Friday, October 30, 2009

Weekly Fixations - October 30th

So here is the debut of the new combined Tutorial and Site of the Week. I am trying out the name "Weekly Fixations". What do you think? I've got some good stuff from the past week so be sure to check out the links. Have a great weekend!

Splendid Communications:
This past week the site had some good Twitter related info. I learned some things from the RT tips.
Wedding Twitter Lists to Follow
6 Tips for using Re-tweets to your advantage

Rock'n Roll Bride
I have seen a few colored wedding dresses and I think that if you do it right, like this Ruffled yellow dress, it can be really stunning and how fun to photograph something different.

Plucked from a Love Story - has awesome processing that I want to learn how to apply

Braving Wind and Rain - I work exclusively on location so I can remember quite a few times when a shoot has been called for rain. Now I wish that I can find a couple this daring. The images in the rain look awesome!

Style Me Pretty:
Summer Wedding has the most gorgeous cake along with a great subtle color palette. I like how they incorporated a whole range of tones rather than just sticking to the "my wedding is pink" mindset.

Grey Likes Weddings:
cloth flowers from Milk Pod Studio are such a cool idea. I like the thought of being able to have your wedding bouquet as a keepsake and while you can dry your flowers they just are not as pretty once they are dried. These will stay just like they were at your wedding forever.

sofa, shawl, tins, and more cloth flowers in Grandma's Attic. I have recently become mildly obsessed with finding a vintage sofa, but alas the studio furniture budget will not allow one right now...

Green Wedding Shoes:
Thank You how great are those huge mirrored letters? I have always loved putting a beautiful thing against something gritty and dirty to make them both bring out the extremes in the other and these images are to die for.

Hello Lucky!:
Custom Holiday Cards - I love the first one.

Boutwell Studio:
This post of Max and Mark from Oct 22 is so freakin cute that I can hardly stand it. I don't have babies, so I have to settle for dressing up my dogs (who hate it). This is just possibly cuter than my pups...

Jim Hjelm Occasions:
Style 5935 - I like how the back is such a surprise with the ruffles, but I wish that the front had a little more going on.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Change will do you good

Here is my problem with my website and blog: It is very important to me that both my website and my blog really showcase my personality so that people can get an idea of what makes me tick. While I feel like I have been working really hard at making this come across, I do not feel like I have been working smart. Yes, I could break down and hire a branding consultant or a graphic designer. I probably should do that, but I am not going to do that right now because I am still saving for my magical 17” Mac Book Pro that will come along and solve all of my problems (including world peace) for me. So, for now, I am flying solo.

One thing that I feel is contributing to this lack of personality is the fact that when I sit down to write my blog posts I am usually A) stressed out, B) short on time, C) half-asleep, or all of the above and then some. As a result I tend to default to a “Just the facts, Ma’am” mindset that gets the point across but could really use a bit more spark.

So, in an effort to get more “me” out there, I am going to implement a couple of changes around here. The first big change will be that I am going to combine the Wednesday tutorial and the Friday Site of the Week into one post. I am not certain of a name yet but I was thinking something along the lines of “Super Awesome Weekend Surprise”. Okay, maybe I will keep brainstorming on that one. I still plan to create tutorials and content for you guys when I can but I had to face the facts that this is a photographer’s blog and I (sadly) cannot be all things to everyone. The end of the week post will be more like a collection of things around the web that I think are interesting throughout the week and I will still be posting links to cool stories and info on my Twitter (MollieTobias).

This downsizing is not a bad thing I swear! It is being done so that I can make room for a new weekly post that will be a little more personal in nature. It may or may not be photography related but this new segment is going to be along the lines of an online journal of thoughts, stories, photos, and whatever else randomly pops up throughout my week. I am hoping that this will help ya’ll be able to connect with me on a more personal level as well as encourage me to take more photos that are not strictly work related. We will give it a go for a little while and then you guys can comment and let me know if you like the new format.

And here’s a little food for thought as you go forth to enjoy the rest of your Wednesday:“No one ever knows exactly what they are doing all of the time either at their job or in their personal lives. Anyone who tries to tell you differently is selling something. Prepare as much as possible, find allies that you trust, be confident, and then just get out and do it. Doing it is the most important part. That is how we learn, grow, and improve.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Picture Monday - Junior League Academy for Success

If you have been following my blog for any length of time you probably know by now that I am on the board of the Junior League of Moore County (JLMC) since I talk about them all the time. The JLMC's mission is to help at risk young women in our community. One of the things that we do twice each year is a workshop called the Academy for Success.

The Academy, held October 10th, consists of programs that teach the participants both life skills and life enrichment. Once again we held the event at Samarkand Manor, though this may be the last time it is held here because I believe that it is being shut down and the residents transferred to a facility in Siler City.

There were 17 girls who participated in the workshop this time around. When the girls arrive they are paired up with a JLMC "buddy" who will participate in the workshops with them. The first workshop, led by Lee Holbrook, took the participants through a series of Tai Chi exercises ranging from turning balls in their hands to standing floor exercises focused on breathing.

The second workshop, "Strong Girls, Smart Choices", was led by JLMC member Tracy Land. This workshop is one of my all time favorites not only because it delivers such a great message but because Tracy is so open about her own life experiences during the session.

The workshop itself is about empowering girls to take control of their own futures and make smart choices. At the start of the workshop Tracy asks the girls if they want to go to college. Almost all of the girls raise their hands. Next She asks them how many of them think that will happen. Almost none of the girls raise their hands this time. Then she asks them what is keeping them from going to college. Answers to this question range from not having graduated high school, having a criminal record, and not being able to afford it. Tracy listens to all of these responses and tells the girls that none of that matters - they can still go to college.

