Tuesday, April 22, 2014

golden is the hour.

sitting in the airport in DC
waiting to board a flight to Ethiopia!

and i am browsing through images from a recent shoot...

three little beauties,
boho dresses + angel wings,
and magic, delicious, golden hour light:


stay tuned for photos 
from the other side of the globe...



ps - 

wanna chat magical light?
there are still a couple of spots left in my
may 17th growing CONFIDENCE photography workshop.
more info {here}

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

march madness in the mclaughlin house...

march madness in the mclaughlin house
has had nada thing to do with basketball

but rather

the usual madness...
two busy, curious, fearless little boys +
two busy, ambitious, anxious parents +
the typical "maddenings" of march:

snotty noses + sore throats,
tax preparation,
the start of wedding season,
and rain {lots of it} - 
bringing with it
muddy foot prints,
muddy paw prints,
extra baths,
extra laundry,
and extra fun tantrums when it is time to dry off.

this march has been filled with plenty of added jolts of spontaneous 

miles shoving a rock as far up his nose as that tiny little finger could push;

oliver "sleep walk pottying" all over his room;

the carbon monoxide alarm sounding at 5:00 a.m. -
forcing me {in not so flattering sweats and a mouth guard} and my babes out in the driveway awaiting  three firefighters {who were, yes, much more flattering than my sweat pants} to
clear us for re-entry; and

the kitten locking me and the boys out of the house - unprepared, in the cold
{no joke. tiny kitten knocked the dowel to the sliding back door
perfectly into place... we were outside long enough for oliver to compose a new song}:

somehow, march madness + all the added adventures
failed to deter us from
falling madly in love with a five acre chicken farm
{magnificent old farm house, barn photo studio, giant woodworking shop,
five acres for two restless boys...}
and making a spontaneous offer  -
deciding nervously to get our (cozy, beloved) house ready to put on the market!
so... we went right to work gutting our main bathroom to the studs
and tackling a hasty march madness bathroom remodel.

we ran into plenty of kinks along the "bathroom reno" way
AND we ran into a lot of doubts along the way as well...

did we really want to leave our cozy home?
all the hard work + the memories made here
in order to stretch our budget + our energy to the moon?

the night before we were to meet with 
the seller to try and negotiate,
i listened to a crazy rain storm outside and i prayed.
i asked God to please bring me and ryan clarity -
to let us know if the farm was meant to be.

we met with the sellers and
decided to move forward with
finding a way to make the farm ours.
but, just as i was about to drive home and start
diving knee deep into subdivision research...
i felt a sudden push to drive by the property again.

i parked in front of the property
and immediately was taken back with how different it looked
from the four times we had visited (drooling) before.
a few nights of heavy rain
had turned dream farm into nightmare swampland.
seriously. a swamp.
(a swampland that the sellers had just told us we could surely subdivide).

i have always loved the rain.
never more so than now ;)

it is true so much of the time that
when it rains, it {really} pours.
yes - rain has played a significant role in the 
madness of march... bringing about more work
for me + ryan + the vacuum + the washing machine this month.
but it also brought clarity.

and joy.

and some super fun rainy + muddy play dates with our boys
that i wouldn't trade for any bit of blue skies.
march RADness:

live creatively,

"the madness of love is the greatest
of heaven's blessings." - plato

continue reading through this month's blog circle
and see what my amazing friend me ra koh has to say 
about march madness {here}. ;)

Friday, February 21, 2014

4 rock star students in A Seattle Photography Workshop

4 rock star students in one Seattle Photography Workshop - in review:

i am back {finally!} 
and am so excited to BRAG on
the four incredible women who attended

a room full of {rad} women +
awesome photo tips and tricks +
award-winning photography workshop workbook 
{written by my fabulous friends and mentor me ra koh} +
laughter {LOTS of laughter} +
tears +
gorgeous little models +
shooting fun +
and rain {followed by more laughter} +
 and more shooting fun +
and AHA moment after AHA moment...


that started with coffee and banter 
before we dove right in to photography fun!

we began with some easy camera setting tips to change
your photography results right away...

nixing the built in flash;

continuous shooting mode so you can capture it all {ha!}!;

shooting in RAW; and

shooting in aperture or manual modes (bye bye bye AUTO!)

 to name a few.

next we chatted about LENSES - what to use when and why!
{and i dished about all my faves...}.

