Tuesday, October 29, 2013


What draws me to Snap Maven is the care and genuineness that goes into the community, especially with each contest. There aren't just winners announced, but highlighted with a bit about why the image stood out, how it made a connection. For someone like me who is always trying to improve and be inspired, I get so much joy seeing the contest winners each week. Not just because the images are so beautiful, but because I can learn more about why they are so beautiful. So when I was asked to be a guest judge, I nearly fell onto the floor I was so overwhelmed. Such a JOY, such a privilege, such a tremendous honor!

Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing.  -  William Shakespeare

There were so many beautifully, happy, joyful images posted! It was so hard to choose, but the feelings in these images just drew me in such a way that I cannot stop looking at them! I am taken back to the days when I didn't have a care in the world. All my thoughts and worries fade away, and I am joyful. I am greatly inspired by all of these! Thank you so much for inviting me to be here Snap Maven!


The joy and the moment merge so beautifully in this amazing image. The feeling is contagious. It's as if we are in a dream, and it is the best part, the part he will talk about at breakfast the next morning. The leaves are so delicate and there is such a wonderful feeling of motion, like the world is spinning leaves all around him.

 Their wishes came true! We are not sure what these two children are so excited about, but we can feel their joy. This big moment that has them so excited and happy, with their arms outreached, smiles beaming. I am right there with them, caught in the excitement. Is it a balloon? A bubble? Or a pile of leaves thrown? Their parents reaching out for a hug? This image captures children's joy so beautifully, their pure elation. 


The enthusiasm and energy in this image go straight to my heart. It reminds me of myself when I was little. What is she off to do? Is she in pursuit or being chased? Either way, she is having a blast. So vibrant and effervescent in this moment.


This image is a whole story I would love to read. Her hat about to fly off her head, and her joy. Who is she, and what is giving her such exuberance? Is this a comedic film noir cover image? I love how she is spot in the middle of the scene. She is getting away with something good, and it brings her joy.
 The light first drew me into this image, but then I found this darling girl, hopping away, like a quiet bunny rabbit. It is her world, her imagination, and it is joyfully beautiful and quiet. 


A happy baby is such a joyful thing. Their joy is infectious. I can feel this baby's squeaky clean cheeks, and can smell the baby shampoo. He isn't cold after his bath, just genuinely happy and joyful, giggling.
 Joy can be right side up, or upside down. It is a whirlwind. I love this composition, because we see what he is seeing. He is having the ride of his life, safe and wild in his Mama's arms. Such a joy!
 He sings, he smiles. So comfortable in his skin, and happy. I bet he has a wonderful sense of humor. His self-assurance is strong. A joy to share with all around. 


Jump for joy, there is the sun, the sky is blue, and we are together. Sharing the same joyful dance. The sand beneath our feet and the sunburst behind us make us dance so well. The beach is our stage. A dance of joy for each cherished day


And the winner is . . . 
Every single millimeter of this little girl is ignited with joy. She radiates the feeling like the sun. Joy has completely taken this little girl over. It is in doing that we find joy, with all our faith and spirit poured into that feeling of sublime happiness.

Congratulations to all the winners and a big ol' huge Snap Maven "THANK YOU"
to Cate Wnek 
for being our guest judge this week. 
What a fabulous job she has done!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Meet this Week's Guest Judge: Cate Wnek {joy} October 29, 2013

1. Tell us about yourself… 

I discovered my singular passion for photography about a year ago. I am enthusiastic, caring, and genuine.  Home is with my family on the coast of Maine.  I am blessed with a husband of 15 years whom I met in college. We have been together for more than half our lives. He is my best friend. We share two children, both boys – Tucker (7) and Finn (4).  A good day is when there is a fun dinner is planned, like homemade fajitas and margarita, following a fun day outside playing and taking pictures. I relish a quiet run on the long private road we live on that passes along the sound. My life is full of pitter patter, stories, Ninja training, Legos, bedtime, laundry, music, bus stop runs, and of course, beautiful light. 