Tracy shares how she came from a family that did not support her dream of going to college. No one in her family had ever been to college and they were all convinced that it was a waste of time. One day she went down to the local community college, walked up to the front desk and said to the receptionist "I want to go to College. What do I need to do?" That women then became one of her guides and helped her to fill out her application, take her placement exam, and fill out all of the financial aid paperwork. By the next day Tracy was attending college and now she has a Master's degree from Duke University.

Tracy helped to show these girls that they can be the person they want to be simply by choosing to do so. "I will be the person I choose to be" is the theme of the presentation and she reinforces this by talking about making sure that you are safe, taking action towards your goals, and finding mentors or "guides" that you respect to help you if you get off track.

It is just so great to see the girls react so positively to the program. At the end of the day everyone took a quick personality test using jelly beans and each girl received a goody bag along with a certificate of completion. If you would like more information on the JLMC and our projects you can visit our new website at Here are some pictures from the day. Enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Site of the Week - i do it

I am notoriously a do-it-yourselfer. I think that it is a control freak issue, but that topic could take days so we will move on to why this site is so awesome.

One example: this typewriter cursive font...

Or these matchbook favors...

pom pom printables....

do it yourself ice cream drumsticks (which are my fav ice cream treat by the way)

doodle cards...

You should have the idea by now so take some time this weekend and go check it out. I can not tell you how much I feel personal touches like this add to an event. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How to make your own Twitter background

I hope that you all are having a great week so far. Since I was sharing MY new Twitter background for Picture Monday I thought I would share how you can make your own personalized Twitter back ground too.

Open a new document and make the canvas 1675 pixels x1200 pixels @ 72 dpi. (You may need to play around with this a bit to make it look right, but I found that 1675 fits my monitor without any black space at the edges. My monitor actually cuts off the bottom of my background, but since some people are still rocking the older square monitors vs. the wide screen ones I kept the height at 1200 pixels just in case)

You need to leave a margin of about 225 pixels at the left side of your document so that you don't put content behind where your Tweet stream will show up. I found this to be just under 3 inches at 72 dpi.

Go to town! I can't tell you what to put on your background but be creative, think of who you are trying to appeal to, be consistent with your brand image and give it a go.

If you want a little extra help this article from mashable is a good starting place so check it out here.

I'd love feedback on how my background looks on other people's screens and I would also love to see your backgrounds so send me a link in the comments. Have a great day!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Picture Monday!

Good Morning and Happy Monday to everyone! The family shoot that I had schedules on Sunday (and planned to post today) got rescheduled due to the fact that it was insanely cold and rainy - in other words, no fun for anybody.

Instead of some very cute family pictures I am going to have to settle for posting my newly designed Twitter background.

In case you had no idea that I was on Twitter you can follow me (@MollieTobias) and I promise to give you updates of what I am working on and pass along any great images, articles, and inspiration that comes my way over the course of the week.

Let me know what you guys think!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Friday Site of the Week - Marin Kristine Photography

This website you just have to check out. I absolutely love her work both for weddings and boudoir. You don't see a lot of boudoir out there that is fun and classy while being totally sassy at the same time. Love, love, LOVE.

Hope that you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Aperture Example

I like to shoot in Aperture Priority Mode a lot. That said, it is important to know what to expect at different apertures so that you can choose the one that will be the best for what you are trying to accomplish in a given scenario. So, I thought that I would put together a little example of what all of the "true apertures" look like on my camera (Canon EOS 5D Mark II) with the EF50mm f/1.8 lens. All of the photos were taken at ISO 1600 with no flash or exposure compensation and focused manually on the small statue in the foreground. I will note the aperture and accompanying shutter speed for each image so that you can take note of the relationship. Once you know the true apertures on your camera you can figure the shutter speed at one aperture and know what it will be at all of the others which can be helpful when shooting in full Manual mode. Here we go!

F2.0 1/60 second

F2.8 1/30 second

F4.0 1/15 second

F 5.6 1/8 second

F8.0 1/4 second

F11.0 1/2 second

F16.0 1.0 second

F22.0 2.0 seconds

Monday, October 12, 2009

Picture Monday - Linn and Matt

Today I wanted to share some images from a family shoot done recently at Rassie Wicker Park in Pinehurst. Linn had contacted me to get some family pictures done to mark their newest addition. While Linn, Matt, and their family were all great to work with and super nice, I have to say that the kids stole the show. They are adorable! Here are a few of my favorite images from the shoot...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Site of the Week -

Hello everyone! I apologize for the missed post on Wednesday but I have been sick and it just wasn't happening for me. For the site of the week this week I am going to send you to the newly launched

It is the site for the Junior League of Moore County (which if you read the blog I am sure that you already know I am on the board). There are a lot of great events coming up over the next few months including the Fall Academy for Success project tomorrow at Samarcand Manor. Academy for Success is a workshop that teaches at risk girls life skills and life enrichment courses in hopes of helping them make better choices for their futures.

We also have our annual wine tasting coming up in a month which is always a great time. Be sure to swing by the site and check it out!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Album Design for 10x14 Sample Album

Last week I showed you a design of a Client album so I felt that it was only fair that this week I show you something that I am working on for a Studio Sample. This is the same wedding that you saw last week, but you will notice that the album designs are pretty different. My sample focuses a lot more on creating a mood and really telling the story of the day as I saw it through the viewfinder.
The cover (pictured below) is going to be a printed metal cover with a protective coating and the spine and back of the album are going to be a very cool nubby leather called "firefly" (also pictured below)

Let me know what you guys think of the design and I will post more pics of the actual album when it comes in after production.