just before we dove into FOCUS
(to learn about those delicious, buttery blurry backgrounds and those
crystal clear catch eye shots...),
we discovered that sweet kat from the great state of cali, ironically
was allergic to my new kitten
and so... - in came the children's benadryl (the only type i stock)
and i prayed that kat would not succumb to benadryl sleepiness
before we made it through
{aperture, shutter speed and ISO - and how they work
seamlessly together to build the perfect exposure}.

once everyone felt like "magic three" rock stars -
it was time to move on to my two


i never tire of talking about delicious natural light
and how to find it {and use it} not only outside - but
inside your own home.

i shared with my sweet students how i very purposefully selected
white (or near white) wall color throughout my home
to give window light plenty of space to bounce off.
i held up my {mostly white} throw pillows
and spilled the beans about using those as reflectors
when my children are playing on the sofa
(rather than bringing out cumbersome photography reflectors)...

i watched "AHA" moments come to life as we chatted up
window and reflective light.

as we dove into discussing
the rule of thirds. angles. empty space.
and the most important aspect:
STORYTELLING in composition.

"I want my children to know that my camera is not meant 
to stop them in their tracks - but rather to RECORD
the {sweet, fun, FLEETING} tracks they are making."

i shared my a-list favorite photos
that tell the stories of my own littles.
try as i may, i always get a wee bit
teary-eyed when i discuss how
priceless these photos are to me
and how grateful i am to have the ability
to capture the true story of my kids -
and be able to look back at
these photos over and over...

then we broke for lunch and more fun chit-chat.
and we practiced camera settings and composition as we
waited for our ADORABLE models to be ready
for our shoot!

over the images that Toni, Kat, Meghan and Sherry
captured during our workshop -

our first model - sweet baby finn:

toni captured this gorgeous photo of little man asleep on mommy. i LOVE the
window light falling perfectly on that sweet face!

meghan went full on paparazzi on a stuffed elephant while she practiced composition and
back-button focusing! ha! love it! 

practice makes perfect. look at this delicious detail shot! yay baby toes!:

and this bright-eyed pic {love the composition meghan! woot woot!}:

be still my heart...
miss kat captured sweet finn back in lala land. amazing!:

this one captures the story of sweet finn - a total mama's boy ;)

i am crazy over sherry's composition in this one... 
love where finn's little hand falls + the hint of mom's face in the buttery background.
love. love. love!

once sweet finn was done with our shutters
 and ready for some more
in came our next models -
sweet, fabulous sisters zoe and adelaide.

funny story- 
it had been raining all day 
{like monsoon type raining}
and i was so bummed because i was dead set
on taking my students on a walk to shoot in one of my favorite alleys...

so, of course
when i looked out and saw that there was a break in the rain
i rushed my students and our models out the door...

monsoon rain started up again the moment 
we got to the alley.

i am fairly certain kat from cali
thinks washington photographers are crazy. 
{or at least adventurous and unafraid of the elements!} haha!

soaked, we pushed forward and soaked up more
practice finding window light. ;)
and the photos these women shot of sweet zoe and adelaide -
to die for!:


i am soooo proud!
i am so grateful to have spent the day
with four super rad women!

thank you ladies!
what an amazingly fun day!
always remember to shoot for the story.
cannot wait to see what the future has in store for you and your cameras!

live creatively! xoxo,


PS - If you love photography and want to spend a fun day away with a fun group of friends, 
laughing + learning + shooting...
sign up for a spring Growing Confidence Photography Workshop! I'd love to have you!
Mother's Day is just around the corner, so treat yourself!
 {or lay some heavy hints on your hubs or the kiddos!}
get more info and sign up {here}.

This workshop could not have had a better name, confidence is the exact thing I walked away from it with. Before the Growing Confidence workshop the mere thought of taking my camera off of it's automatic settings was completely terrifying, now I can't imagine going back. The manual that I got from the workshop has so many great tips for making my photos the best they can be and I could not have asked for a better teacher. Nikki taught me more in a couple of hours than I had managed to figure out on my own, or with the help of other photographers, in years! - Toni, workshop attendee {and total rock star}
The workshop was AMAZING!  I was nervous prior to, only because I didn't know the skill level of the other students.  But I quickly found out that we were all on the same level in terms of just being a group of women that want to learn.  The information we were given was presented in a way that was easy to understand and remember.  The learning process was fun, not overwhelming.  I know that I, personally, walked away with a wealth of knowledge that will help me.  I've always known the style of photography that I prefer, and this workshop definitely gave me the tools to achieve it. - Meghan, workshop attendee {and, you guessed it, total rock star!}