Photo Friday // More On Lighting

Hello hello friends! Sorry for the slight blogging hiatus this week...things have been busybusy lately...but guess what?! I come bearing good news. Taylor and I both got into grad school this week! He got accepted to the MFA (creative writing) program at the New School and I got into the Social Work program at Columbia! So the possibility of moving to NYC in the fall is becoming more and more's very exciting! Anyway, I just wanted to share that news with you all cause...well, isn't that the point of this bloggy thing?
Onto the real reason for this post: Today I am going to talk more about lighting in general. I talked about shooting in low light a few weeks ago, but I thought it would be helpful to share some of the other lighting related resources I've come across. So here you go!

- One of the first things you should know is that there are a few different kinds of light, and they create very different effects. Direct light creates warmer tones and more contrast, diffused light (such as light softened by clouds) creates lower contrast and cooler colors, and reflected light mostly depends on what the light is being reflected from (I'll talk a little more about reflected light later).

- It's also good to know that light changes though out the day. You've probably heard before that sunrise and sunset are the best times to take photos because you get that pretty, warm light that's not too contrasty. Contrast will be higher the closer you get to noon when the sun is directly above your subject.

This post on finding the right light says "you're not shooting the subject, you're shooting the way the light falls on the subject." I think this is a really great way of thinking about it! It is important to actually think about where your light is coming from and how you can use it to your advantage. It's easy to just get caught up in how much light there is, and forget about considering where that light is coming from. This post talks about "photography around the clock" the different ways light can fall on your subject, and the differences it makes.

- If you're lucky enough to have windows that let in some good natural light, you've got your own free softbox. This post talks all about window light and how to get the most out of it.You should use the tips from above about where your light is coming from when positioning your subject next to a window. And remember, if you can, it's best to have one kind of light in your photo so turn off any lights (otherwise white balancing will be a real bee-yotch).

- Have you heard of "catchlights?" I learned that when taking portraits it's good to get reflections of your light source in your subject's eyes (or catchlights) to brighten them up.

- I think I mentioned before how if you're shooting outside, it's best to place your subject in shade and not directly in the sun. Even better if you can place your subject in the shade across from a wall that can reflect some (less harsh) light back onto them. This post talks about a few other techniques...I've never really thought a whole lot about how changing the position your subject is facing in the shadow, or moving them around within the shadow could effect your photo. 

- What do you do when there is no escape from harsh sunlight? One option is to put the sun behind your will blow out the background of the photo, but you'll get nice light and the focus will be on your subject...Though it does take some practice to get good backlit photos. You can find some tips for backlit photos here.

- If you want to learn more you can find more helpful info about lighting herehere and here!

Happy weekend!

want // need // wear // read

"something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read."

want: peony season and a house full of flowers//need: a haircut//wear: brainstorming ways to create my own jewel collar shirt on the cheap//read: "on such a full sea" is next on my list.

post inspired by james of bleubird blog

The Liebster Award!

The lovely Sam of In-Aeternum recently nominated me for the Liebster Award! You should really go check out her blog...she is a PhD candidate and a burlesque cabaret singer...uh, how cool is that? You can learn a little more about her by reading her answers here! The Liebster Award is an award for blogs with under 200 followers...the idea is to promote and share these little bitty blogs...I love taking advantage of any way to connect with and learn more about other bloggers, so I'm happy to play along!

Here are the rules:
Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
Answer the 10 questions given to you by the nominator.
Nominate other bloggers (who have less than 200 followers).
Create 10 (or so) questions for your nominees to answer.
Let your nominees know that you nominated them!

Here are my answers to Sam's questions!

When did you start blogging and why?
I started blogging a couple of years ago when I was about to leave to study abroad in the Dominican Republic (I ended up rarely posting since I didn't have great internet access). When I came home I would occasionally post craft projects, but never really posted regularly. In September 2013 I created Paper Umbrella and decided to get a little more serious about blogging...I wanted a place to share my creative endeavors, travels, adventures in cooking, and all the little bits and pieces of my life that I want to remember down the road.

