Monday, August 27, 2012

A is for Addie

I normally do not do newborn sessions beyond 10-12 days, but prefer five and under.  I made an excection this one time for an old classmate and fellow out of towner.  Our trips home to Missouri happened to fall at the same time so we did a "newborn" session when Addie was six weeks old.  I did NOT expect her to snooze through the session, but being snuggly swaddled had everything to do with it.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Recognize an accessory from her maternity session used for her newborn session?  Love it!

I have been multitasking with other Foxtree to do's and am now so tired I can barely hold my eyes open.  I will have to finish tomorrow.  Many more beautiful images to come :)
Until next time, 

Nick (Senior)

Well, once again I have let sessions pile up before blogging them.  Things have been very busy for Foxtree as of late.  Not only have I been booked up but i also opened a prop shop & boutique.  If you haven't made your way to the site to have a look, please do.  Even if you don't have a Facebook page you can still view both the photography page and the prop shop & boutique page by going to the below addresses.

This blog post will be the start of a string of sessions that have happened from July until August.  I have several that are still not ready for blogging so I will be back for those hopefully sooner rather than later.
I first met Nick and his Mom while on my most recent trip to SE Missouri.  They were wonderfully sweet and their property was a photographer's playground!  It was so nice to meet and work with you.

Did you happen to notice the new watermark on the last image?  I'm loving the new look of the logo/watermark!

Monday, August 13, 2012

New beginnings

Late last year I started a little boutique but something about it never quite felt right.  Soon after I started realizing what it was and I wanted to gracefully take it to the next level.  The next level is a hybrid Prop Shop and Boutique to cater not only to photographers but to non-photographers as well.  I have been working steadily for several months to stock the prop shop & boutique and am happy to announce that I opened at the beginning of August.  Right now I am only located on Facebook.  I know I have several non-facebook fans.  Never fear!  You can visit the page and see my work without having a Facebook profile yourself.  Just go to,  You can now also view the photography Facebook page without having an account.  To see that just go to,  I hope to soon open an Etsy shop, but for now I'm residing on Facebook alone.  If you have a Facebook page I would love for you to go "like" my business page and spread the word.  Below are just a few sneak peeks of items ready to ship.  All items are reasonably priced to make growing your prop stash affordable.  Once the page reaches a certain number of likes there will be a big giveaway bash.

*To view an image in full view, click the picture.

Propology: DIY hot air balloon on a budget

First things first, I want everyone to know the idea of a hot air balloon prop is not mine originally.  I have seen an air balloon prop somewhere..I just can't remember where.  I fell in love but i didn't have any clue how to make it myself.  So the idea lay dormant in my mind for months.  I don't mind to use other's ideas but I try to put my own spin on it.  Photography for me, is an expression of my creative energy and vision.  So, as soon as I saw that DIY post on COAPJ the seed was planted.  I didn't actually expect to ever make one until last week.  A regular client of mine contacted me about doing her son's three month pictures.  I have such a wonderful relationship with this woman and her entire extended family.  I have captured senior, engagements, weddings, maternity and newborn sessions.  After being apart of so many joyous occasions, they're actually starting to feel like family.  Anyway, the awesome thing about this family is they trust me completely.  When a client let's you run with your vision it can open so many more doors than if someone keeps you creatively boxed in if you will.  I ran the idea by Mom and she was all for it.  So, I set about trying to figure out not only how I was going to do it but the personal direction I wanted to take it in.  I didn't want to do the bare balloon as I had seen so I decided I would go all out and paper mache it.  Let me start out by saying IF you plan to do this, make sure you have an extra dose of patience.  Looking at the finished project makes me so glad I made it, but I did reach a point where I got frustrated and wished I hadn't started.

Ok here is a list of what I had to buy and how many

(4) Dowel rods from Lowes ($4.15 with tax)
(1) Jumbo balloon from Party City ($6.41 with tax)
(6) Bottles of all purpose elmer's glue ($3 and some change with tax) (school supplies are super cheap right now so I saved a total of $4.62 or .77 cents per bottle!)
(9) Newspapers a friend so graciously donated for the project

What I already had on hand

A large basket
Flour, salt,  and water (though I used all my flour and had to buy some more)

The balloon was so large I literally had to slowly squeeze it through two doors once I got home.  The entire time I was so worried the balloon would pop or lose air before I got far enough into the project.  I purchased the balloon on a Thursday, to give me enough time to have it ready for my session the following Tuesday.
The project was going to take place in our garage downstairs.  I wasn't thrilled with myself that I put it in a place where to get it back downstairs I would need to squeeze it through those same two doors.  I didn't want to take the chance and Hubby wanted to spend time with me, without going downstairs too, so the project took place in my kitchen....which he later regretted lol!  This project is messy and time consuming.  Even if I had the total amount of time to devote to it all at once, I would've needed a break (or rather my back) and the project itself requires breaks in action for drying.

Ok, so here's how it started.  I found what I thought was the best paper mache recipe online and struck out.  After making two batches with the recipe below I ended up doubling the measurements to give me more mix at one time.  I used a metal mixing bowl because I thought it would be easier to clean.  I used a whisk to mix it all together.  I put the flour, salt then water in the bowl, mixed until it was good and smooth (no clumps) then added the glue and remixed.

