Friday, December 14, 2007

By Way of Introduction...

Watch my video to see how easy it is to design dynamic stationery layouts in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements!
Whether you plan a career in wedding photography or simply plan to bring a camera to your best friend's wedding, my first book, "The Art & Craft of Keepsake Photography," is filled with enough information to make sure you get those must-have shots. But that's not all -- not by a long shot! In it you'll also find step-by-step tutorials for creating all kinds of gorgeous invitations, announcements, thank-you notes, guest books, and much, much more.

And please, once you've had a chance to immerse yourself in its pages, take a moment to write an online review at!
Here's a tutorial I know you're going to love! The steps presented here form the basis of just about everything you need to know to design impressive stationery in Photoshop.

Why send postcards featuring someone else's photos? Click on my Travel Postcard tutorial on the Tamron website to learn how to make your own...on the road!
Here's an "advertorial" in Photo District News associated with my use of Tamron lenses. I LOVE Tamron...yes, they're one of my sponsors, but their lenses are fabulous: high quality, lightweight, and affordable!
Here's a tutorial I wrote that appeared in the October issue of After Capture magazine.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

First Blog

Welcome to my blog...Vol. 1 No. 1.

I don't know about you, but I'm on information overload. There's definitely not enough time to read everything that deserves to be read. I'm almost to the point of welcoming a long wait at the doctor's office because it gives me a chance to catch up a bit...ditto airports and long flights. But just in case you're really interested, I'm going to start off with a little personal history. After that, I'll keep the personal stuff fairly brief. This isn't intended to be a diary...more a visual journal where I'll mainly share tips and techniques.

As a young girl, I used to walk (barefoot!) to the shops on Larchmont Blvd. in the Hancock Park district of Los Angeles, long before it became as trendy as it is today. I remember a toy store, a music store, an ice cream shop, and a gourmet grocer, but the place that really stirred my senses was the stationery store. For some reason, even then, I was drawn to the fine papers, elegant writing instruments, leather albums, and upscale accessories. I would wander through the quiet aisles, rarely buying anything save yearly school supplies...mostly just browsing. Thinking back on it, I'm quite sure there was a yearning for something not yet discovered.

For the first forty years of my life, I was convinced that I didn't have a creative bone in my body. I had been a secretary (that's what we were called in those we're administrative assistants), a court reporter (yes, with one of those nifty little machines you see in crime dramas), and a restauranteur (I had a deli on the island of Kauai). All pretty much left brain endeavors. But in 1992, my friend Joani and I went on an African photo safari that would change my life forever (in more ways than one, but that's another post). Armed with a couple borrowed cameras, I shot 35 rolls of film, came home and made notecards featuring my best shots as holiday gifts for friends and family, and everyone loved them. It was as if my inner pilot had been ignited. I became obsessed with photography-based greeting cards, looking for them wherever I traveled, and eventually decided I just had to design my own line.

Being an avid poker player at the time, I came up with the unlikely idea of a retail line of cards for the gaming industry...a niche market to say the least. In one (sleepless) night, I came up with concepts for 24 designs. Some of them were admittedly pretty tacky...a shot of a slot machine with the inside greeting "Wishing you slots of love on your birthday!" -- one of my biggest sellers, by the way! -- but hey, you gotta start somewhere. In my defense, some of them were actually quite cute -- "As friends go, you're aces!" So I successfully launched and eventually sold that business...look for Lucky Lady cards in the casino gift shop next time you're in Vegas! But before I leave this particular subject, I'd like to share a holiday poem that came to me almost verbatim in the middle of the night and became a best selling card...although for this one I hired a talented free-lance illustrator:

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the casino
Santa's elves were playing roulette
Blackjack and Keno.

There were several at the slot machines
You could spot them by their caps
One or two played stud
And another one shot craps.

'Cuz even Santa knows
That all work and no play
Will make anyone grumpy
Come Christmas day!

Okay, Shakespeare I'm not, but there's a wonderful lesson here: Inspiration often comes unbidden, whole, and perfectly timed!

As time went on, inspired by the sometimes clever sometimes gorgeous mixed media handmade cards I was seeing in more and more gift shops, I found myself moving in that direction but eventually realized it was a bit too labor intensive and not really profitable for me. Besides, others were doing it so well...who was I to think I could compete? But I did learn a lot about what I liked (playing with beautiful papers, ribbons, and embellishments) and what I didn't like (sales and marketing). Most importantly, I began to experiment with Photoshop...and quickly became addicted.

(To be continued...)