{family fun} photo booth fun!

Normally this post would have fallen under {home & garden} for parties, however, I happen to think this would be fun to do even for a play date or weekend activity, or even a family photo shoot. So I decided to post it in {family fun}.

One of the activities I chose to do at the girls Three Ring Circus Birthday last year was a Photo Booth. I checked into renting one of the machines you see at county fairs and such, but everything I found was a little more than we had in mind.

So instead I enlisted the help of my most favorite Orange County kids photographer, Sandy Heit.  We decided to use the girls playroom as the “booth”.  My sister drew some fun circus artwork on the chalkboard as a backdrop.  Then with a few great props ~ giant glasses, rainbow wig, mustache, clown noses, pink glasses, party hats, colorful balloons, a great red chair, and of course any toy in the playroom….and we were in business! Below are a few of my favorite shots….

{Click on each thumbnail for a larger image}

{Images: Sandy Heit}

It was a fun activity for the kids, and I absolutely love Sandy’s work with kids! Plus I was able to send each family a thank you note along with their photo. (Albeit I sent them over 6 months after the party…KID YOU NOT ~ 6 MONTHS, that’s how off my life and days were this past year!!)

Whether you hire someone, enlist a friend or family member, or just do it for a play date, Photo Booths are definitely a FAVORITE IDEA!

wordless wednesday ~ i {heart} sandy heit

This really will be a Wordless Wednesday because these photos speak for themselves!  Sandy Heit has been taking our family photos and the girls newborn photos for 3 years now, and TRUST ME we have not made it easy for her!  So if we can get shots like these, under the circumstances we put her in, she is MOST DEFINITELY A FAVORITE in my book!  I hope you will have the pleasure of working with her as well.  Talent, patience, OH SO MUCH PATIENCE & a fabulous attitude to boot!  Here’s is a sampling of some of my faves she took for us.  Piper was 10 days old (perfect time to get newborn shots!)…

If you want to read more about why I {heart} Sandy Heit check out this, and this….but most of all, check out her site and her photo blog.  She is amazing to work with!

wordless wednesday ~ just a teaser

We took family and newborn photos when Piper was 10 days old….To say we gave Sandy Heit a few challenges is an UNDERSTATEMENT!  Not like you can tell in the slightest from this photo of Addie, I absolutely LOVE it!!

Be sure to check back next week to see the rest of the darling photos!

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out Angry Julie Monday.

say cheese…great camera tips!

Sandy Heit Christmas 3

I am so fortunate to know a photographer like Sandy Heit!  Not only has she been amazing at capturing wonderful images of our children and family, but she is also a wealth of knowledge in helping me learn how to use this new beast of a camera that I’m swinging around these days! (To see more on Sandy, check out this earlier post).

Soap Box Moment for just a sec…

One of my most favorite characteristics in a professional is not being afraid to share their tips with you.  3 of the most important service people in my life –  photographer, brows/makeup, and hair pro (haaa, that kinda made me sound like I was getting ready for my Today Show appearance!!  I WISH, just a regular ‘ole mom over here!!)…

Anyway, EACH of these professionals is amazing and very generous about giving me tips or teaching me how to do things on my own…to me this creates customer loyalty as all 3 know that in watching the family budget, I (we all) NEED to do things on my (our) own. HOWEVER, knowing that these pros are so willing to help me (us), makes me WANT to make appointments with each of them for the times that it really counts!  So it’s a win-win all the way around.

Now onto the pro tips for today!

I’m assuming with the holidays approaching, cameras for gifts (or for yourself, FINALLY) are probably on lists somewhere and thought this might help….

When I was getting ready to start this blog, I knew that one feature I really enjoyed and appreciated on other sites was good photographs.  Now CLEARLY I’m not a pro with pictures, but I’m surprised how often I receive emails from people asking how I do something.

The truth?

I don’t have a clue!

