Friday, January 29, 2016

Feature Friday with Melissa Hines Photography!

Melissa is the talent behind Melissa Hines Photography, as well as the driving force behind the Cities in Color Project.  Melissa won the 'little things' challenge last week, and has given us a peek into her camera bag as well as her advice for newbie photogs!

1. Please tell us about yourself...

Hi! I’m Melissa from Melissa Hines Photography. I live in Kansas City with my husband and our three boys (6, 3, 1). I love to read, eat yummy food, drink coffee, and explore this city that we live in!

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

Honest- I’m a documentary photographer. I capture something because it caught my attention and I want to remember it. I rarely get ideas for a specific shot I want to get. And even when I do, it isn’t a really detailed idea.

Shadows- Oh, how I love using shadows to emphasize the light! I typically underexpose my images a little bit in order to bring out the shadows a bit more. And when I’m keeping an eye out for light, I’m really looking for shadows.

Color- I’m a rare documentary photographer in that I almost always leave my images in color. I really think it adds to the story. I’m not just capturing a subject, but I’m capturing a subject in part of a scene to tell my story. I think color is amazing for that purpose. I seriously love color so much that I started the Cities in Color Project!

3. What sparked your passion for photography?

Just like most of the photographers I know, my passion for photography started because I became a mom. But more specifically, my passion for documenting started with my middle. He has sensory issues and developmental delays. As a result, he just isn’t a kid that is going to sit or stand for a portrait. I would go for months without capturing an image of him that I didn’t hate because of how forced it was. So I had to learn how to meet him where he was at if I wanted any photos of him. Through that process, I realized how much I love it. He’s in a ton more photos now!

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

Well, since my camera bag is also my diaper bag, I have some wipes, an extra outfit for the one year old, some cloth diapers, a wet bag, my wallet, keys, chapstick, a granola bar, padding for my camera, and some toy cars.

5. What is your dream shoot or project?

My dream shoot is simply to do a day in the life. Both shooting one for someone and having someone shoot one for my family so I can be in the photos. I also want to start documenting some couples on dates in the city because these are still important memories worthy of being captured. And I want to work with some more businesses documenting what they do. I recently documented a local tattoo artist at work and I am hooked!

6. What are some of the misconceptions you had about photography and photographers at the beginning of your photography journey? Have they changed, and how?

I used to think that the equipment made the photographer. So not true. Yes, good equipment makes some things easier, but I shoot regularly with my iPhone now and sometimes don’t even miss my Nikon. It’s the photographer and the hours upon hours of practice they put into understanding light, angles, story, composition, etc.

I also used to think that there was no way I could ever capture images. But I wasn’t getting what I wanted because I was stuck on Aperture mode and hadn’t learned how to meter. When I finally decided to learn manual and how to meter, I became more confident with capturing images. And that allowed me to move onto finding my own voice instead of wishing I could capture something like someone else.

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

My advice is to read your camera manual. Learn how to use your camera. Be in control of your settings and how you want to expose for the light. Practice the technical side and overtime, you’ll start to learn what you love and what is unique to you.

The advice I wish I’d been given at the beginning was to turn off the pop up flash. It just wasn’t a good look at all because I had no idea how to use it. Still don’t, but I’ve since learned how to use what light I have available.

Find more of Melissa's beautiful work here:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Meet This Week's Judge: Carey Pace!

This week, Carey of Images by Carey Pace is looking for the 'marvels of ordinary life'. As you examine your sense of the ordinary, enjoy reading about Carey and viewing her beautiful work!

1. Tell us about yourself…

I’m an introvert who talks way too much.  I start more projects than I finish. Housekeeping is not among my assets, but I make up for that with my cooking. I have a tendency towards paralyzing perfectionism, and I’m an excellent “pile-er” of things.  I get lost in the imaginary worlds of books.  
I’m passionate about motherhood and investing in our children. I believe there is jaw-dropping beauty held within the ordinary, everyday moments of our lives if we will but stop to LOOK and see.   Documentary photography and writing are my creative outlets and the chief way I share the beauty I find every day in the world.

