Friday, May 21, 2010


Do these two fonts work together? I'm not sure as a combo they fall within any graphic design guideline...each has such a strong personality they could fight with each other. My brain says "No, no, no!" but for some reason my eyes say "Yes!"

The idea of making font flags is to play with type combinations as you create your own reference library so that when the time comes to design a layout—an invitation, poster, business card, holiday greeting, whatever—you have them at your fingertips.

Let's imagine my imaginary museum group asks me to design a poster for an upcoming event and they need it yesterday. In almost no time at all, it's done. While this mock poster incorporates the font name of Bauhaus, I think the combination would work just as well for an invitation to a party or even a wedding. What do you think?

(Font Links: P22 Bauhaus, P22 DaVinci)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Simplicity itself, and romantic and evocative when illuminated, candle favors are perfect for individual place settings but can also be grouped together to form an unusual centerpiece. Personalizing each candle with a beautiful photograph of the couple makes it a true keepsake.

     - Matte photo paper
     - Scissors or paper cutter
     - Double-sided tape
     - Candle and glass cylinder
     - Ribbon, cord, or fiber (optional)

1. Create a page layout equal to the height and circumference of the glass cylinder, plus 1/4 inch for overlap. Incorporate a photo of the couple with their names and wedding date. (Font: Shelley Allegro)

2. Print, trim if necessary, and wrap the paper around the cylinder. Secure with double-sided tape.

3. Tie a length of ribbon, cord, or fiber around the cylinder if desired.

4. Insert candle.

Thanks to Gia and Pete Hettish!

Find this project and others in my book, The Art & Craft of Keepsake Photography: Engagements and Weddings, available in my website shop and through and other online booksellers.

Monday, May 17, 2010


To quote Garth, the very special man in my life, "I'm in a constant state of photography." A weekend getaway yielded this image that I shot, transformed into a thank-you note printed on watercolor paper, and sent to the hotel manager, a personal friend who pulled out all the stops in treating us to a dreamy idyll.

The grounds were lush with exquisite gardens, and Garth spied an AMAZING ivy-type vine that I hadn't noticed; once he pointed it out, I knew it would make a wonderful border. Now I'm hoping I might be able to sell the cards in the hotel gift shop.

This is a preview of the types of kits I'll be offering for sale in the weeks ahead. Each kit will contain various Photoshop elements such as (shown here) a template for a folded thank-you note, a swirly vine brush, a vignette, and a mock embossed border...just add your own photo, print, and share. Of course detailed step-by-step instructions will also be included.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Advertising agencies, Web designers, graphic designers, and lots of other entities frequently take advantage of stock photography – images that aren't taken for a specific client or purpose but are used and reused for multiple assignments.

For weddings, take some stock images of flowers, champagne glasses, couples' hands, rings, wedding cake brides and grooms, etc., that you can then use to create themed stationery ensembles: invitations, response cards, reception cards, and guest books.

Taking stock shots is fun; you have complete control and can get really creative, and you can also transform them into image transfers or manipulate them in Photoshop. I'm constantly repurposing my images. (Just between you and me, the old suitcase you see in the latest of the "Flight" series posted yesterday is something I shot about ten years ago; I knocked out the background and added it as a layer with a drop shadow.)

For baby-themed stationery – shower invitations, thank you notes, and photo albums – I took some stock shots of baby shoes ("painting" boy and girl versions in pink and blue in Photoshop), a teddy bear (again, "painting" a boy version with a blue ribbon around its neck, a girl version with pink), and a rubber ducky (unisex!).

These projects and more are detailed in my books, "The Art and Craft of Keepsake Photography: Engagements & Weddings" and "Baby Face: Celebrating Your Pregnancy & Baby with Beautiful Photo Crafts," available in My Shop and at and other online booksellers.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Contrast is the #1 consideration when combining font faces in a layout. Start with two VERY different fonts and/or type sizes. Here I combined P22 Typewriter and P22 Dearest.

P22 is hands down my favorite font house. Meticulously designed professional typefaces, often imitated  but never equaled. Sign up for their newsletter and/or become a Facebook fan to be among the first to hear about specials on existing fonts and introductions to new ones. And check out their shop…font-based apparel, glassware, publications, and other stuff…even a doormat!

Because I love you, here's a mini Photoshop tutorial for turning a photo into a sketch (as I did in this layout).  This works better with some photos than others, so play:

1. Open an image file and duplicate the background layer (Layer>Duplicate Layer>OK).

2. With the duplicate layer highlighted in the Layers palette, go to Image>Adjust>Desaturate, then go to Filter>Stylize>Find Edges.

3. In the Layers palette, change the blending mode for the duplicate layer from Normal to Overlay.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010


An "envelopment" wrapped in ribbon turns a simple flat card printed on a nice heavyweight stock into a gift.

I think word-of mouth is by far the most effective means of promotion, especially for a wedding photographer. Most people ask their friends for referrals before choosing an unknown entity from a directory or magazine.

So, after you've shot a wedding, here's a simple way to maintain the special connection you've cultivated with your clients so that they'll be sure to refer you, and it will even keep them coming back for more: As each anniversary approaches, send them a special card featuring a photo from their wedding and include a freebie or gift certificate for a discount on an anniversary photo session.

Next week I'll share another great tip for "guerilla marketing"... an inexpensive and very effective idea I bet you'll want to incorporate into your existing work flow.

Find step-by-step instructions for this project and others in my book, The Art & Craft of Keepsake Photography: Engagements and Weddings, available in my website shop and through and other online booksellers.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Think about the sensory considerations of the humble basic, familiar, even comforting; the appearance, as form meets function, minimalist, perfect; the woodsy sound of graphite against pulp; even the organic smell of a freshly sharpened pencil.

But why stop there? Now available in my shop...matte black pencils wrapped with handmade papers and embellished beyond reason. Each pencil or set of pencils comes in a complementary origami-folded quiver and is accompanied by a precision magnesium sharpener.

Gear Head (shown) - features silver Joss paper, soldering wire, and "found" metal objects (think Father's Day!)

Origami - set of 5 pencils made with origami papers; one pencil features an origami crane dangle

Waxing Rhapsodic - set of 3 pencils with an encaustic (beeswax) theme; one pencil features a jeweled dangle

Boho - set of 4 pencils, each with a different gem-toned paper and coordinating bead dangle

Zen (shown) - 1 pencil featuring an Auratone Buddha "portrait" and bead dangle

Now available in my online shop!

(Note: A portion of the proceeds from this item will be donated to the charity of my choice.)