to tilt your head a certain way, but just trust the process.
  5. Have fun.  This isn’t a yearbook photo. Be silly.  Laugh a lot.  Enjoy the moment!

Well, this was so much fun.  Enjoy the pictures and check out Zulie Rego Photography if you want to book a session of your own.

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Have Faith in Yourself?

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I was scrolling mindlessly through Instagram (is there any other way?), when I saw a quote that caught my eye:

“Have faith in yourself.”

This way of thinking has been thrown in my face since my Disney Channel-watching days. “Believe in yourself.” Such a humanistic, prideful approach to life.

It’s really quite simple: Anything I have accomplished, is because God did it through me. The air in our lungs, our legs to walk, our hands to touch, our voice to speak, our brains to think: it’s all because of Him. Everything is by His Grace.

Have faith in myself? You mean, me? This sinner? This weak, emotional wreck? I’m so glad I don’t have to have faith in my fickle little self. I have a God who already has my future all written out. I have a God that loves me more than any human could, and who wants the absolute best for me. I have a God who created the entire universe!

So when you’re facing a challenge of any kind–think of it this way:

I can be strong, because God is strengthening me.

I can be brave, because God is with me and will help me.

I can do this, because God is for me.

I will get through this, because God is in control.

Refocus. Less me, more God. It’s such a freeing feeling knowing, I don’t have to have it all planned out. Because, God already does.

I AM NOT IN CONTROL. God is. And “it is well with my soul.”

Things going awesome? That’s because of God, not you. He empowered you to accomplish what you’ve done. All blessings flow from Him.

Things rough right now? That’s because God is refining you, drawing Him closer to you, and strengthening your faith in Him. These trials prevent us from “believing in ourselves” when things go awesome again.

So no more of this, “have faith in yo-self” crapola. Shift your thinking to God. All because of Him. All Glory to Him. Make Him the center of each step you take. Don’t let Him be an after thought, just when you need help getting out of your mess.

“Have faith in God.”

How to Take + Edit iPhone Photos

I’d say there are two questions I get asked most frequently in this blogosphere: “What kind of dog do you have?” and “Are you a photographer? What camera do you use?”

First of all, she’s a red standard poodle. haha.

Secondly, I am not a professional photographer. I certainly do appreciate many of you thinking so! Lol. I do, however, enjoy photography immensely as an art form and hobby! I’m constantly growing and learning in this arena, and I’m thankful to have a very camera savvy husband.

Let me break this down: All the pictures of me are taken by my husband.  Most of these pictures are taken with a DSLR camera, although some are an iPhone. All the pictures you see of food, decor, flat-lays, etc. were taken by me with my iPhone. Crazy right? The iPhone is an incredible piece of technology.

My iPhone isn’t new.  In fact, it’s an iPhone 6 and still takes fantastic pictures.  (Although, some of the other features aren’t working so great…Sometimes it won’t let me take/make calls! lol.) Eventually I’ll update my phone, but for now I’m working with what I’ve got!

I thought I’d share my (amateur) tips for taking and editing, beautiful, print-worthy photographs.  I’m going to break it down into three categories: Lighting, Framing, and Editing.  Okay, let’s get this photography party started!

Lighting

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This is everything.  If you take a picture in a dimly lit room, expect your picture to look fuzzy and washed out.  Natural light is the key to crisp, perfectly lit, divinely beautiful photos.  However, try to avoid harsh sunlight.  When taking a photo indoors, open all your blinds/curtains and choose a time of day in which sunlight is pouring in.  When taking a flat-lay, take it next to a window or glass door to insure the very best capturing of details.  With natural light, you don’t need flash. Flash will blow out images and cast harsh shadows. Because of this, taking pictures during the day is when your iPhone will best capture the image.

So basically, take your photos during the day, next to a window or outside. Boom.

Framing

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When I frame pictures, I often like to off-center the focal point of my photograph.  This gives negative space.  Negative space is a lovely way to let your picture breathe.  It allows for an airy image that draws the eye to the focal point, without distractions.  Try to keep a simple background.  This will help the subject pop.

Lines are very important.  If there is a vertical or horizontal line in your picture ( like a building or a sidewalk), try to keep these lines from slanting in the image.  This can also be corrected in editing, but I try to take the picture as straight as possible.

Editing

Without editing, your iPhone pictures will look mediocre. The key to editing, is to try to make the picture look how it did in real life.  When you take a picture, it’ll look less vivid, less rich, than it did in real life.  That’s where editing comes in.  Editing also gives your photos an art-like quality.  This is the fun part.

I use an app called VSCO to edit all my iPhone pictures.  For our DSLR photos, we use Light Room.  But today, I’m talking about VSCO.

You need this app.  There is just something about VSCO filters that gives photos such an editorial look.  It creates beautiful depth and richness.

I typically brighten my pictures a tad, add some contrast, and a little grain.  (Grain is used to give your photos a film-like appearance and has a vintage vibe.  If that’s not your thing, skip this.) Editing all boils down to what you want your style to be! Do you like bright and crisp? Muted and moody? Cold or warm? That is for you to decide.