I am married to my high school sweetheart and a stay-at-home-mom to a dirt-loving nine year old boy and a curly-headed seven year old girl.  Last summer my husband’s company relocated us from 14 years in Tennessee to Virginia, and we are transitioning to life in a new place.  Adventure is out there!

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

From my earliest days I was drawn to amazing photography of ordinary life, but I never owned a camera. When I graduated from college with the promise of income I bought a film SLR (N65!). Paralyzing perfection and the fear of wasting money reigned, and I was too chicken to take it off auto. After owning a DSLR (D70) for several years, I finally garnered up the courage to turn that dial to aperture-priority. I began researching online what all those camera terms meant. That path led me here. 

When I look at photographs I’ve taken I am magically transformed back in time. I remember every minute thing about that moment when I snapped the shutter. These memories would likely be lost forever but I still have them. The main reason I photograph, though, is that I feel compelled to. When I see mundane life taking place before my eyes and the light is magic and beautiful, I feel this effervescence in my chest that fights for release. Just as I need someone to share WITH me in a meal I have prepared in order to fully enjoy it, I need others with me to view the beauty I see before my eyes. This is a shared joy. The camera allows me to do that. 

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

I use the Nikon D800 with the Sigma 30mm f1.4 lens 99% of the time.  The 30mm focal length really suits my documentary style.  Every once in a while I will pull out my 85mm 1.8D.  I have the 50mm 1.4D but once I got the 30mm I never use it.  The Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 was my Christmas gift and I am beginning to play with that.   No girly-girl bags for me.  I prefer a plain backpack to cart all of it around. 

4. What’s your dream project or shoot?

I’m also rather indecisive.  This is a tough question for me!  I can never choose just ONE of anything.  

A few years ago I started dabbling in creating fusion videos.  I LOVE using my camera to film motion but it is much more time consuming to compile and edit.  I’ve taken a good bit of footage and never done anything with it.  Time is the major thing standing in my way.  In 2015, I used my iPhone to create a 1SE (1 Second Everyday) video of our family’s life and it has been my favorite creative thing I’ve ever done.  I was reminded just how important video is for our memories.  Although I adore the 1SE video I made, I think it would be amazing to have something similar with my DSLR.  It would be my dream project to have the time to use my camera to shoot the video of our ordinary lives and then compile the footage into a keepsake. A finished keepsake! 

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

Along the same lines as my dream project, my biggest challenge is finding time.  I tend to lean towards dropping my responsibilities to go play with the kids and photograph our fun, which only sets me behind on what I need to do.  I’ve set a boundary not to work on the computer in the evenings when my husband and kids are home, so finding the time to process all of the photos I take becomes a problem.  I have folders and folders and folders of photos I’ve never sorted through or edited.  I want my family to reap the benefits of all these photos but that can’t happen if they only live on my hard drives.  

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 should save it to put towards getting a new camera body. I love my D800 but he won’t last forever.
I wish I could put it towards getting a Nikon 14-24 f2.8 wide angle zoom lens. I rent it every time we go to the beach and it is such an amazing and FUN lens. But pricey!!! Or a waterproof housing… or a mac-daddy macro lens… 

I would really spend it to rent lenses for our travels.  

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

“When you stop taking pictures of things, and start taking pictures of light, everything changes.” -source unknown.

LEARN LIGHT.  I was always photographing moments that struck me as beautiful, but I didn’t know Light.  I was trying not to spend any money in my photography education, so I just researched what I could find online.  It wasn’t until many years in that I finally invested in a course that taught me how to SEE the light.  That totally rocked my world.  Perhaps it is true that you CAN find any and all photography knowledge online for free… but the time it would have taken wasn’t worth it.  I regret those years I floundered, not knowing why my images weren’t anything noteworthy, when all the time it was a lack of knowledge of Light.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

{the little things)

I was completely blown away by everyone's submissions for {the little things}! It was seriously hard to choose! I hope you're all feeling inspired to document the little things in your lives. 

The detail in this photo is stunning! I feel like I am right there in the cold too, and the snow on her eyelashes is just perfection. 


The light in this image is soooo beautiful. I love sweet little baby details. 