2. What ignited your passion for photography, and what fuels it now? 

Looking back, one of my favorite memories from Elementary school was learning about light and prisms. Then when I was sixteen, I went France for five weeks to visit our exchange student, and came home with some beautiful images. But, I didn't realize then that I had a passion for photography. Like many, I arrived at photography because I wanted to learn how to take more wonderful pictures of my two children. 

What fuels it now?

My heart. It makes me happy to hold my camera. I am deeply immersed in documenting this intimate, fleeting time that I have with my children. I’ve come to see their world differently now, with greater appreciation.  I aim to capture their imaginations, their little ways of being themselves doing what they love. Oh, even the crying, whining, stomping ones.  To remember the beauty of two small boys growing up together, especially their unique expressions and feelings. They are always changing, making my life richer.  I shoot from my heart with the intent to pour and bottle it all into an image that is worthy and as memorable as the moment.

There is always something new to learn, and that is wonderfully satisfying. I continually strive to improve.

3. What's in your camera bag right now, what do use the most? the least? 

Canon 5D Mark III, Sigma 35 mm 1.4 and Canon 70-200mm 2.8L. Collecting dust are my Sigma 50 1.4 and my Canon 24-105mm 4L lenses.

4. What's your dream project or shoot? 

I am shooting it, everyday!

5. What is the biggest challenge you face as a photographer? 

I get so carried away with my photography, that I need to be careful to remember to take a step back and do something different for a day or two, just to stay well-rounded.

Perhaps a bigger challenge is overcoming the fear that my best image is behind me. In a way I am thankful for this fear, as it pushes me to get better and better. 

6. If you had $500 to spend on photography... How should you spend it? How do you wish you could spend it? How would you really spend it? 

I recently saw an engagement session that made me wish that I could have fantastic images taken of my husband and me together, as well as with our children. I try to get in the frame here and there, but to have someone talented come over and capture us together. That would be meaningful. I should find someone to do this soon. 

7. Is there any one thing you wish someone had told you at the very beginning of your photography journey?

Shoot everyday, following your heart, and share. Thinking of photographer Emmet Gowin - we all have a story to tell, one that fits into the lives and feelings of others in a meaningful way.

To see more of Cate's everyday moments made amazing, you can visit her at


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Meet the Mavenistas! Jana O' Flaherty of Bo & The Bean

  Jana shares for us on Saturdays and announces the new themes on Sundays. 
She also heads up our Snap Maven Canada team!

1. Please tell us about yourself.

This is always such a hard question to answer :)  I am a mother and wife with a desire for  balance and fairness.  Conflict makes me nervous, but I am also fiercely protective of the people I love.  I am over-sensitive, a procrastinator, and a bit temperamental.  I love family, friends, good food and losing myself in a book.  Photography is my hobby and outlet, and I'm still amazed that other people like my work!

 2. Can you describe your style in 3 words? Why those words?

I would like my style to be clean, vibrant and crisp.  I don't like visual clutter (there is enough of it in my 'real life' lol) so I think that is why I prefer my photos to look the way they do.

 3. What sparked your passion for photography?

I've had cameras since I was little.  I still have a ton of the photos I took when I was young, and things like composition and lighting didn't matter to me.  I fell in love with photography again after having my daughter, and realizing that with a photo, I could keep the memories of her childhood alive forever.

 4. What's in your camera bag right now?

Hmmm, a D600, an 85 1.8 and a 35 1.8 (which is a DX but I still throw it on and use it until I save up for that gorgeous Sigma!),  an extra battery, some kleenex,  and a notepad and pen.  Pretty boring :)

 5. What is your dream shoot or project?

I would love to shoot for a cookbook!  It sounds small, but I would also love to do a huge Mothers/children shoot.  I'm not in business so I don't see it happening soon, but I know I am seldom in photos for a variety of reasons and it breaks my heart to think that my kids won't have those tangible memories when I am gone.  Every child deserves to have a pile of pics of their mom exactly as they remember her.