If there was one book you believe everyone should read, what would it be?
I'm going to have to pick two (sorry!)...The first is The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz because it is beautifully written, and the second is Quiet by Susan Cain because I think us introverts are a bit misunderstood :)

How do you relax at the end of a busy day? My favorite thing to do is make a quick dinner, open a bottle of wine, and cuddle up in bed with Taylor and some Netflix.

What is something that you are super good at? Some might tell you I make a mean g+t ;)

If you could eat only one meal everyday for the rest of your life, what would it be? Probably a burrito from the little Mexican restaurant down the street from my house (is an indestructible digestive system part of this deal?)

Where do you see yourself five years from now? Hopefully I will have completed my Masters of Social Work (I'm applying to programs right now!), and be working at a non profit or social service organization that I love....Other than that, who knows!

If you could travel anywhere right now, money is no object, where would you go and why? I would go to India in a heartbeat. India has been at the top of my list for a while now... It is seems like such a fascinating and beautiful place to me. My parents just went there and came back saying they thought of me and how much I would love it everyday.

What's in your handbag? I'm a little scared to bag is never organized and often full of garbage. But other than that I almost always carry a little notebook for ideas and lists, a book, a couple of lip stains, lotion, and my wallet.

When was the last time you learned something new? What do you want to learn this year? Well, I feel like I'm constantly learning new things at my job. Working with kids with special needs is never dull, to say the least! I'm challenged everyday to learn and develop new strategies so I can support my students to the best of my ability. Outside of my job, I have been trying to challenge myself creatively by teaching myself bits and pieces about photography and, lately, a bit of graphic design. I really want to try to make time to explore those things more in the future.

I nominate:
Jenni of Tales from Bottomley Cottage
Jessica of Foreign Room
Caroline of A Batonnet a Day 
Jenny of Coffee and Honeycomb

My questions:
1) Tell me the story of your blog name!
2) If you could travel anywhere in the world right now where would you go?
3) Coffee or tea? And why?
4) If you could go back five years and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
5) Where would you live if money/jobs/distance from family and friends didn't matter?
6) If you had to wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
7) What's your favorite quote?
8) What's your spirit animal?
9) Favorite kind of flower?
10) What's your favorite thing to blog about?

That's it! You should definitely go check out what these ladies have to say and take a look at their blogs if you haven't already.

PS: I've decided to forgo my biweekly Photo Friday post today...but fear not, it will be back next week! :)

Citrus Kale Salad

I love kale, but I really haven't been able to get with the whole raw kale salad craze. I will eat steamed kale or baked kale chips all day and night, but raw kale is just too chewy for me! I decided to do a little research to see if I could come up with something I liked...I came up with this simple salad recipe, and it turned out so well I just had to share. The citrus breaks down the kale a bit, so it's not as tough, and the feta adds a little creaminess. Yum!
Here's what you will need:
-Around half a bag/bunch of kale
-1 Grapefruit
-1 Lemon
-3 tablespoons olive oil
-Salt & Pepper
-Sliced almonds
-Feta Cheese

Start by tearing up your kale. Get rid of any thicker stalks. Put your kale in a large bowl and squeeze the juice of one lemon over the kale (watch out for seeds!). Next, add your olive oil. Cut open the grapefruit and use a spoon to take out the meat and add it to the salad (do it over the salad so all the juice goes in). Once you've removed all of the meat, squeeze the rest of the grapefruit juice over the kale. Season the salad to taste with a bit of salt and pepper and mix well. Let the salad sit for a bit. The longer you let it sit, the softer the kale will get. When you're ready to serve the salad, sprinkle on some almond slices and feta. Enjoy!
Do you have any favorite kale recipes? Please do share!

Guest Post on Coffee + Honeycomb // Valentine's Day Nails

Hello Hello! I'm just popping in to let you all know that this morning I'm over on Jennifer's blog, Coffee + Honeycomb with some (last minute) Valentine's day nail art inspiration! These ideas are super simple, and perfect to do this morning/tonight before Valentine's day festivities begin! Go take a look!

Free Valentine's Day Card Printables!

I'm all for homemade cards, but sometimes I just don't have the time and need a quick (but still thoughtful) fix...I was playing around with a few Valentine's Day card designs and thought it would be fun to put together a couple of printables for my lovely readers (that's you!). I printed these out on white card stock for a couple of bucks at Fed Ex and they came out really well!
 This little bee one also looks good printed in color, so you can get a little more creative with it :)
You can download any of these designs by clicking the links below! (If you have any problems downloading or would like another size, feel free to shoot me an email!)