Once you decide on a filter and editing style, don’t change it! Use the same filter EVERY TIME you post a picture.  This allows your feed and photography to look consistent, fluid, and cohesive.  This is the key to an eye-catching gallery.

Here are some before and after editing examples! They greatly showcase the importance of editing!


I hope you all enjoyed this post! It was fun to share my growing knowledge.  What a delightful way to freeze time and encapsulate every day art.

P.s. Don’t forget to get those gorgeous pictures off of your phone, and onto paper! I always use Artifact Uprising to print my pictures.

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Bringing Back Print…With Artifact Uprising


Photographs. Real, tangible photographs. The kind that can send you straight back to another time, another place, another era…with just one touch.

I remember going over to my Nonna and Nonno’s house as a child and spending hours looking through boxes of photos. My tiny fingers perused the photos with admiration. Their adventures in Italy made me dream. Their stories of moving to the United States fascinated me. Pictures of my mom and aunt growing up warmed my heart. (And made me laugh.)

It’s amazing how a simple photo can freeze a moment.

We live in the era of smartphones. We are taking pictures constantly, and with ease. Which is awesome. And yet, we are seldom printing these photos. They are at the mercy of our camera rolls. Lost in infinite scrolling.

This is honestly heartbreaking. There is a rather large chunk of my life that I have little to no tangible photos. If I had continued down this path, I would have very little to show for my kids one day.

Unfortunately, there’s something so utterly unappealing about drug store prints. The quality is rubbish and this takes away from the art of the photo. And I think this is why people don’t bother printing their photos anymore. Because the quality is so low. I was taking beautiful photos, yet I had no beautiful way of bringing them to life.

Then one day, I was introduced to Artifact Uprising.


Beautiful, thick prints. Matte finish. With an eggshell texture. A classic white border. Rich color. Timeless and quality. From the moment I held an Artifact Uprising photo in my hands, I was hooked. And a new habit was formed: ordering prints.

I think all it really takes is seeing these photos in person for yourself. My husband has a few prints on display on his desk at work. His coworkers were instantly intrigued, and one of them even ordered some for himself. That’s the power of displaying the everyday.

Bringing back print is something I am quite passionate about. Getting a box of Artifact Uprising prints in the mail is a little like Christmas. They come housed in a lovely box that allows you to label the collection. I am now in the regular habit of getting my pictures off of my camera roll and into my home.


My heart beats so greatly for the #bringbackprint movement, that I’d like for you to experience these divine keepsakes for yourself. Now through October 9, 2017, you can use my code JULIA10 to receive 10 free everyday prints, any size, excluding shipping. Everyone is a winner with this one! Get started HERE.

If you choose to order your ten free prints, please reach out to me and tell me how you love them! It would certainly make my day!

Remember the soccer game. The anniversary trip. The late night icecream run. The selfie you took by that funny looking statue. Get it all off your phone and IRL. ✌🏼

I hope I’ve inspired you to bring your Instagram feed to life. To display the everyday. To #bringbackprint

*This post is in collaboration with Artifact Uprising.


Summer ’17 Recap

This was the post I was dreading all summer.

Because writing this post means summer is coming to a close and school is about to begin. (Any teachers/aides out there? #wereallinthistogether)

All jokes aside, this summer has honestly been the best of my life.

It wasn’t overly extravagant. In fact, it was rather simple and modest. Yet, it was a darling time of rest, reflection, growth, and gratitude. I am overwhelmingly thankful for this time spent off from work, and the time spent with Jesus, my hubby, and my sweet family.

There were many a quiet mornings that began with oatmeal and a cup of tea. Followed by afternoon sun showers that turned the sky into arrogant sunsets. Peaceful evenings accompanied by popcorn and a movie. This summer wasn’t without flaw, but it was precious and appreciated.

At the start of the summer, I shared a few Summer Priorities I had. Goals, if you will. Here’s a little recap of how that went:

1. Quiet time with the Lord

This is an area that needs constant cultivation. Time spent with the Lord can never reach a point of arrival. We can always grow more. And that’s beautiful. With that being said, I have been working on dedicating more devotional time with God. One of Billy’s friends told us about a Bible app called “Read Scripture”. It’s designed to help guide you through reading the Bible from start to finish– and understand it more. Look up the free app!

2. Fitness

I’ve enjoyed being a little more active this summer. Working out has become more habitual and less of a dread. For me personally, I’ve come to find that fitness is less about looking a certain way, and more about feeling a certain way. Focus less on physical goals, and more on simply making long term healthy habits. 

3. A Little Bit of Everything

Among my two larger goals, were a series of smaller goals. Like read more, floss more, etc. I conquered those as well! Although, I must say, having the accountability of this blog certainly helped.

In closing, here are a few snapshots from this summer. I can’t wait to order prints of these photographs. What were you thankful for this summer?

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