1 cup Flour (2 parts)
1 1/2 cups Water (3 parts)
1/2 TBS salt (optional)
1/4 cup white glue (optional) (half of a 4oz bottle of elmer's)

Making the doubled recipe

2 cups of flour
3 cups of water
1 TBS salt
1/2 cup of glue (full 4oz bottle of elmer's)

I started out with normal table salt, but used all I had and ended up using sea salt I had in the kitchen.  It made no difference in the mix.

When I first started, I tore the paper into little two-four inch strips like I had done when I was a kid.  After I covered the entire balloon I decided to take the newspaper and tear it (evenly using the end of my kitchen table) halfway down the center then halfway on those pieces so four pieces total with one large sheet of newspaper.  That balloon was just too big of a surface to be using tiny pieces of paper.  Applying the paper went a lot faster after that.  I should also note that I had a box type fan sitting in the room with me pointing at the balloon.  The balloon was sitting in a box that had 2 sides opened up so the balloon had a little support in the back to keep it from rolling.  When I first started, I had to struggle with the balloon wanting to float.  After the entire thing was coated with one layer, it was good and grounded, which left rolling being my only problem.  The box helped catch some of the dripping mixture and kept it relatively in place.  If you are a clean freak, this project is not for you!  I like to be clean, especially my hands, and even knowing what it would feel like, I was still grossed out and would take frequent breaks to wash my hands...only to get them dirty again haha!

After about four I stopped counting the layers.  Some areas got more than other areas anyway.  If I had to guess I would say there are between 8-12 layers.

After two days of applying layers I noticed there were a few spots that were weaker than others.  I decided yesterday I would take a silver permanent marker and mark the weak spots with a big x so I would know the areas to add more layers to.  I used all that mix and while I wanted to put more layers on, I only had one bottle of glue left and I knew I needed to save it for my final layer.  The final layer was the Sunday comics.  I wanted something bright, lite and fun.  This is after all, a prop for a child's session.  Obits, articles about some famous person dying, articles about sex education and sexual predators didn't seem to be a good last layer lol!  Here is a little collage of the process.  I took pictures with my cell during the process so please excuse the quality.  You may noticed that there are a lot of wrinkles in pictures two and three.  I tried to keep wrinkles out but it was difficult fighting the curve of the balloon so there were wrinkles. I didn't fight with it too much until the final layer.

Top left: balloon before
Top Right: balloon with wet paper mache
Bottom Left: dry paper mache with X's marking the weak spots
Bottom Right: finished product

Top Left: I forgot to take a picture of the circle I made for the bottom to know where I needed to cut.  I cut an X in the circle to keep myself within the right boundaries
Top Right: Got my scissors in there and started cutting around the circle.  Some parts were covered by paper but I could figure it out.  My circle wasn't completely perfect but close enough.
Bottom Left: The yucky balloon.  It was covered in dry mixture so pieces flaked off like a shedding dog when I picked it up...yuck!
Bottom Right: The thickness of the pieces I got.  That is my pinky between the pieces to show the thickness.  

Top Left: Wrapping the twine around the dowel rod
Top Right: What it looks like when it is fully wrapped. 
*The dowel rods were temporarily taped to the inside of the basket to hold it in place for the test.
*The weights are in the bottom to keep it from toppling over.  They will be there for the session.  If I had a newborn in the basket there would be blankets covering the weights.  No little one will be in the basket for this session
Bottom Center: My test placement .  Still have work to do.

I wrote most of this while I was making the balloon so here is a bit of an update.  Like I stated before, I made this hot air balloon for a 3mo session.  I had it all ready and had started to pack for the session when Hubby struck lol!  He was so sweetly helping me but wasn't so careful.  He picked up the basket rather roughly and it ripped apart the set up.  I set out to fix it but it was 100 degrees and the humidity was high.  Needless to say it did not go as planned.  The planned session became a mini with a reshoot two weeks later.  I knew it could work it would just need to be planned better.  It finally ended up working and it debuted this past week for a different session!  I have several other ideas for this big prop and can't wait to use it again.

Other props for this session are as follows

Glass candle holder
A large and mini banner

These were props I already had on hand.  I made both banners.

I've been rather busy with sessions so expect a lot of updates and beautiful images!

Updated pictures with this bad boy....the balloon not the child ;)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fall family minis!

Over the past year I have limited the amount of family sessions I accepted, to concentrate more on my specialty (child, senior and newborn photography).  I've had more interest as of late for family photography, so I have decided to open a few slots for September through November for fall family minis.  A mini session is shorter than a normal session at only 30 minutes.  This is more suited for immediate families only and for families with children who won't need a great period of warm up time.  I will have a fall set up and I already have a location picked out that will be great for fall!  Remember, these images can be used for your Christmas cards!

The details:

Proofs will be loaded to a password protected album, sneak peeks on Facebook and a blog post.
Session must take place on a weekday or weekend, September through November.
No extended families
$10 extra charge for families over 5

*A deposit of $50 is due within one week of booking your session, with the remainder due no later than the day of the session.  Deposit is nonrefundable.*

A below image will give you an idea of what the fall minis will look like.  The set up will not be identical to this, but will be similar to this set up.

If you're interested, please contact me at  Slots are filling up fast!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

DIY prop goodness

In my last posts I kept talking about a huge prop project that was in the works.  I had intended to use it for a session several weeks ago but the plan had a flaw and I needed to go back to the drawing board and make some minor changes.  I will have detailed posts on this DIY project, but for now here is the great unveiling.

DIY "Hot Air Balloon" on a budget