"You Are So Effing Cute"

"Will You Bee My Valentine?"

"You + Me"

A Valentine's Day Mix

Time for another mix! This is a (somewhat lovey dovey) playlist I put together for Valentine's Day, but it's really a collection of music I would listen to any time of the year...I threw in a few corny classics (it isn't a Valentine's Day mix without a little Sam Cooke!), some covers of old classics, and then a few of my favorite songs that have slightly more subtle messages of love :) I hope you like it!

What have you been listening to lately? What are your favorite love songs?

[original image found here]

Photo Friday // Make It Snow

Ok guys, here is my photography tip for the week. It's a big one, so get ready. MAKE IT SNOW. Step 1: Do a snow dance. Step 2: Wait for the snow to begin. Step 3: Get bundled up, and go dance/run/twirl/throw around the snow. Easy enough, right? Snow always equals pretty photos. 

Today we all got our first ever adult snow day. Portland doesn't know how to deal with snow, so everything is cancelled. My car thinks it's a sled, so we're stranded at home...which I'm completely ok with! We have a grocery store, our favorite tea shop, a movie theater, restaurants, and bars within walking distance, so I think we'll be ok :) Sydney, Taylor and I decided to pack everything up and walk to Tea Chai Te to cozy up with some tea and do some work. On the way we decided to have a little photo shoot in the snow. I'm so glad I documented this little memory with my two favorites.

I had grand plans to do a Photo Friday post about lighting this week, but I decided since it's a snow day I'd go with something a little easier and leave time for snow fights and hot cocoa. All the other lessons I've learned doing this Photo Friday thing were actually pretty helpful while taking these photos, so if you've been following along let's take this week to review! Next week I'll be back with some tips that might be a little more feasible for some of you :)
In case you're curious, for most of these photos I had my ISO at 320, my aperture at f/2.5-3.5 (lower for any close ups), and my shutter speed on the lower side since the snow is so bright! Do you have any tips for taking photos in the snow?

DIY Gold Heart Headband

I've had the materials for this DIY headband sitting around for ages, but not being able to work outside due to cold weather has made me reluctant to pull out the always somehow ends up in my bed (It's true what they say: glitter is the herpes of craft supplies). BUT, I decided Valentine's day would be the perfect time to suck it up and do this project...Because what's better than a gold, glittery, heart shaped accessory to wear on February 14th? (Well, maybe a red, glittery headband, but I'll leave that one up to you).

Here's what you will need: sheets of felt, glitter, glue/some sort of adhesive (the less gooey the better), a needle & thread to match your felt (or a sewing machine), elastic, clear spray paint, and scissors.

If you would like to skip a step and avoid drying time/lots of mess you can do what I did and use felt sheets that have adhesive already on one side. If you do this, you may not want to use a sewing machine because it gets the needle a little sticky. But hand sewing it was super quick and easy.

First, cut out a bunch of hearts. Use a piece of string (or whatever you have lying around) to measure how long your strand of hearts needs to be to wrap most of the way around your head and line the hearts up along it as you cut (mine goes from just below the tops of my ears).

Next, sew your hearts together. If you are using a sewing machine, I would probably pin the hearts to a strip of fabric and sew one line horizontally across all of the hearts, and then cut off the visible fabric. If you are hand sewing, just use a couple of small stitches to attach each of your hearts, like I did with mine. When you are done, sew on your elastic. Measure the headband on your head to figure out how long you will need it to be.

Now, glitter-ize your hearts. If you have adhesive felt, take off the backing papers (carefully) one at a time, and pour on the glitter. Press down a little on the glitter to make sure it really sticks before you shake it off.

Last, spray the hearts with a few coats of clear spray paint. This will stop the glitter from getting all over everything (glittery hair isn't just looks like dandruff. So this is essential!).

That's it! Enjoy your new super cute, super cheap accessory. If you'd rather avoid all the sewing, you could just attach a glitter heart to a hair clip for a more subtle accessory :)