I love the color and the depth in this image. Even the way both hands are positioned is just perfect! 


I love the grain, the black and white conversion, and the gorgeous bokeh in the background! 


Such a beautiful, clean and simple photo that says so much about childhood! 


I absolutely adore the gorgeous tones and bokeh in this image! 


The detail and colors in this image are simply stunning! 


I love the soft light and neutral tones. The little hair details are so very precious and fleeting. 


I adore the depth and the black and white conversion. The detail in those sweet little lashes is just perfect! 


Beautiful light and tones in this sweet image. These are the adorable childhood details 
I know we will look back on fondly. 


and the winner is....

I absolutely love this childhood detail. My youngest still has hand dimples and every time I take a photo I wonder if it will be the last. This is such a beautiful capture of a fleeting little detail! 

Thank you all so very much for sharing your gorgeous images with me! 
I loved viewing each and every every submission
Tiffany Kelly, Tiffany Kelly Photography

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Maven Flyer Vol. 4

Welcome to 
 The Maven Flyer
Vol. 4
For the week of January 25, 2016

Here we will offer suggestions for places for you to submit your images
for sharing and competition.
If you have or know of a sharing community or theme, please let us know
by emailing the name, link, and specifics to
Include "Please Add This Page to the Flyer"
in the subject line so we won't miss it.

At this time you will need to visit each page to learn the specifics of the pages 
rules and deadlines for sharing images.

Happy Sharing Everyone!

Snap Maven ~ Marvel of the ordinary life
Clicking Moms ~ Winter
In Beauty & Chaos~  For the sake of the shot
 Fantastically Flawed~ Weekly fave
Picture Me Project~Include yourself in the image somehow!
We Were There Too~ Get in the photo with your kids!
Lemonade and Lenses~Weekly Favorite
Mozi Magazine~Weekly Favorite
Seniorologie~ Weekly Favorite(senior)
Photographer's Connection~Weekly Favorite
Photo Artistry~  Weekly favorite
EX.OH Blog ~ Weekly favorite
Light Inspired~ Monochromatic
M4HP~ no theme
Journey to Artist~ Pushing horizons
Reflections~ Poem, Weekly favorite
Little Bellows Weekly favorite
Photo Corner~ weekly favorite
By The Light~ Weekly fave
Life's Experience p52~ Emotive BW
The Monochromatic Lens~Weekly Favorite
My Beautifully Chaotic Lifestyle~ Beautifully Chaotic
Let the Kids Dress Themselves~2015 fave
SHOTMagazine~ open, one photo per day
Minimalist Mondays ~Weekly fave
Euphoric Capture~ Come rain or come shine
The Snappy Mama~ Black and white window light
Photographer Obsessed~ A change in the season
In shadow of life~BW weekly favorites
The Snap Society ~ Weekly favorite
Life Unscripted- Fur, fins, fethers
Project:life your way: weekly favorites
The Artistic Tog: In the frame
Dear Photographer~Weekly favorite
Sham of the Perfectfamily documentary favorites
Life In Loud~ Weekly favorites shot from the heart
Fearless and Framed~ Honestly documented
Inspire me, Inspired be.- Back lit
Soul Focus - See the light
By HeArt~ "I may be small, but I've got giant plans to shine as brightly as the sun." ~ Louisa May Alcott


That concludes the links for this week!
If there is a link you'd like to see here, please let us know at
Include "Please Add This Page to the Flyer"
in the subject line so we won't miss it.
Please allow 2-3 weeks for addition to The Maven Flyer
Same goes for errors, though we hope to get those fixed right away.
Future issues of The Maven Flyer will be posted on Monday evenings.

You can't get featured if you don't submit!!

Go for it!

If you would like to receive
The Maven Flyer
in your inbox each week
please sign up

Saturday, January 23, 2016

This Week's Guest Judge: Tiffany Kelly!

This week, Tiffany of Tiffany Kelly Photography asked you to photograph the little things. Here, she shares some of her on beautiful work, and some reflections on the art and business of photography.

