Make Your Own Photography Studio

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Behind the Scenes.

Making your own in-home studio.

Have you ever wondered how to create a studio looking photograph but didn’t have the studio part? You don’t need your own photography studio to create a classic studio look. You can even do this in a crammed basement, and here is the proof…

A large part of senior photography is shooting outdoors, but there is also an indoor demand. My clients want both. You can have your cake and eat it too with this scenario: use what you have. Set up a simple studio in your senior’s home. Keep your basics, such as natural lighting (if possible), and then add a couple of your own tools. Here is what I used for this basement situation:

-1 large white sheet

-1 backdrop stand

-2 softboxes

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Every lighting situation is different and should be treated differently. You need to look at your situation and figure out what setup is optimal for you. This basement example shows you how to create a studio where ever you are and how to make it work. Check out this lighting setup diagram:


  1. A ceiling light. By utilizing the current lighting in the basement I placed the ceiling light behind the subject to create a silhouette effect and this also helps reduce shadows.
  2. A window in the side wall, only source of natural light.
  3. A traditional softbox is added to the front of the subject.
  4. An additional softbox is added to the other side of subject’s front.

Adjust the lighting as needed and shoot away. Here are the results.

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Lastly, turn off one or both of the softboxes and experiment with more dramatic lighting.

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It would be easy to transform this model into a setup for newborn, family, maternity, and many other photography sessions. The sky is the limit.



Photo of the Week: Summer Time

Cherry Blossoms

It feels like summer has hit Ankara. I can’t say I have a favorite season. I just love the changing of seasons. The changing of seasons is war. Especially from fall to winter.  It’s a battle between life and death.  What can survive through winter and what cannot.  Why are the tree’s leaves their most beautiful before they perish?

Summer is almost here. Summer is about life. Everything feels alive.

Cherry Blossoms

Girl In Cherry Blossoms

We all spend quite a lot of time talking about the weather. So why not photograph it? Weather can change a mood, ruin a community, create fresh powder on the mountains, be hot sand on the beach, make a perfect barbecue evening, and unfortunately flood a city (but not this year!). It’s here for a reason. I definitely don’t always embrace it, but today is an exception. Wake up and smell the cherry blossoms!



Better late than never, right?

Wedding Video

It certainly doesn’t feel like we’ve been married almost 2 years.  However it’s taken that long to get our wedding video put together. Thank you Cyril for capturing these memories. It’s crazy how much I have already forgotten from our special day. Now we can relive it anytime. Bisous bisous!

Still wanting more? Check out more pictures from the best day ever.


The Ankara Castle

Ankara Kalesi

Ankara Castle View

We have lived in Ankara for eight months exactly today. It’s truly a great place to live. You’ve heard me say before how much we love it. We’ve established an amazing network of friends and feel involved in the community. Every season we get the opportunity to explore and adapt to an unexpected country. A new place to call home. A chance to take a piece of that new place and bring it every where we go.

However it’s inevitable around this time every season we get homesick. During nostalgic moments it’s nice to have pictures to reminisce with. Right now I’m thinking about the Ankara Castle, when both of our families were able to visit us in Turkey. The times when we can’t be home, it’s great to have the people from home come here.

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Basketball Number 10

Ben’s Basketball Passion

I haven’t blogged or talked much about basketball, or my husband for that matter. I want to dedicate a post to just that…on a particularly fitting day. Let me paint a brief picture that helps describe my husband and a passion. Here’s a quote from a favorite author, Harlan Coben in Long Lost:

I love gyms…I grew up in them. I spent many of my happiest moments in airless confines with a basketball in my hand. I love the sound of the dribbling. I love the sheen of sweat that starts popping up on faces during warm-ups. I love the feel of the pebbly leather on my fingertips; that moment of neoreligious purity when your eyes lock on the front rim and you release the ball and it back spins and there is nothing else in the entire world.

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Istanbul: Names, colors, layers, textures


The city of many names, colors, layers, and textures.

People come to this city with new hopes, a fresh start, a dream, or maybe just for a visit.  It is the melting pot of Asia and Europe…and beyond, actually.  No matter where you come from or what your reasoning is, the city’s crazy labyrinth lures you into its timeless chaos.


The city of a hundred names. The modern name Istanbul is the latest of many. The word directly translates to “into the city” or “to the city”. Previously it has been known as: Byzantium, Lygos, New Rome, Yeditepe, just to name a few…but what you’re probably more familiar with is Constantinople. The names come from different points in history and different languages.


I have been struck by the colors of Istanbul.  The colors come from the pottery, paintings, museums, tiles, scarves on the women’s heads, the light blue sea, the sacks of spices, the flowers, the buildings, and the people. Above all the unmistakeable colors come from the sun. The sun looks different here.  It emits different colors then what I’m familiar with in the Midwest. When the sun rises and especially when it sets. The indescribable hues of tangerine, plum, orange, azure, fuchsia, crimson, gold, and warmth…oh the warmth. The colors warm your soul.


Istanbul is a city of layers, infinite layers. It has historical layers, architectural layers, cultural layers, new layers, old layers, layers of past, and layers to still uncover. Layers of pain and layers of passion. The layers blend together, but the layers also can be pulled apart. The layers want to be discovered.


To describe Istanbul’s textures I’d rather give a you visual.

Clockwise from the upper left corner: Turkish lamps and lights, a view of the Bosporus and a mosque, roasted chestnuts (traditionally sold on stands in the streets), famous blue tiles in the Topkapi Palace, view of the sun from our hotel, spices and nuts in the Spice Bazaar, a minaret from the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet), Turkish rugs, and in the Middle: a snap in a hallway of the Grand Bazaar maze.

A quick snap of my parents enjoying the city. Aren’t they cute? Happy 30th wedding anniversary btw (they are amazing!).