I have this camera that is WAAAAYYY better than me!  I know that someday I will have time to really unleash it’s true potential, but for now, I’m just thankful it can perform basically on auto pilot….

Sandy Heit was amazing when I was getting started and made the following suggestions:

For camera bodies, she recommends either the Canon EOS Rebel T1i (Body Only)
which sells for about $700.

Amazon Canon Rebel

Or the Canon EOS 50D Camera (Body Only) which sells for about $1150.

Amazon Canon 50D

Quite a few places sell these cameras with kit lens with she believes are junk
(I’ve had quite a few friends that use these cameras tell me the same thing…)

Because I wanted to work on product shots, she recommended a Canon 50mm 1.8 Camera Lens
that sells for about $80.  Basically a good, sharp lens.

canon 50mm 1.8

However, because Sandy also knows I’m a bit of a photo freak (I love family pictures)
she also recommended another lens, the Tamron 28-75mm Camera Lens
which she believes is a great all around lens.

Tamron 28-75

And since I’m totally clueless with cameras (unless its my point and shoot, which I affectionately like to call “push here dummy”).  Sandy also recommended a good read: Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera.  When I passed this information onto my youngest sister who is most definitely the photographer in our family, she laughed as she has the Canon Rebel T1i and also the book, and loves them both! So that served as a second to the recommendations for me.

Amazon Understanding Exposure

And to answer your question, I use the Canon 50D and Tamron 28-75.

Now as far as Point and Shoot cameras are concerned, I personally love the Canon Elph.  I have used Panasonic, Sony and Canon P&S cameras and in the end ALWAYS come back to Canon Elphs.  That is not to say the others aren’t good, but for my novice ability and need for the easiest thing that will give me the best pictures, Canon Elphs have always been the best.

My current P&S is the Canon PowerShot SD850 Elph Camera.

Canon Elph 850

The P&S that Sandy Heit wants is the Panasonic Lumix LX3.

Amazon Panasonic

The P&S she currently uses is a Canon G9
(Canon PowerShot G10 is now available).

Amazon Canon G10I have given links to Amazon as I love shopping with them, love the super saver shipping, and often get the best prices.  Sandy also recommends B&H Photography out of NY.   You pay for shipping, but if you are not in NY, you don’t pay sales tax.

Also for great tips on taking photos and also using Photo Shop (which I have YET to learn), check out The Pioneer Woman. This woman is my hero!!

Here’s a few great gift thoughts from Sandy as well…

She offers Gift Certificates starting at $250, which covers her session fee.
Great deal, because now all that’s left is buying photos, etc.

Accordian books are always fun for parents and grandparents!


I love to make photo notecards to use for personal stationary and thanks notes.
(These are 2 of my personal ones).


And my all time FAVORITE companion product Sandy offers,
her Modern Photo Books



Now I was planning on sharing some tips from Sandy on organizing photos…
I but think we will be here until January 2010 if this post gets any longer.
So instead, I’m going to move on to Sandy Heit’s FABULOUS giveaway!!!

(I’ll post the organizing tips in a future post…)

1 luck winner will win a photo session with Sandy and 1 – 8 x 10 photo, a $325 value!

Here are the rules – if possible (this is new), please leave separate comments… a pain I know, but makes it easier when I’m making up the draw bucket for the girls!!

1. Visit Sandy Heit’s Blog and leave a comment there on a favorite photo. (1 entry)

2. Sign up on Sandy’s mailing list to receive future promotions(1 entry)

3. Add one of my buttons to your site or blogroll (1 entry).

4. Vote for us for the bizziollionth time at Top Mommy Blogs! (1 entry)

Don’t forget to leave your comments so we know what you did!!  And enter even if you live out of town, it just gives you more reason to come visit the OC!!

Best of luck! You have until Tuesday, December 15th to enter. Winner will be announced on Wednesday.

Don’t forget to enter the Juliska Giveaway!!  Only 3 days left!!
The more times you comment, the more chances you have!