 6. What are some of the hurdles you have had to overcome this far in your photography journey?

Time (and learning how to better manage it).  Money and gear envy lol.  My biggest hurdle is absolutely myself.  I want to be an amazing photographer whose images appeal to people, but I struggle trusting that I can actually do that!  I'm finally learning that if I love a shot, then sometimes that is enough.

7. What advice would you give to other photographers? What advice do you wish you'd been given at the very beginning?
Learn the basics.  You can't break the rules intentionally unless you know what they are :)  Supportive family and friends are so important, but sometimes an outsider's eye is needed to balance that out.  I look back at older shots now and cringe lol.  It is not a race so slow down and enjoy learning and seeing your improvement.  Sometimes you need to disconnect a bit - stop staring at all the gorgeous work your idols are producing when it starts making you feel badly about your own.  Other photographers' work should inspire you so if it doesn't, walk away for a bit and focus on what makes your heart happy.

 You can see more of Jana's inspiring work at her facebook page Bo & The Bean.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Featured Friday with Michele Quattrin of mQn Photography

Michele was our theme challenge winner at Snap Maven this week. That challenge was to create an image with the theme "skies". 

1. Please tell us about yourself...

Lot of people ask me what mQn stands for and it’s just my initials.  Michele (with one “L”) Nicole Quattrin.  I like the traditional way of initials so hence the capital Q in the middle.  I’m a California girl; grew up in Riverside California, moved to San Francisco for college met my husband then moved to Massachusetts for his job for 4 ½ years then moved to Indiana for his job for just 10 months and now we are currently living in Minnesota (again for his job and no he is not in the military).  We have two kids; a boy and a girl and a 10 year old black Lab. 

2.       Can you describe your style in 3 words? Why those words?

How about 2 words?  Lifestyle Portraiture . . .  My goal is to capture timeless portraits in a real setting.

3.       What sparked your passion for photography?

I was minoring in journalism in college until I took a photojournalism class and I just fell in love with it.  I loved everything about it; the darkroom, capturing real moments in people, having a picture say what 100 words could not, everything.  But even as a kid I always had a camera on me.  I was always taking pictures.

4.       What's in your camera bag right now?

Canon 5D mark II with the 50 1.2L on (which rarely if ever comes off) 100 2.8L macro; 85 1.8; 70-200L 4.0; Lensbaby and edge optic; a squeaky toy to get kids attention; hand sanitizer, and Excedrin


5.       What is your dream shoot or project?

I really really want to shoot children’s clothing.  I think I just buy my daughter obscene amounts of clothes just so I can photograph it.  

6.       What are some of the hurdles you have had to overcome this far in your photography journey?

Moving!  We have lived in 4 states in the past 7 years.  I feel like as soon as I get settled and known and busy, we up and move and I have to start all over again getting my name out there.  It’s tough because each year more and more photographers enter the field.  And I refuse to compete with anyone.

7.       What advice would you give to newbie photographers? What advice do you wish you'd been given at the very beginning?

My advice . . . be nice, be thankful and be you.  Advice I wish I would have gotten . . .  don’t let others tell you what to shoot.  Photograph what you want and how you want.  Its ok to say no thank you.

To see more of Michele's fabulous imagery, you can visit her at

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


First of all, thank you!! for having me as a guest judge this week. I am very thankful and honored. There were so many beautiful images submitted! I really really wanted to include more than ten in this post!!!

"The sky, a perfect empty canvas, offers clouds nonetheless. They shift and drift and beg interpretation... such is the nature of art." ~Jeb Dickerson

I melted with that quote that filled my heart with inspiration and then, I melted hundred more times with the images submitted. I found more than ten as my "favorites" so I had to focus on the theme and let the images speak to me through their skies. Here they are. Beautifully captured. The always witness of so many stories to be told and remembered. The sky.

Please note that these images are in no order of preference.