1. Tell us about yourself...! 

Hi there! I'm Tiffany! I am a photographer who shoots families, children, newborn and maternity work. I also shoot a lot of personal work - primarily my own kids and macro. I live in the suburbs of Atlanta GA with my awesome hubby, two adorable girls, and our aging mutt. Some of my favorite things are Starbucks, flowers, white wine, anything coconut, and dance parties with my kiddos. 

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

Definitely my kids. Becoming a mom is what sparked my interest in photography. I needed a way to slow down the time that was flying by and document the little details of childhood. My kids are my biggest inspiration now as well. 

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

I have a Nikon d800, Sigma 35 art and 50 art, Lensbaby velvet 56, and Nikon 105mm macro. I definitely use the 35 the most and the 50 the least currently. Especially now that it's winter and it's cold outside. I find myself shooting indoors mostly and I love the room the 35 gives me. 

4. What’s your dream project or shoot?

Oh this is a tough one... mostly I would love to be able to travel to beautiful places and photograph my daughters in those amazing places! 

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

Finding time to shoot all the things I want to shoot and implement all the ideas in my head! 

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 probably SHOULD spend it by hiring an accountant or something instead of trying to do all those boring things myself. I WISH I could spend it taking a fun little mini trip to somewhere pretty and capturing that place through my lens. I would probably actually spend it by buying an online workshop and maybe some fancy flowers to shoot :) 

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

To focus on my own progress and not worry about comparing myself to others. To remember to look back and see how far I've come.  

Friday, January 22, 2016

Feature Friday with Cara Hodge Photography!

Caroline, the talented face behind Cara Hodge Photography, was the winner of last week's 'outdoor adventures' challenge, and she has graciously shared some more of her gorgeous work!  Read on to find out what sparked Caroline's passion for photography, and to find out what is in her camera bag.

1. Please tell us about yourself...
My name is Caroline Hodge and I'm married to a razor sharp (and funny) Irish guy, Nick, and am a mother to two children, Florence Chantal, 15, and Benedict Gabriel, 5.  I'm from rural Wiltshire, a small town called Bradford-on-Avon in England, but since moving away from the area after university I've lived in London, New York, and in recent years, Abu Dhabi in the U.A.E. I instantly loved the buzz and connection of bigger cities, but Abu Dhabi was a much slower pace of life which took me a while to adjust to. Now I've learned to embrace and even love this city for all the wonderful people I've met from all over the world and the unique life-changing experiences I've had here. 

2. Can you describe your style in 3 words? Why those words?
 I feel my style is much evolving all the time, but here goes... Peaceful. Frank. Emotive. I would say that probably a sense of calm or peace describes it best.
I tend to use rich dark colors which I find are very emotive to me. I love exploring color and the way light changes them. Eventually I'd like my pictures to sometimes also have a dreamier look, and am looking forward to playing with focus and getting my hands on a Lensbaby in 2016.

3. What sparked your passion for photography?
When my son was about 18 months old, I got some family pictures done here in Abu Dhabi and when I saw the pictures for the first time, I held them in my hands and was struck by the conviction that photography  was something I really wanted to do. I kind of fell in love with the process of photography right there and then.

4. What's in your camera bag right now?
I only have one lens. The Sigma 1.4, 35mm. This lens definitely helped my photography along. Up until purchasing this lens in March of last year, I was using the lens that came with my Nikon D7000. The wider aperture has helped me a lot, though I still take pictures at all different apertures, depending on the story. Next up will be a Lensbaby, I just haven't decided which one yet! 

5. What is your dream shoot or project?
 My dream shoot is when my 15 year old lets me take her picture, because it's quite rare and she is actually very photogenic and has a brilliant stare! I'd love to take more pictures of teenagers and young people. It's that precious age, halfway between the magical age of childhood and the responsibilities (and sometimes magical) aspects of being an adult. It's fragile and powerful, all mixed in. I also love taking pictures in wild and empty places. I need to plan a trip into the desert soon!

