Using Natural Light for photography & House Updates

Whoo hoo! TGIF! I hope everyone had a great week!
I wanted to let Emilie, from Photo by Emilie pop in and share a quick photography tip, when using your camera. It's something that some of you might already do, but I have to admit, one of THE best tips, so it never hurts to share :)

Who doesn't love cute little things!?!  I love little cute things and even more than cute little things, I love PHOTOS of them. Lighting is everything when it comes to taking photos of those little things; so here is my favorite set-up to achieve the best photo possible, whether you have a point and shoot or a fancy DSLR camera.
Use natural light and avoid taking photos at night. 
Inside lights are no good for photos.  They typically don't give off enough light, the direction of top down light is not flattering and the color of inside lights distorts the color in the image.  My favorite set up for shooting small items is next to an open door or window.  This set up gives plenty of light, the side direction of light is very flattering and the color of natural light is perfection.  Here is another Example...
These cute little things I photographed are called Happy Snappers. I use them to help me get perfect smiles from little ones. They are the best and this is just one of the varieties that Karen sells on her Etsy site.

Thanks Emilie! I have to agree, I'm a HUGE fan of natural light, and it even works wonders with iPhone photos... which I have been using for blog posts more than I'd like to admit. Can you say convenient!? 

For more tips and tricks head on over to Emilie's New Blog and be sure to check out all the info on her online Photography & Photoshop classes starting this month.

In other news, things are a bit crazy around here. (what's new. ha!)
Do we have an office, girly bedroom and master bathroom to finish?
Did Cason decide that he wanted to re-haul the kitchen instead?
um... yeah.

Our initial idea was to do a cool treatment on this wall, for some visual interest when we photograph our favorite shelves for the holidays (don't worry, they're definitely going back up) but one thing turned into the next...

...and, yeah.

Sooooo, we went on the hunt for the perfect backsplash tile. We were looking for gray ceramic rectangular tiles, but had no luck at the big box stores. We DID find this mosaic set of white tiles placed in a subway pattern at Lowe's. Since our kitchen is teeny tiny, this size is definitely going to be our best bet. It's a 2x4 tile.

Here are some other pretty tile samples that we picked up from Lowe's while we were there. They actually have a lot of really great options, but as far as custom sizes and colors... I'll have to do a little more searching.
PS: Don't you think that octagonal tile would look fab on my laundry room floor!?!?
gah, focus Shelley, focus.

I always tell people, when starting to decorate, restyle or remodel a space, to start with a storyboard or inspiration photo of some sort, to get them going on the right foot... so here's mine.

1. Love how they took the backsplash tile all the way up around the window
2. Farmhouse sink... 'nuff said :)
3. The floors in this photo are similar to ours, and it gives us a good idea of what our cabinets would look like painted white.
4. The gray on this island is subtle, yet lovely!
5. Loving the light granite and maybe even thinking marble (???)

Is there anything wrong with our kitchen? Nope.
But we were ready for some changes, and so, here we go! We'll keep you posted on the rest of our kitchen developments as they unfold.

And just so you don't get too annoyed with us and our "decorating ADD", here is a shot of how the twins' girly room is coming together!

I'm not totally sold on all the pillows in the front, so I'm keeping my eye out for some others, but I'm in LOVE with the tufted bench and blush colored headboard I snagged from Joss & Main!

By the way, this room is about the hardest space to photograph, maybe EVER! And while I'm obsessed with how pretty this new lighting fixture is from Overstock.com, and how cool it looks at night... it definitely doesn't lend itself helpful when it's time to photograph. haha!

Also, I must add that a brand new Target store opened about 5 minutes away from my house and I've literally been like a kid in a candy store. SO MANY GOOD THINGS and everything is IN STOCK! It's like a dream come true for me, and sort of a nightmare for Cason. hahah!

I found this adorable ruffle rag pillow for $19.99 and an awesome gray pencil holder for only $1.00!

I've also been working on something fun, that I'm super excited to show you next week

And guess who cleaned up her workbench outside this morning, so her husband doesn't throw inappropriate words around, every time he pulls into the garage and has to suck himself in as thin as possible, to get out of the car...?

So I pretty much feel like my life is all about cleaning up one mess, to create another.
Just sayin'.

Happy Weekend!


  1. The girls room is coming together so nice! So may cute little elements that make the whole thing great! I love that you have a work bench in your garage! I'm gonna have to get me my own work bench too!!

  2. Oh, wow, you have a lot going on! I'm excited to see what you do with the kitchen. Love the light and the tufted bench. Are those crystals in the light? And can I just as, what IS the deal with Target stores not all having the same things? I recently moved across several state lines. The Target I left behind always had the most amazing stuff, with an enormous selection. Turns out, Target in my new town is a little less exciting. Way less selection. Not as many cute displays. Seriously lacking in the home decor department. So how do I figure out which locations are the awesome versions of Target?