That yellow "feather" caught my attention and very quickly made me fly into the cotton clouds surrounding it. First I saw the yellow, then I just appreciated that blue sunny sky which brought me feelings of happiness and just could not stop admiring it. Love the composition of this image. Love seeing those three girls. Their little hands in different positions saying a little bit about each of them. Love the beautiful colorful outfits. This image tells me a story that I want to know more about. Love the details captured and the clean and beautiful edit. It is such so perfect to me.

Talking about beautiful skies. The lines in this image are just gorgeous. The composition brings my eyes to the "right" places. I want to be there when I see it. Want that warm sun to caress my face and feel such peace as this image brings to my soul. The tones are so beautiful and the light is just stunning. It is definitely a "sky" image where my eyes first fly and then go to the ground to find so much more beauty.

I want to take off my shoes and feel the warm sand in a peaceful day. This image tells me so much that I would not stop in one day =). Love the sky in here. How the day says hello (or bye?) to the night. The wonder if the people are arriving or leaving. Love the movement but still, the calm. The composition in this capture is just BEAUTIFUL!.



 I was looking for skies and just found them all over in this image. And the warmth of the sun invited me to stay looking at it for hours. And the dark vertical lines, and the connection through the bridge of the left and right just was so beautiful to me. Love the way the artist played with exposure, leaving just some little details to be captured by the eye and yet, leaving the silhouette tell the story. This is another beautiful "sky" entry. Love it.

How something so small seems to be so big and something so big, seems to be so small? The beauty in the perspectives, in the distances, and in putting the 3D in a 2D capture. Love the way the artist work with the lines and the positioning of the subject. What is the main subject here? the moon? the bird? the sky...? How beautiful are the images that can tell you so much!. I also love the tones in this image. Just like being in the sky. * sigh *


"... and when I was I kid I just dreamt that I could fly..." and the sticks where swords and the stones big
ships. I love when I see so much in a photograph. When even not being my kids I would not hesitate to
buy it and hang it on one of the walls in my own house. Those are the strong images you never forget.
 Love the story behind. That probably is not the one the artist is telling but the one your soul is
interpreting. The capture of the sky here is just perfect. Full of elements that make your eyes going from the top corner to the bottom opposite one. My eyes just scanned this image and enjoyed everything they
 saw. Love the composition. Love the colors, the elements, the natural spontaneous capture. Love the
movement and the life in this image.


I feel like if I walk through that path I will arrive to heaven!! So beautifully done. The lines in this image 

are so strong. I see lines horizontally, vertically, oblicuas, straight and not. The first thing I saw was the 

sky and I loved it. Loved the clouds and their shapes. The strong sunny color. Saw the greens in the grass 

and the subject just starting their journey together. And adventure. I wanted to be there too!. Love the 

composition and the clean way the artist used the light in the moment of the photoshoot and in the post

processing. Stunning image.


His smile made me smile and the sky just gave him the perfect hug. I love it. Love this peaceful moment captured. The movement frozen for ever in such simple and exquisite way. Love to see his little smile in the center of the image, and the soft colored sky framing the capture.

How many sunsets these two might have seen together? How many more they will see? gosh, this is the cutest thing ever! I fell in love with the warmth in this picture. The warmth of the golden hour light and the warmth of that little hug Those yellow flowers balancing colors in such a beautiful way. The tones in this image are just so beautiful. The green of the grass complementing the yellows. The cropping and the usage of light are just so perfect to me. This is a beautiful sky photograph!!

And the winner is.........

The focus, the out of focus, the light, the tones, the composition, the perspective, the use of shades and

highlights... so many things I could say are just perfect to me in this image. It is clearly a sky capture 

because I can feel it is the center of the attention, but at the same time, the nature was captured in a way 

to give such a beautiful frame to that little girl. Her hand up. The story behind and the story built in my 

mind when I saw... it is just beautiful 

Congratulations to Michelle and to all the amazing photographers picked. 
You ladies are so talented and inspiring! 

Love to all, happy week, Cris

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