A New Year, A New Look

Welcome 2018!

Usually by the end of the year, I'm ready for some change: a little update, perhaps. My website is always on my list to update, keeping it current with my branding and business.

 

This year it was more of a re-do than an update. I wanted to the website to reflect more clean lines and brigth photos with an emphasis on my client's photos. In a way, it was sad to remove all the beautiful landscapes, but those are photos I took for personal interest. I'll have to find somewhere else to showcase them ;). Enjoy the new site! (And please let me know if you find any glitches...). HAPPY NEW YEAR! Wishing you health and prosperity in 2018!

Treasure Hunt: Photo Organization

Feb 6, 2017

A fresh, new year means it’s time to organize! I get a thrill out of straightening the clutter and finding new homes for the things we no longer value. It feels like good stewardship. I read somewhere that if you can’t find something in your closet (drawer, cubby, wherever) in 3 minutes, then you need to reorganize! It’s hard to admit, but there are plenty of places in my house that require more than 3 minutes to find something!

 

It’s easy to see when a closet or drawer needs to be organized, but what about the less tangible things? Although the intangibles may be easier to ignore, the benefits are immense! One such “intangible” is digital photos. As a photographer, I take thousands of photos every year and one question I hear often is: How do I organize my photos?

 

I realize that a lot of photo programs might like to organize for you, but I prefer to do it myself (which is a topic for another time). Regardless of whether you’re a DIY organizer or if you let the software do it for you, I encourage you to utilize these tips:

 

First, have a folder on your hard drive that is STICTLY for photos. (OK, you include videos, but nothing else!) Make sure this folder is easy to access and not buried in another folder. Now, within your PHOTOS folder, you should have a folder for every year. (See Image A)
Next, within that YEARLY folder, each day and event should have its own folder labeled with the month, day and an event label. For example, on January 29th, I took pictures at the Spelling Bee, so I titled the folder “01.29 Spelling Bee.” (See Image B)
And the finale: nestle one more folder within that folder. This one will make your life so much easier! This one should hold your favorites, or final selections. Whenever I’ve gone through my photos and tagged or edited my favorites, I save them to this folder. (Image C)

 

Let me share an example. Recently, I was telling my neighbor that I took a photo of their pond when it had a lily pad blooming. Granted, I took this photo years ago. Of course they wanted to see it. Gulp. So I came home, sat down at my computer and did a search on “lily”. That photo folder popped up in a matter of seconds. I was surprised to see I had taken it 3.5 years before!

 

I hope this helps simplify things for you. With this photo organization system, you’ll find treasured photos quickly and easily because you can search by event or date. A note of encouragement: it’s never too late to start organizing (even if you have 10 years of photos on your computer)! And make sure your photos are backed up! You should ALWAYS have them in two places, but that’s a post for another time...

 

 

WANTED: Double Talent

Mar 7, 2017

 

One of the (many) advantages to working at a school is I get asked to work on “special” projects. Every year, we have a parent-organized Winter Social. This year’s theme was “Country Barn Bash” and one of the parent-volunteers had a brilliant idea: make up “WANTED” posters of the faculty. Yee Haw! This project gave me the opportunity to utilize both my careers: graphic design and photography. Although, the two seem to blend often enough, they rarely hand-off in such an obvious manner.

 

Working with one of the moms, Julie, we decided on a poster design, scheduled the photo shoot and notified the faculty. Julie was brilliant in coming up with “crimes” for each of them. Our Dean of Academics and Upper School Principle, Robyn Burlew, was renamed “Robbin’ Burlew” and was wanted for “Train Robbin’.” The equestrian-loving science and math teacher, Lindsey Silvernail, was wanted for “Horseshoe Stealin’” as “Slick Silvernail.” And the Dean of Student Life, Steve Byrd, was the “Sherriff ‘Big Town’ Byrd.” The creativity continued for multiple faculty members. (I’ve posted all the examples here for your enjoyment!)

 

The photoshoot was a riot! Julie and I gathered some western props and the faculty came with willing (and fun-loving) hearts. They truly made this project a success! They scowled, snarled and did their best to match their expressions to their crimes.

 

With a white background and a couple of lights, I was able to successfully snap a few headshots. I then imported the images into Lightroom and gave them an old-time feel using the B&W sepia-toned preset. Then I exported them as .jpgs and dropped them in to the template I’d created in InDesign. After a quick proof and a couple adjustments, they were off to the printer.

 

I wasn’t at school they day the WANTED posters were hung, but I knew it happened because my inbox started to grow J. Here’s some of the responses I received:

 

“…let me tell you, your work made my day!  The posters are absolutely amazing!  I was laughing out loud.” –B.H.

 

“The faculty Wanted posters are hysterical!  Way to go, gals! Very clever!” –E.Z.

 

“Western Themed Posters…ARE AMAZING!” –S.K.

 

“…kudos on the AMAZING faculty posters. It's an advertising campaign to remember.” –P.G.

 

Honestly, this project would not have been nearly as successful without Julie’s pursuit of the details and the faculty’s zealous participation and willingness to have a little self-depreciating fun. I’m so grateful they’re such good sports! It’s a privilege to be listed among their ranks…

 

The Treasure of Teaching

Feb 21, 2017

 

This past week was Teacher Appreciation Week at Veritas. So with that in mind, I thought I’d share some notes and thoughts that have made teaching so rewarding over the past 5 years.

 

Not only is teaching Digital Photography to high school students a privilege and a pleasure, it's also a small way to give back to my community. My hope is to instill in my students an appreciation for great photography AND the desire to bless others with their own photographs.

As any teacher will tell you, there are golden moments that stand out; giving you a glimpse into the lives of your students. Those moments are the reason you do what you do; why you teach. I'd like to share a few of those sweet moments that have meant so much to me:

 

From the mom of one of my students:

 

Melissa,

 

I just wanted you to know that your photography class has provided lots of great opportunities for [my son] and for me. He is learning so much and I enjoy watching him think and explore through the lens of a camera. These shots from my phone have nothing to do with good photography; I just thought you might like to see some "behind the scenes" photos.

 

Loving your class,
C.

 

A note from one of my students during "Teacher Appreciation" Week:

 

Mrs. Prior:

 

Thank you for what you do. Before this year I had no clue how to take a photo or even appreciate good photography. You've opened my eyes to a world I wasn't even aware of this time last year.

 

Thank you,

J.

 

A mom texted me this:

 

...Also in the tremendous gift you've shared in helping [my son] to discover a love for photography and training an eye for detail and great composure.

 

-M.

 

 

A note from one of my students:

 

Mrs. Prior:

 

Thank you for what you do. Before this year I had no clue how to take a photo or even appreciate good photography. You've opened my eyes to a world I wasn't even aware of this time last year.

 

Thank you,
J.

 

 

And this in an email from a recent graduate is probably one of my favorites:

 

I've come a long way from the photography class but that was such a fun class where I developed such an appreciation for something I had never tried before!

 

-S.

 

I have the privilege of seeing Teacher Appreciation Week from both sides: as a teacher and as a parent. I’d heard teachers say that the thing they appreciate the most is hand-written notes. At first I was skeptical, but I can now say without a doubt, I agree! I thoroughly enjoyed the treats, gifts and goodies I received, but it’s the notes that have lingered.

 

I only teach one class and felt tremendously blessed by my students and their parents. I imagine that is multiplied exponentially for the full-time teachers! So, what did I do for my kids’ teachers this year? I had my kids sit down and write them notes...

 

Teacher Appreciation Week

See my post on Instagram.

 

 

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