  3. I spy elements from your home office...I can't wait for you to reveal the finished room. I've been waiting to finish mine until yours is done! Your blog is inspiring. Thanks for sharing all you do.

  4. I totally understand the cleaning up one mess to make another. I get on a big organizing trip and Thomas (my honeybee) always tells me that I make a bigger mess trying to clean. LOL! Also, thanks for the great lighting tips. I can't believe what a difference there was. I will have to try this the next time I take photos for a blog post. Thanks!

  5. If you don't mind sharing, where did you get the duvet cover in the twins room? I love the ruffle on the one side. Thanks!

  6. Can you tell me the source of the kitchen inspiration photo? I would love to see more of it!!

  7. holy freaking moley. send some of your energy this way girl!

  8. Oh my, if my eyes do not deceive me, I believe that I spy Project Life!!!!!

  9. Love the Hex & Dot tile. We have it on the bathroom floors in our new house and it's perfection. I hope you decide to go with it.

  10. You've been one busy lady! Love the girls room and all the little things you are tackling. Subway tile! Hello. And come on, why can't my work bench look like that. I literally threw a level today because it was such a mess.

  11. Ha Ha Ha! This makes me laugh. I'm glad I'm not the only one with a brain going a mile a minute and a bunch of unfinished rooms. I have to tell myself to focus all the time! Can't wait to see what it all looks like

  12. Hi! I love your blog! My husband and I just built our home and we did a grey tile backsplash.It sounds kindof like what you might be looking for. We used Bowcutts Flooring for our tile. Here is a pic of it if you are interested. Oh and Bowcutts was really great to work with! http://www.facebook.com/bowcuttsflooringamerica#!/photo.php?fbid=10151145017285427&set=a.10151145016270427.790475.170134060426&type=3&theater

  13. I saved that same kitchen picture from Houzz with the farmhouse sink and backsplash to the ceiling! It looks so nice - although it could just be the calming soothing color that's getting me...I cannot even tell you how envious I am of your workstation. Mine is an old table, tools everywhere...I'm pinning that.

  14. Love the tiles! Hope we get to see the finished project :) Also love that lighting fixture in the girls' room, very pretty yet sophisticated. Have to start looking at Overstock more often ;-) I wanted to also say "congrats" - I just saw the article in This Old House about your foyer mudroom. It was so funny, I read the issues on my Nook. So I see the first page and think "oh so lovely! I think we can do something similar too, this is a great picture to visualize how mine may look" then I think "wow it's very "Shelley" looking - the paint, the rug on the floor..then I go to the next page and it's very "Shelley" looking because..it's yours! LOL. Anyway congrats on the article, very cool :)

  15. Wow.
    Lighting for photos.
    Girls room.
    Clean work bench.

    Are you tired!? ;)

  16. I have that exact same light fixture in our master bedroom! Annddd, was also lucky enough to find a matching drop pendant for our master bath. Love!

  17. I remember looking for that same rug for my kitchen but could never find it online or in the store. Can you see if you have the name of the pattern, please? I would love to find one. I'm currently painting our kitchen cabinets white and want to have accents of blue and green and this rug would be perfect! Thanks for keeping us inspired!

  18. Can't wait to see all the updates!

  19. That bench and lighting fixture are to die for. Especially the lighting fixture. And, um, decorating ADD? We must be creatively related.

  20. Love the ideas for the kitchen and can't wait to see it done!

  21. We are the same over here....cleaning up one project and then headed into the next : o ) Love the photography tips!

  22. I can't wait to see if you decide to use marble! I'm building right now and love the look of marble but I'm too afraid of the maintenance so we are leaning towards quartz. I would love to hear your thoughts/opinion! Fun post Shelley! Can't wait to see all of your beautiful spaces once they are done!

  23. ooh! I can't wait to see what you do with the kitchen. Looking at the rest of you house I always guessed you'd have a white kitchen. I am excited to see how it turns out.

  24. I was browsing Target yesterday and noticed this Shabby Chic comforter that resembles the Twin's comforter set...
    Just thought I would share!

  25. Love the subway tile. I've looked at that for my kitchen. I think when I finally tackle my kitchen I'll go with the white. And I'm super jealous of your work bench! I must make one for myself!!

  26. I love the white subway tile. I'm pretty sure when I tackle my kitchen, I'll use the white subway tile as well. And I'm soooo super jealous of your work bench. I need to make one of those, pronto!

  27. Love the comforter and pillows! where did you find it?


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