Istanbul is the city of its people, not just a city with people in it.  No matter what background, upbringing, religion, language, nationality, you will have a place. It’s the only city where everyone can call it home. Everyone has a place.






What do loud colors, too much mistletoe, and an obnoxious aroma of cinnamon all have in common?

Our Turkish apartment!!!

This year I went a little overboard with the holiday decorating in our apartment since we don’t get the chance to come home for Christmas. Or at least that’s the excuse I’ve been telling myself for having no self-control in IKEA’s holiday section last week. Our tree looks as if someone ralphed their 10 pound bag of Halloween candy all overtop! She’s perfect. We shall name her: Tasteless Beauty. Honestly, if you were to step foot in our place you would probably find Jolly Old Saint Nicholas staring right back at you.

Notice the ornament caught me in its reflection, hehe.


Now, go relax and have some eggnog!




Christianity, right under our noses.

Let’s get one thing straight right away…

The purpose of this post is to inform. Shed some basic insight to new and unique cultures, which by the way I knew nothing about 4 months ago. My intentions are not to be offensive or to start a religious debate.  I am simply stating the facts, as I see and experience them.  Love it or leave it. And if you’re on the fence, it’s best to leave.


-Food for thought-

One can accept that, “according to religious polls, 97.8% of Turkey’s population is Muslim”.  Under that statistic the definition of a Muslim must be analyzed.

Islam : the meaning comes from the Arabic verbal noun (like a gerund) s-l-m. When appropriate vowel markers are added the word Islam appears. The etymology of s-l-m is to submit, accept, or surrender. From this comes Islam’s conventional definition of surrender to God.

I have witnessed both ends of the spectrum.  I’ve met a man who doesn’t pray 5 times a day, doesn’t obey a higher power, doesn’t follow the Quran, and just lives his life…and he’s probably considered a Muslim in the statistic stated above. However I’ve also observed men and women who are the complete polar opposite.

What am I getting at? That, my lone reader, is up to your own interpretation. Recently I traveled to Istanbul. While experiencing a few of many of the city’s amazing attributes, I was dumb founded at the Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya).  The beautiful, still standing, museum houses a melting pot of Islam and Christianity history, with a hint of Judaism, from thousands of years ago.  Where different religions practiced within the same facility, but at different times.

The Hagia Sophia has numerous names and a vast history. So I will summarize it by just scraping the surface. From its date of dedication in 360 until 1453 the images below depict the magnificent structure that once housed: an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral, then a Roman Catholic Cathedral under the Latin Empire, and back to an Orthodox Cathedral. Next, in 1453, Constantinople (now Istanbul) was conquered by Ottoman Turks. The building went under some renovations, mosaic crosses were “removed” off the walls and ceilings, minarets were added, and it was converted into a mosque.  Finally the building has remained a museum since 1935.

Upper left: an Islamic symbol in Arabic is pictured next to a mosaic panel describing Jesus, Mary, and Gabriel, pictured upper right.
Middle: the traces of a removed cross with a circular Ottoman design over top.

Real gold flecks in the tiles give the interior its glowing ambiance.

Below: another mosque across the river in Istanbul.

I find it incredibly fascinating that the early era of Christianity was practiced right here in Istanbul, and now it currently holds a 97.8% muslim population statistic. Did you know that the Quran and our Bible’s Old Testament share similar events/same stories? It really makes me think…

Turkey is truly an amazing country.  I look forward to continually explore all of its miraculous wonders.





-My current life



November Travels

Crazy in November…and I love it.

This month has been a whirlwind to say the least -but a whirlwind in the best possible way. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to visit extraordinary places with such special people. I’d love to share these travel experiences with you all.

At the beginning of this month we had our first round of visitors, my parents Dave and Shayla. Those two can boogie. We tore it up in Turkey. Our adventures began in Ankara, we continued our journey to Cappadocia, and then finished the trip by flying to Istanbul. Now today, just days after my parents departure, I headed to London to visit my brother and sis-in-law aka “T+S”.  However Baby N was not present in London :-/


Okay rewind a tad to Cappadocia (even the name is intriguing).  More specifically the hot air balloon ride.

Come on Mid-Westerners! Hop across the pond for an adventure. The world has infinite places waiting for you to discover. But watch out…the travel bug is extremely contagious and it’s very difficult to get over.






What do YOU do all day…

What do I do all day, you ask? Ask yourself that same question!

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that question, well…we wouldn’t need to play basketball overseas anymore.


Our adventures abroad have been the most exhilarating, challenging, gratifying, absurd, frustrating, yet magical, and clarifying moments of my life.  The world is a much smaller place than we think.  It has brought a NoDak girl to picturesque Adriatic mountains, shabby chic corners in the country side of France, a humbling 3rd world country (okay let’s give it a 2.5), and beyond.  No matter what country, ethnicity, religion, or culture we are thrown into, I have noticed generally people have at least a few things in common.  For starters: iPhones, men, good food, and love.  Yes love.  Sweet love.
That is what I am doing over here, loving.  I am loving.  I love my husband, love all our foreign mishaps, I love new perspectives, I love exploring, traveling, and learning, I love my morning cup of coffee, I love the Eiffel Tower, I love new foods, and more importantly I love new desserts.  That is what we are supposed to do, is love.  At least it’s what I do.  Of course there are sweat, blood, and tears, but that comes with everything we do in life.  Beyond that I have been living; learning new languages every year, practicing photography, exercising, experiencing education at foreign universities, supporting basketball, and sometimes teaching English.  I may not be following the path our society says is correct.  That’s fine, because I’m not perfect.  I try to be thankful for all the gifts in my life, because lord knows I probably don’t deserve them.

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