6. What are some of the misconceptions you had about photography and photographers at the beginning of your photography journey? Have they changed, and how?
I started my photography journey with very few preconceptions (other then all the pictures  knocking around in my imagination, carried down through the years). But in terms of photography as a discipline, I knew nothing besides the basic notion that I should hold the camera and press the shutter button. In some ways this was a marvelous place to start because I really has this great feeling I could do whatever I wanted. Other times it was confusing and bewildering!  I did do a couple of workshops, of just a few hours, to learn to operate a DSLR, and I followed this up with some amazing Bloom Forum Workshops. We're lucky that we can grow through an amazingly supportive online community. I still feel as I did on the outset, that photography is very much a journey in creativity.

7. What advice would you give to newbie photographers? What advice do you wish you'd been given at the very beginning?
No one will see the world quite like you will. You are unique. You have a story. It may seem fairly ordinary and unremarkable at times, but then it's remarkable to simply be alive at any given moment and being able to document that. Enjoy the process, don't rush to get to a destination. It may be the "wrong" roads or accidents that bring you to your style. In  the end your style or voice will most likely represent YOU. Who you are. Take time to maybe write a list of adjectives, how you would describe yourself, and then look at some of your favorite pictures. Could the same adjectives you used to describe yourself,  be used to describe your pictures? Do they best reflect who you truly are at heart? I found this exercise very helpful to do. I tried to look up this online article I'd read over a year ago about finding your voice, but I never found it again. If I do, I'll post it.

Find more of Caroline's beautiful work here:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

{outdoor adventures}

There's nothing like an {outdoor adventure}, breathing in the fresh air, surrounded by nature and endless possibilities.  It was a near impossible task to whittle this down, but this collection will make you want to head outside right now and find your own {outdoor adventure}!

I love the scale here!  The juxtaposition of the boys against the forest illustrates how little they are. It also suggests a fantastical power and strength of their setting, giving this photo a fairy tale feel.
What a beautiful moment of boyhood you captured here!


We often take nature for granted, but these kids are taking full advantage of its wonder.  


The first thing that grabbed me in this photo were the beautiful tones.  I was further drawn in by the perfect timing that created the composition here with the boy just at her shoulder - any other position wouldn't have felt as powerful.  Her size and the way she looks down at him, watching over him with praying hands, had me thinking about this photo and his adventure long after I walked away from it.  


Every time I look at this photo, I am drawn in by the silhouettes against those beautiful complementary colors, but I love even more that there are so many story possibilities here.
Are they friends, siblings, short-lived vacation buddies?
The mystery keeps me in this image as I consider the memory of this day.


I love the movement and tones here.  I love the composition choice of her entering the frame from the bottom as if she is running from her house, so fast that she is barely caught in the frame,
ready to find her next great outdoor adventure.


I am a little obsessed with puddle reflection photos and this one nailed it!
The tones are beautiful as is the feeling of movement - Meredith captured her in the perfect position on that swing, causing us to anticipate her movement back down to earth.


I mean, come on!  I want to dress my kids up right now and take them to play in the mud.
What a fun memory for these kids, being allowed to break the rules, playing in the mud
in their nicest clothes.  The tones and framing are perfect here!  And that expression on the girl's face just draws the viewer in.


I just can't decide between these two photos from Kansas Pitts, so I am including them both.
The first one with the layers of kids and the tones and the movement is surreal but inviting.
It makes me want to be in this adventure right now because it captures so perfectly the fun and bobbing, sea leg motion you only experience in the ocean.   

Those tiny little bodies amongst the beauty of the ocean!  It terrifies me a bit, making my Mama Bear (okay, Safety Pup) want to go rescue them from the waves.  I love the symbolism here and I know I will return to this photo in my mind as I struggle with balancing
letting my kids adventure without trying to save them.  
This photo is visually beautiful, but it also speaks so much more.  Phenomenal  work! 


I love the movement and composition in this photo.
The simplicity of the moment works perfectly with this conversion also.  
I feel like I can hear a little laughter up there as she's about to fall back from the clouds.


and the winner is.....

I just keep coming back to this one!  
The movement and connection and the light - everything is {outdoor adventure}!  
Beautiful tones and processing here too.  I just love everything about this moment.

Thank you giving me the opportunity to see your gorgeous photos! 

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